New Year.. New outlook!

Monday January 1, 2018

Happy New Years!!!

 

 

We have officially made the leap from 2017 to 2018… Wow!! 365 days seemed to fly during the last few months of the year. When Thanksgiving rolls around, it seems the clock speeds up then its gone!

The last few days of the year for me involved getting sick. I spent several days with most likely a touch of the flu. I wasn’t throwing up or losing my appetite (which means I’m near death if I’m not eating), but I had a high temperature, coughing, bad headaches, body aches and slept several times a day. Thankfully, I’m just dealing with some coughing and feeling a lot better.

Healthful goals…

With the new year, I’m looking forward to some new changes centered around my health. A new  year presents greater opportunities and growth. It’s also a good time to reset or re-align goals both short and long-term.

One of the biggest challenges that I impose on myself in 2018 is making a more concerted effort to be mindful of my nutrition and eating  healthier. This means reducing a lot of the “junk” I love. #1 on the list…CHIPS!. I am a chip fanatic and love it on a regular basis. It’s the salty flavors but I also love sweets too… best or worst of worlds depending on your viewpoint.

I love food and every type of it… my motto is I don’t discriminate against any type of food… well, maybe Brussel sprouts which Carrie has tried time and time again to make more palatable.

I also want to incorporate more plant-based foods while still eating meat but not as often as I have been. Staying on the food side, I also want to see how my body feels by reducing and eliminating dairy. I’m sure I won’t feel as mucousy as I have been.

Other goals involve taking a few pounds off to a good racing weight which for me is about 5-7 lbs.. but most of all, reduce some body fat and increase muscle mass with strength training. The hope is to get my overall performance up with my training and races. I’m looking forward to getting back to a regular routine with stronger definitive outcomes!

One of my biggest goals is to have a great Half Marathon at San Diego in June. The last time I ran this race which is a Rock ‘n Roll event was back in 2002 when I was fundraising for the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training where I raised over $2,400. It was the Marathon I ran, so this will be the first time I run the Half Marathon in the SD RNR event! Coincidentally, its will also mark the first time Carrie has done the Marathon in the same event which was her first ever Marathon in 2002!

These are just a few of my goals that I am looking to make happen and have no reason not to make good on it.

Last day of 2017…

On Sunday which was New Year’s Eve, Carrie and I along with her friend Kara met at a nearby Einstein’s Bagel shop. They ran 8 miles while I walked most of the hour and put in a 1 mile run to see how I felt. I was still recovering and feeling sluggish but did a mile. The cool air and getting outside was much needed.  It was a way to celebrate the end of 2017 as we look ahead to a new year!

New Year’s Day…

We are not partying type of people and the days of watching the ball drop or waiting until midnight is not something we worry about. We were in bed at our usual time and did awake to some fireworks which let us know that 2018 had arrived!

I got up to run at 6:05am with temps in the low 40’s according to my little temperature checker. My goal was to run 3 miles depending on how the body felt. I went out and immediately saw the last few minutes of the Wolf Moon which is one of two Supermoons in January. What a sight to see under a pretty clear sky. The moon lit up the roads as I made my way out. I was feeling better than expected, although I was still coughing and feeling a little sluggish but really not bad considering a rough few days last week.

I squeezed out 3.4 miles and felt very good about my run :). I always like ending a year with a run and starting out the new year the same way. A great start to 2018 and a promising year ahead. I quickly dashed out to the gym for my new workout that I created and had a great workout.. nothing like kicking off the new year with little strength training!

 

Looking ahead…

I will also be celebrating a milestone in 3 days on January 4th. This will mark my 19 year Anniversary of a successful heart surgery to repair my Mitral Valve. I was only 29 yrs of age when I went under the knife to repair the Mitral Valve which was causing a major backflow of blood (40%) which had me short of breath. I am so grateful for all of the medical doctors and nurses who did an outstanding job on the surgery as well as my family and friends who took care of me during my recovery. On January 4th, I usually try to get out for a run even if it’s a short one to commemorate the significance of the day and to be thankful to be alive and to have to privilege to run another day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays and running!

Saturday December 25, 2017

It’s the Holidays and you can feel it in the air… literally! mid to upper 30’s for the lows that is downright C-H-I-L-L-Y!!
Christmas is here which means 2017 is all but over. We are preparing to host Christmas with our family, and Carrie is getting the kitchen smelling great with all of the wonderful dishes that will be served. We hope to get out for an afternoon hike. The temperature is perfect for getting outdoors today as we are looking at a high of 70! We are so fortunate to have great weather, although it would be nice to have snow on Christmas.

Since we don’t have company coming over for a few hours, Carrie went for a bike ride while I took in a run. The temperature said 40 which was chilly but I was bundled up and had a great run. I saw a just a handful of runners, walkers, and cyclist getting some fresh air. On the way home, I saw a young girl in our neighborhood riding around in her new bike!

I love this time of year, as a runner in Phoenix during the month of December, you have to layer but I love donning the headband or beanie along with gloves and a long sleeve/pullover. It takes a good mile or so for me to shake off the bitter cold then I’m feeling pretty good as my body warms up. Since most of my runs are before the light of day, it tends to be slightly warmer before the sun comes out to play. But this morning I was out when the sun was in full view.

Carrie is also staying active as she bikes to work a few times a week. Saturday when she was going to work, I went out as well for half of her commute which was 4 miles before I turned around. The temps said 37 but we were bundled up from head to toe with our balaclava (head and face cover), jackets, gloves, long cycling tights, and toe warmers which actually help keep the major chills out!

 

  

After I turned around, I went to check out one of the hot spots at a local park where it is getting a facelift. The roads are getting re-paved along with additional parking and bathroom facilities. It was all gated up so I couldn’t ride back there. Here I am taking a selfie 🙂

 

As I was 1 mile from home, I noticed a beautiful sunrise along with several others  who were taking pictures of it. I decided to hop off the bike and take in a few shots. What a beautiful sunrise with no obstructions including telephone lines or tall buildings.

 

 

This was a perfect morning and I kept telling myself it was so great to be alive to enjoy this… chilly but so worth it! I soon headed off and arrived home to get warm and took in a nice hot cup of coffee :).

 

Well, here’s to wishing you and your family and friends the very best this Holiday Season! Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

December chill

 

 

 

Do you feel the chill in the air? I love this time of year when the morning lows are chilly and days are very mild. Winter is officially here next Thursday but Phoenix is definitely feeling like winter is already here.

I like running with some extra clothing to keep the hard cold out but allowing the body to heat up and escape. Running in the winter reminds me of that old commercial of biting into a York Peppermint patty… nice and crisp with each breath that  you take!

Carrie and I have been running with our reflective running vests, courtesy of Amphipod which supplied us both with these snazzy vests along with hands free water bottles, and t shirts!. Thank you Amphipod for keeping us safe and hydrated!

 

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Carrie has also been riding her bike more often and even biking to work several days a week… she’s all lit up and bundled up!

 

 

San Diego bound!

Early last Thursday morning I registered for the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon which will take place next June. There was a big one day sale on I got in on some great pricing. I’m excited to do this race again. It sounds crazy, but it will be 16 years since I last competed in the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll race.. back then I did the Marathon and finished in 4:17:32.

I have never actually done the Half at that race. I did a Half in San Diego in 2015 under the USA Half Invite where you had to complete a previous Half Marathon under a certain time. In fact, Carrie who is planning on doing the Marathon will make her 2nd appearance at the event since 2002. It was her first Marathon and also when I helped provide a training program called Runmaster which was a cookie cutter program which she ran a very good first time race.

But I’m also excited because several of my friends and athletes that I coach will also be racing which will tie in the race nicely. I have already looked ahead to when I will begin training for it which is mid March.. March 12th to be exact which is 12 weeks from race day.

Not a resolution but a new beginning…

Many years ago, I always seemed to begin the new year with a resolution only to see it falter for the most part. Instead, I’m taking a different approach and adapting a new beginning to my approach for 2018.

I’ve already started to think of some changes I want to implement as 2018 nears. One area is my nutrition and really revamping it with more emphasis on plant-based foods. I still love meat and will keep it in my diet as well as eliminate or drastically reduce some of the “junk” I’ve been far overindulging on. Fruits and Veggies will be priority for sustainability which I hope to help fuel my body.

2nd Annual Ahwatukee Holiday Lights run!

Saturday evening I hosted our 2nd Annual Holiday Lights run in Ahwatukee. This year’s route started at the Corpus Christi Church on 36th/Knox. We ran through the Ahwatukee Custom estates neighborhood which was all lit up with an array of holiday lights and festive decor! This year we came across 2 large javelinas! For our sake, the javelinas were peaceful and going about their way… this was a good thing!

 

 

 

Coaching front…

All is well with my athletes.. they are all in training mode with January and February Half Marathon races in full view. I am so proud of what they have done this year. They have all battled through something significant enough and have had great races as a result of being tough and battle tested. I’ve thrown some tough workouts at them and they have all responded well. Sometimes the workouts are designed for them to not hit their targets. In these situations, I’m looking for more than just numbers… it’s the grit and effort and how they respond to a HELL of a workout.

I rode out with Lane on Saturday while he was putting in 12 miles. Lanes workout included race pace mixed into it. He nailed his workout to perfection! I can’t wait to see him put it all together in January as he looks to break another PR! Go Lane!

 

Carrie…

Carrie is back to running and feeling good! She took some time to allow her leg to heal and has been running a few times a week. She feels no pain which is great to hear! On Sunday, she got out and raced in the Heroes 4K in Gilbert at the Ripparian Reserves.

Being that this was her first race in quite some time since her injury in the summer, she has been careful and only running a few days a week in recent weeks. Her goal was to try and place in the top 4 since there was a payout. She held true to her words and finished the race as the 4th place female and took home some cash!

Most of all, she feels pain-free and back to her old self. Was it tough racing? Yes… was it slower than what she normally does? Yes. But the fact that she is running pain-free and starting to build back up, that is an encouraging sign to her in every aspect. Great job Carrie on your comeback!

I also got to see my good friends and co-workers Paul and Shawn. Paul was racing and Shawn’s wife was working a booth at the race. Great seeing you both out there on a cold blustery day. Nice race Paul!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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November to remember

Wednesday  22, 2017

 

           

Last weekend was fantastic weekend of races for my athletes Lane and Meredith!

First, Lane who is in the midst of training for the PF Chang’s Half Marathon which is 2 months away, crushed his old Half PR by about 5 minutes! Lane raced in the Gilbert Half Marathon this past Saturday under almost ideal conditions. There was a bit of a headwind for several miles as they ran north but you couldn’t tell by his performance…what an incredible race!

 

 

This was actually a tune-up for PF but if this is any indication of how he will do in January, I can’t wait! Lane had an incredible race which resulted in negative splits where the 2nd half of the race was faster. He closed so strong that he ran the last 3 miles all under 9 minutes! His times by segments got faster.. miles 3-7 a 9:18 pace… miles 8-10 a 9:05 pace… and the last 3.1 miles was a lightning 8:39 pace!! This is a HUGE PR and I’m very proud of him.. The next 2 months of training looks to be intense and I know Lane will handle it well!

On Sunday, Carrie and I rode our bikes early in the morning from home to catch the start of the swim and was hoping to see Meredith. Unfortunately we couldn’t find Meredith in such a large crowd but it was fun to see all the athletes and spectators.

 

 

Meredith who is our Triathlete and endurance extraordinaire completed her 3rd Ironman Arizona here in Tempe. The day was sunny and breezy. Not a cloud in the sky and most triathletes will tell you they like it cool and cloudy. Despite the conditions, Meredith came out and was a force from the get. She is very consistent on her swim and was out of the water in just 1:30… the bike portion was tough for with the winds along the beeline highway. She kept her head down and drove her legs to get her off the bike in just over 6:28 which was slower than last year but the athletes were battling some windy conditions.

 

    

 

On the final leg, the Marathon she was remaining positive and put in a good effort despite a stitch that she got early on in the race and was never able to shake off. I was fortunate to see her on about 7 occasions. I ran with her for a portion and helped bring her in on the last 2.3 mile or so. She had been walk/running for some time but kept moving and looking forward to the finish line with just as much intensity as in the beginning. Was she hurting? That’s an understatement… just ask anyone that day as they are nearing the close of the Ironman.

She finished in 14:12:13! What an accomplishment x 3 in the Ironman. Meredith showed so much poise and determination which is always inspiring to me and others who come out to watch these tremendous athletes compete.

At 9:17pm, Meredith crossed that finish line to hear those famous words… “Meredith Warner, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” What an incredible race of determination and sheer will to complete another Ironman. Incredible feat Meredith, we are all so proud of your achievements. You have battled through so much this year, but more importantly showed that anything is possible x3!!!

It was an incredible weekend as a Coach and spectator. Knowing firsthand what Lane and Meredith could do long before their races was one thing, but to see it unfold in such an unprecedented manner was even more impressive. It solidifies my commitment as their Coach to provide the best means of success through hard work and some very uncomfortable training runs.

It doesn’t always end up in a PR or fantastic races, but when it does it truly shows what the human body is capable of when the belief and willpower exists.

Thank you Lane and Meredith for one of the best weekends of racing, you have both come a long way in every aspect of training and racing.. I can’t wait to see whats next!!!

Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving… I’m very thankful for my family and loving wife Carrie and having good health that has allowed me to remain active and enjoy so much! Speaking of being active, tomorrow I’ll be racing in the Gilbert Turkey Trot… gotta earn my keep the Thanksgiving meal :).

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Runners Unite

Sunday Nov. 12, 2017

I recently got back from an evening walk to round out the weekend and decided it was a good time to put some words down. The weather has certainly cooled off but we are in somewhat of a warming trend with highs in the mid to upper 80’s.. hopefully by weeks end we will see a cool down.

Although the mornings are evenings are very pleasant! Just a short recap of what’s been happening in the world of running.

But first.. this is a Veteran’s Holiday weekend and I want to take this time to thank all of the service men and women who have served and currently serve our great country. Thank you!!! I come from a family of Military background with Dad and Grandfather having served in the United States Army.. GO BLACK KNIGHTS!!! I am so grateful to have the freedom to live such a wonderful life.

This weekend was also a bit of a somber but spirited weekend as well. Just over a week ago, a local resident of Ahwatukee and runner in our great community lost her life in a tragic and senseless death. Martha Hilts, a runner I have never met or even heard of until news of her death struck a chord that runs deep in the running community. An impaired driver struck Martha in the early morning during a Thursday around 4:30am when even at this time, many runners, cyclists, walkers, and exercise enthusiasts are out doing what they love.

One of our running friends Traci Rogers assembled a memorial run to honor Martha this Sunday morning in the Lakewood community where the accident took place. When Carrie and I arrived at the local elementary school where more than a 100+ runners and walkers came out to pay their respects as we all made a loop around the beautiful Lakewood community. We then stopped at the crash site and laid our roses that were given to us by the organizers. Traci spoke to the group and thanked everyone for coming out and her words touched me as well as the rest of the group to looked on and paid their respects.

Runners are a very close-knit group, a group of individuals that share a common bond and spirit regardless of how well we may or may not know one another, regardless of whether or not we live next door or across town. This morning further solidified why I am so proud to be a runner and to have such great friends that I have known or recently met. Martha, you lived your life doing what o loved to do and have renewed that spirit in so many of us today!

In Coaching news….

This is a BIG week for a few of my athletes Meredith and Lane. Meredith is closing in on her 3rd Ironman Arizona which is in exactly one week. She has been a solid athlete who has been battle tested in many ways and wrapping up her last week of training before she competes in one of the toughest races in my eyes.. the full Ironman! I am very proud of her achievements and continuous efforts to push herself to greatness once again. She finds a way to overcome many obstacles and we are all very proud of her.. 1 week to go Meredith!

Lane, who I recently saw at our local Sprouts Marketplace just yesterday is looking great and has lost 15 pounds due to his training and strength training. He has been preparing for the PF Chang’s Half Marathon in mid January but before then, will be racing in the Gilbert Half Marathon next Saturday.

Lane has really had one of the best if not the best trainings to date. Gilbert is a training race for him but if he does as well as I expect he will, our goal of a sub 2 hour and more is well at hand. Lane is Mr. Consistency and no matter what workout I throw his way, he takes it in full stride and gets it done. He is quiet but make no mistake, his actions speak louder than words alone. We have a plan in place and this is just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come in January. I can’t wait to see Lane run strong this weekend. Great job of training to this point Lane… your confidence and pinpoint execution is on point. Let’s get after it!

As you can tell, it will be a busy weekend for me but a very exciting one to say the least. I have all of my stops written down on where to watch them this weekend and I can’t wait for them to have the time of their life. They have all worked so hard and dedicated so much time.

Anne and Hannah are also getting in some good running. Anne is a few weeks out from her PR at Ventura and just weeks away from starting up another training for Lost Dutchman and Hannah is getting strong each day and as of yesterday getting familiar with hills as we had our Coaching session on hills :). Great job to you both and continued success… keep it rolling!

I am also enjoy getting in some short miles and consistent strength training. I’m focusing more on strengthening my entire body and hitting the gym 3 times a week whether its 4:30am, afternoon, or somewhere in between. I’m also starting to play some tennis and getting back into the “swing” of things :).  This is the best time of year indeed!

Carrie is also starting to get in a few miles as well. She’s still working through some things with her leg but this morning she ran 4 miles at the memorial run then took part in this fitness challenge put on by a local Truehit Fitness club and ran a fast mile along with agility test with push ups and situps as she looks to gain new strength training exercises.

And that just about sums it up for this blog!

Go out there and have a great run… most of all have fun and let it show!!!

Catchin up with Pete!

Sunday October 22, 2017

 

It’s a quiet Sunday evening as I’m slowly winding down for the evening. So what’s been happening with me you ask? Well, the Quad Cities Half Marathon was exactly 4 weeks to date… wow how time flies by quickly!

Let me bring you up to speed on what I’ve been up to. Since my race, I took 3 days off from running then slowly resumed. I’ve been running about 4-5 days a week and just under 20 miles a week. I’m enjoying the nice cool mornings on my runs even though it is pitch black in the am. It’s been nice not having a regular schedule to abide by. I’m still up early in the morning a few times during the weekday for my runs but on the weekends I’ve been sleeping in a tad.. by that anywhere from 5-6am and my body appreciates it.

My left foot is still a little sore at times and on yesterday’s 5 miler, it hurt quite a bit but getting out in the cool mornings has been long overdue with the long hot summer months that we all had to endure!

I’ve got a 5K race next weekend which should be interesting, I’m going to race it but not expecting to shatter any records… I’m enjoying being a runner and getting a few miles in during the week with absolutely no precise schedule to follow :).

I also recently celebrated another birthday and turned 48! Wow.. Time has certainly flown by through all these year! I look back and remember when I first started running at the ripe old age of 18 and 30 years later I’m still running. 3 decades of running and racing and coaching all mixed in… what a great 30 years its been!

I’m also hitting the gym 3 times a week with a new training program and routine which has been going very well. I’m not a gym rat by any stretch, instead I get in do the workouts, end with some core and stretching and rolling and I’m done in about 40-45 minutes.

Recently I looked into getting back into Tennis and will be joining a singles league at Kiwanis. Yes, I play or shall I say played Tennis many years ago. In fact, its been about 7-8 years since I’ve played consistently when I was playing in the exact same league where I had a successful run of approximately 30+ plus matches without a loss!

Times have changed, I’m gotten older and the racquet has a good layer of dust on it :). I’ll test out my form this week as one of the local residents will be hitting with me. I hope I don’t embarrass myself on the court :0.

As you can tell, I’m staying busy and enjoying the fall season and what a nice change of pace with the weather. Soon it will be long sleeves and eventually gloves and a beanie.. I can’t wait!

On the Coaching front….

I am very pleased to announce that Anne who I have been coaching for several years, had the race of her life earlier this morning at the Ventura Half Marathon. She is now the proud owner of a new PR!!! She took down her old PR by nearly 3 minutes with an impressive 2:04:31 race. The race only tells a portion of her story and how she has had to fight for every second of it. She broke her ankle late last year and after several months of being off it, she had to start from scratch.

We put together a plan that was conservative as to not create a setback which would take even longer. Baby steps in the healing process with other forms of activities before incorporating a running program.

Anne had a few races where it was rough but expected which is normal. After an impressive Half Marathon in San Diego in June while just beginning the summer months of training it was time to train for the Ventura Marathon in July. Anyone living in Phoenix whether you’re a runner or not can appreciate being indoors in the summer months even at 5am!

I put together the training for Anne and let her know that this was not going to be like the training in the past and that if the results early on showed signs of a potential PR, we would go for it! Somewhere around the 6th week of training out of 12 and after looking at her training schedule, I let her know that I thought this could be the race for a new PR! Ventura on paper looks like a runner and PR friendly course with a good net drop for most of the race with a few short hills.

Well, to make a long story short… Anne went out and tore up the course and destroyed her old time of 2:07:15 with a 2:04:31 performance! After the race, she seemed to be full of joy and rightfully so! This was her moment, a moment of truth and conviction for a person who has battled so much and needed this more than anything.

As a Coach, I am very proud of her efforts and for being the athlete who is always looking to improve and have a desire to learn and go through tough workouts. She was certainly tested and at times, I was not happy with some of her performances during training but that is normal. As a Coach I have to be able to identify the potential of my athletes and know when to push them when they feel they have nothing to give.

Congrats Anne on an INCREDIBLE race! Your ceiling is sky-high and you have only scratched a portion of what remains to be seen!

I’m also excited to report that Meredith who is going to compete for another full Ironman in Arizona is having a good training as well. She’s going for her Doctorate, is a mom and wife and somehow finding time to swim, bike, and run! She has a tremendous amount of willpower and positive outlook not only in training but in life in general and I can’t wait to see her race next month! She just completed 18 miles this morning after putting in a long 5 1/2 hour 90 mile bike ride the day before. I know she has got to be tired beyond belief but she is looking strong out there and the numbers speak for themself! Hang in there Meredith, your time to shine is nearing!

Another athlete Lane is having a kick ass training of his own. He has a definitive goal in next years PF Chang in mid January. But before that he’s poised to have a very good showing at the Gilbert Half Marathon in a matter of weeks. This race will be a good barometer or gauge of where he is with his training. It’s almost scary some of the times he’s running and I have to almost put the reigns on him to slow down and not peak too soon for the “A” race in PF Changs. Keep up the great training Lane.. I see a PR in the near future!

Finally, Hannah who I recently started Coaching last month is running well and adjusting to getting into a training program and has her sights set on a half marathon in late February. She is extremely positive and eager to learn and put forth the effort.

I’d also like to congratulate our nephew Owen who recently got a PR at his last regular season cross-country race for his middle school. This coming off the heels of injuring his wrist which kept him out of running with a cast. He picked right back up where he left off and ran a season best with an 8:45 (by my watch) 1 1/2 mile race. He looked every bit as strong as he did in the beginnings of his race. Great job Owen! We are all proud of your comeback and how you dealt with it in such a profound manner!

Last but not least, I have to give my wife Carrie kudos for dealing with her recovery from her injury leading up to Quad Cities. She hasn’t run much but is recovering nicely with an impressive workout that includes strength training, yoga, stretching/rolling, and swimming as well as biking. She said her fitness has not changed one bit and I would have to agree. She’s staying active and her cardio has not lost a step and she should be back on the roads soon doing what she loves best in the sport of running. Way to fight through and stay so positive Carrie!!

So, that’s what’s happening on this end :). Life is good and the future looks promising in so many ways. I am so thankful to wake up each day and put one foot in front of the other and do it all over again the next day and day after and so on… It really doesn’t get much better than this!

Quad Cities Half Marathon recap

Tuesday September 26, 2017

 

I will try to keep this to a minimum and cover as much ground as possible but you may need to pull up a seat :). It’s been 2 days since the race at Quad Cities and I’m feeling pretty good, just a little aches in my left calf. The bottom of that left foot is just a little tight but another day or two I should be good to go!

Our trip to the Quad Cities was a mixed bag of sorts and more on that in a bit. We arrived in Rockford, Illinois early Friday evening and grabbed our rental car for the nearly 2 hour drive to Moline where our hotel at the John Deere Radisson awaited us.

When we stepped outside of the airport you could feel how thick the air felt at 7pm. The humidity and dew point was living up to everything we were seeing in the news the week of our trip.

 

After checking into our hotel just after 9pm we settled in for the night after a long day of traveling. The following day was the shakeout run day where the local Fleet Feet shoe company in Davenport, Iowa held a short run with honor guest Frank Shorter the 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Marathon. It was bright and sunny with temps nearing the mid 70’s with high humidity… a good taste of what we were in for the following day.

I ran an easy 3 miles which felt pretty good while Carrie walked about a mile. Yes, Carrie walked because she was still in some pain and wanted to preserve her legs for the Marathon which would be a question mark in terms of how she would feel on race day, more on that shortly.

After the run we got cleaned up, we headed next door to the expo to pick up my race packet and take a look at what was being offered. Then we met Carries parents for lunch who were making the less than 2 hour drive from Iowa to spend the weekend watching us race.

After lounging around in the hotel we went downstairs where Carrie was invited to an elite dinner. There was not much offered for vegans but Carrie had already picked up her food and we sat and talked a little with the elite Kenyan male runners. It was cool being in the same room with a bunch of the top runners for the Marathon and Half Marathon.

After dinner we headed upstairs to get a good nights sleep… we were uncertain of what to expect on race day but we knew we were all in the same boat.

On race morning we saw Carrie’s parents who were able to make it to the starting area and they wished us both well.

 

 

I took off to go wait in my corral while Carrie and the rest of the elites were being led out to the start.

I was feeling good with some question marks. I was a little nervous but not much at all. Maybe I’m just used to it or just relaxed. As the gun sounded, it took about a minute before I crossed the start line and saw Carries mom and dad and waved as I went by.

The first few miles is exactly the way I plotted the route months ago. I knew where the climbs would be and took the hills head on with confidence.

The first 7 miles went pretty good. I was holding a good pace especially for the first 5 miles. By mile 6, my left foot starts to get sore and just like clockwork, I started to feel it come on. By mile 8 1/2 I was starting to really feel it coming on and also starting to see my pace start to drop. At the same effort I was running in the first 7 miles, my pace had dropped about 10-15 seconds after the 8th mile and it took more effort to try to bring it back down. Instead, I ran on effort and I would never see sub 8’s again.

After the 9th mile the combination of heat and pain was taking its toll. However, I was keeping up with my fluids on every aid station and even dousing myself with cups of water. I never felt like I was dehydrated but the tell tell sign was in my heart rate. I know it had climbed quickly and early in the race and on a clear and sunny day with temps in the 70’s with humidity in the mid to upper 70’s with high dew points, this was taxing on the body.

What was coming next was a decision I was bracing for before the race ever began… that was knowing if and when I would probably have to say good-bye to a sub 2 hour half. This would be the first time I would run over 2 hours if it came down to it. The turning point in that decision came around mile 10. I was in a lot of pain with each step I took and my pace after the 10th mile was 10:24!!! That would not be my slowest mile… the 13th mile came in just over 12 mins!!! To say I was struggling was more than an understatement. But through it all I managed to be positive and think about finishing the race and the bigger picture and so with about 1/4 mile to go as I was heading over the last bridge with a nice downhill, I picked up the pace and fought off what almost turned out to be a cramped up calf and put in a 1:45 400M finish.

2:06:55 not pretty by any stretch of the imagination and after 6-7 stops for about 20 seconds which were mainly walks I hobbled and saw Carries parents who were taking refuge in a shaded area near the finish.

Now it was time to track Carrie and see how her day was going. We were having problems locating her since the app said she never started. This is a common issue across races where you see a runner has started but clearly has.

After heading upstairs to get my phone and making my way down, I saw Carrie talking to her parents. What??? There was no way she finished the Marathon in less than 2:45 right???? The worst scenario came true.. she had to pull out around mile 14.5, her first DNF (did not finish) and it was hard to see her go through that.

 

 

 

She was clearly not happy but she knew this was the right decision to make or risk even more serious damage and dehydration. In fact, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th place elite female runners in the Marathon all had to be treated and some were sent to the hospital and all were later released.

It was a hot as hell day to run any distance and for Carrie to even give it a go on a bad leg says a lot to her tenacity and competitiveness. We then watched runners crossing the finish line and most were looking miserable and tired. I would have to say that a vast majority of the field both elite and non-elites  were running a lot slower than their normal times.

We didn’t mull over the bad day for too long and rested in the hotel for a few hour before having dinner with her parents and making the rest of our stay a very good one.

On the last day John, Carries dad took us on a tour of the John Deere museum. John worked for John Deere for about 30 years and it was neat to see all the tractors both old and new being housed. We learned a lot about John Deere in a few hours.

 

 

After lunch we were off on our 2 hour drive back to Rockford for an evening flight to Phoenix. It was a memorable trip/race with many lessons learned for both Carrie and I but we would not have traded it for anything.

Every athlete goes through highs and lows but its the moments when you are faced with dire straits of sorts and must make your way out of it regardless of what you had anticipated before the day ever began. As a runner, I am very proud and fortunate to have the opportunity to get out and run on any given day and put that practice to races.

We all struggled at the Quad Cities Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K but there was tremendous show of support from the spectators and volunteers who made sure we were getting enough hydration and if needed the medical personnel was there ready to help those in need.

I can’t say enough about how well-organized Joe Moreno the Race Director was as well as the Elite Coordinator Ian Frink who took great care of Carrie and I and all the other Elite participants. Would we do this race again? I think so. The course really isn’t that bad and other than mother nature throwing a 20 degree above normal temps, it was an outstanding day!

 

Week 12- Quad Cities Half Marathon

Friday September 22, 2017

Travel day!!!

We leave for the Quad Cities today and so excited! It’s also the first day of Fall, a great time of year where the weather is changing for the better.

I’ve done all the necessary training runs for the past 12 weeks and feel that I have put myself in the best position for a great race.

Below is my last week of training which is all about good leg turnover and staying fresh.

Tuesday– Easy run.. they’re all easy until race day :).
5 days to go!!
A good run after 2 days off. It was nice to have 2 days off in a row as I taper. I sped up on my 2nd mile to get used to the pace for race day and felt good.

Thursday– Easy run…

Great easy run and the last run in Phoenix until race day! Temperature was fantastic and I’m ready to race!

 

Final thoughts…

This summer I feel has been a very productive training session. Was it horrible to train in the summer? yes, was it hard? Absolutely! But if it comes down to being prepared or not, I’m always going to choose to be prepared.

Part of who I am is what I’ve done consistently and that has been to work through the tough times when it doesn’t always feel comfortable. The only way for you to perform at your best is when you put your body through some gut wrenching workouts in miserable heat and humidity for the entire summer and come out in late September feeling good when temperatures break.

I’ve made it a priority to get a good nights sleep. This means lights out at 8am and rise at 4:15am… Sometimes I would get up around 3 or 3:30 which was still 7-7 1/2 hours which is plenty for me but almost always out the door between 4:30-5am.

I have been diligent with my dynamic stretching pre run as well as my post run stretching and rolling. In fact since June I’ve only missed 2 days.  I have not missed a single training run and my nutrition is a little better but can always be better right?

As Carrie likes to say… “The hay is in the barn” translation… the work is done and all that is left is to go out on race day and do my best. That being said, I’m closer to 50 than I am to 20 which means knowing some of my limitations in areas that give me grief on my runs. I also know how to battle and train better than I did when I was much younger (at least I hope I do 🙂 ). Most of all, I still have the passion and desire to train for races and I’m excited to be able to race again.

I am looking forward to this weekend of racing and seeing Carries parents who will be making the 1 1/2 hour drive from Iowa to watch us race!

The temperature is absolutely perfect here in Phoenix but in the Quad Cities, Moline is probably going to be a lot warmer than expected. The forecast for race day at start time is projected to be 70 degrees with some high humidity which is warmer than I had hoped for. This is almost 20 degrees warmer than where they should be this time of year.

This is slightly cooler than our race in June in Des Moines where the temperature at start was close to 70 with humidity in the mid to upper 80’s. The positive about this weekend is that we have trained in the dead of summer and have put our bodies to the test which is why we continue to work. It will be a great race!

Carrie has been dealing with a little bit of an injury the past 3-4 weeks but has been given the green light from her outstanding crew at her Chiropractors and she is ready to go out and have a great race.

That’s it for now… we’ll be heading out to Moline very soon and will report on how the race and the rest of the weekend turned out.

 

 

 

Week 11- Quad Cities Half Marathon

Saturday September 18, 2017

 

A week from today I will be racing in the Quad Cities Half Marathon in Moline! I can’t believe that 11 weeks of training is behind me. It’s been a long summer but a good productive training period. I can’t wait to run in cooler temperatures which hasn’t happened for quite some time. As of this weekend, the forecast (although it’s still early) shows lows in the upper 60’s which is warmer than I was hoping for but still cooler than what we’ve been used to.

 

Here’s how week 11 played out…

 

Tuesday–  Mile repeats…

This was a good effort. I only did a 2 x 1 vs. 3 x 1. The effort was certainly there and I met my target. I’m feeling a little tired but mentally I was shutting it down after the 2nd and content with my work. I feel pretty good and keeping up with the post run stretches and rolling. I’ve been incorporating glute exercises into my routine the past few weeks and feels pretty good so far.  12 days to go!!!

 

Wednesday– recovery/easy run…

I went running with Carrie who joined me after taking the past 6 days off with an injury. It was good to have her out there and she ran well. I’m well into my taper phase and feeling that “sluggishness” that accompanies the final weeks of training. I was tired but kept a good pace. I’m feeling healthy overall and looking to stay sharp in the remaining 11 days until race day! 11 days to go!!!

 

Thursday– Easy run…

10 days to go!!!

This was a very long but short 4 miler… Long in the sense that it felt like forever in the dark. My body is feeling every little ache and pain which is common during the taper phase when you really notice how your body reacts to the cut down in mileage.

I now have 4 more runs including the day before the race which is an easy run at the start time to get familiar with the weather. At this point I’m watching the weather in Moline closely and even though we are still a good 10 days away, the weather is unseasonably warm this weekend with highs near 90!

 

Saturday– Long run

8 days to go!!!

This morning was fairly cool with lows in the low to mid 70’s on my morning run. I put in 7 miles which will be the longest distance until race day. I ran a bit faster which I was trying to do for at least the start of the run. Around mile 3 I came up on a runner who was on the sidewalk which was a little narrow for the two of us so I decided to run on the shoulder and was going up a hill. I wanted to get ahead of him so I picked it up and I was running around an 8:20 uphill.. I was starting to get a little winded as I neared the top, I guess that was my tempo for at least a 1/2 mile :).

Since I don’t have a Sunday run, I’ll be sleeping in as much as possible which is normally between 7-8 hours, but I will let the body sleep as long as it can with a week to go… it’s all about the rest!

That concludes another week and I have the next two days off from running which will feel foreign to me but a much needed rest!

Until next time!

 

Week 10- Quad Cities Half Marathon

Sunday September 10, 2017

 

Image result for 2 WEEKS TO GO

 

2 weeks to go… the point where I’m starting to get excited for the upcoming race! For me, I’m in my taper phase and trying to stay healthy and not do anything out of the norm. I’m starting to look at the local weather in the Quad Cities and stay up with whats happening with the race with any changes.

It’s a time to make sure I have everything for the trip and to stay up on the weather in case something crazy happens and to be prepared. This means looking at clothing options for race day and making sure I have them ready if needed. The weather will definitely be cooler on race morning by a good 30-35 degrees than what we have been dealing with here, so more than likely it will be short sleeves. It’s still early on the weather outlook, but its fun to start looking as it is around the corner.

 

Monday– Recovery run…

I was off from work since its Labor Day and I decided to take advantage of this day and do my recovery run. My left calf was still very tight and my original thought of pushing up my tempo run a day quickly went out the window. Instead, I’ll take Tuesday off and use Wednesday as my Tempo day. I felt a little sore and tight but as I started my first mile, the calf didn’t seem as bad nor was the glute. I ran a little on the track to get flat grounds and then ran home to complete 7 miles.

Afterwards, I was glutton for punishment and did some rolling with the R8 Roller which I got Carrie as an early Birthday gift which we both can use :). With 3 weeks before the race, I figured she can use it to help with some of the aches and pains while I can also use it as well :).

 

 

Oh… We have our Professional runner Neely Gracey coming into town tomorrow and will be hosting her again for a day which we are looking forward to :).

 

Wednesday– Tempo run

I put in my tempo on the roads with some downhills and uphills. I hit my target.. actually faster which felt good. I saw Carrie and Neely on my way back as they were running 10 miles.

 

Thursday– Easy run

This was a slow churn and burn run for 4 miles. My left glute was a little sore and cut it short by 1 mile from 5 to 4. I worked on the glutes for a little. I have my massage soon and hope to get it worked out with just over 2 weeks before race day.

 

Saturday– Long run

I decided to run this in Tempe on flat course to give my feet a break. I started at the Sole Sports parking lot and ran on the canal through Research Park.

I got out to Sole Sports just after 5am and saw a few friends who were also starting from the shop. It was a cloudy morning with temps in the lower 80’s and close to 70’s. The humidity and dew point was in the 60’s which made it feel a little muggy… par for the course for this miserable summer we’ve been having.

I made my way out and my goal was to run a goal pace for the race in spurts to see how I felt. After a warmup mile, I was targeted to hit the next 3 miles around 8:45. I ended up running the next 4 miles at goal race pace and clocked in…

8:39
8:39
8:33
8:36

 

The average was 8:36 which is faster than expected and after a recovery mile, I did one more mile in 8:35 on tired legs. My left foot was definitely sore after the 7th mile which is normal. I chose not to wear my Enertor insoles on this run to see how it compares vs. wearing them. I may wear it in the coming week. I’m still on the fence of whether or not I’ll wear them on race day. Either way, I still get the pain in the foot.. just a matter of which method yields less pain. 9 miles in the books and I felt good about today’s run.

 

   

 

 

Sunday– Recovery run

A nice easy morning run after the long run and business as usual on this one.. felt good this morning.

 

Athlete Tracker…

Meredith completed an Olympic distance Triathlon race on Saturday. That’s a 1500M swim, 40K bike, and 10 run. She ran a good race and put in a great effort and felt great! Great race Meredith… it’s all coming together!

Anne is continuing to have a good summer and showing signs of resiliency and staying motivated for a good upcoming Half Marathon in October!

Lane is building his base and we have a plan in place for his Half Marathon in November as a prep to PF Changs in January. He recently put in a nice long speed run and was consistent on his splits. He is motivated in getting a PR and also showing great command of his runs.

Hannah is getting in some good runs and feeling good. She’s buidling a new base and getting familair with pacing and soon we will be ramping up on all levels. Her outlook is positive while her willingness to learn and get outside her comfort zone is all there.

Great work to everyone as we hopefully near the end of summer.. it’s been tough to get outdoors and put in our runs but it says a lot to those who do vs. those who don’t run at all. You are all ahead of your competition both mentally and physically! Keep up the outstanding effort on all levels!

2 WEEKS TO GO!!!