Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday and burned my mouth with hot coffee

It feels very strange writing on a Thursday morning instead of every weekend. Yesterday, I did a 13 mile run to get back on track with my training regimen. Even though my time was a few minutes slower, I was very happy with the results since it was over a week ago that I ran. Less than four months until the Philadelphia Marathon and I almost can't contain my excitement. It's pretty amazing how far I've come in less than four years.

Speaking of excitement and Philadelphia, This Is Hardcore Fest takes place August 4th-7th at the Electric Factory. Its been a couple years since I've made the trek down to the best hardcore music festival in the country. I'll be down there Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. I'm excited for all the bands that are playing this festival including those I haven't seen in several years and others for the first time ever. Joe Hardcore and his entourage do an amazing job every year putting on a great show and he knows how to take care of his audience. Philadelphia is going to be an amazing time and can't wait to see everyone stage-diving and losing it during the sets. My only regret is not going sooner and every year he has put it on since 2006. Every time I have gone, it has been nothing short of amazing. The hardcore scene is awesome and the city is great. If you want to know more, check it out. I'll have another post when the festival wraps up.

I'm very happy to establish a routine cooking a dish once a week. You really learn more about yourself when you are in the kitchen making healthy dishes. This is what I made on Monday:

 Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce and Tomato Relish

I would definitely make this dish again in the near future. That's all for me because I need to get caught up on more reading. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Saratoga Springs pace and catching up

Been home for several hours coming from an exhausting but amazing weekend. I ran in my sixth half marathon in Saratoga Springs and it was an awesome result. I took a couple minutes off of my personal best going from 1:43 to about 1:40. Despite the miserable weather, it was a very enjoyable run through Saratoga Spa State Park and the course was very flat for the most part. The course was not overwhelming and you do not have to deal with so much vehicle traffic compared to most races. It was organized very well and hopefully will have more participants in the coming years. Thank you 3C Race Productions, the Strong Serve organization, and all other participants who made the event possible. I would definitely run this race again in the future and it was one of the best I have participated in.

While I was in the capital region, I got to catch up with an amazing friend I have not seen in almost five years. Me and Jenna went to Browns Tap Room in Troy and talked over an amazing meal. I still can not get over that it has been so long since our last get together. We also reminisced about eating at the same place six years ago Thanksgiving weekend. It was great going back there even though I do not drink now. I was impressed with selection of vegetarian and vegans options available. Jenna told me that the establishment just hired a new chef to do a complete overhaul of the menu. Even though it was my first time in the restaurant in some time, I was very pleased with the atmosphere. If you are in Troy, NY, definitely check out Browns-Troy Tap Room. Next time on my trip to the area is brunch at Cafe Madison and doughnuts at Nibble Incorporated. Thank you Jenna for those excellent recommendations and I can't wait to get together again soon. Lets not wait another five years. Now, it's time to start a new week.

That's me all soaking wet from the rain but very happy with the end result

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Books, Philosophically Built, and another half marathon

Hope your Fourth of July was amazing like mine was. It has been another very productive week and I couldn't be any happier. I got two books from the library written by legendary New York Mets players: Dwight Gooden and Mookie Wilson. I finished Doc A Memoir and learned so much about this amazing pitcher after reading his book. He is now a bigger influence on me for quitting drugs and alcohol all together and he is still fighting today. Keep up the good work Dwight. I'm glad to see he is still alive and doing much better. Hopefully people in similar circumstances to his can learn from him and always surround yourself with positive-minded people. Hopefully I can meet him one day and talk to him about the obstacles he has had to overcome. He will be in an upcoming documentary on ESPN July 14th called Darryl and Doc. I can't wait to hear their about their memories and tumultuous relationship as professional ball players. I just started reading Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the '86 Mets yesterday. I will let you know how that book is when I am finished.

Friday was another workout day at Philosophically Built. As Blake likes to call it, Challenge Friday. I got on the board again by completing two challenges. The first one was five minutes of clean and jerks with the 12kg kettle bells. I was able to do fifty-five in that time frame good for second rank. The other challenge was reverse lunges with 16 kg kettle bells. Despite struggling at the end, I was able to do 24, good enough for the top spot. Look whos getting stronger! I can't wait to get back to work on Tuesday.

This Sunday, I will be running in another half marathon to get tuned up for the big race in November. This will be in Saratoga Springs and I can't wait to have a great run and maybe beat my personal best of 1:43. It has been almost three years since I have been up that way but I am excited to be up there again visiting my friends.

It has been awesome cooking my own meals again and spending more time in the kitchen. The dishes I have made so far have been excellent.

 Home made veggie burgers


 Szechuan Tofu and Green Beans

Monday, June 27, 2016

Work out, Read, Run and repeat

Aside from the busy work schedule, it has been a pretty productive week.

I will be going into my third week of working out at Philosophically Built with Blake. I really enjoy the exercises that he is having me complete everyday. On Friday, I successfully completed two more challenges to get my name on the board. One was doing one hundred steel mace swings in about 4:30. The other one was a similar exercise but using steel pins doing the club throw challenge in a little over three minutes. Everyone that I have met at the workouts have been amazing and awesome to be around. Keep up the good work. Besides the amazing workout challenges, my upper body strength is improving greatly through increasing weights on the bench press.

Along with working out, I got introduced to some amazing supplements from Onnit such as Shroom Tech Sport. This supplement has aided me tremendously getting through a workout and long distance runs. You know what else is amazing about it? The supplement is vegan and GMO free. I avoid supplements containing fish and dairy products. If you are looking for those types of supplements, I would highly recommend checking out their full line of supplements.
 
Besides working out, I have been reading a lot of books lately. As of today, two books were finished within two weeks: Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked by David Sedaris. Known for his witty humor, he has become one of my favorite authors as of late. I've read seven books and have only one title left to read: Barrel Fever. Audiobooks? Don't bother asking unless you accompany me on a long and tortuous road trip across America. Favorite book? Good luck getting an answer out of me because all of his works have been very good. I was very upset that I missed his reading event at Binghamton University back in April. I am bound not to miss an appearance when he comes to the area again. 





It has been amazing getting back into excellent running form. I'm currently preparing to run my second marathon November 20th in Philadelphia. Running twice a week and working out a few days a week has been very beneficial physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has boosted my confidence tremendously and given me extra energy I never knew existed. I can hear Blake in my ear saying, "Someone's getting stronger!" Sunday, I ran 15.5 miles through Johnson City and Binghamton. The first five miles my pace was the slowest I have ran in a while (nine minutes plus). After a brief stop, I was able to find more speed and lower the pace to where I was very comfortable (8-8:30 per mile). Sundays are one of my favorite days because I look forward to completing a long run and always challenging myself to get faster. Always have a variety of places to run in your area and don't settle for the same spots, especially if you are training. It is refreshing to get acclimated to changing environments and scenery to make running more enjoyable. In July, I will participate in the Saratoga Springs Half Marathon race. I'm want to get a few tune up races completed before November so I am better prepared for the Philadelphia Marathon.
 
Changing gears quickly, I got to do Stand Up Paddle Boarding while I was visiting my family at their campsite. That was one activity I have always wanted to do after seeing so many pictures, advertisements, and people raving about how fun it is. I'm going to take that on again once the opportunity arises. Good night everyone.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Shattered gym-phobia dripping in sweat

For the past week, I've been working out with a personal trainer, Blake Hickey. He owns a fitness academy called, Philosophically Built. One week into the workouts, I have to say it has been an amazing experience. I get excited each day I arrive at the facility ready to take on the days workout. In addition, Blake shows a lot of enthusiasm and energy working with his clients helping his clients, including myself, achieve goals. Keep up the good work and congratulations on picking up five more clients yesterday. 

I'm going to continue for the next month working out there and getting very valuable advice and experience with different training techniques and exercises. Philosophically Built has crushed my "gym-phobia" that I have been carrying around for the last few years. If you get a chance to get trained by an Onnit instructor like Blake, take advantage of the opportunity because the workouts are amazing. It is very rewarding ending each workout dripping in a lot of sweat.

What is Onnit exactly? Well my friends, it is an amazing company dedicated to total human optimization. You can get amazing advice on diets, strength training, and conditioning along with an amazing line of food and supplements to enhance your mind and body. I found out about this amazing company through Joe Rogan, host of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. I met Blake at a fitness expo during the Herald of Victory Marathon weekend and we discussed Onnit in more detail and got introduced to some of the workouts that I have used during my workouts. That was my first time getting introduced to kettle bells and steel mace bars. Those have been my favorite pieces of equipment and will have to invest in some to use on my own. The great benefits of working out is you can never stop learning and always challenge yourself each day. Your reward will pay off in the long run. Also, there are endless opportunities to improve your mind and well-being.

Yesterday, I took on the kettle bell squat challenge. In five minutes I did 102 squats using two 12kg kettle bells beating out two other challengers. My goal is to complete a couple more challenges before the month is over. I'm always enjoy a challenge especially when it comes to workouts and learning new ones along the way. So thank you Joe Rogan for introducing me to an amazing brand that you really care about. Also, Blake for challenging me, pushing me, and believing in my potential. I'm really excited for what the next month has to offer. Everyone that I have met at the workouts, you are all amazing. Keep up the good work.

Check out Philosophically Built to get started.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Post Marathon recovery and the little victories

That's me, completing my first marathon ever. 
It was a truly amazing feeling and a remarkable accomplishment.


It has been one week since I ran my first marathon, Herald of Victory. Again, thank you to all those who participated and volunteered making it an amazing experience. Despite all the hardships, I thought the event was very successful and hopefully will be an annual event for years to come.

Right now, my recovery from the race has been very impressive. I've gone from a nauseous state post race to an energetic mindset in one weeks time. To get back into a routine, I did a 10 mile run close to home even though the weather was a little questionable. After feeling light rain drops within the first mile, I was debating about cutting the run short. Once I got passed the first mile and the rain let up temporarily, I continued on with my run. Ten miles later, I was very happy with my goal even though the time was a little slow. It is the little victories like that that keep active people going and gain more confidence from it. In between that time, I used it to do some exercising focusing on legs and lower body. After working all week, I exercised in the park nearby and make it a habit any chance I can get. It down poured one day but since the park had pavilions, I finished my workout with the help of a picnic table. Don't use the weather as an excuse not to work out. I was very happy to get those workouts completed while I was at the park.

Be proud of those little victories that you accumulate along the way in your journey. It will benefit you greatly in the long run.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Herald of Victory



It is hard to believe that 3.5 years ago was my first road race. Since then, I have completed several races including five half marathons. Serious running has transformed my life socially, physically, and mentally. You will be amazed at what you can learn from other runners who have similar aspirations or conquered challenges. Training for a big race consumes so much time but in the end, the journey to finish is well worth it. If you would've told me a few years ago that I would be run and finish a full marathon, I would have laughed at you. On Sunday, I added another life accomplishment, Herald of Victory Marathon. I was elated and overcome with joy when I crossed the finish line in a little of 4 hours. Checking the results earlier, I was 11th overall and 3rd in my age group which is a complete surprise for me.  It was amazing hearing all those cheers from the crowd and volunteers throughout the course, which kept me going. Hearing fellow runners describe the course as brutal and tough gave me more confidence and pride with my accomplishment.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, first aid station workers, photographers, musicians, and law enforcement/course marshalls for making this race safe and enjoyable. Also, thank you Anthony for running with me for most of the race helping me dig deep for that extra strength and excellent job finishing your fifth marathon. Most importantly, thank you Jenna Jenks and Matt Gawkors, from Confluence Running from all your hard work putting this event together. Having 250 runners participate in a first time event is a big step. Both of you should be very proud of what you accomplished and I'm hoping that it will get bigger for years to come.

Even though Binghamton does not receive a pretty reputation, I'm very glad to see more races being created in this area and most importantly making running enjoyable for everyone. A majority of the events are done for charitable purposes so definitely take advantage of it while you can and most importantly, have fun. Since I've resided in the area for most of my life, I'm glad that I picked Binghamton to run my first full marathon. I hope that event returns next year and I was very honored to be a part of the first time event. Awesome job to all the participants in the 3 person relay groups and Ride For Life 26.2 cyclists.

Right now, I'm at a loss for words but I can't wait for Philadelphia in 6 months and need to invest in a serious training program. The primary reasons why I love running are it keeps me energetic, the desire to take on new challenges, and the people that you meet along the way. My advice for anyone looking to run whether it is serious or for fun, start small. As I stated earlier, training consumes a lot of time but in the end, the goals are very rewarding.

Thanks again to everyone that helped me in reaching a tremendous accomplishment. You are amazing and really appreciate the support. Can't wait to see the photos.

Support local business: Confluence Running