Here’s a blog post that I wrote for work, but I thought it was plenty appropriate to share on WeCanBlaze. Enjoy!
May is National Bicycle Month, and this week has been National Bike to Work Week. Blessed with super-nice Montana May weather, Cristin and I are a perfect 4 for 4 in commuting to work via bicycle this week. Going to go for five in a row tomorrow! I was inspired this morning during my commute to come up with a “Top 10″ list. So here it is:
The Top 10 Reasons to Commute to Work via Bicycle.
10. For one week a year, I get free coffee.
- In some cases, depending on how far you live from work, traffic patterns, and your parking situation, it’s often quicker to ride. I love it when I get to bypass traffic, not have to search for a parking spot, and roll right up to my building.
- The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gasoline per year by increasing cycling from 1% to 1.5% of all trips (Source: Trek Bicycles). Multiply that by $3.40 per gallon. That’s a lot of coin! What will you do with all that money you’re not spending on gas?
7. You get to be outside, in Montana
- I don’t feel like I need to elaborate much on this one. (At least from May-September!)
- 60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively, and 40% of all automobile trips are within two miles of the home. (Source: Trek Bicycles). The only thing that bicycling burns is fat. 26,000 people across the country taking part in the National Bike Challenge have already saved 631,000 pounds of CO2 emissions in just two weeks of riding. Our MUS Wellness Team is responsible for saving 455 pounds of auto emissions so far! Way to go Team!
5. It gives you a great excuse to roll your pant legs up to reveal your super cool socks
4. It’s good for your brain
- More and more research links exercise to improved cognitive function. If you want to think better, move more. Case-in-point: I thought of this blog post on my ride in.
3. Weight Loss
- The average person loses 13 pounds their first year of commuting by bike. Wow! (Source: Trek Bicycles) That’s because riding at a moderate pace burns around 500 calories per hour.
2. Better Overall Health/Reduced Health Risks
- Just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. (Source: Trek Bicycles). Reminder: Heart Disease is the Number 1 killer in the U.S.
And the Number 1 reason to commute by Bicycle: It’s Fun!
- Remember when you learned to ride as a kid? Remember the thrill of movement and the freedom to go anywhere? It’s still there! Biking is Fun!
Happy Bike Month and safe travels! Ride aware, wear your helmet, and have fun!
Insightful article by Amby Burfoot from Runner’s World looking ahead to what’s next for big road racing and the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Sunday afternoon, April 14th, I walked Boylston Street on my way to the race Expo to pick up my bib. I crossed the finish line, stopping to take pictures of the area. “I can’t wait to get here tomorrow”, I thought. When I made the last left-hand turn onto Boylston Street Monday, I knew I was about to achieve my goal. Dipping into the last reserves of my tank, I sprinted home toward that blue and yellow line. Upon crossing, I raised my hands to the sky and had just enough energy for one enthusiastic yell before stumbling toward the water, heat blankets, and the coveted finisher’s medals awaiting the throngs of runners pouring through the finish line. I was happy. I was emotional. It was my third marathon finish, but only the first time I’ve finished the way I wanted to—the first time I ran a solid marathon from start to finish. It was a great day.
Just over an hour later, I was relaxing at a famous tavern less than a mile away from the finish line. I was warm and dry with minestrone soup in my stomach, and just beginning to feel physically good again (the aftermath of a marathon is a lot like the feeling of just recovering from the flu.). I was soaking in the congratulatory texts from friends and family who had been following me online, when there was a random text about bombs at the finish line. That didn’t make sense. I was just there. Then, suddenly, it was on the televisions at the bar and the atmosphere in the pub which was previously slightly raucous was immediately eerily silent. People crowded around the TVs in disbelief.
Right after I had finished the race and retrieved my gear bag, the first person I called was my wife. I was very emotional when I spoke to her, because she knows how hard I worked, she knows how much pressure I can put on myself, and she puts up with me patiently when my training can make me a bit selfish. I was so happy and relieved to have run so well, that I just couldn’t keep myself composed. So later, as I sat in my booth and finished up some cold french fries as the horrifying images rolled from the screen, I suppose between my fatigue and my earlier emotional outpouring, I felt a bit numb. It was very surreal. Shortly after, as I made my way toward the bus station, I walked the sidewalks alongside a bewildered city—everyone not sure what to do but wanting to distance themselves from any further danger. When my bus rolled out of the city around 5 o’clock that afternoon, I felt relieved. I couldn’t believe that I was in the midst of a terrorist attack. I had passed the very place of destruction, and luckily for me and over 17,000 other runners, just in time. Around 4,500 runners never got to finish, and I can’t imagine their confusion and anxiety as they tried to reach their loved ones in the aftermath.
Now it is two weeks later, and hopefully there is beginning to be healing in Boston. Not that things will ever be the same again for those who lost limbs or lost loved ones in the attack. But, as usual, in times of darkness and distress, we rise up. I ran in a benefit 5K here this weekend called “Bozeman to Boston”. It raised money for “The One Fund”, a fund for victims of the bombings set up by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. I ended up getting interviewed by local TV again before the race, and I told them that I hoped to run Boston again next year—partly as an act of defiance. The interviewer asked me what I thought about events such as this fundraising race. I replied,
Events like these show that American’s won’t be terrorized, that we won’t live in fear, and that there will always be more good in the world than evil.
It’s times like these that we keep pressing on harder than ever. We celebrate freedom. We help our neighbors. We Blaze On.
If you’re interested in contributing to the One Fund, just click the banner below.
It’s been a lot of catching up for me since returning from Boston/NYC, but I promise to post my marathon reflections soon. In all the craziness that happened in Boston, I actually ended up on the local news. Here’s a link to the story:
It’s good to be home.
Found a little slice of sunshine and warmth in the Home Team dugout at Hopkinton H.S. Getting comfy prerace.
For the 117th Boston Marathon!
•On board warm school bus to starting line, check.
•Absolutely beautiful morning, check.
Let’s go run 26.2 miles!
The waiting is the hardest part. Every day you see one more card. You take it on faith, you take it to the heart. The waiting is the hardest part. —Tom Petty
I’m on the bus from NYC to Boston. One more ride. One more day. I’m ready. I’m getting excited and I’m trying to keep calm all at once. It’s tough.
I’ve been putting extra pressure on myself because I feel like I could run a personal best tomorrow. Here’s why:
•I’m healthy. During my 100-day training program, I was fortunate enough to not miss a single day of training due to injury.
•Training at altitude. Bozeman is located around 5000ft elevation. When I moved there in July, a 4-mile run left me winded. No more. I’m looking forward to trying out my mountain lungs at sea level.
•Hills. I’ve tried to work in plenty of hills to strengthen the legs and the heart, including a hill in Bozeman that resembles the infamous Heartbreak Hill at Mile 20.
•The course. Boston has mainly a downhill profile, which can be an advantage if one does not go out too fast. (I have a tendency to go out too fast.)
Experience. I’d love to break 3 hours. Third time’s a charm? 3:01 NY’10
Good afternoon from Denver International Airport. Travel day today. I’ll take advantage of a long layover to unveil the new logo for WeCanBlaze! I told my wife (who is a photographer and a whiz with Photoshop) about the concept I wanted, and she delivered above and beyond. I’ll be wearing this proudly on my singlet Monday! Thanks Val!
As a big event (such as a marathon) approaches, one question people often ask me goes something like this:
So do you just take the whole week before the marathon completely off?
The answer: A resounding “NO!” In fact, taking the week being sedentary would probably be the worst thing you could do, unless you’re injured. So, the follow-up question becomes, “So how do you train leading up to the marathon?”
My philosophy, which is also generally followed in most periodized training programs regardless of the sport, calls for a drop in volume leading up to the event, while the intensity is kept on the same level, or in some cases, even bumped up slightly. For marathon training, this means that as the event nears, milage is gradually “tapered” down, especially in the final week. However, I’m still running, and I’m running fast. This includes mainly intervals and tempo runs at or just below race pace. My long-run mileage peaked 3 weeks ago at 19 miles. 2 weeks ago I went 17 for the long-run, and last weekend was 12. So, my long-run volume started dropping with 3 weeks to go to race day. My weekly mileage really dropped this week. I haven’t gone farther than 5 miles since the 12-miler, but I’ve kept the pace. After weeks and weeks of high mileage, keeping the intensity high will not tire your body when the mileage drops. Quite the opposite. You begin to feel fresh and fast. Here’s how I’ve done it this week:
Monday: Rest day.
Tuesday: 6×400 at race pace, within a 5-mile run.
Wednesday: 4-miler with 15 minute Tempo at or faster than race pace.
Today: Fartlek with ~100m speed bursts.
Think of a fine performance car. The worst thing you could do to that car is let it sit idle for long periods of time. So leading up to a big race, keeping the intensity fairly high is like revving your engines, and making sure everything is well-oiled and ready to roll. Dropping the volume (mileage) assures that you’ll still have plenty of gas in your tank (in the form of muscle and liver glycogen and a well-rested neuromuscular system) when you toe the line.
If you do it right, you should feel light, springy, and itching to go by the time race day comes.