Wednesday, January 28, 2015


It's only 8:28pm, but it feels like 2am!

The day started at 5:30 am this morning when I taught boot camp class.I have a dedicated group of regulars that make the sacrifice and get into the gym for class every Wednesday morning at the crack of dawn so I can thrash them. I found time after class to actually get in a upper body circuit for myself! I debated about running right after that, but I decided to wait until the afternoon when conditions would be more desirable!

I felt tired on my way into Raleigh, where I was going to run before I had to be at Capital RunWalk running store at 2:30pm for a GenerationUCAN demo. The run got off to a rather sluggish start, (at least it sure felt like it!) as I set out from the North Carolina Museum of Art. My plan was to run from the Museum to the Trenton Gate entrance of Umstead State Park. By mile two I as feeling better and settled into a nice pace and wound up with a negative split for the run.

It was then off to teach a "Tone and Sculpt" class at 5:30pm. I got home at around 7pm, wolfed down some Vegan Mac & (Non) cheese, and avocado and some fruit. Since I had missed a few days of blogging as part of the #writeandRun31 Challenge, I knew if I did not sit down immediately after dinner and hammer this out, I would be out for the night.

Tomorrow it's up at 4am, first client at 5am. Multiple run Thursday!!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fellowship of the Idiots Run

My friend and State RRCA rep Peter puts on the "Fellowship of the Idiots" run each year in January. People use it as a last long run before the Myrtle Beach Marathon in the second week of February. I was using it this year as a tune up for the Uwharrie Mountain 40 miler. The run is 19.7 miles, starting at the YMCA in Albemarle, NC and going to the summit of Morrow Mountain, then back again. The delightfully early start time of 5:30am is a nice touch!

This morning it was rainy and 35 degrees, which felt balmy compared to last year's temp of 15 at the start!

At the start with Steve and Amy!

At the summit!
On the way back
  I was happy with this years performance. I ran a lot more on the way back than I did last year, and did not feel too fatigued. The 2.5 hour car ride home was a little tough on the legs, but I stopped twice to stretch out.

My coveted sweatshirt from last year, when I was a "first time" Idiot!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Running Bunker

The great thing about running a lot, be it in training or races, is that you accrue a lot of gear. Well, at least I do! Some might see my fondness for collecting running shoes as a bit of a problem, but I rationalize that I could be spending that money on meat and alcohol like I did in the old days. ( I quit both meat and beer/alcohol on the same day about seven years ago )
I have been lucky enough to have received some shoes and gear for free in exchange for reviewing them on the blog, and work with some really great companies that support me as well.

So, here are a few shots of what I call the "Running Bunker", a room downstairs in the house where I try to keep all my gear in a relatively organized manner! It also doubles as my office, so there are plenty of notes, training plans and books adorning the room as well.

Problem? What Problem?


Assorted hanging stuff

Books, compression and more!

A frequent visitor to the bunker!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The 1000 Mile Club

Last night at our North Carolina Roadrunners Club first quarter meeting we handed out shirts for everyone in the club who ran 1000 mile or more in 2014.

Although I am not in the picture, (Someone has to take it!) I did earn a shirt myself by logging 1,660 miles for 2014.

Do you guys have any mileage goals for 2015?

FYI: The dog in the picture is named Chester. He is a 1000 mile club member and actually had the highest overall mileage  for the club with 2,643.3 miles. Looks like I have some work to do to catch Chester in 2015!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Top 10 Reasons I Run

Inspired by a writing prompt from Christine at Write and Run 31!

The top ten reasons I run: ( in no particular order)

10: It's cheaper than therapy

9: I like to eat

8:  I have three daughters. It is quiet in the woods

7:  I do not want to look like the older gentlemen in the water aerobics class at my gym

6:  It pairs perfectly with my Catholic guilt/suffering

5:  A new pair of running shoes is WAY cheaper than a new sports car (midlife crisis)

4: You get to wear tights in public!

3:  To inspire others! ( sorry, I had to have one "New Agey" response)

2: To quiet the voices

1:  To enjoy the beautifully simplistic act of running.

Why do you run?

Monday, January 19, 2015


"He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty."  - Lao Tzu

 This is one of my favorite Lao Tzu quotes. I try to apply this message not only in my running but in life as well.  I like to think I am pretty self motivated, but there are times when I have to revert back to Lao Tzu or other inspiration/motivational quotes I have gathered over the years.

How do you get motivated? What is your favorite quote, phrase or expression that gets you fired up and out the door for a run?

Another all time favorite!

Two runs completed this morning, both with clients. I went with one of my quick go to breakfasts:

3/4 Cup Water (or almond milk)
1/4 Cup McCann's Quick and Easy Irish Oatmeal
Bring water to boil and add Oatmeal. Bring heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and stir in:
1 Tbsp of Almond Butter
Top with fresh berries

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hills are your friend

 Today's workout was some hill repeats. I headed out to Umstead State Park this morning in the rain to get them done. 8 miles total, and some nice climbs along the way.  Hills are my friend!

Umstead Hill Work

At noon I had to go to the gym for youth cardio orientation, a cool program we have there that trains kids in the "tween" years about how to use the treadmill, elliptical and stationary bikes. I love working with the kids, and we keep things light and fun.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with an eye on the football games and working on my runner's training plans for the upcoming week. I did get some time to foam roll and whip up some Red Lentil hummus too!

Here is where you can find the recipe:

Judging from this shot, I do not think it is going to be a late night for either me or the pup!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Getting up and going for my 7 mile run with one of my clients this morning was more of a challenge than normal due to the fact I did not got to bed until 3:00am last night. I would like to tell you that it was from some epic good time adventure, but I was at the gym where I work helping move equipment so they could come in and clean the floors.

I was meeting my runner at 9am, back at the gym of all places. I took a couple hand fulls of Energy Bits, washed them down with some coffee and off we went for our 7 mile run into downtown. I must admit I felt pretty good. I have really tightened up my diet since the start of the new year, cutting out almost all processed food and incorporating a huge green salad for lunch most days. I can feel the difference in my running already. I had a lot of holiday crap that needed to be detoxed (cookies etc.)
and I am feeling lighter and stronger as a result. But back to the run!

We were not even a half mile into it when we spotted something I had never come across alongside the road in all my years of running: A ( I am assuming it was used) pregnancy test! I would be hard pressed to think of anything quite that random I have spotted on the roadside.

 Oh yeah, there was that toilet!

So, I ask you my fellow running compatriots, what is the weirdest thing you have ever come across during a run?

Leave your answer in the comments section below!

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Lots of running today. First client was at 5am, we got in a good hour long run. The forecast was for black ice, but luckily the streets were fine at 4:30am when I set out to meet Jamie for run #1.

Run #2 was at 7am. a negative split run of four miles with Hannah.

Run #3 was at 4pm with Ted. 1 mile warm up, then 1k at 5K pace with three minute recoveries. Four times. Then a 1 mile cool down. I ran the first 1K with Ted, then let him handle the other three. It's good to be the coach sometimes!

This evening I had a delightful session with the foam roller, followed by some quality time in my ProCompression calf sleeves.

Then a few more things to catch up on for NC Roadrunners, this post and some emails.

Get up tomorrow and do it all over again!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2 Hour Delay

Due to the inclement weather we had this morning (freezing rain/minor icing) everything here in the Raleigh area was put on a two hour delayed opening. I was scheduled to teach a boot camp class at 5:30am at the gym, but that was cancelled and the gym was not opening until 8am. I was looking forward to sleeping in a bit but SOMEONE did not get the memo about the delay:

Well, since I was now awake, I headed down to the gym. (The roads were fine by the way) The gym was empty, so I got in some weight training for myself ( MUST do more of this) and some burpees to get the blood really flowing. I then took to the streets for my run. Traffic was still light, and the temps were hovering right around 30 degrees, with a delightfully nipping wind to make things extra special. 4.15 miles done!

Back at the gym, I put one of my runners through some 400M repeats on the treadmill and then whipped up on two of my other clients with this Lovely routine:

Warm up 5 minutes at recovery pace on Treadmill

1.5 mile run for time (treadmill)
20 Air squats
20 burpees
1 lap around the gym track (200Meters)

Do a total of five rounds.

5 minute cool down at recovery pace.

Yes, I was cussed at.

But they still love me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Weather Event

So we are having our annual winter weather alert and panic here in the south. Now mind you, the precipitation has not even begun yet, but school openings are already delayed two hours and the gym will not be opening until 8am. So much for me teaching my 5:30am boot camp class!

The past two days have been rainy and cold. I even ran inside on the treadmill this morning! I did run out in the rain at the Greenway in Raleigh yesterday afternoon before our NC Roadrunners Board meeting. On my drive into Raleigh, at one of the main intersections there was a homeless guy asking for money. Since it was raining and my Catholic guilt washed over me, (plus the light turned red) I gave the guy a few bucks. He was very gracious. I would like to think he spent that money on some fresh organic produce, but I will not get my hopes up. While I was waiting for the light to change I noticed that I was the only one in a line of about twenty cars that gave this guys anything or even acknowledged his presence.  I imagine if that were a stray puppy wandering the median I am certain there would have been 8-10 people stopped to help out. Now I will be honest, there has been a time or two I have sat in my car staring straight ahead, trying to avert my eyes to the man or woman standing in the median soliciting, praying for the light to change. Regardless of their circumstance or how they got to that point, we still have to remember that is a person out there. Hell, a few more stupid choices during my youth and it could well have been me out there in the middle of the road.

So I am making it a point during this Write and run 31 streak to take a moment each day and be thankful for the things I have.

Another phenomenon here in the south when there is a winter weather advisory is for folks to rush out to the stores and buy milk, bread and eggs, which is fine with me because there is always plenty of kale, tofu and almond milk left for me! Another perk of plant based living!!

My yummy Organic Fuji apple I had for an afternoon snack!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Run Day

Today I was out early to Umstead State Park to meet up for a run with two of the runners that I coach. When we met in the parking lot at 8am it was a crisp 17 degrees! We did a quick warm up and off we went. We ran the Reedy Creek/Turkey Creek Bridle trails, which are a wide crushed gravel trail with lots of really nice hills on the second half of the 9 mile-ish loop. We had a great run, with Meghan and Ted both thrashing the old coach, which made me very proud indeed.

Giddy students after kicking their coach's butt!

After the run I stopped at Starbucks for my post run Grande Pike with soy. Members of my family, which know my proclivity for post run coffee, texted their order in as well.

Riding with the fam's precious take out order!

Lunch was a nice big salad, and the afternoon was spent putting together next week's training for all my runners, setting the agenda for the Roadrunners Club executive committee meeting and catching some NFL playoff action. A fine way to finish out the week!

Staying Green and Mean in 2015!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Meet and Greet

Full day today. I taught boot camp class this morning at 8am, then spin class at 9am.Both classes were full and people were motivated and ready to get to work! After the gym I then went into downtown Raleigh to meet up with some fellow No Meat Athlete folks  for brunch at the Irregardless Cafe.

 I had a great time getting to meet and talk with other plant based athletes! Great conversation and food. It was interesting to hear every one's journey to a plant based life style. It reminded of what it must be like when refugees from another country finally get together and can converse in their native tongue. In this case the language was plants. ( and running too!)

Inspired by this meet up, I got home and got into some running gear, ready to tackle a short run to keep my #writeandrun31 streak alive. The run was delayed however, by my daughter's arrival at the house and her announcement that one of her tires on her car was making a "hissing" noise. That "hissing" noise was air rapidly leaving the tire. We quickly took the car to the local (5 minutes away, thankfully) tire shop and got her two slightly used tires to replace the completely worn out ones on the front of her car. I should mention here that she was supposed to have done this a week ago, but it would seem she has inherited her father's fondness for procrastination. To add to the challenge, she was supposed to be at work at 3pm, and this all occurred at 2:30.

With that crisis averted, I returned home and got in a quick 3 mile run from the house.

Post run I took the dog outside for some well deserved play time. I got in a good round of stretching and foam rolling too. With the temps dipping, I headed to the kitchen to whip up some lentil soup. The recipe was easy, and it only took about a half an hour to make.

I will be heading to Umstead Park in the morning to run some trail!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Freedom Friday

This morning I took one of my newer runners out for her 8 mile long run. She is fairly new to running but has made some really nice progress and we have built up her base mileage nice and slow. The 8 miler would be a distance PR for her. The other challenge this morning was the wonderfully brisk 30 degree weather, which wasn't bad except for the steady 10 mph wind out of the south, which made it feel more like 20. I always make it a point to focus on the mental side of running with my athletes, preaching to them to "Stay present" and "Stay in the moment" I have even gotten a few of them to run without their music and to focus on their breathing and their body while they run instead of tuning it out!

The other day I listened to a great podcast on mastering mindfulness in sports and life with Rich Roll  featuring Micheal Gervais. Here is the link:  Rich Roll Podcast

Another great source for me has been "Brain Training for Runners" by Matt Fitzgerald.

I had the pleasure of hearing Matt speak at the "Running Summit East" last year in New Jersey. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to expand the mental side of their running.

So I always end up peppering my runners with phrases and proprioceptive cues during our runs, but when all else fails I resort to my favorite, time honored, P Funk inspired phrase: "Free your mind... and your ass will follow."

Works every time!

Happy (Freedom) Friday!!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Road Trip

Today I brought my daughter back to school at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, which is about a 3.5 hour drive west of where we live. We left at 6am. It was a brisk 12 degrees at home, and when we arrived at Boone it was 5 degrees with a light coating of snow, which made the hilly approach to her dorm quite interesting! My little front wheel drive Suzuki SX performed admirably, probably due to the weight of all the food that her mom packed for her to take back.

I had wanted to go out to Moses Cone State Park, which was near the University, to run some trail. I wove my way through town and got onto the back mountain road that takes you to the park, only to find it covered with snow and some really slick spots too. I abandoned the attempt about one mile into the four mile trip, not wanting to test the limit of the car's  winter mountain capabilities. I got back to the highway and headed east towards home. I did have a back up trail, which was in the town of Wilkesboro, NC, about 30 minutes east of Boone. The W. Kerr Scott Reservoir has some really nice single track trail, and it was right on my way home. When I arrived there it was a balmy 16 degrees and I had the entire trail system to myself! I got in a nice easy 4.5 mile run along the Dark Mountain trail and parts of the Over Mountain Victory Trail as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Saint Ultra?

I often wonder if my ability to run long distances stems from the fact I was raised Catholic. We Catholics love to suffer. I remember my dad would have to be completely incapacitated and near death before he would even consider seeking medical attention, all the while waving us off and telling us he was fine. I also recall the incredulous looks my mother would give me when I proclaimed I was sick and could not go to school. "You're not sick! Now get up and get your butt to school!"Anyway, it wasn't anything a little Vicks Vapor Rub and aspirin couldn't cure. (even the aspirin , Saint Joesph's, was Catholic themed!)

I think those early experiences have helped me manage pain and fatigue, and through the miracle of the Catholic Church, even embrace it! Throw in some classic Catholic guilt on top of that ("I will let everyone down if I don't finish) and you have a recipe for ultra success.

As I became older, it became less about speed and more about how FAR I could run. I still get brief flashes of panic that I will never be able to run at an 8 minute per mile pace ever again, which usually manifests itself in a neighborhood "tempo run" where I take off like a jackass and try to make 24 minutes for my 3 mile loop. I can still do it, but damn, it hurts!

I am happy being a "grinder". Give me a difficult course with lots of rocks and elevation gain and I am a happy boy. The trail is my church now.

Today's plummeting temps called for something hearty and warm for dinner. I whipped up a "southwest" Tofu scramble with potato.
 2 medium potatoes, Diced
1 small onion, diced
1 lb of firm tofu, cubed

1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/4 Cup of Medium or hot salsa
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Ground Pepper
Daiya Cheddar style shreds (optional)

Saute the potatoes in a few Tablespoons of Olive or coconut oil until tender and slightly browned. Add onion and continue to saute for several more minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the tofu, turmeric and cumin and stir gently to combine. Stir in Salsa and heat everything through. Season with salt and pepper. As an option, you can top it with some Daiya cheddar shreds!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Progress through Consistency

Being a fitness instructor at a gym, this time of year is what we call the "Silly Season". The gym is overrun  with  whole crop of fresh faced members, who are pumped up to make serious changes in the new year and to get in shape. Sadly, by Valentine's Day, the gym reverts back to normal and the"Resolutionists" disappear and the regulars settle back in to their normal routines and regain  access to all their favorite equipment.

  With the people I train and the runners I coach, the successful ones are the consistent ones. It is the same for my running. I always strive to maintain a base throughout the year, with peak training times and also recovery time as well. Hence the term "Progress through Consistency". The old catch phrase " New Year, New You" has the word "Year" in it, not "month", so be consistent and don't "flame out" by Valentine's Day!

Some of my "Regulars" at my 5:30am boot camp!

I was quite excited to find some dandelion greens on sale at my local Kroger supermarket the other day. I am trying to incorporate a nice big salad each day for lunch into my routine, and this find certainly helped motivate me!

kale, romaine, dandelion greens, broccoli, roasted red pepper, chic peas and walnuts. A pinch of pink Himalayan salt and some ground pepper. Dressed with some extra virgin olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Write and Run 31 Challenge

So I stumbled across this great idea on the No Meat Athlete page called the Write and Run 31 Challenge.   One month. Two simple things. Every single day. Basically, you commit to running a certain amount each day and writing ( either on a blog, journal etc.) for a specific amount of time or words.  The run thing is not a problem for me. The writing (as you can tell from my lack of updates) will be the real challenge.

 I figured I would start today with a brief update on the second half on 2014, so here goes.

The highlight of my year was completing the Grindstone 100 (101.85 miles actually) Trail Race.

The race started on Friday October 3rd at 6pm, so you got to run over TWO nights, not just one. We started in the rain, it got dark quickly. we ran an extra mile and a half when a group of us missed a turn. Because of that, I almost missed one of the first hard cutoffs. Scared shitless from that, I ran like a madman and got 1 hour ahead of the cutoff two aid stations later. I ran through the rest of the first night without incident, and was happy to see daybreak still feeling pretty good.

 I hit the turn around point at about 10:30am, which was a huge mental boost. I would pick up my first pacer at mile 65 and I was looking forward to having some company. I Got through the second night thanks to the awesome help of my pacers Hannah and Mo. Hannah ran with me from mile 65 to 80 and my ultra buddy Mo took me home the last 20 miles. It got really cold that second night, with some howling winds smacking us along the exposed ridge lines and summits. The huge and endless rocks, combined with the 23,000 feet of climbing had me wore out by the last 10 miles, but I stumbled my way over the rocks to the finish line in 35:54:19. This race typically has around a 30% drop out rate, so surviving this beast was a huge victory for me!

Post race, in the car. Delirious but Happy!

One week later (like an idiot) I was part of a 12 person relay team for the "Tuna 200", a relay race starting from Raleigh, NC and ending at the ocean at Atlantic Beach, NC. Mercifully, I had only three legs to run, 4.6 miles, 5.4 and 3 miles. I did not run a step in between Grindstone and the relay, so the first leg I ran was quite interesting! It was in the afternoon, and it had gotten quite hot. It was not pretty! I rebounded and had a better second leg, which was at night when the temps were cooler. The last three mile run was basically an exhausted stagger near the beach. Thank God I had speedy teammates! Our team completed the 200 miles in 29 hours, 28 minutes, for an average pace of 8:48 min/mile.

Staggering through the heat on my first leg.

I finished up the year with two more races, a 50K in November and a 24 hour run in December. It was a good year!