October 27th, 2015
Recently while I was attending the bib pick-up for a race in Charlotte, NC, I met the representative of a new compression wear tech company name LEGEND Compression Wear.
Alex was the representative (not sales person, there is a difference) for LEGEND and was very interested in what I would put into a product if I could create it myself or help in the design. Now while I have used compression wear in the past I still could not give him more than the usual answers: Fit, Feel, Support, Blah Blah so I didn’t waste his time talking about something that I didn’t have insight into.
Our conversation quickly changed to talking about BMR, the upcoming race and opportunity for a relationship together. He wanted BMR to give their product a try and provide feedback.
I would like to do a post-race write-up that also works as a product review of LEGEND’s compression technology I was privileged to test during the Atlanta 10 Miler on Sunday. Those that ran the race course know there were hills, lots of them, steep inclines and some very dramatic declines on one portion. Ok so that’s that.
One thing I have been battling is a bum knee and bum calf. To combat the discomfort and the injury to my calf I often wear a compression product to help with the strain in my calf that occurs when I run long miles or I push the effort level in my races. I decided to add the LEGEND compression leg sleeve to my race day prep and race gear.
When starting the race my plan was to stay in my recovery zone, not push the limits and have a major setback. I have to say that putting on the calf sleeve from LEGEND changed the entire race day experience. When I took the sleeve out of the package it initially looked too big (I have skinny calves) but they seemed to mold to my legs. They were not too tight (compression wear shouldn’t be tight, it should be firm) and were easy to put on.
So at the start of the race I don’t blast out of the gate in my typical fashion, I started with a pace that I wanted to sustain the entire race. The lungs felt good, the knee felt good, arms were loose.
Hold on…what about the legs. I had to look down to make sure I had the sleeves on as they felt very natural…yep there they were and felt good. We hadn’t hit he hard part of course yet so I wasn’t sure if they were holding up but as soon as we hit the uphill sections the sleeves turned on (or at least felt like it). Once I was on the flats the compression seemed to adjust to what I wanted to do. They didn’t just feel like someone was strangling my calves but adjusted to the amount of effort I wanted to put it. I came up with the term Effort Adaptive Technology (EAT), cause these legs gotta EAT right LOL. The sleeve worked like a champ even on the down hills where your calves and quads take a beating.
Now this was the longest race I have run in months at the closest to race pace in a while, and by testing LEGEND Compression Wear, I now know what compression wear is ‘supposed’ to do. It is designed to improve and/or remove.
- Help improve your performance
- Help remove a condition
Now the really important part….how did the sleeves survive my sweat, the tiger balm and the cleanup? The sleeves didn’t absorb excessive sweat or oils. The smell of the tiger balm ointment washed out with cold water and the sleeves air dried in 1 hour.
Not so bad for a first time experience with the LEGEND leg sleeves. I am now a fan and I’m excited to … Be a LEGEND with LEGEND Compression Wear in my running!
Edward Walton – CMO, Black Men Run
BMR Hero Cancer Free
St. Jude patient Kaiden Seals who was introduced to Black Men Run Memphis last Spring is now back home for good!
On November 18, 2014, Kaiden’s mom Tricia got the word that her one year old son had no trace of cancer and was declared CANCER FREE! Kaiden was very instrumental in the Memphis group to fund raise and train for distances many had never ran before like 26.2 miles. On August 18th, Kaiden received clear scans which led to what St. Jude call a “No Mo’ Chemo party. Since returning home, Kaiden has been doing very well with no setbacks. He has learned how to walk and according to his mother, he’s already trying to run to represent the group who supported him during his battle with cancer.
Running For a Reason and Making a Difference – BMR Memphis
For years, there has been a desire to make a positive impact in someone’s life and the community.
It was simply a matter of being patient and waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself.
With the annual St. Jude marathon approaching, a record number of miles were being run in preparation for this event and people come from all around the country to be a part of.
With the need to have extra motivation to train and give that extra push to go hard (and smart), the thought of dedicating race day to a St. Jude patient came to mind.
I was introduced to Kaiden Seals, a baby boy from Decatur, AL who was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma stage 3 (liver cancer). Kaiden’s tumor weighed 2.2 lbs and he weighed only 10lbs. He had just turned 3 months old the day after arriving to St. Jude.
When Kaiden’s parents were asked about dedicating the race to Kaiden and having him be the driving force to stay focused on our goals, they responded with a high spirited YES!
The relationship with Kaiden’s mother, Tricia Engles continued to grow and so did the desire to do more for this family whose lives had been totally turn upside down.
We created the “Caring For Kaiden” fundraiser to support the family’s lost wages and frequent travel. Tricia stays with Kaiden at St. Jude and dad, Chris Seals, travels every other weekend to Memphis with Kaiden’s siblings 10 year old sister Taylor and 6 year old brother Christian.
With three weeks left before the St. Jude race in Nashville (the Memphis marathon was canceled due to weather), members of Black Men Run along with a MAJOR push through social networks, collected a total of $2,500 in that short time.
One week prior to race day, we had our tuneup training run outside the campus of St. Jude where members got to meet Kaiden. The run started with a prayer uplifting Kaiden and the kids of St. Jude as well as the families, medical staff and our safety during the 8 mile journey around St. Jude.
Kaiden was able to attend the Oak Hall St. Jude 5K shortly after the marathon in Nashville. Surrounded by BMR members like bodyguards, Tricia and Kaiden received tons of love from the guys and came up with an awesome game plan.
The plan was to cross the finish line carrying Kaiden. This created a major heart warming reaction from racers and spectators as the announcer told the crowd to PULL OUT YOUR CAMERAS because this is special and touching. It was a moment that will NEVER be forgotten. It was a special moment for spectators and BMR.
After the 5K, BMR presented Engels with a oversized sweepstakes size check for the donations collected during the fundraiser. “I don’t know what to say,” said Engels. “I didn’t expect this. Thank you so much! I’m not going to cry.”
Since then, contact with Miss Engels has continued and Kaiden is still the driving force for us to push ourselves through workouts and to combat laziness. BMR tattoo artist Jay Guzman used his talent and blessed Engles with a tattoo for her birthday in May. A tattoo was something she mentioned in casual conversation not knowing she was talking to an expert at the time.
A free family photo-shoot is planned by one of the members because they haven’t had a family portrait since Kaiden arrived at St Jude.
We will always strive to set positive examples for our community and create a healthier brotherhood. It is the BMR Memphis way! We are more than just a running group. We are also difference-makers in the community.
Prostate Cancer awareness | Black Men Run Atlanta
I hope our brothers that are also fathers are having a great weekend. Today some of #BMR family in Atlanta ran the Dad Dash 2014 / Cure Prostrate Cancer 5K this morning. It wasn’t a surprising race, simple physics says that if you start and stop in the same spot and the first 1.5 miles are flat and downhill what do you think the last 1.5 would be? LOL.
This run was in salute to one of our biggest supporters and a prostrate cancer survivor, Mr. Gerald Smith.
Gerald has allowed #BMR to share his story and his successful conquering of his cancer diagnosis:
At the very beginning of the BMR movement, Gerald was (is) one of our most consistent participants to our runs, events and gatherings so when he stopped attending our scheduled runs he was immediately missed. We thought his work schedule, family commitments or travel was the reason but later found out he was in aggressive treatment for prostrate cancer. Of course he had #BMR support for whatever he needed and was in our prayers the entire time.
Gerald has beaten this cancer diagnosis, had very successful treatment and is in full remission and absent of cancer. Not only that he has come back to the #BMR fold stronger and faster. He ran a personal best 5K today and did it on a challenging course.
I would like to say thank you Gerald for fighting the good fight, educating us on how to TAKE control of our fate and health and returning to your #BMR family, sharing your stories and WINNNNNNNNNNG!
This race was also support of health for American American Men and awareness about prostrate cancer. Prostrate Cancer affects African American men in a hugely disproportionate number than the general populace and it is important that we take control of our life and health by gaining knowledge and getting tested. It is absolutely a survivable and curable condition if you take the time to get tested and get treatment.
Tyler Perry – Unexpected Surprise
In today’s busy world where everyone wants to maintain their privacy, oftentimes people don’t always showcase good old fashion manners or the common courtesy to speak back when spoken too.
I was pleasantly surprised when a local (national) celebrity took the time to stop, say hello and listen to my story about a great cause I am passionate about.
The story is pretty simple, I was at my favorite running trail and getting ready to take off on my run but before I started I looked behind me to ensure I wasn’t getting in the way of another runners or bikers and I noticed two bikers that were riding hard and coming past me headed up the trail.
I noticed that that one of them was Tyler Perry and I assume the other was his trainer/security guy. I said cool, the guy is out here staying in shape and I thought it would be good to talk to him about Black Men Run and what our mission is but by that time he was long gone.
I started on my 4-mile speed run and on my return run I was about a half a mile from the start when Tyler and his trainer shot past me on their return ride.
I screamed out to Tyler, “How about a picture with me in the shirt and let me tell you about Black Men Run,” Tyler screamed back, “Dude I can’t stop; I have to kill this 10 mile bike ride and I am in zone, maybe next time”.
So I started chasing him but of course I was left in the dust, (the guy can really ride a bike), so as they pulled out of sight and I finished my run and started walking back to my car as my cool down.
So about a half mile up the road in the place where I parked I was getting ready to change shirts when I hear someone call me over and get out of his car. Tyler says he saw my shirt and wanted to say hello.
I told him who I was and what Black Men Run was about and our mission to promote a healthy lifestyle via running for African American men. He was totally onboard with our mission and thought it was a great idea.
I told him that I would get him a couple of shirts soon and he gave directions on how to get it too him. He asked if I wanted to take a picture and I said sure and he was very cool, didn’t seem put offish or rushed to end our conversation.
Now I did not see him in his car and he did not have to get out and call me over to talk.
Overall, celebrities like Tyler Perry are normal people (in a sense) but just busy like everyone else and have their own world and their own set of priorities but it was nice to see that he was out taking care of his health and made time to talk before leaving.
Communicating My Opinions and Observations
Hello my fellow runners and BMR family, I hope that all of you are well and your decision to embrace a healthy lifestyle by running is making huge positive changes and gains in your lives.
As I like to say…run hard, run smart and keep running.
On that note about “keep running”, I would like to share my observations and opinions to try to develop a correlation between two different concepts: action or lack of action.
I recently competed in a couple of local 5K and 10K races in Atlanta. I was able to finish overall number one in the 10K, second place in the masters group for the 5K, and first in my age group for another 5K. As I walked over to receive my medal and check out the 2nd and 3rd place times I noticed a trend that I assumed was the norm. A lot of the finishers in the top 35% and top 25 – 100 runners in every race were between the ages of 35 to 45. Sure, there were young runners (ages 17 – 25) and elite runners that took the overall prizes and finishes but for the most part the age demographic for the top finishers remained the same with older (experienced ☺) runners finishing consistently in the upper 35% – 50% of all runners. So I asked myself why this is, and I came up with a number of conditions that could explain the relatively high percentage, but I’ve narrowed it down to three things:
1. Investment (Put in now, withdraw later)
– Simply starting
– Understanding the returns
– Contribute regularly
– Contribute steadily
2. Commitment (Maintaining your health is a fulltime commitment)
– Making the lifestyle change (BMR is the first for a lot of us)
– By committee. (Competing in sports or other activities that require good physical fitness from childhood to young adult.)
3. Time (Having time to run)
– Being senior on your job, your company or career gives you time.
– Having older kids gives you time. (Running while they are otherwise occupied gives you time.)
The list above is not the definitive reasons for success for older (experienced ☺) runners but I believe they form the triangle of success.
After talking to guys my age (45 years young), the consensus is that they believe Investment is the most important factor, and most of the responses I get suggest that an investment of your time and a commitment to invest in ones health is no different than investing in your 401(k).
Now we have all heard that the sooner you start putting money in your 401(k) and maintaining a COMMITMENT to add a steady if not maximum amount over TIME the better you are when it comes time to withdraw for your retirement. This is true for the most part and most financial advisors will agree the numbers pan out in long run. I know there are no guarantees in anything and markets go up and go down but you increase your chances of success by following the proven method.
I maintain that the same is true for older (experienced ☺) runners and the success I have witnessed at races of all distances. A lot of runners (as well as bikers, swimmers, etc.) will tell you they have been at their respective sport for a decent amount of time. All the people I have talked to will say they have taken time off for a number of reasons such as health, family, career and other major life moments but those that are committed make time and come back to what they know. That is an investment in one’s overall health that will yield dividends by possibly increasing the length and quality of life as we get older.
Like I stated before, nothing is guaranteed in the financial markets and the same is the true for your health but I say following a proven method of taking control your diet, exercise and stress levels will pay off when it comes time to make a withdrawal in our golden years.
I would agree that everyone’s mileage may vary with the triangle I laid out above, and yes, being young and naturally physically gifted are major factors (elite athletes) but the law of averages say that if you apply the triangle of success with hard work you tip the scales of good health in your favor.
I will be the ripe old age of 46 soon but my fitness goals are not measured week-to-week, month-to-month or year-to-year. I look at my health in the decades to come and I choose to:
1. INVEST in Black Men Run, others that share my lifestyle ideas and me for as long as I can.
2. COMMIT to not letting a day go by that I do not evaluate how I am living and how I want to live.
3. To use the TIME I have wisely and respect the fact that I cannot get back what is wasted.
With all that said it is never too late to start.I welcome any comments and feedback and I thank you for allowing me to serve as your CMO. #blackmenrun
Edward Walton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Motivation Officer