Tag Archives: joggling

How to joggle an entire marathon without dropping

Screenshot from 2014-01-02 22:06:36

Although I have touched on this subject before, I keep getting asked how it is possible to joggle an entire marathon without dropping by both fellow jogglers and non-jogglers alike. Although I have only completed one marathon without dropping(I dropped at the other 2 I did), these days I can often joggle for 20 miles without dropping. I hate to sound like I’m bragging; there are other jogglers who can joggle entire marathons without dropping, and I’m not a world record holder. So what is my secret? Here is how I do it:

  1. Get plenty of practice. I usually joggle 6 days a week, which adds up to about 40 to 50 miles of joggling per week. Even on the days I don’t joggle, I practice juggling for at least 20 minutes.
  2. While joggling, relax, and always maintain your posture. Take deep breaths. Approach joggling as an active meditation. Keep movements smooth, think of it as a form of dancing, or martial arts. It’s inevitable that people will try to distract you while you’re joggling, but stay focused on what you’re doing.
  3. Strength-train your upper body. In order to build endurance in your arms to enable you to juggle for many hours, you will have to strength-train your upper body about once or twice a week. I mean exercises like push-ups, curls, and pull-ups. Doing a little core work like bicycle crunches or planks may help too. I find that just a few minutes is sufficient for improving muscle endurance and circulation in my arms.
  4. Occasionally practice juggling(or joggling) with heavy balls. This is almost the same thing as #3, except it combines improving muscle memory with endurance work by targeting the muscles you use for juggling. Juggling with heavy balls for a few minutes is also a great warm up exercise before joggling, since it increases circulation to your arms.
  5. When practicing juggling, work your way up to juggling 4, 5 or more balls. Just about all jogglers are 3 ball jogglers, but if you can juggle 4 or more that will help improve your arm speed and hand eye coordination. Once you can go a few minutes without dropping, try occasionally joggling with 4, 5 or more balls. I often practice with 4 balls as part of a routine I like to call “juggle chi”. It’s basically combining juggling with T’ai Chi movements.
  6. While training, learn to do lots of tricks while joggling. This will improve your hand-eye coordination and balance. At races, keep tricks to a minimum, if you’re doing them at all, unless you’re really good at them.
  7. Joggle with fruit occasionally. This can really challenge and improve your hand-eye coordination to the point that you won’t even feel like you’re joggling when you go back to joggling with regular balls. To take it to the next level, joggle with different types of fruit or fruit of different weight and do tricks with them.
  8. Do balance work. When juggling at home, stand on one leg. Better yet, juggle with heavy balls or do lots of tricks while standing on one leg while spinning around. Or combine balance work with strength training by doing planks or other exercises on an exercise(stability) ball. Balance and coordination go hand in hand, since you are more likely to drop if you are off-balance.
  9. Hit the trails, especially hilly ones. This is the ultimate joggling challenge since hilly trails can challenge everything all at once. If you can master this, joggling on flat surfaces becomes a piece of cake. Once you become proficient at this, take it to the next level by joggling trails with fruit or heavy balls.

2014 Joggling Highlights

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At the 2014 Yonkers Marathon

2014 was an epic joggling year for me. Overall, I ran 2,286 miles in 2014, juggling about 95% of the time. So much happened it would be difficult to write about all of it. I improved so much and broke so many personal records my mind has trouble digesting it all. So rather than mention all that happened, I thought it would be better to focus on the highlights of 2014.

The WNY Vegfest

This is the first vegan event I’ve ever been invited to. This was also the very first WNY Vegfest, and I must say it’s off to a great start. I managed to joggle the Tofurky Trot 5k in slightly more than 20 minutes, and didn’t drop the balls even once. It was priceless being with and meeting so many enthusiastic vegans at this event, celebrating and showcasing the vegan lifestyle. I can still feel all the energy from this event; you really should go this year if you happen to live anywhere close to the planet earth.

The Yonkers Marathon

This was my second time joggling this hilly, historic race, and my third marathon overall. I guess you could say I’ve improved. Not only was I 11 minutes(3:40) faster than in 2013, I didn’t drop the balls even once. Not in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought such a thing was even possible not too long ago. This just goes to show you what you can accomplish with enough dedication. I still feel the Joggler’s High from this event, even though it took place in late September.

Joggling 40 miles from Mount Vernon to Mahopac

My crowning achievement of 2014, and the culmination of many years of joggling. This is the farthest distance I’ve ever run or joggled. I only dropped once, and that was at mile 39! If it wasn’t so dark, I probably wouldn’t have dropped. There are moments when I think this was a strange dream. It just seems so close to impossible that there is this surreal quality to it. Yet again, it’s ultimately the product of unrelenting dedication. To live a life without ever attempting the impossible is a life not fully lived.

Beyond my tiny little piece of the joggling world, it was a terrific year for the sport of joggling, with new world records set. The always amazing Michal Kapral set yet another world joggling record, this time with the half-marathon(1:20:40). He did this as part of a team who are raising money to help AIDS orphans. He also appeared in TV ads for Fairfield Inn and Suites as part of their “Stay Amazing” campaign.

Besides this, rising super-star Dana Guglielmo broke the 5k world joggling record in April. I find her story so inspirational because she managed to break a world joggling record while suffering from arthritis.

When I Couldn’t Outrun Arthritis, I Learned to Joggle

Rather than write my own blog post about joggling and arthritis, I thought it would be much better to let my friend Dana Guglielmo be a guest blogger for this topic, since she has arthritis and is an amazing joggler who holds a world record certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Without further delay, here is her inspirational story.

When I Couldn’t Outrun Arthritis, I Learned to Joggle

By Dana Guglielmo

It was the camaraderie and entertainment that first lured me into the sport of joggling (juggling while running), and when I say entertainment, it’s a two-way street. I try to make the people around me laugh with the joggling; in return, the runners and spectators make me laugh with their hilarious comments. Joggling is basically an open invitation for people to talk to you (and make inappropriate ball jokes).

“What, did I seriously just get passed by a girl juggler? You just completely emasculated me!”

My new hobby has inspired countless laughs, but perhaps the most important gift it brought me was a new approach to battling a chronic condition: Inflammatory arthritis.

***

You know, Dana, when you run so many miles it makes me wonder what you’re running from,” my friend joked.

I was heading out the door for my second run of the day; that week I had run close to 50 miles. I laughed about it, but there was some truth to her statement – I was definitely running from something.

unnamedI began joggling last year, and as I faced the challenge of running with three hacky sacks spinning in a cascade pattern, I also faced a new challenge in managing my arthritis.

Not only did my medications stop working for me, but I began having serious side effects from them. But lowering my medications risked damaging my joints; increasing them risked damaging vital organs.

I couldn’t win.

After trying to outrun my arthritis for seven years, I realized my arthritis had outrun me.

Gone were the days that I could wake up, pop 8 pills, inject more medication into my stomach and expect to feel amazing on a 15 mile long run. The same medications that enabled me to outrun the disease for seven years had stopped me dead in my tracks.

Change was in order. So I stopped trying to outrun my arthritis, and instead, I began learning how to manage it along with being an athlete.

I met with a new rheumatologist and dietitian that both fully support my dream of running marathons. Under their guidance, I lowered my medications and altered my diet. As it turns out, the best diet for arthritis patients is the same diet that nearly everyone should follow to be healthy.

For the first time in my life, I took it easy. I chilled out. I let go of my need to perfect every little thing. I exercised based on how I felt, and not what my training schedule said.

With my new lifestyle and positive mindset, the juggling ball of arthritis became significantly lighter. I stopped running with fear and denial, and began moving forward with confidence.

danagIn time, I stopped running from my arthritis. Joggling helped me to manage my health in a way that running never could do on its own. Sure, there will be days that I “drop a ball” and have pain, but you’re allowed to drop a ball – even in an official Guinness World Record attempt!

Whether it’s juggling my hacky sacks or juggling arthritis, I hope to be juggling everywhere I go – running included.

Funding Research To Cure Arthritis

Joggling4Arthritis

Dana Guglielmo’s blog – Beating PRs & Beating Arthritis

Follow Dana Guglielmo on Twitter

Recovering from 40 miles of joggling

Although I have never run this far before, I recovered from the 40 mile run to Mahopac a lot faster than I expected. I think this is mostly due to my slow pace and the lunch break walk near the middle. And maybe that mineral rich miso soup when I got home.  Also, the Cliff Bar and lots of cherry juice immediately after were a big help. In fact, I recovered from this run much faster than I did from the Yonkers marathon. I took 2 days off after the Yonkers marathon because of how sore I felt, while I took only 1 day off after the Mahopac bound 40 miler. In fact, I walked about 3 miles the day after the ultra-run.

I was back to running normally within a few days. 2 days after the Mahopac run, I ran 5.2 miles at an 8:52 pace, which is moderate, slightly slow pace for me. I also didn’t drop once. The day after this, I ran 10.2 miles, at an 8:58 pace(again, no drops), which is moderate for that distance. I continued on, running much like before. The longest run I’ve done since was a 16 mile run at a 10:38 pace a few days ago, which is slow even for this distance. For some reason I had little energy that day.  I don’t think it was due to over-training, it was probably due to sleep and diet issues(didn’t carb load properly).

I felt like I was fully recovered from the Mahopac run in 4 days, though I realize how I feel isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of recovery. Another reason I seemingly recovered fast was I stayed well nourished and hydrated during the long run, and had no major stomach issues.

Strangely, my wrists and hands had more issues this time than my legs or hips. This wasn’t a problem after my last marathon. Toward the end of the 40 mile run, my left wrist was in pain. Since it was only a slight pain I could mostly ignore it and continue juggling. When I got home I realized my left hand and wrist were swollen, and this continued for several days. The pain went away and most of the swelling subsided, however, it tends to get swollen whenever I run more than 10 miles, though luckily there is only a little soreness. This is rather strange, since it was my right hand that got broken in a car accident several years ago, not my left. I sometimes wonder if excessive sodium is partly to blame.

While at first I suspected this was a problem unique to jogglers, I’ve read that distance runners and cyclists can experience the same thing. Basically, if your hands are lower than your heart during very prolonged endurance exercise, blood gets pumped into them, but it is much more difficult for the blood to come out.

Fortunately, this is just a minor annoyance, and doesn’t seem to affect my juggling ability. I didn’t drop during today’s 10 mile run, or yesterday’s 10 mile run to Larchmont, or Friday’s 16 mile run. Though minor, I will be looking into ways to prevent this, and appreciate any advice.

One of the most important lessons I learned while recovering from this ultra-run is that moving around, short easy runs, and light exercise is the key to recovering from very long runs.  It’s okay to nap or sit, just don’t do it for too long unless you are fatigued in the extreme. Sometimes pushing yourself is a good idea, sometimes it isn’t. How to tell when it’s a good idea is one of the mysteries of running.

Crazy cherry kefir juice

IMG_161666After leaving the black cherry juice to ferment for 2 days with 2 tablespoons of water kefir grains in them along with a bit of molasses, I decided to drink it.

It was much too alcoholic. It tasted far more like wine than juice, and I felt a little “weird”(a bit dizzy and a little bit light-headed) after I drank some of it. I should have remembered to not leave it to ferment too long during the summer, since the heat speeds up the fermentation process, turning it into alcohol much faster. I should have left it for a day and a half. There was hardly any sweetness since most of the sugar had been converted to alcohol or acid.

I really do not know how much alcohol is in it, but I’m guessing anywhere from 2% to 5%, though it tastes like even more than 5% – this could be due to the fact that I am so not used to drinking alcohol. I’ll let a friend or relative who is a drinker have some to tell me what they think the alcohol content is. Since I am not fond of alcohol, I dilute this before drinking. I have so much of this stuff I will need help drinking it – come on over if you want to have a vegan cherry wine party. If you can sing or dance, even better!

Unfortunately, I lack the tools to figure out the % alcohol of this beverage; past a certain % I think I would be in violation of several local laws. So I decided to test myself to see if that “weirdness” I was feeling after drinking my first glass meant my blood alcohol level went up and my cognitive abilities were compromised. So I grabbed some balls and started to juggle, and did so flawlessly. I grabbed an extra ball to juggle 4, and did this for about half a minute before dropping, which is normal for me.

I then ran out the door to joggle for a few miles. I didn’t drop. I decided to take it up a notch and do some basic tricks. I dropped them once, but again, this is pretty normal for me. I even did some sprinting while juggling, and no drops.

I then decided to do the most difficult joggling trick I know, which involves juggling in a 3 ball cascade pattern while running, throwing one of the balls high in the air, followed by quickly spinning by body around(while running forward), then catching the ball as I complete my spin, and finally resuming 3 ball cascade juggling while running. The neighborhood kids love this one, especially when I trip on something and fall to the ground(this happens every now and then).

I tried it the first time and I was successful, though not flawless since I almost dropped. I tried it the second time, and was successful again. I totally screwed up on the 3rd try, but then was successful when I tried it the 4th time. Normally I have a 25% success rate with this trick, so this was pretty impressive considering I still felt a little weird from the kefir drink. Since this trick involves spinning around, it requires a lot of space and no people in my path. I get dizzier the more I do it, so I have my limits when it comes to this trick.

So I’m guessing the alcohol content of the cherry kefir couldn’t have been higher than maybe 4% tops, since any more probably would have compromised my juggling ability. I only joggled in intervals for a few miles, didn’t go too far.

Wild Juggling at Just Your Average Joggler!

I was recently interviewed by Perry Romanowski over at Just Your Average Joggler! Its an honor to be featured there, alongside many other, far more accomplished jogglers like Joe Salter(first person to juggle through an entire Triathlon)and Matt Feldman (holds record for fastest 5 ball joggling), among many others. They are both world record holders, and Perry holds the world record for joggling 50 miles. I currently hold no records.

There are so many different approaches to joggling and sport juggling these days, it’s getting really exciting. Be sure to read the many interviews about joggling on the site.

As  I’ve mentioned before, Just Your Average Joggler is the best joggling site. I hope you visit it and follow it, and not just to read my interview.

Old Man Winter versus the Joggler

Too bad I can’t borrow the fur, feet and reflexes of this guy.

Winter will soon be upon us. This won’t be the first winter I’ve joggled in. I have no problem joggling in a snowstorm or snow, as long as it isn’t too deep, and already did so in an early recent snowstorm, even with heavy snow blowing in my face. It was a ton of fun, but it is also a lot more exhausting. Obviously, the snow blowing in my face temporarily blinded and disoriented me so that I was more likely to drop the balls(I was surprised by how little I dropped them though I didn’t do it for very long).

Normally I dread Old Man Winter, since he often makes the roads and trails I use for joggling almost impassible with snow and/or ice. But I really should see this more as an opportunity, however challenging the weather conditions might be. I realize I may not be able to joggle at all if there there is too much ice in my area. When it rains cats and dogs, I often “joggle” in place at home; while it may not be the real thing, at least I am still getting a good aerobic workout.

I will do the same thing if ice or blizzards make outside conditions too difficult for outdoor exercise. Again, I keep repeating to myself “opportunity”. Maybe I’ll learn new things about joggling due to the nasty weather. In a way, it is like a new winter sport, “Old Man Winter versus the Joggler”. I have to outsmart it. I may have to learn some new tricks, and will definitely have to dress the right way, to win this battle against the elements.

In the very least, the challenging conditions of the winter will help improve my fitness to the degree that when spring comes around, I may be almost unstoppable at races.