Thursday, June 30, 2016


I have always enjoyed doing scavenger hunts, but have me do one while running is even more fun.  I have done a couple in the past and I have found that I pay attention more to my surroundings while I look for things.  Like many people, when I run, I tend to stay in my head.  Thoughts come and go, like wondering what I will do today, or the races I have coming up, or why have I been so slow lately, or why am I running, this sucks, or it's really hot (or cold).  But these running scavenger hunts make me focus more on what is going on around me.

This time I have participated in Run Chat's bi-annual running scavenger hunt.  They have a list of ten items that you can possibly see on a run and all you have to do is take a picture of it then post them to Twitter with the #RunChatHunt tag.  Each time you post one of the items, you are entered to win one of several prizes.  So far I have found nine out of the ten items.

 The items are as follows - with one caveat.
  • Basketball hoop
  • Banks of a river/ocean/lake
  • Garage sale
  • Picnic table
  • Election sign/bumper sticker
  • State/local/country flag
  • View from the “top” (mountain, hill, etc.)
  • Letters to spell #RunChat (* see note below)
  • Donut shop
  • Selfie with a police officer/fireman/EMS
* Each letter found can count as an entry + a final collage of your images can count as an entry. That means this item alone could count as 9 entries.

Most of the letters that make up #RunChat were found on my first run around my neighborhood.  All these signs that I have never read, got read many times as I tried to figure out which was best for each letter.  As for the pound sign, I kind of cheated and used the bib that Brooks sent me to use on National Running Day.  I didn't wear it as a traditional bib, but I did bring it with me so that technically I saw it on my run.

The basket ball hoop was super simple for me as the kids across the street have one up that they play with all the time.

A lot of the rest of them I was able to get on my first run with the Richmond Marathon Training team.  Our route took us through a park.  While this particular park is really kind of boring as there is not a lot of stuff to look at except mostly trees, I kept my eye out for a couple of these.  I was sure there was some sort of river or lake there and there was.  And of course there was a picnic table there.

In the neighborhood area of the same run, I did find someone having a yard sale as well as a very nicely decorated door for Memorial Day.

As I came back to our meeting spot, there was a group of bikers (as in motorcycles, not bicycles).  They must have been starting to put together an event and there were a couple of police officers there.  I knew I was in luck as I had no clue if I would be able to find that one or not.  They were very agreeable to pose in a picture with me and thought the whole idea of a scavenger hunt was fun - but not the running part.  I'm very grateful for their cooperation and of course their service!

On my long run Saturday where I did many miles around my neighborhood, I knew I would have to run the dreaded hill.  While I have many hills in my neighborhood there are two that are long and steep.  This one I run every so often hating it just as much as I know it is helping me.  As I say, what goes up, must come down.  And it's always fun to run down it.

A couple weeks later with my run through the city, I was able to find this election sign.  Not sure what it was for or why it was in the trash, but I could now check off one more item.


I still have the donut shop on my list.  It's probably best that I don't see a donut shop on my run.  I'd never be able to finish my runs.  As Homer would say, "MMMMM, donuts!"

Have you done a scavenger run before (while running or not)?  What was the hardest thing you have had to find?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Picking Yourself Up

My mid-week runs went well this week.  I got all three in and upped my mileage from 3 to 4 miles on Wednesday.  I probably won't do more then 5 miles on a weekday run, even though the training program calls to go up to 10 miles during the week towards the end of the cycle.  No real pain except for a little achy-ness in my left heal and my PT took care of that right away.

Saturday was a drop back week and we had 7 miles on the schedule.  Saturday was about 75 degrees with what felt like 100% humidity.  I was drenched by the end of the first mile.  Sometime in the second mile I was running over bricked sidewalk and stumbled and fell.  It was like slow motion thinking if I moved my feet quicker, I would not splatter to the ground.  But I did.

My right knee and hand took the brunt of it.  Knees are scrapped up and bruised while I have a huge bruise on my right hand.  Other then being a bit embarrassed cause I'm such a klutz, everything really looks worse then it feels.  I tend to fall at least once a year while I'm on a run, and more when I'm not running.  Really I'm a klutz!  A very nice man witnessed my demise and asked if everything was OK.  After insisting several times that I was, he offered me some baby wipes.  Those were a godsend.  I need to start carrying those single pack wet ones that I have.  It was so nice to clean out the scrapes right away instead of waiting another 5 plus miles.

Beyond the spill, the run went really well.  Since the novice group was doing the same route, I was in good company with others around me the whole run.  And dispute the temperatures, only one mile was over 14 minutes - and that wasn't even the mile where I fell.  The route was fun, as it went through neighborhoods where it's fun to look around and a local college.  And shaded, though it was overcast most of the morning.

Saturday ended with a Shakespeare play in an outside theater.  The temperatures cooled off a lot and made the evening really enjoyable.  It was nice way to end a good day.

Have you ever fallen during a run?  Has it ever been so bad that you couldn't continue?

Friday, June 24, 2016

How Did I Get Into Running?

I was never a runner as a child.  I hated running.  I played soccer and quit after the first year because it was too much running.  I played basketball and quit because it was too much running.  I played softball and secretly was happy when I only had to run one base at a time.  Hitting a home run was way too much running for me.  When it was Presidential Fitness time in school (do they still do that anymore?) I would try to figure out ways to get out of running the mile.  I was always the last kid to finish, it was humiliating.  While I hated running, I enjoyed being active.  Riding my bike, swimming, hiking were regular things when I was younger.  Enter in a daily job and the daily grid brought all of that to a halt for me.

So why do I run 4 days a week now?  That's a mighty good question.  About 6 years ago work was offering an exercise class twice a week after work right outside the building.  I jumped at the idea.  It was a class that has us outside (in the hot, cold, rain, and snow) for an hour jumping, planking, squatting, and yes running.  The running was just a 5 minute warm-up and we could walk if we couldn't run, though they encouraged us to run.  I remember the first time I was able to run the full 5 minutes.  It was the most amazing thing. 

I started walking in my neighborhood once a week and would run bits and pieces of it, especially the down hills.  I had a couple other memorable accomplishments like the first time I ran 20 minutes strait and mostly running a 5k.  But my first biggest accomplishment was running the Ukrop's 10k in 2011.  At the end of that post I say that I'm not sure I ever wan to do a 10k again because it was too much training.  If I only knew what was ahead of me.

It did the Ukrop's 10k again the next year.  Then took the leap in 2012 to run my first half marathon.  I do remember after that race that I was so sore that I never wanted to run another half again.  I did soften up and say not every year.  Training for this race was when I really started to think of myself as a runner.  It really started my running career.

Since then I have done countless 5 and 10ks, 12 more half marathons, 2 full marathons, and 4 triathlons.  This includes many challenges, including the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge where you run a 5k, 10k, half, and full for a total of 48.6 miles in 4 days.

That's my journey in a nut shell.

How did you get into running?  What is your first running accomplishment that you really felt proud of?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Loving the Long Run

The week started out with two good runs on Monday and Wednesday.  Not much hurt and I feel like I'm slowly getting my groove back, very slowly.  I've decided to go to 3:1 run/walks for my short runs during the week.  At some point I will get back to running the whole thing, but I'd rather take my time to get to that then hurt myself.

Thursday night we had a pretty bad storm.  One where I was listening out for the sound of a train thinking that a tornado was on it's way. Power went out, the wind blew - hard, some hail and a lot of rain.  There was so much lightening that it was almost daylight outside.  It was a bit scary.

I had taken Friday off and work up to do my run.  And then, I talked myself out of it.  I was in a real bad mood and spent a bit of time assessing damage around my house.  Thankfully there was very little, just a broken flag pole and small branches and leaves all over the place.  And I still had no power.  I learned why cats sleep so much - there really isn't anything else to do.  I read almost a whole book and took a nap.  Finally I decided to venture out to Panera to change all my electronics - and I was not the only one with that idea.

It probably was a good thing I didn't go for my run.  When I finally made it out of my street, I could see the whole neighborhood had debris everywhere.  It looks like there were a couple downed trees and tree branches everywhere.  I would have had to run on that debris risking spraining an ankle or run in the middle of the road.  Out of the neighborhood on the main roads almost every light near me was out. 

On Saturday, as I was getting ready for my long run, my power finally came back on.  I walked around the house and kept turning the lights on and off.  It's amazing how much we depend on power.  I was sad to leave my house now that I had power, but the long run was a must.

I have to say that it was a real good run.  Sun was out again and the humidity was down.  Nothing really hurt and I felt great after the run.  I have to say that I really do enjoy longer runs.  I don't know why, but I just feel like I get into my groove.  I decided to do a 2:1 run/walk, which seems to be a good ratio for me on longer runs.

The nine mile route took us down to The Bottom, which is like strait down.  And then after going down, you have to climb all the way back up.  I have real love/hate relationships with routes like these.  First, I would love to get the uphill done first, but not the case here.  Second, I hate hills cause they are hard.  Third, I love hills knowing that they are real good for my training.

There are two groups of runners that are on the training team.  One that leaves at 7 and the other leaves at 7:30.  I chose the first group so that I would have a little more time to finish (and it's cooler as the days get hotter).  And while most of the 7:30 group eventually passed me, I was not the last to come in.  That's all I'm striving for right now.

We drop back to seven miles next week, but I really am looking forward to 10 miles the week after.  I now remember why I signed up for another marathon and am feeling just a little more confident.  It's amazing what a good long run can do for you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Last Monday, my hamstring was hurting before I went on my run.  Of course I went on my run, hoping that this was one of the times it would work itself out.  Well it didn't hurt bad enough to stop running, but it really hurt me a lot the rest of the day.  I think it was from pulling weeds the day before.  A lot of squatting, yanking, and cursing went along with that.

I went to PT that afternoon and again, it was mostly from my lat.  I know that's totally confusing.  But what it turns out is my right lat is so tight that it pulls everything out of wack and in turn my left leg takes the brunt of everything.  So some dry needling on my right lat and a few places on my left leg and I was starting to feel better.

I probably could have run on Wednesday, but I was so scared of causing a real injury, so I slept in.  Sort of.  Basically I woke up before my alarm.  But through the day my hamstring felt good.  And my run on Friday was good.

This past weekend I took a certification class, so it was two days of classwork starting at 8:30 both mornings.  My run on Saturday was 8 miles.  With as slow as I run, that meant I had to get up about 4:30 to get out by 5.  Of course I didn't get up right when I should have, but I did get my 8 miles in.  I ran in my neighborhood, but I had to figure out how to get extra miles in without going around in the same circle over and over and over.  One thing I love about early morning runs is that I get to see the sun rise.

In the class we had to do those introduction things, why are we here, one interesting thing about us.  I mentioned that I was a runner and in fact did 8 miles before the class.  Everyone was amazed about my dedication.  I could have easily said I couldn't do my run because I had to be somewhere early on a Saturday.  But I see getting my runs in, even if I have to get up and start running before the sun comes up as more consistency then dedication.  I was able to know when I can't run because of an injury, but know that I still need to get my runs in even if it's inconvenient.

Have you ever run under less appealing circumstances?

Friday, June 10, 2016

5 (Tentative) Races on My Calendar This Year

I surprisingly only have 5 races on my calendar from now to the end of the year.  If you would have looked at my calendar this time last year, it was at least doubled.  I think that has to do with when my big races are this year, smack in the middle of the fall instead of January.  So let's get to it.

I have always thought about this race but said no for two reasons.  It's HOT and it's HILLY!  But I'm always up for a challenge.  With the Richmond Marathon Training Team, they encourage everyone to run this race as it is "the ideal barometer to gauge your progress at that point in the training program".  While I haven't signed up yet, I will probably be running this one for that very reason.  And to check it off my race bucket list.


Even though I'm signed up, I may not do this one.  It's the same weekend as my last long run before MCM so I'm not sure how I will work that all in.  I did sign up for it because it can be counted towards the Ultimate Warrior Medal where you have to run 3 US Military Organized races through the year for the medal.  And it's a race that's been on my bucket list a long while.  While the Army 10 Miler sells out quickly, they have a wonderful transfer program.  So if I decide not to run this race, I don't have to worry about losing my money.


This is my big race of the year.  I am extremely excited and scared at the same time.  Maybe by Patrick Henry I'll know if I should be more excited or more scared.


I am signed up for this as part of the Richmond Marathon Training team.  As this is 2 weeks after MCM, I'm not sure if I'll run the half or full.  The decision will be made at the expo and not a minute before.  I do sort of want to run the Marathon as it is supposed to be a fun one.  And I'd love to be able to join the Marathon Maniacs.  


I am signed up for this race as a deferral from last year.  Between my injury and how many races I had run last year, I was just burned out.  I'm looking forward to this one as it's been on my bucket list of races for a long time.  J&A always put on a very fun race.

There might be one or two more added to this, but for now, that is the list of my races for the rest of the year.  

What races are you running?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Owning My Slowness

So this week we had our first group run for the Richmond Marathon Training Team.  I joined the intermediate group so that I would have enough long runs in before the Marine Corps Marathon.  The decision to run the Richmond Marathon will be done at the Richmond Expo.  This training team has three sets of groups, one at 7 AM on Saturdays, one at 7:30 on Saturdays, and one group that meets on Sundays.  But for the first week both Saturday groups met up at the same time.  We had the coaches talk to us on what to expect and things that are going on.  Then everyone ran at the same time.  I was the last to finish out of everyone.  It was a bit humbling to say the least.

The White Lightning Team

I did sign up for the 7 AM Saturday group as I do know how slow I am.  At least I would have a 30 minute buffer on some runners.  I was at the back of the pack for most of the run.  The only other runner in site was a 70 year old man.  We would tag team and chat a little and he would stop to stretch, find a water fountain, or something else and then catch up.  He ended up going ahead of me in the last mile and I was the last runner in.  Though, I did stop to take a photo with a police officer I found at the very last bit of the run for #runchathunt.

I found that run a little hard.  I did get dry needling done the day before (which always makes something hurt).  I was trying to run via heart rate, which is steady till I hit the hills, and there were very little hills on this run. I did feel a bit defeated being the last one which didn't help my mood to finish.  But those are all excuses.

I need to own my slowness.  I need to be proud of what I can accomplish. I need to not compare myself to others.  I shouldn't even compare myself to my past running as things have changed since (though that is one of the hardest things to do).  The only thing I need to care about is to make sure that I can "Beat the Bridge" at the MCM.

I am a slow runner and I am proud of what I can do.

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

So it's been awhile since I have posted to this blog.  Like 5 years.  So what have I been doing for the last 5 years?  I'm still at the same job.  I'm still single.  I've lost one cat, but gained two kittens (for a total of 3).  I have done a lot of running, some cycling, and a little swimming.  I still want to post about whatever is on my mind, and the thing that has most been on my mind lately is running.  Specifically training for the Marine Corps Marathon which is in October.  I will be joining the Richmond Marathon Training Team that starts tomorrow!  The Richmond Marathon is two weeks after MCM and the intermediate team gets in two 20 mile runs in the perfect amount of time for MCM.  I'm looking forward to running with a training team again.  It's been a many years since I have regularly trained with a team.  I am a very slow runner - you think you are slow, just run with me and you will feel like an Olympian - and am very worried about "beating the bridge" for MCM.  I know it's within my grasp, I just need a good training cycle with very little to no injuries (knock on wood).  I've been doing other things to try and help that along and have a plan for the summer to work on speed. So in 5 years a lot has changed, but yet it is exactly the same.