Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Has Run Out - Get It?

Another year has come and gone and it went all too fast. Like the last couple years, I feel like I need to look back on my year in running for this blog to see how it went and to see where I'm going. Let's start with my progress on my goals I set last year:

1. Run a sub 20 minute 5k race.

Result: Not!

I started out the year not running nearly enough and never really dedicated myself to any sort of speed work program. As a result, I would classify most of my 5k race times as rather disappointing. I only broke 23 minutes once and that was early in the year. I was hoping to at least PR (beat 22:16) at the Open Door Julie Run in June, but had a poor race and ran 24:02. There were a couple age group awards, but the 5k distance was largely forgettable this year.

2. Run a sub 1:42:30 half marathon.

Result: No sir or madam.

I ran three half marathons in 2013. Two were in the spring and one in the fall. The spring ones, Rock CF and Martian, were done without nearly enough training. I learned this year that you can't run once or twice a week and expect to improve or even maintain. I was able to PR at my fall marathon, The Brooksie Way, with a time of 1:48:18. I had been training prior to that race, but it wasn't my focus at the time (I wouldn't have had a long run of 20 miles the week before if this was my "goal" race). I am happy I beat my time from last year.

3. Complete a marathon, beat Subway Jared by one hour.

Result: Complete marathon, Yes! Beat Jared by one hour, no.

Eat fresh!

I am the fluorescent yellow / green spec with arms raised.

I worked hard to ready myself for the Detroit Marathon this year and had a good 16 weeks of training leading up to the race. I don't think I would have changed a whole lot about the training, especially since I started "from behind" due to a less-than spring.

I had the part where I would beat Jared by over an hour "in the bag" (heck, I had 3:50 something in my sights) until my legs really gave out around mile 17 / 18. I had zero plans to walk at all for this race, but I needed to walk / run the last 6 miles or so. I'm happy I finished and accomplished something, but the finishing time was slower than I had hoped for.

4. Run 1000 Miles in 2013

Result: 858 Miles, so nope.

What I said:. "I believe that my marathon training will get me close to this goal and, as long as I keep it up in the cooler months, I should make it."

The marathon training did get me close, but the amount of running I did both early and late this year was much less than anticipated, leaving me 142 miles short.

Overall: 0 for 4 on goals (But 2013 was still a success!)

Say whaaaaa? I didn't officially meet a single goal, but I still count 2013 as successful. I ran more miles than any previous year, I set PRs for the 10 mile, half marathon and marathon distances (first races are always PRs) and still enjoy this sport / passion / hobby / sport. Though I will be 40 in 2014 (YUK!) I maintain that I have a ton of potential and plan to continue to improve in the coming year and many years to follow.

I have put the following summary into my year-end blog post the past couple years, so I'll continue while adding this year's results:

Miles Run:
1997 to 2007 – a little more than zero.
2008 – About 25
2009 – About 25
2010 – 150 or so.
2011 – More than 450
2012 - Over 800

2013 - Over 850

Days of exercise (running, gym, etc.)
1997 to 2009 – a few per year
2010 – About 30
2011 – Over 125
2012 - Over 150

2013 - Over 150

Races run:
1997 to 2007 – Zero
2008 – One
2009 – One
2010 – Three
2011 – Seventeen (Eleven 5Ks, One 8k, One 10K, One Half-Marathon, One 4 Mile age-graded race, One 4.8 Mile trail race and One Obstacle Race)
2012 - Nineteen (Ten 5ks, One 8k, One 4.5 mile, One 5.5 Mile, Two 10Ks, Two 10 mile races, Two half marathons)

2013 - Sixteen (Seven 5Ks (two as pacer), One 8k, Three 10Ks (all as pacer),  One 10 Mile race, Three Half Marathons, One Marathon)

Fastest 5k Race times:
2008 – 31:56
2009 – 32:10
2010 – 28:10
2011 – 24:39
2012 - 22:16

2013 - 22:58

Race Awards:
Prior to 2011 – One second place medal for “walking” during a race I ran.
2011 – One Overall 1st place, One age group 1st place, Two age group 2nd place, Three age group 3rd place and a Top 20 age-graded race award (8th). Finisher medals for Warrior Dash, Brooksie Way Half Marathon and Iron Turkey races.
2012 - Three age group 2nd place, One age group 3rd place and finisher medals for Shamrock N' Roll 10k, Milford Labor Day 10k, Crim 10 Mile, Rock CF Half Marathon and Brooksie Way Half Marathon.

2013 - One Overall 1st Place, One age group 1st place, One age group 3rd place and finisher medals for Shamrock N' Roll, Kona Run, Wicked Halloween Run, Kona Triple Crown, Kona Chocolate Run, Crim 10 Mile, Rock CF Half Marathon, Martian Half Marathon, Brooksie Way Half Marathon and Detroit Marathon.

Other Notable Items from 2013:

  • Hosted a Couch to 5k program at our church.
  • My daughter started running cross country.
  • Did not significantly injure myself (Lets keep it up!)
  • Met more of my blogger, Facebook, Twitter and Dailymile pals.
  • Ran with my Brooksie Way team, Indian Springs Meetup group, Your Pace or Mine group and people from Southeast Michigan Runners (SEMR) several times.
  • Set 3 PRs 
  • Paced five races at four events for Kona Running Company.

After welcoming a baby in late 2012, my life has again changed for the better, but keeping up with running has been more difficult. With a busy family schedule, it isn't easy finding time to get out and go. As a family, we'll need to continue to be creative in the coming year to make time for running / exercise. 

The next post will be about my goals for 2014. Onward and upward!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The obligatory December blog post

Hey all!

Both my running and my blog posts have really been lagging lately for various reasons. The longest I think I've gone without a blog post is a bit over a month, so I thought I should write something.

As far as running goes, life in general has not been accommodating to my running schedule. We had to travel for a family issue last week and there has been a load of scouting, church and other social activities going on. I don't feel like I have any time to do anything workout related and, in the rare cases where there may be some time, I just don't feel up to it. Sounds like a lot of excuses to me.

In the first 20 days of December, I have run a total of 13 miles and none at all in the past week.I think my low mileage month since the running comeback was something like 30 last December or 33 in January. I'm hopeful that, with some time off work, I'll be able to get some exercise in. I used to be worried that I would quit if I had too much of a lapse. That isn't a concern anymore - my desire to run is as much as ever - but I just need to get back into a good rhythm.

Next post will be better or your money back!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2000 Miles, Transition and Kona Races

Sometime just before or during the Detroit Marathon, I passed 2000 miles total since I started keeping track (March 2011).

There are plenty of runners that could do that in less than a year, but it took me about 2 1/2 years. I've never really had any particular number of miles as a goal, but 2000 is a nice, round number and perhaps is something to celebrate (thus the firework picture). That is about the distance from here to Las Vegas. I should get a trip there now, no? No. No trip...

After the marathon, I rested for about a week without much running and have very gradually done a little more each week. I would actually like to run a lot more, but our family schedule (mostly other people with scheduled things while I hang with the baby and kid), worse weather and lack of sunlight haven't been helpful. The lack of a goal race to focus on hasn't helped. This will be the third fall / winter running transition I've gone through and they have all gone the same way. I always have good intentions, but I never seem to do all of the running or workouts I intend to do. 

The one thing I have done is pace a couple races, the Kona Wicked Halloween run and this past weekend, the Kona Chocolate Run, both in Plymouth.

I am the Angry Bird that is the bomb, yo!

The Wicked Halloween run was the Sunday after the marathon. My first run after the race was 3 miles on the treadmill the day before the race. It was fine but I don't think I was anywhere near back to race shape. Luckily I didn't need to race, just run at a certain pace. I asked for a "slower" pace at the 5k and got it - 11 min miles. Because that was well within my capabilities, I decided it would be fun to wear a costume. I found a cheap "Angry Bird" costume at 5 below and figured that would work.

Pacing a race is a different mindset than racing. There is less mental preparation for certain. You never want to pace a race anywhere near your limits (unless you are pacing an elite marathon runner for a few miles, which is a totally different endeavor). You should be able to run comfortably and keep a nice, even pace. I try to be encouraging to people around me. That's about it.

Running in the costume was a unique experience. It was a bit bulky, but not overly restrictive. It did keep me warm before the race and didn't get too hot during, though if I was moving faster or running longer, it would have gotten uncomfortable quickly. There were plenty of kids telling their parents about the Angry Bird. The kids identified with me, while their parents were down with Pac Man. There were some great costumes, much more elaborate than mine. The Google Maps one was the most unique.

The Southeast Michigan Runners Group at Kona Chocolate Run.

This past Sunday, I was a pacer for the inaugural Kona Chocolate Run. The 10 and 5k course were the same as the Wicked Halloween Run (and the Shamrock N' Roll one too). I had 55 minutes for the 10k and, because I haven't been running much, I was worried that I would have some difficulty. Not that I couldn't do it, I was just nervous that it would be difficult. Thankfully, I felt really good and it was relatively easy. The other pacers and I were cheering people on and encouraging runners the entire race. Hopefully, we weren't too annoying! :)

I met several runner / blog pals before the race including Jeff (Detroit Runner), Ty (Tyrunman) and Megan (Watch MeGo Run) as well as the Southeast Michigan Runners Group from Facebook. I missed a few other people, but that is easy to do when there are 3 races with 6000 runners there.

Me and Ty or Ty and I

Megan, Ty and me

After the 10k, I hopped in and paced the 12 min/mile group in the 5k just as they were starting. That was fun too. They didn't really have a formal dual race option, so I was happy to run both races. The only down part of the race was the lack of chocolate in my belly. By the time I was done with the 5k, the line into the chocolate tent was crazy long. Kona runs great races, but the setup for the food was a misstep. To their credit, they are already working to correct this for next year's race.

Overall, I like pacing races because it keeps me involved and doesn't drain my wallet. It isn't as fun as actually racing, but I don't think I am in prime racing shape at the moment anyway (I would have still smoked my 10k PR if I did race. My 10k PR is weak and I even beat it during the first 10k of my last half marathon).

For better Kona Chocolate Run race recaps, go HERE or HERE or HERE. :)

I'll hopefully have more to say soon. Peace.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Marathon - The Aftermath

It's been 3 days since the Detroit Marathon and life is back to normal. I've been reflecting on the race - nothing too deep, but I thought I'd share some of my thoughts, feelings, blah, blah, yakity schmackity.

A.) I was hurting but still in good spirits on Belle Isle. Dude runs by me and he's bustin' booty - as in tooting, passing gas, cutting the cheese, etc. This is a very normal thing. What was abnormal was volume and duration. Channeling Caddyshack Rodney Dangerfield I shouted out "Did somebody step on a duck?!?" He was not amused...

B.) I'm wondering if I made the best shoe choice. I wore my Brooks Ravenna 4s, which are my current favorite shoe. They are comfortable shoes for mild overpronators, have good forefoot cushioning, etc. With how my knees felt, I'm wondering if I would have been better off in my Brooks Adrenaline 12s. They aren't quite as flexible, but they have a bit more support than the Ravennas. Before I switched from "any running shoe" to the Adrenaline 11s then 12s, I have had little knee pain (haven't really had any with the Ravenna's either). It probably wouldn't have mattered, but maybe it would have...

C) The Detroit Freep Marathon was a great race. Good organization, good course, support, drink stations, scenery, etc. I would certainly consider running this event again, though it may be the half marathon. The first half of the course is just better. Better scenery, more memorable landmarks, etc. It was better running when there were more people around too.

D) Overall, I am very happy with how the race went for me. I won't say it was a "dream" of mine, but it certainly was a big goal to complete the marathon. I gave it my best shot. With that said, I'm disappointed I didn't have a better finishing time. Trying not to second guess myself, but was I being too much of a wimp late in the race? Could I have fought through it a little better? Should I have run the first half of the race faster or slower? I think I should have finished 20 - 30 minutes faster if all went well. 3:57 something would have sounded better than 4:17 something. I don't want to run another marathon right now, but I want to run another marathon now and get another crack at it. Eventually...
Taking a knee after the race
E) Support from family, friends, co-workers, running pals and running groups was great. It was one of the best things about this whole adventure.
My cold honey & me
F) Whenever my next marathon will be, I think I'll be running more miles. Not sure how, but other people do it. Also more hills. My legs need to be stronger and more durable.

G) If you're in a group of spectators on the course and not cheering, I will make you cheer. All it takes is a well timed "Woooooooo!" as I run by. If you somehow still don't cheer, you're a punk.

H) I am going to put a 26.2 sticker on my car. If ya don't like it, too bad. :)

I) I feel guilty for how I feel in D. Being able to complete this race was a blessing and a gift.

J) While my current resting was planned, it felt strange not to run yesterday and today. I think I could have run just fine today, but I will run tomorrow or Friday.

K) While I would have preferred to run in a short sleeve tech shirt and shorts, I made the right wardrobe choice with long sleeves and long pants. (I wore my tech shirt from the 2013 Crim under my shirt. The Crim people got some negative feedback about the shirt. It is thin and a bit ugly, but I really like it as a running shirt.) 

L) I was expecting bigger crowds of spectators at the race. For the number of runners, I thought it was a bit sparse. Didn't expect people 6 deep throughout the course, but the Crim had much better spectator support. I think the neighborhoods in Flint take a lot of ownership in that race. Perhaps it was just too darn cold.

I think that is enough alphabetting for now. Later.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Detroit Freep Marathon - I did it!

 Today, I completed my first full Marathon, the Detroit Free Press Marathon. I am both happy to have done it and glad that it is over. Now, on to the details:

I have been in taper mode for the previous 3 weeks. The first week after the Brooksie Way Half was only a bit less mileage than normal training (the 10 mile long run instead of more was the big difference). The next week was less and this week, I ran 3 on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday and 2 Saturday.

Last night, after dinner, I got all my stuff (clothes, watch, bib, etc.) ready and went to bed before 9 pm. The only decision that needed to be made the night before the race was wardrobe. I prefer a tech shirt and shorts and dislike wearing much more. It was going to be too darn cold so I decided to go with a light tech shirt, my Brooksie Way 2012 long sleeve shirt and long pants. I fell asleep to a 0-0 Tigers / Red Sox game, woke to a 2-1 Tigers lead when Amy came up and found out they lost at 3:30 this morning.  I was able to get 5 good hours of sleep and a couple hours of on and off sleep, so not too bad. Got up at 4am, ate my Rice Crispies (my preferred breakfast on race day), showered, got dressed and we were ready to go before 5 am.

It was raining when we left and I was not thrilled about it. Luckily, the rain stopped and the race was dry. It was still cold and windy. We parked at Greektown Casino (thanks for the free parking!) and walked to the starting area in the crisp morning air. After about 15 minutes, I got in the corral. Started in the E corral, rather than the D corral noted on my bib because the pacers I wanted to be near were there. I saw Brian D, a Dailymile pal, when I got in, which was nice.

We started about 6 minutes after the elites and were off. I felt great and was moving well without expending much effort. Maybe the taper does work! There was supposedly nearly 6000 marathon runners and 12000 international half marathoners and it was like riding a wave – in the dark. One of the highlights of the race came after a couple miles – the Ambassador Bridge crossing into Canada. Seemed like we were going uphill forever, but it was gradual and not bad at all. The runners were in good spirits at this point with a lot of banter going on, which made it even more fun. Now I really want to run a race on the Mackinac Bridge. The downhill was nice and we ran into Windsor along the Detroit River.

Historical Picture - It was much darker out than this.
The view of Detroit was very nice and our neighbors to the north (actually South in this case) were very hospitable, if not particularly great in numbers. I will be honest and say that something I was looking for was the remnants of a suddenly famous shrub in a riverside Windsor park. (It has gotten attention from various media and internet outlets and was a big topic of discussion on Drew Lane’s radio show on 105.1 on Friday). Alas, I did not see the shrub, which is just as well.

Before and after. You can find the whole story HERE.
I was cruising through Canada and, after the race, noticed my split times in Canada were as fast as I went in this race. I don’t think I was going too fast and probably made up some time by surging for about 10 seconds when I was passing. I passed the 4 hour pacers at this time and had an idea in my head that, just maybe, I wouldn’t see them again. The tunnel back to the US was another highlight, as there aren’t too many (any) other marathons where you run a mile underwater. Yea, it was just a hot, slightly stinky while tiled tunnel, but it was still pretty cool. Out of the tunnel, I saw Sara from work cheering me on and then my wife, Amy. It meant a lot to have her there cheering and I blew her some kissies *blush*.

The race continued to go well through the point where the half marathoners split off to head to the finish. Part of me wanted to make that turn and be done, but that was not the plan this day. Two-thirds of the runners made the turn to the finish and the course became much sparser. It was a bit like some of the air went out of the race, the wave was lessened and it carried us no more. We were on our own (very dramatic).
I continued to feel good through mile 15 and was still at a sub-4 hour pace at that point. I knew the race would get difficult at some point, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen with 10 miles to go. The knees had been sore for a while, but they got worse. My right leg was starting to hurt, my back was sore and my feet were waterlogged and felt like they were blistering (they weren’t, but the bottoms of my feet felt bizarrely bad). I didn’t hit “the wall”, but by Mile 20, my legs had quite enough and Belle Isle beckoned.

Put simply, Belle Isle sucked and for a couple reasons. The wind was pretty brutal and I just felt bad. I started walking the drink stations, then I started employing the run / walk method for the next 5 miles. There is nothing wrong with walking, but it sure wasn’t speedy. The 4 hour group passed me about Mile 17 and the 4:10 group near Belle Isle. While I had ”energy”, my legs and core were failing me. It was all about finishing.
When I hit the 25 mile marker, I decided I would not walk again and I ran the 1.2 miles in to the finish. I don’t know if I have hurt as badly running, ever. My first half-marathon may have been close, but I think this was worse. I was happy to finish strong despite the rough last quarter of the race. My finishing time was  4:17:48. I had no set goal, but that was in the ballpark of where I thought I would finish. I am disappointed only because I was doing so well through about 2/3 of the race and it felt like, in a way, the wheels came off. That is the marathon and a first marathon to boot. I finished, I enjoyed my experience and feel like I accomplished something – that is what counts.

Saw Jeff and Trieu and then my wife. I may have had a couple tears when I saw her, but not too many. J Had a not-free beer and then waddled almost a mile to the car. Thankfully, she drove home.

While it was not an official goal, I did have a bit of a “contest”with Jared from Subway. Without further ado, here are the results:

Subway Jared (5:13:28)


Josh + 1 hour (4:18:48 + 1:00:00 = 5:18:48)
Oh, the agony of defeat. Eat Fresh!

I hope to have some more thoughts about the marathon in the near future, as I learned a lot in this experience. For now, I must rest. Must sleep... No! I'm starving! First eat, then sleep...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Brooksie Way Half Marathon 2013

Hey all!

Time for my monthly blog post... Perhaps, one day, I'll get back to regular posts, but 'til then...

Last weekend was the Brooksie Way Half Marathon. It was my 3rd Brooksie half and 4th Brooksie Way race in all. This has become an annual race for me as I have a team for work and it feels like my "home field" race. I know more people at this race, between runners and volunteers, than any other and, even though live super close, I'm only about 20 minutes away.

For the best details about this race, check out Jeff's (aka Detroit Runner's post) on his blog. He does a great job with his race reviews and I have very little to add. Therefore, I'll just talk about a few select details of my race experience.

I arrived early and found a couple members of my race team including Dawn, Melanie and Katie (I never did see Andraya or Danny, but they were there). Due to a couple dropouts, we had a small team, but only needed 5 to have a team score, so it was all good.

Me & "The Mayor" Larry - running for Rewewal by Andersen
I also met up with Kevin, Trieu and Jeff, who I ended up running the race with. I told him I was looking to run with a goal of about 1:47, which sounded good to him. He's faster than me, particularly as distance increases, so that would allow him to run fairly hard, but not quite at full race pace. We both had green bibs, so we were supposed to be in the first (fast) corral, but that corral was bursting at the seams (and, if we "deserved" to be there, we would have been in the back anyway), so we started in the next (yellow) corral. This was probably a good call.

Shamlessly stolen from Detroitrunner.com - Trieu, me, Jeff and Kevin
We started out kinda feeling things out a bit for the first half mile, then sped up a bit. For the length of the race ahead, I was pushing the pace a little (Jeff had zero problem keeping pace with me). I know you're not supposed to "bank" time in a half marathon (or that is what "they" say), but I was doing so because of the elevation profile of this course. I had run this course a total of 5 times prior to the race (2 races, 3 practice runs), so I am very familiar with the elevation advantage to about mile 6 and the hills that follow. I felt good and was going while the getting was good. Felt strong and it is always nice to keep moving past people, which we did regularly during this stretch. Hit the 10k mark in a little over 48 minutes, which would be my 10k PR if the race ended there.

Bad form (arms too high) near the Royal Park Hotel
The race didn't end there and we started the uphill portion of the race through Rochester Municipal Park on the Paint Creek Trail. The trail is slightly up hill, but Tienken Road is where the real hills begin. I felt all of the hills as well as the previous weekend's 20 miler on Tienken. Not sure why I this would be a surprise, but I didn't easily cruise up the hills. In fact, it was more of a struggle than anticipated. I could have run the hills all day at an easy pace, but trying to go "fast" on the hills was not working out well. As you can see below, I was even slower than last year on the hills. 

While I struggled on the hills (Jeff tried to pull me along and probably did to some extent), I was able to finish strong. The last mile was just under 8 minutes and I finished in 1:48:13, a half marathon PR by nearly a minute. While I missed my "A" goal, my "B" goal was a PR, so I am happy with the result. My "goal race" is the Detroit Marathon, so a PR at Brooksie is a nice bonus.

Overall, it was a great race day with good weather, friends, a nice race and a team tent afterwards (though the food left much to be desired this year). Not only was it a good race, it was a good run and a nice confidence boost leading up to the marathon, now in less than 3 weeks. This post is long enough (anyone make it this far?) so I'll summarize my marathon training and give a race preview in another post. Later!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Me Vs. Subway Jared

I am quite happy for Jared Fogle (aka Jared from Subway) regarding his weight loss and subsequent success as a pitchman for Subway. With that said, unbeknownst to him, he has become somewhat of a rival in my running career. I'm not a Jared hater, but I think it started with seeing a display / poster of Jared inside a Subway restaurant.

It was this photo or something very close to it.
This was right around the time of my return to running. I thought glasses, dark hair... why that vaguely resembles me. Oh no! I look like Jared from Subway. I shouldn't have said anything but I mentioned something to my wife. She reassured me I was better looking than he was, but then said "yea, but I do see the resemblance". From there, the rivalry was on.

Near the end of the Crim
Let's have look at the Tale of the Tape (TM):


Age (*)


Weight (*)

Max Weight

Race History (*)


Corporate Sponsorship


Finish Time

NW Indiana





High School Track (JV) & Cross Country (JV, Varsity),  Over 40 races since 2011 including 5 half marathons

Self-directed. Recent training based upon Hal Higdon Novice 2 Marathon Training

None (willing to entertain offers)

Detroit Free Press International Marathon (Detroit, MI, US & Windsor, ON, CA)

Jared Fogle|
Indianapolis, Indiana

180 - 190

One of each of the following: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon (per Jared in Subway promotional video)

Professionally trained.Trained with athletes such as Ryan Howard, Michael Phelps, Blake Griffin and Meb Keflezighi

Doctor’s Associates (Subway)

ING NYC Marathon (New York, NY, US)


(*) at time of marathon

That table ended up a bit wonky, but I think you get the point. Jared has the advantage at time of marathon as far as age, corporate support (I mean, his job was to eat subs and train) and training support. I have a bit of a BMI advantage and have more of a running history. 

When I decided I was going to run a marathon, I considered what my finishing time would or could be. Boston qualification? No way, not anytime soon, if ever. Four hours? Ummm, maybe. I know, I will beat Jared! I found his time - 5:13:28. Ok, I need to finish before I get cocky, but unless something goes really wrong, I should beat that by a good margin. Therefore, I set my unofficial goal as beating Subway Jared by one hour.

I have since dropped any notion of setting a time goal for my first marathon, but that "unofficial" time is still out there and I mentioned it to several people as a bit of a joke - everyone needs a story. That being said, I think that is realistic. I think I can hold a 9:40 min/mile pace, but we shall see...


This weekend I ran at Kensington Metro Park and completed 18 miles. My legs didn't feel great, even to start, but it was a decent run. I should have at least one run which will be longer before the marathon, but this one gave me some confidence. If I had to, I could have dragged myself around the lake one more time to finish 26.2 miles.

I'm learning from these longer runs. One thing I've developed is a Gu strategy. After a few miles, usually 4 or 6, I take a half of a Gu packet every 2-3 miles. This seems to provide an adequate energy supply while minimizing gastric distress. I've also figured out that it is OK to walk for a short period of time, if necessary, to take a Gu, to get some water or to just gather myself. I used to view any sort of walking during a run as a failure, but the failure is not continuing on after a walk.

Overall, I'm feeling good about my training. I hope to do well at the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in 3 weeks (not sure yet if I will "race" it or use it more as a training run) and will then begin the dreaded taper.

Are you training for anything in particular?

Is it a good idea to set a time goal for the first time running a particular distance?

Do you have any rivals where the rival doesn't know or doesn't care about it?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Crim 10 Mile, McLobster & More Training Stuff

Lots of running happening as of late, but not a whole lot of blogging. Figured I would sum up the past month in this post.

The Crim 10 Mile Race

On August 24th, I ran my second Crim 10 mile race in Flint. The weather almost completely cooperated with a relatively mild day. After arriving a bit early, they opened up the corrals about 30 minutes before the race. I gave an anticipated finish time of 1:23 on my registration, so that put me in the "B" Corral. The 30 year (!) runners of the race started first and a few minutes later, the "A" corral. I don't know if it was supposed to happen this way, but much of the B corral was released at the same time (I saw Jeff aka Detroit Runner and Trieu before the race in the same corral but they were stopped and started a few minutes later).

I felt pretty good starting out and was probably going a little fast with sub 8 minute miles at least for the first couple miles. Shortly thereafter, my watch, which was giving me a low battery warning before the start, shut off. (Before the race, I started Jogkeeper on my phone, but never looked at it). I was running free of technology and it was probably a good thing.

The crowd support at this race is amazing and, dare I say, even better than last year. There is water every mile, local churches open up their buildings for restrooms, tons of people out cheering, people putting sprinklers out with water spraying on the street like a runner wash, etc.

Through the first half of the race (as I found out later), I ran around an 8:11 min / mi pace. Shortly after the halfway mark, the “Bradley Hills” started. This year, they put timing pads before and after the five hills that make up the Bradley Hills. I was the 1145th fastest through the hills with a time of 7:08. The “King of the Hills” finished in 4:14.

The second half of the race is a bit hillier overall and it was getting a little warmer. The good thing is that with my increased training, I didn’t slow much.  The plan was to maintain pace until turning onto the same street as the finish and to step it up when I “hit the bricks” the brick road in downtown Flint. It didn’t quite happen that way, at least not initially. Once got close enough to see the finish time on the display and saw it was 1:23 and change, that seemed to motivate me to move faster as I had not slowed as much as I thought.  My finish time ended up 1:22:51, a couple minutes faster than last year and my first PR of the year.

Met up with Jeff and Trieu after the race and got our pizza and beer. Overall a great race!

Slowly I Turn…Step by Step…Inch by Inch

The week before the Crim, we took a family trip to Niagara Falls and had a very nice time. We saw the falls, rode the Maid of the Mist and visited all the main Falls attractions. We were on the Canadian side and I even had a “McLobster”.

Yes, the McLobster is real. It was the most expensive sandwich at McDonalds Canada and it actually had lobster in it. I had to order one and the verdict is pretty much a thumbs down. I was expecting something hot, but it was actually a cold sandwich – like a lobster salad sandwich. It did have lobster, I would have liked a bit more. I would compare the taste to a Subway seafood sub.

I skipped my Thursday run but took my running stuff with me on the trip. Saturday morning, prior to sunrise, I got up and walked about ¾ mile from our hotel to the falls. I started at the “horseshoe” or Canadian Falls and ran to the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve and back. There were more hills than I anticipated, but it was fine. While scheduled for 15 miles, I only did 10 so I could get back with my family and function for the day. This “selfie”, taken after the run, shows my view where I ended that run.

I don’t think I will have a more scenic run anytime soon. This one will be difficult to top.

Training Through Week 10 of 17

Overall, I am on schedule with my running plan, though I did slip a bit with a short vacation and the Crim race. I did my 14+ mile run on schedule, but didn’t go over 10 the next two weeks. I ran 16 miles this morning for my longest run ever, 34 miles this week for most weekly mileage ever and 123 miles this month, yes, for most monthly mileage ever.

This chart shows how erratic my running was prior to training and how much more consistent I have been as of late. I don’t think I always need to have a plan, but really need to have a regular schedule. Easier said than done, but sometime one just needs to make time for himself.

The Road Ahead

I have 7 weeks to the Detroit Free Press Marathon. What once seemed so far off now seems too close. In many ways, I feel like I’m not ready, but the reality is that I’ll be fine. There will be many miles run in the next few weeks and all will be good.

I have a 5k on 9/14 for Camp Lael in Lapeer which I will participate in but might not exactly race. It is a small race which I won two years ago and finished second in last year. It is possible, depending on who shows up, that I could go slower than last year and win. The main goal is to not hurt myself as I will have little choice other than to do a rather long run the following day.

On 9/29, I will run my third Brooksie Way Half Marathon. I don’t know if I will run this like a training run (perhaps with more miles afterward) or if I will run for a PR (which I can attain running at a pace comparable to Crim for 3.1 more miles). After Brooksie, I will be tapering. I don’t know if I like how little I’ll be running for those 2 or 3 weeks, but it is what you’re supposed to.

Are you training for anything?

Did you taper for a big race? Did it help?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Marathon Training - It's A Marathon

I've just completed Week 5 of my 17 week planned marathon training. Overall, it's going really well. Here's the highlights:

  • I have transitioned to running in the morning before work. This is a bit tough because I need to leave pretty early. This means getting up around 5:30 am on shorter days and I guess I'll need to get up before 5 on the mid distance run days. Yuck.  I might need to do those runs after work. 5 and 6 miles was bad enough, now I need to do 7. The good thing is that the runs don't seem to tire me for the rest of the day.
  • I've missed only one - 3 mile run and one cross training day in 5 weeks. Considering my running over the past 10 months, that is quite an accomplishment.
  • I have no significant injuries. Actually, I don't think I have had a running injury that was too significant thus far in my adult running career (knock on wood like substance). Going beyond that, I don't hurt anywhere. Sure, I've had some during and after run soreness, but that is necessary for muscle development. I am hoping that following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 schedule (and not jumping ahead) will be helpful in staying healthy.
  • I don't feel a whole lot faster, but I do feel more resilient. I feel like I could still run on Fridays after doing my Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday runs. (But I don't)
  • My stamina / breathing is a bit ahead of my legs. The hope is that my legs will acclimate to running more frequently and for longer distances. Then, I hope I will be able to move them faster. :)
I don't feel burnt out and still look forward to most runs. Not necessarily getting up at the "butt crack of dawn" or before, but the runs themselves. 26.2 miles still seems so far off, but then I remember I still have 3 months to go. Thus far, I haven't really done anything out of my comfort zone. I'm healthy and there haven't been any runs longer than I have done before. The long run part changes next week when I am scheduled to do 14 miles. My long run is 14.01 miles per Garmin connect, so I'm nearing uncharted territory. The way the mileage ramps up slowly, I'm confident I'll be able to complete all that the plan asks of me.


Ran today with Jeff (of Detroit Runner), Kevin, Alexis (of Get2Fit2quit) and Sherri at Pontiac Lake Rec Area on the bike trail. Great day for running - as cool and comfortable July day as one could ask for. My legs weren't really up to it (I did heavy yard / house work yesterday, which took more of a toll on me than most runs), but it got done. Always nice to run with a group and this is a good group. The bike trail is very hilly and "technical". I managed not to fall today, and all toenails seem to be intact, which is always a bonus.

I have a couple races scheduled before the marathon in mid / late October. Well, actually 3. There's the Crim 10 mile late August, the Camp Lael 5k in Mid September and the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in late September. I'm going to try to do well at all of them, but will not alter my schedule much to fit them in. However I happen to feel, that's how I will run. Would love to PR both the Crim and Brooksie, but my goal now is to train properly for the marathon and finish.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Marathon Training - Raw Power

I'm a week and a half into my 17 week marathon training and so far, so good. I am trying very hard to stick to the training program I have chosen as closely as possible. As mentioned in a previous post, I am following the Hal Higdon "Novice 2" marathon training program. (Information about the program is available HERE).

I am using this plan, just removing Week 1
Thus far, 6 runs and one cross training session in, I am following this plan exactly (with the omission of week 1, which was replaced by a 5k race week. Other than running on a regular basis (which has been challenging for me since Baby Time), the first few weeks of this training is not too daunting. The key for me is consistency and gradually ramping up mileage and, to a certain extent, pace.

Even though my "official" "training" is just starting, a couple things have come from the runs. Yesterday, I had a pretty decent 3 mile run (wish my legs felt that good during my race a couple weeks ago) and I had my running music playing (I'll do a running music post at some point). Anyhow, Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges came up as well as "Gimme Danger" and "Search and Destroy" from the same album. Since I always need a theme song for my running adventures, I decided that the song and theme would be RAW POWER. I need to tap into my raw power and unleash it. I can feeeeeel it.

Iggy has a ton of energy is still pretty ripped. 

This morning I got up about and hour early and ran 5 miles. I have run before work a couple times before, but this was the first time I felt like I could make it a regular thing. Today, I started out at an easy pace. After a couple miles, I decided I felt too good and thought I should look at my watch. I was going slower than I thought, so I had to go faster, as this was supposed to be like a tempo run. It went pretty well overall and I felt a bit energized during work. I'll need to go to bed a bit earlier, but I can do this.

I'm excited about getting ready for the marathon!

Friday, June 28, 2013

1st Marathon Training Begins

Hi all!

I am about to start training for my first marathon, the Detroit Free Press Marathon on October 20.
In many ways, I have been training for over two years for this race, but this will be the beginning of my training geared specifically to this race. I have decided to follow the Hal Higdon "Novice 2" Marathon training. There are several reasons why I am choosing this training course instead of the Intermediate training or another, more intense program which I think I could handle. One main reason is that I want to keep long runs primarily on Saturdays while many of the other runs push you towards Sunday long runs. There were reasons for this on the other programs and I didn't think it would be ideal to mess with this item. Another thing I like about the program I chose is that I has 5 days of activity per week (4 runs, 1 cross training day) rather than 6. I've experienced the best results in my training when I run 4 to 5 times a week and find those rest days essential to recover.

Overall, the idea is to have a long run on Saturday, cross train on Sunday, rest Monday, run various distances Tues - Thurs and rest Friday. I'm sure there will be occasions where I will need to mix it up, but I think this schedule is doable. 


This past weekend I ran the Open Door Julie Run 5k. This is the 5th time out of 6 years running this race, which I participated in a couple times before I really started running again. It is an important race to me, being my first 5k race as an adult, the site of my current 5k PR and it supports the Open Door Outreach Center, which provides food and other assistance to people in my community.

The weather forecasters said that it might rain or even storm, but we ended up with a nice day with a bit of heat and humidity. We arrived fairly early and got our bibs and shirts (both my daughter and I were running) and I walked a couple laps on the track. There was still almost a half hour until race time after my "warmup", so I just kinda wandered around and hung out with the family. My mom was in town and came to the race and was encouraging me to get a massage from the group that was offering them before and after the race. I declined, mostly because I subscribe to the school of not doing anything out of the ordinary prior to a race. In hindsight, I should have gotten that massage and it may have helped.

As race time neared, Princess C and I went to the start line. She thought it was a good time to start messing with me, poking me, stepping on my shoes, etc. She was just trying to tease me, but I was not amused at all. I was trying to get into the right mental space to run and don't like to be messed with at that time. Once I articulated this instead of growling at her, she understood and was much nicer. :) The 10k started first and the we lined up in our spot. Knowing from past events that people don't line up where they should (fast runners in front, slow in back is a concept many cannot grasp), I made sure I was close to the starting line. The starter had the bull horn make a lame noise and we were off.

My legs felt crummy from the start, which was unfortunate because otherwise I felt pretty good. My pace was good to start and through the first half mile and most of the first mile, I was where I wanted to be. (I recall wishing that I had the legs I had just a week earlier during my long run.) I really started to hurt in my sides and back after about a mile and a half and that bothered me much more than my legs. I avoided looking at the watch much, but knew after a couple miles that this definitely would not be a PR day. 

I was frustrated because I felt good as far as my breathing and energy, but there always seems to be a limiting factor to these races and my legs and how my back felt was it this day.


I wrote this post almost a week ago and just finished it up now. Think I'll call it a post and do a fresh one soon. :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Two Year Blogiversary

Hey all!

Just noticed that this blog is now two years old!

I don't think I posted as much in the second year as the first, but I haven't run quite as much this year either. Not by design, it has just worked out that way. This blog still serves as motivation to me. While no one is concerned when I don't post for a long period of time, I feel an obligation to do so on occasion. Because of this, it provides a slight incentive for me to continue to run to have something to type about. Every little bit helps.

My last post was about my "slot car running" where I get on track, then get off track with my running. Nothing has changed. When I wrote that post, I was on track. This week, I'm out of the groove and on the carpet again. This time, it was raining / pouring / storming whenever I tried to run. In three "scheduled" attempts during the week, I ran a total of one mile. The one time I got outside, it started to thunder after about a half mile out and I ran home and in a couple circles to get that mile. The other two runs just were completely cancelled. I didn't want to do treadmill and didn't want to do anything else, so I did nuthin'. Probably not the best course of action, but it's what I did. It is too easy for me not to run when things don't go my way. I guess I get credit for not quitting, but not much...

We went to a camp called Spring Hill over Memorial Day Weekend. The whole family went on pretty short notice upon being invited by some friends. This place was cool with a ton of outdoor activities available all weekend. The highlights for me, besides hanging out with my family, were the zip lines. (This isn't us in the video, but one of the zip lines is shown below.

I did get up very early to run on Saturday and went about 3 miles around the camp, checking things out. It was friggin' cold, but a nice, relaxing run. The following day, they had a 5k race scheduled, so you know I was in! I was not in race condition after the running, a ton of walking, zip lines and climbing wall from the day before in addition to little sleep. Regardless, I got up early, tried to get the kids ready to run (they bailed on me) and walked over to the start.

This was a race where I was hoping that I would be dominant as just smoke a bunch of slow, recreational joggers. This was not the case at all. There were a bunch of high school cross country runners and several adults that looked like they could throw down. It wasn't lookng great from a competitive standpoint. This was reinforced by the start, when about a dozen of the runners took off at a near-sprint pace. 

I felt sub-par from the start and had trouble getting into a groove. Sore, tired legs + tired body = slow running. I know I'm not close to the fastest guy out there, but I don't like when people who I think I should be beating end up going faster than me. I struggled along for the first couple miles, but actually picked it up to  near-normal race pace for the last mile. A combination of feeling a bit better and wanting to be done I guess. I did manage to keep ahead of and then pull away from a big pack of people who were closing in on me at the end of the second mile, which I guess was the highlight of this race for me.

My finish time was 25:14. It was hilly, but I was not thrilled with this time. Even so, I figured there was a chance to win some sort of age group award. As the race was "free", I didn't expect much in terms of awards or prizes, but when they announced they would have them, I was hopeful I would win something, as I figured I was still the fastest 30 something. However, the age groups were whack: under 16, 16 to 25, 25 to 45 and 45 & up. (There were also no separate men's and women's awards, just 1st in that age range overall so no women won anything) 25 to 45 is a pretty big range, so I didn't win. Actually, the guy who did win was probably almost 45 - he was surprisingly fast.

Yesterday, I was able to run about 4.5 miles. I almost didn't get to run at all because of rain / storms again, but it cleared up long enough to get the run in. It was not a great run, but at least now I am experienced enough to have an idea why most "bad" runs happen. For this one, I was not well hydrated and had mid-section cramping. Oh joy. 

3 weeks until what I consider my "home race", the Open Door Julie Run. This time last year, I was envisioning this as my first sub-20 min 5k. Now, I would be thrilled with a sub 22:16 PR. Even that will be tough - I think I would have trouble going sub 23 as of this moment. Maybe with 3 good weeks of training I can do it. Just gotta keep it in the groove.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Slot Car Running

I think I found a really good metaphor for my running adventures this year. My running is like a slot car set.
If you ever had a set like this, you know that they are fun, but it's a pain keeping them on the track once they get going. You can keep the cars going around the track slowly, but once you give 'em some more speed, they tend to fly off the track. So you adjust the track, try to get the speed just right and you can get 'em around the track several times. Then, as soon as you think you have it down, they fly off the track for no good reason.

This idea popped into my head for some unknown reason as I was completing my after work run of about 5k this evening. I have no idea why I thought of it, but I was remembering a set my brother and I played with when we were kids. I was thinking it was a "Dukes of Hazzard" set, but after I while realized it was more like a "Smokey and the Bandit" type set with the Trans Am with the screamin' chicken on the hood and a police car.

My running activities have been like running a slot car. I get on track, think I'm moving along pretty well and *CRASH* I get out of the groove and fly off track. I think I'm on track and moving at a decent pace at the moment, but hoping that I can keep moving.

One thing I think I will need to do is to start running in the mornings before work rather than after work. Lately, by the time I get home, I have just been exhausted, probably more so mentally than physically. While I am often able to do something, something is all I can do. Today's run was a 10 min / mile dirge. For someone who thinks that they can run a 20 minute 5k and has their eyes set on a minimum of a 22 and change minute PR for a 5k in 5 weeks, this isn't a great thing.

On the good side, I had a decent race a couple weekends ago at the Miles for Mason 5k, winning my age group and finishing 8th out of 196 people. My time of just over 24 minutes wasn't great, but this was a somewhat hilly trail race and not your normal road race. The kids did well in the race (they were the ones who wanted to go). J Man did the mile race in just over 8 minutes, which was surprisingly fast. He's in 2nd grade, but kept up with the 5th and 6th graders.

Baby is getting crabby and sleepy, so that's it for this post. I'll try to do more in the near future. :P


Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Student Becomes... The Master?

No, not really.

While I have learned much over the past couple years, I have a lot more to learn about running. However, I have gained quite a bit of insight into many things and feel it is my duty to share that with others.

I'm hoping to help people go from here:

To here:

It had been something I had been thinking about for a while and had an opportunity to do something about it. As a result, I am now helping to lead a Couch to 5k group. 

There are many valid methods of exercise and running is just one of them. Regardless of what method of exercise one chooses, it can be hard to start and harder to maintain. As such, doing something like a Couch to 5k program with a group can be a great way to get going. I also feel that the program is a good way to build a running base without starting out too fast and getting burnt out or injured.

The group that I will be leading will be starting out this Tuesday, April 30 - 6:15 pm at Bethany Church in Waterford, MI. Details are available here. We will have both running groups and walking groups available. If you're in the area, please feel welcome to stop by. It is free to participate and we'll be meeting for the next 8 Tuesdays. The idea is that we'll run together on Tuesdays as a group, and that participants will do the other two scheduled runs / walks on their own during the week.

A goal for many (I hope a lot) of the participants will be to run / walk at the Open Door Julie Run 5k / 10k on June 22nd (more info is available here). This race is like my "home race" to me. It is the first race I did as an adult, it is the one I've run the most times (this will be #5), it is the site of my current 5k PR and it supports a cause that is very important to me (supporting people in need in my own community).

I haven't posted anything in a while and I have a blog backlog, but I wanted to make this post first. I am excited about this opportunity and hope I can successfully lead this group to do good things.