Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Facts on Beef

As you have read in my Boilermaker 15k report, I was invited to join the NY Beef Council's booth to talk about how beef has helped me perform athletically in the ways that I have.

As I have always felt that it is more important what works for you specifically then what works for me I am loath to tell you what to eat, or in that case, how to exercise, what to wear, etc.  However, the world is filled with people NOT like me in that regard, who have no problem telling you the latest fad, food, stance, form, etc is the way to do things.  In fact, in response to a question someone recently posed to me on my facebook account about how I felt protein benefited me (one I would have happily answered privately but that wasn't the venue this person chose to address me) someone with an obvious agenda trying to point out all the ways that beef is bad for you.

OK, well it is one thing to state your preference.  It is another to say that perhaps certain things only work for certain people.  But it is another thing entirely to play with the facts.  While I will argue whether everyone is "entitled" to their own opinion, I vehemently agree with the latter portion of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's quote stating that we are not entitled to our "own set of facts."

So here are some facts for you about beef:

*Choosing lean meat as a source of high-quality protein can be a calorie-saver.

As people love charts, here is one for you.  Please note how many calories must be taken in by tofu, black beans, or peanut butter to match the protein in 3 ounces of lean beef.  In just 180 calories, you can get over half of the recommended protein needed for your daily allowance!  And who, besides tiny tiny humans, have just 3 ounces of lean beef?!

* Half the fat in beef is monounsaturated, the
same type of heart-healthy fat found in salmon and olive oil. In addition, one-third of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, which studies have shown has a neutral or cholesterol lowering effect.

*Lean meats contain heme iron, which is much more easily absorbed by the body than nonheme iron found in plant foods. Heme iron is an important dietary component for promoting cognitive health, including memory, ability to learn and reasoning.

These are just a few of many facts that anyone who wishes to disagree with me on the benefits of beef cannot ignore.  Beef is very low in calories, not nearly as "fatty" as it is portrayed and contains iron more readily absorbed than that in most plants.  Now believe me, there is no perfect food out there and I do not claim that beef is that food.  I just simply know that I perform well when I have beef in my diet as compared to when I do not.  And science, not just me being a freak, backs up this correlation.

Are there other foods out there which may work best for you? Yep!  And I most assuredly hope you find them.  But if in looking around, you dismiss the benefits of beef, you do so at your own risk. 

But what do I know?  I just learned a lot of these facts at the Mississippi Blues Marathon this past January while talking to some guy named Bill (or something), who won some rinky-dink races in Boston and New York like 30 years ago. Four times. Each.


Crackpot.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drake Well Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 26th Edition
733.6 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Drake Well Half Marathon
Place: Titusville, PA
Miles from home: 1861 miles
Weather: 60-70s; Overcast and very humid


Click logo for full results.

If you wish to create suspense and drama, you can turn a one mile race into a 180 page book.   If you want to get to the point, a half-marathon can be summed up like this: 5th place in a time of 1:29:00.  That latter part is my place and time of my Drake Well Half-marathon in Titusville, PA today.  I wanted to place much higher and run much faster but neither happened.  However, even if they had, I want to speak about as many of the other participants as I can without turning this into laundry list.


David Terrill telling me in 2009 to turn the sauna off.
First, the big question for this race was the weather.  Last year, we had high 70 degree weather with sticky hot humidity.  Runners were far from pleased and I felt awful that it was so bad. This year, the temperature was 15-20 degrees cooler, with nice breezes and pretty much the same humidity.  Times should be better, right?  Well, wrong.  Besides the overall winner, Ben Ingram, who smashed the course record and ran a time of 2:45:33, many of the times were down.  Not to embarrass them at all but four runners who ran times of 3:03, 3:06, 3:45 and 4:07 ran respective times of 3:13, 3:19, 3:54, and 4:11.  Same runners, same course, supposedly better weather but slower times.  Very odd indeed.

The race was honoring the memory of Lisa MacDonald, who passed away a few months ago (I touch on that here.)  Running in her memory were four women: friends, Katie, Julie, Marianne and sister Stephanie.  Running in lockstep the entirety of the half-marathon and releasing brown and gold balloons (Titusville's school colors) at the start of the race, the women did their friend and family member one heckuva a tribute.

With the race featuring prizes including signed posters by local running legend and 1976 Boston Marathon Champion, it was great to have a local female, Jessica Zimmer (from nearby Meadville) win the women's full marathon. Misti Jesson from Hagerstown, MD took second overall while her training partner Angie Fuss finished just two minutes behind to round out the top three.

After Ingram's fantastic finish, 2009 3rd placer overall finisher Douglas Basinksi dropped 4 minutes form his 2009 time to take second overall in a time of 3:00:32.  Tim Snyder powered through for a third place finish just missing a Boston Qualifying time by 52 seconds.
Liz Hadfield rocking the New Zealand flag.
One of the furthest travelers, Kiwi Liz Hadfield who currently lives in Fort Lauderdale was nothing but smiles when she sprinted the last 400 meters around the Titusville High School track for the fastest overall finish from any runner from Florida!

Dana Casanave, who is attempting to complete 52 Marathons in a year's time, continued pushing through her year with one of her better times of the year by finishing in 4:37:40.  Check out her cause here.
  
The half marathon featured some amazing performances as well.  Jenny Fiscus, who finished second last year in the half, dropped 8 minutes off of her time from 2009 and won  the race outright. Jenny also has five children.  (The sound you hear is your excuses leaving the room.)  Coming back from a cycling accident just two weeks prior to the race forcing her to drop from the full, Minnesota Golden Gopher steeplechaser Dani Ashford came in second overall. Valerie McNelis from Irwin, PA finished third overall.

Terry's 1:24:48 at the Napa to Sonoma Half was stellar and kicked my butt.

On the men's side, Titusville native Jeff Nelson used the race as as tune-up for an upcoming 50k and took the lead late in the race for the overall victory and new course record of 1:23:30.  Youngster Tim Price just missed the previous course record as well with his second place finish.  However, it was ageless wonder, Terry McCluskey at age 62 whose third place time of 1:27:20 wasn't even close to the fastest time he has run in the past month!


The race had a couple of small snafus which are easily fixed but I heard next to no complaints.  one gentleman requested mylar blankets for runners but the absolute last thing one would expect to need in August in Pennsylvania would be blankets. (And it was like 70 degrees at the finish.)  Comments about the beauty of the course and the friendliness of all those involved warmed my heart - even though I know the marathon contained some tough hills in the beginning. The 13.1 miler was deceptively tough and often feels like you are running uphill both ways.

Changes are being made to add more races to the overall weekend, potentially moving start times of the two existing races around to have more finishers coming together at the end for more of a festival feel and many other things to continue to bring back runners to my hometown. While not officially confirmed, the date for next year should be August 21st and we hope to entertain and challenge as many runners as possible.  If the goodwill and comments from this race make it to the rest of the running world, we should have no problem whatsoever meeting our cap.  With ideas to create an even faster cut-off time, an overall faster median finish time will bring in tons of competition.  Now that Ben has thrown down a ridiculous 2:45, the challenge is set for those to try and best it.

Here's hoping we will see you next August in Titusville!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BUFF headgear - Product Review

One of the many companies I spoke with at the Outdoor Retail show a few weeks ago had a very simple product- a stretchy headband-type accessory that could be worn a variety of different ways called BUFF.



Whenever a product claims to have a various number of forms all which can be done with a simple twist of this or turn of that, I think it seems a little gimmicky.  (e.g., BUFF claims to be able to be used as headband, cap, pirate hat, hairband, Scarf, wristband, bandanna, balaclava, mask).  No granted, in 100 degree weather on my run the other day in Salt lake city, I had no use to see how it worked as a balaclava but I have to say I was quite impressed with its use as a simple headband.

While the air was dry in Utah on my nearly 10 mile run, I was nonetheless sweating as I climbed hills up to 5,000 and beyond.  I had taken the seamless product the nice people at BUFF had allowed me to test and doubled it over to form a headband.  I was surprised that it not only held its tightness around my head but also wicked away all the sweat that rolled off of my forehead and kept it away from my eyes.  While the base model I had was not the High UV Protection Buff® that will block at least 93% of UV rays, I was happy to know that sort of protection was out there.

The pattern of the "Get Out There" Buff I wore.

This really as a simple but effective product.  Not bad at all, BUFF!  4.5 SeeDaneRuns out of 5!



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

America's Finest City Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 25th Edition
720.5 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: America's Finest City Half Marathon
Place: San Diego, CA
Miles from home: 750 miles
Weather: 50-60s; Overcast and slightly humid

I hear great things about San Diego's weather.  I unfortunately, have never really experienced any of them!  All of my numerous trips to San Diego have left me with one prevailing thought: boy, is it cloudy and chilly.  I know since I go during the notoriously annoying catchphrase months of May Gray and June Gloom that I can't base my opinions on the weather then (as one would not say Minnesota is always cold if they go there in February alone) but it has been what I experienced.  That said, I was happy it remained that way for the AFC Half as it is a race usually run in some of the hottest weather San Diego has to offer.


Prior and completely separate from the race, there were a veritable plethora of things going on that took up a great deal of my time and energy.  Unfortunately, close friends I was in touch with in San Diego went through a health roller coaster with one of their relatives until, on Saturday she finally succumbed to illness and passed away.  I also had some surprises myself that were very unexpected and sapping of reserves.  All told, in spite of the fact that the AFC Half course can produce fast times I knew I would probably not be one of those producing them.  In fact, in my 9th half-marathon of the year, I was more or less trying to hang on and have as much fun as I could.  Hence the skirt.

Working with the girls at RunningSkirts, who, as twins, both celebrated their birthdays on Friday, I knew this was a good opportunity for me, a person of German and Irish descent, to sport to seemingly Irish Tartan. While the RunningSkirts girls called it the "PR Plaid" for its ability to get fast times, I knew I would just be running and holding on for dear life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Year Later

Last year, I was flying high.  I had just, in consecutive weekends, qualified for the US Aquathlon National team and successfully directed the revised Drake Well Marathon. In an effort to keep my legs fresh for the upcoming Pikes Peak Marathon, but still itching to exercise I went for a little bike ride and couldn't imagine anything going wrong. (This is what really good writers do- it is called foreshadowing!)

PROOF I may not be that smart!
Then I got hit by a car.  One Grade III AC separation later and a great deal changed.  While I still was able to run the Pikes Peak marathon as my 100th marathon (potentially one of the most stupid decisions I have ever made) things were now very different.

I was barely able to run the month of August, which hindered my last attempt of the year of setting a new personal best in the marathon.  I then went right into my long-distance training for my 202 miler, which came and went successfully (more so that I could have ever hoped.) Next thing I know, it is August and it has been a complete year since that injury.

Well, the shoulder still pops up a little bit and every once in a while in the shower the soap hits that bump and goes flying.  But it the bump is no where near as big.  Back in May I decided I wanted to start supplementing my running so I took back to the pool for the first time in months.  The shoulder held up great, surprising even me.  It was so good that it helped fuel the fire of me wanting to get into triathlons.

Kept tiny so you needn't look at the body fat.
When I did the Lunatic Triathlon at the end of June I had to admit I had quite a bit of trepidation about getting on the bike for the first time since my accident, especially since I would be riding my bike as fast as I had ever ridden it before - and at night.  But I survived unscathed.

Now, one year later, my life is taking off in a different direction. I will still be running quite a great deal and have many more grandiose plans in store but with my partnership with KSwiss I expect to take on triathlons full steam ahead and be very successful in doing so.

Yes, my arm was yellow.
However, most importantly, I kept my head up when things seemed quite bleak.  I almost missed my long planned 100th marathon. I did lose my chance to go to Australia for the first time ever.  I added another shoulder/collarbone injury to the left side of my body which does not need any more (I have broken that collarbone twice growing up,  and in a rugby game back in law school ripped the muscles in my left bicep and torn four tendons in my left elbow all while dislocated it as well.)

But I kept my chin up.  I have learned so much from so many other people who themselves have had to deal with tough times that I refused to be beaten.  Sure I was upset and had a little bit of the "why me?" syndrome. Yet, I pushed forward.  One year later, with setbacks galore, I am on the cusp of taking my life in a brand new and exciting direction.  I only got here by putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to move onward with the dreams I have regardless of the circumstances around me.

It's the only way I know how to function.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunglasses Straps - Product Review

At the Outdoor Retail show here in Salt Lake last week, I was fortunate enough to receive some products to test and pass my review on to my readers.  Over the next few weeks, as I actually do get a chance to test them fully, I will be posting reviews here.

First up, are three separate types of Sunglasses straps: Hides, NexStraps and Trog.  I will review these alphabetically.

Hides: These straps have everything typial straps do but a nice added feature.  The straps have an eyewear case/cleaner that quickly rolls back into shape after each use.  you can use it to clean the glasses off, store them in it to protect from scratching, pull it quickly off and have it go back into being a strap.  Presto!


The cover portion of the strap can also detach via two small clickie things (I think those words are trademarked), although I am not 100% sure why I would want to do that. Hides has a few different models, some which are more float-able than others and some which offer other qualities as well but I did not have a chance to try those models out on my sunglasses.

NexStraps: NexStraps had a feature which never had hit me would be needed before.  Sure the sunglasses strap helps you hold the sunglasses around your neck but if they were to be blown off your face while you were say rafting or cycling, then there is nothing to sop them from flying away.  NexStraps has a fancy addition that goes around your neck to keep that from happening, as well as breakway safety release so that the strap won't choke you.

Like certain models of Hides, NexStraps will float your sunglasses so if they come off they can be found.



Trog: Trog creates a few products, one of which is their sunglasses strap. The biggest difference between this strap and the others was EyeTrog which is where the sunglasses attach to the strap.  An adjustable cut-away portion can make the strap snug to the sunglasses.  I felt this was a nice touch that neither of the other two straps had.

Plus their website was fun.  OK, that has zero to do with the actual product but it is indeed something worth mentioning.

They are all fine products and each has carved out a little niche in their own right. they all serve their purpose just fine, although I have to admit I did not test them in a full gale winds, but I did take a spin on my bik with all of them dangling from my neck to test to see how they held on.

I give them all 4 SeeDaneRuns out of 5.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

ROHTO Eye Drops: Product Review

I am in a fortunate position to be able to try out many new products.  my time spent at the Outdoor Retail show this past weekend, where I received a few more products to test out, reminded me I had been wanting to talk about one in particular for quite some time.

Living in Salt Lake is a wonderful training for people like myself who cannot stand humidity.  However, the dryness can really effect one's eyes if you do not take care of them properly.  I was given some ROHTO eye drops a few months ago and was pleased with the results. 

 
They helped combat the dryness I encountered and felt soothing.  I then didn't think about them until recently when I began incorporating swimming and running into my training regimen as I gear up to take on the triathlon world.  With the re-addition of chlorine back into my life, as well as the new experience of having wind whipped into my eyes on a bike, I needed the lubrication even more so than before. So, I began using the eye drops again and found out they worked even better than before!

This also remined me that there is an ongoing ROHTO Endurance Sweepstakes through September 30, 2010, where two grand-prize winners (one male and one female) will receive a men’s and women’s Ceepo bike, respectively. The sweepstakes also includes weekly prizes of ROHTO Training Kits that will include a valuable assortment of training gear and nutritional items.  If you are interested in taking part, go to www.winrohto.com to enter or print a $1.00 coupon.

Is it OK for me to say that I hope none of you win, since I want to? :) In the meantime, I suggest you check out the eye drops and see (ha!) what they do for you.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jupiter Peak Steeplechase Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 24th Edition
707.4 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Jupiter Peak Steeplechase
Place: Park City, UT
Miles from home: 30 miles
Weather: 50-80s; Dry with no humidity

It is a little odd how I came to run this race set in nearby Park City.  I had it on my calendar a few months back thinking it would be a fun race to do while I was home on a rare weekend.  Then a potential working opportunity arose on the same weekend and I shelved the idea. When that dissipated I kept Jupiter in my mind as one to run.  I did notice however, that it was only one week before the US Aquathlon Championships which I wanted to go to once again and make the US National team and improve on my showing from 2009. As such, I was wary about such a challenging race as the Steeplechase before this event and again put the idea on the backburner.

Pre-run, excited to take on 20 miles of the Wasatch 100 course.
Fast forward and the US aquathlon idea was killed and in its place a local triathlon popped up.  Unfortunately, I caught wind that the race may not be run after all and therefore forgot about even trying.  Lost in the shuffle was the Steeplechase itself.  When I was at the Outdoor Retail show this week, someone mentioned the race and I figured, well, I am here, I am not doing the aquathlon, or the triathlon, I might as well do it!  Then I walked the exhibit floor meeting with sponsors I have and sponsors I may have for four days completing exhausting myself.  This followed an epic trail run of close to 20 miles with a fantastic group of runners who were in town on Monday night.

 (As an aside, I almost wrote a posting about this run itself as it was so wonderful but time got away from me.  At one point, I looked around these runners and thought: "I could quite possibly be the least talented runner of this entire group." I could list every person and detail their awesome achievements but suffice it to say it was an honor to be running with them all. I also need to lose about 40 lbs if I want to keep up with these trim athletes!)

Krissy's photo taking ability might just be unmatched.
As such, digression aside, I did not know what to fully expect from this run.  Unlike road races where the terrain is usually a given, I would just have to rely on the word of friends about how this course was groomed.  I was told that it was almost completely runnable in terms of footing etc and that turns out to be true.  However, the race does indeed start at 7,000 feet and over the course of 8 miles climb another 3,000 feet to Jupiter Peak before coming back down again!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Partnership with K-Swiss

One of the things many have noticed who follow my workouts on Strands.com is how I have begun working out more on the bike and in the pool.  While doing both of these types of workouts was part of plan I had in place after I finished my 202 miler to try and heal some nagging little aches and pains, the other part of the plan was to begin my quest to take on the triathlon world.

As such, I am happy to announce that helping me on my way to taking on the tri world will be the company K-Swiss. No stranger to working with fantastic athletes, K-Swiss has amongst its stable of triathletes Chris Lieto, Bree Wee, Matt Reed and Belinda Granger just to name a few.  When you wish to be one of the best you aim to be in the company of the best. While I most assuredly have my work cut out for me in this arena, I am greatly looking forward to taking my swimming background, coupling it with the running base I have built over the past 5 years and throw in just a dash of cycling to help to try and create the perfect tri-monster.

I will definitely still be very much a part of the marathon/running world but I think now is the time to begin the push towards competitive triathlon.  I am extremely excited that K-Swiss will be with me as I take my very first steps.  Of course, as much as I love her (and I know you do too) this means that soon the end will come for Schwinnie Cooper, my beloved Sherman Tank of a bicycle who took me to a first place overall win in my first ever triathlon two years ago.



However,while she will be missed, the time has come to progress.  Stay tuned as I take on this new chapter in my life with K-Swiss by my side!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Crandall Canyon Memorial Run Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 23rd Edition
691.4 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Crandall Canyon Memorial Run
Place: Huntington, UT
Miles from home: 140 miles
Weather: 70-80s; Dry with no humidity


The mark of a good race (and really, a good person) is when they can readily admit errors.  I have worked with the Mammoth Marathon race series on numerous occasions and really like the things they do. A small race organization, everyone in the company chips in and some times some small things go awry.  For instance, due to a miscommunication, the half-marathon I participated in yesterday had us starting quite a way back form the actual starting line.  When I finished the race, one of the race directors, who knows I am brutally honest in my race reports and appreciates it as well (I think) said:

"Go ahead and ding us.  We deserve it."

What other company would openly welcome that you chastise them for an error they make?  Very few, that is for sure.  That's the sort of people I like being associated with.  If you haven't run a Mammoth Marathon event, you need to.


Race morning:

This was a revitalization of an event that took place last year by another race company.  Mammoth did not know what to expect in terms of people and were pleasantly surprised when (I think) they quintupled last years entrants.  As such, the buses left a little later than we were expecting which was no big deal.  We were worried it might get a little warm later in the day but we were told that the start of the race at 9,000 feet would be much chillier than down here in the valley at 4,500 feet.

On the bus to the top, where I do my best pre-race sleeping, I was fortunate enough to make a bunch of new friends who recognized me from my blog.  ("I'm not sure if it is him," holding up an iPhone with my blog on it.  "Have him take off his shirt.") The vast majority of people were running either the 10k and the 5k.  The race would take the halfers to the start at the Cleveland Reservoir, start the race and then take each group down the canyon to their respective starts.  Was a nice way to get a little cheering section for each race start as well as have people to talk to on the way to the top.  What an awesome starting point too.