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...