Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Ultimate Marathon Training Package Give-Away!

It's time to get real about training for my all time, absolute favorite marathon of the year.

2015 will mark my 8th journey from Staten Island to Central Park in the NYC Marathon (and my 14th marathon in less than nine years).

If you follow this space, you know that my running journey over the last year has been, well, rougher than in years past. And to say I had a tough NYC Marathon last year is an understatement.

But I'm back.

I've been consistent for about a month - hitting my weekly running goal of four runs and this week I’ll start putting in more “respectable” mileage. (If you're really interested, you can follow me on Strava here). And I’ve even added some cross training in the pool (side note, swimming is freaking hard work).

Everything I've been doing up until today has been to get me in shape to train (training to be in training as a friend of mine once called it).

And I'm ready.

I'm excited, I'm feeling good, I'm loosening up by the run, I'm going longer and getting faster, I’m dealing with the humidity and I'm feeling stronger every day (cue Chicago here).

And now, I want to share that excitement and preparation with you. I have something get you excited to train for your fall marathon (hopefully it's in NYC, so if you win, we can meet up when you come here to race).

I’ve put together two fantastic packages of what I’m calling the Ultimate Marathon Training Package – and I’m giving one each to a male and female reader of this space.

A few weeks ago I reached out to some of my favorite running and fitness companies and asked them if they were willing to participate in the Ultimate Marathon Training Package and they all said YES!

And here’s the kicker, these aren’t products that were foisted on me by brands I don’t know or have never used. Nope, each and every product is one that I not only believe in, but that I spend my own hard earned money purchasing so I can use it in my training.

I’m grateful to each of the brands for participating. So without further preamble, I'm excited to present, what I think is an awesome training package for your fall race (in alphabetical order):

ASICS: 

ASICS GT-1000 4 or ASICS Gel-Cumulus 17



Champion CSX

Compression socks of your choice


Mizuno

Apparel


Nuun

Four tubes of Watermelon and 21oz hydration bottle


Red 11 Sport

Container of Anti-Chafe Balm


Strava: 

Six month premium membership


TCS NYC Marathon

Training Plan and Swag


Withings: 

Smart Body Analyzer


Details about how to enter are at the bottom of this post.

ASICS
I ran last year’s TCS NYC Marathon in the very first pair of ASICS that I ever owned – and I loved them for more than 300 miles. ASICS has generously donated two pair of its latest kicks to help you run all those miles. Check out the ASICS GT-1000 4 and ASICS Gel-Cumulus 17 (winners will choose the size).

Champion CSX 
Champion CSX contacted me in the late/winter early spring to see if I wanted to check out a pair of its compressions socks. At that point I hadn't really found a compression sock that I liked and all I can say is, I have now! I used the 20-30mmHg compression in Red on Black to recover from the Brooklyn Half and I’ve been using them ever since for recovery from long runs. Winners will choose size, style and amount of compression.

Mizuno
When I first started running back in 2007 I went to a local running store and randomly purchased a pair of shorts and shirt from Mizuno, not realizing what I was purchasing. Since then I’ve tried a lot of other kinds of apparel but the one constant in my running wardrobe has been Mizuno – from tights to jerseys to shorts, I love me some Mizuno! And my contact over there has graciously offered to outfit each winner with some apparel!

Nuun
I've been a fan of Nuun since 2006. A woman I used to cycle with introduced me to these magical electrolyte tablets and I've never looked back. Triberry was my first love, but when Nuun introduced Watermelon a few years ago, I found my new favorite. Nuun has generously supplied eight tubes of this elixir (four per package) and two of its 21 oz. bottles.

Red 11 Sport 
We’ve all been out running and have seen that person with a blood streaked jersey, right? I cringe every time I see it – and surprisingly I see it a lot. A few years ago I saw a video online that caught my eye. I contacted Red 11 Sport and have been using its Anti-Chafe Balm on some sensitive areas ever since. I’m including one container (per package) of Red 11 Sport’s Anti-Chafe Balm.

Strava
I’ve been an athlete on Strava since 2011. I wasn’t happy with the site built by the company that made my GPS watch. It didn’t have a few of what I thought were no-brainer functions like gear tracking, or the ability to follow other athletes. So I went looking for a better website to upload my workouts and came across what I like to think of as a social network for athletes. Not only can you upload your workouts, but you can offer encouragement to others in your circle (via kudos or comments). I’m grateful to Strava for offering two six-month premium memberships as part of the give-away!

TCS NYC Marathon - Training Plan and Swag
I’m get asked all the time how to train for a marathon. My standard answer is to go online and find a training program that works for you – there are literally thousands of them out there. Last year the NYRR started offering training programs for some of its marquee races. I used the plan for the Brooklyn Half but not the Big Dance. If I had, I’m sure things would have turned out a lot different. Either way, the organization is giving two training programs and a credit to buy yourself some training swag!

Withings
Three years ago my wife bought me a Wifi-enabled scale that not only records my weight (and sends it to an app on my phone), it reads my body fat, heart rate, tells me about the air quality in my bedroom (where we keep the scale) and what the weather’s like outside. Kinda comprehensive, no? Proper weight race is important for a marathon and Withings has generously donated two Smart Body Analyzers for the training package.


So how do you enter?

It’s super easy.

Leave a comment below; tell me what race you’re training for this fall. Or don’t, you can just leave the letter B, or if you prefer, the letter L. I don’t care – just leave a comment (and make sure you leave a method for me to get in touch - email, Twitter, etc.).

Then, follow me on Twitter and ReTweet this and follow me on Facebook and like and share my post or video

And for bonus points, follow me on Instagram and tag two friends in the comments of the video I created for the give-away.

I’ll choose two winners (one male and one female) at random Friday of next week (7/17).

Good luck!

*DoS Disclaimer: Prizes subject to availability. All prizes have been provided free of charge. I did not accept monetary compensation and all opinions expressed are my own. If you win and reside outside the 48 contiguous United States, you will be responsible for shipping costs and will have five days to provide payment, if you don't I choose another winner. I will never use your contact info for any purposes.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Video: 2015 NYRR Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run

Saturday was the 34th annual Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run.

And unless you live under a rock, you realize the implications of a Pride run this past weekend.

To say that this is one of the most festive and colorful runs of the NYRR's calendar is an understatement. And this year was even MORE festive!

I tried to do the run justice in a video.

You be the judge.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Video: NYRR 2015 Queens 10K

As I mentioned in my last post, I brought my GoPro to the Queens 10K on Sunday to see if I could get some decent footage and create a video.

I think I go it.

It was a tough day on the course - hot, humid, overcast all equalled having a hard time staying out of my head. I don't think I was alone either, I saw more folks walking than I think I ever have in a 10K.

The struggle was real.

But it's over - and I can repaint the past with a fun, upbeat video that celebrates the NYRR's annual run through NYC' most ethnically diverse borough (and is, from my perspective, very different from last year's video).

Enjoy!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Photo Essay: NYRR Queens 10K

Yesterday was the NYRR's annual jaunt through the borough of Queens, the most ethnically diverse of all of the five boroughs. And, if it were a city, it would be fourth most populous in the country (as noted by the announcers while we were lining up in our corrals).

Alas, Queens is not a city, but it is a fun place to run through! Even on what turned out to be one of the most humid days of the year.

What I love about this race, is that the course takes us past some of the most recognizable icons in NYC (which, if you think about it, it's kind of surprising they're all in one park in what is considered an "outer borough").

The race was delayed an hour due to the forecast of thunderstorms all morning. Turned out the weather shifted so the only thing the delay did for runners was make it a hotter run (to no fault of the organizers, they did the right thing as far as I'm concerned).

At any rate, I brought the GoPro with me and did a considerable amount of filming throughout the race. I'm putting my video together, but in the meantime, here are some stills from the race.

Right at the start
Heading over the first of many foot bridges in the park
Volunteers were awesome yesterday! Doling our gallons of water, cheers and encouragement!
Heading through the park, we have to dodge and weave around thousands of huge puddles due to the rain the night prior.



Who knew Queens had it's own museum? We do, cuz it's on the run course!
Past City Field where the Mets play (see it back there)?
This is about how I felt all day
Coming up on Arthur Ash Stadium (where apparently they're building a retractable roof)
We all do what we can to get through runs. I've seen this guy at many races juggling his way through!
Past my favorite icon, the Unisphere!
But my absolute favorite is the finish line!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Here Comes Marathon Season!

This week marks 20 weeks until the NYC Marathon.

After a long hiatus I'm starting to feel good about my running again. Don't get me wrong, the state of my fitness is at an almost all time low. I'm struggling through 10Ks. I'm hating hills more than I usually do and my pace is about as far off from where I want it to be, I hesitate to look at my GPS while I'm running.
But I'm motivated. And I'm being consistent. And I'm getting excited.

I'm not very excited about the heat and humidity, but I when I went out last night after my son went to bed it was actually cool out. I hesitated to go out in short sleeves. But I did. And I ran. And I actually liked it.

I'm back!

Now the work begins.

In two weeks I'm going to start my NYC Marathon training in earnest. I'm currently just putting in base miles and hill work to get my fitness back to where I'm comfortable to really start.

But I'm always looking for more motivation.

And I'm trying to help motivate you.

In the last few days I've been reaching out to some of my favorite gear companies and asking them to donate products for a couple of prize packs to help you motivate to train for whatever event you're doing this fall (even if that event is to just get off your couch and go for a run).

So, pay attention in the coming weeks, I think this is going to be pretty fun!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Today is National Running Day!

Today is National Running Day

That’s right, National Running Day. This isn’t a Hallmark Holiday where we have to buy a card and make sure our mother/ father/ wife/ husband/ girlfriend/ boyfriend/ sister/ brother feel special.

Nope, today we lace up our kicks and hit the road, the trail, the track or if we’re desperate, the treadmill.

Today we will sweat regardless of the temperature.

Today we will go out in groups or we will go out solo.

Today we will meet our friends at "the usual spot" and just go.

Today we will be out before the sun rises, when it’s in the middle of the sky and long after it’s over the western horizon.

Today we are all warriors that will run breathless in parks, on roads, around lakes, on tracks, on trails, up mountains and yes, even on treadmills.

The only requirement for this holiday is that we run. We don’t have to run fast, we don’t have to run far. We just have to run.

And it’s a holiday I like to celebrate as many times a year as I can.

So go for it.

Go get into your favorite pair of shorts, your most prized race shirt, lace up your most loved pair of sneaks, crank up your tunes and get out your door.


I started my running journey almost nine years ago. In that time, I've conquered fears, found new ones, I've lost and found motivation 100 times over and I've told myself a million excuses to hit the snooze button.

Today I put all of that aside and just went out for a run.

How are you celebrating?

Details, details, details:

Want to find out how to celebrate in your hometown, check out this link.

ASICS also has cool stuff planned.
  • Share your running photos using the hashtag #GoRunItJune3 showing how and where you Go Run for a chance to be featured the ASICS Running Day video.
  • Today for every 100 tweets using the hashtag #GoRunItJune3, ASICS will give away a free pair of running shoes to a random winner.

All the info you could ever need can be found here.

Enjoy everyone and good luck winning a new pair of kicks from ASICS.
Thank you ASICS for the cool pair of GT-2000s to celebrate my favorite holiday!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Video: 5K at 5,000 Feet

Last week I went back out to Kanab Utah to take part in the annual gathering of all staff members of Best Friends Animal Society.

This is my second year participating in Best Friends' All Staff Week where all remote and local employees get together for a week of meetings and more importantly, bonding.

One of my favorite events during All Staff (as we call it) is the 5K fun run through Angel Canyon. The views are not typical for a NY runner. Nor is the altitude, which isn't my favorite part of the run.

I had a much harder time adjusting to the altitude this year and only wound up doing a few runs throughout the entire week, but I still participated in the 5K.

And, as usual, I brought my GoPro with me to document the run. Here's what a beautiful run through the red rock canyons of southern Utah looks like through the eyes of a Central Park runner.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Gear Review: Puma Ignite

I had chance to take a closer look at the new Puma running shoe, the Puma IGNITE.

I'll be honest, I was fully skeptical about these kicks. Puma? Really? Not the first brand I think of when I'm in the market for running shoes.

But again, I was pleasantly surprised! And in fact, psyched about them. So psyched in fact that I wore them to run the Brooklyn Half, one of my favorite races of the year.


What I liked
  • At first it felt to me like the soles were a little mushy. According to Puma, this is called Energy Return (full length IGNITE FOAM midsole’s PU blend offers high rebound cushioning). So what I first thought was mushy, was just me needing to get used to the specific foam Puma uses.
  • The shoes were ready to go right out of the box, almost every pair of kicks I put on need to be broken in, these feel like they came pre-broken in (according to Puma, IGNITE FOAM provides instant comfort where you need it most - and it does!)
  • 'm looking forward to seeing how long these kicks last (according to Puma,  LONG-LASTING PERFORMANCE - ForEverFoam is used in the heel to disperse impact and provide extra durability). I expect them to last at least upwards of 250/300 miles. I'll keep you posted.


I would totally recommend these kicks for a lightweight shoe (I know, a surprise to me too).

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Video: NYRR's 2015 AirBnB Brooklyn Half

I wrote a pretty comprehensive review of my experience of the race here. And once again for fun, I carried a GoPro and shot some footage to document the race.

This year I was having trouble coming up with a decent ending. Every time I tried to "close" the video, it was just falling flat. So I did something I never do. I added a post to the DirtyOldSneakers Facebook page asking people to post their end of race photos for a chance to be included in my video. And you guys did it!

I am so grateful for everyone who uploaded their photos.

Thank you for reading this space, thank you for following me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. I have a lot of fun writing this blog and creating race videos and while I'd do it even if no one read my words, I feel like I've made more friends and created a little running community on these pages.

So without further preamble, I give you my 2015 Brooklyn Half Video!

I would love to hear what you think . . .




NYRR's 2015 AirBnB Brooklyn Half - My Experience

This past Friday night, I set my alarm for an ungodly hour, fed myself a carbohydrate-rich meal and closed my eyes earlier than a 45 year old man should.

Why?

Well, for the seventh year in a row, I was signed up for the Brooklyn Half, the largest 13.1 in the United States!

I love this race, it's essentially a run down memory lane for me in that, as a young child, my grandparents and uncle still lived in the borough. Not to mention, nine years ago when I officially got my shit together, got healthy and started running, I lived in Park Slope, with Prospect Park as my home turf.

So when my alarm went off at 4AM, I jumped out of bed and got ready for one of my favorite race courses. 

If you read this space, you know that my running this year isn't what it has been in the past. The addition of our son has changed my life in ways I never could have imagined. 99.99999999% of those changes are good, in fact great. That one microscopic change that isn't great and that I'm trying to work around is my running schedule. It's only been 6.5 months and I'm still trying to find my routine. I know it's out there, I just need to grab it.
My beautiful wife and smily son!
But I digress. I mean, how can I not, look at those faces?

Okay, so at 5:15 I take a 45 minute train ride with thousands of other runners and I know I've already messed up. See, when I race, I like to get there early. And I mean, like an hour early. I like relaxed travel, no crowds on my way to the corral and the use of facilities without an hours long line. But when I looked around and saw how many runners were already on the train, I knew I was going to arrive a lot later than I wanted.

The Brooklyn Bridge as seen from the Brooklyn side of the East River.
I run and check my baggage so I have a dry shirt to put on after the race and run to get into my corral and into the bathroom line. Luckily, I see my buddy Dan who is already on line and jump in with him and his friend Sam. We chat it up for a while and Dan, who has his sights set on a specific time leaves us to go find his pace group.
Me, Bobby, Sam and Dan
I nervously watch and wait for the race to begin. My goals are not lofty for the 2015 running of the BK Half. I want to cross the finish line and I want to get some good footage so I can create a good video. And I had a lot to live up to as I really think the video I created from last year's race is my best one to date.

This was also a special race in that Mary Wittenberg, who for the past 10 years served as president and CEO of the New York Road Runners announced her resignation earlier in the week. She would be leaving the organization after the Brooklyn Half. Saturday was the last time we'd hear her pep talk before the race and her cheerleading on the course as we closed in on or passed the finish line.
Mary Wittenberg cheering for runners after crossing the finish line after the 2013 Brooklyn Half.
I won't comment on Mary's impact on the running community in NYC and the world, or her impact on me personally (I'm working on a full post dedicated to that). Suffice it to say that it has been game changing and that is no exaggeration.

The Race
At 7AM the final race instructions are given and the gun goes off. It's with not just a little anticipation that I wait for the 4,000 runners in front of me to start their race so I can get going.

When I first started running the BK Half, it was two loops inside Prospect Park followed by a 5.5 mile run down Ocean Parkway to Surf Avenue where we run up onto the Coney Island Boardwalk and through to the finish line.

In my opinion, one of the better ideas the NYRR has had for this race was to make that first loop of Prospect Park a circumnavigation of the OUTSIDE of the park followed by a loop IN and then on to Ocean Parkway and Coney Island.
One recognizable landmark on the course is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch at the edge of Prospect Park
There is really only one hill along this course and it comes at around mile 5. Once you're out of the park, it's almost flat as a pancake, with one downhill and a tiny bump getting from Surf Avenue to the Boardwalk. It's really the perfect race to go for a PR (that is, if you're trained well, eat right and don't have a 6.5 month old at home).
Here's another digression 
Now, the bummer for me about Ocean Parkway is that, while flat, I need to work to stay out of my head. As you run south, runners pass streets that follow the alphabet from A to Z. So, unless I work at it, I can easily get stuck in my head and concentrate on which letter I'm on and how much time I have left. Not the best way to get through a race.

Add to that, the mantra that got stuck in my head this year wasn't helping to get me to the finish line. Repeating "Over Fed and Under Trained" is not the best motivation - at least it isn't for me.

That said, this year Ocean Parkway had a special surprise in store for us. The weather all morning had been humid. Not like "swimming in soup" humid but enough to make me uncomfortable. Right as I reached mile 10, the sky opened up and poured down on us for almost 20 minutes.

For me, this couldn't have come at a better time. I love running in the rain and it was exactly what I needed to cool off and finish the race.
Looks like I wasn't the only one happy that it started raining when we hit mile 10
As I said, my goal this year was to finish the race. And I did it. Was it my best race? Far from it. Was it my worst? Again, far from it.

I was happy to cross the line, grab my medal, eat a few hot dogs from Nathan's Famous (another throw back from my childhood - in fact, my parents' childhood) and get on the train for the hour and 30 minute ride home, where I got to see . . . you guessed it, these faces

Here are a few more shots that I captured on the course:
Just past the Arch
Heading down to Ocean Parkway
Passing the world famous Cyclone
Just past the finish line
Did you run this year? How'd you do?