Monday, April 25, 2011

Marathon Running Advice

As the date of my second marathon nears I seem to be having trouble getting running off my mind. So I would like to share with you everything I know thus far about running marathons, proper nutrition, and having the right gear.

Nutrition: According to experts it is important to intake food every 45 minutes of physical activity. Energy Gels work great as fact acting energy that your body needs. GU, Cliff, and Accel are some of my favorite tasting brands. As well you want to make sure that you are keeping your body hydrated. On runs longer than 8 miles I would recommend that you hydrate with an electrolyte powder mix. The more that your body sweats it loses potassium and electrolytes, and  sodium. Its just as important to replenish these as it is important to consume energy gels. There are many different brands and different kinds of things to eat other than gels that will give you the same amount of energy that your body needs. It comes down to a personal preference thing and what works best for your body.

Gear: Shoes are the most important thing when you are running long distances. You want to make sure that you are wearing the right kind of shoes specific to your foot type's needs. Every one needs a different kind of support and cushion so make sure that you visit your local running store to find yourself the right pair. Someone who works there should be knowledgeable enough to help you find what you need. When running you want to make sure that you are staying away from wearing anything cotton. Cotton will just get weighed down and absorb sweat and lead to chafing. You want to make sure that you are wearing a synthetic material type shirt or shirts. Find a local running store and see what they have as far as their selection of clothes. When running long distances you will need to bring hydration along with you. There are many different options as far as how to carry water. Belts with water bottles that are a popular choice however I personally feel more comfortable with a camel back.

Marathon Schedule: Finally we come down to training for a marathon. There are lots of different training schedules out there and not all work for everyone. Finding the schedule that best suits your schedule and your body' s needs is key. Here I have taken a picture of a training schedule in which a very well known running store uses in their marathon training groups.
Of course this is all just a brief summary of what it takes to be prepared to run a marathon. There are many other things i can elaborate on but I think I would be here all day. Try and find a running group with other individuals who enjoy running as well. They may be able to share other tips and tricks with you.

Last advise I have to share with you is to stay motivated and never attempt to run a marathon without being prepared. An injury is never worth the effort. Listen to your body and stick to a schedule.

Happy running!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grooming Tips!

I was recently asked by a couple that owns a yorkie as well about how I groom my boys.  I've been cutting my own dogs hair for a little over a year now, and learned a lot by doing it again and again.  The following is the email that I sent them in response:

I would be more than happy to share my knowledge of grooming tips and tools with you. Of course I am no expert, but the knowledge I have acquired has come from internet research, conversations with groomers themselves, various Youtube videos and a little over two years of practice. Like you, I began my grooming experience with scissor cutting. Very rough around the edges, but getting the job done and convincing myself Leo was no show dog, I was somewhat content with the outcome of my procedure. As months went by and the thrill of giving a dog a haircut was no longer,  the reality of such a chore set in and the lengthy amount of time it took to scissor cut a mere 5 pound dog did not make up for the choppy coat it left. At this point I began to look into purchasing my first set of clippers. 

My research and understanding of what kinds of clippers to purchase has led me to the Oster Golden A5 double speed animal clipper with # 10 blade. Now I have been told that there is a difference in human clippers compared to animal clippers. I have read online multiple people who have used human clippers and have had no issue cutting their Yorkies. This could be because Yorkie hair is much different than the typical dogs. Trial and error and personal preference are behind this as well. I will tell you some pros and cons about the clipper that I own, and hopefully my insight will help lead you to determine what would be best for you.

 PROS: My clippers are two-speed, not really necessary when cutting a small pound dog, but if you’re cutting a dog with extra thick hair it may be a good idea. Oster is a good brand. They are well known as you may as well own a kitchen appliance of theirs. These clippers will last you a good while. You are buying clippers for the quality of their motor. (Some other good brands I considered were Andis and Wahl.) 
CONS: My clippers are a bit big. When cutting such a small dog it is hard to cut some parts evenly, without having to go over them a couple times. As well, motor may be a bit louder.

Most likely your clippers that you purchase will come with a blade. Mine came with a #10 blade. When asking a groomer how short this would be she replies that they usually use this length on the “potty areas” leaving hair extremely short. After looking at the prices of different blades which were around $20 each I came to the conclusion that I would much rather own and attachment comb set to have the options for different hair cut lengths, rather than just having one blade for one length.  These combs simply attach on top of my #10 blade. Another reason why I opted for the comb attachments are because it leaves you less likely to cut the dog. Groomers use blades because it leaves the hair with a much more precise cut. But again, it’s not like I am showing my dogs or anything.  

So that pretty much sums up the clipper portion of the haircut. I use the clippers on the body (back and under belly).  In the summer I use the ¼ inch attachment comb, and in the winter I’ll use a ½ inch. I leave the legs and face for scissor cutting. After purchasing a pair of grooming shears I don’t ever think that I will go back to using a standard pair of scissors again. Surfing numerous dog grooming websites you could say that I was left speechless learning the prices of some shears. They can get up to $1000!! I settled for a pair of $22 Fromm Premier Series point tip 6 ½” Shear (Curved) The curved shear is great for doing paws and faces as it leaves a natural looking shape. I also purchased a pair of Fromm Thinning shears. I use these more on Max because his hair is so thick, these work nicely to blend in the hair on his face. I think that you will be able to get away without using these on Baby’s hair, but you can do a little experimentation and see what you like. I hardly ever use the thinning shears on Leo because he has very thin hair. There are other brands much better than Fromm that will be sharper and give you a more precise cut, but I’m a college student what can I say J. These work just fine for me. Here are some websites that you will be able to find the right materials that you need:  This is where I purchased my Fromm shears- about $22 This is where I purchased my Oster clippers. I was lucky and got my attachment comb set as a gift with the purchase. Oster clippers cost about $120 Another good site for grooming materials
Once you find what exactly you want, search for good deals. Purchasing from the internet will almost always be cheaper than going to a local Pet store and getting them from there.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome to my Blog

This is the first of many posts.  To outline what the blog is about (if it isn't obvious by the title), I'll keep this post short, simple and to the point.

I have two Yorkshire Terriers, Leo and Max, and they are my babies.  They are the best little dogs I could have ever asked for.  They not only spend their time entertaining everyone around them, but they also go on runs with me, keep me company and are some of the best listeners you could have around.

Speaking of running, I'm a marathoner, about to run my second 26.2 mile race.  I've done everything from the 5k to the marathon, and all the training in between.  I'm also an avid cyclist in my running off-season, and have completed a 100 mile Century race late last year on my road bike.

Obviously, with the high intensity training required for centuries and marathons comes a need for nutrition.  Food is a huge part of my life, and one of my major loves, too!  I guess part of the reason I'm so into fitness is to allow me to eat some of the yummier things available without turning into a 600 pound hippo!

Looking forward to making a post soon to dive into the things closest to me!  Feel free to comment up and let me know what you think!