Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Camping and Running

Camping, Zip Lines, NASCAR running, and last but NOT least Memorial Day

Oh what a weekend!

Michele and I have really fallen in love with camping, it fits our active lifestyle.  We have linked up many of our camping trips with running events and outside adventures.  And this trip to Charlotte, NC was a perfect marriage of the two.  Coming off the Cleveland Marathon this trip was as much about some time down as it was getting back into the swing of training for my next race.

We threw this trip together as more of an excuse for another other outing in our fifth wheel.  We could not have asked for a better trip.  

We camped at a great family campground right across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway…close enough to the action but removed enough to not be in the center of the action.  We really enjoyed the site.  As in the real estate profession, location, location, location, highly recommend Glenwood Acres RV Park, tell Phil, Brian sent ya!

Not wanting to spend the entire weekend “at the races,” Michele and I booked a canopy adventure tour at the US Whitewater Rafting Center.  And wow was it a fun day, we survived seven Zip Lines, Five Bridge crossings and a lot of fun hanging out in the trees.  Our guides Brian, Wayne and Will kept us safe and entertained!

Sunday morning “Race Day” broke and it was time to get my running back in gear.  I made a lap around the campgrounds and then headed out to tour the race track area.  I did not get to run the racing surface but I was able to lap the track on the outside and see the operations before the thousands of visitors showed up.  I was able to run 6.5 miles including 5 hill repeats running up the gate ramps…is was a good workout even if the security guards kept a careful eye on me.

This run also marked my 11,000 mile running since Aug 2000.

The race day experience this year, was out of this world.  Michele and I were guest of Carlisle M. and his group from Fun In Turn One  This race package included tickets in a private condo overlooking turn one, pit passes, a full diner and open bar.  The experience could have only been better if they would have let me drive the pace car.  Watching the 600 in an air conditioned condo, sitting on leather couches while drinking from an open bar…this spoiled me for future NASCAR race days….but I would do it again.

AND to NOT forget the meaning behind the real reason for Memorial Day.

Thank you to everyone past, present and future who has served this great 


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cleveland Marathon

Cleveland Marathon Race Report:

PRE-RACE:  My goal going into Cleveland was to run a sub 4 hour marathon (9:10 pace) or record a Personal Best (PB) trying.  The plan was to find the 4 hour pacer and hang with them until the 20 mile mark.  This plan worked near perfect at the Shamrock Marathon just months before when I set a new PB.  Running with a pace group was the perfect road block to keep me from going out to fast.  I rode the 4:15 pacer at Shamrock until mile 12/13 and at mile 20, I was in the right place, coming off the right pace to make a charge for the finish line.  A 36 second PB was the victory that day.

(Tony M and I)

THE START:  (Bad GPS signal)  The start of this race was about as messed
up as any marathon I’ve run.  Being the 36th year of the Cleveland Marathon, you would have thought that they figured out corral starting by now.  There were three corral banners posted on the sides of the start chute, only 50 feet apart.  These corrals appeared to be for the elites or maybe the Boston qualifiers, not for the other 90% of us.  I was looking for the 4 hour pacer but could not find them in the “corrals.” I found the pacer later inter mixed with the half and marathon crowd.  That’s right nearly 90% of the field started in one massive sea of colors.

Mile 1 13:15 (poor GPS signal)  The first mile was, a joke, and this I believe threw me off my game.  With wave after wave of humanity all trying to get going I could get no closer than 50 yards behind the 4 hour pacer.  After the horn went off…the pacer was lost.  Although I knew better, my run was fueled by trying to find the pacer, running a bit faster then I should have.

Mile 2 8:58 / Mile 3 9:12 / Mile 4 8:50 / Mile 5 9:07 / Mile 6 9:06 / Mile 7 9:18 / Mile 8 8:47

Running the right pace is the runners’ responsibility, I know that.  Off my marathon taper and in what might have been the best shape of my life this part of the run felt great.  My legs had a lot of zip in them and I knew I was having a hard time running within myself and within my plan.  Every time I looked at my GPS I was a head of the planned pace.  The weather conditions were perfect, cool temps and a nice breeze kept my motor at the near perfect temperature and it was so easy to roll thu these miles.

Mile 9 9:14 / Mile 10 9:05 / Mile 11 9:12 / Mile 12 8:52 / Mile 13 8:19 / Mile 14 9:39 / Mile 15 9:16

Mile 16 9:21  Hitting mile 16 is always a milestone for me…as soon as I can get to single digits miles, I feel like I have a chance at turning in a good performance.  And today with a quick check of my standing I felt pretty assured that Sub 4 could become a reality or at the least a new PR.  My legs were rolling on.  My only real concern was it started to get warm.  Looking back at this point in the race I noticed a lot of sweat rolling off the brim of my hat.  It did not worry me a lot, but I remember thinking, “I’m sweating a good bit, need to make sure to get your water in.”

Mile 17 9:33 / Mile 18 10:12 / Mile 19 11:06

I have only stopped to “use a tree” during one other marathon.  My marathon and long run experience is that my body is good at operating slightly dehydrated.  With the oncoming heat I ensured I got in all my water stops.  At mile 19.5 this extra water load may have brought on some stomach pain.  I have been fighting a muscle strain or pinched nerve in my stomach/groin since early Dec.  Unfortunately, running with discomfort in this area has become common.  This discomfort became a little more intense with the miles leading up to 19.  If I could relieve this internal pressure I believed this would help with my other stomach issue, picking out a nice spot next to a bridge I got in a little “personal moment.”  After this short break, getting back to the road was a challenge. I got my wheels rolling again, but it was not long before I knew something was wrong.

(Trying to get the wheels rolling again)

Mile 20 11:33  THE WHEELS CAME OFF THE BUS  Not sure what happened, after pulling off the road to use the tree, I struggled mightily for the rest of the race.  Sure I was tired before my pit stop…not near a collapsing point.  But that is just about what I did.  For the next 6.2 miles…I was in pain, my stomach hurt, my hips hurt and my pride was destroyed.  How could I go from a sub 4 hour goal to a near DNF status?  I was so upset with myself…so angry, and so disappointed.  The only thing I could do was to put my head down and move forward as fast as I could.  And that is what I did.

Mile 21 12:02 / Mile 22 13:08 / Mile 23 12:14 / Mile 24 12:50 / Mile 25 12:03

Mile 26 7:41  Seeing the mile 25 marker and knowing that only 1.2 miles stood between me and the finish, gave me a lift in spirit allowing me to get back up on my stride and motor home.  The final turn for home includes a nice downhill and left turn towards Cleveland Browns Stadium.  The extra kick in my pride helped push me forward and all the pain and discomfort left me.


26.2 2:38  FINISH: 4:24:43

POST- RACE:  We stuck around to see a friend, Tony M. finish his first marathon.  Cheering the runners along after I caught my breath and came back to life was a lot of fun.  Witnessing parents finishing carrying their young children, and school kids finishing the final mile of a 26 mile school run challenge, reminded me we all run for different reasons.
FINAL THOUGHTS:  It is still hard to accept that this was not my day.  I’ve replayed the start and the point of disaster in my mind over and over.  How could it go so wrong?  But then I remember what some old wise marathoner told me… “When running close to 4 hours, anything can and will go wrong.”  

Only thing keeping me from jumping off marathoner bridge is the realization that; previous to Cleveland my blow up marathon time were 4:43 – 4:55 and my 10th marathon blow up time was 4:24:43 = progress, I’ll take it and move forward, because that is all I can do.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Covered Bridge

This picture, this bridge, this road says....


Do you agree?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cleveland Marathon Quick Race Recap

Running the Cleveland Marathon was a bucket list race for me.  Being a long suffering Browns fan, running this marathon with it's ties to my favorite sports team seamed natural.  And a good friend Tony M. would be running this as his first marathon so last fall I decide to run this race.  Being that I live in Va, it's a substantial investment in time and money, along with training hours to decide to run a marathon so far from home.  But I had no idea this would become the most expensive marathon EVER.

Race entry: $100.00

Hotel and fuel:  $500.00

Hitting a deer on the way: THOUSANDS

Running My 10th Marathon, seeing a friend run his first: Priceless

Cleveland Marathon, most expensive race ever, I hope!  A full race report will be posted in the next few days.

Finished in 4:24:43 but that's for another blog.

Home safe and sound...Blessed.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sub 4

The Sub 4 Hour Marathon Dream

 This is only my opinion and not a judgment of others.

I've run nine full marathons to date and all have been on the plus side of 4 hours.  When I first planned my marathon debut (2005) my "A" goal was to finish.  My second "B" goal was to run the distance and finish under 5 hours.  Why 5 hours?  Nothing against runners who run marathons in excess of 5 hours, but to feel like a true marathon runner, I wanted to finish under 5 hours.  I pulled this number out of the air after reading numerous running magazines, and training books.  I based the sub 5 hour goal off of nothing more them my own opinion of where I wanted to be.  My "C" goal was to finish in under 4:30.  I was able to reach all three goals with the first marathon.  Since then my running and my finishing times have been up and down.  I've run a personal best of 4 hours 10 minutes and 3 seconds.  And now I'm looking at a sub 4 hour goal, but why?

Finishing that first marathon in under 5 hours allowed me to feel like I could be considered a recreational marathon runner.  Anything slower then five hours and in my minds eye I would feel like I hadn't validated myself as a runner, maybe a jogger or a fast walker but not a runner.  The three marathons where I have been on the higher side of 4:45 I knew that I had not put in the work to really perform over the 26.2 miles.  With a time closer to 5 hours I kind of feel like I fall into the slow recreational runner group.

The three marathons finished in the 4:30 to 4:45 time zone left me with the impression that I was a slower then average recreational runner.  For myself 4:30 is the standard of an "average" marathon finish.  Not sure if this a fact, not even sure what the average finish is, but to me 4:30 is the mark.  In my mind 4:30 seamed the bench mark fitness wise where I could tell that I trained at a point to get myself ready to RUN the marathon challenge.

Three of my marathons have times quicker then 4:15, and after each of them I felt validated.  I believed my time testified that I was slightly faster then the avg. marathon finisher.  And my standing against the field validated this, sub 4:15 put me in the top 50% of the finishers.  I know that I'll never compete for a marathon win (the Elite group), a top 10 or even an age group award, but I feel like I could line up against the majority of the field and hold my own.  Maybe that's true or maybe it's not, but a sub 4:15 makes me feel that way.

The 4 hour marathon standard for me is the bench mark of performance elevating me from a fast recreational runner, to a slow but serious competitive runner.  And this is the goal I hope to reach.  Although I will tell you I'm competing against no one but myself, and I respect anyone who challenges themselves with the marathon distance.  But I want to put a stamp on my running, I want to put myself in the competitive group, if only in my own mind.

In my wildest dream...I'm running with the Elites in the sub 3 hour category, and I'm just about to dump Ryan Hall, but then my wife wakes me up and it's time to go to work.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dream trail

Dream Trail?

I dream of running in locations like this some day...

What do you dream about?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cancer Hater

At first it was a simple connection, our names are similar (Brian and Briana), this connection compelled me to read her blog.  At first, Briana's Still Easier Than Chemo blog was just another runners story.  Then some how her touching story, of how she lost her mother to the terrible disease called cancer came to life for me.  Some how I felt the need to run her event.

Over the weeks leading up to this event my families history with cancer became uncovered.  An Uncle died of leukemia years before my birth.  My middle name, Charles, is in his honor.  Another Uncle, Uncle Johnny died of Leukemia as well, I was 14.  My only real memory of Uncle Johnny was a time when we were all visiting my Grandparents, he was a runner, and I asked him if I could go running with him.  And more personally, my first wife Terri has been fighting breast cancer for 12 years.  Although I'm no longer a part of her life, for choices I made, I still feel her struggles.  The hard part is my daughter's pain as her mother wages a war against this ugly disease.  Wanting to help Terri and comfort my daughter, My connection to Briana and her cause grew more then I expected.

Not trying to say I did anything heroic.  The REAL heroes are the people fighting cancer.  The REAL heroes are the families who support, care for, and love them.  I am just another runner, but I wanted to do what I could...and if it was raising money...then I was going to bring in as much as I could.  There are many requests for donations now a days, so fund raising turned out to be harder then I thought.  I was sure people would just throw money at me for such a noble cause as cancer research.  When that did not happen, I knew I needed a hook.

The idea of "The Bald Tutu Runner" was born...  The challenge was set down.  Donate a set amount and I would run in a Tutu, double my then total of $688.00 and I would run bald and in a Tutu.  That's better then double coupon days.  Little mass marketing via Facebook and Twitter and the money came in.

(the Bald Tutu Runner)

Running my time slot the Midnight to 1 a.m. shift was easy, even with the lack of sleep.

(Briana, Her Father and I)

Meeting Briana and her father was wonderful, although I felt at a lack of words...words which I could express my admiration and support for their loss.

Thanks to you, I (We) raised $1800.00 of the nearly $8,000.00 raised during the 24 Hour Run.  The hook worked, yet I never knew how many people wanted to see me bald and run in a Tutu.  But I'm Thankful and glad you did.

There is still time to give: Click Here.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bald or Tutu

UPDATE:  Recently I ran 71.25 miles (in 24 hours) for the American Cancer Society.  And now I'm running the Cancer Hater 24 Hour Challenge for the Massey Cancer Research Center of Richmond, Va.  So far I've raised over $650.00. $1159.00 $1304.00

(I am a Cancer Hater)

Cleveland Browns Team Issued/Game Used Breast Cancer Awareness towel used on the sidelines by then Browns Tight-End #82 Benjamin Watson.  Autographed by Watson and direct from NFL Auctions.  How do you get this towel, be the first to donate $50.00 $40.00 $25.00 to my Charity Run at the link below.  Pls put Watson towel in remarks and post contact info on how to get in touch with you.

Now here is the QUESTION, Do you want to see me run it Bald or in a Tutu?

Run it Bald:
We are $260 $179 $84 away from the "Run it Bald goal."  Who is going to help us meet this goal, you know you want to see it!

If my donations double in the next week, from $688.00 to $1376.00 or if someone would donate $500.00 in a one time donation, I will cut off all my hair.  That's right buzz cut G.I. style.

In a Tutu:
Done, goal met, I will run the Cancer Hater Challenge wearing a bright yellow TuTu.

If someone will make a one time donation of $50.00, I will run the 24 Hour Cancer Hater Challenge in a Tutu.

You still have time...

Deadline for donations is 4 pm Saturday, 11 May.  All donations go to Cancer Research...I get nothing and have put over $100.00 towards this cause myself.  PLS click on the link below and donate today.

Donate here:

Pictures and a blog post will be provided.  I will also provide a run recap which you can post on your blog.

Who is up for the challenge!