Monday, December 8, 2014

Running thoughts for 2015

Nate’s purpose for running in 2015
-       Stay in shape both mentally and physically
-       The social aspect of running is super important to my relationships
-       When I commit to running with someone it is important to follow-through even when it feels challenging.
-       I love running and it makes the rest of my life “go round”
-       Specific plan: run 2-3 times per week about 3-5 miles.  On most Saturdays run 8-10 miles.  Stay in half marathon shape.  Once summer comes ramp things up for the Bird in hand half marathon
-       The only race I have on the schedule other than BIH is the Capital Area 10 miler.  I won’t be racing any other 5K’s or 10K’s this Winter/Spring

-       I may run the Harrisburg Marathon in November, but this is a big question mark – part of me wants to do better than I did in 2014.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tough week

Today I felt the full effects of what running does for me.  Running is truly my “go to” coping skill when dealing with what comes my way.  I had a very tough week.  Monday I went out for a run (which was awesome).  Wednesday I did not feel like running and bailed on my running buddy (this is not like me).  I did this early enough so my running buddy wasn’t left by themselves at our meeting place.  I was having GI distress and I’m thinking that was related to the anxiety I was feeling.  Then I didn’t go out Thursday because I was planning to do my long run on Friday.  Meanwhile I had been sleeping in more than usual.  So on Thursday night I had a really difficult evening of counseling (clients were tough and draining and I wasn’t in my best state of mind).    I forgot to turn my alarm to “on” when I went to bed (it was set for 5am, but I didn’t turn it on).  This made me very sad because I woke up naturally at about 6:15am ish and I realize that my running buddy would have been waiting for me.  Fortunately I have amazing friends and they cut me some slack this week.

Anyway, to make a long story longer I didn’t really feel like running this morning either.  The crazy part is that I had 7 on the schedule and I’ve run 23 miles in the recent past.  Seven miles isn’t what was holding me back.  I decided that I would convince myself just to get out the door.  I told my wife that I’d run either 1, 3, 5, or 7 miles this morning.  I knew that if I could just get out the door I would run the full 7 miles.   I did run the full 7 miles and it was cool because I ran a loop that connected what I typically do on a weekday morning with friends and I just started from my house.  It worked perfectly and I feel much more “human.”

Bottom line:  If I’m feeling “out of sorts” I typically just need to go out for a run and that will “reset” my emotions.  Obviously this does not work in every single situation, but it works fairly well.

Ok, here's my facebook, email rant if you want to read it :-).

Now, I want to say outloud what I’ve been thinking about social media.  I haven’t checked my email or facebook at all today and it is already 4:11pm.  This is unheard of in my life.  The interesting twist is that we just announced that Cindy is going to be having our second child in May 2015.  This would typically be an excuse to check facebook about a million times.  I haven’t.  This has been very challenging, but it shows me how much I have depended on social media as my interactions with others. 

Yesterday I did minimal checking of email (3 times or so) and checked facebook at least twice if not three times.  I felt disconnected from people.  It was weird because I wouldn’t normally have a ton of social interactions on a Friday, but because I wasn’t checking facebook and “keeping in touch” with my friends I felt disconnected.  This has shown me that I want to take my own advice more and call people.  I want to use what I learn from Facebook to spur on conversation rather than replace it.

Not sure if this all makes sense, but what I am saying is this… Facebook and email is great, but it can’t be the only way for me to interact with others.  It provides a “fake” closeness that I personally have grown “addicted” to in my life (as proven in the last few days). 

I’m not saying that anyone else needs to change the way they use email and facebook, but these last 24 + hours have taught me a ton.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 29, 2014

fall back week - Harrisburg Marathon Training

I just wanted to quick post about my running last week.

I did some solid weekday runs.  I ran 5 miles with a friend around wildwood lake.  Felt great and was at a conversational pace (surprising to me that was under 10 minute miles).

Tuesday I ran TO my car mechanic.  This was awesome because it was a 4 mile run that got me from point A to point B.  It also helped save time.  I was able to get my exercise in as well as picking my my car.

Thursday I had a nice run with a friend that felt great.

Saturday I ran 8 miles which felt great.  We did Negly backwards which is a hilly course.  I didn't bother to do an ice bath.

I have a fairly easy week this week too.

The training schedule I'm using is the "Jeff Galloway to finish marathon training."  This is much more relaxed.  I'm not concerned about my finish time (nearly as much as I have been lately).  I'd like to get a PR which would be under a 5:30 marathon.  I'm fairly confident that as long as I am healthy and the weather is reasonable I likely will get closer to a 5:15 or 5:00 marathon.  I'm not nearly as obsessed as I typically am about this.  I'm enjoying my training and taking it a step at a time.  I'm having more fun this time too.

Friday, September 19, 2014

23 Mile training run

Today it became quite real that I am training for the Harrisburg Marathon November 9th!  I'm going to keep this post brief, but I wanted to mention a few highlights.  First, most of my run was in the shade which was wonderful.  I ran a part of the greenbelt that goes around Harrisburg that I had never run on before.  I also connected a portion of the green belt that I typically run with a part I had never seen before.

Second, I appreciated being able to run out in the fairly cool weather.  I was wearing what I typically would wear in the summer and I saw some people wearing sweaters.  I would say until the last 3 miles I did not feel hot.

Third, I appreciated being able to have the time to run on a Friday.  My old schedule would have made that difficult if not impossible.  It was nice to knock it out and get the job done.

I ran on some of the race course today.  I did do the hills of Wildwood.  I have a greater appreciation for what that experience is going to be like on race day as my legs were tired when I got to those hills. I made and it and with a smile on my face.  I eat hills for breakfast.

That actually leads to another important point.  I did not eat anything before I went out for this run.  This was not a good thing, but I did not have anything I had tested before that I could eat.  I felt the negative ramifications of this at mile 20.

My fueling:  I had my Nathan hydration.  This worked well and I was grateful for the water fountains still working at wildwood.  I'm not sure I could have made it without the additional water.  Other than that all I had was hammer nutrition the gel.  This was not enough for this run.  This is good information that I can use to make my 26 mile training run go more smoothly.  This run will happen on Friday October 10th.  I have a writing seminar that is of utmost importance on Saturday the 11th.  I'm not sure if I'll have clients that day or not, but hopefully any clients I schedule will be after lunch and I can get it in early.

Anyway, that's my update.  I have a lot more to say and if you want to know my thoughts feel free to comment or ask me when you see me in person.  Thanks for reading and please comment with your questions.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

recovery week

Ok, so this week has been mostly rest.  I have only gone out for two runs this week.  The first one was a very slow very short distance of 2 miles.

My second run was 6 miles today.  I was able to push my daughter in the stroller.  I did sub 10:30min miles for the run.  I was pretty proud of myself and very grateful that I pulled this off.  It was a "daddy/daughter run date."  I pushed her in the stroller.  I'm very curious of there is a "correct" or "best/better way" to push a stroller.  I plan to run a half marathon next year pushing my daughter so I better find out :-).

Anyway, this week was very scattered as the rest of my life impacted my running.  I know that I must run or else the rest of my life gets way out of balance.  Looking forward to running with friends at 5:30am Monday morning.

Thanks for reading and I have an exciting race announcement for next week... let's just say I'll be running another marathon before the end of 2014.  Have a great Sunday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Race report for the BIH half by my friend Jodi

You have to check out this race report that my friend Jodi did.  It's awesome and it has lots of photos.

Thanks Jodi for sharing!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014 Bird in Hand Half Marathon Race report

Today, September 6, 2014 I ran the bird in hand half marathon.  I ran this race last year and I haven't stopped talking about it since.  I think all my friends should run it at least once.  I plan to be back next year.  I believe that this is my "must run" race each year.

Friday afternoon I picked up my race bib as well as a friend's.  It was super quick and easy to pick them up during the afternoon.  Last year was a little bit more challenging.  This year I chatted with a few of my friends while we waited for the one and only Christopher McDougall to set up his display.  My friend bought a copy of his book Born to Run and I just introduced myself.  It was cool because he made it a point to know our names.

Race day morning was uneventful.  I was able to get out of the house close to my target and I did not have any issues parking or being able to use the porta pots.  I ran into a few of my friends at this point.  We wished each other best wishes.

I started the race with the 2 hour pace group just in front of me.  I twas very hot and humid so I knew that I needed to keep my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon in check.  I know on a good day I'm more than capable of doing that.

I used the run/walk/run ratio of 2:00 of running and 30 seconds of walking.  This kept me at a 10 minute pace for the first few miles  I was OK with this but I was only able to keep up with this pace group for a few miles.  I did not get discouraged because I knew that I still had lots of room for a personal record.  At this point in the race I was still hoping for at least a sub 2:15 half marathon.  Little did I know that what I did do was even more important and satisfying.

I would say for the first of the race I was suffering fairly quickly.  By mile 6 I really wanted the race to be finished.  I'm not exactly sure when I met up with two other runners but I do remember that we were struggling, but I kept up with most of my run sections.  Anyway, one of my fellow runners and I were talking about all kinds of different topics.  This was excellent because it helped me forget how much I was suffering in the heat.  We kept up "most" of the running, but we extended some of the walk breaks.

Then later on another runner heard that we were doing run/walk/run and she wanted to join us.  This made it even better because we were able to exchange stories.  My favorite story was when we all shared about how running the marathon (especially our first) how it changed our lives... it made it so nothing was impossible for us.  I told them that this helped me to get my LPC to become a professional counselor.  I am so grateful to running.

Now, the best story is what happened in those last few miles.  We ran we walked.... and then walked some more.  I know that I could tell that my heart rate was higher than normal at points because of the humidity.  Anyway, we decided that we were all going to finish at the same time.  It became something so much bigger than ourselves.  It wasn't about my personal time... I wanted to help others get across that finish line.  Let me tell you... I do feel amazing emotionally even though I had one of my not so great times... but I feel so much excitement and gratitude for being able to meet some really cool runners along my journey.

This reminds me that what my friend John said is so true... "Have a good time and your time will be good."  I didn't get a personal record, but I got way more today.  So thanks to those two runners who helped make this a meaningful experience.

I truly believe that... if I can do this... then YOU can do it too :-).  Until next time!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Taper week: Bird In Hand Half

Just a quick update:

Ran Wednesday 4 miles at 909 pace.  Felt awesome.  Ran with a friend.

Ran Thursday about 4 miles.  Extremely humid.  Much slower.  With a few friends.

Felt worn out and burned out for my Saturday pace work.  I didn't get out Saturday AM and I woke up feeling the same Sunday AM.  Listened to my body.

Very much looking forward to Bird-in-Hand Half.  I'm ready to crush it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

19 miles: Bird in Hand Half Marathon Training

This week went very well.  I ended up doing three training runs during the week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday).  Thursday was completely a social run.  I could have run faster, but I chose not to since I had 19 miles on the schedule for Saturday (and Coach Chris said to not run fast on any extra runs).

My Monday run was a group run.  We had three of us and we did an easy 3 miler.

Tuesday run was more challenging because we did a run that had portions that I had never done before.  We had a great view and it was awesome (just like the rest of my runs).  This was a group run as well.  See a theme here?  This run was 5 miles, but it felt really good.  Afterwards I accepted the ice bucket challenge.  I did this because I was challenged by one of my friends that I ran with both on Monday and Tuesday.  I knew this would happen eventually... but it was because I opened my big mouth.  This truly felt good after a somewhat challenging and hilly 5 mile run.

Thursday we did 4 miles.  This was again a social run and nothing out of the ordinary needs reported.  Felt awesome and I kept it a social run even though I know I was capable of running with some of my friends that were a little faster, but I kept my word.  I said I would not run fast on my extra social run so I didn't :-).

Today, Saturday was a fantastic 19 miler run.  I ran the first about 7 miles by myself.  Then I met up with my running buddy to run the other 11-12 miles.  This was fantastic because it helped me have the support when I needed it.  Notable things about this run:  we saw several deer at three different times (pays to get out there early!) 

So how do I feel?  I'm writing this blog about 3 hours after I finished and I am feeling strong.  I did get an ice bath which helped my legs a lot.  Overall, I'm very pleased with how things went.  My running buddy asked me what I thought about my goal for a sub 2 hour half marathon.  I believe I said something to the effect that I am fully confident that I will get a new personal record of faster than 2:15 minutes.  I'm uncertain about getting faster than 2 hours, but I know that if everything lines up (weather and how things going race morning).  What I do know is that the confidence that going almost a 10K beyond the race distance really helps me realize that I am strong enough to do this.

Next week I have repeats (14x800).  Then the following week is Bird in Hand Half Marathon.  I'm super excited that my training has gone so well.  I will keep you posted.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

week 18: track work 13x800's

This was a great running week for me.  I did 3 runs during the week and my pace work this morning.

Monday I chose to not run because I had friends to meet up with on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning.  I felt like a slacker so I did not meet for the Tuesday AM run.  Kinda felt bad about this so I did end up going out for a 5 mile very, very wet run.  It felt awesome.  The only thing notable is that it was pouring and there were only a few other runners out there.  Since we were running in the pouring rain I gave one of my fellow runners a high five.  We are crazy enough to be out there... we might as well enjoy it!  Bottom line, ran 5 miles on Tuesday afternoon.

Then Wednesday morning I met up with TNT friends.  We did a "nice and easy" 4 mile run.  This run was great because we all stayed together and talked.  My running buddies are awesome... and they even got up at 5:30am for this run :-).

Thursday was a very "chill" run as I already ran twice this week.  We kept the pace of extremely conversational and more like a long run pace.  It ended up being 3.5 miles and I felt wonderful afterwards.  Again, so thankful for the conversation.

Today I did 13 repeats of 800 meters.  It felt amazing due to the mental preparation and the reality that it was MUCH cooler and I did it starting as soon as the sun came up this morning.  I was pretty much done by 7:30am this morning.

Here are the specifics:
1:  2:16; 2:08 = 4:24 (not sure what happened... guess I was just warming up?
2:  2:08; 2:14 = 4:26 (warmup I guess)
3: 2:02; 2:15 = 4:17 (2 seconds too slow)
4.  2:08; 2:09 = 4:17 (close!)
5.  2:07; 2:09 = 4:16 closer!
6: 2:02; 2:10 = 4:12
7: 2:08; 2:06 = 4:14
8: 2:02; 2:14 = 4:16
9: 2:06; 2:11 = 4:17
10: 2:09; 2:12 = 4:21
11: 2:04; 2:11 = 4:15 (perfect!)
12: 2:01; 2:10= 4:11
13: 2:01; 2:04 = quite fast for my last repeat!

 Overall I was very pleased with how the whole week went (outside of sleeping in Tuesday AM).  I didn't run too many of the miles at a "fast for me" pace (other than of course the speed work).

I am excited to crush my 19 mile training run next Saturday.  I need to be home and showered by 9:30am so I'll have a very early day, but that's how I like it.  Can't wait!  I'll be starting from home and running 8-9 and the meeting up with the same friend that ran with me two weeks ago.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Week 17: 16 miles BIH Half

This week went very well in regards to my training.  On Tuesday I met up with friends to run 4 miles.  This was run at a "chill" pace and we enjoyed talking.  Part way through the run we switched the people we were running with and it was a nice change of pace.

Wednesday it ended up being just one of my running buddies that could make it.  This run was very interesting as I had never run just with this running friend.  I found out as we were running that she has a very good pace for me (for shorter runs).  I ended up not using walk breaks (just because it was a short run and I was feeling good).  We ended up running a fairly fast for me pace of just slightly over 9 minute miles.  This was encouraging because if I can do this on a 4 mile run without walk breaks then I knew that I am getting stronger and faster.

Today was an amazing 16 mile run.  I started out the first 6.5 miles by myself.  I was very thankful for my Knuckle Lights as it was quite dark.  I met up with my running buddy at Wildwood Lake and we went around the lake for the first 3 miles (gets me up to 9.5).  We went the "typical way" around the lake (starting on the foot path).  We had fun with the hills and we eat them for breakfast (at least that's what I told my friend).

After stopping at the cars for a few seconds we went back on the toe path and then ran towards HACC.  On the way back to the car (we went back via the toe path again) we saw a deer.  This was between 6 and 7am that this happened.  I also saw several deer on this same path earlier in the morning.  It ends up that I did a total of three loops around Wildwood.  I did it the "hard" way twice and the "easy" way once.

I feel so good after this 16 mile run.  This is encouraging since last week I had such a hard time with my repeats.  I used the 2:30/1 for the entire run.  Again, I feel amazing and I'm so grateful for my friend who ran those last 9.5 miles with me.  I truly believe I could have kept going.

Next week I have repeats and the following week I have 19 miles.  Yes, 19 miles on the schedule for a half marathon (13.1 miles).  The cool thing about this is that I will be going almost a 10K beyond the race distance.  I will use this to help propel me into a sub 2 hour half marathon.  Regardless of the actual race result, my training has been a tremendous success.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Week 16: Tough track work - BIH Half

Overall it was a productive week.  I ran with friends on Tuesday and Thursday.  On Wednesday I ran by myself.  I did my magic mile at 7:31 which is one second slower than my best time ever.  I was pleased with it and it felt pretty good.  I bet that if I was running with someone else I could have pushed it a little harder.

This week was different for me because I skipped Monday (on purpose) and ran three days in a row.  The weather was amazing so I took advantage of it.

This morning I slept in as I was tired (no specific reason that I know about).  This was unfortunate because this meant that I did my repeats during the hottest part of the day.  Your advice to switch to 400's instead of 800's part way through was a great idea and it made it "doable."

Here's the stats!
800's were as follows
1:  2:13 and 2:08 - 4:21
2: 2:00 and 2:13 - 4:13
3:  2:14 and 2:11 - 4:25
4.  2:14 and 2:10 - 4:24
5: 2:11 and 2:14 - 4:25

Next were the rest of the repeats as 400's but I'll put them together to equal 800s
6:  2:10 and 2:06 - 4:16
7:  2:14 and 2:09 - 4:23
8: 2:09 and 2:13 - 4:22
9: 2:09 and 2:09 - 4:18
10: 2:09 and 2:11 - 4:20
11:  2:17 and 2:13 - 4:30
12:  2:19 and 2:16 - 4:35
Again number 6 through 12 were actually two separate 400's that I would walk between and take a drink.  I put it all out there.  I was beat afterwards.  Note to self.... don't sleep in because the run is "easier" in the morning before the sun comes out.

Looking forward to my run next Saturday of 16 miles :-).

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Week 15: 14 Miles BIH half training

I'm still working on consistency.  I ran Wednesday and Thursday this week.  Wednesday I ran at 4:15 am since I had a 5:30am breakfast with a good friend of mine.  I knew I wouldn't get it in later so I made it happen.  Then on Thursday I ran later than expected at 8:05am and I did a little over 5 miles.  Both runs were solid and enjoyable.

Today I had a fantastic run.  I started at 6:12am and I met up with my Team in Training friends at 7:30am.  I was on a mission to run about 7 miles solo and 7 miles with TNT.  This worked extremely well.  I used the 2:30/1:00 ratio since it was fairly cool (for a summer morning in July).  I didn't need to cut it down to 1:15/:30 since I still felt so good.

When I got home I got into a wonderful ice bath.  I feel wonderful now 4 hours later.  I feel almost "too good" after running that far.  To run 14 miles (beyond the race distance) and feel amazing is a testament to several things.  1.  I'm in good shape for me.  2.  It was cool.  3.  I hydrated and had a banana before the run and used two gels during the run.  4.  I had amazing people to run with during the last 7 miles.  Kept to the 2:30/1 ratio even though I felt good and that made me feel even more confident.  Also my pace was really good throughout.  Here were my splits....

Mile 1: 11:23
Mile 2: 11:33
Mile 3: 11:31
Mile 4: 11:17
Mile 5: 11:52
Mile 6: 11:55
Mile 7: 11:24
Mile 8: 12:32
Mile 9: 12:01
Mile 10: 11:10
Mile 11: 12:00
Mile 12: 12:01
Mile 13: 11:59
Mile 14: 10:38

Average pace was 11:40 min per mile.  Goal was 12:00 minute miles.

I'm very happy with how this run went and I'm even more pleased with how fantastic I feel.  I am so grateful for the text support I had during the first 7 miles (thanks Amanda!), and the support on the back 7 was amazing thanks Megan!  Having someone run the same pace as me is huge and the fact that she wants to run using intervals makes things much easier for both of us. 

I finished up my last day at my full-time job yesterday.  This is important for my running because now I do not need to drive an hour each way to work.  This will provide more flexibility which I'm very much looking forward to.  My plan is to run once a week with my friend I mentioned above and another day with the group of my TNT buddies.  On Saturdays I will either be doing speed work (a few more times) or a longer long run.   Saturday runs are as follows:  next week I have 12x800, then I do 16 miles, then its 13x800, then I do 19 miles (stoked about this because I'm going a full 10K beyond the distance!), then 14x800 and then my goal race half marathon.  BIH half.  I'm very excited and I've been doing a lot of visualization of the finish line reading under 2 hours :-)

Today I proved the quote "have a good time and your time will be good."  Thanks John for the quote!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Week 14: BIH Half - speed work 11x800 meters

This week I skipped my runs on Monday and Tuesday and did runs with awesome running friends on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here's the scoop for my repeats.  I wasn't consistent on my times, but I pushed through to the end.  Of course I would rather them be have each lap by the same pace, but I did what I could.

Here's the stats:
1.  2:10; 2:07 = 4:18
2.  2:00; 2:15 = 4:15 (compensated with a too fast first lap)
3.  2:11; 2:07 = 4:18
4.  2:04; 2:12 = 4:16
5.  2:10; 2:06 = 4:16
6.  2:07; 2:11 = 4:18
7. 2:17; 1:58 = 4:15 (Legs felt like lead... then picked it up)
8.  1:59; 2:15 = 4:15 (again too fast first 400 and compensated for the second 400 meters)
9.  2:09; 2:15 = 4:14
10.  2:11; 2:05 = 4:16
11.  2:05; 2:08 = 4:13
I had a hard time with these last 5 repeats.  At one point I was going to stop short of doing all the repeats.  Fortunately I was able to talk some sense into myself.  My mental strategy was basically to convince myself that I can always run 100, 200, or 400 meters.  I also was able to visualize the finish line of the Bird in Hand half marathon.
Any suggestions on how to make some improvements?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Week 13 - BIH Half: 13.1 training miles

Hi all!  This week I got my runs in on Monday and Wednesday.

Monday I ran at 5am with my new running buddy.  I've been looking for someone who will meet me so early (on a consistent basis).  I'm very grateful for someone to talk with so early.  This is my "sure fire" way to get me out there.  I know that if someone is waiting for me I WILL make it out no matter what I feel like when I first get up in the morning.  We ran at least 4 miles.  It felt really good and I'm pleased with the effort and the result.

Wednesday I ran by myself.  I had 40-60 minutes on the schedule.  I decided to do 6.2 miles which took slightly longer than the 60 minutes, but I did a 10K in about 1:06 minutes.  I wasn't trying to break any time goals or anything.  It was a relaxed run.

Friday I had intended to do a 8.5 mile "moon run" near the Bird in Hand half marathon course.  I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to do this, but had 12.5 miles on the schedule and I live an hour away from this run.  It would have been super cool and I would have met some neat people (some of them were notable cool people).  The complicating factor would have been that I need to get at least 4 extra miles in before the run.  I don't know the area (other than running the race last year).  I decided against it.

Saturday, this morning, I woke up just before 5am (which is technically sleeping in for me as I try to get up at 4:00am or 4:30am on the weekdays.  Who would have ever thought that 5am would be sleeping in...  Anyway, I got all my running gear ready (water, etc) and headed out the door.  I decided to run most of the Harrisburg Half marathon course since that's the typical place I run.  I did the entire run in just over 2:30.  This was by design as my e-coach Chris (and Jeff Galloway) believes that it is important that we run slower for long runs.  My target pace was 12:00 min miles.  I was just every so slightly faster than that.

I was walking around Giant today getting our groceries for the week and I was almost feeling guilty for how amazing my legs feel after the run.  Thank you  +Jeff Galloway

The only major thing that I would change is my nutrition.  Fortunately this did not impact me in a huge way on the run, but I did not fuel before the run and I had no gels for during the run.  All I took in was water.  Next time (in two weeks), I'll be more prepared.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Week 12: BIH Training

This week I finally did exactly what you put on the schedule for this week.
Monday I did my run - very humid, but I got about 4 miles in
Wednesday I did my Magic Mile at 8:07.  Not at all my fastest.  (actually quite slow compared to my best of about 7:30 MM.  The rest of the run I ran with one of my new running buddies.
Today I did my speed work (pace work).  Goal pace 4:15
repeat 1:  2;04; 2:06 = 4:10 TOO FAST
repeat 2:  2:01; 2:13 = 4:14 slightly too fast
repeat 3:  2:09; 2:08 = 4:17 slightly too slow (this was a miss management at the end)
repeat 4:  2:09; 2:06 = 4:15 right on!
repeat 5:  2:06; 206 =  4:12 (too fast, but consistent speed for entire 800).
repeat 6:  2:07; 2:08 = 4:15 right on!
repeat 7:  2:04; 2:13 = 4:17 too slow (miss management at the end)
repeat 8:  2:01; 2:15 - 4:16 (slightly too slow, but again not a tired slow down)
repeat 9:  2:06; 2:09 = 4:15 right on!
3 were right on.  I found that I tended to go out too fast in the first lap and then try to compensate in the second lap.
Coach, what should I do differently?
Overall I am pleased with the week.  It makes a HUGE difference when I get out there and do the run on the days and the times that I set out to do them. 

The humidity has messed with me this week, but my speed work went fairly well.
I think the goal is to get more of a 2:07 and a 2:08 for each lap of my pace work.
Thanks for reading!  Have an awesome day.  Go out there and enjoy the weather.. if it's hot, then just enjoy being out and if it's nice go enjoy a nice run.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Another thought

My friend stated about something I had fear about but that I decided to go through..

"One of my favorite affirmations is-- the only way out is through."

She also said " not sure when I heard this, but it works. I think of it as walking through the fire. You just have to do it!"

This applies to running and real life :).

Lets do this!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Big thoughts

Not exactly sure where I found this, but I wanted to keep this in mind:

Face your fears. Become the person you need to become in order to achieve the goals and dreams you want to achieve. Control what you can, cope with what you can't, and concentrate on what counts. Never give up on what is important to you...but make sure you know what that is.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Week 11- 11 miles BIH training

This week was a rough week.  I missed both of my weekday training runs for the first time during this training cycle.  I was sick with a cough and just felt lousy all week.

Fortunately today, Saturday, was different.

My plan was to run about 3 miles to the team in training run, run 5 miles with the team and then run home.  11 miles.  This is what happened and it went very well.  The best part of the run was when I was running with my TNT buddies.  I was able to talk about the Marine Corps Marathon and be an encouragement to those who are running it for the first time.

I stuck with the 2:30/1 run/walk/run ratio.  This worked well since it was quite hot for most of the run.  I was grateful for the wind.  The most important thing that happened during this run was being able to build friendships with fellow runners.  I ran with someone most of the way that I hadn't run with before.  We stuck together (neither of us were running to fast or too slow) and it was incredible just to be able to talk.  I don't remember even struggling at all going up to Negley Park.  We just took each interval and focused on that while talking and it made it fun.  I truly had a great time.

Running with others is what keeps me passionate and motivated with running.  Also when I have a cause that I believe in I also am motivated and passionate.

I decided to change my focus from just "I MUST get sub-2 hours" to I MUST trust the process and do each and every run to the best of my ability (with the 2 hour goal in mind, but not the focus).  Bottom line:  this is changing from a outcome oriented goal to a process related goal.

Can't wait until the next time I can run with my buddies.  I hope to be able to meet early to run on a more consistent basis as my schedule is changing over the next few months.

By the way, I truly enjoyed my ice bath today since it was so hot.  I'm glad I started ice baths in 2012 because that has really made a difference.  My legs feel like they could go out and run again in the morning.  I'm not going to do this because I want to start out the week right.

Until next time, have a great run!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Week 10: BIH TIme goal

Here's my brief update from my runs this week.

This week was strange since I ran on Sunday (Father's Day).  I decided not to run on Monday so that threw off the week a bit.

I did run on Tuesday a little less than 4 miles (40 min) and Thursday a little more than 4 miles.  It is extremely humid here (nothing compared to the Florida humidity).

Typically I run in either in lane 2 or 3.  Today it was lane 3 and I had the entire track at Messiah College to myself.

Today I did 8 by 800 meter repeats.  They went well considering it was raining... Here's the stats for today.  My goal time was 4:15 per 800.  Typically this is not an issue, but it certainly was difficult today.

Repeat 1 - 2:14, 2:10 = 4.24
2 - 2:02, 2:13 = 4:15
3 - 2:08, 2:10 = 4:18
4 - 2:10; 2:14 = 4:24
5 - 2:03; 2:05 = 4:08
6 - 2:07; 2:06 = 4:13
7 - 2:04; 2:06 = 4:10
8 - 2:04; 207 = 4:11

This is after the repeats. I decided NOT to wear my glasses since it was raining.

I'm looking forward to running 11 miles next Saturday. I plan to run with my buddies in team in training. I like running alone, but I miss my TNT friends.

Until next time! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Week 9: 10 Miler BIH TIme goal

This week went much better.  I was able to do my runs in the morning.  I will say that my Tuesday run was challenging because it was extremely humid.  (I decided that since I did my speed work Sunday that it would be wise to take Monday off and just go back to back Tuesday and Wednesday).  I didn't even bother to try to run any of the run at a 9 minute pace.  I was much slower than normal, but I got the run in and I"m happy about that (especially that it was done in the morning).

Wednesday I also got my run in at a "slower for me pace."  The humidity was high again, but this one felt much better.  I tried to do it earlier, but after less than a minute outside I saw that it was going to be lightening so I went back inside.

My Saturday early long run started at about 5:30AM.  I love runs this early because it gives me my morning and it helps me to be really productive.  This run was wonderful.  I didn't have anyone I was running with but I had a running buddy who send me a text to see how I was doing (thanks Dr. Amanda)!   I was able to listen to the 13.1 Galloway Edition of the Extra Mile Podcast.  This is an offshoot of the podcast that I was involved with last year.  You can find the podcast I listened to HERE.  It was entertaining and enjoyable.

If you read my post two weeks ago HERE you'd know that I really like cardinals and that I was hoping to see one on that run.  I saw one on the other part of the greenbelt today at about mile 4.  I didn't get a picture but he looked something like this!

My targeted pace was 12:00 min mile for my long run.  I used a 2:30min run/1:00min walk.  This was very easy for me on a day like today.  I ran an average of :15 seconds/per mile too fast today.  It was in the 60's and that was glorious for me here in Central PA.  It's going to be very hot in the afternoons and evenings this week so I'm going to make sure I get out there to run first thing.

I believe that I may have "flipped a switch" this week.  I know that it will be close to impossible for me to accomplish my running goals or my personal goals if I don't get out there and make my runs happen.  I've been attempting to get up earlier these last few days.  Some days it works and others it doesn't.  However, I know how i feel when I sleep in and how I feel if I get up.  I feel amazing if I get up and not so much if I sleep in (actually I feel MUCH worse if I get that extra sleep and I feel rushed).

Anyway, that's a brief update on my week.  Thanks for reading.  Go out there and "have a good time and your time will be good' (John W)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 8: 800 Meter repeats X 7

This week did not go according to plan, but I still go my runs in before the end of the week.  The most notable thing that happen this week was that my wife ran her first 5K race (she has done the Turkey Trot the past 5 years, but this is the first time I'm not there to push her).

On Tuesday evening I got in just over 3 miles.  There isn't much to report about this run.  I'm not sure, but I'm thinking that I was trying to get it in quick before spending some time with my family.

I did my second run of the week on Thursday.  I am sad that I didn't get to run on National Running Day.  I did a little over 2.5 miles as warmup and then I did my magic mile (MM).  I was having GI issues so I almost didn't even do this run.  My desire was to do the best I could knowing that I wasn't feeling that great.  I ran my MM in 8:09 (my best is 7:30).  Considering everything I was happy with my effort, not so much with the time (but I'll get over it :-) ).

Today I did my 7 X800 meter repeats.  Again, I was having GI issues, but by the afternoon I was feeling better.  I must say if my goal wasn't a sub 2:00 half marathon I wouldn't have made it out today.  Here's the results... not the greatest, but it was in the mid 80s.  Very thankful for the breeze.  Actually I did most of them too fast.  Goal 4:15
1: 1:59 and 2:09 - total 4:08
2:  1:56 and 2:10 - total 4:06
3:  2:10 and 2:10 - total 4:20 (consistent, but too slow)
4:  2:12 and 2:06 - total 4:18
5:  2:12 and 2:07 - total 4:19
6: 2:08 and 2:09 - total 4:17
7:  2:06 and 1:59 - total 4:05 (I smoked the last one way too fast! - fastest one was the last one

Thanks for reading and I hope to have a more exciting update next week.

Word of wisdom: Don't underestimate the power of an encouraging word or text.  YOU know who you are and thank you very much!

"have a good time and your time will be good" - says John W

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Week 7: 10 Miles - snail crossing/deer spotting

I started my run this morning a little bit before 5am.  There is just something about getting out the door before 5am when most others are sleeping.  I love the feeling of getting a head start on my day.  For some reason I find get up very early "fairly" easy to do on a Saturday.

Anyway, I had 10 miles on the schedule and that's what I ran today.  Coach Chris wanted me to run 10 miles using a ratio of 2:30/1:00 (Run/walk).  My desired pace was 12:00 min/mile.  I did both of these with a smile on my face.  During this run I saw a "turtle crossing" sign as well as lots of snails at one place on the greenbelt (near HACC).   At about mile 7 I looked over and I saw a deer!  (not the greatest picture but you get the idea :-).

This was super cool.  A side note that I want to share is that I was praying that I would be able to see a bright red cardinal.  I didn't see the cardinal, but a real life deer is even better!  I felt great after the run.  Strangely enough, I didn't take an ice bath and I haven't had issues with an swelling or anything.

My other two runs this week went well.  My first run was on Memorial Day after work.  It was in the mid 80's when I got off work so I decided to do the run after dinner.  I had two of my friends keep me accountable for this run since I knew it would have been very easy to skip out on it, but I knew how important it is to get the runs in on the day that it is supposed to be run (if at all possible).  So what I did was convince my wife (and daughter) that they could meet me at Dairy Queen at 7pm.  The closest DQ is about 5.5 miles away so I figured this would be perfect... and it was :-).  Family time and recovery all in one.

The second run I also did in the evening.  This run was started a little bit after 8pm.  This run was cool because I ran 5 miles and I kept my pace to just slightly over a 9 min mile using a 4/1 ratio.  What was significant about this was that this is the pace that I'll want to run my goal race.  I felt good afterwards as well.

Overall, my training is going great.  The major adjustment that I want to do is something that I've been talking about all a long... and that is getting up and doing my run in the morning rather than taking a chance and doing it in the evening.  I feel better when I run in the morning and it has a more dramatic impact in my overall well being when I do it in the morning.

Speed work next Saturday for me and my wife has her first 5K race that she's doing with Mom's in Training.  If you want to help her out you can go to her fundraiser site at

We are #relentless for a cure as a family.  Thanks!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Week 6: Pace work - BIH Half time goal

I had off this morning (Friday) so I decided to do my pace work this morning.  I got to the track at Messiah College at 6am (not bad for a day off).  My pace work went well.

6x800 repeats:  Goal was 4:15 on each of the repeats.

1: 4:20 (little slow - wasn't focused on what I was doing yet)
2: 4:14 (almost right on!)
3: 4:15 (perfect)
4: 4:17 (very close)
5: 4:15 (perfect!)
6: 4:15 (perfect again!)

So I got three repeats exactly on target.  One was two seconds too slow and one was 1 second to fast.  The only other one was 5 seconds too slow (that was my first one).
Overall, I'm very pleased with what I did. 
The rest of the week went well.  I went running with Emma on Monday evening and then got in my Wednesday run in the morning.  Nothing really special to report on those two runs, other than it feels great to get my Wednesday runs back on track.

Something that I keep repeating is the importance of being and staying #consistent

It felt good to accomplish the goal times for each 800 meter repeats.  I was running faster than I normally run, but I wasn't out of breath.  It is getting easier to go faster for longer periods of time.

I have 10 miles next week and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

8 miles: Week 5 BIH time goal

I had a great week in regards to getting the runs in on Tuesday and Thursday.  I'm still struggling with getting them in Monday and Wednesday mornings.  I did both of these runs in the evening.  Almost didn't get in the Thursday run but I was able to out run the storm :-).
Tuesday PM run - my first mile (after the warm up) was 9:07 - goal was 9:00.  This run felt very good and it was a great stress reliever.  I had a crazy busy (self-inflicted) day at work.  The run was about 50 minutes long or so.
Thursday PM run - This run felt good, however, it was a little shorter than I wanted (about 4 miles), but as I mentioned above there was a significant storm on the way.  On a related note once I made it inside it poured... so I made the right decision.  I wasn't worried about the pouring rain... I just didn't want to get struck by lightening!

Lastly, my 8 mile run this morning.  It felt awesome in every way.  It was just me and the sidewalk.  It pretty close to a perfect run that started at 5:30am :-).  Can't beat getting home right around 7am with the run completed (along with about a half mile walk home).

Biggest area for improvement is to consistently get up at 4:30am.  I think this is essential to my success and know that this starts the night before so I'm going to make extra effort to go to bed earlier.

I believe that the only thing that could have made this run better was that if I shared it with someone... who's going to come out with me next time at 5:30am so we can enjoy this amazing weather together! :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Speed work - Week 4 BIH time goal training

This week I managed to get all my week day runs in as scheduled.  I did the first one Tuesday night I did a 5 mile run with my 2 1/2 year old daughter with the stroller.  It was challenging, but I did it.  I wonder if there are any half marathons that I can run with a stroller.  I guess I'll just keep my eye out for a race.  If you know one that you think doesn't prohibit running strollers.  I think it'd be amazing to cross the finish line of a half-marathon with my daughter :-).

The second run was on Thursday morning.  I had a 5 mile run with a "Magic Mile" (MM) included.  This is the "measuring stick" that Jeff Galloway uses to determine how fast I should running my long runs.  This is very helpful.  The cool thing about this MM is that it was the fastest that I've run since I've been an adult.  My best MM so far this year was 8:02 and was able to run this MM in 7:30.  The cool thing about this is that my first two miles didn't go that well and I was feeling very slow.  I was able to not allow this to discourage me, but rather it helped me :-).

Today, Saturday, I ran my 5x800 meter repeats.  I got to the track around 6am.  I will say I ran most of them too fast... but not intentionally too fast.  Oh, and my Garmin said "low bat" so I just used my Ipod as my timer.  This worked decently

Goal:  4:15/800 meter repeat
Repeat 1:  2:07; 2:11=4:18 - a little too slow.  Not sure what happened on this one other than I thought I was closer than I was.
2:  2:02; 2:08=4:10 - over compensated
3: 2:10; 2:04= 4:14 - almost!  Just a second too fast
4: 2:03; 2:04=4:07 - very consistent laps, but still too fast - not intentional
5:  2:06; 206=4:12  - closer, but still too fast

It was a good week overall.  Still working on getting up every day at 4:30 or 5am.  This starts in the evening so I'm working on getting to bed earlier.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Week 3 BIH Time goal training

This week went well.  Got in all my training runs.  Due to not getting up early enough on the week I did my week day training runs in the evening.
On Monday I ran 5.2 miles in 10:39 pace.  This was in the rain so I was just pleased to be out there.
On Thursday I ran 6.2 miles in a pace of 9:42.  This was in the evening as well and it was warm low 70's.  Felt awesome.  This put me at a 10K in just a few seconds over an hour.
Today, Saturday, I ran 10 miles in a 11.17 pace.  I used a 2:30/1 ratio.  I was running and chatting with a running buddy of mine.  It was actually an easy pace for me and we were talking the entire time.  It was so good to run with a friend of mine as it made the time go so fast.
Overall training went great this week.  Again the thing I'm working on is consistency.  Having someone run with me this morning was fantastic and helps get me out there.  I want to be out there it's just the getting up in the AM that's been tough.
I"m going to work on getting up at 5am both days on Monday and Wednesday.

The best part of these runs has been seeing the birds and the other wildlife.  I love running in the spring :-).

Until next time make sure you're "having a good time and you're time will be good."  John W

Friday, April 25, 2014

Week 2 BIH time goal training

As you probably know I'm training to get a sub two hour half marathon at Bird-in-Hand on September 6, 2014.  I ran this race last year as a training run and had a wonderful time.  This year I'm preparing to crush it :-).

This week I had off from work so I was able to get all my runs in before my day got away from me.  I ran about 6 miles in Hershey on Monday and at least 5.5 miles in Harrisburg at Wildwood Lake.  Both of these runs had decent "friends" (AKA hills) that I was re-acquainted with.  Both of these runs went very well and it was awesome to not be rushed.  I need to recreate this atmosphere to help me to be consistent and get these 5-6 mile runs in twice a week along with my long run.

My Saturday run needed to be moved to Friday.  I did 4x800's.  I knew this wouldn't be a problem, but that I needed to make sure that I could regulate my speed and stay at the required speed (4:15/per 800).   I'd say I did a good job and nailed almost all of them.

My 800's time is as follows
1.  2:03 and 2:11 = 4.14 (1 second too fast... I'll take it :-) ).
2.  2:12 and 1:58 = 4:10 (slow first 400 and too fast on the second - compensated too much)
3.  2:12 and 2:03 = 4:15 (perfect overall)
4.  2:07 and 2:08 = 4:15 (awesome balance - ideal time and equal split)

Things I learned?
1 - I love running and it is so important that I am consistent.  When I am consistent I am able to be a more productive worker, husband and father.
2 - My confidence for these repeats is impacted positively by me having previous experience running 800's.  I am 100% certain that I can do this.
3 - It's easy to get the runs in when I have more flexible time.  The challenge comes when I need to handle the busyness of life/work and running all at the same time.
4 - I ran by myself this week, but my best runs or at least my most fun runs are done with friends.

Remember:  "Have a good time and your time will be good"  My friend John W

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Week 1 BIH time goal training

This week was difficult due to allergies.  I was not able to get as often or as long I last week.  However, I did get out for a solid two mile run on Wednesday and I was feeling much better.

Today, Saturday, I had my long run of 8 miles.  It went very well.  I ran with a 3/1 ratio and I was able to chat with two of my TNT friends for quite some time.  My running buddies and I were re-acquainted with some of our dear "friends" that coach Larry placed throughout the course.  These friends are the "hilly" type and I have grown to appreciate them.

The best part of this run was the conversation during the run and after.  I enjoy running for the sake of running, but it's even more enjoyable when I can run with someone.

I received my training schedule from my e-coach Friday night.  I was very excited because this schedule is much more challenging than the one I received last year.  I am ready to step up to the challenging and I know that they only way I'm going to accomplish my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon is if I do the work required and pay the required price to do that.  I will be doing speed work (800's) every other week and I'll actually go all the way up to 19 miles.  Yes, 19 miles for the half marathon.  The point of this is so that I will have more than enough endurance to run at the required pace of 9 min miles for the entire race.  I'm extremely excited about this and I was ecstatic that this training will still be challenging with this being a half marathon goal race.

Something that is an essential part of the success of this training plan is that I consistently follow the plan and keep my coach in the loop about how things are going.

I need YOUR HELP with this.  Please email me, text me, comment on this to keep me accountable with this.  Thanks!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Training 4/12/14 - 5 miles

This week of training went fairly well.  I made it out for two weekday runs and my typical Saturday run.  On Monday I had a half day at work (because of a dentist appointment) so I took a relaxing 3 mile out and back in the afternoon.  Thursday I did a "at least" 5.5 mile run also in the afternoon due to a random day off.  This run was fantastic because I ran with my friend John.  We used a 4/1 ratio on a familiar route (Negley).  I felt awesome during and after this run.  This has a well known "friend" after about a mile or so (and by friend I mean a hill).  Something that I learned on this run was that I really enjoy running in general, but that it is SO MUCH better when you have someone to run with you.

If you remember last fall I was one of three runners who had the great opportunity to be e-coached by Chris Twiggs.   He is the "right hand man" for Jeff Galloway.  I asked him if he would coach me to a sub 2 hour half marathon.  This is a goal that I had last year, but I KNOW that with effective training I WILL accomplish this goal.  It may not be at my goal race in September, but it WILL happen :-). 

Before you are concerned about me being so focused on time that I might lose the passion for running ... never fear.  My real long term goal is that I run until I'm 100 years old.  This is just a step along the way.  I know at some point in the future I won't be able to get faster, but today is not that day.

As a side note I absolutely love my Altra Zero Drop shoes.  They are very comfortable.  I was thinking during my run this morning that I bought them because of the large toe box, not so much because they were "zero drop."

Ok, back to my specific training.  I received a text from Chris yesterday afternoon asking me when I had run my last "magic mile."  I said sometime last year.  He had me run a total of 5 miles this morning with a magic mile (MM) in the middle.  My MM was 8:03 this morning.  I'll take it because that's only about 20-30 seconds slower than it was when I was training for Hershey last year (when I got my PR of 2:15:13).

I'm super excited to have this plan because I have struggled tremendously to get out of bed in the morning.  My goal this training cycle (and every cycle from now on) is to be CONSISTENT.  I don't want to wait until the evening to run because it likely won't happen... even if it does runs in the evening directly impact my time with my family.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment or ask any questions.  #runhappy #lovespring

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Negley park 9.5 mile run

Today I started my run at 5am.  I decided to run to Negley Park (since that was where my TNT friends would be running later on in the morning.

I decided to use a 2:30/1 run/walk/run ratio.  I ran at about 12 minute miles and it felt really good, aka AWESOME.  The loop was 9.5 miles and I did the entire run in my Altra Zero drop shoes.  I think this is probably the first "at least" 9 mile run where I truly believe I could have gone MUCH farther with no issues.

Obviously this run was very dark for almost all of it.  I didn't mind because I had my Knuckle lights.  I ran down my street to Front street and then ran a few miles down Front Street to the Walnut Street bridge AKA the walking bridge in Harrisburg.  I want around City Island and then across the Market Street Bridge toward Leymone.  The rest of this run was like my first run with TNT about 2 years ago (the day before I signed up to run the Marine Corps Marathon with TNT).  I don't mind this hill and I do consider hills my friends thanks to Coach Larry with TNT.

Overall this run was uneventful.  I do want to point out a few things I noticed.
1.  I saw my first skunk this spring on City Island.  I hope NOT become acquanited any further.
2.  I saw a cat close to the bank of the river.  I don't typically see them on that side of Front Street
3.  It took until almost 6:20am until I saw anyone out of their car (I had been running for 80 minutes by then.  I saw the guy on the Harvey Taylor Bridge.
4.  I did not see any other runners out at that time.
5.  I saw one guy riding a bike and one guy walking his dog.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to run.  Other than my long run I did get in several runs this week.  I ran Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after work.  My goal this week is to run more frequently in the AM because that doesn't impact my family as much as if I run in the evening.

I'm very excited about how running in the cold and wind for the race last Sunday has positively impacted my ability to get the job done with getting my runs in regardless of the weather.  Thursday evening it was raining fairly hard, but I went out anyway to prove to myself (no one else) that I can and will do what it takes to get out there.

The biggest lesson I learned from all of this that my running is tremendously important for me to cope with the stress in my life due to my job or other stressors.  I know my running buddies "get it" and if you're not exercising then I hope that my testimony helps you to see that it likely will work for you.  Just go out there do your best. 

I hope to see you out there on the roads.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Race report: Capital 10-Miler - a run for the arts

Today I had my "most interesting" 10 mile race.  It became more of a mud run!  The forecast was 39 degrees--Wind speed 15 mph--Steady rain--Real feel 27 degrees.  Not ideal for a run, but I was running as a part of the Reily Regiment for Organization for Autism Research so no matter what the weather I was going to do my best.

I decided that it was important to be warm and dry as I could be so I ran 5 miles with a black trash bag over me.  I ditched the black bag a the second water stop.

After this point I decided to run through the some small and many large puddles.  I figured that my feet were already wet so why bother going around them.  It was SO MUCH easier to just run through them rather than around.  I passed several people this way :-).

Some of the things that I told myself during the race was "I feel good, I feel great," "relax, power, glide," "Just keep swimming," among others.

I used a 4/1 ratio for the first 7 miles.  This helped me to finish strong in the end.

During the last 3 miles I was inspired to run faster because I was running for OAR and more specifically for Alexander.  Thinking about this little guy and how hard he works to overcome his obstacles made my obstacles seems easy.  He is such an inspiration!

By far the hardest part of the race was running an out and back on the Harvey Taylor Bridge.  The cool thing was that I saw a few of my friends (Mike, Shelly, Mike) while I was on the bridge.

I made it a goal to pass 10 people while we were going back across the bridge.  I did pass 9 and was running with the 10th person toward the walking bridge.  I felt really good still so I decided to push it.   At this point in the race I was on a role and because of my 4/1 walk breaks for the first 7 miles I still felt great (even though I was cold and wet).  I still passed more people going to the finish line even though there were gusts of wind of at least 20 miles per hour (at least it felt like they were that strong).

I'm very pleased with a new PR of about 1:41 unofficial.

This is from after the race.  I was wet and cold, but still very happy after the race.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Running saved my life

Last week I posted that "running saved my life" and that I would explain in a post soon.

Here are some of the ways that "running saved my life."
1.  I'm a professional counselor and running helps me deal with the stress of my job.  If I didn't have running I'm not sure what I would do to cope with that stress.  Some days are harder than others and I know that if I miss a bunch of runs during the week I can physically and emotionally feel the difference.
2.  I never was technically overweight, but once I started as a substance abuse counselor about 2.5 years ago I was sitting most of my day.  This caused a problem for my weight and my overall feeling of well-being.  Running and eating healthier has really helped this.  I couple things I simply stopped doing to help me loose some weight.  First, I stopped drinking soda on a regular basis.  Second, I was more aware of what I was eating.  I asked the simple question: Is this _____ worth it.  May times it wasn't so I didn't eat it.  Don't get me wrong... I still REALLY like Cinnamon rolls after a long run (and I eat several :-) ).  That is my new weakness.  Running helps me keep what I eat in perspective.  I also make sure that I eat enough fruit and veggies.
3.  Running saved my life emotionally.  I truly believe this because running is an outlet for any stress or frustration that I might be going through in life.
4.  Running has saved my life because it has provided so many amazing friends.  I've had friends text me at 5am to help me get up for a run.  I've had friends (some of whom I haven't met... yet) who text me during a long run or race to encourage me.
5.  Running has saved my life because it has helped me realize that I can do much more than I could ever imagine.  Running has helped me get my Masters in Professional Counseling, it has helped me get my LPC (License for Professional Counseling).  Overall it has helped get me through the difficulties in my life.

So I must give a huge thank you to running.

Thank you to all my runner friends and all the inspiration you have provided.

Thank you to Coach Chris Twiggs for the help you provided. 

An even bigger thank you to my wife for putting up with my running and the time that it takes away from our family.  I hope and pray that you find it worth it and that you get a better husband when I run.

Thanks to my TNT friends, my Extra Mile Podcast friends, other charity runners, the other running podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis.

My life has changed for the better because of running and I truly believe that "running saved my life."


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Running while away

This week I had a run on Thursday this week.  I had the opportunity to go away this weekend for a Men's retreat.  I know how important it is to stay consistent at least with my long runs.

I met up at 630am with my friend John.  We ran in Lebanon near the Kenbrook retreat center.  We used a 4/1 ratio and john said he really liked having the walk breaks.  

I believe that running has saved me life.  I will write more later about this soon :).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Training update, Altra Shoes, Autism research

This week of training was a different in a lot of ways.  For one I ran 4 times.  Also I bought new shoes on Thursday.  I have had difficulty with my right pinky toe (5th Metatarsal) poking through my Brooks Glycerin 11 even though they are wide.  I had heard about the Altra Zero Drop shoes by listening the the Extra Mile Podcast.  One of the huge differences about this shoe other than the obvious (Zero Drop) is the more natural and large toe box.  So far I'm loving the extra room for my toes.

So how's my training being going?  I'm pleased with how it is going as it is only the second week since I ran the 26.2 with Donna.  I ran 4 times training for the week.  I did the first two runs in my Brooks and the last two runs with my new Altra Zero Drop Shoes - Torin 1.5.  You can check them out here.

I did a short run on Tuesday and then  my long run for the week on Thursday.  I ran "at least 8" miles on Thursday this week (in my Brooks Glycerin).  It was weird for me to run further on Thursday, but I had off so I couldn't resist.  After that run was when I purchased the Altra Zero Drop Shoes.

Friday I went for an early run and did a total of 2 miles in my new shoes.  The felt great and I didn't have any pain in them.  Since it is so drastically different they recommend that I take my time and go slow and short.  I won't use these shoes in my next race that is a 10 mile race here in Harrisburg.  My second run was 3.1 miles and I did that this afternoon.  It was very nice and I was just running a fairly easy pace.  I looked at my watch and saw that I was averaging less than a 10 minute mile.  I thought maybe if I keep this up without much extra effort I could get a sub 30 min 5k without any issue.  I knew that it wouldn't be smart to go too fast with these new shoes since my body isn't adjusted, but I just ran naturally and it felt great.

Overall I am super pleased with my new shoes so far.  I will take it nice and easy and when necessary I will do a short run in the Altra's come back to my house and run the rest of my run with my Brooks.

I have an unexpected entry into a 10 mile race at the end of this month.  The cool thing is that since I'm in marathon shape and because I trained all winter I'm feeling really good about this.  I know I'll get a PR if all goes well.  Last year this is what I did... so this is what I'm officially competing against (1:47:35).  My crazy "A" goal would be to get 1:30, but anything faster than 1:47:35 would be awesome.  I'm running in place of my friend Linda.  I will be wearing an OAR singlet in honor of her mission to raise money for the Organization for Autism Research.  Go here to find out more or here if you'd like to donate funds to this extremely important cause.  Linda has been a huge support in helping me get to where I am today in my running.  This is a win/win situation for all parties involved.

Thanks for reading and I'd love to interact with you about what I've written.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Week 1 post 26.2 with donna

I had a wonderful time running in Florida and even though it rained at the end it was a great experience.

On Monday (the day after the marathon) I did a very slow, recovery run on the treadmill.  I put in two miles.  Overall, it felt good and it was helpful to get all that lactic acid out of my muscles.  I don't know about you, but I've read a bunch of studies that have suggested that it is better to run very slow after a hard race.

There are a lot of factors that helped me avoid the "marathon blues," this time.  First, I had an extra day or so before I needed to go back to work which helped.  Also, after my first marathon (MCM 2012) hurricane Sandy came through and forced us to leave earlier than expected which was frustrating.

The second factor was that I was aware of the possibility of being depressed after this run.

The third and last factor that I'm going to mention today is that I used the Galloway method for my training.  This meant that my recovery was much quicker and that I was able to enjoy the Jacksonville Zoo as well as keep a positive view after the marathon.

I ran 6 miles today at Messiah College.  This was fun because I've never felt so good after a race.  I could have gone farther, but I wanted to take things easy.  I ran with a few people that I've never run with before.  This was cool and we were able to use the 3:1 ratio.  It some way I was somewhat of a "pace group leader" since I made sure all three of us stuck together.  I ran slower during the last three miles because I didn't want to pull ahead, but I still felt wonderful.

Now several hours after the run I still feel excellent.

Next goal?  I have a 10 mile race that I'm running for my friend Linda.  She was injured last year and had this race deferred.  Now she's running a race in Philly on that day so I'm running in her place.  She runs for Autism Awareness and I will be sure to have something to represent this cause.  One of my favorite things about running is being able to do it for someone other than myself.  I truly believe that running has changed my life for the positive.  I am so grateful for it.

#rundonna #runhappy#OAR

Monday, February 24, 2014

26.2 with Donna #racereport #rundonna part 2

So much happened during this marathon that I wanted to make sure I did a second post (24 hours after the race).

26.2 Lessons learned
1. If I'm not running a race with someone, it is cool to run in a pace group.
2.  Running in a pace group is great - practice running through the water stops (this was a challenge).
3.  It would have been helpful to have music with me during a few of the miles toward the end (this wasn't actually a problem because I talked with a bunch of different people while I was walking.
4.  The Galloway method is my chosen way of running marathons (or 1/2 marathons).
5.  Felt great during most of the race, but as the the weather got more severe it was difficult to keep up with my original pace (lost the 5:15 group).
6.  Having friends text is effective, but I need to give them more feedback about how I am really doing.
7.  The spectators at the #rundonna are incredible (like none other that I have experienced).
8.  Next time I have a race with a dramatic climate change (either way colder, or way hotter) I need to change my goal accordingly.
9.  It is important to make sure I stick closer to the plan and make sure that I don't skip the mid week runs (I missed more than I would like to admit and I think that made a difference).
10.  I want to stay in really good shape for life and be able to run a half marathon with short notice.
11.  I'm more of a "half-marathon" type of guy, but this race was incredible.
12.  I will run this race again in the future and I want some of my friends to come with me next time :-).
13.  The beach portion was fun and that was when I talked with a couple different people.  I wouldn't do anything different here. 
14.  I really enjoyed seeing all of the different communities and how they really support the race.
15.  This is a world class event.
16.  It was so cool to meet Donna and Tim Degan before the race (at the VIP reception) and being able to finish the race with them.
17.  I also saw Dr. Perez (Mayo Clinic) and I finished with her (in addition to Donna and Tim).
18.  Meeting Joan Beniot Samuelson at the VIP reception was surreal.  I asked her "what would you suggest for someone who is young like me to focus on for my running."  She responded by suggesting that I focus on 5 and 10k races and then go back to the marathon.  I told her that I recognized her from the Spirit of the Marathon.
19.  I met the Marathon Man and he gave me his business card.  He said something about not making excuses, but we didn't run very long together (I hit the "bite me zone" a little bit before that, but it was still very cool to meet him since I've heard about him before.
20.  The "bite me zone" does exist but it can be overcomed by sending a text to Facebook.  I felt better after that.
21.  The rain really wasn't that bad and that wasn't what made the last 6 miles so difficult.  The humidity was what made it so challenging.
22.  There were a few very emotional spots for me.  The biggest surge of energy I got was at the end when I joined up with Donna, Tim, and Dr. Perez, but the other big surge was when I ran past a band that was playing along with a fairl large crowd.
23.  There were so many police involved in this process and I thanked as many of them as possible.
24.  Using the run/walk/run was so helpful to me and is the only way I'm going to run marathons going forward.
25.  Future plan this year is to run the Bird-in-hand half marathon in September.  This is the only race I have on the schedule, but I still plan on running 5-7 miles (at least) on Saturdays.
26.  I'm moving a little slow today, but if I would have run continully I wouldn't be feeling as good as I do now (from my experience from my first marathon - MCM 2012).
26.1  Raising money for a cause I believe in makes it all worth it.  I love the running community.
26.2  I am blessed with my amazingly supportive wife and without her there is no way I could have accomplished as much as I have so far.

#rundonna #FinishBreastCancer

Sunday, February 23, 2014

26.2 with Donna #racereport #rundonna

I had so many amazing experiences related to this race.  I think the most memorable is what happened at the end of the race.  I had been walking (with no run breaks) for about two miles or so.  I saw that the weather was getting bad very quickly with the storm.  It was NOT ok for them to call the race and me not finish (especially since I raised of $1,000.00 and because I was running for 27 different people.  Even though I felt like I couldn't run anymore (due to the nasty humidity) I sucked it up and started running again at a 1:1 ratio.  It ended up that Tom and Donna Degan and Dr. Perez (a few of the top players in starting the race in the first place).  It was made more amazing because I was able to keep up with them running a 2:30/1 ratio.  I believe this is because I strategically used walk breaks from the start.  I finished strong during those last 2.5 miles with a smile on my face.

Another memory that happened just before the experience with the Tom and Donna was that a fellow runner asked me how I was doing.  I said "not so good, but I'm finishing."  We talked for about a mile.  I found out that she's a counselor (school counselor) and we talked about things that made it so I could not think about running for at least 10-15 minutes.  This was very helpful.

I truly felt great for most of the race.  I lost the 5:15 pace group somewhere after the midway point (14-15?).  I did my own thing for a little while and the 5:30 pace group came up.  At this point I knew there was no PR, but that's when I changed the goal from a possible PR to making it a memorable experience. 

The spectators were amazing!  I thanked them for being out there and they thanked me for running the race.  So many people are "all in" for this race as supporters.

Also I have so super great friends who texted me during the race.  You know who you are and I thank yo uso much!

I will come back for this race.  I have a lot more to say about this race, but it will need to wait for another post.

Lastly, I want to give a huge thank you to my amazing wife for all the sacrifice she has made for my running and for coming down here to Jacksonville, Florida.  It was a much needed break from the weather.  Even though it's raining a lot here, it's WAY better than the snow.

Plan for the near future: keep up my running.  I will probably do about 6-7 miles on Saturdays.  I look forward to hopefully getting back into training with TNT.  Running for a cause is a life-changing experience. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

7 days until 26.2 with Donna

I'm really excited to head to Florida on Friday (2/21).  I have wanted to do this marathon for several years (before I had even ran a marathon I knew this was one I HAD to run). 

This week was very difficult on the running front.  I have to admit that I didn't get any of my runs in this week.  Some of that was the weather, some of that was not wanting to get up in the morning, and some of it was me getting sick.  This will be the first long run that I missed completely which was 6 miles and I intended to do it today.  We have a "fair amount" of snow (in some places it's over a foot).  I think I have a cold so I'm taking it easy today.  If I feel a lot better tomorrow (Sunday) I'll go ahead and get a few miles in, but I"m not going to push it.

I've thought a lot about taking things easy and not wanting to get injured.  My attitude about the race is that I've done the work (even though some of my runs were not as good or as long as I wanted them to be).  I still did two runs of 20 miles or more.  I am ready and maybe my legs will be refreshed rather than sluggish. 

I am looking forward to this race on so many levels.  First, my family and I get to take a vacation to Florida.  I get to run the National marathon to finish breast cancer #runDonna.  I get to meet Chris Twiggs my e-coach from last year.  We get to get away from the snow.  I should be able to meet some amazing people while we are down there.  We get away from the snow.  The coolest part of this race is that finishing the marathon will be the second most important thing I did that day.  More important than any of this is the reality that I have raised about $700 to finish breast cancer.

I am staying focused on the positive and making sure that I take care of myself this week.  I remember that the week before MCM 2012 I was sick and I was very strong for the race.  A little cold isn't going to keep me from having an awesome time.

I am mostly keeping my specific goal to myself.  Depending on how I feel I may go for a more specific goal, but I have been reminded that whereas this is a fast course it is one that I want to "soak in the sights."  I also will be running a little bit over two miles on the beach and I'm pretty excited about that :-).

#FinishBreastCancer #runhappy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Close to Goal!

I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know you can still help me accomplish my goal.  :-)  Thanks again for your support.
On Sunday, February 23, 2014, I will be joining thousands to Celebrate the Finish at the 7th Annual 26.2 with Donna. My goal is to cross the finish line of the marathon (26.2 miles!) event, and feel great that 100% of the race proceeds and EVERY PENNY of funds raised will go to breast cancer research and care.


26.2 with Donna is the only marathon event in the country dedicated to finishing breast cancer. 70% of the funds go to bench top research at Mayo Clinic. What does this mean? Bench top research is high risk, high reward research not traditionally funded by typical methods. With marathon funds, Mayo Clinic has established a Translational Genomics Team that will change the protocol for the treatment of breast cancer. WOW! The remaining 30% of the funds go to The Donna Foundation, serving the critical financial needs of those with breast cancer today.


So even though I am not required to fund raise, I want to support this important work that is saving lives and helping those who need it the most. That is why I am asking my friends and family to contribute.  Please make a donation and let’s finish breast cancer together!


Your donation is 100% tax deductible and 26.2 with Donna will send you a tax receipt.


Here is my personal fundraising site.


If you would rather write a check you can make it payable to “26.2 with Donna” and give it to me by February 19th.


Thank you so much for sharing the joy of helping such a wonderful cause.  No amount is too small.  So far I have raised $694.80My goal is to raise a total of $1000.


  “There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” -Nelson Mandela