September Miles! Triple Digits

Welp, I did it again! I got my monthly goal of 100+ miles in a month… and it feels awesome. It might seem like I’m going backward, but October I’m going to reel things back and reduce my mileage.

And here’s why.

As you can imagine, after increasing my average monthly mileage from 70 to 100 miles, I was bound to find new injuries along the way.  Calm down Uncle Jim, my knees are fine – what I did discover:

I was having issues with tenderness in my plantar fascia.  Plantar fasciitis is a fairly common ailment among runners and easily treatable.  I won’t go into all of the details (Google is your friend), but I found my heels and arches were often sore following a long run. After a quick YouTube search, I was able to pinpoint that the issue is in the calf-muscles and not properly stretching AFTER my runs.

I found that giving myself a somewhat painful and deep tissue massage along my calves and plantar fascia, I was able to reduce and relieve the pain.  Also, foam rolling after runs has helped drastically reduce soreness and tenderness.

Second, I’ve been experiencing some tenderness in my lower left shin, almost like a wicked bruise that won’t go away.  I’m not sure if this is a stress fracture on my lower leg, or if a tendon is just bruised and needs to heal. Either way, I’m taking it easy to hopefully not exacerbate any injuries, I don’t want to take any chances.  Also, I don’t know how to describe exactly what I’m feeling other than the pain is similar to a bruise.  I don’t experience pain when I walk or put weight on my leg, so it doesn’t seem like a fracture is an issue, again just soreness.

The Hershey Half Marathon next weekend, and for the most part, I have only logged 18 miles in the last 11 days.  This upcoming week (before the half marathon) I’m not going to run at all, maybe a slight jog around the neighborhood – like I said, I just want to take it easy.

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Hershey Half Marathon

Only 40 days away from one of my favorite races: The Hershey Half Marathon! If you have never run this race, it’s one you should totally consider. It was my submission for The BibRave 100.

The course has rolling hills, and traverses the Hershey area- you’ll take in sites of the theme park (as you run through it) onto the cozy side streets that make up the town, and right through the Milton Hershey School dorms where the students cheer you on with nothing but positive amped up energy.

Trust me, it’s an amazing experience- plus the medals and swag each year are pretty awesome.

Training has already begun- ish. Basically, the plan of attack is this:

1. Increase monthly mileage throughout August and September (which I’m on track as far as that goes). The goal is to just get in more running time on my feet and follow this up with…

2. Incorporate one 13+ mile long per week by mid-September into October.

I’m trying to condition my body to run 4 miles every day and then sneak in a Half Marathon once a week to prepare for the distance. Every year I end up sabotaging myself by not getting in those long runs and conditioning myself for the 2 hours I’ll be on my feet.

I’ll do this up to the week before the race, rest for a day or two, maybe run some low mileage runs but give myself a little break before the race.

The goal this year is to finish right at 2 hours, or less. As long as I beat my previous years, I’ll be happy with that.

Asking for a friend: Double or Single Knots?

A recent Facebook poll on my favorite Running group asked if we preferred double, or single knots on our running shoes. The results are a mixed bag, with a few write-ins for Velcro (I’m not sure if they are serious), Lace-locks, and bungees.

I’m a little torn b/c I’m an in-between kinda guy, maybe not in the Velcro. Okay, I realize that was joke, but still. Allow me to explain- it all boils down to the shoe laces.

**SCIENCE ALERT! What follows is a highly scientific and comprehensive review, I am a professional, do not try this at home, results will vary!**

My Brooks Launch 4’s laces are perfect for a single knot, they are semi-round /oval, soft with reinforced ridged edges. The laces don’t stretch or flex very much, but there’s enough give that they hold a knot very well. When tied correctly, a single knot will suffice for all activities.

Using my extensive and highly scientific methods of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 5/16″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace. This is not sponsored or endorsed by Lowes.

My Hoka Bondi 4’s laces are complete garbage (sorry Hoka) I would double knot those bad boys only to have them fall apart – even when tied correctly! I gave up on those solid ridged laces and replaced them with iBungee laces. The bungee laces have treated me very well and I actually feel like my feet breath a little better.

No stretch test- it’s bungee folks. Don’t get carried away.

My Merrell Agility’s are a double knot kinda of shoe. The laces are flat with no hard ridges, single knots seem to slip up too easily because they stretch a fair amount while running. Plus, when it comes to trail running, I’ll take the added assurance of a double knot.

Again, utilizing extensive and highly scientific methods of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 13/16″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace.

My Mizuno Wave Rider’s laces are round, super soft, super stretchy, and yet hold a perfect knot. I have these tied in a lace lock fashion, so I’m sure that is an added bonus.

Using my extensive method of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 1-3/8″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace.

My New Balance 880’s have a flat shoelace with a center reinforced stitch. These laces hold a single knot extremely well, and have very little to no stretch. No stretch has its drawbacks especially if you tie them too tight.

Finally, using my highly scientific method of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 1/4″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace.

iCare 5k

Every year a nearby food bank hosts a 5k almost in our backyard. Blessings of Hope has a huge yard sale, auction, food vendors, activities for kids, and of course a 5k race in beautiful Lancaster County. The company is predominantly Mennonite so it attracts the local Amish and Mennonite community at large. Turn out is always HUGE.

This year the 5k drew a much larger crowd as well. The course was the same as the previous year, a nice easy run on the back roads of Amish Country. There is a slight incline, at the very start, but for the most part it’s nothing too crazy and very runner friendly.

At the very beginning I noticed a lot of kids hanging around the starting line- in fact there were a lot of kids and I thought how fun it will be to blow past them at the half way mark. The announcer’s voice boomed over the handheld speaker as she yelled “GO!” and we were off. Truth be told: those Amish kids took off and I didn’t see a single one after that. Even though my first mile was complete in 7 minutes, and my second mile at 7:20, those kids were fast and long gone.

The course was beautiful as always, and the atmosphere and iCare event was a lovely experience. Even though I hit a few PRs, fastest mile (7:11), fastest 2 miles (14:31), I still finished 25th overall. I placed 3rd in my age group and received a fidget spinner medal- all-in-all, it was pretty fun.

Last year I ran a lot slower, with an average of 9:00 min/miles and placed 2nd in my age group. So this year I’d say the amount of competitors was a lot higher and the skill levels were just as high to match. This is a fast course and we saw some really fast times! Looking forward to next year!

It’s a GIVEAWAY! (kinda)

Honey Stinger Fans rejoice, I have coupon codes worth 37% off your total order when you buy all your favorites from http://www.HoneyStinger.com!  This is a one-time coupon, to be used at checkout, for 37% off your entire order so STOCK UP!

I’ve given away one coupon code to one of my amazing Instagram followers, and he’s also a pretty cool dude to boot, for correctly guessing the make of my car (Subaru). That leaves me with two remaining coupon codes left to share with the masses!  So if you aren’t following me on the Instagrams, I suggest you do, have a look at my latest post and keep those guessing rolling in!

Official rules:
1. Enter code at checkout to receive 37% off
2. Codes good for orders on honeystinger.com only
3. Codes valid for non-Hive athletes only
4. Codes must be used before April 1st, 2018

These are a few of my favorite things – Part II

Race day is a very exciting day, in my early experience I would show up, dressed and ready to run.  Part way through the race, I was itching for an aid station for a drink, or some boost to keep me going.  This would often slow me down – ever try to grab a water from an aid station with hundreds of other runners?  Yeah, no thanks.  It wasn’t until I started to prepare for my races that I really started to enjoy the process.  Arriving prepared, not just in gear alone, can make a race day experience so much better.  5K races I generally treat as fun runs without much fuss, but on long-distance runs, and races over the 10-mile mark I generally start to think about fuel on the go.

Please keep in mind these product reviews are entirely my own, my own experiences, tastes, preferences, and do not express the views of the manufacturer. Please proceed with caution, individual results will vary.  While I have an ambassadorship with Honey Stinger, the best in sports fuel in the industry, I developed this list prior to joining them so there is a bit of a variety.

In this post, I want to focus on two things: Gel and Hydration Race necessities.
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New Years Day 5K

We braved the single digit temperatures and as a family ran the US Road Running New Years Day 5K in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful day for a run, and we weren’t the only crazies that decided to ring in the new year with a run along the Susquehanna River.

The course begins at the Harrisburg Senators stadium on City Island, crosses over the river and traverses along a flat pathway along the Susquehanna. The start/ finish line was on City Island and was free of snow, however once you crossed the river and hit the footpath, you were greeted with snow covered trails.

The crowd wasn’t as heavy as last year’s, I’m assuming the cold temps drove people away- but there was a good crowd none-the-less.

The cold weather was a benefit in regard to the snow covered trails- the temps kept the snow powdery and prevented it from turning to slush. The air was brisk, but once the race began, the cold air was refreshing and invigorating.

The kids complained the entire time- it was glorious.

Family Finish Time: 41:12