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").

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.