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.



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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Times Stud Muffins

I was a little hesitant about creating a post today but after what has developed with the Binghamton Mets the last few days, I really could not resist. Let me start with the Binghamton Mets.

Back in April, the organization opened up a contest to the public to pick the new name for the team starting in 2017. Over 1,500 ideas including me were submitted. This past Tuesday during a home game, the six finalists were revealed. Let me tell you, I shook my head in disbelief and chuckled a little bit. The six names are as followed and I'm not making this up: Timber Jockeys; Bullheads; Gobblers; Rumble Ponies; Rocking Horses; and Stud Muffins. Yes, the last one is not made up. These names belong on T-Ball and/or Recreational Softball team jerseys, not on professional baseball uniforms. Stud Muffins should only be named for an all Male-Revue group.

Were these names submitted by third graders? My idea, Parlor Cutters, did not make the final six and that is embarrassing enough. If that is the best we can do for team names, Binghamton baseball has to be very proud of themselves. Reading the paper for the last few days, the bombardment of negativity has not subsided and does not seem to be letting up any time soon. Even the national media is laughing at Binghamton. It was mentioned in an episode of Around The Horn on Wednesday and it has made the rounds in newspapers around the country.

My message to owner John Hughes is I appreciate the enthusiasm of ringing in a new era for Binghamton baseball. Mistakes will happen and you are allowed to change or have a do-over. These final six should be scrapped and reopen the contest. Another suggestion would be to keep the current name for at least a few more years until you are settled on a new name. My only question is who is the Marketing Director for the Binghamton Mets? If I was in their shoes, I would have not picked any of these six names. I've been reading the editorial viewpoints on this subject for the last few days, most notably today where one page is dedicated to the new team name. Looking through the letters to the editor, I  found a couple that should be finalists: Binghamton Speedies and Binghamton Twilights. Those are based on two iconic staples: regional chicken sandwich and acclaimed film maker.

Despite the negative feedback about the name change, I am still behind baseball staying here in Binghamton for many years to come. The owner and marketing team need to go back to the drawing board and get the team fiasco in order.

Enough of the name fiasco, in one week, I will be participating in my first marathon race here in Binghamton. Today, I did my final Sunday tune up including running some of the course and I feel extremely confident in my pace and stamina especially after doing about 15.8 miles. What are my current emotions? Excitement, confident, and happy. My running has drastically improved this month and looking to carry that same momentum into the race on Sunday.

Until then, keep it real.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Stand up New York

Just got back from a weekend trip to New York City. The primary reason was attending Black N' Blue Bowl at Webster Hall. This was my second time going and it was amazing. All the bands that played were great. The one big highlight was everyone going crazy for Billy Club Sandwich when they performed. Now that is a New York Hardcore show right there. My friend Jesse booked them to play in Binghamton about five years and unfortunately they had to cancel. Now, I'm very happy that I finally got to see them live. I'll have to see if I can dig up that flyer because it was suppose to be their first ever show here in upstate New York.

Another one would be seeing Hazen Street for the first time and Madball performing tracks off of Demonstrating My Style for the 20th anniversary celebration. That album was on my mind lately because I was debating whether that album or Set It Off was the better album. I love both albums but DMS is the better one but only by a slight edge I spoke to Joe "Cuz" Cammarata and Freddy "Madball" Cricien towards the end of the show, thanking him for putting it on and really appreciated all the hard work they did. Joe then told me that he has a lot of surprises up his sleeve for next year. After hearing that, I told myself that I have to come back here next year. My only regret is not going to more New York City shows when I was younger and having the opportunities to do it. How did I get to the city? I'm cheap and efficient punk so the bus is the way to do it. I love taking the bus down there so I can explore the city including punk rock/hardcore shows. It is great seeing all the bands that have been around for a very long time getting back together and doing what they love, keeping the spirit and pride of hardcore alive.

Billy Club Sandwich bringing down the house on their 20th anniversary.

 American Nightmare

 During two change overs, trailers were played for an upcoming film NYHC: New York Hardcore Chronicles The Film. The film will be coming out in December of this year. There is also a book by written by freelance music journalist Tony Rettman that focuses on decade 1980-1990. I think I read a PDF rough copy of the exact same book about five years ago. I wish I still had it but the published version will be the icing on the cake. It is on my wishlist of books to read so don't bother asking me for a review. However, if you want more information on where to order the book and view the trailers for the upcoming film (December 2016), I will post them for you.

Here is the flyer I was talking about. Thank you Billy Club Sandwich for coming back in 2016.

Enough of the hardcore life for a moment. Another goal for this weekend was to get a run in while I was in the city. I was able to do that by running 12 miles at Central Park and it was a very strong run. I thought I was slow but was surprised at the time I accomplished. As I stated in the previous post, my running is drastically improving and I'm becoming more confident now that the marathon is two weeks away. Met up with my sisters for food before I headed back home. All in all it was a very fun weekend and I can't wait for my next trip back to the city. I'm getting for excited for a couple days of This Is Hardcore Fest in Philadelphia coming up in August. Until next time, keep it real.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 2016 and what's ahead

I started this blog in 2009 and regret putting it off for seven years. Today, it is a perfect time to start fresh and give you an update.

In three weeks, I will be running in my first marathon race and the excitement continues to build. I've been training for several months and going into this month, my running has drastically improved. After each run, my confidence continues to grow and there is no intention of letting up now. Last week, I ran my fifth half marathon race in Binghamton. Even though the weather was less than perfect, the cheering crowd came out and cheered us all on. Not only did I take five minutes off my personal best, but hearing cheers throughout the run gave me a lot of positive encouragement going forward. Despite the personal setbacks, I feel amazing and that is not an understatement. I'm really starting to discover myself for the first time in a few years along with an energetic and positive mindset and lifestyle. Along with running twice a week, I also workout 4-5 days a week.

Being a serious runner the last few years has been a very positive experience. You never stop learning and you get very valuable feedback from individuals who are highly experienced in long distance races. Also, you build lasting friendships with those who have similar aspirations/achievements. I meet so many new people at the races and group runs and it is one of the benefits of being a serious runner. I would like to continue running for a very long time and can't wait to accomplish something that I would never think of doing on May 29th.

Earned. Not Given.
 Advice? Anybody can do it. All that is required is committing a lot of time and managing it very well. Writing a fitness journal and a planner is very beneficial progressing towards your goals. If you are just beginning, start small and steadily increase your distance runs over time. That is the beauty of running, you learn and continue to grow as you progress. Join a running group and socialize with those who have accomplished what you are working on. Support local businesses and participate in local races that are in your area. The internet is an endless source of information. Heck, that is how I found out about the races and through word of mouth. It is very encouraging to find more races being created that are fun and for the serious runner in anyones life. Most importantly, be yourself and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done.

"Dig deep for the strength that you seek."-Madball (Born Strong)