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Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Georgia runner to run XTERRA National Championships

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Deanna McCurdy of Peachtree City will be joining 700 other runners in the XTERRA National Championships this weekend. Deanna is running in support of Team Miles for Smiles, a Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, or F.A.S.T. Her youngest daughter is diagnosed with the disease. Those effected are born missing a segment of their 15th chromosome on the maternal side and require life long care.

Deanna placed 1st in the XTERRA Deep South Trail Run 15k (no big deal, right?) that she described as really, “a way to have a date with my husband, we were going to go mountain biking after I ran the race.” Sounds like a tough woman. But don’t be afraid, Deanna just has perceptive from raising a child affected by Angelman Syndrome. Her running mantra is, “I run because I can. When I get tired I just remember those who can’t run and what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted and I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me.” Deanna wears a blue reminder bracelet and friendship bracelet in support of Foundation of Angelman Syndrome and a friendship bracelet is from her 8 year old daughter.

Deanna says that when their daughter was born it turned their world updside down. The fact that you don’t know when “someday is” makes you jump on every opportunity if it presents itself.

What’s unique about Deanna’s foundation is that a cure doesn’t seem in a distance future, it’s being tested successfully and a cure could become imminent. 1 out of 15,000 children have the disease but Deanna says that many more may be prevalent in mis-diagnosis as autism or cerebral palsy.

If you want to support Deanna, her race, and the foundation, please visit their site at miles-for-smiles.org.

5 Reasons to not slow down at any Finish Line

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

There are many examples in sports where a competitor prematurely celebrates or “lets up” at the last second turning what appears to be great success to embarrassing failure.  In the NFL season opener on September 5th between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, Danny Trevathan purposefully dropped a Joe Flacco intercepted pass at what turned out to be inches before he crossed the goal line to celebrate.  What appeared to be a Denver touchdown quickly turned into a Baltimore first down.  In the August Ironman 70.3 Brazil race, Jérémy Jurkiewicz of France stopped short of the finish to celebrate his victory and literally had to push back Brazil’s Igor Amorelli only inches from the tape to grab the win.  This calls for a look at 5 Great Reasons for NOT slowing down at the finish line!

Finish the Drill

Several sports teams including the University of Georgia football team have adopted “Finish the Drill” as their slogan.  There is great satisfaction both mentally and physically when we complete a race knowing that we left absolutely nothing on the trail.  I feel great knowing I gave it my best shot and I feel lousy knowing I held back ….regardless of my excuse.

Cameras Keep Rolling as Time Keeps Ticking

There is always at least one camera rolling and the footage is hard to refute especially when there are multiple angles.  Those computer chips don’t lie so slowing up at the finish is hard to refute even when the argument is between you and yourself.  After the race, look in the mirror and feel confident telling yourself that you ran through the finish and not to the finish.

It Makes No Sense to Come Up Short

Whether the race is 100 meters or a marathon, giving it your best shot for 99% of the race only to let up at the finish makes no sense.  We have all seen it happen to others but we don’t think it can happen to us.  It can.  It takes both mental and physical toughness to avoid coming up short.  Winners never quit and quitters never win.

You May Get a Big Surprise

I was fortunate enough to be the anchor on my college mile relay team my sophomore year in a dual meet with our arch rival.  We were 1 point ahead going into the final event meaning the winner of the mile relay event would win the dual meet.  Unfortunately their mile relay team was far superior as evidenced by their sweep of the open 400.  Surprisingly their leadoff man lost control of his baton coming out of the blocks!  Baton retrieval was costly however the gap had disappeared by the time the anchor legs made their exchanges.  We went stride for stride through the backstretch. Their anchor patiently waited to make his move.  I just knew I had him beat until I hit the tape and caught a glimpse of him hitting the tape at the same time.  I had no idea he was that close!  First place judge picked me.  Second place judge picked me too.  The points were split and we miraculously won the meet.  I swear I did not “let up” but if I had “let up” no way I would have admitted it.

Your Pain Will be Even Greater After the Race If You Let Up

That inner voice may tell us that we have run a long and hard race and no one will ever know if we let up just before the finish or celebrate those last few steps.  That is no one will know but us.  Truth is the “pain” saved by the “let up” in no way compares to the pain of coming up short especially when a competitor passes us up at the finish line.  Don’t take the risk.  Run through the finish in every race both on and off the trail.

If You Don’t Like To Run…Then You’re Doing It Wrong

Friday, August 16th, 2013

I’ve heard many people over the years say why running is just “not for me.”  I think I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book as to why they don’t like running, don’t run at all anymore, or never even tried to run because of some sort of physical barrier.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always been a runner.  In high school, my running consisted entirely of what I did in football practice or games.  My attitude was, “If it was anything longer than 100 yards, then just go on with out me.”  However, once I became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, running became part of my culture.  My division is known for long distance runs in Area J (a sandy, wooded, and hilly area on Fort Bragg).  Our runs together in Area J were often times pretty tough, but it was something that brought us all closer together.  Today, Chris Barber and I still reminisce about those runs we had.  There is still an ongoing debate as to who was the fastest runner in our platoon, but it was an experience that he and I will never forget.

The power of long distance running is unmeasurable.  I think it’s crazy when I hear people tell me that they weren’t built for running.  There is enough science out there now that proves ALL human beings were built to be distance runners.  Running is what we do.  It’s in our DNA, and there is not other animal on the planet that can do it quite like us.  Our natural ability to run long distance has been a primary contributor to our evolutionary development and success.

Here are four little tips that may help get rid of a few of those excuses as to why you aren’t a distance runner:

1.) If your body hurts when you run, then you probably need to evaluate your running form.  We could get into the whole debate about running shoes, and minimalist versus support shoes, but form is often times the main culprit for running pain.

2.) Tailor your runs to your own personal wants and needs.  This means that you must listen to your own body.  If your running partner is much faster than you, then don’t risk injury just to be able to keep up with his or her pace.  There’s nothing wrong with pushing your physical fitness levels.  Actually, I highly encourage it in order to make you a stronger runner both mentally and physically.  However, do it judiciously.  Distance running is a game of patience, so just relax and take your time.

3.) Enjoy your runs by running in a comfortable environment.  This means if you don’t like to run in the heat, then schedule your runs for the early morning or in the evenings when the sun is not so intense.  Is your trail not too safe after dark?  Then run with a friend or during daylight hours.  The important thing is that you plan your runs in a safe and comfortable environment so that you can focus on running, and not be distracted by a whole lot of external factors.

4.) Be a grateful runner.  Not everyone in the world has an opportunity to enjoy running because of physical or mental disabilities.  It is something that we all take advantage of, but it is an important thought to keep in mind when you’re running.  I’m grateful every time I lace up my running shoes and get out there on the trails.  Having an appreciative outlook on your ability to run can be an enormous contributor to your motivation.

In the end, just get out there and run.  There are going to be things that work for you that don’t work for other people.  However, in order to find out what works you have to get out there and learn your body.  Find out what your physical and mental limits are, and don’t be afraid to set new ones.  And lastly, remember that we are all runners.  It’s not unique to only certain human beings.   Instead, running is in us all, but it is up to you to bring it out.

Take life one mile at a time.

Military-Style Pull Up Workout

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Pull ups are one of the best upper body workouts that you can do.  They force you to use all of the muscles above your waist in order to reach the top of the bar.  When done correctly (which means not kipping like a CrossFitter) you can seriously transform your upper body strength.  Your pull up workout should be done once a week in order to both maintain and achieve the best possible results.  You can also incorporate your pull up workout with your gym routine.  For example, I do my own personal pull up workout and workout my back muscles on the same day at the gym.  However, it is not imperative that you do both.  It is all about personal preference, as well as one’s own physical condition.  With that being said, you can also tailor the repetitions to fit your own physical abilities.  The repetitions provided in this workout are only a model for you follow.  I hope you enjoy the workout, and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns while executing this exercise (brianansley.ba@gmail.com).

Equipment Needed:

- Dip Belt (optional)

- Weighted Plates (optional)

- Pull Up Bar

 

Pyramid Pull Ups (30-60 seconds of rest between sets):

 

Set 1: 10 reps

Set 2: 9 reps

Set 3: 8 reps

Set 4: 7 reps

Set 5: 6 reps

Set 6: 5 reps

Set 7: 4 reps

Set 8: 3 reps

Set 9: 2 reps

Set 10: 1 rep (hold your chin above the bar until muscle failure)

*Repeat pyramid sets, but this time work from 1 rep to 10 reps.  Once you’ve completed both pyramids, do the entire workout again as a chin up  workout (palms facing towards you this time).

Military-Style Pushup Workout

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Okay, SeriousRunners.  Here is a simple pushup workout that can be done just about anywhere, and requires very little equipment.  If you don’t have some of the equipment, then simply substitute it with something that you might have laying around the garage or basement.  Also, I would suggest wearing a watch so that you can keep precise time in between sets.  Remember to stay consistent with your 60 second rest times, and focus on correct form to achieve maximum results and avoid injuries. *If you have any questions regarding this workout, then just hit me up at brianansley.ba@gmail.com.

Equipment Needed:

1 – Swiss Ball (any size)

1 – Medicine Ball (any weight)

1 – Weighted Plate

Rest 60 seconds between each set

Standard Pushups (no weight):

Sets: 3

Regular Style (hands shoulder width apart): Max reps

Wide Style (hands further than shoulder width apart): Max reps

Diamond Style (hands close together to form a diamond): Max reps

Two Arm Medicine ball Pushups:

Sets: 4 (Close Grip on top of the medicine ball)

Reps: Max

Elevated Swiss Ball Pushup:

 Sets: 4

Reps: Max

One Arm Medicine Ball Pushup:

Sets: 4

Reps: Max

Weighted Pushup:

(Adjust weight accordingly)

Sets: 4

Reps: Max

*Repeat entire workout until muscle failure is achieved.

A Strong Upper Body Can Drastically Improve Your Run

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Runners have the tendency to focus primarily on the strength and condition of their lower body.  Obviously strong and well conditioned legs are vital aspect of a well-built runner.   However, upper body strength plays a key role in a runner’s form, efficiency, and overall success.  I realize how time consuming both running and putting in work at the gym can be.  The good news is that some of the best upper body workouts can be done in your garage, outside on your porch, or even at the park where you do some of your running.  The location of your workouts is not so much of a contributing factor to your success, but consistency is the thing that will be the game changer.  Just like training for a trail or road race, you must be just as consistent with training your upper body as well.

If there’s one thing I learned from my PT sessions as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, besides running my ass off, it’s that you can never get enough pushups and pull-ups in for a workout.  With that being said, I’ve taken this vast knowledge of military-style workouts and tweaked them in a way to SERIOUSLY step up anyone’s upper body strength.  Pull-ups are considered one of the best upper body workouts because it works every muscle above the waist.  I know there are some “modifications” out there now to the pull-up, such as the kipping pull-up that crossfitters use, but I like to stick to the old fashioned method.  The traditional pull-up forces you to use only your upper body muscles to reach the top of the bar.  Pushups are also an excellent upper body workout that can be done just about anywhere.  It is best to mix up your pushup routine with various styles of pushups, but again, the key is consistency as it is with anything else.

Having a strong upper body, as well as a solid core, allows you to keep your proper running form even as your legs begin to tire.  Not only does this help during your run, but it will also help fend off those nagging injuries that can occur.  As your body becomes tired during a run, your running form will begin to weaken.  Many runners don’t realize that this isn’t happening because of weak legs, or a poor conditioning level.  This is happening because your upper body is wearing out faster during your run than both your lower body and cardiovascular system.  According to a Runner’s World article online, Olympians, and elite runners alike, are taking part in strength training to help improve their running game.  According to the article, “Based on the various training programs used by the elites, it’s clear that we don’t yet know the ideal strength training routine. What we do know is that strength training in many different forms results in better running economy and an improvement in running time to exhaustion. Put simply, you’ll be able to run faster, longer and stronger.”

I will be posting my own personal pushup and pull-up workouts, with pictures, very soon.  It will be a very useful tool for runners at any level, and your upper body will love you for it (except for the initial soreness).   Bottom line; don’t neglect your upper body.  Think of running as a full body workout.  For that reason alone, it is just as important to have a strong upper body as it is to have a strong lower body when you’re out there burning up the street or trails.

Remember to keep an eye out for my military-style workouts that are coming very soon on Seriousrunning!

Brian Ansley – Adventure Racer Joins SeriousRunning

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Barb Wire Crawl

My name is Brian Ansley, and I’m a former United States Army paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.  I did two tours of duty conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for a total of 27 months.  Once I became a veteran, I realized that I needed to fill the lack of excitement that the civilian world recurrently brings to the table. I started doing road races, triathlons, and duathlons in 2010. In 2011, I became very serious about racing and eventually began running at the Ultra Marathon level.   In addition to traditional-style endurance races, I also began to run obstacle races. I qualified for the Spartan Race World Championship! Get $10 off, Use Code: SPEAR10 – Sign Up Now!, and placed in 14 additional races in the state of Texas throughout the year. 

In my free time I enjoy lifting weights, running, kayaking, hiking, and pretty much anything outdoors.  I also still remain true to my military roots, and continue to do military-style workouts on a weekly basis.  Much of my military-style workouts include a very intense pushup and pull-up workout, as well as ruck marches to strengthen both my lower and upper body.  In the past few years, I have really focused on my diet and what I put into my body.  I eat all organic foods, and stay away from genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and preservatives.  I don’t follow any one specific diet plan, but I do try to minimize the amount of processed foods and grains that eat.

SeriousRunning has provided me with an exceptional opportunity to share the things that I love to do. My interaction with like-minded endurance athletes, veterans, and highly motivated individuals is an invaluable instrument to help others, as well as myself, to reach new levels of physical and mental toughness.

SeriousRunning – Trail Running, Adventure Races, Military-style Fitness

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Hello, I’m Chris Barber, CEO and co-founder of SeriousRunning.

In 2008 I separated from the Army after 4.5 years of service. I knew I wanted to be an “entrepreneur,” so I started in commercial real estate development. I had no idea what I really wanted to do. I attended graduate school at night with hopes that would give me a clearer vision of my career path, but it didn’t. The military taught me tons of intangibles, but my experience didn’t seem to fit any of the skills needed for the jobs I was seeking. While I enjoyed my years of service and performed well, I left the military because I wanted to be in a different type of organization and making that career transition seemed impossible at times.

I joined my brother and took over one of his newly launched web properties, SeriousRunning. I’ve been a runner my entire life and know a lot of about the subject, but I didn’t know anything about technology or websites. I reasoned, ‘I didn’t know Field Artillery but I learned how to do that, how tough could it be?’

I spent years posting, engaging, and learning on SeriousRunning until I finally worked too hard, my running (plus jumping out of airplanes in the 82nd Airborne Division) caused my knees to give out. After MRIs, PT (physical therapy, not physical training), and many appointments, my final prognosis from the VA doctor’s was, “Stop running.” Thanks…

I spent about 2 years off running but was able to get a 2nd, non-VA opinion recently. This time the prognosis was similar, but actually helpful, “You ran too much, stop running, cross train and build up the other muscles in your legs.” So I was too serious of a runner. I’ll guess I’ll have to add that to my other two weaknesses, “working too hard” and “being too nice.”

So I reached out to my battle buddy from Iraq, Brian Ansley (who called me in less than a minute after us not speaking for years) and told him I wanted to do a race in 90 days with him and he’s all for it! He’s a stud and crushes adventure races, so hopefully he doesn’t embarrass me. We’re going to be working on SeriousRunning together and telling you about our adventure race in 90 days as well as tips for military style training. We’re deciding between Spartan Race, XTERRA, or Tough Mudder right now. Any recommendations on which race are appreciated!

What I hope to accomplish with this race:

1. Prove to the doctor’s that I can still run at a high level

2. Prove Veterans can be successful in Internet and Technology jobs

Running was my passion in 2008, that’s why I started SeriousRunning, but getting Veterans Technology jobs is my passion now.

Running and exercise helped ease my transition from a combat environment to civilian life. I was lucky that I had a brother working in Technology and was given the chance to learn a growing industry; I want to give other Veterans this same opportunity. Ansley is about to start graduate school in Environmental Studies and feels like he’s one of the lucky ones too. His story is much more powerful than mine. We both have a passion to help more Veterans become the lucky ones like us. Even if we have to stay up all night

 

Happy Trails,

Chris Barber 

 

Cross Training

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

 

I thought I’d ease back into this blogging thing with the ever popular “toes with background” picture. Gotta get ready for the XTERRA World Championships

I took this picture to show the alignment in my legs. See how they don’t seem symmetrical? It’s because they’re not, I didn’t cross train. The swimsuit? Oh, no, that’s just my ordinary swimsuit. It’s suppose to be like that.

The problem is that my quads are freakishly larger than the rest of the muscles in my legs because of too much running (apparently there’s such a thing). My experience in the Army was to always push through walls and not to feel pain, but I’ve since learned that it’s better to train smarter. I didn’t listen to my body and pushed way too hard.

When you over train one area of your body you ignore the other muscles. It’s all about opportunity costs, pick what you want to improve and start there. For me right now, it’s everything but my quads….

So I swam. And then layed out.

And gave some muscles some much needed attention.

Internet Marketing Internships for Military Veterans

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I want to help military Veterans get outstanding employment in the civilian world. I think our military Veterans are currently the United States’s best resource and can make a deep impact. The problem is that military Veterans just don’t have the right skills for today’s economy. It used to be that a “business manager” was a viable career path, but that’s no longer the case in our hyper-digitized society, everyone must not only be able to manage, but also create value with individual skillsz.

I got lucky. I had a brother that introduced me to technology and the Internet early on. I want to pass that luck to other military Veterans.

The first person I’m going to help is Eddie. Eddie has 23 years military service, is a SFC in the Army, and is preparing himself for the civilian world by taking classes in web design at night. He’s using the post 9-11 Bill to pay for it. I used the post 9-11 Bill myself to pay for (a very small portion) of my MBA at Emory University in Atlanta. I’m going to give Eddie some projects to work on for SeriousRunning and National Trail Running Day and connect him to industry professionals.

I’m also going to work with Justin. He was in the Marines for 4 years and is currently in the Army guard. He has a job that allows him a lot of free time in front of a computer so he’s going to try to write a couple of articles and learn how to create quality online content. He can then use these skills writing other sites like About.com. He’s interested in trying adventure racing but he just needs the shoes to take that first step. I’ve got plenty of extra shoes and I can only wear one pair at a time so I’ll help him make that first step.

If you are a Veteran and are interested in learning more about the Internet business please feel free to email me at chris@seriousrunning.com. Those two examples are real people that are beginning an Internship now.

Areas of study:

Social Media

Blog Writing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Email Marketing

Event Marketing

Digital Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Online Advertising

SEM

Google Adwords

Google Analytics

Potential perks include free race entries, gear, and marketable skillz. Plus doing fun, extreme stuff like XTERRA adventure races.

Requirements are that you must commit to 10 hours per week and 1 weekly phone lesson. Please simply send an email describing yourself and what you are interested in to chris@seriousrunning.com. No resumes please. Internships are open now and will last until November 1st.

Happy Trails!

Chris

Co-founder & CEO

SeriousRunning & National Trail Running Day