Thank you 2012!

Posted: January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s the last day of the year!  (Well, now the first day of 2013 since I didn’t finish this yesterday!) What a year it has been!

First,  I want to thank everyone that is in my life.  So many of you are a daily inspiration to me just by living the lives that you live.  You continue to make me want to be a better father, a better friend, a better person, well, just be better!!

2012 taught me many of life’s hard lessons as well as what determination, hard work, and believing in yourself will do.  I traveled many great miles, accomplished goals along the way, started new friendships and met people I know will brighten my life.  I finally took time to stop, look around and realize what I have, and be thankful.

I raced some great races and I failed miserably at some.  I was taught not to quit and friends will believe in you even when you don’t.  I learned that the finish line isn’t as important if you just take the time to enjoy the journey.  I walked with cancer survivors and listened to their stories.  All this before my mom become one herself.

Then there are my boys.  Oh, how I love watching them grow!  They grow so fast and do some amazing things along the way.  They are a continuous source of joy, laughter and inspiration.

So thank you 2012 for all that you gave.  Thanks for all the lessons, all the memories, all the motivation that I will carry into 2013.  Thank you!

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I Suck At This!!

Posted: December 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

I mean it about Blogging!  I keep saying I will keep up with this so you know where I am in my journey.  Well, it’s not like you don’t know if I’ve been running if you check your facebook feed or dailymile.  But I have been bad about keeping up with all the stuff that surrounds running, like races and pretty much life in general.

So, what is going on in my world, you ask?? (I know, you didn’t ask)  I’ve had an incredible fall season of training and racing.  I never thought I would be where I am right now.  Never!  I’ve set PR’s in every distance in the last 3 months.  Some PR’s were huge!   I am a firm believer that my diet has been the biggest change in my running life.  Never have I felt so good, so strong, and with so few issues.  I continue to train hard and try to make each run, and more importantly, each day count!

I have a couple of big races coming up.  The first is the Harbison 50k in Columbia, SC.  I had a huge failure there last year.  That race taught me alot about myself and life.  I’m looking forward to running those beautiful hills with a new spirit.  I keep changing my mind on goals for that race.  One goal might be to not have a goal and just go in with a fresh mind and body, and run free.   In early February I will be running the Delirium Ultra 24 Hour Endurance Race.  I have huge goals for this!  I WILL run 100 miles this year in 24 hours! (Hopefully under 24 hours).  I hope to run the first 50 miles in 10 hours or less and then just piece together a way to survive the other 50 miles in whatever time remains.  I’ll have to dig deep but that’s what running is all about.

April will bring the R2R2R, which is the run across the Grand Canyon and back.  Other plans for the year are to hopefully run an ultra or marathon a month.  Oh, did I mention I will be riding my bike for 24 hours??  Yes, this year I am part of Team Camden and will be riding the 24 Hours of Booty!!!!  Look for details in my next blog!

Well, that’s all I have for now!  Thanks for stopping by!

I’m Scared!

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yup, I said it.  I’m scared!!

I’ll stand here typing this and think of all the things I could really be scared of:  Death, disease, loosing a family member or friend, or all the other really life changing fears that should really matter more.  But why am I scared?

I’m scared because I’m running a 5k.  Yup, 5000 meters.  3.1 miles.  16,368 feet. But to me, I fear this race for than any race I’ve ever done so far.  I’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons, 50k’s and even a 24 hour event.  But this race to me at this time of my life is huge.

Those of you who know me know that 2012 has been a life changing year.  With every change in life comes challenges.  Whenever you have a challenge you can either face them or crawl into a hole, hide and feel sorry for yourself.  I did both.  For so many days and weeks I had to dig for strength to make it through the day.  Running has been my saving grace in it all.  I trained, and trained, and trained, and trained… and through it all, mile after mile, I became more and more of the person I wanted to become.  I am far from being that ‘perfect’ person I want to be, but are any of us?   I’ve stopped living in the ‘it can wait another day’ mode.  I know that everything can’t happen today but I’m no longer just pushing things away so far that they are out of reach.  I’ve started building a master list of all the things I have missed out on and want to do or experience.     The list keeps growing but I intend to get to every one of those things.  Some of the goals are monumental on the scale of life and will take time to reach.  Some are totally juvenile and ridiculous (skinny dipping) but are things that have not been lived or experienced.  I need to live those experiences.

So why am I scared?  I feel I am so far away from where I was.  I feel my training, fitness and health are better than ever in my life.  EVER!  I feel my spirit has been renewed with a purpose, a goal, a dream, and a new sense of importance.  But I also understand the complexity and how fragile the human spirit can be.  I have made such lofty goals for this race.  I hope to run this race faster than any other 5k I’ve done.  I’m scared of failure.  Who isn’t?   I have put the importance of this race as if it is somehow a progress report on my life.  I know it’s not.  Or is it?

But whether or not I reach my goal on Saturday, I will be celebrating every step I take as I run as fast as I can in those 3.1 miles, 5000 meters or 16,368 feet.  I will celebrate all that I am, all that I will become and most importantly, I will be celebrating with my son as he crosses that finish line also.  I know that is what’s important!

So I run…

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

I don’t think any human is free from dealing with some sort of tragedy or loss in their life.  I think we all go through some sort of defining, life altering moments through different periods.  Some good, some bad and some that tear back all of our layers and make us look deep within ourselves and start new again.   Sometimes it’s not so much the tragedy that defines us, but how we cope, heal, understand, mourn, forgive and move forward.  Nothing is easy in this life.   Everything that is worth something has a cost and is worth the battle.

These last several months I have been on a journey of self discovery to learn about my beliefs, values, desires, motivations and about healing (or at least how to begin).   It continues to be a worthwhile journey.   Each day I understand what the important things are and hold on tight to those and I let loose the things that are insignificant.   I get better at that each day.  Some days fly by with joy and ease.  Some days are excruciatingly painful.

So I run…  to reflect on what I am, what I want to be…

So I run…  to dream about tomorrow and plan for my future…

So I run…  to understand the past but celebrate the present…

So I run…  to let this spirit that is inside me free…

Running has been an amazing friend to me over the last few years.  I’ve had time out on the roads and trails to become a healthier person.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have formed some great friendships along the way.  Now running has stood by me to help me through some of my darkest times and it lets me know that things are going to be ok.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many great people in my life.  Each and everyone of you have offered me inspiration, support, guidance,  lots of laughs, some great food, long miles of training  and so many other things that words can’t even describe.   Thank you for that!

I continue this journey with what’s important,  shedding the layers of the unimportant to the side.  I continue to expose my inner layers in hope that I learn and grow to be the best person I can be.  I’m learning that every single day is a blessing,  to seize it and enjoy every minute of it.

I have so much more to learn, experience and celebrate but also some more healing to do …  So I run…

Vegan. Say what?

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Some of you may know that most of my family recently went Vegan.  Why??  Well, there are a number of reasons we decided to give it a try.  I won’t get carried away with the pro’s and con’s but let’s just say it would be healthier than what our current diet consisted of.  Although I must say our daily diet wasn’t all that terrible except for the frequent trips to the store to support my ice cream dependency.   I do have to say that there are a ton of alternatives out there that ‘simulate’ or ‘replicate’ that of meat counterparts.  Kroger has a great health-food section of their store.    The new recipes, although different, have not been a challenge for my talented wife who can make almost anything taste good.

So here are the numbers one month into the new food lifestyle for me –  Weight: -11 lbs, BMI: -1.6, Body Fat: -3.8%, Muscle Mass: +2.1%

How do I feel?  I feel really great.   I now feel I eat to live and not live to eat.  Energy levels are consistent throughout the day without peaks and valley’s.   I eat more often and in smaller portions throughout the day which helps.

I was pretty concerned on how my performance would be when running but I am pretty satisfied with my training performance.  I am much more vigilant about preparing for long runs that last more than 90 minutes and it has paid off.  Pace times are down slightly and I would attribute that to the loss in weight.

I look forward to see how the rest of the summer goes!

A few weeks back I decided that I needed to find a way to give back.  Like so many, I get caught up in the day to day stuff and sometimes forget to look at the ‘big picture’.   I found a Relay for Life that was taking place at the Island Rec Center on Hilton Head.    The event was advertised to start at 6 pm and end at 6 am the following morning.   The Relay for Life is an American Cancer Society event to raise money and awareness to fight cancer.   So with just a few weeks to raise money I started requesting donations from my family and friends.  In a short amount of time I was able to raise a good amount of money for the cause.

The Island Rec Center is a big complex which also sits along side of the Hilton Head High School.  When I signed up for the event I had anticipated that the event was going to be held on the high school track.  Apparently this was not the case this year as in past years.   The event was held on a soccer field that sits between the two complexes.   Tents were set up in the center of the field and luminaries lined the perimeter of the field making a ten foot lane.  I had anticipated trying to run as many of the hours as I could.   With the new layout it was going to be difficult to run.

The opening ceremonies took place at 6:30 PM with the salute to the flag and the honoring of all the cancer survivors who were at the event.  Each survivor wore a purple shirt and approached the microphone to tell us about the form of cancer they had and how many years they were a survivor.   The survivors started the event by walking the first lap.  After the first lap all the participants were invited to start walking.   I started the event with hundreds of other supporters.   My plans now were to walk a few hours and once things thinned out a little to begin to run.  To my surprise, after about only 20 minutes things really began to open up.   At the same time the MC made an announcement that if there were any runners that wanted to run to go ahead and run.  Yes!

So off I went.  Just me.  Only me.  The only runner.  Running was tough.  There were alot of people moving about both on and off the track.   Not to mention that I was basically running loops around a soccer field.   But tough is a relative term.   Running past all the luminaries with victims and survivors names kept things in perspective.  I was running for them.  All of them.  All of those family members who had passed away from cancer.

So I kept running, and running, and running.  So much so that I began to get noticed.  People would clap as I passed.  Some would cheer.  Why?  Why me?   This is not for me.  It’s for them.  The MC for the event stopped me as I passed him to ask how far I had run up to that point.  6 miles was my response after the first hour.   He made an announcement over the PA and people cheered.   I’m just running for those who no longer can’t, I thought.    The time ticked away and somehow I got more attention.  Kids would ask if they could run a lap or a mile and they would join in.  As the laps went by more and more people were inspired to run.   Just run.

Then it happened.  I had passed a survivor on the track many times.  She appeared to be in her mid-50’s.  She was walking slowly reading the names on the luminaries as I had done before the event started.  I passed her and continued to run.  Then I stopped.  I turned around and walked back towards her.   I could feel the emotions well up as I told her thank you for surviving.  We spent quite a few minutes walking together talking about each other and her battle with cancer as we read the names on the luminaries.   She asked who I was running for and wished me well.

Several laps later I was stopped by a man named Jim.  I learned that Jim was a survivor of testicular cancer.  He had ignored a lump for a while hoping that things would be ok or just go away.  After his wife pushed him to visit a doctor he was on the operating table 2 days later.  Surgery and radiation saved his life.  We walked and talked for quite a while.  He talked of his long lost passion for running.  He had run since he won his battle with cancer but somehow lost motivation.  He asked me some questions about different aspects of running and what I do to keep motivated.  He then asked if we could run together.  Absolutely!   So we ran, we talked, we told some jokes and had a great time.   Jim thanked me for spending time talking with him and that I had motivated him to start running again.

More laps passed and more kids and adults joined in and left.  I had time to reflect on conversations and people I had met.  An announcement was made that the event was being cut short and would end at midnight instead of 6 am as originally planned.   Apparently there were not a lot of teams participating and they felt the relay through the night was not warranted.  I passed the MC who made one last announcement of my mileage.   21 miles.

I learned that it’s not always the finish line, but what you do between that start and the finish that’s important.   Did I have bigger goals?  Yes, more miles.  Did it matter?  No.  The quality of those 21 miles can not be replaced.  The time with survivors or spending time with kids who ‘want to run like you’.  That’s what it’s all about.   Things weren’t as planned.  Just better.

Was This My Superbowl?

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

A warm Saturday morning in the summer of 2010 started it all over again for me.  Meeting a group of runners from the Palmetto Pacers was enough for me to get hooked on running again.  At the helm of the group was Tim Waz.  As I pulled into the parking lot, with a bit of apprehension as to what would await, he was there to greet me with a wave and a smile.   The group of runners pulled out of a bagel shop parking lot that morning and we were off, and I was…

During the last year and a half I have managed to run well over 2,000 miles and competed in 2 5k’s, a 15k bridge run,  2 half marathons, 2 marathons, 3 50k’s, and a 50 mile relay race.    Then this weekend arrived and here I was facing this beast, the Delirium 24 Hour Endurance Race.  The Delirium 24 Hour Endurance Race had a 10 AM start time that would begin the clock and run for exactly 24 hours.  The course is  a 1.7 mile loop course.  1.3 Miles of the course is loosely packed mulch and the remaining 0.4 miles is along an asphalt bike path.   The most miles covered wins.  How far could I go?  Was this my Superbowl?

I had never done this type of event before.  Did I ask enough questions?  Did I train enough?  How was my nutrition?  Was I crazy?  I wanted to complete 100 miles.  Could I??  With a countdown of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…, from the Mayor of Bluffton, I would soon find out.  All 65 runners were off and running.  I kept chanting ‘Go slow, go slow, go slow’ in my head.  I didn’t want to try to keep up with anyone this early in the day.  I knew there were many top notch athletes running that would go on to do extraordinary things that day and the last thing I wanted to do was get caught up in it all.   I settled into a comfortable pace and began making my way through the day.

The day grew long and the temps began to fall.  The sun set behind the trees and the high winds that blew throughout the day continued into the night.  The temps would drop into the upper 20’s with wind chills in the teens.  Along with the fading daylight was my fading energy.  Walking breaks became the norm as darkness settled in and soon walking would be all that I could do.  One foot in front of the other.   One step at a time.

During the night I spent a great deal of time pushing forward with Paul by my side.   Paul and I had spent quite a months training together for this event.   He  had lapped me several times throughout the day but after 14 hours our paces were now the same.  Slow.   But we both kept each other going and somehow the laps just clicked by.

Somewhere around 2 AM I could do no more without rest.  Everything hurt.  Everything was cold and I started to shake uncontrollably.   After sitting in the truck for a short time my legs began to tighten up and my knees were in agony.   I shut my eyes for a few hours.   I was back up before daybreak and started my laps again as daylight returned.  I felt better from some sleep but in no way was I rested.   The clock was winding down as I made my last laps around the course.  I decided to run the very last lap.  I needed to somehow finish this like I started it.  I did.

This race brought in so many people from so many different walks of life.  Many have overcome great odds and obstacles.  Some were world class athletes that accomplished amazing things.  Some were just out there to prove they had the guts to be better today than they were yesterday.   A group of runners from 21 Guns were there to dedicate their run in the honor of 2 soldiers that lost their lives to protect our freedom.   A heartwarming dedication to the family of one of the soldiers hardly left a dry eye.

So many stories were created during those 24 hours by so many runners.   I look forward to reading the ones that are shared.

Oh, and if this was my Superbowl the Final Score was 56-100.  The course won.  56 Miles were completed.

The Year’s Almost Over? Really??

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

What??  Where did 2011 go?  Better yet, why didn’t I keep up with my blog?

Well, I’ll list a few excuses.  First, I have been chasing around an almost 2-year-old just about every single day.    Second excuse – Facebook.  Need I say more??  I guess my last excuse will be something about the planets not aligning or something.  Ok, I’ve been just plain lazy!

Here is a rundown of my years highlights.  After the Black Vulture 50k in the spring,  I ran in the Cremator 50 Mile Ultra in the hottest part of the summer.  I entered as part of a 3-man relay team with each member responsible for about 17 miles each.  My first 6 miles were in the morning when temps were still a manageable 80+ degrees.  My second leg of the race, however, was to cover 11 miles starting around noon.  Temps hovered in the upper 90’s with heat indexes between 110-115 degrees.  Needless to say, I was reduced to crawl during a large portion of that leg.  I’m not sure what was worse, the blistering of my feet from the heat and sweat in my shoes, or just the lack of energy to run in those temps.  But we finished.  The amazing part of the day was to witness some amazing athletes complete the 50 mile distance alone.  Sheer awesomeness!

I do have to say that ‘The Lowcountry’ summers absolutely suck!  With most nightime temps hovering in the upper 70’s and daytime highs in the upper 90’s it was almost impossible to feel good about doing any productive runs.  I just felt as though my fitness level was slipping away even though I was  training for the Savannah Rock -n- Roll Marathon.

Fast forward to the Savannah Rock-n-Roll Marathon.  23,000 runners!  Yes, a sold out crowd for the inaugural running of this event.  I did not plan to try for a PR due to the lack of good training during the summer.  My goal was to run somewhere around a 4:10-4:15 marathon.   After the start of the race the crowd thinned out a little and I settled into a 9:07 pace.  I just kept telling myself that the race starts at mile 20.  I crossed the halfway distance (13.1) in 2:00.   I thought to myself that if I can stay on track I could break 4:00.   I still told myself the race starts at mile 20 for me.   Passed mile 20 and didn’t hit the wall to hard although my pace started to drop by 30-45 seconds per mile.   I ran a mile with a familiar face and the conversation took some of the edge off the pain.  I knew I needed to back off a little so I wished him well and he slowly pulled away from me.  Miles 22-24 were the worst with lots of walking mixed into that distance.  Everything hurt.  I was finally able to put the pieces back together and run the last 2 miles to the finish.  Time – 4:17:51

Next up was the Mad Marsh Ultra 50K.  This is really a great race.  It’s run on the Lady’s Island Golf Course which shut down 18 holes of the course so time ago.  7 laps around the 4.5 mile course was on the schedule for the day.   Becky of East Coast Ultras does a great job with the races and they are a lot of fun to run.  I believe 68 runners were at the starting line for this race, so it was a great turnout.   I was happy to running the race with Paul, Tim, Racheal and Quincy .  After a short prayer at the starting line we were off and running.   My goal was to get into a slow easy rhythm and just have a strong finish.  The first few laps were probably run a little quicker than they should have been.    Hydration and fueling were dialed in with either a gel of solid foods every 30 minutes.  Worked great!   Passed the half marathon mark in 2:02 and my time started to slow as I reached the marathon distance in 4:26.  I felt good all the way to that 26.2 mark and then the legs really started to tighten up.  I stopped at the aid station the last lap and rolled my legs and, with some encouragement from Tim and Paul, I was off for my last lap.   About 1.5 miles into the last lap I ran over the only ‘big’ hill on the course and made a right to follow the trail.  As I looked over, I could see another runner crossing the road.  He was about a half mile behind me at most.  Although this was a race, most of the race that day was just against myself and my abilities.  But here I was yelling at myself to not get caught, to not get passed.  Suddenly all the pain and deadness in my legs quieted down.  As Mudvayne poured into my ears I began to pick up the pace.  I would look back every so often and see I was pulling away.   I passed the 50K mark in 5:33.  As I approached the finish line I could my family there to welcome me.  Nathan ran up to meet me and we ran towards the finish line together.  What an awesome feeling!!   I crossed the finish line in 5:39.  I ran a PR.

Now as the year winds down I am preparing for an exciting first two months of the year.  I will be running in the Harbison 50K on Jan 7th and the Delirium Ultra 24 Hour Endurance event in February.   But first I need to make it through the holidays.  I wish everyone the very best this holiday season.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

 

What has seemed like an eternity has only been 10 days.  Recovering from my first Ultra couldn’t have been any better.  I know I didn’t set any land speed records by finishing in 6:30+ but time wasn’t the goal for me.  It was all about finishing.  The day after my run I was getting around just fine with a little soreness and tightness.  I could walk up and down the stairs great and my wife would laugh at me as I demonstrated my ease of movement.  It was a far cry from the week before when I grimaced in pain for several days and my 14 month old would laugh at me because he could outrun me.

I started my first run on Wednesday and ran 4 miles.  Felt Great!  It was great for a number of reasons.  First, no pain.  Second, I really missed that time out there to clear my mind and focus on the important things.  I ran 4 miles on Thursday.  Again, felt great.   On Saturday,  I joined the runners from the Palmetto Running Company for the weekly group run and ran a little over 6 miles.  It’s always a blast joining other runners who share your passion with the sport.   It makes for some great runs and great conversations.

My next big race is the ‘Fatass on the Rock 50k’ on Hilton Head Island.  The race is March 27th.  This will be another exciting and challenging ultra.  It is going to be a super low key event with just a few runners and will cover most of Hilton Head Island.  I will up my mileage going into this weekend and then taper for a few weeks.  Not pushing the distance or the time.  My goal for this race is to break 6 hours but would really like to finish in 5:30.  We will see what fresh legs will do.   If you would like to join us we are starting at the Bristol Skate Park on March 27 at 7AM.  It should be a fun day of running.  Email me for more info:  runinthemiddle@gmail.com

I have some exciting news to share!!  I was invited to join the Palmetto Running Company / Footbalance Racing Team!!    The team will participate in local, regional and national races and events.  It will be a great way to both support and promote running.

This is super exciting to me for a number of reasons.   Part of this acknowledges the amount of hard work I’ve put in over the last 10 months to becoming a healthier person through running.  I have to thank Tim and Holly Waz for the initial creation of  Bluffton’s first running club, The  Palmetto Pacers Running Club.   It was through this group that I was able to stay motivated and reach goals.  Although running is a mostly solitary activity, it is through group runs and events that I was able keep pushing myself, share and learn with others and celebrate all of our accomplishments.

It was only fitting that Tim and Holly join with local runners Robert and Elizabeth Fyfe to start the Palmetto Running Company, a specialty running store.   Palmetto Running Company will supply and educate runners of all levels and abilities with the best products and knowledge available.   Please visit the website at http://www.PalmettoRunningCompany.com to view more information about the great products and services they offer.  You can also find them on Facebook  : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Palmetto-Running-Company/183417288338960

 

 

I”ve posted the announcement taken from the Palmetto Running Company website.