KNOCKAROUND: The day in the life of a KnockFan.

Disclaimer: I received the Knockaround Neon Summers (Fast Lanes) to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I live in Florida, so I spend a considerable amount of time in the sun. As a runner, I tend to favor the morning or lunch runs. This means a minimum of an hour, sometimes more, exposed in the elements. Upon relocating to Florida I learned quickly there are two necessities: first, a good lotion with SPF, and second, sunglasses. I , like many people, have a drawer full of sunglasses. Some expensive, some cheap and some free promotional items from a local business.

The Knockaround Neon Summers were received for purposes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.
KNOCKAROUND NEON SUMMERS (FAST LANES STYLE)

I would never call myself a “sunglasses” guy. In other words, I really didn’t wear them all the time although I had them with me all the time. I am in my early-40s and I NEVER wore sunglasses running or training. Why you ask? Because sunglasses have always bothered me. They slip continuously when the sweat starts flowing. They gave me a weird twinge on my nose and ears during training or they fit too tight and bother the side of my head above the ears. Sweat and salt water would tarnish the lenses. These constant annoyances distracted me during training. This all changed when I received my KNOCKAROUND NEON SUMMERS!

As a BibRave Pro I had the opportunity to try out the Knockaround sunglasses. Knockaround has multiple styles of sunglasses, special releases and collaborative releases throughout the year. Knockaround has pre-designed sunglasses under each style. BUT it also has a function to allow the consumer to build their own sunglasses. The consumer chooses the style and then proceeds to design their sunglasses. You can mix and match colors and patterns for each arm and the fronts as well as choosing the type of lenses. This function is a lot of fun to play with when trying to find your style. I encourage you to visit their website and play with the design function.

I received the Neon Summers (Fast Lanes Style) which is a pre-designed pair. Think early Miami Vice, and I liked that a lot!! I received them on April 1st and immediately put them to use so I could provide a honest review. The first thing I notices was these sunglasses are light. Run after run and use after use I did not get the twinge or fatigue I got from other sunglasses. The second thing I noticed was they fit comfortably snug. There has been zero slipping due to sweat or bouncing. Further I had no noticeable pressure from the arms. I was able to focus on my training and not continually messing with my sunglasses. Since receiving them I have worn them for every daytime run because I want too. Finally it has withstood sweat, rain and water without damaging the lenses.

Beers, sunset and sunglasses.

My Knockaround Neon Summers (Fast Lanes Style) are functional and stylish everyday glasses. It is also the perfect running/training sunglasses for me. I honestly forget I am wearing them sometimes. Finally, Knockaround has the best styles to choose from and are highly customizable to the individual consumer. If you are in the market for an awesome pair of sunglasses that you will never want to take off, the Knockaround sunglasses are for you.

STATESMAN CAP 10K: A VIRTUAL RACE

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Statesman Cap 10K to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

On April 3rd, 2020, I was supposed to fly to Austin, Texas to participate in my first race as a BibRave Pro. Instead the 43rd Statesman Cap 10K was canceled by the City of Austin in response to the current health crisis surrounding Covid-19. The Race Directors gave racers the option of completing the race virtually. There has been a fair amount of communication from the RDs regarding this issue. They even released a new hashtag, #Cap10Kvirutalrace, to use in social media posts. However, as of today there has been no decision on how get the race swag to all the virtual racers. I decided to stick to the original plan and race on Sunday, April 5th, 2020, being the original race day.

The Statesman Cap 10K is not only the largest 10K in Texas but the sixth largest in the nation. At the time of the cancellation there were over twenty thousand registrants. I was really looking forward to spending several days in Austin and racing through downtown. Although I lived in Dallas several years and have traveled to many parts of Texas, I have never been to Austin. So this was a much anticipated destination race and my first race running as a BibRavePro. Additionally, my goal for the race was to PR the distance. But it is important to go with the flow in life.

My Cap 10K Virtual Race Gear

I am sure like a lot of runners I had never participated in an official virtual race. This was my first experience with it and I was determined to make the best of the situation. I am a very ritualistic person when it comes to races. I have a set pre and post race process that I follow religiously. Specifically my pre-race routine allows me to mentally prepare for a race. It is a process I start the week of a race by visualizing myself racing the course and distance, making lists of potential gear, following a particular nutrition plan the nights before and setting out the gear I will use the night before. These processes help me feel prepared going into a race and calm my mind. A virtual race wipes these processes out–Bye Bye structure ha. Additionally I relish the competitive feeling and adrenaline that builds in the corrals before the race. That adrenaline is usually good to shave time off my race. But how do you duplicate that intensity in a virtual race? I am not sure it is 100% possible. This was further complicated by not having a specific virtual race date set by the RDs. So there wasn’t a feeling of competing against other runners the day I ran my virtual race.

The best I could do was follow as much of my pre-race routine as possible to make me feel like I was lining up for an actual race. I decided on a route a few nights before my race, so i was able to engage in my mental exercise partially. I also laid out my race gear the night before (as depicted in the picture above) to make sure I had everything important. Although I listen to podcasts or music on the majority of my training runs, I do not listen to music in races because I try to engage with the other races whether its a short, but meaningful, conversation to get your through a tough point or to just encourage the other racers. The one exception to this rule is when racing ultras, I will usually listen to something during the overnight portions of the race.

My training began before the Covid-19 outbreak shut everything down. The training plan was simple. I was trying to build up speed. So I ran lots of fast 5Ks mixed with longer runs focused on HR control. I participated in multiple run clubs each week and ran in my local ParkRun group every Saturday morning. These simulate race day conditions for me given the competitive factor of other runners doing the same course as you. I also had a few races to use as benchmarks. In February I ran my 3rd Double Bridge Run 15K in Pensacola and finished with a PR on that course. Also in February I ran RunDisney Princess 10K with a time of 52m 1s and a 8:15 /mi pace. I was very happy with this effort and was convinced I would break 50min on the Cap 10K, which was another goal. I also had a marathon and a 24hr race in February, so a race every weekend almost. March stated with a Pensacola favorite McGuire’s St. Patty 5K race, also my 3rd time racing, and I crushed my course record with a 24:42 & 7.52/mi course pr. This was also the first time I broke an 8/mi 5K since 2016 after an injury, a new state and new job pulled me away from serious training again. My training and focus went into the tank late March for a few weeks when the Covid-19 crises started and everyone’s lives were upended. I never recovered that lost fitness before the virtual race. This eroded some confidence and also made me less mentally prepared race morning.

My pre-race photo tradition.

I realize that with a virtual race you can literally run the distance anywhere including a track or the treadmill. However, I tried to find a route that would be similar in terrain and elevation as the offical course. I believe this is an important step to a successful virtual race. Otherwise, in my opinion, the swag is your only interest. The course I chose ended with 270ft of elevation which is more than the official course. Initially my plan was to wake up very early and race. But it was raining for a few hours that morning which delayed my start to 7a.m. Another obstacle to a good race. Since I live in Florida there is a significant difference in running at 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. It was hot and humid now due to the rain. I have been implementing some stress into my training runs by not carrying water (I sweat a lot and drink a lot of water). As a self assisted virtual race I initially planned to bring water, but decided at the last minute I didn’t need it for a 10K. This was a mistake given the extra output for race simulation. I had a great pace at the start and had no problem pushing like it was an actual race. However, I hit a wall at mile 4 and then again at mile 6 due to training lapses and a few good hills back to back. Again the lack of hydration did not help either. My first three miles were 8:05, 7:56 and 8:48. This was not great pace management and you can see the struggle coming. Overall I was able to keep somewhat of a competitive mind set despite a few weak moments where I felt like I was just doing a solo run. In those moments I would remind myself that I was actually racing, to dig deeper, and it worked in mile 5 where ran a 8:43/mi. This is not my last virtual race this season, but it was a good lesson for me. I am confident that I can continue to become for efficient and impose my usual race mind set in the virtual arena.

#Cap10kvirtualrace

Although it was not the time I wanted nor the PR I wanted, it was a fun process to race virtually. I do look forward to my swag and adding my medal to the wall. I recently read a thread on twitter discussing if virtual races were actual races? If you try to replicate the course and run hard like you would in a race, than the answer is a resounding yes. I will be counting all my virtual races as races. I hope you will join me on my next virtual race.

I was bummed to miss out on Austin and running in one of the largest 10ks. I was bummed to miss out on a great expo and the post race party. I was also bummed not to run with new friends and reconnect with some old friends who now live in Austin. But I still ran the 43rd Statesman Cap 10K and I enjoyed the process.

BODY HELIX: A Move Through It Review

Disclaimer: I received a BODY HELIX FULL CALF COMPRESSION SLEEVE to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Sleeve and Body Helix Product List.

Body Helix was founded in 2008 by world-ranked senior tennis player Fred Robinson. In search of better compression gear options he developed Body Helix’s Form-Fit Technology. Fred tapped into both medical science and advanced technology and studied the science of movement and injury management to design his product. The effort and attention to detail is evident in this product from the first use. There are a few features that really made the full calf compression sleeve a great addition to my running tool kit. First is it breaths. Most compression gear will cause excessive sweating. The treated area gets overly wet causing discomfort, itching and slipping. I wore the Body Helix calf compression during runs, workouts and rest time around the house. I did not experience any of these issues. In fact other than the tension you almost forget you are wearing compression gear. This leads me to my second liked featured, it didn’t slip during use. There is nothing more annoying than gear that requires constant adjustment. This annoyance can get in your head and tank a race or training run. The Body Helix calf sleeve remained anchored to my calf. This allowed me to focus on the task at hand and not my gear. When ordering the compression sleeve I followed the instructions on Body Helix’s website for fitting and my sleeve fit perfectly. Finally, it provided to proper amount of tension to my calf. Muscle and joint compression are key to help runners move through a minor issue. Whether it was fatigue, soreness or pain, the Body Helix helped me through my workouts. The tension allowed my calf muscle do what it was asked to do during the workout.

Kettlebell is a go-to functional exercise.

As a runner in my 40’s I employ lots of tactics to keep me on the road. What works for me is to focus on core strength, functional, multi-body movement exercises, and plenty of rest. Fancy recovery tools, cryotherapy or red light therapy are not options for me or the majority of armature athletes. Therefore I employ other more available methods of recovery. Rest is number one on that list. I realize it is difficult for a runner/cyclist to sit still when friends and influences inundate you with their miles vie social media or strava. But it is important to not run sometimes. In fact I have always found my best race performances followed days of rest and recovery. I also employ stretching and foam rolling. During my review period I wore my Body Helix full calf compression sleeve during rest periods while I was working around the house. I found the compression sleeve to help after a particularly hard workout. It provided a constant tension to the muscle but could still be comfortably worn for hours. I also found that it reduced my recovery time. This was very beneficial to me personally. As a front foot fall runner my calves get an extra hard workout on every run. After a hard training session my calves always feel tighter than any other muscle. Implementing the Body Helix calf sleeve has reduced tightness during the exercise and helped recover the muscles post exercise.

Compression sleeve use at rest.

Body Helix has a wide range of compression gear. I strongly encourage you to visit their website at http://www.bodyhelix.com to learn more about the technology and benefits behind their compression sleeves. The website has a wealth of information from product reviews to blog articles and videos. The Body Helix compression sleeve has become a main component of my running gear.

Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal experience and the knowledge of my own body. Only you know your limits. Therefore, you should always consult a medical professional before making any decision when dealing with an injury.

Clif Family Winery Part II

DISCLAIMER: I received a care package including wine and specialty food items from Clif Family Winery to review the company as a sponsor for the Napa Valley Marathon as part of being a BibRavePro. Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.

“We’re working to run a different kind of company: The kind of place we’d want to work, that makes the kind of food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world – the kind of world we’d like to pass on to our children.” Kit Crawford, owner. This is the philosophy behind the Clif Family line of businesses, a philosophy that I love to support. As consumers it is our duty to support businesses that choose to operate at a higher level of responsibility. The Clif Family Winery has five aspirations: “sustaining our people, sustaining our community, sustaining our planet, sustaining our brands, and sustaining our business.”

As a vegan, environmentalist and a runner I like companies that are committed to following a sustainable path. The Clif Family Winery ensures sustainability throughout its supply chain. The Clif Family Winery does this in three key areas. First by sourcing their products from local and regional organic farms which promotes biodiversity in the local community. Second by striving to achieve a neutral footprint through climate neutral energy use. Finally through meaningful partnerships with non-profits that promote family farms, conserve wildlife habitat and biodiversity. The Clif Family Winery is certified organic, Napa green certified, and generating power from non polluting sources.

Adventure and sustainability are core attributes of Clif Family Winery. Their commitment to each of these is evident in their sponsorship of the Napa Valley Marathon. To learn more about Clif Family Winery visit their website at cliffamily.com.

Clif Family Winery Part I

DISCLAIMER: I received a care package including wine and specialty food items from Clif Family Winery to review the company as a sponsor for the Napa Valley Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

Adventure is in the DNA of every runner. From the unique and challenging race locations, pushing your body to its limits and attacking that tough hill at the end of your long run. From the roads to the trails, we are pushed by the adventurous spirit. This is one of the reasons I have enjoyed getting to know more about the Clif Family Winery and why I use their products.

It is impossible to talk about the Clif Family Winery without talking about the the full Clif Family businesses. The first thing to know about the Clif Family company is that it was born out of a spirit of adventure. Adventure is at the core of all things Clif Family. This is evident in their products but also their sponsorship of races, both cycling and running. The Clif Family Winery located in Napa Valley is a major sponsor of the Napa Valley Marathon.

Maybe more widely known for the Clif Bars, but this family and employee owned company offers a full range of products from food to wine. I was lucky enough to get a taste of both which I have shared with you in the video below. The idea of the Clif Bar came to Gary Erickson, owner, in 1990 during a 175 mile ride. The winery was brought to Napa Valley by Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford after cycling across Italy. The dedication to the outdoor wanderers can be tasted in each of their products. Please watch my unboxing video below to see a sample of the amazing products brought to you by the Clif Family.

Clif Family Winery Unboxing Video

Each item I received exceeded my expectation in quality and taste. I received a red wine called The Climber, solar grown raw honey, dark chocolate sea salt almonds and organic rosemary roasted almonds & pistachios. The wine was very smooth with chocolate, earthy tones. I really liked the simple label showing an individual climbing in Yosemite National Park. The honey tastes amazing and I use it in my coffee every morning. The dark chocolate almonds did not last long and went very will with coffee and the wine. The rosemary roasted almonds and pistachios had the perfect blend of seasoning. As a vegan these were the perfect afternoon power snack.

So feed your adventurous spirit with the Clif organic energy bars to the Cliff Family Wine and organic foods. If you are in Napa Valley for fun or the Napa Valley Marathon be sure to visit the Clif Family Winery. If you can’t make it to Napa Valley you can learn more about the Clif Family Winery by visiting their website at http://www.cliffamily.com

Cheers!

DOUBLE BRIDGE RUN 15K RECAP

This is a fun and fast race that takes you on a scenic view of Downtown Pensacola to Gulf Breeze and finally ending at Pensacola Beach. It also ran over the new 3 Mile Bridge (Pcola to Gulf Breeze) which has a better contour than the last bridge. This is my third year of participating in this race. It is a must do local race!

YOU EITHER FORGET TO STOP YOUR WATCH OR THE FINISH LINE POSE

The race director is a local non-profit that sponsors multiple sports for youth and adults as well as a few races. The Double Bridge Run has been around for a while so they have the logistics worked out pretty smoothly. There are two options a 5K or 15K. I always run the 15K. This race is a point to point which I really like. You also get a lot of spectators cheering you on as you pass through the two towns and at the finish line.

As this is a local race, the expo is smaller and features mostly local vendors. It is decent for a local style race. You receive a voucher for a pre-race pasta dinner at a local restaurant. You receive a nice quality shirt and finisher medal for both distances. Each year the shirt is long sleeve performance style. The medal this year was very nice. It is in the shape of the race logo, but this year a section with the race name and year spun which was a very cool touch. The course is mainly flat and fast with the exception of three very nominal inclines (319ft of vert) on the two bridges and one overpass. The course has ample water stations but no other forms of nutrition. There are also a few DJs on the course playing hype music. The race director also secured high quality free race photos throughout the course.

POWER PLAY THREE MILES IN.

The race begins on the bay at the Maritime Park in Downtown Pensacola and ends at the beach. For those having to drive, there is ample parking at the finish line and the race director provides buses to take the runners back to the starting point. This is very convenience and an easy process. The starting line is set against Pensacola Bay which is a really nice spot in the morning with the sun rise. There are self policed corrals based on your projected pace and the starts are staggered by 30 seconds. Another cool touch with this race is a local mardi gras krewe brings their pirate ship float out and fires a cannon for every corral start. The after party is on the beach and there is an after after party at a local venue as well. There is much fan fair at the finish line which is awesome and helps bring the energy for a strong finish. There was free beer, water, fruits, sample flatbread pizza, muffins, etc. at the finish. A restaurant, located at the finish line, provides not only the pre-race pasta dinner but also a post-race lunch (red beans and rice this year) as a sponsor. Both are free for racers. There are multiple restaurant and bar options to continue the after race part well into the afternoon. For a new addition to the race, the race director worked with a local restaurant to create a signature cocktail and with a local brewery to create a signature beer and both were available at the finish line for free to racers. And both tasted great!!

SAMPLING THE SIGNATURE RACE DRINKS.

I went with some standard gear for this one. BibRave Buff USA tech hat, Orange Mud Dirt Unit race tank, Injinji socks, Aftershokz, Altra Duo, Garmin 235, Saucony shorts, and Orange Mud Gear Pack to carry my phone and keys.

DOUBLE BRIDGE GEAR PREVIEW

Again this a great race for locals and visitors. It is a lot of fun with excellent support from the community. The after party can be as fun as you want to make it. However, the free beer tends to run out quickly so you are left with purchasing beer and food at local watering holes, which is not a bad thing. At the end of it all, you get to go veg out at the beach across the street from the finish line.

FINISH LINE GLORY

Race Time: 1:24:38
Race Pace: 9:05 min/mi.

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CHEERS!

Joe Relaxo 24hr Challenge Recap

Sunrise over Pensacola Bay Saturday Morning – January 25th

This was unlike any race I have ever ran and possibly to toughest to date.

But some housekeeping first! The race is put on by a local Race Director RunPensacola. Over 70 racers began the challenge with few DNF’ing. You had the option of running solo or in a two person team. Race temps were as low as 30’s at night and as high as 50’s during the day. There was no expo. Packet pickup was at the race location and began a few hours before the race. Each racer received a quality long sleeve hoodie shirt with the Race logo on the front and the sponsors and the name of each participant on the back (which I think is a really coll touch). Each racer also received a performance reversible beanie by Headsweats with the race logo on the front and race director logo on the back. The finisher medal was in the shape of Joe Relaxo with the year hanging below. It is designed to add a new year banner for each subsequent year you participate. Aid stations were not necessary as this was a 1 mile looped event. However, the race director secured two restaurant sponsors who brought soup and sandwiches to the race location three different times. The race was located in downtown Pensacola at the Maritime Community Park with the staging area right on Pensacola Bay. Therefore, 80% of the run was was bordered by the water with the other 20% following the road. You could not ask for a better setting for a race like this. We saw two sunsets and one sunrise over the course of the race. The course was concrete with some brick. The unforgiving nature of the running path began to wear on your body over the 24hrs. The runners were able to stage their gear on a grassy area at the start line. This was nice as it promoted socializing with other racers and I actually met several new runners from my community. The runners had access to clean, large bathrooms which was very nice.

Sunset over Pensacola Bay Friday Night – January 24th

This race was both mentally and physically tough. The goal of the race is to run 1 mile every 30 minutes for a 24 hour period. You completed a total of 48 miles. Every mile had to be started and completed in that 30 minutes period, and there was no banking miles. I logged a total of 1,776 ft. of elevation gain for the 48 miles, so each loop was negligible. The race began at 7pm on Friday night and ended at 7pm on Saturday night.

I approached the race as an interval workout. So I pushed hard on each mile. Other than hitting a wall miles 39 to 41, I fluctuated in the 7 to 8 minute mile mark. Personally the toughest part of the race was mental. Discomfort was the operative word Friday night. It was cold, windy, and wet from both dew and sweat. In the lull between miles the mind did not stop telling you to quit and go to your warm comfortable home. The 15 minutes of waiting before lining up in the corral for the next mile sometimes it went by very fast, but most times it went by excruciatingly slow. And believe me your mind did not SHUT UP! It took a lot of mental fortitude to stick with the race and keep pushing overnight. There was an amazing burst of energy for every racer at sunrise on Saturday morning. The camp seemed to come alive, I know I did. But Friday night was extremely difficult mentally and physically and I wanted to quit several times! It was also important to stay loose between miles. I alternated between stretching, using a foam roller on my legs, and to just continue walking until the next mile started. The legs still tightened up on me (see comment re: hitting the wall above).

Joe Relaxo 24hr Challenge Night Kit (Left) and Day Kit (Right)

I had a night kit and day kit. Other than underestimating the cold Friday night/Saturday morning, my gear worked perfectly. I started the race in Altra Escalante, changed to Luna Mono Gordo sandals after mile 32, and ended the race in Altra Duos. I supported both of my ambassadors Orange Mud and BibRave by wearing their gear during the race. I rep these two companies because I love their culture and they are true to the runner and adventurer. I encourage everyone to check out their sites when you have time. I prefer real food nutrition on longer races, so I brought black bean wraps, Pringle’s Salt & Vinegar chips, and gummy bears. I had tailwind and water for hydration. My goal was not to just participate but to run strong and I ultimately finished in the top 10% based on my time tracking and knowing who finished ahead of me each loop (official results have not been posted as of this date, but I will update this post when received).

Post Race Picture with my Joe Relaxo 24HR Challenge Medal – January 25th

I recommend this race to anyone wanting to challenge themselves mentally and physically. It will test your toughness as long as you approach it with the intent to run hard every mile. I managed a 9:08 avg. pace for the 48 miles (that includes a celebratory walk for the last mile with friends). I felt very accomplished after this race and will do it again next year, because my medal needs at least two banners…right!?!

Protein Balls!

I’ve been wanting to make a healthy, dense energy food. Fast energy rich snack is very handy to have around when you are training hard. So I decided to make some protein balls. The goal was to make something, tasty, gluten free, vegan and packed with protein. The picture above is the finished product. I know…it looks amazing AND it tasted perfect. These things are very dense. One ball will make you feel nourished and ready for the workout ahead. So here is the recipe!

What you need:

  • 1 1/4 cup of old fashioned oats. I used Trader Joe’s brand Oven Toasted Old Fashioned Organic Oats.
  • 1/2 cup of Orgain Organic Protein – Creamy Chocolate Fudge.
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut.
  • 1/4 cup of Reese’s Peanut Butter chips. You can use chocolate chips if you prefer.
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter. I prefer Jiff Creamy.
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or to taste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Almond-Coconut Milk.

In a large bowl you want to combine the oats, protein powder, coconut, peanut butter chips, chia, flax, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until fully mixed. Fold in the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Mixture will be granular. If mixture is too dry fold in milk as needed. However, you want the mixture to be crumbly rather than creamy.

Roll mixture into bite size balls and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate protein balls for half an hour.

I store mine in the refrigerator in an air tight container. The protein balls keep very well. I have been eating on them for several weeks and they are still fresh and tasty. The great thing about these is you can modify the recipe to your taste. So have fun and eat clean.

RUN LIKE A CHILD

WHY SO SERIOUS…?

The most important lesson of communion with nature was an awareness of the narrow limits of our own existence.

— Alexander Von Humboldt (1769-1859).

As a group of people who spend so many hours outdoors, runners can be a negative lot. Much of that has to do with with our competitive nature and is generally a self directed negativity. Meaning we are much harder on ourselves than necessary. How often do you read or hear a a runner (as a runner I will focus on that sport, but this applies to all endurance athletes such as runners, cyclists, or triathletes) make an excuse for any performance that does not result in a 1st place finish? I read a post on Twitter this morning that did exactly this. This performance neurosis (I just made that up!) plagues amateur and professional runners alike. It may be more prevalent in the amateur group as we attempt to justify our place in the sport or on the race course. I am guilty of it many times.

For such a solitary sport running can be very social in the worst way sometimes. You have an instant metric to compare yourself. Every other racer is running the same course, the same miles, and dealing with the same elements as you. Apps like Strava, which I use and like, are great for encouragement but can also be a source of negativity as we compare our effort against those of someone else on the same segments. We are all familiar with the standard deflections…”I ate the wrong food last night; I drank too much last night; I have a nagging leg injury; I’m getting over a cold; My training has been inconsistent due to work or family; or I need to focus my training more on HR, tempo, fast/slow twitch muscles, or one of the other million variables and tips you read online.” These have all come out of my mouth after a race or even a group run!

Fuck performance neurosis! You cannot allow negative thoughts to occupy your mind rent free. It is easy to be hard on ones self. However, once you have critiqued your actions and corrected any deficiencies, you should expel any lingering negativity as no longer productive to your further development and growth. As a father of two I remember watching my children play in our backyard. I remember them running around until they almost passed out tired where they were standing. But what were they doing? Laughing, smiling, feeling the joy in running. I remember that feeling running track when I was an adolescent and teenager. The pure joy in floating around the track or the cross-country trail. It was fun! It was exhilarating! It felt like freedom from all human constraints! On your next run re-connect with the feeling. Smile. Laugh out loud when your grinding that long run out and your body is begging you to quit. Enjoy the process. Stop being so hard on yourself and be happy with your effort in that moment.

At some point the burdens of life made us too serious. It is time to return to the good old days of experience the joy of running (I am writing this for me as well). Whether you are on the podium, middle of the pack or the very last person, enjoy yourself! Don’t make an excuse for your performance. Just accept where you are and strive to improve daily on your own terms. So the next time you run, whether for training or a race, think childlike.

CHEERS!

Hello, my name is Jeremy and I am a runner.

This is a safe place. I’m going to share my thoughts on running, running gear, food, share some pics and anything you might want to talk about. I am 44 years old and seeking the speed and athleticism of my youth. Please join me on this journey. More to come, but in the meantime please read my first blog post above.

CHEERS!