First half marathon diary, Week 8

Happy Monday, friends!

OK, we blew it early in the week with diet, but cleaned it up and had three great runs out of five. Next week better, I promise! Hopefully much less time on the road for the same number of miles. Five miles should definitely not be taking me longer than six miles usually does!

Links

Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 21.11
Time logged last week: 4:24:57
Weeks until race: 15
Weight: 164

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

2015-07-24 15.43.31

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First half marathon diary, Week 7

Happy Monday, friends!

Phew. A little later than usual today, but you know how sometimes life happens while we make plans. As expected, did a little less distance and a little less time on the road than last week, since the recovery run is supposed to taper and no 5K this week. So...

I seem to pace my short runs well; my recovery run wound up at 2.38 miles, with the first two splits at 11:08 each and the last bit a little faster (mostly I just wanted to get home). My long run for the week, however (6.2 miles), featured an 8:58 third mile and a 12:32 fourth mile. I know that a lot of that was most of my third mile was done on even concrete while the rest featured uneven brick, curbs and the like. Since my goal is "finish," maybe I don't need to worry about pacing at all, so long as I can keep going.

This coming week, things change up to five runs instead of four, with one medium distance instead of two, and three short distances instead of one. Anyway. Onward for the rest of the day.

Links

Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 18.69
Time logged last week: 3:27:23
Weeks until race: 16
Weight: 164

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

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First half marathon diary, Week 6

Happy Monday, friends!

Really good week this week. In four runs, I had two road distance PRs (one of them was also farther than I've done on the treadmill) and three duration PRs. I finished out the week with a 5K for a recovery run. I'll go a little less distance this week, since the recovery runs taper down. It was nice mixing up the running days a little. I might mess around with my lifting routine this coming week, try some bodyweight work and such, just to mix it up there while I get back to Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday runs, before I go up to five runs per week the following week.

Links

Summer Sizzler 5K
Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 19.47
Time logged last week: 3:40:33
Weeks until race: 17
Weight: 165

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

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First half marathon diary, Week 5

Happy Monday, friends!

Baby steps, baby steps! I carried over Brother JH's advice from last week to good success. I ate like crap most of the week, and that's my next baby step: cleaning up the diet. Saturday, I finally did clean it up, and Sunday's recovery run was a PR for three miles on the road (3.05 mi in 29:00). I've done faster on the treadmill, but that's a lot different.

This week I start setting distance PRs every other week, and this week I'm changing things up a little by condensing the schedule. The schedule would have me running 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, 6 miles for my long run on Saturday, and a 2-3-mile recovery run on Sunday.

To get a little more race-day feeling in me, though, I signed up for a 5K on Saturday. Since that's about the distance of my recovery run, I'll move things up and switch around my days off, taking my 5-milers on Tuesday and Wednesday, my 6-miler on Friday, and then the 5K as a recovery run on Saturday.

My mileage was down this week, primarily because I stayed off the treadmill and stayed on the road. My time on the road was also down, primarily because my speed and endurance are up.

Links

SaltStick PLUS Capsules
Summer Sizzler 5K
Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 16.1
Time logged last week: 2:53:15
Weeks until race: 18
Weight: 166

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

2015-07-05 13.23.20

First half marathon diary, Week 4

Happy Monday, friends!

Little crisis of faith this week, 2.5 miles into a four-mile run on Tuesday, so I hit the treadmill on Thursday and then had a good chat with Brother JH that evening. He gave me some advice that was good for Saturday and Sunday, so hopefully that'll carry through. More in the video, and hopefully even more next week.

Links

Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 17.72 (5.72 treadmill)
Time logged last week: 3:10:26 (46:40 treadmill)
Weeks until race: 19
Weight: 165

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

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First half marathon diary, Week 3

Happy Monday, friends!

It was a really hot week, so we did a couple of runs on the treadmill, but we went longer than scheduled to make up for the softer landing. Biggest traps at this point are diet and sleep.

Links

Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 14.36 (7.56 treadmill)
Time logged last week: 2:29:05 (1:04:51 treadmill)
Weeks until race: 20
Weight: 167

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

2015-06-20 11.33.24

First half marathon diary, Week 2

Happy Monday, friends!

After that scary reaction to fire ant bites last week, it took some time getting the cardio back, and we're moving into high heat season here in Savannah.

Today we're looking at some of the tools I use on my runs. Links are below, show and tell in the video. Cheers!

Links

Shot Bloks
Camelbak bottle with hand strap
FlipBelt
Bass Pro Shops XPS 2L hydration pack
Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 12.28
Time logged last week: 2:17:27
Weeks until race: 21
Weight: 165

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

2015-06-13 13.15.24

First half marathon diary, Week 1

Happy Monday, friends!

Good first week, with a medical emergency coming after (but not related to) the long run, but not so much that we didn't get a short recovery run in.

Links

AppleCare Urgent Care
Bass Pro Shops XPS 2L hydration pack
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule

Stats

Miles logged last week: 12.14
Time logged last week: 2:12:59
Weeks until race: 22
Weight: 167

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

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I know it's not a really sweaty image, but this came after the recovery run, which came a day after a medical emergency, so it was definitely my favorite.

Ah, the sweat: My running these days

#running #sweaty

A photo posted by Josh Shear (@joshuanshear) on

For the first time in about a year and a half, I've been putting in miles this week, and it feels great. I'd been running sporadically since I did that 31-day run streak in Oct. 2013, but lately it's been about 1.5 to 2 miles twice a week. I'm already over 10 miles this week, and I feel fantastic.

It's not real hot out yet, it's not super-humid yet, and I've been doing some conditioning and strength training. I haven't been running fast, but I haven't been crapping out at longer distances. I'm not setting any distance goals, but the fact that I can now do 5k several days consecutively is encouraging, both from a cardiovascular standpoint and the fact that my legs aren't overly fatigued.

I've been running with a hydration pack, which is a big help; I like having my hands free and two liters of water distributed over my back is not a lot of weight.

What are you up to? How's your running?

Product review: Alpha Brain nootropic by Onnit

Alpha Brain is a nootropic by Onnit. Nootropics are any supplement or drug (however you want to see it) designed to improve your brain in some way, be it processing speed, memory retention or whatever else.

alpha-brainAlpha Brain purports to be the first nootropic tested by a non-interested party to get statistically significant improvements in brain function; that's reported in press releases from the company that produces it, so take that at face value. Personally, I'm skeptical about achieving statistically significant results with a sample size of 18, but my research background is in social science, not in science as applied to actual humans.

WebMD rambles on a bit about whether a supplement could improve brain function, but focuses specifically on certain forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's. The not-quite-a-conclusion is that if you hit a battered brain with enough stuff, something's bound to help a little bit.

Lots of drugs, vitamins, minerals and supplements are listed as potential nootropics; here's a little more from Wikipedia.

Now, let me tell you about my own experience. I've been using Alpha Brain for most of 2015, taking a week off here and there to let my brain reset to its natural, unsupplemented state (well, I don't stop the caffeine, so, there's that). I will say that about 45 minutes after taking it, I feel sharper. I make fewer typos and generally fewer minor mistakes. I have a desk job that requires strong control of the English language, and I take fewer tries to get it right while I have it in my system.

I do know that Onnit runs banned substance tests to make sure everything that goes into Alpha Brain is legal in most capacities, including pro sports.

I take it, and I recommend it.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet. Talk to your doctor before taking supplements – they are largely unregulated by the FDA. Also, if you buy this product using my link, I will get a small percentage of the sale. This product was not provided free of charge for review; I pay full price for my Alpha Brain.