31 December 2008

2008: A Year In Review

Well, 2008 has been a great year for me. It is the year that I finally fell in love with running. This may be a long post, but here it goes.

I started the year cycling. I had been doing it on a regular basis for a bit over a year. I was doing it to get back into shape, but was pretty "business casual" about it. I was still using the no name mountain bike that I had bought at Target over 7 years ago, but I changed out the knobby off road tires for slick road ones.

Over the last few years I have tried to take up running a few times. It was not until April of this year that I found the C25K program, and thought that it would be perfect for me. I was basically a couch potato and would love to be able to run 5k on a regular basis.

I did the first week in these crappy shoes that I got from PayLess. My feet were killing me and I knew that I had to get real running shoes. I could not afford the local running store, so I went to a department store and got a pair of New Balance. Immediately I could feel the difference and I fell in love with running shoes. I still to this day have some sort of weird thing for them, and actually check them out on other runners.

By this time I had started to abandon cycling and really wanted to get into running. I followed the C25k program for only the first three weeks. To be honest I do not even remember why I stopped, but I regret stopping. The first week in May would be the last time I would run until August. On top of that I would not ride my bike, except while doing it with my, now 5 year old, son.

Something clicked inside of me near the beginning of August. I wanted to run and I knew that I just had to do it. I would go out and run for 15 minutes and then turn around and run back. I never really got far, and there were a lot of walk breaks involved, but I was doing it. It was easier for me to do because I was not really tracking my runs, just running.

My first breakthrough came a couple weeks later when I ran two miles without stopping. It felt really good, and I realized that I could have done it all along, but I was not letting myself do it.

I kept better track of my runs and worried more about building mileage and endurance rather than speed and pace. I noted improvements in time, and celebrated milestones in speed, but my main focus was distance. I increased mileage gradually, I think sometimes too slow, but focused on running longer and farther.

My first race was a pumpkin run 5k in October. I signed up less than a week before it and got my brother to do the same. We got there and were immediately intimidated. Everyone looked faster and more experienced at running than us and I was sure that I would finish dead last. Three point one miles was the farthest I had ever run, and I only did it once.

I got caught up in the excitement of running with so many other people and went out too fast. I walked quite a few times and thought I was going to die on one of the hills, but the race was a good one. I finished near the back of the pack, but there were plenty of people behind me!

The following week was the Run The Bridge 10k that crosses the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia and back, then goes through Camden and ends in the Riversharks minor league baseball stadium. I did NOT run this race, but I was pissed off at myself because if I had continued with the C25K program and ran through the summer I know I could have done it. There is always next year.

Late November was the Philadelphia Marathon. I had no intention of running this at all during the year, but as I fell in love with running I knew that I was going to go over and watch it. I have already decided that this will be my first marathon, hopefully in 2009.

It was a fun day watching the marathon. I got over there early with my brother who was attempting the full marathon for the first time. His training was interrupted by injury, but preferred to try it than have a DNS.

I had a great time watching the marathon. I never thought I would like watching strangers run, but it was fun. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the festivities of such an event and was glad that I went. I am excited to be a runner next time rather than a spectator.

My brother ended up stopping at the half, because his injury was acting up again, but he has vowed to run it all the way through next year. I will also be doing it.

My second race was a 5k that came in December. I was by myself, but much more confident since I knew a little more of what to expect at an organized race. I just got a Garmin Forerunner 305 a couple days before and was excited to try it out.

This race was even better than my first. The route was nicer, the weather was better, and I ran the whole thing without stopping. On top of that I PR'd with a 32:14, breaking my goal finish of 33 minutes.

My mileage gradually increased each week and each month. The last few weeks of the year I have developed some serious shin splints, so I am resting up. 2008 has been a great year, and I am excited to run through 2009.

Here are some numbers:

Total Distance in 2008: 114.9 miles
Longest Month: 30.9 miles
Longest Week: 8.6 miles
Longest Single Run: 5 miles

Races Run: 2 5k's
PR's Set: 2
Fastest 5k: 32:14

I will be tracking all my runs in 2009 and setting bigger and better goals... but more on that in the first post of 2009.

29 December 2008

This Is Killing Me

Monday's are usually rest days, and when I am resting I am thinking about running, but it feels okay since I know running is so close.

Today is only the first day of a long rest in order to make sure that my leg is okay and it is killing me, because running is so far away. I feel bad for saying it, because there are other bloggers who are currently sidelined for a long time, but I miss running already.

I hope to go for a couple of bike rides this week, but even though cycling was originally my first love, it will never replace running.

28 December 2008

Done For The Year

For the past few weeks my left leg has been bothering me. It does not hurt while running, nor does it hurt all the time, but after running on the weekends it hurts the most.

I do my long run on Sundays and it has been fine during the run, but hurts later that night and hurts the next couple of days. The pain never fully goes away, but it feels better by Thursday and I run again.

I want it to heal fully, and I definitely do not want it to get any worse. I am starting my first official training program in February, and I really want to go into it as healthy as possible so that I can run the Broad Street Run in May.

So I will take the next week off and hopefully I will feel better. Then it is back to building mileage in January and then training for Broad Street starting in February.

God Willing.

The Last of The Firsts of 2008

I am warning you now... this post is going to be long.

I have had a lot of firsts during 2008, and I will talk about them in a later post. Today was my last day of running for 2008 (more on that in the next post), and I find it fitting that it was full of firsts.

The first time that I drove somewhere in order to run.
I wanted a little bit of fresh scenery, and I have been tossing around the idea of finding more places to run and writing about them, so I decided to go to Copper River Park in Collingswood, NJ. I used to think it strange to drive more than you are actually running, and I still do a little, but it is nice to get out of your neighborhood and find new places to run.

The first time I carried a camera and snapped photos while running.
It seems that I see something amazing on every run that I do, yet I never have anything to record it with. I decided to carry my camera with me this morning since it was my first time running Cooper River Park. I snapped some pretty nice pictures. Check them out at my Flickr page. I will not carry my camera with me every time, but one thing it did for me today is help me keep my pace slow during my LSD and also helped me to enjoy my surroundings and have a relaxing run.

The first time I ran 5 miles.
Today was my LSD run, and 5 miles is my new record for long run. I did it at a very slow and relaxing pace, and did not take any walk breaks. I only stopped for about ten seconds at a time to snap a photo.. This run was a very good quality and it also boosted my confidence that my endurance is improving.

The first time I ran over 1 hour.
Again, proof that my endurance is improving. I had no walk breaks at all and I felt incredible after the run. My pace was very slow and 5 miles is not very far to go in an hour, but I will be working on speed next year.

So here is my run. The distance around the river is about 3.75 miles, but I wanted to do 5. So when I finished my lap around the river I did the last mile and quarter on the track that they have there.

The track is nothing fancy, just dirt, but it felt great running on it. I had to make a conscience effort to keep my pace slow, and the pace of the track part of my run was almost a minute faster than the rest of my run. This is another confidence builder, knowing that I will be able to go fast on the track when I start my speed workouts.

Speaking of tracks, I am glad I found this one because all the local schools keep theirs locked up tighter than Fort Knox. I have two high school tracks within running distance of my house and can not use them. In fact if you look closely at this satellite photo you will see a much nicer track above and slightly to the right of this one. That belongs to a Catholic high school and, of course, is all locked up.

25 December 2008

Run Hard

I planned on doing three miles today, but after unwrapping gifts with the kids, my parents came over. I was getting ready for the run when they got here, so I still went out, but I cut the run down to a little over two miles.

I have not run since Sunday, and since my leg was bothering me early in the week I wanted to take the run nice and easy. My decision to slow the pace was also made easier by the wind, which was a little gusty.

My pace was just under 11:00 minutes per mile, but as I neared the two mile mark I was feeling good. I decided to run hard for a quarter mile and see what I could do.

Visions of a YouTube video popped in my head. I could see Ryan Hall smashing the half marathon record, and now I was running beside him. I pushed hard and ran as fast as I could while still keeping a semi-decent form.

I finished the last quarter mile just over an 8:00 minute pace, with a best pace of 7:05.

I do not do any specific speed work right now, because my main goal is to build mileage and endurance, but I am confident that I will someday be able to hold these paces for an entire race... perhaps even for an entire marathon.

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday all year, but Christmas is is also special to me. First because what we truly celebrate with this day is the birth of Jesus Christ! Secondly it is growing more special because of having a family, with two awesome sons. One is 5 and the other is 2.

There are three stages to a man's life. He believes in Santa, He doesn't believe in Santa, and finally he is Santa. It was fun last night, clearing out the cookie bowl and leaving only a few crumbs. My oldest was in awe at how hungry Santa was. The look on his face all morning was priceless!

My dear wife bought me two Under Armour cold gear shirts, and they feel great. I did not use them on my run this morning, because I like to wash my clothes before wearing them. But I can tell that my cold runs will now be much better with these shirts.

So let me wish you all a Merry Christmas, and remember that born this day in the city of David is a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord... who is for all people!

21 December 2008

Long Cold and Wet

Last night, when I checked this morning's weather report, I was excited to see that it called for snow early in the morning. It was supposed to turn to a wintry mix around the time I was scheduled to run, but the snow would accumulate to about an inch.

I was excited because it meant that first thing in the morning everything would be snowy, the sky would be overcast, and there would be a natural peace to the atmosphere. I was excited to run in such weather and even more excited that it would be my long run. I mentally amended my run to take me by some places that would look nice in the snow and I made sure I would have my camera on hand.

When I woke up and looked outside... nothing but rain. Heavy rain that was freezing all over everything. When I got outside the steps were slippery, the cars were iced over, and the roads were already slushy. The only good thing was that there was still a natural peace in the atmosphere since no one dared get out of bed yet.

I could barely stay stable on the icy steps and worried that the road would not be any better. My mind began thinking about making screw shoes, and wondered if I would be able to get through my run today. The road was better. Icy in parts, but bearable. I again amended my route, but this time to stay away from heavy traffic and take roads that would allow me to move back and forth in order to avoid ice.

It was not long before my jacket was dripping with water. There were multiple times in the first mile that I thought about cutting the run short. This weather was miserable. Shortly after the first mile I stepped in a puddle that was much larger than it appeared. Cold quickly went though my foot. I was going to use this as an excuse to stop, but decided to keep going.

A few walk breaks, and four puddles later, I decided to loop around this one block onto the main road and run back to the main intersection a few blocks from my house. Since my jacket was covering my Garmin I was not sure how far I had ran, but estimated it was almost three miles, and decided that would be enough for me.

When I got to the intersection I looked and my Garmin told me I had already gone over three and a half miles! I did not even realize it. I decided to finish the entire four miles and immediately felt better about the run.

While finishing that last half mile I thought about running. This is one of the reasons why I run. To test my limits and my endurance. To run no matter what is thrown at me, and to keep going.

Most people run because it is fashionable to run a mile every day or spend thirty minutes on the treadmill at the gym. A lot of people run a single marathon so that they can cross it off their list, just to never run again.

I run because it is primal and the human machine can push it's limits and run no matter what the circumstances. I run to build my endurance and eventually expand my limitations. The harder I run the better I become at it.

I run because that is what I am created to do.

20 December 2008

I Want To Breath Smoke

My favorite times during a run are when I drift off into a daydream state and it seems as if I am having an out of body experience. It does not happen every time I run, and it can be simple or complex.

Today was one of those days.

It was an easy two mile run. I actually turned my alarm off and slept in. I sort of regretted doing that, but as soon as I woke up two hours later I went out and ran.

It was cold outside. The coldest I have ever ran in, 29 degrees.

At one point in the run, my eyes followed the road, and my breath hung thick and heavy in the air. My eyes drifted from the road to my breath floating in front of my face.

I watched it come out thick and spread around me. Immediately my mind started wandering to the different endurance athletes I read about on the Internet and watch on YouTube.

My mind floated away and I no longer focused on pain or distance or pace. I felt invincible. I felt like I could go on forever and take on anything. I felt like a machine.

I felt like I could breath smoke.

18 December 2008

Road ID

I have been tossing around the idea of buying the Road ID for some time, and I finally broke down and did it last week. I usually ran with nothing, but sometimes would put my drivers license in my pocket and hope that it did not fall out.

With this it is much easier. I strap it on my wrist and have nothing to worry about. I got the yellow one, because I like to be noticed. It straps pretty snug on your wrist with Velcro. It is very comfortable, but I would like it to fit loose like a bracelet rather than snug like a watch and I am thinking about ordering the larger size band for it. The metal tag is removable and compatible with the other Road ID products.

I think that this is a pretty smart piece of equipment to have, considering you never know what is going to happen. I have had a couple close calls in my short time of running, and it makes me think "what if?"

Hopefully I never have to rely on this thing, but I am glad that I have it.

100 Miles

Today I ran my 100th mile. It really is not a lot when you look at the big picture, but I just started running this year, and have only been doing it seriously for about four and a half months now.

It is ironic, however, that such a milestone mile would turn out to be a bad run.

I was overdressed for the weather. I am still getting the feel for what to wear for each temperature and this morning I had too much on my upper body.

Also, I did not warm up or stretch properly. No wonder my legs were feeling tight during the run and my body was not relaxed.

Finally I started too hard. I have not run since Sunday's long run. My leg was hurting and I gave it a few days rest. It felt fine this morning and I started too fast for my own good. I knew it too, but continued with the pace because it felt good. Before long I was slowing and pushing myself through the run.

When I look back over my runs I can see what the good runs have in common with each other and what the bad runs have in common with each other. It is easy to see that a good run requires certain ingredients.

You need a good warm up, a good stretch, and you need to go at the proper pace. That with a few other elements can make or break a run.

Now as long as I remember that I should be fine.

14 December 2008

Future Runner

I have two sons. The youngest will be two next month and the oldest is five years old. They frustrate the hell out of me sometimes, but they are everything to me, and truly a blessing from God.

When I finally got my Forerunner 305 a couple of weeks ago, there was only one person as excited as me. My five year old son. The reason he was so excited was because I told him that when I got my Garmin, he could have my other running watch. It is really nothing more than a timer and a very poor heart rate monitor that uses the pulse from your fingertip.

As soon as I opened my Forerunner, he ran over to the desk to get his new watch.

The next logical step was to get him shoes. We went to Foot Locker and tried on a few pair. We settled on a nice looking pair of Nike Shox. My son likes them because they have the "shocks" in the back and he thinks they can make him run faster and stop him from falling.

After the shoes I promised to take him for a run. We finally got our first run in this afternoon.

There is a field down the street from us, so I figured we would run down there and run around the field a bit. Of course this was before my long run this morning. (See previous post). My legs were killing me, but I took him out anyway.

He ran along the sidewalk, and I paced him in the shoulder of the street. I told him to take it slow at first, (more for me than him) and keep upright. He was doing well and he looked so adorable running down the street. I wish I had my video camera with me.

We got to the field and saw a deer. Then we ran around the field a bit. We raced and had fun. He controlled the running and decided when to walk. I am impressed because at moments we were running a 9 minute pace. Now to just keep him interested in running... Maybe he will BQ before I do.

I used my Garmin because we had to have our running watches in order to run. I also thought it would be neat to show him our path of the run and were we had gone. Most of this is walking, but we ran a lot of it...

LSD and More Milestones

Today was a long run. In the past my long run pace was about the same as my easy run pace, which I do not think is a good thing to do. All week my plan was to do this long run at a much slower pace and to make it my longest distance yet. A couple of steps that I hope will build my endurance.

Four miles was the planned length. I was afraid that I would need to cut it short because my left leg has been bothering me for a couple days. I keep telling myself that it is just shin splints, and I think that I am correct because it did not hurt at all during the run, even though the leg has been sore the rest of the day. I plan on resting it for a couple days and if it does not feel better I will probably look for a doctor to check it out.

So the leg felt good during the run. I changed the display on my Garmin to show nothing but the pace so that I could focus on keeping it slow and steady, and not worry about the time or distance until I got closer to the end of the run. At first it felt weird going so slow, (which is doubly weird since a few months ago that was fast for me.) but I got in the groove and my legs coasted along the road.

I figured that I might need a walk break or two, since this was my longest run ever, but I did not feel like I needed one at all during the run. Even when I went through a park and passed the water fountain that I planned to stop at, I decided to keep going and not stop.

It felt so good to run for such a long distance. When I came to the end I slowed to a walk, and my legs felt like they wanted to keep moving faster.

So all in all I did 4.02 miles in 50:33 which comes out to a 12:35 pace. Just where I wanted to be.

So a few more milestones... I ran the longest distance I have ever run. I ran the longest time I have ever run. I needed no walk breaks at all. And I had my longest weekly mileage.

I am feeling very good about my running right now, and am so motivated to keep going and building my mileage. As long as my leg feels better and nothing is wrong, I should be able to build up my mileage over the next couple of months and start training for the Broad Street Run. God willing.

I have a lot more topics going through my head, so you will probably see multiple post over the next couple of days. And since I need to rest my leg and can not run, the only thing left to do is write about running!

13 December 2008

Ice and Blogs

My left leg has been bothering me just a bit for a couple days. I iced it down real well tonight and it feels good right now. I am going to see how it is later tonight and pray about whether I should run tomorrow or not.

I am planning on a LSD run tomorrow and will be doing my longest distance so far of 4 miles. Tomorrow I am focusing on the distance rather than the time, so I will be keeping a slow steady pace and see how my leg feels.

Another note... I have been exploring a lot of blogs lately and keep finding some great running blogs! If you have time to explore then make sure you check out the incredible runners in my list.

And if you know of any good blogs, or have one that I have not seen yet, make sure that you tell me about it. I love reading the progress and story of others, and I hope they enjoy reading about mine.

09 December 2008


I believe that it is very important to note milestones and achievements, whenever you are striving to improve yourself at something. No need for big celebrations, but you should at least note them in writing so that you can come back to them and see that your hard work is paying off. After all, the big achievements are nothing more than a set of small milestones put together to form a larger one.

So here are some of mine. Some of them seem incredible to me when I think about how I am changing. Others seem insignificant, but I know that they are adding up to something bigger.

I have been running only since August of this year. That will only be 5 months come New Years. In that time I have gone from...

  1. watching too much television to watching next to none.
  2. not being able to run more than a couple minutes, to being able to run for over 30 minutes. (and soon even longer)
  3. running my first mile in over 14 minutes to being able to hold a 10:22 pace for 5k.
  4. struggling to hold 10 minute pace to being able to hold 8:xx pace for short periods.
  5. not running at all to running 3 to 4 times per week.
  6. not even thinking about running to loving it.
  7. not caring about running, to searching out and watching endless video of runners on YouTube.

Not only that, but I have entered two 5k's in the last two months, and I am always keeping my eye out for more. I spent the day over in Philadelphia watching the marathon. (If you would have told me a year ago I would be watching strangers run, I would have thought you were crazy.)

I have found an entire community of bloggers that love to run and have some of the same goals as me. There are runners that are better than me, runners that are where I used to be, and runners that are at the same level as me.

When I look back at my running, and my improvement, it gets me excited and motivated. Excited because I know I will be reaching my goals with time, and motivation to work hard for those goals.

07 December 2008

Official Results

The website for the 5k For The Holiday run did not post official results yet, but I went directly to the Compuscore site and looked up the results.

Here are mine:

Time 32:14
Pace 10:22.4
Place 109/179
Gender 62/77
Age Group 7/7

I finished last in my age group. I think it is funny, but at least I did not finish last overall. And I can always say I finished 7th in my age group... that sounds better.

Oh Yeah... and here is the route from my Garmin. (No point in really showing this, I just like playing with my Garmin.) :)

06 December 2008

5k For The Holiday

Today was my second 5k since I started running. It was the Run 5k For The Holiday, and benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It is run on a very nice course that starts at a park in Burlington and loops around back to the park. Pretty flat with some hill, but not much.

I was very nervous when I arrived, for a few reasons. First, I had gotten sick around 3 in the morning and was hoping that it would not effect my run. Second, I was by myself. When I ran my first 5k I did not know anyone, but my brother was with me. I did not know anyone today either and I was by myself. Finally, my calf was hurting a little bit. Not a sharp pain but a tightness, and I was afraid it would get worse and slow me down during the run. It took a while to feel better, but I was okay after my warm ups and stretching.

I had a couple goals in mind for this 5k. First I wanted to run the entire thing without stopping. It sounds simple enough, but I have never ran 5k without a few walk breaks.

My next goal was to break 33 minutes... I know it is slow, but my pace is usually over 11 minutes per mile, except for short runs which are around 10:30 to 10:45 a mile. Breaking 33 minutes would also be a better time than my first 5k and therefore be a PR.

I started near the back of the pack, as I did in my first 5k, and planned to start slow enough that I would not wear myself out. Since I have my awesome new Garmin Forerunner 305 I was able to keep an eye on my pace and go exactly as planned.

The run felt great from the beginning. Believe it or not I passed more people than passed me. I was feeling excited, but calm. I was keeping my pace a little faster than 11:00 and feeling good. I continued to pass people and did not once feel like walking.

As I got close to the end I almost slowed for a walk break because I was forming a cramp in my side. I think I may have taken a drink of water too fast. As I started to slow, I told myself not to and kept going. I could see the finish now!

I turned the corner for the final straightaway to the finish line and tried to push it harder. I could only pick up the pace a little bit because I was getting worn down. I did finish strong and did not walk the entire thing!

Official results are not posted yet, but my Garmin time is 32:12 with these splits...
Mile 1 - 10:37 (10:37 pace)
Mile 2 - 20:44 (10:08 pace)
Mile 3 - 31:02 (10:18 pace)
Mile 3.1 - 32:12 (9:00 pace)

According to my Garmin (I love this thing by the way) My best pace was 8:15, but I am sure that I only held this for a short time... It was probably while I was passing someone since I usually speed up when I come around them. It also said I had a HR of 122 bpm in my last split... which is funny since I was not wearing a HR monitor. It must have picked up some one's monitor when I was coming through the finish.

When I was leaving I stopped to talk to one of the other runners. We talked about how we got into running and how much fun it is... I truly love running and every time I have a run like this it just makes me love it more.

03 December 2008

Now I Can't Wait

I can not wait to go running.

I ordered the Forerunner 305 from amazon.com a few days ago and it arrived today! I got home, charged it up and now have been playing with it for a few minutes. It is 9pm and dark out, but I am seriously considering going for a run.

It is so cool. It does so much. I will be running Friday morning and I have a 5k Saturday morning... the runs will be so much better with this... (well not really so much better, but I will feel so much cooler.)

It is amazing because all of the information this thing tracks and reports. And you can set different training programs.. oh my gosh I am so excited.

I feel like a kid at Christmas.

29 November 2008

Marathon Pics

I finally uploaded my pictures of the Philadelphia Marathon. There are a couple of good shots, but as you can tell I am not a great photographer, and I am blaming that on my crappy camera.


Be sure to check out the pic of the joggler.... both feet off of the ground and all the balls in the air.

Good For What Ails You

This week has been a little rough.

After getting home from the marathon on Sunday I started feeling sick. It came on pretty strong Sunday night and when I woke Monday morning I felt like I was about to die. I had to call out of work, not something I usually do, and I slept most of the day.

Tuesday, a day I normally run, I felt good enough to go to work, but not good enough to run. My body ached and I wanted to stay in bed. I couldn't though because it appeared my youngest son was getting pink eye and I had to take him to the doctor. No pink eye, but he was developing an ear infection.

Wednesday was better. I had a full day of work, but I still felt kind of crappy. I was late getting out of work because I had so much to do and when I got home I felt like doing nothing but sleeping... too bad though, I needed to go out and get a few things for Thanksgiving.

Thursday... I can not believe Thanksgiving is here already. I wanted to run a Turkey trot today, or at least do a long run in the morning, but did not feel up to it. I did have a good day though, we deep fried a turkey and had a great feast. We had a fire going outside and stood around it talking while keeping an eye on the turkey fryer.

Friday morning. I still felt stuffy, but after sitting up for a while my head cleared a bit. I decided to go for a run. Since it has been so long since running I decided to do a very slow pace and only do a mile. I ended up getting to a mile and a quarter a decided to keep going. I got to a mile and a half and still kept going. I decided to stop at two miles.

The run was actually the best I had done in quite some time. Very good quality at a comfortable pace. My head was cleared up and my headache was gone. I did start coughing and almost chucked a little, but that was only from all the snot and mucus that drained into my stomach. Sorry about being so gross.

This just boosted my love for running. It actually makes you feel better.

23 November 2008

Philadelphia Marathon

Today, in a sense, was my first marathon. I did not run today, but I arrived early with my brother, who was running, so that I could watch the marathon and immerse myself in the atmosphere of the marathon. In a way it was good for me because when I do run the marathon next year I will know what to expect when I get there.

It was surreal walking toward the art museum while it was still dark out. We arrived at 5:30 and were the only two people walking down the street for a bit, and then more and more people appeared, slowly making their way toward the museum. It was like a scene from a zombie movie.

My brother checked his stuff and got ready. After following him around for a half hour we parted ways. I wandered around trying to get the best pictures I could in the dark and he stretched and warmed up.

The sun was rising when they made announcements about the corrals and lining up for the start. I found a good spot at the starting line and waited. I got quite a few good pictures, but could not see where my brother was, coming off the start line. After the wheeled and 8k start I made my way up 22nd street to Chestnut so that I could maybe catch my brother there.

By the time I reached Chestnut there was already runners going by. I was sure that my brother had not passed yet so I walked down the street watching for him. I saw a lot of interesting people running, and thought to myself if they can do it, than so can I. I felt bad for thinking that about some people, but inspired at the same time, and proud of total strangers who are not content with sitting at home watching crappy television shows.

I did not see my brother on Chestnut. By the time I made it back to the art museum, there were people finishing the half marathon and some elites finishing the full. It was fun to watch people crossing the finish line.

I walked down by the river and waited for my brother. A good place to people watch, and I learned today that the marathon is a better people watching venue than any other place I have ever been.

After a long wait I see my brother walking up the road texting someone. Texting? Walking? He was texting one of the volunteers that he was friends with. I went down and walked along with him. His leg was hurting pretty bad and he was not going to finish. Not too long ago he had a foot injury that interrupted his training, and this definitely effected him. He did make it to the halfway point, and while disappointed that he did not finish, he was very proud that he at least started.

I am proud too. The two of us are lazy bastards, always playing video games and doing nothing to benefit our health... now that we are running we are getting fit and losing weight. Not only that, but by running we are already doing more than most people in the country. We are both different people since taking up running.

I am definitely excited to run next year, and now I have more motivation and inspiration to train hard so that I can build my endurance, and take part in what looks like an incredible time.

I will be posting pics soon. I took a lot and some of them came out pretty good.

22 November 2008

The Expo

Well you probably already know that I am not running the Philadelphia marathon tomorrow. My brother is running it, and I was more than happy to go to the health and fitness expo with him to pick up his packet.

This was my first time going to one of these and it was fun. Free samples, great deals, and a running atmosphere that could make anyone feel motivated. I happened to pass by Bart Yasso just as he was sitting down to sign books. I got right in there and bought his book and got his autograph. I have been thinking about buying his book from Runners World, but I am glad that I waited.

Tomorrow I will head over early and find my way around the runners and spend the day cheering them on and taking pictures. After walking through the expo I really wish I was running, but I am nowhere near ready to run even a half marathon. Hopefully next year.

17 November 2008

Back On Track

After running my first official 5k on October 25th I slacked off for a week. Partly from laziness and soreness, but mostly from lack of time. The last two weeks, however I have gotten back on track. I did 5.5 and 5.9 miles each week, and will hopefully bump it up to 7 miles this week.

Three miles is now my long run. I am getting overtaken by running and can not wait until my long runs are double digits and I am doing 20 miles a week. Still a while to go, but I will be there.

On another great note...

Philadelphia Marathon this weekend! My brother has been signed up to run it for a while, but he hurt his foot a couple months back. He is going to start and try to get through it.

I can not wait to check out the expo and watch the race. I will be getting there early and will do my best to get as many pictures as possible. The forecast is cold, but hopefully no rain and little wind.

If you would have told me a year ago I would be getting excited about watching a marathon I would have called you crazy. I can only imagine how excited I will be to actually run in one.

11 November 2008


Even though I do not do it as much as I did when I was a child, I still love to daydream.

The best time to daydream is while running. You can turn your legs on auto pilot and let your mind drift into another world. It can also help you get through the tough parts of your run.

Today I ran in the bitter cold, and throughout the run I was imagining myself running a marathon... and winning it! When I came to the final turn I imagined myself coming around the last turn of a marathon and kicking it into high gear, running neck and neck against Ryan Hall and making it a pure guts race for the win. I of course beat him out by a few feet.

I know this sounds childish, and it is, but sometimes you have to forget the world and just float in fantasy.

By the way, I finished this particular route in record time, and I ran the best pace I have ever ran. Still slow, 10:20 minutes per mile, but still showing improvement in both pace and endurance!

Today... I Felt Like A Runner

This morning was cold. The coldest it has been all season. It was about 34 degrees.

I woke this morning and slowly moved around and got ready. I knew it would be cold, but was surprised to see that my phone reported 34 degrees.

I still wore shorts, with compression shorts underneath. I wore a long sleeve compression shirt with a long sleeve shirt over top of that. I also wore gloves and headband to keep my ears warm. Some may think this was overkill, and I did end up taking the headband off toward the end, but man it was cold.

So my point is, even though it was cold, I got out and ran. I ran hard. I ran like it was my last run. I ran like it meant something. A jogger would not have run in the cold. A gym rat would not have run in the cold, a couch potato would sure as hell not ran in this cold.

Today... I felt like a runner.

06 November 2008

Running In The Rain

I seem to have a lot of trouble with motivation. When I wake up early for a morning run, it takes me forever to get moving and convince myself to run. All the while I know that once I start running I feel great.

This morning was raining... and I mean really coming down. I have run in overcast and slight drizzles, but never in rain this hard. My mind was telling me to stay in bed, but I knew I couldn't do that and enjoy the rest of the day.

I finally got out there and ran in the downpour. I immediately felt great. I was listening to music in one ear while I ran, not something I do all the time, and it helped pump me up and run for Him. I noticed that while I was focused on things other than running, like prayer, praise, the music, or thinking about other things, the running went by so easy. It was only when I focused on my breathing, or the hurt in my legs, that I had trouble running.

I know that a lot of running is mental, and I am still training myself to get over the mental hurdles so that I can run with ease. There was even one point in my run when I was thinking about someone I read about in Runners World. I forget the details but this guy has run numerous marathons, his first marathon in over 5 hours and his best marathon in about 2:45 or so. It gave me inspiration because I know that I am very far off from a marathon, but with dedication I can do it.

I just have to keep running.

02 November 2008


This last week I have run a measly 3 miles.

I have tried to fit runs in before or after work and it just did not happen. It gets too dark on my street, and while I actually look forward to running in the dark, I have no safety gear to do it with. I have looked in a few different stores for lights that I can clip to my shirt or shorts, but nothing. I would wear a reflective "sash" or strap on my wrist, but can not find anything except a full vest that is not very fashionable. Looks like I am going to have to order some stuff online.

I ran Saturday and Sunday morning after a full week without running. I really need to get runs in during the week because those runs killed me. Tomorrow is a rest day, and I will definitely have time to run Tuesday and Thursday morning so this weekends runs should be better.

The frustration is really setting in because my progress is so slow. I know it can not be rushed, and I already see a lot of improvement, but I wish I could do a full three miles without stopping for a walk break.

Right now I am just trying to build my mileage over the winter and will work on speed in the spring, but building the mileage seems just as hard as improving the speed.

I am not letting this frustration slow me down though... I am going to continue to run hard and do my best to improve.

25 October 2008

It Has Been A While

I have not posted in a few days, but I am going to make up for that. I have a few things I want to blog about and I will be doing that tonight and tomorrow morning.

I ran my first ever road race today! Check out the race report below this post and comment on it. I have also listed a few races that I want to do in the next few months. Of course I am hooked now. I just need to find a couple in December and January.

All right... keep checking back, I got more coming.

The Great Pumpkin Run 5k Race Report

Today was my first ever road race. It was the Great Pumpkin Run 5k, held by Lockheed Martin to benefit the Burlington County Food Pantry. The route was a lap through the pretty big parking lot, then out onto the road for about a kilometer and back, then the same route through the parking lot in reverse.

I woke up this morning very excited and nervous at the same time. Rain was in the forecast and it looked that way when I peeked outside. I do not mind running in the rain, but I did not want a cold downpour. Turns out it was very nice temperature wise and the rain held off for most of the race. Only a drizzle at times.

I ran with my brother. It was also his first race, but he has been running a little longer than me and training pretty hard for the Philadelphia Marathon.

We arrived at the race an hour before start so that we would have enough time to get our stuff and warm up. Not a problem because the area was pretty deserted. There were actually more volunteers than runners, but within the next half hour the place was filling up. It looked like a couple hundred runners. We saw a bib 150 so there were at least that many.

We stood around checking out the other runners. My brother was confident that he would finish middle of the pack at least, but everyone looked much faster than me. I was nervous, but at the same time calm. We all walked over to the starting line and I made sure I was near the back. My brother lined up with me, but when the starting horn went off he was easily passing most of the field.

I started good, but a couple minutes into the run there was some panic switch that clicked in the back of my head. I was worried that I couldn't do it, and that I would be dead last. For some reason my throat started tightening up and I felt like I could not breath. I gave it up to God. I asked him to make me strong and confident and give me a safe run. Seconds after that I was fine.

I was feeling good and loving running with such a large group of people. There were people behind me, but a lot more were in front of me. I got to the mile marker and looked at my watch. Yikes! 10:45... I wanted to start the run at an 11:30 pace. I think it was the atmosphere and the excitement of running in a crowd that had me going faster than I wanted.

A little way into mile two we hit a large hill. It was about a kilometer long and pretty steep. I decided to take a walk break and did not feel too bad when I saw some others doing the same. As I reached the top of the hill and got closer to the turn around I saw my brother going the other way. "That hill was a killer." I yelled out as we passed each other.

On my way back to the parking lot I took another walk break. This time a lady and her daughter passed me (I had passed them earlier) and the lady said, "come on, it is all down hill now." What could I do but start running again. I ran with them for a little while. It was her daughters first ever run and she was dying. They eventually had to take a walk break, and I went on.

When I made the final turn I saw the finish. It was awesome running toward the finish line and seeing the clock get closer and closer to me. I was by myself when I crossed and it was an awesome feeling. I was able to kick hard at the finish and it was so cool running toward the funnel of cones leading to the finish.

This was an incredible run, and I feel great. My watch read 34:40. A PR of course, and almost a full minute faster than the last time I ran 3.1! I am hoping that they post the official results on the website so I can see what I did compared to everyone else. I also hope there is pictures, because I saw a lady snapping some at the start and I had a good position for a nice photo!

edit: 10/27
Official Results posted today. I finished with a clock time of 34:49, and placed 139 out of an overall 152. Not bad for my first time!

19 October 2008

Cold Run and Gummy Bear Massacre

A lot of things to talk about regarding today's run. It was definitely a weird one.

As I am getting ready I look outside to see what the weather looks like. It looks amazingly cold outside, but the thing I notice most is the police officer pulled over to the side of the road across the street. He is getting out of his car and looking along the ground for something. He gets back in his car and drives away. Hmm. Weird.

So I go outside to start my warm up. It is amazingly cold outside. The coldest I have run in ever, but I am enjoying it for some reason. As I am warming up and stretching another cop car pulls up and two cops get out. They0 start walking through a small bunch of trees across the street with flashlights looking for something along the ground. I take off down the street, expecting them to stop me and ask if I have noticed anything, but they just say good morning and I am on my way.

On Sundays I usually run down to a battlefield park that is down the street from me, along the river. As I started my run I began to tell myself that I may cut it short, because it is so cold. I do this sometimes, but as usual when I get to the point where I might turn around I just keep running and finish the whole distance as planned.

About half way through my run I see some colored spots along the ground. It took me a minute to figure out what it was, but finally I realized that it was gummy bears. Tons of them all over the side of the road. It was a massacre. Perhaps the cops were looking for their killers.

I also passed a guy walking his dog this morning. He was bundled up pretty good and trying to block himself from the wind. He pulled his dog close as I ran by. I smiled and said good morning and he nodded back with a very puzzled look on his face and said good morning. He really did think I was crazy.

On my way back I passed another guy. This one was sitting on his porch smoking a cigarette. At the time I was taking a short walk break. I said good morning with a smile, and he said the same. Since I was walking he also had time to say "one day we sweat, the next day we freeze." He was referencing the fact that the weather this past week had been so nice you would actually sweat pretty easy, and now it was freezing cold. I agreed with him, but then realized...

I always sweat... and I picked up the pace and finished running.

I finished this run in a 10:55 pace or so... still pretty slow, but it is a great improvement. This was my third run in a row breaking 11:00 pace.

14 October 2008

Run Like Pre

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." -Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine was arguably the greatest runner of all time. He gave a lot of thought and insight into running, and at the same time life.

I will never run the times that Pre ran, nor will I ever set any records. No offense, but I also think the demographic of this blog will most likely not do that either. That does not mean we can not run like Pre.

He ran with a passion. Life was not complete without running, and he always gave his best. We can do the same. We can run hard and push ourselves. We can set PR's and break them. We can forget about procrastinating and being lazy, and we can get outside and train, even when we do not feel like it.

I do not know if Pre was a religious person, but that quote at the top can also be applied to life.

God has given us many gifts. Running is one of them, life is the ultimate. If we give anything less than our best, at anything we do, then we are sacrificing a gift that was given to us by God. We should run hard and make life a pure guts race.

So next time you run... run like Pre.

08 October 2008

I'm Glad I Ran

I have not run since Saturday, and it has been killing me. My schedule has been so tight with work and all that I now have to squeeze in runs whenever I can.

I woke early this morning to get a run in before work, but I laid in bed thinking about how comfortable I was. I actually tried to talk myself into not running and just sleeping in.

Reality hit me and I realized that if I did not get up and go running I would be mad at myself and regret it the rest of the day. So I got up and got moving.

The morning air was cold and I could not stand still for fear of stopping. I immediately got into my warm up and got moving. Mentally I was telling myself I would only do a mile even though I was planning on doing a mile and a half. Before I even got to the half mile mark I knew I would do the entire run as planned.

The quality of the run was not the best that I ever had, but it still felt good.

I'm glad that I ran.

On a side not... I am going to try to get Spirit of the Marathon on DVD tonight. Check back for a review.

05 October 2008

A Short Prayer And A Long Run

I love running in the mornings, but when I wake up early in the morning my body aches and I never feel like getting up. When I finally do get up it usually takes me half an hour to get moving and another fifteen minutes to get dressed and ready to run. I know that part of this problem would be solved with a new mattress, but that is not the point of the story.

All week I have planned on running 3.1 miles... it may not seem long, but it is my longest so far. I decided to do it Saturday morning and was looking forward to getting up early and getting into the run. I knew that I would be slow starting in the morning, but I did not want to start off my run like that. I talked to God the night before and asked him that I get a good night sleep and wake refreshed and without any aches.

This seems like such a simple little prayer and is insignificant in many ways, but God answered me. When I woke up Saturday morning my body was feeling good and I was ready to go. I did not even hit the snooze button.

I meditated on God and prayer during the first half of the run and felt great. The morning was overcast, yet beautiful. I was through the first two miles with a single 60 second walk break. The last mile was a little tougher, but the toughest part was the last half mile which consisted of two rather steep hills... something I did not realize when I mapped out the distance on the runnersworld.com training tool. I ended the run with a time of 35:35, which is a pace of 11:29. Pretty good for myself!

I know that three miles is not a long distance for most, but I also know that a lot of people who read this will understand what an accomplishment this is for a beginner. Being a beginner can be frustrating at times because progress is slow, but for me it is great because almost everyday has a milestone.

Three miles is my long run right now, but before long it will be my daily run.

04 October 2008

A Long Week

It has been one hell of a week. Work has been so busy and I have been working such weird hours that I could barely run.

I like to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This week I missed Tuesday but was able to run Wednesday morning. Thursday was a no go for me and Friday did not work out either. I did get in 3.1 miles this morning which felt great!

29 September 2008

I Hate Rest Days

I hate rest days, because I really want to run. I must remember patience.

The worse part is looking at my mileage chart on the left over there. Since Monday is the first day of the week, and also a rest day, it tells me my weekly mileage is 0. It is rubbing it in my face that I have not run yet this week.

It is almost tomorrow... Soon I can run.

28 September 2008


So here is a graph showing my pace of each of my runs this year. Back in April I started the walk/run program C25K, and my pace was around 15 minutes per mile with walk/runs.

I slacked off and stopped running for a couple of months. When I started back up I decided to skip any formal "program" and just run. I felt that having such a regimented program was actually holding me back. I was smart about it though and knew not to do too much too soon. I do not shy away from walk breaks, but I do not schedule them into my runs. If I feel I need to walk than I walk.

As you can see, my pace is around 11-12 minutes per mile. A much better pace than when I first started. On top of that I can run for longer periods without walking than I thought I could before.

I am still a beginner, so I am not so much concerned with improving my pace yet... but looking at this graph makes me wonder...

If I ran through the entire summer... how much faster and farther would I be able to run right now?

Lessons From A Bad Run

Sorry this is so long, I hope you don't get bored.

Today was my "long" run... long for me is 2.5-3 miles, and I planned on doing 3.1 just so I could get an unofficial 5k time.

So I set the alarm for 6am. When it went off I heard it down pouring outside. I pushed snooze a time or two and when I woke the last time it sounded like it had stopped raining, but instead of getting up I turned the alarm off and went to sleep.

When I finally woke I was mad at myself for not running early in the morning. Even though it was wet out it was still a nice day to run and I should have done it first thing in the morning.

Lesson 1...
I always regret when I do not run as planned... I need to just do it, because even though it is hard to get up some mornings it is worth it. That hassle is temporary, the regret for the rest of the day sucks worse than having to get myself going.

I finally did get moving and went out for my run. As I said I planned on doing 3.1 miles but somewhere around a mile and a half my leg was hurting like hell. The pain was pretty intense and I decided to quit after 2 miles. On top of that my sock kept sliding below my shoe and my heel started burning. I reached down to fix it and saw a bit of blood. (I can actually say I ran until I bled.. lol) I took quite a few walk breaks and finished the 2 miles with a pace of 12:37. I was a little surprised to see this pace because it was only a couple seconds slower than my last long run a few weeks ago.

Lesson 2...
I am improving. Even with a bum leg and needing walk breaks my pace was as planned and could have potentially been better. Keep myself healthy and I will be better and better at running.

Finally, I am walking home after the run and a little ways ahead of me I see something moving at the edge of the road. It is a deer standing in the tall grass eating away. Cars are passing back and forth and he just stays there eating away.

I watched him for a little bit and tried to see the drivers reactions as they past. Most of them did not even notice the deer, despite being in plain view.

Lesson 3...
No matter how much you are hurting, or how fast you are going, you should always be aware. You never know when God will give you the opportunity to admire His beautiful creation. Sometimes seeing things like this also makes me realize that life is precious, and truly a gift from God.

26 September 2008

My Story.

I can probably go on for hours about "my story" but I will make it short.

I have never ran in any organized sports and I never thought I would ever consider myself a runner. A couple of years ago I would cycle a lot in order to try to get myself in shape. I was doing well, but cold weather hit and I got lazy when it came to the bike.

I figured one day that I would go for a run. My logic was that every thing I heard about running (from runners anyway) was that it was the best kind of exercise. I also figured that it would be easier in the cold weather since I am not moving at 20 mph.

As most people do, I started too hard and too fast on my first run. I clocked a half mile from my house in the car and figured there and back would be an easy mile to run. I ran as hard as I could and did not even make it to the half mile mark. I walked and turned around and walked some more before trying to run again. I think out of the entire mile I might have ran about a third of it.

My lungs burned the rest of the day and my legs hurt for days after. I gave up.

Since then I have tried to run off and on for a while. It was not until early this year that I finally fell in love with the sport. My brother mentioned that he was going to run in the Philadelphia Marathon. I thought he was crazy because in my mind running a marathon was something that only Kenyans and elite athletes do. I did not realize that the marathon has a spirit all it's own.

After research and a re-ignited interest in running I found the C25K program and started that. I was doing good for a couple of weeks, but again I started procrastinating and slowing and gave up for a couple of months.

I got back to it in the middle of August and have been running since, with only one short break due to a small injury. Through the course of it I have fallen in love with running and would rather do that than any other sport. I look forward to running longer distances and faster times, and I am excited about collecting bibs and finisher medals.

I am improving slowly, but surely and keep getting more and more motivated.

Not Another One!

I know what you are thinking... "not another running blog about some joe blow that no one has ever heard of."

Well... yes.

I do not expect a lot of people to read this, but I am doing it for myself anyway. I like to write and keeping a running journal has been good for me, but this gives me an outlet for my writing that seems more full of purpose.. even though there is not much of a purpose here.

So read on... find out what I am about... and if you really find it interesting, you can follow my journey (both physical and spiritual) from lazy couch potato to dedicated runner.