Out of the doldrums...

So, I've not been updating lately.  Well, I guess I really haven't been updating regularly for a few months now.  Life happens and I got distracted.

So, what have I been up to lately?

April -- Ran the Disney Dark Side of the Force Challenge (10K + half-marathon) -- was awesome. Check it out for next year.  The registration will open sometime next year.  Head over the RunDisney website to join their mailing list and get notified.

May & June -- Running doldrums.  Hard.  I didn't stop running, but I did find more excuses NOT to run.  My mileage dropped, which was probably a good thing.  I knew what was coming -- San Antonio summer.  Running here in the summer just isn't nearly as nice as, say, any other time of year.  It's hot.  Like 78 degrees at 5am and 90% humidity hot.

However, it wasn't just the weather.  I'd finished a marathon, did a half and was struggling with ideas on what to aim for next.  Another marathon?  Which one?  I have a colleague who tried to convince me that an Ironman was a good idea.  Not sure I have time for that unless I quit my job.  As my running dropped, my diet drifted. A couple weeks ago I stepped on the scale and had added 10 pounds. 

So, after chatting with my coach, I've decided to make a few changes:

1. Gotta get a clean diet. I do great during the day, but the wheels fall off in the evening.  This is especially problematic when I get off of work some nights after midnight.  I'm exhausted and I just go carb-salt crazy (read: tortilla chips and salsa).  What to do?  I stopped buying the chips.  If they aren't in the house, I won't eat them.  My coach suggested apples or zucchini slices with guacamole if I'm jonesing for something spicy.  It would probably work with salsa too. 

2. Gotta run.  Period. My weekly mileage is WAY down from November.  It'll start to climb again, but I'm doing more speed work -- however I still struggle. It isn't about "having time" it's about making it a priority.  Time to bump running up the list.

3.  Gotta do races.  I've only run one organized run since my marathon.  I probably need to do one every month or two. Plus my wife likes to run with me.  Maybe do some speed work during those runs.  We'll see.

4.  Set new goal.  Done that.  I'm running the Disney Marathon on January 8th. My goal this time? Make it suck less. My first marathon was done on a bit of a shoestring.  I didn't really know what I was doing.  This time, I'm going to have a better nutrition plan, more base miles and better experience.  It's interesting: my first half-marathon was pretty tough.  Since then, I've run at least a dozen in training and the like.  13 miles is nothing.  I'd love to make 26 feel the same way.

5.  Post to this blog.  I really do like writing about my running discoveries. I've got a few posts stored in my noggin so I need to put fingers to keyboard and knock them out.  This is where you can help:  read my stuff, share it, ask questions, make requests.

So stay tuned and let me know what you want to see.

Doing the laundry

I live in a rather warm part of the US (thanks, Texas) and as a consequence, I tend to sweat when I run.  Bunches.  Mix that with some other, individual nuances and you get rather fragrant running laundry.  

I've struggled with trying to get all the smells out.  Over this past summer, it seemed inescapable that once I put a freshly laundered running shirt on and it warmed to my body temperature, I could perceive olfactory shadows of my last run.  Not much fun.

So I scoured the internet and began to experiment.  I think I've come up with a terrific solution:  vinegar and baking soda. For those of you who just flashed back to your elementary school volcano science fair project, never fear, you don't mix them.  But you do use both on your laundry.

Step 1:

Go grab some baking soda, white vinegar and your fragrant running laundry and head to your washing machine.

Step 2:

Put your clothes in the machine.  Put about a 1/4 cup of baking soda in the "Pre Wash" area of your laundry dispenser and your favorite laundry detergent in the "Detergent" area.  If you don't have a fancy-schmancy machine, just toss both the detergent and the baking soda into the drum. Mixing them won't hurt.  If you do have the option of running a pre-wash with baking soda and the main cycle with detergent, do that.  Fill the "Fabric Softener" dispenser with the white vinegar. 

Counter-clockwise from the left lower:  detergent, baking soda and vinegar (it's there, just can't see it).

Counter-clockwise from the left lower:  detergent, baking soda and vinegar (it's there, just can't see it).

Step 3:

Set your machine to "Pre-Wash" and then run the normal cycle.  No need for an extra rinse. You won't smell the vinegar.  Promise.

Step 4:

Finish your laundry the way you normally do.  If you are a liquid fabric softener person, you'll need to use dryer sheets instead.  You really can't put vinegar and fabric softener in the same dispenser and the vinegar is pretty key to ridding your clothes of those lingering odors.

So there you have it!  A quick and easy way to (cheaply and gently) rid your clothes of those funky running smells.  Did this work for you?  Leave your comments below!