Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Everyone Has One

     Everyone has a vise.  Mine is caffeine.  I do not drink coffee.  I go for the ice cold refreshment, called Pepsi.  I started drinking Pepsi pretty heavy in my later teens.  A few weeks ago I decide enough as enough.   I need to get healthy.

     No I did not quit cold turkey or swear off caffeine altogether.   What I did was to decide to slowly  cut back.  Two weeks ago I had taking one liter and a 6-pack out of my weekly diet.  This past Saturday was my first full day without caffeine.  What about Sunday??  I tried. I made it a few hours before I caved it.
     The great thing about running is that when I run, I don't have the I need caffeine feeling.  My end goal is to have less caffeine.  I just want it to not be the first time I have to have everyday.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dude was that a turkey on a bike?

     Last weekend I was deciding between a 5k, a half marathon, or no race at all.   I picked no race.  This gave us more time to spend as family.  Saturday we did the shopping and ate dinner out.  Sunday we went to the museum.
     Now on to Thanksgiving day.  I picked the Cranberry Turkey Chase this year.  First, because it was easy to get too.  Second, because it was a first year and I hoped for a lower attendance.  No chance on the lower attendance though.  Last year on Thanksgiving we did the New Castle YMCA Turkey Trot.  This was a very fun race, however on the way home we had an issue with a drunk driver so I picked somewhere closer to home.
     The race started off with a negative.  There was not enough parking for the number of folks that had come out.  But that happens, so Sara's jeep "made" a parking spot.  We headed down the path to the registration.  While we were getting our shirts and bibs, the lady asked us how the parking was.  We laughed.
     Next came the trip the bathrooms.  Why is this important?  You'll see.  I walked in and stood in line.  About a minute later out the stall comes a turkey, or rather a guy in a full turkey suit.  Someone in line asked him if he had lost a bet.  He replied, "we all have to do are part?"   What??
     We waited a bit, talked about putting me a real training plan for the marathon.  Oh yeah, i forgot to tell you.  Sara signed me up for the Shamrock Shuffle Marathon in Virginia Beach.  Anyways... We starting walking around looking for the start line.  About then the crowd started moving, so we followed.  The guy in the turkey suit was now a bike.  Apparently that was the "chase" part.  Poor guy.  That had to be hot and miserable.
     The horn went off and the crowd started.   I went out at a 6 minute pace.  I quickly slowed it down.  As we entered the half mile mark I saw someone I knew, Mitch R.   Mitch has done 2,000+ races.  We see him at alot of races.  He runs a little bit faster then me, so I tried to keep up with him.  He warned me about the hill coming up.
     As I rounded a corner I saw a guy with a Team Aquaphor jacket on.  That's the "sponsor" team the Sara runs for in her bigger races.  I said, "Hi, I'm Sara's husband".  He was having some trouble and I ended up passing him up in the second mile.  The rest of the race was rolling hills.  It always seems like there is more ups then downs.  Somewhere near mile 2.5 or .6, a voice behind me said, "Hi Shane, I read your blog every week".  How cool is that?    At mile 2.8 I was done. The course started up hill and I wanted nothing to do with it.  I finished it 21:39.  Could I have done better?  Maybe, maybe not.
     All in all a good race.  Would I do it again?  Sure.   

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kittanning 10k and Mangler Marking

    This was one of those mornings that I felt like staying in bed.   It was cold with a light on and off rain.   No motivation to run but like a trooper I went out.   Mostly because I had already paid.  I guess that is motivation. 
     I arrived there early and got my shirt & bib.   I looked around and did not see anyone I know, so I headed to the car.  I listened to southern bible thumping music, aka southern gospel, on some low frequence station.  It was not bad, a lot of four part harmony.  As I sat, I noticed a lot of non runner types, maybe I could win for once.
    The start of the race was two distances, a 5k and 10k.  I had no idea who I was racing against.  When it started I held back. Normally I try to get to the front and then I get tired.  I saw some guys that looked faster than me and tried to stay behind them.
     A little boy was ahead of me.  He would run fast, stop, walk, and repeat.  With in the first mile I was passing him.  I yelled for him to keep running.  I was still behind the pack of fast runners, when the guy in the back said, "He's not going to make it like that, Sir".   I said, "you don't need to call me sir. You're older than me, I think.".  Then I asked him what race he was doing and where the 5k ended.  He told me they all were in the 5k, so I soon bolted in front of them, passing the first water stop, and someone yelled, "good luck".
     I am so used to running a  5k that it was weird not seeing people coming back already.  It was not until mile 2.7 or 2.8 that I saw the leaders.   The person in front of me was a dot and the folks behind me were not very close.   The turn around doubled as the second water stop.  I grabbed and kept going.  I tried keeping up my pace but I kept turning around to see if anyone was closing in on me.  I told runners their position as I passed them.  A good way to keep a count.
     Closing in on the last mile I started upon the last of the 5kers.  First was a little boy and his dad.  When I raced by I said, "Good job little guy".  As I was going away I heard this dad ask him "What do you say" and he said "Thank you."  Then I got to the "We have to walk four across" walkers, the type that does not move out of the way and looks shocked and scared as you fly by them.
     I only had a few more tenths of a mile when I passed two ladies, just as I go by they turn and look at me, one of them says, "nice", the other laughs.  I couldn't help but feel creeped out.  The end was in sight when I passed two kids, a boy and girl.  I said to them, "The end is near, run, go!".  The girl shook her head no.  The boy asked her, "Do you want to race?"   They started running.  I and a small crowd at the finish line cheered them on.  The rest of the 5kers were in the shelter awaiting results. 
     148 people in the 5k, 19 in the 10k.  This was a fun race, well organized.   The YMCA races always are.  I have done four YMCA races at three different locations.  (Wilmerdin, Kittanning, and New Castle)  I think the YMCA must have a secret play book for putting on races.
     My official time was 45:40.  5th overall, 4th male overall, 1st in age group, which means I got a medal! So quick recap:   Flat course, well organized, fun... Yes Sir, I will be back!
A welcome surprize, Tech shirt!
       After the race I headed home and stopped at a Wendys.  I was in running clothes, including shorts.  I ordered one of this, one of that, and kept on going.  I ate quickly. I needed to get to North Park and the people behind me would not shut up about me.  Yes, I can hear you and maybe if you got off your couch you too could be thin and wearing running clothes.
        In North Park I found two of Sara's trail friends, Mike & Michelle, cooking for their race the next morning.  I had volunteered to come and help them with whatever they needed.  I was to mark part of the course for the race.  I got a map, some flags, and my marching orders.
       I drove to the front of the park and met up with a guy named TJ.  He and I were to mark the last 7 miles of trail.  After a quick introduction we were off.  It should be noted that he had heard of me.  He knew someone that I knew in the past.  How weird is that? 
       On the trail I saw deer, mountain bikers, hikers, dog walkers, more deer.  The trail was getting a lot of use with the warm weather.  At one point I looked back down the hill and saw something.  I said, "We are being followed. I just something running up the trail!".  TJ laughed, then he saw it.  It was a coyote.  I yelled, "There it is!" and it ran off.   I have never seen one of those before.   I thought they were only in the deep woods and mountains. 

 Can you spot the deer?
    We finished the trail marking and headed back to the ice skating rink, aka the start.  Mike and two helpers were trying to put up a banner.  The three of them were hanging out windows from the second floor.  First the string broke.  Then the second try with ratching straps broke one of the gromits.  I was looking for a way to hang it up there when I noticed screws sticking out about 8 feet up.  I flipped over a metal trash can when TJ and Mike came outside.  I told them my idea and said that it would at least work for now.  I climbed up and slid the gromit over the screw.  A few move screwed lined up with the holes, when Mike remembered he had brought a staple gun!  So much easier.
     I told Mike that I would be back in the morning and that I might run in the 8k.  They had an 8k, 25k, and 50k! I went home, pigged out, and then passed out at 7:30.  Unfortunely I forgot to set an alarm.  Without Sara and the girls to wake me, I slept for 12 hours. :o)

Thursday, November 8, 2012


     What training plan do I use?  Well, honestly.. I do not use one.   With my work schedule and the kids, I run when I can.  I normally always run in the AM before the kids get up except on the weekends when I normally race.
     When I first started running, probably  for six-eight months, I ran in jeans.   Yes, jeans.   I would do one mile.  I did not get any faster or better.  Then I moved up to running 1.5 miles, in jeans.   Then I finally bought shorts in run in. 
     Almost a year later I told Sara that I was not getting any faster.  She said I needed to up my miles.   A few days later we were at the Apollo Fight for Life 5k, a pre thanksgiving race.  After the race we sat in a crowd church at a table with some of Sara's trail friends.  One of them, Phillip, said that the only way to get faster is to up your miles and change your training.  I didn't need to be told twice.  Okay, well... kinda I guess I did...
     I started running two miles, then 2.5 miles.   I added more running days and by spring I was doing a long run on the weekend.  Soon I was running 3.1 miles five days a week with either a race or a long run on the weekend.  STOP!   What's a long run?  Good question.  A long run for me was six-ten miles.  And tt still is!  I was hitting between 18-30 miles a week.  Why the difference?  Because life would not always let the run time in.
     I have not being running as must as I should since late September.  I decided after over racing the last few weeks that this week was go time!   I upped my run to at least 4 miles at a time.   I need to work on endurance.   I did not want to be tired and out of breath from a 5k.
     See you at the races!

Monday, November 5, 2012


     When I decided to take on planning my first 5k,(with only five months) I knew that I would need money.  Money for timing, insurance, medals, water, etc.   I somehow thought I could do it with $1,500.   But the more I planned, the more I needed.  I wanted not to have just some "run of the mill" race, but something people talking about and came back to.  In the end I was $200+ in the hole.
     I got it in my head that I wanted to do custom medals.  Not the stickers add to a medal, but the kind that you would get at a marathon.  A one of a kind, almost coin like medal.  That set the race back a bit.  But it was worth it.  The medals were beautiful.

     I had set up the sponsorship form so that there was no minimum.  A business could give whatever it could.  From a gift card or t-shirt all the way up to $500.  It must have worked as I got over 70 businesses to sponsor the race.  I was worried that no one would take the top level.  However Vista Metals, a local company stepped in.
Barrel of Apples Sponsor Level- $500
Business name on back of t-shirt in large print & on any ads & banners as “presented by”.
Pumpkin Patch Sponsor Level- $250
Business name on back of t-shirt & on any advertisements
Corn Stalk Sponsor Level- $100
Business name on back of t-shirt
Leaf Sponsor Level-Donation of item or gift card for raffle (under $100)
 Business name on sign on race day
     I googled "sponsorship forms" when I was making mine up.  It helped me get ideas and a feel for the layout.   One of the things that I noticed was a lot of the races had high sponsor levels in the thousands of dollars.   I could not wrap my head around a company doing that for a 5k.  I guess that is why most races have only a few sponsors.
     I got one sponsor for every twenty that I asked.  I will leave you to do the math.  It was a lot of hard work.  Especially getting stuff like food items picked up before the race.  I ended up taking a week off of work just to do the finally planning and pick ups.
    This year I started early.  I have been trying to focus on new sponsors.  The idea being the hopefully a lot of the old sponsors will return.  Now that I know what I am doing.  The race planning should be alot easy.
Did you have a business and want to sponsor the Boston Harvest 5k/10k in 2013?
Would you like to be a volunteer?  (yes, you get a shirt)
Email me at teambrunazzi@gmail.com 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dirt Monster

     Well let me start by telling you that I am now a half fanatic.  Member number 3085.  I did two half marathons in 16 days.  That is a huge acompishment!  (okay, i'm done patting myself on the back.)
      Now on to the race.   Sara had done the dirt monster two years ago, so she filled me in on the course details.  Maybe I should have listened closer. :o)  The race started in a field with a hill, followed by a hill, followed by a huge ever ending... yup you guessed it, a hill.   I of course took off too fast and burnt out.
     My legs were still bet up from last so I know that I would not be running as fast as normal. If you familiar with North Park, we started at Wildwood Drive and went up to the pool and back via Parma, Ohio. Okay, so maybe not since it was just a 5 mile run.

        Maybe it's me.   But I like the graphic.  I went to this race for the shirt.  But what do I get, a purple shirt.  Well, it's blue-ish purple, or at least that is what I keep telling myself.
Sara and crowd at the registration.
     The race was not as muddy as it could have been with all the rain from Hurricane Sandy, so that was good.   All in all a fun run.  Sara got a medal for third in her age group.  One bad thing.  No water at the finish. No water bottles.  You had to go to the registration table and pour water from a gallon jug.  They did have hot soup!!  So, that makes up for it.

Freezing after words
     One interesting note.  I saw someone that won a door prize at the Boston Harvest.  So, that was pretty cool.  Especially since I had picked out that prize personally. 

     I was contacted by the race director of the Dirt Monster a few day after my blog post.   She was sorry that I did not like the purple shirt and said that I should have spoke up.  In the mail today I got...
     Yup a new shirt!  Well, last years, but it's GREEN!   How cool is that?   THANK YOU ELAINE! Definitely a race Sara and I will go back to.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Black Belt in Running

     On one of Sara's marathon trips she won a free SPIbelt.  My wife already owned one, so she picked a color I would like and gave it to me.  It was all black and very small.
     I already owned a Nathan's belt.  It is reflective, wide, and uncomfortable.  I bought it with a gift card and used it once.  When I saw the SPIbelt, I thought, "What good is that? It holds a key, if that.  And it, too, is probably uncomfortable to run in."
    I have had the SPIbelt in the running drawer for months.  When I was packing for the Baltimore Half Marathon, I threw it in the bag.  I would need somewhere to put the room key.  The morning of the race I was getting dressed and I grabbed the SPIbelt to put the room key in.  When I did,  it grew!  I put in my car keys and it grew.  I put in my cell phone and it grew!! It turns out that it is made from elastic-like material.
     I ended up wearing the SPIbelt in two half marathons and a 5k.  So far it has not bothered me running.  It is really comfortable, you forget it is there.  And the best part is it does not get tight around you.
     Want one?  You can buy them at www.SPIbelt.com or at marathon expos across the country.

*Disclaimer:  This is my personal review and opinion.  No one asked or paid for the review.  SPIbelt did in fact sponsor the 2012 Boston Harvest 5k by donating an orange SPIbelt.