Finishing the race!

I finally arrived at my mom’s and will help celebrate her birthday a day late. Better late than never!

Here is a recap of the marathon… I will write some more later about the interesting time we had outside of the actual race, but I want to write about the race alone in this post.

We started at exactly 7:00. I was so nervous at the start, but after we got 1/4 of a mile into the marathon, nerves turned into running. It was really crowded for the first 4 miles or so and then it spread into a manageable amount of runners.

For me, I started at an 8:00 pace. Fast for me, but I had my reasons. I really wanted a chance at my dream of running it under a 3:30 and I figured if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t know if it was possible.

It wasn’t. 🙂

I ran an 8:00 pace for 12 miles. Not bad. But that was about all I could do. Almost out of nowhere I lost the steam to keep the pace. So, knowing I wouldn’t make my first goal, I settled in to finishing the race and enjoying the run!

It was an interesting course. Fairly hilly in the beginning. Then we got to the river and the trail beside the river. For about 8 miles we ran this trail. Two grooves of dirt with grass in the middle and on either side. So runners settled into a groove and did the best they could to pass when possible. I fell in behind a guy who was keeping an 8:00 pace. For several miles I just ran his pace. That was nice, until he suddenly stopped to walk. Ugh. That messed with me a bit. But I kept going and finally got through that 8 mile stretch.

At the half way point when my steam ran out I ate gels and drank Gatorade to keep me going. That was a good plan. I ran for a couple of miles and walked through the water/Gatorade stations. As soon as I downed my sugar, I was running again. At mile 15 a woman handing out Gatorade asked me if I was okay. I said yes, but I guess I didn’t look that great. After that, I turned off my app and just ran as I could run. Not very fast, but not walking either. In my mind I kept thinking, “If I walk, I won’t finish as fast”.

At mile 20 I fully hit the wall. We had just run 16 miles of river trails and gone up a hill and now were running on gravel. I had to walk a bit. I then got a text from my Lovely Wife saying to keep going and she was pulling for me. I thought, I can do this. Not long after, I started running again. I never walked longer than a minute or two. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Finally around mile 22 we got back onto asphalt. I never thought I’d be so happy to see a road again.

This was the hardest part. Between mile 22 and 24. I hurt a lot. I would run a while and then have to walk because my whole body hurt. After a minute I’d start running again. Then I made it to mile 24. Another runner, about age 35 came up beside me and we began to talk. He told me he had run 3 other marathons but not run one in a couple of years. We talked for almost 2 miles. Wow, that really helped. At the point where the finish was a half mile away (uphill), he asked if I was doing okay and I told him I was and to head on as I could see he wanted to run strong at the end. He took off up the hill.

As I ran up the hill and onto the final stretch I was feeling much better. The finish was visible and I could hear the announcer on the loud speaker. So I went to my phone app and FaceTimed my brother. He had suggested that a few days earlier, but I didn’t know if I would be in a place to be able to do it or not. So I ran my last .2 miles with my brother and mom cheering me on. I saw the finish in front of me and was running well. Suddenly my right calf cramped. Ugh. Only a couple hundred feet to go and I was limping as I ran. It then worked its way out and I was running again, though a bit more carefully.

The finish line

My running friend of the last two miles finished ahead of me with his two toddlers running with him. How cool. I ran over the finish line only to see TJ there to greet me. I got my finishers medal and a water.

I did it. I finished. 4:14. I then, at TJ’s and my Lovely Wife’s request went to the medic tent for an IV. I was a bit out of it. After about 30 minutes I felt fine and finished with my Intravenous beverage and headed out to catch a shuttle home (a whole other blog post).

Tj finished amazingly fast at 3:08 (3 minutes off Boston Qualifying time). I am so proud of him.

Special thanks again to my big bro Jeff and my Lovely Wife for posting all the updates. Also special thanks to all of you. The support I have received from the blogging community was way more than I ever expected and had a huge impact in my marathon. When I felt the wall hit and wanted to give up, I would think of YOU. I couldn’t face not finishing and having to post that to this blog. Thank you so much!!!

That is it for now. I am more sore than I have ever been in my life. Right now my 85 year old mom could beat me in a race! 🙂

Ahhh. Life is good!


Quick update from me (Tom)

Thank you!!!

First, thank you to my brother Jeff and my Lovely Wife for posting updates and keeping you all updated on my marathon.

Second… Thank you for all your support.  This was a rough run, but a good one.  I had a great 12 miles and a tough 14.2 miles.  I will post a race recap tomorrow , Lord willing.

Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed running this marathon.  It was my first and I’ll never forget it.  I was thinking during the difficult times about the fact that 2 years ago I couldn’t run a 1/4 mile.  Well I did, but I had to stop and walk home!!!

Now I am a marathoner.  Crazy.  After a quick stop in the medic tent for an IV, I was back to normal… Sort of.

Anyway, you have been wonderful and I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement!!!

God bless!


Hangin’ with “The Dog” before our 5K

Feeling better today.

I had a long day yesterday and by the time I got home, it was late and I have my 5K today, so I only ran 4 miles.  They were 4 really good miles.  The heat didn’t bother me as much and I just felt good running.

Today is the Shake and Bake 5K.  TJ, RS and I are going to eat breakfast at Steak n Shake and then head out to meet Neill (@BigBigGeek) at the race.

By the way, I drank a bottle of the beet root juice.  Interesting to say the least.  Sweet going down, but the after taste is similar to soil.  🙂


“The Dog” loves her ball. I think she thinks I will take it from her. 🙂

Anyway, I’m just hangin’ with “The Dog” and playing ball as I wait to head out.

Thank you everyone for your encouragement.  This marathon training isn’t as fun as I thought it would be.  🙂

Retro Run 5K race recap

Wow, what a weekend.

To being with, our vow renewal went awesome Friday afternoon.  We had a great family time all of the day.

One thing I learned…

5 pieces of Pizza Hut pan pizza + 1 milk shake + hot weather + run immediately after = a really hard 4 mile run.  🙂

On to our 5K race yesterday.  I really had fun.  It was Birmingham in July at 6:00 in the evening and it was just under 80 degrees.  At the starting line it began to rain, which felt nice, but into the race a bit, it got very humid and hard to breath.

All in all I had a good race.  I didn’t know what to expect since I haven’t run much the past two weeks.  But I ended up coming in at 22:04 which is my second best 5K race time, so I am happy with that.

TJ, RS and my friends Neill (@bigBigGeek) and David (@David_Topping) all did really well.  Neill and David both set PR’s.  On a warm humid evening like yesterday, that is amazing.  TJ did incredible.  Just shy of his PR, but he has also run 360 miles in the past month.  I don’t know how he does it.  JR and HM both came to watch and cheer us on.  That is always a nice thing and really helps.  Thank you both!!  My Lovely Wife was home with her bad back, but she kept up with calls and texts.  I really missed her there, but I understand why she couldn’t sit there for 2 hours.

Today is normally my long day.  After averaging near a 7 minute mile for 5K just 14 hours ago, I may take today off or just go out for a short run later.  I haven’t run under an 8 minute mile since May and my legs are feeling it this morning.

Tomorrow starts a new week and hopefully I’ll be going back to my 45 – 55 mileage.  Marathon in 7 weeks.  Oh my!

CityFest 5K: Cancer survivor, Biggest Loser and a Masters

The CityFest 5K was quite an event for me.

It started while in line to pick up my bag and bib number. I met a woman behind me who was running her first 5K. She was a cancer survivor and said that running a 5K was on her “bucket list” of things to do while she was in recovery. Evidently she had leukemia and almost died. Now she was running her first 5K and even her doctors were amazed. I regretted not getting her name or picture so I could put it in the blog, but it was very inspirational.

Then the race. My Lovely Wife and JR came to cheer us on and TJ, RS and I ran warmups around the track and got ready for what we knew would be a tough course. TJ didn’t race, but paced me and kept me motivated. I really needed his help several times. The first was at the start. All the adrenaline of the start got to me and I began by running under a 6 minute mile and my goal in the beginning was to run a 7 minute mile. TJ kept saying, “You need to slow down”. I felt like I was walking by the time I slowed down enough.

Although we started at the front of the starting line, there were about 10 people ahead of us. We passed a few in the first quarter mile and one other teen about half a mile into the race. After that, we were on our own. There was another teenager ahead of us the whole way and I was passed by a teen about 2 miles into the race, but I was able to hold my own up and down all those hills. Not bad for a 50 year old.

As we got to the stadium where the finish included a lap around the track, TJ remarked that I was only 3 seconds way from a PR. Wow, that was exciting. Then the only bad part of the run happened. A gate was open going into the stadium and so we headed for it. Then a nice runner who was making his lap around the track saw us and shouted for us to run further around the stadium to find the entrance. So we had to stop and turn around and get back on the road that lead around the stadium (I noticed later that the gate was closed). So I lost a lot of time and missed a PR by over 30 seconds. It totally threw me off.

We entered the track and ran the lap and TJ peeled off and I finished 6th overall. It was a fun run. TJ went to find RS and help him to finish strong. After a few minutes we saw them entering the stadium and we cheered RS to a strong finish. Not a PR for him either, but 2 minutes faster than two weeks ago and he was running on 4 hours sleep because of work.

We all went in the gym for the giveaways and the awards ceremony. It was neat because Gina McDonald from “The Biggest Loser” was the MC. As many of you know my Lovely Wife has lost 86 lbs and I have lost almost 100 lbs in the past two years. Gina lost 113 in her quest. So it was a cool thing to hear her story. We don’t watch cable since I don’t think it is worth the price, so we didn’t know her when we saw her. But I can see why she was chosen. She is very vibrant and energetic and obviously worked hard to lose her weight. So that made things a lot of fun. My Lovely Wife got to meet her after the event was over and tell her how much she had lost. Very encouraging.

Okay, so overall I came in 6th and won the Masters division age 40 and up! I finished at 22:19 (36 seconds off my PR). RS came in 16th overall and 3rd in his age group with the only two others who beat him also beat me. Once again, I can’t thank TJ enough for all his help and motivation during the run. And it was fun seeing Neill Tyler @BigBigGeek (who came in 3rd in his division!) and @David_Topping at the race. It is always fun to run with friends.

I will definitely run this race again next year!

Now to marathon training. TJ says I need to get into the 50 mile a week range, so that is my goal for this week. I’ll see how it goes as it isn’t supposed to be as hot this week as it was last week.

Running never stops!

Neat view of beginning of race (circle around TJ and me and arrow pointing to RS)

Excited about our 5K today

I’m all rested and ready for today’s 5K.  I didn’t run or walk yesterday, just to give my body a break.

I woke up excited about the race today.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because it doesn’t really matter how I do since I just ran a 5K two weeks ago.  I’m not trying for a PR, however…  I would like to do well and will try.  TJ, as I said, will pace me and RS will run also, but had to work really late, so I don’t know how well he will be able to run on 4 hours sleep.

I am excited about my marathon training and trying coconut water for hydration.  It is going to be a long summer, but also a fun summer of training.

One thing about running, every day is a new adventure!

Spring Scramble 2013 5K race results – What a difference a year makes!

Wow, it was a fun race.  Although none of us (TJ, RS or myself) met our goals, we all did well.

Just a quick recap.  The Spring Scramble was the first race of any type we ran last year after we began running.  In fact, I had only run 3 miles a couple times before the race.  So this race has memories attached to it.  I figured I would first post how we did last year and then post this year’s results.

Last year’s race results were:

Me: Finished 83rd overall, last in my age group at 31:28 (10:07 pace).
TJ: Finished 11th overall, first in his age group at 22:27 (7:13 pace).
RS: Finished 90th overall, last in his age group at 32:35 (10:29 pace)

Really not bad considering I had only been running a month and TJ and RS had been running just a couple of weeks.  In fact, TJ ran in old sneakers that had to be glued the night before!

Okay, on to Spring Scramble 2013.

We arrived a little later than planned, but still had time to run our warmups and strides before the gun went off.  It was great seeing collegues from work and a couple of other new friends I’ve made on twitter lately.  I’m not sure they want their names listed so I am being a bit vague on purpose.

It was supposed to rain all day, but didn’t rain a drop.  It was very humid though which made things a little hard, but the temps were in the 70s and being overcast made it a good Spring race.

I did well.  I used my iSmoothRun app and wireless headsets to keep my pace.  I set the app for a pace of 6:30.  I was only 3 seconds behind after the first mile, but I knew by then I wasn’t going to keep that pace up.  The app did help a lot in keeping me running as fast as I could for the whole race.  Of course TJ was way off in front of me and RS dropped back behind me early.  I expected both, as TJ is a much faster runner than I and RS has just started getting over a virus that had him in bed for a week.  He did amazingly well as did TJ in this race.

I also decided not to wear my racing flats because I’ve only warn them twice and they killed my feet during my workout.  So I went with my Saucony Fastwitch shoes.  I love those shoes, but I wonder if I would have done better if I still had my A5’s.

Enough said… Here are our result for this year (the full results aren’t out yet, but this is what we know):

Me: Finished 5th overall, first in my age group at 21:42 (6:59 pace).
TJ: Finished 3rd overall – Wow!
RS: Finished ??? overall, second in his age group!

I don’t have TJ or RS’s times with me, but I will update this post after I ask them.  I know TJ was around 19 minutes and RS around 28 minutes.

So we all got metals, the first time that has happened.

For me personally it was a great race, even though I didn’t hit near the 20:00 mark.  I did PR my 5K by about 25 seconds.  Also, finishing 5th overall was just amazing for me.  Just guessing, there were probably 120 people who came.  I know over 170 signed up.  I think the weather kept some away.  So not a big race, but it was sweet to see the improvement we all had in just 1 year.  I am so proud of my boys!

That’s it for now.  I signed up for another 5K in two weeks.  I’m not going to push it for this one.  I’m just going to go out and have fun.  I don’t yet know if TJ or RS can get off of work to go with me, but I hope so.

Thanks for reading and for all the encouragement during my achilles injury!!!