Day 82: The Big One.

Today I stood toe-to-toe with my biggest running challenge – 20 miles.

I came, I conquered and I am exhausted.  20 miles completed in 3:52:48.  I was very happy with the 11:33 pace.  The chance for a sub 5-hour marathon was still attainable.

It is amazing my body continues moving forward that long.  Got it out of the way early but after the wedding thing last night and this morning’s run I am not thinking I will get to church.  Think me and the sofa are going to relax and enjoy football.  Sidenote- I found out the headliner for the Denver Rock n’ Roll Marathon is SemiSonic.  Its going to bring back some fond memories.

The alarm blared.  I woke and was pretty pumped up at the challenge before me.  Ate a good breakfast and got a late start, 7:00 a.m.)  The trail that runs along Clear Creek is a touch scary when its pitch black.  I saw a ton of runners today.  Usually I only see a few so obviously not everyone thinks beat-the-heat.

Miles 1 to 5 were a breeze.  I was keeping an 11:00 minute pace.  My old rock playlist was great – Springsteen, Mellencamp, CCR, Queen, and more greats.  So I took 1 of the 3 gels I brought and continued on.  Around mile 7 my ankle started bugging me but it went away a few miles later.  Fatigue took over the pain.  The miles started to take longer as the sun was coming up.  I ran past mile 7 where the 9/11 race went on.  Luckily, the course was not in use.  Passing mile 9 I realized I have never made it down the trail this far.

Crazy happening on mile 3.  We passed a guy on a park bench.  He took a picture of us.  The crazy people you come across in the world but it seemed to make him happy.

This gel stop was also great relief.  I was getting tired.  The sugary goo gave me an energy boost.  The next couple miles passed by.  Not much chatting w/ Melissa was happening.  I think we both were concentrating on moving forward.  As my mind wondered I heard Melisssa say we had crossed the half-marathon point.  That lifted my spirits.  I wasn’t near tired enough to have run 13.1 miles.

Mile 16 was a different story.  I stopped and took my final gel, downed some water and extended the walk a couple more seconds.  Somehow the legs began moving.  What I want to know is how come my arms get so sore running long distance.  Not like they are doing the work of my legs!  I diluted my water at mile 17 with a Nuun tablet, an electrolyte replenish-er.  Much better than Gatorade.

Boy was I getting tired.  Less than a 5k I told myself.  I wanted to finish strong.  After all, in the marathon there will still be 6 miles to run.  Well strong didn’t exactly happen.  A short walk occurred at 18 and again at 19.5.

The final 200 meters was a dead-on sprint.  A sprint on legs that were exhausted.  My goal was to finish in under 4 hours and I did.

Word of Advice:  Consider adding one healthy things to already healthy foods.  Example:  I have shredded carrots on my salad.  Other ideas to try can be adding blueberries to oatmeal, high in antioxidants and vitamin C, or chair seeds to boost yogurt, they are high in fiber and fight inflammation.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


Comments, Questions, or just want to tell me how great I am…

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Day 77, 78 and 79: Legendary

The peak of this training program is in full effect.  It is all down hill after this, at least that’s what I keep telling my body (which reminds me the race is 26.2 miles).  This week’s mileage hits a personal-high of 40.  I have learned a great admiration for rest days.

The mornings are getting chilly.  Soon I will be pulling out my winter running gear.  This morning was in the 50s and I can actually warm up.  Pretty soon I’m gonna be wearing compression pants, shirt and gloves.  I’m not the bravest runner.  Melissa can bear much colder weather than me.

Besides a mishap with my Nike+ (forgetting to hit the button), the run went well.  It was the slowest pace for the shorter training runs thus far.  I’m not sure what that means.  I enjoy statistics for my own personal competition but if I’m not in a race, really, pace doesn’t matter much.  Sleep, nutrition, time of the run – all factor in.  It is more regimented during race week.  I have been up late studying, not on a regular eating schedule – so I’m not worried.

The first run of the week its good just to get back out there.  I felt that today.  I love running and a couple days off is enough.  Rest helped heal my body, although its going to appreciate next week’s mileage decline.

Wednesday night brought on the longest mid-week run – 10 miles.  I was worried about it being too hot.  A light rain accompanied the first few miles while the sky stayed overcast for the entirety.  I was tired but not sure I broke a sweat!

It took those first few miles to warm up.  Then I just zoned in on my stride till I took my gel.  All this mileage has increased my endurance.  Melissa and I noted that 10 miles is still challenging but not the massive feat it once seemed. The gel seemed to have the opposite effect one would expect.

The second half became agonizing.  Maybe I needed the rain to come back.  I had come across quite a few hills.  That probably drained me.  I kept thinking only a few miles left.  And they were on a gravel trail which really takes the pressure off the knees. Somehow I continued on and finished the 10 miles with an impressive 11:30 pace.

Rest was short lived.  Less than 12 hours later, the alarm buzzed for me to do 5 miles.  Ugh!  I got out the door though, and that was an accomplishment.

Now I’ve never broken all the bones in my body but I think it feels like I did trying to run.  Everything hurt.  My joints creaked, my foot cried for a break and it wore me down.

I kept strong in the beginning.  Just trying to stay with Melissa was a lot of work.  I focused on my stride.  One foot in front of the other, head looking forward, arms right-angled, blah blah blah.  No trick was going work.  I was tired.  I was overworked.  I was walking.

Incredibly I took a breather and ran again.  I wanted to finish this 20 miles in 3 days legitimately.  My legs began to churn again and I was off to finish.  I took two more short walk-breaks.  And I finished!

Word of Advice:  To get faster times incorporate some of these speed workouts in your training:  tempo runs (raise your lactate threshold) and intervals (improve cardiovascular system).

I think they add some competitiveness and fun to training.  I plan to incorporate them into my weekly schedule after the Denver Marathon.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


Comments or questions about me or my training?

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Day 73 and 74: Mileage milestone.

A hectic Wednesday forced me to shuffle up the training schedule.  The length didn’t allow for it to be run in the morning.  Melissa had a doctor appointment after work.  Exhaustion from the day did not get us out.  I took it easy, watched the new episode of Gossip Girl – my guilty pleasure – and had some ice cream.

The rest made me anxious to get out the door Thursday morning.  The weather was in the 50s.  Perfect!  Still not liking all the morning darkness – how I love Daylight Savings Time 😦 – so kept to lit-up streets.  It’s an out-and-back with a slight up-hill out.  Down-hill is always appreciated on the backside of any route.

I ran down by the Thornton Rec Center and ran figure-eights around the ponds.  Kind of a boring run – Melissa never would have allowed such repetition – but I wasn’t being very creative.  A very routine run.  Good but not great.

The pain in my foot reminded me Saturday would become harder now being fatigued.  Excuses flooded my head.  My body somehow got out the door that morning and I set out to run 13 miles.  I knew it was crazy.  This was more running in two days than I had ever put my body through.  But it was a challenge and it begged to be conquered.  That was that.

At least I had Melissa on this run.  Without her I probably would have quit 5 miles into it, if not earlier.  But we set out on a slow pace.  The body loosened up after a couple miles and my hopes were lifted that the entire run wouldn’t be agonizing.

It was short-lived.

I rolled through the first few miles.  My body wasn’t yet falling apart.  Then we hit the turn-around point   -or what I thought was the turn-around point-   and I asked Melissa what mile we were at.  She replied, 4.5 miles.

My jaw hit the pavement.  My soul crushed.  I had her repeat it.  4.5 she said again.  The good run took a turn for the worse.  I marched forward thinking I can do this.  That was until I began the ascent on the never-ending hill.  The positive attitude I was trying to save and whatever energy I had left was completely gone.

The restroom stop at a Walmart gave me a chance to breath and gather some confidence to finish this.  After all, 7 miles is a long walk back home.  The return trip did go better.  A few miles flew by as I got into a groove.  Taking gels always does give energy and it really gave me a boost this day.

I made it past a half-marathon.  Mentally I was weak and could not force myself to continue this time.  I walked the last mile home.

The following day I iced and heated my knee.  I believe it is getting better.  I desperately need it to.  So as I lay watching a movie, icing my knee I posted on Facebook “In two days I ran 23 miles.”  Amazing.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


Me, Melissa, and Jennifer (left to right) hiking on one of Colorado's many trails.

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Day 70: The rest is over.

Time to get back in it.  Enjoyed the rest.  Spent some time icing and heating my ankle, and even rubbing a little Icy Hot on it.  Feels fine now except I can feel a tickle of pain once in a while.  Not sure if its in my head or really there.  So I had to test it with a 5-mile jog this morning.

Yep, still there.  After caring for it I am getting a bit concerned.  It is milder so another week of ice and heat and maybe then it will be all better.

It isn’t inhibiting my running.

I put on a clinic this morning.  Set out to run 5 miles at 5 a.m. and was back before sunrise.  I ran a 10:18 pace, with a strong finish.  I probably would’ve strolled to the end but Melissa kept speeding up.  Her power song, Rawkfist by Thousand Foot Krutch, came up on her iPod and off she went with me chasing after her.

I finished not out of breath, even after that little burst.  The training has definitely increased my endurance.  The breathing and respiratory aspects have really been improved by, I think, my increasing water intake.  I have come to realize a marathoner doesn’t intake 2-liters of pop a day.  Okay, I probably still drink around that but less is less (so true).

Word of Advice:  Having trouble qualifying for the Boston Marathon?  Start your own.  Seriously, Mike Tammaro did just that.  Actually he did qualify but didn’t sign up soon enough and had to wait for next year.  He created his own marathon reported Runner’s World magazine.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


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Day 67: Facing a giant.

David vs Goliath

“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?”

No, this isn’t my catch phrase.  That is what David said aloud after listening to Goliath’s blowhorn before the happenings of the biblical story David vs Goliath.  I had my own giant to face:  18 miles.

With a PR of 16 miles (last week), the task seemed daunting.  Unfortunately, the marathon is 26.2 miles, so eventually I’ll have to conquer the distance.  Why not today.  I laced my shoes and out the door I stormed.

Melissa drove us to the Platte River trailhead.  This trail is perfect for long runs.  It goes underneath the streets.  I never have to cross a street – that is pretty awesome.  Another benefit is the trail is relatively flat.  A few minor hills – unless you’ve run 10 miles then the hills get bigger.  One negative about the trail and running at 5 a.m. is the darkness.  It was near pitch black.  Firstly, there’s the fact I could not defend myself against (insert insult).  Second, a few days ago I wrote about the scare Melissa and I had with Coyotes.  We have never heard their howl but I now am terrified of a face-to-face encounter.

Neither of us got ate by the Coyotes and we moved into mile 3.   After a runner’s world article about drinking water early in a run, I started doing just that.  I’ll have to continue it a few more times before I’m convinced but my last two times I drank early – both were good runs.  The nuun tablets are wonderful.  This is my second use.  It is nice to have a flavored water.  A nice change of pace.  I took the drink at mile 13.  At mile 6 and 11, I took a gel.  I’m carrying about all I can.  Pretty soon I’m going have a backpack!

Miles 6-9 were on a race course.  I guess they can’t block the trail because its public?  Maybe we were early.  The race hadn’t started.  The race was to support lost firemen’s families in 9/11.  On the way out the course, I had asked some volunteers setting up a table.

The middle kinda blurred.  Melissa and I zoned into our iPods.  I have a genius playlist off the song  Runaway by Stroke 9.  Good stuff.  The sun came up shortly after the turnaround but luckily it didn’t heat up much.  Toward mile 13 my ankles really acted up.  They had hurt since I woke but the running made it worse.  I have tried not complaining but the ankle has been nagging me for a couple weeks.  I read something on increasing distance and it could just be your body adjusting.  I have also read some things that worry me.

I spent tonight on a strict schedule:  ice, heat and elevate.  Well it doesn’t hurt now.  That’s not surprising.  The pain when not running is mild to non-existent.  When running, agony.  I take care of it tonight, rest and watch football tomorrow and take it easy Monday.  Then re-evaluate the situation.  My thought is the check has been cashed.  A race bib that has been paid for has a number that identifies me.  If the ankle isn’t broken I’m running.  If it is broken maybe I can find a wheelchair.

Advice from other runners:  “Instead of laying out your running clother, go to bed dressed to run, wrote Lisa, Michigan to Runner’s World.  I thought the idea was hilarious.  I’m always looking ways to be more prepared.  Just thought I’d put it out there.  Lisa goes on to say “I even wear my sports bra and socks so I’m ready to go in the a.m.”

Go out and fill your passion bucket,


Hiking in Red Rocks

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

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Day 63, 64, 65, and 66: Getting through the routine.

Monday was a great “rest” day.  Seriously, my rest day consisted of biking all over Denver.  I have lost my mind!

I had been wanting to try out B-cycle, which is a community-type thing where you rent a bike in one spot and switch it for another bike at a different location.  It is a cheap and a good way to exercise while getting to see the city.  It was a blast.  Melissa and Samantha went with me.  We began at the Cherry Creek Mall, rode over to the 16th Street Mall and REI.  It was a great day with temperatures in the 70’s.  The trails were busy with runners and bikers.  Everyone was enjoying this wonderful afternoon.

Before school Tuesday I ran 4 miles in 41:00 minutes.  I noticed my speed at the halfway mark.  The body felt good so instead of slowing down I sped up.  I averaged 10:09/mile.  Whoo!

Conditions were perfect.  My ankle felt great (I’ll get back to that later).  I was pumped up at the finish.  I love short distances.

Then came Tuesday (dramatic music)!  Did a night run.  Learned my lesson too.  By the end of the day it is much harder to get out the door.  My mind is working and easily can come up with excuses telling me to stay home.  But with work, Melissa and I wouldn’t have been able to run together otherwise.  Tired and against my will, at 4:30 p.m. I set out on my 9-mile run.

In a poor mood and having to make a restroom pitstop, I wanted to turn around.  I’m not sure if Melissa would have fought me.  Her spirits weren’t so high after a long day of 1st graders.  But it is still that accountability that comes with a running partner.  Grit and go.  And off we were.

So after a painful 3 miles my legs got comfortable and I began to actually enjoy the run.  Slow and steady, that is my motto.  I took two short-walk breaks in the final 6 miles.  Sometimes it is best to walk a bit, a chance to catch my breath and actually get some water in my mouth.  It is amazing what 15 seconds can do.  Nothing bad happened physically but I definitely faced a huge mental challenge.  I am proud to have finished.

Before setting out we decided to ditch the gel and just bring water.  That seemed to work fine.  I held an 11:15 pace.  Very impressive for how slow I thought I was going.  Then I sat on the couch for an hour of Minute To Win It.  I love that show.

Now, you’d think I’d earn a day off after that run.  At least a 12-hour break from running -not even close.  5:00 a.m. Thursday I was back out running.  My body rejected the idea of getting out of bed but I forced myself up.   After only a few steps I felt the pain in my foot.  It had subsided for most of this week.  It really bothered me.  I could feel it altering my stride.  Hopefully it is just tired and sore from a busy couple days and just needs a rest day.

I got my mind straight and focused on getting through the 5 miles.  I was doing fine – tired and sore – and was moving forward till, Wham!…I smack my head on a low branch.  I am pissed at Thornton services.  I think I’ve ranted before about their abuse of pedestrians while they throw billions into repaving and expanding streets, the city can’t put a few thousand towards trimming some trees and bushes.

At this point I thought I was done.  I started walking but Melissa talked me into running to the light.  There I took the short way home while she went to finish the whole run.  Impressively, maybe even courageously, I never walked again.  I ran home, slowly.  I made it damn it.  Well I was short of five but I finished 4.4 miles strong.

Tomorrow, besides bike riding to class, will be a complete rest day.  Probably rub some Icy Hot on the ankle and let it rest.  I’m looking forward to it.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


Downtown Denver on B-Cycle day.

Feel free to leave comments below.

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Day 61 and 62

Time goes too fast I noticed as I look back on this weekend.  I completed 12 miles early Saturday morning before heading to dog-sit.

I thought I had planned a perfect out-and-back route that involved looping around East Lake.  What I had felled to think of was almost a fatal error.  Who thinks about Cyotes in a heavily populated area?  As we rounded a corner and listened to the ghostly houl that seemed to be on our heels.  It came from the lake so between Melissa and myself, the water was maybe 20 – 30 yards away. 

Lets just say we sped up a bit.  At the first opportunity to cut out I read a sign, “Beware of Cyotes.”  It spooked the crap out of me.  Lesson learned – think of wildlife when planning routes, especially in nature reserve areas. 

After that scare, I remember getting to mile 6 and taking my PowerGel.  Vanilla, yum.  I gave a running tip learned from last week’s presentation a try.  Sixteen ounces of water and a tablet of nuun makes a drink that replenishes the body with electrolytes.  I like the idea of getting away from Gatorade and the amount of unnatural things in it.  Less is more I have learned. 

The new drink was fine.  Tasted like 7-Up.  It wasn’t all syrupy.  Spill a little Gatorade on the hand and I’ll spend the next mile trying to get it off.  This was water.  Think I fell in love. 

After the half-way point the sun began to rise.  The mountains were painted into the blue sky.  The air stayed cool long enough to get home.  This run went rather smoothly.  I got home and thought about running an almost half-marathon and feeling relatively good. 

Word of Advice:  Give some new products a try weeks before a race.  I’m hesitant on changing routine.  Luckily I have a girlfriend who tires of routine.   But the other important part of that statement is the time.  Don’t try something new on race day – that’s a must – but routine is important to me.  I want to try it more than a few times before I conclude it as a part of my routine.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


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Day 59 and 60: Remember the rise, not the fall

The weather Thursday was amazing.  When I went to run it was 55 degrees.  Just a little chill at the start is good.  I always warm up midway.  Unfortunately, I saw the forecast predict a warm weekend.

I took a familiar trail yesterday morning.  Because of construction, I don’t run on it often.  The construction is finished – finally – and I have an old route back.  If I begin the trail at Colorado, there are only four streets that cut through it.  They are all residential.  Some people even respect the white lines that signify a crosswalk.

From the start I held a fast pace.  After a mile I thought about slowing down a little but Melissa was right there so I carried forward.  We turned around at 2.5 miles before I knew it.  I surprisingly still felt good all the way to the finish.  The 5 miles took me 53 minute, giving a pace of 10:33/mile.

My spirits really picked up during this run.  Some of these long runs are really draining.  Not to mention the never-ending soreness and tiredness that accompanies marathon training takes a lot out of me.  I think it that meeting with Jerry Armstrong was at the perfect time.  Being around the running community excited me about my conquest.

Today I’m taking it easy.  Busy with homework and the constant changes that happen when setting up interviews.  My article is on workout fads.  Thankfully running isn’t one of them!

Go out and fill your passion bucket,


Day before America's Finest City Half-Marathon.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

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Day 57 and 58: Inspiration one day, dumpsville the next.

Pain has inflicted itself on my foot just 8 weeks before the Denver Marathon.  Luckily I can run on it.  Melissa says my stride is awkward (Haha, no she wasn’t being mean).  I am not a doctor so is it serious or what?  It isn’t super painful but it has nagged me for a couple weeks.  I’ll try icing it tonight.  Hope it helps.  Pretty sure my foot must fall off in order for me to miss out on my first marathon.

The run itself was great.  The weather just may be cooling down.  The temperature was 55 degrees with a coolness in the air.  Perfect!  I held a 10:24 pace for the 4-mile run.  A piece of cake compared to Sunday’s 16-mile run.

That night I attended a presentation at the Road Runner Westminster location.  Fellow Coloradan Jerry Armstrong is an ultra marathoner. He spoke how to properly train for a marathon and further distances (I’m pretty sure I am limiting myself to 26.2 miles, for now).

The presentation included nutrition information, proper form and technique, and personal testimonies about overcoming obstacles.  One guy weighed 320 lbs, within 5 years he’s 170 lbs and an ultra marathoner.  The presentation was very uplifting and provided somethings to try before I rock n’ roll at the Denver Marathon.

Then came this morning.  Ugh!  I wish I could forget it.  I made 5.28 miles of the 8 scheduled.  It took 1:00:03 but an 11:22 pace isn’t bad concerning the fact I had a code brown.

What is a code brown?  Well if the name doesn’t give it away, I would advise listening to the podcast that created the term, Two Gomers Run a Marathon.  They are two of the funniest guys.  It is inspirational and a whole lot of fun to listen to.

I have read that often foods taken before “an accident” are blamed for it.  Not the case.  It is usually eaten 24 hours before.  Last night I went to a buffet.  There’s the culprit!

The run was horrible.  Let us all move on with our days and not talk about the disaster that is still plaguing my bowels.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


Sunny california:)

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Day 54, 55, and 56: Mile-high achievement.

A new milestone was reached Sunday – 16 miles along Denver’s bike trails. I also ran for 3 hours – another feat.  My time was 3:01:14.  I held an amazing pace of 11:19/mile.

It was a whole different feel from last week.  My mind wasn’t weak – thanks to support by Melissa.  The aches were not a factor which is amazing because I hiked yesterday.  The most improvement was this week I brought enough water.

The run began 5 a.m. starting at the Platte River trailhead.  Instead of following it south to REI, I turned off and headed towards Westminster.  There was not many bikers out and the temperature was not an issue.

I took gels at mile 6 and 12, then stopped at 14 for some sports drink.  I brought a second water bottle using a waist belt.  Think I liked it.  I worried about it bouncing around.  It sits on the hip and stays still.

The final mile was the toughest.  I talked with Melissa to keep up the positivity.  It worked and I finished.  I did it!

Saturday I went hiking with Melissa and her friend, Jennifer.  Conquered the -mile hike up Chief Mountain.  An amazing view at the top.  The hike up isn’t very difficult – my style.  It was fun and another great way to get a cardio activity in.  Later that night my legs got pretty stiff.  Luckily it didn’t effect Sunday’s run.

A very busy weekend.  Today I rest my body.  Lots of homework to do.

Get out and fill your passion bucket,


I am a warrior!

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