Pedal Board: The New Workout on the Water

This past Sunday was a beautiful day in Sarasota, Florida. We had the opportunity to enjoy this warm early December afternoon on the waters of Siesta Key with Al Hurxthal of Economy Tackle demonstrating the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse Pedal Board.

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I have spent afternoons paddle boarding and even conducted company brainstorming meetings while on paddle boards, but I was stunned at the new technology in the Hobie Mirage Eclipse. We have had some paddle board participants have difficulty with basic balance and even more problems when wave activity increases. Not so with the Eclipse, the stability is amazing even when a boat drives by your boards.

We had the two board lengths: 12 feet or 10.5 feet. The 12 foot board is much more stable than the 10.5 and is the recommended pedal board. I guess the only reason to go with the 10.5 ft. board is the slightly less weight (approximately 5 pounds). This stand up board has minimal set up.  Just pop in the handle bars (“T” form) and rudders and you are good to go on the water.

The “T” handle bars also increase your stability on the board making it easy to hold on even in rough waters. The handle bars look like they have brake levers on the side (like a bicycle), but they are NOT brakes, but are control and directional tools for the rudders in the water. If you want to turn left, then squeeze the left lever. If you wan to turn right, just squeeze the right lever. It is that simple.

The Hobie Mirage Eclipse rudder technology tears up the waters as you move swiftly through waves and wind. The pedals are like your aerobic pedal stepper in the gym. Al showed us the different positions of our feet on the pedals for changing speeds. It was like having different gears with increasing range of motion. Start with your toes on the front of the pedals for the smallest range and minimal movement. Then start to move your position of your feet backward on the pedal until you reach the largest range of motion and speed as your heels hang off the end of the pedals allowing you to fully thrust into every pedal. It makes for a great aerobic workout.

A very cool feature of the Eclipse is the ability to kick up the fins (as they lie flat) by holding one pedal down. This avoids damage to the fins in very shallow waters (or beached) conditions and removes the fear of damaging the blades. A long paddle is even attached to the board if you want or need to use a paddle.

I think once you start to use the Hobie Mirage Eclipse Pedal Board technology, you will not go back to the standard paddle board technology. It was an absolute treat to pedal around the Siesta Key waters so quickly. Try the technology for yourself the next time you hit the ocean. Feel free to give Al a call at Economy Tackle if you have any questions or want more information at (941) 922-9671. Have fun with this new water workout!

Video of Hobie Mirage Eclipse:

3 Steps To Run A Faster Mile In Your 50s

Many people have been inquiring since I completed my 2015 www.OneMileRunner.com event, The Greek Islands Adventure, on how I was able to break 5 minutes, in 5 one-mile races, over 12 days. I promised that I would share what changes I made to my training in the months preceding the event and what changes I made during my race schedule.

So here are the 3 steps to a run a faster mile in your 50s…

  1. I still did three speed workouts a week in the months leading up to my event, but the arrangement was different. I knew for my event I had to be able to run fast on very little rest. In the past for example, I would run 8 repetitions of a 1/4 mile at race pace in one workout and I would sometimes leave beat up and in need of a greater rest period. This year I cut the repetitions in half. I did speed repeats at race pace every Tuesday and Thursday, but only 4 repetitions. I left each workout still feeling fresh. I found my speed, established it in the workout, and then left. All my speed workouts were on the road, never on the track. One thing my chiropractor and I discovered a few years ago is that my hips stay in better alignment running in a straight line. No longer do I run fast while cornering – what a difference! Pounding the corners creates an  imbalance with one side of my body contracting while the other side lengthening. After years of running my intervals on the oval track, I now only do my speed on a measured straight line 100s, 200s, 400s, and 800s. NASCAR automobiles are made for their left turns, our bodies our not especially as we get older.
  2. All my long distance base training was done on a soft surface. I took advantage of our Florida beaches, dirt trails, and a the new crushed shell trail loop at Benderson Park. I never ran slowly on the road (as I have done in the past). This really helped in not beating up my legs. As we age, our joints can no longer take the pounding of a hard surface. When I see people running slowly on the sidewalk, I know it will not be for long as it is about 10 times harder than the roads. Injuries will soon be a result of those repetitive workouts.
  3. Back in 2008 when I had to break 5 minutes in 20 different road mile races in 20 weeks, I still did a hard track workout every Wednesday afternoon in whatever city I was in for the race. I look back and remember my mind set that unless I raced every Saturday and did another speed workout on Wednesday that I was not race ready. This year at 52 years of age, it was different. I went into the races having done all my work. During the weeks of my races, all I did was travel, warm-up, run easy, and then race as hard as I could. Rinse and repeat – one after the other. No extra speed workouts were done during my race period. Focus was only on my recovery. I felt as good racing this year as I did back in 2012. It is nice to do repetitive races with bouncy legs.

Hope these steps help you wisely prepare for your races and enjoy running as fast as you can even as you age.

 

I posted an 80-Minute Mile…and I was happy with my time!

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My 80-minute mile took place traversing the Mahoosuc Notch in western Maine. Many hikers consider this mile the toughest or slowest mile of the Appalachian Trail and usually take a couple of hours to go through the notch. My brother, Richard, and I followed Ken Alden through the notch. Ken did not hesitate choosing his spots to attack the rock formations in front of him. Richard refers to Mahoosuc Notch as a “jungle gym for adults.” Each hiker must go over, under, or around massive boulders that fell from the surrounding cliffs. This hike was part of our 17-mile day hiking from Old Speck to Goose Eye Mountain (photo on the summit above near the end of our day). What a great workout that took us the entire day. Here is Ken below sneaking through a hole he found at Mahoosuc Notch.

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Before tackling Mahoosuc Notch, my Maine hiking expedition began in central part of the state at Gulf Hagas in what is referred to as “The Grand Canyon of Maine.” Richard, Aubrey (my niece), and I hiked a trail that begins with taking our boots off to cross a running river and then goes up and around the rim of the gorge. A beautiful hike with many waterfalls, it was a nice way to break in my new boots. The next two days we hiked about 20 miles of the Hundred-Mile Wilderness trail which is a challenging part of the Appalachian Trail. It was a nice way to send my niece off to college and brought back memories of her completing all the 4,000 footers in New England back when she was just 13. Richard, the consummate guide, took me through four days and 42 miles of hiking some picturesque but difficult Maine terrain.

Maui Jim is sponsoring the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament coming up in November. Because of this, Maui Jim is doing a sweepstakes that includes roundtrip coach airfare, six night hotel accommodation, rental car, a pair of tickets for each tournament day, a $500 VISA gift card and two pairs of Maui Jim sunglasses. Check out this link to enter the sweepstakes:  http://woobox.com/f66gu7

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I am traveling to the US Open tennis and then again overseas. Will be back in September reviewing my races in Greece. Have a great rest of your summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Peak Performance Or Injury?

Athletes walk that tightrope of peak performance on one side and injury on the other. I am two weeks away from Race #1 of the 2015 www.OneMileRunner.com annual event entitled “The Greek Islands Adventure.” I definitely was on that tightrope this week.

After traveling to Maine last weekend for my niece’s high school graduation, we had our usual dress rehearsal prior to each of my mile event tours on Tuesday. The half mile course is nearby my house and is not an easy course to run on with many twists and turns. I have had difficulty in the past years breaking 2:30 on this course. In 2012, I thought my training was right on schedule, but I posted a 2:32 time in our dress rehearsal. I went on to race great solid times in 2012 on “The Isles Mile Challenge.”

I have tweaked a couple of things in my training at 52 years old, but I felt confident that my training has been on schedule leading up to my race season. On Tuesday, I ran 2:28 at about a 90-95% effort, I was shocked and discussed the run with my team. So I decided to go back to the starting line and run it again…how can I run faster than the 2012 dress rehearsal? I ran the course again and posted another 2:28. It freaked me out a bit, but I will share the changes I have made to my training in August when I return from Europe. So that was one side of the tightrope – peak performance. Then came Wednesday…

On Wednesday, I ran an easy 6 miles on the shell trail at Benderson Park. Just after the 5 mile mark, I accidentally stepped on a pine cone and landed on the side of my foot. I yelled at the pain and shock of the errant landing as I have never before missed the bottom of my foot completely. I felt like I “dodged a bullet” as I limped around avoiding serious injury. The next morning my lower left extremity felt worse, so I soaked in the hot tub and took two days off from running. Yesterday I ran 7 miles and did some barefoot sprinting in the Siesta Key white sands. I was back. Repeat 1/4 mile sprints this Sunday morning, followed by a full body weight workout, and then hit the massage table to have my massage therapist, Lori, check my lower leg.

It was a strange week of walking the peak performance/injury tightrope two weeks away from race day. Let’s hope I can avoid other pine cones this week…

3 Steps To A Faster Mile

1) Build Speed From A Shorter Distance To A Longer Distance

I train a bit differently than most runners who are searching for their race form. For each Annual Event since 2008, I do the customary build up that most runners do in the months of preparation = a strong long distance base, intense tempo runs, and smart recovery within the week’s plan of action. However, when I begin my speed work, I start at 100 yards and then build to 1/8 mile, then 1/4 mile, then 1/2 mile.  Many runners tell me that they dive right into the 1/4 mile repeats, but I do not want to attempt a 1/4 mile unless my form and speed is definitely there. For example, here is my build up this season: 100 repeats (13-15 seconds), 1/8 mile repeats (30-32 seconds), 1/4 mile which I ran (1:05-1:10) today (Thursday) and Tuesday with only one day off in between workouts this week (similar to my race schedule in Greece), then next week begin the 1/2 mile (2:18-2:24). I feel there is no reason to lengthen my distance if I do not feel the proper speed in the shorter distance. I take my form in the 100 yard workout and stretch it out to the 1/2 mile. Speed first, then lengthen the distance.

2) Mentally Approach Your Workouts Like A Race

Over the years, many people have asked how did I do so well in my first race when I have not raced in 6 months. The answer is that I have been mentally racing over the last few months of my training. Especially in my speed workouts, I put my toe on the line as in a race, prepare the same way as a race, and feel the intensity as in a race. Sprint against others or against the clock – feels like I have been racing every week.

3) Do Not Underestimate the Dress Rehearsals

Leave nothing to chance that you can control. Dress rehearsals are important part to prepare your mind for the pain, test drive your equipment, and build real experiences for your confidence. Today in my 1/4 mile repeats I test drove my: New Balance 1400s, Maui Jim sunglasses, Sigvaris graduated compression sock, Faklis made orthotic, 2xU arm sleeves, race day watch, race day clothing, sunscreen, Vega All-In-One pre-race drink, shaved my head and body with my HeadBlade razor, and prepared my muscles with The Stick. Your confidence will not be fragile if built upon a great foundation of meaningful experiences. Repeat, rehearse, repeat, and rehearse. The mile race is an extension of your hours of preparation. Enjoy the process of being an athlete.

How A Runner Should Celebrate A Birthday

How should a runner celebrate a birthday? At top speed, of course…

Every birthday I make it a habit to run 10 x 100 yards at full speed. Not only is this a great way to check my running form, but also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate another year of movement. With my 2015 event soon approaching in July, April is usually the first month that I check my speed in this 100 yard workout.

I usually have runners join me in my sprints. Sometimes I race a high school track runner. Other times I chase a running friend. And other times I just sprint by myself with no technical devices as I listen to my breathing and feel my heart pumping. Sometimes I wonder if we are getting away from the sheer joy of running fast…it is satisfying enough on its own and one of the joys of life. Hope you can sprint on your next birthday. And welcome your next year on the planet with a smile on your face.

Faklis once again constructing O’Meara’s foundation for fast and injury-free racing

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Vasile Faklis of Faklis Orthopedic Services creates the foundation for my racing fast and injury-free. I met Vasile back in 2004 as I came limping up to his booth after a race suffering acute pain from plantar fasciitis. Since that race, I have not run a step without Vasile’s foot orthotics providing the support and comfort that I need to keep me away from injuries all these years. Whether it be Vasile’s artistry in a custom orthotic or his new off-the-shelf customizable foot orthotic, he mixes his years of experience with an exceptional product.
I could not have successfully accomplished all my crazy one-mile events over the years if it was not for Vasile’s assistance. Vasile takes the time with his customers ensuring that they have the proper orthotic, gait, and fit via his measurements and evaluations. I will be racing in the Aris Pro Orthotic in Greece this summer. It is an off-the-shelf orthotic that shapes to my foot as I wear them. The uniqueness of this off-the-shelf orthotic is that it can be modified and customized to your personal needs. So Vasile has taken my off-the-shelf orthotic and has modified it to fit my personal needs (all at a fraction of the cost compared to custom orthotics). Here is a photo of the bottom of my orthotic showing off Vasile’s modifications:
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Now you can get his orthotics, no matter where you are in the world at www.arisfit.com.  If you would rather call to make an order, all Aris orders can be taken by phone at either Faklis Orthopedic Services:  727-938-1525 or Aris: 855-888-2747.  Please feel free to contact Vasile directly by email at: Vasile@faklis.com.  Aris is running a promotion through May. If you purchase one pair of Aris Pro at regular price,  you receive one pair of Aris Elite at 1/2 price (modifications are extra).
Here’s hoping that with the help of Vasile and his new Aris products, you can reach your racing and health aspirations!

The 2015 Greek Islands Adventure – training has begun

My big toe nails have grown back after I lost them on the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim run in September. A few months of overall strength training coupled with my base running workouts has me ready to begin my focused training for our 2015 speed event “The Greek Islands Adventure.” Starting July 1st on the island of Naxos I will challenge my 52 year-old body to break 5 minutes in 5 races on 5 different Greek islands within 15 days. I must travel by boat between each island as I cannot fly to the next island race. Recovery for this event must start on the water. We will fly into Athens at the end of June, take a ferry from Piraeus port to Naxos (race #1 July 1st), then to Amorgos (race #2 July 4th in the port of Katapolos),  on to the island of Ios (race #3 July 7th), Folegrandros (race #4 July 10th), and then finish on the beautiful island of Santorini (race #5 July 13th).

The day after the Super Bowl 49 (the game with best drama ever) was the date marked on my calendar to begin preparing my body for speed training. This past week was a 32 mile week spread out over a 6-day span with three days of mock speed training. My body tonight still feels very fresh and bouncy, so it was a great start to the 2015 training.

We have a new park in Sarasota that is just fantastic. It is called Benderson Park behind the new UTC Mall. It is the home site of the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Circling the outside of the 2000 meter rowing race site are paved roads and a majestic, crushed shell trail that is about 3.5 miles in length: https://www.scgov.net/parks/Pages/BendersonPark.aspx

This provides plenty of different running places for me to train properly for the Greek event. You will find me at Siesta Key and Lido beaches, Lakewood Ranch soccer fields, Ringling Bridge or the Celery Fields for hill training, and now the shell trail at  UTC is a welcome park just 5 miles from my house. On our 2008 tour, I remember local Eugene runners showing me the pristine wood chip trails at the University of Oregon. Being next to the ocean, it makes sense that in Florida we would create a nice shell trail to soften the route. The efforts by Benderson Park are truly appreciated by the athletes training at their site.

Whether it started indoors or outdoors, I hope you all have begun your 2015 training…here’s wishing you all the best in your 2015 aspirations.

 

 

 

How To Optimize Your Off-Season Workouts

I have really been enjoying my off-season workouts after spending the summer training in the mountains to prepare for the Grand Canyon this past September. Off-season training is a very important part of success on my various tours. Here are a few ideas to make the most of your off-season and get you ready for a fabulous 2015:

1) Have a very detailed and measured plan of attack. Off-season is the time to address areas of your training that need improvement. Whether it is a nagging, repetitive injury that will not go away or a perception that is holding you back, the time to work on your weaknesses is now. Your planning will create a purposeful off-season.

2) Establish a great foundation. Your off-season is the first building block to success in 2015. Be certain that your workouts reflect your needs for your upcoming competitions.

3) Hit the weights. The goal of your resistance training program is not hypertrophy. Your desire is to balance your body and to strengthen your ligaments and tendons in preparation for the tough workouts ahead.

4) Work on making your form the most efficient as possible. My 3 speed workouts per week begin in March, but I work on my sprint form every week in the off-season to compose my entire body for quickness and pop. I am not running with the high school track teams until the spring, but I concentrate on my sprint form during my “give and go” workouts on the beach.

5) Write down your 2015 aspirations. Once you put them in writing, you will begin to wrap your mind around your quest. Every year I begin by saying that I think my aspirations are too big to accomplish, but as the off-season progresses I begin to digest my goals and begin to visualize the process for a successful tour. I believe in the process. My state of mind will be totally locked and focused by the conclusion of the off-season.

Just got news that I’m a featured plant-based athlete in the brand new book Vegan Vitality by Karina Inkster. Check it out at http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Vitality-Complete-Plant-Based-Lifestyle/dp/1629143642.

Wishing you the best with your off-season workouts and have a wonderful holiday season!

Advanced Motor Planning

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Back in Florida for a few days after training in the northeast mountains for the last 3 weeks. We began at Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest peak. Little did I know that I was in store for 9 hours of rock climbing and only 3 hours of hiking as we chose to cross Knife’s Edge (pictured above) – the most difficult route to the summit. We ascended the rocky Dudley trail to Pamola Peak. Then managed to get through the extremely hazardous maneuvers up and down Chimney Peak to Knife’s Edge (the name does say it all).

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I will never choose to go this route again, but my nephew (pictured in front of me), Braedon, from Arizona loved the rock climbing aspects of the hike. So it was well worth it to experience the journey with him and my older brother, Richard. Braedon who is scared of structural heights (as he will freak out on a 30 foot rock wall with a safety rope around him), but strangely not natural heights. He had to lend me a “helping hand” a couple of times to hoist me up in order to position my foot in the next vertical spot.

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I left the long day at Katahdin battered and bruised, but void of twists or sprains allowing me to meet Kim Sheffield in the Vermont mountains for our 20 mile training run. Kim assembled a nice small group of runners to ascend and descend Mount Tom and surrounding areas around Woodstock, Vt.

Then it was onto the White Mountains of New Hampshire to tackle the full Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains that Hurricane Arthur kept us from doing in July. We started at daybreak and hiked 9,000 feet of elevation as we went up and down 7 peaks: Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower, and Pierce. It was 21.5 miles in 14.5 hours as we finished with our head lamps guiding us through the darkness. I now can understand how this is more a summer solstice hike as we were chasing the sunlight.  It was a long, but beautiful day. My older brother, Richard, and his friend Steve (all over 50 years old) had a lot of laughs along the way and took in some amazing sights.

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During the hikes Richard and I were discussing the necessity of advanced motor planning for these challenging terrains. Motor planning is defined as “the ability of the brain to conceive, organize, and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions.” That is exactly what was required step after step (often on wet rocks). Individuals can be in the best endurance shape, but if they lack advanced motor planning, problems will occur with such arduous routes. That is why jumping rock to rock is as much a mental task as it is a physical one.

After these three weeks of hiking and running in the mountains, I feel ready for the Grand Canyon on September 15th. I will be traveling in the weeks leading up to the run at the Canyon, but will post a blog on my return from Arizona. Hope you all have a great end to your summer…