Monthly Archives: March 2014

Product Review – Calf Sleeves by Bio Skin’s® – Ultra Marathon Recovery, Training and Racing


One of the advantages of blogging about the sport I love and spend a fair amount of time talking about, writing about and thinking about is that once in a while someone asks my opinion about something.  The good folks at Bio Skin’s®  sent me a pair of calf compression sleeves to test out.

bioskin

From their web site:  Bio Skin’s complete range of knee braces, ankle support, back braces, wrist braces, calf sleeves and compression clothing is constructed of patented proprietary fabrics – designed to enhance athletic performance and aid sports injury recovery.

calf_skin_4630_1

Upon receiving their product I thanked the supplier and mentioned I had planned to wear them as recovery for my Graveyard 100k run (March 8/9) as I knew for sure my legs would be beat up, figured this was prime test drive material.

Bio Skin® is a unique, patented material designed to provide high-level compression without creating any discomfort. Bio Skin is thin and gives radial compression so it conforms nicely to the curves of the body. 

Out of the box, the sleeves felt like a quality material, not a cheap spandex type item you might find at a discount store.  These are a top end product made of a tri-laminate design to dramatically enhance comfort and wearability. It is constructed of Lycra on the inside and outside with a thin polyurethane “SmartsSkin” membrane in between. Yet, it is only 1.05mm thick and much stronger than neoprene and other fabrics used in orthopedics.  The stretchy fabric felt nice to the touch not course or abrasive with no obviously sharp areas or seams that might dig into you. The sleeves I received were black in color and featured the Bio Skin’s®  logo on the top.

Bio Skin’s® Calf Skins™ give excellent compression to ease the pain in injured calves or shins. The thin, breathable material allows perspiration to evaporate to keep you cool.

After completing the 100k race (5th overall male), it took about an hour to get cleaned up and back to my hotel.  I put on the compression sleeves right away and laid down to take a short nap before my drive home.  The sleeves went on easy and were not a challenge to get a comfortable fit.  At this point I began to feel some soreness setting into my legs from the 100k, I laid down for about two hours and when I woke up my thighs were pretty sore but my calves were not.

recovery

I wore the skins for the rest of the night and proceeded to sleep in them.  From most of my long run/race experience the morning after is the worst for soreness in my legs.  And that was true again, my legs felt every mile of the 63 miles I ran…my quads were tight and a bit upset with me.  But other than some slight soreness in my right Achilles my calves feel much better than my quads in general.  I can’t say zero pain/soreness but I will say they feel about 80% better if I had to put a number on it.

Thank you  Bio Skin’s® for allowing me to review your product I recommend it to anyone looking for a way to speed up recovery after a long run or race.


Last Week In Review – Recover and Count Down to Umstead 100 Miler – Ultra Marathon


Last Week In Review: (Feb 10 – 16 March)

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7 Miles
Sunday: 60 minutes on elliptical

Total:   70 miles – YTD Total: 470.87 miles on 38 Running Days

This week was all about recovering from the Graveyard 100k race and getting my body recovered to run the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run.  The Graveyard was my 3rd long training run for Umstead and with this behind me I have a ton of confidence going into the 100 mile challenge.

disaster_recovery

Monday morning I woke up pretty sore, my quads were killing me, my right hip was sore and generally I felt like I ran for 14+ hours.  Except my calfs…I was supplied some calk sleeves from BioSkins and put them on within 2 hours of finishing the 100k.  I wore these all night and all day Monday.  When I got up for work Monday morning my calfs felt noticeably better then rest of my body.

Tuesday-Friday was Rest, Rest, Rest and Rest day.  The thing I don’t like about marathon and long distance running/racing is the down time for recovery.  I know its good for me to take some time off to allow my body to heal BUT I feel like I’m losing, giving away, and turning down miles.  I hate giving up run days, I hate the down time, and I hate sitting around doing nothing.

Saturday it was time to run again.  I linked up with a friend (Jill) and ran around our HOA, 7 miles in 1hr 14ms.  I felt pretty good, only a few dings, bottom-line the legs and body worked just like advertised.

Sunday Church, family breakfast and elliptical!  A ton of my friends were running Shamrock, Rock n Roll DC and Thunder Road marathons.

umstead 100 buckle

19 Days Until Umstead!


Ultra Marathon Runner Pick Up Lines


The King of Pick Up Lines, Offers Us Runners Some Help.

howard

Disclaimer:  If any of these offend anyone, I’m sorry, that is not my intent. These are meant as light humor and not to be offensive.

You sure are a beautiful runner. Because when I saw you running, the entire world became beautiful.

I’m not a photographer, but I can picture me and you running a marathon together.

I see your bib number…so can I get your real number?

Can I take your picture to prove to all my friends that angels run ultra marathons.

Didn’t we hit the wall together?

Kirk-Pick-Up-Lines-2

You look so familiar…didn’t we run NYC together?

Was your dad a sprinter?  Cause you’ve got kicks!

You’re so beautiful that you made me forget I was tired.

Baby, your pace or mine?

Excuse me, but you dropped something back at mile 2, Lets pick it up later tonight….together.

orig-21239023

And from the Grand Master.

I’d share my solar blanket with you anytime……

Have you ever been approached by a crazy running related pick up line?  Tell us about it.


Runner Friend, Krissy – Twitter Follow Friday – Marathon Runner and Run Disney Champion


The great thing about Social Media is that your circle of friends is much larger then it could have ever been without the internet.  And the running community is one of the best out there.  I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite Twitter friends and one you should be following: @krissymmurphy  Her Blog can be seen here.

Krissy always has some of the most positive tweets and I enjoy her Disney running perspective.  Below are a few questions to help you get to know her better.

635293061070092064

Q:  I think we all have that time when we transformed how we looked at ourselves, someone who ran once in a while, to viewing “yourself” as runners.  Do you remember your first “run” as a runner,  how long was it and how did you feel at the end? —  I totally agree! The first run that I experienced the fact that running could in fact, be fun, was in December 2010, just four months after I began my running journey. I was participating in the Inaugural Christmas Town 8K at Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg, VA, and it could not have been a more beautiful day – in so many ways. 

You see, we had recently moved from Florida, and I was still getting used to running in the cooler temperatures, and much to my surprise, the day before the race, it had snowed all around the Hampton Roads area. When we arrived at the park, the parking area was cleared, but we were told that maintenance workers were working to ensure the course would be safe for runners, so the start was a little bit delayed. Since it was just my 4th race, it did add to my anxiety, but when it finally became time to line up, and the gun went off, any stress I had been feeling melted away. 

Back then, I had no idea how to pace myself, and with two 5Ks and one 10K under my belt, I knew that I could conquer the distance, but had no illusions of what my goal time was. As the winding course took us through the beautifully decorated park, up and over hills, all while lightly dusting us with powdery white snow blowing off the trees, I felt happy, peaceful and connected to the run, a feeling that propelled me through the finish at exactly 40 minutes, which made me smile even more!

Q:  What is your proudest running achievement? – My proudest? Oy, challenging, but honestly, it was probably when I finished my first 5K that I had trained for. Although I’ve had so many emotionally charged moments since, especially ones involving personal stories, charity involvement and PW/PR sagas, that moment when I knew that running was something I was good at, and work harder with to improve – was the proudest.

Q:  On the other side, what was your most disappointing running moment, and what did you learn from it? – Although it certainly isn’t the worst time to see on the clock after running 26.2, when I ran the Three Bridges Marathon in Charlottesville, VA in 4 hours and 3 minutes, I felt completely defeated. Scratch that – the whole day was essentially pity part, table of 1 for me – I stubbornly decided to go ahead and run this, despite having a cold. On top of that, I had run a PR race, less than two months before, with the expectation that this one would blow that time out of the water…and it really was quite the opposite. At Mile 17 or so, I actually sat down and cried for a while and contemplated just walking off the course, since the race was not chip-timed. 

Looking back, I definitely took this experience way too hard, but from that, I’ve learned – not everyday is YOUR day, and that’s okay. There’s another day, another run, another race. Just keep moving forward! 

Q:  This is a two part question, #1 The Genie from Aladdin has granted you one RUNNER wish…what would that wish be?  And the second part is if you could run in and win any race in the world…which one would you choose? – If I had ONE runner wish – as cheesy as it sounds, I wish that I could ensure that every runner could experience that happy, light feeling of a truly great run! There is nothing that I have experienced that can top that! 

As for running any race in the world – oh boy – I’d have to say The Tokyo Marathon! It’s now a World Marathon Masters race, and since I grew up in Japan and was NOT a runner when I lived there, it’d be a great way to experience it. 

Q: As a Disney insider, what is one secret to having the most fun running Disney? – I truly believe that happiness is a state of mind, and so when it comes to having fun running Disney, it’s all about what will make YOU the happiest. For some people, it’s taking the race very easy, stopping at characters for photos, and maybe even jumping on rides, if they’re open! For others, it’s blazing by all the amazing parks at lightning speeds – after all, the courses are all quite flat and fast! Decide what would make your day the most fun, and stick with it, no matter what others might try to tell you – and you’ll come away with a smile.

Q:  Any fitness mentors or inspirational people in your life? – I do have a few, and unsurprisingly, they’re all people I’ve met through social media and blogging. Here’s a long version (http://shiawaselife.com/2014/01/22/run-to-napa-and-a-few-words-on-inspiration/), but in addition to these people, I can add in my parents, who, despite not being fitness professionals, always encourage me to achieve my goals, as well as my husband and my dog, who are always there with a hug when I need it! 

Q: What advice do you have for new runners? – “Just keep moving!” Sometimes – maybe even a lot of times – it’ll be tough – but when you have a goal, keep it in your sights, and keep advancing closer to it. Stick with it, you really get what you put into it. 

10K

Q: Running wise, where do you see yourself in 10 years? – Is it sad that the first thing I thought of when I read this question was “up two age brackets for races?”  Hah! Really though, I see myself as a runner with more experience, and more diverse goals, with an even greater zeal for the sport. I hope that, in a decade, that I’d have stayed persistent in achieving bigger and scarier goals, and have hopefully inspired others to do the same.  

My long term goal is to be “that” old lady at the marathon…70, 80, 90…bring it! I want to run forever!

Thank you Krissy, keep smiling, keep running….I look forward to reading your tweets!


Wife Repeat Workouts – Marathon Training


It’s not Fartleks.  It’s not a Long Run.  It’s not even repeated running over Monster Hills.
It’s the newest workout sweeping across running clubs world-wide.  It’s the workout craze that has Hollywood all a buzz.  Recommended by if not the Dr. surly the Wizard of Oz.  And the workout which has achieved glowing recommendations from Doctor Phillip (for legal reasons, I changed the name here).  Wife Repeats.
But what is a Wife Repeat Workout you ask?
 flashcouple
 (Happy Flash Couple)
The best way to spend time together, other than that “Other,” (cough cough) best way to spend time together.  A great way to burn calories and still enjoy each other’s company.  And other way to achieve your target heart rate, which does not involve looking at your credit card statement.

The Wife Repeat workout is a way for couples with different running or walking paces to run/walk together, yet separate.  You see my wife (I’ll call her Mrs. Wonderful) had knee surgery about eight years ago (torn meniscus) and since then she has been unable to return to a running routine.  But Mrs. Wonderful, equipped with an NFL Lineman’s knee brace, is still very active/fit and can walk a blazing 12:30 mile pace.  Myself being a Ultra-runner training near a sub 8:30 mile pace for 10, 15 or 20 miles, we have had a hard time enjoying our fitness routines together.  We would normally head out on our own and meet back up at the car when we were done.  We both got our workouts in but missed out on sharing the sights, sounds and experiences along the way.

That was until the Wife Repeat workout was born.  Now we head out on the trail or open roads together.  At the start of our run/walk I’ll run in the opposite direction of Mrs. Wonderful, for say half a mile then turn 180 degrees and run a mini speed workout to catch back up with her.  Then I’ll settle into a nice running cruise speed and run out in front of her for half a mile turn 180 and do it all over again.  The Wipe Repeat loop enables me to get in my miles, allows us to run/walk together exploring a new trail, or a new city and gives my wife a sense of security knowing I am never out of sight.

This “Together but Separate” workout has enabled us to get in the miles while exploring new trails and new sites.  Have you ever tried to explain part of a trail where you had to transverse apart of a tree root while running along a mountain stream?  Where before we would struggle to describe parts of a run/walk or site we saw along the way…now we get to see the trail and new places together, yet separate.

download(Wait, there’s more….)

Endorsed by the American Hart Association, the Tourism Board of New Bern, NC and the makers of ShamWow you can order your Wife Repeats Workout video today for $19.95.

But wait there’s more:  And with 5 easy payments of $9.99 I’ll also include a set of Ginsu shavers and a family of Sea Monkeys.

Graveyard 100k – Ultra Marathon Outer Banks, North Carolina


Graveyard 100K

G100-logo-reverse_001

Pre-Race:  It all started with a Facebook Message, “would you be interested in running the Graveyard 100k with me,” my running mentor asked.  George N. is the Race Director for the Virginia 24 Hour Against Cancer, my first Ultra and ever since then has helped me to establish myself as a ultra-runner.   Since that first race George and I have run together often.  During these runs he has shared a wealth of experience and information.  Surprisingly in his 20+ years of ultra-running he has never ran a 100k event and since I needed a 3rd training run in preparation for my Umstead 100 mile race, I jumped at the chance.

graveyard 100k race meeting

Weather: George and I drove down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina hoping the world was not coming to an end.  Friday night during our drive an ugly storm rolled into town with 35 to 60 mph winds, ragging seas, and driving rain.  The building the race meeting was held in was built on the base of a fishing pier and as the Race Director gave his brief you could feel the building shake at it’s foundations by the crashing waves.  After the brief we headed out to dinner in the continuing storm, going to bed that night I really wondered what conditions we would face at race start.

Saturday morning the winds calmed down and bright sunshine filled the sky.  Temps at race start (3 p.m.) were forecasted to be around 59f with a tailwind around 11 m.p.h.  Overnight the low would reach 45f with the winds changing to a quartering headwind out of the sw, and a bright half-moon.  Conditions could not have gotten any better considering where it was just 24 hours before.

It was tough waiting on the later 3 p.m.start time.   Felt like much of my body rhythm was thrown off, but it was also nice to get in some rest and extra lazy time.  This later start also provided a few more hours to double check as well as “double guess” our drop bags and back pack inventory.  I was racing in a Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest, so space was limited.  I initially planned to carry rain gear, but when the forecast called for ZERO percent chance of rain I opted out and added a second long sleeve t shirt just in case it got cold overnight.

graveyard map

The 100k course is 63 miles point-to-point, traveling the entire length of paved highway on Hatteras Island and just over 10 miles of Bodie Island viewing much of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore via historic Hwy 12.  With the unpredictable weather conditions of the Outer Banks in March, no two Graveyards are ever the same.  Add into the fact  that we were running this event un-crewed, meaning other than the 3 aid stations (at roughly 5, 24 and 50 miles), we would be depending on what we could carry ourselves.  All of these factors added together and the Graveyard would present many firsts and a challenging 100k, (63 miles).

graveyard100battlerattle

Race Kit: (At Start)
Reebox Hat with built in tail light
Sunglasses
Headlamp
Garmin 201 GPS
Long sleeve tech running shirt
RunSeen reflective vest
UD Race Vest (one 20oz bottle)*
*two additional long sleeve shirts, beanie, gloves, trash bag
Nathan hand held 20oz bottle
Race ready long distance shorts
CW-X men’s stabilyx tights
Dirty Girlz, Puppy paw print gaiters
Layer 8 Socks
Nike Air Pegasus
8 GU Energy Labs Tri-Berry Power Gels
Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes
Hand help micro flash light
Both water bottles had Lemon Gatoraid mixed with a Tri-berry GU

Race:  The race provided transportation to the starting line and after some last minute logistics we lined up and were ready to run.  The Graveyard 100 (for the last time) is two races in one, a 100 mile race and it’s little sister the 100K.  The 100 milers started 10 hours before us and at a point 37 miles to the north.  We saw a few of the tail end 100 milers at the 100k starting line/water station.  Our starter Heather lined us up just before 3 p.m. and without much fan fair we were off.

George devised a great pacing plan.  His plan had us running for a mile, then taking a two minute fast walk break, then run another mile, keeping up this cadence for the next 63 miles.  Following the Jeff Galloway marathon training theory, we hoped this pacing method would save our legs for the later stages of the race.  The first miles went off without much effort and we both commented about how fast we felt.

Mile 5: (Aid Station 2): 52:31:  This aid station although part of the 100k route was really set up for the 100 milers,  for timing reasons we were required to run thu it to trip the timing mat accounting for our overall time.  I snagged a few cookies and headed back out on the course as fast as I could.

Mile 10: 1:48 / 10:48 pace:

graveyard100k

Bonner Bridge:  Once I decided to run this race it was always a positive to run across the Bonner Bridge.  This bridge stands approx. 350 ft off the water and spans a solid 2 miles.  It was such a pleasure to run across this and get to see a different point of view then most folks who routinely drive across.  Also so thankful my camera batteries waited to die until after we made it on to the bridge.  I wanted to stage a nice picture while we were on the center section, but my lack of planning and checking the charge of the batteries put an end to that.  The bridge crossing fell nicely into our run/walk plan as we ran all the flat sections, fast walked the uphill then ran the downhill.

IMG_20140308_171233_760

Mile 20: 3:45 / 11:15 pace:  I hit a GU and two Endurolytes

Mile 25.5(Aid Station 3): 5:01 / 11:48 pace:  From time to time during the night, when it was quiet, or when a driver would zoom past us at 100 miles per hour, I would think about #megsmiles.  I pray her family is doing well, she has inspired 1,000s.  Here I grabbed two cups of potato soup, cookies, coke and some pretzels.

Mile 30: 6:02 / 12:04 pace:  Another round of GU and Endurolyte chaser

Mile 40: 8:14 / 12:21 pace:  I was struggling a little bit around mile 42, 43…my left knee began to hurt, my feet hurt and it just got to be a bit of a struggle.  My energy and drive was good but I was just not having much fun.  Around mile 45 I met up with a runner who was being crewed and I asked if they had any Ibuprofen.  They did and I took a 800mg tablet.  Part of what was bugging me was that I knew I put some pain meds in a small zip lock, but could not find them.  We hit Mile 47 and I felt like a new man, my knee did not bug me anymore, the pain in my feet was gone and I felt an zap of good spirits.

Approaching Cape Hatteras Light House:   Running down the access road to the light house was a bit of a drag.  Up to this point we had been running south making progress towards our final destination.  Running out to the light house, running east, felt like we weren’t making any progress, just logging miles.  But once I saw the light house back dropped by the night sky with is light shining into the darkness, that extra distance was worth whatever it cost.  I’m sure not to many people get to see the light house from that perspective, at that time of night, another one of the benefits of touring OBX by foot.

Mile 50 (Aid Station 4) 10:44 / 12:52 pace:  As much as I was struggling at mile 45, leaving the aid station at Cape Hatteras I was feeling great and ready to end this thing.  While at the aid station I downed a few more cookies, some coke and a hand full of cheese nips.  I half joked asking George if we could run a 2 hour half marathon and finish in under 13 hours.  He laughed some, but it wasn’t until leaving the light house area that I understood George was struggling.

“Some races you run for time, Some you race for friendship” – Brian

Mile 55 12:06 /13:12 pace:  Even though I was just coming off an aid station stop, I did not want my fuel sources to run in debit, so I hit another shot of GU and Endurolyte chaser

My GPS battery died somewhere around mile 60.

Mile 63 Finish 14:36:16

BiUUMheIMAA75jy

Post-Race: The support crew for this event were OUTSTANDING.  At race brief/check in, each aid station, finish and the recovery rooms at the finish hotel the support teams treated us like rock stars.  A BIG Thank You goes out to everyone who put this race on.  As I understand it this is the last year for the 100k, and I feel bad for that.  The 100k distance is a great option to the 100 miler, but I also understand how hard it must be to organize and run two races at the same time covering a course that stretches 100/63 miles.

The other racers were welcoming and very supportive.  I met a ton of great people during this race and every one of them made me “a middle of the pack 100k runner” feel just as important as the potential winner of the 100 mile event.  I hope to keep up the friendships that I made along the way! 

Final Thoughts:  What a great weekend and memorable race.  I’m so glad it played out just like it did.  At times I wanted to speed along and just finish this race, but I made a commitment to my friend and I stuck with it.  At the finish George thanked me for pulling him along, and told me he could not have finished when he did without my help.  That made it all worth it, I felt like I had given something back to him for all the words of wisdom he has given me over the years!

graveyard100beforestart1

The winning 100 mile runner finished in 14 hours 47 minutes, he won the race…George and I won the weekend, will be friends for a long time…I’m sure.

Best Graveyard 100 Quote: I finished the race, and the race finished me.  unknown

Graveyard aftermath, all the race reports combined by the race director.


Last Week In Review – Graveyard 100k, Ultra Marathon


Last Week In Review: (Feb 3 – 9 March)

Monday: 60 Minutes Elliptical
Tuesday: 60 Minutes Elliptical
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 50 Miles – Graveyard 100K
Sunday: 13 Miles -Graveyard 100k = Finish time 14 hrs 36 mins 16 seconds

Total:   63 miles – YTD Total: 463.87 miles on 37 Running Days

This week was all about getting my legs ready for the running of the Graveyard 100k.  This was my third training run for the upcoming Umstead 100 endurance run in April.  This race was also a PR attempt for my good friend and running mentor George N.  George asked me to run this race with him for safety reasons and pacing.  I was happy to agree as George has taught me nearly everything I know about Ultra Running.  We started the day together and 63 miles later, we finished together.

“Some times you race for time, Some times you race for friendship.”  Brian

graveyard100k

I’ll write more about this race in an upcoming blog post.

Have you ever run a race where your finishing time did not matter?  Tell us about it.


Friday First – Graveyard 100k Ultra Marathon Edition


Friday Firsts:

I’ve been running for over 14 years, and when I run the Graveyard 100k TOMORROW, it’s hard to believe that I’ll accomplish some firsts!

G100-logo-reverse_001

First Ultra point to point race, The 100k course starts at  Epstein St. Public Beach Access (Nags Head) at 3pm on Saturday March 8th. It follows the remainder of the 100-Mile route (63 miles) over Bonner bridge, down Hatteras island, through Hatteras Island Lighthouse park finishing at the “end of the road” on Hatteras Island adjacent to the Ocracoke Island Ferry and directly in front of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.

drop bags

First time using drop bags, and I’m still wrestling with this.  I have bags prepared for the 20, 40 mile aid stations and a bag for the finish.  In my aid station bags I have a jacket, fleece shirt, reg. shirt, gloves, hat and a white trash bag.  The forecast is for temps in the mid 40f, no rain and slight wind.  But I don’t want to take any chances in case it gets cold/wet.  In my finish bags I have a complete change of clothes.

First 100k, this is really the third in a series of training runs for the Umstead 100 mile endurance in April.  But as long as I finish I’ll set a 100k PR.  I’m running with my Ultra mentor George N. I will be following his pace, we are shooting for under 13hrs.

flash couple

First Big Race without my wife….kind of scared!  Really, Thank you Michele for always supporting me in life and during my crazy running adventures.

First Race that does not start early in the morning, The 100k starts at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, this will take a little adjusting, heck I’ll get to sleep in some.

graveyard 100k race shirt

Thanks everyone on Twitter, and Facebook who have been encouraging me.  I’m sure you get sick of my running posts…BUT your encouraging remarks do a great deal to help me along the way.  Without you I may not have the dreams I do……

Thanks

Brian


Throwback Thursday – Cleveland Browns Edition


Brian 15

Must have been 1975 or 1976, but here I am in all my Cleveland Browns Glory, #15.

My fandom for the Cleveland Browns began in 1971 when after writing a fan letter to Quarterback Mike Phipps (#15) I received a autograph picture and team photo.  Over the next 40+ years I have lived and died with the Browns.   Memories of “My First Game,” “Red Right 88,” “The Drive,” “The Fumble,”  “The Move, “The Return,” “The First Game with My Family, and “A WIN in Atlanta on My Birthday” are as much a part of my life as any other event next to finding Jesus as Lord and Savior, my marriage to Michele and the birth of my kids.

Through the highs and lows….I have remained a steadfast and loyal Cleveland Brown.  Yes, I do consider myself as much a part of this team as any player.