Mar 5 2012

Boo-yah, Part II & Praise Report

Boo-yah, Part II & Praise Report

If you hate reading my running reports, PLEASE at least scroll down and read my praise report.

How time does fly, seems like only yesterday I wrote about the 5K race, and now the 10K race is now done and over with already.

Saturday, 3 March at 8am was the 500 Festival Training Series 10K race (6.21mi). As you may recall from my previous post one of the big goals I’ve been working so hard for all winter culminated at this weekend’s race. My goal was to run a 44:59 or less in the 10K which would allow me to make the 3/5/12 cutoff for corral seeding for the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon this coming May. I am already qualified for Corral C/Level 3 seeding, but this goal of 44:59 (7:14/mi pace) would allow me to move up to Corral B/Level 2 seeding. More of an ego thing I suppose, but it is really exhilarating to start the race so very close to the start line with the international elite/professional runners like <100 feet away, as opposed to Corral Z which may literally take almost one hour and a mile just to get to the start line after the starting gun goes off (I am not exaggerating, it takes a long time for 35,000 + people to get moving).

Anyway, I’ve trained hard, and mostly without issue or injury this season. I had a small left hamstring problem in Dec/Jan that I finally dialed in as a slight over-stride on my left leg and once I adapted for that I’ve been training strong and pain free for about a month now. I really couldn’t have been any more ready for this race and quite honestly I wanted to be done with it because I’ve been waiting for about 9 months for this chance (10K races are sort of far and few between these days unless you want to travel).

The race got off to a great start. I knew I wanted to keep my heart rate between 163-176 beats per minute for maximum performance. I went out a little hard, but the first mile I always do that anyway, so what? Mile 1, 6:28. Need to slow down or crash too soon. Heart rate was right at ~169, perfect. Mile 2, 7:00, Okay, perhaps slowed it down too much? Dropped heart rate to more like 162-165. I don’t remember Mile 3 time exactly, but it was right around 7:20 or so. Time to kick it back in for the final half. I passed up the A-Team cheering me on with their crazy cow bells, hooting and hollering and plastic clappers around the 3.7mi mark and around the 26:30 time mark. Mile 4 @ 27:50? Hard to recall. My heart rate was in the 165-170 range every time I looked at my watch, good enough I suppose. Mile 5 came and went, probably around the 35:00 mark. I do remember at that point thinking “I’ve got this, I can almost walk 1.21mi in 10min.” Not to be too cocky, I reminded myself that I could always step in a pothole and break a leg or get hit by a car; it does happen in races even with lane closures. Time to focus, stay alert and stay on my mental checklist: form/body/stride check, heart rate, breathing, wind, overheating?, and on and on. It’s a constant battle. A fun challenge for me, but a battle no less.

Anyway, Mile 6 came in at 42:30 and I hit the go fast button (which seemed to be malfunctioning at the time, daggone it). I crossed the finish line at 43:50, 1min and 9sec on the good side of my goal!! A nice top 5% placing out of 1,447 other competitors. Pace was 7:03/mi overall and I am qualified for Corral B/Level 2 now! So, as I said, BOO-YAH.

Praise Report

I want to do a quick recap of where I’ve been in life. I started running April 16, 2007. I was never on a track team, nor a cross country athlete (though now I wish I had been as what a joy I find it to be!). I felt sorry for myself because I had been a very fit person my entire life up until I got too busy with a career and married life as a young man. When I started in 2007, I was miserable; 50-60 pounds overweight, fighting off what 3 different Drs told me what the late onset of asthma, terrible allergies, low energy levels, no fitness to speak of. I felt like what I thought old people must feel like yet I was still only 27yo. I began that day in April 2007 running laps around the block in front of the house. Lots of walking. First workout was 0.85 miles at an 11:45 mile pace. Over that year I got a little better feeling, dropped about 20lbs, but never really worked out more than 2x a week and only for about 20-30min each time. This pattern continued until 9/2010 when, still at 195lbs, I decided to get more serious about running and sign up for the 2011 Mini Marathon, my first real race effort since 1995 when I was a mere pup. The entry of that race in 2010 forced me to set goals and risk my money. Nothing like a little motivation of losing money to make things real.  As they say, everything’s history now as I’ve really taken off as a runner since 9/2010 and I feel there are still my best years ahead of me even today.

Anyway, this is a praise report, but since there are some of you reading this blog that didn’t know me before or have forgotten, I felt it necessary to give a personal history first to establish how messed up I was and compare that to where I am now. I run for my life, my family. I run for Jesus Christ. At times these blog posts of mine about running may seem like I’m bragging, or full of myself. If so, I am truly sorry for that. It is so exciting to share my personal successes with the world on this blog, but I must be clear: I attribute my 60lbs of weight loss, seemingly limitless energy (on most days), no more asthma (as in 110% G-O-N-E), almost completely gone allergies, increasing running speed and tremendous endurance levels to one thing and one thing alone: My God, my Savior, Jesus Christ.

When I’m having trouble getting motivated to get out and run; when I’m on mile 29 of a long run and still have miles to go; when the weather is terrible; I lean on my Rock, Jesus and I thank him for my strength, my good health, and for my freedom. I pray for whatever it is I need for running that day and drive on.

On one occasion when rain was threatening my final 2010  run on 12/31 2010, my first ever long run over 10mi, I prayed for the rain to stay abated for just a little while longer so this ill-prepared-for-the-weather-runner could finish dry. The wind was swirling the fast, low, black clouds; you could smell the rain in the air; and occasionally get hit in the face by a cold fat raindrop; I could see the rain falling in sheets very nearby in the direction the clouds were moving in from. I kid you not, the black clouds swiftly parted above me and there was golden sky above/behind that shone the most amazing golden rays of light down on that street I was running. This continued for several miles until I finished the run and got in the house. Moments later, the heavens opened up in a different way and emptied the clouds upon our neighborhood with a torrent of rain.

When I completed that run, dry and free of rain, I sat at our dining room table and cried one of the few times I’ve cried as a man. Deep, uncontrollable, heaving, sobbing crying too. That day, I experienced God in a way I may never experience again in my life; tangible, immediate, obvious answer to prayer.

It may seem perhaps silly, or small, or even stupid that I would maybe consider this answer to prayer a miracle, but it was and I know it. I was ill prepared for rain, and true evil had been attempting to thwart my running for a month or two at that time. You see, Satan will and does work his hardest to destroy and demean your efforts when you’re on the precipice of doing something great that will bring glory to God. Running is and will be an instrument for me to share with my family and the world that our need for Christ is real, and God loves us unconditionally. My health turn-around and examples such as the stopping of the rain are ways for me to try and give hope that He loves us and is always there ready to hear our plea for help. All we have to do is trust in Him.

Life is a race according to the apostle Paul. In fact, I’ll close this post with a few key scripture quotes that tie running to the pursuit of a Godly life and a means of doing the best one can for Christ:

1 Timothy 6: 11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.

1 Corinthians 9: 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Dec 30 2011

2011 Recap and Visions for 2012

2011 Recap and Visions for 2012

I would like to provide an update/review of a few things I’ve learned this year and a list of 2012 running goals. I give praise and glory to Christ that I exceeded all of my 2011 goals. For me I was grasping beyond capabilities when I initially set them 12 months ago. Setting easy goals just to say I achieved them is not my style. Below I will cover: things I have learned this year running, weight management and nutrition, and new goals for 2012.

Injury prevention, Correct Form

1. 180 to 190 strides per minute is almost magic. It relieves stress from the joints and lets the natural elasticity of your tendons and muscles carry you forward faster than if you struggle along at a more natural average stride count of 160 to 170. It therefore helps reduce injuries and soreness.

2. Land on the forefoot/midfoot and land with the foot directly under the knee, not reaching out front with the foot. This foot reaching is what will cause a heel strike and the subsequent shin splints and eventual chondromalacia.

3. A good forward lean at the ankle with a straight body posture will let gravity create forward momentum and require less effort to move forward.

More info on this see Good Form Running or The POSE Method.

Weight Management and Nutrition

1. I have lost 25+ pounds since January 1, 2011. I’ve lost a total of 60 pounds (probably more if I had owned a scale during a the heaviest part of my life) since I started taking fitness more serious in 2007. I reckon to achieve a body fat level that I would be entirely pleased with in the long term I have about 10 pounds to go. The general rule for excess weight and running is 1 pound = 2sec/mi so if I want to qualify for Boston Marathon those ~10 pounds of fat have got to go. I can gain some practical muscle weight but anything too bulky is still excess weight to carry.

2. My weight successes I attribute to a renewed discipline in what I allow into my body, and changing what I allow my eyes/mouth/hands to define as “food” and “nutrition”. Things that I have increased several-fold in my diet are fruits, vegetables, and whole/raw, unrefined carbohydrates in general (organic when possible), and white/green tea. Things I have reduced substantially that I consumed quite a bit of previously are nuts, refined carbohydrates, far too much snacking, animal protein, oils/dressings. Things I have cut out almost entirely: Dairy, beer/wine/alcohol. Notable benefits are that I now go days on end without needing allergy meds that I previously took multiple doses of each and every day and still felt terrible. I am rarely sick. Unless I overdo it, I recover from workouts very rapidly. I need less sleep and have increased energy levels. And best of all, it didn’t require starvation. In fact, with fruits and veggies, I can eat until I am stuffed (satiation) and be nothing but happy about it.  See books The 80 10 10 Diet or The China Study for more info on whole food nutrition, improving quality of life, and prevention/reversal of diseases through food.

3. Supplements: For the most part, don’t need them. This is a huge reversal for me. A good multi vitamin, perhaps a quality Omega-3 supplement, and that’s all. Eat as many raw, whole fruits and vegetables as I desire and get all of the micronutrients in the correct chemical formulas the natural way that God designed. It isn’t easy, nor have I mastered it yet, but it is more fun than swallowing pills.

Running Goals 2012

To sum it up, ultra-runner Ed Roshitsh recently said it quite well:

“Setting a big goal and failing is better than sitting on your ass watching the world go by.  I highly recommend to everyone to set a huge goal and work towards it.  Even if you fail – You learn.  You get better.
  1. 10K (6.21mi) of 44:59 or better. (7m 14s pace).
  2. Half marathon of 1h 40m or less (7m 38s pace).
  3. Average 21mi weekly, or put another way average 3mi x 366 days = 1,098mi total for leap year. 2011 goal was 14mi weekly, and ended up at 18.9mi weekly. 2012 will be my first year of 1,000mi+
  4. 3h 25m or less in a marathon (7m 49s pace)

Perhaps it is somewhat foolish since the FAA may end up sending me to OKC this year, but I’ve already registered/paid for the following races:

  • 5K on 2/11
  • 10K on 3/3
  • 15K on 4/7
  • Mini Marathon half mara on 5/5

I stopped registering when reality sank in about the FAA. If they don’t send me, I’m probably going to do the Geist Half mara on 5/19, and I’m still on the fence about which marathon to do in the fall. I may start toward my long term goal of completing all 5 of the World Majors and do the Chicago Marathon in October. There’s a 50K race in North IN in December I’ve had my eye on, though I may hold off entering into the crazy world of ultra-marathoning until I complete the 5 majors.

So, if you’ve read this far thanks. I hope you have something crazy planned for yourself next year. If not, definitely reconsider reaching beyond what you think your limits are. You might surprise yourself.

Sep 25 2011

165,000 Feet

165,000 Feet

So this past Friday morning I was supposed to run 20mi, but I just could not get out of bed and was in a bad mood. I overslept a few hours and still couldn’t get going (thank God for second shift work hours!). I know, boo-freaking-hoo. This literally never happens, oh well. So when I finally did get moving I got on my running gear and just tried to keep putting one foot in front of the other and make my way to the kitchen and making preps to get out the door.

I’ve not posted about it, but for the last 3 weeks I’ve been fighting some deep, sharp muscle pain in my right Vastus Medialis (quadriceps muscle just above and inner side of the knee). I even had to cut my 20mi in half 2 weeks ago because at mile 11 the quad muscle told me if I even thought about going another step it was going to make me do a face plant. I had to do the limp of agony/shame 3/4mi home, defeated. This is possibly the subconscious mental block I had on Friday that was preventing me from getting going this morning. Last week I had my first “easy” week since May (a paltry 12mi total). It did the trick as this week my quad was back on track.

So on Friday I got a way late start, which is fine as I avoided the rain. About 2mi into the run I thought, “hey why not add another 6.2mi on and make it a full marathon length run?” I really like to go into a race knowing that I’ve already completed that distance before in training, it just makes it not such a big deal. 11/5 is my marathon and I’ll be beginning my taper here soon so I figured it was do 26.2mi now or not until race day. I at least told myself I’ll take it easy and see how it goes. I certainly do not want to hurt myself this close to a race and would fall back to the original 20mi if needed.

Fast forward to the 6 mile mark, it occurred to me that:

  • You may recall that I have 5 running goals this year, one of them being to run 50K all at once.
  • Saturday 9/24 was my original planned date for a 50K run (31mi, 362 feet) that was cancelled since I have been getting my workout plan from my coach (hired a coach for a season as a birthday present) instead of using my plan.
  • If I wanted to do a 50K before the weather turned mega nasty I should consider doing it today otherwise it will likely be nearly Thanksgiving before I get the chance to do the 50K.

So I went about it in the same manner as at mile 2 when I considered to do 26.2mi. I would take it one mile at a time and see how it goes, if all went well I was going for 50K! (Legal notice, DO NOT TRY ADDING UNPLANNED MILEAGE MIDSTREAM TO ANY WORKOUT WITHOUT PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE OR RISK SERIOUS INJURY)

I am happy to report that I did the full 50K, with a little extra for good measure. End results were 31.25mi/50.3K, and even 2 days later no injuries, not even a blister, hot spot, chafing, sore muscles or even sore feet! I must also say that I had to lean heavily on the Lord for strength to complete; for the amazing weather; and the wisdom to be honest with myself throughout and make determinations on whether I should call it or keep going.

I had some very serious foot cramps hit me at mile 30 that I was afraid if they didn’t go away I was done. I walked it off for a minute or so and was able to get on with it. The beautiful part was how great I felt at the end. And I also have bragging rights to my entry into running Ultramarathon distances. Booya!

So in summary a quick update for my 2011 run goals:

In 2011 here are a few things I will accomplish, God willing:
  1. Complete my 5th half marathon, the Mini, in 2hrs or less. Preferably <1h 48m but this year I’ll take <2hr. Did it in 1h47m 😀
  2. More than double 2010′s mileage goal and step it up to 730mi. Though I only run a max of 3 days each week, that is 2mi x 365 days.
  3. The route may be too dangerous, but if I can do it safely, run from my house to my friend Zach’s house. It will be around 18-20 miles.
  4. Run 50km (31.06mi). All at once.
  5. Run my first full marathon. The Indianapolis Monumental is what I’ve chosen on 11/5.

Jul 1 2011

Goal update, Independence Day

Goal update, Independence Day

Quick update for my 2011 run goals:

In 2011 here are a few things I will accomplish, God willing:
  1. Complete my 5th half marathon, the Mini, in 2hrs or less. Preferably <1h 48m but this year I’ll take <2hr.
  2. More than double 2010’s mileage goal and step it up to 730mi. Though I only run a max of 3 days each week, that is 2mi x 365 days.
  3. The route may be too dangerous, but if I can do it safely, run from my house to my friend Zach’s house. It will be around 18-20 miles.
  4. Run 50km (31.06mi). All at once.
  5. Run my first full marathon. The Indianapolis Monumental is what I’ve chosen on 11/5.

I just finished 20.1mi this AM in 3h 5min. I feel great. God must be a runner, as he rolled in the clouds to block the sun about 20 minutes after I started and a cool breeze…which totally rocked to keep me cool and prevent sun burn. That beats what the forecast said, 91F and no wind.
Though I didn’t get to run it from my house to Zach’s as I’d have liked, but I had to be honest with myself and decided the route, no matter how I picked it, was too dangerous. It just isn’t worth getting hit by a car in order to say I ran to Zach’s house. So like a rat in a maze I ran 8 laps on the 2.5+ mile course I’ve laid out in my neighborhood. Regardless, that’s one more off the list for 2011. I’m +56mi in the positive for goal #2 at the year’s halfway point, a nice cushion in case I need to take a break for reasons yet unknown.

I’m also somewhat proud to say that I ran the entire 20.1mi this morning without eating anything since 8pm the previous night. I drank about 8oz of a zero calorie electrolyte drink (Zip Fizz) at the end of each lap to stay hydrated, but the goal was to build endurance, stamina, and teach my body to build larger glycogen stores instead of operating off of carb calories like what would happen if you eat before and during a run.

Anna and the kids made a nice sign on the driveway whilst waiting for me to finish. I let them draw a chalk outline of me if you look closely or zoom in. A nice long weekend to recover too! Have a safe Independence Day, and don’t forget to reflect on our nation’s glorious history.

May 16 2011

Exercise accountability gone public & Mini Marathon Results


Back in January I made a post on a web forum I frequent, the topic was my run plan for 2011. I put it out there because I knew if I did it would help keep me accountable. I’m now making it even more public so now there’s no looking back!

In 2011 here are a few things I will accomplish, God willing:
  1. Complete my 5th half marathon, the Mini, in 2hrs or less. Preferably <1h 48m but this year I’ll take <2hr.
  2. More than double 2010’s mileage goal and step it up to 730mi. Though I only run a max of 3 days each week, that is 2mi x 365 days.
  3. The route may be too dangerous, but if I can do it safely, run from my house to my friend Zach’s house. It will be around 18-20 miles.
  4. And here is the kicker, of which I don’t even know why I am posting this or how I will achieve it, but here it goes: Run 50km (31.06mi). All at once.
  5. Run my first full marathon. The Indianapolis Monumental is what I’ve chosen on 11/5.

So, goal #1 is knocked off the list. #2 as of today is +20 miles. Without injuries I’ve been battling I’d have well over +150 miles, but I’m happy with +20. Goal #3 is scheduled for the morning of Saturday July 2nd with maybe a cookout or brunch afterward? #4 is on the calendar for September or October… I don’t have my schedule in front of me. As for the marathon, I’ll be signing up soon.

I am depending on you people reading this to hold me accountable to this list unless my legs fall off.

Oh, and without all of the boring details here are my results for the 2011 Mini Marathon that I worked so hard for the last 9 months. Pictures and videos are here: ->LINK<- Long story short, when I began training, I simply wanted to finish under 2 hours. Then with the training series it became evident that a new personal record (PR) was going to be likely (previous PR was 1h 54m). Then with the 10K race in March I met my 2012 goal of L3 seeding. So, my overall goal on race day was to complete the race in 1h 48m or less without injury. I did it in 1h 47m 30s. The photo says 1h 48m 28s but that is because it took me 58 seconds to get from Corral C to the start line at the beginning which is subtracted with the advent of RFID chipped race bibs.

Strong Finish!

Sweet Victory!

I thank my beautiful wife and children for waking up at 5am and sticking it out for the race beginning; waiting until the end and partying in the cold rain afterward. Thanks to my great parents for shouting at me over the din of the crowd at mile 10, that lifted my spirits at a critical point and I was able to ride that boost all the way to the finish line.

I’m already signed up for next years’ 500 Festival Training Series and Mini Marathon (bib #1,372), I encourage anyone capable to do the same whether walking or running it is more fun than you might imagine and a great way to get/stay in shape. I’m gunning for a L2 seeding of sub- 1h 40m (I’ve already secured L3 for 2012). Maybe that is too lofty, but I’d rather aim high and fall short…who knows, I may aim high and strike the bulls eye?

Mar 8 2011

500 Festival Training Series 10K results


A quick history. I am not trying to come off as a braggart by posting my race results. I merely want to share the amazing restoration of my health and strength with the hope that this story may act as a means of inspiration to one of you readers, or perhaps someone you know that you tell this story to. I am not the best runner in the world, but my comeback surprises even me regularly.

I praise the Lord for granting me the strength and health to be able to continue to improve without serious injury. The miracle in my eyes is that not 5 years ago I was 51 pounds overweight and diagnosed as having adult onset asthma by two different Drs and a respiratory therapist. I was weak, felt terrible much of the time, and couldn’t run to save my life. Today I am only 9lbs overweight by BMI standards (and still falling), and if I did in fact have asthma it is long gone and I am completely restored. In my opinion the rebuilding of my body is nothing short of a miracle and there is still more to come. I grant the glory to my Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, onto the 10K results….

A tired smile of saitsfaction!

I am honestly stunned right now. I ran the 10K race (6.215 miles)  this past Saturday morning and finished @ 7:42/mi pace (47:48 total). What this means, is that my time qualified over one year ahead of my plan for Level 3 seeding for the Mini Marathon!!! Level 3 required 48:00, and recently my best 10K at home was around 51:00. I had no intentions in my training to be able to achieve L3 this year, and yet I did it!  What is so great about L3 seeding is in theory it places you in a certified group of people that are your speed and only faster people will be in front of you, which means less meandering through the crowd to pass people; it is safer and more enjoyable.

My darling wife and sons wanted to be at the race, but it was windy, raining and in the 40F range outside on Saturday morning so they stayed home since Abel was mildly sick. Immediately upon finishing the race I rehydrated, bought a t-shirt, and then jogged back to the parking garage to retrieve my cell phone from the Jeep and call in the results to the family back home. I had told Anna before I left that I was going to try and push it a little bit, within reason, in order to make L3 seeding, but that I would be happy if I didn’t get L3. So when I called home with the news, Anna and the boys, unbeknownst to me, began decorating the house for a congratulation party since they missed me at the race finish line. It was a great surprise!

God is good all the time.

All the time God is good.

Balloons and whooping it up!

Feb 12 2011

My 500 Festival Training Series 5K results


Getting ready for the upcoming Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, this morning was the first of three optional training runs. My 500 Festival Training Series 5K by OrthoIndy – 5K results are in. I turned in a 7:45 min/mi pace (5K=3.11mi), my goal was 8:00 min/mi so I am super happy with the results of my training through this entire winter (see photo below), missing only one run due to the insane ice storm. My left hamstring is telling me I overdid it, but I have been nursing it for a week or so anyway. Regardless, with the warm weather today (relatively speaking) I just got in from a 3.04mi afternoon recovery run just because I wanted to wear shorts and get out in the sun while everyone was taking a nap.

The next training race is on March 5th, and it’s a 10K, the final training race on April 9th is a 15K. I am really looking forward to these, maybe you will join me in walking or running? These things are really fun regardless of fitness or experience level.

Running Ninja

Ninja-style for sub-zero windchills