Tuesday, August 30, 2011

lululemon got us running

When someone says they like lululemon, they're probably a woman and you think they're totally into yoga. Well look out ladies and yogi's - lululemon is making a case for us guys too! And not just in the yoga department. They are jumping into the running foray feet first and with a big heart.
Left to Right: Anne Morrissey, Amanda Walsh, Joe Davies, Martin Potter, Andy Marx,
Chris Montgomery, Liz Tempesta, Kaipo Henning (Not Pictured: Jeff Barbieri, Ellen)
Last night, a few Informal Runners of varying abilities gathered at the lululemon store at the PRU and were presented with a unique opportunity - personal assistance in selecting a running outfit and then a run/wear test with Assistant Manager, Nicole Cristoforo, 400m hurdler Jonathon Hall of Northeastern, and all the sushi we could eat. In return, we were asked to be righteously critical of the gear. If lululemon does one thing well, it's listening to their customers and enthusiasts.

11 of us departed for a lovely 3.3 mile run around the Charles, as is tradition, and were greeted by a cool, evening breeze. Myself, Martin, and Amanda were all recovering from an incredible half marathon, Sunday in Quebec City, while our stiff legs from the 7 hour, post race drive home were thankful for the 25 minute shake out jog. Returning to the store hungry, we crowded around a generous tray of Snappy Sushi -- tuna, avocado, and california rolls are some of my favorite pre and post run foods -- go Omega-3 fatty acids!

As for the gear, I ran in the light as air short and was pleasantly surprised by the compression lining sewn right into the shorts. There are a few pockets, one zipper low on the left quad for an id, credit card, T-pass and Panera card. I didn't notice to much shifting of material during the run and felt comfortably cool. If you bump into any of this crew on the street, ask them what they think of the gear!

Want to run with Informal Running? Then get off your booty and join:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quebec City Marathon, 2011 August 28: Redefining Failure

I didn't meet my goal. Now what?

Imagine spending months of organizing your life around training and healthy eating, days off of work, and hours of driving to get ready for to qualify for Boston, only to have it cancelled due to a weather forecast. I did everything within my means to be well-prepared for a successful race, and then elements out of my control intervened.

I came to Qu├ębec with the one goal of breaking a 3-hour marathon and how did this solitary goal serve me well and how did it not? How does one walk the line between achieving a goal with focus and excluding things of importance? How can I let that which does not matter, truly slide?

I'm giving myself some space today to be upset about it. On the whole, I see it as healthy to be upset; without risking the negative emotions, I couldn't possibly hope to win the elation of reaching my goal.

Having improved my form and practiced pre-race relaxation, I have gained much during the process, regardless of the outcome of the goal. I owe Tree much credit for introducing me to Chi Running written by Danny Dreyer; without this book, I would not have experienced such successful and enjoyable training. I was even able to use my marathon regimen to reach another life-goal: breaking the 5-minute mile. Focusing on the moment at hand and letting the destination come closer on its own has certainly helped temper today's disappointment.

As incredibly disappointing as it is, I am lucky enough to have a chance to qualify at Baystate in a month and a half, at the more stringent qualifying time. In pursuing my next race, perhaps I can discern more wisely where to relax and where to be more disciplined in working training and racing into a healthy lifestyle.

I'm disappointed today, and it's ok. Tomorrow, I shall look to make new strides and keep improving each moment.

Growth ideas:

  • What can I do, moving forward, to continue to set myself up for success?
  • How can I incorporate Chi Running exercises into my day without crowding mornings or evenings?
  • How would slowly re-adopting a cross-fit style workout aid overall muscle resilience?

COMING UP... Marquette Marathon: Commit, You'll Figure It Out

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Take a Hint. The Inaugural PUMA 5 Miler kicked ass.

What started out as another humid day ended in celebration and excitement. The PUMA 5 miler in Westford, MA was set to kick off at 5pm as all of the 700 participants anxiously went through their pre-race routines, strategy plans, and superstitious rituals. The heat bore down but we were lucky enough to have plenty of Hint water on hand. I've recently become a huge fan of this refreshing beverage and will say that if you've never taken a Hint, then you're missing out. There was a great crew representing TMIRCE at the race, some who ran and some who were along in support, others were there for the post race beers and bbq - all exceptionally executed by the crew from the Harpoon Brewery - thanks for all the free beer! I'm looking forward to the 11th annual Octoberfest in Windsor, VT.

The race itself was executed with precision by Director, Greg Haskell of PUMA. The course was something out of James Taylor's, "Country Road."

Rolling hills and winding streets made for an eventful run with plenty of strategy to consider. With the final turn in sight and the inflated PUMA finish line within reach, I found my kick - thanks to track workouts - and was able to finish with a respectable time, one full minute after the woman's 1st place finisher, Amanda Walsh.

TMIRCE'ers sprinkled in one by one until eventually, we were gathered at maximum around a tabletop guzzling Harpoon and chasing it with Hint. This was a truly successful event and one I would certainly participate in again. It's difficult organizing every aspect of road races, while bumps and bruises along the way can teach valuable lessons such as, number of water stations/volunteers, porto-potties, etc. Great job PUMA at bringing together a proud community of runners and making us feel at home. - Chime in - Why would or wouldn't you run this race again? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blues and Running: The two best clubs in Boston heating up

Put some south in yer mouth yall.
Wednesday night, I made my way into the heart of Brighton to find some respite from the oppressive heat and humidity. The plan was to grab a bite at one of my favorite local BBQ pits, Smoken' Joe's BBQ. While I found a nice air-conditioned restaurant, Pianist, Alizon Lissance and special guests made sure that they kept the place hot with some great southern blues. I felt like I was in the heart of Cackalacky as the tomato base was flowing and the pulled pork was 'smoken.' Get there early on a weeknight for some great food and music. Joe's  selection of west coast beers, while limited, really highlights the BBQ/Blues joints' attention to southern detail. Joe himself (a self-made BBQ expert with more then 20 years experience) is usually around to serve your drinks. And if you're lucky enough, he'll sit down at your table and educated you about some of the greatest jazz and blues musicians you've never heard of.

Best run ever.
TMIRCE Saturday's at City Sports have been equally hot, both in attendance and temperature - more so the temperature. The dog days of August have settled in. The past few weekends running have been hot, but also humid. TMIRCE'ers have been coming in the door with a good pre-sweat. I tend to have difficulty maintaining speed and endurance in the heat - not to mention my body also seems to breakdown faster and recovery takes longer. Be heard - What are 3 things you do to train and recover in the heat? - Best answer will be the topic of my next post. The run was the best ever as is tradition but the table of healthy snacks and goodies surpassed my weekly expectations. The stand out items of the week, Ginger donuts, were baked by TMIRCE baking veteran, Diana.

I'm hopeful 8/20's TMIRCE - pre Puma 5 Miler at 5pm - in response to this post, will have some pulled brisket, coleslaw, and corn bread for the post run festivities.

Want to run with Informal Running? Then get off your booty and join:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PUMA with a Hint of rain

I can take a Hint - to re-hydrate that is.
Last night, PUMA of Newbury St. hosted their first, of what I hope to be many, group runs. I had responded on Facebook along with 90 or so other respondees but was unsure of how many would sneak out of their offices and homes to run. Upon entering the store, runners were greeted kindly by the enthusiastic Greg Haskell, who handed out PUMA gift-cards, PUMA 5 Miler discount cards, and directed us to the Hint bucket. My favorite is the Mango Grapefruit.

The running route was familiar as it took us across the Harvard Bridge (Mass Ave.) and around the Museum of Science for a total of 4.5 miles. Running with some local Bostonian elites including Martin Potter of cheekyrunnning and winner of the Reggae Ramble, Chris Wagner, motivated us to hold a 7:36 pace. The rain held off just long enough to make the run enjoyable.

Post race beers at Octoberfest.
Harpoon also stepped up in supporting a great after run shindig at Lir on Boylston St. They were handing out drink tickets, pizza, and sandwiches. According to local running legend Kaipo Henning, Harpoon was very generous. They also happen to sponsor one of my favorite events of the year, the Octoberfest Road Race - Registration opens 8/19 and it will sell out.

Want to run with Informal Running? Then get off your booty and join:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Learning to run and relax on Martha's Vineyard + Garmin Forerunner 210 Review

When I arrived on the Vineyard Thursday, I was greeted by the Conway's of Lincoln, MA and offered an Adirondack chair and a glass of white wine. My intentions for this trip were work first, play second, but how could I resist. Feeling motivated to get a good run in on Friday morning, I decided to test out my new Garmin Forerunner 210. This really helped me get out of bed and go, otherwise, the day would get ahead of me and running would take a back seat.

I stood on the stairs of the house on Coffins Field Rd. searching for satellites. My Garmin took about 30 seconds to sync up and find all three needed to triangulate and track my movements. I was impatient, but this 30 second moment taught me a valuable lesson; never go running out of haste. With a "bleep" from my wrist, I was off to explore.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Running on Martha's Vineyard with the Garmin Forerunner 210

Martha's Vineyard is larger then one would expect for an Island, but then again, Long Island, NY is 150 miles long. Docking in Vineyard Haven, I'm wondering how far it is to my destination and excited to get out and try my new Garmin 210, first by bike, then by run. If anyone has any running route suggestions while I'm down here, feel free to comment and I'll give a full review of your route.

Spread the word