“How Do I Know When My Shoes Are Worn Out?”

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bke161:

A question all of us runners have asked at least once!

Originally posted on Fleet Feet Sports:

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A frequent question we get around the store this time of year is, “How do I  know when my shoes are worn out?” Well, there are several ways to tell and keep track of when it’s time to freshen up your shoes.

1. Are they really flexible? If you can bend your shoes pretty easily, that means the cushioning is likely worn out.

2. Is the tread on the bottom worn? The cushioning and shock absorption in the mid-sole of the shoe will wear out before the durable sole of the shoe. If there’s extensive wear on the sole, you should consider replacing them.

3. Do you keep track of mileage? Most traditional running shoes last between 350-550 miles, depending on wear and tear and build of the runner. If you’re nearing the upper end of the recommended mileage, it’s probably time to invest in a new pair.

4. Having any…

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Health Update

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Last Thursday I completed my physical as mandated by my new health insurance.  This is going to be a yearly occurrence for me going forward, which is not a bad thing.  Back in high school football, physical meant something else, but we will not delve into that on here.  Last May, my employer was having health screenings at the office, so I was able to get accurate counts for the majority of my health statistics.  I will be using those numbers for comparative purposes today.

The silhouette should probably be a little plumper, right?

The silhouette should probably be a little plumper, right?

  • Total Cholesterol: May 2013 score was 125. September 2014  score is 149. The desirable and lowest listed range is 125-199.  An increase, but not too big of one.
  • HDL Cholesterol: This is the “good” cholesterol and your want a higher number.  May 2013 score: 41, September 2014 score: 57.  This is in the decreased risk factor interval.  This score shows improvement from my last testing, so I have that going for me.
  • Triglycerides: May 2013 score was 100.  September 2014 score was 57. Optimal is anything under 150, so I’m golden, and much improved over last testing.
  • LDL Cholesterol: May 2013 score was 64.  September 2014 score was 81.  Optimal is 55-99, and I am creeping to the top of that, so I will watch it a bit closer.
  • Non-HDL Cholesterol: May 2013 score was 84.  September 2014 score is 149.  Optimal is anything less than 130, so I have some work to do here.  I am still in the safe range, but I want/need to get back to the optimal range.
  • Total Cholesterol to HDL Cholesterol Ratio: May 2013 ratio was 3.1.  September 2014 ratio was 2.6.  Optimal is less than or equal to 3.5.
  • Glucose: May 2013 score was 100.  This is 1 point higher than optimal, but upon reading the literature, the 65-99 scale they used was for fasting glucose (only water for 8 hours prior to screening) and since I had just eaten, my target range was 70-119, which I was comfortably within.  September 2014 score was 86.  I did fast prior to this test, so it looks good to me.
  • Blood Pressure: May 2013 score was 124/84, and September 2014 score was 129/86 which are both just over the targeted levels. The doctor did not seem too alarmed about this yet.
  • BMI:  May 2013 score was 36.  September 2014 score was 35.5.  This places me firmly in the obese range.  I’m working on that.  You can read an alternative take on BMI here.
  • Weight: May 2013 weight was 246.5 pounds.  September 2014 weight was 248 pounds.  I am obese by any metric and hopefully I will get a little more diligent about shedding some pounds.
  • Other Notes: The September physical also produced a few other results that the health screening at work did not. Most of my results were in line with where they should be with one notable exception.  I presented with a Vitamin D deficiency and advised to start taking a supplement.  This was actually a subject at boot camp a few weeks back.  I assumed I was OK in this regard and did not take any action.  I guess I was wrong.

After both screenings I was advised that I need to get more exercise.  I tried to explain about my running schedule and boot camp, but when you are 50+ pounds over your recommended weight, no one listens to you.

MRTC RRS 10K #1 Recap

This is the timing chip for this year's event.
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Sunday was the first 10K in the 2014 MRTC Road Race Series.  The 10K’s are held at Shelby Farms, which might be the best course and worst parking combo in the entire series.  This year’s course did deviate from previous years because Shelby Farms is undergoing substantial renovations.  The fact that the course was different was mentioned. Repeatedly. In fact, it got to the point that I just wanted the guy to shut up and let us run.

This is the timing chip for this year's event.

This is the timing chip for this year’s event.

Side note: the entire series carries a hubris that is somewhat off-putting to new runners.  I have never run this race before, so I have no clue where the course used to go, so referencing the changes on the course based on the previous course does not give me any idea where I should actually go. I get that several of the runners in the series are repeat runners, but obviously they all are not, so at least give us rookies some tangible direction.

The weather finally cooperated for this race, and we enjoyed running in 60-70 degree temperatures.  The humidity was still high, but it is Memphis, so that is to be expected.  The course was mainly in the park, but due to the construction, we did log some time outside of the park.  The early stages of the race were congested, as usual, but it seemed like there were fewer people at this race than the previous ones.  This might be the trend with the distances increasing, other fall races starting, and football season getting in full swing.  I guess we shall see.

Parking was a nightmare.  And not because there was a lack a spaces, but rather where the parking was.  Runners were required to park along the race course, which was a logistical nightmare.  Just imagine 500 runners still on the course as the other 500 are trying to get into their cars and drive along the course to get home.  It does not go that smoothly.  I get that there are space issues currently in the park, but communicating for this could have been handled better.

The 2014 MRTC RRS race shirt

The 2014 MRTC RRS race shirt

Race shirts for the series were handed out at this event as well.  The shirts are moisture wicking, but they honestly feel more like a cotton shirt than a traditional tech shirt.  I am going to use it at boot camp and see how it does.

Angels Game During Disneyland Half Weekend

No ballgame is complete without a beer and a hot dog.
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Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

Another stadium marked off my 30 MLB park tour

One of my non-running goals is to attend a baseball game at all 30 MLB stadiums.  This is not an original goal, but much like the 50 half marathons in 50 states goal, it is a great way to see the country.  Angels Stadium marked my fourth active MLB stadium to attend a game at, joining Turner Field, Busch Stadium (the third one), and Fenway Park.  I have also attended games at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, the second Busch Stadium, and Riverfront Stadium, but those do not count on the 30 parks tour.

No ballgame is complete without a beer and a hot dog.

No ballgame is complete without a beer and a hot dog.

Going to an MLB game requires at least one beer and hot dog.  This trip lived up to this expectation, even if it was not the best meal to eat the night before a race.  Luckily it was before the 10K, and I did not overindulge in anything.

Panorama of Angels Stadium

Panorama of Angels Stadium

The game was between the top team teams in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Oakland A’s.  The weeks prior to the game, it was looking like the game would potentially be for possession of first place in the division.  However, by August 29, the Angels had started to pull away in the division, but I was still able to watch two aces go at it.  Jon Lester was pitching for the A’s, and Jared Weaver for the Angels, and both pitched well.

Yes, this is a helmet full of nachos. No, I did not order these.

Yes, this is a helmet full of nachos. No, I did not order these.

The game ended 4-0 Angels, with home runs by Chris Iannetta and Albert Pujols.  Sadly, Mike Trout did not do anything SportsCenter worthy during the game, but it was still a good game.

T-Shirt giveaway from the game

T-Shirt giveaway from the game

Honestly, the stadium was better than I expected.  There were a ton of food options, and while the stadium is one of the older ones in the league, it holds up well.  The organization does it best to make the game day experience a fun one, and the fans were much more rabid than I was expecting. The helmet nachos were very popular, partially because at $16.50, they were a good value by ballpark standards.  I cannot imagine eating all of those nachos in one sitting.

With my fourth active stadium marked off the list, I have no clue which one will be next, but it probably will not be until next season that I will be able to travel to a new stadium.

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

You just finished 19.3 miles, now what are you going to do? I'm going to In-N-Out Burger!
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Sunday was the 9th annual Disneyland Half Marathon.  The race marked my completion of the Dumbo Double Dare as well as the Coast to Coast Challenge.  It was my fourth state to ever run a half marathon in as well as my sixth half this year and eleventh overall. It will be several months before I even have an opportunity to cross off another state, so at least I made this one count!

Disneyland Half Marathon Post Race Pic

Disneyland Half Marathon Post Race Pic

I arrived to Anaheim on Friday afternoon and was a little worried about tackling the expo.  I had heard horror stories from last year’s expo and no one wants to be stressed too much from an expo.  I am happy to report that this year’s expo was very easy to navigate and the crowds were no worse than any other large event that I have attended in the past.  If you entered from the main parking lot for the Disneyland Hotel, there were plenty of signs to show you where to go and I did not have to wait long for my race materials.  I browsed some of the vendors, but actually did not purchase anything.  Susan, who did not make the trip with me, did purchase some items for me online because she felt that I needed something to celebrate my finishes beyond the medals.  I ate lunch at the Tangaroa Terrace and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of options that the quick service place had.  I enjoyed a teriyaki chicken sandwich and some sweet potato fires.   After the expo, I went to my hotel to rest and wait to head over the Angels Stadium for the game, but I will post separately about that event.

I previously posted about the Disneyland 10K from Saturday, and after a morning of resting, I headed over to Downtown Disney to walk around and eat.  I decided to go to a movie at the AMC theater there, and realized that I must not be the only person there for the race weekend that decided not to buy park tickets.  Finding a place to eat was next to impossible, and while I waited, I was very happy that I had snacked at Wetzels Pretzels earlier in the day.  I finally was able to have dinner at Earl of Sandwich, which was another excellent quick service option.  The chipotle chicken avocado sandwich and mac ‘n cheese were excellent pre-race carbs and I was very happy that I was able to abstain from sampling some of the excellent looking sweets. After dinner, I returned to my hotel to relax and watch some football, and hopefully cool off.

Race morning was another 3:30 am wake-up call.  My hotel was about a mile from the start line and this walk to start provided ample opportunity to get loose for the race.  Surprisingly, once I arrived at the starting area, there still were no lines for the port-a-potties! No lines are always a welcomed sight!  I was in corral F, which meant that I was expecting to start a little after 6:00 am.  Thankfully, they were releasing corrals two at a time and I was on the course just after 5:45 am.  The half marathon course was certainly more congested than the 10K course, but again, not as bad as I was mentally preparing for.  It was another hot and humid (by California standards) morning. I was sweating early, but I was not as uncomfortable as I would have been if the event was held here in Memphis.

Disneyland Half Marathon posing with Walt and Mickey

Disneyland Half Marathon posing with Walt and Mickey

The course had some highlights, but by mile 4, you are outside of the park, and when you return around mile 12, you are running on the outskirts of the parks and not near any attractions.  They did do a great job of providing photo opportunities in the park miles.  I took my photo with the Walt and Mickey statue in front of the castle as well as with Paradise Pier behind me.  The one character stop that I really wanted to get a picture at was with Darth Vader and a couple of Storm Troopers.  The line was insanely long and I skipped it.  I immediately regretted this decision.  Outside of the park, there were several marching bands and dance groups for entertainment.  There were also over 350 classic cars around mile 7 that provided a nice change of scenery from the road course. Mile 9 had us running through Angels Stadium, which was awesome.  Sadly, my hands and phone were not cooperating due to sweat, so I was unable to get any pictures on the field.  The finish was hectic and was probably the narrowest portion of the course.  The awarding of the finisher’s medals was very organized and there were no issues getting each of my three medals.

Course: A: The park portion was great, and the inclusion of Angels Stadium helped salvage the rest of the course.  You also run by the Honda Center, but you do not go in it, so it is more just a building than an awesome landmark.  It was very flat, and in better weather conditions, I imagine that the course is very fast as well.  In fact, before the race started, the announcers were talking about how this course was the fastest of the runDisney half marathon courses and I believe it.

Disneyland Half Marathon Medal

Disneyland Half Marathon Medal

Swag: A: The Disneyland Half medal has changed very little over the past few years, and I am perfectly fine with that.  The script D and castle look great as a medal.  I enjoyed the retro look of the shirt and ribbon as well.  The post race refreshments were exactly the same as the 10K the previous day.  I guess they had a large food box packing party the week preceding the events.

Disneyland Half Marathon Swag

Disneyland Half Marathon Swag

Overall: A: I enjoyed this race, and did not find that the crowds were too overwhelming.  The only issue that I had was with my timing chip.  For some reason, it stopped working after the 5K split of the half.  I have emailed track shack and they are in the process of updating my race time, so sometime next week, I should have an official finishing time.  This is the second timing chip issue that I have had during a half marathon and I need to figure out why, I suppose.

Dumbo Double Dare Medal

Dumbo Double Dare Medal

Dumbo Swag: A: The shirt is better than the medal, but both are very good.  The medal has a lot of detail and is thinner than other medals that I have. That is the trade-off for the colors and details, I guess.

Dumbo Double Dare Swag

Dumbo Double Dare Swag

Coast to Coast Swag: A+: Medal only, but it is an awesome medal.  It is very heavy and has great detail. I know that it does not really change from year to year, but it is one of my favorite medals, and definitely the best of the weekend to me.  It is the medal that I chose to wear around the most after the event.  I wore all my medals briefly after the event, but the clanging around scratched up my half marathon medal somewhat, so I stuck to one medal.

2014 Coast to Coast Medal

2014 Coast to Coast Medal

After the race, I had to get cleaned up and head to the airport.  Since this was a solo trip, I decided to fly back the day of the race rather than laying around in a hotel for another night.  I did, however, hit a Southern California landmark that could not be missed on any trip out west, In-N-Out Burger!  After 19.3 miles, I think that I earned that greasy goodness, and I enjoyed every last bite, as well as my Neapolitan milkshake! It was a great way to cap off my weekend.

You just finished 19.3 miles, now what are you going to do? I'm going to In-N-Out Burger!

You just finished 19.3 miles, now what are you going to do? I’m going to In-N-Out Burger!

I had a great experience at this race weekend, and would do it again.  Maybe next time I will be able to run in the Avengers or Star Wars Half race weekend, with a celebratory In-N-Out trip, of course.

Disneyland 10K Recap

Disneyland 10K Medal
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Saturday was the Disneyland 10K as part of the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  I ran the event as a part of the Dumbo Double Dare. Surprisingly, this was just my second ever 10K, and being that it was proceeding a half marathon, I was not even going to attempt to a PR.  And since the weather was warmer and much more humid than expected, it was great that I was not looking to PR.  I did, however, run the race a little faster than expected.  I wanted to take it somewhat easy, but I felt great throughout, and just coasted along.  I could have shaved a couple of minutes off of the final number, but I am glad that I did not with the half looming the following morning.

Course: A: My first thought about the race upon looking at the course map was that it was going to be the most enjoyable race of the weekend.  It was a flat course that despite the large number of runners, seemed to have room to accommodate the majority of us.  And while the course was primarily through Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland, the amount of photo opportunities were lacking.  Most Disney races have several places for photos, but there were not that many throughout the course.  There were two in Cars Land, which may or may not have just been a part of the park normally, and towards the end there was a Lilo and Stitch character meet.  Some people saw Chip and Dale, but most did not see both on the course.  

Disneyland 10K Swag

Disneyland 10K Swag

Swag: A-: Disney is know for their medals and other race swag.  Of course, you pay a premium for these, but some races charge a large amount and you get inferior medals.  This is not the case with runDisney.  The medal for the 10K was great, especially if you are a huge Lilo and Stitch fan.  I have never seen the movie, so I was indifferent about the character, but the medal does look great.  The race shirt also came out very well, and seemed to be the best received shirt of all of the weekend’s events.  I love the runDisney shirts because they are roomy tech shirts and as a large runner, roomy shirts are always appreciated.  

Disneyland 10K Medal

Disneyland 10K Medal

The downside of runDisney events is the post race spread.  There is no beer (understandable) and the prepackaged boxes of food are kinda meh.  There is a science behind them apparently and with the amount of runners, there has to be a way to ration out the refreshments.  A prepackaged box of crackers and one banana is underwhelming. 

Overall: A: I really enjoyed this race. A 10K is not a distance that is overwhelming and with the limited amount of space at the California Disney parks, it utilizes the space very well.  Since the 10K was not the main event of the weekend, the crowds were much easier to navigate before, during, and after the race.  With the 5:30 am start, and the shorter distance, the majority of runners could be finished with the race, showered, and at the parks by the time they opened in the morning.

I really enjoyed the race, and I would do it again, but next time I participate in a Disney race in California, I hope it is the Avengers or Star Wars events, simply because I am a nerd and the weather will be even better. 

MRTC Second 5 Miler Recap

This was basically what my run was like
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This is the timing chip for this year's event.

This is the timing chip for this year’s event.

On Sunday was the second 5 miler in the MRTC Road Race Series.  And despite my best efforts and the prodding of Susan, I am still on pace to achieve Road Warrior status for the series.  I had a friend in town over the weekend, and decided that it was a great idea to drink heavily on Saturday.  All of Saturday, so running 5 miles in the heat and humidity was not the highest on my list of priorities on Sunday.  In fact, I was a little concerned about how dehydrated I was.  I would have stayed in bed all morning if if were not for Susan kicking me in the ass and convincing me to go to the race.  Thanks for that, Susan!

This was basically what my run was like

This was basically what my run was like.

Once I started my run, my fears proved not to be warranted.  I felt decent, and ran rather well.  I was 3 minutes slower than the first 5 miler, but I did feel good.  Of course, the race was not quite as hot as the previous one, nor was it as hot as the Hit and Run 5K the day prior.  I did not collapse on the course and had no cramping issues, so that was a successful race in my mind.  And as a bonus, I found a very strong hangover cure, running 5 miles in the Memphis heat and humidity!

Sorry for the short post, but I have quite a bit of work to finish up before traveling to Disneyland and the upcoming races/weekend. Good luck to everyone else that is running this weekend! Be safe, stay hydrated, and enjoy yourself!