Monthly Archives: September 2014

Goals – Marathon – Running – Racing and Training

Before you ever stand on the starting line at your first or next race you should set a finishing goal.

But is one goal enough?  I think not.


For every major race I have entered I’ve gone to the starting line with three goals…and sometimes more.

For my very first marathon I set three goals.  First, was finishing in under 4 hours and 30 minutes. My second goal was to finish under 4 hours and 45 minutes and finally my last goal was to finish the marathon running and to not get injured.  At the end of the day I would have been happy to meet anyone of those goals.  But why did I need three goals?

I believe in going into a race with more then one goal because life is not always what we except or can predict.  Sure some motivational speakers will tell you to select a goal and go after it with laser focus never compromising on that ONE stated goal.  But how many of us, in the “work-a-day-world” can really be that focused.  I’m sure the majority of us amateur athletes would agree that there are any number of distractions competing for our time and attention, not only during training but also on race day.


I select a main goal, my “A-goal” for a finishing time just a tad bit faster then I’ve been training for.  I considered this my stretch goal.  This is the target on the wall.

I also chose a secondary goal, my “B-goal” for a time slightly slower then my primary goal.  This goal is a good second best option in case something on race day goes array, something outside of my training or outside of my control. Reaching this standard, I would feel like I achieved a reward nearly equal to my efforts.  This goal (and maybe missing my primary goal) would fuel me to come back even more motivated for the next race.  This goal provides a soft landing spot in case I can’t live up to my “A-goal” without feeling defeated.

And lastly I choose a third tier goal as my “what if” option.  What if, everything goes wrong. What if, any reasonable degree of control was lost because of the winds of fate. This “C-goal” although in the hands of defeat, I would be happy to live and to run another day.

Set a goal, train for it, but leave yourself options just in case you forgot to print the parking passes and have to walk over a mile to reach the starting line. (Yea, I’ve done that)


Cancer Hater – 24 Hour Run

To add a little flair to the fund raising for the Cancer Hater 24 Hour Run, Momentum / Designs That Move You has offered up one of their footnote shoe charms to one of my lucky supporters

cancerhaterTo set the donation price on this shoe charm, I’m going to start a reverse auction starting at $50.00  The first person to donate at the current auction price wins this charm.  Place your bid here and in the recognition name put SC after your name.  I’ll lower the donation bid at random times.

Current donation amount $50.00 $49.00 $45.00  $42.00 $40.00 $35.00 $25.00

Cancer Hater – Marathon – 24 Hour Run

A Marathon, a 50 Miler, a 24 Hour Run, a 100k or the 100 Mile Endurance Run at Umstead….they all have something in common.


No matter how hard they were…running them was STILL EASIER THEN CHEMO.

One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. The odds are that someone you and I know is battling cancer right now. VCU Massey Cancer Center is fighting to save lives and find a cure right here in Virginia. While progress is being made every day – I need your help.
2013 Bald tutu runner1

 (Last year I shaved my head and wore a Tutu…
this year it will be off the charts)

Last year you helped me be the top fund raiser, with over $1800.00, this year I would like to break that total.  Can you please help me.  Any amount will do. Remember its STILL EASIER THEN CHEMO, click here.

Check out last year:

Air Force Marathon – Blog Crash – and Monday

What could go wrong, the night before a marathon?  “Database Error” on the blog!  Still not sure what went wrong but WP seams to have fixed itself.

AF marathon bling

(The Marathon Swag)

The Air Force Marathon was a great experience…and another race off my bucket list.

AF marathon start(Just before start)

A more detailed race report is in the works…but the number one lesson learned…Don’t fall in love with a faster pace group.

AF marathon medal(The Bling)

Not the time I wanted, but 4 hours 7 minutes and 58 seconds is going to have to do.  My 13th marathon is in the books!  Now on to JFK50.

Blogging will continue…

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

6 Dec 2014, on a wet and rainy day I hit the tow path again for a 20 mile adventure on a water soaked, leaf covered, muddy, cold and windy trail.  Despite the challenging conditions, I ran across some running jewels along the way.  I’ve run a few long runs on the tow path when we have come north for our Browns games.  When hitting up the tow path for a running date, I normally park at the Brecksville station, and hit the trail running whatever my desired distance is splitting the miles between going north and south from the trail head.  For my last two long runs, 20 milers (2:46 and 2:53), I decided to venture north for 10 miles then south returning where I began.

brecksville 20(10 miles on the Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path)

When you run 10 miles in any direction, your never sure what you’ll find.  On my run from Brecksville station the surprise waiting for me was the chance to run across two nice pedestrian suspension bridges.  I love running across bridges, old wooden ones, reconstructed ones, covered ones and shaky looking ones.  I also love running along old railways and my 10 miles north towards Cleveland presented the opportunity to run both.

tow path bridge
Along the course of the run you pass under numerous highway overpasses.  The real jewel is at about the 8 mile point when you approach the first of two towering white suspension bridges.  The bridges are approx 50ft in height and spaced about 200 yards apart.  If that was not enough for the bridge lover in you, the ten mile turn around point is underneath an active CSX railway bridge.  This monster has got to be 100ft off the ground and both times I’ve used this spot as a turn around point there have been freight trains actively crossing above me.

Ohio-and-Erie-Canal-TrailAgain if you in the neighborhood, run the Ohio & Erie Tow Path…there are jewels all along the trail.

Original Post 13 Sept 2014.

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!