Running For a Cure

Posted: 16th November 2010 by Mark Guida in About

I have entered into the 2011 NYC Marathon. Saying it out loud just seems surreal to me; I am not a runner by any means.  I am a cyclist before anything else and I haven’t even been on a bike in almost a year!   The medium, this time, is not being chosen because it’s easy, but because it’s difficult.

A former employee and friend of The Knotts Company, where I currently work, lost her battle with ovarian cancer on November 6th, 2010.  Her husband set up a foundation in her name to raise money for ovarian cancer research and a group of us are planning on running the 2011 NYC Marathon in her honor.  We hope to raise not only money, but the awareness that ovarian cancer is out there and, while not as common as breast or lung cancer, it remains difficult to detect early.

I will be updating this blog with my training progress as well as ‘in-event’ updates when that day comes.  Check back often and feel free to follow the links at the bottom of the page to learn more about ovarian cancer and what you can do to help.

In Memory of Marilyn Youngblood

Knotts 5k Training Course

Posted: 24th November 2010 by Mark Guida in Stuff I'm Using, Workouts

In my post ‘Tracking My Progress’, I rated RunKeeper as my most useful application for tracking my training and being able to stream my current progress during the Marathon.  The last feature alone is what made my decision to choose RunKeeper over the rest.  However, there is another app/website that I will be using to help guide me through my training. has a wealth of tools and a well populated user forum that will help any level of runner reach personal goals with ease.  They do feature an android app similar to RunKeeper called Handy Runner that essentially does the same thing only it links your saved routes from to your device.  The only drawback is that you can’t create a GPS workout based on the saved route from the website; it’s either or.  I think i’m going to give Handy Runner a go for my scheduled workouts during the workweek.  I created a 5km course starting and ending at the driveway for Knotts.  I think this will be a nice challenging course with about a 200 foot elevation change from the beginning to the middle of the course with a nice downhill for the last 2km.  I need to figure out a couple more courses around the office that I should be able to complete during my lunch hour to mix it up and to increase the distances a bit at a time.  The ‘Knotts 5k’ course will be the standard for me from now until the event.  After the new year, it’s gonna be my 3 day a week workout, we’ll see how it works out.

The First Workout

Posted: 20th November 2010 by Mark Guida in Workouts

We spent the weekend at my in-laws house and the Marathon came up a bunch of times in our conversations. Mostly joking about training and how much food I was putting on my plate. I haven’t really changed the way I eat, but since my daughter was born 2 and a half years ago and I’ve been loosing weight steadily. We focus on fresh foods primarily and the less processing an item has gone through to get to our table the more likely we are to eat it. We eat just as much volume of food now as ever and yet we are in the best shape weight-wise since high-school. Weighing in today at a whopping 158lbs (can’t remember the last time I was under 160), I decided to give the treadmill in the basement a go…just as a warm-up. Eeek! Definitely shook out the cobwebs in my legs! Having a desk job, I get little or no exercise during the day and my legs have atrophied in the past 6 years since college. There was once a time I could leg press nearly 550lbs. Now, I’m content with scaling a flight of stairs and not making any noises while doing so!

So, what was the outcome of my workout? Well, I took it easy and ran/jogged for a 1 mile distance at 5mi/hr (apparently it’s kind of an in-between speed as I couldn’t get comfortable with either a run or a jog). Obviously, I survived this quick trial, but I can see now that the next year training will take significant effort, and I’m sure a lot of pain, to be prepared for the 26 miles we will be running. I know it’s all for a great cause and that’s why don’t care how much pain awaits me.

Tracking My Progress

Posted: 18th November 2010 by Mark Guida in Stuff I'm Using

Sitting at home and talking with my wife about how to even being training for an event such as the NYC Marathon, I realized that tracking my progress efficiently and accurately will not be easy.  Having two small children at home and a long work commute, there’s not much time left in the day to keep running logs and workout schedules up to date in an Excel spreadsheet.  I’ve found that automating certain processes at work makes everyday tasks a lot simpler and quicker.  Adding the idea from Contact and Coil’s Scott Whitlock that you should ‘automate your own job ruthlessly before you automate anything else’ will help greatly when trying to track my workouts and really see what progress I’m making.  So, with that in mind, I went searching for Android apps for my phone since I won’t be running anywhere without it.  I went searching for any kind of widget, fidget, gadget, or snidget I could find for free, tying it out to seeing which app offered the usability and features I was looking for.  In the end, one app stuck out above the rest.

RunKeeper, particularly the Free version, will keep track of your walking, cycling, running, or whatever workouts by logging your GPS location along the way.  Other info such as calories burned, speed, and pace are also tracked.  During a workout, your route can be displayed in a Google map window that’s embedded into the workout screen so you can see where you are and where you’ve been.  Also, your speed (mi/hr) or pace (min/mi) is updated in real-time along with calories burned and a visual history bar graph is displayed right there on the screen.  At the end of your workout, you can enter any notes you wish to keep track of and then upload your workout to your account on the RunKeeper website.  When race day comes, you can use the paid Elite version of RunKeeper which features RunKeeper Live and Races Live.  RunKeeper LIVE allows you to stream your GPS tracked activities on, allowing others the ability to watch how you’re doing in real-time.  Whether you’re running a race, or just out for a morning run, your friends will be able to see where you are and know how you’re doing.  RunKeeper Races LIVE is a way for spectators to watch anyone with RunKeeper LIVE enabled run their race in real-time, right on the race page.  Scan the QR code to download RunKeeper from the Android Marketplace and give it a try for yourself.