Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review; Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training (FIRST) 10k plan

At face value it would seem a bit odd to write a review of a training plan, but several people have emailed me with questions and so under the heading of ‘does it work’ here we go.

A couple of caveats up front all of this comes from the Runner’s World Book Run Less Run Faster, you can follow this link or click in the side bar and go to Amazon where you can get a used copy a paltry $12 or $8 used and I will earn a staggering 16c, additionally this is only a review of the 10k plan, the half marathon and marathon plans call for four runs a week.

So as a reminder the basics of the FIRST 10k plan are three runs a week; Intervals, a short Tempo and long Tempo run, interspersed with cross training for which I used swimming and cycling.

The basic science behind the plan is that the volume of running is decreased but the intensity of the runs is increased. Each run is designed to improve vo2Max; the measure of an athlete’s ability to produce energy aerobically; through the use of oxygen. Increasing Lactate Threshold; Lactate is an organic byproduct of anaerobic metabolism; an improvement in the LT is an improvement in the muscles ability to do endurance work. Finally an improvement in running economy is expected, running economy is expressed either as a velocity achieved for a given rate of oxygen consumption or the vo2 needed to maintain a given speed. Improvement in running economy generally takes the longest period of time for measurable improvement.

As you can already see this is different from you typical plan which tends to have a long(ish) slow run at the weekend, even 10k plans have long runs, all of these runs are fast. So the first question is how fast, well there are a lot of tables, each run is based on a different pace and the pace is derived from a recent 5k race time. I used an old 5k race time which was also my most recent from November 2008! I used that as a baseline and then backed into the times I needed for my goal time of a three hour marathon, when you put it all into a table it looks like this:










19:45 5k race PR pace









2:59 Marathon pace









Short Tempo






19:45 5k race PR pace






2:59 Marathon pace






Long Tempo



19:45 5k race PR pace



2:59 Marathon pace



The runs are broken down over the week over varying distances, as you can see there are multiples distances used during the Intervals and they are all used in varying multiples and combinations, an example of a simple set would be:

  • 10-20 minutes warm up; I would usually split difference and run 2 miles
  • 5 x 800m (@ 2:56 (5:54 pace)) with a 400m Rest Interval (RI) in between
  • 10 minutes cool down; again I went 1 mile

A more complicated set would be:

  • 10-20 minutes warm up; I would usually split difference and run 2 miles
  • 1600M @ 6:07 (6:07 pace) 400 RI
  • 1200M @ 4:29 (6:00) 400 RI
  • 800M @ 2:56, (5:54 pace) 400 RI
  • 400M, 1:26 (5:36 pace) 400 RI
  • 10 minutes cool down; again I went 1 mile

Now this sounds all very complicated and when your hauling ass around a track or up and down the beach path trying to remember how fast, what, when is nigh on impossible, this is where your Garmin Forerunner is essential, you can program all the intervals in and it ends up looking like this:


For the short and long tempo runs a similar approach is used. The short tempo runs are much more your typical tempo style with a warm up and cool down bookending the tempo time in the middle, examples of this could be:

  • 1 mile warm up / 4 miles @ mid tempo pace / 1 mile cool down

Again a more complicated version would be;

  • 1 mile warm up / 2 miles @ short tempo, 1 mile easy, 2 miles short tempo / 1 mile cool down

Longer tempo runs are much simpler with just one pace, although be prepared to over distance, the longest run is 10 miles, nearly four miles longer than you’ll be racing and you will be running that 3 times.

So that’s all the theory lets’ look at the practice. I wrote about my results halfway through the plan back in January and as expected the majority of the improvement was measured during the first 6 weeks. Conveniently week 1, 6 and 12’s intervals were all 400m based so the quantitative analysis is made somewhat easier, here are the numbers:

Week 1 Day 1


Week 6 Day 1


Week 12 Day 1


The numbers speak for themselves, even taking into consideration that the first six weeks were recorded after coming back from injury so the expected ramp down would be steep the improvement is more than significant with the intervals between 20-25 seconds faster per 400 meters; that’s 80-100 seconds faster over a mile. Compare that to the second six weeks where the decrease was approx 3-4 seconds faster per 400 meters. That being said as you can see by the time I was reaching the end of the program I was under my target pace. Of course there is a world of difference between running 400m and running 26.2 miles but it should all play out over time and training.

Qualitatively there are positives and negatives to this plan. The positives; low mileage, flexibility within the plan from only 5 days of training, clearly prescribed workouts – both distances and paces. The negatives; it’s very prescriptive, despite the low mileage it’s a hard plan, every run is hard there are no junk miles, there is a bigger opportunity for injury and over time you can expect to feel a little beaten up.

So the question you’re probably asking is, is this the plan for me? Well maybe, the maybes are based on what your end goals are and what your running history is, while the book contains some C25K (couch to 5k plans) it’s the faster plans that have the main focus in fact there is a whole chapter dedicated to qualifying for Boston. If you can stick to a plan and don’t tend to get bored following something this prescribed, if you are prepared to hang up your shoes a couple of days a week and cross train and if you want to run fast then this might just be the plan for you.

Finally, and what it’s all about, the results. I bettered my 10k PR time by nearly four minutes and I am now a shade off 44:00 (my previous 47:53), I still feel there is more left in the tank to reduce that even lower and I’ll be looking to improve that time as I race train during the coming months.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

20/25 Challenge Week 5

image As we approach the half way mark so the scales tip, metaphorically and literally Ms V and Billy do a 180 and switch places; I sense a bit of horse trading for gift cards is about to take place!

Every one else seems to have found some balance or loss and despite Lindsay abstaining from M&Ms she goes positive as does Billy who had too many ribs! Of the losers/winners Pachina and Frenchie are leading the charge. Big Bork failed to report in so he gets a zero grade. I myself show a slight gain; which in itself is not bad as I haven’t done anything, nada, zip, zilch for 12 days! My mojo has taken a hiatus and I am left in a bit of a funk; I had a monstrous study week last week and started a new job yesterday so my brain is in a spin right now and I fully expect it to remain that way for the remainder of the week so you all get hall passes from me as far as I am concerned, the good news for me is that my new job is basically in the foothills of the San Gabriels so I get to look at them everyday, see photo below. I am thinking I need to fill in a race entry to get my mind back in the game, that usually focuses me!


If you missed the video from the last post you can find it here! It’s worth 4 minutes of your time, trust me!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Everyone is a Winner!

[nashville[6].jpg]As predicted I’ve been AWOL; Absent WithOut Blogging but the absence makes the heart grow fonder, right! Anyway I spent the week with my head stuck in a book but the great news was it was worth it and I finally passed my PMP exam, don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it but it’s in been a biggie round here for a while and now the monkey is off my back!

And so onto more interesting things winners of the Marathon draw…well it’s not really a draw as such more of a here’s yours, here’s yours…four entries; four winners!

So form a orderly line;

Velma and Lindsay – Nashville

ESH and Andrew – Dallas

Kinda like you doesn’t pay your money and you takes your choice! anyway email me your details and I will send along the entry codes, remember that you need to write up a review of the race on the race review site!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tonight’s special guest…

image I am slammed this week, I knew I was going to be so in the spirit of complete laziness cooperation I asked one of my favorite podcasters Barb from the Kelowna Gurls Tri’s Podcast if they would be willing to write up a blog post for me in my absence and to my surprise she said yes!

In case you don’t know Barb, here’s how she describes herself; In 2008, I documented my journey to become a triathlete. A couch potato most of my life, I began cycling as a means to weight loss in 2006 and over that year, fell in love with biking, and lost 20 lbs. As my fitness level increased, I began to wonder if I could run, and in 2007, I had run my first 5K in 26:16! Last January, I returned to the pool after a 35 years hiatus, took some lessons, and then practiced on my own 3 times a week with a goal of completing a sprint triathlon in August 2008. And I did it with great personal success! Meeting my time goal (1:30), coming in 4/11 in my age group, and exceeding my goal in the bike portion was tremendously fulfilling and made me finally realize – I AM an athlete!

Pretty cool huh! Anyways she’s an awesome person and athlete and was really the catalyst for me getting my act together in the pool! Find her here on Twitter. I am really grateful and happy to share this with you, maybe this will start a trend, enjoy….

So you wanna be a triathlete?

Or at least you're thinking about it, right?  You can't tell me you can read the Quadrathon blog every day, and see a hard core runner like Stuart turning himself into a triathlete, and not be at least a teensy bit inspired to give it a go yourself!

I know, you're probably thinking - "but I can't swim!"  Or perhaps - "I haven't been on a bike since I was 10."  Whatever. Those are just excuses.  My personal excuse was  "I can't run the end the the block" AND "I haven't had my face in the water for 35 years."  But I did it.  And if I did it, and if Stuart can do it, then so can you.

So what do you need to be able to do?

Well, if you're lucky, there's a Try-a-Tri or some other aptly named mini-triathlon (perhaps a Super-Sprint?) within driving distance of you. Go google it and see.  Go ahead, I'll wait right here.

If you didn't find a mini-triathlon for beginners, they I'm sure you found a sprint tri.  It's a little longer than a mini-triathlon but it'll still be ok for your first race. There are LOTS of newbies just like you even in the sprint tris so don't worry. You will not be alone in your newbie-ness.

Most Try-a-Tris or Super Sprints require you to swim about 300-400m. That's about 12-16 lengths of a standard 25m (or 25 yd) pool.  You can do it with a little practice, believe me.  If you choose a tri with a pool swim, you can even hang on and rest after each length if you really need to.  And to be honest, a LOT of try-a-tris with a lake swim (also known as an OWS) are kept in the shallows so you can stand up and take a breather if you need it.

OK, you've done the swim. Next you have to bike about 6 miles and then finally, you run about 1-2 miles.  I know, now you're thinking, "That sounds pretty easy, I think I might be able to do a regular sprint tri." Well then, go for it!

The standard distances for a regular sprint triathlon are:

Swim: 500-750m (20-30 lengths - pool sprint tris are often only 400m swims though)

Bike: 20 km (16 miles)

Run: 5 km (3 miles)


You need a bike. Any bike will do. Dust off your old mountain bike, pump up the tires, maybe take it down to your local bike shop and have them give it the once-over. If you don't have a bike, then borrow one. SOMEbody you know must have a bike that fits you.

You'll also need:

A swim suit


Shorts and a t-shirt to throw over the swim suit later for the bike/run

Running shoes.

(If you do a lake swim and it's cold, you might want to borrow a wet suit as well) 

Triathlon Survival

Your first triathlon is all about survival.  You just want to finish the thing. Once you're done, you will be hooked and of course you will want to do way more training to beat all your previous times, buy a cool bike and a Garmin, and better gear and, well, then it gets expensive.  But it's great fun and you will have met lots of cool, fit people who you can run and ride and swim with.

So how do you survive the first one?  Well, give yourself a few months to train, the more the better if you are a total non-swimmer.  Go sign up for a set of private lessons and then hit the pool 3 times a week to practice, practice, practice.  I promise the swim only gets better with time spent in the pool.  LOTS of time in the pool will help you learn how to do a basic freestyle, how to breathe without inhaling water, and how to put on a swim cap without ripping your hair out by the roots.

You can also join a Master's Swim club to get some swimming guidance. Don't be scared off by the word "Masters" like I was.  I thought it meant only hard core awesome swimmers could join. Not at all, they have a slow lane for the 2-3 people just like you and I, and they are happy to help us learn the ropes. Ask questions, watch, learn, and swim!  Lots!

Next: Check to see if there is a local triathlon club in your town, or perhaps a running club - they usually have some triathletes as members.  Joining a group or two will give you someone to train with, and people to ask the million questions you will have along the way.

Finally: Read a few books, join online triathlon forums such as Beginner Triathlete or listen to podcasts about triathlon. And ask lots of questions - it's the only way you learn. And of course, get out there and run, bike, and swim 2 times a week.  That's 6 days of training a week. You can do it! Now that doesn't sound so hard does it?  It's a challenge, it's fun, and it's something new!

I live by the motto "It's never too late to be what you might have been"  by George Eliot, and I have slowly learned that there isn't anything I can't do.  How about you? What are you waiting for?

Thanks Barb! Normal service including my reading and commenting will resume shortly…

Monday, February 15, 2010

20/25 Challenge Week 4

Wk4 Well they say the only constant is change and this week it was all about change. In with a bullet comes LARunr (Billy) with some serious loss, I am left wondering did he cut a limb off…actually I know this not true as there are plenty of pictures on his latest post of him volunteering at Twin Peaks last weekend, it looks like they had slightly different weather from when I was last there! BTW if you’ve never volunteered for a race what are you waiting for, it makes for a really rewarding Saturday or Sunday morning!

Anyway needless to say it’s an impressive loss and a deserved win! I am sure he has one eye on the Los Angeles Marathon next which month and I know those lost pounds will make his day all the more easier. Let me know whose $25 Gift Certificate you want and I’ll hook you up, you can check their availability here!

By way of a quick and tasty recipe here’s a staple in our household, it’s good for a breakfast, lunch or late night snack: Spinach and cream cheese omelet:

Out of choice I prefer to use one egg and a one serving of Egg Beaters but you can use all real eggs or just egg whites if you like.

Use enough ‘egg’ for two eggs equivalent

Splash of milk

Salt and pepper to season

yummy or what!Tofutti cream cheese

Frozen chopped spinach – defrosted in the microwave; 30 seconds

Mix the egg, milk, salt and pepper and whisk up. Pour into a heated frying pan, keep folding the liquid in until you have a solid base, take a spoonful of the cream cheese and spread over half the egg, do the same with the spinach. Carefully fold over the uncovered half making sure that you don’t squeeze all the contents out…that would be bad! Give it a minute and then flip it over and give another minute or two on the other side. Slide it out onto a plate and serve with a healthy spoonful of salsa!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

P.A.M's Run for Pancreatic Cancer Research 10k

pams Tshirt Before the race report a a few alternative titles…What goes out fast comes back slow…What goes down must come up…What the eff are you doing…and my favorite The faster you run the sooner you can rinse the sick out of your mouth….are you getting the picture! And so on with the show.

After last weekend’s race I really felt that there was more in the tank, being sick and tired literally not metaphorically, took its toll and I wanted another bite at the cherry. So when my wife suggested we all sign up for this local race I jumped at the chance, she ran the 5k and our kids ran the 1k, this was actually our 2 y/os first race and our 5 y/os third, that was a total blast!

I purposefully had an easy week and some realitivly early nights so I was feeling pretty good when I woke up this morning. We arrived a bit too early, after last weekend I wanted to make sure we got there in good time and after standing in line to collect our numbers and registering the boys we wandered off to the start. I left my wife and went off to warm up with an easy mile, some strideres and the like, from there I made my way towards the front of the runners. There were some serious looking club runners and a few very talented looking people hanging about, what the hell I thought and I plonked myself down right behind them and waited for the count down. Which came and we were off.

Now I had driven the course earlier in the week and I knew that it was basically 3.1 miles down and then 3.1 miles up! Pretty simple really, the plan was to go conservatively hard and try to get to the half way point in 20 minutes and that would leave me as little of 24 minutes as I needed to use for the return half, you can see from Garmin Training Centre that I was a little slow with M1 6:12 M2 6:29 and Mile 3 7:08 giving me total for 3 miles of 20:21 and a guestimate 5k of around 21:00. During the first half I had been pacing off a group who pulled away and as expected for the second half I started going backwards!

pams 10k

Just after the turnaround a girl caught up with me and we ran lock step for a mile and then she pulled ahead, around mile 4.5 the last person who would pass me did and I was on my own for the last 1.7 miles. I knew I had to work on calming my heart rate in preparation for the climbing and I tried to just be steady and find the “zone”. I reached the 5k race turnaround and it was like Times Square with walkers, strollers, dogs on leashes, people have a good old chit chat and a water stop, to avoid the melee I skipped up onto the sidewalk and weaved around a bit nearly tripping over someone’s dog! After that I pulled back onto the coned off road section and it was just head down heart rate up, I really really wanted to go faster but there was nothing left and I knew if I did I would blow up. My Garmin was screaming at me to ‘Speed Up’! I had set the pace alert at 6:40-6:50 and I was bumbling along in the mid 7:00s! I turned the last corner and I knew there was a little over a half a mile left, I saw the 6 mile sign then the 3 mile sign which meant there was 0.1 of a mile left I could see the clock counting towards 44:00 and I just pulled out all I had to try and beat it! I crossed the line and staggered through the chute I was tagged and found the nearest piece of terra forma and fell on it! I was done! Seriously all tapped out and feeling shaky from the effort I maxed out my HR at 185!

Here’s a screenshot from SportTracks showing the elevation change and my pace decrease!

Pams in ST elavation

I hooked up with my wife and my in-laws who are visiting and hung about for a while waiting for the kids 1k race which served as a good cool down! From there we went back to the ‘expo’, for a race in its second year they had really put on a great show, with a lot of local vendors showing support, one of LA’s radio stations, free Mexican food, bagels, Fusion drinks, Powerbars, Coffee and a few other things that we took advantage off!

Finally they started to post the 10k times, my time 44:01, you know what my time was from last weekend 44:02! Yep one second, One Second, ONE FREEKIN’ SECOND! WTF! I checked tonight and it’s confirmed, I was 13th out of 236 an improvement over last weekend and I won my Age Group! In fact in the top 20 there were only two other runners and me over 40! But get this two brothers tied for first in 36:14, their ages 16 and 12 TWELVE!!!

So with hindsight it was the race that it was going to be, the downhill was fast and the up not so, and not so more than I thought! I have to say that while a PR is nice and I was stoked about the AG win I am really starting to get p!$$ed off with this distance…maybe that’s what I need to fuel the fire for the next time!

Friday, February 12, 2010

And the winner is….


I just calculated all the entries into the Moji competition, there were 38 entries across 14 people!

Some folks were very active and some not so. As outlined every activity created a point and then the total number of points were added up and generated into entries. Each entry was allocated a number and then using a random number generator I got the number 19!

And so the winner is…..Steve Calhoun from Bald Runner’s Unite! Congrats Steve drop me a line with your email address and I’ll hook you up with the good folks at Moji! For the folks who didn’t win it's not all bad news Moji has offered y'all (notice the use of the southern vernacular...) free shipping, go to their website and and use the coupon code quad10.

Oh yeah and once you get it don’t forget to post a review!

nashvilleSo after my giveaway for the 13.1 LA half marathon last month, I was contacted by the good folks at Would I like to give away some entries to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Nashville TN and the inaugural Half Marathon in Dallas TX, hell yeah (see I am getting my southern thing on again). I love giving away stuff! So I now have two entries for both races and both come with VIP dinner passes…got a friend or partner who runs, wanna free entry? Well step on up!

There’s not long till these races so this is a quick competition over the weekend. Here’s the dealio:

Becoming an follower on Twitter, earns you 1 point, click here to go to their profile

Joining the Facebook Group earns you 1 point.

Creating a Backlink to this competition post in your own blog earns you one point you’ll need to click on the “Create a link” below (here are the instructions).

Do the above and leave a comment on this post telling me you have will earn you another 1 point. If you don't do any of the above at least leave a comment to actually get that entry.

With me so far…ok the last way to earn a point or two or three, well actually four, is to copy and Tweet the following:

I just entered the @activenetwork giveaway contest on the @quadrathon blog

You can tweet it once a day for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday for 1 point per tweet per day, that’s a total of eight points up for grabs! Eight point equals eight entries. I’ll tally up all the entries and draw a winner next week!

Oh now there is some small print, in return you have to write up a review and post it on the race review site! Here's an example.

So easy peasy lemon squeazy (I am told that's not southern)! Watcha waiting for!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Shoes and Newtons!

So my Newtons arrived last week and boy I was itching to try them…so I did. After some faffing about with orthotics and socks I found a combination that work, typically I like a padded sock although that’s changing with my recent trial and subsequent order of Vital Sox (you can read the review here) Newtons website suggest a thinner sock and who am I to argue!

Once I figured out the right combination I found them to be lightweight and very comfortable. As suggested I only wore them initially for a mile or so and I spent most of the time running up and down in front on my camera hence the montage below!

Newtons_Day1 Apparently the boys at Newton think I am doing it right as they posted this on Twitter;

sirisaacA lot of folks have expressed an interest in following my progress and who am I to argue with good blog fodder! Once I get the race this weekend out of the way I’ll be wearing them more and more and hopefully transitioning into them full time over time and of course documenting that process. Until then I will wearing them in parallel with my new shoes a fresh out the box pair of Brooks Arenalines, after an hour in RRS last week after returning my Kayano 16s and having tried nearly the whole wall this is what I walked out with. So expect a review of them in about a hundred miles of so. I am mapping out my marathon training with the FIRST plan and I have the rest of the month to play before that starts proper…fun times!

Finally check in tomorrow for another round of Friday Freebies!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to me…

third Well to the Quadrathon Blog! 3 years old today!

Well what started as a little commentary to my shenanigans with Nike+ has grown into quite adventure. Had you asked me three years ago this is not the place I envisaged I would be!

Two marathons, five 50ks, two (nearly three) 50 milers and almost a 100 miler! And at the other end of the spectrum a sub 20:00 5k! Lots of miles run, lots of miles ridden, lots of laughs and a few tears along the way!

Needless to say it’s all, well nearly all been fun, I have seen stunning vistas, run through deserts and forests, hills and beaches and through sunrises and sunsets, I have learned loads, made a ton a great friends…my wife just laughs at my Facebook friend list and my Twitter follows, there’s plenty more to come I am sure!

Now I know you’ll all be itching to get me a little something well instead howsabout popping over to this page and making a little pledge towards my fundraising efforts for Pancreatic Cancer Research for next weekends race…yeah I know it’s super last minute but it’s a good cause and every little helps!

If you don’t fancy that check out some of my more choice moments:

Running is a Contact Sport!

Ultra Tshirt Etiquette

My first 50 Miler; The Leona Divide

Ich bin ein Flatlander!

and finally 22 miles Photog!

Fun times…stay tuned like my profile says “be warned I keep moving the targets in much the same way as the horizon keeps moving…such is the lot of a runner”!

Monday, February 8, 2010

20/25 Challenge Week 3

wk3 Well first off I am renaming the Challenge to the 20/25. Triborg let me know that RRS Gift Certificate minimum is $25, sorry folks my bad…but hey look at this way the pot just increased by $50!

Bootchez claimed her Gift Certificate last week and this week we have a new leader El DeCampo, with a solid 2%+ drop, great job! Let me know whose $25 you want and I’ll hook you up!

Personally I have slowed down, but I am almost at my half way point. It looks like SuperBowl Sunday took it toll and a few super sized bowls of chips were scarfed! Never mind, put it behind you and get back in the saddle. It’s a new week with new resolve!

No recipes this week but a few tidbits from Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald:

…."increasing the nutrition per calorie ratio of your diet will enable you get all the nutrients you need for maximum performance from fewer calories thus enabling you to become leaner. An effective way to improve your diet is to score it the quality of your diet and continue to score your diet quality as you make efforts to improve it”…in other words think quality not quantity!

Weighing yourself often is not necessarily a bad thing…"in 2008 100 overweight individuals enrolled in a 12 month program were encouraged to weigh themselves frequently at home. The study’s authors found that the frequency of self-weighing was significantly correlated with weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. Subjects lost approximately one extra pound for every 11 days they weighed themselves”…

…“For runner’s, high mileage is a better way to get lean that calorie restriction because calorie restriction does not send the same message. Calorie restriction tells your body to conserve energy, which it will do by reducing it’s metabolic rate to retain fat stores, dismantling more muscle tissue than it otherwise would and making you feel sluggish in workouts so you go slower, quit sooner, and thereby burn fewer precious calories”…I gotta say this is true, my long workouts last summer, while not fast were high mileage and I was pretty darn close to where I wanted to be weightwise.

Anyway it’s an interesting read for sure!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10k

P1010668 Someone wiser than me once said that when you train for raceday there are no guarantees that the day you race will be that day…and today was not that day! The short story is, yes I did PR, the long story goes along the lines; caught a cough, had sick kids in the house waking up during the night; I never really caught up on my sleep and my legs, for some unknown reason, were insanely tired?!?

I arrived at the start about 15 minutes before the start, this may seem like great timing but I was late, late enough that they had run out of shirts, no biggie, but also late enough to be in enough of a flap to have forgotten the BodyGlide and my HR Strap and well; it’s all a bit stressful isn’t it! I ran a mile to the start, picked up my number and weaved my way through the crowd to try and get to the front or close to it. I retied my laces stood up and the gun went off and so did I. There was some weaving and jostling for the first mile or so but not too much. Miles 1-3 were steady and as close to my target pace of 7:00 that I could have got to without being on a treadmill. Whereas the first three miles were essentially flat or close to it, the second three miles not so much, there were a two solid climbs; just before mile 5 and the second one at mile 5.5 followed by a couple of tight turns to the finish.

I had planned for 6:45s for the second three miles and would then go flat out for the last point oh two, the second three was where I fell out of bed. Mile 4 was solid but slow, mile 5 I was slipping backwards and by mile 6 I had come off the rails. The last kick was strong and was as fast as most of my 400 meter interval sessions.


So the upside was that I reduced my PR by 3:41, my chip time was 44:02:09, I was 201st of 3043 (2092 male) runners and 28th in my age group of 267, had I hit my goal of 42:00 I would have been 16th. So all in all not a bad showing, the downside is hard to quantify, other than what I note above there’s nothing I can really put my finger on.

So when my wife suggested that we go to the local kid’s 1k/5k/10k race next weekend I jumped, cough gone, more sleep and a 5 mile drive not a 50 mile drive will, I am sure hope, have some effect…let’s wait and see!

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Freebies

So you may have read all my reviews last week well I am about to turn the tables! I got some awesome SWAG for several, actually eight lucky readers coming up over the next week or so, keep an eye out. First up, remember my review of the Moji from last week, well the good folks at Moji have stepped up and are willing to send out a Moji of your choice (back or knee) to one lucky reader! Here’s a very cool (excuse the pun) video of their knee wrap way better than the photo in my review.

Pretty cool huh! Ok I’ll stop. Here's the competition dealio:

Becoming a Moji follower on Twitter, earns you 1 point, click here to go to their profile,

Joining the Moji Facebook Group earns you 1 point.

Creating a Backlink to this competition post in your own blog earns you one point (you’ll need to click on the “Create a link” below (here are the instructions).

Do the above and leave a comment on this post telling me you have will earn you another 1 point. If you don't do any of the above at least leave a comment to actually get that entry.

With me so far…ok the last way to earn a point or two or three, well actually four, is to copy and Tweet the following:

I just entered the @gomoji giveaway contest on the @quadrathon blog

You can tweet it once a day for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday for 1 point per tweet per day, that’s a total of eight points up for grabs! Eight point equals eight entries. I’ll tally up all the entries and draw a winner next week!

Oh and if you win and you blog it would be great if you posted a review...that's only fair, right!

Need any more convincing on the quality of the product here are a few more reviews; Chicrunner, SnowShoe Magazine and FitBride. What are you waiting for…

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review; Asics Gel Kayano 16

shoe16 It’s ok I’ll admit I am a fan boy of Asics, I’ve worn them forever, well that’s starting to change, but I am getting ahead of myself here. Let me present to you the reason for this post a Review of the Asics Gel Kayano 16. First launched last October/November time I snapped up a pair mid November in advance of me even starting to run again post injury.

As mentioned I have run in Asics for a long time, initially the 2000 series and more recently the Kayanos; since the 13s so that’s 4 iterations and somewhere in the order of 8-9 pairs of shoes or around 3600 – 3700 hundred miles.

I typically rotate two pairs of shoes so that I can eek out extra mileage per shoe and I retire them roughly every 400 miles.

At face value the 16s are very similar to the 15s, from Asics’ website:

· Impact Guidance System-ASICS® Design Philosophy. Employs linked componentry that enhances the foot's natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.

· Guidance Line-Vertical Flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhances gait efficiency.

· Discreet Heel Unit-Takes the Impact Guidance System to a new level by creating our highest degree of shock attenuation and stability.

· Space Trusstic System®-This midfoot stabilizer creates a pocket between the Trusstic System® device and the midsole, allowing for controlled midsole deformation and more efficient foot function.

· ComforDry™ Sockliner-Provides cushioning performance and anti-microbial properties for a cooler, drier, healthier environment.

· Asymmetrical Lacing Design-An anatomically correct lacing environment that reduces potential for irritation and provides improved comfort and fit.

· DuoMax® Support System-A dual density midsole system positioned to enhance support and stability, positioned sport specifically.

laces One big difference is that Asics have shaved a half ounce off of the Kayano 15, you can read my review on the 15s here; the 16s now weighs in 12.7 ounces. From the top down, the asymmetrical lacing returns although it has been tempered down from the 15, the idea of this is that it envelops your foot rather than sits on top. The quarter panels are a little more reinforced with only one side being fabric the non fabric side is fitted with Biomorphic material that is designed to mold to your foot. Also new is some significant wrap to the heel of the shoe although it appears to be more cosmetic I assume it’s there for a reason. The ComforDry sockliner and Personal Heel Fit are familiar features. The toe box is roomy enough and overall sizewise I go up half a size compared to regular shoes. In the midsole Asics now include gender specific cushioning which is designed to provide more road feel and make the shoe lighter. The outsole contains the most noticeable difference; the vertical groove…“this vertical groove (Heel to Toe) in the midsole/outsole decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency”...I think what this means in lay terms is that the shoe is less torsionally stiff, that is it’s more “twisty”. See if they had said that it would be a whole lot less scientific!

They are available in white white/blue and red black/white, the latter are above and some additional pastel tones for girls.

As for running in them well I normally review my shoes around the 100 mile mark, not the case here, I barely made it to half of that. Initially everything was going fine but I noticed that I was getting some stiffness / soreness / pain in my left heel. I thought that maybe I had somehow bruised it and gave it a week, but after a run the next morning my foot was really sore. I isolated it down to the changed variables and could only come up with the change in shoe, so I stopped wearing them and after a week the pain had gone! They now sit neglected in bottom of my closet. In fact I called RRS today and they confirmed that they would exchange them even though I am out of the 60 day window, which is good because these shoes are not cheap, I had a look online and they retail for anything around $125 +/- $10 depending where you get them from.

Why the pain and soreness, well I really don’t know, a review of the exploded diagrams from ASICS website reveals nothing new, could it be simply new shoes on top of a pretty intense training plan a’la the FIRST (which is all speedwork) combined was the cause, the honest answer is I don’t know but something is wrong!

15s 16s

So in conclusion the shoes present the same quality that I have come to expect from Asics, the fit and comfort levels are high it’s simply the after effects that I can’t work with. For now I am running in my 15s and more than usual my Banditos which are basically racing flats and I’ll continue to do that for the short term.

This bring me round to my opening sentence about changing my footwear, you see I have ordered a pair of Newtons…so standby for some significant changes!

This product was purchased. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Monday, February 1, 2010

20/20 Challenge Week 2

2020wk2 Another week another weigh in and a new leader. Bootchez takes the lead, congratulations, a monster week for her. I had a pretty good week as did Velma. It looks like it’s been a tough week for some with status quo being maintained and few folks have slipped back into negative territory! Still there’s another 9 weeks to go yet.

Bootchez nominate whose $20 you’re claiming and don’t let it burn a hole in your pocket!

I picked Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance during the week, well it arrived from Amazon on Friday, it makes for an interesting read for sure, I’ll keep you in the loop on it as I read through it. Personally I am starting to see some benefits of the weight loss, I had a killer 8 miler on Saturday and nailed my 10k split in 42 and change see the last post where I blow my trumpet all about that; well somebody has to, right!

P1010609 I also posted on Twitter about the making of some protein bars during the weekend, several people asked for the recipe. It’s an ongoing debate in our household about giving the kids healthy snacks and actually finding something where there second ingredient (and sometimes the third and fourth and fifth) are not sugar or a syrup of some kind can be tricky and you know they’re not going to always want fruit.

I found this recipe in a freebie magazine and gave it a go, I am still tweaking it, the most recent tweaks are in parenthesis, it’s not bad.

  • 1 c. quinoa flour (wholegrain flour)
  • 2 oz. whey protein
  • 1 oz. apple pectin powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ c. sundried cranberries (raisins)
  • 3 dates (dried apricots)
  • 2 oz ground pistachios (or sunflowers) (tried with and without)
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 oz brown rice syrup (tried agave syrup and honey)
  • 1 oz ground flax
  • 1 oz unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp of soy nut butter
  • 2 tbsp of egg whites


1. Preheat Oven to 350°

2. Combine dry ingredients, dried fruit and ground pistachios in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and stir well. Pour onto dry ingredients.

4. Spray 9” cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

5. Bake for 25–30 minutes.

6. Cool and cut.

I have been using a 1½” square as a mid morning and afternoon snack, it’s amazingly dense and really fills you up. Once you have nailed the ingredients (Whole Foods) give it a whirl, it’s pretty good stuff!