I started reading the Running Man and I love it

I started two days ago reading (I actually listen to the audio book on my commute) to the Running Man, Charlie Engle‘s book and I love it. The audio book is narrated by the man himself and boy, isn’t this the most beautifully written running book of all times? Don’t get me wrong, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, written by Dean Karnazes, which I finished not long ago, is an amazing book too but for whatever reason Charlie Engle resonates more with me. Actually Charlie Engle and Dean Karnazes met at multiple events, one of the most famous being Bed Water.

Anyway, if you are looking for something to get you off the chair, try Running Man or Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, or both. They both give me that feeling that I can put on my running shoes and I can run night and day for forever. This, if you are looking for some motivation.

Great reads!

My first 10k run and why you can do it too

I just finished my first 10 km run ever. I used to run a lot when I was in high school so I might have had better runs, but for now, this is my best so far I remember.

I started the day with my daily 9 km walk to my work, from midtown where are live to downtown area. That takes usually around 1 hour and 30 minutes. I felt stuffed after yesterday, it’s the Romanian tradition to eat till you drop for Easter. So I did. Today I felt guilty but I recovered quite fast and in the afternoon I knew I’m gonna have my first 10k run this evening. I also felt bad because I was supposed to run yesterday as part of my 2-days run per week, preparation for the 10k sportinglife run. One more reason to push myself on the track today.

I ran 10.3 km, the race took 51:46 min at a pace of 5:01 minutes per kilometer. I was a bit slower than usual since I usually stay under 5 min but hey, it was a 10k run and I’m happy about it.

first 10k run
first 10 km run on strava

It’s the first time this year I run in a shirt only (bye Under Armor fleece) and I congratulate myself because I became hot really fast despite the cold wind. It’s also the first time I ran quite effortlessly. I regularly feel pain in my body, muscle aches and discomfort but I believe the trick is to find my rhythm and keep at it all the way. So I’m just guessing my rhythm is around 5 m/km. Also the sleep the night before has a huge impact on my level of energy. I must have gotten a good rest.

I usually start strong, then get tired and run slower and then towards the end I find my pace and I run constantly on an upward trend, finishing even faster than I start. Today it kinda happen the same though the second part of the run was clearly slower than the first half.

While I was running I felt that everyone can do it. Everyone can run. Maybe not 10k from first but I believe anyone can run a couple of kilometers right of the bat with no training.

Here some things I do that help me with my running and hopefully it will help you too:

  • I created a great running music playlist and I crank the volume up a notch so I don’t hear myself when I breath heavily. My breathing gets steadier and smoother after the first kilometers though but at times, at the beginning at the race at least, I can hear myself breathing and that might stop me if I hear it all the time.
  • I selected the music by BPM. My playlist has in between 120 to 135 BPM and it’s also all positive and jumpy and that helps me with my mood and make me push harder and longer
  • I switched from my old Merell shoes to New Balance and that alone ramped up my pace to about 30 seconds per kilometer. Unreal!
  • I don’t eat or I have only a bite before run.
  • I have a little water, maybe half a glass or even no water at all before run.
  • Sometimes I take a 30 min nap, sometimes, like today, I jump directly in my running clothes, put my shoes on and I go running right after work. I noticed the more I stay and think of it and the more I plan the run, the more tiresome I get mentally and that usually doesn’t make for a great run

Try these and let me know how it goes for you. Cheers for a better run!

Sporting Life 10k coming up

strava running route

I signed up for Sporting Life 10k run race here in Toronto. It’s on May 14, exactly one month from now. I’m excited and scared in the same time. So far I didn’t get the chance to run more than 8.8 km. Yesterday I created a 10 km running route on Strava and I will have to stick to it until the race. I’m​ pushing hard when I run. My best time is 4:38 minutes per kilometer but I’m​ usually close to 5 min. I should be fine if I stay below 5. I signed up for the 3rd wave and I’m suposed to finish under 55 minutes for the blue ribbon. It means my average pace per kilometer should be below 5:50. I guess I shouldn’t be concerned. Still I’m yet to run a full 10 km. And I know the last kilometers make such a difference.

Will I have enough energy to run if I’m dieting?

I’m back at running after 20 years or so of not doing anything except riding my bike. And you know what? I am faster and I run longer than ever before. I’m not talking about when I was in high school and when I was able to run endlessly. Or, let’s just say, I am much better now than when I was years ago when I was overweight. Being skinnier helps me. But it’s not just that. It’s the energy. I just have much more now. Let me give you another example. When I was over 200 lbs I could barely move from my sofa after biking home from work. The daily biking beat the life out of me. Now I even take my wife for walks, play basketball with my son or even run 9 km in the evenings. In fact I walk 9 km to work in the morning and run twice a week. That is easily 60 km per week. The energy level increased so much.

Will a diet help me get rid of my beer belly?

Now this is a tough nut to crack. Beer belly it’s a thing. I have it and a lot of people after 40 still have it even after dieting, jogging, biking or whatever everyone does these days to stay in shape. Years and years of not doing any sport. So I’m kind of skinny but with belly. Not entirely a model. Push ups kills me. Walking and running don’t really help. So what then? Fasting and even lower calories intake while reducing the carbs even further. That’s my plan. Will tell you how it goes.

Bring me some meat!

I once asked the dietitian what should I eat. Because if I try to find this on internet, the amount of information is overwhelming. One quarter protein, another carbs and veggies for the rest, she said. But I came up with a better ratio, how about 100% meat? Kidding on the side but yes my menu consists in a lot of protein like eggs, cheese and meet. I would say is more than 50%. You would think my cholesterol is sky rocketing but is not. In fact this January I did a blood test to see how I am, first test in 10 years and I’m just fine. Two years ago I had blood pressure on the red and I can bet my cholesterol wasn’t great either. Getting to my normal weight just helped me in a huge way.

Enough with the diet, can I have a burger?

Call me crazy but I can have a big fatty burger from time to time and my weight won’t go up a notch. Or pizza, or pasta or anything else basically that is high in calories and rich in carbs. I know that because my Fitbit Scale tells me so. How is it possible? Imagine the opposite. Eating every day fast food and then having a salad from time to time. Will that make you healthier? I don’t think so. Same here, following your cravings from time to time won’t kill you. Just do it moderately and you should be fine. Also running a couple of kilometers or walking for 1.5 – 2 hours will help you burn that burger if you really cannot get that guilty feeling off our mind.

Do you really need to exercise if you diet?

I’m no expert but I know a thing. I lost over 40lb in less than a year just by eating healthier removing the junk food and watching the carbs. I know how it sounds but it’s true. Yes, I walk 9 km to my downtown workplace (takes me around 1 hour and 40 minutes) in the winter and I bike to work and back, in the summer (18 km per day), but mind you, summers are short in Toronto so that isn’t that much exercise. The biking and the walking are less than 800 calories burned per day. You may think that’s a lot but it’s really not. You already do that anyway if you are not literally pinned to a chair. I hope you aren’t. If you have time to practice a sport or do any sort of physical exercise, by all means do it. But if you are lazy (like I used to be), don’t feel bad. Just eat healthier.

Calories vs. Carbs

Carbs mean calories but calories don’t necessarily mean carbs. This morning for example, I had boiled eggs along with sausages. Plus some vegetables. That means plenty or calories to get me through the morning but very less or no carbs at all. An easy way to stay in shape. This morning breakfast gave me the nutrients I need. People call this low carbs diet but I’m not really dieting. Imagine a full plate of delicious meat and vegetables. Does that look like diet to you?

Are fruits good for you?

I used to eat 5 to 10 apples a day. This happened for a couple of months until I visited for the first time a dietitian.
She told me the blood sugar is important. I knew is some sort of a big deal but I always went with that word that an apple per day keeps the doctor away. So I thought why not ten a day. Just to be sure. Well, ten apple or even five put a lot of sugar into your blood stream. If you are an athlete you may need it. But I sit on my butt all day long (well I also run and walk as much as I can to compensate but it’s never enough), clearly not the case. Now, we all think, artificial sugar like the one in chocolate is bad and the one in fruits is good. But it’s all about quantity. So moderation is good. And you know what the dietitian said? For me to eat less fruits and more vegetables. Like 3 veggies for every fruit I eat. Now that’s a lot of celery!