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Stay Cool Under Pressure

Stay Cool Under Pressure

Andy Cohen-Wray

 

Headsweats Ambassador Andrew Cohen-Wray shares his tips for staying cool under pressure. You can find this and other insights on his blog, Athlete in Mind.


 

As the saying goes, “keep a cool head, whilst all around others are losing theirs.” It’s a useful thing to be able to do, especially when competing or racing.

#Keepacoolhead

The idea for this blog came about when I was getting ready to race last Saturday, it was an extremely hot day which we werent prepared for as the heat was suddenly upon us after a cool day before. Us Brits always moan about the weather, it’s either too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy, but it’s the one thing as athletes we cant control. Whilst waiting near the start line going through my drills so I was ready to race, all I could hear from the other athletes were excuses. Most were complaining how hot it was and they had already told themsleves they were going to have a bad race. This is where #keepacoolhead came in useful. I had prepared the best I could have, I was hydrated, I had stayed out of the sun as long as possible exerting the minimal amount of effort pre-race, all I had to do was push my body hard for 7minutes.

Internal voice

How we talk to ourselves internally has a massive impact on how we race and perform, if the language is negative this will only drive a negative performance. It’s this negative language that is often then spoken to others and this was very apparent waiting on the start line ready to race. I could have got involved in these conversations but I opted to focus on what I had to do, rather than worry about others.

The only thing I could control that day was my own performance, I had put my body in the best possible place by being hydrated etc. Worrying about things out of my control is a big no no, worrying about my competitors, the weather etc is a pure waste of energy, energy I would need to get me round a 2000m steeplechase race in 32degrees at 15:40 in the afternoon.

Running Reaper

As a Mental Performance Coach I have created a ‘Mind management’ tool called the ‘Running Reaper’ (www.runningreaper.co.uk) It is all around how that internal voice hijacks our training and performance, I teach athletes how to bring all that internal noise under control so they can focus on performing at their best with no distractions. Everbody has a voice inside their head and that is perfectly normal, the key thing is how to work with it, especially when the training and racing gets tough. If you fight the reaper it will win everytime, work with it and you will be amazed how much harder you can push yourself.

 

Mike McQueeney on the New National Parks Truckers

Mike McQueeney on the New National Parks Truckers

mikeHeadsweats President Mike McQueeney shares the story behind the latest collection of Performance Trucker Designs featuring national parks. 20% of sales from this collection go to support the National Park Foundation.

Vote for the next design you’d like to see included and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $100 Headsweats gift card!

What led to the decision to donate a portion of sales from this collection to support public lands?

As a Colorado based company, supporting public lands is a natural fit and we are excited to give back to such a great cause.  Having the beautiful Rocky Mountains in our backyard is the best motivation for bringing awareness to the importance of public lands, and Headsweats is proud to give a portion of sales from our trucker collection.

What drew Headsweats to the National Park Foundation?

Headsweats, as a company, supports outdoor activities.  Thus, when the opportunity presented itself, Headsweats was all in.  With the expansion of our Performance Trucker line to include some National Parks, it just made good sense.  Headsweats will expand upon the collection with up to four more National Park offerings to continue support of this initiative.  Headsweats will be donating 20% of the total sales back to the National Parks Foundation throughout 2017.  Public lands need to be cherished, supported and experienced.  Headsweats is honored to support this initiative and feels an obligation to do so.  It is in our DNA!

What’s your favorite National Park and why?

Yosemite National Park is my personal favorite.  Although there are many to choose from such as Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone.  When I was in Junior College the cross country team would spend a weekend training up in Yosemite camping on the valley floor.  We would conduct training runs as a team.  I remember the big run was from the valley floor to the top of El Capitan (9 miles and 3000 feet of elevation).  It was epic.  The photo above was taken with a camera sitting on a picnic table after the run to El Capitan. This random, however captivating photo of Half Dome in the background was an accident, as it is one of the signature attractions at Yosemite.

Tell us about your first visit to a National Park.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and spent a lot of time in the Santa Cruz mountains, as my family had a cabin in the woods where there are an abundance of Redwood Trees.  These beautiful trees are only resident in Northern California and are a must see experience.  As a child I remember driving north of Eureka to Redwood National Park.  I thought the Redwoods at the cabin were big and tall, the trees in Redwood National Park were enormous and are the largest and tallest I have ever seen, many over 4 feet in diameter or more. The Redwood Trees have a life like air to them as they reach towards the sky and sway beautifully in the wind.  Visiting Redwood National Park was an experience that is etched forever in my memory.

Everyone knows Bigfoot needs space to roam. Which National Park do you think he currently calls home?

The mythic creature is very mobile.  From Northern California to The Pacific Northwest, many call this the home of Bigfoot with sightngs in Olympic National Park, Mt Hood,  Sequoia National Park and Six Rivers National Park in Northern California. He has been sightings at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, Yellowstone in Wyoming, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and as far south as the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana.  What this tells me is that he enjoys National Parks as much as we do.  He’s elusive, mysterious and loves the great outdoors!

 

Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Oats

Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Oats

This healthy, delicious recipe comes from Headsweats Ambassador Jessica Rhinehart. For more good eats and training tips, visit her blog Sugar Runs.

Jessica RinehartOats are a great way to start your day. They’re a good source of simple carbs – I tend to go carb heavy at breakfast and lunch because I do my runs after work and before dinner.  These oats are my favorite though, and I usually eat these after my long runs on the weekend or the day after a tough speed workout because of the anti-inflammatory powers of the turmeric.

For optimal absorption, turmeric needs to be combined with fat or piperine (a compound found in black pepper). This recipe calls for a sprinkle of black pepper because I usually use almond milk in my oatmeal, which has no fat in it. If you use a milk that has fat (coconut milk, for example), you can cut the pepper, but I think it’s great with it.

Turmeric has a distinct taste that’s more savory. To counter that, the recipe calls for cinnamon (aids in muscle recovery and regulates blood pressure) and all spice. You can use whatever milk you like in this recipe. The fat in coconut milk will help aid turmeric absorption. I prefer using Califia Farms Coconut Almond Milk, and the nutrition info reflects that.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Califia Farms coconut almond milk (or any milk of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional, but adds protein and aids in muscle recovery and bone health)

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, turmeric, all spice, pepper, and cinnamon in a small sauce pan over med-high heat. I don’t measure the spices generally, but I’ve included measurements above if needed.
  2. Once milk is bubbling, add oats and collagen peptides and whisk well. Add in zucchini and mix well.
  3. Lower heat to medium and let cook for 2-3 minutes or until liquid starts to absorb.
  4. Pour oats in bowl once desired consistency is reached.

I love topping mine with a scoop of peanut butter and a ripe banana to add the perfect touch of sweetness.

Ambassador Spotlight: Smitha Arons

Ambassador Spotlight: Smitha Arons

Our lovely ambassador Smitha Arons is taking over! ….on Instagram, that is. Take a moment to learn more about her and be sure to follow along via @Headsweats for the weekend of adventure she has planned. We’ve heard mention of a Saturday sunrise you won’t want to miss!

What is your favorite Headsweats product/products?

I fell in love with Headsweats products starting from the purchase of my very first white visor. Now I have over 20 visors and 5 hats.  They make the perfect compliment to any stylish run outfit and most importantly, keeps the sun and sweat out of my eyes!

What is your sport/discipline of choice?

Running!

What is your favorite race distance?

The Half Marathon. Long enough to be a challenge but short enough to properly train!

Favorite race you’ve ever done?

Revel Canyon City. It has all the benefits of a trail race with the scenery but the organization and consistency of a road race.

Current favorite song to on your running playlist?

Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling

What’s your favorite motivational quote or saying?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

What/Who inspires you most?

My 7 year old daughter. She was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 18 months old and is the bravest person I know!

What are your biggest athletic accomplishments?

I went from being someone who couldn’t run for 1 minute at a time in 2013 to having run over 20 half marathons and 3 marathons. I am really proud of that!

What are your athletic goals for 2017?

To PR the marathon distance at revel Mount Charleston in April.

Ambassador Spotlight: Stephanie Franklin

Ambassador Spotlight: Stephanie Franklin

Headsweats Ambassador Stephanie Franklin (@running_the_425) has had a good week. She ran the Phoenix Marathon last weekend – the first 26.2 miles she’s raced since an injury threatened to take her out of the game two years ago – and Wednesday she learned she’s been included in the March issue of Women’s Running!

We connected with Stephanie to learn more about the two years of difficulty and hard work that led to these joyful moments:

Tell us about your experience with injury.

So, it’s been a really difficult two years, as far as my running story goes. It all started after I ran the full at Revel Rockies in Denver. I had a great race and never felt injured until I recovered for a few weeks and began running again. The story is the same again and again. It would start as tight calves, which eventually would lead to knots, which would lead to very, sharp pain in my shins and inner ankles. I tried, literally, everything: rest, deep tissue massage, supplements, foam rolling, dry needling, yoga, KT-tape, changes in shoes, acupuncture, stemming and ice, calf sleeves… you name it, I guarantee you I have tried it. I’ve spent two years in physical therapy, sometimes going four days a week, and countless hours strength training and working on my running form. Honestly, I’m still not 100 % recovered. But my pain is now on a much smaller scale.

Of all the products and therapies you tried, what finally helped your condition to improve?Franklin_Phoenix

I really owe everything to my physical therapists.  They believed in me and knew how important it was that I get back to running at the level I was before.  It was important to me, so it was important to them.  It took a team of PT’s backing me up, keeping me accountable, and encouraging me along the way, but I can finally say I’m slowly getting back to my old running self.  I feel so, so blessed to have crossed the finish line in Phoenix.  I cried… a lot, but happy tears this time!

Any words of advice to other runners that may be dealing with chronic pain?

I think the mental aspect of chronic injury is hardest to overcome, but I’m getting better at overcoming that negativity. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my inner dialogue and I’m learning the impact positive thinking can have on the body. I’m proud of myself for not throwing in the towel. One thing I can take away from it all is that I will never, ever take for granted what a gift it is to be able to put on my trainers and run.

Keep up the hard work, Stephanie! Next up:  Boston BQ!! 

Looking Back: 2016 Tokyo Marathon

Looking Back: 2016 Tokyo Marathon

I can’t believe that the 2016 Tokyo Marathon is now over, and I am sitting on my couch writing my race report. I found out on September 15th that I was selected to participate. I entered the lottery in August, not knowing what would happen. The odds were not in my favor. I remember reading an article months before that said the Tokyo Marathon was one of the hardest marathons to get into. I was shocked when the email came. I screamed when I read it. I prayed that I would get in, and I did! But of course actually pulling the trigger wasn’t an easy decision after that. There were multiple discussions like “Can we afford this?” or “Is this wise to do when we’re trying to save for other stuff, or pay other bills?” and “Do we have the time to take off from work?”

I naturally began to wonder if my goals of traveling all over the world to run marathons were selfish, and not in the best interest of my family. I made a goal after running the Chicago Marathon in 2011 that I wanted to run all of the World Marathon Majors. Getting into Tokyo would get me one step closer to my goal. So it seemed serendipitous that I got in. But still, I didn’t know if it was the “smart” thing to do. After many discussions and my personal consultation with my “crew”, we decided to go. My friend Susan told me that the timing will never be perfect, and to go now if we can. My husband is incredibly supportive. He loves that I have all these goals, and he wants me to achieve them. And he wants to be there with me every step of the way.

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”

— Paulo Coelho

So there you have it! We booked our flights and headed off to Japan. I wrote a separate post on our travels to Japan (click here), along with pictures of where we went and what we did. I also give restaurant suggestions. I think that post will be beneficial for anyone traveling to Japan. It provides some travel tips, but this post is all about the race itself and my experience running the Tokyo Marathon.

PLEASE NOTE: There are MANY useful scanned documents located in the TOKYO MARATHON icon on my main home page. After you finish reading this report, please refer to those documents for more helpful information. These are the race documents for the 2016 race. The 2017 race documents will be different, as the course has slightly changed. But you will find important rules, and aid station information there. 

The Expo!

The Tokyo Marathon Expo and Packet-Pickup took place at the Tokyo Big Sight (where the race finished. ***NOTE: FOR THE 2017 RACE THE FINISH WILL BE IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION). Before we went inside, the Tokyo Food Festival was taking place outside. This was the best thing that could have happened to us that day. We went Friday afternoon to avoid the crowds, but we forgot to eat breakfast so we were cranky. Seeing the little vendors and smelling the perfectly balanced merge of Japanese cuisine was divine; it was a mini paradise. After we ate, we entered the expo in a better mood. We were now ready to enter a marathoners version of heaven. Runners were only allowed in the packet pickup area. I was asked to show my ID a couple times. Everything was very organized and secure. There were several volunteers who spoke English, so I never felt confused. There was also an “overseas runner” booth. It was a seamless process. After I got my packet I met my husband and we worked our way through the maze. I took pictures and grabbed a bunch of free products. I sampled stuff and played a couple games for coveted prizes that I didn’t win. The Tokyo Marathon official merchandise store was small, and a little crowded. I was surprised at how small it actually was. But little did I know there was more stuff on a different level. I bought Tokyo Marathon brand chopsticks and arm warmers. Other levels at the expo had more merchandise from Asics to New Balance and other top brands. My clear plastic bag for bag check was filled with my purchases and free items. It was a great expo to say the least. Tip: If you are running the Tokyo Marathon, go on Thursday or Friday and avoid Saturday if you can.

 

Starting Line

There were some words that were spoken in Japanese over the loudspeaker (I have no clue what they announced) followed by the introduction of the Elite runners and wheelchair participants. A song was sung in Japanese, possibly the national anthem? Then the starting gun went off. I believe it was 10-15 min before we were able to actually start.

Some key things along the course:

Bathrooms

The portable toilets are very frequent, and there is a volunteer holding a sign that announces the bathroom coming up and how far away the next one is. So the sign will say: “Exit here for the bathroom now, or next one is 1.2 miles away”, for example. Cool right? Every toilet area has a couple volunteers who will guide and place you in line. They manage the line and flow. Again, you will have to squat when using most toilets. There were “western style” toilets, but not as frequent. No hand sanitizer or soap/water to wash your hands is available. Near major sights like the Imperial Palace there were “real” bathrooms. So you can always divert from the course and use them if that makes a difference. The one thing that stood out to me was that every toilet line was always long. Some races you will find shorter lines eventually, but not at this race. We stopped twice to use the bathroom, and the lines both times were long. Expect a bathroom stop to add 10-15 minutes on to your time. I do commend this race on having volunteers stationed at each toilet area.

Course Fuel and Food

Pocari Sweat and water are the beverages offered along the course. Pocari Sweat I learned has MSG in it (I had no clue. I should have done my research ahead of time!) Read about it. Know what is offered before running just in case you need something else. Unfortunately you cannot carry your own water bottles in. I believe you can take in unopened commercial products, like bottled water that has a seal on it. Please check the official rules. I scanned the ‘course restrictions’ document and it is located in the Tokyo Marathon icon on my home page. We did see runners with Camelbak hydration packs on. I am guessing they put their empty hydration packs in their checked bags, went through security (metal detectors), and then filled them up later? I mentioned a product in an earlier post, the Salomon S-lab Sense Hydro Set (a handheld collapsible hydration flask). You can add your electrolyte tablet or powder to water and mix in this flask after the race starts. There also were bananas and tomatoes along the course. The bananas were full sized which was nice. You peel them yourself. Volunteers did wear gloves when handling food, for those health conscious individuals. I carried my own gels and chews in my SPI belt, so the only thing I needed was water and Pocari sweat.

Volunteers

There are volunteers everywhere! They have volunteers organizing the bathroom stops, and ones holding garbage bags along the course. The water stops have plenty of volunteers handing out water and cheering you on. They were simply amazing. They always had a smile on their face, and they were extremely polite. The volunteers make this race wonderful. Even at the family meet up/baggage pick-up area the volunteers would congratulate runners. I saw someone post a video of them clapping in sync as runners picked up their bags. I can’t thank the volunteers enough for all their help in making this an amazing and successful race. Volunteers wear different color jackets which mean certain things. I can’t remember what each color represents, but I do know the green jackets meant the volunteer could speak English. At the Expo you will see a display of what each color jacket means.

Volunteers. THANK YOU! They were so awesome. I spotted a doctor running as well. He was a medical volunteer on the course.

 

The Course

The course is very flat. There were a few bridges (near the end) with slight elevation. It wasn’t bad though. I think if you were racing, they would be slightly annoying since they are located near the end. But for my friend Brian and myself, they were a change of pace.

***UPDATED: The 2017 course is different than what I ran. Please click here for the updated 2017 course. More details on the 2017 course can be found here.

A view at mile 22-23. You can see how many people there still were on the course. And I was not running fast. I finished in 5:20? 

A view at mile 22-23. You can see how many people there still were on the course. And I was not running fast. I finished in 5:20? The course includes a couple “out and backs” which have the potential to mess with you if you’re racing. Running out when people are returning can get frustrating and play tricks on you. The turn-around seemed far away, but know in advance at what mile you will turn around and you’ll be fine. I personally didn’t find them to be terrible.

Brian and myself on the course. Cherry blossoms! Tomatoes that were part of the food offered on the course. I actually enjoyed them!

Brian (a fellow Headsweats Ambassador) and myself on the course. Cherry blossoms! Tomatoes that were part of the food offered on the course. I actually enjoyed them!

The course goes past the major sights of Tokyo including the Imperial Palace, Tsukiji Fish Market, Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Ginza Ave, Tokyo Museum, etc. (in no particular order). It really is the best way to see all of Tokyo by foot! I was surprised at how close the course was to Sensoji Temple (see picture above). We went to that temple the day before, but we didn’t even need to because it was right there on the course!

Course limit: The course limit is 7 hours and there are checkpoints along the way. Make sure to know ahead of time what they are.

 

Medical Aid: Medical aid was offered at various locations along the course. Please consult the runner handbook for where they will be located and what they offer, if you will be running the Tokyo Marathon. I did see medical runners (doctors wearing vests) along the course as well! I am a medical runner for a couple different local races, and it was nice to see this service being offered elsewhere!

Crowds

The crowds also were my favorite. There were people everywhere! I believe the runner handbook says 1.5 million spectators. And they cheered their hearts out. They even knew one or two phrases in English to cheer us on. And they LOVED high-fiving everyone. I ended up high fiving everyone because it was just fun and they got so excited. There were many forms of entertainment along the course as well. There were groups of dancers with music. I am sure there is a formal name for them, but I don’t know what it is. There were dancers with flags, children dancing, people banging on drums, everything! I’ve never seen anything like it. They took it so seriously and it seemed like they were so honored to entertain the runners. I practically stopped at every group to take a picture. It was beautiful. Simply beautiful. One reason I don’t listen to music while running a marathon is to soak it all in. Complete strangers come out on their day off to cheer me on. The entertainers are there to entertain. Why would I block all that out by listening to music? I love hearing the crowds and being aware of what’s going on, especially when I’m in a different country. You don’t need music on this course. Soak up the experience. Be present. Enjoy the gift of running. Tune-in to the music the crowds are making.

Many runners wore fun costumes, and that is entertaining as well. My favorite was a guy playing a Ukulele while singing to his “Bride”. We saw Super Mario, Waldo, Tomatoes, Pokémon, Winnie the Pooh, monkeys, and more!


The Finish

As stated before the finish is at the Tokyo Big Sight. After you cross the finish, you are given a towel (better than a foil blanket!) and a finisher’s medal. You are given a bag of food, water, and a Salonpas pain spray that was valuable! You have to walk a bit after collecting your freebees to get to the family meet-up and bag collection area, which always is exhausting after running 26.2 miles. But with over 35,000 finishers I don’t think they could do it any other way. I maybe walked a half mile back to the family meet-up spot, but it felt like 2 miles since I had a blister that popped and I was in pain. Everything is very organized as expected. Because the end is at the Tokyo Big Sight (like a convention center), there are normal bathrooms and showers inside. There is also a Starbucks inside for the coffee lovers. I saw people getting massages and I’ve heard rumors of acupuncture. My little toe had a blister and ingrown toenail, so I had a bloody shoe and needed to go to medical after I finished. I missed out on the massage. I also felt bad keeping my husband waiting. I quickly went through that area and met up with him. Ending at the Big Sight was nice because if the weather was bad (which it wasn’t), being indoors would be helpful. Luckily the weather was warm; it was in the 60’s.

You may want to change your clothes, eat a little something and rest before walking to the metro. Or even get a massage.

Enjoy the after party!

 

Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita, どうもありがとうございました

-Jill Monroe

Partner Spotlight: Project Athena

Partner Spotlight: Project Athena

We are honored to partner with Project Athena to provide headwear for a truly inspiring cause. If you are unfamiliar with this amazing organization, let us share a little about what makes them so special.

Project Athena is dedicated to helping women who have suffered significant medical setbacks and other traumatic experiences achieve their adventurous dreams. More specifically, they provide travel expenses, coaching, equipment, and the encouragement and inspiration needed to help these strong women make a life-affirming transition from Survivor to Athlete.PA3

“So many labels are given to these ladies throughout the personal experience that ultimately brings them to our door. At times, these words begin to feel like your only identity. To watch them break through those labels to conquer a physical feat that once felt impossible is incredibly uplifting,” says Melissa Merrill, marketing manager.

Project Athena offers six adventures per year, pairing applicants with an experience that best fits their needs and a 16-20 week training plan that will help them prepare. The first event is the San Diego Harbor to Harbor Trek. This two-day, 50-mile hike down the coast begins at the Oceanside Harbor and ends at the San Diego Harbor, taking in the sights from Mt. Soledad and La Jolla along the way.

The 2017 San Diego Harbor to Harbor Trek will take place April 28 – May 1. To learn more visit www.projectathena.org

 

Welcome, 2017 Ambassadors!

Welcome, 2017 Ambassadors!

Each year we open a process that invites enthusiastic supporters of our brand to join the Headsweats family in a more official capacity. After pouring over hundreds (!) of applications, the 2017 roster has been finalized. These outstanding individuals were selected based upon their athletic accomplishments and leadership within their sport. The lineup includes 11 new and 17 returning athletes from across the United States who compete in running and multisport events.

“We see our ambassadors as an extension of the team,” says Headsweats President Mike McQueeney.  “They are out living the active lifestyle Headsweats was founded on, and we’re thrilled to support and outfit them through their training and racing.”

This year’s Ambassadors include, but are not limited to, Lyndy Davis, a 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials Qualifier looking to break the 2:40 barrier; Danielle Cemprola, a marathoner and popular blogger for Women’s Running; Nadia Ruiz, the youngest Latina to run 100 marathons in the world; and Peter Burrill, an ultrarunner who completed five 100-mile races in just four months. This diverse group of athletes will fly the Headsweats flag while training and racing, sharing their experiences via blog posts and social media along the way. Headsweats Ambassadors also play an integral role in testing and supplying feedback for future products and designs.

PicMonkey Collage
Left to right:  Lyndy Davis; Danielle Cemprola; Nadia Ruiz; Peter Burrill

The complete 2017 roster comprises:  Smitha Arons, runner; Stuart Barrington, multisport endurance athlete; Jen Boudreau, runner; Joe Dean, ultrarunner; Danielle Cemprola, runner; Nadia Ruiz, triathlete; Joe Rainone, runner; Matthew Johnson, runner; Susan Schenberg, ultrarunner; Nunzia Lopez, runner; Linda Nguyen, runner; Angela Gillis, runner; Scott Wesemann, runner; Ryan Delany, runner; Jessica Rinehart, runner; Ricky Roane, ultrarunner; Peter Burrill, ultrarunner; Josephine Hoffman, runner; Stephanie Franklin, runner; Lindsey Dillon, triathlete; Paige Kinucan, runner; Jill Monroe, runner; Charles Fox, runner; Jeff Stein, runner; Dan Nestor, runner; Brian Cronin, runner; Andy Cohen-Wray, runner; and Taralyn Summers, runner.

We’ll be introducing each of these accomplished individuals in more depth over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Healthy Post-Workout Snack

Healthy Post-Workout Snack

Be honest. What’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you walk through the front door after a killer workout? …If your answer includes anything related to “food, snack, hunger, refrigerator, or carbs,” then congrats! You’re our kind of people!

But what if it just doesn’t make good sense to consume that entire plate of spaghetti you’ve got your eye on? Maybe it’s 3:30 in the afternoon and the crock pot delicacy your significant other has planned all week will be ready in a few short hours. Or maybe – gasp! – you’re trying not to overindulge these days. We’ve got your back.

Heather, account manager in our Boulder office, shares her favorite healthy solution to those ravenous post-workout cravings.

“Here is my recipe for an afternoon snack that keeps me full until dinner and satisfies my sweet tooth without excess sugar. Hope you enjoy!” -Heather

powerballs-blog-pic
Powerballs:

1 cup rolled Oats
½ cup oat bran or flaxseed
½ cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter (no added sugar)
1/3 cup honey
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Juice and zest from half an orange
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it comes together.  Then use a melon baller or small cookie scoop to gather mixture and form into balls.  Place on silicone mat or lined cookie sheet.  Place in freezer for 1 hour or Fridge for 3 hours.  Keep stored in the fridge and enjoy cold!

Headsweats Ambassador Joe Rainone – Daytona 100 Race Recap

Headsweats Ambassador Joe Rainone – Daytona 100 Race Recap

Did you ever wish you could run a 100 mile race on a course that catered to your style in perfect weather conditions?  Well, that’s exactly what we got this past Saturday, December 10th, 2016 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida for the second annual running of the Daytona 100 that is directed by ultra running legend Dave Krupski and his wife Alex.  The Daytona 100, only in its second year, is a newer 100 mile ultra here in the state of Florida that starts at the One Ocean Resort and Spa in Jacksonville Beach and travels 100 miles south, ending at Daytona Beach’s North Turn.  It starts at 6am on Saturday morning and ends at 12pm on Sunday, giving you 30 hours to complete the distance.  The course is flat, fast roads with a few beach sections thrown in for good measure.  As luck would have it, a small cold front moved in the day before, so the temperature at start time was in the upper 40’s, daytime temps were only in the low 60’s and nighttime in the upper 50’s.  To make it even more perfect, throw in a 10mph tailwind to push you along.  To say that we were anxious to get going was an understatement.

Jennifer Van Vlack, my ultra running partner in crime and co-member of Team Truckin’ On, and I, started planning this race back in mid-September, shortly after completing our first 100 mile race at Aaron Thompson’s and Ben Pangie’s Wildcat Ultra.  This one would cater to us though since, as much as we love the trails, we are more used to running on the roads.  Being that a cold front was moving in and the weather forecast was calling for temperatures that would be ideal , (highs in the low 60’s and lows in the high 50’s) we couldn’t wait to get started.  We both believed that we could sub 24 this race if everything worked the way we wanted it to. Our plan was to run 5/1 intervals from the very beginning, for as long as we could, before making any kind of adjustments.  A perfect scenario would be to hit 50 miles in 10 hours so that we could set ourselves up for a nice back half.

as1

After waking up just before 4am, I got ready for the race.  I had prepared what I was going to wear the night before so there would not have to be any thinking in the morning.  I decided to wear my newest Headsweats hat, Ugly Christmas sweater, since it was that time of year.  I also chose to wear my 26.2 INKnBURN shirt over a long sleeved compression shirt to start with plans to change into my 50 after I passed the 26.2 mile distance and change into my 100 after passing 50 miles.  I also wore a little bit thicker Balega pair of socks since it is the only brand I run in.  My shoe brand of choice to run in is always Altra.  I went with my Paradigms, the most cushioned road running shoe that Altra makes.  I felt it was the most appropriate choice for the terrain we were going to be running on.   I also brought two handhelds with me filled with Tailwind Nutrition, my fuel of choice, because it really works.  My crew had the rest of the Tailwind that I had brought with me in the car and would continually replenish my bottles each time I saw them.  Fortunately for me, Tailwind Nutrition was the official fuel/electrolyte replacement drink on the course and so it would also be available at every aid station.  Our crew dropped us off at the hotel/starting line at about 5:20am since we were required to be there by 5:30am to check in.  After heading into the hotel lobby, where all the runners were gathering, we said hello to a number of people that we recognized or knew from other races.  At about 5:45am, Jen and I headed back outside to get a few pictures by the start.  Being that it was still a bit chilly at that time, everyone was bundled up with layers.  I even took out my gloves to start the race with, only to find out I had grabbed my Injinji toe socks instead, mistaking the toes for fingers.  We really laughed at this.  Talk about a funny moment to take the edge off.

A few minutes later a prerecorded National Anthem was playing, and as always, I removed my hat out of respect for my country.  Less than 2 minutes after that, the timing clock was counting down from 10 and before we knew it, we were off on our quest.

Because of the location of the race, crews were only allowed to crew in 5 designated areas for the first 31 miles, the first being between miles 3 and 4.  Jen and I knew that we didn’t need our crew that early, so we told them to meet us at the second location, the Mickler’s Landing parking lot, which is right around mile 13.  During these first 13 miles, the run was going great and we were sticking to our plan.  We weren’t pushing ourselves and the scenery of all the homes was keeping us from even thinking about the run.  It was here that our most awesome Team Truckin’ On Pit Crew got to work.  Jen’s friends, Chris, Lindsay and Sara, all flew in with Jen to crew the both of us since we were running this race together.  I had already met Chis and Lindsay back in September when they crewed us for Wildcat. Even though Sara was the newbie, she fit right in.   We met them in the parking lot, took a couple of layers off, refilled our handhelds, and then were on our way.   It was at this point that we were originally supposed to enter the first beach section, but because of Hurricane Matthew and the damage it caused, we had to run along the shoulder of A1A to mile 16.5, where the first aid station/check in was located. We told our crew to meet us there as well since they were able to.

We reached AS1 a short while later by continuing to stick to our plan.  We let the aid station know our bib numbers, refilled our handhelds again at our crew vehicle, ate some food and then continued on our way.  We would be seeing our crew again at mile 22, where AS2 was located and the first beach section would start.  Jen and me continued with our 5/1 intervals and were keeping each other preoccupied by telling stories and keeping up the conversation.

By the time we got to mile 22 and saw our crew again, Jen and I had been running for about 4.5 hours by now.  We were just over our pace to hit 50 in 10 hours, but were close enough to feel good about where we were.  Again, we shed any layers that we wanted off, refilled, ate and then hit the beach.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not a fan of running on the beach, even though the surface was pretty solid.  Beach running can really sap the energy out of you very quickly.  Maybe this is what got into my head at this point because this section was taking me down the wrong mental road.  Not even a mile into this section, Jen knew that something was wrong with me when I just got really quiet.  She was trying to make me talk about things to distract me from thinking about what we were doing, but my answers were short and it was not working.  As runners, we know there are times that this can happen and it’s nothing against anyone you might be running with.  It was at this point that we cut our intervals down to 4/1 to see if that would work.  Just under 2 hours later we were finally at mile 28 and leaving the beach section.  The Team Truckin’ On Pit Crew met us here where once again we refilled our fuel/hydration, ate some food and changed some clothes.  I changed out of my 26.2 INKnBURN shirt and changed into my 50 INKnBURN shirt like I had planned.  Right before leaving I heard my name called and turned to see Claire and John Kelly, new friends of mine I had met at Justin Radley’s 8 Hours of Hell race series.  Claire was the only one running though as John was crewing her.  This was her first 100 miler and I was rooting for her.  I gave them each a big hug and john got a picture of the two of us before Jen was pulling me along to get going.  I was so glad I got to see them!

At this point Jen and I were back out on the road and on our way to AS3 which was at mile 32, the start of St Augustine.  Crew restrictions would now be lifted after going over the small Vilano Bridge at mile 31.  Right after starting on this next 4 mile section though, I was in a bad spot.  We decreased the intervals again right away to 3/1, but for me, everything was just going south.  As much as I would have loved to run this whole ultra with Jen, I also didn’t want to hold her back.  She’s only 31, 16 years younger than me and I’m just the old guy trying to keep up.  I knew she would sub 24 this race if she went off on her own, so a short while later I told her to go on without me.  She asked if I was sure because that’s just who Jen is.  We planned to do this together and she would have stayed with me if I wanted her to, but I didn’t want to hold her back.  I said to go and sub 24 this ultra!  I was going to walk a bit more, make my way to the next aid station slowly and go from there.  She reset her watch back to her intervals and went on ahead.  She would tell the crew to wait at the aid station for me.  By then I had about 3 miles to go.  During these 3 miles I thought of so many things, one of them being that I had nothing to prove to anybody since I had already run 100 miles and I was going to pull myself from the race.  Every now and then I would think otherwise, but with about 2 miles to go I tried to start running again and my calves started cramping and I had to stop and walk the rest of the way.  I texted my wife Kasi to let her know what was going on and she called me.  She told me that I knew how to listen to what my body was telling me and to listen closely.  She supported any decision that I made.  Kasi always knows what to say to me.   By the time I finally got to AS3, I had been running for just over 7 hours and I was still having a moment.  I decided to take some S Caps at this point if the aid station had any, which they did.  I swallowed two, had some food and rested a bit.  I then actually did tell my crew, as well as the AS, that I was dropping out.  Well, neither my crew nor the aid station people would let me.  The AS guys said that I had to run through St. Augustine and over the Bridge of Lions first and after doing that, if I still wanted to drop, my crew would get me.  I moved around a bit and realized that the cramping in my calves was completely gone, so I said I would continue.  There was even one runner, an older guy that my crew nicknamed The Mayor because of how he acted.  Before leaving the aid station, he asked me to give him a thumbs up to let him know I was ok.  Everyone was overjoyed and was so happy for me.  The S Caps that I had taken helped me so much that I would continue to take them every hour for the rest of the race.  I must say, I held it together pretty good, but shortly after getting to mile 33 I had a pretty emotional moment all to myself.  I knew that 90% of what I had just gone through was all in my head and I would have been pretty bummed if I had dropped.  Sometimes you just hit a really low moment in a race like this and for me, this was mine.  Luckily it was the only one I had.

in-step-on-beach

So now here I was, back out on my quest to complete my second 100 mile ultra in 30 hours or less.  Since Jen and I made such great time early in the run though, I was still at a great place time wise.  My A goal of sub 24 would really be a push at this point, but B goal of 27:00 to 27:30 was definitely in reach.  I locked in to the adjusted intervals and made my way through St. Augustine and over the Bridge of Lions.  I really enjoyed seeing the town.  I definitely plan to come back with Kasi to stay for a weekend and enjoy the history.  The breeze off of the water lifted my spirits and really cleared my head.

After leaving AS3, my crew went on ahead to meet Jen at her next spot and then doubled back to meet me somewhere around mile 36 or 37.  They noticed right away how much better I looked and were really happy for me.  I asked them how Jen was doing and where she was mileage wise.  I did this each time I saw them.  I found out later on that she asked about me as well each time she saw them too.  Since AS4 was going to be at mile 40, I told them to meet me somewhere around mile 44 or 45.  I refilled my handhelds, drank some coke, took a turkey wrap to go and was on my way.

The next 8 or 9 miles went by in no time.  There was some cloud coverage now, so I was happy I had on my heavier pullover.  I stopped at AS4 at mile 40, replenished my needs and was off in no time.  By the time I met the crew again just after 44 miles, I had been on the road almost 11 hours.  Since it was closing in on 5:00pm, I proceeded to put my headlamp, safety vest and front and back blinking lights on for the nighttime hours.  I ate some more food, refilled my handhelds with my Tailwind Nutrition, made sure all was a go and was off.  I would be seeing them again at mile 52 where AS5 was located.  This would probably be the longest stretch of the whole run before getting more aid.  Because of this I brought some quick eats in my pockets.

I continued to trudge along A1A, running, walking, running, walking…over and over, not thinking of anything but getting to AS5.  All I kept saying in my head was, “get to 50 and you could start counting down”.  When I finally got there around 7:00pm, I was feeling pretty good.    Crew members Lindsay and Sara were there like we had planned and once again got what I needed, made sure I ate and had fresh Tailwind and made me get going.  They would be meeting me around mile 57.

This was the start of running through Flagler County all the way to Marineland.  I got to mile 57 without a hitch, got what I needed and planned to meet them again somewhere around mile 65 or 66 since I was going to be getting to AS6 at mile 61.8 first.  When I finally got there around 10pm (16 hours in) I was really happy because my friend Jamie Woyton was captaining that aid stations with his sons and some other people.  When Jamie saw me, he shouted my name, gave me a big hug, sat me down and fed me some warm food.  Anyone who knows Jamie knows that he is just an awesome person and someone you want in your life as a friend.  He’s so positive.  I was feeling good when I got there, but I felt even better when he kicked me out a few minutes later telling me that he can’t miss me if I don’t leave.  He did give me another big hug before I left and told me he was proud of me and that buckle was mine.  Talk about an emotional boost, especially since I had 38 miles to go.

Once again I met up with my crew just past mile 66 in a Publix parking lot along the route.  I ended up getting there a minute before they did.  While I was standing there, a woman came up to me and asked me what this walk we were doing was for.  I just smiled and told her it was the Daytona 100.  She told me she saw all of these people walking and was wondering what was going on.  I don’t think she really knew what it was we were doing, but she made me smile when she said good luck.  My crew pulled up at that point and this time it was Chris and Lindsay.  Sara was out pacing Jen at that point.  The Team Truckin’ On Pit Crew was working like a well- oiled machine at this point, going to meet Jen, then backtracking to meet me, over and over, putting more miles in the car than we had planned, but never complaining once.  After once again getting what I needed from them I headed on out making that push for AS7 at mile 70.

I ended up getting to mile 70/AS7 just before 12:15am.  When I arrived I saw the older guy I had seen at AS3 back in St. Augustine who told me to give him a thumbs up to let him know I was ok.  As soon as I saw him and said hello, he took one look at me and said, “Hey, it’s the thumbs up guy! You made it”.  That made me smile.  I sat down, had some coke, refilled my bottles with water in one and Tailwind in the other and had some food.  One of the aid station workers said that she had brought mini pre made toothbrushes, if anybody wanted one.  My eyes lit up!  How refreshing that was to brush my teeth at that point in the run.  These are the little things that keep you going when taking on an ultra like this.  Again, not spending too much time there, I got up and headed on out since I was going to be meeting my crew again around mile 75, which went without a hitch since I was still running the same intervals that I started back at mile 32.  Lindsay told me she had a shot of Fireball at AS8 that I was heading to next.

I got to AS8, mile 81, at around 3:15am.  It was set up in the TGIFridays parking lot.  I sat down for a sec and again went through my routine of refilling my bottles, eating some food and drinking some coke.  It was at this time that we were to cross the road and run on the beach side of A1A since we were going to be heading back out onto the beach fairly soon.  One person at AS8 was telling everybody that the turn off was 7 miles up, which would make it mile 88.  I decided to meet with my crew again shortly before this around mile 86, which I did.  I got what I needed pretty quickly this time since I knew they wanted to get to the finish line to see Jen finish since she was around 10 to 12 miles ahead of me.  Lindsay did mention that Jen’s Garmin got screwed up around this point right before the beach and to be careful.  Being that I was 86 miles in, I could not think too clearly, but said ok.  I wish I had paid attention a little bit more.

Since the person at AS8 was telling everyone that the turn off onto the beach was 7 miles up the road, which would mean 88 miles based on my Garmin, when I got to 88, then 88.5, then 88.8, I started panicking and was texting Lindsay to find out if I had passed it.  She told me I hadn’t, not to worry and just keep going.  Long story short, the mileage was more like 8.5 to 9 miles to the turn off.  When I finally saw the signs for the turnoff onto the beach, I was so happy.  It did throw off my intervals a bit though, but I was not worried.  I had only about 10 miles to go.

When I finally got onto the beach and made the right turn, I had a little less than 4 miles before getting off the beach and hitting AS9 and meeting my crew for the last time before seeing them at the finish.

Slowly but surely I made my way on the beach.  By the time I was getting to the exit, Lindsay said she was going to come onto the beach so I could see how far I had to go.  It was now getting light out even though the sun wasn’t up yet and I was finally at AS9.  For the final time, I got what I needed from the car, refilled my bottles, ate some food and headed on out for the final 7 miles.  Lindsay was going to come with me to talk me through the final stretch.  We set on out and didn’t run much of this last stretch.  We talked, told some stories and even ran into a guy who at first made a funny comment after overhearing a story Lindsay was telling, but then went on and on, bragging about how great he was.  After about 10 minutes of this one sided conversation, I couldn’t take it any longer, and said we were going to run for a bit again.  We laughed about it after leaving him behind.

Finally, we were back on the beach for the final 2 miles and I kept looking to see if I could see the finishers arch that I would be crossing.  My walking pace at this time was somewhere around 19 or 20 min/mile.  When I was about ½ mile out, I was able to see the finish.  Jen and the crew were there waiting for me.  I crossed over with an official time of 27:17:05, a PR from my first 100 by just shy of 8 hours.

all-done

This 100 miler was so much different than the first but was just as rewarding.  Even though I ran most of the race on my own after Jen and I had split up, it never felt that way.  This was a journey of EPIC proportions and I am so thankful for being given the ability to do things like this.  These are the challenges in my life that I thrive off of and motivate me.  This ultra would not have been possible without the best possible Pit Crew a runner could have.  They not only crewed 2 runners, but did so by going back and forth along the route over and over again since Jen and I were at different places.  They didn’t complain once and handled it flawlessly.  Thank You Lindsay, Chris and Sara, from the bottom of my heart, for volunteering your time to come and help Jen and me accomplish 100 #2.  It meant everything to me and I know it meant everything to Jen as well.  I also want to thank my brands I am an Ambassador for, Tailwind Nutrition for fueling all 100 miles and keeping me going the whole way, Headsweats for the awesome trucker hats that I never run without and INKnBURN for the incredible tech shirts that I always wear when running and even when I’m not running because they look and feel so good.  I’d also like to thank Altra Running for making shoes for running that work for me better than any I have ever worn, and Balega International for making the most comfortable running socks, again in my opinion that a person can run in.  I also want to thank all of my friends for all of the words of encouragement and support during the entire run.  It’s always very humbling.  I tried to garnish every ounce of energy from wherever I could to keep me going.

Last, but far from least, I want to thank my wife Kasi for being so supportive of this quest and believing in me that I could get it done….again!  Love you honey!

Run Hard, Run Strong and #stayvertical my friends.

Truck On!!

Peace!

Joe Rainone

Joe Rainone is a Headsweats Ambassador and ultra marathoner who blogs at www.jsrainmanruns.blogspot.com.