Oh yeah…I have a blog.

I’m still paying to host this domain so I might as well update the blog once in a while.
Truth is, I started this blog to share all of my running adventures. The SAD truth is, I haven’t had many running adventures to write about in a while. It seems like this past summer was hotter than usual and I probably used that as an excuse to be lazier than usual.
I spent several months of free time building two new acoustic guitars and watching about 4 full seasons of “24” on NetFlix. I ran just often enough to claim “runner” status but that’s about it. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to share a few blogworthy events.
Warrior Dash came to Mississippi in April. I’m a big fan of the show “WipeOut” and secretly want to be a contestant so entering Warrior Dash was a no-brainer. Barbed wire, mudholes, fire pits…all we need are some “Big Red Balls” and slo-mo instant replay.
A few days before the event, it was announced that there would be no on-site parking and everyone would be riding shuttle buses to and from the course. Thousands of warriors standing in line for school buses sounded like a nightmare to me so I took matters into my own hands. I parked four miles away and ran to the event grounds, then ran back after.
In May, I decided to run from my house to my office 18 miles away. Eighteen miles is not such a big deal but it’s a lot of pressure when you’re on a tight schedule.
I needed to arrive in time to meet co-workers for a 2 mile run around the office at 6:30AM. To make that deadline, I left at 3:30 and ran for two hours in the dark then finished up the last few miles watching the sun rise. It was an interesting commute but I really missed the extra time in bed.
In September, the firefighters in my community organized an 11 mile run in honor and memorial of firefighters and other emergency service personnel involved in the 9/11/2001 attacks. Of course, it was very hot and I found it difficult to complete at my normal pace – especially after my lazy summer. Our amazing firemen completed the course in FULL GEAR with flags waving. That’s determination!

2012 Mississippi Blues Marathon Race Recap

It’s a couple months late, but here’s my 2012 Mississippi Blues Marathon race recap anyway.

I should start this whole thing off by saying: I’m not a talker. I tend to keep to myself unless I have something that needs to be said. I’m definitely not the type of person that starts conversation with strangers. During my last marathon, I spoke to two people and those conversations were brief. Somehow, during the MS Blues Marathon, I spent almost 5 hours socializing. Weird.
Walking up the hill from the fairgrounds parking lot towards the starting line, I met my first stranger. It was a short walk so we didn’t become lifelong buddies or anything but I did find out that we share a fondness for Saucony Kinvara shoes. I wished Kinvara guy good luck and made my way through the growing crowd looking for friends from work. Our company sponsored several relay teams and individual runners for this event and most of us were wearing our highlighter yellow team shirts. That made everyone easy to spot. Everyone, except Bryan and David. It was unfortunate that I missed them at the start because I wanted to wish them luck on their half-marathon and remind them of how much more awesome I am for running twice as far. Continue reading

Barefoot 5K

It was hard to find time to run this week. If I wasn’t too busy doing family stuff, it was raining. Today, I had the time to run but…it’s been raining all day. When I got home from work, the temp was around 57 and the rain had let up a little. It’s the perfect opportunity to use the Nike Storm Fly 2.0 running jacket that Mom and Dad gave me for Christmas.

I wanted to stay close to home in case the weather got bad again so I figured I’d run a few laps around the neighborhood. I also thought I could keep my shoes dry by, uh, not wearing them. I’ve run a few barefoot miles on the treadmill to hopefully strengthen my feet but never more than two miles at a time and never outside. If it turned out to be too uncomfortable, I would be at most a half mile walk back to get shoes.

After a few tenative steps, I settled into an easy pace. I was actually surprised that my feet weren’t as tender as I expected. Our sidewalks are brushed concrete and pretty smooth but every driveway is washed concrete with the pebbles exposed. Even though I could feel every pebble under my feet, it wasn’t painful. Occasionally, I’d step on a random loose pebble but even that was no big deal.

My Garmin was out of the rain under the jacket sleeve so I had no idea what kind of pace I was running. That alone is a big change since I normally monitor my pace pretty closely. Since this run was kind of an experiment, I didn’t have a target pace anyway.

When I started out, I was thinking I’d endure a lap (almost a mile) and then stop at the house and put shoes on to finish the run. Surprisingly, the first lap felt just fine and it was fun splashing through the puddles barefoot. I figured I could last another lap so I didn’t slow down as I passed the house. The second lap went just as well as the first so I thought, “Why not make it a 5K?” as I passed the house again. The third mile felt just fine. The only time I slowed down was at the end of the run to dig my watch out from under my sleeve to figure out how much farther than three laps I would need to go to complete 5K.

It turns out that I averaged a 9:14 pace for the 5K. That’s a long way from a P.R. but it’s faster than I thought I was running. I was expecting something like 11:00 or 12:00. It really felt that easy.

This was a fun run. I’m happy with the results of the experiment. I doubt I’ll be a regular barefoot runner but in the future, I won’t be so nervous about kicking the shoes off and going for a run.

Run Resolutions

I closed out 2011 with a few easy weeks…as far as running is concerned. The holiday weeks have been plenty busy to keep Robin and I feeling worn out. That’s ok with me. Just a few more days and I (along with thousands of other runners) will ring in the new running year at the 2012 Mississippi Blues Marathon.

I’ve started a fresh running log for 2012 and closed out last year’s log. I’ve entered a training plan that will take me through the next few months, building both base and long run miles in preparation for my first 50K ultra-marathon in March. I’ve even set a goal for total mileage in 2012. Before getting into the new year’s running resolutions, I want to take one last look back at 2011.

At the beginning of 2011, I set a goal of 600 miles for the year. At the time, it seemed like overreaching. It was, afterall, my first full year of running. It turned out to be quite an underestimation as my total mileage for the year was 804! This year, I’ll set another overreaching goal and do my best to blow it away.

2012 Resolutions

1. 1000 miles
2. Run at least one more marathon than last year
3. Complete an ultra-marathon
4. Complete marathon in less than 4.5 hours
5. Work in some barefoot or near-barefoot training runs throughout the year
6. Stay healthy and excited about running

There are a few other things I’d like to make happen but they don’t really work as resolutions. For example, I’d like to get all of the kids involved in physical activities – not necessarily running although that would be awesome! I’d also like to inspire others to take up running. I’ll do what I can to progress with both of those goals but the outcome is out of my control.

Now, I’m headed out the door to start logging some 2012 miles. Nature abhors a void and that blank running log is begging to be filled.

Happy New Year!


I stopped by the supplement store the other day, looking for Beta-Alanine (I hope to explain this in a future post). I wasn’t expecting to find the store was closing and everything in the store was half off. At the register counter, I noticed several boxes of Gu. Imagining what a great deal it would be if I could score several Gu for a dollar a piece, I asked the lady at the counter, “Are the Gu’s half off too?”

She replied in a strong cajun accent, “Mmmm, how ’bout two fa dollah?”
Head spinning over the awesome deal, I push my luck. “Even the Roctanes?”
“Shor, honey. I don’ eatem.”

SCORE! I left with an almost full box of Orange-Vanilla Roctane Gu that cost me a grand total of…8 dollars. WOOOO!

Custom Race Belt

Custom RacebeltHow do you carry 6 gels, 12 Endurolyte capsules, an iPhone and a race number bib for 26.2 miles? You COULD push a shopping cart but the race director might frown on that. A better option is an elastic race belt with lots of extra gel loops sewn in. Might as well get one with a special loop sized just perfectly for the small pill bottle that you’ll also want to include. Oh yeah, you’ll also want a neoprene pocket that is perfectly sized for your iPhone.

If you’re having trouble finding something that will do all of that, welcome to my dilemma. If you’re amazed beyond belief at the awesome contraption in the photo here, welcome to my solution.

No one would accuse me of being a seamstress, even if I do own a sewing machine. Really, I do. It’s cheap. It’s purple. It’s called “Pixie” something or other. It’s really hard to thread the needle (THANK YOU Google!). It’s not meant to sew two pieces of neoprene but why should that stop me? See, I’m a GUY with a sewing machine. Guys can make stuff work. Even purple pixie sewing machines.

Anyway, here’s my improved custom race belt. It holds 6 gels, a small pill bottle for E-caps, an iPhone and a race number bib. I torture tested it fully loaded for a full three miles. I think I’m set.

What do YOU carry on a marathon and how?

Marathon Race Strategy

26.2As I write this, it is about 15 days until the third annual Run For Life Marathon. I have been training for this race, my first marathon, for the past 6 months. I only have a few more good runs left in the next few days before tapering off and nervously resting my shin splints. This late in the game, there’s no point continuing to train hard since any performance gain wouldn’t be realized until after the race. So, now, it’s time to focus on nailing down a race strategy. Specifically, I want to set a few overall goals, finalize a fueling plan, and really think hard about pacing.

Putting Marathon Pace Calculators to the Test

How can I set a realistic goal without prior marathon experience to base it off of? I know how long it takes me to casually run 16 – 20 miles in mid-summer Mississippi heat but does that translate to a marathon race in October? Luckily, people smarter than me have figured out how to predict marathon race time based on previous times from shorter races. A Google search for “running pace predictor” and a previous half marathon time (or two) are all that’s needed to get started.
For this experiment, I’ll use my most recent half marathon times. These races were run two weeks apart in April and in very different conditions. The Pensacola Beach Half Marathon was flat but hot and very humid… 2:06:16 9:33/mi. The Renaissance Half Marathon was hilly but the weather was great. I also had the benefit of running the last 7 miles with a faster friend pacing me… 1:54:33 8:45/mi.
Plugging in my times, I get:   Continue reading