Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making a Plan...

I know...

I just finished my first marathon (26.2 miles) on Saturday... like 5 days ago.  But for the past couple of days, I've felt aimless in my running thinking about where to go in the next few months.  I should be resting and enjoying the victory of completing my first marathon.  And I am... I am enjoying it on vacation.

But I'm also thinking about what's next.  I hate to not know what's next.

While we were in Dayton, Jackie and I were thinking about what's next.  She suggested that maybe we try to tackle the Bank of America Chicago Marathon next fall.  Which sounded great to me... I'd like to knock it off my bucket list of races (I'd like to knock Chicago, New York and eventually Boston off my list).

But taking on Chicago in October of next year left a gap in my racing year.

Then this morning, while on vacation, my friend Donnie suggested that maybe we should try tackling the Capital City Half-Marathon on May 5, 2012.  I thought, "Sounds good to me!"

So... Here's my plan for the rest of the year and 2/3 of 2012...
1. Finish my reverse taper and get myself back up to full speed again.  That should take me a couple of weeks, if I'm patient with myself... which might be hard.
2. Following the reverse taper, I'd like to hit my 5k time hard in preparation for a Turkey Trot.  My current 5k time stands at 23m 25s.  I'd like to see it drop down to about 22 minutes.  That'd be 7m 04s miles... setting me up to bust the 21 minute mark... maybe 20 minute mark next summer.
3. Finish the 2011 year strong... racking up 1,200 miles (currently I've got a little more 900).  That would be 300 miles over the next 3 months.  
4. Hit the training hard for the Capital City Half Marathon starting in about January.  My current half time stands at 2h 3m 52s.  I'd like to hit it hard... hill workouts... speed workouts... push my half time well below 2 hours.
5. Use the Cap City Half as a strong training ground for the Chicago Marathon next fall!  Train hard and shoot to break below the 4 hour mark.


But it's a plan.  And I'm excited to have a plan.  Now, we'll have to see if we can pull it off.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Air Force Marathon Medal

Here's a look at the hardware!!! Good stuff!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Air Force Full Marathon recap!

Wow! What a weekend!

It flew by so fast.  I knew that it would but I wish that it hadn't.  It was a great weekend.  I learned a few things about my running, myself and running marathons.  But isn't that the point.

First off, the weather was perfect.  It was 53 degrees at the start with some light clouds overhead and it warmed up to about 70.  As the sun came up, the Air Force treated us with the first flyover by the new B-1 Lancer bomber!  It was incredible and made me feel like I could run 5 minute miles.

 At the start of the race, I felt really, really good.  A little too good likely because I went out too hard.  My plan was to run "unofficially" with the 4:20 marathon pace group and see what happened.  But as I ran, I suddenly found myself with the 4:30 group.  I could see the 4:20 ahead, so about mile 3, I began to push forward to catch up.  When I did, I felt so good that I just kept on trucking right past.  (This picture is me about mile 9 (taken by Jackie).  At this point, I was feel great and running 9:30s (instead of the 10:15s I should have been running.  But the crowds here felt so good.)

Problem was... it was early.  And I should have known better.  about mile 18/19, it started to catch up with me.  So did the 4.15 pace group that I had passed earlier... as did the 4.20 group about mile 23.  But I hung in there.  My last 10k, I clipped off about 10:20 minute miles... but honestly, that was about all that I could muster.

 Coming to the finish line was incredible.  It was truly an experience that I'm not sure how to describe.  Honestly, I would have cried I was so emotional (but I didn't have the fluids left in my body... I had actually stopped sweating regularly despite continuing to take water and Gatorade at each stop about mile 23...).  We came up behind the finish line and could see it.  We swung around and made a loop and then came down through a row of retired aircraft!  Incredible!  When I saw the finish line and started down the shoot, I almost couldn't run fast enough.  (This picture is a picture of me getting ready to cross the finish line... I'm under the "N" in finish!)  It was so incredible... It's almost beyond words.

After the race, I sat down because I was wiped.  Jackie saw me finish and I saw her which was incredible as well.  The post-race food was a little "eh" (pizza and chips... I was looking for bagels, yogurt, apples... something else).  But it was food... so I ate it!
 Following the race, Jackie and I spent a little time walking around (she was walking... I was waddling) the Air Force Museum which was open to the public!

Overall, I was pleased with my finish time.  For my first marathon, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I wanted to beat 4:30... but would have really liked to have beaten 4:15... but it just wasn't to be.  I settle for 4:22:29 (my Garmin had 4:22:33... check out the data here)!

A couple of thoughts... some likes and didn't likes about the marathon.

-It was a very flat course.  I knew that going in... that's part of the reason why I choose this marathon... what's flatter than an Air Force base.  But it made it easier to be sure that I would finish.

-The military personnel (that were everywhere) were very encouraging!  Fun to see those guys out there encouraging us... and some running.

-The museum was open to us following the race!  Fun stuff! 

-The race atmosphere was electric.  Maybe it was because it was my first, but it felt really alive!

-The flyovers all day were a great addition.  Added some adrenaline when I needed it most!

-There were a couple of stretches of the race that were on the runway strips... for over a mile.  That's a long time to run in a straight line. 

-The parking was plentiful and free... but it was literally a half a mile to 3/4 of a mile away.  When you've just run 26.2 miles, the last thing that I wanted to do was walk to find the car.

-A lack of a viable shower option was no good.  They provided the option.  But you had to walk the 1/2 to 3/4 miles to get your stuff... then walk back... then wait for a shuttle (which was on a 30 to 45 minute cycle) to pick you up.  No bueno!

-I really missed the crowds.  The crowd at the Flying Pig was amazing!  They were going nuts for 13.1 miles.  Aside from miles 8-10, we really didn't have any crowd support.  I missed the crowds a lot... there were long stretches of quietly doing work.  Would have been nice to have more crowd support... but you can't let a ton of folks on the base. 

All in all.. it was a great weekend.  I loved the experience.  I love the medal (I'll post it's picture tomorrow).  I loved the run.  Can't wait to do it again!!


Daily Read September 19, 2011

 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daily Read September 18, 2011

 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Daily Read September 17, 2011

 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
   “‘the stone you builders rejected,
   which has become the cornerstone.’
 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Daily Read September 16, 2011

 16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
   “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
   a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
   will never be stricken with panic.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Number 659 in your program... #1 in your heart!

A couple of weeks ago, the Air Force Marathon folks emailed everyone with their bib numbers for Saturday's race.  I'm #659.  I don't get into what my number means too much... or really not at all.  It's nice to know ahead of time what it is.  But I don't really think that it means anything.  But in case you are looking on the Air Force's website for updates about the race, look for #659 (even if you're thinking that I'm #1!

Saturday is almost here!


Daily Read September 15, 2011

 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Daily Read September 14, 2011

 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A look inside the world of youth ministry that many have never seen...


Daily Read September 13, 2011

 7 He (Jesus) said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Roar of the Crowd... a few words of encouragement!

One of the aspects of race day that was hard for me to understand before I started racing was the thrill of the crowd. 

I had never been to a 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon or full before running one.  So I didn't really understand how powerful the crowd could be.  Nor did I realize that hundreds and, in the case of marathons, thousands of people would line up to watch runners run past. 

Thankfully, they do.  And they cheer!  

As I have been tapering for Saturday's race, as I've run, I have thought about different aspects of the race... the finish line... the medal...  seeing my wife along the race course... Saturday, I was reminded of the crowd in a tangible way.  On my Saturday route, I went through a cemetery.  This cemetery has been a regular part of my running route for the last year and a half.  Many of my routes go through this cemetery.  It's a two part cemetery with a small bit of woods between.  As I came out of the woods and into the lower portion, I noticed two people standing on the road.  They were talking and pointing down into the cemetery at something (I couldn't hear... I had music going).  I changed lanes to go around them and as I did, the lady motioned with her hand across her forehead as if to wipe sweat away.  So I took out one earbud so I could hear her as I ran past. 

She said, "Whew! We already got our 10 miles in for the day." 
I said, "Give me a few more miles and I'll have mine in!" 
They laughed and I continued on...

As I rounded the corner and headed down the hill out of the cemetery, I could hear them cheering me on with genuine shouts of "Go! Go! Go! Go!"

It was like steroids for my spirit! 
It was like a horsepower shot directly into my leg muscles! 
I felt fresh and energetic like I was running on air. 

It got me thinking about Saturday!  Many places along Saturday's marathon course will be lined by people cheering, yelling and encouraging runners as they run past.  Unless you've run something like that, you can't truly understand how awesome that feels. 

See, I played football and basketball in high school.  I never remember hearing anyone cheering... although there were always crowds.  I never remember hearing the cheerleaders (although they were there), the band (certainly there) or the crowds.  But when I'm out there running a race, it's hard to miss them!  And hearing them feels awesome! 

It also got me thinking about the Christian life.  We all need people cheering and encouraging us.  But we also need to be cheering and encouraging others too.  Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) says... "29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Who is encouraging you?
Who is cheering for you?
Who are you encouraging?
Who are you cheering on?

Saturday, I'll never know many of those who are cheering for me... they will be a blur as I run past!  But know this:  I will never forget their encouragement!


Daily Read September 12, 2011

2 Surely God is my salvation;
   I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense;
   he has become my salvation.”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daily Read September 11, 2011

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
   the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
   the Spirit of counsel and of might,
   the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.    He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
   or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
   with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
   with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
   and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Daily Read September 10, 2011

 2 The people walking in darkness
   have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
   a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
   and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
   as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
   when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
   you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
   the bar across their shoulders,
   the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
   and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
   will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Daily Read September 9, 2011

    20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Daily Read September 8, 2011

   33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Daily Read September 7, 2011

 20 Woe to those who call evil good
   and good evil,
who put darkness for light
   and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
   and sweet for bitter.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Daily Read September 6, 2011

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Daily Read September 5, 2011

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Daily Read September 4, 2011

 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Daily Read September 3, 2011

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Friday, September 02, 2011

Daily Read September 2, 2011

   34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Now Entering: The Taper

This week I entered maybe one of the hardest parts of the marathon training schedule... the taper.

If you aren't familiar with the taper... It's the routine of a couple of weeks before a big race (in my case, a marathon), a runner begins to intentionally cut back mileage and intensity in training in preparation for a race.  This gives my body some time to heal from the rigors of training.  It also gives me a chance to build up some extra energy reserves that I'll need for the big race (Sept 17th).

So this week... I started the taper.  I have two runs in (a 6 miler and a 5 miler... I had to skip this morning 5 miler due to some severe weather... but I'll pick it up over the weekend).  While it seems like it would be easier... less mileage... less stress... less effort... it's really not.

Most of it is mental.

For the past 14 weeks I've been pushing hard.  I've been pushing my body and my mind hard... longer distances... faster paces... more mileage... I've conditioned myself to run and train hard.

Now for the next 3 weeks, I'm cutting back... running less... running less hard.  Still running... just running less.  But my body wants to run more.  For instance, on Monday, I was scheduled to run 6 miles.  As I powered through mile 5, I thought, "I could easily run 10 or 12 today."  The weather was perfect.  I felt good and strong.  But I had to remind myself... "Slow down.  We're tapering. Remember?" 

So... for the next three weeks, while my body is saying "Yes!!"  My mind will have to say, "No!" so I can say "Yes!" on race day!  Bring on September 17th!


Daily Read September 1, 2011

 12 “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he (Jesus) asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.