Friday, December 9, 2016

Inner Lazy 0 ~ Team:Bendy 1

Between 6am-7am, I usually post my group's workout for that day. I do it for myself reminds me what I must do since it usually takes me all day to "get ready for it."

Yesterday was no different. I posted the workout knowing it'd be cold, windy, rainy and wet. Plus, I had an 80+ power point slide meeting after school. Secretly, I think I was hoping nobody would say they were "In", so that I'd just not run. Wrong. 2 people confirmed, and I figured the usuals, Brandon, Debra and Melissa, would be there.

Driving home from work around 5:30pm, I really didn't feel like running, so I asked in our group chat who was still in. This was my under-handed pitch so somebody (are you listening, Dalyla?) could swing for the fences and cancel. She didn't. I got the usual chirpy "Yes!!!" response. Ugh!!!

8 of us ended up showing up, and we got our workout did. In the end, we ended up running faster than what we were supposed to, but I blame the wind and cold for that.

More importantly, it felt pretty nice outside. After the mile warm up, I ditched the layers and ended up running with a t shirt.

I'm glad my inner lazy didn't win and we ended up running. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Coffee Challenge...

19 days ago the coffee challenge was born. More specifically, the 30 coffeehouses in 30 days challenge. It began in Marble Falls at a coffeehouse called Numinous (it's in the top 5, so you know).

I wanted to see if I could sample coffee from 30 different coffee houses. I pretty quickly found out that there are only about 5 in the RGV. Of course, this didn't mean the challenge was over. It just meant I'd have to take a road trip.

Since day 1, I've been rating them in my head. I don't ask for much. All that I'd like is for them to have a sofa where I can kick it in and the option of having my cappuccino in a mug. I don't think that's asking too much.

Day 10 of the challenge my friend, Chris, and I decided to take a coffee road trip to SA/Austin to get some coffee sampling done and improve the chances of the challenge to succeed.

We arrived at SA at about noon and starting mapping our options. In order of attendance, they were:

 1. The White Elephant Coffee Co.
 2. Indy Coffee Club
 3. Bakery Lorraine
 4. Local Coffee at the Pearl
 5. Brown Coffee Co.

After a few hours, we were ready to make the short drive to Austin to see what they had to offer. We checked into our hotel and tried to rest for a couple hours before starting the caffeination again.

Again, only in order of attendance, they were:

 6. Houndstooth
 7. Juan Pelota
 8. Halcyon
 9. Medeci

By this time it was about 10pm, so we decided to call it a day.

The next morning we went for a quick run in Town Lake before we were ready to continue the challenge.

We attended the following that day:

 10. Fleet
 11. Tom's
 12. Figure 8
 13. La Patisseri
 14. Once Over
 15. Bouldin Creek Cafe
 16. Seventh Flag Coffee Co.
 17. Fairbean Coffee
 18. Summer Moon

I'm currently on coffee house number 27, so I've got 3 to go. Yes, I guess you can say I've got too much time on my hands. Too much time for coffee, if there's such a thing.

Once the challenge is over, I think I'll start rating and ranking them in the order I liked best.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

30 Days of Coffee Challenge

I was spurned into action by my friend's love your spouse challenge. I think that's what it was called or something. I decided to make my own love challenge or sorts. My love for coffee challenge.

That was the beginning of the 30 Days of Coffee Challenge.

Initially, it started as a 30 Days of Coffee Challenge. In a nutshell, it was supposed to be 30 days of coffee in 30 different shops. It's been modified a couple times as the caffeine fix faded. Then I thought "Are there 30 coffeehouses in the RGV?" So then I modified it to just 30 coffeehouses in 30 days.

I'm running out of local coffeehouses, so drastic times call for drastic measures...coffeehouse road trip.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Do You Believe In Coincidences?

Do you believe in coincidences? I really don't, but sometimes how can you explain things?

Yesterday, I went with some friends to run in La Sal Del Rey. I was a little fatigued from having run earlier in the day, so I ended up doing a brisk walk. Besides, it was so peaceful out there, a walk seemed to good to pass.

Let me back up a little...I have a friend, Bengi, whom I haven't seen or run with in several years. We used to run together all the time. Several years ago during a run, she told me she thought that in 2004 (before we'd met), she'd been my grandmother's hospice nurse. I asked her if she was the nurse that comforted my grandmother during her last few days/weeks. The one that I remember praying with her and my grandfather. Amazingly, it was her. Who would've thought that we would meet years later and become good friends?

Fast forward to yesterday's walk...The walk at La Sal Del Rey. It was such a peaceful walk that I had plenty of time to think. I thought of many things. Of many people. Specifically, I thought about my grandmother and Bengi. How she'd comforted my grandfather after my grandmother passed. I'll be honest, it made me tear up a bit.

I thought about my grandmother. I thought about Bengi. I hadn't seen her or run with her in about 4 years.

Earlier today, Bengi sent me a text that she'd been thinking about me. I quickly responded that "I WAS THINKING ABOUT YOU YESTERDAY. YOU AND MY GRANDMOTHER WHEN SHE PASSED!!!!"

Her response made me tear up again. "...Thanks, Ben. Those memories will always be with me. Ur grandma is always with me."

Friday, July 8, 2016

"That Run Sucked!!!" said nobody ever...I tell myself.

"That run sucked!" said i think nobody ever in the history of running. This is what I think every time my runs suck, and lately, it's been pretty frequently. I think we often convince ourselves that we are the only ones whose runs are terrible - that everyone else's runs are always awesome, on target pace, etc.

Well, it's not true. Many times, runs do not go or feel as planned. We just have to get over them and move difficult as this might be.

Plus, I've learned that there are many things that play a factor into our runs. Just bear with me, 'cause it's only a theory. It's kind of a 2 part theory even though the 2nd part could stand on its own (or has very little to do with the 1st part, but that's neither here nor there).

Many outside factors determine what type of run we have. We run late in the evening because of the heat/humidity. Just a thought, but if we have a perfect day, the run should be perfect, no? Who has a perfect day? Not this guy. Probably not you either. Now, I know what you might be thinking - "Says the guy who's off for the next 7 weeks!" It's true. We have sucky days. There's physical/mental stress, we might be on our feet all day, working a 12 hour shift, financial problems, have personal problems that we are dealing with (our own or our friends/family). You name it - it takes its toll.

And we can't forget the weather. It's brutal down here. The humidity will kick your butt whether you run in the morning (which I can't get up for) or the evening. I've tried both with the same result.

Finally, if you're like me and don't follow best hydration or diet plan, you'll pay the price too.

So I don't want to hear that you're in a slump or are gonna hang up your running shoes. It's not that bad. It happens.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

AmbiBen VS me...

AmbiBen pulled me aside and had a long heart to heart with me earlier tonight. As I've mentioned before, there's the ambien me and the regular me. We like to argue amongst ourselves about who's the smartest and who knows best for the other and (ultimately) both of us. I still say it's me.

We talked about many things. Again, some things are going to be kept in the vault. I just can't, but fak!!! He's right. I wish I'd listened to him.

Some of the other things we discussed were my ambitious (to me) running events I've signed up for the next several months. I've signed up for a 60k in 3 weeks, a Tushar 93k in 40 some days, a marathon in 60 some days to try to qualify for Boston, and ,the kicker, a hunnerd miler in Pine, AZ in September.

I've made the committment to finish these runs, stick to my scheduled workouts and try to improve my diet. I think the last part is the toughest. I'm off for the next 2 months, so the workouts - I've got all the time in the world, but this is a double-edged sword. Being off for all this times, allows me to eat quite a bit more than I normally would, and not in a good way.

Another thing we talked about is how I should finish reading that book I started several months ago. In my defense, I just found it after having misplaced it, so I'm going to. That's the most pleasant conversation we had.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Insomniac Late Night Nonesense...I Mean Musings.

Why is it so difficult to take good advice? Especially when you can only benefit from it...I think.

Recently, I was given a couple of pieces of some really good advice from a good friend of mine whose identity I will keep secret, but I will say he goes by the name Quadzilla because of his ginormous quads (obviously).  As I was saying, he gave me some good advice a day or two ago. I'm not going to share what the advice was because I'm not ready to do so. Plus, I don't want to anyway. No, I don't.

Fast-forward a day or two later, and I didn't take the advice. Nevermind that when I accepted the advice, I was in LaLa land having had an adult beverage and my ambien. I'm not sure which Ben is the real one: AmbiBen at night or Ben during the day, so I'm not sure which of me took the advice. I'm guessing the smart me didn't because one of me is smarter than the other - I just don't know which one. I guess depending on which one you ask, I'll say I am.

I think I tend to dwell on things during those late nights battling insomnia. Last night was one of those such nights. I was debating why I didn't just do what he said, and I realized I was probably convincing myself that it wasn't a good idea. I know it's not too late to take it, but, knowing myself, I don't know that I'm smart enough to take it.

I guess there'll be plenty of time to explain why it fell on deaf ears later in the week when we'll be on a 3-4 hour bus ride to Mexico.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

"You either squat or you don't. You didn't."

Saying I’m not the most limber guy out there is an understatement, but I’ve been working on it…or at least trying to. I can’t do a lunge without tipping over, a squat properly or sometimes even touch my toes. 

I’ve been trying to do strength training for quite a while, but it just never really got off the ground. Sure, I’d do it after a workout here and there, but that’d be just about it. Oh, and these sessions would only last about 8 minutes.

That’s why when Hector said, we’d be adding a strength training day to our Running 101 schedule, I was really looking forward to it. I’d finally get to do the “little things” that I know I should be doing but don’t. I’ve discovered that unless somebody is telling me to do something I don’t want to, I won’t.

I need to accept that running alone will not make me a better runner. Lunges, abs and other assorted strength workouts are needed for this slug. 
Yesterday, a person who will go unnamed but is in the picture doing a better squat than me said: "I was squatting, unlike Ben, who was just holding a ball." Ouch.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Running 101

People often ask me two questions: What's Running 101 and why should I join.

Running 101 is a running group run by several coaches under the guidance of founder and owner, Hector Gandara. Hector's run several marathons and is also Head Cross Country Coach at Mission High School, and the owner of Endurance Splits.

If you're a beginning or experienced runner, Running 101 is for you. There are individuals who have never run, run the mile in 5:30 or 20+ minutes. It simply does not matter your level or ability.

The program is made up of 7 coaches who oversee anywhere from 5 to, as many as, 20 runners. They run with them, answer their questions and motivate them.

Running 101 usually lasts about 4 months and ends in conjunction with a major run somewhere in the US or state of Texas. For example, recently, the previous session ended and about 20 runners  ran the Houston Chevron Marathon (with a 100% completion rate). The current session's end coincides with the Austin 10/20 on April 03, 2016.

Upon joining, runners are placed in different groups with a different coach depending on their ability level. Although many are hesitant to leave their group/coach, many have moved up during the course of a session or several sessions.

Runners have a running plan/program they follow which is a mix of speed work, recovery runs, tempo runs, long runs and cross training.

The main reason runners join is for the camaraderie and accountability. Running with friends makes it much more enjoyable than running alone. You may have seen us recently on a Monday or Thursday night when our large group takes over the Bicentennial trail or Bill Schuup park.

In addition, there's nobody like somebody else who knows what you're supposed to run to hold you accountable. It's not uncommon for runners to ask each other if they are following their plan. It ends up gnawing at your "homework" (as we like to call it) assignment for the day. Runners usually post their homework on the Running 101 page, and let me tell you, it becomes a daily ritual to post what you did.

In a nutshell, THAT's why you should join .

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Looking Ahead After RR100...

After last weekend's disappointing finish at Rocky Raccoon 100 (and having an entire week of no running), it's time to look forward to what's next.

On July 24, we are running the Ultra Maraton de Canones 100k in Guachochi near Chihuahua. Specifically, I'm looking forward to running alongside the "Raramuris" better known as the Tarahumaras.

This race has  got me both, excited and a little nervous.

Doesn't it look like fun?

It's time to do some hillwork.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Coffee With Benergy...

So, I’ve always wanted to do a podcast which is basically a blog but digital. I’m no techie, but that’s about as easy of an explanation as I can give. It makes sense to me, so I figure it’ll make sense to you. 

Within the next week or so, I think I’m going to begin a podcast ranging in topics. ..mainly, about things I like, things I do, and people who I think you should get to know because they're interesting.  People like Dr. Joey Cadena at PhysioDynamix, German Madrazo at Valley Running Co., the guys from Sole Running, among others. In other words, it'll mainly be about running...and coffee, of course. 

Check out the link below and tell me what you think - especially of the name. 

As I like to say often, it’s a work in progress (kinda like me), so bear with me.

Talk to you guys soon & stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bandera 100K - According to me.

My buddy and I decided to “rough” it out and stay in his RV camper in Bandera for the race. We had such big plans: we were going to finish strong and then BBQ out there. More on the BBQ plans a bit later.
We decided to leave early Friday so we could get to Bandera and relax for a bit. Little did we know it’d turn out to be the longest 4 hour trip…ever.
On the way to SA, we ran out of gas. I learned that the “we need gas light” means “WE NEED GAS!!!” There was 1 positive to running out of gas. I was able to scratch off a 2016 must-do from my 2016 must-do list – hitchhiking. Luckily, we only walked for a bit before an awesome generous couple gave us a ride to the nearest gas station (which was about 5 miles away).
10 hours later, we were finally at our destination.
A supposed advantage to staying on site was that we’d be able to sleep in a bit, but it didn’t happen. I think we were up at 4am and ready to go.
For the last several weeks, I’d been toying around with the idea of trying to run Bandera sub 15 hours. That’s a pretty intimidating idea for a slug like myself, but Joel had convinced me that it was do able.
On the drive up there, John Pelletier, another friend messaged me wanting to know if I was looking for a pacer. I’d met John and his wife before Bryce 100 last summer. It’d be good to see him again and run with him so I told him we’d love to have him…oh yeah…and that we really really wanted 15 hours.
1st 50K:
Our plan was to hold a steady pace, hike the uphills and run the runnable parts. And we did.
We finished the 1st loop in pretty decent shape and in a time of 7 hours. A bit ahead of schedule but not a bad thing considering we felt really well. The only thing hurting were my hip flexors...and my stomach. I'd been alternating between a boost/equate and a Bulletproof Bar every hour, and it'd wreaked havoc on my stomach.  
As we came in, John was ready to go.  

2nd 50K:
After doing the 1st 5 miles at a slower than we would've liked pace, we picked up the pace.
John made sure we were on pace for that sub 15. He would tell us when it was time to pick it up and when we had a bit to coast. He was also instrumental in getting us in/out of aid stations quick - something that we said we'd do (but, obviously, needed someone to tell us to do it).
We finished the 2nd loop and the clock read 14:51!!!
We were beat, but we did it. In the end, we just limped back to the RV. Joel and Joel had a beer while I just had an ambien. We were too cold to think about that BBQ. Although, I vaguely remember Joel cooking something.
This was the first ultra that I've been able to run the majority of it with no issues. Everything was on point. Calories. Salt. Everything. Every hour on the hour I was alternating between Bulletproof Bars and Equates/Boosts.
I don't know about Joel, but I'd convinced myself that if I wanted to do Rocky Raccoon 100 in sub 24 hours, I really had to run Bandera 100K in 15 hours. I know the courses are like night and day, but that's what I'd convinced myself. I'm looking forward to attempting to finish RR100 in right under 24 hours.
A big thanks to John & Joel for the lead, pace, company and great convos.
Over 5 hours faster than last year.