What’s on the Inside (Tracker)?

If you have followed my blog or other social media platforms you might have noticed that I credit a lot of my performance, not just to training, but to what I eat based on blood testing. The blood doesn’t lie! There is no getting around what is inside of you or what you put inside of you that can shape your training for a marathon and for life!

If you haven’t had a chance to read my past marathon successes and other races, I recommend that you read them before moving on in my blog post. Here is a list of previous write ups I have done about Inside Tracker.

Inside Tracker is a system that test various bio-markers to optimize performance and to make healthier choices that are relevant to you! Your health, is your health and there is no cookie-cutter diet that can make you gain the results you want specifically to your body and what is inside of you. Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 2.23.57 PM

There is no other product on the market like what Inside Tracker offers. The best part of the program and what they provide is they give you real hard data and information. There is no additional products they try to up sell you on. They aren’t a supplement company they are an information company! It is what you do with that information that provides you the gains you want to achieve.

If your health is something that is important to you then, Inside Tracker is something that needs to be seriously looked at.

In a March 9, 2016 interview with Men’s Journal (Click here for the full article) I had the opportunity to share my thoughts about Inside Tracker.

While a blood test from a routine physical contains much of the same information, there is an important difference between what you get from a doctor and what you get here: Physicians generally use data to look for problems; these services search for opportunities, putting test results into a context of peak performance and nutrition. Christopher Malenab, a semipro soccer coach and marathon runner in Sacramento, says information from a blood test led to dietary changes that helped him shave five minutes from his marathon time. “Blood doesn’t lie,” says Malenab. “It gives you hard data rather than just ‘I feel better.’ ”

The company provides a series of plans that you can purchase ranging in prices depending on what you want out of it. Again you are paying for the information, no other company does that. It is straight information that they have for you. Only you can determine what is important to you based on the results. CLICK HERE TO SEE THEIR PLANS. I recommend going with the High Performance Plan ($249) which provides the testing of 10 performance bio-markers and is perfect for the weekend warrior or the serious athlete. I prefer this plan because it doesn’t require fasting!

If you are interested in purchasing a plan I have a special code that will you some $!  Use code MALENABJULY when you purchase your plan.

What is your health worth to you? I think you need to take a serious look at what it is inside of you rather than just changing your training or readjusting your goals.

 

Race Recap: Brazen Racing Dirty Dozen Run

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So sometimes, an open weekend pops up and I decide to see what races are online. Last Friday, I signed up for the Brazen Racing Dirty Dozen run. This race was one that I did back in 2013, where I finished 5th place overall covering a total of 39.75 miles.

If you have never done a timed run / race, essentially it goes something like this … you show up, line up at the start, the horn blows and you run a loop course, trying to complete as many miles or laps as possible. The one who logs the longest distance is the winner.

So on Saturday morning, I got up early for the 7AM start time for the race, leaving my house around 5AM to give myself some time to get to Pinole Shoreline Regional Park, check in, grab my swag, and set my self up with my goodies at the start area which I would be passing through every lap. These are a good test of endurance running, where you don’t need a crew to meet you at different spots and locations along a course, because with a loop each runner can just set up shop and know where their goodies (snacks and hydration needs will be).

For me I set up a folding chair, laid our different layers of clothing I could change in and out of, sacks that separated my Nuun and a stack that had some of my gels. I also had my back pack sitting there with some additional socks and shoes as from previous experience having the ability to change those would make my feet comfortable during the race.

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Once the 7AM start time came about, I was now on my way with a couple other hundred or so runners who toed the line. The event consisted of a the 6 hour run which I was participating in, a 12 hour run, and through the course of the day there were two (2) 5ks and two (2) 10ks for those who were out there supporting the distance runners. Along with the individual events, were relays for the 6 hour and 12 hour times.

Without really spending much time to really train for this event, my goals were ambitious to cover 40 miles in the allotted 6 hour time on the course. Even with this in mind, I knew that I would need to run smart and start off easy. Also having run this event and along this trail previously, I knew how I would approach the run. The key for me was to get to 20 miles at 3 hours, run the flats and easier climbs, and hike areas which could take a toll on me over the course of time.

At the 3 hour mark I was where I needed to be, 20 miles on the dot, however at this point, I was feeling fatigued, my legs started to seem pretty heavy. I was able to find some focus and get to the marathon distance just before the 4 hour mark, so I was still in tact for getting to that 40 miles.

During the race, after each lap was completed, next to the main aid station located at the start / finish line area, was a large screen that counted each runners laps and total distance. For most of the race I was in 2nd place, which I was happy with. Looking at the 1st place runners splits for his laps, I knew I had a chance to get after 1st place, if I could find my legs under me.

At the 50k mark, my legs felt tight and sore and pushing through to 1st place would mean getting some luck out of the first place runner that he started to feel the same I did or in my case worse than  I did in order to pass him at some point. The tough part of the loop course is you really never know who is in first and who is where along the course, unlike a normal race, where you know the person in front of you is the person you need to pass.

After 5 hours, I started entering my loops in the short loop. The purpose of the short loop is to make sure that each of your miles counts. The short loop was a distance of just under .7 miles, while the long loop was about 3.6 miles.

With the final hour coming to an end, I was really tight at this point in my legs and I dropped from 2nd to 3rd place, based on the lap counter on the large screen.

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close to 2nd and not too far from 1st

The final countdown started to let runners know to get their asses over the timing mat to get those final miles officially recorded. I finished with a total distance of 35.12 miles.

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The course profile

I was a little disappointed in my overall mileage but was still happy that I could get 35+ miles out of my legs and finishing 3rd place still isn’t bad.

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the bling

After the event, each entry included a post race luncheon, so I grubbed on some food before making the trek home. As I was driving home, I started to think, where did it break down during the race compared to when I ran back in 2013.

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taking my shoes off never felt better

Here is what I think cost me some time and mileage in the race …

  • In 2013, I had a buddy who paced me at times when needed
  • In 2013, that same friend “crewed” for me, mixing my hydration and helping me with my nutrition pulling food for me
  • In 2013, I ran more miles, I was much fitter
  • In 2013, there were faster runners on the race, who I was able to run with and chat with. For most of the race I was alone except for passing people. Everyone’s paces where all over the place.
  • In 2013, it was cooler with a stronger coastal breeze than it was in 2016.

Still I am happy with chasing this goal, perhaps I will attempt another go at it in a year or so, when the opportunity arises.

Have you ever attempted a timed endurance run? What are your strategies going into this?

Boston2016: Marathon Monday!

In case you haven’t read my previous entries leading into Marathon Monday here they are …

Boston 2016: 916 to 617

Boston2016: Day 2 …

Boston2016: Pre Marathon Monday

If you have read those, well … here is all about Marathon Monday!

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The morning started off with an early wake up call, so I could get myself ready and catch an Uber to Boston Common. This is the staging area for runners catching the busses out to Hopkinton. When I jumped on the bus there, I was able to catch some extra shut eye while we traveled the 26.2 miles to Athlete’s Village located at Hopkinton High School. There we would gather ourselves consume some early morning calories, grab a coffee or other liquids and relax amongst others until our wave was called, I was in wave 1 so my call time would be between 9:05 and 9:20AM, the earliest of the groups in regards to the open divisions.


While there I was sitting around looking at all of these runners, thinking to myself I am surrounded by some pretty bad ass runners! Most of these runners, earned the right to run the Boston Marathon through a qualifying race. Each person here outside of the charity runners, ran a race that was at least 2 minutes and 28 seconds faster than their standard time, talk about FASSSSST!

While sitting in the open grass field there in Hopkinson, one of my fellow Buffalo Chips Running Club team members, Charsey. She qualified through the Santa Rosa Marathon after only running 3 or 4 marathons previously. With about 20 minutes until my call time, I made my way to the porto johns to make sure I was ready to get this run on. During the time in line I chatted up with other runners, who were from Buffalo, these guys were fast, talking about going sub 2:50 … I didn’t know how they did, but I hope they crushed their goal.
Now the the pre-race needs were completed, it was time to head to the staging area for Wave 1 runners, here everyone chatted up about various races, while others talked about their qualifying race and race day strategy. Boston Marathon veterans talked about the course, while runners like myself who had never been there just soaked it all in as part of the new course that was going to challenge us in a moments time.


As we gathered at the start line, the National Anthem was played then we were treated to a fly over by 2 amazing nighthawk helicopters. The pre-race festivities completed, the reality of taking on the 26.2 miles to Boston were really about to happen! I wasn’t sure how I really was going to tackle this race having had some set backs in training for about 6 weeks, where I was hit with a pretty nasty virus. So my plan was to run the race based on feel and go off some of the paces that I was able to muster up in training, with the ultimate goal of having a blast and enjoying the course and everything the roads to Boston had to offer, not to mention the crowds that were already supporting us even before the race had officially even started.

With the first few miles under way, I was feeling really good though I did start to feel pretty warm already, before the race had even started I dumped the gloves and kept my arm sleeves. The first 5k I was able to get in around the 7min/mile average.

Moving into the 10k mark I was just over 7 minutes per mile at this point, but feeling not as sharp and well as I was at the 5k mark. I knew today wasn’t going to be the race I would have dreamed of having, like running a BQ at Boston. At this point, I started to pull back a little moving from the 10k mark to the 10 mile mark, and pulled through the 1/2 marathon mark at around 1:39:xx. At this point, I made a decision that I was going to pull out of the race, and jump into the event! The event to me was much more important that running for a specific time. This was my first Boston Marathon, and nothing that day was going to ruin the enjoyment and fun that this weekend was already was about.

Around this point in the race, I heard a lot of screaming … I knew I was moving into Wellesley, where the college girls would be lined up screaming their freaking lungs out for the runners coming through their town. The screaming and yelling was much louder than I expected, though to be honest, the support on the course from beginning to end was more than I expected, though this wouldn’t be the loudest crowd of the day, that would be later in the race, where I would experience the unreal support of the Boston Marathon.


With Wellesley passed through, the next town I would be entering was Newton. This is where I knew there would be Heartbreak Hill, November Project Boston (and other Tribes) and where Donovan and Bethany would be viewing the marathon from. It was easier for them to see me there than at the finish line, so we planned that as I would get up Heartbreak Hill I would stay to the left and look for them there.

This is where I remember seeing so many people and gaining so much momentum getting up the hills. To be honest Heartbreak on it’s own isn’t that bad, but throw 20 miles in front of it then it becomes a full on challenge, most runners would feel it at this point. I was already feeling the cramping in my legs and side, I tried to stay hydrated as much as possible and even slowed to a walk at times to stretch out and sort out my cramping, though I found it best to keep moving at a slower run and the cramping would pass through.

Finally, I was over Heartbreak and moved out of Newton going into Brookline, the second to last town before making my way into Boston. Brookline was tough for me perhaps one of the toughest stretches where the fatigue was really starting to get to me. During this moment, I reminded myself of the work that was put into getting to Boston, and NOTHING was going to stop me from feeling that awesomeness that awaited on Boylston Street.

Gathering myself back to moving at a slow run, I saw other runners struggling as well, a lot of support came from the crowd and from fellow runners along the course. I remember approaching Fenway and seeing a sea of Red Sox hats along the side of the course, adding for some added support, as I started moving towards Boylston, I remember seeing a sign that read BOSTON STRONG along an overpass or walk path that we would run under. At that point, I’ll be honest I got a little emotional thinking about all of those events I saw what happened on tv in 2013, the families, the individuals and everyone else that were affected by the unfortunate incidents on April 15, 2013 during the bombings. This added some internal motivation to be Boston Strong and run this final stretch for all those affected, and for myself!

Moving closer to Boylston, I always remembered the scenes from previous races where announcers would talk about making the final turn onto Boylston Street. I could begin to hear a loud roar happening, but wasn’t certain if this was actually Boylston … and there it was I was turning onto the famous Boylston Street! The crowds so loud that it seemed like I was running through a thunder storm due to the loudness of the supporters along this final stretch. During the final 400 meters, I ended up running along side another runner named, Guy from New York who was running his first Boston Marathon … we looked at each other and helped one another get through that finish line … right when we crossed he looked over at me as said “We did it! We finished the mother fucking Boston Marathon!”, then gave me a hug and high five.

Crossing the line at 3:39:17 was no were close to my best time in the marathon, but the experience was the greatest feeling I have ever had in my 28 marathons. There is no feeling like crossing that finish line, the support and the special moments that the race had to offer. I crossed the finish line with a smile and was truly excited, I just ran the best marathon of my life! I knew there was no other race that would be able to capture the same emotion and enthusiasm as this race.

In the end I would never trade in the journey it took to get to Boston. The ups and downs in training, the races that didn’t go my way, the earning of previous Boston Qualifying times only to be seconds short once the final field time was announced. Everything, I would redo all 27 marathons to get to this awesome 28th all over again. Each marathon, training run and experience only made crossing the finish line on Boylston that much sweeter.

After crossing the finish line, it was a quick turn around to get back to the hotel, shower, pack up and head to the airport to catch our 4:35PM flight out of Boston … at that point the trip would be officially over.

So I guess there went the weekend and the journey … until we have another go at Boston. Thank you Boston Marathon, the BAA, and everyone who was part of the journey directly and indirectly, for the great memories I will always treasure.

#BOSTONstrong

Boston2016: Pre Marathon Monday

The morning started off with a shakeout run of my own, heading up Centre towards Commonwealth, turning around at the area known as Heart Break Hill … the infamous hill that would eat up runners alive after 20 miles into the race. When I got up there, I was surprised with some awesome “No Stopping” street signs just near the Heart Break Hill Running Store.

After getting my final run in before the big show on Monday, we headed out for the day into Boston, where I would have a chance to get a #FuckYeah photo with the dudes who started the free fitness movement known as November Project, both Brogan and Bojan have been very inspirational to me, I am honored to call them my friends. So knowing that I would be able to catch up with these dudes in their hometown of Boston was a plus.

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With our 11:30AM Boston Duck Tours tickets soon approaching, we headed over to the Prudential Center building where the pick up was scheduled for. These Duck Boat tours are pretty awesome, as they are old military vehicles converted for sightseeing. The boats go on both land and water. The scheduled tour would be taking us through various historical sights around Boston, it was a great way to see the city without having to walk around so much, which for me was important considering I was about to run 26.2 miles the following day.


We ventured through out the various parts of Boston, seeing Bunker Hill, going in and out of the Charles River, seeing the location of the Boston Massacre, while learning about historical moments in Boston’s history. For anyone taking in some sightseeing, I highly recommend this company as well as looking to get into “The Cod Father’s” boat, that was the driver who took us around the city, he was very informative and really funny as well.


A late lunch was in the schedule, where we would meet up with my dude Chris Kovalchick and his friend’s Chris and Rachel, we made our way to connect with them off of Boylston Street and walked around finding a pasta place that had minimal waiting. After throwing down some carbs we visited a nearby pop-up shop named Tracksmith, their gear was legit! I purchased a tank that had “BQ 16” on it, there was so much more I wanted to grab but didn’t want to over purchase on this trip.

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With time to spend as a family, we asked Donovan where he wanted to go, he wanted to go to the park, so we found one near Newton where he was able to run around, and do what he does best … find sticks and swing them around! We also made a stop by Ladder 15 one of the Boston Fire Departments that allowed us to go into the firehouse and let Donovan sit in one of the trucks.


As dinner time rolled around we kept it low key by grabbing some grub at the hotel restaurant.

With the tummy full, it was time to head back to room to get everything situated for the following morning … you know lay out the gear and take a flat runner, because if you don’t post it on social media the run isn’t really going to happen.

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Donovan also had to make sure my glasses for the race were proper, which provided me with an awesome laugh before I hit the sack.

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Boston2016: Day 2 …

Day 2 in Boston started off with a meet-up shake out run with Runner’s World‘s very own Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso. I woke up pretty early after a solid night of shut eye from the day prior, drove over to the Sheraton Hotel where the meet up run was scheduled to take place, there we were welcomed with some free swag and some delicious treats and coffee.

With 8AM rolling around Bart gathered everyone together and we started on our way along the Charles River, during the 3ish mile run, I was able to chat with other runners getting ready for Monday, along with some members of Runner’s World such as Bart himself, their marketing director, and one of their writers who does all of the gadget and shoe reviews. Sorry I am poor at names, but it was awesome chatting it up with them.

After the run, we headed back to the Sheraton, where we consumed more treats and shared more stories. I then headed back to the hotel to pick up Bethany and D, so we could start our day of marathon related events and doing some looking around Boston.

When we headed back down into Boston we made our way to grab some food at the famous Cheers bar, that influenced the 1980’s hit television series, for you young bucks reading my blog🙂. Here is a hidden gem when you visit that bar … if you want food and are willing to sit at the bar, which we did and they are kid friendly during family hours. Walk right in and say you are in for a drink and grab the first seat you find at the bar, they still serve the full menu. We got in and originally asked for a table, the wait to sit was about 60 minutes or so. I then asked the guy at the door, if they serve food at the bar and if kids are allowed in the bar area, he said yes they serve food and during family hours kids are allowed in any location.

So boom there we had it, some grub, a couple beverages and I even sat next to a guy named Norm … true story. I recommend their veggie panini, it was delicious!

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Had to go “Where everybody knows your name” …

Now our bellies full, and a beverage consumed, it was time to head over to the Janji pop-up store for the #TeamNuun meet up and hangout. There I was not only treated with the presence of some awesome Nuun peeps, but also was surprised when I found out Chris McDougall was there! Yup, the dude who wrote Born to Run.

After exchanging some selfies, high-fives and hugs … it was time to let the kiddo run around and burn off some energy as he and Bethany are always patient when it comes to my running stuff, well Bethany more so than D.

We headed over to the Boston Commons and Public Gardens area, where there were hundred of people hanging out, running, walking, sitting down and playing. This area is also famous for the children’s story book, Make Way For  Ducklings. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about it until Bethany educated me about it and we went to see the statues that were in the Public Gardens.

After a couple of hours in the Boston Commons area, we continued our walk down Boylston Street, with our next stop being the Boston Marathon Finish Line! Once I got there, we peaked around and saw some of the historical buildings that surrounded this running mecca. From the Old South Church to other Boston land marks, this was a special place, and I knew Monday would be even more special when I crossed that finish line. I got up as close as I could to the finish line without actually stepping onto it, I am saving that for Monday when I cross it … I don’t know maybe a little bit of superstition or whatever, but maybe I just want to respect it and savor that moment even more come Monday.

With our day pretty done and dinner time rolling around, we fancied a little pizza place called Emilio’s Pizza … there I grabbed an awesome spinach and feta calzone … it hit the spot proper! It was time to call it a night and head back to the hotel to kick the feet up.

Sunday is filled with some fun and exciting times as the marathon is now just around the corner!

Boston 2016: 916 to 617

 

The bags are packed and the enjoyment of traveling and actually getting to Boston was well underway. With a full workday ahead I was anxiously counting the hours until the 10:15PM flight. Before I even jump into the Thursday travels with the Friday arrival and marathon weekend festivities, let’s rewind to Wednesday.

 

Wednesday was awesome, my 9RUN6 peeps sent me off proper with a morning workout that involved running, donuts and coffee. Then that night I jumped over to Blue Prynt for the SRA Boston runners send off run.

 

9RUN6 send off

 

SRA send off

Now with Thursday being a busy workout day for us, things moved pretty quickly though a bit exhausting. It was appreciated that my fellow Sacramento Republic FC folks did a toasting for a beverage just as the workday ended and sent me off with an awesome good luck.

Now bags packed from the morning it was time to roll to the airport, the red eye flights are always fun because it can help get you tired to adjust to the time difference and an opportunity to get some evening shuteye at the same time.

With the flights completed we landed into Boston just before 10AM. The stomachs were the first thing that needed to be made happy so grabbing a bite at the hotel restaurant was a must.

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Hello Boston!

Now the weekend was really about to start with a trip to the Boston Marathon Expo! Boy was I excited. My first marathon expo was awesome, the NYC Marathon expo was amazing and this one was just plain out special! I just had to soak it all in. I don’t think I have been so happy to be at an expo.

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an ear to ear smile at the expo

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D getting some use out of the Boston poster …

I grabbed my bib, got my swag and made my way down from the packet pick up to the actual expo itself. The first thing that was purchased was the Boston Marathon jacket. This is going to be one item that will forever be cherished, though I won’t be sporting it until after the marathon on Monday.

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swag in hand!

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The official jacket … #EARNED!

The expo was to be honest was overwhelming …. I did make it around most of the expo, making stops to see the Nuun booth and chat it up with Kevin (CEO of Nuun) and Zensah to meet Alberto (Marketing at Zensah).

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Nuun hooking it up proper with this dope bottle and tube of Nuun.

Along with checking out some of these awesome booths I had to grab a free beer, of course. The Sam Adams 26.2 Brew is nothing short of delicious.

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CHEERS to FREE BEERS!

After spending a couple of hours at the expo it was time to hit up the nearby Whole Foods and stock up on some food for the hotel room before calling it a night. Day 2 in Boston would be a busy schedule between a couple of meet ups and some sight seeing planned so finding some downtime is important when it lends itself like a fairly early night in.