Time to get that unicorn

All the training. All the early mornings and late nights. All the blisters and chaffing. All the determination. It’s now time to go out and be great.

To everyone running the Boston Marathon on Monday, you are an inspiration to all us runners. In two days many of you will take hold of that unicorn medal for the first time. You deserve it.

Have a great run and go get that finish line.


If you don’t have time…MAKE IT

One of the most common questions I get from friends and colleagues is: How do you have the time to do {blank}? These folks know I’m running on all cylinders from about 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. – sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Between two kids (age 4 and 1), being the lead copywriter for a Fortune 500 company, wife, honey-do list and anything else that gets added on, I also put in an average of 35 miles of running per week and core workouts.

Yet, at no time do I sacrifice time away from my kids and family, or from work to get my miles in. The trick is making time for yourself. You need to do that to have balance in your life, and give you time to decompress. Those who say they don’t have time don’t realize what they are wasting their time on.

Sure it’s great to watch television at night. However, when you’re watching 4 straight hours that is exactly where your extra time is going. In my case, I watch everything through my DVR (unless it’s a big important game) so I spend 2.5 hours watching 4 hours of shows.

As for my schedule: my runs are either at 5 a.m. or 9 p.m. The benefit is two-fold – the kids are asleep so I don’t lose time with them; and I live in Miami so the weather is cooperative at those times. If I run in the morning, I get to watch my teams play at night. Sometimes, I’ll pull a double or do core work at night while watching TV – after chores, playtime with the kids and dinner of course.

In other words, I get my miles in – my me time – while also spending time with the family and other priorities done; and still have time to wind down and watch TV. So I don’t understand the question: How do I have time? I’ve turned the question around on folks who have asked me the question. Most times they can’t say what they are doing with their time other than “stuff.” A couple others say they value their social life more. But there are two people who actually took what I said and looked at their days.

Both these folks have kids, full time jobs, and other priorities. Funny enough, they are both my running partners now. It’s funny how we pass bars at 5 a.m. Saturday morning that we would normally be at 10 years ago, however now we are going for a 10 mile run instead home to battle hangovers.

For those who say you don’t have time, evaluate your schedule. Even one hour of “me time” can go a long way. Best of all you don’t have to sacrifice your obligations to do it.

Answer the Question

If you are the president/CEO of a company and a mid-level employee committed a crime during non-working hours, should you resign or be fired because of it?

I have posed this question to several people the last few days, but no one will answer the question. They only say Roger Goodell needs to be fired. I respond by repeating the question, and asking them to answer. The people end the conversation abruptly.

So, I now pose the question to the world and beg someone to please answer it with a yes. And, when and if you do, please explain what company policy you broke that would be grounds for your immediate termination.

People have quickly forgotten the issue at hand is not Roger Goodell. It is that Ray Rice beat his then fiancée Janay in an elevator. I have watched the video several times and at no point did Goodell enter that elevator and strike anyone. At no point did Goodell spit on Janay. So, why have all these experts made this the Goodell problem, while the person who committed these heinous acts is not even mentioned any more?

To top it off there is now an investigation by a former FBI director into how long the NFL has had the video. So, valuable resources of time, money and an expert are going to be wasted just to tell us how long the NFL has had the video? How is all this relevant? Goodell is not the officer, judge or jury. The domestic violence incident did not happen during working hours or on NFL property.

Instead we are wasting time on something that has no impact on the true issue.

Talking about wasting time, resources and valuable tax payer’s money, my guess is these people are learning from Congress. The Republicans have decided they want to use my money, your money and every other American’s money to sue the President. Yet, these same folks are sending us into another government shut down.

While they are putting our income and livelihoods on the line, they are using our money while they will continue to get paid even if we go into a shut down.

Why don’t we use tax payer’s money and expert resources for something good? Something such as trying to find out what really happened to Michael Brown. Something such as ending human sex trafficking. Something such as making America better.

Yet instead there is an absence of logic and common sense coming from the plethora of experts on social media saying Goodell should be fired because Ray Rice hit his woman and the President should be sued because we are not from the same political party.

This is being written on a day in which America is remembering the worst terrorist attacks on our soil. It was a time when Americans were brought close together and vowed to be united. But in the 13 years since, we have become more divided than ever.

We have entered a time where we don’t focus on the real problem at hand. We focus on what those people who think they are experts say we should focus on. We have lost the ability to think for ourselves. Instead we say things just because it is a trending topic and what everyone else is saying.

We have voted officials into office who worry more about wasting our money than fixing our country.

We have lost all consciousness in the fact that the issue is not the NFL, it is that a man beat a woman.

We have placed the focus onto circumstances that will have no meaning to the outcome in order to avoid the true problem.

We have lost all vision in trying to be the best country in the world, just to be part of the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

The answer is simple: working together to make America better. The problem is it is hard find the question to get there with the absence in logic and common sense that is displayed by most.

So let’s start by answering the first question, if you are the president/CEO of a company and a mid-level employee committed a crime during non-working hours, should you resign or be fired because of it?

Too Much Focus on Splits and Finish Time

Do you run with a GPS watch? Or any watch for that matter? How about an app that tells you your time, pace, elevation, heart rate, cadence, sweat rate, wind speed…. What don’t they tell you?

At first I ran with an app that was in my ear every 5 minutes. Now I use a GPS watch. As good as these instruments can be in keeping track of your runs from start to finish, they can kill your run in the middle.

I unconsciously check my watch during my run and then I become fixated on time for the next few minutes. I wonder if the GPS is really working properly I say to myself there is no way I’m running that slow or wait a minute I need to back off a little.

Do you have that issue?

I have found that turning the watch so the face is on the inner part of my wrist has helped me so I don’t look at it as much. I still know it is there and when my attention is not on my breathing, a car passing by or what is up ahead, I will look at it.

No matter how many times I tell myself to stop looking at it, I still do. One of the things I have found out that helps is when I run at 5 a.m. It is too dark to see the face. Funny part is I know I can’t look at my times, and I normally run faster.

As the temperatures cool down I get the added benefit of long-sleeves to cover the watch. But now, when I run in the afternoon, in the heat of summer, it is sleeveless and watch watching.

If you have found a way to battle this, leave your answer in the comment section or sent me a tweet @mdrunning.

Until next time, keep your feet on the road and your times dropping.

The Regular Season Begins

And so it begins. The base miles have been built up as much as possible, the long runs got longer. The core work has begun to take shape in the form of better flexibility.

The marathon training season has official begun.

Like football, the past two months for me was training camp – a preseason if you will.

Oddly enough my fourth preseason game – the weekend long run, showed I still have improving to do. But as the regular season officially begins today, it is time to hit the asphalt with full force. It is time to study the playbook. Time to get down to business and run, strength train and prepare mentally.

Many people around the United States are beginning or have already begun their regular season. Good luck to all of you out there.

Some of the things that have helped me keep on track in the past and will be used this year include:

  • A calendar with a daily plan of the workout. Two lines will appear for each day – Plan and Actual. This will let you gauge your progress through the season. Make sure you track time, and effort.
  • A daily journal where I track everything from how I feel to weather to what I did during the day before the run. This helps me gauge the best meals to eat, how much water I had, how many miles are on my shoes, etc.
  •  My running group and making sure to post workouts – no matter how good or bad – on our page. This keeps everyone honest, motivated and working for a common goal.

All of us look for the extra motivation to conquer our goals. There are many ways to do it. I hope that through this forum I can help motivate you to the finish line.

We are all in this together.

Why make the goal of being average, when you can set your goals at being great?


Two Years to Boston – The Beginning

“I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

When choosing to launch this blog one of the thoughts was to make sure I’m not talking about me all the time. Who wants to read that? I will add in a few of my anecdotes, but for the most part I want it to be about helping people get better, whether it is working out, gaining knowledge, planning or anything else.

This is one of those blogs that is going to be about me. So if you don’t want to hear it, go to another great blog.

Today begins a new journey in my quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon. While that qualifying race is still two years away (I need to improve gradually), it’s a marathon not a sprint.

To begin, I have started the Paleo diet for the second time and will hold it for at least the next 6 months – until after the Disney Marathon on January 11, 2015. I went Paleo for lent this past year and lost 27 pounds in those 40 days. I felt great and continued the diet somewhat until June.

My training was going great and didn’t have a problem at all. As I dialed my training back to rest and recover from my first full racing season, I also dialed back my diet. Now, I didn’t gain the 27 pounds back. At most I gained 8 back. But now as the running season ramps up again, it is time to focus on all facets of training.

I felt great running while on the Paleo diet. I was setting PRs and felt I was getting the right amount of fuel. I felt I recovered better and was able to focus more.

Contrary to what people believe, I didn’t let myself go. I took a vacation – something your body and mind need with anything you do for long term. It helps you rest and recover. The key is to use what you learned and not to go back to your bad ways.

Luckily, as I have grown older I have learned to control myself and not let a “cheat meal” turn into a “cheat month.”

But now the vacation is over and the journey to Boston begins today. Two years of training for one of the biggest goals I have set athletically since I was in college.

Sure people think I’m crazy. I think I’m determined. It is about setting goals.

Without goals, there is no reason to try. And as MJ says “I can’t accept not trying.”

The Runner’s Diet

On Wednesday, Runners World posted a food pyramid of what people think runners eat, what runners should eat and what runners really eat.

I thought I should print this out and give it to co-workers anytime they ask about or comment on my food.

While I try to eat as healthy as possible, when in the comfort of my home all bets are off. You see my son has really great snacks – goldfish, candy, chips. When he goes to sleep, I start grazing especially if it is after a run.

Oftentimes I eat very well. I try to have a smaller breakfast, but it is also my most healthy meal of the day – low in carbs, but high in fruits and protein. Lunch is normally a salad piled high with veggies and a protein – either chicken or tuna depending on what is available.

Depending on the weather (see yesterday’s post) I will run in the evening when I get home from work. Then it is dinner time. I try to keep it healthy, as far as veggies, salad and a protein. Sometimes there will be pasta in the mix, but I try to stay away from carbs.

While this is a healthy meal, normally, I tend to lost portion control at dinner. If it is after a run, there is no doubt I’m going back for seconds. The issue is I tell myself I have burned enough calories to allow me this meal.

This is one of the reasons why I have stopped counting calories and focusing on nutrition instead. It is similar to my ignoring BMI since it doesn’t take everything into account (more on this in another blog).

Eating and training is all about balance. A good diet is one that fulfills all nutritional needs while controlling portions. This is something many don’t understand, yet it is also something that those who understand cannot do – I being one of them.

If I can control my portions, I know my training will benefit. My next thing to try is not letting those things I snack on be in the house. If they aren’t there, I cannot eat them. Either that or have my wife hide them.

What are some of your eating habits? What do you crave most after a long run? Answer in the comments section.