On To The Next One – 13.1

That’s right. The Falmouth Road Race is over, I finished in 01:10:04, raised (so far) $2,520.00 and feel on top of the world! So what do I do? I go and register for an even bigger race. Because 7.4 miles wasn’t enough…let’s go for 13.1. This is the official announcement –

I am officially registered for the Cape Cod Marathon Half.

But Wait…It Gets Better – I’m Sponsored!


Yeah, that’s right…I have a sponsor for my race entry! How ’bout that, huh? Look at me getting all legitimate up in here. So who would sponsor me?

SportClips in Falmouth. Yes, I actually get my hair cut there. For those who don’t know, SportClips is a sports-themed men’s “haircut place”. I don’t want to call it a barber shop, because it’s not, and I don’t want to call it a hair salon because that’s not manly enough. It’s kind of like a little man-spa. Seriously! There’s tv’s everywhere with sports on – in the waiting area and at each “haircutter”‘s chair. It’s pretty sweet. The reason I call it a “man-spa”? They have this thing called the “MVP”. It’s 5 bucks extra and basically its like they bring back the old school barbershop thing and mix it with something…new? After your haircut you go back to “the showers” and get a hot towel, scalp massage / shampoo, another hot towel, facial massage – its pretty sweet. Worth the 5 bucks each month I go. If you’re in Falmouth, check them out (they’re next to Michael’s and Wal-Mart). If you’re not in Falmouth, find one. I used to go to Procuts or Supercutsand this place blows them out of the water. No offense if you work there (I’m sure you don’t suck) but now I don’t have to worry about hoping I win the “haircutter” lottery so I don’t look like I lost a fight with a lawnmower. Some just people shouldn’t cut hair…

Anyway – about this race!

Image from www.capecodmarathon.com

Just so you know (in case you don’t) – a marathon is 26.2 miles, and a half-marathon is, you guessed it – 13.1 miles. Ever see a sticker on someone’s car that says 26.2 or 13.1? They ran one. There are many marathons throughout the country, with the Boston Marathon and the ING New York marathon being two that are both popular and nearby. The Cape Cod Marathon is put on by the Falmouth Track Club and has been around for a while – this is the 36th running. This year’s half-marathon is only the third one they’ve had, and it’s very popular. They limit entry to 1,200 runners and from what I’ve seen, it has filled up (early) both years they’ve held it. The course looks great, and part of it is actually along the Falmouth Road Race course, so there’ll be some familiar ground there. And it’s right in town! How convenient for me!

Didn’t you just start running at the end of March? You’re gonna double your top distance again in 75 days?

Well…yeah! Why not? Part of how I’ve come so far is that I’m constantly challenging myself, pushing and testing my limits. I don’t know what my limit is and, frankly, I don’t believe there IS a limit. There is only constant improvement. Impossible is nothing. In April I considered it an accomplishment that I made it 3 miles without stopping…now I can go 7 without stopping. By October, I’m sure I can go further, and I have no doubt I can not only finish the half-marathon, but achieve a time I can be proud of. A while ago I said one of my goals was to run the Boston Marathon 2015…and I meant it.

And It’s For A Good Cause, Too!

Image from www.jimmyv.org

I felt great being a part of Team Lanzoni and helping to do something incredible and raise so much money for Dana-Farber!  I want to do it again – this time for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation is the official philanthropy of my college fraternity – The Delta Chi Fraternity, Inc. I plan to raise and donate money to The V Foundation on behalf of The Boston Area Alumni Chapter of Delta Chi (of which I am President). We’ll see if I can get a team of Delta Chi Brothers and friends together to do this thing (before the half marathon fills up!). I’m going to have to get creative to do this since I don’t have those sweet raffle tickets Team Lanzoni gave us, but I’m sure with the help of the Boston Alumni Chapter and my friends and family I can come up with some great ways to raise money! I’ll be sure to let everyone know when the fundraising begins!

So Now It’s Time To Start Training Again

I feel good about this. I had such an incredible time at the Falmouth Road Race, and I feel like I can officially call myself a runner. So what am I gonna do? Keep Running. Keep on doing it. Keep on seeing how far I can go, how fast I can get there, how strong I can get, how much I can improve myself. The alternative is to get stagnant or maybe even lose everything I’ve worked for, and honestly that’s not an option. I didn’t get through My Transformation by deciding I had reached the mountaintop – I got where I have by continuing on. So, you know where I’m at…the question is: what are you gonna do?

And Then I Ran… | Falmouth Road Race

I lost 107 lbs. I trained for 140 miles. I raised $2,520 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (so far). I spent one year of my life turning around my health and fitness. I re-learned how to think about nutrition and what I put in my mouth. I got in tune with my body. I gave it my all. And then I ran… 

All I can say is…wow. What an experience! No wonder so many people want to run the Falmouth Road Race! I had heard that it was the second most popular race in New England, the most desirable race in the country, etc…but I had no idea what an incredible
experience it would be! As you can see from the Runkeeper screenshot above (check out my Runkeeper profile and road race activity), I got the time I was shooting for! Runkeeper reported 1:10:13 and my “unofficial” chip time was 1:10:04.

For the non-runners out there – there are two different “times” many timed races will report – “Gun Time” and “Chip Time” (sometimes called “Net Time”). Gun Time is
the time from when the gun goes off and the race starts to when you cross the finish line. Chip Time (or Net Time) is the time from when you actually cross the starting line to when you cross the finish.  You may think these times would be the same, but if you’re in a large race you might actually cross the starting line one, two, five or even ten+ minutes after the gun goes off. Yesterday in the Falmouth Road Race I didn’t cross the starting line until more than 20 minutes after the gun went off. They call it “Chip Time” because it’s the time when your timing chip crosses the start and finish. They call it “Net Time” because it’s the gun time minus the time it takes for you to get to the starting line (in this case, “Net” is a math term).

In terms of performance and results – Yes, I got the time I wanted. I was pretty steady in my pace and stayed under 9:46 per mile the entire race. Once I got up the big hill in Falmouth Heights (the last challenge where lots of runners drop) I turned it on and zipped to the end on a mission. I felt great, due I’m sure in part to a number of things including proper sleep the night before, being hydrated, good pre-race nutrition, my intra-workout drink during the race and a clear head with a positive attitude. Know what helped? It was like I was the only person out there. Nobody else mattered. I was doing my thing and the other 12,799 people were just…there. People zipped ahead of me early on and I smiled to myself thinking “I’ll see you around mile 5” and I passed people walking from mile 3 onward thinking “I was you during the Finish at the 50 10K”. I learned a lot and it paid off!

There are two things I want to put out there for those of you who don’t know: 1. I ran this race as a part of Team Lanzoni – the 99 Restaurants team. Team Lanzoni is a part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute running program. 2. I am a Freemason, and so was my grandfather Peter. What do these two things have in common?
 
Last July my grandfather passed away. During his battle with cancer, he was taken care of in the Dana-Farber center at Faulkner in Boston. They took great care of him, were incredibly compassionate, and were there for my family when we needed them. They took the time to make sure they did everything they could and to make sure we were OK when we ran out of options. I wanted to be able to do something for them – help to give someone else a fighting chance. I ran this race for him, and I carried him with me the whole 7.4 miles (or maybe it was him that carried me).

Speaking of Team Lanzoni…
One of the guys in corral 5 with me was an interesting character. His name is Eric Parent, otherwise known as TheSmoothBear

This guy is a part of Team Lanzoni too. He’s got a vlog (video blog, check it out here) where (among other things) he chronicles his running thing. I checked out some of his videos and he’s pretty entertaining. In one of his videos RFTF: Orange Is The New Black he literally talks about the Netflix show OITNB while running. I mean, I know some runners can just have a conversation like its no big deal while they cruise along, but I guess I was kind of expecting that from those toothpicks in running shoes…TheSmoothBear (no offense buddy) is a big dude, not your typical running toothpick, so I was surprised. I know I sure as hell can’t have a conversation like that while running, so kudos to you on that! As far as content – he just kinda tells it like it is, which I like. It’s always good to see a big guy (read beasty, not fat) rockin’ out in fitness world, so more kudos to you on that! Keep on keepin’ on. Hopefully I see this guy again in next year’s Falmouth Road Race. Be sure to check out his vlog and his Facebook – let him know Darrell sent you from “So THIS Is Fitness…”!

But Perhaps The Best Part Of Yesterday…

We may not have run next to each other, but being out there with my fiancee Megan was great! She’s been right there next to me since day 1 of P90X when this whole thing started, and it was a great feeling to be out there with her for our biggest challenge yet. I’m so proud of her and how far she’s come. Despite knee issues (and no uber-knee brace like I have) and a history of debilitating cramps every time we run she achieved her best pace to date and smashed the time she expected to get, coming in at 1:21:48. Sounds like she plans on being a part of Team Lanzoni with me next year for this race, and in the more immediate future…hopefully she’ll be a part of my next undertaking…more on that soon.

Oh, By The Way:
My Playlist did me a lot of good. I find it ironic that Chelsea Dagger never came on through the whole run, but I did have Lift Me Up on for that last hill climb in Falmouth Heights, and let me tell you it felt pretty badass climbing that hill and flying to the finish rockin’ out to that.

So, Overall?
The Falmouth Road Race was an incredible experience, I performed better than I could’ve expected, felt great and I’m looking forward to next year where hopefully I’ll get a lower number and a better corral.
Just think – if I can do this, anyone can do it. Get out there and get to it.

Primed And Ready – Falmouth Road Race (w/ playlist update)

So here we are. Tomorrow is the big day. Race day. I keep hearing that the Falmouth Road Race is the biggest, most popular race in New England second only to the Boston Marathon itself. All things considered, I believe it. I’ve been preparing for this for months, and I feel like I was preparing for it before I even knew I was doing it. I’ve logged over 140 miles training for this which, frankly, isn’t
as much as I would’ve liked. I suppose it was about the best i could do considering I’ve been doing a bodybuilding program for the past 8 weeks…cardio and heavy iron aren’t usually best friends…

Anyway – in preparation for the race I gave special attention to my playlist. Some songs were ditched and some added. This was a painstaking process and believe it or not I did “road test” most of the songs I was considering…kind of the only sure way to know you can run to it.

First – additions:

A couple of these are actually kind of working as Power Songs for me
135 BPM – Slipknot – Psychosocial
140 BPM – La Roux – Bulletproof (Chrispy Dubstep Mix)
145 BPM – Slipknot – Duality
148 BPM – Florida Georgia Line – Cruise
150 BPM – Five Finger Death Punch – Lift Me Up
152 BPM – Five Finger Death Punch – Under And Over It
152 BPM – Five Finger Death Punch – Back For More

Next up – cut from the team:
These songs were just really throwing off my rhythm. Overall they were too slow and I was trying to move too fast to them – ended up off-sync and with a weird stride.
108 BPM – The Ting Tings – Shut Up And Let Me Go
120 BPM – Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. and Pharrel)
120 BPM – Cobra Starship – Hot Mess
120 BPM – Karmin – Brokenhearted (R3hab Remix)
125 BPM – Rammstein – Du Hast

Last – tried and failed:
I really wanted to be able to run to these songs, but you just can’t force it. Instead of my running playlist I’ll have to be satisfied with having these on in the car or something. Maybe when I do a cycling playlist I can revisit these (cadence and pace is different)
120 BPM – Robin Thicke ft. T.I. – Blurred Lines (too slow of a beat, couldn’t match the rhythm to my stride)
138 BPM – The Vines – Get Free (beat just wasn’t quite right…almost)
150 BPM – Imagine Dragons – Radioactive (song is kinda slow and draggy. Beat would be good but its a sluggish kinda song – not energetic enough for running)

One thing is for sure – I. Am. Pumped. I feel like I’ve trained and have gotten myself to a point where I can not only finish, but finish strong with a time I can be proud of. I’ve run the course once for practice so I know what to expect and I’ve re-tooled my playlist. Just think – if in one year I can do what I’ve done…anyone can.

At this point, there’s nothing to it but to do it. See you at the finish.

The “Get Up And GO” Guide

At this point a lot of people have heard, seen or read my story and asked me how I did it. How I got started? How I stayed motivated to keep going? Turns out, a lot of people ask me that question because they want to know how THEY can do it too.

Well, here we are. The “Get Up And GO” Guide. This will break down everything you need to know, do, and remind yourself in order to…well… Get Up and GO! Let’s dive right in –

First Thing’s First – Get Out Of Your Own Way!


YOU are the only obstacle in your way. Nobody can
tell you that you can’t do it. Your voice is the only voice that matters. You are perfectly capable of achieving your goals. So, stop the excuses, do what you need to do to be in a position to begin your journey…and do it! I could go on for hours, but that’s about all there is to say in this part of the guide. I’ve already talked about the “I Don’t Feel Like It Syndrome”, The Fear Monster, The Napoleon Complex and motivation itself, so we’ve covered a lot of the bases concerning why you might not have been doing anything – it’s time to figure out what’s been keeping you away from a better you and beat it. Those other articles might
help.

So What Are You Gonna Do Now?

 
No, really…assuming you’re ready to do something, you have to know what it is you’re gonna do! That means you need to have a goal envisioned in your mind. What is your goal – what do you want in the end? It’s going to be a long road, and you need a road map to get there. So, figure it out!

Are you trying to burn fat and get lean (known in fitness world as “cutting”) or get big and build muscle (“bulking”)? What do you want to look like? What size do you want to be? What weight are you shooting for? Where do you want to be in a year? I know it seems far off, but if you set your ultimate goal now you can figure out your plan and set little, more immediately attainable goals to achieve along the way. Trust me – little victories along the path to the Promised Land can do a lot more for you than you can appreciate right now.

OK, So you know where you want to go – How Do You Get There?

This is the part where you have to choose your starting point – what you’re actually going to do to start losing/gaining weight. This can be a big decision, and it IS an important one.  Megan (my fiancee) and I were between two programs – P90X and INSANITY. We were familiar with the two from word of mouth, internet ads, and tv infomercials. We had a rough idea of what we were in for and what the two were like. In the end, the differences we were deciding between were:

P90X – requires some equipment, allows lots of modification of moves, well-rounded program
Insanity – requires NO equipment, doesn’t really allow much modification (or any at all), cardio HELL.

We decided, in the end, to do P90X first. Frankly, I’m glad we did. For what we were looking to do it was a good starting point. It allowed us to ease into things modifying moves and achieving little victories, still getting the full workout done instead of failing after one or two full-out intense reps. It allowed us to feel good about our achievements and see our progress as we went along. Yes, we would’ve seen progress in INSANITY too, but the fact we couldn’t go balls-to-the-wall and get more than a couple reps might have discouraged us from finishing the program. Doint P90X also helped us build a base of muscle and shed some initial weight (read: a LOT of weight) that helped make INSANITY suck a whole lot less.

In the end, we made the right choice for us. Maybe the other choice would’ve worked for you. That’s probably the toughest part – in the end, you have to make the call. Look into your available options and choose what you think is going to serve you best. P90X allowed my 300 lb out-of-shape self to struggle for 10 pushups on my knees and still complete the workout. Progress is progress –

Because let’s be honest – you’re already lapping the guy still sitting on the couch.

Once you figure out what you’re doing, you need the tools for success.

What are The Tools For Success?

Generally, whatever the program you’re doing calls for! If you’re going to do a program like P90X that requires equipment, you need that equipment! Things like resistance bands, pull-up bars, push-up stands, yoga mats, etc can be found at stores like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Wal-Mart, or your favorite sporting goods store. I got my resistance band set for about $12, same with some nice push-up stands. Yoga mat was about $12 for a nice one and yoga block was $5 (worth it). Trust me, the equipment is worth the investment. Don’t let a few extra bucks scare you away – it’s worth it for your health, fitness and enjoyment. I’d happily invest that $50 again to add enjoyable years onto my life. If you’re going a little more hardcore with something like P90X2 or Body Beast, you’ve probably already done some workout programs and have built up a collection of equipment already. Don’t choose a program simply because of a lack of required equipment. I almost made that mistake, and if I had, I might have gotten discouraged and quit INSANITY, and I never would’ve gotten in shape and started running.

If the program you’re doing has worksheets, trust me…print them and use them. I WISH I had printed and used the P90X worksheets – I’d LOVE to see how far I’ve come since then. Not only that, but the worksheets help you stay on track, remember what weight/how many reps you did last time, and continue to steadily improve. I thought I knew better. Guess what? I didn’t. I’ve come so far that now, in Body Beast, not only did I use worksheets, but I found better worksheets online and modified them to suit my needs. USE THE WORKSHEETS. You’ll thank yourself later.

Before and After Pictures & Measurements are HUGELY Important!

Seriously, if you take one piece of advice, take this – DO THE BEFORE AND AFTERS! You have no idea how sorry I almost was…I waited until Day 6 of P90X to do before pictures.  I was so ashamed of my body and disgusted with how I looked I didn’t even want to do before pictures. I wanted to forget all about it. I am SO glad I finally did the before pictures. I can see how far I’ve come! I can appreciate my achievements! It’s such a great feeling and now that I’m so much more fit people look at the before and can’t believe it. (you can see all the before & afters here) I wish I had taken measurements before. The only one I have is my waist size, and that’s not entirely accurate. It was likely bigger than I think.
Take Pictures, take your measurements, document your journey. Fit-&-Healthy You WILL thank yourself.

Once you do that, it’s GO TIME

SO, You’ve got direction, you’ve got a program, you’ve got the tools and you’ve taken the pics/measurements. Presumably, you have a suitable space to do your workout. Anywhere you can do your workout, use your equipment, not disturb others (too much) and not be disturbed by others will do. Don’t worry about people watching you – let the hater’s hate. I would think anyone that could see you in your workout space would be someone close to you, and I would hope someone that close wouldn’t judge you.

NOW that we’ve moved on from the haters – Get your fit test done (if there is one). Some programs, such as P90X, have a fit test you do before and after the program, whereas other programs like INSANITY have a fit test that is part of the regular schedule. Whatever the case, DO IT. Again, you’ll thank yourself later.

This Is The Easy Part

Not to rip a line from Nike or anything…but…well…Just Do It! You’ve got everything you need. Just. Freaking. DO IT! If you need motivation along the way, just think about where you came from, where you want to be, and how much you don’t want to look like that before picture again. Think about how good it feels to finish a workout and have that little success under your belt. Think of how good it feels to see yourself shrinking week to week, see your clothes fitting looser, needing to go shopping to buy new ones. Think of your loved ones and how you’d like to be around a little longer for them, or how you’d like to look better for them. If you’re like I was, think of how much it sucks to get winded going up one flight of stairs. Everyone has that one little nugget of something that will kick their butt into gear no matter how much the workout sucks, how much you’re swearing at Tony Horton or Shaun T through the TV, or how much you REALLY just don’t want to get out of bed and go work out this morning.

If you need a little outside help keeping yourself accountable, be a part of a group designed for just such a purpose. There are many on Facebook, many in real life (with real people!) too. Enough people reached out to me talking about inspiration and asking for advice that I went and made one. If you want, you can become a part of it here. I’ve been a part of one for a while and I can tell you it was definitely a great motivator on the days I needed it. Other days, it’s a great place to learn something or help motivate others. Maybe having a workout partner is what you need. I know having my fiancee there beside me every day doing the workout with me was a big deal. I tried harder. For her and for me. If she could do it, I could do it. If I could do it, she could do it. We were a team. Once we got to the end of Week 1 Day 6 we looked at each other and said “If we can get through the first week, we can get through the whole thing.” – and we did.

Fight off those last little excuses that creep into your mind! Don’t try to fool yourself and say you don’t have time: no matter how long you work, how screwed up your hours, how awful your schedule, remember:

Think you can’t do it? It’s just too hard and you’re too out of shape?
So get to it, Nancy. You got this.

Running on Rocket Fuel – Anatomy of a Power Song

So you’re running along, you’re doggin’ it, life sucks, and all of a sudden a song comes on that just hits you the right way. Your stride picks up, your breathing straightens out, there’s a bounce in your step and you’re running like you just got a power-up in a video game. Ladies and gentlemen – your playlist just gave you a Power Song! We’re back in this thing!

Wait…what?

The Falmouth Road Race is 8 days away
and I’m going on my last long run pre-race today…probably a 5 or 6 miler. I’m going through my music to make sure my playlist is up to date (there will be a playlist update article soon) and the thought struck me that there might be some people out there that don’t know what a Power Song is. Power Songs are like the secret weapon to success in the running / workout world (as far as I’m concerned)! I mean, aside from proper nutrition, stretching and hydration of course.

I searched the internet and I really couldn’t find much about “Power Songs”, which was disappointing. So, I suppose we’ll start with the obvious question…

What IS a Power Song?

A power song pumps. you. UP. You can be slowing down, losing steam, feeling like you want to stop – it’s just TOO much…and then a Power Song comes on and you feel recharged. Refueled. Ready to take ON THE WORLD. A Power Song doesn’t just bring you a second wind – it brings you a HURRICANE. If you’re already cruising along? You cruise along harder. Faster. Stronger. Each step is effortless. Each rep is lighter than the last. A power song is like Super Mario’s Invincibility Star. Every time a power song comes on I feel as amped up as the Powerthirst video, or the guy in the Old Spice commercials.

Seriously, it’s tough to put a hard definition on it, but basically a Power Song is like a turbo-shot of GO. And it will get you through the worst parts of your workout or run like you just started out and will leave you feeling fresh as a daisy. The beat is perfect, you sync up just right, you get your stride right, you get pumped up and super-motivated and you just go. It’s a great feeling. So, naturally, you’d like to know how to find the most awesome power song out there right?

You can’t.

Sorry, Charlie. That’s not how it works. You can’t force a Power Song – you can’t choose it. It chooses you. I know, it sounds strange, but it’s true…it just happens. You’ll be listening to the radio and just start jamming out, feeling everything I just talked about. You can be at the gym and it comes on. You might even have thrown one in your own playlist and not even have realized it. But when it hits you, you’ll know. It can be from any genre, it can be any length. It can literally be ANY song…and it’s different for everyone. SOMEHOW, one of my fiancee’s power songs is 160 BPM – Selena Gomez – Come And Get It. I can’t understand it. But it works for her. That’s just how it is. My FAVORITE power song right now is 154 BPM – The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger. Every single time I hear that song I get amped up and want to run.

That doesn’t always happen.

There are some songs that I love that WERE Power Songs but just don’t get me as amped up as they used to. They’re still great to run to and work well on my playlist, but they somehow just aren’t Power Songs anymore. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it’s just a regular running song. Go figure. While I do try to load myself up with songs that have Power Song potential…

You can’t just make a playlist entirely of power songs

Really, it won’t end well. Either you’ll stop getting amped up to many of them, as happened to me, or EVEN WORSE – you’ll gas yourself (run yourself out of gas). The whole point of a Power Song is that it amps you up and puts you into overdrive…but you can’t run like that for your entire run! Maybe if you’re on a 5K you can, but anything more than that you’ll regret it. 

So, keep your ears open and give a listen – you might be surprised what songs you find yourself air-drumming or dancing in the car to. When you feel that adrenaline hit – write it down or Shazaam it and put it in your playlist! Give it a go, and if it works out as well as you think, congratulations – you just permanently increased your playlist by 1. And climbed a mountain later on.