Monthly Archives: January 2017

Running – While in a writers slump

The last few days I’ve had a hard time coming up with a new topic for my Running blog.  Running has been easy, but writing, well I’ve been in a writer’s slump.   A writer’s slump you ask?  Well not really.  I’ve written a few chapters in my next running themed book.  I’ve written for another fitness themed blog, but I just could not seem to get motivated for a new post on my blog.

Running while in a writer’s slump.  What gives with that…???

What makes me qualified to write about running?  I started to ask myself.

I started to have some negatives thoughts seek into my mind.

Why do I think anyone cares about my running or what I write about?

Does anyone really read my blog?  Or is it just another collection of digits amongst the many brighter stars in the internet galaxy?

Then it hit me….I am qualified to write about running, and that is the perfect title, theme, thought, and motivation for me to write.

Why am I qualified to write about running?  Simple…

thuletreadmill(A few months into my running journey, Thule Air Base, Greenland, 2001)

I’ve been there.  I started my running journey, out of shape, overweight, and in the throes of middle age.  I had to fight self-doubt, laziness, and a lifestyle that was content to be still.  That alone makes me perfectly qualified to write to 99% of the running population.  Unlike the elite athletes, a large number of us “real” people begin our running careers behind the power curve.  We struggle, fight, and crawl our way to fitness.  I understand you.  I was among you and I’m still one of you.

I live a normal life.  As much as I wish it was, running is not my number one priority.  I may think it is.  I may want it to be but no matter what, my job and family are what enables me to run.  Most of us fight to find time, fight to find the money, and fight to get our runs in.  Some days it’s easy and some days it takes every ounce of effort to get out the door, to step on the treadmill, and begin our run.  I live that battle every day.

I can relate.  At some point running gets hard.  We get injured.  We suffer from blisters.  Our stomachs rebel.  We lose motivation.  We just want to cuddle up on the couch with a bag of chips, some Oreos, a gallon of milk and be still.  I’ve struggled and overcame all of those thoughts….sometimes within the first mile of a single outing.  I feel your pain; your pain has been my pain.  I understand.

I’ve made the mistakes.  We all do.  We up the mileage too soon.  We take on a bigger challenge then we were ready for.  We run when we should have rested.   There is no worse feeling than when you realize your body has let you down.  We get sidelined. I’ve felt that very soul crushing, and self-defeating thought; I’m injured.

I can write about running because I’m like you and you are like me.  We live a normal life. We need each other, we can relate to each other struggles.  We motivate each other.  We inspire each other…and we learn, grow, and support each other.

I may not be educated on the proper techniques of running, I may lack the knowledge and understanding of nutrition and how it relates to running and I might not digest the function of the human body.

But I know exactly what you’re going through…and I care.

medoc-2016-finish(Finishing the Medoc Mountain Trail Marathon, 2016)

That makes me perfectly qualified to write about running.

Cleveland Marathon – Training Tips

Thankful to be running the 40th Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon this year, I have a little score to settle. Super thankful to be an RACM Ambassador this year, and as Spiderman said, “with that comes the awesome responsibility to help others.”  Or it was something close to that…


So how can I help you run a better marathon?  Easy learn from my mistakes, my lessons learned, my success (where I’ve had some), and some helpful training tips.

[Tweet “@cledawgs is offering some great tips to your BEST Marathon AND a FREE entry into the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon “]

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FREE entry to be drawn on May 7th, enter every day and share with your friends….

To start you off on your best RACM.

Don’t feed the trolls.  At some point in the race it may get ugly.  It might be your feet, maybe its turn out to be a tight hamstring, a sore ankle or your just plain out of breath.  Thoughts of doubt might crept in…you’ll consider quitting.  Don’t feed those thoughts…keep moving forward, it will get better.  We are all stronger than we think we are, capable of doing more than we think we can.  For more tips on not feeding the trolls, check out my article on the same subject.

Sleep is important.  Sleep is just as important in training as the miles are.  Your body can’t recover without sleep.  Just as you would not skimp on the miles…don’t rob yourself of valuable sleep during training.  Especially right before race day.  Most will suffer from some nervousness as our race draws near.  The night before, the night before is perhaps the most important night of rest.

Ease into your day.  Unless you’re gunning for a BQ or Olympic qualifying time you’ll run a faster race if you ease into your day.  Studies have proven and I have learned the lessons myself.  You’ll lose more time running out of gas at mile 20, 21, 22, 23, 24…..then you would have gained with the fast start.

Have a plan for race day.  Most races have aid stations every two miles.  You can waste a lot of time in the aid station zones if you don’t have a plan. Check my post on race day strategies.

Run those long runs with friends.  Whether my sites are set on the next marathon or a 100 miler, the long runs always intimidate me.  It’s not just the miles that drive me a little batty, it’s the time alone.  To help me win this battle I invite others along for the ride run.

20 miles, 50 miles or whatever your long run is, it’s much easier to pull off if you have some good running friends to spend the time with.  After it takes a village to run a marathon.

Test drive your gear and test drive your gear together.  On a recent training run for an upcoming 100-miler, I ran a 50-mile long run.  The morning of the run, I selected a pair of high-quality socks.  This pair of socks I’ve run long distances in before, I had confidence in them.  Later I selected a pair of shoes, again a pair I’ve run in a lot and likewise had tons of confidence in them.

About two miles into the day I noticed a weird feeling related to the combination of my shoes, socks, and feet.  Honestly, it felt like my socks were falling down.  Now I wear low rise socks, to begin with, so this was kind of strange.  I ran another half mile and I thought for sure my left heel was now naked in my shoe.  With 48 miles left to my day, I had to fix this situation.  I pulled over on the trail.  I sat down by a nice tree and removed my shoe.  Sure enough, my sock had been pushed down and nearly off my foot.

It dawned on me, I was not so sure I ever wore THAT pair of socks with THAT pair of shoes.  I struggled with sock issues all day and received a nice blister on the back of my left heel as my reward.

Check back for my next Cleveland Marathon training tip.


Marathon News – Returning to Cleveland

I’ve never lived in Cleveland.  I’ve have no real ties to the city.  I was born and raised in Erie, Pa.

In 1971 I wrote and received back a fan letter from the Cleveland Browns.  I’ve had an fascination with Cleveland ever since.

Fast forward to 2013, I moved away from Erie, I’ve traveled the world with the US Air Force, years into my running career, and I was ready to score my first sub four hour marathon.  Cleveland was the place I wanted to do it.

cleveland9(Cleveland Marathon 2013, when things were good)

In the marathon the winds of fate are not always kind, a fast start, rising temperatures, and the next thing I knew I was simply happy to finish.

BUT IN 2017 I’m back…..


I’ll once again run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and this time, a sub four is coming home with me. AND the best news for you….I have a free race entry to give away.  I’ll be giving away one free entry into the race the week of 1 May.

[Tweet “@cledawgs is returning to the Cleveland Marathon, for a chance at a free entry into the race check out his blog.”]

Check back often for training tips and the spin up for my return to Cleveland.




Run – Start 2017 Off Right – 17 Running Ways

With each NEW YEAR we all start with good intentions, get fit, get faster, lose a few pounds, and set racing records.  For the majority of people who plan to do good in the new year, the wheels come off the bus before they get to succeed.  So how can you ensure you have a fighting chance at success in 2017?

17 ways you can stay motivated and succeed in 2017

1.  Keep a race on the calendar.

2.  Help pace someone.

3.  Read a running blog every day.

4.  Keep a running diary/running log.

5.  Buy yourself some new shoes.

6.  Reward yourself with milestone rewards “50% of goal gift” etc.

7.  Post your goals on line (Facebook, Twitter etc.)…..and talk about them all the time.  Works for me

8.  Help someone else reach their goals.

9.  Use a fitness app like Map my run, Strava or My Fitness Pal.

10.  Watch some running/fitness videos on line.

[Tweet “17 ways to keep running and succeed at your 2017 goals by @cledawgs”]

11.  Follow some elite runners on Facebook and Twitter.

12.  Find a running group in your area, nothing like peer pressure to keep you moving.

13.  Race a distance you have never run before.

14.  Visit a running store.

15.  Read a good running book, may I suggest Running to Leadville

16.  Even of the days you don’t feel like it, log one simple mile…you might find it changes your opinion of the day.


17.   Think about all the people would give anything to be able to run, we don’t “have” to read we “get” to run.

What keeps you heading out the door when you do not feel like it?

Running – Racing – Blogging and Setting New Records

A year like 2016 only comes around once in a great while.  In the national headlines, the year saw a monumental shift in the political tide while a number of hollywood and music legends passed from this earth.  For me personally 2016 saw numerous personal records fall and a  headline item get crossed off my bucket list.


January:  The third edition of Brian’s Crazy New Year’s Long Run was a huge success.  For the first time in the three history of this event we ran at Umstead State Park in North Carolina.  I started this training run in 2014 while preparing for my first 100 mile race.  In 2016 a small group of old and new friends hit the trails of Umstead.  Andrea a friend of mine from VA was set to take on her first 100 mile race.  We used this run as a tune up and tour of the 100 mile course.  Andrea became the first runner to complete all 50 miles.

12938266_10154166274836495_2452012471952398266_n(Andrea, myself and our friend Wendy during the 100 mile race)

Ending the month I planned to run the Miami marathon the day before departing on a cruise out of the port of Miami.  Four days before the marathon, two days before we were scheduled to fly out of Richmond, mother nature decided to shut down the east coast with a massive snow storm.  With flights cancelled we headed down I-95 South from Richmond, Va to Miami, Fla arriving just as the marathon signs were coming down.  January came to an end with 185 miles in the log book.

February:  As the hit song proclaimed “February made me shiver…” I decided to step down the racing milage,  Michele and I ran the Heart and Sole Half Marathon in Goldsboro, Nc.  Going into this race I had no real expectations, and had no real intentions of racing hard.  That last thru the national Anthem and on a cold and crisp morning I let it all hang out from the opening bell.  13 miles later a sub 1:40 half marathon was nearly in hand.

heartnsolehalf2015(Michele and I)

Amongst some crazy weather that included snow, high winds, and tornados I logged 182 miles.

March: Even with all the training, all the miles and all the race day goals expectations are sometimes still met with defeat.  I had targeted the Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, Nc as a gold setting race since early in the fall.  I trained hard, I got mentally focused, and Wham.  I woke up Saturday morning, 24 hours before race day with a monster headache and my sinuses blocked up like the Hoover Dam.  I did whatever every ultra-runner would do….I avoided all reasonable advice and planned to run the race anyway.  With enough sudafed to dry up the swamps of Louisiana I set off on my quest for a sub-four marathon.


(Emmy Lou didn’t put in the hard work,
but she did claim the bling)

Closed the books on March with 160 miles.

April: A big part about ultra-running is the community.  We inspire, challenge, and support each other.  When Andrea asked if I would help her during her 100 mile race, it took me two seconds to tell her I would be there.  I ran the last 50 miles with Andrea as she battled through the night, the pain, and the ugly hours of ultra-running.  Andrea claimed her 100 mile buckle.  So proud of her…

finishing picture

 (Wendy, Andrea, Hank and I…100 miles later!)

Three other races in April including the Mountain to Sea 50k, Tar Heel 10 miler and my 7th running of the Virginia 24 Hour Run Against Cancer.   Finished the month with 232 miles.

May: A dream two years in the making…with the US Military Sports Endurance Team, four others and I ran the Grand Canyon from the South Rim (South Kaibab trail) to the North Rim (North Kaibab trail) and back to the South Rim (Bright Angel Trail).

13233049_10209186949580397_5226673524752590985_n(Team USMES, Lori, myself, Joshua, Jamie and Eric)

May was all about the Grand Canyon, with tapering leading up to the run, travel, and recovery afterwards I logged 124 miles in May.

June:  I decided to sign up for The Bethel Moonlight Boogie 50 Miler late.  After mailing off the entry forms and personal check I talked myself into running it.  As I drove 3 hours away from home I thought I wanted to.  Within the first 15 miles of a 50 mile race, at the hottest part of the day, in the middle of the humidity of a June night in North Carolina…I called it quits.  This was going to be my 100th race finish, but it turned out to be my first Did Not Finish (DNF).

dnf face

 (A DNF….not happy)

No other races, but a colonoscopy (I passed)…finished with 171 miles.

July: Took a little break from racing.  During a trip with our grandson to the Baltimore Aquarium I snuck out early on a Saturday morning to run a few miles around the Inner Harbor.



(Selfie in front of the US Coast Guard Ship Taney)

Not my favorite city for football reasons but the inner Harbor is a nice place to run, I logged 6.7 miles that morning and 200 for the month.

August:  A return trip to the Medoc Mountain Meltdown 50K plus.  On a hot and humid Saturday afternoon, the melt did what it’s name is famous for…it melted me down.  I ran three laps of a four lap event.  At the time I was in the lead pack of two runners when the heat just got to be too much.  Rolling into the aid station I called it a day.

13921101_1298344093510077_856199800322259064_n(Three laps of heat and humidity can take it out of you)

On the heels of the melt down, I banked 224 miles for a strong month.

Sept: 24 hour races have had my number.  I’ve met a few goals along the way but I always seem to come out of those events beat up, injured in some cases, and short of running all 24 hours.  The 2015 Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race left me disappointed and confused on my running career.  With the collapse at Boogie and Medoc I went into the 2016 Hinson Lake race with a lot of questions.


(The wee hours at Hinson Lake)

Ended the month with 213 miles and the white whale is dead.

October: My 2nd running of the Medoc Mountain Trail Marathon.  A local favorite, this race has all the charm and character that big city marathons lack.  Last year I tripped and fell all over the place this year I ran a course/event PR.


(Medoc, 2016)

Hurricane Matthew rolled into town, with high winds and steady rain the power lines came down and our little lake flooded its shores but I still managed to get in 205 miles.

November:  After my first running of the JFK 50 in 2014 I said I would never run this race again. In 2015 I returned with friends.  After a disappointing finish, I was beaten and defeated, I vowed never to return.  I had had enough of the AT with its rocks and hills.  2016 I found myself again facing the JFK and my desire for a sub 10 hour finish.

image1(Running with Team a lot of PR fell that day)

November was a month they shall write stories about.  I scored three PRs in 18 days and logged 178 miles.

November also saw me complete a project I have been working on for two years.  I completed my first novel, Running to Leadville.  Why did I write this book?  I’ve long wanted to read a running book that would entertain, inspire, and share the ultra running community with the world at large.  I found that story hard to find so I wrote it myself.  Inspired by the Leadville Trail 100 this story is not simply a running story, it’s a story about life, love, loss, and overcoming the challenges of this world. Set on the stage of a 100 mile foot race in the extreme Colorado Rockies this story will be sure to grab your attention.


For more information on Running to Leadville click here.

December: Another month without a race, life just got to busy.  Although no racing success I did successfully pull off my third Christmas day reindeer run.

15697526_1446092585401893_3295072648369693733_n(Sometime you have to stop and take the selfie)

The end of December saw 238 miles get added to my total.

PRs for the year:

Yearly Miles  2316.7
Yearly Running Days  247
Monthly Running Days  27
Racing PRs: 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50 Mile, 24 Hour Race
Bucket List:  Grand Canyon R2R2R

With an opportunity to look back and reflect on 2016 it’s hard to fathom how great a year it was.  I ran a lot of miles, I met a lot of people, I made great friends and I gave back to the running community.  Entering 2017 I’m healthy, I’m running well, and I’m looking forward to this year and beyond.

My goal races for 2017 are Myrtle Beach (another sub 4), Umstead 100 (100 mile PR), Cleveland Marathon and the Yeti 100.

Check out my 2017 goals and race calendar here