I’ve moved!

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Where did everything go? Well, I’ve moved on to a dot com. Please visit www.runningbecauseican.com for all the latest from me.



Why April?

April 6, 2010 2 comments

I’ve learned from my history … I am not repeating my previous horrible Aprils.

  • April 2008: Faced with foot problems, I ran just a little more than 30 miles total with 6.2 coming in one race.
  • April 2009: I was happy to take a “rest month.” I logged a little more than 30 miles. Two weeks later I was at the doctor finally figuring out what was wrong with my feet.

But honestly, I have headed into those two Aprils ready to take a break after doing the Shamrock Half. This year is different — I want to keep pushing and build on the momentum of that race. I’ve never, ever, ever capitalized on my training before. I train for ONE race and I’m done. Well enough of that.

That’s why this month I am committed to running every day in the month no matter what. Yes, my health comes first, but it’s going to take something crazy to pull me off the road.

But there’s been something nagging at me for a while with wanting to do more than streak. I love racing and better yet I love a good challenge. So thanks to various factors, I am going to be running the Blue Ridge Half Marathon on the Parkway in Roanoke on April 24. It promises to be one of the most challenging races I have ever done with a total elevation gain of nearly 1,400 feet and a total elevation gain/loss of nearly 2,800 feet. Check out the course map and elevation change here. Basically it’s all uphill for more than 5 miles before coming back down.

For more information on this race, visit www.blueridgemarathon.com. Details are also on Facebook; you can also get updates on Twitter by following @BRM26pt2. If this sounds familiar to you, I did write about this on my blog back in July, but there’s been so much change in my life since then that I had ruled out doing the full marathon a long time ago and had pretty much ruled out doing the half considering it was so close to Shamrock. But things change …

So, April, take that.

The streak is alive

April 5, 2010 4 comments

I’m not sure when I ran four days in a row last, but the April streak has started off well, despite the challenge of traveling over Easter weekend and keeping very busy. My mileage hasn’t been what I had hoped, but that’s not the point right now. I wanted to start off slow and not burn myself out.

Day 1 was supposed to happen around 6 a.m. Thursday, but I slept to my normal time and ended up running 2.2 miles that evening. Since I traveled on Friday, I got up the next morning and ran 3.5 miles — perhaps the first time I’ve ever ran twice within 12 hours. At least I don’t recall if I’ve ever done that. Also on Friday, I spent much of the afternoon at the North Carolina Zoo, which is enough exercise for two days in itself. I capped off the day by playing cornhole for about 2 hours.

Saturday morning I got up and ran 2.1 miles in my brother-in-law’s hilly neighborhood. I wanted to do more, but I was flat-out tired from the day before. Then last night I had a decent run of 3.8 miles. Four for four.

Just a reminder that this week I am participating in Relay for Life. Click here for the details. The more you donate, the more I’ll run.

You donate. I run. People get help.

April 1, 2010 2 comments

At the end of next week, I plan to run through two straight days. No, really. I plan to start running before midnight Friday evening and run past midnight on Saturday morning. All for the American Cancer Society.

For the past two years I have raised money to help out the VCU Massey Cancer Center as part of the Monument Avenue 10k — in 2008 my friends, family and many people I didn’t know donated $1,000 for the cause. Last year my fundraising efforts weren’t as impressive, but I honestly didn’t make as big of a push as I should have. This year, since I opted not to do that race, I have felt like something was missing. But this week I got an email from my alma mater — Lynchburg College — that changed it all.

The LC Central Virginia Alumni Club has a team for next week’s Relay for Life, which will be held on the Dell at the college. My initial reaction was that I wanted to help in some way. After 10 minutes of thinking, I knew what I had to do — take my personal goal of running every day in the month of April to another level. Start running on April 9 and finish on April 10. Then I took it to another level — for every set amount of money donated, I will run a mile.

So, here is what I am doing. For every $50 I receive I will run 1 mile between April 9-10, up to 10 miles or $500; for every $100 after that I will run another mile, up to 5 additional miles or $500. That’s 15 miles that I will run to fight cancer if I receive $1,000 in donations by April 9. Please don’t think the $1,000 is a cap though — if the donations go beyond that, just keep giving.

To donate, visit my page here. If you’re in the Lynchburg area and would like to join the team, or just join me for a run that night, please leave a comment below with your email address (which is not displayed when put in the proper box) and I’ll be in touch.


March 31, 2010 2 comments

At the end of December and early January, I felt like everyone around me was focused on New Year’s resolutions more than usual. Or maybe I was just paying attention to how people wanted to change and deep down inside I wanted to as well. I just wasn’t as vocal about it.

And who could blame me? When it comes to running, I honestly was ready to let loose. I wanted to do so many things to have a great rest of the winter, but after two years of on and off injuries and some downright laziness, I had some self doubt that I just didn’t express for everyone to see. Quite honestly, the first few months of this year were a make or break point for me. I either succeeded or failed. There would be no gray areas — I did not want to settle for mediocre.

That dedication to changing myself with running has helped me overall as a person. I feel better about everything. And if just a few more things can fall into place personally in the next few months, I feel like this year will be the best year ever in so many ways.

With my running, it all started with a run in the rain and then a few days later running in the mountains. If I could do that with very little training, I felt like I could do anything. So in the first quarter of the year, I haven’t told myself “no” with anything. I’ve become a “yes” man for the most part and not let excuses get the best of me.

I’m ending the first quarter with 257.8 miles — far and away the most I’ve ever done in the first quarter of the year. It makes my 1,000 miles goal seem much more realistic than just putting it out there at the beginning of the year. Since I haven’t come close to 1,000 since 2007, making that statement on Jan. 1 didn’t make any sense; that’s why I waited so long. I’m over my fear of injuries and it’s time to focus on this big-picture goal.

As I look ahead to the next three months of the year, my goals are simple: run every day in the month of April; run at least one 5k (I’m signed up for one on April 17); and stay above the 1,000-mile pace. Everything else is bonus.

Focusing on April

March 29, 2010 3 comments

As March and the first quarter of the year come to a close, I keep thinking about “what’s next.” But I’m not sure why. Back in February I mentioned a goal that I had in April: running at least one mile every day in the month. While another “big” race would be nice, I can’t afford to pop out $75 or more to run another half marathon right now. My fitness is there to do it and my mind is too, but it’s important that I shift my focus to this bigger personal goal of mine.

Ideally I’d like to have as few 1-mile days as possible — maybe a couple a week to serve as “rest” days. Otherwise, I want it to be running as normal. Just more often. To keep with my goal of running 1,000 miles for the year, I’d like to get at or above the monthly pace of 83.3 miles to stay ahead of things.

On paper it looks and sounds easy; pulling it off, though, is the challenge I have yet to face. Along the way I do plan to run a 5k, so my desire to race will still be met. But this will be like a month-long race and the opponent is me and proving to myself that this can be done.

Running just to run

March 27, 2010 1 comment

It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to just go out and run without thinking about a race or talking about it. But today, I did. It was just me and my good running pal Duke … and we just ran for the fun of it. I need a few more runs like that.

Today’s run puts me at 250.2 miles for the year, giving me a great pace for my new 1,000-mile goal. It’s nice to stay above the 1,000-mile pace so I don’t have to play catchup at all. Now, I just have to keep it up …

Shamrock, by the numbers

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

After this post, I should be done with talking about the Shamrock Half Marathon for a while. Here are my official numbers for the event.

Chip time: 1:42:52
Clock time: 1:43:03
Overall place: 444 out of 6,546
Gender: 328 out of 2,516
Age: 54 out of 397
5 mile split: 39:01

Going for 1,000 miles

March 24, 2010 5 comments

Over on Daily Mile today there is a lot of talk about goals for this spring and summer. This is one reason I love doing the Shamrock in March — I’ve gotten a big race out of the way. Just less than three months into this year, I’m near 250 miles already. Usually, though, I slack off and have a pretty rotten April, which leads to a poor showing in May, which leads to “starting over” with training in June. The problem in the past couple of years is that I haven’t had any bigger goals to focus on. I’ve either been injured or worried about being injured, so I don’t do anything in the nicest months to run.

But now that I’m healthy and I’m all jazzed up about running again, it’s time that I have some more hardcore goals. Injuries be damned.

As I’ve hinted at before, I am now officially making it a goal to run 1,000 miles for the calendar year. I really wanted to set this goal at the end of 2009, but I needed to see how training for the Shamrock Half would go. I needed to make sure that a few days after that race that I wasn’t hurt and that I could keep running. Well, I can keep going. While I have some soreness, I’ve run twice in three days since the race, something I would have never considered doing in the past. While I’ll likely tone it down a bit, it’s time for me to focus on the scope of the year and getting to quadruple digits for the first time ever.

Looking back while looking forward

March 23, 2010 2 comments

It’s nothing unusual to think about what’s next after a big race, especially one as satisfying as this one. But I already know what’s next — the Richmond Marathon. At least that’s what I signed up for four months ago. After setting a PR in a half marathon, I’m still on Cloud 9 with my speed at a long distance.

While I’m celebrating my success, there’s part of me that knows I can go faster. I know that getting in the 1:30s is very much reality — shaving just three minutes off my time puts me at 1:39. Is it worth it training for a marathon? In 2007 when I had some of my best running going on, I was training for the marathon … after that though, I was filled with a whole lot of disappointment.

For now, I’m not making any decisions. I just know that right now I can capitalize on what three great months of training has already done for me. Waiting until November for the next “big” event just seems weird. Community races in between will be nice and I have some times I’d love to beat … but I love the half marathon.

Anyway, here some more thoughts following this past weekend’s Shamrock Half Marathon

* I am the owner of a Power Balance wristband. Take a look at the website for yourself. In looking up things on the Internet, some say it’s a scam. I say it works. If it’s just a mental thing, so be it.

* I bought a new pair of Brooks Ravenna even though I don’t need them for a while. They were 20 percent off and I saved about $5 from what I paid for online earlier this winter. The nice thing is I’m set for shoes until mid-summer probably. I hope longer — these shoes tend to have a good life on them more than other shoes have worked for me. I’ve stayed injury free since I switched to these, so no reason to change.

Speaking of being injury free, a little more than a year ago I went to the doctor about my lingering foot problems that started at the end of 2007 (after the, um, marathon). After wearing a special insole for a couple of months and then switching to nothing at all, my feet haven’t bothered me much. I’m not putting anything else into my shoes again. I didn’t have any problems for a long time, and then for some reason I put gel insoles in. While it was initially comfortable, they haven’t really “worked.” And by “worked,” I’m not really sure what good they do anyway. It’s a personal thing, I think.

* The Shamrock event expo is great. After some issues with it in my first Shamrock in 2007, they’ve made drastic changes to the layout of the floor plans and picking up the race number and T-shirt. It’s been mostly flawless ever since. The Virginia Beach Convention Center in general is just a good place for a race expo — even as much as I’ve complained about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half event, the expo is always great there.

* The Shamrock Half Marathon is the first event that I’ve done four years in a row. I have also done the Bedford Christmas Classic four times, but one of those events was a 10k. It’s pretty cool to look at my race times since 2004 and scroll to the end and see this:

1:42.52, March 2010 – Shamrock Half Marathon
1:44:23, March 2007 – Shamrock Half Marathon
1:46:53, August 2007 – Lynchburg Half Marathon
1:49:07, March 2008 – Shamrock Half Marathon
1:49:30, March 2009 – Shamrock Half Marathon
1:55:28, August 2006 – Lynchburg Half Marathon
1:59:19, September 2009 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon
2:06:16, August 2008 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

All four of the Shamrocks are in the 1:40s. It’s kind of weird to think that I beat last year’s time by almost 7 minutes. It’s also very satisfying to know that I’ve done eight half marathons since 2006.

* Lastly I wanted to give a big thanks to the Shamrock organizers, the hundreds of volunteers, the sponsors and all the people who lined the course this weekend. This is always a special event no matter what the time was on the course and each year it seems to get better.