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Do what you can and be satisfied

I seem to have daily conversations with people who are ashamed of what they do.  Don’t be ashamed of what you are doing.  If what you are doing makes you happy, continue doing it.  The idea behind life is to be happy.  I am not really sure how a healthy life style relates to a long life.  I do know that fit people can get from point A to point B faster and they can be productive a point B faster.
Here is a list of recent comments and my thoughts:

  • “I can’t run a mile, but I try.”  All you can do is try.  If you keep trying, you will get there.  Do not overdo it.  Plug away by jogging a few steps then back to walking.  Before long, you will be jogging more than walking.
  • “I only work out 20 or 30 minutes a day on weekdays only.”  That is great.  Doing any type of physical activity is better than sitting at your desk all day moving files around.
  • “I want to lose weight.”  This is probably the most common thing I hear.  My advice is to start small by eliminating the fast food lunches a couple of days per week and bring in food that has not been processed in a factory.  I am not sure of the health benefits of food that has been designed by scientists and use chemicals with names that I can’t pronounce but I do know that empty calories can help make you fat.
  • “I am doing the couch to 5k and now my (insert body part) hurts.”  Take it easy.  You can take a day off or walk more for the run/walk portion.  All pain is not good pain.  When in doubt, rest.
  • “I read on the internet that I should do this exercise, now I have a sharp pain here.”  Rest the area that has a sharp pain.  Ease in to the aggressive workouts.  Do not trust any one source without asking questions.  If you can get a personal trainer, get one.  If you can’t get a trainer, read multiple articles before you try things. is a great resource.  I go there regularly for training and dietary ideas.

Did you notice a pattern?  Most people tend to overdo things and pay a price for it.  I am no exception.  I learned a lot of things the hard way.  It is usually best to make small changes that you can maintain.  Fad diets and workouts are great at motivating you for a short period but it is hard to maintain the enthusiasm for long.  Take it easy and be satisfied.

Mizuno Wave Evo trial


The Mizuno Wave EVO running shoes have a flat sole that is designed for a midfoot or forefoot strike.  I have the Levitas style.  Let me start out by saying that I love to take long strides and strike with my heel first.  Although I am a neutral runner, by toes point out slightly.  Striking on the outside of the heel wears out the heel quickly and creates a lot of stress on the outside of the leg.  Between the stressed out legs and my capacity for over doing things, I am always injured.  I took a chi running class that changed my running technique from leaning back to leaning forward.  It seems to help. But I still want to strike with my heels.  I was browsing around The Sports Basement one day when I stumbled on the EVO running shoes.  I tried them on and they were very comfortable.  They were so comfortable that I bought a pair.

My new shoes were nice and comfortable for my first run.  I did notice that they seem to be about ½ size large.  I am not sure if they are big or they feel that way because they are vastly different from regular running shoes.  Without the heel padding, I tend to land more on the center of the foot.  I did not alter my stride intentionally.  It happened because there was no structure to encourage me to strike heel first.  I don’t know if it is good or bad to land mid foot as opposed to landing on my heel.  I do know that landing on my heel causes stress on the shin and outside of my leg where landing mid sole causes stress on the calf and inside of my knee.  My non-scientific reasoning says it is better to work the calf because it is a larger muscle.

If you noticed my comment about landing on a different part of your foot works different muscles, you may be prepared for the consequences of working new muscles.  I took my new shoes out for an easy 3 mile jog.  About an hour after my run, my calves started to show their displeasure.  Wow!  I had a lot of sore muscles.  I had sore muscles that I did not know existed.  There are a lot of muscles below the calf and around the ankle.

I have been wearing the EVO’s for about two months now with no injuries and no worse for the wear.  I am used to the long feel of the shoe and wonder if the shoes run big or it is the way I am accustomed to running shoes.  My runs have been between 3 and 5 miles with no pain.  I did push the pace on a 3 mile run with no adverse effects.

Things to note:

  • I am a neutral runner with high arches
  • I do triathlons and run the occasional marathon
  • I injure myself 2 out of 3 times that I train for a marathon
  • I replace my running shoes every 300-500 miles
  • Most of my injuries are running related
  • EVO’s are cheaper than regular running shoes
  • EVO’s are light
  • I love shopping at Sports Basement
  • If you try minimal shoes, start with easy runs
  • So far, I like the EVO’s and consider them a success.  That may change when I get up to the 15 mile runs but I will remain optimistic.

I ordered a new pair of minimalist shoes to try out.  They are still sealed in the garage.  I forgot who made them but that is part of the fun for reviewing things.  I hope they are close to Mizuno shoes for comfort and better for fit.  Amazon has them for about $110 but you can find them for $80 at Road Runner sports.  If you have not been to a running only store, I highly recommend it.

Running, rest and age

Resting is a very difficult thing for most runners.  We hang with people who have been running their whole lives without missing a day of running for the last 30 years.  We also know people who are part of the marathon maniacs club who have to run something crazy like 7 marathons in 7 days to join the club.

We know these normal people who can do these amazing things and think we can do that too, if we work hard enough.  To help ruin our mindset, we remember running as teenagers with no adverse effects.  Hell, half of us would smoke or drink or both before running with no adverse effects.  We also read magazines and articles telling us to run 6 or 7 days per week where we run hard one or two days then do a recovery run for an easy day.

I would like to point out that rest is allowed.  If you are training for a marathon and work your way  up to 6 days a week that is fine.  If you are just starting out, rest is a good thing.  A lot of us like or liked to have fun in our youth.  Some would call it a misspent youth while others will have a different opinion but that is another topic entirely.

When we reach our 30’s, we realize our bodies can’t handle the abuse and some of us change our ways.  When we begin to change our ways, we look to the fit people who never stopped being healthy.  Quite often, the healthy people give very sage advice about taking it easy.

Most of don’t want to listen to the sage advice because we want to catch up to them.  Listen to the sage advice.  Going out too hard and too fast can cause injuries.  If you don’t let the injuries heal properly, they may become chronic.

Read as much as you can and try to tailor a plan to suit your needs or goals.  If you don’t have any goals or know how to create goals, you can always go for the old 10% increase per week or lose 1 pound per week.  If you think to yourself that a 10% increase over 0 is equal to 0, find a couch to 5k plan to get you started.

We are all different, find or create a plan for yourself and modify it as you go along.  Most of us create a plan where we will run a sub 30- minute 10K after two months of training.  Very few of us will achieve that goal.  Most of us will modify our goals to something a little more reasonable.

I am a fan of organic and natural foods.  I am also a triathlete with a lousy metabolism for endurance sports.  My body does not seem to be able to digest most foods and gels when it goes into endurance mode.  That is a nice way of saying I often get sick or bonk when I do endurance events.  I subconsciously know that I will get sick when I eat something, so I always avoid eating.

Skout Natural sent me a complete set of their products for review a few months ago and I just could not bring myself to write about them.  Every time I looked at the label, I felt that I should be in a Berkeley coffee shop drinking chai tea while writing the review on an Apple computer.  If you are wondering, I am at home drinking Starbucks coffee while typing on a Linux computer.  Sometimes, we need to shed our preconceived notions and move on.

Full review after the jump: 

Tapering for an event

I am often asked about tapering for a big event.  I don’t usually taper because I don’t do many “A” events that I peak for.  I usually do events that are within my standard training zones so I can push it hard for one day, take a rest day then get back to normal.  I can usually do a half marathon or an international distance triathlon on a day’s notice.  Anything longer will require training and a training plan.  Some people can run a mile on a day’s notice  and need a plan for a longer distance.  Other people can run 50 miles on a day’s notice.  It is up to you how you should train and what you need to train for.

Let me start out by saying “Tapering is hard!”.  There is a reason that I don’t usually taper, it is easy to mess things up while tapering.  You can probably do a Google search any distance event taper training and find at least 5 different ways to taper for the event.  It is not a bad idea to read a few different articles then plan your taper from there.  I will explain my taper and reasons here.  When you ask yourself these questions, you should give yourself honest answers.  Sometimes, we give ourselves politically correct answers but that is not really the goal.

A.      You will need to ask yourself what are your goals?  My goals for a half ironman are listed below:
1.       Cross the finish line healthy in less than 7 hours.  I said I did not care about the time but I had a massage scheduled for 7 hours after the start.
2.       Set a personal record (PR) on the bike.
3.       Show up to the start line healthy.
4.       Run the whole course.
5.       Look good on the run.
6.       Finish in less than 6:30.
7.       Ideal would be to finish in less than 6 hours but not likely.

B.      Look at your schedule
1.       Events are supposed to be fun.
2.       Live your life.
3.       Will it make you happy to skip a day out sailing to save 1 minute on a marathon?
4.       Will a day out sailing one week before the marathon be the difference between finishing and a DNF?

C.      What type of racer are you?
1.       Speed
2.       Endurance

Comments for A – Do you notice how I have finish healthy is number 1 but starting healthy is number 3?  I must have told myself that exercising for 7 hours will heal any injuries that I start with.  In my case, I was recovering from a run injury so I trained more for the bike than the run.  Looking back on this list, after I finished the event, I can say that my number one goal was to finish any way possible.  But that was not my goal when started tapering.  I tapered to list.  I did not bother add swimming to the list because I knew that I could and would do a sub 40 minute swim.  It should have been on the list.

Comments for B – I had a 5 day weekend the week before the event.  I could have been taking it easy to help me arrive at the race in peak condition but I did not.  I was out riding my bike all over Northern California during the long weekend.  I decided that riding my bike around the week before my “A” race would cause me to not meet goal number 2.  To me, having fun for a few extra days was worth risking goal number 2.

Comments for C – My goal is to complete races so I can go into a race pretty well rested.  People who plan on speed are rested when they do slower workouts for similar durations as peak training.

Now that we have examined ourselves and understand our goals and schedules, we can think about tapering.  Typical taper time is 1-3 weeks.  For a really big race like a marathon or half iron man triathlon, I like to taper for two weeks.  I could taper for 3 weeks and handle it physically but I don’t think I could take it mentally.  It is really hard to slow down after you have trained for 4-12 months preparing for an event.  I cycle my training in 3 week cycles where I build for 2 weeks, back off for a week the repeat.  Because of this, I average my workout time for the last 3 weeks before taper then cut back on the average going into the event.  For example:

For an average of 10 hours training per week, I would train
8 hours per week 3 weeks before the event
6 hours per week 2 weeks before the event
4 hours per week 1  week before the event

It is not a good idea to work on speed or strength during the taper phase.  The reason for tapering it to arrive at the start line healthy and ready to race.

Triathlon equipment preparation



I was getting my stuff ready for an International distance triathlon when I decided to take a picture and post my plan.  I am packing up to drive a few hours to the race location where I will spend the night in a hotel then ride my bike about 5 miles to the race start area.

It is always a good idea to create a list of triathlon gear you are going to use and how you are going to use the gear.  You can organize the list in any order that suits you.  For this event, I used a towel on the floor, the equipment and a picture as my list.  My list shown below is based on importance of the equipment.  Some things are just required for most triathlons.

Bike – Tuned and in good working order
Bike helmet – I am not a good one to ask about helmet requirements.  If it fits, I am happy.
Running shoes – I have the added optional upgrades from RoadID and SuperFeet inserts.
Bike shoes – Running shoes will work but your feet will hurt and you will lose power on the hills.
Shorts – I have some Snazzy TYR Tri shorts that work well for all 3 events.  Any shorts will work but I really like the tri shorts.  The pockets are in good places and they don’t chaffe.
Shirt – Required at most races and they protect your back from the sun.

Bike pump – I like to pump up the tires right before I leave for the race.
Water bottles – I have 3 bottles
One to rinse my feet after the swim
One for the bike that is filled with an electrolyte mix
One bottle of water for the bike
This course is very hot for me.  I will drink half the electrolyte before I get on the bike and drink one bottle of water on the bike.  I will discard both bottles at the bike water stop for fresh ones, filled with cold water.
Two towels – one for the ground and one to use after the race.
Bike gloves – Just in case I feel like wearing them.
Body glide – Great for preventing chaffing from the wet suit.  It also protects your neck from the sun.
Food – I bring it but I probably won’t eat much.  I will probably eat a stinger waffle after the swim.
Spi Belt with bib hangars – A great place to put your bib and it only takes one clip to put it on.
Socks to help prevent blisters on your feet.
Super thin underwear – Some people like them, some don’t.  I like them.
Swim goggles – tested and adjusted to fit properly.
Multi-tool kit for bikes – In case something goes wrong while getting ready for the race.
Wet-suit –  fit tested with operational zipper.  I like to lubricate the zipper with body glide.
Bike pouch:
Spare tube
CO2 dispenser
CO2 cartridges (2)
Tire levers
Spare tube
Patch kit
First aid kit
Allen wrenches 3,4 & 5 mm
Bag to carry goods to and from the start line.
Sunglasses are in the car and I have not made up my mind on the bike jersey yet.

Prepare for your distance.  For my current level of fitness, an Olympic distance triathlon is a short event where I don’t need to worry about nutrition.  I do have to worry about the heat and water.  Practice with your equipment, including nutrition before the event.

I just posted an article about going from being a desk jockey to running a 5k the other day.  Today, I found a similar article from in my inbox.  Their article is similar to mine.  We both encourage you to get out and do it.  Do not overdo things.  There is no shame in walking.  Slowly build up to the 5k distance.

I am a firm believer in getting multiple opinions and making your own decisions.  It is amazing how many things work well one day and not so well the next.  Read up on things and draw your own conclusions.  Do your best to not come up with excuses to rest. is a great place for articles.  They are like the Microsoft of event management.  They reign supreme but they know there a lot of options available.  To stay relevant, they have an online magazine and wordpress style blog.  Their blog is excellent.  The articles are well written and pertain to most sports for all levels.  They are a “for profit site” but I have never noticed a bias in their writing.  I give them kudos for keeping the bias out.  I have people send me stuff to review and it is so hard to not cheer on the little guys who are just starting out or the people who contact me.

If you are not a member of, I encourage you to browse around their web site.  It is a good idea to sign up for their service and have your credit card on file.  Some of the events we do sell out quickly.  It is good to be on record when you sign up for these events.

Note: I have no affiliation with

No training to a 5K

Getting healthy is hard but it does not need to be painful.  When you lead a comfortable sedentary lifestyle, it can be really hard to get started.  If you make it painful, the chances of you repeating the effort decrease dramatically.  Getting started is the biggest hurdle.  Once you start, take it easy.  You will get stronger as time progresses.

  • Do it – Get out the door and take that first step.  Decide when you are going to train and do it.  It is amazing how many excuses we can come up with to skip a workout.  I am currently training for a triathlon.  I am training for more than 15 hours per week and I still look for reasons to skip a workout.
  • No pain – I know about the old saying “No pain, no gain”, but that is not always true.  If you get a pain in your side, do not suck it up and keep going.  Relax; there is nothing wrong with slowing down or walking.
  • No huffing and puffing – If you are having a tough time breathing, slow down or walk.  There is nothing wrong with shuffling along and getting it done.  You are training to get stronger.  When you are starting out, moving is the primary goal.  Get out and do it.
  • Start easy – When I started running the telephones were about 100 yards apart in my area of rural Pennsylvania.  Paradise, Pennsylvania to be exact.  I would run from one telephone pole to the next, and then walk to the next pole.  I would make it about 3 or 4 poles then I would start walking a little bit early then start running a little bit late.  After a couple of weeks of this, I would run for 2 poles then walk one.  Before the summer was over, I could run 3 miles without stopping.
  • Distance before speed – Do not worry about your speed.  Work your way up to a distance of 2-5 miles then work on speed by using the same telephone poles.  The same thing happens when you are working on speed as distance.  Working on speed can bring tears to your eyes.  Know the difference between lung pain and body pain.  If you are not sure, assume it is body pain and slow down or walk.  Injuries mess things up.

I know these tips are general in nature.  The idea is for you to find tips from a lot of sources and do what works for you.  Take it easy, have fun and don’t get hurt.  I excel at the having fun part but I am not too good at taking it easy and staying healthy.

Thanks for all of the phone calls and e-mails voicing concerns for my safety.  I did not run the Boston Marathon this year.  As all of the readers who know me can attest, I love running and I love people.  I can’t comprehend why someone would want to harm anyone for any reason.  It makes me sad to see people getting injured.  A lot of my friends have been making comments and asking me questions about peoples reactions and how I would have reacted if that happened to me.

Here are my responses to some questions regarding the bomb blasts at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Did you see what happened at the Boston Marathon?  First of all, I did not watch the coverage of the bomb blasts.  When I saw it on the news, I turned it off or turned to something else.  It breaks my heart to see senseless violence.

What about the guy who got knocked over by the blast then got up and kept going?  My response is, marathons are hard.  When you get to the finish line after 4+ hours of running, the only thing on your mind is that finish line.  The first two hours of a marathon are easy.  The third hour becomes more difficult because you worry about  your preparation.  The fourth hour is hard.  The excitement from the day before is starting to take its toll on you.  The lack of sleep from being in a hotel and getting up early are starting to wear on you.  The fourth hour, of a four hour marathon is pure hell.  When you are that close to the finish line (a couple hundred yards), the only thing in life is the finish line.

Would I have stopped to help people?  I am not a medic but I am trained in first aid.  I do not know if my training would help, but I would have stopped to make sure everyone was okay.  If I did stop, I would have done my best to help and stayed until released by the authorities.  After I was released, I would have finished the race even if I had to crawl to a finish line that was taken down.

Would I have been upset if I was told the race was cancelled when I was at mile 25?  I would have been devastated.  You have to qualify about a year in advance for Boston.  That means most people have to invest more than two years of training to run the Boston Marathon.

At mile 25, you have been through hell and are running on determination and the promise of almost finishing.  You immediately know you have to stop.  A bomb blast is entirely up to the imagination.  The implications don’t really sink in for a few hours because the body is so fatigued.  I don’t know how I would feel if that happened to me.  I imagine that every thing about it feels horrible for the poor people who were out on the course.

I will stop here because it hurts me to imagine how the people involved feel.  I hope something like this does not happen again.
Mike’s Thoughts:  Sorry to hijack Ted’s post, but I share a lot of the same thoughts … it’s such a tragedy that three people lost their lives, along with those injured in the bomb blasts.  They are all in my thoughts as they face a difficult and painful road to recovery.

Here is an old post from October of 2010.  The site crashed and took some effort to get it back up and running.  While I was deleting files, looking for the offending file that crashed the system, I found this article.  I liked the magazine.  Most of the article still holds true today.  I think Todd Hellings moved on but one of his early articles was great.

Vincit Magazine is a local Mixed Martial Arts magazine that is local to the San Francisco area, primarily in the East Bay.  It is a new bi-monthly magazine that is that is distributed mostly in the Bay area.  It does not seem like a magazine that would interest runners and triathletes, but I like it.  I will start out by saying that I don’t like MMA fighting but magazine is good for all athletes, especially those in of us in the bay area.  The people featured in the magazine are mostly local and if you are active in the local athletic community, there is a good chance you will run into them.

The magazine is a bit raw and very edgy that caters to a young audience.  It seems that most of the people involved in MMA are are young and a bit raw and edgy too.  I will add that every time I am around the MMA people, they are very nice to me.  I really like the articles and the format of the magazine.  Todd Hellings has a good section on supplements.  He is very blunt but he answers our questions honestly.  When I review supplements, it is mostly on taste and how well I can hold it down.  My reviews are mostly for older, endurance athletes where these are mostly for strength and bulk.  It makes me want to try some of the pre-workout supplements.

Jenna Castillo has a section for workout tips in every magazine.  She is a cute young lady in person but there is nothing cute about her workout routines.  I didn’t know she was a fighting machine until I saw her picture in the magazine.  I am checking out my garage now trying to figure out a safe way to make a TRX setup.  It is also a good idea to take some yoga classes to help you understand the language of the magazine.  It is ironic to think that all of these scary MMA fighters probably do yoga.  I guess physical fitness equates to breathing and strength in any sport.

I thought it was odd having a pretty girl photo shoot in the magazine but the young guys at work seemed to like it.  In fact, they seemed to have looked for the girls first when I broke out the second magazine.

Over all, I like Vincit magazine.  It is a bit short but I all of the articles are interesting and readable for people from any athletic background.  It puts things into perspective when you see high level athletes on TV.  Every one of those athletes put in a lot of time at the gym.  Most of them put in a lot of hard times just getting to a high level in the sport.