Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Looking back while looking forward

I took yesterday off from running to rest from the 1/2 marathon race. I found it difficult to do nothing, however, so I rode my stationary bike for 1 hour. I also used Monday to reflect on what I had accomplished. There were times when I was still unhappy with my time because I was on pace for an even better time. It suddenly hit me later, though, that I had taken a full 6 minutes off of my last 1/2 marathon race and I began to feel a little better. I also was reminded that this still was a fast time and that this was merely one step towards my bigger goal. Sometimes it's good to be reminded to look at big picture.

Today I decided to go for a "Me" run and do some more reflecting. One of my friends at the race asked me if I actually enjoyed running as she said that the best part of running is when she's finished. For me I can honestly say that I love the running more than anything else. I told her that as soon as my run is finished I'm already thinking about when/where my next run is going to be. Today was a good reminder of that for me. I kept a nice pace and it was amazing to see how well my body bounced back after the race on Sunday. I wasn't sore or stiff at all and I felt like I could run all day.

My next race is on March 25th in Hamilton called "Around the Bay." (http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com/)
Last year I finished in a time of 2:31 so I'm going to try for a 2:25 this year. This will give me a good indication of where I need to be for Mississauga in May. If I can do a 2:25 at Around the Bay then I should be able to do a 3:30 at the Mississauga Marathon.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

An amazing day from start to finish!

The day started with a phone call from my training coach and friend who was also running in the Peterborough 1/2 marathon. We decided to drive up together and I was thrilled as I thought that I would have to drive up alone, do the race and then head back. For those who have competed in races you know that most if not all of the fun of the race is the experience of having friends there to run with or cheer you on. When I got the call today it meant that at least I wouldn't be alone driving there and then we could share our race day stories on the way back.

We left for Peterborough around 10:45 and arrived there at about 11:40. This gave us plenty of time to get our race kits, check our gym bags and do a little warm up run before the race. Just as we both approached the start of the race we saw a group of friends there who had decided to surprise us by showing up. I can't tell you how much energy that gave me when I saw them there. I was focused already but that just made it all the more special. At the 7K mark there were even more friends that I saw and I even gave one them a "high five" as I scooted past.

I started out running at a good pace and I was hoping to do a 1:40 or roughly a 4:45 minute kilometre. The best 1/2 marathon race I've had was this same race last year when I did a 1:46. Since that race I have had the experience of doing over 20 races and I've also been in a pretty intensive training program for the past month. Throughout the first 6-7K's I was at least 1 minute ahead of what I had hoped for so and I was feeling very good. I knew that if I continued to run at the current pace (between a 4:30-4:40) I would do better than the 1:40 time. This strategy worked well for me when I ran my last marathon in Jacksonville so I tried to draw upon that experience.

As late as the 16K mark I was on schedule for a sub 1:40 and then along came a bad stretch of wind. This lasted for about 3.5K. I've often talked about running in rain, snow and even a lightning storm, but the one thing that I hate more than anything is running into a strong wind. There's no accounting for that and it will always slow you down. Because of this, I was off schedule by about 1 minute which would have put me at about a 1:41 time. Still good, but not what I was hoping for.

I managed to push myself just enough during the last few K's of the race and finished in a time of 1:40:12. This took more than 6 minutes off my personal best and gave me confidence to know that had the wind not been a factor, I would have done even a little better.

After the race it was great to see my friend congratulating me and it made me feel like I had accomplished something today. We got together for a much needed post-race meal and this made the day that much better.

Looking back now, I can feel proud of what I did and I have to realize that I'm still learning about this great sport. There are many things that I should have done including drinking more water along the route. In fact, the first time I reached for something was at the 5K mark. I grabbed a few sips of Gatorade and kept going. The only time that I actually made a "stop" was to take my gel and some water and this was at the 11-12K mark.

I was even more focused with my diet these past few days and although I won't be looking at another bagel again for at least 4 weeks, I know that the carb loading made a huge difference in the race for me.

Next week I will be writing up some carb loading programs for a few of my clients who are running in the Chilly 1/2 marathon. I know that you both will do amazing but you'll probably hate the sight of bagels for awhile......

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Armed with confidence but also a cold!

It seems like everyone this week has come down with some kind of flu and unfortunately I'm suffering from one as well. However, I'm not going to let something like a cold stop me from running tomorrow.

Yesterday I had a great tune up run with one of my best friends and she instilled some nice words for me about my training. She feels that I will have no problem reaching my goal of 1:40 and even suggested I might do better than that. I'm going to do what I did for my Jacksonville Marathon race in December which is just to run for "feel" and let the chips fall where they may.

I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted to last night but thankfully I don't have much planned for today so the couch will be my best friend.

I'll try to watch some inspirational and/or funny movies to get me ready for the race. The race is later than usual (12:30pm) so I don't have to get up extra early tomorrow. I'll try to get there about 1 hour before the race to pick up my bib number and timing chip. There will be one final trip to the Pickering Running Room today to pick up some gels and talk to the staff. This puts me in a good frame of mine.

My running bag will be prepared tonight and I'll make sure it contains my running clothes, extra socks, a change of clothing, extra batteries, my gels, my 2 pace band and directions to the race site. I'm sure the bag will be checked about 1/2 dozen times just to make sure that I haven't forgotten anything.

Today is my last day of carbo loading (thankfully) and I'll be eating mostly pancakes, potatoes and white pasta today. My last meal will be around 6 or 7PM and this will consist of a large bowl or two of pasta with some parmesan cheese. In the morning I will have a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and honey. On the way to the race and about 1 hour before the start, I'll have a banana.

I discussed my running strategy with my friend yesteray and I've decided to run the first 10K, take my gel with water and then run the next 11.1K. I'd like to run the first 10K in 50 minutes or less and then try to duplicate or better that pace for the final 11.1K. My training runs during the week are at least 10K in length and I never stop during these so there's no need to do so during a race. I'm only sorry that more of my friends won't be there to run with me but I know that they will be there in spirit. I do feel like I've trained pretty hard during these last 6 weeks and although me "goal" race is still months away, this race will give me a good barometer of where I am and where I need to get to. Thanks to everyone who has inspired me and given me the confidence to believe in myself. Expect a full report from the race tomorrow!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Carbo loading program

OK, believe it or not but carbo loading isn't what you think it is. In a nutshell here is what I am doing for the next three days in preparation for my race on Sunday. I'm trying to eat enough carbohydrates so that by the time Sunday rolls around I will have enough stored energy (Glycogen) to carry through my race.

What that means for me is that I have to consume 9 to 10 grams per kg of body-weight which for me works out to the following:

My weight in Kg's: 70.4 X 10 grams = 700 gms/day
For every 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories so from Carbohydrates alone, my total calories need to be 2800.

Throw in Protein at about 15% and Fat at another 15% and I will be eating roughly 3000 to 4000 calories over the next few days. Since this is a 1/2 Marathon I will probably consume 3/4 of the amount that I would if I were running a 30K trail race or full marathon.
Here are some of the foods that I will be eating and the amount of carbohydrates in each:
Blueberry Bagels (60 grams each)
1 Cup of White Pasta (53 grams)
1 Medium White/Red Potato (55 grams)
Cliff Bars (45 grams)
Protein Bars (40-50 grams)
Pretzels (60-70 grams per serving)
1 Cup of White Rice (48 grams)
2 pancakes (52 grams)

I don't like to experiment with too many new foods during this time and I'll eat the same foods that you see on this list for most of the next three days. I will also lower my protein intake and I'll eliminate most of the fibre as well. I do not want to risk any possible stomach problems between now and the race. Most of the foods on the above list I don't eat unless I am carbo loading and because they are "white" products I realize that nutritionally they are not the best. However, I have to take into account that I need to be able to eat lots of carbs and if I were to use more of the whole grain products (brown rice instead of white) then I would be unable to do so because the fibre in these foods would make me full.
During the next three days I will also rest and drink approximately 3-4 Ltrs. of water. I will also NOT weigh myself as the increased carbohydrates together with the decrease in physically activity will result in some weight gain. Thankfully by the time next week rolls around I'll be right back where I need to be and I realize that this is a temporary thing. For someone who has had weight issues in the past though, it can be challenging at times.

Having done this routine for quite some time and seeing the results that my client get from it, I know that it works and so I continue to do it. However, the next time someone says that they are "carbo-loading" for a race please take the time to let them know that you are sorry to hear that......

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My favorite run of the week

My Wednesday runs are far and away my favorite runs of the week.
There are many reasons why but the main one is that I get to get caught up on all the running news with one of my friends. What made today even better was that another of my friends came along too. It has seemed like forever since the three of us ran together and what makes our friendship so great is that even though it's been awhile since we got together it felt like we just picked up where we left off. To me that's what separates great friends from casual ones. One of our other friends is nursing an injury right now and hopefully she will return when she is healthy.
These two women have taught me plenty about running and know me very well. Running with them gives me the confidence to know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. They are such a positive influence in my life and I'm lucky to count them as friends.

Today we talked about everything from eating, our favorite races from last year and what races we want to run together. Just the thought about the races we want to run together really made my day. The race day experience for me has more to do with being surrounded by great people and sharing our individual accomplishments afterwards than just the race itself. I may have had a bad race or two BUT I can honestly say that I've never had a bad day at a race.

I will take tomorrow off and ride the bike instead. Then on Friday I will do a light 5-6K in preparation for my race on Sunday.
Thanks Nancy and Theresa!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Must be the shoes!

Yesterday, in keeping with my "positive attitude week" I visited my favorite running store, the Pickering Running Room. Not only was it a great time to see the staff but I also picked up a new pair of shoes. I didn't realize how bad my shoes were until I flipped them over and saw that there was little to no supports left on the sides and bottom of the shoe. I try to buy new shoes every 3 months but usually a good indicator for me is when I start to suffer from Plantar Fascitis. This basically means that my heels and the underneath of my feet become very sore especially in the morning. I've been dealing with this for a little over 2 weeks.
Today I had my first run in my new shoes and did 11K in 53:22. The new shoes were amazing and it felt like I was running on a cloud for most of the run. It was difficult to slow down and at times when I thought I was running slowly I glanced at my watch only to discover that I was still running a fast pace.

I'm in the final preparations for my taper with just one more run to go (possibly two at the most). I will do another 10K on Wednesday and if I do run on Thursday it will only be about 5K at the most. What will make it difficult for me is the weather. Today was the first time in weeks that I didn't have to run with gloves and a double layer of clothing. I'm sure this also contributed to my speed today. I'm hoping that the weather in Peterborough will be as nice as it was today.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Race Week

It's hard to believe but my race season begins this weekend in Peterborough as I have 1/2 Marathon Race on Sunday. My last race was a full marathon in December and since that time I've been following a strict training program in preparation for the Mississauga Marathon in May. As much as I love running, I find that having a race to compete in gives me just the motivation I need. I have 3 races before the Marathon (Peterborough 1/2 Marathon, Around the Bay 30K in March and a 26K Trail Race in April)
I like the fact that each race I will be doing will be progressively harder and this should prepare me well for my next Marathon.

With regards to this race, this morning I had a great 10K race and used plenty of mental imagery along the way. I kept thinking about how the race was going to play out for me and ran a few Kilometres at my expected race pace (sub 5 minK).

This weekend I also dowloaded some new songs onto my MP3 player. I can listen to just about anything from AC/DC to Gwen Stefani. Three songs that I have included for this race are "Snow" by the Chili Peppers, "Not ready to make nice" by the Dixie Chicks and "Holiday" by Green Day. Sometimes when I'm running and a great song comes on I feel like I'm dancing instead of running.

I'm keeping my eye on the temperature for this weekend and right now it looks like it will be fairly decent day with around a high of 6C and a slight chance of rain. Having run in -20+ temperatures for the last few weeks I'll take any weather above zero right now. Winter running certainly slows you down as you have to wear extra layers of clothing. I doubt I'll be able to break out my shorts on Sunday but you never know......

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Resting Metabolic Rate

Last night I did a nutrition talk at the Pickering Running Room. Whenever I do these talks I start off by telling them about my own personal struggle with being overweight. When I designed my program, one of the main things I looked at was something called the RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate). What this means is that we all need a certain amount of calories to keep us alive for a period of 24 hours. There are a number of factors that affect our RMR such as age, weight, fat free body mass, the weather, meals, crash dieting, pregancy an some supplements;

AGE: As we age our RMR goes down

Weight/Fat Free Body Mass: The more muscle we have the higher our RMR is

The Weather: The colder the temperature, the more energy we expend

Meals: Small regular meals will increase your RMR.

Crash Dieting: Our bodies need consistency and most diets end up lowering the RMR by not giving people the amount of calories they need just to survive safely.

Pregnancy: It can increase your RMR.

Supplements: Some supplements can increase your RMR.

There are a few different calculations to determine what your RMR is. Fortunately when I get my clients to complete their questionnaire, I input this information into my nutrition program and it gives me a very accurate measurement. After I have determined their own RMR I begin the process of completing a meal plan specifically for their own needs. This includes not only their RMR but also any physical activity they do such as running, lifting weights, etc.
For more information about my nutrition programs you can contact me at:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Next up Peterborough 1/2 Marathon

Wow, THAT was a long week! I just finished my last of 7 consecutive runs and I will take the next two days off from pounding the pavement to rest.

This week was an adventure to say the least. It started last Saturday with a great 10K run in the Seaton trail and finished just minutes ago with a 20K run. In between there was a 25K run, a 10K "fun" run, a 10K tempo run, 11K run in the storm,and my first ever "floating fartlek" run of 9K.

I can't believe that my next race is just over 1 week away. I'll most likely run on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (possibly Thursday) and take at least 2-3 days off before the race on Sunday.

My goal is to run between a 1:40 to 1:45 but realistically, if I can better my PB of 1:46 then I'll be happy. Ironically, I posted my best time at this same race last year. They have altered the course for this season though so I'll just play it by ear. The weather will also play a huge factor as last year the temperature was a bone chilling -27C with the wind chill.

Next week also means that I have to start carb-loading for the race either Wednesday or Thursday. What this means is that I will eat more carbohydrates than I normally would and also rest for most of the week after my last run. This will ensure that I will have the maximum amount of energy for my race on Sunday. I will provide a detailed summary as the week progresses.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The good thing about having a bad run is.....

There's always another run right around the corner.

That pretty much summarized my run today with Theresa. I was supposed to do a nice easy 15K run but the weather and road conditions dictated otherwise. Still, I managed to trudge along for 11K with 8 of these being with Theresa. We both would have preferred to be anywhere else but where we were but both of us also knew that somehow, someway we would be going out for some kind of run. What made today tough wasn't just that it was cold but there were times when we had nothing to run on but snow. Most of the sidewalks were yet to be plowed and this meant that we had to run on the sidewalks which were snow covered and pretty deep or on the road. We tried a little bit of both today but by the end we just wanted to be done with it.

To make matters worse, I had limited time and because of the weather, my pace was much slower than I wanted. Then my MP3 player didn't work as it most likely froze because of the weather. After completing the 11K I couldn't get to my car fast enough.

Tomorrow will be yet another tough run as the weather is supposed to dip to -30!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Now THAT was cold!

Today I ran a 10K tempo with Ken. It wasn't until I turned on the radio on my way home that I realized it was -27C with the wind chill! It took forever for my feet to thaw out during the run and it felt like I had two icicles for legs. I managed to do the run in under a 5K/min pace but it felt like I was running faster. Perhaps my brain was starting to freeze?

Monday, February 12, 2007

The "calm before the storm?"

Sunday's run of 25K was a challenging one but still lots of fun. I started out with a group of friends who I haven't run with in years but unfortunately I found that I couldn't do the 10 & 1's (run for 10 minutes, walk for 1) that they were doing as I prefer the 20 and 1's. Three of us ventured off and did a little faster pace and a different route but I was able to meet up with the others at a local coffee shop. It was nice to find out what everyone was up to and I'm hoping to keep in better contact with them. These runners really embody what it means to "run" and you could tell that they were more concerned with just being out there and having "fun" which is something I have to keep reminding myself of.

Today was my "ME" run and I had a blast running 10K with my music. I honestly don't know how I could run without music. During this run I kept thinking about my race in 2 weeks (Peterborough 1/2 marathon) and what time I want to achieve (1:40 to 1:45). I was at a training course in Oshawa today and one of the instructors is also doing the 1/2 marathon in Peterborough. One of the exercises in our training today was that one of the participants had to introduce someone to the rest of the class. When it came time for someone to introduce me I was introduced as the Marathon runner. It's amazing to see people's faces when I tell them that I was out running this morning.

The weather is supposed to turn nasty over the next few days so I hope I'll be able to get in my tempo and 15K run over the next few days. Since I started running, I've yet to let weather stop me from completing a run. I've run in rain, snow, thunderstorms and ice storms but the only thing that I truly hate is a strong wind.
I'll be happy when all I need to run in is a pair of shorts and a shirt.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

1 down 6 to go!

Today I started the first of my 7 consecutive days of running by doing what I truly love....a trail run! A group of us met in the middle of the Seaton Trail in Pickering and slipped/slided and ran through the snow and ice for over an hour. we were protected from what little wind there was today and that made for a great experience for all of us. There were enough hills to make this a challenging workout.

I took Friday off from running and instead rode the stationary bike for an hour and did some core training. I'm really starting to enjoy doing this training and feel like my day isn't complete if I miss it.

Tomorrow I will be running between 22 and 25K at a nice slow pace which should take over 2.5 hours to complete. For those runners out there that means I'll be burning plenty of fat as the slow pace will force my body to use fat as a primary source of energy. I'll need to bring about 2 gels along the way, taking one every 45 minutes or so. I'm looking forward to running with this particular group tomorrow as I haven't ran with them in over 1 year!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Training update/staying motivated

On Wednesday morning I did 10 of my 15K run with two incredible running friends. Even though the weather was cold we all didn't seem to mind as there was plenty of good conversation to keep us going.
Today I completed 10 sets of hills with another friend who is also training hard for the Mississauga Marathon.
Having great friends to run with has helped keep my motivation high and this brings me to real reason I wanted to post today and that is "motivation."

Some of my clients at the gym are having a hard time staying motivated and most of what I do there becomes a motivational session which I enjoy. I've often said that I can KEEP anyone motivated but it is up to the individual to GET motivated. When people tell me that they read my posts and get inspired to run or workout it's flattering and also overwhelming. I honestly don't see what I do as anything special as I know that there are plenty of people out there doing the same thing.

This week I was challenged a few times by some clients who were not following the plan that I laid for them and also complaining that they weren't losing weight either. I realize that many of them want me to accept blame for them because it takes away their own accountability. This is something that I will never do. The best I can do is to give them a workable plan to follow and then it is up to them to make it work. Having struggled with my own weight issuses, I know that it is not an easy thing to do BUT I also know that it can be done.

Unfortunately, most people want a quick fix and don't realize that it took time for them to create their unhealty habits and it will also take time to reverse this process. Diets count on the fact that people will fail over the long term because it just means that they will return again later. However,when they do return they usually have even more weight to lose.

Changing a habit requires discipine and a "want to" in order to be successful in the long-term. Some of my clients only eat 1 or 2 meals per day so I start them off by just increasing their meals by 1. The most common problem I see is people skipping breakfast. Their goal, then is to eat breakfast regularly for 1 week. I don't change anything else but instead focus on this small change. Once this becomes a habit then I'll tackle another meal and so on. By taking these smaller steps I'm instiling a structure where previously there was none.

For those of you working hard on your goals, whatever they may be, I wish you the best of luck!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tuesday tempo report

Today was the start of my training week and the extra days of rest from the weekend appeared to pay dividends. I did my 10K tempo in a little over 48 minutes (4:52 K/pace) and felt amazing afterwards. These tempo runs will no doubt help prepare me for my next race, the Peterborough 1/2 marathon, but hopefully the weather will be a little warmer then it was today. However, the temperature at last years' Peterborough 1/2 was -30 with the wind chill factored in. The wind today was especially tough but thankfully Ken and I did a slightly different route than our normal one and we had the wind at our back on the way home.
In the afternoon I did about 20 minutes of core training.
Tomorrow will be a run of between 12 and 15K at a comfortable pace.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Well Rested

After having taken the last two days off from running, I ventured out this morning for a 10K run. I received a great email from a close friend who was concerned that I may be overtraining. I can't tell you how amazing it is to have great friends who are also experienced runners expressing their concern for my well being. I'm still very much a novice when it comes to running and those that know me best know that I'm someone who is not afraid of a challenge. Luckily I've managed to remain relatively injury free and I want to stay that way.

Today's run brought back all the memories of why I started to run in the first place. I ran because I LOVE to run. Even though the temperature was minus something, (when it gets this cold does it really matter what the exact temperature is?) I didn't feel it at all. I had my music on and a big smile on my face. I remembered all the great friends I've made since I started running. I was thinking about the amazing summer last year, which was by far the best summer of my life. I was thinking about the Learn to Run clinic which I helped instruct and wondered how those runners were doing.

Even though I still have my sights set on trying to qualify for Boston, I'm going to make sure that I have at least one run per week which is just for me and for fun.
Thanks Joanne!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Week 4 training report!

My next race: Peterborough 1/2 Marathon
Sunday February 25th

To sum up how I've felt this week, the best word I could come up with is "exhausted."
From this past Sunday (January 28th) to Friday (February 2nd) my total mileage was just over 90K.
This included 2 LSD's (24 and 25K), 1, 10K temp run, 8 sets of hill repeats and two runs of 12 and 15K.
By the time Friday came around I was physically and emotionally spent.
I took the past two days off from running and decided to ride my stationary bike for 60 minutes on Saturday and 90 minutes on Sunday. I also did some core work. My next scheduled run is a tempo on Tuesday but I may sneak out tomorrow for a light run of no more than 10K.
I've actually enjoyed the last few days as I needed to recover from 7 consecutive days of running.

I have decided not post my weight or eating "scale" anymore after having a great chat with one of my best friends. Instead I will focus more on my training and overall tips for healthy eating.

This week I will be running on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I prefer this schedule than running for 7 consecutive days but I realize I must work around the fact that I watch my kids every other weekend.

I comend anyone who has braved the cold this past week. It has me dreaming of the spring and summer temperatures which for me can't get here fast enough.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My first online article!

I was recently asked to write monthly articles on fitness, nutrition and motivation for an online dating site called Single Parents Love Life. Here is my first article:

You set goals for your kids.
Now set a goal for your body.
By Greg D'Cruz, Single Dad and SPLL Member

The start of a new year brings the hope that this year will be better than the last one. And we know we have the power to make that happen! As someone who works in the fitness industry can attest to, this time of year the gyms are flooded with new members. Most, however, will be gone in a few months.

The reason is they neglected to write down or envision their goals. They had a desire but not a goal and there is a difference. A desire is the "want to" but a goal is a "plan." This plan usually has a time line attached to it;

For example, as a single parent you may want to improve your health (or stamina!!!) but what does that mean? A goal takes this one step further by defining itself. With Valentine's Day and even summer fast approaching, your goal could be to lose five pounds by a certain date. Now you have defined the goal!

Once a goal is defined, you need a plan to make this goal a reality. The plan needs to be realistic and something that fits into your current single parent lifestyle.

As a single Dad who shares custody of my two (amazing) boys, it seems that my life is broken into two separate entities; the time I'm alone and the time that I spend with my children. Single parents struggle with trying to be good role models for our children. Our kids learn by watching us and if they see we're committed to staying fit and in shape, they too will likely carry that lesson for the rest of their lives. Put another way, the best way to have healthy and fit children is for you to be healthy and fit.

When you make goals for yourself, envision what that goal will look like years down the road. Goals need to be important to you and something that you see yourself improving on from day to day, month to month or year to year. It could be improving on an existing activity or developing a new one but once you make a commitment to your goal and schedule it into your life, try your best not to deviate from that plan.

I believe in the importance of writing down daily goals. At the end of the day, take ten minutes to reflect on how the day went for you. Give yourself positive encouragement for what you accomplished, however small you may think it was. Then look forward to the next day and write down what you want to accomplish. At the end of each day you will be amazed at what you did and this will keep you motivated to keep improving.

Incorporate goal planning into everything you do in life and you will be amazed at what doors will open for you as a result!