Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Never Say Never: Ice Baths

For the last couple of years training for marathons I’ve always heard about other runners taking ice baths to recover.  My mind would flash back to when I was a teenager falling in the not so frozen creek behind my home in Ohio.  I pretty much said that I’d never take an ice bath.  I’ve got to get rid of that word: never!

I’ve been taking ice baths since October.  I’m sold on them!  The recovery time after a long run or long race is minimized tremendously!

When taking an ice bath, I fill the tub up with cold water.  When it gets about 3/4 full, I add the ice.  I’ve settled on 2 bags of ice.  I’ve tried it with 1 bag, but it seems like 2 is the magic number for me.  I wear the same compression shorts that I ran in, but I usually go without a wearing a shirt.  I cannot stand the feeling of pulling off a freezing wet shirt… it gets wet at the bottom of the shirt.

As mentioned in the video, I’ll listen to some music and set a timer on my phone for 10 minutes.  After the ice bath, I do jump in the shower.  It doesn’t seem like it negates any affect from the ice bath.  It does help my toes as they get numb from the ice bath.

After the ice bath and shower, I get into some comfy clothes and put on my CEP Compression Sleeves.  I love the feeling of these sleeves after a long run.  It feels like a big old hug stimulating blood flow in my legs.  If you’ve ignored everything that I wrote and say “no way” to the ice bath, then at least invest in the compression socks.  That alone will definitely help with your recovery.

Some tips for recovering from long runs and/or a long race:

  1. Stretch!
  2. Replenish – I chug down a chocolate mile.  Eat a banana and a protein bar.  I’ll as well will drink a Gatorade.  You’ve got to replace what you’ve burned up during your long run.
  3. Ice bath!
  4. Compressions socks or sleeves.

Need more info?  Check out this article from the professionals:  Runner’s World Ice Baths article

Yes, I was a naysayer and said that I would never take an ice bath.  Then again, I said that I would never run a Marathon.  Once you take the ice bath and see the incredibly quick recovery time, you’ll be sold on them as well!  Do it!  Take the plunge!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I’ve tried resolutions in the past years and I’ve blogged about them as well.  This year I actually avoided resolutions.  I feel like I’m continually trying to improve myself in some form or fashion.  The improvement could be based on trying to draw closer to Christ, being a better husband or father, getting faster or stronger, and getting healthier.  So, it’s really about continuous improvement.

insanityI’ve been hearing about Insanity for quite awhile from people that have gone through it.  Most of the reviews have been super positive.  I purchased the Insanity program back in the beginning of December in hopes of starting it during my Christmas break.  Unfortunately, the Stained Concrete project got in the way and I wasn’t able to do it.  For one, the house was a mess and two, doing the floors was pretty insane.

One of the coolest things about doing Insanity is that Ursula and I are doing it together.  We’re now toward the end of the 3rd week.  We keep encouraging each other and we’ve been good about staying on track.

Insanity is crazy interval cardio training… also known as MAX Interval Training.  It pushes you to get stronger at your pace, but pushes you!  I really like Shaun T. and the videos so far.  They are definitely challenging.  I don’t think there’s been a video that I’ve been able to completely perform.  I’ve been getting stronger, but the cardio is just insane.

Some things that I really like that Shaun T. says throughout the videos:

  • Push through!  Push through!  Push through!
  • Dig deep!
  • I’m not trying to hurt you, I’m trying to help you!
  • That #$^#& was bananas!
  • I’m talking SPIT!
  • Peace out!

Only in the 3rd week, I can definitely feel and see results.  I‘d definitely recommend this program to anyone that is trying to get fit or fitter. :)   The key to this program with any program is to know your body and do what you’re capable of.

I like how the people in the video are real… as in, that they have to take unscheduled breaks as well.  I also like that you don’t have to use special equipment for the workouts.  You’ve got what you need!  Dig deep and do it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Few Things About this #CLEMarathon Blogger

2012-01-12 17.33.53Taking a cue from fellow Cleveland Marathon Blogger, Beal, I thought I’d introduce myself. 

My name is Mark and yes, I’m addicted to running.  All you’d have to do is my ask my wife, kids, or coworkers, and they’d tell ya!  I wasn’t always like this… I actually hated running!  Gasp!  Yes, I was one of those disbelievers that running could actually be fun and enjoyable.

First of all, I was born in Cleveland.  I lived there for 5 years until we moved out into the suburbs… North Ridgeville.  I was never really active in high school sports with the exception of bowling.  Then again, there’s not really any running in bowling.  As well, the cardio isn’t popping off the charts with bowling.  After high school, I served 8 years in the Air Force.  Once a year we had to take a fitness test to show how healthy we were or weren’t.  During that test, we had to run a mile and a half.  I thought I was going to die every year!  Did I ever train for it?  Nope and of course, by not training for it, I dreaded running.  I did enjoy racquetball because it just short spurts of running.

Post Air Force, I moved to Dallas, TX, in which I did normal things, but never really went out of my way to exercise.  Fast forward to December of 2007 when my sister Denise came to visit me for the Dallas White Rock Marathon.  The marathon was such an inspiration.  It was awesome to see the excitement of the marathon environment. 

It’s so cool to read old blog posts when I was a non-runner.  It’s fascinating to see the evolution of I cannot to I can! 

Denise was a huge inspiration to me to get me started on running.  At the same time I knew that I’d need to lose weight, but more importantly change my lifestyle to be healthier.  As well the company that I was working at (and still working at) had a Biggest Loser contest.  I won that contest by dropping 25 pounds.  That was a crazy time that I experienced a huge paradigm shift of living healthier. 

Since the healthier lifestyle, I really took up running.  I trained with groups, trained on my own, and then back to training with a group.  I have ran 50+ races.  I love the race environment!  I train for the race environment!  Over the last 3 years, I ran 13 Half Marathons and 6 full Marathons.  The Marathon is by far the most challenging thing that I’ve ever done.  Each time that I run it, it’s brand new!

Out of the 6 marathons, Cleveland has been my most well executed marathon.  I’m so looking forward to a strong repeat experience.

My ultimate goal is to run a Sub 4 Hour Marathon.  I trained really well for the Dallas White Rock Marathon, but the weather did me in.  Yes, I’ll blame the weather.  I honestly pushed my training, but listened to my coaches and didn’t overdo it.

I have a very supportive family.  I’ve been married for 21 years and have 2 awesome teenagers in high school.  I’m blessed to have them in my life!

0053-knock outI enjoy pushing myself to get stronger and faster, but I also enjoy encouraging others to take up running.  One of my greatest joys of running has been to see my son getting the running bug.  We have grown closer in sharing this bond.  As well, he’s learned the value of commitment and determination.  He has only been running about a year and has pretty much past me up.  Here’s a knock out picture from his first Half Marathon where he beat me by 20 seconds.  Being a teenager, he’s not always crazy about the training.  But, again, he’s learning the value of commitment!

I hope this gives a little more insight to this Cleveland Marathon Blogger.  Also, a little more of a difference is that I’m used to running in the opposite extreme weather conditions.  Yes, I’ve run in 90-100+ days… I try not to, but it can be done.  Hydate, hydrate, hydrate!  I’ve run in a 25K race at midnight in the middle of the summer.  You know the race is going to be crazy hot when it’s called El Scorcho!

It does snow a couple of days a year here and I always get out and run in it.  It’s such a novelty for us here in Texas.  Of course, I love getting strange looks when running when it’s snowing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ursula Hits the Floor

n61210094174_2074291_5228Today is a big day for Ursula.  She hits the floor fulltime as a Stylist at Green Peridot in Frisco.  She has been working there for 18 months as an assistant.  Most hairstylists are very eager to jump on the floor to get things cutting.  A majority of the time, that eagerness & impatience shortcuts the learning process. (pun intended)  Ursula took advantage and seized the opportunity to work as an assistant to the owner, Daniel Lewis for a majority of the 18 months.  While assisting for him, she was able to learn from the best.  She’s ready to put this knowledge to work.

During her time at Green Peridot she has not only assisted, but has worked on several clients.   During that time she has gained their trust and they couldn’t wait until she is fulltime.

I’m a bit biased, but Ursula really cares about her work and the people that take a seat in her chair.  Heck, she’s been doing my hair for 20+ years.

If you’re looking for a new hairstylist or want to try out one of those Brazilian Blowouts, please feel confident in scheduling an appointment with her.  You can schedule an appointment with her at 469-362-7980.