Thursday, December 17, 2009

Long Overdue Product(s) Review

Two months ago I received a couple of free samples of Pom Wonderful products. One was a bottle of their POM Kiwi Juice, and the other a bottle of their POM Nectarine juice. I drank them at that time, and as I was going through my old e-mails today realized that I never wrote a product review about them. So I'm two months late telling you about these products. OOPS!
I won't go into details about the nutritional info, but rather give you the link below so that you can read about the products and their nutritional info.

First, I must say that I accept free samples of products such as POM Wonderful with the understanding that I will always give an unbiased review, and also not try to convince any of my readers to purchase the product. That being said, I truly enjoyed both juices. They are very tasty, and I feel consuming them good knowing that they don't contain any added sugars, preservatives or colors. The only negative aspect in my opinion is the 150 calories per 8 oz. bottle. However they also contain zero grams of fat. I have also tried their pomegranate and cherry flavors previously and also liked their taste as well. Let me not forget their three flavors of iced coffee: Chocolate, Cafe Au Lait, and Vanilla. I was fortunate enough to receive the chocolate and Cafe Au Lait freebies during the hot summer. They were delicious ice cold on a hot day. The sweet thing about the chocolate flavor is that it doesn't have any grams of fat, and also has 175 mg of natural caffeine per 10.5 oz. bottle. However, the 190 calories are a bit high in my opinion. It will definitely "kick start" you when you need a boost.
So, there's my honest, unbiased POM Wonderful product info. I've also noticed that they have bars, pills, and shots. If I receive any of these from POM Wonderful (hint hint Pom Wonderful) I'll be sure to pass along the info. on them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let There Be (More) Light

Yesterday's Run: Road. 46 degrees. 3.6 miles; Splits: 8:51; 8:47; 8:08; 4:45; 30:31; 8:28/mile average pace.

Today's Run: Road. 30 degrees. 4.25 miles; Splits: 9:04; 8:51; 8:43; 8:25; 2:01; 37:04; 8:43/mile average pace.

I'm so psyched. It's FINALLY happened. We the people of Connecticut have started experiencing a later sunset. Yes, during the next week we actually gain 3 more minutes of sunset. Wow, an entire extra 3 minutes before sunset. A month from now we will have gained 25 minutes of sunlight. Even though I received my Duravision Pro Reflective Armband with 4 LED Lights today from RoadRunner Sports today and wore it during my run, I can't wait to pack it away. Can you tell I'm not a winter person?
Well, two more runs on the road, close to home. I do miss the linear trail, but I don't know if all the snow has melted off it from last Wednesday's snowstorm, and of course it's not lit so I don't have time to run it during the week. My still unnamed and probably never to be named Garmin Forerunner 305 (See December 9 post)and I are definitely BFF right now. We go out and run about and as long as we arrive home in 30 minutes or more, we're both happy. I'm not sure that probably never to be named Garmin Forerunner 305 was being truthful sure didn't feel like I ran an 8:08 mile 3 split. But hey, who am I to argue? Anytime weekdays that all my splits are under 9 minutes and I run at least 30 minutes, life is good. My simple goal this time of the year is to get out at least 2 days during the week and run for at least 30 minutes, preferably before dark. If I break 9 minutes per mile that's even better. I'm hoping to run more miles during the weekend, weather permitting. So overall, if I run 4 or 5 days a week, for at least 30 minutes a run, preferably with split times of less than 9 minutes, than I'll be happy. There's no pressure for me to perform right now. I don't have any races in mind until at least March. Plus Connecticut weather is too unpredictable this time of the year, and it's the holidays, so why stress out? I'm continuing to run negative splits every time, so that's a bonus. Even though I only ran 4 1/4 miles today, my legs and right knee were letting me know that tomorrow's a day of rest. Friday will probably also be a rest day, since my daughter and I are decorating our Christmas tree and home. That should allow me to be well rested for a longer Saturday run, providing the beer and pizza on Friday don't convince me otherwise. Time to go catch up on what all of you are doing..

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christopher Martin's Christmas Run For Children 5K Race Report

Splits: 8:00; 7:55; 7:49; :46; 24:30 (7:53/M).

First off, how the heck did I run a 22:57 last year? Second, how the heck did I run a 24:30 this year?!! UGH, I felt good, but I think I "babied" myself too much. I don't have any kind of a great race report. It is my favorite 5K race ever, as you'll soon read why. It was a relatively flat course out and back from Christopher Martin's Restaurant in New Haven. The course was new, and it was OK, but I do like the course from the previous years better. No excuses though, the new course didn't slow me down. I slowed me down. I worked up a good sweat, and was actually overdressed for a cool Connecticut day. I could have worn shorts, but I chose not to since it was 19 degrees outside when my daughter and I left my house. My daughter, a co-worker and I all ran the race. We started together, but since I was given permission from the two of them to run my own race, I did. So the quality father-daughter occurred after the race during the post race party in the bar area of the restaurant. First I "established the base," meaning I ate three hot dogs and a bagel in order to have some food in my stomach before heading inside to consume my share of the 15 kegs of free beer that was available. Once inside, I had the important responsibility of passing cups and pitchers of beer back to the other patrons. That's what happens when you're tall and finish 437 of 1609 finishers. So as much as I've whined about my time, I still finished before 75% of the runners. The post race party also has a men's and women's competition with categories such as tallest, best tattoo, best sports bra...well, you get the idea. It gets pretty crazy as hundreds of runners are packed together like sardines in a small bar consuming 15 kegs of free beer (Thank-you New England Brewing Company)for 3 hours while cheering on the competitors. No, I didn't get up on the bar to compete. I wasn't drunk and stupid enough. Matter of fact, I drank responsibly as you can tell since I'm writing this today. :-) P.S. Note to self: Don't attempt to add a race to the "Previous Races" category in your blog when you're tired. Otherwise you may accidentally delete all of your previous race results. Too late....^$#@%$%

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday Dedication Runs

Today's Run: Road. 32 degrees. 4.1 miles; Splits: 9:18; 8:46; 8:38; 8:29; :46; 35:57; 8:46/mile average pace.

I've decided to dedicate my Saturday runs to those persons who are unable to run due to injury. Today's run was dedicated to Lisa, of Lisa has a fracture in one leg and is unable to run for a while. She always has kind words to say whenever I post my latest run. So it was my pleasure to dedicate today's run to her.
After reading Meg's post about running hills, I decided that I'd challenge myself with some difficult hills today. Once again it was the all too familiar almost winter day, with the temperature being 32 degrees and the cold north wind blowing. I preplanned my run with the first half being run into the wind, and the second half being helped with the wind at my back. The course I set up had two tough hills, and I ran down one hill and up the next. So of course after I turned around and headed towards my home I was also faced with a downhill run followed by the uphill run. The majority of my run was on a main route (Route 10). I always wonder if I'll run by someone who knows me and thinks it's a good idea to beep their horn, thereby scaring the sh*t out of me. I also think that at least half of the people driving by think I'm nuts for running in the freezing cold. Of course I always hope that there's the one or two people who may actually be motivated enough by my running out in the elements to become runners themselves. OK, probably not, but I can dream, can't I?! I really do enjoy running up hills. I think having long legs helps. Plus there's the extra feeling of accomplishment once you reach the top. As you can tell by reading this, my run didn't really have any earth shattering excitements or exciting elements to it. On second thought it did. I was able to run today for Lisa. Lisa, here's to hoping your fracture heals quickly and that you come back stronger than ever. If anyone knows of someone I can dedicate next Saturday's run to, please send me their blog link or their name. Tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. I will be running in my favorite 5K of the year: The Christopher Martin's Run For Children 5K. From the website: "Our Mission - We hope to make Christmas a little brighter for needy children in the New Haven area by giving them not only a toy, but the message of love from friends and neighbors they have never met. Over the years, our race has given over 40,000 toys to children." The post race party has free food and 5 kegs of free beer available. If I don't post a race report for a few days I'm sure you'll understand. :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm a Negative (Splits) Person

Yesterday's Run: Road. 35 degrees. (Wind chill very cold!) 4.1 miles; Splits: 8:56; 8:52; 8:29; 8:20; :48; 35:32; 8:37/mile average pace.

(First, I have accepted the fact that it's winter and my new running shoes will get dirty and wet. Thank-you blogging buddies for busting my ass and making me suck it up and be ok with this. I love you all)
Here comes a familiar theme. I didn't want to run yesterday. I'm a weather wimp. I don't like running in the cold, although if my times continue to improve like they have been, I may change my mind. I rushed home after work yesterday and quickly changed into my running attire. The nice thing about living 7 miles from where I work and getting out at 3 p.m. is that I can get home in time to get out and run before the ridiculously early 4:20 p.m. sunset. Another week and a half to go before we start getting a later sunset, but who's counting? (I am). Anyhow, it was 35 degrees outside and windy!!! Yes, it was windy with three exclamation points. I convinced logical left brain that it was going to be ok to go out and run since 1) I was dressed warmly; 2) I was only going to run for half an hour; and 3) Once a mile or so passed, I would warm up and all would be well. Left brain agreed it was alright to run. So out the door I went. Two minutes into my run, I was about ready to turn and head back home. As I reached the crest of a hill I was met by a very cold north wind that was blowing strong. I don't usually have difficulty breathing during cold weather runs, but this wind took my breath away. I was gasping as the cold air reached my lungs. I quickly took a strategic left turn down a side street so that the wind was no longer blowing directly into my face. The quarter mile detour worked. As I reached mile one, still unnamed Garmin beeped and displayed an 8:56. Anytime I start with a sub 9 minute mile I'm encouraged, since my mile splits generally improve once I've warmed up. A left turn back onto the road I had left meant the cold wind was again in my face. At that point I was warmed up, so the wind was actually a plus. I wandered off the street a few times to add on mileage, figuring I'd get to the mile and a half turnaround point that much quicker and closer to home. As I reached 2 miles, still unnamed Garmin barely beeped (it was cold) and an 8:52 appeared. At that point I was feeling so good that I decided to up my run to 4 miles. I was headed back home with the wind at my back and feeling great. I was a running machine, and couldn't wait to see my mile 3 split. Another barely audible gasp from still unnamed Garmin, and an 8:29 split appeared. "No way" I said out loud! It had become another effortless run, and an uphill and a downhill, across the one-way bridge, left onto my street I completed my 4.1 miles in front of my next door neighbor's house in 35:25. My last mile was an 8:20; last tenth of a mile in 48 seconds; overall average split per mile was an 8:37. As I said earlier, I may just become a cold weather running addict if my times continue to improve. Good luck to any of you out there running races this weekend. I'm doing a 5K on Sunday. I promise you that race report and the after race party report will be one worth waiting for. I'm going to try to get a quick start and go for a PR. I don't know if that will be possible since it's a new course this year which I'm not familiar with, it goes along narrow streets, and about 1500 runners will be running it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Garmin Needs a Name!

Yesterday's Run: Road. 35 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:10; 9:06; 8:46; 8:30; 35:32; 8:53/mile average pace.
(First, I'm happy to report that my wife found my missing glove-in our garage. DOH!)
I was almost a "no-show" for yesterdays run. It was dark outside by the time I put on my running attire, but I couldn't back out since I was dressed and ready to run. (Take that logical left brain). I don't like running when it's dark, as I've whined before. I can't see very well with my coke bottle glasses lenses, especially when cars drive by. So I decided to run the same road route I had run the other day. It starts and ends at my home, and involves running on fairly well-lit sidewalks and roads. It's a new route I created by just randomly running out, around, and back to my home. That's why I love my Garmin. I can run wherever I want, and it tracks the mileage. Speaking of my Garmin, I've decided he/she needs a name. Other bloggers refer to their Garmins by name, and I just call mine a "Garmin." I feel as if I'm doing my Garmin an injustice by not calling it by a particular name. So please post your name suggestions in the comments section. Thanks! Back to yesterday's run. I took Monday off because I was feeling ass and leg aches and pains after my weekend runs. My theory is that running in my old shoes (because I didn't want to get my new shoes wet and ruin them) caused me the pains. They're more suitable as casual walking shoes now with the 550+ miles of running I put on them. Problem is. it's winter time, and we now have 3 inches or so of snow on the ground thanks to today's storm, and I'm not going to ruin my new running shoes during the winter. So I may have to deal with some aches and pains during my winter runs, or take a chance and run with my new shoes and hope my dehumidifier dries them out quickly. In case you don't already know, a dehumidifier is the perfect way to dry your shoes. I learned that at a running store. Anyhow, I didn't expect to run that well yesterday and wasn't excited about going out in the dark 35 degrees night. My first mile, as usual, was slow. BUT, it felt good. It was an effortless slower than I wanted to run mile 1. Unnamed Garmin beeped and displayed a 9:10, which actually surprised me since I was expecting a sub 9 minute mile since I was feeling good. I figured that the mainly uphill start was what slowed me down, but again, I was running smoothly. Mile 2 was more downhill, and I was still running smoothly and effortlessly. A sub 9 minute mile 2 was about to happen...NOT! Unnamed Garmin beeped, and now displayed a 9:06. Huh?! I turned and headed back the same way I had just run, and was now not only feeling "smooth," but warmed up as well. OK, so it had taken 2 miles in the 35 degrees temperature for me to warm-up. Fair enough. I ran uphill, turned the corner, up a slightly uphill street, took a left, and now had a nice downhill sidewalk run. I was now experiencing the perfect runner's feeling of being warm and cozy, legs and arms moving in rhythm, and breathing well. Plus my 70's tunes were blaring in my ears. Life was good, and I just KNEW mile 3 was going to be a good one. Mile 3: 8:46. Sweet! Feeling better than ever, I picked up the pace for my final mile. A right turn, across Route 10 (thank goodness no cars to dodge), down route 10, right onto Stony Hill Road for an up and down run. Left at the stop sign onto Country Club Road, wave to the Cox Cable guy up on the telephone pole and the police officer on the ground directing traffic, avoid uneven sidewalk obstacles, right onto Round Hill Road, conquer the steep 100 yard incline, turn the corner, and sprint downhill the last 100 yards to my home. Final mile: 8:30. That's more like it. Overall, a great run, and an even greater runner's high. It's runs like that that really make me appreciate how lucky I am to be a runner. OK, just a friendly reminder to help me name my Garmin. By the way, I've named my TomTom "Kathy." It's named after my wife, who, like my TomTom, likes to tell me what to do! If you're reading this Kathy, I love you! :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hookers Couldn't Stop Me From Running

Today's Run: Road. 37 degrees. 4.1 miles; Splits: 9:15; 8:49; 8:50; 8:50; :45; 36:29; 8:53/mile average pace.

Yesterday's Run: Linear Trail. 38 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:19; 8:54; 8:48; 8:28; 35:29; 8:52/mile average pace.

Friday night was Hooker night. Yup, I had some Hookers and my wife knew about it. Matter of fact, she was with me. Perhaps I should explain. My wife Kathy, my daughter Stephanie, her boyfriend, her boyfriend's mom, and I went to the Thomas Hooker Brewery. For $10 we were able to sample all the beer we wanted from 5 to 8 p.m. We even got a cool Thomas Hooker mug to keep. Fortunately, my wonderful wife volunteered to be the designated driver. I'm proud to say that two of my co-workers and I are featured for the 12-4-09 Open House photos. If you're curious, check it out here: Click on the Open House 12-4-09 photos, and I'm in the big one/first one. That's me on the right proudly displaying my "growler" full of their Nor'Easter Winter Lager. Needless to say, I woke up Saturday morning knowing that my run was going to be a little more challenging than normal. I chose to run on the Farmington Canal Trail, which is mainly flat, as those of you who regularly read my blog know. I dedicated my run to Lisa since she's injured and unable to run for a while. The first mile was a struggle, and even though I was alone and yelling encouraging words to myself (Yes, I really did that), I still had a 9:19 split time, which didn't surprise me. I was happy I was running and not burping beer (gross, I know!), and the 38 degree temperature actually felt good. After mile 1 I was feeling pretty good so I picked up the pace. Mile 2 was an 8:54 time, and mile 3 even better at 8:48. I was psyched that I was running my splits below 9 minutes. I decided to really push myself the last mile, and at the 3 1/2 mile point I started listening to Coldplay's "Viva La Vida," which Lisa had recommended I listen to during my NY City Marathon run. I gave it my all, and my last mile was an 8:28. So overall I had a better than expected run with negative splits with an average pace of 8:52. Unfortunately somehow, somewhere I lost one of my running gloves after I completed my run.
Today's run was 3 miles on the roads, and the last 1.1 miles on the trail. It was only 37 degrees outside and the roads and trail were wet from the dusting of snow we received last night. I hadn't gotten a lot of sound sleep because of not having power from 7:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. and staying up with my son (long story). Anyhow, as much as I didn't feel like running, I did. Once again I started with a slow first mile time (9:15), but was consistent once I warmed up. My last 3 miles were 8:49, 8:50, and 8:50. It really wasn't as effortless as I would have liked, but I was happy to have gotten myself outside and run. Amazing how writing a blog provides incentive to get my ass outside and run. I didn't wear my new running shoes this weekend because I didn't want to risk getting them too wet and dirty. I guess that means that I won't be wearing them too much during the winter, at least not until I officially get them dirty and wet. Have I really become a running shoes wuss?! By the way, I'm behind in reading your blogs. I promise to catch up in the next few days.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Heat Wave

Today's Run: Linear Trail. 60 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 8:47; 8:42; 8:31; 8:14. 34:14; 8:33/mile average pace.

Today's running weather was an early Christmas gift. The normal high temperature in Connecticut for December is 42 degrees. After receiving nearly 2 inches of rain this morning, the sun came out and it was 60 degrees when I hit the linear trail for my run. I was wearing shorts on December 3rd but feeling like I was overdressed since I had worn a short sleeved tech shirt underneath a long sleeved tech shirt. Once I was running and warmed up, which was quickly today, the two tech shirts became too much warmth. However, I was able to have another nearly effortless run. Each mile became easier to run, and I'm finally feeling as if my running mojo has permanently returned. Each mile split was less than the previous mile's, and my last mile was an 8:14. I'm thinking about the possibility of trying for a PR in the 5K race on December 13th. The course is flat, but it's a new course for the race. Whether or not I go for a PR will be determined by how good of a start I get, and how easy it is to run with and around 1500 other runners. As I've said before, it's more about the post race party with the race anyhow. Once again I will keep you in suspense about that until it gets closer to race day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bigger is Better

Today's Run: Road. 48 degrees. 3.6 miles; Splits: 9:16; 8:57; 8:51; 5:08; 32:12; 8:56/mile average pace.

Yes indeed, bigger is better. Today my new running shoes arrived, and they're bigger and better than my old ones. Now that I have those of you with dirty minds attention, I'll explain. I bought the same brand and style of shoes: Asics GT-2140. I ran about 550 miles in my old pair, including two marathons. They were a size 12 and always felt a little tight in the toe area. Well, I found out why when I placed my order at RoadRunner Sports. Their website says to order a half a size larger, meaning I should have been wearing size 12 1/2 all along. Oops! No wonder I had "Purple Toe Syndrome." So of course I just had to go for a run today, even though I was originally planning to take the day off. My goal was to run for about half an hour, or around 3 1/2 miles. I decided to run on the dirt path that cuts through the woods 2/10 of a mile from my home. It's used by the local high school as part of their cross country course, but I had never run on it before. Well, it was enjoyable at first, then came the rocky, uphill, suitable for a mountain goat part of the trail. It was even more difficult because parts of it were covered by leaves, and I was afraid of turning my ankle. I must also mention that at two different points it went off in another direction. I wasn't sure which trail to follow, but decided that the orange spray paint on the ground along the way must have been the path to follow. Where was the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz when I needed him? On second thought, he wouldn't have been much help either! I finally found my way out of the woods and headed to a main road. The woods and rocks slowed me down and winded me enough so that my first mile was a 9:16. I got my wind back, and felt stronger the last 2.6 miles. I was pleasantly surprised to break 9 minute miles too: 8:57 and 8:51. It seems the key to me running well in the cold is to get warmed up. Once I am, it becomes automatic and pretty much effortless. Just like the good 'ol days. I'll have to make sure I do some pre-race running before the Christopher Martin's 5K Race on December 13th. Although the main point of me entering that race is the post race party. More about that in another post.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bad Run, Good Run

Sunday's "Bad" Run: Road. 53 degrees. 5.25 miles; Splits: 9:17; 9:19; 9:41; 9:13; 9:08; 2:05. 48:13; 9:16/mile average pace.

Today's "Good" Run: Road. 37 degrees. 4.1 miles; Splits: 9:32; 9:02; 9:00; 8:31; :48; 36:53; 8:59/mile average pace.

Sunday's run could be called "When Good Intentions Go Bad." I thought it would be a good idea to run 4 miles or so on the road and finish the last mile on the linear trail. It was a strategy that I've used before to trick left brain into allowing me to do some hillwork without freaking out. I decided to run a route that involves running a gradual uphill first mile, followed by a 175 foot long, gradual incline. Once I reached the top I would have a level mile 1 to 2, followed by a mostly downhill run miles 2 to 4 to the linear trail. My reward was to be the final scenic, flat mile on the trail. Problem was, brain forgot to inform legs about the game plan. Legs were not happy about the hillwork. It was a struggle to reach the top. Once I did, legs had already had enough. I figured legs would cooperate with a long, gradual downhill miles 2 to 3. Nope. Legs recruited bladder to remind me that drinking 16 ounces of an energy drink before a 5 mile run is not a good ides. Sure, it gave me the wake-up call I needed, but the time had arrived for relief. So a 30 second delay was in order to take care of business, and a 9:41 mile 3 split was my punishment. I even ran a fun lap around the nice and soft surfaced Cheshire High School track between miles 3 and 4 to try to bribe legs to give me some help. Again, there was no forgiveness in legs for the difficult already completed uphill part of the run. I was extremely happy when my run finally ended after 48 minutes and 43 seconds. My average pace per mile was a snail like 9:16. UGH.
Yesterday was a day of rest due to the rain and me having to work at Weight Watchers. Today I arrived home from work just before sunset, which is now at 4:28 p.m. here. I forced myself to dress warmly and get my ass outside in the 37 degree temperature to run. I don't like running in the cold, and I also despise running when it's dark. My agreement with left brain was to run a nice and easy 3 miler. Hey, it was dark and cold, so I HAD to cut a deal with left brain. I went outside and immediately noticed the bright full moon that helped illuminate the sidewalk. I decided I was going to run random streets around my neighborhood, and keep an eye on my Garmin so that I could finish my 3 miles as close to my home as possible. The first mile was mainly uphill, and my split was a very slow 9:32. Running in long running pants and a long sleeved running shirt felt so weird. My body and my legs felt heavy (Sound familiar?!), and my gloved hands weren't warming up. To make matters worse, the side streets I was on didn't have streetlights. I don't see very well in the dark, and uneven sidewalks certainly didn't help matters. Now I remember why I dislike this time of the year. I felt better around the mile and a quarter mark, and a feeling of effortless running returned. I haven't had that feeling in over a month. I was warmed up, the cool night felt great, my music was loud and rockin', and the full moon was beautiful. I felt so great that I decided to run for an extra mile. Mile 2 split time was a 9:02, mile 3, 9 minutes even. Mile 4 was 61 seconds faster than mile 1 (8:31). Overall, a great run of 4.1 miles and an average split time of 8:59. I haven't averaged under 9 minutes per mile in over two weeks, so I'm hoping my mojo has returned with the cooler weather.