The Benefits Of Running Are Many


1. Your heart loves it.

IMG_2811(100 miles or 3 miles…Running is good for you)

Regular running reduces heart disease, the risk of stroke, lessens the bad cholesterol and gets more of the good stuff and levels your blood pressure!

2. Your brain loves it.

Physical activity has a protective function on your brain, regular exercise, like running, can even slow  the progression of dementia.

3. Your bones love it.

Running stimulates and strengthens your bones, increasing their density whilst also keeping your joints healthy.

4. Your skin loves it.

Running outside, in the daylight, boosts your body’s natural store of Vitamin D. If you’re careful not to  get burnt, absorbing Vitamin D through your skin is the best way to boost immunity among many  other benefits.

5. The rest of your body loves it.

Running can reduce your risk in developing other serious diseases, diabetes, asthma, even some  cancers. It also keeps your weight in check. Running increases muscle, muscle leads to a faster metabolism, which means you’re burning more calories even when you’re resting.

6. Your work will love it.

Running will give you a huge energy boost. Better circulation and increased oxygen makes you feel more alert – your productivity at work will soar.

7. Your colleagues will love you!

105706-200-026f(Running will change your life….)

Exercise improves your mood; endorphins in your bloodstream reduce stress and anxiety. And a happier office will in turn lead to a happier boss, which is always a good thing.

Running The Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path – Marathon, Ultra Running


Michele and I love to travel, although we don’t go on many full blown vacations.  Instead, we choose to take a lot of “mini” weekend, three, and four day adventures.  One of the bonuses of traveling, even short trips, is seeing new sights and exploring the unique features of the areas we visit.

Towpathtrail1(Michele and I at the Brecksville Station trail head)

Whenever we get to Northeast Ohio, during football season, we make a point of running/walking on the Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path.

Some of the history behind the tow path:  The canal and trail was originally 309 miles long and constructed in 7 years—from 1825 to 1832. The Ohio & Erie Canal was one of the longest canals ever built. It was hand dug by Irish and German immigrants, who were paid $0.30 per day.

towpathlock(One of the surviving lock systems used along the tow path)

The Towpath Trail that we use today, which follows the old canal, originally served as a path for the horses and mules pulling the canal boats. Because of this, most canal boats did not move very fast. In fact, to help prevent damage to the canal, the state even imposed a speed limit of 4 MPH—that’s the average speed most adults run. Although I run a bit faster than that.

When Michele and I run/walk the trail we begin at the Brecksville station, running either north or south.  The farthest I’ve ever run on the trail was 20 miles, 10 miles south of Brecksville where I turned around returning to the parking lot.

For more information on the Tow Path Trail, click here.

towpathtrail2(Ready to hit the trail)

When you travel, don’t take a vacation from your fitness…plan your workouts into your vacation and you’ll be amazed at the sites you’ll see.

Marathon Taper – Training, Running, Racing


There are numerous marathon training plans out there.  You can find one for first time marathoners, veteran marathoners, sub four hour marathon hopefuls and others wanting to qualify for Boston.  Depending on your goals, there surly is a marathon plan for you.

finish5shamrock2012(Running the race is a small part of your plan)

I’ve used several different ones to develop my “own” training plan.  Now saying that, I’m not a coach, I don’t play one on TV and I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.  I tailor my marathon plan for my goals, races and future races.  I’m not saying it’s perfect but it works for me. Am I running at 100% of my ability, to be honest, most likely not, but am I having 100% fun and enjoyment with my racing Oh Yes!

I’ve been asked a number of times how I taper for a marathon, so I thought since I’m in taper mode for the Air Force Marathon, that I would share my taper plan with you.

I normally begin my taper three weeks out from race day…if it fits with my other planned races and goals.  For the Air Force Marathon (in Sept) I was coming off a down running month for June (35 miles), a solid July (163 miles) and back on target Aug (197 miles).

I know I said I start tapering at three weeks out but let us start at four weeks out.

dismal1(A great race starts three weeks out)

I normally run a planned high mileage week (50-60+ miles).  This week is about logging some big miles and about not introducing anything new, hard, and or too fast. I put in a 60 mile week with a solid long run consisting of a slow 15 miles over some very hilly, and rolling terrain. Although this was still a high mileage week for me, I consider it part of my taper as I did not beat up my body while logging the miles.

Officially a “TAPER WEEK”I cut my weekly mileage back to 40 miles.  Monday I was off, Tuesday I ran 6 miles, Wednesday 7 and 7 again on Thursday.  Saturday I ran my last long run at near marathon pace.  I added this last 20 miler simply to gain some confidence.  I ran around my housing area on very flat roads at 9:14 pace.

I will reduce my weekly mileage to no more than 30 miles. All my miles this week will be run at a very conservative pace. My plan is to run 7 on Monday, 7 on Tuesday and 6 on Wednesday.  I’ll take off Thursday and Friday then run a slow 10 miles on Saturday.

My goal here is rest and recovery.  Monday I’ll run 7, Tuesday 4 and 3 on Wednesday.  This will give me Thursday/Friday to be off my feet as much as I can.  I’ll have my big marathon meal Thursday night, then have a good breakfast and lunch on Friday.  Friday night I’ll have my traditional pizza for dinner in the hotel room.  After dinner Michele and I normally chill out watching TV until around 9 p.m. (or earlier) when I call it a night.

Marathon morning, I get up three hours prior to race start time.  This gives me time to “take care of business,” to chill out and relax.  I’ll have a breakfast of around 100+ carbs (normally a protein shake with waffles or pancakes, and maybe a pop tart) and Diet Dew.  On the way to the race I’ll have one last light snack around an hour out from race start. 30 minutes prior to the gun going off I’ll down a GU.  I hand carry a water bottle for all races 13.1 and longer with my sports drink I empty a GU into the bottle.  Then it’s a matter of waiting on the start.

niagarafalls1(My First Sub-Four at Niagara Falls)

This Taper Plan works for me….might not be the best but it has worked (and changed) over the last 12 marathons.

What do you do for your Taper Plan?

Three Miles Short – Who Cares? Zip Lining, Fishing and Camping


August is over and I missed my 200 mile running goal by three lousy miles…

I’m so upset….I hate that I missed my goal……..NO I’m Not!

I wanted to hit 200 miles this month…That goal makes me feel like a real Ultra Runner.  I had two days to log a lousy three miles.  So Why did I miss it?

I have three very good reason.

#3 Zip Lining – My wife planned an adventure filled get away over Labor Day weekend. We went zip lining in the Shenandoah Forest.  It was awesome!  I decided not to run to spend the “full” day with Michele without distractions.  It was worth it!

 michelezipping  zipline man
 Michele Zipping  I am zipline man

#2 Fishing – Little did we know when this trip was booked that we would have a fishing boat and take to the river hauling in a ton of good eating fish!  We caught, bluegill, bass, and a bunch of small ones we threw back.  To say these were good size keepers…..they were good size for Minnesota keepers!

fishingandtrain(A few trains went rolling on bye….better then a random fish picture)

#1 Camping and Family Time (w/my wife and puppies) – In our rat race world, and trying to log the miles I need, getting quality time to just hang out is a rare occasion. I needed three miles but I decided to take a little break from running to gain a few bonus hours with these guys!

 carlyemmylu  micheleandcarly
 Carly and Emmy Lu  Michele and Carly

Was it worth it?


Emmy Lu thinks so!  And I agree…..back to it on Tuesday!

Three Great Races – Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, Mile, and Fitness Expo

What Are You Training For?

Your first 5k, 10k, or a half marathon?

If you live in the 757 (Newport News, Hampton Roads, Tidewater or Virginia Beach Areas) or will be visiting this fall, I would like to call your attention to three great races hosted by J & A racing.

(Full Disclosure: I am a J & A Race Ambassador, but my opinions are honest, and unbiased)

2013 crawlin crab expo


(Michele and I at Crawlin Crab, 2013)

Crawlin’ Carb – A Half Marathon, 5k, Kids Kilometer, and during a 2-day event October 4-5 in Hampton, Virginia. This exciting event kicks off on Friday, October 3 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center and features vendors from the health and fitness industry including running apparel and gear, nutritional products and injury prevention.  I’ve run this event two years in a row…and plan to be back for the third.  A flat and fast course is fun and entertaining to run. I’ve got to be honest the last overpass bridge gets me every year!  Not this year!

Feeling extra energetic this year? Run the Shell Yeah Challenge by running the 5k on Saturday, and then the Half Marathon on Sunday, and receive an additional challenge medal at the event in recognition of your special achievement. YES, that means you will earn 3 medals!!

Visit the web site for all the details…Crawlin Crab

wicked10kstart(Go Browns and Go Wicked 10k)

Wicked 10K – 10K and Monster Mile on October 25th in Virginia Beach. This event is Hampton Road’s largest Halloween race and party with over 10,000 participants. My wife and I ran this race in 2012. I was dressed in a Cleveland Browns Game Used Uniform and Michele dressed as an escaped medical patient with her “booty” showing.  WE HAD A BLAST. I highly recommend this race to everyone, whether you chose to dress up or not.  I plan to be back in 2014….what should I wear?

Visit the web site for all the details…Wicked 10k


Harbor Lights – A brand new event to the area, the Harbor Lights Half Marathon, 5K and Kids Final Mile, a 3-day event November 21-23 in Norfolk, Virginia. This event features a flat, fast courses, which runs through historic downtown Norfolk, into beautiful old neighborhoods, and along the majestic Hampton Roads Harbor. If this event is anything like other J & A races it will be organized, fun and offer some outstanding SWAG.  How many times can you run an inaugural event?  I wish I could run this half marathon, but I’ll be at the JFK50.

Visit the web site and sign up today…Harbor Lights.

Apera Performance Duffel Bag – Product Review

I was presented the opportunity to test drive the Apera Performance Duffel bag.


The Apera Performance Duffel does not look like your ordinary gym bag. Its refined look was designed with a purpose – to carry an abundance of your gear in a stylish and organized manner. Every Apera bag, includes antimicrobial product protection inside and outside. Ventilated compartments, a water resistant base and wipeable linings keep your bag clean, dry and healthy. It supports a variety of uses, too – for the gym, activities, or as a weekend travel bag.


A well designed duffel bag, great for an active runner, like me. I’ve packed a pair of my shoes (size 10 1/2) in each of the two side shoe/storage compartments. I found that I can carry an unbelievable amount of clothes and gear in this bag. The large interior opens wide, so that I could use smaller plastic container to separate my GU’s, first aid and lightening equipment.  Everything fit and was well organized.  A bonus is the light-colored linings; I’m able to find anything and everything very quickly.

Apera_Bags_Blue_Performance_Duffel_image_3_5 (1)

  • Fits a pair of shoes (up to men’s 11 1/2 size) in each side pocket; Or store your wet or sweaty gear, separate from the interior
  • You’ll be amazed at how much gear you can carry with this bag; Multiple interior pockets keep your items organized, too
  • A large, padded exterior pocket provides easy access and storage of your tablet computer
  • Convenient access to your eyewear, phone, or gym ID without having to open the interior of your bag
  • Highly flexible, non-sag, breathable pockets on the outside of your bag can carry oversized water bottles

For More Information on this bag visit their web-site here
You can also check out their Facebook page here
Follow them on Twitter here


The best feature of this bag is that it allowed me to consolidate two make shift gym bags into one bag designed to handle my gear, designed for ease of use and designed for the mobile active user.

Check Out this video high-lightening this great sports bag.

Apera hit a home run, ran a sub 3 hour marathon and set a personal best with this bag.


Best News: Apera is hosting a August giveaway on right now.  They will be giving away a free Apera bag to one winner. All anyone needs to do is sign up for our email newsletter by providing their email address at the bottom of our website. Then, at the conclusion of each month, we’ll randomly draw a name from those subscribers in our email newsletter database to select our winner.  The bag for August is the Sling Tote. Every month we will change the style.  Click here to enter their contest.




Motivation Monday – Big Week of Miles Thinking of Leadville

Aug 16th they ran the Leadville Trail 100…and I’ve got to tell you my mind was with the brave runners who were taking on this challenge.

I hope to one day stand in Leadville, Colorado at 10,600 feet above sea level and run the 50 miles to the ghost-town of Winfield and turn around and do it all over again.

Why Leadville?

That just about sums it up…..

Running Perfection

The Perfect Runner

We all want to be that perfect runner.  The one who can win at Boston, out dual the competition at Western States and Leadville or blaze the mile in under four minutes.

Can we all reach that level of running perfection?

decofindependance2( Good for Gov’t, but does not work so well for Running)

Sounds good, right.  Unfortunately all runners are not created equal.  At conception we can’t pick our genes or station in life to ensure we are destined to reach runner excellence.  We can however make the most out of the running cards we were dealt.

apples(Mom always said I was “Special”)

When I look back at the traits that were passed down to me, I understand the Olympic podium was not in the cards, and never would have been.  Although I can make the most out of what I was given and I can develop new talents or build upon what abilities I may already possess.

SPEED – I always thought I was a fast runner, then I ran my first race as an adult.  I understand my speed is relative.  Slow for some, and fast for others.  I’ve come to realize and accept this is an area where with concentrated training I can continue to improve.  Like any trait worth acquiring, I just have to put in the hard work.

ENDURANCE/STAMINA – As a kid growing up if something got too hard, became too difficult  I would find a new activity to engage in.  I did not quit, I just “moved on.”  Unfortunately in running if you “move on” during a race, it is quitting.  As a grown up I realized that not finishing something I started was a reflection on me.  I do not want to be seen as someone who started something that was too big, too hard, or not important enough to finish.  As for the mature me when I sign up for a race, you can take it to the bank I will finish.

GRIT – aka “Runners Toughness”  Running hurts, no matter if you’re trying to break into the 5 minute mile club or trying to run 100 miles in under 24 hours.  Running hurts.  This is not a trait I believe I was born with.  I used to give up when it got painful…but over the years I’ve grown into a runner who can deal with a fair (large) amount of pain.

finish(A mental test, Umstead 100)

MENTAL STRENGTH – A lot of a running gifts or talents are physical abilities.  What sets most world class runners apart is mental strength.  The ability to push past any performance barriers, to have the determination, the resolve is key to getting the most out of your body in a physical way.  It hurts to strive for 100%.  It’s painful to push yourself to the limits.  It’s downright uncomfortable to give everything you have to offer.  It takes mental strength to reach your goals or to win the prize of coming in first.

TOUGHNESS -  In this sense of the word I’m not talking about being tough as in being able to handle pain.  I’m speaking about toughness as the ability to not break down physically.  It would be near impossible to handle the mileage needed to be world class if your body could not handle the toll.  Here the more seasoned runner that I’ve come to be has learned that I can’t just run.  I have to take care of my body by fueling it properly, resting it when needed and caring for it in a way that is equal to the efforts I put into running.

take-care(Yes, this really is a picture of me……)

No matter what gifts you were given…as long as you keep running you can develop yourself into the runner that you want to be.