Workout Playlist of the Month: June 2016

This month I’ve put together another pop/dance mix.

This Is What You Came For (feat. Rihanna) – Calvin Harris (124 BPM)
Disturbia – Rihanna (125 BPM)
Spice Up Your Life – Spice Girls (124 BPM)
Domino – Jessie J (127 BPM)
I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas (128 BPM)
Somebody Loves You – Betty Who (123 BPM)
The Life – Fifth Harmony (104 BPM)
Drag Me Down [Big Payno x AFTERHRS Remix] – One Direction (138 BPM)
Secrets (Jump Smokers Remix) – Mary Lambert (125 BPM)
G.U.Y. (KDrew Remix) – Lady Gaga (126 BPM)
Break the Rules (Tiësto Remix) – Charli XCX (128 BPM)
Judas (R3HAB Remix) – Lady Gaga (128 BPM)
CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! – Justin Timberlake (113 BPM)

To learn an easy way to create a workout mix check out my blog post, “Easy Way to Create Your Own Music Mixes Using the Cross DJ App“.

White Bean, Tomato & Cucumber Salad

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I posted this photo on Facebook over Memorial Day weekend and I had several people ask me about the salad. It’s so quick and easy to fix. This salad could be the main course or a side.

1 15 ounce can of Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint of Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1 large Cucumber, seeds removed and sliced
1 medium sized Red Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley (optional)
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Best if you let it stay in the refrigerator over night to let the flavors meld.

 

Seize the Moment 5K

This is the first year for the Seize the Moment 5K in Evans, Georgia. The event benefits the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia. The turnout was light and very few hardcore runners were there. Overall, the event was well organized but there wasn’t an official race clock. The clock was the head organizer calling out the time from his smartphone as you crossed the finish line. Not complaining about that–just reporting the fact.

The packet pickup/registration started at 8 a.m. I had pre-registered so the process went very quickly. I got there early because I wasn’t sure about traffic getting to the event and how many others would be there to pickup their race packet. The check-in was so quick this gave me some time to go out on a short warmup run so that was good.

By the 9 a.m. start time it was hot out! The sun was shining brightly and the temperature had to be close to 75 degrees with little to no breeze. The start was fairly informal. There wasn’t an exact start line that I could tell anyway. Just an approximate one. As we got started I was surprised about how many were still behind me. Hey, I’m not a fast runner but I don’t think there were more than 20-25 people ahead of me on the whole race.

The first mile was finished at a 9:55 mile pace. Right where I wanted to be but then it came time to deal with the hills. The first one wasn’t too long, maybe a quarter to one-third of a mile but it was pretty steep. Then came a much longer hill of at least a half a mile. Not quite as steep as the shorter one but close. The second mile took me 11:06 to finish. I knew then, I wasn’t going to get this race in under 30 minutes. By then I was starting to feel the heat as well. Luckily, the same hill I just ran up I now got to run down. That helped but then we were directed back to the same loop with the steeper hill.

After tackling that hill again I resolved myself to just keep a steady pace and get it finished. Just kept my breathing steady and kept moving forward. I used nose breathing more than I ever have on this race. Not sure if it was a good thing or not but I tried anyway.

The GPS on my Fitbit Surge told me I hit the 5K mark at approximately 33:35. One problem though. I ran every tangent I could along the way but I wasn’t close to the finish line yet. The GPS on my Fitbit isn’t exact but pretty close anyway. I took me another four tenths of a mile before I hit the finish line. My finish time was 38:01. Not the finish time I was hoping for to say the least. But, that’s the way it is sometimes. With the hills and heat of the day it was a good finish.

For hardcore runners this event probably won’t thrill you. But for me, it was close to my house and the proceeds go to a good cause so it was worth it. My only real criticism is the start time. On Memorial Day weekend in Georgia it can get pretty warm and starting the race at 8 a.m. would make a difference in dealing with the heat. A 7:30 start time would be even better but I can live with an 8 a.m. start.

Now that this race is in the books it’s time to get ready for the Peachtree Road Race on July the 4th. Running a 10K in the July heat of Georgia; I’ve gotta be crazy!

 

 

Peachtree Road Race Training: Week Two

If you read my other posts from the week you know I’m trying to learn a new running form/technique using the book “ChiRunning” by Danny Dryer. This week I focused on nose breathing and cadence.

On Saturday’s run I ditched the music and used a metronome app on my phone set at 90 bpm. I found that my running cadence is not as consistent as I thought. It’s not bad but not perfect either. Some of its due to terrain and I guess that is to be expected at times. The most significant thing I noticed is my natural cadence is a little faster than 90 strides per minute. I’ll continue to use the metronome set a 90 for a few weeks and see how it goes. My run was cut short because I had an early morning meeting to attend. It’s good to have a plan but there are times when you have to adjust.

I’ve been a belly breather for as long as I can remember but I breath through my mouth. The change to breathing in from the nose is very difficult for me to learn. I figured out I can’t concentrate on cadence and breathing at the same time that’s for sure. For now, nose breathing is on the back burner.

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Monday: 10 minute slow run; 2 minutes fast run/1 minute walk (x8); 10 minute slow run.
Tuesday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Wednesday: 18 minute slow run; 5 minute fast run; 15 minute slow run
Thursday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Friday: Rest day.
Saturday: Ran 5.69 miles at 11:24 per mile pace average. Fastest mile: 10:56, slowest: 11:45.
Sunday: Strength training and stretching.

ChiRunning???

A few weeks ago a fellow runner and blogger, Jessica Payne opened my eyes to ChiRunning. If you haven’t visited Jess’s blog I encourage you to check it out at, http://runpinkjess.com. Jessica was raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and held a little drawing for donors. I was lucky enough to win and the prize was a book titled, “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. I had never heard of ChiRunning before getting the book but after a quick browse through the pages I was intrigued enough to read it in more detail.

ChiRunning is a running technique based on martial arts skills of T’ai Chi. ChiRunning seems to be closely related to the elements of neigong and qigong which focuses on breathing, movement and awareness exercises. ChiRunning was created by Danny Dreyer in 1999. You can learn more by visiting his website at, http://www.chirunning.com

Basically, the main principles of ChiRunning are:

  • Relaxation
  • Correct alignment and posture
  • Landing with a midfoot strike
  • Using a “gravity-assisted” forward lean
  • Engaging core strength for propulsion
  • Connecting the mind and body to prevent injury

Through my own running experience I’ve discovered relaxation, posture and a midfoot strike are keys to preventing injuries so much of the focus in ChiRunning follows my own principles of running. Martial arts is something I’ve never had an interest but running relaxed without injury is something I have a great deal of interest. I like enough of the principles of ChiRunning I’m willing to give it a try.

I’ve just barely examined the focus areas of ChiRunning and it will probably take me several weeks to a few months just to get comfortable with the focus areas. I know it’s going to take months for this technique to become natural.

This week I’m just focusing on two things: nose breathing and cadence. I’ve always been a mouth breather. ChiRunning principles ask you to breath in from your nose and exhale out of your mouth. I can’t believe how hard this is for me to change. I get all out of whack. I forget to breath out from my mouth. Sometimes my stomach is going in when it should be going out. Or I completely forget to breath in through my nose and start breathing in and out through my mouth. I’m hoping this is a common problem for runners to learn. I’m just a few months shy of sixty years old and you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks. I’m hoping my problem is the former and not the latter.

Cadence seems to come naturally for me! ChiRunning asks you to run with a cadence between 85-90 strides per minute. After a few trial tests of my cadence I’m pretty confident my natural pace is at or very close to 90 strides per minute. At least I have one focus area I don’t have to worry much about. I’m sure my cadence does fluctuate and I know I’ll need to work on that but staying steady isn’t usually that hard for me.

I’m posting this now for two reasons really. Now that it’s public knowledge this puts a little more pressure on me to continue practicing ChiRunning. I’m willing to give it six months to a year before I pass judgement. So, that means you probably won’t hear a lot about my specific progress with learning ChiRunning for several months. Maybe on my 60th birthday would be a good time to post an update? What do you think? I’m curious to see what affect this will have on my performance. If my performance drops initially I’m not going to be too concerned. I want to give this a fair shot. My second reason is I didn’t want to wait six months to a year to tell you about my experience with ChiRunning. If I think there is potential benefit to this technique then you should know it. If this posts sparks any curiosity in ChiRunning then by all means don’t wait for me to tell you how well (or not) it works. Go ahead and explore and learn about it for yourself.

There! Now I’ve said it. I’m not sure where this journey will take me but I plan to enjoy the ride.

 

Peachtree Road Race Training: Week One

It would have been nice to have another easy week after the half marathon in Nashville but with eight weeks until the Peachtree Road Race on July the 4th I can’t do that.

I’m keeping my expectations low for this event. I’ve never ran it. I don’t know the course and the crowd will be huge for a 10K. The heat of July will likely be a factor as well. I just want to go out knowing I did my best to prepare.

It’s been nice to cut back on my distance since the half marathon that’s for sure. I’m not real crazy about interval training but if I’m going to pick up my pace I need to do it. Overall, it was a good week. Felt good all week. My run on Saturday started out a little quick but I slowed down on the last three miles. I choose a slightly different route and it made the hills harder, especially during the last few miles. On Sunday though, I felt a little tenderness in my left shin area. As long as I kept moving all was fine though. Guess I need to go back to my walking for five minutes before I start my run and maybe add a few stretches too. I stretch when I finish but not usually before I start. Don’t think it’s anything to be too concerned about–just gotta keep an eye on it.

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Monday: 10 minute slow run; 2 minutes fast run/1 minute walk (x6); 10 minute slow run.
Tuesday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Wednesday: 18 minute slow run; 5 minute fast run; 15 minute slow run
Thursday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Friday: Rest day.
Saturday: Ran 7.08 miles with 11:17 per mile pace average. Fastest mile: 10:36, slowest: 12:03.
Sunday: Strength training and stretching.