October 19, 2014

I have enjoyed sharing my successes and struggles over the last couple of years on this website.  However, as my 2 year anniversary is coming up, I am hoping to share other people's successes on this website (along with my own stories)

The best feeling in the world is people emailing or chatting me about how one of my posts helped changed their lives.  How I was able to motivate them to run their first race or to change their eating habits, etc.  Now,  I want others to experience that same feeling.
share your story quote

October 14, 2014

  My Running Mistakes

I was stubborn...because I was a runner.  

Are all runners stubborn?  Maybe.  Determined?  Probably. 

As I mentioned in my last blog post, When I look back at the 10+ years of running, at times I know I was definitely guilty of running too much and beyond what my body was capable of. 

I really wanted to be a great runner.  Once I fell in love with this form of exercise and the freedom I felt on those runs, I wanted to make it look easy.  I talked myself into believing I could be a respectable marathon runner after not running for the first 25 years of my life. 

thomas edison quotes

October 10, 2014

today's footprint is tomorrow's legacy

For many years, food was my addiction.  Eventually, I think I replaced it with running.

It is now my belief that running can turn into an addiction.  Many endurance ethusiasts are living like this, but have not realized it yet.  Just like any addiction, running can negatively impact your life.

If you are a runner, ask yourself, "Why are you running?".  Come up with 5-10 reasons, leave them in the comments or in a social media response because I would be interested to see what people come up with.  If you love running, my guess is that it would be easy to think of 5 reasons.

September 9, 2014

Running saved my life and eventually almost ruined my life.

This will be the theme of most of my upcoming posts.  This new post is a follow up to my previous post about what bad habits I think runners need to stop doing.

At the end of this post, I also include my current "status" on running.

I was never anything close to a professional or a very good runner.  However, I have had some extra time to evaluate what I was caught up in during the last 10+ years of running.  Now over the next few posts, I want to share my lessons learned.

motivational quote enjoy the journey

September 5, 2014

Still searching for that perfect sweet that is guilt free and does not greatly impact your fitness and health goals?  

Well, there may never be a perfect dessert or sweet available if you are strict with your diet, but below is a product review for Zen Evo Dark Chocolate and it might be a good alternative to have handy when the sweet cravings come around.

Zen Evo Dark Chocolate was previously known under the name of "Elite Dark Chocolate" and my old review can be found here.  Once the name change became official, they contacted me to see if I wanted to do another review and I said sure since I loved the original item.  They also let me know about their "Team ZenEvo Worldwide" program which I provide details about toward the bottom of this write up. 

As a thanks for supporting this blog and reading this post, the company has offered to include a discount code that I can offer to my readers.

Just like in the previous post...If you are a Mr. or Ms. "I eat 100% clean and never any sweets" type of person, then there is no reason to read this post.  However, if you like to enjoy life by having some sweets once in a while, you may want to read the post below.  Who knows you might even think this is a perfect post workout carb reward. :-)

In the re-branded product, they still have 3 great options (Fit, Vitamin D and Energy) and the good news they still taste wonderful.  The majority of the ingredients are the same so the original great tasting results should not of been affected.  

best dark chocolate
The 3 "flavors" come in their own packaging and on their website, they offer each one in 7 day and 30 day supply options.  In the packages, each square piece of candy is individually wrapped which keeps it's freshness.

(Descriptions below are from the packaging.)
Zen Evo Dark Chocolate - Fit
The "FIT" option is made from world's finest french chocolate and is infused with Raspberry Ketone and Green Coffee Bean Extract (50% Chlorogenic Acids).  Perfect for weight management and an antioxidant boost.
dark chocolate fit

Zen Evo Dark Chocolate - Vitamin D
The "Vitamin D" option is made from world's finest french chocolate, infused with Vitamin D3.  This is perfect for increasing your Vitamin D intake, great for overall health and an antioxidant boost.
dark chocolate vitamin D

Zen Evo Dark Chocolate - Energy
The "Energy" option is made from world's finest french chocolate.  The highest quality of herbs have been added for multiple benefits: ashwagandha, maca, ginseng, caffeine (equal to 1 espresso).  This is perfect for sustained energy and an antioxidant boost.

Nutrition Facts
All three Zen Evo Dark Chocolate options include natural ingredients, 58% cacao, made by hand and gluten free.  All three options have the same nutrition fact details:
Serving Size = 1 piece
Calories = 47.5
Total Fat = 3.25g
Sodium = 3.75 mg
Carbs = 6 (.75 fiber, 4.5 sugars)
Protein = .5
dark chocolate nutrition facts

Taste Review
Some people may be turned off by this product because it is dark chocolate, however, I still recommend it to all chocolate eaters because it only contains 58% Cacao.  This is considered dark, but on a cacao scale, it is not too dark and makes the taste not bitter at all, in my opinion.  As I have said the past, I used to stay away from dark chocolate because I always wanted the real sweet stuff I ate while growing up.  However, over the last year or so I have grown to like it and can even tolerate up to 80% cacao dark chocolate.  

Now in regards to the taste Zen Evo Dark Chocolate...each version was great!  Just like the old version, there is no aftertaste at all, no upset stomach and side effects for me.  Over the last few weeks I would have a piece after dinner and for me it prevented any late night cravings.  
 The size they have created for these individually wrapped pieces of candy seem to be the perfect size.  It satisfies me and it doesn't make me want to have more and more.  A 30 day supply will last 30 days for me if not longer.
Overall the product still tastes great!  It is a perfect reward at the end of a long working day or on the weekends.  For me, it hits the "sweet tooth" craving perfectly!  Especially since it is not so sweet and it doesn't tempt you to want to eat the whole bag like some of the other popular brands.
In regards to the health benefit claims...Like anything else, those are claims, facts and notes being tagged to a product.  Each person reacts to ingredients differently.  It will be up to you to determine if you see any benefits.  However, my whole take on any benefit claims for any product is...If the product tastes good and even if there is a slight chance of a health benefit, Zen Evo is a better choice than the sweets you typically see at stores.

If you give it a try, let me know what you think and leave a comment below.

Or have you come across a sweet treat that fulfills your "needs" that you would like to recommend?

Of course all opinions and comments above are based on my tastes, needs, health, etc.  If you try this product in the future, it may be different for you.
Thanks for reading my review and the great news now is that for a limited time, if you order online and use "fred20" as the discount code in your order, you will receive 20% off of your entire order!
Team ZenEvo Worldwide
If you are interested in being an ambassador for Zen Evo Dark Chocolate, please send an email to worldwide@zenevochocolate.com.The company will just expect you to take photos of yourself and your team wearing the shirts, eating chocolate, and hanging out with folks for us to use in our social media campaigns.

Next week I will provide a status of what I have been up to in my "fitness life".

Want to Support the Website? We now have various ways.
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You can also buy from our blender affiliates like Blendtec or Vitamix.  They are powerful, high quality blenders that you will absolutely love and will bring healthy foods to your life.

We also have Ride Fit, Road Runner Sports, Performance Bike and Spartan Race as affiliates that you can make purchases through when visiting this website.

May 15, 2014

Carpentersville running
As of the beginning of May, I am now injured and not running.  The last day I ran was on May 4th.  The previous week I was beginning to hurt but I thought it was getting better when I went out for my last couple of runs.  I was wrong.  So instead of continuing to run injured, I stopped.

So how did I get hurt?  No idea.  What is the injury?  No idea. 

My right knee and calf area hurts.  The calf area feels tight, but knee has some pain at times too.  Some days I walk with a limp, other days you would never know I am not able to run.  When I was running, it was becoming extremely sore shortly after the run, so that is why I stopped. 

I do not want a hobby like running to affect the other aspects of my life (like playing with my son).  If what I am doing for "fun" is not allowing me to play catch or wrestle around with my kid, my priorities in life are wrong.


I have done a massage and have foam rolled the calf and ITB areas and it has not really improved.  I have good and bad days, but for now, I am not rushing anything.  I am at peace with the current situation.  No, I have not given up...I am just accepting what life has served me for now.  I am reevaluating my life and priorities right now.  There is nothing wrong with improving your life.

I always try to be better than what I was yesterday and I always have a lot to improve on.

So am I upset?  Nope.  Am I feeling sorry for myself?  Nope.  Do I regret anything I did in my training?  Nope.  I was only up to about 30 weekly miles after I had recovered from the Chicago Lakefront 50K.

Life is good.  I am alive.  I have a wife and son and we are all alive and for the most part healthy.  So why would I sit here and cry that I cannot run? 

Running is NOT my life. 
Running was just part of my life.  It was a hobby that was keeping me "healthy".  (Some articles recently would disagree with that, but who knows.)  If and when running is ready to come back, I will welcome it with open arms.  If ultra or marathon running is never part of my life again...it was fun while it lasted.

If you would have told me 15 years ago I would complete numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, 2 full marathon races, a 40 mile run and cycle ride and run a 50K before I was 40 years old, I would have thought you were nuts.  For what I have been able to do and change in my life, I am grateful. 

So what will I do now?

I am focusing on what I can do, not on what I can't. 

  • I will cycle once this gets better to see if I can handle that without pain or soreness. 
  • I will weight lift like I never have before to build muscle.
  • I will spend more time with my family.
  • I will try to get more sleep on the weekends, like I have not been able to in the past.
  • I will focus on burning fat, building muscle.
  • Play more video games with my son.
  • Play catch with my son.
  • Maybe swim lessons?  Might be time to face the fears and weaknesses.
Having muscle later in life is so important in trying to stay healthy and strong for as long as possible.  So if I can't run, I will try to build muscle, even if I have never been able to before.

As an endurance athlete at times you will push the limits and sometimes burn out.  Other times, you are just dealt with bad luck or genes.  Once in a while, it takes an injury (or two, or three) to show you what you are missing out on in life.

As a runner with no natural talent, you will have more bad days than good.  How you prevail through the bad days is what will really show you what type of person you are.

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You can also buy from our blender affiliates like Blendtec or Vitamix.  They are powerful, high quality blenders that you will absolutely love and will bring healthy foods to your life.

We also have Ride Fit, Road Runner Sports, Performance Bike and Spartan Race as affiliates that you can make purchases through when visiting this website.

April 17, 2014

running and google glass

As runners, we are sometimes very stubborn.  Some more than others.  Unfortunately, until we look back at past mistakes and analyze how we got there is when we realize how thick headed we can be.  What I am sharing below are bad habits I have been guilty of along the way that I want to share to help current and future runners.  However, I also see others guilty of these items as they post to social media platforms.  Let me know if I missed any topics you think runners should be aware of.

Stop running while injured.
I get it, we never want to admit we are hurt.  We should be running machines.  But we are not.  So when a injury comes up...stop.  Analyze the injury.  Take a day, week or so off to see if it will go away.  Or you can foam roll or follow some of the advice in the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook and see if you can make some of the pain go away.  Or get some professional assistance.  The longer you run with the injury, the longer it will stay around or it will probably alter your running cadence and cause a separate injury.

Stop running when sick.
Seriously?  What is the point of running while having a cold?  We want to prove how macho we are?  If we are sick, we just need to stay home and rest.  So we miss out on those 1-5 miles for the day.  I am sure we will be just fine without them. 

We sometimes miss 'work' when we are ill, so why would we 'run' on these days?  Who cares if we run and get through it.  When this happens, we are just proving how dumb we are, not how good of a runner we are.

Stop getting hung up on the numbers (speed, pace, heart rate, etc.).
When we get frustrated with the numbers and they ruin the day we have forgotten why we have originally began running.  When this occurs, leave the watch at home, have fun and enjoy your running for the day. 

Unless we are an elite runner, why do we care so much if we ran an 11 minute pace today vs a 9:50 pace?  Are we less of a person because of this?  Less of a runner?  Who are we trying to compare ourselves to?  Who are we trying to impress?  If we have goals, yes lets try to reach them.  However, if we are getting upset, maybe the goal is too aggressive.

running using google glass

Stop trying to increase your weekly mileage and speed so aggressively after a injury.
Most runners should know the 10% rule (some people do not believe in it).  The rule is basically if we ran 20 miles last week, we shouldn't run more than 22 the following week no matter how good we feel.  However, I have seen people run 20 miles one week, then all of a sudden push it up to 30 miles the following week and at the same time trying to get faster and faster and get back to the 'speed' they had before the injury. 

Sure, if you want to run 23 or 24 miles, you will probably be fine, but increasing it to 30 or beyond the week after 20 miles, is probably not a good idea.  Sorry, the speed may take a while to get back to your 'good days'.

Stop running to eat junk food.
I used to do it.  I ran because I wanted to eat a big bowl of ice cream.  Now, I have turned my attitude around and I eat to run, not run to eat.  I eat more healthy so my recovery and I am not toxicated with bad foods.  Do I have ice cream once in a while?  Sure.  However, I don't use that a reward for my efforts.  It is just part of my life.

Stop eating junk food while running.
As runners are we really now "bragging" about the candy, sugary foods we are inhaling for a 1-2 hour run?  For a typical long run, you most likely do not need junk food to "support" your running.  Save that stuff, if you really want to use it for the end of a ultra distance run.  Before that, it is not needed.  Do you see any great runners eating like this?

running in carpentersville

Stop over running, training, race scheduling, etc.
I see it over and over people who want to run X # of miles every single day, week or month.  Then, they also have 4-6 major races in a year.  Hey, that is great and all, but if you are somehow getting injured or are exhausted, then maybe it is just too much.  It might be better to just race 2-3 times during the year?   

Best of the best runners usually race a certain amount of times per year, why are mid-pack runners trying to do more than them?  The human body can only handle so much and for so long.  If you want to sign up for a lot of 'races', do it.  However, just keep in mind there will be a cost to the body if you are "racing" at 6 events in one year.

Stop only focusing on running.
Add weight lifting to your workout mix.  Maybe cycling to cross train?  How about yoga to stay flexible and possibly prevent and recover from injuries?  Add more dedicated core work?  I am sure there is more you can include in your daily exercise routine to keep you more durable.

Stop saying running is your life.
Seriously, I see this over and over from a variety of runners.  "Today was a good day, I ran."  "I cannot imagine a life without running."  Think about this...Is running really "your life"?  How about your husband, wife, children, family?  They are not important or priorities?  If running is at the top, you might want to reevaluate your life.

I know I am guilty of most of the 9 bad running habits listed above.   If you are also guilty and continue to follow these bad running habits you will probably eventually not have fun, become injured and forget why you originally started running. 

I have seen 'runners' stop running because it has all become too much.  Don't put too much pressure on yourself.  Remember this is your life, not someone else's.  Do what you can, without it becoming overwhelming.

Our long term goal for running should be to run for the rest of our life not just for the next race or our #1 goal for this year.  Lets run for fitness, reach goals and to stay healthy as long as possible not just to have a faster pace than last year.

Do you have any advice to share?  Have you learned from past mistakes?  What are you guilty of?
Next Up: Christmas in July 24 Hour Race (Runners 4 Wellness Christmas in July 24 Hour race), please mention coupon code CIJ24HRAL1 if you decide to join me.

Want to Support the Website? We now have various ways.
AMAZON: If you make any type of purchases on Amazon.com, please use the banner at the top of my website.  (Save it as one of your favorites to use for future purchases.)
You can also buy from our blender affiliates like Blendtec or Vitamix.  They are powerful, high quality blenders that you will absolutely love and will bring healthy foods to your life.

We also have Ride Fit, Road Runner Sports, Performance Bike and Spartan Race as affiliates that you can make purchases through when visiting this website.