Activate Good and The Raleigh Color Run

Activate Good was the featured charity organization at this year’s 2013 Raleigh Color Run.

Early this morning, I (along with tons of other AG volunteers) took our places in downtown Raleigh, colorbombing 4,500+ runners as they ran by. It was a blast, and I managed to document a bunch of ‘colorful’ photos. Check ‘em out. Also, if you’re interested in finding out ways to volunteer, definitely stop by the Activate Good website 🙂

The Race Never Ends

The following is a guest post, written by one of RJR’s readers. To find out more about contributing a guest article to this website, please review the posted guidelines by clicking here.

The race never ends.

Moments after the close of the 2012 season in late October, and having failed to procure a single victory in my first season as a bike racer, my thoughts have already shifted to next season.  Preparation begins almost immediately.

Although it won’t manifest itself in the physical form for months, the mental preparation begins as soon as the race ends. You begin to lay out your goals for next year, your off season training program, your diet, your sleep and recovery habits, which races you’re planning on doing, your goals for weight gain or loss, etc. The thoughts start coursing through your veins, infecting you, like poison, an acid maybe – eating away at you, consuming your every moment.

Fast forward to early March:

4am on a Saturday morning and I’m wide awake eating my third bowl of Special K with vanilla and almonds, standard pre-race meal when they’re this early.

At 6:30am, the first race of the 2013 season will begin in New York’s Central Park.  It will be 29 degrees when we receive our final instructions from the chief referee and that whistle goes.  Until that moment, I will be a nervous wreck – wondering what kind of shape guys will be showing up in, about the course, the tactics, about my form, my chances, about the freezing temps and how it would make so much more sense to go back to bed and wait ’till its June, but I don’t.

I ride.

Fast forward to April:

Tour of the Battenkill is fast approaching; billed as “America’s toughest race”, “the queen of the classics” they call it.

At my level, it will be 64 miles of brutality, punishing climbs, unpaved roads and sketchy descents. My training regimen is in full force, has been for weeks:

5 days or 12-14 hours per week on the bike-

2 of those days are hard intervals-

2 days of endurance miles with some climbing and fast tempo riding built in-

1 day recovery ride-

repeat.

Miles upon miles upon miles ridden in frigid temperatures, lactic acid inducing intervals and hill repeats have brought me here, sitting on the bumper of my VW in an unpaved muddy parking lot at “The queen of the classics,” nervously stuffing Cliff Bars and energy gels into my jersey pockets, working out the math.

The race will take roughly 3 hours (give or take), which, for me, translates into 3 energy gels and 2 small Cliff Bars taken roughly 20 minutes apart to avoid a ‘hunger flat’. It’s 41 degrees with overcast skies (it had been raining earlier) – in other words; it would be perfectly normal to still be in bed, watching TV.

I wonder sometimes why we do this – is it worth all of the effort? All of the sacrifice?

The answer comes every time I race.

You train tirelessly in every weather condition imaginable, when it would make so much sense to just stay in. You torture your legs and lungs, cut back on junk food and beer; because at the end of every race, if you’ve done all you can, you will arrive in that moment – the one you’ve dreamt about.

When that finish line comes into view, you somehow, some way summon every last ounce of strength you have – your face twisting and contorting in uncontrollable pain – and it’s just you against them, or you against you, whatever the case may be. It is in that moment – that final 200 meters, after you’ve suffered, and suffered, and suffered, that everything…. Everything makes perfect sense.

How sweet it would be to taste victory – to raise your arms to the sky and bathe in glory; or how devastating to get so close and fall just a few meters short. It is in these two extremes of human emotion – sharing the same moment, in which you find the buzz. That buzz (which can only be realized after hours of pain) – that makes it all worthwhile. Whatever the result, the next thing is always the same.  Preparation for the next race has already begun…..the race never ends.

Ken Vadnais

About the Author:

Ken Vadnais is a store manager at Party City and an avid cyclist.  In his spare time he is a category 4 bicycle racer for New York’s Brooklyn Velo Force cycling team. Learn more about BVF through www.brooklynveloforce.org or follow Ken on Facebook

[Photos via: Allison F.]

Product Review: LOCK LACES™

Anyone who knows me as a runner knows that I absolutely loathe having to tie my shoes. In fact, whenever I received a pair of running shoes in high school, I would tie them once and never tie them again.

TRUE STORY.

So, you could imagine my excitement when I was offered the opportunity to test out a product called LOCK LACES™ this past weekend.

LOCK LACES™: Comfortable & Efficient

It took me a total of maybe 10 minutes, from the time I read the directions and opened the package, to the point where I had both of my feet in my ‘locked and laced’ running shoes.

**As an added word of caution – when you are assembling your shoes with the new LOCK LACES system, make sure that your laces are cut to the length that you want PRIOR to inserting the laces into the closing clip. Once you snap the closing clip onto the ends of your laces, that clip isn’t going anywhere! (Trust me- I tried). I guess that’s a good thing though, because it means that your laces won’t ever become untied in the event that the lock fails.

Unlike regular shoe laces that often require tying and untying, loosening and tightening – the LOCK LACES were actually super comfortable. I walked around in them for a few minutes to test out the strength of the locking mechanism, and it was surprisingly sturdy. However, the true test would be taking them out for an actual run.

Out the door I went, for a very brief- 2 mile loop around the neighborhood. I ran at my usual 7-minute/mile pace, and I examined my shoes when I returned.

The laces hadn’t moved an inch.

When I wanted to take my shoes off, I simply depressed each of the locks between my forefinger and thumb (see image gallery at the end of this post), and slid the lock down the laces a little bit. Honestly, I could’ve just slipped my feet out of my shoes, but I figured that loosening them up a little would probably make it easier to slip on the next time.

Flexible and Secure

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to stop during runs with other people because someone’s laces became untied. Personally, my previous method for tying my shoelaces involved tying them in a knot and then weaving the excess down the neck of my running shoes (for added security). As of today though, I hopefully won’t have to do that anymore 😉

The best feature about these new laces lay in their elasticity. With each stride that I took, I could feel the laces expanding and contracting, constantly adjusting to each foot strike. This made for a much more comfortable run. Frankly, it felt like I was running in a new pair of running shoes.

It’s funny how you sometimes fail to realize that certain things are awry until something around you changes. That said, I almost immediately recognized the improved circulation in my feet. Now, I’m not saying that I tie my shoes too tight. If anything, it’s the opposite. Instead, the LOCK LACES offered comfort and security in a snug fit. My feet didn’t feel like they were being squeezed to death, nor did they feel like they were sliding around in my shoes.

Overall, LOCK LACES have won this runner’s vote; and I’ve already got my eye on my soccer cleats. No doubt – LOCK LACES will certainly be put to the test this week as I’ve got at least 50+ miles of ground to cover, running and a helluva’ soccer game coming up this Sunday.

*I’ll keep you posted!

About LOCK LACES™

LOCK LACES™ is the only patented performance lacing system engineered to meet the demands of endurance athletes such as runners, triathletes, marathoners, and walkers. They are also a national sponsor of both the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Fit Feet Program and The Challenged Athletes National Triathlon.

I was sent two packages of LOCK LACES : one in white and one in hot pink. However, for just shy of $8/pair, LOCK LACES are also available in the following fun colors:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Cool gray
  • Cotton candy pink
  • Navy blue
  • Purple
  • Orange creamsicle
  • Red
  • Royal blue
  • Yellow
  • Sour green apple

The laces are distributed worldwide by Nathan Sports/Penguin Brands Inc. and are available at more than 2,000 retail locations across the U.S. including Big 5 Sporting Goods, Academy, Meijer, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. For more information, you can check out  www.locklaces.com or keep up with the brand online via their Facebook  or Twitter.

The Best Regimen for College Fitness [Infographic]

Going away to college for the first time can be exciting and daunting at the same time. The following infographic demonstrates what you can do to stay fit while steering clear of the dreaded, “Freshman 15″.

**This infographic was submitted by one of RJR’s readers, Susan M. You can view the original source link here.