Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Massage Rolling and Training

Since it has been over a week, I figured it was time for another post about my training. The training has been going pretty good and starting to see amazing results. Still running three times a week but there was a slight change in the schedule. My longer run is on Saturday but since it rained heavily, I decided to do it the next day so I was more refreshed. I felt some pain in my stomach during the run but I pushed through and did very well. If you are wondering, I did eat right after stretching. My paces for the three runs were 6:46 (6 miles); 6:40 (4.82/7.76km); and 6:46 (12.05). Very confident in my progress and can't wait to put that to the test in Philadelphia, 26 days from now.

Aside from training, stretching has been very important to me whenever I take part in a recreational activity, such as running. My habit is to always stretch before and after a run to prevent long term injuries. I decided to take it one step further by purchasing a massage roller. A massage therapist highly recommended it to me after running the Saratoga Springs Half Marathon back in September. After putting it off for a couple weeks, I decided to purchase one at Target for about $20 and it has been a great investment. The company that made this product is Gaiam. I've tried other massage rollers before that were not very comfortable on my legs or did not get results. Maybe it is because I'm not a big fan of hard plastic rollers and it was too expensive. The one I purchased is very simple to use with discs that can be arranged in numerous ways contouring to your body. It would've been tough to use a foam roller on a wooden floor so I opted for a massage roller instead. It is easy to use and can be taken on the go for your next running event. The rubber plastic discs are forgiving on the body and reach sore spots easily. If you do not have a massage or foam roller, I would highly recommend purchasing one to save you troubles down the road.

 Restore Adjustable Massage Roller

Sunday, October 16, 2016

About Time

Influential music in my life

If you are anticipating a marathon training update, here it is and it is going to be short. I ran three days the past two weeks. The first week was 7.56 miles, 6.2 (10K), and 3.1 (5K) with the pace under seven minutes in that set. The next week was 10 miles, another 5K, and 11.94 miles with the pace under seven minutes again. Running three days a week has really helped with my speed work and my confidence has grown as the marathon is about one month away. I will continue this trend for the next two weeks until November starts so I'm fresh for Philadelphia. That is my running update.

Last night, I witnessed an amazing show in Clifton Park. Pennywise played their About Time album in its entirety along with some of their classic songs and a couple of cover songs. They covered Ben E. King's Stand By Me, doing a great version of it and Bad Religion's Do What You Want. How did I hear about Pennywise? My aunt had a copy of Spin Magazine in 1998-99 with an advertisement promoting their latest CD. A couple years later, Pennywise released, Land Of The Free? that included my favorite song Fuck Authority. Now this is 2016 and they are still a tremendous influence on my life. Every single piece of music they have made has been nothing short of amazing. If you are a big punk/hardcore lover, this band should be at the top of your list.

All the bands that played with Pennywise were very impressive. I have become fans of Unwritten Law, The Runaway Kids, and Strung Out after that show. It felt like a Vans Warped Tour show with only a few bands but the way it is suppose to be. All the fans in attendance were into the show whether it was sing-alongs, crowd surfing, and pitting. You know a show is going to be great when the guitarist of the opening band runs off stage and joins the circle pit while in sync. Wish the show could've been sold out but the attendance was good overall.

Check out The Runaway Kids on Facebook

Strung Out Facebook

Along with the amazing show, I prepared some sweet dishes that were simple and delicious.

Brown Rice with Chickpeas, Edamame, and Avocado

Sweet Potato Chili

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Get Still and Be In Touch With Nature

Listening to a podcast last week, Aubrey Marcus, founder of Onnit gave listeners five tips to live a healthy and prosperous life aside from diet and exercise. One of them was getting out in natural habitat and exploring what the land has to offer. After a nice Sunday morning walk with my cup of coffee and bag of pastries, I decided to take a day trip to Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Why Stockbridge? If you are an art lover, I would recommend visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum. It was truly an eye opening experience viewing all the amazing pieces of art work on display. Having no cell phone to distract you also helps you get in touch with your sights. I never understood why people bought cameras to museums. The main purpose of artwork is to stimulate your visual senses so you can remember pieces and sharpen your mind. It has been a very long time since I've been to an art gallery or museum. Norman Rockwell is one of my favorite illustrators/artists because he does an amazing job describing the American way of life in the twentieth century. Even to this day, his work is very influential among other artists. It was difficult absorbing all that information but it was an amazing experience. Pictured on the right is Norman Rockwell's studio.

After the museum, I drove through the scenic roads of Massachusetts to Jacobs Ladder to hike the Appalachian Trail.  The weather was not not all that great but it held up for my six mile trek. The terrain is rough and narrow in certain spots but not too difficult. I would definitely go on another hiking trek in the near future. Be prepared with the weather by packing all the essential gear: proper clothing to cover your body, footwear, and back pack. Even for a short hike like mine, packing food is important along with a bottle of water to stay hydrated and energized throughout the trek.

 On the Jacob's Ladder Trail
 That's me out there getting in touch with nature. Can't wait to explore more of the Appalachian Trail.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

New Era in Binghamton Hockey

It has been about a week since the news broke about Binghamton will be losing their longest running franchise, the Binghamton Senators. Even though I live a couple hours away now, it was sad to hear the news but I'm not surprised. The rumors have been circulating for months and Executive Vice President of operations, Tom Mitchell confirmed those rumors on Monday. The AHL team will be relocating to Belleville, Ontario after Ottawa Senators owner, Eugene Melnyk purchased the team. It is becoming a recent trend of NHL teams owning farm teams and plus Yardmen Arena underwent a massive upgrade.

My thoughts on what has transpired? Obviously, I'm sad to see the franchise of 15 seasons leaving Binghamton but at the same time, it makes sense logistically. Lately, that has been the direction of most AHL teams especially in California as of late. Massive renovations and upgrades attract new and existing fan bases. Simply, Floyd L. Maines Arena could not keep up with the newest trends. I can't even call it by its new name. I always refer to it as Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. So many memories of going to hockey games including my parents taking me there when they were the Binghamton Rangers in the early 1990's. A few more memories would be watching the Senators win their first conference title on home ice, two Calder Cup Finals games in Binghamton for the first time since 1982, their first Calder Cup Championship followed, then a parade downtown, and watching them raise the banner on opening night of 2011-2012 season.

I admire Tom Mitchell's dedication of keeping the American Hockey League here in my hometown. Yes it is difficult when franchises move but there is always a new day when the hockey tradition has not lost a step since 1973. Looking at the possible NHL affiliates, it looks like it could come down to the New York Islanders; New York Rangers; and New Jersey Devils. There is a good chance it will not be a future Las Vegas NHL team because of logistics but it will not be ruled out. The New Jersey Devils look like they are staying put in the capital district and they are still under contract even though attendance has been lackluster. Personally, it comes down to the Islanders and Rangers. If I had a choice, I would like to see the New York Rangers affiliate come back to Binghamton for the first time in 20 years. Not only does it make sense logistically but the future looks uncertain in Connecticut regarding term agreements. We'll see what happens. I just want to say thank you to everyone who was involved with the Binghamton Senators: players, front office, writers, arena staff, and most importantly the fans. I wish I can be there for the farewell season but I'll be thinking of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your hard work and dedication keeping the spirit alive.

Running With Confidence and Great Fuel

Look at that excitement. That's confidence right there!

That has been the theme for my marathon training for several months. In the past, it was difficult to follow that keynote but for yesterdays run, it was very important. It started a couple days prior to the longest run training run, 21+ miles. Crazy as this sounds, I was really excited about this particular run wanting to end the peak training on an excellent note. After running 21.26 miles in 2:35:15, I was very happy and surprised with the result. I was expecting to run a little over 3 hours but it was almost 30 minutes quicker than expected. My run was very smooth and did not tire very easily at a 7:18 pace.

As far as what to eat and drink prior to running, I simply stick with toast and a banana to prevent running on an empty stomach. For hydration, simply enough water (in my case it was a full bottle) and some Coconut water to get electrolytes in my system. I don't like to load up on a lot of food prior to a run because chances are, you are looking to replenish right after a run anyway. After my long run, my post race fuel consisted of oatmeal with a banana, coconut water, water, a Kind Snack Bar, and Primal Strips Vegan Jerky.

I use to eat Clif Bars whenever I did a long run but they were so heavy, rich in filling, and hard to absorb while running. Lately, I've fallen in love with Kind Snack Bars because of the lighter portions and fewer calories. The flavors consumed and purchased are Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Nut, Roasted Jalapeno, Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond, and Dark Chocolate Chili Almond. An even better bonus is that it's made with non-GMO ingredients, excellent source of protein and dairy free options. Thank you Kind Snacks for fueling my workouts.

It has been several years since I had a piece of jerky, way before my vegetarian period. One day, I went to Healthy Living Market and Cafe in Saratoga Springs for a couple treats. All of sudden,  I had a craving for vegan jerky. After walking around looking for it, I found it next to the checkout lines. Primal Spirit Foods makes meatless vegan jerky and let me tell you, they were delicious. Excellent source of protein, non-GMO ingredients, vegan, no preservatives, and no artificial colors. It is a perfect portion for one serving size and you can not taste the difference with regular jerky. The only three I have tried are Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime, and Hot & Spicy. All three were very good so it is difficult to choose a favorite. If you forced me to choose, it would be Mesquite Lime. After finishing all three, I will make another trip to the market to restock.

My advice to all runners is approach every training day with confidence whether it is short or very long.  The Philadelphia Marathon in November is fast approaching, exactly seven weeks away. Obviously, I will share my experience with everyone once the event has concluded.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Change is good

Currently, I'm wrapping up training for the Philadelphia Marathon coming up in less than two months. I can't believe the big day is getting close. Last week, I ran three consecutive days for the first time since my High School track and field days. Honestly, I was not sure what to expect or how my performance would be but it was worth a try. Let me tell you, it was the quickest running I have ever done in my life. My paces were between 6:30-7 minutes running 8,4 and 3.1 (5K) respectively. 6:34 is the fastest mile in under one hour of running, about 52 minutes to be exact. After doing those three runs, I kept asking myself why I didn't do this sooner. Now, I will incorporate them more into my run after this weekend. My goal is to get a 21 mile run in to get my confidence going and then focus on shorter runs to keep myself in running form. I've been focusing on distance and not on speed for several months only running twice a week. It will increase to three days a week to prevent burnout.

Now Playing: Check out the Onnit Podcast!

I told you I would get back into making my own dishes. The most beautiful thing about cooking is the ability to experiment and make so many variations of one dish. The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Saratoga Palio Half Marathon

This morning, I completed my seventh half marathon and second in the beautiful city of Saratoga Springs, New York. It was beautiful running weather and honored to run for a great cause, The Melanie O'Donnell Foundation. In my previous half marathon, not only did I set a personal best but it was the fastest 13.1 miles I have ever ran. My goal was to set another personal best. Unfortunately, I was about 3 minutes slower than my July race. I had to stop at mile 8 to use the bathroom which cost me a minute or two. Would it have helped me PR if I did not stop? Not entirely sure. Despite that, I walked away pretty satisfied with the result and knowing it will be a very nice tune up for the Philadelphia Marathon coming up in two months. It was beautiful running through downtown and through the state park just up the road. Thank you to all the volunteers, road marshalls, and race coordinators for making this a safe and exciting race. The last time I spent time downtown was almost three years ago when I went to a wedding reception. It was pretty sweet walking around after the race.

Not sure if it is just me but it was difficult falling asleep Saturday night. Race day anxiety? We'll never know. I was just happy to be running in another race. Woke up at 6 AM to get ready for the day making the best of a tough situation. Before races and long runs, I do not eat a very heavy breakfast. I limit it to fruit and grains, banana and toast with a peanut butter spread. After you finish a race, what is usually waiting at the finish line? A nice spread of post race fuel (bagels, fruit, and beverages). Today was a nice post race recovery because Purebred Athletics offered free massages to runners. I took full advantage of it and felt a huge sense of relief afterwards. It was nice getting out meeting new runners and seeing familiar faces again. I saw Jenna who was watching her brother run in the same race cheering us on. I talked to Alaina, a college classmate I have not talked to in several years. It was very nice to catch up again. Running races has really helped me break out of my own shell and be more socially engaging.

I'm exhausted and now it is time to start a new work week. Until next time.