Monday, July 29, 2013

Well Hello,

How would you feel? 

You arise from a good nights sleep, and take care of the morning routine, just like you do everyday. 

Finally awake you enter your living room and on the couch is Jesus waiting for you.

Would you be confident to see him? 

Would you be scared? 

Would you be ready? 

Tell me about it.

As for me: A friend posed this question to me yesterday.  It made me think and reflect.  I believe in GOD the Father, GOD the Son and GOD the Holy Spirit and yet I would be some what scared and taken back...not in fear but in awe.  Truth is HE is there we chose to see him, spend time with him and accept a relationship with him?

Think about all this the next time your on a run... 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

8 Ways

8 Ways Ultra Marathon Training Has Changed My Life:

This post was inspired by the blog Shut Up and Run, on how Ironman training was changing her life.  And it rang a bell with me. So here we go:

1.  I never get to sleep in, during the work week, I commute meaning I'm up at the butt crack of dawn (0340) and weekends are made for the long run.  So my sleep cycle never sees anything past 0700.

2.  I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, anytime, anyplace...Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

3.  I eat much better, not perfect but much better.

4.  My monthly running miles have soared, I used to struggle to get in topping 200.

(Really does not apply, but love Road Runner and the Coyote)

5.  I had what I would call pretty runners feet, not so much anymore.

6.  Not that a Marathon is easy, but 26.2 miles does not scare me anymore....I respect it, but numbers like 50, 75 and 100 miles have my attention.  Okay 100 miles, I still have not gotten my mind around that yet, but it has my attention.

7.  I've got a good leg tan going, but my feet are freakishly white.

(My wife has flip flop tan, I have white feet)

 8.  I have become addicted to smoothies, I love drinking them, love making them (with my wonderful wife), and obsessed with finding new receipts.  I guess there are worse addictions....I could be Anthony Weiner, I'm sorry Carlos Danger.

(Thanks, Nathan)
Side note to this blog entry, this is my Facebook post from a few nights ago after my normal run around the neighborhood.  Still makes me smile.
I got the nicest compliment tonight while out on my run: This little girl saw me running and told her friends "here comes Mr Exercise Man" Melted my heart...and when I passed her again she said "Hi, Mr Exercise Man," Thank made my night!
As I wrap up this post I'm prepping for a 6 mile run to meet up with other folks who I will join for a 9 mile run then I just might run back home.  

Enjoy Your Day and Enjoy Your RUN!      

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Camping and Running II

Peanut, Pork and Pine…..with some camping and running to boot.

Michele and I have had the camping bug for little over three years, we started with a truck camper and have traded up to the biggest fifth wheel we could find (aka afford).   We look for every opportunity to go camping, we exercise, we chill out and we explore.  On top of that we live for the outdoor adventures…we are an active couple so camping, run/walking, zip lining, and doing outside stuff fit us like a foot in a running shoe.

(Base camp, Our Sandpiper RV)

The town of Surry, Virginia has a great festival celebrating locally grown peanuts, pork and pine (local crafts) and this was a good reason to go camping.  Michele found us a great river front campground along the Chickahominy river.  Our site was close to the festival and right near a trail junction of the Virginia Capital Trails.  The Capital Trails is a project connecting the original colonial settlement/capital of Jamestown with the present day capital of Richmond.  Once finished this network of multipurpose trails will consist of 50 miles covering some 400 years and very history rich lands.

Running the Capital Trail is pure pleasure.  The trails run along some very scenic roadways yet remote enough to allow you to take in all the history of the area.  By comparison, I’ve run from Jamestown settlement to Yorktown National Battlefield along the Colonial Parkway many times, and although a major milestone in the revolutionary war, it still feels like running along a secondary road.  Although surrounded by history, you still have traffic to deal with.  The Capital Trial System removes the runner from the roadway and moves them closer to running thru history.

(MapMyRun overhead of my runs)

I ran 33 miles over 3 days, a 9 mile opening run on Friday night, 14 miles Saturday morning, and 10 more Sunday morning before heading home.  While running along the trail I got lost in the thought that I may have been covering some of the same ground as Capt John Smith and Pocahontas.  One of my favorite parts of Capital Trail is being routed thru wooded areas. These areas make it feel like you are covering the route explorers or an old time steam train would have taken back in the day.  This route rolls in and out of wooded areas, up and down rolling terrain and over small streams via old fashion wooded bridges.  AND there is no truth to the rumor that I may have made train noises while crossing one of the longer bridge sections.  That’s between me and a few random squirrels.

(One of the bridge sections, chooo choooo)

Although never feeling over crowded, the trails see their fair share of use.  Runners, walkers and bikers (both recreational and serious road races) frequent the trail system.  The trails provided only part of the Capital Trail systems, not only did I get in a good workout, but I managed to take in some history along the way.  The Capital Trail is posted with historic markers calling out all the important dates/times in our nation’s history.

(self pic fail...ha ha ha)

If you find yourself in a position to vacation in Virginia, ensure you position yourself in a place of history and near the Capital Trails.  Your brain and legs will thank you. 


In case you missed it, my other favorite running place:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Run Everyday

How do you do it?

I post, tweet and update my Facebook status after nearly all my workouts.  I'M Sure this bugs some people, and may inspire others.  It has led to a few people asking me either in person or on one of the platforms….How do you run nearly everyday?  And then the most intense question they ask: How do you run after work, when I’m normally so tired the last thing I think about is running?

So to provide some insight and to be like Dr. Phil, I’ve come up with  (Insert dramatic voice over) “MY, FIVE KEYS TO MAKE SURE YOU GET IN YOUR AFTER WORK RUN.”

Key #1  View your after work run as a reward for a tough day on the job.  Not to get all serious on my readers (all 12 of you), but there are tons of people out there that wish they were in your position.  Wished they had a job to run after.  Wished they had the health so they could run or wished they had the ability.  The best way to not miss a run…think of it as your “End of Day Reward!”

Key #2  Commit to it, some of us a morning people, some are night people…if I had my option I would be a morning runner, but since I don’t  I’m a After Work Runner, that is how I view myself, that is my life style, I work and I run.  Don’t fight it commit to it.    

Key #3  Have a plan.  Once I lay out my running plan for the month, I stick to it.  I’m by nature a routine guy.  I like the predictable, I embrace the mundain…my plan says I have to run so I must get in the run and after work is the only time it fits in. Have a plan and stick to it.

Key #4  Just do it.  That slogan sells shoes and it keeps me running…even when I’m tired.  I just do it…just get that first step in, that first mile and the next thing you know I’m finishing up that after work run and saying “That was a GOOD run.”  Be Like Mike and NIKE, Just Do It!

And Finally

Key #5  And my most important key.  KEEP MOVING, after leaving work and pulling the car into the driveway, I do not stop moving for anything.  I make a bee line to change into my running gear, put on my shoes, grab my water bottle and GPS and out the door I go.  If I were to stop moving for anything, if I sat down to: cuddle the puppy dog, rest for even a second or to read the mail, the run would be dead.  Keep moving to get your RUN in.

There you have (Insert dramatic voice over) “MY, FIVE KEYS TO MAKE SURE YOU GET IN YOUR AFTER WORK RUN.”  Will they change your life, I doubt it but they might just help you get that after work run in and meet your running goals.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Favorite Runs Erie

Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania

Before my life and joining the military moved me away from my home town I lived near a beautiful natural attraction along Pennsylvania’s north coast, Presque Isle State Park.  This peninsula just west of Erie, Pa extends into Lake Erie forming a protective barrier to the cities northern shore.  The peninsula is also home to a number of wild animals, birds, miles of beaches and a great multi-use trail system.

Like most people living next to such a landmark, we tend to take it forgranted.  I spent a lot of time on the beaches and fishing the waters as a kid, but once the “rat race” of life took over, I did not make it to the peninsula very often.  And that really was a shame.  This natural habitat offers any number of outdoor actives and is the perfect place to leave the concrete and steel jungle behind.

For the runner, a 14+ mile trail system begins at the foot of Peninsula Dr and winds its way thu and around the park.  Following the trail you are never far from some wonderful views of the city, wild life and always surrounded by nature.  The multi-use trail system is a wide asphalt trail which is flat, and very forgiving.

Some of the sights along the south side of the trail include a small light house, Perry Monument (Oliver HazardPerry), Misery Bay, and Grave Yard pond along with miles of shade trees and wild life.

One the North Side is Presque Isle Light House, one of the most famous light house of Lake Erie.  And the most notable feature of the peninsula is Lake Erie and on a clear day you may be able to see the Canada Coast Line as Erie is on the narrowest part of Lake Erie.

On the north side is Presque Isle Light House, one of the most famous light houses on Lake Erie.  And the most notable feature of the peninsula is Lake Erie itself.  The smallest and shallow of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie provides some wonderful sunsets and great beaches.  On a clear day you may be able to see the Canadian Coast Line as the peninsula and the city are on the narrowest part of Lake Erie.

Since moving away from the peninsula and Erie I only return occasionally visiting family and friends.  And an old friend that I enjoy visiting as often as I can is the trail on Presque Isle.  I run there as frequent as I can when “home.”  I find it funny that when I lived right next door to the state park she was an afterthought.  Now I drive across the city in the wee hours of the morning to get a run in with my old friend and one of my favorite running places.

In case you missed it, my other favorite running place:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Tweets

Some tweets make me think, some make me feel happy, some make me mad, some make me chuckle....and here are my Top Tweets:

You might be a runner if ibuprofen is your recreational drug of choice.  @UmightBeaRunner

I don't always warm up before a 5K but when I do... It's at least 18 miles. @runlikeamug

The runner in first place in not the only victorious runner in the race. Every goal met is a victory. Every heart gladdened is a victory. 

Dear 5 year old, I could let you stay up till 9 but since you took the liberty of being a little brat today I'm putting u to bed NOW #iwin  

I love naps! But I wish time would stop when I take them.  So I could nap longer.  

"Your legs will forgive you...eventually."  

Don't make money your goal. Pursue the things you love doing  @TeamRunner4Life 

Humidity + heat makes it hard to #RunAndTweet. ;-)   

I was going to tweet some other stuff from last week but if you were all that interested you probably would have read it then, right?  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

22 Days

22 days and I could be DEAD

A story has been making the rounds, and received National Attention about a Cleveland Browns fan who's last request was that six Browns players be pallbearers at his funeral so the team could "let him down one last time."  At first I found this story pretty stupid....a last attempt at attention at the cost of my favorite sports team.  I also found it sad, on your death bed and your taking jabs at a SPORTS team.  Then I found it shocking...

It was reported by the News Journal, Scott Entsminger hadn't missed a Browns home game since 1999. The General Motors retiree had pancreatic cancer and died 22 days after his diagnosis.

22 days...that is the real story here, 22 days.

Today I feel great, best position of my life.  My faith is centered on the LORD and savior JESUS Christ.  My relationship with my wife is the best ever and I'm more in touch with the love of my family then I have ever been.  My health and fitness are outstanding yet in 22 days I could be gone.

In 22 days I hope to go camping, I hope to run another 50k, I hope to hear news about the Browns training camp and more importantly, I hope to see more people accept JESUS.

Everyday people are hearing scarey words from doctors, many saw it coming and others did not.  Many are ready and sadly I would assume the majority are NOT.  Let's not take today for granted.  Let 's worship the creator GOD, lets accept Christ as our Savior and lets LOVE our family.  Let's go for a run.

This is some heavy stuff here...I'll pray for Mr Entsminger, his family, my family, my friends and the Cleveland Browns.  

Now, I'm going for a run!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Runner Problems


The Runner problems hash tag is popular on Twitter.  And some of the "Problems" that come up are oh so common and some are so very true. And some are just so funny.  These problems got me thinking about some of the common #RunnerProblems I have experienced and the trade offs that come with being a Runner.

Listed in "no particular order."

#1LOSSOFSLEEP,  Because of my job I get up every weekday at 0340, which requires me to get most of my runs in after work.  On the weekends I like to get in my long sleeping in is NOT something I get to do.  BUT the after LONG RUN nap is so worth it.

#2UGLYTOENAILS, I used to think I had pretty good looking feet for a runner.  But a few Ultra marathons (50+ mile runs) have put a beating on my toe a few look kind of sick, BUT I do have an outstanding running shoe collection.

#3FAMILYANDFRIENDSJUSTDON'TUNDERSTAND,  My wife kind of gets it, but most of my family worry about me. And my friends think I'm nuts, BUT I have a ton of friends who share my love of the longer mile on FB and Twitter...and the bonus is the few I have met are really nice people.

#4SOMEPARTOFMYBODYALWAYSHURTS, When you push yourself way beyond normal, parts are going to get overused, Its going to hurt.  BUT, the pain reminds me of what my body is capable many people could drop what they are doing and go for a 20 mile run.

#5IDOMISSSOMEQUIETFAMILYTIME, the hours spent out on the road have to come from some place.  Sometimes I steal an hour from here or there...this takes me away from my family, after all running is a solo endeavor.  BUT, running has made me a better person, running has put me closer to my Creator GOD, I spend this time in prayer for my family, my friends, the church and our communities.

Next time you are faced with a Running Problem, look for the trade offs that a Running Life provides for you!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Favorite Runs Chania

Chania, Crete

My 20 year military career landed me in some beautiful locations.  At a few of these I was fortunate enough to have had some down time where I was able to sneak in a run or two.  One of these places was Chania, Crete.  Located on the north side of the island of Crete, I ventured here a number of times to do some...lets just say "Special work." And on a quite morning on our trip I was able to sneak away with a fellow runner and log some miles along the old town roads of Chania.

Chania is a small fishing and tourist town on the Aegean Sea.  That morning my run took me along the quiet streets in and away from the city.  But what I remember the most about this run was the lighthouse that juts out into the bay.

As this 5+ mile run drew to a end in the city center, I decided to see how close we could get to the lighthouse itself.  Winding thu the city streets I was surprised that we made it to a walk way which gave us access to the barrier wall.  This barrier wall provided us a 200 yard run right into the bay itself.  Running along the top of this wall with water on both sides of you was breathtaking and a bit of a challenge with its uneven surface.  At the end of this wall we landed right at the foot of the lighthouse.  Surprisingly we had direct access to the doorway and stairs that led up the lighthouse.  Being the adventurer, I started up the stairs and got about half way up when it became to dark to go any further.

Chania is a wonderful, and welcoming city.  I often think back to that early morning run and would highly recommend a visit if you are ever considering a Greek island vacation.

The years past fast...who is this guy?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Road To 200

The Road To 200…

The title may conjure up images of some epic battle between good and evil, the dark forces in conflict with the honorable protector.  Yet this Road to 200 is really a contest with me against the road.  I’m pretty detailed when it comes to keeping track of my running miles.  Over the years I’ve developed a rather intense excel spreadsheet to log all of my workouts into.  This spreadsheet calculates all runs by distance, week, month and year.  I track all of my race times, running streaks, personal best performances and even rest and injury recovery days.  This spreadsheet crunches numbers back and forth with all the power of Microsoft; it can even determine how many times I’ve run The Great Wall of China (2.04) as well as to The Moon and back (.05).

So why do all this besides wanting to know how many times I’ve circumnavigated the Earth, because in a numbers kind of way it’s fun.  And it is a major motivator to hit new goals or establish new training benchmarks.  This all brings me to the standard of miles per month.  The 100 mile standard was a very early goal and one that has become common place for me.  For the first year surpassing 100 miles a month was significant, today my monthly miles exceed this standard by routine.

A new standard is 200 miles per month.  The closest I have gotten to the next century mark was last December (2012) when I fell 22 miles short.  Going into June I had no real goal of surpassing 200 miles and in fact started off the month on a rest day.  Certainly any goal setting month would not begin with a gutter ball or a big goose egg.  But that is how this run toward 200 started for me.

The month of June started off with a travel day as Michele and I were headed to Myrtle Beach for a camping vacation.  We so enjoyed our time there and the pedestrian friendly campground led to a great week of running.  I logged 58 miles during the 8 days we were there and running everyday helped me keep off the vacation pounds but also birthed the idea of approaching 200 miles.

Every good thing must come to an end.  Upon getting back to the real world, outside challenges sprung up, obligations of life and a bad stretch of weather cost two more running days.  In a blink of an eye we were 15 days into the month and I was sitting at 97 miles.  At this point even with three off days in the books, the thought of setting a new goal sprang new life.  I’m not sure why or where this thought came from but almost overnight the goal became a fixture of my running motivation.  My routine 6 mile run grew into 7, 8 and 9 miles.  Planned medium distances turned into double digits.  9 days later, I had not missed a run…and my total sat at a near record 171 miles.  The road to 200 began to feel real and achievable.  I know to some 200 miles in a month is routine, but to this runner who averages 124 and who’s pervious best is 178…200 is a nice jump.

The final run toward this goal came on the road from Jamestown Settlement to Yorktown Battlefields, Virginia.  My 200 mile goal would be met on the Colonial Parkway where 200+ years ago our fore fathers fought for freedom.  This historic road is a road I’ve run a number of times training for the marathon distance.  And yet this road marked a new day in my running history.  It was at the 16th mile when I reached 200 miles for the month.  I was fortunate to share this run with George, a friend, and his daughter Rebecca. My son Anthony was crewing for us.  When I hit 200 miles our little pack was separated a bit so I gave a quiet fist pump to the sky and motored on.  I'm wearing George's 24 Hour Event shirt, his event got me into running Ultras.

The Road to 200 205 looked something like this:

Number of days run:  23 days
Avg. distance per run:  9 miles
Total:  206.6 miles
States Run In:  South Carolina, Virginia