Canal Run 10K/Burpee Recap: Lessons Learned

Another race run, more lessons learned. Honestly, every time I go out there and run a race I learn more about myself, my body, and what to/not to do. If I can save someone having to learn some of this stuff the hard way, “So THIS Is Fitness…” has done its job. Saturday was the Canal Run For The Troops 10K and the Burpee Challenge that I issued (video is in this article!) – let’s get right down to it and go over how it went, what I definitely did wrong to screw myself, and what I’m going to do next time to save myself a LOT of pain and frustration.

SO – Canal Run For The Troops 10K…that was FUN! The course was nice – a flat course along the Cape Cod Canal. The weather started out kind of so-so, but it ended up getting sunny and being a nice day! For those who missed it in previous articles, the event was put on by Cape Cod Cares 4 The Troops – and everyone’s entry fee went to help pay for postage for care packages for our troops overseas. Considering my “little” cousin Joshua is out there putting his life on the line, I can appreciate what they’re doing here.

This race was special for a couple of reasons as well – for one, it was the day after my 25th birthday, and as soon as it was over I went home and enjoyed the company of some family, friends, and Delta Chi brothers I haven’t gotten to see in a long time. On top of that…MEGAN RAN WITH ME! And by “ran with me” I mean she was running the race. We laugh about it, but I do have a tendency to zoom away. It’s nice, though, because I get to see her cross the finish (she’s really not all that far behind me, and I’m always damn proud of her).

As far as results – I came in at 55:51 (RunKeeper tells me I was doing 8:46 min/mile). I was 37th out of 89 10K runners and 3rd of 4 in my age group (2nd of 4 in my age group was a full minute/mile faster – I don’t feel bad about that). I have to say…overall I think I could’ve done better. I’m a little disappointed because I have made better time in my own neighborhood with much more hill. I know I did a number of things wrong that, in the end, screwed me. I broke my own rules! I find that ironic considering I posted an article about race beginner do’s and don’t’s right before I broke exactly those rules.

SO – How did I screw up?

For one, I didn’t run at all during the week leading up to the race. I did a 10 mile run on sunday and the next run I did was the 10K on Saturday. Big Mistake. I should’ve gone for a couple, stayed loose, and kept my body ready.

What else? I didn’t eat enough the day/night before. My body wasn’t fueled up enough – no energy stores! When I was pushing and demanding my body to give more, there wasn’t much gas in the tank to do it with!

I didn’t hydrate enough the day before. I keep talking about how important hydrating is and I keep falling short when it counts the most. Before the Falmouth Road Race I hydrated the crap out of myself – I had to run to the restroom constantly. This time? Not so much.

I didn’t re-fuel mid-race. I got my body used to getting some fuel around mile 3 or 4 when I’m pushing hard on a 6+ mile run. A Gu gel or an energy block or something. I didn’t do that this time. That was a big mistake – looking at my mile splits and remembering how I felt…those last three miles suffered greatly. I was working much harder and achieving a slower time. My first mile felt effortless and I had an 8:04/mi split…my last mile I felt like I was pushing to the limits and I got 8:38/mi split…

SO – what did I learn? Follow my own advice and don’t get lazy pre-race. You have to maintain your body and keep it prepped and ready. If you don’t, your performance will suffer. I DID have fun, don’t get me wrong…I’m just a little disappointed because I REALLY wanted to break 50 minutes. That’s ok…I might be able to do it next Sunday in the Firefighter’s Memorial 10K.

What About The Burpee Challenge?!
In order to kick-start fundraising for The V Foundation I issued a challenge – for every $5 donated by the time I finished the race I would do one burpee (see the original challenge here). By the time I finished, $135 had been donated, equaling 26 burpees. I decided since it was ONLY 26…I would do full rather than half burpees. I regret this choice. You can’t see it in the video, but Megan shook her head at me when I said I was doing fulls…I didn’t get why then, but I do now. As you watch be aware that – yes, I know – my form starts to suck around #16. That’s what I get for doing 26 full burpees after killing myself on a 10K.

And after that nonsense I went home and did a T25 double workout – Lower Focus then Ab Intervals. YIKES!

There is still time to donate! Please check out the “Do It For The V” article to read more about what The V Foundation is and why I’m fundraising. If you’d like to make a contribution, please visit my page at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/SoTHISIsFitness/ccm13. I thank you in advance for your contribution!

I’d like to thank my sponsors on this race for helping make it possible! MOCEAN Cape Cod was the Bodywork Health & Wellness, Anytime Fitness (Falmouth/Mashpee) and Innerglow Yoga for their help and support! Please visit the Sponsors page to check them out and the rest of my sponsors as well!

Don’t forget to check out the Facebook page and follow the Twitter for more updates (only full articles go here – there’s lots more available)!
title sponsors – they got me into this race in the first place! I’d also like to thank

Just remember – if I can do this…anyone can!

Canal Run Burpee Challenge

OK – this is short and sweet. I’m gonna try to up the ante and get some donations in for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. After crossing the finish line I will do one half-burpee for every $10 donated to The V Foundation on my online fundraising page from now until 10 AM Saturday 10/5/13. See the video below if you don’t know what a burpee or half-burpee is. I will count the $45 already donated, so I’m starting with 4 burpees. Let’s make this happen!

We’ll be getting video proof which I’ll post by Monday.

Wanna see me do burpees after running a 10K? Visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/SoTHISIsFitness/ccm13


If $100 is donated, 10 burpees, if $1,000 is donated…100 burpees.

Make me regret this.

DON’T FREAK OUT!

Health and fitness isn’t just about the body. Stay with me here. Mind, body and spirit are all linked together. Your body can be in ultra-marathon shape, but if you don’t believe you can do it, or you only think you can run a mile and you’re gonna crap out…guess what’s going to happen. Each of the three – mind, body and spirit – can affect the other…in a real, visceral way. So why am I getting all philosophical on you?

Stress is one of the WORST things you can do to your mind. If you are constantly over-stressed it can and very well may have a physical effect on your body. On this Motivational Monday morning, I want to have a little chat about stress, and why it is that Rule #1 of your day should be “DON’T FREAK OUT!”

I’ve thought about a lot of different ways to approach this topic. I suppose I kind of have to be careful because some people tend to get very worked up about things that, when you come right down to it, really aren’t worth the agitation. I’m sure you all know someone like that – the people who take everything way too seriously…who tweak and get bent about the most trivial things. Many of us (hopefully most of us) understand what things just aren’t worth the stress and worry…but what about the things that DO matter? What about the bills, the lack of time in the day, the myriad obligations we have and are responsible for, the mile-long to-do list…it’s all just so much. Sometimes some of the problems we face seem so insurmountable and the pressure put on us by others is so intense that we don’t know what to do with it.

I’ve pulled the definition from Merriam-Webster below:

Stress: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
further defined as:
 a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation

Mental tension. Worry. When these are amplified and made to be extreme…all it will do is impair your ability to solve issues. Notice in the definition above that stress is defined as a physical (body), chemical (mind), or emotional (spirit) factor.  Stress really does affect you mind, body and spirit…the dictionary even says so! No matter which one of the three stress-factors you are experiencing…it will carry over to the other two areas. If you are physically strained your mind will believe you can’t do it. If your mind believes you can’t do it your spirit can be broken. If your spirit is broken, your body won’t respond to its full potential. It’s a cycle that can be hard to break out of.

img from PBS.org

I was having a conversation with a like-minded co-worker the other day about this topic, and we agreed on something – stress isn’t worth it. Getting stressed out about all the bills you have to pay and your lack of funds to pay them with doesn’t magically make your paycheck bigger. Getting stressed about how you don’t have enough time to accomplish everything you need to doesn’t make the clock stop. Stress does not solve problems…it can’t! Some tension and worry can encourage you to give attention to a problem or to come up with a solution…but excessive worry and tension only serves to cloud you, clutter you, and put you in a kind of mind-lock where you can’t focus well enough to clearly think and come up with a solution.

Not only does stress not magically solve your problems, it actually creates more. You may become more irritable, you may have a hard time losing weight or even GAIN weight (or lose weight depending on your body). Your hair and nails may become more brittle and prone to breakage and your hair may shed more (ladies…sound familiar?). Stress can make you feel constantly overwhelmed – and if that’s the case, eventually all this stress can build up and you might blow up on someone. At that point, it might not matter what’s been stressing you for so long…it becomes about that last straw that broke the camel’s back – all of a sudden someone who did just enough to send you over the edge is catching an earful (or worse!).

I thought that quote was pretty relevant in such a situation. “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it” – Sydney J. Harris

The best advice I can give you is – Don’t Freak Out! Relax, take a breath, and calm down. Once you do that, you can start to come up with constructive ways to resolve whatever issue you are facing. Sydney J. Harris (an American journalist) had it right! The BEST time to relax is when you feel like you don’t have time for it. When you are bogged down by stress, scatterbrained, and ready to pop…you definitely don’t feel like you have time for ANYTHING. That is when you need to stop, breath, and re-focus. If someone tries to tell you that you don’t care because you aren’t stressed…brush it off. You don’t have to be stressed in order to care about something. I would argue that calming down, breathing and relaxing shows you care MORE – you’re putting yourself in a position where you can actually be productive and use your noggin, right?

The mind is a powerful thing – if you focus your energy in a positive way you can overcome any obstacle, issue, trial or tribulation. You  can find a way to pay those bills. You can budget your time, dismiss the unimportant tasks, and get everything accomplished. You can lose 100+ pounds and take back your health, do that pushup not on your knees, climb that mountain, run that marathon…there is nothing you can’t accomplish!

Just remember to take time, relax, breath, and DONT FREAK OUT.

Do It For The V

I’ve been talking a lot about all these road races I’m doing in the next two months – the 5K (from Sunday), the two 10K’s, and of course the half-marathon. I’m fortunate so many companies have signed on to sponsor me – they have made it possible for me to do these races and to continue to do work for a great cause (please be sure to check out the sponsors page and see who’s helped me out – they’re all great!). I’ve only made a small announcement on Facebook, but the big news is –

I’m fundraising for The V Foundation For Cancer Research!

Yes, this campaign of runs is a fundraising campaign, and the fundraising officially started a few days ago. You can visit my online fundraising page here if you’d like to make a contribution. All of my training, My Story, and My Transformation has made this possible.


So…what IS The V Foundation and why do I (you) care?


 The V Foundation’s mission statement, found on their website, is:

The V Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to saving lives by helping to find a cure for cancer.  The Foundation seeks to make a difference by generating broad-based support for cancer research and by creating an urgent awareness among all Americans of the importance of the war against cancer.  The Foundation performs these dual roles through advocacy, education, fundraising, and philanthropy.

The V Foundation was founded in 1993 by former NCAA basketball coach and N.C. State Athletic Director Jim Valvano with the assistance of ESPN. It was announced in a tear-jerking speech at the 1993 ESPY awards (seen below).

Basically, Jimmy V was diagnosed with terminal cancer and wanted to help find a cure. Going through it from the patient side of it, he realized just how slowly cancer research fundraising ended up benefiting the actual patient, so he sought to speed up the process. Jimmy V passed away just two months after his ESPY speech, but 20 years later The V Foundation is going strong, making an impact, and working hard towards realizing his ultimate goal of finding a cure.

So what exactly am I doing to help?

I am running four races to raise awareness and raise money for The V Foundation. One of them has already happened, the other 3 are all in the month of October.

9/22/13 – Tavern to Tavern 5K – Cambridge, MA (finished 200/722 – time: 23:51 – 7:45 min/mile)
10/5/13 – Canal Run For The Troops 10K – Buzzard’s Bay, MA
10/20/13 – 31st Annual Boston Firefighters Local 718 Memorial Road Race 10K – Dorchester, MA
10/26/13 – Cape Cod Marathon Half – Falmouth, MA

I’m currently fundraising through word of mouth and online through social media. You can, again, reach my online fundraising page here:
http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/SoTHISIsFitness/ccm13
 I’m in the process of brainstorming a fundraising event to hold locally. More on that soon (I hope!).

Why The V Foundation?

I know there are a million charities out there I could be fundraising for and some people have asked me how/why I chose The V Foundation. The answer is very simple: My college fraternity – The Delta Chi Fraternity, Inc. – partnered up with The V Foundation in 2006. Almost every philanthropy event I did as an undergraduate member of my Chapter was to benefit The V Foundation…needless to say I had a lot of exposure to it and what it stood for. After raising over $2,800 for Dana-Farber through my Falmouth Road Race run, I thought it’d be nice to do something similar for the first charity I ever really worked with and that I had such ties to. All money raised through this campaign will be donated to The V Foundation on behalf of The Boston Area Alumni Chapter of Delta Chi.

So why should I care? And why should I contribute?

These days it seems like everything causes cancer. We’re figuring out every day that something else we’ve gotten used to can give us cancer! Even some of those who do their best to avoid carcinogens can be struck by the disease, and unfortunately, nearly everyone has a friend or family member who has been touched by some form of cancer. Cancer has stumped the world’s top scientists for years, and the research necessary to learn more and figure out how to beat cancer takes a lot of time, training and equipment which, of course, costs a lot of money.  By contributing to fundraising for organizations like The V Foundation, we can help build up the funds needed for grants to help researchers who are working so hard to find a cure.

Please help me make this a successful fundraising campaign!

On behalf of The V Foundation for Cancer Research and The Boston Area Alumni Chapter of The Delta Chi Fraternity, Inc. I thank you all in advance for your help, support, and generosity! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask – Darrell@SoTHISIsFitness.com

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/SoTHISIsFitness/ccm13

Lose Your Limits

Now that I’ve undergone such big changes and my body has transformed so much, I’ve gotten a better understanding of both my pre-fitness mindset and my current boundaries and limitations. The funny thing is…they go hand in hand.

On this Motivational Monday morning, I want to have a (relatively) brief and (per usual) candid chat about knowing yourself, being in touch with your body, and learning your limits. I hope many of you will come to find what I did – it’s all in your head.

When I was 300 lbs part of what was holding me back was The Fear Monster. I was afraid to get up and go, I was afraid of failure. I wasn’t really sure what my physical limits were…where my boundaries lay…but I figured the bar was pretty low. I knew how easily I got winded and I wasn’t too keen on finding out just how little I could really do. So I just assumed I was pretty limited in terms of physical fitness. No running a mile, no heavy lifting, no endurance to speak of…nothing.

Then I started getting fit. I started pushing it, going until exhaustion…and then continuing. This was a big step for me…I had never tested my boundaries…never challenged my limits. But I had to get through the workout. I had to keep up with the people in the video. I had to look impressive for Megan or at least look like I was making progress. Slowly but surely the little victories came…I could do regular push-ups instead of on my knees…I could do the jump a little between lunges instead of having to step quickly through them…progress is progress, right? Slowly, I kept getting better. I even tried going for a run!

Then Something Happened Last Week – 
I finished Body Beast…and I started getting onto my endurance training calendar for the half-marathon I’m running. I went out for a run, and decided to do a fast 5K. Just go and see what I can do. I was cookin’. I got back home and crossed my little “finish line”…and Runkeeper’s audio cues came on when I “stopped” the run – my pace had drastically improved. I’m not talking like baby steps progress, good for you, rah rah rah…I’m talking WHOA…who kicked on the afterburners? I got 8:22 min/mile average – that’s about a minute and a half off my usual mile time. I had no idea how I went that fast or maintained that pace over 3.1 miles…but I did it.

The Next Day I went on a longer run – I had planned on 8 miles but only had time for 5, so I went. As I was running I heard my Runkeeper audio cues over the music of my playlist…telling me 9:15 min/mile, 8:56 min/mile, 8:57 min/mile…um…EXCUSE ME? I was doing it again! This time, I was going farther…could I maintain that past the 3 mile mark? Was it possible?

YES! I did 5.06 miles in 44:36. That’s an average pace of 8:49. You’ve got to be kidding me! The bottom line here is…my initial perceptions have gone out the window…totally shattered. My boundaries have been pushed off a cliff. I don’t actually know what my limits are now, but I’m convinced I can continue pushing them and improving. People like to say “no, that’s impossible” “no, there’s no way I can do that”. Nonsense. One of my favorite quotes out there…is about the word “impossible”.

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali

We create our limits in our minds. I firmly believe that, given time and training, anything is possible. Our bodies are amazingly adaptable and will take as much as we are willing to throw at them. The human body can morph from 300 lbs and sedentary to 160 lbs and running ultramarathons. The body will learn to do what you tell it. If you just take the time and train, you can do anything. That’s how professional body builders get so huge. That’s how these people who run 100 mile races get that kind of endurance. That’s how I got where I am. I whole-heartedly believe that, and I hope others will come to figure it out as they too push their limits and learn their potential.

The mind is an incredibly powerful thing – if you believe you’re sick, and you believe it hard enough, your body will manifest that and you’ll get sick (it’s an actual medical thing). If you believe you can’t do something, you simply won’t be able to. If you believe that you can’t run, you will never make it past the first mile. But if you let go of the mental roadblocks you’ve created for yourself and just…well…try…you’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish. In the last week I have had so many personal milestone accomplishments…its like all of a sudden I broke through to a new place. My body is more flexible, I found  core strength I didn’t know I had, I can run faster…all because I just let go of all the mental roadblocks and limits that I thought I had.

Lose your limits.  

I challenge you not to focus on what you can’t do, or what you think you can’t do…but to work on being better than you were yesterday. Reach a little farther, go a little faster, experiment with  a little more weight…you’ll find that over time, as you try harder and harder, you will go farther and farther. You will shatter your own perceptions of your ability. No matter how out of reach something might seem, just remember –

It won’t come to you…you have to work for it.
So get out there and GET IT!