When Was The Last Time You Did Something For The First Time?

I love the Tough Mudder series of runs. The motivational warm-up has stuck with me since my first TM last year

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

When was it? How long has it been between firsts?

This spring it became apparent that our May and June was going to be intense. The Bayshore Half Marathon that we signed up for in December was the Saturday of Memorial Day, and the very next Saturday would be Tough Mudder Michigan. 23+ miles of racing in the span of a week. We signed up for a tune-up 10k the Saturday before the half marathon.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

The 10k was a bit slow and there were walkers all over the route, but it was such a beautiful day out we didn’t care. The Bayshore Half went well, and the wife and I both finished with a smile. The Tough Mudder was awesome as usual, and our entire team finished with big smiles. The next Saturday, though, nothing was planned. No running, no OCRs, nothing.  We were free to do what we wanted!

Saturday was pretty lazy. Relaxed in the hammock for a while, played with the kids, then decided to go on a bike ride. Never run a marathon (it’s in the cards!) but I bet I could get on the bike and knock 26.2 miles out!

50k later…

metric half jun 10.jpg

My first metric half century. Using the heart rate monitor I was able to keep the pace in a range where the primary training effect was aerobic base building. It seems like biking is easier to dial in a specific heart rate compared to running, so it’s definitely getting added to the base-building training schedule. So…

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Just the Start

It’s raining. Has been the entire run. Every bit of me is soaked. My waterproof jacket is apparently only waterproof for an hour and a half. Doesn’t matter, the rain feels awesome! I’m feeling a bit tired, and the green tea Kit-Kats aren’t a good substitute for proper run fuel, but they gave me the boost to get over the 9 mile mark. The water fountain downtown is thankfully operational, and the water is welcome. A little while later and I’m on the home stretch.

12.3 miles. 12.4 miles. 12.5 miles.

12.6 miles. POW. Knee pain. Snap. Stop running. Can I do high knees? No no NO! That hurts. Can I do anything resembling bounds? Not even close. This is knee pain akin to what I felt on my 30th birthday last year.

Half mile to go. Stop and stretch the quads, do some leg swings. Walk a bit. Yup. I can move. Just keep moving. Go back to the dreaded J word: JOG. It’s almost like running, but my legs aren’t really moving like they should. My head is yelling “FINISH STRONG, KEEP RUNNING!” but experience is telling me “STOP!” It’s alright though, I’ve felt this pain several times before, each time when I pushed myself too hard during training, amping up the miles too much. The best course of action: don’t push it. Just walk.

13.0 miles. So close.

I see our house. The urge to sprint through the front door rises. The knee pain isn’t sharp, but it’s present nonetheless.

13.1 MILES. My first half marathon!

My Garmin actually reads 13.5 miles, due to forgetting my jacket at the beginning of the run. The next week will consist of a lot of stretching and icing so the tight muscles and tendons that cause this pain fall in line and I can continue training for the Bayshore (one month away!). Probably no running until Friday or Saturday.

The moral of the story? Be smart, don’t add too many miles too quickly, and if you do find yourself hurting on a run know that you shouldn’t feel compelled to try to overcome it by going fast. Oh, and I RAN A HALF MARATHON!

Run happy!

First Half Marathon - April 30 2017



A while back, I received an email inviting me to sign up for a group run with one of our company’s VPs. The group run aspect was really all I needed, but on top of that the VP has run the Boston Marathon multiple times. So…my name went on the list pretty quickly.

The downside to the group run? The VP has run Boston multiple times. He’s fast. The other folks in the group? Also fast. “Conversational pace” to them was a good 1.5 minutes faster than my conversational pace. Nothing that I couldn’t keep up with, but trying to speak intelligently with the group…not great.

In the end, the run was great fun, with good conversation (by others!) and I set several PRs (5k at 27:38 and 2 mile at 17:32).

Run happy!


Weekly Training Log: Jan 15-21

Not much running this past week. Daily PFPS stretches and excercises though.

  • Tuesday Jan 17th: 1.2 mile treadmill run at 12:30 pace (treadmill runs are far more painful to me than I would have expected)
  • Saturday Jan 21st: 2.0 mile run around the block at 9:37 pace. Lots of fog, but beautiful run.

Plan for upcoming week:

  • Tuesday Jan 24th: 1.5 mile run @ 10:30 pace
  • Wednesday Jan 24th: 30 minutes on trainer bike
  • Thursday Jan 26th: 1.5 mile run @ 10:30 pace
  • Sunday Jan 29th: 2.0 mile run @ 11:00 pace

Five Easy Steps to Stop Injuries When Running

Step 1: Start sloooow….

Step 2: Seriously, that’s not really slow. Slow it down.

Step 3: That’s better. Now don’t overdo it. You just ran your first mile since you last seriously injured your knee in the fall.

Step 4: What are you doing? That mile felt ok, but why are you pushing yourself to run 4 miles on your first run back?

Step 5: Call your doc and PT. Let them know you did it again.

Couch to Couch

In 2011, I ate Chick-Fil-A nearly every other day for lunch. In 2017, I would probably still do the same if given the chance but sadly, there are none within 80 miles of me. Predictably, as one could only deduce from widely known health facts, it was delicious. And I got bigger. Freshman Fifteen had nothing on the Tennessee Thirty…five…

My daughter was born in 2012, and as many going through this experience can attest, this was the kickstart my brain needed to get up and move. I want to be around for her wedding, and to see my grandkids’ run around in the woods.

There are many great resources for beginner runners, but high up on the list is the Couch To 5k program. It gradually eases you in to running, makes sure you don’t overexert yourself, and gets you ready to run those glorious 3.1 miles in only 9 weeks.

It didn’t work for me.

I ran a mile without stopping shortly after deciding to run. It sucked. My chest felt like it was going to explode. Lungs: burning. Head: spinny. Legs: heavy. Moms: spaghetti.

Several days later, I decided “screw it. Couch to 5k means get off the couch and run 5k. Just go the distance.” This worked for me, by some miraculous, twisted chance. I had to walk a number of times, and it was slow going most of the time, but about 40 minutes later I entered my front door as a 5k “runner”. That’s what it took to get me moving continually, to get me addicted to running, and I quickly learned to dial it back and train smarter.

In the past 4 years, I have run many more miles. A few 5ks, a zombie run, a 10k, and a 10+ mile Tough Mudder are under my belt. But behind each of those runs is a journey. And I have gone long periods without being able to run at all because of injury (or in one case surgery). Currently I’m fighting knee pain that has me hesitant to run at all.

I went from couch to couch. And that’s ok, because I’m not staying on the couch for long. It’s time to kick it in to gear again and get ready for the year of races I have planned!