Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mud, Ice, and Kahuna!

What a great vacation it's been so far! I've been off of work since Christmas Eve and am off until January 4th. It's always a welcome time off--even if the weather isn't very nice.

We had a nice white Christmas this year. Started the Holiday season out with a 4 mile run with my friends from the Uno Fish Running Club, then Dawn and I spent Christmas Eve at my parents house and Christmas day at her parents. It's always great to watch the kids open their gifts (niece and nephew, none of our own.) Dawn and I didn't buy for each other this year after our $4800 plumbing repair two weeks ago.

Saturday was also a great day. Ran with Luau (AKA the Big Kahuna) in the morning (my Uno Fish buddies slept in!) and then went to her parents in the afternoon for "left-over" lunch. I love cold turkey and stuffing! And we capped off the evening with dinner out and gift exchange with friends--a great 2010 Running Log and a Super University of Pittsburgh sweatshirt came home with me!

And the vacation kept getting better today! I planned on taking Luau to the trails early today while Dawn went with friends and practised with the dogs (she runs them in AKC Agility competitions.) BUT, instead, I spent a lazy day relaxing around the house. I did make it to Mingo Creek Park and run for a few hours on the trail. It was a great afternoon to be out.

Weather was in the high 30's with a slight breeze. I left the shorts at home today and opted for tights in the shade of the trees. Since trails are relatively new to me, I'm still exploring the possible loops at Mingo. Today we started on the horse trail at the south east horse trailer parking and made our way. I was planning on spending around 2 hours running; at the hour mark, we popped out of the woods onto a gravel road and I knew where we were. I decided to make make take the "cut across" trail and finish the run on a part of the trail I've run before. Turned out to make almost a perfect 2 hour jaunt. We only covered 6.88 miles, but we stopped for pictures, to get out bearings, and had to slow down the pace for a few steep slick down hills!

Here are a few pictures from today:

Luau at the first "water crossing!" More like a muddy run off!

There's still a fair amount of snow left along the trail. Here's Luau leading the way. At least this section of the trail didn't have ice on it!

Just a beautiful forest to be in!

Entering into the pines. I love running on the soft bed of pine needles.

A shot inside the pines.Snow through this valley.Luau getting a drink out of Mingo Creek. We crossed the creek here. He loved it, I found it to be VERY, VERY cold! We got to the top of "Generator Hill" just in time to see the sun setting. We ran along the ridge in the distance at the beginning. Just about a half mile to go before we get back to the Jeep.

How lucky am I?

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Running with the ERTR

That's Elite Runners Trail Runners!!!

Some of the local trail runners decided to put together a trail running "team" to promote trail running in and around the Pittsburgh Area. My favorite running store, Elite Runners and Walkers, and my favorite running shoes, Brooks, are sponsoring the team. I attended an informational meeting yesterday and decided to become a "Full Time Racer!"

There are 3 different levels of membership you can belong to: Full Time Racer, Part Time Racer, and Part Time Racer without the Brooks deals. Each level has it's own membership dues and has different benefits and requirements. My level cost $25 and comes with discounts on Brooks merchandise, 10% off everything in the store throughout the year, and a few other perks. I need to volunteer at a couple races and wear Brooks shoes and ERTR shirts to major trail races.

I'm really excited about this group! As a budding trail runner who lost his best friend and training partner to a career relocation (which was SO GOOD for her!!!) I'm looking for as many experienced folks to run with as possible. And to have a group dedicated to running trails and helping each other out is just fantastic!

Today was our first group run. We met at 10 am and planned on running at least a 4 mile trail loop. As you can see from this picture, it snowed here this weekend.

We headed off along the side of a golf course to catch the trail through about 4-5 inches of fresh snow. This was my first time to run in snow like this and it added a little bit of a challenge. Each step brought a small "slip" backwards, and by the end of the run, I could really feel my quads!

Carl brought Bella, his Australian Shepherd. I had some dog treats in my Jeep and Bella and I became close friends right away. Here they are running through the snow!

Here's a shot of today's group. Wayne (on the left in the gray) just finished a deca Iron Man and was pour guide today. If you don't know, a deca Iron Man is 10 straight days of Iron Man competitions--WOW!

It was a great run and I managed to keep up with the group. It was nice to meet new friends and learn about trail running. I love to listen to peoples stories of races, training runs, and pacing.

I'm really going to enjoy being a member of the ERTR!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby

Elite Runners and Walkers, a local running store, has put together a group on Facebook to promote trail running in the Pittsburgh area. Being a budding trail runner, I joined the group. Unlike most Facebook groups, this group is active outside of Facebook! They send out event notices for local trail races--both supported and unsupported--and are planning on putting together a team of folks that promote the fun and excitement of trail running. Today we were going to meet to run a 4 mile loop of trail then hit another trail for a few more miles.

WELL.... I knew they were calling for rain this morning, but I didn't realize it was going to be freezing rain!

I got up at 6 AM, made coffee, took care of the dogs, ate breakfast, grabbed my gear and was out the door by 6:45. It seems like everything is 20 minutes or an hour from our house, today's run was going to be just a hair over the 60 minute mark. I was greeted with a cool winter drizzle when I walked out the door, I second guessed the shorts, and hit the road. About a mile and a half later, the rain started to freeze as it hit my windshield!

Now, I should have turned around and went home. But being a dedicated runner and looking forward to meeting new friends, I continued onward! The roads were slick within the next .75 miles. I got on the highway and hoped that PennDOT was out salting the roads. They weren't! It took me 30 minutes to go 10 miles on I70, and I got to watch a car spin completely around twice before coming to an abrupt stop against the Jersey barrier taking up all of the passing lane and a portion of the driving lane. I got off the next exit, pulled into a parking lot, and notified both my friends and my new friends that Mother Nature was keeping me from the run! They were turning back as well!

I sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes then decided to chance it to the local park a few miles away. I figured the trails were probably treacherous with the rain on top of frozen ground, so I decided to run my normal 5 mile road loop... maybe twice. Until I got out of the Jeep. The roads were very slick, or slippy as my Pittsburgh friends like to say. I drove to the other end of the park, sliding around every turn and skidding through at least one stop, to the other side of the horse trail I've been running.

I decided to wait a bit, so I took a little nap. At 10 I decided the rain wasn't letting up and it was now or never! I put the sleeves back on my jacket/vest combo, attached the hood, and headed up the trail!

It started out with a nice hill. A gain of around 232 feet in the first .6 miles (I love the elevation correction on SportTracks!) The trail was tricky along this portion, and others, because of the horse traffic leaving deep, frozen pock marks! I power walked most of this hill, but I did run a little.

At the top of the hill there is a large opening into a few farm fields. The county who runs this park bails the hay to help offset some of the costs. Here's a picture of the buildings that house the equipment.
Through the fog and into the pines! The pine trees provided a little shelter from the rain; running on the needles through this section was magical!
Some horse pocked trail filled with ice.
I missed the turn for the trail I wanted to run and continued along the horse trail for 3 miles. After I crossed a road and a frozen stream, I decided to head back. I knew where I was and contemplated running a cross trail to the other side of the park then back to my Jeep, but I had a meeting at 1. So I turned around and headed back.

The trail was tough today. Some of the down hills had to be walked or slowly jogged to prevent a nasty fall on the frozen mud and rocks. Some of the areas had to be lightly tread due to the horse traffic, unless a turned or broken ankle was wanted! But the trail was nice!

I sent my friend Jess, who really helped me get into running and I give her ALL the credit for my new found interest (and love) for trails, a text message after the run. It simply read, "Ice sucks. Injinji's are wonderful for wet feet. Deer are gorgeous. Cascadias rock. Pine trees are magical. You created an addict."

Stay safe, keep your feet to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Enjoying the simple things...

The last few days have been kind of rough. The back-up of the floor drain in the basement has led to very expensive project. I had to take 2 vacation days Thursday and Friday for a guy to come out and dig up part of my drive-way and yard; which led to further problems. To sum up the plumbing problem, terracotta pipe should never have been used!

I did manage to get in some running this week despite the plumbing issue. I ran 6 miles of "commercial fartleks" on the treadmill Thursday night--kind of boring, but better than no running at all. Friday I managed to put in 4.5 miles on a local horse trail! Now that was fun and educational!

I practiced "power-walking" on the hills that were not runnable, learned to slow down after it gets dark, discovered that horse trails can get very rough when frozen, and most important--time means nothing on the trail! Even though I wore my Garmin, I never really looked at my time or pace. I did check out my heart rate during some of the climbs, but that was more for learning how to pace my "power-walks." I'm sure I'll get stronger on the trail. It'll take some time, and I'm looking forward to putting that time in!

Today was the Jingle Bell Run for the Arthritis Foundation in Pittsburgh. It was a nice 5K that I ran with some of my Uno Fish Running Club buddies. The temps were in the low 30's and the sun was bright! A perfect morning for shorts, long sleeve tech shirt, vest, ear warmers, and a Santa Hat! We had a ball. Shannon ran a 3 minute PR! I'm so happy for her! She's come such a long way!

Anyway, I managed to run my way through the stress of the plumbing problem. They're just pipes. We really didn't want to spend the money that we really don't have right now, but there's nothing we can do about it. Letting these things go and enjoying life for what it has to offer is so much more important.

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


They say God only gives you as much as you can handle. Well, I believe God has a lot more faith in me than I do! Just when I was getting ready to ramp up my running to prepare for the Pittsburgh Marathon and the Buckeye Trail 50K, a minor disaster hits at home.

We had horrible downpours yesterday leading to a flooded basement. No big deal, we know the water backs up when it rains exceptionally hard, it happens very infrequent, so we have everything in a flood safe place. But the water wasn't going down. Could there be something in the pipes?

I spent 2 hours working a snake last night and decided to call in the pro. For $275 they were going to fix the problem. I had no choice; see, our house was built in the early 60's and all the gray water is tied together somewhere under the basement floor--so every drop of water that goes down the drains upstairs, comes back up the floor drain downstairs! After 2 hours of power snaking the drain, the plumber said he'd knock off $75 and give me an estimate to dig up all the pipes in the morning. Um, I need a second opinion!

Changing one of my vacation days from the Christmas Holiday to today, i had Roto-Rooter come in. He snaked every possible entry and exit into and out of the house... no clog. So he ran a camera and low and behold he found the problem. The pipes have come apart under a portion of my paved driveway causing the water in the basement to not drain.

Changing yet another vacation day to tomorrow, I will watch as the $3000 excavation crew digs up and fixes the problem!

Maybe I'll run tonight and take an quick shower. It's been a 3 day lay off and I'm ready to burn some stress!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward.

PS... please cross your fingers or say a prayer that this will fix the problem!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Glad to be done

I have been the treasurer for our dog training club for the last 2 years. Tonight I passed the torch off to someone else.

The job's not that bad. It's time consuming and thankless, but it's not rocket science. But sometime in 2009 I became a bad guy with the members. They all of a sudden didn't like how I did things, when I did things, and what I did. I lost total interest in the club and the position around June. I went through the motions and got things done, but now it's over!!!!!

Because of tonight's meeting, I ended up taking another rest day. I really wanted to put in 4 or 5 miles. It was our Christmas party and my wife really wanted me to go. It was a fun time hanging out with friends.

This weekend brings the Jingle Bell Run 5K and maybe a nice trail run on Sunday. Tomorrow I'll get 4-6 miles in and enjoy them all.

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Every journey begins with a first step...

That's kind of my thought process for today. I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling like my running has just begun. A new passion.

Maybe it was registering for the Buckeye Trail 50K, maybe it's the exhilaration of running in the 30 degree temps 2 days in a row. Maybe it's been the 4 "cut back" weeks to try and let my body get ready for the upcoming training for the Pittsburgh Marathon and then the BT50K.

I don't care what it is, I'm really enjoying it! I feel alive again. Ready to take on the hills, the roads, and the mountains. Ready to run.

I'm thinking like a runner again. Food has become fuel; drinks have become hydration. I'm planning my meals for the week and have tightened up what's allowed on my plate. Vegetables, fruit, grains, and beans are what I'm craving. It's running food... fuel for the future!

I hope that all of you can find a renewed passion!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Committed!!

Well as the title of my blog suggests, I want to be an Ultra Runner!!! I want to cover distances and smile with like minded folks beating the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks out of themselves just for the fun of it!

So, I signed up for my FIRST 50K! The Buckeye Trail 50K!!

It may be early in my running career (it will be 2 years in April of 2010,) but I know I can do it. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the training leading up to it! And best of all, my best friend and Sis, Jess, is going to run it as well!

This will be Jess's second running of the summer Buckeye and she kicked butt last year with a time of 5:38:50 for her SECOND EVER 50K. It'll be great to see here at the finish and chat about our training as we get there... She's one heck of a runner, clocking in 70 some miles this week!

So, the training begins. I have the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 2nd on my way to my first BT50K! Great way to get my distance up then concentrate on the trails!

I'll keep you posted!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trails revisited...

I've been enthralled with the idea of running a 50K sometime in 2010. In fact, I'm actually trying to use the idea of going the 31 miles as motivation to get back on my healthy diet and think of food as fuel and not as a satisfaction. I've always used food as a vice and it seems that I've been doing that yet again--healthier foods than most, but not the correct balance and probably not enough. BUT, that's a topic for another post.

With the idea of running a 50K came the realization that most are run on trails. Now, I've had a few attempts at trail running in the past and have had very mixed feelings after each run! After my first real trail run, I decided that I'd stick to the roads. I was slow, the terrain was rough, and there were hundreds of hills that reduced me to walking. I swore of the dirt.

While I helped coach a group of folks to run their first 5K, my best friend Jess was helping me get ready for my first marathon. Jess LOVES running on trails. She has completed two 50K's at this point and paced a friend at Burning River. I listened to her talk about the hills and the mud and the trees and the animals and so much more she experienced on a single track. I kept thinking that her love of trail running was proof that I should give it a second chance.

After my marathon, I decided to run a trail 10K in Ohio--the Barkcamp Trail 10K. My friend Robin wanted to run a 10K and I picked this to be her first! She had no trail running experience, and I took Luau (my Chesapeake Bay Retriever) out for a 4 miler on a trail. That, combined with the training from the marathon is what I took into this new experience. Robin trusted my knowledge, strictly learned from reading about trail running, bought a pair of trail shoes and blindly followed me!

We had a blast. I loved it. The terrain was rough, there was a weeks worth of rain that created nice mud, the weather was cool, and the people were nice. Robin took 3rd in her age group and I won Pittsburgh Pirate tickets in the door prizes.

Maybe there was something to this trail running?

2 months later, I went out for my first jaunt on the trails since the 10k. Robin went with me and we covered 5.25 miles of trails that were a lot hillier than the 10K. We walked a lot when Robin's injury started to act up, but it didn't matter. Being out in the woods, smelling the leaves, hearing the breeze through the barren late fall trees, reminded me of a 25 year younger Brad. A time where I always wanted to be in the woods, the fields, along the creeks and streams. Anywhere I could be out in nature. Sometimes you just have to forget about how long it takes you to cover the distance and enjoy the distance itself.

I live in South Western Pennsylvania. I'm in the foothills of the Laurel Highlands. I can be at a trail in 15 minutes in the local county park, or take a weekend morning and drive an hour or so and enjoy some of the trails that run through the Laurel Mountains.

How lucky am I? And why did it take me so long to learn this?

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holy Heck, I LOVEA Hashing

Ok, so I've been a runner for a a year and a third now and am very interested in all the fun and exciting things there are to do!

I've run 5K's, 10K's, a 20K, Half Marathons, and a Marathon in my time. I've experimented with track workouts, ran on trails, ran in the rain, the snow, and in beautiful weather. Run with a dog sometimes, by myself at times, with a group at times, and with friends as often as possible. And last week, a group of 7 gorgeous women and I ran the Lights at Hartwood Acres (a Christmas light display.) The light's will never look the same from a car....

ANYWAY, at the end, we met the Pittsburgh Hash House Harriers. They had the most interesting names! (I'll leave them out, but they are both dirty and funny!) I knew a little about Hashing and thought about giving it a try but never developed enough gumption to actually go to a Hash. Until we met this group! I decided I had to give it a go!

So today, I became New Boot Brad (the term for a first time Hasher is "New Boot") and spent a few hours chasing the trail left by the Hare. The trail went through a part of Pittsburgh I'd never been to, so it was cool to see this section on foot. As we followed a series of marks of flour left on the sidewalk, we would come to checks and have to go in all directions to pick up the trail again. The Hare would leave "False" trails and you'd have to go back to the check and try a different direction. We came to a Beer Stop about a 1/3rd of the way through, had snacks and beverages, then continued on. Around 2/3rds of the way we hit another Beer Check and repeated. After we were finished, we went back to the Hare's house and ate, drank, and sang dirty songs!

I met a lot of new friends today, and they'll be giving me one of thier fun and adult oriented names soon! I fell in love with the game of Hashing today!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rough Weekend

Yesterday I was supposed to go to the rail trail, run 10 miles, meet a group of friends, and run 5 more.

I slept in.

I spent a very lazy day procrastinating and planned on running in the late afternoon, then in the evening, then at night on the treadmill (15 miles on the treadmill?) then decided to take the weekend off.

It may sound like a rash decision caused by out and out laziness or lack of motivation, but there was a method to my madness! I've been battling planters fasciitis the past few months and my IT band has been a bit sore. I haven't taken more than 2 days off in a row since December of 2008, and only once did I do 2 days in a row since! I think my procrastination was an answer to my body asking for some healing time.

So no running Friday because it was a scheduled rest day, yesterday, today (I went to watch the Steelers give the Bengals the game,) or tomorrow (cross training.) That's four days without running!

But it'll be worth it I'm sure! My legs feel better today than I can remember and as the cliche goes, "absence makes the heart grow fonder!"

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Podiatrist Visit

I've been having some "arch" issues in my left foot for a few, um, how should I say this without sounding like an idiot.... months now. It started in August after my last speed work session before the Erie Marathon. I thought I pulled a muscle in my foot and the nagging pain led me to take a rest day and end my running streak at 243 days.

I tried taking my Black SuperFeet out of my shoes, tried a less stable shoe with and with out the Black SuperFeet insoles and the problem persisted. I increased my fluid intake (which still isn't where it needs to be,) added some electrolyte drinks, learned stretches from the Internet, and it all led to the same outcome--my arch still hurt.

I read the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, a great read, and tried changing my stride to get to a more mid foot strike. I toyed with my bare feet on the treadmill. I rolled "The Stick" on my calves, a frozen bottle of water under my foot, and stretched with a belt. My arch still hurt.

So, after careful review, and a recommendation from a friend (thanks Jess,) I made an appointment to go to a Podiatrist. I was waiting for the horrible news--you'll never be able to run pain free again (or you need to take some time off--almost as bad!) They took an x-ray, the doctor pushed on a few different places on my foot, and declared Planters Fasciitis. Poo. It wasn't something simple like I hoped, but it wasn't earth shattering either!

Dr. Bosta sent me to the store to buy a pair of GREEN SuperFeet and Neutral shoes.d Great, I got permission from the doctor, actually was TOLD, to go buy running shoes! That's like giving a crack addict $200 and saying go buy whatever will make you happy!

Well, after 35 miles in my new Dyads complete with Green SuperFeet, my arch pain has subsided. My legs are feeling a little less sluggish, and I am happy. Why on earth didn't I go to the Podiatrist earlier? I'm not cured yet, but on my way!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spirit of Pittsburgh Half Marathon

It was a great morning to run in the 'Burgh!

I started the day off by sleeping through my alarm. Not a big deal because I always try to give myself plenty of time race morning. The plan was to get up at 4:15, coffee, breakfast, coffee, bathroom, coffee, dress, and coffee out the door (note: I am not a morning person!) BUT, I arose from the warmth of my bed (after sleeping part of the night in my recliner???) at 4:47! Coffee was already made (thank you programmable coffee maker) so I ate a quick breakfast, coffee'd, dressed, coffee'd for the road, dropped the road coffee in the sink and had to leave sans coffee! So far, not the greatest morning!

I wanted to be at the parking garage before the crowds started to show. Even with my stop at the convience store (I really wanted that second cup!) I managed to get there at 6:05. Things are shaping up! I called my friend Robin to check on her status and it turned out we were in different garages! Gathered my stuff and headed to meet her!

After we met I made a trip to the porta-potties and then back to my Jeep--forgot lip balm and I really didn't want cracked lips! We stopped to talk to Christine, Bubba, and Jim (Jim wasn't running) for a bit and off to the Jeep we went!

After the Jeep, it was back to the porta-potties! The lines were HUGE! Robin decided to go to her pace group and I had to wait! One of the race workers came over to tell us that the race will start on time whether we are there or not! She encouraged us to go to the start and use on of the potties on the course! I asked if there was a full chip time from the beginning to the end or just at the end (chip vs. gun time.) She said it was a full chip time, so I said it didn't matter if I was a minute or two late for the start, my time would still be correct. She got a little nasty with me, I asked her if she wanted me to just pee my pants because they had so few porta-potties, and she walked away! A quick trip in, a dash to the start, and I managed to get in with the WRONG pace group for the start!

I wanted to run with the 2:20 pace group, Robin ran with the 2:10 group. I had 2:10 on my mind, so I hopped in line with the 2:10 group. After a half mile or so, I thought the pace was a little quick. Then I saw Robin and wondered if she was okay because she dropped back. All of a sudden I realized I was running in the wrong group! So I did the best thing that I could think of, I ran my own race!

At about 2 miles the 2:20 group caught me? I was really watching my splits and knew I was going faster than their 10:40. At one point, they slowed for a water stop, I hit a down hill and boosted my pace to 9:40something, and they caught me again! I started to think the pacer was just a bit overzealous! He kept running 10:20's and 10:30's! His group started to fade behind him by the 5 mile mark!

THEN IT HIT! Being rushed at the porta-potty at the beginning, I had to use one at the 6 mile mark! 3 minute wait! Oh my, could the be serious? Two porta-potties at three spots on the course with 3,000 runners? This was ridiculous! But what was I going to do?

I managed to regain myself after busting out of the bathroom and running too fast to try to make up for lost time! After I slowed back to my manageable pace, I realized I could still hit close to 2:20--including the break!

The course went up and down, I passed a number of folks, and next thing I know, I'm crossing the 13 mile mark! I picked up the pace and ran in for a 2:20:54 (Garmin time.) I'm very happy with the time because I managed to do that with the break. My PR is 2:20:11. So close, but when nature calls.....

It was a great day, nice running, and a great time to be a runner! But one of my favorite parts of the day was hanging with Robin and Robbie at Caribou Coffee after!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10 Miles and a Crash

I've been running long enough to know that every run can't be fabulous, but it's hard to accept the ones that aren't.

Maybe it was the sinus infection I've been fighting, maybe it was the lack of fuel from not eating much today, maybe it was the hilly course, maybe it was the 8 miles with the 10x100 meter repeats from last night, or maybe it was a combination of some or all of the above, tonight's run was so-so.

I decided to follow the hilly course for the first 6 miles of the scheduled 10 tonight. Luau, one of our Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and I started out at a nice easy pace and it took close to 2 miles for my legs to loosen up. We hit the first hill and I felt ok. By the time we reached to top of the series of hills (I live in South Western Pennsylvania, so hills can go on for a LONG way) I was feeling a bit drained. We cruised down the other side, made the left onto the flat for 2 miles back to the Jeep, and I felt pretty good. Took a gel at 5 miles, got back to the Jeep to water Luau and fill my bottle and headed out with my friend Christine for the last 3.5.

Half way into the run with Christine, I started loosing my energy. When we made the turn, I sent her on her way, walked about a quarter mile and downed my bottle of Heed. After the walk, I ran in the last 1.5 miles--it wasn't easy though!

I have to remember that it's ok to eat throughout the day and I'll still lose weight. The next two days are scheduled rest days with 5 miles on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. Looking forward to the rest and the upcoming runs!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And it is has begun!

Tonight I started training for my second marathon! I decided to go with Pete Pfitzinger's 18/55 program (18 weeks peaking at 55 miles.) But, I miscalculated and had to start at 16 weeks out instead of 17 weeks out (race week is kind of like week zero, thus the 18 weeks.) Well, training actually started yesterday, but it was a scheduled rest day!

This program is a little different than the the Hal Higdon Intermediate I program I used for Erie. It's a little more advanced and is higher mileage, but isn't that what training is for? I'm really looking forward to the next 4 months!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Marathon Number Two

Well, I've picked my second marathon! I'm planning on running the Washington's Birthday Marathon just outside of Washington DC in February. They haven't picked the date yet, but I'm thinking it will be held on the 21st--based on past years and a "hint" from the Race Director.

So, with that said, I start training on Monday. For my first marathon, I used Hal Higdon's Intermediate I training program and enjoyed it immensely. For this one I'm going to use Pete Pfitzinger's 18 week 55 mile plan. I'm really looking forward to getting started!

I think I've been suffering from post marathon blues the last 6 weeks or so. I've been kind of bummed out, even though I've run multiple events. They're events for me because I don't "race" anyone but myself. In fact, sin September 27th my weekends included the following (one per week): 5K, Trail 10K, Road 10K, Half-Marathon, and today another road 5k. Next Sunday we're running the "Spirit of Pittsburgh Half-Marathon;" I still feel kind of bummed. I think it was because I didn't have anything "big" planned.

After the Washington's B-day marathon, I'm running the Pittsburgh marathon on May 3rd. I'm going to follow Pfitzingers multiple marathon plan. Who knows, maybe I'll run Marathon Maniac criteria in the fall? Or better yet, maybe my first 50K.

Well, the next few months will be of new discoveries as I train for my 2nd full. This time I'm hoping to run sub-five hours. My first on a flat course was 5:12--this is not a flat course!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward.

Monday, October 19, 2009

5 Mile Realization!

As a runner of 18 months or so, I've been asked a lot of questions. Not all of them are of the quizzical nature of folks who don't understand why someone runs without being chased--you know the "why?" "where do you get the time?" "do you do that on purpose?" and the such.

Today I was asked by two lovely young ladies that I work with how you get to the point to run a 5K. One of them runs 2.5 to 3 miles a few times a week--she's pretty much ready! And the other doesn't run at all--I hooked her up with the Couch to 5K program. We stood in one of their cubicles and talked running for 15 or 20 minutes and muscle cramps came up. Of course my first question was, "HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU DRINK?" Followed by "do you eat salty foods or drink electrolyte drinks?" We talked about dehydration and over hydration. Then I left work in a good mood because I ended the day talking about my passion!

When I got home, I laced up my Brooks and went out for a nice easy 5 miles around home. About a mile and a half in I noticed my lower legs were kind of sore. The muscles on the outside of calves were tight. I kept on running and at the turn around I still wasn't feeling it. Then it hit me! I preach hydration but forget to actually hydrate myself! It's a classic case of do as I say and not as I do.

It really hit me tonight when my Mom sent me a text message to ask if I heard about the terrible tragedy at the Detroit Marathon. I told her that I had and the three people that passed away had sudden cardiac arrest and I wondered if the were dehydrated or over hydrated. Being a mother, she promptly asked me how much and what I drink as a runner! I explained to her that I try to keep myself hydrated and I watch my electrolyte intake when I'm running and when I'm not. I couldn't tell her I haven't been drinking nearly enough!

So I guess I need to make a conscious effort to drink more.

And please keep the family and friends of the three lost runners from Detroit in your prayers.

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward! (And don't forget to drink!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A New Blog and a New Me

Hello everyone! It's time for a new me! I decided to create a new blog to help me get to the future I'm working towards and leave behind the Sumo I've always claimed myself to be!

If you have come to my new blog from the old one (,) let me say thanks for coming over! If you're new to my blogging, than thanks for reading!

I've been struggling with who I want to be physically for most of my life; however, the past few months have really taken a toll on my mental well being as well. As some of you may know, I started eating healthy at the beginning of 2008, lost some weight, started running in April of the same year when I learned I had a slow heart beat and have become EXTREMELY addicted to running.

Since that first day of eating right, I have lost 120 pounds, went from not being able to run 30 seconds, running my first 5K in 42 minutes, setting a 5K PR of 29:28 within a year of my start, finished my first full marathon in September 2009 in 5 hours and 12 minutes and my first half-marathon in October of 2009 in 2 hours and 20 minutes--yeah, yeah, I know you're supposed to run a half marathon before a full, but I'm a little different;-)

But my recent problem has come within the last few months. My weight loss has STOPPED. My running has improved, and I feel great physically. I think my problem has come with the increase in my base mileage and a DECREASE in my total calories. I believe I put myself into a starvation mode of sorts.

With all that being said, I have made a commitment to myself to realize my dream. As a fully addicted runner, one who never wants to stop, I am aspiring to become an ultra-runner someday. I would like to be ready to run the Laurel Highlands Ultra (a 70.5 mile run) before I turn 40 in 4 years. I am being realistic about this goal. It's written in sand, not stone. I will run an ultra before I turn 40; however, it may not be as big as Laurel--but I will run it for sure some day!

Ladies and gentleman, I'm no longer living in the life of a Sumo--past or present--I'm now living as a runner. Running Brad is who I am. It's who I want to be. And it's what I'll continue to work towards!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!