So earlier this year I applied to Sugoi to become a Brand Champion. I had seen someone I follow on Twitter announce they had been accepted, I looked it up online and read the following:
…..The main criterion for inclusion to the program is not always the people who are fastest in the competition, but it is the person who inspires other by chasing their own personal bests. Many SUGOI Brand Champions are podium finishers in major international events; many others are everyday athletes whose personal bests come in different forms other than winning. All athletes are successful at what is important to SUGOI: the ability to be inspirational and to make a difference.
This appealed on so many levels the least of which was the requirement to inspire, this is something I really hope I do, I am at best a midpack runner who is at an age which is past the halfway mark, but at the risk of sounding clichéd if I can inspire one person that with some training and time and tenacity their goal can be achieved then my clumsy rambling writings will have been worthwhile!
To be honest I forgot about my application until sometime later I got an email saying I had been accepted! Then I started a new job and new training plan for 100 in the Hood, got injured and every thing went on the back burner and before you knew it six months had gone by…fast forward to November and I am starting a new training cycle; my leg is more or less rehabilitated and it’s Winter. Now I know that a SoCal Winter is relative to someone who lives in say, Kelowna or Metro Detroit (you know who you are) but even so it gets a bit chilly and so out came the credit card (as a Brand Champion you qualify for some discounts) and away I went. They are still taking applications, you can apply here and you can read the Brand Champion's Blog here, it makes for a good read as there are a variety of sports covered; running, cycling; road, mountain and 'cross and triathlons and the writers are the Brand Champions themselves and whose abilities really span the spectrum, so it's 'written from the trenches' as it were!
I have owned a few Sugoi bits through the ages and was accustomed to their quality, both fit and function is good as well the attractiveness...gotta look good as you hunched over puking on the side of a trail (been there) or bleeding in a ditch or on the side of the road after an endo (done that)! After looking through their website I selected, with the colder temperatures in mind, a pair of conservatively (not!) colored armwarmers (one of the silliest and yet most practical garments ever invented), a skull cap to fit under my cycling helmet (cold ears are no fun) and a pair of Piston 200 compression tights (I love compression clothing!). Ten days later free shipping, yay!) they arrived, I tried everything on to make sure it fit and I love love love the tights, I can’t wait till it gets really cold; for here…today was 75f, yesterday was 62f so it’s a bit variable right now but in another month or so it will be down in the 50’s at run time...seriously, I can't wait!
Talking of running, Week 1 just ended and it proved to be an interesting one. Not surprisingly my conditioning is for crap! What does surprise me is that CV-wise I am a lot better the muscle-wise, I looked online and the consensus was in 3 months you could expect to lose 50% of your fitness; I did nothing for about 5 weeks and them swam twice a week for another 4 so my best guess I am down by at least 40% maybe more? I certainly felt it during my three runs this week; Monday; Intervals, Wednesday; short tempo and Friday; long tempo, done on a track! My pace is slow and it generally hurts, I am way off my prescribed paces, but, I can only get faster. Cross training-wise I got in my 1000 meters swim and I hit the bike for a pedestrian ride yesterday, I am about 3-4 minutes slower than I was during the summer on my regular timed loop. To be honest right now I am struggling to reconcile that during July, August and September I ran some 20 half marathons, 6 marathons and raced 100 in the Hood, now I am dying at 6 miles! It’ll come back I know but even so…
Anyway the good news is that in general my recovered leg is holding up to what I am putting it through, I need to be smarter as do some general strengthening as well, squats, lunges etc as well as some plyometrics and stretching and also be proactive about my ITB and runners knee that I had back in the Summer, but while early days so far so good! Oh yeah and a toenail fell off...talk about delayed reaction!
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