Janji Projects Launch!

My friends over at Janji are simply amazing people. Aside from designing, producing, and managing a popular clothing line, they are always looking for ways that runners can tie back. The Janji line donates a percentage of proceeds from the sale of every item to amazing charities across the world. Now, they’re taking it one step further by launching Janji Projects.

Janji Projects is a crowd funded giving platform that allows runners to help others. Here’s how it works – the Janji guys will post a campaign to Projects.RunJanji.com and works kind of like KickStarter. The campaign will feature a particular apparel item that is linked to a specific cause. If the campaign is funded 100% the apparel will be manufactured and the cause will be funded.  It’s that easy. Anyone who backs the campaign will get one of the limited edition shirts and will know that their money went to an amazing cause.

The first Janji Project is the Uganda Run for Another shirt. The shirt is made of performance blend of polyester and rayon and features a pattern inspired by Ugandan basket weaving. The linked cause is the construction of water access points in rural Uganda. If the campaign is funded 100%, production of the shirts will begin along with parallel construction of the water point. Awesome! The water point will give 350 rural Ugandans access to clean water. Backers will get their limited edition shirt, and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make a real difference for Ugandans.

Clean water dispenser

The crowdfunded project launches at noon EST on October 27th on Projects.RunJanji.com. The design is exclusively available for preorder and, once the 100% mark is reached, the project will be taken down from the site. The shirts are expected to ship before December 20th.

Clean water dispenser 1

A little background on Janji from Dave:

The idea for Janji began at the DIII Track Championship meet, where Mike Burnstein and Dave Spandorfer raced the 10k on a stifling hot day. Needing copious amounts of water to just finish the 25 lap race, they were inspired to use their sport as a way to give people access to something they too often took for granted: clean water. After the meet, the two college teammates launched Janji. Now sold in over 100 stores around the country, every piece of Janji apparel has a design inspired by a country and, when a runner buys it, the runner gives clean water to that country.

“Our goal at Janji is to help inspire runners like ourselves to give back and run for another,” Spandorfer says. “By launching Janji Projects, the giving is direct. A runner can head out for a run knowing the shirt on their back provides access to clean water to 350 people in Uganda.”

My Pace or Yours

One of the best parts of being a runner is the opportunity to inspire others. I coach other runners and I love seeing them achieve their goals. I also have a great time as a professional pacer. I work with MarathonPacing, a great marathon and half marathon pacing company, and absolutely love the work that I do as a pacer. Recently, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to pace two great races, the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and the Wineglass Marathon events.

The Wineglass Marathon and its associated events is a great weekend of racing in an adorable town. Wineglass takes place in Corning, New York, a charming small town famous for the glass company and museum.

Corning, NY

The race runs through nearby towns, past farms and small communities. It runs over small bridges and past forests full of turning leaves. The scenes are lovely and it’s one of my favorite half marathon courses around. This year, like last year, I paced the 2:30 half marathon group.

Wineglass 2014

I had a great group. We ran together, told jokes, and had a great time. I coasted into the finish with perfect timing and a very happy group of finishers.

The next weekend, I was signed up to pace the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, pacing the full marathon group. I had the assignment of pacing 5:30, the course cut off. I was to be the last place finisher and guide runners who were close to the course cutoff. The Mohawk Hudson River Marathon is a great event in Albany, New York. Albany is a great town, with a charming old fashioned down town. The race is well organized and supported by a local running club.

MHRM

The race begins at a  local park, with lovely views of the changing leaves.

Mohawk Hudson

Running the course cutoff is a funny thing. Turns out that no one wanted to just squeak in at 5:30 – they wanted to crush their goals. I ran along the bike paths near the river mostly alone, but enjoyed the views and quiet connection to nature. The course is almost entirely run on bike paths through suburban parks. It’s really very nice with a few gentle hills in the middle. I loved the course and enjoyed working with my team.

Pacing is a wonderful thing and one of my favorite things to do as a runner. Next up for me is the Palm Beaches Marathon in Florida in December. I can’t wait!

Troy Conquers 26.2: Shut Up Legs

Here’s a great piece from my brother about his first run with me!

 

Mistakes were made – that is how I categorize more than half my running. Whether it is signing up for things I shouldn’t (Dopey 2015!), starting out too fast (4 minute miles are amazing!), or running too far out on an out and back. Mistakes were made and now I suffer.

I volunteered to help Rachel move to her new home in Connecticut a few weeks ago as any good brother would. I know how much work moving is and understood what I was signing up for in that regard. However, Rachel decreed that while I was in Connecticut, I would join her running group for a taper run and put up 12 miles. Ok. Fine. Moving is a tremendous amount of work but a decent run should still be possible.

I was wrong. Mistakes were made. While I knew how much work moving would be, I did not know that Connecticut had hills. No one told me about this. I expected gentle rolling valleys with beautiful trees just starting to turn colors. The hills, no these mountains, in Connecticut were more than I could handle and had no preparation for attacking. Behold my normal training run (11 mile in MI):

Michigan Run

 

Elevation change of 28 feet and that is because I purposefully ran down to the river and then back up a hill. I try to add in inclines whenever I do a treadmill workout but those are by no means a HILL workout. There is one course I like to run that does have some gentle rolling hills. But not this – this is CT and this was too much.

CT Run

Garmin tells me 401 feet of gain and 362 feet of loss.

After spending two days moving Rachel I was not able to tackle the mountains of Connecticut for the full 12 mile run. I had to drop out at 8.5 miles and was very thankful to the Fleet Feet coaches for getting me back to the store and helping on cool down. As someone who had never been to Connecticut, let alone run there, I have to give a lot of credit to the running community. Not only are there more runners than I am used to, they tackle these mountains (to me) with an ease I could not.

Next time I will know what I am getting into and come planning to run hills. I just may have to train to come to CT to train again.

 

On The Move

I’m on the move. Over the past weekend I moved from my house of six years to a bigger house a few towns over. I can say with 100% commitment that moving sucks. All of my things have been in boxes for weeks now and it’s getting ridiculous. I’m covered in bruises from running into boxes…

Moving bruises

All I can see are boxes…

Boxes everywhere

And unpacking them just creates a pile of more boxes…

Pile of boxes

I swear that this will ruin cardboard for me for life. I don’t want to see another box again ever!

The worst part of moving is how it has impacted my running. I have only run a few miles all week – and the miles I did run were painful. I’m lucky to be marathon tapering right now, so at least I’m feeling a little less pressure to get in the miles, but I’m missing running. I’m starting to get the no-running taper madness. I feel stressed, sleepy, and sluggish. I need a run, but there seems to be so many other things that need my attention (boxes!). I’m sure the cross training of hauling, cleaning, moving, and unpacking is good for me, but it just isn’t running. It’s time for a real run! I’m just going to unpack one more box first…

Troy Conquers 26.2: Evolution of Running Gear

In this Troy Conquers 26.2 installment, my brother discusses the evolution of his running gear. From casual, any shorts will do running, to serious marathon training (and the gear to match!), he’s getting more serious. Here’s what he had to say:

While the marathon training is new to me and the mileage is something I have never seen before, ramping up distance is not. Ramping up distance is a learning experience for me and I learned a lot about clothing.  Long before the WDW 2014 Half, my wife and I ran a couple of local 5K events.  When we decided to sign up for these we went to the local sporting goods store to buy some clothes.  It is funny looking back and our choices.

I grabbed the long, heavy basketball style shorts – the ones with two thick layers that hang down past your knees.  For a shirt, whatever – grabbed one ‘tech’ shirt and one cotton tee thinking those would be just fine.  For shoes it was whatever was there and felt comfortable on my feet, but yet priced ok in case this whole running thing fell through.  This was what I trained in for that first race: generic shoes, cotton socks, cotton boxers, heavy ‘tech’ shorts, and a cotton tee shirt.  You can already see the issues in my gear choices.  These outfits were fine for short (mile or two) runs, but even then I started to have issues with chafing.  I was confused at first – I had running clothes so why did running suck so bad?  Besides running in a Gulf Coast Texas July, what I was wearing was hampering my run.

After moving to Michigan the training for the WDW Half started to pick up and it was time to get serious.  We visited the local running store, Runners, for the first gait analysis and shoe selection.  Shoes matter and there was a definite improvement for me and a whole new world of pain-free running for the wife once we had properly fitting shoes. Next was clothing and time to get a couple new running outfits. An assortment of true tech tee shirts and Feetures running socks were the first items purchased along with some wicking boxers.  Sadly, only one new pair of shorts as I yet insisted on wearing basketball shorts for the short training runs.  This was me learning about the right kind of gear for running distances.  At this point I had no idea what compression gear was.  This basic arrangement served me well doing the first half marathon.

Troy at Disney

After a year of running, and, now training for a full marathon, I have completely changed my outlook on running gear.  My outlook it is still changing as the distances have started to increase.  Now all my shorts are actual running shorts, even those nice ones that have a zippered pocket in the back.  I had no idea how much I needed that before hitting a 10 mile run and desperately needing a Gu.  All my running shirts have lost the graphics and screen print – just plain tech running shirts to prevent unnecessary chafing.  A multitude of socks reside in my drawer, all meant for running.  I have wool socks with toes, thick padded socks, thin socks, Elite version socks with arch support, and compression sock that go to my knees.

Troy's socks

Calf sleeves for recovery were new to me until after my first half and I can’t explain how much I love them.  So many things I didn’t know I would need when I started that have made the training so much better.

I am getting close to breaking 13 miles in training.  I have never run farther and don’t know what lies beyond.  Maybe I will need new gear, maybe not.  I have some fancy new Lululemon running shorts if nothing else!

Great Finds!

I’ve mentioned before that I look for, and pick up spare change along my running route. Most runs I pick up a few cents, sometimes I find a quarter. I make about $5 every year just from spare change. Most runs I find a few cents.

Spare Change

This week, on my long run, I had to stop for a bathroom break. As is the case for most long runs, when I realized that I had to pee I was miles away from a bathroom that was available for use that early. After waiting and running for several miles, I finally made it to a Dunkin Donuts. As I ran across the parking lot, I had visions of donuts dancing in my head. I wanted a donut so much! I realized as I got closer that I didn’t have my usual water bottle – the one that contains my emergency cash. I was so sad that I had only collected three cents so far during the run. I didn’t have enough money for a donut. I immediately thought that it was too bad that I hadn’t found a dollar bill, which I have before. It would have been just enough to get a few donut holes. Sadness. As I walked in the empty store and headed toward the bathroom, I looked down. There was a folded dollar bill on the ground! I couldn’t believe my luck. The running gods had smiled on me! And the Munchkin I bought was the best donut I have ever had.

Back to School Blues

Don’t get me wrong – the life of a college professor is a good one. I have lots of flexibility in my schedule, control over what I do and when I do it, and a pretty decent private office. I even get summers off. I love my summers off. In fact, part of the reason I wanted to be a college professor was the summers off (well, and that I love the material, but still…). My dream-like summer bliss ends in August. Suddenly, I am required to be on campus, attend orientations, meetings, and events. I have to visit my office and wear dress up clothes. This morning, I even took a shower without working out first. It seemed like a total waste of water.

I don’t know how the rest of you normal job working people do it. I have so much admiration for people who can find the time to train while working a full time job. For me, the transition from summer to school is a difficult one. My normal running partners are busier so our running times change. My schedule fills up, so I find myself missing runs. I eat different foods at different times and get less rest than usual. I am less dedicated to my training schedule, so I feel tired and slow. All in all, my running usually suffers the first few weeks of the semester.

This year I’m determined to do better. Thanks to the advice of several normal job working friends, I’ve devised a plan. Here’s my plan for back to school transition success:

1. Make running dates. I’m planning ahead with my running, making running dates well in advance and scheduling them into my day’s events.

2. Buy healthy food in advance and bring my own lunch. If I have good food and have it with me at work, I will eat it and will actually eat, even if I’m at my desk when I do it.

3. Sneak in runs when I can. I’m going to experiment with the running lunch, or runch, this semester. There are days where I can get a good hour during the day and I am determined to put it to good use.

4. Sign up for a race. To keep on track, I’ve signed up for several early season races, and I will race them well. If I have a goal, I will keep myself accountable.

5. Accept runs that aren’t quite what I had hoped for. Part of my problem early in the school year is that I want to stick to my training plan, but won’t run if I know I can’t get in a target workout. This year I will accept the runs I can get. After all, 3 easy miles is better than nothing, even if it isn’t the track workout I had planned.

6. Stick to the routine. I’m guilty of scrapping my ancillary training like foam rolling and pre-hab when things get busy. This leads to more aches and pains and less running. I’m going to stay committed to my routine so I can stay healthy this season.

7. Be accountable. I’ve told everyone my plan. I’ve signed up for races with friends. And, now, I’m telling the world about my efforts to transition more successfully. I will be accountable to all of you to transition back to school with grace, ease, and lots of running.

This year, I will run back into the school year. Maybe it will help ease the back to school blues.

For those of you with normal, 40-hour a week jobs – how do you balance training and work? What advice would you give me for fitting it all in?

Troy Conquers 26.2: Do Work

With the Warrior Dash done and training continuing to pick up, the miles are increasing and my weight is decreasing.  I am a bigger guy and not with the typical runner physique.   When I weighed myself in July I was at 255 lb.  255 is fine – if I could squat a VW Beetle or bench my refrigerator.  I cannot.  When I decided to sign up for this marathon I also decided that I probably should lose some weight. Maybe inspired by the distance or just deciding on a round number, I decided to lose 50 pounds before January; about 1 ½ pounds a week, so a decent amount but not out of the ball park for reasonable.  50 pounds at 3700 calories a pound debit is a lot of cupcakes I won’t be able to eat.

The exercise part is not an issue.  Looking at moving up through 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 mile weeks I will be getting in plenty of calorie burning miles.  Dr. Rachel was in town for a week and helped us with the diet.  We (wifey and me) aren’t giving up things we like but instead making better choices about what we are eating.  Maybe when we want a cookie we shouldn’t also eat a cheeseburger and French fries.  Having not tracked calories and fats before, I was amazed when I started to look up common foods.  Who knew that the amazing bratwurst I love are 200 calories apiece and a bun is 150?  Two of those things are 700 calories before you get to potato salad and beer.  How many times have I put down an entire day’s worth of calories in one meal?

The good news is I am already down over 15 pounds since starting this.  I feel lighter on my feet when the miles are racking up.  Between the diet changes, running, and adding calisthenics I have felt better on even the short runs.  I have talked about wanting to lose weight in the past but this run, the training, the impending doom, have actually gotten me to really do something about it.  The only thing to do about the situation is keep increasing the mileage and keep decreasing the weight by making better decisions on eating.  I still ate a whole Stromboli post-Volkslaufe and will be damned if I don’t gorge after the marathon.

I probably don’t have to drop all the weight to finish the marathon.  But I am pretty sure it won’t hurt.

Big City, Big Running

This weekend I headed to New York City for some training (professional type training not running type training). Despite a rigorous schedule that had me indoors 9am to 10pm, I managed to get in a few workouts and a lot of city walking.

First, walking around the city is a workout in itself. Getting from one end of the city to the other takes a long time and inevitably involves lots of walking. And stairs. Stairs into the subway. Stairs from train to train. Stairs out of the subway. Then walking blocks and blocks. The city has everything you could ever want. Provided you want to walk there. Being in the city also skews one’s impression about how far is a long walk. At home, I wouldn’t walk two miles to get to a better sandwich shop if there were a sandwich shop right in front of me. Not in New York City. 20 blocks? We can walk that. 20 blocks to get to the diner we like better. Sure. I definitely got in my walking.

I also got in a great deal of NYC-style “trail running”. Part of what makes trail running great for injury prevention is the side to side motion and the unpredictable nature of the terrain. Walking in New York is great for this. Uneven sidewalks. Trash. Puddles. Scaffolding. Tourists (now, I know, technically, I’m a tourist, but I think there’s a difference between being not from the city and being a tourist). I walked around the city efficiently and definitely got a good workout for all those stabilizing muscles.

My first morning in the city, I went for a proper run. Despite high humidity, the threat of rain, and some serious pollution problems, I got out for a great run. I zipped down a few streets and hopped on the Greenway bike path near Lincoln Tunnel. The bike path is paved, smooth, and popular. Loads of runners and cyclists were zipping down the path. There were helpful crosswalk signs at many intersections and a few areas where plants had been planted. Of course, there was the usual New York assortment of trash, mysterious puddles, and homeless men. Nothing out of the ordinary. Overall, the path was a quite nice place to run. It was certainly much smoother and nicer than running on streets so I got in my miles much more efficiently.

Central Park Reservoir

Right before I left the city, I got in a great run in Central Park. I love Central Park and running through the park on a perfect day was wonderful! All in all, it was a great weekend in a fun city.

Troy Conquers 26.2: BaNa Review

Dr. Rachel’s Note: My awesome brother, Troy, is training for this first marathon. You can read about how it started here. As part of his training, he’s trying new fueling methods and learning more about nutrition, hydration, and running. Recently, we were approached by BaNa rehydration with an opportunity to try their new product. Being the helpful sister I am, I offered the opportunity to Troy. Here’s his take:

BANa  – Review

This is not a new slang term for the delicious, ubiquitous post race treat of a partially green Banana (gre-nana?) but a sports drink I was voluntold into trying.  Sample bottles and pamphlet arrived at my door in the most unassuming of brown boxes.  BANa – ‘an IV in a bottle’ – so claims the pamphlet.  The drink is advertised for runners, outdoor workers, and those suffering from hangovers.  With a composition falling between Pediasure and a saline IV bag, the drink promises to replenish and refresh.  I am an engineer by trade and quickly devised an experimental plan to test this new concoction out.

BaNa

Test 1 – First Impressions

Rather than test BANa out on a long run and risk GI issues, I tried it at home and not even after a particularly grueling day.  The first sip caught me off-guard.  I had been expecting a tart and artificial berry flavor but instead was greeted by a mild berry taste.  The berry flavor worked but along with it came a strange sweet and salty mixture best described as very light syrup.  I struggled a bit and felt like I needed a water rinse when I finished the bottle.  I felt hydrated and continued to feel that way for a much longer time than I thought normal.  With no GI distress, the first bottle seemed to be ok … just a little syrupy. So, after this initial test, I had reservations about being able drink this without a water rinse (could be problematic during a workout) but was pleasantly surprised by the tasty berry flavor.

Test 2 – The Short Run

Basics out of the way, it was time to test BANa out during a workout.  My Tuesday training involves running 3 miles and doing 4 rounds of calisthenics for about an hour long workout and I thought this would be a great first test.  I wanted to try BANa in what I knew would be a tougher situation where I would really need to rehydrate.  I can’t explain what changed and I am not sure how or why it did, but my opinion of BANa drastically improved during that workout.  It was fantastic.  That sweet/salty syrup taste was gone completely and instead it was replaced by that pleasant berry flavor combined with fast hydration.  The consistency was not an issue at all.  Maybe it was my body craving the simple carbs and salt, but the BANa completely hit the spot.  One 12 oz bottle got me through the entire workout and I still felt hydrated when it was over.

Test 3 – The Long Run

I headed out for a 6 mile training run with a bottle of BANa and expectations of good things again.  As with the short run, BANa hit the spot.  The flavor, the mouth-feel, the hydration – all were perfect during the run.  Small sips were all that I needed to feel hydrated and keep me going through my workout.  I finished my run feeling hydrated and with BANa to spare.  Most importantly, no GI disturbance.  Additionally, when finished I wasn’t gulping down water which helped to avoid that “sloshing” feeling that everyone is so familiar with.

BaNa review

Overall

I am mixed here.  I don’t think BANa is something I would grab as a run recovery or hangover recovery when lazing about the house. The taste and texture just didn’t come across right to me when I am not in the middle of intense physical activity.  However, on a run or a workout, this stuff just hit the spot and was great.  I can’t explain it, but it was like a whole different experience while on a workout.  It was refreshing, mild on the stomach, and quenched my thirst completely.  Maybe next time I race, I will take a BANa water with me to keep from eating that gre-nana on the other side of the finish line.

Find them on social media at @BaNaRehydrates

Note: Free products were provided to make this review possible. No other compensation was provided and the opinions are our own.