New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year, Everybody!

This month is a time where gyms get packed to the gills with new memberships, full classes, and extra stinky man/woman sweat.  Don’t believe me?  Go to a Planet Fitness the first week of January.

This past year I took a rather easy approach to my running goals.  I have been running races, no doubt.  But there have been no goals, no focus, and, what’s worst of all: No (for the most part) running between races.

This lackadaisical approach, to half marathons, in particular, is most definitely ill-advised.  Train, train, train, that is the only way to get better.  So imagine my surprise when I saw my finishing time for the Philadelphia Half Marathon on November 23, 2014:

 BRANDON WEI, M, ROSLYN, NY  AGE: 26 CHIP TIME: 1:51:48

At this point I can relay that number in my sleep.  It was a personal record.  WITHOUT TRAINING.  The last time I had posted a time below my standard 1:56+ time was in 2012, running a 1:52:** for the Disneyland Half–and in that half, I was in the midst of Marathon Training (for a more in-depth explanation about that whole fiasco, feel free to ask me).

So, for the remainder of 2014, I chillaxed and enjoyed a month and a half of eating and drinking, not really doing much in terms of exercise, once spending an entire day snacking and watching all three Hobbit films (I kid you not).  I came to the conclusion that for 2015, I needed a turnaround.

ohboy

I just signed up with Coach Patrick Hammond of Educated Running for the second time.  I have seen him mentor a great number of friends, including Carrie, to some amazing times.  I had even attempted to have him coach me previously, though the failure is largely due to my lack of commitment and focus.  This year, however, it’s for real.

My goal: make or break 1:45 for the Philadelphia Half Marathon.  And also, keep this blog updated regularly.

I also resolve to keep this site as a way of holding myself accountable.  The reason for this is that I am now also going to be involved, to a certain extent, as a mentor for other runners, and so I hope to set an example.

Here’s to a kickass 2015.

Advertisements

Forgive Me, Coach, for I Have Sinned…For Over a Month

At 10:00 pm on November 9, 2013, I ran my fourth half marathon in my entire life.  For millions of real runners, this isn’t a major accomplishment.  But for me, I considered it a pretty awesome accomplishment.  This was my 9th Disney Race, my 2nd Coast-to-Coast race in a row.  I was the shit.

I am on here to confess, though, a horrible sin.  I have a race in less than a month, and I have not trained.  

This may be my first race where I have not trained, and yet at the same time, I am totally happy.  Why?  Because I know I can do it.  I may not finish it FAST, but I know I can do it.  How do I know?  

I have a crutch.  An Iorek Byrnison crutch.  

You see, Iorek Byrnison is a talking, epic warrior-bear from The Golden Compass, a novel of a parallel world where a lot of weird things happen–talking animals, people with dæmons (their souls exist as animal avatars), and everything is powered by amber…weird shit.  Anyways, at one point Iorek has an epic battle against a larger, more powerful bear, and he is beaten to near death, except for a few things.  First, the large bear is slow, fat, and lazy as a pampered king bear.  Second, the large bear’s armor (weird shit) is made of gold and is strictly decor, while Iorek’s armor–while ugly–is made of durable, tempered iron.

Thirdly?  Iorek is crouching, leaning his hind leg on a jutted stone on the ground.  Doesn’t sound like much, but consider the 100-meter dash, where a sprinter at start rests his feet–you guessed it–on his/her starting block.  Iorek has a massive dynamite of potential energy just ready to massively explode.  And he does.

I digressed.  My crutch (I’m hoping) is the fact that I’ve been conditioning with Insanity.  This time, after YEARS (I mean, I’ve had the videos since 2008) of waiting, starting and stopping, putting things off…I am finally dedicating 60 days to getting this goddamned workout done.  I’ve 3 weeks left, which means that I will be ready by race day on February 22 for the Princess Half Marathon.  But I have yet to get my feet on the asphalt.

It’s just.  So.  Hard.  

 

Add 3 Cups of Water. Simmer For 15 Miles. Stir to Taste

Beer is NOT water, by the way…unless it’s after a workout.

Hydration is a human necessity that is so fundamental that it boggles me when I hear about the latest person suffering from heatstroke.  Thank God that the latest heat wave that struck us has passed.

Now that the summer season is nearing its end, it seems almost redundant to post this, but hydrating during training is something that still remains perfectly relevant even in this cooler (relatively speaking…it’s still fucking hot) climate.

Brooks posted this shameless promotion great list of tips that should be key during the midway phase of marathon season.  Get your fuel belts and water bottles full, you crazy bastards!  Nothing’s worse than dying passing out and waking up in Heaven Hell nonexistence the hospital because of something as mundane as not having enough water!

Measure Your Sweat

Each runner needs to be treated as an individual, but there are some averages, such as sodium loss per liter, that will be useful in putting a hydration plan together.  Check out this simple test which can help you better understand your sweat rates and sodium losses:

1.  Weigh yourself before and after a run without clothes on. For most people, losing two or more pounds is too much. Keep in mind that a 2% dehydration or more impacts performance. A loss of 5% and greater can become very dangerous. For a 150-pound runner, this is a 3 pound loss for 2% dehydration and a 7.5 pound loss for 5%. To determine your sweat rate, perform a sweat test:

  • Take your “no clothing” body weight before a one-hour moderate intensity bike or run.
  • Record the amount of liquid consumed during workout, and weigh yourself again after the workout.
  • Calculate the weight change and remember to add in the amount of liquid consumed during the workout.
  • Every pound is equal to 16 oz of fluid.

2.  Are your training clothes suddenly white after a workout? Does your face and body feel “crusty?” Have you had muscle cramping in hot weather? If so, then you probably have a higher concentration of sodium in your sweat relative to the “average” person.

  • Average sweat rate is typically 1 – 1.5L of fluid per hour (32 – 48oz), and 1,000 – 1,500mg of sodium per hour while running (a bit less when cycling).
  • Sweat rate will depend on several factors including environmental conditions (temperature, humidity), genetics, and the athletic conditioning of the athlete (use the sweat test above to help you cue in to your specifics).
  • Most people’s sweat contains about 500mg of sodium per 16oz. Very salty sweaters can have up to 1,200mg per 16oz of sweat.

Understanding where you may fall on the sodium concentration scale, combined with understanding your fluid losses can help better estimate your sodium needs during training and racing. For example, if your sweat rate was determined to be 32oz/hour, and you estimate your sodium loss to be 500mg/16oz, your sodium need is 1,000mg/hour.

Most athletes vastly underestimate their sodium needs. Those who have experienced the sloshy gut or muscle cramping likely fall into this category! Consider sodium supplements and fueling products that contain more sodium than most products in addition to electrolyte replacement beverages.
You can read more from the article here for other tips.  Haven’t measured my sweat yet.  Will have to check this out.

Another suggestion: Hammer Nutrition has some seriously awesome multivitamins, powders, and gels that can stave back fatigue, cramps, and dehydration.  I’ve been using Endurolytes, but they have a ton of other helpful nutrition that you should check out.

Wrap Tightly to Skin to Trap Moisture, Bake at 98 Degrees

“Running in place will never get you the same results as running from a lion.”

And THANK GOD that didn’t happen today, because I probably would’ve been eaten in a heartbeat.  The weather was at a sweltering 98F, and the entire time I was starting to glaze off.

Continue reading

It Was a Dark and Stormy Run

Sorry for the delayed post.  I haven’t been on my computer in ages.  But my new job is awesome and keeping me busy, and I actually HAVE been running.  I actually did a 5k on Saturday and I am proud to report that I finally broke 25 minutes.  I am now in the big leagues.

I have just also learned how to make custom workouts for my Forerunner 410.  What makes this awesome is that I can name my workouts something like this:

Don’t be a bitch.

Continue reading

First Week Blues on a Memorial Day Weekend

So right now I am following a training regimen based on the research and experiences by world renowned (at least to me in the past 5 months) running coach Jack Daniels (I swear, that’s his name).  It’s a pretty straightforward formula: when you’re not killing yourself twice a week as Daniels scheduled it, you are either running easy for the other 4 days or resting the only one.  Nothing to it, and it’s a nice way to build up my miles and look cool doing it.

I have also discovered a brand new, delicious (relatively…it doesn’t taste like, say camel turd) brand of that extra nutrition that we all need.  It’s called Amazing Grass (again, I swear, that’s what it’s called), and it is 100% organic.  To me it tastes like an unsweetened variation on Starbucks’ Green Tea Frappes/Lattes, with the consistency of wheat germ.  It’s not that bad, and tastes a helluva lot better than, say, Muscle Milk.  I think the website provides a pretty stringent nutritional facts.  That accompanied with a nice multivitamin should give your body that nice diverse array of minerals, protein, and fibers that your body needs.  What makes Amazing Grass so awesome is that one serving of that shit savory goodness boasts a day’s worth of fruits and vegetables.  How about dem apples?

A disappointing fact: I ran nil miles (ZERO) for this weekend.  My defense?  Friday I had to (HAD TO) go to the mall to shop.  Saturday was my mom’s birthday, and Sunday I went exploring Manhattan.  

Manhattan was actually awesome: a friend of mine and I did something called Geocaching, a sweet activity where people register things called “caches” all around specified locations.  The goal?  discover the caches using the descriptions and hints as clues.  Oh and if you have a cell, your GPS.  It’s really cool, and we went exploring spots that we’d never expected to find before.  It was also an opportunity to grab some nice Instagram shots.  Lots of fun, we did about 7.5 miles of walking.  

Couple all that and some immediate drama on whether or not I was actually doing the New York Marathon this year and you have yourself a conundrum.  But have no fear, readers no one in particular, I will be doing it, and kicking ass.

This afternoon I ran about 5.56 miles at 60 minutes in my Riders.  Easy runs, nothing to them really.

And with that I bid you adieu.  Fried Race, served.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ING New York City Marathon

Off the bat I must confess that though I run a lot, and though I am one of those guys that wear extremely short runner splits and singlets, I am far from a runner.  If anything, I run because I’m not much good at other sports.  Not that I’m much good at running either — my fastest 5k on record is 25:45, 5 miler at 40:54, and marathon at 04:28:46.

So when I went on my online bank account to find out that New York Road Runners stole my money accepted my lottery registration for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, I knew that this was more than just a usual sign up.

For one, my family will actually be able to see this.  Not that they didn’t want to in my past events, I’m sure.  But as the New York Marathon is one of the highest profiled running events in the WORLD, I can’t exactly just quit halfway through walk half the route.  Now that I know that I can actually DO a marathon, the purpose for this year’s marathon training is to actually DO WELL on a marathon.  And what better place to start than New York.

So follow my adventures, reader, subscribe if you want.  Read my sufferings and indignities as I train.  I won’t be able to write every day (maybe), but I will post my musings, my observations, and photos along the way.  Thanks for joining.

And while we’re at it, I am also doing the Disneyland Half Marathon this Veteran’s day to earn my 2012 Coast-to-Coast Medal with Disney, and that link is for those who want to register through charity.   I’m fundraising for my race entry with Team Jake of the A-T Cure Team.  Anyone who wants to help me raise money please donate to that cause.  They’re an amazing group of people and I would be so happy for your help.