Running – Weight Control – Dieting – Fitness- New Life

Running Has Helped My Weight Control.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


(The Fat Face of Brian)

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

(The Ultra Face of Brian,
with my Honey)

It works for me!


Why do you do it?  Is it hard?  Can I do it?  Does it hurt? 

Over the last 14 years I’ve been asked a lot of questions about running in general and specifically about my running.  Recently on a training run in Pocahontas State Park, with my GoPro filming, I thought I would answer the top five questions I’m asked about my running.

NOTE: Struggling a bit with Youtube upload quality….pls bear with me.

  1. How did I get started and why do I run long distances ?

2. How far, how often, and how fast do you run?

3.  Is running bad for your knees?

4.  Who was your favorite running partner and who would you like to run with?

5.  Where do I see my running taking me?

Thank you so much for watching my first video blog entry.  If you have the time please subscribe to my video channel on  I’ve got a lot to learn about video editing…and as always THANK YOU for following my Blog and my Running!

Still Trying To Decide – Spring 100 or March Marathon Madness

Spring 100 or March Marathon Madness

Planning a race calendar is a difficult task to accomplish.  There are many variables to consider, such as: family plans, available income, vacation days, work and finally de-conflicting the race dates themselves.  Last year I ran my first 100 miler at the Umstead 100 Endurance Race.  Since then I’ve wanted to run another 100.  But when?


I first considered running another 100 towards the end of 2014, for all of the above reasons, that did not workout. The remaining months of 2014 zinged by so fast and we had other events planned, family vacations, work and other races.  I could not find the time to stuff in another 100, so I set my sights on a spring 100.  Then some where along the line I came up with the idea for “March Marathon Madness.” What is this March Madness I speak of?  Four Marathons in Four Weeks and the Monument 10k.

Now I stuck between do I run the Madness or a Spring 100.  With all my other life commitments, the targeted 100 and the marathons are now conflicting?

So the question is…should I run:

The Graveyard 100 on March 7th or

The Umstead Trail Marathon, The One City Marathon, Shamrock Marathon and The Reston Marathon? (this would include running Monument Ave 10k the day before).

Other must do races are:

3rd, Brian’s Friends 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 Miler at Noland Trail



25-26th, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer


Jun, family vacation month???

Wow, making these “adult” decisions is tough.  What would you do?

Winter Running – Helpful Hints

Have I mentioned I hate “Falling Back” during Day Light Saving Time.

To me “Falling Back” means the days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping.

cold temps

During this time of year, the most difficult part of our run maybe getting out the front door. We’re losing daylight and the warmth of the sun at the same time.

To combat the effects of losing daylight it’s important to have some type of lighting equipment handy. Whether it be an old fashion hand held flash light or a high-tech head mounted LED lighting rig. If you can’t see where you’re going…you’re going to get hurt. To keep safe during night time running, I’ve tried many forms of lighting equipment. What I have found works best is something very bright and easy to hold on to.

To see where you’re going…The lumen is a measure of the total “amount” of visible light emitted by a source. I selected a light source with the highest lumen rating that was easy and light enough to hold in my hand. For years I ran with a small hand held flash light. This worked great as it allowed me to direct the light beam in the direction I wanted. This versatility made it convenient to see around me and also serve as a headlight/taillight depending on where the oncoming traffic was approaching from. Two years ago I found a small hand held with an ultra-bright 145 lumens worth of light. Recently I have been using Knuckle Lights which work great and are very bright. You can read my review on this product here.


To defend against old man winter and the declining temperatures which surly will accompany you need to dress warm. Dressing warm depends on having the right gear available and knowing how to use it, cause face it, if I get cold….the training run is going to get shorter. To ensure I get out on the coldest of days, and to make sure I put in the required miles, I have put together a nice selection of winter running clothing and accessories.


To keep warm it’s important to keep your core temperature stable but maybe more important are your hands and for me, my ears. I hate cold hands and it’s what temps me to stay inside on those really cold days. How do I combat that? I ensure my winter running kit has a number of warm gloves/mitten available. If the temperature is on the cold side I don a pair of gloves. If it is really cold, two pairs…down right artic then I’ll slip on a pair of mitten over my gloves. My ears are another part of my anatomy that must be kept warm or I’ll find myself on the inside looking out.  What works great for keeping me warm upstairs, a buff for the neck, headband with earmuffs and a nice fleece cap, again layering as needed. Other accessories to keep old man winter a bay: fleece top, arm warmers, long pants, leggings and good quality socks.


No matter the distance or speed everybody needs to keep warm during your winter running routine. So remember, as the temperature drops, your miles don’t have to.

Don’t take my word for it, check out these other winter running sites.

Mens Fitness 

Runners World

Womens Health Magazine

JFK 50 – Ultra Marathon Run – My Next Big Run

My next big running challenge is the JFK 50 mile endurance run, in the ultra running world this race is the granddaddy of all 50 mile races.  If your new to the race here is some history.


From the organizers website: The JFK 50 Mile was first held in the spring of 1963. It was one of numerous such 50 mile events held around the country as part of President John F. Kennedy’s push to bring the country back to physical fitness.

When Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, most of these events were never held again. The one in Washington County, MD changed it’s name from the JFK 50 Mile Challenge to the JFK 50 Mile Memorial in 1964. The JFK 50 Mile in Washington County, MD is the only original JFK 50 Mile Challenge event to be held every year since.

This will be my first running of the JFK 50, being a retired military member this race comes to me as a calling to celebrate the military, our country and my ultra running.  As the days count down to race day, I’ll use this page on my blog to review all parts of my JFK 50 race plan.

The Race Course:  The JFK 50 mile course is a point-to-point “horse-shoe” configuration  starting from U.S. Alternate 40 adjacent to the Boonsboro Educational Complex in downtown Boonsboro, Maryland and finishing at Springfield Middle School in Williamsport, Maryland.

The JFK 50 is in my mind two races in one, The Appalachian Trail section (approx. 15 miles) and the C & O canal path (approx 35 miles).  For me this will be my first real “mountain” race with any elevation to deal with.  Around mile 5 the course sets off on a 1,200ft climb, topping out a 1700ft. Exiting the AT the remainder of the race is very flat run along the C & O canal.

JFK50(Map and more info can be see here)

Watch my Twitter timeline and this blog for updates, where I’ll discus the following subjects and more.

My Goals:  I’ve had the hardest time conjuring up goals for this race.  My #1 goal is to finish alive and uninjured. And some of the stories about the AT have me wondering about that.  I’ve run a number of Ultras (13 to be exact), including a sub 23 hour 100 at Umstead, 13 Marathons (1 sub 4 hour finish) and 50 other races.  I’m coming off my last long run before JFK, a personal best 20 miler at 2 hours 42 minutes and 56 seconds.  And I might just be in the best shape of my running career.  BUT (pausing for effect and a silent prayer) I’ve never run on the AT and have no idea what I’m getting myself into with that section.

jfkmedal(Goal is to bring home my version of the JFK 50 Medal)

Saying all that and after consulting with a number of friends whom have run this event, whom know my running style, taking past finishes and judging against my current fitness.  My goals for the JFK 50 are (drum roll PLS).  As stated above to finish unbroken, a sub 10 hour finish or sub 11 hour.  (And the crowd goes wild and some laugh with delight).

My Fueling and Hydration Plan:
The JFK 50 course has plenty of fully stocked aid stations (14), approx. every 4 miles and some only 2 miles apart.  I’ve never run this race but from what I can gain from comments and race reports it appears that there will be no lack of food/hydration support.  From the official web site: “Provisions at these stations will include: colas, Gatorade, water, sandwiches, salted items, sweet items, energy gels, energy bars and basic first aid supplies.” Saying that I’ll stick with my plan of carrying a water bottle and snacks just in case.  I plan to run this race with my Ultimate Direction “AK” race vest and hand held Nathan 20oz water bottle.

graveyard100battlerattle(Graveyard 100k setup…I will go out much like this for JFK 50)

Instead of carrying two water bottles in the front pockets of the race vest, I’ll stash some gels, snacks and painkillers in these easy to access pockets.  I’ll also carry a small digital camera and headlamp. In the rear compartment I’ll stow some additional outer layer garments just in case it gets cold or wet.  With a shorter distance between aid stations I’ll stick with my tried and true plan of hand carrying a water bottle on races longer than a half marathon.  I’ll simply refill my bottle when needed to ensure I can make the next stop.

Part of what sets longer races aside from a marathon is that most runners can complete a marathon on a few cups of water and a GU or two.  During a long run like 50 miles, you’ll have to hydrate/refuel more extensively as you race.  What has worked well for me over the years is to drink/eat something light at every stop, as well as hitting a GU at 6 mile intervals.  I stress the importance of eating light.  Your muscles still have work to do, you can’t over tax your system by processing the gut bomb you’ve unloaded on yourself. I’ve learned it is important to maintain your energy level and fuel supply before you get into a deficient.  Think of it like your checkbook, once that first check is bounced…it’s hard to recover while paying the overdraft fees.

My Pacing Plan:  To be honest, I’m not sure what my per mile pace will be for the AT section.  I’m going to take that portion of this race by feel, my goal is to get off the AT between 2:45 and 3:00 hours.  Then run/fast walk a solid 12:00 minute per mile on the canal section to get in under 10 hours.  I can fast walk a 14:30/15:00 per mile pace.  I’ll mix in ten minutes of running at around a 9:30/10:00 pace and two minutes fast walking.  This combination worked well at the Graveyard 100k last spring.  My goal is to have some fight left in me for the final half marathon where I can attack the course and the clock.


UPDATE: My Race Gear:  Starting early Saturday morning and ending 10 hours later, I hope to make one transition from cold weather gear to my race gear.  Just in case I’ll have a few add on items carried in my race vest in-case the weather turns bad/cold.

From head to toe…

 JFK50 kit  JFK50outerlayer

Nike black beanie
Sun glasses
Nike gray ear warmer (optional use as neck cover)*
Nike balaclava*
Nike running jacket*
Trash bag as a disposable windbreaker* 
Blue fleece top*
Tech long sleeve race shirt x 2
Nike Fleece running gloves x 2
UD Ultra “AK” race vest (one 20oz bottle w/Lemon Gatoraid mixed with a Tri-berry GU)
*additional long sleeve shirt, beanie, gloves, trash bag in case the weather turns
Garmin 201 GPS
Nathan hand held 20oz bottle
Race ready long distance shorts
CW-X men’s stabilyx tights
Dirty Girlz, Puppy paw print gaiters
Injinji toe Socks
Nike Air Pegasus

* morning/cold weather use

Food and Miscellaneous
GU Energy Labs Tri-Berry Power Gels

Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes
Knuckle lights and hand held flash light
GoPro Hero 3+ Black with hand held mount



Wicked 10K – Longest Touchdown Run Ever

Blue Moon Wicked 10k – Longest Touchdown Run Ever

Sometimes we run for time.

Sometimes we run for a goal.

Sometimes we run for the win…

And some times we run the LONGEST TOUCHDOWN RUN EVER!

The 2014 edition of the Wicked 10k started with Michele and I working as race ambassadors for J and A Racing.


We opened the expo on Friday morning and by the time our shift was over we met a ton of great people in the running community.  We met older runners, young runners, couples, singles and runners of all shapes and sizes.  This experience proved again that the running community represents all of us.


The Wicked is a 10k race disguised as big Halloween costume party, if I had to guess I would say 90% of all the runners dressed up.  The range of costumes varied from the simple to the “out of this world” how did they think up that.

Start of Wicked 10k Meeting some interesting people

The great thing about a Halloween themed race is no matter if you’re the passer or the one being passed, you never know who you’ll come cross next.

Zombie Zone Photo bombing my own videos

The Virginia Beach boardwalk is an outstanding backdrop for this race and the weather conditions for this edition were perfect. Running the last mile of this race provides a great finishing experience. Instead of running for a time, it was fun to interact with the other runners, the very supportive and decked out crowds.

Running the boardwalk Longest touchdown run ever

Crossing the finish line I was a bit disappointed, the fun was over, the race was over…and the longest touchdown run ever was complete.

The Shadow – Running, Racing and Training



After some hard fought miles I was finally running alone. The sound of the starter’s gun is still ringing in my ears and the race has really just begun. All the work, all the missed social engagements and all those lonely hours on the road was paying off. Battling two would be challengers for the better part of the race. I was finally in the lead of my home town race the Brownstown 5k. This race was just like any other run-of-the-mill 5k, but to me, it was unlike any other. At this race last year I failed. My body let me down. I burned out with the intensity of a solar flare. And this was the race I always wanted to win. Today not only was I in the lead but I was also pulling away. At the two mile marker the majority of the pack was left behind and by two and a half miles I finally separated myself from my two lone rivals. Out in front the open road was my only companion.

I had never noticed how quiet racing could be. Normally in the middle of the pack, there’s always noise. There is always distractions. The sound of breathing surrounds you. The rhythmic sound of countless pairs of running shoes impacting and griping the pavement runs along with you. And the nervous chatter as competitors talk amongst themselves encircles you. But up front, alone, and in the lead it’s quiet. The only sounds are those of my lungs filling with oxygen and exhaling. The sound of my shoes hitting the running surface and propelling me forward. And lastly the absence of sound as my inner voice encourages me. Compared to being sandwiched in the middle of the field it’s so peaceful running in the lead.

Running up front is different, then running in the middle of the pack. Up front you set the tempo. If you’re trying to win the race as I am today, you set a pace just a bit faster than everyone else. Leading the race means you get to see everything first, guiding the field behind you along the course. Running with the lead also means you have to make sure you follow all the correct twists and turns along the race course. Whereas in the pack you can safely play “follow the leader.” Up front you have to motivate yourself, push yourself and challenge yourself when there’s no one in front for you to chase. And today at this point in the race, the field was far enough behind me that no one was pushing from behind.

But what is THAT? As I glanced down to monitor my footfall a shadow appeared at my feet. At first it caught me off guard, was it a tree, or an animal, some kind of creature approaching me from behind? After further study the shape of this intruder registered in my brain. The shadow was a head of an approaching competitor running me down from behind. All my senses heighten, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and my skin became electric. My sense of hearing picked up on a sound, the soft cadence of someone approaching from behind. My heart rate quickens, and my nerves are rattled. I looked down once again and now even clearer, projected from behind, the looming silhouette of a runner. And this stranger was growing larger.

Now I’m sure, the shadow, the evil figure attempting to steal my victory was running at a pace that will surly over take me. My brain fires off signals that call for my accelerated heart rate and over juiced adrenaline to kick it up to a higher gear. My stride reaches out, my leg turn over quickens and the road beneath me speeds by ever faster. And yet the dark threat continues to loom and grows even larger. Now I can clearly see the shadow of the head and shoulders of the silent figure behind me. My flight or fight instincts kick in and now without even transmitting the thoughts my arm swing widens and my legs drive forward. I Pass a sign telling me I have less than two tenths of a mile left of this 5k. I vow that I will not let this menace who lives in the dark, who steals from behind, creep up and capture my day.

My eyes are fixed on the prize. Like a young boy hiding his head under the covers hoping that the monster just goes away; if I stop looking maybe the shadow will go away. But will power fails and curiosity forces me to look, in horror I see nearly a complete torso. In fear and panic I lean forward attempting to pull away from the ghost behind me. My foot strike quickens more. My heart is pounding. My lungs are on fire. I’ve got nothing left to give and the shadow grows larger still. Only 50 yards to go, and I’m in a dead sprint, my brain is lost, my body is maxed out and I’m almost home yet the pursuer gains an advantage with every effort I give to counter his attack. The finishers tape is just ahead, ten yards then five yards. I’m doing everything to pull ahead to keep the hunter at bay…and with a last push to the finish, I come home the winner.

I’m spent. I’m done. I’ve given everything I have and I’ve finished. The race is mine. I have won. Yet I wonder who nearly caught me, as I stumbled down the finishers chute collapsing into the arms of a volunteer, I ask, “who came in second?” With a mystified stare the young girl tells me, “no one, you’ve won the race and left the field in the dust.” “But who was behind me, who was I fighting off? WHO?” I ask, “Came in second?” The girl a bit confused tells me again, “Sir, no one, second place has not finished yet.” “But I saw his shadow, I saw a shadow of an approaching runner coming from behind, I fought him off for nearly half a mile where did that runner go?” The young volunteer looks at me, and smiles. “Sir, that shadow was you.”

The Reluctant Runner – Training, Running, and Racing

For most of us mere mortals running does not come easy, in fact running is painful and it takes dedication.  Some of the lucky ones (not me) make it look easy but even after 14 years of hitting the open roads…I still find it hard to get out the door some days.

This guest post is offered up by my Pastor, Rob Shepherd.  Rob is a great pastor, author, blogger (because of his blog I started mine), superhero dad and a Reluctant Runner.

“THE Reluctant Runner” by Rob Shepherd.

I run. I hate running. I would say I’m a reluctant runner.
You know those runners who say, “Once you start it becomes addicting.” I’m not sure what they are smoking, but I’ve never become addicted to running. My first race was a 5K. I then moved on to a 10K. I then ran three half marathons. I still hate running.
(The many faces of a Rob jog,
left to right – top to bottom
1. Hate running & don’t want to do this.
2. Lose weight, feel great!
3. Lost any sense of enjoyment
4. Running stinketh!
5. Almost done!
6. Feel great!  I’m Done!)
For years I refused to run. I would often say, “The only reason you will see me running is if someone is chasing me. And the only reason you will see me training to run is because I know in advance that someone is going to chase me.”
About three years ago I went through a job transition and we could no longer afford our gym membership. I wanted to still exercise so I thought I’d try jogging. It was awful.
I was up to an hour on the elliptical at the gym. That was awesome. I would pick a movie and then forget I was exercising. It was that easy. Running, not so much. That first time out I couldn’t do half a mile. I felt like death was calling me after that run. It was painful. I didn’t want to do it again.
And yet I found myself back out there. To help with my continued motivation I signed up for a 5K. The rest is history. I still hate running.
So the question is why do I run if I hate it so much?
  • I run because it’s the fastest way to exercise. I tell myself often, “Just hurry up and get this over with.”
  • I run because it helps me have discipline. Discipline is not easy for me. Discipline is needed though. I don’t want to be a lazy person. I don’t want to be apathetic. I don’t want to stink at life. Discipline helps push me to levels I wouldn’t get to naturally.
  • I run because it helps me get outside. I went to the doctor a few years ago, and she told me I needed more vitamin D. I work inside an office all day. I also am what comedian Jim Gaffigan would call, “Indoorsy.” Nature is trying to kill us. Pollen that attacks, tornadoes, volcanos, Sharknados, hurricanes, insects that bite, and sunburn are just a few of the examples of nature trying to kill us. But I need to get outside because of doctors orders, so I run.
  • I run because it eases my stress level.
  • I run because it gives me alone time to think.
  • I run because I’m fat. I don’t have a runners body. If I didn’t run I would balloon up to 300 lbs. I may never be crack skinny, but I am thinner than I would be if I didn’t run.
So all of that is why I run. I wish, like Brian, I enjoyed running. In fact Brian inspires me with all of his running adventures. Maybe one day I’ll catch the running fever, but until then I’ll be a reluctant runner.

You can follow Rob on Twitter
You can check out his blog
And you can visit his church

Thanks Rob for being my guest….

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