Monday, December 23, 2013

Week in Review

Last Week In Review: (Dec 15 - 22)

Monday 10 
Tuesday 7 
Weds 9
Thursday 0
Friday 0
Saturday 31
Sunday 0

Total: 57 miles

Monday/Tuesday and Wednesday would be my only running days prior to running the SeaShore Nature Trail 50K.  If you have followed by blog for long you know this is my third time running this event.  There's been some good, some bad and I hope some better times at First landing State Park.

Monday and Tuesday were both easy days, I ran around our housing community and did not push the pace much.  Wednesday I ran with my wife while she fast walked. We stayed on Fort Lee to take advantage of some daylight hours.  I got in a solid 9 miles and some hills with a respectable 8:30 pace.  Then we shut it down for the week tapering for the 50k.

Saturday I ran the 
SeaShore Nature Trail 50K. and had a good outing, but you can read about that in a future race report.  Until the race report is published, enjoy these select photos.

And I'm still winning the war against Diet Dew.

Hope you had a great week! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Running Flaws

Fixing My Running Flaws

I stumbled across this video while searching You Tube for Ultra videos the other day.  And it perfectly put into video what I have been working to correct in my running form over the summer.

The girls list the five biggest mistakes runners make:

1.  Running Upright

2.  Overstriding 

3.  Heelstriking

4.  Arm Swing (front to back)

5.  Tightening your core

Out of these five I was in pretty good shape other then #2 and 3

I over-stride and heel strike something terrible.  I've known this for a long time but really never set out to do anything about it.  A typical trait of all my running shoes was that I wear out the heels (right more then left) faster then anywhere else.  

(Note that wear pattern)

It wasn't until I watched the DVD on the Western States 100, Unbreakable and witnessed  Anton Krupicka'srunning form, that I decided to do something about this. It was during this remarkable video that I noticed how up right and free he ran.  I now had a video comparison of a nimble and light running style compared with how hard, heavy impacting, and heel first I ran.  I knew I had some areas to improve on.

Over the summer when I went out on training runs I noticed when I ran more under myself (feet landing under my hips) and on the front of my foot compared to the back, my leg turn over improved, I had more zip in my runs and my legs just felt better.

AND another benefit....I GOT FASTER!

Now I will tell you I was not sure what I really fixed, until I watched this video and these gals at The Balanced Runner put on video what small changes I made over the summer.  Without knowing it...I fixed 2 of the Biggest 5 Mistakes. 

What is your biggest running mistake?

Are you going to fix it?

Monday, December 16, 2013

week in review

Last Week In Review:

Monday 10 
Tuesday 4 
Weds 9.3
Thursday 0
Friday 8
Saturday 15.5
Sunday 0

Total: 46.8 miles

Tuesday, the first miles I've run on a treadmill in quiet sometime.  I wanted to do more, but the room the treadmill was located in was 84 degrees and I never got used to the heat.  Second, I was attending a retirement dinner later that night and timing was a bit cramped so I was constantly watching the clock and felt pressed the entire time.

Thursday, Along with our Church group my wife and I went to the The Story Tour, outstanding show.  THE STORY, a musical journey from Genesis to Revelation. Featuring a full children’s choir and orchestra with Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman, Selah, Rawsrvnt and renowned author and pastor, Randy Frazee.  Worth every penny...and the impact is external.

Saturday, I ran along with a good running friend George N.  We ran 15 miles at a moderate pace as a tune up for the 50k.  It was my second outing running with my race vest, you can get the details here.  Funny how I think about this as a medium distance run where years before it would be a long run.

And this week I decided to kick the Diet Dew habit, glad to report I'm still married to Michele, and no one has been harmed by my decision.  Although there was an unexpected drop in the stock values for Pepsico.  Does that relate?

AND Surpassed 2000 miles for the year!

All in all it was a good solid week of training leading up to my third running of the SeaShore Nature Trail 50K.  My plan for the 50k is to run a smart race, around a 5:30, but believe I'm capable of a faster time.  I'll hold myself back in hopes of not blowing up my legs, I have a 50 miler two week later which starts my prep for Umstead and my first 100 miler.

Hope you had a great week! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Diet Dew

Is Diet Mountain Dew KILLING Me?

(Ya----hoooo, Diet Mountain Dew)

I’m Done With Diet Dew…(well sort of).

If you know me in person, have followed my Tweets/Facebook updates or ventured to read my blog, you know that I drink way to much Diet Mountain Dew.

My daily intake is going something like this:

1 can on the drive to work with my "on the road breakfast"
1 can when I get to my desk 
* maybe another can around 0930/1000
1 can for lunch
1 can on the drive home
1 can after my run
2 cans for dinner
1 as I watch TV or read
a last one when I go to bed for the night

Nine maybe 10 cans of that wonderful, and refreshing, chemically altered mountain spring water.  Oh my Diet Mountain Dew, how you pick me up.  Oh my Diet Mountain Dew, how you allow me to get thu my day.  

Oh My Precious….Dew!

Oh pls don’t judge me…  

Did you see any water in there…neither did I.  And to think I've run 12,000+ miles and nearing 100 races like this.  But I’m getting older, more in tune with my health and I want to be around a little while longer.  If I want to be a better runner, I know the time is now, I must do something, and I must make some changes.

So.  Finally.  I've decided to dew do something about it.

Now I’m weak, I really don’t desire to go cold turkey so I’m going to cut way back on this stuff.  I have to be honest I don’t see myself giving up my morning and after work Dew.  I have a long commute and that wonderful golden pick me up helps keep me awake while driving.  The rest of the day is open game and I’m committed to not drinking Diet Dew after 8 pm.

With those borders in place, I’m going to attack this like I do a long run.  Slow and steady. 

Starting today, I’m going to start drinking one 16oz bottle of water (minimum) for every can of Diet Dew. 

I really don’t want to give it up 100% and I’m not saying I’ll never have another can.  My goal is to cut down on my consumption and drink the stuff more moderately.  I also want to get a lot more water into my diet.

So I’m sorry world if I’m a little grumpy.  I’m sorry workers for Pepsi-Cola bottling if this slows down production, I’m sorry my Diet Dew family if I don’t get to see you as often…but I want to be around a lot longer and I have more miles to run, more sunsets to witness, and a few mountains to run!

Is there something you need to give up, cut back on?  Tell us about it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Birthday

My Blog is just over two years old, We Need To Have A Party!

Or better yet, I need to revamp my blog.  Truth be told I’ve been somewhat unhappy with my little spot on the internet for some time.  I make a point of checking out a few other blogs every day and the vast majority of them are much more professional looking.  So over the holidays, my blog is going to get a makeover!  And here is where I need your help.

I need your feedback on what you like and don’t like about my blog.

PLEASE post a comment with some feedback so that I can better entertain, inspire, inform and highlight my running adventures.

Thanks A lot, and Keep on Running Strong!


Monday, December 9, 2013

AK Ultra Vest A Review

Ultimate Direction Ultra Running Vest - AK Race Vest

The first time I ran with my AK Race Vest I left all the pockets and bottles empty.  You can read about that test drive and my initial impressions below.

For my second test drive, I decided to fill both bottles with 20 oz of water, to get used to carrying the load.  The only other item I had in the vest was my car keys.

After filling the bottles I decided to try and take a few draws of water out of the UD style Kicker Valve. AND I really don't like the "nipples" compared to my pull top bottles. (I guess that is what you call the traditional style bottles) 


(The winner)

I attempted to draw water out of the UD bottles a few times in the kitchen and just could not get it done right.  I figured if I was not comfortable performing this "simple" task standing in my kitchen while not moving, my chances of success while running were near zero.

Other then that I like this vest. With the full bottles in the Vest my first thought was "wow, that's heavy."  Up to this point I have never ran with anything strapped to my back.  The bottles fit nice and were easy to secure, I ran 15.5 miles with it and was surprised I hardly noticed the extra weight and the vest did not move at all.  I was not used to the water sloshing around in the bottles but within the first mile I hardly noticed it.

After two test drives, I'm glad I invested in this vest. 

With a date with the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run on the horizon, I have some long training runs including running the Graveyard 100k in March unsupported, on my calender.  With this I figured I needed to invest in and get used to running in a vest to help carry some hydration and fuel to keep me going.

Honestly, I never thought I would wear a vest, I've carried my hand held water bottles since I began marathon training 12 years ago and they work just fine.  But seeing that I was going to be running 62 miles, mostly during night time hours with limited support, I needed to embrace a Ultra vest.  Being that I wanted something light and non-intrusive...I decided to trust the GREAT mountain ultra runner Anton Krupicka, "the apostle of the "less is more" philosophy."  

I chose the Ultimate Direction Signature Series AK vest.

If your interested in the specs on this vest you can click here and visit the UD web site, I'm going to give you a new users perspective.

When the package arrived the first thing I noticed was how light the box was...if I had opened up the shipping box and it was empty I would not have been surprised.  This vest is light...  This vest is also made of some soft yet very supportive materials.  In my hands, I thought for sure I was holding something off the drawing boards of a NASA designer.
I'm 5' 7" 152 to 155 pounds in racing trim...I ordered the small/medium vest and truth be told it fits very snuggly, which I like.  It should be noted that I'm at the max size adjustments.

Seeing that I have never run with a vest, I wanted to introduce it into my running arsenal slowly.

My first test drive with the AK vest I went for a 15 mile trail run, with nothing in the vest.  I fit the vest to my size, snapped it up, and took off.  And truth be told...I had no issues running with it at all.  The snug fit resulted in zero movement with no interference with my running motion or any issues with chaffing, pinching or fit issues.  The snug fit almost made me feel secure wearing it and the slight compression seamed to help me with my exhaling.  I swear I was breathing deeper.  

After my first test drive....I LOVE this vest.

The only thing I don't like about it are the bottles...I plan to swap out the 20oz bottles for more traditional 12oz bottles.  I also don't plan to use both front pockets for hydration.  I'll hand carry one bottle, have one in the vest and use the second front pocket for fuel

A good technical review for this vest can be found here, the Ginger runner had some issues with flap placement and I can understand that.

Next time out I'll fill up the water bottles...and give you my second impressions.

Oh, what other long training runs do I have in store before Umstead?

Dec, SeaShore 50K
Jan, 50 miles at Noland Trail
Feb, 50 Miles TBD
Mar, Graveyard 100k
Apr, Umstead 100 Miles    

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wife Repeats

It’s not Fartleks.  It’s not a Long Run.  It’s not even repeated running over Monster Hills.

It’s the newest workout sweeping across running clubs world-wide.  It’s the workout craze that has Hollywood all a buzz.  Recommended by if not the Dr. surly the Wizard of Oz.  And the workout which has achieved glowing recommendations from Doctor Phillip (for legal reasons, I changed the name here).  Wife Repeats. 

But what is a Wife Repeat Workout you ask?

(Happy Flash Couple)

The best way to spend time together, other than that “Other,” (cough cough) best way to spend time together.  A great way to burn calories and still enjoy each other’s company.  And other way to achieve your target heart rate, which does not involve looking at your credit card statement…..

The Wife Repeat workout is a way for couples with different running or walking paces to run/walk together, yet separate.  You see my wife (I’ll call her Mrs. Wonderful) had knee surgery about eight years ago (torn meniscus) and since then she has been unable to return to a running routine.  But Mrs. Wonderful, equipped with an NFL Lineman’s knee brace, is still very active/fit and can walk a blazing 12:30 mile pace.  Myself being a Ultra-runner training near a sub 8:30 mile pace for 10, 15 or 20 miles, we have had a hard time enjoying our fitness routines together.  We would normally head out on our own and meet back up at the car when we were done.  We both got our workouts in but missed out on sharing the sights, sounds and experiences along the way.

That was until the Wife Repeat workout was born.  Now we head out on the trail or open roads together.  At the start of our run/walk I’ll run in the opposite direction of Mrs. Wonderful, for say half a mile then turn 180 degrees and run a mini speed workout to catch back up with her.  Then I’ll settle into a nice running cruise speed and run out in front of her for half a mile turn 180 and do it all over again.  The Wipe Repeat loop enables me to get in my miles, allows us to run/walk together exploring a new trail, or a new city and gives my wife a sense of security knowing I am never out of sight.

This “Together but Separate” workout has enabled us to get in the miles while exploring new trails and new sites.  Have you ever tried to explain part of a trail where you had to transverse apart of a tree root while running along a mountain stream?  Where before we would struggle to describe parts of a run/walk or site we saw along the way…now we get to see the trail and new places together, yet separate.

(Wait, there's more....)

Endorsed by the American Hart Association, the Tourism Board of New Bern, NC and the makers of ShamWow you can order your Wife Repeats Workout video today for $19.95. 

But wait there’s more:

And with 5 easy payments of $9.99 I’ll also include a set of Ginsu shavers and a family of Sea Monkeys.

How do you work out with your Mr./Mrs. Wonderful?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Faith Family Fitness

The Christmas season, it is easy to get distracted…from what is really important.

Faith, Christmas and not the “holiday” season is why we celebrate.  In over 2000 years, no one has been able to prove the story of Christmas to be inaccurate. Sure some debate the dates, but the story of a Saviors birth has met all challenges.  We have proven that Santa Claus, is just a story.  The Polar Express is just a train.  And that Polar Bears don’t really like Coke.  But if anything we have proven, by historical record and with the concepts of historical proof that in fact a man named Jesus (or translation of) did in fact walk this planet.  And if we believe that, then we must belief the document which tells the story of his life, the Bible, to be true.  And finally we must believe that a creator GOD, gave his only son, so that whomever believed in him should not perish, but have ever lasting life.  To me that is what this holiday season is all about….accepting that MY Savior came to this earth, to love and save me.  Brian, the crazy ultra-running, sometimes distracted, and very imperfect human.  And likewise, you…  

Family, Who else will share a bond with you from the time you are born, until the time you die.  Even if you are not close to your family, there is still something there.  A bond, a love, a shared common history.  Tune out all the hype this holiday season and reconnect with your family….no relationship outside of a husband and wife relationship can ever be as close.  If you have lost a loved one…and were not close, you know the sting that this gap can never be bridged, if you still have family…reconnect, make the effort to get close.

And Fitness, I group all health related issues under fitness.  Take care of yourself…watch your diet, keep up with your exercise of choice, and visit the doctor when you should.  Do whatever it takes and is recommended to keep this body running the way it was meant to run.  We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in our homes. We toil over our cars, to keep them perfect.  Yet as a society as a whole, we invest very little time or energy in the one thing that will be with us, is us, from day one until the very end.  “Our body.”   Ask anyone suffering with a health issue, if they wish they could run, walk, skip or jump…we take our fitness forgranted until it’s gone.

Nearly everything else in life can be replaced….or repaired. Bang up your car, take it to a body shop.  Water leak in your home, call the plumber.  TV or computer melts down…call the Geek Squad.

But faith, family and your fitness are hard to replace once they are gone.  And no one can do it for you.

What does running give you?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Top 5 Items

The Turkey Trots are over, Black Friday is just a memory and the shopping days until Christmas are upon us.  If you have a runner that you are buying for...then I'm here to help you.  The top five things items every runner would want to find under the tree Christmas morning.

1.  Subscription to a running magazine or marathon/ultra publication (Runners World, Marathon and Beyond, Trail Runner etc)

2.  Entry into their favorite race

3.  Gift pack of inspirational running movies (1Hundred, Unbreakable, Running on the Sun, Spirit of the Marathon, Hood to the Coast etc.)

4.  Massage gift certificates

5.  Race medal display

Bonus Ideas:  

Race shirt quilt, a collection of favorite race shirts made into a warm soft quilt.

An autographed photo, or copy of a publication from their favorite runner/athlete.

Some of the best gifts to receive are the ones you would not have thought of or would have purchased for yourself.  These sure fire ideas will warm their heart, put a bonce in their step or lengthen their stride.  Either way you will be the hero come Christmas morning.


John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Richmond Half Recap

Signing up for the Richmond Half Marathon months before race day was really a second thought.  My fall goal race was the marathon at Niagara Falls.  All my focus was on scoring my first sub four hour marathon and roll into the remainder of my fall/winter schedule.  The half at Richmond would be at best a relaxing half to run along with my wife who would be fast walking her first half.  I placed no pressure and no real expectations on myself.  This lasted until around mile three.

PRE-RACE:  The week prior to Richmond was a real mental test, it was my birthday, our 23rd wedding anniversary and we lost our doggie Hanna to a mass/cancer on her spine…she had been fighting it and winning for nearly two years.  Then it came back, at just over 12 years old…we had to let her go.  By the time I entered the starting corral Saturday morning, standing in the cold, in the rain, and with a hole in my heart.  I was mentally beat.

Then something clicked, all the positive vibes of the other runners lifted me up.  Being in that mass of people, being in the center of all the positive energy, my spirit began to shine.  And honestly the thought of how much our Hanna loved to run, to be outside fueled me to want to run a good race, but I still had no goal, outside of just enjoying the run.

Erie Runners Club Turkey Trot T-Shirt (might be coolest shirt I own)
Black Race-Ready long distance shorts
NIKE Air Pegasus w/tech socks
Crawlin Crab hat
Garmin GPS 201
White gloves
knee strap

RACE:  Shorty after getting into my corral (Corral B) I noticed by chance that I was standing near the 1:45 pacer.  My luck with pacers lately had me considering backing up and running along with the 1:50 group after all I was not going to push it three weeks after my FIRST sub four.  But with the packed crowd, I decided to hang where I was and just see how this race ran out.  I did vow to NOT follow the pacer if he got off to a fast start.  My goal if I had one was to run a overall eight flat pace and be near my previous PB of 1:44:11 (2008).

Using a wave start the elites and A corral went off right on time and the energy within our corral picked up as we shuffled forward. I noticed there was a lot of bouncing and tapping of feet as we approach our allotted start time.  Minutes later the PA system was announcing that corral B would be going off in 3…2..1 Go.  We were off.  As common in nearly all races the start got off quick, I was being passed on all sides and yet I was running a solid eight flat…and still lost sight of the 1:45 pace within 50 yards of the start.  Why some pacers feel the need to have a HOT START is really bugging me.  But more on that later.  Through some heavy self-talk and replaying of my success just three weeks earlier…I cooled off my jets and ran a smart, yet slow opening mile.

Mile 1  8:25
Mile 2  8:06
Mile 3  8:07

 (Keeping focused)

Near the three mile sign I was really getting into a groove, to the point everything seemed perfect.  Normally in any race, something is just not clicking…but today all body systems were fully functioning.

Mile 4  8:03
Mile 5  8:01

Up and throughout mile 5 I felt really strong, and was trying to keep my pace in control.  As I would glance at my GPS nearly every time I would have to mentally tell myself to slow down.  I was trying to maintain an eight minute pace but would often see my Garmin display 7:50 or faster.  With the collapse at the Crawling Crab on my mind, I was determined to not flame out again.  The course was pretty flat, excellent crowd support and even with a chill and light mist in the air…the conditions were near perfect.  From the flat roads we headed into Joseph Bryan Park, a nice little inner city park, that although the course map said it was flat did offer some little but sneaky elevations changes.  I assume in hindsight, since this little section did offer some challenges I noticed myself getting up on the front of my shoes and attacking some sections…at one time seeing my GPS displaying 6:48…  What surprised me most was that at this point in the race it was easier to run a faster pace than it was to slow it down.

Mile 6  7:55
Mile 7  7:18
Mile 8  7:49

We left the park and headed back to the city streets of Richmond.  I was feeling really good about my position in the race, my breathing was good, noticing hardly any stress.  At about this point I noticed a few runners around me were really struggling, yet my conservative start put me in a great position.  I did have a challenge to overcome, somehow at this point my brain could not figure out how many miles I had left, 4, or maybe 3 no 6?????  Oh I hate math and math on the run…I’m lost.  But through all the mental fog, I knew it was time to attack the rest of the course.  I had set myself up in a great position and  It was time to run. It was time to claim the PB. 

From here on out it no longer was just a run, it was “Catch that runner in the yellow shirt, the orange shirt…catch that guy wearing no shirt!”  Every colored shirt in front of me became a target.  At one point I felt like an Olympic runner closing in on a podium finish.  And I ran hard…

Mile 9  7:28
Mile 10  7:34
Mile 11  7:22
Mile 12  7:27
Mile 13  7:31

If I have to say the finish was a big surprise…..No, it was the biggest surprise.    I was making great time coming down Grace Street, catching
runner after runner, then turning onto 5th street I saw the massive downhill to the finish.  My legs loved it as it was effortless to run but my mind hated it, a fear of tripping actually had me slowing down to not over stride.  I’ve run the full marathon a few times in the past, and I had heard they moved the finish.  BUT nothing got me ready for the massive downhill finish going onto Bellis Island.  An epic battle was ragging in my head, RUN FASTER….NO, slow down. Don’t fall….don’t listen to him Gump!  RUN. RUN. RUN FASTER!  But, Gee Wizz, Batman don’t fall down. 

Crossing the finish line, it hit me…I had just set a new PB for the Half…just three weeks after running my sub four.  After a terrible week…I found a few moments of joy.

FINNISH: 1:42:41


POST RACE:  Michele and our Dear friend Kendra, finished their half in 3h 11ms…a first for both of them.  All in all it was a great day.  Just don’t ask me how long it took me to find my car after the race… Hint: nearly as long it took me to run the race.  Not a happy camper but it was all my fault.  In the future I will pay attention to where I park!

(Michele and Kendra)

PACER RANT:  And I know they, the pacers, do this out of good will, and I know they have a lot more experience than me, but why have the last three pacers gone out so hot on the start of the race?  I fear they burned out a lot of the folks counting on them to achieve their goals?  At the Crawling Carb Half, the 1:45 pace group burned me out…I could not keep up the 7:40s they were running from the start and at mile 8 or 9, I was dropped.  OBTW an 8:01 will get you a 1:45 finish.  At Niagara Falls the four hour pacers went out so fast that they were out of my site early on.  Last seen they were dragging a big crowd with them.  I ran an opening 9:25 pace off a 9:10 target that will get you a sub four finish.  I caught them near mile 20 and the large crowd was reduced to a few suffering stragglers.  And here at Richmond, I caught the 1:45 pacers around mile 10 maybe 11 and again the large group that was at the start was gone.  I’ve got friends who pace people, I’ve got tons of respect for these people and I’ve read tons of success stories about how pacers ran perfect races helping other achieve their goals.  I ran behind a pacer at Shamrock, and he did a great job, I turned a PB.  But my recent experience points me to a thought that maybe these pacers (just the three I have crossed paths with lately) burned some people out.  Just my two cents…and yes I’m going to see if I can try my hand a pacing.


Marathon, Ultra marathon, 26.2, Half Marathon, 13.1, 10k, 6.2, 5k, 3.1, 50 miles, 100 miles, 24 hour run, 12 hour run, running, runner, jogging, jogger, sub 4 hour, Boston, Marine Corp Marathon, NYC, New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Shamrock Marathon, Va Beach, Cleveland Marathon, Niagara Marathon,  Runners Diet, Weight Control, Hug A Runner Day, National Running Day, Runners World, Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, Western States 100, Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, Adventure Running,

Marathon, Ultra marathon, 26.2, Half Marathon, 13.1, 10k, 6.2, 5k, 3.1, 50 miles, 100 miles, 24 hour run, 12 hour run, running, runner, jogging, jogger, sub 4 hour, Boston, Marine Corp Marathon, NYC, New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Shamrock Marathon, Va Beach, Cleveland Marathon, Niagara Marathon,  Runners Diet, Weight Control, Hug A Runner Day, National Running Day, Runners World, Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, Western States 100, Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, Adventure Running, 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday

This is a letter I wrote to Runners World Magazine back when I became a runner!  Nearly 14 years later, 12,000 miles...I'm still going strong!  

I received an reply from one of their editors concerning this letter, they were going to feature it.  But after the first contact, I never heard anything more.

(Running on a Treadmill, Thule Greenland, 2001)

Runners World
33 E. Minor St.
Emmaus, PA 18908

MSgt Brian Burk
PSC 1501  Box 1223
APO  AE 09704
                                                                                                                                       1 Jun 01

Dear Runners World,
               I write you this letter from “On Top of The World” Thule Air Base Greenland.  I’m Master Sergeant Brian Burk serving on a remote tour in the United States Air Force.  I’ve been a runner on and off (mostly off) all my life.

               Serving in the military is a challenging profession but couple that with remote tours (one year separation anyway from family) and being constantly on the go it’s hard (at least for me) to stick with any exercise routine.  The result was gaining 30 pounds over 7 years and falling out of shape.  One day you wake up and say “Gee I’m not 29 anymore and boy I sure look like it”.  For me that day happened 03 Aug 2000 when I set foot at Thule Air Base.  Looking in the mirror I made a pac with myself to not leave this place the same way I got here.  The challenge: lose 30 pounds and get my life back (fitness wise).  Being in the high artic (900 miles south of the North pole) much of my running was going to be done indoors during “the dark season” on a treadmill.

               They say any journey begins with the first step; my first step was a hard fought 2 mile run last Aug.  Now after a Artic Fall, Winter aka “the dark season” (Nov till Feb in 24 hour darkness), Artic Spring (temps below –30) and our approaching summer (temps a mild 40 degrees) my 2 mile labors have blossomed into 20 mile long runs with monthly mileage averaging 125+.  I’ve lost 32 pounds, and regained my self pride.  Most importantly, although claiming to be a runner (jogger) all my life I now claim to be an athlete.

               What got me through this…well my family number one (e-mail is great) with guidance and inspiration from your magazine and on line site.  Every month I scan the pages looking for advice, inspiration and all the pictures of runners running outside.  After each successful long run my reward is to cut out a picture of someone running outside which I hang on my refrigerator.  Thank you for producing such a great tool.

               Running is no longer something I claim to do…it’s me.  I borrowed this from Lance Armstrong and tweaked it to fit my life style.

"This is my body.  And I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my treadmill busting my ass everyday.

What are you on?"


Brian Burk

(Near the end of my Thule Tour, Aug 2001)

Marathon, Ultra marathon, 26.2, Half Marathon, 13.1, 10k, 6.2, 5k, 3.1, 50 miles, 100 miles, 24 hour run, 12 hour run, running, runner, jogging, jogger, sub 4 hour, Boston, Marine Corp Marathon, NYC, New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Shamrock Marathon, Va Beach, Cleveland Marathon, Niagara Marathon,  Runners Diet, Weight Control, Hug A Runner Day, National Running Day, Runners World, Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, Western States 100, Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, Adventure Running, 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Weight Control

Running Has Helped My Weight Control.

Contrary to a recently published report on the HuffingtonPost, (Sorry but I have a hard time taking anything with the name Huffington seriously) on running and weight-loss, I do believe running is idea for weight control and in fact I offer my 5 ways running has helped me lose my unwanted pounds.

1. The Long Run. During a typical long run (15+ miles) I’ll burn anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000+ calories.  I average two long runs per month.  I don’t care who Huffington is…that equals weight-loss.  Now you have to be smart about it…you can eat your way through your long run with just one visit to whopperland, but if you stick to a sensible diet, sensible portions and work on getting in your long runs…you will lose weight.

2. I no longer view food as entertainment.  Since changing my view of myself as a runner, (Ultra-marathoner) to an athlete I now see food as a source of fuel and recovery.  I need fuel to power the machine and heal the body.  In the past a cup cake was a good snack…or a whole meal, today I balance what I eat to build a fuel supply for my next run/race or recovery from a hard work out.  And when I’ve been a really good Ultra-runner…I sneak in a cup cake here, an Oreo there.  You got to enjoy life some.

3. I eat better.  Gone are the days of living off Pizza, Pop Tarts, Fritos and full strength Pepsi.  Today I balance my meals for nutrient.  Being a picky eater most of my life, I resisted the attempts of others to get me to try food that was “good for me.”  Today the runner side of me has opened my world to a wider choice of things to eat.  I've tried new foods, new dishes, new styles of food, just because they were a good food source for an athlete.

4. I don’t just run, I train.  I hate to admit it, but I do just run…I don’t lift weights or do cross-fit or work on core.  I want to, but my life style is so limited on free time that when I have “the time,” I Run.  But I “train” while I run, if you run at the same pace, same distance every day, day in and day out, your body will get used to the effort your putting out and your weight loss will become stagnant.  I vary my run, and my training.  I run long on the weekends, and my week day runs are a mixture of speed, hills, tempo and recovery.  I also vary the distances I run, 15+ on weekends, double digit at least once during the week and maybe twice if I have the time and solid 7+ miles the rest of the week.  I average 5 to 6 days a week, covering 50 to 60 miles.  I also vary the training pace of my run.  Some days are fast, some days are slow…but normally every day I’m finishing at a pace faster than when I started.

5. The Competitive Edge.  My body is no longer just a vehicle that drags me around from place to place…it is now my weapon of choice to prove I still have it.  I've really focused over the last six months and lost 20 pounds.  I feel so much lighter during my training and especially on race day.  When I get on a scale it is not just to monitor my love handles, it is to check on the status of my racing machine.

Now I’m no fitness expert, I do not have a medical degree, I’m not professionally trained, I have stayed at many Holidays Inns, but I’m not a running expert.

(The Fat Face of Brian)  

I can only tell you what has worked for me.  And that is that Running, Endurance type running has helped me maintain my weight over the last 15 years.  I've had some up and down times over these years, and as soon as I stop running my weight control goes out the window and my eating habits go with it.  When I’m running my weight/eating habits are balanced.  And over the last year of focusing on Ultra-Running…I have really noticed a difference in my weight, my eating habits and my running performance.

(The Ultra Face of Brian, 
with my Honey)

It works for me!

Marathon, Ultra marathon, 26.2, Half Marathon, 13.1, 10k, 6.2, 5k, 3.1, 50 miles, 100 miles, 24 hour run, 12 hour run, running, runner, jogging, jogger, sub 4 hour, Boston, Marine Corp Marathon, NYC, New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Shamrock Marathon, Va Beach, Cleveland Marathon, Niagara Marathon,  Runners Diet, Weight Control, Hug A Runner Day, National Running Day, Runners World, Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, Western States 100, Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, Adventure Running, 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hanna Doggie

12 years passes by so fast.  So very. Very fast.

Hanna Lizbeth, was FAMILY.

I’m trying to come to terms with the passing of a FAMILY member, it will be tough.  And I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say.

(Hanna, Oct 2004)

My Dear Hanna,
You were a wonderful doggie, friend, pal and FAMILY member.  We all will miss you more then you could ever know.  And are all thankful for the love you showed each and everyone of us.  You were and are a blessing from GOD.

Thank you for always being there with your cheerful puppy spirit, even when things were getting tough for you, you lifted our spirits with a look, a cuddle or just a small paw on our leg.  Your touch will be missed.

I will miss the funny little spin around move you did when it was treat time.

I will miss how you figured out which drawer in the refrigerator held the cheese.

I will miss how whenever Mom was reading you would find a way to wiggle your head right into her viewing path.

I will miss how you woke me up at night by breathing on my cheek.

I miss the way you LOVED to go to bed… us up the stairs.

(She won most of the races up the stairs, 2005)

I will miss how you thought my pillows were really yours….and my spot in bed.

I will miss how you would meet me at the end of the cul-de-sac after my runs and race me back to the house.  And when your body failed you, you still waited on me. Sometimes standing half way down the road,  at the end of the drive way, the yard, the sidewalk and later by standing next to Mommy.  

I missed that most yesterday!  I ran 12 miles in your helped me.

I will miss the way you loved your kids.

(Hanna, Anthony and Jessica, 2005)

I will miss your bark.

I will miss the way you played with your toys.

I will miss you sitting next to me on a quiet morning.

I will miss puppy cuddles.

I will miss our walks and how excited you got while we got ready to go.

I will miss the joy and unconditional love you gave us.

I will miss seeing you sitting with your Mommy.

I will miss you Hanna.

I don’t claim to know all about life, but I believe animals, especially Dogs have a spirit if not a soul.  And I believe that our creator God made the Garden of Eden to be a perfect place for his children.  In that garden humans had a relationship with GOD and domain over animals.  I believe we loved and cared for them during this time.  And I believe that when GOD restores the perfect world, that in this place there will again be animals.   For those of us that believe in JESUS, we will one day walk again with our GOD, And if heaven is the next perfect place,  I believe you went to be there.

Thank You GOD, for giving us 12 years with such a wonderful blessing.  I hope we cared for her the way you wanted us too.  She loved and took care of us!

(Hanna, July 2013)

I miss you Hanna and WE will forever love you,

Daddy, Mommy, Jessica and Anthony

Friday, November 8, 2013




The Monday morning after the Niagara Marathon, my wife and I loaded up our car, said goodbye to our good friends and proceeded to drive thru a little town on our way to the freeway.  As I was driving on a very dark street, something in our car headlights caught my eye.  At first I could not make out what it was, maybe one of the many trees that lined the road moved as the wind blew.  But then as I approached a little closer, maybe 20 feet away, I was finally able to make out what that movement was.  At first I was startled, two girls dressed all in dark clothes running shoulder to shoulder along the side of the road, and without a stitch of reflective gear.  That near encounter could have been ugly for all of us.  My first comment to my wife was, "wow those girls are crazy," then it hit me just how at risk they were.  I saw them in time, what about the next car or the next truck.  I was paying attention, what about the next distracted driver?  My wife commented, that she did not see them until we were right on top of them.


It is THAT time of the year again, daylight saving times, AKA Make Me Run In The DARK Time Of The Year!

A local running store held a Night Time Running Safety Night, I could not make it because of some "overtime" at work, but what a great idea.  

Thank You, Point 2, for reminding us to be safe!