Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolution 5K 12/20/12

As a look back on this month I have not run a lot, but I've been working more on getting faster than running farther.  Today, I had a 5k race that I originally wanted to run in under 30 minutes.  This would have been a stretch, but a reasonable goal except that we had snow, wind and ice working against us.  I decided that my goal was to finish and to have all of my limbs in their current state.  I accomplished this and getting a new personal record.  I don't know exactly what my official time was for the race, but according to my Garmin I got 30:40.  This is a whole minute faster than my fastest recorded time this year.  I'm extremely pleased with this because it was a difficult run.  I am realizing now that I should have had some "yaktraxs" which I knew about before the run, but wish I had for this run.

I got to the run early and I spoke with a few of the other runners.  There is just something about having running in common that takes away any of the social awkwardness away.  I talked with the guy who won the race while we were waiting for it to start (in the warmth of the building).  I also talked with another guy who just ran his first marathon this year.  It's cool to be able to relate to people even though I never saw them before.  I also was standing there watching the awards and I ended up speaking with the guy who won our age group (30-39).  I think he finished in 22 minutes and some change.  The cool thing is that winning my age group is something that I obviously would love to do, but it's not high on the priority list.  I'm racing against myself and I beat myself by a WHOLE minute!  That's a really long time for a 5k (at least in my book). 

The biggest thing that I want work on this year is being more consistent during the weekday runs/gym workouts.  I am really good getting out there on the weekend, but during the week seems to be a challenge.  As I mentioned before in post, I don't think of myself as an "all or nothing" kind of guy when it comes to exercise, but that seems to be my tendency.  I am working on my cross-training during this season to make sure that I am continuing to be stronger and run faster.

Again my "bottom line" goal for 2013 is to run a half-marathon in under 2 hours (1:59:59 would work)
Get under 30 minutes for the 5k (I might make this even harder depending on how things go during the Frozen Foot 5k Series

I hope that my posts are an inspiration to you.  I write about this for my own accountability and so that you can see the reality that "if I can do this so can you!"

2013 is coming ... so get out there!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Looking back and looking forward

I was inspired to write this post by a running podcast called "The Extra Mile."  You can find it here.  Kevin encourages us to take a look back at 2012 and look forward to 2013.  So here's my attempt at doing that.

Looking back at 2012: 
According to my logs at Daily Mile I have run 721.34 miles
My farthest run was 26.52 miles on Oct 28, 2012 (Marine Corps Marathon)
My fastest average pace (for at least a 3 mile run) was 9:39 min/mile on December 24, 2012 (yesterday!)

The races that I ran in 2012 were the Frozen Foot 5K race series (Elizabethtown, PA).  DUI Memorial 10K(Harrisburg, Front Street), Harrisburg Half (Harrisburg, Front Street), Marine Corps Marathon (Washington DC), Blood Sweat and Tears 5 miler (Lawn, PA), SMT Turkey Trot (New Cumberland), and I will be running the Resolution 5K (Wildwood Park).

My high point for this year was training for an running the Marine Corps Marathon with Team In Training.  I ran with some amazing people.  To say that this event changed my life is an understatement.  I am forever changed by this experience.  Running for me has become a lifestyle rather than just to run races.  This experience helped me realize that I can do significantly more in life than I thought was possible.  The role of the mind to overcome physical barriers is tremendous.  Using mantras such as "I love hills, I feel good/I feel great, run happy, relax/power/glide."  Another super high point of this year and the Marathon was being able to run with my friend Amanda.  It was both of our first marathon and since I typically start out too fast I caught up with her.  This was a highlight because we ran with each other for most of the race.  She helped me keep my pace and we talked about everything.  One time I distinctly remember her asking me "what are you thinking about?"  I responded with "I feel good/I feel great... "  I think I was stuck in my head at that moment.  Having someone to run with me who had similar goals of finishing and doing the best we could.

I would say my low point was the two weeks following the marathon when my coach suggested that we completely take off of running.  This was super hard for me and when I do it again I will make sure I get to the gym to at least use the bike or something.  I missed the routine and the endorphins.  This was also hard because I trained so hard for literally 11 months and the "let down" of being done was very hard.  Nothing I had every done really prepared me for this.  Also if I'm honest realizing that I won't be able to do a  marathon this year is a "low point."  I know that this is for the best because of the time commitment of properly training for a marathon is huge (and if you've done it before you know what I'm talking about).  I have a 16 month (almost 17 month) baby girl and I want to be supportive to my wonderful wife.  I still plan to do two half-marathons, but a marathon is just out of my reach for 2013.

My goals for 2013 include breaking 30 minutes in an official 5k, breaking the 2 hour mark for a half marathon and continuing to run happy and enjoy running to the fullest.

My non-running exercise goal for 2013 is to make it to the gym more often (2-3 times per week) and get up at 4:45am as often as possible to either run or get to the gym.

I appreciate you reading my blog.  Please leave comments if you would like.  I plan to blog one more time before the end of the year (I want to write about my last race of the year on Dec 30th).  Have a great day!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

12/22/12 Negley Run

Today we had a frigid run.  I know that I'm a social runner and that it is very difficult for me to get outside when it's cold outside.  However, the one consistent thing I have done this past year is run on Saturdays.  The few Saturdays that I didn't run something didn't feel right.  Anyway, this was the second run that I organized for my TNT friends.  We had a few more people this time which was impressive due to the wind and cold.

We started at 9am at City Island and we ran to Negley Park.  This run was similar to my first run with TNT earlier this year.  One great thing about this run is that there is a hill, but that it's manageable.  Second is that once you get to the top it is all downhill.  This downhill is where I caught up with a few of the faster runners in our group.  Since it was so windy I wasn't trying to break any records, but I did run a 10.10/mile pace.  I'm VERY happy with this since I did not get much exercise in this week.

This week I did not make it to the gym.  I am learning how to forgive myself for this and to move on and do better the next day.   For me it's about not allowing myself a choice and getting out there and doing it regardless of whether I want to or not.  Immediate accountability outside of my family is very important as well.  The reality is that I am not that far from my next half marathon race and I want to keep myself in shape and move to the next level.

I know that work will be crazy next week since I need to do 40 hours worth of work in three days.  This means that I will be doing some exercise on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I will make sure I get in at least one other workout in there during those three days.  My "resolution run 5K" is on Dec 30th which is next Sunday.  I think I will try to get a run in at Wildwood park either Christmas Eve or Christmas day.  If anyone wants to join me that'd be awesome :-).  Just leave a message here or email me at natewagn08 at gmail dot com.

My obvious goal for my 5K on Dec 30 would be to get under 30 minutes.  That would be a Personal record by at least a minute.  I'll let you know how that goes.

I will be posting more specific 2013 exercise goals before the new year.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12.15.12 Messiah Run

This week I made it to the gym Monday through Friday and had a great run outside with my TNT friends on Saturday.  Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I did treadmill workouts.  Mostly used some interval training and gradually made it go faster.  I am learning how best to use the treadmills and I'm am starting to not be so afraid of the treadmill.  The crazy thing about this week was that I did something either at the gym or outside every day this week (6 days in a row).  Before you get concerned about me over-training I want to make clear that during those gym days I spent about 30 minutes on the treadmill on my running days and about the same amount of time on the bike.  I did not push all that hard during these workouts.  The point for me was just to get to the gym and enjoy the process.

Today I met with my TNT friends at Messiah College.  This is the most challenging location for runs because of all the hills.  Today I was originally just going to do about 8 miles (since it was Messiah) and because I hadn't run beyond 6 miles for a little while.  However, I had some positive peer pressure and I decided to go ahead and do the 10 miles.

The most memorable parts about this run was the people.  We had good conversations.  I also remember seeing a cow just chilling.  I think I saw an bird of prey (falcon) at some point, but I'm not certain.  I kept a decent pace for this run (about a 10:30 min/mi) which is much better than my typical hilly run.  I need more runs like this in order to prepare for the Chambersburg Half.  One of the guys that I was running with talked a little bit about the Chambersburg Half and he said that the hills are comparable to Messiah.  I have my work cut out for me for that race.  It's a really small race so we'll see how that goes!

I'm very motivated and encouraged by the consistency that I was able to accomplish this week.  This was a "first ever" experience of having 5 days of the gym and then running 10 miles the next day.  I'm taking Sunday completely off (though it might be good to get a short walk in there somewhere).

Next week I plan to run a few more times outside (as the weather allows) and to still make it to the gym Wednesday and Friday for cross-training.  My focus will continue to be on developing my core.

I'm thinking about organizing a run starting at City Island next Saturday because I don't think anything is officially scheduled.  One of my goals between now and next Saturday is develop specifically what my training plan will be between now and the Chambersburg Half, March 9, 2013 (that's 12 weeks).  Fortunately, I just ran a fairly challenging 10.5 mile run today so I'm not concerned about it being so soon.

Until next time... running for those who can't... and running for a cure.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

12/8/12 update and more

This week I ran outside Monday and today (Saturday).  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I did not run outside or go to the gym (Thursday I had breakfast with a friend at 5:30 am).  I made it to the gym on Friday.  Today I had a refreshing run with my TNT friends in Lancaster.  We met at F&M college and did a lovely loop.  I was surprised with my overall time because I gave moderate effort at most and my pace was 10 min/mile (all but the first mile was sub 10:00).  This is very encouraging because even though I ran once and made it to the gym once during the week I am still improving.  This is not to say that I'm going to continue to go to the gym once a week... but I know that I am getting faster and getting much more confidence.

Getting back to the run, I had some good conversation and I also ran a little bit by myself.  I just made sure I could see someone in front of me so that I wouldn't get lost.  I also saw someone who was generally running faster than me and my goal by the time I got the end was to catch up with them.  I managed this and surprised myself.  :-).

I've mentioned before that since I did MCM last year and I'm NOT doing a marathon in 2013 that it has been challenging to have meaningful goals.  I also specifically pointed out in an earlier post that my goal for 2013 is to get faster to the point where I can run a sub-2:00 half marathon.  I know this means that I will need to get "comfortable" with running 9 minute miles (which I'm getting closer).

The 5K races that I will be running are as follows
Resolution 5K  run 12/30/12 at 2pm sharp at Wildwood Park Nature Center
Cost:  $14.65 (online)

2013 5k Races
The Frozen Foot Winter Series 2013 - Dates: January 20th - February 17th - March 17th 
Held at Elizabethtown College located at 1 Alpha Drive, Elizabethtown, PA. 17022 
You can do one, two or all three races.  I will be doing all three.
 Go here to find out more:
3 race series: $48.25  (online) -
- includes a great long sleeve tech shirt
individual race (no shirt) - online cost: $25.15 use link above

I'm sure I'll race other 5K's but this is what I have for now.

2013 10K races
June 1, 2013 - ArtSHIP 10K
Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA 
Racing this to keep me on my "A" game, plus it's really close to where I work and I could run some of the course
Cost: $20 on

2013 Half-Marathon Races
March 9, 2013 - Chambersburg Half
challenging course;
includes long-sleeve t-shirt
- have not officially registered for this race, but this is my top choice right now for a Spring 2013 race.  Goal at this point will be to run faster than 2:31 which is my current PR.  

 September 7, 2013 - Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon
Farmlands of Amish Country.
Course is NOT flat, but will be lots of fun :-).
This race will be my "A" race.  My goal will to be run a sub-2:00 half-marathon.
- have not registered yet, but registration is open.

That's the races that I'm planning to run this year.  I'm sure I'll run other 5K's and/or 10K's as well.  Let me know what you're going to run/race this year.

Looking forward to an amazing 2013!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

12/1/12 update

This week I ran outside on Monday. I took off Tuesday and Wednesday (not on purpose). Made it to the gym for a treadmill workout on Thursday and on Friday I did the stationary bike at Planet Fitness. Overall, I'd say it was a successful week of exercise. The interesting thing is that I was pretty hard on myself for not getting up on Tuesday. Then when I didn't get up on Wednesday I felt even worse about it! That's what made it "easier" on Thursday because I knew how I would feel both mentally and physically if I didn't go so I made sure I went. My most recent thought/quote that has helped is "When the alarm goes of I have a choice: Go back to sleep and dream I am running. or Put on my shoes. Hit the road and make my dreams come true. Choose wisely." I don't know about you, but I feel amazing after I workout. I find that just going to the gym makes a huge difference.

I have been really thinking about what I will do as far as a spring half marathon. Until this weekend I was set on doing the Historic Half-Marathon in Fredricksburg, VA. I'm not so sure that's going to happen now. We have other financial obligations and I'm not sure that it makes sense for us to spend several hundred dollars to stay in a hotel when we have my undergrad loans that we REALLY want to have paid off (not to mention Graduate loans too). At this point (Dec 1st), I think I might still run an unofficial half marathon in the Spring (or try to find one closer). If I run an unofficial half I would need to make sure I have water stops set up along the way to make sure it is a good experience. I won't be able to officially break the two hour mark for a half marathon in the spring, but I will have my sights set on the Harrisburg Half 2013 and I know with the right training and execution that I will certainly be able to get a new PR (anything less than 2:31 will be a new personal record) and if everything works out I would get sub two hours for a half marathon.

I still need to talk with my wife about all that I just posted, but I think that creating a extremely strong base for the half is my plan. I am also working on creating a plan on exactly what exercises I should do for my abs, how many and the rest of the specifics of that workout. I know that my workout for abs should be over 30 minutes (per Coach Larry), but I'm still trying to figure out what I should do.

So how am I creating a new habit of getting up during the week to workout?
1. Creating a goal - My goal is to get a sub 2 hour half marathon. This won't just happen. Need commitment and determination and a whole lot of work.
2. Accountability in the AM. I have this to a certain extent but I'm meeting up with anyone. Have friends who are willing to text me at 5am.
3. Having a plan. I need to be more specific about this. I want to have a more specific running and gym plan.

So how can I strengthen number 3? I will do my best to make sure I have a more specific plan on what I will do for my core workout.

I'm excited that I'm doing better getting to the gym. I want to create a habit where it is normal to get up at 445am rather than hitting the alarm. Again, I know what happens if I go to the gym.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Trot and 5 mile run

Here is a late Turkey Trot walk/run report. My wife and daughter came to this event with me. This was the 4th year my wife and I walked this event. This the second year Emma participated.

Before the race I was able to meet up with some of my TnT teammates and then I met a fellow runner who listens to the Extra Mile podcast.

The goal for this run was first to have fun and then to have short bursts of running. This year there were a lot more runners so it was pretty crowded. The run was very well organized and I think we will continue to do this run each year.

We were able to do some shot bursts of running. At about mile my daughter started to get fussy so I picked her up out of the stroller an carried her the res of the way. With about a .25 mile left I decided that I would run the rest of the way to the finish. This was fun and I think she enjoyed it. I pushed to the end even though I wasn't the easiest because I KNEW I could do it. Essentially I ran a MARATHON so I can do this. :-). We got to the end and enjoyed a slice of the pies and the other plunder. That's the end of my Turkey Troy story. We had a fun time :-)

Today I organized a 5-6 mile run that started at City Island. There were 4 of us. We all said that we would not have made it out if it weren't for the accountability of meeting this morning. We ran up Negly Park. This was a similar course as I ran for my first run with TNT earlier this year. There is something about running with people that makes it much more enjoyable and I am able to push without even knowing it :-).

I plan to keep organizing runs during this period in between seasons. I won't make it out for an organized run next week but I hope to do it again in the near future.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

TNT Winter Series run on 11/17/12

Today was a beautiful morning for a run at Wildwood Lake Park and HACC.  It was great to be back with my TNT friends.  My first question today was what type of clothing should I run in so as to be warm, but not overheat.  My answer with my current options was to wear my "winter running tights" as to keep my legs warm.  I also wore a short sleeve tech shirt underneath my blue TNT alumni shirt.  In order for me to keep warm while I was waiting for us to start I also had my "finishers" jacket from the Marine Corps Marathon.

I ran with several different people this morning.  I wasn't trying to break any records, but I was feeling really good this AM.  We had the water stop at mile 2.5 and then I continued on the longer route around the lake.  We went around the lake the opposite way that we typically do so I was not sure exactly what the hills would be like.  Even though this part was a little challenging I had helpful and positive self-talk that included things like "I've finished a marathon... I KNOW I can do this."

I was surprised how fast I did run today (averaged about 10:08/miles).  I was not racing anyone and I didn't have anything to prove to anyone.  Some of my friends are saying that this is the "new normal" and I'm completely OK with that :-).  I also talked with my coach about what I should be doing in between seasons to get ready for a faster half marathon time.  I mentioned that my goal is to improve my current official PR of 2:31 from two years ago to sub 2:00 half marathon.  This will be doable, but very challenging as I will hit some hard spots in making that much improvement.

Things I'm going to attempt to do in the meantime is more core work.  I'm going to do a pushup program and a situp program 2-3 times per week.  My coach suggested that I do at least 30 minutes twice a week, but stated that it would be better to do 45 minutes twice a week.  I also want to work on doing planks and making sure that I'm strengthening the muscles that I neglected last season.  I want to progress to the next level.  I believe I am in the best shape of my life and I won't allow myself to slack off to the point of loosing what I have gained.  I feel better emotionally and physically.

The biggest thing that I'm going to do to make this happen is more accountability.  A friend of mine will be calling me between 445-and 500am to make sure I am up.  I have not been successful thus far and this is a step that I think will make a huge difference.  I am so thankful for this!

Lastly, since we are in between seasons (Fall and Spring) TNT has a winter series once a month to keep us running.  I enjoyed it because it keeps me accountable and provides a social outlet for my running.  We went to the Front Street Diner and had coffee (or hot chocolate).  Some people had breakfast as well.  It was fun because we were able to connect with those we haven't seen for a little while and meet new people as well.

My goal is to still blog once a week (even if I don't have official TNT runs happening).  I plan to try to organize a few runs on Saturdays starting from City Island over the next few months.  These runs would be between 3-5 miles, but could be as long as we wanted them to be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

early AM difficulty

Once it gets cold outside I have a hard time getting up early to go to the gym or to go for a run.  The trouble is that even though I'm have everything organized and laid out the night before I still often choose to either turn off the alarm before it goes off or I choose to go back to sleep.  This is a major problem right now because I don't have the type of accountability of a training schedule.  On one hand I want to give my body a chance to repair itself and relax, but I don't want to loose all of the progress I made over the last 6-9 months.

I feel better than I have in a long time.  I am trying to make wise food decisions as well because I don't want to put on the weight that I lost during this training cycle.  I think it will be important for me to develop specific goals for my time at the gym.  I am considering starting two programs to help me stay focused.  I know a huge weakness of mine from running the marathon in 2012 was my abs.  I did not do anything specific for my abs and I suffered for it during the last 6 miles of the marathon.  This year, I going to make doing ab work a huge priority.

I want to work on push ups as well to get my upper body in shape a little bit more.  The other day at the gym I tried to do some push-ups and I realized how much work I want to do to make myself feel stronger and better about myself.  Specifically my goal is to make it to the gym Wednesday and Fridays.  Ideally I would be able to run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Or I could get to the gym to do core work Monday, Wednesday, Friday and run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I'm going to try this out and see how things are going.

I know that in order for me to improve my half-marathon times as much as I want... it will be essential for me to run a lot and to also work on other areas of my body.  The purpose of all this is not just to get more half-marathon metals (although I will do that).  It's also not about getting significantly faster (although I also hope that I can do that).  It is about getting healthier and making sure that I keep myself accountable and to involve my fellow runners and friends that I have made through Team In Training.  I need accountability and I hope by posting this and being honest about how things are going that this will keep me on track.

Bottom line: running half marathons is about me being staying healthy so that I can live a happy and healthy life.  This will hopefully mean that I will be able to spend lots of time with Emma and Cindy.    Long term/life goal is to be able to run until I'm 100 years old.

When I figure out exactly what my plan is for the gym I will post it here.  Thanks and feel free to ask me how my running and my time in the gym is going.

At this point I plan to run the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA on May 19th.  I can officially register on January 23, 2013.  It seems as though I always need to have a goal in ind to keep me motivated.  So that looks like it will be my goal for May.  My plan is to use this to get me out on those cold mornings.  Running in the cold and snow can be fun and also a little tricky on a weekday morning.  I enjoy the cooler temps and I try not to complain about it if it's cold and rainy... because the humidity is probably the hardest time to run in my opinion.  Until next time.... I'll see you out there.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blood, Sweat, and Tears - 5 Miler and future races

This morning we had a run organized by Tom to benefit the life saving work of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and Team In Training.  This was my first run since I completed the Marine Corps Marathon.  This was held in Lawn PA and started near the Lawn Fire Hall.  This was a very well organized event and I was impressed since it was the first running of the BST-5 miler.  I appreciated that part of the run was on the road and about 2 miles of it was on the trail.

My mindset in regards to this run (and most runs) was to have fun and enjoy myself and the conversation.  One of the huge benefits of running with TNT is that I am joined with people with a similar mindset about running.  I am realizing more each day that I am very much a social runner.  I enjoy running some of the shorter distances by myself, but I'd much rather run with someone else. I talked with on of my fellow runners, Liz all about my event and my experience at the marathon.  We didn't have enough time for me to hear about what Liz experienced in her most recent adventure.  So that will just have to wait until next time.

Now onto what I experience through this run.  As I said I was running with Liz and we had a pretty good pace.  It was comfortable conversational pace.  I did not look at my watch as often as normal because technically it wasn't a race... but I still wanted a time and to do my best.  Toward the end I did look at my watch at about mile 4.5 and that is when we picked up the pace.  I had no idea how fast I was going or that I was doing much better than what I would typically consider my "normal" pace.

I rested for almost 2 weeks from running and this was very difficult, but because I trust those that made that suggestion I did rest from running for almost two weeks.  Today I got the benefit of that decision when I ran with an average pace of 9:50/mile.  This has helped to prove to myself that I can get faster and that as I focus on the half-marathon next year I will improve.  I think I will improve significantly and I'm looking forward to that!

My unofficial goal for half marathon times next year will be to improve to at least 2:15 (my previous Personal record "PR" is 2:31).  I know I can probably almost do that today with the correct course and temperature.  My "reach" goal for the time next year is to get sub 2:00.  It is a huge goal, but with proper training (I'll get this by running with TEAM) and enough hard work I know I can do it.

My top choice for half-marathons next year I think is the Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg VA and that will be taking place on May 19, 2013.  I just looked at the website for it and it looks very exciting!   More or less 10 miles of downhill and the last 5K has about a 200 ft elevation gain in the last 5k.   There are many reasons why I'm considering this, but primarily because it's in a completely different place than I've ever run before and I can simply drive there.

I'm also considering the Pittsburgh Half-marathon which is also in May.  This would be a fairly easy drive, stay overnight the day before the half marathon and then drive home.

Today I officially registered for The Frozen Foot Winter Series 2013 which has 3 races that will be held on January 20th - February 17th - March 17th at 2pm at the Elizabethtown College.  The link is Frozen Foot Series 2013.  It would be cool to see some of you come out and join me.  

I'm walking the SMT Turkey Trot in New Cumberland on Thanksgiving.  Here's the link for this Click Here to learn more and register.  This will be the fourth time Cindy and I walked this race.  Second time that Emma will be able to join us and we are looking forward to it :-).

Last, but not least I'm looking forward to the TNT events that will be happening starting next week.  I miss my running family so I will do my best to make these runs.  Actually, the first run that is happening next week I will be bringing Emma along for the 3-5 mile run that we will be doing.  I'm excited about participating in this.

I hope these updates are encouraging.  They keep me accountable.  I'm a social runner so if I blog that helps me feel connected to others.  I am attempting to strengthen my core over these next 6 months which will help me in my running.  Any suggestions that you have about how I can do this would be greatly appreciated!  I did not do as much core training or cross training as was suggested and I will make sure that happens during the next 6 months.  Thanks again for reading :-).  Running happy for a cure!

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Post-marathon blues"

I ran my first marathon less than a week ago.  It is hard to believe that 11 months worth of training culminated on one race.  Through this experience I know that I need to have a much bigger goal than just finishing this race or that race.  It must be bigger... more long term... more life changing than that.  At this point the long-term goal is for me to be able to run until I'm 100 years old.  As a 32 year old that task seems quite daunting.  Even while having that goal it doesn't really seem attainable so I need something more tangible.  Another goal of mine is to run until a cure for blood cancer is found.  Yet another intangible goal... at least it's very hard for me to wrap my brain around this one.

So how am I going to push though this "post-marathon blues" and move on with my life.  First off, I want to make sure that I give back more to my family.  I want Cindy to know how much I appreciate all the sacrifices that she's willing done to make sure that I accomplished this goal.  There were what seems like many hours on Saturdays that she had Emma while I was running.  Here's an interesting fact about my life in the last 6 plus months... I have not missed a single weekend of running either with TNT or running a race.  I ran a 10K race one weekend and the Harrisburg Half marathon the other weekend.  Those were the only times I didn't run with TNT since I joined back in May.  We even scheduled our vacation to North Carolina around my TNT runs.  We left right away after an 8 mile run at Messiah the day we left for NC and made sure we got back before the following Saturday for a TNT run and a wedding that day as well.  So I share all of that detail with you to let the world know how much I appreciate Cindy and all of her hard work with Emma and her support of my running.  I believe I'm a better husband as a result of running regularly.  I feel better about myself and I'm also coping with my stress better as well.

So after I make sure that I'm back in balance with things in regards to my family I'm also going to try to get back in touch with my friends outside of running to see if we can hang out for coffee or get together and chat.  I'm also going to make it a priority to make the TNT events during the winter.  They are only once a month which means that there is no reason why I can't make all of them and still enjoy the rest of the Saturdays with friends and family.

One thing I'm NOT going to do is give up running.  I truly want to run several times a week the rest of my life.  I hope that my passion for running has rubbed off onto people rather than make them sick of me talking about running.  It will be worth it to me if I can just get another person to at least get off the couch and start walking and maybe even put some running parts in as well.  I'm trying to encourage people to have the mindset that if Nate can run a marathon, maybe I can run a little bit too.  Yes, it's a lot of sacrifice, but it is so worth it.

Other strategies that have been suggested to me is to register for a shorter race soon.  I'm going to do this by registering for a 5 mile race put on by a fellow TNT alum called Blood, Sweat & Tears 5-Miler next Saturday.  The cool thing is that this is not a timed event (I'll just use my Garmin) so I have no pressure to go fast.  The best part about this run is that all the proceeds go toward funding research for blood cancer.  Moreover, it will be nice to be with my TNT friends again.  Next I have the Turkey Trot that is in New Cumberland.  This is a race that Cindy and I have done the previous 3 years together.  We walk it and we have a great time.  So I know having specific races/runs on the schedule will be helpful to get me out of this "post-marathon blues."  Also I have 3 runs (one per month) with TNT alumni which will be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to that.

The biggest thing I've learned about myself this week is that if I want to have razor focus that I can and that is what I had for my training for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I figured there is only ever one first marathon so I wanted to make sure I did everything right (I of course didn't, but I tried).  I might have been too focused at times, but it still was an amazing experience that I'll never forget.

For my next post: 

Things that I'm thinking about and will post about in a different post.  These were suggested by my TNT friends.  First, it was suggested that I think about what I would do differently if/when I were to do it again.

Practicing relaxation breathing and prayers

Also suggested writing in my journal about what I have gained from this experience.

Thinking about ways that I can give time back to Cindy and to care for her and her stress (providing times that she does not need to take care of Emma).

Prepare for Christmas.

Start some core training.

It truly is a life changer and I believe that I'm a better person as a result.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Marine Corps Marathon 2012

On October 28th 2012 I completed my first marathon. There are many reasons why this was a life changing experience. Before this year I ran only for myself and the benefits that I could gain from running. Yesterday I ran 26.2 miles for a cause greater than myself. There is NOTHING that I have experienced that compares with this.

I could write pages and pages about this experience but here's the "shorter" version. I'm typing this on my IPOD the morning after the race. We are driving home in the pouring down rain and it is also very windy. I am so thankful that we did not have to deal with the rain for the race.

First, there is a lot I could talk about regarding the inspiration dinner on Saturday night, but what impacted me the most was the attitude of the speaker Josh. He went through so much yet he was able to use running as a way to cope with the stress and to keep himself healthy.

After that we ha our capital team meeting where I got to officially meet my honored teammate Jeff Allen and his wife shared his story. I also received a lot of inspiration when we went around the room and shared the person were were dedicating the run to.

After that I went back io the room to get everything ready for the race. I attempted to sleep but I only slept a few hours. When I woke up I felt slightly nervous, but mostly excited! I got ready and then headed downstairs to meet the team. At this point we were still expecting it to rain at least a little bit.

Fast forward to the point where we already rode the metro and were in runners village. I had a second to ask Coach Barb from The York team where she thought I should line up for the race. She said that even thought I could reasonably expect to run somewhere between 5 and 6 hours that I should line up closer to 4 or 430. I did this it was very helpful as it gave me a little more buffer to make it through the Gauntlet and beat the bridge by the specified times.

It was overwhelming with all the people ahead and behind me. At the start and for the first 10k I was running about an 11:30 pace which was slightly fast fir me. I tried to slow down but had a hard time doing that.

One of the moat surprising things I saw was the amount of people going to the bathroom just on the side of the road in the wood areas... this started as early as 3 miles.

Sone people wore costumes to run in and that made me smile. I saw a lady wearing a fur coat and I thought to myself "that's crazy" but there were people from all 50 states and 50 countries.

A super important point in the race was when I caught up to Amanda who a runner from the Baltimore team who knows my mentor for team in training. It was the first marathon for both of us and we had the same goal an the same pace in mind. Thus was tremendous and we helped each other through the rest of the race.

I felt absolutely amazing for probably the first 16 - 18 miles. I think I can partially attribute I to starting out too fast and not drinking quite enough (however I took 2 cups of water at the water stops).

The last 6-8 miles were all mental for me. Each mike I went above 20 was a milestone.

I distinctly remember to super important parts of the last 5k of the race. First at mile 24 when I was struggling physically/mentally we reminded each other why we were running. I can't remember the name she said but I remember Luke and that he was the primary person I was running for. This helped a lot.

Second before we came to the last mob of people I saw a guy who had a prostatic like the guy who ran in the Olympics. That was inspiring :-).

Third, seeing my friends Mark, Eileen, Jeff (honored teammate) and Wendy. The best part was when Wendy came out onto the course and told me that she was proud of me and that "you got this.". That was the final push I needed.

At this point I was very close to the finish line. The "hill" was more like a ramp. At this point I took off with all the gusto I had left straight to the finish line.

It was different than some other finish lines sine there were so many people there still at the finish line. I did not get a chance to put my hands up in victory, I got my photo with my metal in from of the memorial.

I will never ever forget my first marathon!

There is almost an endless list of people I want to thank. First and foremost Cindy and Emma and all the sacrifices you guys have made. Next my coaches Mike. Larry, Linda, John and Barb. Teammates capital and York and Amanda. All those who were cheering and all those who contributed. I also wanted to specifically give a shout out to the me mentors Mark, Eileen, Shannon, Ally and Cyndi. Thanks for an incredible experience! See you out there soon.

I wanted to thank the coaches from the other TNT teams who offered to help us out and asked if we needed anything.  I really appreciated having both the Maryland team coaches and the Central PA coaches running with us at different times.  It sure does make a huge difference!

The most important thing that I want to communicate through this blog post is that completing my first marathon was the second greatest thing I did yesterday.  The greatest was raising money to help find a cure for blood cancer.  Never will I forget my first marathon.  Thanks again to everyone who made it possible :-).

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm 97% there!

Not only will I be at the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon in less than 36 hours, but I'm almost to my fundraising goal.  I'm 97% as of Friday night of reaching my goal of raising $2,900 towards finding a cure for blood cancer.  Will you help me in this?  I already have over 50 people who have contributed to date.  I know that finding a cure for blood cancer is a tremendous task, but each dollar makes a huge difference.

I am running in memory of Luke Belmont (son of Kirk and Valerie Belmont) and in honor of Jeff Allen.  Thinking about them and their families and what they went through is going to get me to the finish line.  I am prepared even with Hurricane Sandy making an appearance.  When the going gets tough I will remind myself several things.  1.  I know I can do it and I'm prepared.  2.  The goal is to finish and that I've already done the hard part.  3.  I'm doing this for a greater cause than just finishing a marathon... I'm running for a cure.  4.  I will "embrace the suck" and push through it.  5.  Running happy is the only way to run.

It is clear that many of us our struggling financially.  I want to encourage you if you can't give to this cause that you find something that you are passionate about.  I am now very passionate about running and about finding a cure for blood cancer.  Running with team in training truly has changed my life.

Will you help me today by going to my secure fundraising website?  I know that some of you have been meaning to give and have not had time.  Well, now's the time.  
Here's the site:

Thanks for your consideration and keep an eye on my progress on Sunday on my Facebook.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Messiah Run photo 10/20/12


Running the Marine Corps Marathon with Team in Training on October 28, 2012.  I am raising money for the The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's (LLS)/Team In Training program.  Personal fundraising secure site:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

8 mile taper run at Messiah College

This morning I met my coach and one other Capital City Team In Training teammate at Messiah.  It was so small because most of the other runners either have already had their event or their event is tomorrow (Hershey Half).  I knew that this training run would be small and I was right :-).  The weather was perfect... in the 40's - 50's for almost all of the run.  Typically runs at Messiah are very challenging.  Today was a little different, but of course I had a few hills to conquer or be conquered by.  There was one big hill on Grantham  Rd and another hill that was not nearly as significant.  Overall this was a fairly "easy" course since I've been training for this race since January :-).  The elevation change that I had to today (and most of my other runs) with was much more significant than the Marine Corps Marathon.  I feel very prepared and am very excited that there is only one more week until I am at the starting line.

One of the great things about this particular run is that the scenery is so beautiful.  I was familiar with the majority of the course.  There was almost an equal amount of uphill as there was downhill.  Technically there was only one big hill and most of the rest was downhill.  I appreciated the location of the hill because it was  within the first few miles which is similar to the MCM course.

I appreciate all the coaches have done for me and the rest of my teammates.  It is so awesome that Coach Mike created a course and gave us water stops for just two people (one fast guy and me).  I wrote a lot about this in my post last week, but I've grown close to my running buddies.  I look forward to continuing to run with the team once I'm able to get back into things.  My plan at this point is to run several times a week with the team on Saturdays while I don't have a specific goal.  I won't speak to exactly what races I will do next year, but the plan would be to run some half-marathons in 2013 and then continue with full-marathons in 2014.  The full-marathon training has been amazing and I could not have improved as much as I have without my wife's support.  It's too much right now with Emma being 14 months and trying to develop in my counseling career.  I do plan to run for a long time... hopefully until I'm 100 years old.

Thanks for reading my post.  By now you're used to me asking you to support my mission to wipe out blood cancer.  If you would like to join my team please go to my fundraising site:
I am at 97% of my personal goal.  Any amount is a huge help.  Thanks again!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

13 days and 15 hours until ... Running happy for a cure

This is the email I sent to some of my friends.  If you are reading this you are also one of my friends.  Please seriously consider any size contribution.  Every little bit helps!  Thanks :-)!

Most if not all of us have been impacted by cancer at some point in our lives.  That is why I'm sending you this email today.  I am running the Marine Corps Marathon in just under two weeks as a participant of Team In Training.  I am raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and I wanted you to know that there is still time to help me in this cause.  I will be running 26.2 miles in DC on October 28th.  My training is going amazing.  Last week I ran my longest, long run of 20 miles.  I feel very prepared mentally and physically for this event.

Please use the link in this email to donate online quickly and securely plus learn more about my progress.  You will receive a confirmation of your donation by email and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation.

Each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Nearly 958,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers.  I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.  So far I have raised $2,662.80, which is 92% of my personal goal of $2,900 by Oct 28th.  Would you consider being a part of my team to eliminate blood cancers?  I am running in memory of Luke Belmont who lost his life to ALL Leukemia at a young age.  I don't want other families to deal with this type of loss.

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support.  I greatly appreciate your generosity.

Thank you,

Nate Wagner (running in memory of Luke Belmont)

PS. I know things are tight for all of us, but even $26.2 ($1/mile) or $52.4 ($2/mile) would be a tremendous help.  Thanks for your consideration.

Running the Marine Corps Marathon with Team in Training on October 28, 2012.  I am raising money for the The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's (LLS)/Team In Training program.  Personal fundraising secure site:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

10.13.12 Taper run of 12 miles

This morning I met up with the Capital TNT team at City Island.  As a team we were either going "about" 8 or "about" 12 miles.  I have run all of the course before.  I remember my very first run with TNT before I had actually signed up was on most of this course.  It is amazing how several months changes how I think about the run up to Negley Park.  The first time I ran that hill I thought it was huge... today I was the one saying "this is the only hill on the course... I know we can do this and by the way, it's nothing like the hills at Messiah College."  I told myself during this run up the hill "I love hills" and other positive thoughts.  Some might think I'm crazy, but hey, it works :-). 

A few things to mention about this run.  First, I find that when I "fall back" in miles the run is harder than it needs to be because I'm not as mentally prepared as I am for the longer runs.  I don't think this impacted me as much today because I intentionally slowed down in general because I wanted to take it easy in this taper run.  Second, when you have other runners who are running a similar pace or stride it makes a huge difference.  One of my fellow runners and I were running side by side during part of this run and at that point the run felt effortless.  This happens sometimes and I hope that there will be times during the last half of the marathon that I find people who are running the same pace as I am.

I'm having a decent time with the taper.  My body feels ready for more... which is a great thing.  All season I have not been as good with the lower mileage runs, but I haven't missed a single long run (other than when I've had a race in Harrisburg (10K run or Harrisburg Half).  I'm pretty proud about this because I've been very consistent with my long runs.  This is also true about the "longer" mid week runs.  Fortunately, I've been able to get in all of those which has tremendously helped me in the long runs.  The reality is that for all of us there is more we could have done.  This is not the time to do it.  Taper time is the last 2 weeks before the big race where we give our bodies a little bit of break to finish getting ready for the Marathon.  I read somewhere that this time (taper time) is a perfect time for me to sharpen my mental abilities and strength. 

This experience training for a marathon is one that I will never forget.  It has come with so many benefits and also some sacrifices... It's all been worth it.  As far as I'm concerned regarding future plans... I plan to run marathons in the future, but with all that is going on at home I think I'm going to at least take off the spring season from official marathon training.  I am sure that I'll do a half marathon at some point earlier on in the season than this year.  My plan is to keep myself in "half-marathon" shape so that I can be within a month or so of running a half marathon.  I do believe that this running thing is to stay... it's just how far and how fast I'll be running that is in question.

Lastly, I want to specifically thank people who have been so helpful in my training.  I have to go back to the first part of my training (unofficial training before the MCM training started) with Coach Larry.  I am so thankful that he made sure that I did not go too far during that time in March and April so that I could peak when I needed to during this training.  Amy - it's been awesome training with you to see how you progressed during your two marathons this year.  Shannon - been running some of these miles these during the last month or so.  You're such an inspiration to me and I know you'll come back stronger than you were before (and by the way you were pretty strong before!)  Liz - thanks for running part of that 10 miler with me on a Monday... that was a tremendous help :-).  Coach Mike for all the hard courses you've given us to run over these last several months.  Coach Linda - thanks for all the miles you road your bike with me in the past two weeks.  Thanks so much for being there even if we didn't talk during the entire time.  Eileen and Mark - thanks for being such a huge support and for running with me during some very difficult miles.  Ok, I could go on and on and if you're not specifically mentioned here know that you have also made a huge impact on me this season.  I also wanted to mention that the support my wife has given me has been so incredible and I truly could not have done it without her!

It's very hard to believe that I just have one more "long run" of 8 miles on Saturday, 10.20.12.  Time flies and it has been such a great experience.  I plan to still come out after my event.  My desire would be that I could come out most weeks, but not every week and run.  I'm not certain what events I'll be doing next year, but I would be surprised if it's anything less than a half marathon in both the spring and fall season.

I still am raising money for blood cancer research through my involvement with Team in Training and you can still be involved.  Please go to donate.  Every dollar counts and is very much appreciated.  I have a goal of raising $2,700 by the end of the weekend and I am only about $40 short of that goal.  Will you help?  My "reaching goal" is to raise $2,900 before the race on 10.28.12.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

10.6.12 milestone 20 mile run

Today was the day that I've been looking forward to and dreading at the same time.  This was they day that I set out to run 20 miles which would be the longest training run for this season and the farthest I have gone to date.    Earlier in the week it looked like it was going to rain and that it would be fairly windy.  I kept this is mind and made sure that I had a positive attitude regardless of what was going to happen with the weather.  It ended up not raining which I am very thankful about.

The coolest "pre-start" moment was when one of the TNT mentors who just went through some major surgery came to send us off.  This was a huge inspiration to me and made those last few miles just a little bit "easier."  I also was able to talk with several of the runners about the fact that I passed my National Counselor Exam (NCE) and how much my running helped me stay focused and not allow the test to get the best of me mentally.  Running has sharpened my ability to overcome adversity like nothing else I've gone through before.

I had several great conversations during the run.  We did two 10 mile loops which was helpful in some ways, but in other ways it made it more difficult.  In the end I'm glad that we did the two 10 mile loops because this way I spent more time with other runners who are not running the Marine Corps Marathon.  My attitude was pretty much to not look this run as a big 20 mile run, but as a bunch of shorter runs.  In other words, we had water stops about every 2.5 miles so I broke the race down into these 2.5 mile segments.  It made it a lot easier to grasp and to have the motivation to finish.   Another huge benefit to having two 10 mile loops is that the water stops were the same even with a second loop.  It was very predictable and the best part is that I KNEW that I could do it since I had already done it once today.  This was very helpful at about mile 15 or so.

The reason I don't have specific stats for this run is that my watch battery was dead this morning.  I checked it last night, but I must have forgotten to turn it off or something.  Anyway, it looks like the problem as been solved as I was able to turn on the watch this evening.  Glad this didn't happen at the race and it actually made the run better since I wasn't worried at all about my pace or how long it was taking me.  :-).

One of the comments that I made is that I didn't get where I am in life by being a pessimist.  I have learned that we have more power in our minds that we give ourselves credit.  For example, during the last 5 miles (at least), my body was feeling tired and sore.  I kept sending positive messages to my body by saying things like "I feel good, I feel great."  Other were "I feel strong, I love hills."

Coach Linda road her bike with me running during the last 7 miles of my run (maybe more).  This was awesome because I didn't have anyone to to run the second loop with me as my other buddies are faster than me (and I'm totally cool with that).  We talked a bunch and several cool things happened.  at about mile 15 I said "the rest is just mental."  I really do believe this and this was my experience today.  At no point did I have any doubt about whether or not I would finish the course.  I did walk a portion of the second half before Coach Linda came to the rescue.

The best moment of the run came during the last 2.5 miles (probably last 1.5 or so).  I was running on the path just beyond Founders Hall and was still on Milton Hershey School grounds on I believe Homestead Lane.  Coach Linda and I saw a golden retriever type dog that only had three legs and she was running happy as if she didn't know the difference.  We exchanged greetings with the owner (who was riding his bike) and only after they were ahead of us did we see that the dog was handicapped.  Anyway, I thought out loud "if that dog can run like that then so can I!"  We proceeded to talk about the guy in the Olympics who ran with a prosthetic and again I thought and said out loud "if he can do it so can I!"  Anyway, that gave me a push and about a mile or so out (it was probably farther) I decided that I was going to pick up the pace and that I was going to finish strong.  I did just that and I was able to run back to the high school and cross the finish line of my first 20 mile run.  It was such an amazing experience and I am so grateful to all my friends with whom I've had the privilege of running with during these last several months.  If you can't tell I want you to know that I have had the time of my life since I joined team.  It used to just be about having people to run with (and that's been wonderful), but doing all of this for a bigger purpose than myself is totally worth it.  I'm glad to have found Team in Training and I know that I will continue to train with TEAM for a very long time (until I'm 100).

Team... thank you so much for everything!  I wish all my buddies best wishes on their races and make sure you make it back for other runs even if you're not doing specific races with team.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

9.28.12 training run 14 miles

Today I met with the York team in Dover, PA for our training run.  I enjoy it when we join teams because they have a lot of cool people and they have a bunch of people running the Marine Corps Marathon.  Today it was particularly a good thing as a ran more than half of the 14 miles with runners from the York team.  We had an emotional "mission moment" and I chose to use that to really inspire me as the monies that I'm raising is going to help find a cure for blood cancer.  If you can't tell, I'm very much doing this for someone outside of myself.

I made a few decisions about nutrition that I wanted to mention before I talked about my experience running a very strong run.  I decided not to use any nutrition except what was on the course.  Therefore, I left my water belt in my car and I decided NOT to use any hammer nutrition on the run.  This ended up being OK and not coming back to haunt me... except maybe with the recovery because my legs feel slightly more tired than is typical.

It was a very cool day.  I am very grateful for the lower temps as it is helping me realize how well I am trained and that I really can do this!  I keep telling myself to "run happy" and to enjoy as much of the run as possible.   I think the first 10 miles were pleasant and I did not have any issues and my spirits were very high.  At this point I realized that I was running fairly fast for me and that I kept doing this that I would get my best half marathon time and maybe even finish 14 miles quicker than that personal record time of 2:31 minutes that I got in the Harrisburg Half in 2010.  I'm going to spoil the surprise and tell you that I did get the 14.1 miles in and my time was 2:30.  I am so excited to know that all of this hard work all these months has paid off.  I want to take a few moments to thank my coaches, mentors and teammates for an amazing season so far.  Today was my last long run before my 20 mile run in Hershey next week.  I'm excited for that and know that I have been prepared for that and that I will make it to the end with a smile on my face.

A cool fact that I want to point out is that I beat my personal record for the half marathon (unofficial of course) by not running a race.  I did not feel that great this morning as I've had an interesting week at work and the reality that I have not gotten my normal amount of sleep.  This just goes to show that all my hard work and effort is paying dividends and that I will rock MCM.

As of this posting there are exactly 28 days 12 hours and 32 minutes until I run my first marathon!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Milestone 18 mile training run

On Saturday Sept 22nd I met up at Messiah College with my TNT buddies. The distance that was on my training schedule was 18 miles which is 3 miles further than any run I had attempted in the past. I was very excited about this since it means that I am closer to completing my first Marathon (yes I did just imply that there will be more marathons in the future).

Any run that starts at Messiah is challenging but I knew I was up for it. I had the mindset that I was not in any hurry and that if possible I wanted to run "negative splits" which basically means that I run the second half faster than the first. That did not happen but I was able to keep my pace slower at the start.

During the firs part of the run I was talking to a fellow runner about how training for me is mostly mental (90%) and the rest (10%) physical. What I meant by this is that what happens in our minds has everything to do with whether or not we are able to complete difficult tasks ... In this case running 18 miles. If I did not believe I could do it then I more than likely would be right about that. I still need to train well, but if I only train my body and do not train my mind I will have a difficult time.

I had several times where I had to stay focused and not allow myself to get discouraged.  There were several times where I made the choice to walk up hills because as I said earlier, I was not in any hurry and that I wanted to be able to finish the run strong.

The concept that was on my mind a lot this run was that many people would like to run, but can't because of illness.  I was running for them on this run.  Specifically, I was running in memory of Luke Belmont who lost his battle to ALL Leukemia as a young child.  I was also running for my for my friend who just had surgery who is going through physical therapy right now.  Yesterday (Saturday), she was able to take 10 steps which was huge for her... when it was hard I kept her in mind and that made whatever "pain" I felt much less significant.

This run was empowering because I finished it.  I did not give up and I kept on going.  I remember clearly at mile 15 when on of the other runners said "only a 5k left."  This was the motivation that I needed.  Even though I had never gone beyond 15 miles I know what it feels like to run a 5k and that was what I needed.  Then later when we got to the point where we were at mile 17 someone said... "just a mile left."  I told myself out loud "Let's do this."

The best part of the run was when crossed the covered bridge and I had my TNT teammates cheering for me.  I ran that last little of the run with little effort as I allowed the cheering of my friends pull me to the finish of the run.  Boy does it feel good to know that I can do something like finishing an 18 mile run.

After I finished I found my wife and daughter who came to cheer me on.  I have an awesome family and am so thankful for all the sacrifices that Cindy has made to enable me to train to run a marathon.  I believe that Cindy should get an award after I cross that finish line was well.  I will receive a metal and I am looking to give Cindy something that will help her realize how much it means to me that she has given up her Saturday mornings for the past 6 months or so.  Bottom line:  I want to give props to Cindy for all her support :-).

Next week I run 14 miles at York and then my big 20 miler in Hershey.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

9.15.12 training report

On Saturday, Sept 15 I met up with my TNT friends at Fisher Park in Mechanicsburg.  My fellow runners and I were doing loops of 8, 10, 12, and 14 miles.  I was doing the 12.5 mile loop as a "fall-back" week for the Marine Corps Marathon.  On a side note: last Tuesday I had an 8 mile run and it went fantastic.  I was feeling some of the positive vibes from my Tuesday run as I approached this 12.5 mile run.  It ended up that for the first water stop at about mile 2.5 or 3 that many of us were still together.  We were going fairly fast (according to my typical speed), but I still felt good so I kept going at this speed.  by mile 5 some of the runners had to go a different way.  I made it my goal to try to keep those who were faster than me at this point within my sight.  I figured that I'm still going at a good pace and that I didn't want to run anyone else's faster pace.  This worked very well for me because the faster crew "pulled" me along and I was still going at a good pace at our mile 9 water stop.  Now at this point I was still under 2 hours and I was almost to 10 miles.   I thought to myself that maybe I would get my PR (unofficial Personal Record) for this distance on this rolling course.  Toward the last half mile I kept telling myself positive messages like "I feel good," or "I feel great."  I also said to myself "I love hills" and "I got this."  Truth be know at one part I was saying these things out loud and if anyone would have heard me they would have thought I was crazy, but I said them with conviction and I got to the end of the course and I finished strong.  It was such an amazing experience since I ran over 12 miles at a pace that was faster than some of my shorter runs earlier in the season.  The fact is that this is not about running fast for me.  I want to finish the Marine Corps Marathon with a smile on my face.  However, it sure is a wonderful feeling that all this training is paying off and that I am getting faster.  Runs like I had this past week is why I run.  I also run because I want to continue raising money to find a cure for cancer.   Please donate and help me with this cause to find a cure for blood cancers.  My personal secure website is:  Any amount you can donate helps tremendously.   I'm not going to stop running until we find a cure for cancer.

The long term goal for my running is: run the rest of my life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Harrisburg Half Marathon 9.9.12

Yesterday I completed my 4th half marathon. It was the 3rd time I ran it in Harrisburg. I had high hopes for a PR since the weather was predicted to be perfect race weather.

I started out my morning at 6am. I was fairly relaxed about the race because I knew that all that truly mattered at the end of the day was that I finished because the was going to count at my 16 mile training run. Since it was not my goal race and because I live close to the start I walked from my house to mile marker 12 of the race (I walked about 2 miles at this point). I ran the last 1.1 mile of the race as warm up and to raise the overall miles for the day.

I got to the starting line in plenty of time. I found a few of my TNT friends. It ended up that we got to the port-a-pots fairly late which meant I did NOT start when the gun did. I don't ever want that to happen again because as a result I unconsciously was trying to catch up the rest of the race.

I started out way too fast with 10 -11:30 minute miles for the first half of the race. This was not the plan because I intended to run the last half faster than the first half.

My 3 biggest hang ups were
1. Lack of water stops. They only had 3 of them and the first one did not happen until mile 5. This would have been fine if it was advertised that way, but it said 4 water stops. I allowed this to really impact me.

2. I did not practice my fueling as much as necessary.

3. Chafing. Need I say more?

Overall I'm glad I did this race. I learned some things that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

One thing I am glad I did was having my name taped on my on my shirt. It made a huge difference.

Two things I would have done differently are simply bring water and us the bathroom sooner before the race.

I'm very pleased at how the first half went. I did go out to fast but in the end even though I walked a far amount I still was on target for goal pace of 12:30.

I wanted to mention that when I was walking around mile 11 (I could/should have been running) I met a guy who is about 75 running several half and I believe full marathons a year. I still say some of the most interesting stories come from the back of the pack.

There are many more things I could say about this but not enough tine to write it. If you want to know more just ask!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

9/1/12 run part 2 nutrition

I wanted to ruminate about how my nutrition is working and my blog about the run was getting long so I wanted to do a separate post about my nutrition.

First off I try to drink at least 2 Nalgene bottles of water during the work day and try to drink 32 more ounces of water by 7 or 8 pm. Typically that would get me to about 90 oz of water per day. Outside of that I normally have chocolate milk after my weekday runs.

During my longer runs 10+ miles I decided to switch things up and try out the products from Hammer Nutrition.  Two separate podcasts have recommended these products so I thought I'd give them a try.  So far I've tried some of the Hammer Gel's and the perpeteum solids during this most recent long run of 15 miles.  I also exclusively drank water at the water stops (TNT has them every 2-3 miles or so).  This worked okay, but it was not enough for this length of run.  I think that when I do my 18 mile run at Messiah in a 3 weeks I will be much more prepared.  This time I only took 2 Hammer gels which might have lasted the 2 hours... but not 3 hours.  The Perpeteum solids were helpful, but they talk about them as a "secondary" source of nutrition... not as a primary source.  Next time I want to have either to use the powder form or buy Heed (sports drink) as well.

I know a lot of this doesn't make any sense to some of you.   If you want more information about this go to

After the run I had a chocolate beverage that is called Recoverite which is recommended for consumption as soon after the workout as possible.

So my plan for the Harrisburg Half (depending on how hot it will be) - as of 9/2 the predicted High is 80 degrees with a fair amount of humidity.

If this is correct I will be bringing with me 4 Hammer gels, canister of 6 tablets of Perpetuem solids and if I can get it in time some Heed sports drink (I'll bring it in a throw away plastic bottle for the first 1 - 1 1/2 hours of the race.

I will also make sure I have recoverite afterwards as well.  By the way, I don't get paid to promote these products so take it from a satisfied customer :-).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Birthday milestone run 9/1/12

Today I hit a milestone during my run with TNT.  Today was the first time that I have gone above 13.1 miles during a run.  Today I had 15 miles on the schedule and I accomplished it.  Today also happens to be my 32nd birthday and it was a hot birthday for sure.

We did our run at Shank Park in Hershey.  We met at 8am which typically would be fine for a September run, but not today.  It was hot and humid!  I think by the time I was done it was probably nearly 85 degrees.  There is a lot to write about today so I will try to keep to the most important information about my run.

I ran the first 5.5 miles strong and we ran up almost all of the hills.  Unlike most runs there were quite a bit of downhill portions of the course that were fairly steep.  Overall, I think I handled this portion very well.  It was still cooler (than 85 degrees) and there was a slight breeze.  There isn't much notable about this portion of the run other than it made me feel good that I was still strong

After this it ended up that my running partner decided that today was not her day and that she needed to cut the run short.  This was tough for me at first because I really enjoy running with people, but it ended up working out that I had some alone time.  This was cool because I haven't had nearly as much alone time during my runs lately (since I've run with TNT on Tuesdays lately).  I thought about a lot of things.  One of the primary things that kept me going is thinking about how difficult it is for those who are fighting with blood cancers.  I thought specifically about the little guy that I'm running in memory of whose name is Luke Belmont.  I reminded myself that the pain that I was feeling was nothing compared with what he went through in his battle with ALL Leukemia.  Thinking about him provided some of that much needed strength.

There was a section of the course between mile 9 and 10 that I just flat out walked.  We went up 200 feet in about a half a mile.  Since I was alone (which was actually refreshing to a point), I decided that I would save my energy for the rest of the run.  It was very steep and felt like it would never end, but after that point I was able to run to the next water stop.  At this water stop I knew that I could make it to the end.  I knew that I had done most of the hills that I would need to run up and that running down the hills would provide time for my muscles to recover.

Once I made it down the hill (Bulfrog Valley Rd) I ended up at the start of the course and my watch read 12 miles.  This meant that I only had a 5k worth of a run left and then I would be finished with my longest run that I have ever done.   This is when my running partner rejoined me and I give her huge props since she could have left much earlier, but I'm so very thankful that she was willing to do this part with me.  We walked all the way up the first hill and probably until we got to the 13 mile marker.  Then we did some running and a little walking.  I was grateful for another water stop and this provided me with more hydration to get me through the next portion of the run.  At this point I had pretty much done all the hills for this course (for real this time).  It was mostly downhill.  When we got to the bottom of that hill (do you see a theme here?  There were LOTS of hills or friends as we like to call them on this run) we got off the road and went on a bike path for about a mile.  I was really struggling at this point... not where I wanted to give up or anything, but I did want to walk.  We ran some of this and then when we were about a half mile (or less) from completing the course we saw a bathroom were I could get a little bit more water.  I took the opportunity and I also looked to see that the finish was within sight.  My running partner said something encouraging which I later remembered her saying "embrace the suck" and I took that and literally "ran with it."  At this point it took a lot to make sure that I'm "running happy" but I think stopping at the bathroom REALLY helped give me the last push that I needed.  Then I kept repeating to myself "I got this" and "I'm almost there" and other positive affirmations/statements.  I think my endorphins kicked in when I said to myself "finish strong."  I'm not sure how fast I was going at the end, but I decided to kick it into gear and I really did finish strong.  (note added: my running partner said that I was "sprinting" at the end which was very surprising since I have no idea where it came from since I was so tired.

So there you have it... I ran 15 miles for the first time.  Next week I have the Harrisburg Half as a training run.  This running thing is amazing and I'm so thankful that I'm running with Team In Training.  Thanks for reading my birthday milestone post and until next time...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

8/25/12 TNT run

Today we went to South York County for our run.  The York team hosted.  It was a trek to get to New Freedom PA where we started, but they put together nice course.  There were a few hills, but nothing compared to what we did last week at Messiah College.  Today was our "fall back" week for the Marine Corps training.  I "only" had to run 10 miles today.  The reason I say "only" is because we have been slowly going up in miles.  The last two weeks we've done 12 and then 13 miles.  It was a welcomed break.

I must say that even though 10 miles was supposed to be a "break" it was harder than I thought.  I think this was due to me not mentally preparing as much as I typically do.  In addition, I got lost on the way to the run and that didn't help... but I made it and before we started so it worked out :-).  I had a decent attitude about this.

Anyway, I found a few people to run with who are going to be running the MCM that were a part of the York team.  I am hoping that I will find someone who I can stick with most of the way during the race.  I'm not sure if that's realistic, but I do know that there are at least 30,000 runners.  I know I will have someone to run with.  All of these training runs have helped me to realize that it is more fun to have someone to talk to during the run, but I can do it either way.

I appreciated the company that I had during this run since I was able to keep up with the "Yorkies."  I actually ran an 11:22 pace for the 10 miles which is awesome since that's what I was running before it started to get hot.  This means to me that I'm getting stronger and faster (even though it doesn't always feel that way).

Overall this run went well.  The fact that it was a shorter course for me helped as well.

There are several things that make running with TNT an excellent decision.
1.  I get to meet people who are passionate about running and helping those with blood cancer.
2.  Running to find a cure for cancer is motivating.  Gets me out in the morning.
3.  The cool people and the motivation and inspiration that they give me.
4.  Hearing stories of how the research that LLS is doing is helping so many people.
5.  Running rocks!  TNT has taught me to run my own race/training run and help others along the way.

I am having the time of my life doing these runs.  Next week I have 15 miles on the schedule.  This is extremely exciting for several reasons.  1.  It will be my farthest run to date.  2.  It is my 32nd birthday.  3.  It is in my hometown of Hershey (I grew up there and graduated from Hershey High School).

I am still raising money for LLS to find a cure for cancer.  I'm sure you can see my passion is for more than just running.... it's to find a cure for cancer.  Want to help?  Just go to my secure website to donate:  I've raised $2,500 dollars so far.  I'd like to raise $1,000 more dollars.  Thanks for your help!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

8/18/12 Run

I met with the rest of the TNT team at 7:30am.  There were close to 50 individuals running this morning. We had several mission moments and one was very emotional.  It reminded me why I get up so early to run.  Running for the purpose to raise money to find a cure is so inspiring.  It felt fairly cool at the start of the run. Obviously compared to how warm it has been this summer today felt great.

We started out on somewhat of a trail run for the first mile.  I was able to run with Amy M. during most of this run.  The cool part about this is that she runs pretty much my pace which made it so I was not trying to catch up with others running faster than I am able.  I felt absolutely amazing during most of the run.  The most notable moment was Moore Mountain Rd.  There were several "friends" aka hills before this, but this was a very long steep hill.  I was determined to run all the way up the hill by shortening my stride and putting one foot in front of the other.  The amazing thing is that by telling myself over and over again that "I love hills" that it actually worked and I made it up strong.  I only stopped because I wanted to wait for my fellow runners.

It is amazing the difference just a few minor changes makes.

1.  I ran 6 solid miles on Monday and then missed the run Tuesday, but I did 3 miles Thursday.  Actually getting in 9 miles during the week instead of 3 made a huge mental difference.
2.  Changing up my nutrition was huge.  I had my Greek yogurt, oatmeal, raisins, and an 8 oz glass of Orange Juice.  I also took 3 shot blocks right before we started (with h2o of course).  At about mile 3 or so I took 3 shot blocks and 3 more at about mile 6 (give or take I can't remember).  I made sure I was hydrated during the week.
3.  My attitude was very positive going into this run.  I knew that it would be very difficult and that there was a good possibility that I would be running the longest I have run before, but I was up for the challenge.  Having Amy M was a huge plus with this because I had someone running my pace which is tremendous.
4.  In addition, for most of the run I did not have any feedback from my watch except when it came to how long we had been running.  I made it so I could not see how fast I was going nor how far I had run.  This helped a lot.  I just kept running until the end.

Cool sightings: I saw three cows that were together that looked at us and we think they were asking "what in the world are those people doing?"
We saw at least 3 Hawks of some sort (not sure if the were Eagles, but it was still very cool!)

I am so encouraged by this run.  I've been saying that it was difficult but empowering.  I came home after the ice bath in the Yellow Breeches Creek to chat with Cindy for a little bit.  Then I downloaded the info from my Garmin to my computer and uploaded to Daily Mile.

The tough run last week made me REALLY appreciate this week.  I would be really struggling if I did not have others to run with me.  I could have done it, but it is so much better to share the journey with others.

I look forward to our run next week with the York team in their territory.  It's always a good thing to switch things up with the courses so we don't get bored and we we are challenged in different ways.  My coach, Coach Mike, said that this run was the hardest that he can do in this area.  The elevation change was huge.  MUCH greater than I will face at the MCM.

70 days and 11 hours until the 37th Marine Corps Marathon.  I am so excited and I know I will be completely prepared for it when the time comes :-)!  The hills are my friends.... Running happy!