Author Archive: Jr Mints

Whoops! It’s been awhile

Wow! It has almost been two months since my last post. I guess I have been really neglecting my blog. In all honesty, I knew I had been doing this. That makes the past two months of non-posting sound even worse, I know. It’s not like I have not been keeping up with my exercise or anything. I have been keeping very strict on my “resolutions”. I have been doing a lot more weight training and have kept up with my running. In addition, in the last two months I have come to fall in love with the joys of cooking.

I’ve always read countless articles stating that your body is made anywhere from 70-90% in the kitchen. So many people were saying it that I thought I would give this a try. It started out with small things like pasta, jambalaya, and other simple-ish meals. I’ve swapped out white flour with whole wheat and have really increased the amount of vegetables in my diet. One very minor but very important change that I have made was to start eating breakfast. Oatmeal, eggs, fruit, yogurt, milk, orange and apple juice have all become my early morning friends. For many breakfast comes with a cup of joe. I used to be one of those people who only had a cup or two to fuel my pre lunch stomach. I found that I would be so hungry and out of energy by the afternoon and would eat anything that was near me-Dangerous! Eating breakfast has really kick started my metabolism, curbed my hunger, and has kept me sated for a much longer time. Recently I also tried switching to decaffeinated coffee. One thing I have noticed is that I get to bed earlier than when I used to drink regular coffee. My energy levels have not really dwindled but I will keep on experimenting between caffeinated and decaffeinated in the next few weeks/months to see the overall effect on my body. Three weeks in and decaf doesn’t seem too bad.

With these tweaks in my lifestyle I have come to see that I have generally more energy, better sleep, and an overall more positive attitude with everything life throws at me.

Onward and upward!

PS I am going to try to blog more haha. Should have been part of my resolutions from the start

Not the brightest

Hey all!

In the past few weeks I’ve been slowly raising my mileage up again after quite a dip in my running. The past few months I have limited my runs to warm ups and cool downs after weight training sessions. Prior to September I was doing a few 10km runs per week and since then, I have yet to log a 10km run.

I am unsure as to why I haven’t thought about this sooner but I think I have been “lazy” as of late with my running because I have not really set out a goal. For August, my goal was to cut weight for the wedding. I trained hard and reached my goal of 175lbs the day prior to the wedding. Since then I haven’t really been taking my training too seriously. How could I? There was nothing to really keep me too motivated. I hadn’t set a goal.

Well, that changed pretty drastically about a month ago when I was on my ass sitting and watching television with my wife. To say that we watch a lot of television is the understatement of the century. We really use television to unwind after our work week. To think of it, it’s somewhat surprising that we aren’t more unhealthy. When I say a lot of television, I’m talking like we follow 10+ shows-PVR is the bane of a gym member’s life.

Anyways, back to the story. While watching television it is inevitable that we will come across a set of bulging biceps, washboard abs, and broad shoulders. While watching a new superhero television show, lo and behold, there they were. Mountainous biceps that had death defying peaks and valleys. Shoulders that could put Atlas to shame. Rippling abs that could do a whole months worth of laundry and then some. I wasn’t really awe inspired by this-I have seen such physiques before. Quite frankly, I think I’ve almost been desensitized by recent filmography like 300, Immortals, and the countless superhero remakes. But, there lies my problem. I have become desensitized. Sure I admire those guys work ethic and I can appreciate a super toned and ripped body, but that’s where it stops. Admiration but not envy. Well, that was until my wife’s face lit up each time one of these muscle robots popped up on the screen. I thought to myself, why can’t I be like that.

Jealousy and selfishness are not in and of themselves bad, in this case. Those two things can drive you to have that killer instinct. It constantly causes you to ponder the question, “Why not me?”. And that single question is what I need to play and repeat in my head over and over again to motivate me. To fuel me.

I know that upping my mileage is only the first step. I kicked up the mileage about two weeks back and this past week I decided to do something kind of stupid. After a few training days of back, biceps, and triceps, my upper body was blasted. Naturally, I moved on to another body part-doing any more upper body work would have rendered me as useless the next day at work. So, I decided that my workout for the day would consist of a run followed by leg work (squats, single-leg leg presses, calf raises, etc.). Mile one passed, and I felt ok. I decided to pick up the pace and finish off a 5km run. My legs were sore and a bit tight-so I stretched. Then I moved on to the squat rack. I dropped to a weight a bit lower than my usual as I haven’t done much leg work prior. I kept my form prestine and completed my desired rep and set count. I did this for the rest of my exercises. I really pushed myself quite hard because of that one little motivational question, “Why not me?”.

On the ride home I could really tell that the lactic acid mob had really decided to attack my legs. They held my muscles hostage an were merciless with their stranglehold on oxygen. The shower didn’t help. My trees felt like a gummy mess. Getting out of the raised tub was difficult! The next day was worse. Quads and hamstrings were screaming out angrily at me telling me that I was an idiot.

Now it is the third day after my workout and I am just beginning to heal. I did a recovery 5k the day after the workout, which I think helped a bit.

My conclusion, it’s fine to reach for the stars but remember stars (of the hollywood type) are manufactured…over a period of time.

Push yourself but train smart.

Rome was not built in a day.

Onward and upward!!!

Life is like…a coffee shop???

Hey guys,

On my days off right now and I am sitting here at a coffee shop. Yes, it is THE big coffee shop-rhymes with marlucks! I am sitting here, yet again, for the second straight week as I wait for my wife to finish up with a conference.

I don’t know what it is but there is something about going to a coffee shop that is much more fulfilling than simply staying at home with a cup of joe. I have always been a fan of people watching; I often tell my wife that it is my favourite past time. I suppose my appreciation can be lent to that chain of thought. However, I think there’s something else.

A few days ago I recall posting something on Facebook stating that “killing time” was an art form. An art form that requires patience and practice. I come from a job that is fairly face paced-I am a nurse-and it’s an environment that is ever changing, it requires strong adaptation skills. On my days off, I sometimes find it hard to wind down. I sit at home and feel bored. Sure, I sleep in sometimes but my days feel almost empty at home. After the ho-hum of a week’s end of laundry, nightly dishes, and countless facebook checks, what’s left?

For me, seeing people out and about at coffee shops gets my mind going. I must admit, I eavesdrop quite a bit. In fact, I am doing it as I type. I gather ideas about city events, good music, delicious restaurants. Coffee shops are my second social network. While here, I connect with the world via news updates, emailing, and connect with people with small talk-“Crazy weather, eh?”, “What did you think about last night’s game?”, “Lakers? or fakers?”..

These small interactions can be viewed as meaningless, but they carry a lot of weight in my books. Every interaction throughout the day can greatly effect the next. Smile, laugh, and live. Interact, think, and react. Listen, appreciate, and speak your mind.

Life is like a coffee shop. Full of choices that you’re responsible for. Full of interactions. And sometimes what you get, makes you you feel “shitty”. But when this happens remember there’s another day ahead. Press refresh. Reload. Start a new page.

Onward and upward.

Sopping Wet

Hello again!

The world has been thrown a huge curveball. Weather has always been a conundrum- I think I remember hearing that meteorologists are only correct 60% of the time. Well, fall is in full swing and winter is just around the corner here in Vancouver. I realize that our weather is fairly mind and is definitely more desirable than what is going on in the eastcoast, but I can never get used to this Vancouver weather.

I mean I am used to seeing it, but I am not used to living in it. Most of my interaction with the weather during the fall and winter months occurs with the ever-friendly shield of the glass on my windshield and cozy warmth of my car’s heater. However, this year I have ventured out more due to my interest in running. Let me tell you, a small drizzle in your face for 30 minutes straight is not that pleasant haha. I know there is a lot of technology put into training gear but I always end up sopping wet! I don’t mind it so much on my clothing but after this one run it seemed as if I was surely to develop a case of trench foot! My runners are quite breathable and as you know breathability does not really translate much to protection from the elements. My shoes are great don’t get me wrong but are there any solutions other than striding over huge puddles?

I hate being sopping wet.

Onward and upward!

Back in black

Wow! I’ve been inactive for over two months- atleast in the blogosphere. Don’t worry I’ve been running still. However, it’s been kind of rough as of late.

My last post was pre-wedding. My last run before the wedding was my fastest 10k to date. Running free into a life of happiness. I was “running” to the altar!

Since then I’ve been a bit more lazy. After the wedding came the honeymoon. We were in Hawaii and it was great. Unfortunately, I only ran once in the two weeks that we were there. Needless to say, I gained some lbs back.

I had hit my goal of 175 the day before the wedding; it took me almost 3 months to shed those 10 lbs but only took two weeks to gain half of that back. Oh the joys of life.

I wouldn’t say that I’m back to my previous intensity however I’m back in black!

The color black signifies nothingness, sorrow, mourning. Odd words to put in a health blog, I know. But let’s put it this way, I’m back in black because there is nothing to lose. I have sorrow for tomorrow because I am going to attack it with all that I have. And I am mourning the loss of my current self because my future self will only become better than it was the day before.

With marriage comes responsibility. With marriage comes a new life.

I have a responsibility now not only to be better for myself but also to be better for my wife and our future family.

My new life is here and I’m excited to see how I will grow.

Onward and upward!!!

Running to the Altar

I don’t remember stating this but I am getting married on August 12-yes, that’s in a very short time! Part of me started running for health but my upcoming nuptials was one of the major factors for me starting to run again.

In just a few short days I am going to be marrying my very best friend in the world. She is my world and I can not wait to marry her.

Initially, like most people, getting healthier and more fit was more of an aesthetic need. However, as time wears on, it is becoming more of a way of life for me. I have come to realize that I want to spend as much time with my wife as I can. Naturally, if i become healthier and keep fit, I will have more time to be with my sweetheart and (fingers crossed) own family.

I want to say that I am excited for the wedding, but I am more than excited. Heck, I think I am even more than ecstatic! I am just…overly, completely and utterly HYPED!

Because of this I will be running to the altar and nothing will make me look back.

Onward and Upward.

A weird run brought to you by NASA technology

After work today I came in to my house to come home to a very nice surprise. On the bench by the doorway lay a pair of new LunarSwift 2’s that I had ordered a week or so ago. I had originally planned to run anyways and, of course, excited by the arrival of my new shoes, I decided to take them for a spin. 

Straight off they looked kind of big. It might have been the color, red; they reminded me sort of like clown shoes but much more stylish. I slide them on and tightened the laces as I do with all my running shoes- not too tight and not too loose. Weird, they felt like the heel were slipping but the toe room was similar to all my shoes. I tightened them more before I went out for a run. 

First impressions for the first few steps. Stiff but responsive. This is my first venture into Lunar technology and I realize they are mainly more supportive. I come from more neutral cushioning shoes/minimalist shoes. I ran on and hit a patch of gravel that had uneven terrain. I thought great, stiff shoe! It’s gonna be a hard ride in there. Ran through it with a more flexible than expected ride. Flexible, but supportive.

When I hit about the mile point I noticed my feet started aching. New technology or poor lacing? Initially, I noticed that the lacing pattern of this shoe was pretty simplistic. I honestly think it could have benefited by adding another set of eyelets on top or at least a double eyelet at top loop. The shoes just didn’t feel locked in. I loosened my shoes and trekked on. No more aching. And oddly enough, at the end of my run the heel and the shoe in general felt more snug on my foot. 

Truthfully for most of this short run (only 3 miles) I was more concerned about how the shoe felt and when this happens, I usually suffer time wise. Between my re-lacing, achy feet, and preoccupation on feel, I definitely thought my time would suffer. I know I said that the shoe felt stiff yet responsive. But, if you could imagine, even while being responsive I still felt as if I was going slow. Surprise, Surprise! I actually finished my 3 mile jog in under 30 minutes (26:45 to be exact). Usually during my first run in a shoe I take it slow and I have generally ran, for my first few runs in a new shoe, 9:30-10:30 minute miles just to break them in.  Surprisingly, I went a lot faster and didn’t feel any worse than usual. Could be the shoe, and it could be my attention to speed work as of late. But nonetheless, something to take note of. 

During my run, I liked the feel but didn’t love it. I am used to more flexible shoes. Though stiff, they were responsive and gave the feeling of a bounce back. Just by the results of my first run, I think I should pay more attention to the lunar line, or at least this pair that I have now. 

In summary. LunarSwift 2. Stiff but responsive. Felt slow but performed fast. Felt loose initially, tightened the shoe, felt too tight, loosened the shoe then felt snug by the end of the run. 

Lunar foam was developed by NASA and this shoe is definitely “alien” to me. The dynamic support definitely kicked in. The shoe seemed to just self correct itself. I hope to really break these in and hit their “magic” phase where I am sure I will fall in love with these shoes.

Onward and Upward

File this under “problem”? Or part of the territory?

It’s been about 2 months since I started running. I used to just incorporate it into my gym routines but now find that I am running about the same amount as I weight train.  The more runs I do, the stronger I get. My endurance grows and so does my speed. I mean, I have always had speed-I used to run sprints in high school but the endurance has caught me by surprise. I am seeing more of my city. I am learning more about myself. All great things just from simply placing one foot in front of the other.

I mentioned before that I was somewhat of a perfectionist and a borderline OCD type when it comes to an activity that I am serious about. In high school it was Basketball. Wake up-think about basketball. At school-think about playing basketball. After school-basketball practice. At home-watch basketball and research about all things basketball. Now, as of late I have turned to running and fitness. I am always looking up on the internet ways to better myself as a runner. Looking at new technology, new training tips, and new gear in hopes of getting faster and more fit.

I mentioned before that I was a  shoe fanatic. And, “unfortunately”, this has only grown worse with running. There is a plethora of information out there regarding best running shoes and best running styles. I have recently jumped on the minimalist shoe bandwagon-I started with the Saucony Hattori’s and recently purchased a pair of Kinvara 2’s. Before that I had Vomero 6’s and Nimbus 11’s that I rotated for the past year and a half; remember I mainly ran as a warm up for my weight training sessions. Those shoes have no been relegated to my work shoes. My experience with the Nimbus 11’s were good so I picked up two pairs of Nimbus 12’s and for the hell of it decided to try Saucony Triumph 8’s. What can I say they were on for such a great deal at my running retailer I could not resist.

So, here’s a breakdown. Hattori’s-Love. Kinvara-Love. Nimbus 12 (x2)-Love. Triumph’s-Love. What can I say? I now know and have decided that specific shoes will play different roles in my training. Hattori and Kinvara for speed work. Then the more traditional cushioning shoes (Nimbus and Triumph) will be for my long runs. And get this…I just ordered Brooks PureFlow’s and Nike LunarSwift 2+ online. That’s 7 pairs of shoes in the last 3 or so months!!! Granted they were all way below MSRP, but still. This is a problem right?

What do you guys think? Should I settle with one or two go to pairs of shoes? I definitely think for speed work I will use minimalist shoes and for long runs I will stick to more cushioned shoes. I am a neutral runner who strikes mid-forefoot, BTW. Do you think I am still in the “trial and error” period?-I think that is the answer as I am very “green” as a runner.

So here is the question…

File this under “problem”? Or part of the territory?

Can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.

Onward and Upward!!!

Running is H.A.T.E.

Running is HATE. No, I do not hate running and running is not another word for hate. Rather, running to me is now Honoured As The Experience.

As my endurance and speed grows I am now better able to enjoy my beautiful city much more than in the past. Vancouver is full of great majestic landscapes and quite often I, like many Vancouverites, take our own backyard for granted. We go in vacations to warmer destinations that offer beautiful beaches- my counter is Kits beach, Lacarno, English Bay, or Spanish Banks. And what happens when you look due east? You see our beautiful skyline.

You go to places like Los Angeles to experience shopping and a chance to gaze at stars. The bad side of this is that infamous LA smog. My counter is Robson Street, Main street, or 4th Avenue. Considerably less smog here. That means cleaner air and more desirable “hot” weather.

Vancouver is so beautiful that you just get spoiled over time. You drive to work over the downtown bridges and you forget to really take in the majesty and complexed beauty around you. It’s the perfect mix of nature and metropolis. Yin and yang.

I usually on really fall in love with our city during big events or when I return from a vacation. When you go away you become used to the same flat beaches, palm trees and hot climates of the tropics. When you return to Vancouver you see huge mountains, breathe fresh air, and feel “just” right in our dynamic weather. You are immersed in many diverse cultures, eat such different foods, and are engulfed by our eclectic landscape. But, since I started running around my fine city, I have begun to fall in love with it more and more each day. Running has allowed me to reconnect with myself and reconnect with my environment. It is starting to enable me to truly take in and experience my amazing city.

Running is Honoured As The Experience.

Onward and Upward.

BLISS-ter

Barefoot running has gained steam in the past few years. Brands have slowly began to put some crazy research into minimalist shoes and their advantages over conventional running shoes. I have jumped on the bandwagon to see what it was all about.

My weapon of choice was the Saucony Hattori. A super light shoe, only weighting in at about 4.4 ounces (male size 9) it is one of the lightest runners out on the market today. They do fit like a sock and because of this, on my first run in them I decided to go barefoot in them. Felt great for the first 2 miles, but after I developed a blister at the junction between my heel bone and achilles tendon. This was caused by the lining of the shoe. I had to take the shoes off and readjust and eventually had to stop my run. In short, the fix was to wear thin socks and tighten the heel lock velcro feature on the back. As of late I have been able to wear the shoe without socks without experiencing any blistering simply by tightening the heel lock velcro very snugly.

Since I have had luck with running barefoot in the Hattori, I decided to try the barefoot approach with my more conventional,.heavy cushioning Nimbus 12. Again, it felt okay for the first few miles. I felt kind of off once I tried the shoe on. I don’t know, it felt like my feet were kind of slipping even when I was walking to my run’s start point. I guess I should have taken that as a warning because after the 4.5 mile mark, I started to feel blisters forming on my insteps bilaterally. I completed my 10K run and when I took off my shoe I did indeed have small blisters on both insteps. 

I am confident that this will be fixed with wearing socks. 

I realize that blisters are an injury, but I kind of felt that it was part of my initiation as a runner. Kind of a morbid thought, I know. 

In the next few weeks I hope to increase my long run to about 10 miles. The 6.2 mile distance has been good so far and I feel like I can do more. Wish me luck.

Onward and Upward!