Monday, January 31, 2011

Upcoming Product Review!

I am fortunate that once again, the folks at CSN are allowing me to do a product review or giveaway.    The last time I was offered this type of opportunity, I turned it into a giveaway to two lucky winners.

This time, I asked Mrs. Clyde if she would like to pick from the many different product offerings and write a product review.  CSN basically sells everything that you would find at the malls, sporting goods stores and luggage stores.  But there is a pretty wide variety with a wide range of costs.  Good stuff.

In a week or so, please look for a post from Mrs. Clyde. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's Next?

Thanks for all of the great comments about the race on Sunday.  It was a huge day for me and I am still enjoying the realization that I did it!

Now, what's next?  This is what I have been wondering since last Sunday. 

When I committed to the 10K, I also commited to running my first half-marathon on March 27th.  That may still happen, but I have been re-thinking it.  Kovas asked me (a few months ago) why I was committing to do these events?  Was it fulfilling a long-held goal or have I been around these races for awhile, always wanting to get in on the action?  Does "completing a race/distance" seem as fulfilling as developing a lifelong habit or more moderate weekly mileage? 

Good questions.

Here is what I know about myself:  I am more comfortable in a state of rest.  I always have been.  I honestly think we all should prefer comfort over sweaty exertion on some road somewhere.  Really, what's wrong with all of you athletic people?

So, given that I prefer to NOT exercise and that I love food, I must find some other psychological carrot out there to get me off the couch.  Self-esteem, better health, all overcoming new challenges all work for me, as long as I get to share the journey with others.  Glad to be on that journey with all of you.

So, I have been thinking that I will continue with my training plan for the half-marathon, which amps up my weekly mileage with 3 days of 3-4 mile runs, some cross-training on the bike and one long run on Sundays.   The mileage will grow slightly each week, but I think I can handle it.

Having said that, my main goal will NOT be the half-marathon.  Maybe I'll do it, maybe I won't.  Like Winnie-the-Pooh, I seem to be a "bear of very little brain" and I feel like I can only focus on one major goal at a time.   During the last two months, when I was training for the 10K, I ate whatever I wanted.  Not terribly, but not good.  Despite having run about 66 miles over 2 months, I still weigh the same, which is higher than I was last September.  How will I do on my next 10K, if I'm not sitting at 290 ?!?!

Therefore, my major goal ahead will be to drop the weight.  At least to get down to 275, (where I was last September).  That's 15 pounds and I'll do that by March 31st.  I'd be pretty happy to get down to 250 within this year, which would be a 40-pound drop.  I'll put some more timelines to it, to keep me on track. 

I'll lose the weight by posting it weekly, counting calories and sticking with the running miles for the half-marathon.  If I am eating better AND putting in the miles, the weight should fall off.  I just have to find some great go-to foods that can satisfy my increased appetite that comes with the running mileage.

Big Clyde

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sun Run 10K - Race Report Highlights

On November 23, 2010, I wrote that I needed a new Scary Milestone Event.  Something that would force me to keep moving and be a stretch goal.  I declared that day that I would run in the Sun Run 10K race today.   Prior to this, I had only run in a 5K last September.

The race was today and it was awesome!  It may take a day or two for them to post the official results online, but I clocked my time at approx 1:07:40!  That is a 10:54 pace, which is much better than I anticipated. 

Here are a few highlights:
  • Personal Record for this distance!  I ran this distance last week, but it took me 10 minutes longer.
  • My goal was to finish in 1:12...approx 12:00 min/mile pace
  • My first mile was just about 10:00.  Probably a bit fast for me.
  • 2nd mile was about 11:00 and 3rd mile was 11:30.  I started to slow it down, realizing that I was only halfway done and was already above my target pace.
  • I don't have a Garmin GPS watch, so I gave up trying to tally my pace per mile at that point.  but this means that the first 3 miles were done in 32:30 (which is a pace of approx 10:45). 
  • I believe that I kept that pace because my ending pace for the entire race was very close to that.
  • Oh, and did I mention that I ran off course at mile #5 station to go pee?  They had port-o-pottys and I had been wanting to go for about 20 minutes.  I realized I would be able to improve my pace if I could duck into the blue space shuttle for about 30 seconds to off-load some of that hydration.
So, yes, my race could have been even faster if I hadn't spent some of it in "quiet time", but it could have made for some awkward finish line pics as well, if you know what I mean.

I do want to give some quick thanks here, given how important this day has been to me.  My wife and kids believe in me and have supported me the entire way.  I was so uplifted seeing them along the race route today and I love them so much. 

I also wanted to thank all of you who comment here (and at my new obsession:  the Endurance Athlete Project).  I have tried this list out specific bloggers who mean so much to me, but the list grows so long and I am always fearful that I might offend by leaving someone off the list.  It also is a bit of work to "link" to everyone's sites.  But given how much I have relied on some of you specifically with regard to today's race and my running activities in general, I wish to thank the following people:
Patrick Mahoney (Godfather of the EAP), Kovas, Christina, Tricia, Lindsay, Lesley, RockStar Tri, Scott, Travis, TRI714, Alan, Caratunk Girl, Matty O, Bruce, Raegun, Ann, Patrick at 199, Al (glad to have you back!), Moving Mertle, Megan, Jessica, 5KRae, The Turtle, Luke, SpunkySuzi, and RickGetsFit.  Your expertise and encouragement kept me going when I otherwise would have quit.  That is the absolute truth.

In a few days, I'll add some pics that the family took at the race.  Can't wait to see them myself.

I hope everyone else is having a great weekend.

Big Clyde

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fleet Feet Run, Beer and PR

Mrs. Clyde told me about a running store across town that was having an event with Brooks Shoes and a fun run, so I went to it last night.  Here are the highlights:

  • It was sponsored by Fleet Feet Tucson, voted one of the "The 50 Best Running Stores in America" for each of the past five years.  They are one of two shops that I have visited since I started this clydesdale project.
  • The co-sponsor of the event was Brooks Shoes and they brought their double-decker bus that is on tour for their Run Happy campaign.  Coming to a running store near you. 
  • The giveaway event thing started at 3pm and the run was to start at 5pm.  Two miles or four.  I was doing two.
  • Anyway, good times and they had some giveaways.  I bought a few things:  a light that clips onto my reflective Road ID running hat, so now I can see better when I run at night...and I also got some little pouch/belt thing so I won't have to wear my dorky fanny-pack on my long runs.
  • Aside from a 5K that I ran in September, I have not run with other people...ever.  Even at that 5K, I didn't know anyone.  I was just near other people.  Tonight would be my second time running around other runners, eventhough I didn't know a soul at the event.
I got there early and just looked around the store, the crazy bus, etc.  I was, by far, the largest human there.  Big surprise.

Every once in awhile, an employee would delicately approach me, like I was a lost kid, looking for my mom.  "You doin' okay?  Do you need anything?"  Eventually one of them said "are you thinking about going on the run with us? could WALK it????"

I smiled and said "I'm running".  They smiled (nervously) and walked away.  Maybe they went to look for the cpr kit.

As more runners arrived and started stretching and preparing for the run, I felt very out of place.  Like I should have been volunteering to stay back and keep an eye on their coats and purses, while they went on the run.

The Race Run!
It was a two-mile run and I wanted to get a PR.  For me that would mean coming in under a 10:22 pace/mile. 

My competition:  many fit-looking mom-types, their vegetarian-looking husband/boyfriends and a few others...about 100 people.  I zeroed in on three people that I thought might be at my pace:
  • the chubby, hairy guy wearing an "I run for beer" t-shirt (I'm not kidding)
  • the older guy wearing sunglasses and an old school leather football helmet (still, not kidding)
  • the mom pushing TWO kids in a stroller!
As we started, I settlled in to a good pace and was very close to stroller-mom.  She was great, working very hard to navigate the bumpy terrain, but talking so sweetly to her two kids.  Every once in awhile, one of the kids would say "Mommy, why aren't we going faster?!"  I hear ya', kid. 

I finished in 18 min, 50 seconds, which gave me a pace of 9:25/mile.  This is a PR for me. 

After the run, the prize was a pint glass that could be filled at the restaurant next door.  Free beer is always appreciated.  Free beer after my fastest 2-miler ever?  Delicious!

It definitely helped me to be around other runners.  When I'm on my own, I get too much up in my head and allow myself to slow down at times.  Yesterday, I treated this run like it was a race, where I at least wanted to keep pace with others.  That helped me set a new PR for this short distance. 

Thanks to all of you for the encouragement about my race this Sunday.  It will be my 2nd biggest race (after El Tour de Tucson 2009 race).   Feeling good.

Big Clyde

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's Your 10K Time?

The Sun Run 10K is this Sunday morning (I know, the countdown clock on the right must be on Greenwich Mean Time or something).

When I ran this same distance (6.2 miles) last Sunday, it took me 1 hour and 17 minutes.   According to last year's results, that would put me just ahead of a 9-year-old and a 73-year-old.  Imagine the achievement for both of them, to accomplish this distance at their respective ages.  For a man that is basically in between their two ages, I should be able to smoke them, but I'll be happy to just complete my first 10K and consider where I was one year ago.

If you are new to this site, one year ago, I weighed 325 pounds (I'm 6'4" tall), had never run or jogged and rode my bike at a very slow pace.  I now weigh 285 and am obsessed with improving my running pace and looking forward to a year of new milestone achievements. 

But I love a challenge.  So, I am asking you to give me a goal time for this 10K.  You see that I just did the practice run in 1:17.  But I have heard of the advantage of race-day adrenaline, this "pancake-flat" course, etc.  So, I am hoping for a slightly better time.

Please give me a time that I should shoot for and I'll report back on Sunday night as to how I did.

And for you runners out there, please let me know:
  1. Your time for your FIRST 10K?
  2. Your BEST time for a 10K?

Big Clyde

I Tried Chi Running

I haven't disclosed this much, but I have had a slight pain after my last two long runs (of 5 and 6 miles).  The pain has been just below my left knee and above my right ankle.  The ankle pain starts almost immediately during the run, but fades after the first two miles.  The knee pain starts early, then leaves and returns a day after the run.

I go to an "orthotist" about twice a year to see if I need my arch-support inserts changed.  I got these inserts two years ago after I developed plantar fascitis.  They cost approx $320, but every adjustment and visit since then has been free...I love this guy. 

He added a bit more support in my right insert (taking care of the ankle pain) and instructed me on some basic tips of Chi Running.  I know, I might take months of training to truly develop great form and I won't do it justice here today.

But the basic idea is to take the power out of running and allow the body to be more fluid while running, similar to Tai Chi.  I know nothing about Tai Chi (but I do sometimes drink chai tea).

For me, this meant avoiding striking down first on my heel and instead, trying to have my first landing be on the front part of my foot, just below my 4th or 5th toe.  I could probably google an image to put here, but hopefully, you are following along.

Given that my first 10K is just a few days away, I wanted to go very light this week.  I ran only two miles last night, but it felt awesome!  A little awkward at first, as I tried this new technique, but it settled in quickly. 

I felt like I was starting to stumble forward (like someone is about to go from running to falling forward), but I kept my shoulders back and my head up high and it all felt great.

I noticed that my pace was quicker than usual and my legs weren't as tired as they usually are.  It felt invigorating and if I had more time (and it wasn't a taper week), I could have kept going for a longer, more comfortable run.

Tomorrow, I'll do another run of this length, then two days off before the big race on Sunday morning.

Big Clyde

Sunday, January 16, 2011

6 Days Until the Sun Run 10K

Good news:  This afternoon, I'll go on my longest run covering 6 miles.  I know that marathoners don't necessarily train by running the entire 26.2 miles in training, but it is a bit of a routine for me.  Before any race, I like to complete the entire distance in a training session, regardless of my helps with my mental game on race day.

Update:  I just got back and it went great!  I took it easy and will try for a faster pace next weekend at the actual race.

Bad news:  I have lost NO pounds since I have been running.  I think it is due to three factors:
  • Increased running has also increased my appetite, so I have not been disciplined in counting calories.  I also am not having as much fruit and veggies.
  • My running mileage is decent and feels like quite a workout (about 11 miles per week) and I am doing two days of cycling for about 40 minutes per session.   But maybe daily runs would be more intensive?
  • I am also in week two of the One Hundred Push-Up Challenge.  With this work and my increased running miles, I can feel that I am getting stronger.  Can I attribute some of this to the "muscle-weighs-more-than-fat" theory that every newbie exerciser depends on?
The bottom line for me is this:  I wish I were losing weight, but I KNOW that I am improving each week in my running and it is good aerobic exercise, my legs are becoming strong and it requires less time for an intense workout than it would on my bike.    That was my intent when I committed to doing the 10K in December. 

If weight loss, were the only goal, I know how to do that.  1,500 - 1,700 calories per day, every day.  I have done that and been very successful, with very little exercise.  But it is not as fun as the workouts and I am just more in the mood for pushing myself with races, etc.  After this 10K, I will train for a half-marathon, which will require more mileage.  As I ramp up, I'll decide if/how I should adjust my nutrition or weekly mileage to accomplish some weight loss.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Big Clyde

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cement Legs

I've been so happy this week, starting with a great run on Sunday morning and another easy 2-mile run on Tuesday night (after seeing Hood to Coast!).  Then, on Wednesday, I did a fast 8.6 miles on the bike to keep up my cardio.  I am definitely sleeping well.

Finally, I did approx 4 miles tonight and I was dragging from the first step.  I just felt tired.  Tired.  So, I went slow and took it easy.  I should celebrate that I actually completed almost 4 miles, or got in 50 minutes of cardio.  Instead, I am a bit bummed about my slower pace.

I really hope that the answer is simply that I am tired.  I have a rest day tomorrow, then a cycling cardio day on Saturday, which will be casual.  Then, another long run (6 miles) on Sunday.  My last long run before the 10K.  

Feeling a little excited, but also nervous.  I know I can complete it, but I want it to feel good (like my 5 mile run last weekend felt GOOD).  Maybe a lighter week is just what I need.

Big Clyde

Monday, January 10, 2011

Runners: Do You Warm-Up?

A great thing happened on my weekly "long run" yesterday.  I PR'd for my five-mile loop!  I completed it in 57:40*, for a pace of 11:31 min/mile pace.   Previous times for these runs have been all between 1:03 and 1:05.  That means that this latest run was about 5 minutes faster than previous runs.

What was different this time? 
  • I ate really well during the day, before my run.
  • Perhaps my weekly mileage (10-11 run miles) are starting to pay off. Though I scaled that back during the holidays.
  • I took an important phone call on the run that lasted 6:24 minutes!
I did a 1 minute warm-up and did my first mile in about 11 minutes (including that warm-up minute).  Then, somewhere around the two-mile marker, I got this phone call that I had to take.  I slowed to a quick walk and stayed on the call for over 6 minutes.  While on the call, I kept thinking of how this walking pace was going to kill my total time.  When the call ended, I was refreshed from the slower pace, but decided to quicken the pace.

So, I just started running faster and it felt great.  I didn't feel tired (though I was breathing very hard).  I felt that I was in a great rhythm and just kept running.  Every 10 minutes or so, I'd walk for about a minute, but then went back to the faster pace.

My last mile was likely my fastest mile, I was just cruising.  I arrived home at exactly 1 hour and 40 seconds after I left.  That alone would be a PR by over 2 minutes.  *For comparison's sake, I deducted three minutes for the phone call, which gets me to the pace of 11:31.  Either way, it was a personal record for me at that distance.

How did I PR?  Was it the break from the phone call?  If so, then should I do a decent break in the future as well, to allow me a stronger second half?  Was it just accumulated mileage and strength kicking in?  I welcome your feedback.

And I am also wondering about your warm-up routines. 
  • Do you warm-up BEFORE you start tracking your mileage, or as a part of your mileage? 
  • How long do you warm-up? 
  • And importantly, do you vary your warm-up routine on race day?
Big Clyde

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thanks for the Encouragement

I am very grateful to all of you for your comments on my last post.  I was questioning if I should run the upcoming 10K if my pace might make me the last runner to cross the finish line. 

There was great wisdom in each comment and I have been thinking of them over the past few days.  I sent my registration in today and will do my best at the race.  Again, thank you very much for your encouragement.

I did a short 2-mile run today, then will do my 5-mile long run tomorrow. 

Most of our day was spent watching the coverage of the tragic shooting in Tucson today.  The shooting happened very near our house and we have friends who shop there regularly.  We are at that area almost every day, so this really hit close to home for us. 

There are 19 victims and at this point, 6 fatalities, including a 9-year-old girl, who went to the event to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  The girl was on student council at her school and her neighbor thought that the event would be interesting to her.  I have a son who is 9-years-old and is on student council (at a different school) and could just have easily been there.  This was a horrible tragic event and our family is grieving for all of the victims.

This was a tragic reminder that life is very short and we should use each day to encourage each other, show love to our families and friends and show kindness to everyone we come in contact with.

Big Clyde

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My First 10K is 18 Days Away!

It will be on January 23rd and I am starting to wonder if I will truly be ready. 

Can I complete the distance?  Yes, I'm sure I can complete it.   I am running three times per week (two 3 mile runs and a long run).  For the past several weeks, I have run 5 miles on my Sundays, finishing in a little over one hour.  That extra mile to complete the 10k or 6.2 miles will likely be a slow one, so my projected finish might be in the 1 hour 20 minute range.  That would rank me 312 out of the 313 that ran the Sun Run 10K last year.  That is pretty tough, my friends.

The run is organized by a local community college's track team and a local running club.  So, this is a pretty targeted crowd for runners.

Is this a bit foolish?  It feels strange entering a race where I can somewhat accurately predict that I could come in last place.  When entering local races, don't most of you wait until you feel pretty prepared to do decently?

I keep hoping that any day now, my pace will improve on my 3x/week runs.  But it is not improving much.

Believe me, I am not feeling defeated.  I am still a very big guy who, six months ago, could not run for more than 90 seconds at a time.  Now, I am running for 20 minutes at a time...great progress.  But am I jumping in to this too quickly?

Your feedback would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Running For Tacos

Got home at about 6:15 tonight.  Dark, getting colder by the minute.

I knew I had a 3-mile run on the agenda tonight, but the family wanted to be together and they were thinking Rubio's (a fresh-mex chain).   They lured me in and I wondered if I would just run late, late tonight.

But then...
A quick look on showed that the restaurant was 3.5 miles away.  I suggested that I run to the place and meet them there.  My kids couldn't believe it and my wife just seemed amused. 

Snatched up the iPod, flashlight, water bottle, Road I.D. bracelet and hit the road.  It was a slower pace than I hoped for (11:23 min/mile), but I ran nearly all of it (only 3 min of walk breaks). 

It was motivating for me to know that I was actually running toward my waiting family and some low-cal chicken tacos!  Good times.

Tomorrow's workout will be a 45 minute hill-climb, bike ride.

Have a great week everyone.

Big Clyde

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My DailyMile Widget is broken...

You've seen clydesdale horses in the parades, right?  They are huge, majestic and carry heavy loads at a slow pace. 

And when they stop, they are accustomed to receiving applause...some recognition from the crowd.

Well, the same goes for me. 
  • Huge?  check.
  • Majestic?  Sure, why not?
  • Carry heavy loads?  (See Huge).
  • Slow pace?  Definitely!
So, where's the recognition and applause?

I rode my bike yesterday for 7 miles and did a 5 mile run today.  I posted them on my tracker which is supposed to automatically update on this site, but it is not updating. 

I must be psychologically messed up because I am feeling somehow "unfinished" with my run, because the widget hasn't updated.  Therefore, I don't have the "feel-good-ness" of seeing my mileage.  (But I did get it done and am back on my training schedule!).

Anyone have any ideas on this dailymile problem?

Big Clyde

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I am in a pensive mood, my friends.  

Looking backward at 2010, I can say very honestly that it was one of the most life-changing periods of my life.  These changes were all chronicled here on this blog.  A "clydesdale" is a cyclist or endurance athlete in excess of 200 pounds.   I am well above that marker, yet I made dramatic improvements in my Clydesdale Project by losing weight, competing in many races, inspiring a few friends and family to join in and even, discovering that I can run!

And yet, I feel like I ended the year on a somewhat disappointing note.  Though I had lost 50 pounds during a six month period, I chose to "relax" a bit and gained some back.  Though I maintained great mileage on the bike this fall and began running consistently in December, I did not run much at all over the past two weeks. 

I've lost some momentum and that is a tough way to roll across the finish line of December 31st.

Nonetheless, I am much stronger, lighter and more experienced than I was a year ago.  I am committed to running a 10K later this month and a half-marathon in March!  Beyond that however, I intend to use this year to work on consistency in my mileage and nutrition. 

How will I do that?   Well, that's a good question that I am trying to figure out.  I think it will be consistent monthly mileage goals that will exceed 2010 numbers and some revised weight goals.   I've been hit-and-miss and would like to be more consistent.

I welcome your suggestions as to how to bring my goals down to daily/weekly action steps.

UPDATE:  Just did a 7.3 mile ride around my neighborhood loop.  Very cold.  Warmer tomorrow for a run.
Happy New Year everyone!

Big Clyde