Nov 3 2012

I run marathonS

I run marathonS

It wasn’t pretty but I completed my second full 26.2 mile marathon today. I can now assuredly tell you that I run marathonS. I badly bruised the ball of my right foot back in September and for the most part it healed but recovery required that I cut back substantially the last few weeks. Between that and the freezing rain today made for a race that was less than desired.

Oh well. At a certain point I decided that I could get bent out of shape about it and drop out, or just be thankful that I am blessed to able to run (regardless of speed today) and plant a smile on my face, make the best of it and finish no matter what.

I am very glad I opted for the latter.

In running, just like in life, there are good days and not so good days. The difference in the outcome is how we decide to deal with the days as we live them. For me there’s always next time, and at some point I will have a great day on marathon day. Really, I’ve had 2 years of good races so to finally have one not so good day is, in my opinion, a blessing statistically speaking.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

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.

May 3 2011

Next Stop: The Moon



By God’s grace, my two month bout with patellar tendonitis feels about 95% healed. My legs feel so good right now I feel like I could jump to the moon. My knees either have felt weak and tired, or sore and tired. To have them almost back to normal feels great!

The Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon is in three days. This is my fifth Mini, the last time was 1996.

The entire A-Team is gearing up for the race and post race party. We’re going to have a blast, regardless of how the run goes. It’s going to be great! If you care to, you can sign up to receive text message updates as I pass various points in the race.

Apr 10 2011

Small Update & Aaron’s 15K Results


First of all, we’re all still alive and doing well. The lack of updates lately has been nothing more than this blog taking nearly last place on our ever expanding list of “things to get done.” About the biggest news that hasn’t yet been posted is that little Abel “Taters” started crawling in the middle of March. He is so excited to be mobile!

Yesterday (or today as I still haven’t gone to bed yet?) was the final training race for the upcoming Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon on May 7th, it was 15K (9.32 miles) in length. Despite taking 10 days off and still having two pretty sore knees before this race, I turned in an 8:18/mi pace, which I am super happy with that, all things considered. More on the “2 sore knees” below. Barring worsened injury, I will be pushing for a 1:48:00 next month in the Mini, which is 8:14/mi. If the knees don’t get any worse, I know I can shave 4 seconds off per mile.

Here’s the start line photo (my hand is the only one waving in the background, click to zoom) that Anna snapped right before the race began this morning. Amazing considering that she was maneuvering our very full and heavy double stroller through a crowd!

Start line!

It was fun in that the entire family was able to go this time since it wasn’t so cold as the previous two races. My goal was to practice my intended race pace for the Mini, which is an eight minute mile pace and I was easily on track to do that until a small disaster (to me anyway) struck…

The Injury…

My knees have been bothering me since early February, but nothing too bad. The curve ball however, is that after a long run on March 11th, my body decided that it was through with training for awhile. Ever since that fateful day, I’ve been taking it easy and doing a maximum of 6mi runs. No long runs at all, which is a drag because I REALLY look forward to my Friday long runs. It is hopefully just an overuse injury.

My knees are perfectly healthy as far as cartilage and the bones go, I have great knees. I went to a hip and knee ortho Doc (a marathon runner thank God) and after basic X-rays the diagnosis was Patellar Tendonitis. The tendon that connects my shin to my quadriceps is inflamed and quite tender below and around my kneecap right at the surface.  Stair climbing, going from sitting to standing, driving a car, and other basic activities agitate it. It would seem that ice and rest will be the only cure, but that means losing my “edge.” I guess a little break is better than permanent damage. I would massively appreciate all prayers for swift and full recovery. Running is the one way I stay in shape and that is important in my role as a husband and father. More importantly, our earthly bodies are the temple of God and not to be defiled (1 Cor 3:16-17). That said I do believe that this injury is a lesson from the Lord and I am still trying to figure out exactly what the lesson is. Humility? Dependence on the Lord for all things?

If anyone reading this has overcome running with patellar tendonitis please share the knowledge! Thank you for any and all prayers!

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