Thoughts on fitness, health, good nutrition ... and running.

Welcome to Bald Man Running, a blog launched by Frank Murphy on January 1, 2015.

In March, 2013 I was selected as a contestant for the sixth season of Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner. Through this amazing program, I learned about good nutrition, sound exercise and accountability. By October, I would lose over 88 pounds (almost 37% of my original weight)! One of the many things I acquired through FWSW was a love for running. You can retrace my weight loss journey and discover how I became a runner by reading those entries labeled "fwsw" ...

Note: Many of the blog entries on this website predate 1/1/2015. Prior to launching BMR, I had written articles for various projects, and I have imported many of them into this blog (labeled "retro").

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

500 x4

Well ... It's that time again. As of this morning, I've crossed another 500 mile milestone. I need 165 miles in December (which would be a monthly PR for me) to get there before the new year, and I got it with hours to spare.
My first 1k took exactly one year, and the second 1k took exactly seven months. Not sure what my goals are for 2015, but I suspect there's a few more miles to run ...
And every 500 miles, I watch/listen to a song that I've really come to like ...

It's extra special this year, because it happens to coincide so closely with my 25th wedding anniversary as well. Rose, I wanna be that man for you ...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Three goals

Note: I'm not sure where this "three goal" idea comes from, but I heard it from somebody else a long time ago. If you know the source, please let me know.

I go into a race with three goals ...
1) a "would be crushed if I didn't meet" goal,
2) a reasonable, yet challenging, "push myself and could hit it" goal, and
3) a "you've got to be crazy" goal ...

In turn, those goals for Columbus were 4:30, 4:15, and 4:00.

I thought I still had a shot at 4:00 around mile 16. I had about four minutes to make up at that point, and finally realized that if I did get it down to zero, I was unlikely to have enough left in the tank to finish strong. I didn't want to lose 4:15, so I tried adjusting my pace and expectations ...

The 4:15 pace group was breathing down our necks for the last 8 miles or so. We stayed just ahead of them, and I had enough for a strong kick at the end (my last 1/2 mile was a sub 8 pace).

(Incidentally, my three goals for my first marathon were finish, 4:30, 4:20.)

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Ok ... Today's been an incredible day, and normally I would have been all over Facebook, but I've been in self-imposed media blackout because I DVRed the Lions/Saints game and I didn't want any spoilers ...

First, I ran the Columbus full marathon with Maureen, and she came through in a big way. Without her help, I wouldn't have succeeded today. I had run my first full marathon in May 2014 and notched a 4:56:56. Today, I ran it in 4:11:14! Let that soak in for a second ... that's an improvement of 45:42!

My 2nd half was only 38 second slower than the first half. It was an awesome, exciting, fulfilling day. Thanks to my wife, Rose, and Maureen for getting me through it!

Second, my son Tim and I are on the same Ultimate team (at Brookside), and we won big. I love how well our team plays as a team. It's a privilege to play with these guys. Go Llamas!

I also got to watch the Lions after our Ultimate game. I won't give any spoilers here.

I'll cap the evening off with a little hot tub time ...

It's been an awesome weekend ... I will sleep soundly, I think.

Thank you to everyone for their support, encouragement, kind words, and prayers. When I finally got on Facebook, I had 47 notifications! What a blessing it was to read through so many neat comments!

I am definitely the sum of many parts ... My friends and family inspired me to get off the couch and take responsibility for my own health, equipped and encouraged me to live a healthy lifestyle, helped me find joy in exercise (especially running!), and dared me to dream that I could finish a marathon. My successes are simply the returns on the investments of so many people.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Show up

Not that anybody has asked, but if I were asked to summarize in just two words the secret to my success in getting fit over the last 18 months, here they are:

Show up.

When you don't want to get out of bed to make an early morning workout at the gym? Show up.

When you don't want to attend a nutrition class that's going to help you learn to eat right? Show up.

When you don't want to prepare a healthy meal because it's too time consuming/expensive/whatever? Show up.

When you don't want to do a scheduled training run because it's too hot/cold/early/late/whatever? Show up.

When you don't want to keep your food journal up to date? Show up.

When you don't want to step on the scale in front of your accountability group? Show up.

Getting fit is not complicated ... but just because it's simple, doesn't mean it's easy. Work out responsibly. Eat cleanly. Stay accountable. It's hard to do these things, and you won't succeed if you don't show up.

I've repeated these two words to myself at least a thousand times over the last 18 months, and it's helped me get off the couch, out of bed or away from the computer. What you do after you show up is also important, but that's a topic for another day.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

5k with Tim

I ran a small 5k with my oldest son, Tim, today. It was about a 40 minute drive, so I pulled out the old "you can drive" line, and he took the bait.

We ran together, and used the interval jog/walk method. It was a small field with a "down and back" course layout, so as we neared the halfway/turn around point, I could tell that there weren't very many folks Tim's age that were ahead of us. I told him that if we could push it a little harder the rest of the way, he would likely finish in the top 3 and "podium" ... i.e, get an award.

He finished 3rd in his age group, and they gave him a nice commemorative glass. He acted like it was no big deal, but I think it was a big deal. I also think that he privately thinks it was a big deal. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Another 20 miler

Ran a 20 miler today.

This was not my typical long run. Instead of Saturday morning, this was Friday evening after work.

I felt like Gilligan ... wrecked after a three hour tour ...

This was *not* a negative split. The second half was significantly slower than the first half. Running after work while less than optimally fueled is really rough. The weather was horrible (cold and rain). It was dark by the time we finished. It took 3:15:31 (9:46/mi).

Ben (a friend from the run group), Maureen and I ran together, and it was all I could do to keep them in my line of sight at times.

Sometimes it's not about crushing a goal ... sometimes it's just about simply finishing. All I can really say about tonight is "got 'er done."

The good news is that this is my last long run before Columbus.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Another 500

This morning, I took a nice leisurely jaunt with my wife, and I crossed the 1500 mile mark in my running journal.

It took me seven months to log my first 500 miles, five months to get the second, and now four to get this last 500.

When people see this kind of thing, they often say something like "you've got to crazy to do something like that." I assure you that whatever it may be, it is *not* crazy! Crazy would be attempting something like this without the proper coaching, mentoring and training.

I could reach this milestone only through the investment of so many wonderful people ... Michael Thena for installing a love of running, Larry Jackson for pushing me through my first half marathon, Tyrone Wilson for his generosity and instruction, Ashley Sprunger for encouraging me through to my first full marathon and showing me that I could run a sub 9:00 10 miler, Maureen Randall who selflessly pushed me to a new level and helped me obliterate a few PRs, friends from the Fort Wayne Track Club and Winter Warriors who have helped me steadily improve over the past year, my wife Rose, who has done so much for me that I'm overwhelmed by her beautiful spirit, and so many others that I'm going unintentionally to forget to mention.

Of course, there's a special place in my heart for Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner ... without these amazing people, I'd still be an Uncle Fester look-alike sitting on the couch with a bag of Doritios in one hand and a two liter of Pepsi in the other while watching the Lions lose on Sunday.

I may have crossed the 1500 mile threshold today, but I will not allow myself to forget how I got here. To do that would be crazy!

In what has become a tradition for me, after every 500 miles, I watch this music video ... I love this song ...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

F4F Victory

An amazing friend promised that she'd get me across the finish line, and she kept that promise ... THREE TIMES! We saw the Triple Crown. We ran the Triple Crown. We conquered the Triple Crown! Thank you, Maureen!

We went into today intending to run a very brisk warm up on the 10k, put everything we had into the half (and hopefully snag my first official sub 2:00 half), and then crawl the 4 mile. I didn't want to have anything left in the tank after the half ... I don't think I did. Even still, I managed to jog (barely) the whole 4 mile, so that part never came to crawling, for which I'm thankful.

Our final times:
10k - 53:32 (8:38/mi)
Half - 1:55:23 (8:49/mi)
4mi - 45:23 (11:21/mi)
Total: 3:34:18

Only 37 people started the Triple Crown, and 34 people finished. Maureen and I finished tied for 19th overall.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

F4F even nearer

I see a lot of people "carb load" for a long race the night before, but I've been told that's not necessarily the best way to do it. Several experienced runners have told me that I should do it two days before the big race instead. Today, I ate a real nice pasta dinner ... without going overboard.

It's also important to get a really good night's sleep two days before the big race. For many runners, it's almost impossible to sleep the night before because there's just too much excitement, nervousness, etc., and that makes it tough. I'm going to get a real good sleep tonight, that's for sure (well, at least I'll try).

I was planning on running the F4F Triple Crown at a fairly leisurely pace ... you know ... a "just get the miles in" kind of pace. But after a scorchingly awesome 20 miler last Saturday, I'd love to repeat that accomplishment, but while wearing a bib this time.

My running partner from that aforementioned 20 miler, Maureen, is also running the Triple Crown. That adds a little pressure, but it's good pressure.

I've not been this excited for a "training run" in a long time ... watch out, F4F!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

F4F nears

Initially, I was planning on running the Fort4Fitness half marathon again. Last year, as part of FWSW, I finished it in 2:05:26. I wanted to set a new PR ... and get under 2:00:00.

This plan changed when I registered for the Columbus marathon. I was now scheduled to run a 23 miler on the day of F4F. My first thought was to run the half marathon and then tack on a ten mile run later that day, but F4F had a new offering for this year, and I couldn't pass it up.

The inaugural F4F Triple Crown is an event where you can run all three F4F races back-to-back-to-back. That's a 10k, a half marathon and a 4 miler ... for a total of 23.3 miles ... one race right after the other. Why not do that instead of a boring, old, regular training run? I'd get a medal for each race, plus a bonus medal for finishing all three.

So, this week, I've been in semi-training/semi-taper mode. I don't feel like I can really do either responsibly. I need to train for Columbus, but I still want that PR for the half.

Today, was my last "hard" run before I attempt the Triple Crown. I ran 10k in 53:43 (8:30/mi). While that's not a PR, it is unusual in that it was my first "progressive run" at this distance. Each mile was faster than the previous mile. I started with a 9:52 in mile 1, and shaved at least 15 seconds off each mile. My final mile was 7:30!

I'm feeling pretty good about F4F ... Triple Crown me!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Crazy and insane

A few weeks ago, I registered for the Columbus marathon. At the time, I had seven weeks to train for it. Fortunately, I had been maintaining an aggressive running schedule since completing the Sunburst Marathon in May.

I felt that my training plan for Sunburst worked for me. While I bonked badly, I knew it wasn't due to poor training. When I registered for Columbus, I simply chose to resume my Sunburst training plan.

Today, I needed 20 miles. I'd ran my previous 20+ milers on my own, but this time I felt like I needed something extra, so I posted a request on the local running group's Facebook page. I said, "I need 20 miles at an 9:50/mi pace ... that's my target pace for Columbus." I got one response from someone named Maureen.

I was terrified. Maureen is a local legend. I'd followed her on Facebook, and knew that she regularly ran ultras, mudders, Spartans, ragnars, 200 mile relays, and even crazier events. She had recently completed a training goal of 300 miles in one month! I was not even close to being in her league. Maureen said, "we can run 9:50. That'll be a good pace for 20 miles." What had I gotten myself into?

I wished that I had a good excuse to back out of running with Maureen. I was more scared of running with her than I was running 20 miles. Unfortunately, she showed up at the right place at the right time ... and with more than a little fear and no idea of how I would do it, I started that 20 miler with Maureen.

We ran a few "slow" miles to warm up (all under 9:30/mi), and then we averaged a sub 9:00/mi for 16 miles! I'd never ran that far at that pace. It was ridiculous! We finished the 20 miles in 3:03:58 (final pace of 9:11/mi).

Maureen did something amazing for me that day ... she showed me that I was much further along in my training than I thought I was. I've been training solo for so long that I hadn't truly pushed myself. I still don't think I was slacking off when I ran by myself, but I was capable of so much more. I had this run in me all along, but I had no idea it was in there. It took a gifted and patient runner to show me the way.

It turns out Maureen and I have a lot in common. I've got a lot of training runs ahead of me as I get ready for Columbus and she has offered to continue training with me so that I can run the best race possible. I'm thankful for her encouragement, insight and willingness to help me.

Today's run was hard. I was completely spent afterwards. I also feel incredibly satisfied ... not just with my performance, but in making a new friend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My nose = your business

Here's me passive-aggressively sticking my nose into your business ...

I know a lot of folks who have signed up to run their first half marathon at Fort4Fitness, which is awesome. I also know that several of those folks have been a bit lax in their training. I feel compelled to say something because if you don't get on the stick, your lack of training is going to bite you in the butt.

Depending on your training plan, you should be running about 20 miles a week with a long weekend run of 10 miles or so. If you've been letting it slide, don't just jump right into the schedule where you should be. Consult a running coach (there are several in the area that donate their expertise to help beginning runners). It's not too late to be prepared for F4F, but that window is rapidly closing.

I'm saying something because I want this experience to be a triumph for you. I'd love to hear your name called out over the loud speaker at Parkview Field and see you cross the finish line with your fists in the air and a look on your face that says, "I am a beast!" Keep your eye on the prize and train like your health depends on it.

If you need guidance to get back on track, ask.

That is all. Please resume your day as I pull my nose out of your business.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another bite of the apple

Ever since finishing my first marathon (May 31, 2014), I've been thinking about what I could have done differently.

I finished, so that was a victory, but I bonked fairly badly as well. I was hoping for a time around 4:30, and I was a little ahead of that pace through mile 20. I finished with a 4:56.

If I remember correctly, miles 15-19 were through a park, alongside a river and mostly in the shade. I was feeling strong and was really enjoying the race. I was mostly oblivious to everything around me and was just basking in the "I'm actually running a marathon!" experience.

After leaving that part of the course, I began a long stretch that was without shade, 85% humidity and 85 degrees. I started losing steam and then the charley horses started ... several of them ... simultaneously.

I had to completely stop and wait for my calves to calm down. I stood there in agony and disbelief while staring at incredibly visible muscle spasms in my calves. I was genuinely terrified that I wouldn't even be able to start moving again.

My calves eventually calmed down, and I got moving again ... but just barely. I wound up walking most of the last four miles. I later learned that I was severely dehydrated. My best guess is that I wasn't hydrating properly while running in the park and by the time I realized what was happening, it was too late to do anything that could help. The real bummer is that all of my training and preparation were spot on. I was fit enough to run the entire marathon, but I blew it on race day because of my inexperience.

So, for the last couple of months, I've been mulling over in my mind how much better I might have done had I not bonked. I've been wanting another bite of the apple.

I've just registered for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Marathon in Columbus, Ohio on October 19. Watch out, Columbus ... I'll be smarter and in even better shape ... and I'm going to crush you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Driving bribery

My son, Tim, has a driver's learning permit. Tonight, I told him that I was going to do a group run with some friends at one of the local shoe stores. If he went with me, I'd let him drive there and back.

He said yes, so he drove out there, ran two miles with me, and then he drove back home. One of his miles was at a 12:35 pace, which rightly impresses quite a bit. It was not a particularly flat run, so I'm even more impressed.

It's a good day, folks. Yep. It's a good day.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


We just spent the last week in a beautiful condo across the street from a beautiful beach. Siesta Key in Florida is amazing!

Part of my prize package for winning season six of Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner included a week in Florida. I'd never been to Florida before, so this was uncharted territory for me. We felt like royalty while we were there. We spent a few hours on the beach every day, and it was very neat that the weather conditions were just different enough to give each day a different feel.

Rose and I were still planning on working out in Florida, but without the luxury of a gym. I opted to work running into the schedule each day. What I discovered is that running in Siesta Key is hard. The heat and the humidity were demoralizing. I suppose local runners are used to it, but this Hoosier was not. If I had decided to become a runner while in Florida, I would not have continued with it very long.

I loved visiting Florida. It was awesome. It's also nice to be home again. I look forward to getting reacquainted with my old friend, the River Greenway. It's been too long ...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

5k milestone

I set another 5k PR today. My overall time was okay (22:55, 7:22/mi). The cool thing was that my first mile was a 6:55. I've never ran a sub-seven mile in a race before!

I was spent afterward, and it was all I could do to hang on and finish the race. Each mile got progressively slower, so there was no negative split. Now my goal is to get to the point where I can maintain that initial pace ...

Incidentally, today's race was the Run Like A Hero 5k (http://runlikeahero.com/). This event raises funds for organ donor awareness and organ transplant research. It was a privilege to run for such a worthy cause and in memory of an incredible young man, Caden Bowles.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Post-marathon thoughts

I know there has already been a ton of comments and photos about my marathon (thank you, Facebook). I haven't really had a chance to sit down and compose my thoughts until now. So, bear with me as I try to summarize the experience.

First, everybody I know is awesome. I've received so much support, encouragement, advice and love from so many. I can't imagine anyone being surrounded by a better group of folks. I am fortunate beyond description! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I didn't do as well as I hoped. Through the first 20 miles, I was right on pace. I know I messed up somewhere (most likely by not picking up on signals my body was telling me). By the time I realized that, I had to adjust my expectations. Between the heat and the worst muscle spasms I've ever had, I just wanted to finish. I am confident that I can dissect my experience, learn from it and come back stronger.

Overall, the marathon wasn't as enjoyable to me as the training. Don't get me wrong ... the marathon was well-organized and I have zero complaints about it. I guess I'm just disappointed with my finish and that taints the experience a little. I did finish and I'm very satisfied with that.

I can say that my training plan worked perfectly. I stuck to it and was as well equipped as I possibly could have been. I have no regrets and absolutely no wish to have changed anything I did.

I know there are a lot of horror stories from marathon runners about how grueling the experience is. Yesterday, right after the race I believed most of them. Today, I feel fine.

I'm not exaggerating. I was in great shape to make the attempt yesterday, and my body has responded really well. Being prepared and educated is paying dividends right now.

I feel like I went toe-to-toe with a worthy adversary, took some brutal shots, but remained on my feet and won in the end.

To be clear, I'm not discouraged at all ... I'm simply saying that I know I could have done better. I'm going to learn from this and improve.

Whatever it was that happened on the course was a setback, but I still tasted success (and let me tell you, it's quite salty). I don't know when I'll try another marathon, but I do know I'm already far better equipped for it.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Marathon Accomplished

I did it. 4:56:56 (11:18 / mi).

I may not have hit my target pace this morning, but as I crossed he finish line, I set another personal milestone ... 1000 total miles logged over the last year.

I started logging my miles run in June 2013. As I was working through my marathon training plan, I realized that I was really close to finishing the marathon and hitting exactly 1000 miles at the exact same moment. I really wanted that to happen.

So, I did it. I've ran 1000 miles in a year. Tomorrow, I'll post more thoughts about the actual marathon experience. For now, I'm going to watch a music video ...


Friday, May 30, 2014

Milestone Shirt

Tomorrow is the day! I run my first full marathon.

I had a special shirt made just for this occasion. Here's a picture of the back of my shirt ... 

It's a milestone shirt with 16 icons representing significant points in my life. I had a hard time figuring what I wanted to wear across the finish line, so I had a custom shirt made that included everything.

From the top left, they are ...
1- born in Alaska
2- became a born-again Christian
3- Lions drafted Billy Sims and made me a Lions fan
4- learned to "never stop loving Jesus" in ABT youth group
5- spent a summer in Liberia with New Tribes Mission
6- married a hottie who is way out of my league
7- became a youth pastor (ABT gets another shout out!)
8- became the father of an aspiring computer technician
9- Ellie, I miss you
10- became the father of an aspiring artist
11- earned my Master's degree (GRTS)
12- moved to Indiana and started teaching at Keystone Schools
13- in Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner, season 6
14- ran my first marathon
15, 16- I'm not done living an abundant life ... pressing onward because the possibilities are endless!

That's my story. Tomorrow, I wear it through the streets on South Bend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New toy

Got my new GPS watch today ...

It's a nice watch too ... a Garmin Forerunner 910XT. It's really nice. It's also quite expensive.

Rose and I have officially passed the one year anniversary of maintaining our weight loss. Our health insurer has a program that if you lose 10% of your weight, they will give you $500. We already got that. If you keep it off for a year, they'll give you another $1000. With that money, I decided to splurge on a deluxe, super nice watch. I've been running long enough that I think I'll definitely get good use from it.

And I haven't actually my watch yet ... it has arrived in the mail safely (I know this because of online package tracking). My watch is at home, but I'm at work ... I suspect the next 90 minutes will be agonizingly slow ...

Monday, May 19, 2014


With my taper starting this week, I knew this was my last shot for a while in getting a sub-seven mile ... after last week's debacle (miscounting of the laps involved), I got the lap count right.

Unfortunately, in the pic my watch is upside down ... still, the time is what matters. Now, I can stop chasing that goal for a little while and just focus on Sunburst ...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

One year later

I was at SQLSaturday Detroit in 2013 when Tina Walters called me on the phone and told me that I had been accepted into season six of Fort Wayne Smallest Winner.

Here I am one year later at the same event ... 

What a difference a year makes, eh?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Failed mile

Every now and then I run a single mile as fast as I can to see how far I've come. My current record is 7:02. Today, I tried it again on the track at Spiece. I really wanted to get my time under 7:00.

Nine laps equals one mile. To get my goal, each lap would need to be 0:46 or better. That would even leave me a six second cushion.

I was flying around that track, and I was feeling good. I knew I was ahead of pace, and when I counted off my last lap, I stopped my watch and started walking a few cool down laps. When I looked at my watch to see my time, I saw a number that made me furious ... 6:05.

I knew that I wasn't THAT fast ... I'd probably only ran eight laps. I double checked my watch (which has a lap counting feature), and sure enough, that's exactly what I had done.

Losing count sucks, because I would have definitely nailed my first sub-seven mile ... Oh well, I guess I'll get it next time.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Goose poop and Bambi

My longest run before the full marathon ... felt much better than last week's 20 mile run. I tweaked my fueling strategy, and it paid off! Time: 3:39:25 (9:40 / mi)

I didn't see many running club buddies on the trail today, but I did see a lot of geese ... and they sure were a hissy bunch. You'd think I was the one who had pooped all over something that they valued instead of the other way around.

I also saw two deer that were kind of trapped on the trail. The river was pretty close on my left and there was a long, tall fence on my right. They were clearly spooked and they could only run towards me or away from me. I'm glad that chose to run from me! I kept thinking of that scene in Tommy Boy where the deer wakes up in the car and goes crazy ... I didn't want to be the victim of Bambi rage.

I ran behind them and tried not to get to close, but I was also worried about my pace. I was moving pretty good and didn't want to sacrifice time. I was actually paced by a couple of deer for a little over half mile! Eventually, the river peeled away from the path, and my wild running buddies were able to disappear into the woods.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

20 miles?

First time running 20 miles ... one of the most grueling physical challenges I've ever completed. I shudder to think that there's another 6.2 in a full marathon. Time? 3:22:25 (10:33 / mi)

Fortunately, I ran into several friends along the way. It keeps you honest, because you never know who you're going to see on the trails ... well, actually, I had a pretty good idea who I would see because I am a member of the local running club. We have a Facebook group where we can share our running plans and we might pick up a running buddy or two. There was a group doing 20 miles that day, and I would have preferred to join them, but I needed an earlier start, so I ran solo.

My particular route was a beautiful section of River Greenway that stretches between New Haven and Fort Wayne. I started fairly strong, but started to noticeably slow down after my first five miles. By the time I had finished ten miles, I had slowed down even more.

The last two miles were little more than a walk. I've heard a lot of folks talk about "hitting the wall" around 18 miles, and I felt it. Let's just say that if that wasn't the wall, then I'm in trouble.

I definitely need to reevaluate my in-run fueling. Physically, I did it without problems, but the lack of "juice in the tank" as the run wore on has left me a little worried. Can I do this marathon? It's less than a month away!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

18 Mile redux

Two weeks ago, I ran my first 18 miler. I repeated that distance today.

2:54:10 (9:40/mi) ... that's 36 minutes faster than last time!

This is one of the cool things about running ... you can track your improvement. As you get faster and stronger, it shows up in measurable ways.

On my last 18 miler, it was about finishing. Today it was about dominating. I felt that I did that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tough run

Today is my daughter's birthday. She would be fifteen years old if she were still with us. I know that this day is always my most difficult day of the year. In the past, I've isolated myself and tried to just make it through 24 hours without completely falling apart.

Last year, I ran a 5k on her birthday, and that was a miserable experience. I was still horribly out of shape and part of the run went through a cemetery. I would not have signed up for the race had I know that ahead of time.

This year, I'm in the middle of my marathon training plan. This weekend called for an 18 mile run. I've never ran that far before. My wife decided to do it with me, so we both took the day off work (a Monday) and planned to do the weekend run on this day. She would ride a bike while I ran.

The weather was cold, rainy and windy. I was unsure of how to fuel for this run, and was still ignorant about many other things related to distance training. Strangely, this run wasn't as bad as it could have been. With Rose by my side, we talked and were able to get each other through the day. It wasn't easy or fun, but it was a victory.

As far as my pace goes, well ... I struggled with that too. It took 3:32:47 (11:49 average pace). It wasn't about the pace, it was about imposing my will on an obstacle and conquering it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

I ran sixteen miles this weekend! It was the farthest I've ever ran.

I hooked up with some folks through the Fort Wayne Track Club. They have a page on Facebook where people post their running plans and ask if anyone wants to join them. I saw a group of folks planning on a 16 miler, and I decided to join them. I didn't realize just how much hill work was involved, but I did it.

Running with new friends was really cool. It kept me on pace. The really cool thing was that at mile 15, I ran my fastest mile of the whole run. I still had something in the tank after 14 miles. That felt good to discover that, and it helped build my confidence that I just might be able to finish a marathon.

Of course, I was really sore into the next day. That kind of eroded my confidence that I might be able to finish a marathon.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Two words

Today, I had an opportunity to play a small part in our company chapel service.

(Note: I work at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company where we have an employee-led chapel service once a week. How cool is that?)

The coworker in charge of today's chapel service asked if I would be willing to help her illustrate the meaning of transformation. She was going to share some of her personal transformation journey, and then another coworker would share as well. To conclude the chapel service, she was going to show a music video. It was during the video that I had my opportunity to play a small part. Before chapel, she had asked several folks to stand up and hold a large sign describing their own personal transformations. Each sign was two sided and carried a simple message on each side. We were to hold up our signs to first show our "before" issue and then after a brief pause turn the sign around to show our "after" term of transformation.

Because my health journey has been so public, she asked if I would hold a sign. I was flattered and readily agreed. She wanted to know what words I would like written on each side of my sign. I thought, "how can I best summarize my transformation in only two words?"

My first idea was "fat" and "healthy." I didn't think that would be appropriate, so I kept looking for a better set of terms. "Unfit" and "fit" seemed too narrow. Eventually, I found a word pair that felt nearly perfect. I choose "apathy" and "zeal."

A little over a year ago, I was living an unhealthy lifestyle. My problem wasn't simply being unhealthy … it was that I didn't care. I knew what I was doing. I knew it was dangerous and would have lasting consequences, but between willful ignorance and apathy, I had made peace with it. While my physical transformation is far more visually obvious, the true transformation took place once I cared enough to seek the help I needed. That's where God came in and used Smallest Winner to continue my transformation.

I really do want others to benefit as I have and I am committed to helping people discover a solution for apathy towards their health. When someone starts caring, they start changing.

Where to start? How do you replace apathy with zeal? I'd start with prayer. Ask God to do two things: 1) help you want to change, and 2) help you act upon that newly acquired "want to."

Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I kilt it!

Today, I ran a 5k (the Kilt Run), and blew away my previous personal record ... 22:27! According to my GPS watch, the race distance was a little short, but I still wound up with a 7:29 average pace. I would have never thought myself capable of holding such a pace for three whole miles.

And then I did something crazy ... I've seen other people do this, and I thought they were showing off. I would think, "really?"

What's the crazy thing? Going for a run after a race. After killing my PR on the 5k, I ran home ... ten miles. Let me repeat that: I went for a ten mile run after running a fast 5k. It was not a quick run, but I'm in training for a marathon.

According to my training schedule, I needed a 13 mile run, and I didn't want to use the 5k as an excuse for missing my longer run. If I'm going to succeed in this marathon, I need to stick to the training plan. Every mile counts.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

South Bend Bound

I signed up for my first full marathon, the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, IN. It will take place on May 31, 2014. http://www.sunburstraces.org/

I've been running with a new group of friends throughout the winter and several of them are in training for a spring marathon. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and they got me thinking about it too. So ... here we go. I'm committed to do it. It'll give me a great goal and help me to stay motivated.

I can do this.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dreaming again

I had an odd dream last night ... I was at Spiece and finished my workout about the same time Rick finished his. We were talking a bit and left the gym together. As we got into the parking lot, a total stranger came up to us and asked about Smallest Winner. She wanted to know about how to apply, etc.

As we talked with this lady, I could see my car out of the corner of my eye, and I clearly had a flat tire. Bummer, eh? Well, as I tried to wrap up the conversation, Rick excused himself and left me to continue answering the lady's questions. Figuring that my car wasn't going anywhere, I talked with a little while longer and then said goodbye.

When I got to my car, I saw Rick cleaning his hands off as he'd just finishing changing my tire. I don't know how he got into my car to get the spare, etc. It was just a dream, so I guess some things are allowed to happen without being completely explainable, right?

When I thanked him for doing that, he patted me on the shoulder and said, "no, thank you for giving that lady your attention. I just changed a tire, but that conversation just might change a life."

I'm not one who wants to read something crazy into a dream, but I woke up thinking that was pretty cool ...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Elliptical goal

Disclaimer: I realize that using the elliptical isn't the same as running outdoors. I'm not claiming these numbers are comparable, but it's still a personal best for me, and I'm inclined to share them here ...

This morning I had a elliptical session for 60 minutes with a five minute cool down (during which I didn't really cool down, but kept hitting it pretty hard). I finished with 12,218 strides in 65 minutes and burned 1087 calories.

That's an average pace of 188 strides/minute (which supposedly equals 8.56 miles for an average pace of 7:36 minutes/mile).

I definitely worked harder the second half of the session than I did the first half. At 30 minutes, I just cleared 5100 strides (roughly 3.5 miles). Thus, my last half was an average pace of 204 strides/minute (or 6:55 minutes/mile for roughly 5 miles).

Again, I realize this isn't the same as running. I'm not claiming that I ran five consecutive sub-seven miles. I've simply had this elliptical-based goal (breaking 12,000 in 65 minutes) hanging out there for a while now, and it feels like a big deal to reach that goal. One day, I'll get to 12,000 in 60 minutes ...

Setting goals and knocking 'em down ... it's a good way to stay motivated.