Monthly Archives: August 2014

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 – (SIGNED UP) 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 – (SIGNED UP)  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.




Thinking of Leadville

Running to Leadville…the 100 mile trail race is my dream race, and the topic of my first novel.  A story about a young man who lived a hard life full of rejection, judgement and the absent of that special person in his life.  Unexpectedly he finds love, acceptance, and his passion for running and writing.  In a twist of fate when life seemed nearly perfect, he loses nearly everything.

Running to Leadville is more than a running book, it is a tale about the small mining town of Leadville, Colorado, the 100 mile trail race in the extreme Rockies and it is a story about life.

Since you have an interest in my book and Leadville, I’m offering you a special price on Running to Leadville.  You can purchase a signed copy today for $12.99 with free shipping (US orders only).

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.

Marathon Feature

When I first started running seriously, 2000, my only real intent was to shed a few pounds and get back into reasonable middle aged shape.  I was 36 years old and like many my body was starting to slow down. I had no idea where running would take me…and who would take notice.

Newspaper Article

In 2001 I ran my first marathon, I was stationed at RAF Mildenhall and through the words of a running friend and mentor the base newspaper took notice and featured a story on my training and preparation.

Where can running take you, Anywhere you want to go!

Who will notice?  More people then you could have ever imagined.

Camping, Fishing, Running, Tubing, Camp Food – It Was A Great Weekend

What a epic crazy fun weekend it was…

Some weekends are fun…some are really fun and some they write songs about.  Our three day camping, fishing, running, tubing, and camp food weekend will be remembered in the tales of EPIC Adventures for years to come!


CAMPING – For our first camping adventure four years ago we found a little campground called Horseshoe Flats Campground.  We had so much fun that we have made return trips to this little hide away along the James River ever since.  If you’re looking for corporate resort style camping…this place is not for you.  If you’re looking for a quiet, safe, clean, welcoming, fun, family type campground then this place is perfect.  This being our fourth trip to Scottsville, VA we are already planning to come back in 2015.  Check out Horseshoe Flats on their Facebook page and tell them Brian and Michele sent you.

FISHING – Past trips to Scottsville have been centered around tubing, running and hanging out around camp.  This year we added fishing to our weekend plans…and boy did we have fun.  Our camping rig (fifth-wheel) limits us in not being able to tow a boat, to counter that we picked up a SeaEagle 14 foot inflatable boat.  The SeaEagle boat is built on the same concept of the Zodiac boats that our military uses.  Constructed of heavy gauge 38 mil Polykrylar (K80 PVC) material, with a 3 chamber design capable of holding 4 people and 1560 pound.

 SE_SE-124smbFishDream (1)  truckandboat

This little boat is perfect for Michele and I and fits in the back of our dually once the camper is disengaged.  To make our SeaEagle a bit more comfortable, we added a front bench seat, 2 padded seats on swivel mounts and a 55lb Thrust Trolling Motor.  This set up is perfect for getting into the smaller lakes and or reservoirs.  When un-inflated and disassembled our SeaEagle packs away in the extra room within our RV.


Just outside of Scottsville is the Totier Creek Reservoir a 66-acre  reservoir in Albemarle County.  The reservoir has largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish.  Friday morning we headed to the boat ramp and found ourselves as the only ones on the water.


Michele started us off with the first catch of the day, a nice hand size sunfish.  The day ended with two trips on the water and our hopper full with a bass, crappie, and 6 to 8 sunfish keepers. Our first outing netted a nice group of fish and the boat returning home in one piece with zero holes. This sampling provided the perfect amount for our first fish fry.

RUNNING – It is always fun to run someplace new.  Saturday and Sunday morning I made runs out to the same reservoir we went fishing on.  The run out to Totier Creek is approx. 3 miles in length and offers two really good climbs.  The first coming as you leave Scottsville off of Warren road.  From the main road of Scottsville up Warren road to James River Road it is pretty much uphill the entire way.  This initial climb covers .38 mile and scales 300+ feet.  Not Leadville or Hardrock, but a nice little climb to get the run underway. The next nice climb was on Totier Road starting from the parking lot of the boat ramp and ending midway back on Totier Road.  The video below shows the downhill portion of the run along Totier Road ending at the boat ramp.

I ran this route from Scottsville to Toteir Creek Reservoir both mornings.  Sunday morning I ran some of the streets of Scottsville taking in some of the historic sites along the way.  One stop was at the town park where Scottsville history is told including historic high-water marks from previous floods.  Scottsville has been flooded several times due to its proximity to the James River.  Since 1870, Scottsville has been the victim of twenty-one floods (defined as water levels of twenty feet or more above the average low water level). 

TUBING – Tubing on the James is a great day trip.  James River Reeling and Rafting puts on a great adventure and we enjoy floating down the river with no cares in the world.

CAMP FOOD – We had two meals worth talking about.

Saturday night after our tubing adventure we fired up the grille and made ribs for the very first time.  I wasn’t to sure how they would turn out but when other campers stopped by and a tried a few, many asked what my special trick was.  I had no idea they would taste that good, after-all I was texting my friend Jeff on how to cook them.  I took half a rack of ribs, washed them down, the rubbed some olive oil on them and rubbed some A1 dry rub on them and allowed them to sit for 2 hours.  Once we had the grille fired up I cooked them on low heat for a good 2 hours rotating them every 10 minutes.  Once done and ready to serve I cut them into 2 rib sections and dunked them in hot (temp) BBQ sauce, covered them and let them sit for 10 minutes.  Once they sauce baked in I brushed some extra sauce on them and served.


We had ribs, toasted homemade garlic bread and corn on the cob.  Oh yea!  But that meal paled when compared to the fish fry we had Sunday night.

Sunday we had our first fish fry.  When cleaning the fish, I filet them and put them in the ice box in fresh water.  We picked up some beer batter to give them that special taste.  To get the fish ready to fry, Michele patted them dry and then I put them in the dry breading, flipping them over a few times to get good coverage on the fish.  Then they went right into the hot oil and frying until they floated.  We served the fish with fried potatoes, and corn on the cob.  I’ve got to say these tasted great!  Why we have we not gone fishing before this.


All in all it was a great weekend, we fished, I ran, we tubed and I got to spend time with the love of my life and our two puppies.  On top of all this we celebrated our one month Dogaversary!

Race Ambassador – J&A Racing

Hot Dawg!

I’m proud to announce that I have been selected to be a Race Ambassador for J&A Racing.


I’ve run in a number of J&A events in the past including a several Shamrock Marathons.  They are an outstanding race management company and I look forward to running in and representing their stable of races!  As I get more involved with this program I’ll be sharing my experiences and insights right here.

Thank you J&A….

62032-287-009f(Me during the 2010 running of the J&A Wicked 10K)

Motivation Monday – A Few Words That Inspire

Sometimes there are a few key words that inspire, motivate or simply remind us of our past successes.


Momentum / Designs That Move You offers a full range of hand stamped Foot Notes, Wrap Bracelets, Suede Cuffs, Headbands and Necklaces with a passion for fitness.  Momentum offers hand-crafted, workout-friendly jewelry for fitness-focused individuals. Featuring our innovative MOTIVATE WRAP™ bracelet (patent pending).” 

I was offered the opportunity to have a Foot Note made especially for me to review and more importantly to wear on my training runs.  Coming off my 100 mile run at Umstead I choose “Ultra Runner” as the tag line for my Foot Notes.

Ultra Runner

Arriving in my mailbox I found the Foot Notes of high quality and a perfect fit for my Hokas Stinson.  I’ve logged a good number of miles on these shoes with my Foot Notes attached.  I’ve run on good days, wet days and a few soggy dirty days and they still look like brand new.


Runners can be a tough lot to buy a special gift for. Momentum Jewelry offers a nice variety of gifts any runner would be proud to wear.  Momentum Jewelry is NOT just for the girls…  If you see something you like Tell Amy and Wendy that Brian sent you and use the coupon code “GGS158” for 15% off their website purchase from now until Sept. 15, 2014

You can check them out at
Thier webpage at Momentum Jewelry
Facebook at Designs That move You
Follow them on Twitter
And Instagram


Five Favorite Things About Running

Five Favorite Things About Running

Now there are to many things I like about running to count.  The simple act of getting outside, putting one foot in front of the other and going a little farther and faster then I ever dreamed is full of favorites.  Below is a list of five of my favorites.

In no order of importance…

th(thank you for all the memories)

1.  Friends –  I could never list all the great people I’ve met while running.  Whether I ran one race with them or trained for a marathon or ultra.  I felt a special connection with everyone I’ve had the pleasure of logging a few miles with.  I wanted to post a picture but I don’t want to leave anyone out…so if we ran together image your face in this post.

2.  Balance – The world tends to over load you with routine, responsibilities, concerns and burdens.  In the hustle its easy to forget about yourself.  Running has reminded me that I must tend to myself, my body, my mind and spirit.

fatface(me and my fat face look)

3.  No Fat Face –  Since turning 30 just a few years back (20 to be exact) I noticed its harder to keep my weight in check.  At a whopping 5′ 7″ when I gain weight its noticeable.  There was one distinct day that I noticed where this weight had accumulated.  On me the first place it collects is on my face.  During these heavy periods, I hate looking in the mirror and seeing a fat face looking back at me.  Running helps me keep my weight in check and helps that guy in the mirror look just a little bit thinner a healthier.

Medoc Rock(no fat face and my MEDOC 50k+ rock)

4.  Bling –  Sadly I did not “letter” in high school.  In the sports I did play, I did not win any trophies or win any races.  During my motor head years I did collect a number of “best in show” trophies, but to win a athletic trophy has always been more important then gaining one for having the prettiest car.   Each marathon medal means a lot to me, and scoring a 3rd place award, a beer stein for the a monster hill climb, my MEDOC 50k+ rock or My Umstead 100 mile Belt Buckle…my running bling is my favorite.

Umstead100collection(100 Miles at Umstead)

5.  Feeling Like I Can Do Anything – Although loving the game of football, I got kicked off my J.V. team for not being able to run a full mile.  That’s right ONE mile.  Although fast at the 50 yard dash I did not have the endurance or the mental toughness to stick out running one mile. My second running career has proved to me I can do anything….1 mile……I’ve run nearly 14,000 miles and I ran 100 miles in 22 hours 51 minutes and 05 seconds.  Take that J.V. football and Jeff Lane!

What is a favorite thing about your running?