Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The next 26 days...

The next three weeks is going to be BUSY!

Monument 10k --  My wife and I are running (she's walking) this event, and I look forward to participating in RVA's largest 10K.  I might not win this event with over 30,000 runners, walkers, strollers and fancy dressers.  But I will not be beat by a 6 foot running hot dog, RVA curling team, 3 Men in a tub or a Mad dashing funnel cake...that would NOT BE FAIR!

St Charles Running Festival 10 Miler --  I don't plan to run the 10k very hard, but this ten miler I really want to run a sub 90 minutes.  My goal is a time between 90 and 85 minutes, I have run this fast in training a number of times but hope I can pull it off in a race.  This race has awesome swag and finishes at Regency Stadium where the St. Charles Blue Crabs kick off their minor league baseball season with the 5th Annual Blue Crabs Fan Fest.....yummy?

VA 24 Hour Run For Cancer --  I've run this event twice before (2009, and 2010) where I ran 52.5 miles in 16 hours and 50 miles in 12.5 hours.  This year I plan to run the full 24 hours and have a goal of 75 miles.  I thought running a marathon taught you alot about yourself, but an Ultra (anything more then 26.2 miles) and especially a 24 hour event opens up a whole new world of pain and self discovery...and it's just plain fun!

You can keep up with me on twitter at @cledawgs and my posts here!

What was the toughest run you have ever completed?  Pls tell me about it in the comments section.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Failed…

40 some years ago, I failed at dancing….no two step at the ice cream social.

35 years ago, I failed at swimming…I could not get past the movie Jaws, I’m sure that shark got into Lake Erie!

20 years ago, I failed at downhill snow skiing…almost went off the side of a mountain, and my wife just laughed….mmmm.

And today, I failed at the first day of the one hundred push up challenge.  Oh how defeated.  But unlike dancing, swimming with the sharks and the Olympic downhill…I will not give up this time.

I told myself after the Shamrock marathon that I wanted to try something else to help improve my running performance.  If you have been following my blog then you’ll know I do not do much other then run for exercise.  And not having a lot of extra time, I needed something I could do without taking up much extra time out of my day.  Then remembering my military days, I was part of a unit that would “drop and knock out push ups” at the top of every hour during the duty day.  So I figured I could cram in some pushups during my breaks at work.  Sometime while pondering this I ran across the push up challenge after googling proper push up form.  Accessing the web page,  I read the rules and took the introduction test (I knocked out 27 push ups) and thought this is going to be a breeze!

Well today 26 March 2012 was day one…the push up work out for today was five sets,  with 10, 12, 7, 7 and 9+ push up reps. respectively.  Dropping to the floor I knocked out the first set, with proper form mind you, not the whippy short extension push ups.  Then with minimal rest I completed the next three sets and on for the final set of 9+.  I figured I had day one in the bag.  3-2-1 go…the first 4 push ups came pretty easy then the fatigue set in and it was all I could do to squeeze out the final 5.  How I wanted the 9+ but the best I could do was 9…so FAIL!

But have no fear…I’ll be back on it come Wednesday!

I will not fail.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What I’ve learned over 12 years running…

What I’ve learned over 12 years running…

12 years ago, I never would have guessed that I would still be running.  I never would have guessed that running would be a major part of my life.  And after 9K miles, I never would have  guessed that right prior to going out on a run; I would still get psyched up.  But what has running taught me?

Running Community: Although not an outgoing person by rule, I have found the running community to be every open and welcoming. For most of the races I normally run alone, yet I've always found a smile or help if I needed to find the location of packet pick up or the port-a-potty lines.  Runners are a fun bunch, each runner aware of the struggles of running great distances.  And with the growth of Facebook and Twitter, the running community is wide open.  I have found great fellowship and support from runners all over the world.  And I’ve even been able to meet up with few of my on line friends at the races.

The First Mile:  Even thou I’ve run races at various lengths, including the marathon and a few Ultras…I’ve found that the first mile of any run is a challenge.  I’ve asked myself a number of times “I’ve run 26.2 miles…why is this first mile so hard.”  But as Newton’s (Isaac) first law of motion states, “a body at rest will stay at rest, unless acted upon by another force.”  Even thou I truly love to run, by body wants and tends to stay at rest until acted upon and it takes that first mile to get the bugs worked out. 

The Races:  The training, the open roads and the long hours banging away at the asphalt are only there to prepare me for the race.  Now I use the term race loosely, I’ve only placed in the top 3 once and I’ve never been a threat to win the race. If truth be told I’m only racing myself.  But the excitement of the race is what running is all about for me.  I love the energy, I love the vibe, and I love the starting line; a community develops as a pack of runners all challenge the course, the distance, the environment and themselves.

And the time to reflect:  Running is also a time where my mind and body can decompress from the world.  Lost in the foot strike I can refocus my thoughts, my energy and my spirit.  Myself, I find this is a great time of prayer and worship to my God, Jesus.  When I miss a run, my body missed the workout but my mind/soul misses the reflection and time with our creator.

Whatever the run is to you…you will find that if you stick with it long enough, YOU will learn something about yourself. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Running Mind Dump

Running Mind Dump - Random thoughts that enter my mind while running down the side roads of life. (borrowing format from

Un-Running Related:

-- Favorite Bible verse:  Acts 4:20 says, “We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard!”   Peter and John were jailed for preaching their faith in Jesus, and when asked to stop they replied…

-- Food recommendation:  I’ve recently stumbled on to Blueberry bagels…yummy from the word go!

-- Music recommendation:  Winter Jam concert series….they rock, the band Skillet was unreal and all bands worshiping GOD!

-- Cookie recommendation:  Hard to beat Girl Scout cookies, Do-Si-Dos

Running Related:

--  Running thought #1:  There comes a point in every long run when you realize you got it or you don’t.

--  Running thought #2:  Never try to do simple math at mile 23, it’s not going to be correct and it’s not pretty. 

-- Training thought:  A Dairy Queen Blizzard the night before a race helps performance, not sure if it’s the extra energy stores or guilt, but it works.

-- Political thought:  We should take all the would be Presidential Candidates, line them up at the starting line of the NYC marathon and the first one to finish will serve as our next President.  CAN”T be any worse then our current process...think about it.

-- Twitter thought:  Use hash tag #runchat great twitter group who love to talk about running/racing/training and blogging. 

-- Bizarro-World thought:  Who would win in a 5k race, Big Bird or Barney?

-- Night time running thought:  Spring forward, IT”S DAY LIGHT SAVINGS TIME, night time running is over!  We traded one hour of sleep for numerous running hours in day light….sign me up!

-- Vain running thought:  The more I see pictures of myself running…the more I realize I need to run more.

-- Running food thought:  I’ve found the relationship between pancakes and marathon times…but it is TOP SECRET!

March 2012…Where do the months go?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Marathon Eve...

'Twas the night before the Marathon, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, as I sat on the couch;

My Nikes are ready and laced up with care,

In hopes that marathon glory would soon be there;

My GPS is charging and my race kit prepared;

My wife is ready, she knows where to meet me,

I look forward to seeing her, when visions of "THE WALL" attempt to beat me;

Nothing left to do...I've run all over the map;

Now its time to settled down for a afternoon's nap,

On the eve of a marathon everything possible,

"Happy Marathon to all, and to all a good-run."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marathon Week…

26.2 miles is only part of THE MARATHON.  Sure the distance is daunting, no way around that, but the real fun of the run is the excitement generated during the event.

The starting line of a marathon is unlike any other gathering of athletes.  Other then the elite’ runners, the starting line of a marathon does not pitch two teams about to face off.  It does not square off two rivals attempting to prove who the better runner is.  The starting line of a marathon is more a running community, all ready to run 26.2 miles together, some to improve their time, some to meet a personal challenge, some to fight off father time, and some to give back to the community.  But the starting line is also a great place to people watch.

The sites you’ll see at the door step of a 26 mile and 385 yard highway is part of the event.  In one section of the starting corral are the serious runners, the few trying to win the race, the majority are trying to qualify for Boston, to achieve a personal best or to maybe beat their running buddy.  In another section is the bunch who are running just for fun.  This group includes the “Fancy Dressers”, the “Beer Stop Runners” and the bunch who see the marathon as more the event then the distance.  The charity runners make up a large population, some who are mighty competitive.  They run for a higher purpose, a calling larger then themselves…for this group the 26.2 miles will pay tribute to a loved one, or raise funds for a cause.  I always look to this group with great admiration…they give more then they receive.  The last group is called the Middle to Back of the Packers.  This group although working just as hard as the elites, but because of work, genes, family or other commitments can only achieve minimal success at the marathon distance.  Myself I fall into this group…

To me the marathon is a celebration of the run.  The serious runners will blow past me on their way to setting new personnel bests.  Some of the charity runners will beat me to the finish and I might better a few, but I’ll always admire the work they do to raise awareness for their cause or to say a last good by to a relative, a friend, a spouse or a fallen combat hero who can no longer run.  I’ll be able to pass a few of the Fun Bunch as they stop for a beer or two.  And when I’m really questioning why I’m still running at mile 20, the Fancy Dressers give me a well timed chuckle and a little bit of motivation to not get beat by a 6 foot tall running hot dog.

Oh the marathon…there is so much more to it then 26.2  miles!

My Shamrock shoes are ready….


Friday, March 9, 2012

Running and Polar Bears…

My running journey officially started while I was on a one year remote tour to Thule, Greenland while serving in the US Air Force.  Thule is a very unique place, the US military’s northernmost base, located on northwest side of the island of Greenland approximately 695 miles above the Arctic Circle and 947 miles south of the North Pole.  My first impression of Thule was established the second I stepped off the aircraft.  Being a bit jet lagged I looked off to the horizon and saw the ICE CAP… “Oh Brian, this is going to be a long year” I thought to myself.  Then I remembered that Thule spent nearly 6 months in total darkness during the long arctic winter.

I arrived at Thule, August 2000, and hit the gym on day one, determined to shed a few pounds.  With such a harsh environment and with me being so out of shape much of my training took place indoors on a treadmill.  I was making real progress at losing weight, gaining endurance, and falling in love with the run.  Then the dark season and the cold winter months of the arctic winter began.  Throughout the winter and into early spring I banged out approx 600 miles and saw my run progress from a pedestrian two miles up to a long run exceeding 20 miles, all on a treadmill.  During my many hours stuck inside, I dreamed about finally being able to run outside.  March gave way to April and the dark gave way to spring and the return of the sun.

Once the sun re-appeared the temperatures rose to a balmy 40 degrees, a desire to get outside and run was overwhelming.  Once outside, I mostly stayed around the base logging runs from 5 to 10 miles zig-zagging the roadways of main base.  Located north of main base is the remote radar station which Thule supports.  It was on a beautiful Saturday morning that I decided to try out my fitness and run to the radar station and back, round trip of 20+ miles.

Early in the morning I departed my dorm room and headed out on the road.  It was wonderful running outside after all the hours stuck inside.  The sun was bright, the air was crisp and cool and my legs were working near perfection.  All was going well. The first 10 miles prior to my turn around location were run at a good pace yet felt easy, it must have been the magic of being outside.  For the majority of this run I was alone running up the road that connects the main base with the radar site.  This road is very desolate and at portions you’re isolated by miles of empty arctic landscape.  At another section you run along the outcropping of the ice cap…truly a wonderful site where nature and the world come together.  The views I had that day were truly a once in a lifetime experience.  After making the turn for home the miles began to add up and this easy run turned into a bit of a struggle…determined but tired, I made it back to my dorm safe and sound.

The next morning I met with my boss, the base commander, and after reviewing the business of the day I was able to share with him my arctic adventure.  Energized by the run, I shared with him every detail, and he listened intently and questioned me how far I had gone.  “Sir, I ran up to the ice cap at the BMEWS site and turned around,” I proudly boosted.  The Col. got a concerned look, “Brian, you do know that polar bear have been spotted on base?”  “Ah no Sir, I did not know that, but I did not see any” I replied.  The Col. then replied, “I wasn’t worried about you seeing them, I am thankful they did not see you…cause polar bears at this time of the year, eat everything they see.” 

That was my first and last long run at Thule Air Base Greenland.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Marine Corp Marathon...I'm IN!

The Marine Corp Marathon sold out today in 2 hours and 41 minutes, that's the fastest US marathon sell out's also faster then it will take most people to finish the 26.2 mile journey.

BUT.......... I'm IN.....Happy Dance...

If all goes right this will be my 7th marathon...yet this is the second time I've tried to run the "Peoples Marathon."  My first attempt was in 2007, I was coming off a good running spring and wanted to run another marathon.  At the Shamrock half marathon expo I signed up to run the MCM...and the training began.  I ran all summer in intense heat, banging out three 20 mile long runs and was ready to go.  Then the unspoken happened....injury, no...sickness, no...death, no.  I got deployed 60 days before race day.  All those miles, all the heat, all the effort....ugh!

Since I could not run the Marine Corp Marathon, while deployed I ran the Al-Udied Half Marathon.....did I mention I ran it with 3 hours of sleep?


Monday, March 5, 2012

UNBREAKABLE, the Western States 100

Endurance sports are not well known outside of the circle of competitors, fans and family who support these events.  The Western States 100 (WS100) is the Super Bowl of Ultra Trail Running, and this movie tells the story of the 2010 Running of the WS100 when four of the best Ultra runners in the world came together and competed over 100 miles.

The Western States race covers 100 miles with a ascent of 18000 feet (5500 m) and descend of 23000 feet (7000 m) on mountain trails before reaching the finish. Because of the length of the race, the race begins at 5:00 A.M. and continues through the day and into the night. Runners finishing before the 30 hour overall time limit receive, a bronze belt buckle, while runners finishing in under 24 hours receive a silver belt buckle.

Not just a dry documentary, this movie offers a glimpse into the lives, training and relationships of the four men at the pinnacle of Ultra Running.  Hal Koerner, two time defending WS100, and running store entrepreneur from Ashland, Oregon.  Geoff Roes, undefeated at the 100-mile distance, an organic chef from Juneau, Alaska.  Anton Krupicka, undefeated in every ultramarathon he has ever started, a graduate student living in Boulder, Colorado.  Kilian Jornet, the young mountain runner and two time Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc champion, from Spain.  This movie also provides an interesting look at how the WS100 mile race was created.

I highly recommend this movie to any runner, who would like a look into the race and inside the lives, and race preparation of the best ultra trail runners in the world.  You don’t have to be a hard core Ultra runner to enjoy this film, there is something for everyone.

This film is available from Journey films at 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February A Look Back…


If you have been following my blog you know my goals for 2012 are as follows:

- three marathons
- 1500 miles this year
- a 20 miler once a month
- a 24 hour run with 75 miles
- a race at least once each month
- all of my scheduled training runs and not have more then two days off in a row without a really good reason (i.e. marathon or ultra recovery)

And the biggest goal, get my friend Susan C. thru her first marathon.

If you have not been following my blog, shame on you, but I forgive you.

So two months into the year let’s see how we are doing.

Run 3 marathons:  Susan C and I are on target for the running of the Shamrock Marathon, 18 March.  This will be Susan’s first and my 6th.  Been thinking about running the Marine Corp Marathon and maybe Norfolk’s Freedom Marathon (Oct28 /Nov11).

1500 Miles:  To reach 1500 miles I need 125 miles per month, In February I ran 129 miles over 18 days, with 4 extra miles, To reach my yearly goal with two months in I should have 250 miles,  I have 273 miles in the bank.  I’m on target, so far so good.  February’s runs included one race, a 30K, which I turned into a long training run of 22 miles, and I did not go more then two days in a row missing a run.  I did NOT miss a scheduled training run. 

24 Hour Run, I’m still planning on running this, will sign up once I get past Shamrock.

Bonus Run of February, while in Miami, Fl I got to run with “The Raven.”  The Raven has run on Miami’s south beach for 37 years never missing a day.  For more info click here

It’s March let’s get busy, time to SHAM ROCK ON! 

 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard! Acts 4:20, ask me about my relationship with Jesus!