Running Wild 5k

IMAG3499It’s been a while since I last ran a race. I have a few marathons scheduled for the fall so I was looking for something local to dust off the cobwebs. After searching weeks ago for a race I found one that was local, and seemed really neat, Running Wild 5k at St. Patrick’s Park in South Bend. I remember in college we would do cross country meets at St Patrick’s Park when Bethel College hosted a meet, since that was their home course. I’ve always liked that park so I was set on doing it. I had to reschedule my whole training week to make sure I would still get my marathon training in as well. That meant a 20 plus mile run Tuesday, and do my scheduled Thursday track workout of 10 x 800s the week of the race, not your typical textbook taper for a race. I wasn’t wanting to taper. I wanted the race to hurt and to try to wake up the legs when fatigued.

We got to the race and I wanted to run the course to check how well the trails were and visualize myself during the race. The 5k was nicely marked and was 80% on trail/grass surface, with 15% on road and 5% gravel. I knew it wouldn’t be a super fast course but it was fairly smooth and flat, only one hill. The start had a nice stretch of road before you got on grass so I knew at the start to take off.

The gun went off and I darted off like a rocket, I knew that it was a little faster start then I normally do but I had to take advantage of the road section, plus needed to see if I had any challengers. Once I entered the woods it zig zagged some so naturally it slowed me down but still hit first mile in 5:35. Nobody was around me but I knew I needed to keep pushing. My pace slowed some in miles 2 and 3 but not by too much. I ended winning and ran a 17:46.

The post race food was awesome. Free egg casserole, free Kona ice snow cone, and great baked goodies. There were plenty of door prizes but I didn’t win one. Overall and age group winners got maple syrup from Bendix woods. Top 3 in age group and overall also got handmade painted pine cones. I would recommend this race for a change of scenery and to have fun on the trails.

July training recap

Recently I haven’t put much on the blog because I haven’t done any races. I have been training fairly well getting ready for fall marathons. As always with my running I always have to juggle it with family time or other things that happen in life. Plus, my wife also runs. Although some weeks I would of loved to run a few more miles, it just didn’t work out due to those situations mentioned above. I managed to run everyday for the month of July, something that in itself is pretty tiring. One thing that helps in training, my easy runs are quite a bit slower than race pace, sometimes even around 8:30 pace per mile. I make sure I listen to my body on every run. Overall I was pretty happy with July training.

Some stats from July: 325 total miles ran in July about 10.5 miles a day.

Best week of mileage for the month- 83 miles.

Best workout in the month- Hitting a 5 mile cross country prediction run (can’t wear a watch) in 30:04, only 4 seconds off from my predicted time.

Proudest workout in the month- Ok it really wasn’t a workout for me, but running a 2k with Brayden in 10:48 on July 25th a pr for him was a very proud moment.

Morgan Valley Marathon/ Utah trip

The weekend of June 23-25,2017 my wife and I had a little “runcation,” in Utah. The main mission was to run Morgan Valley Marathon and then we would explore other areas in Utah. My wife and I have this crazy goal of a marathon in all 50 states. I would like all 50 states under 3 hours, and she wants all under 3:30. Our kids were at Wisconsin at their Grandparents’ dairy farm while we were away. It was actually the longest we have ever been away from our kids since they were born. It was nice to have that opportunity and we appreciated having some time away as a couple. We will first talk about the marathon in this blog, then talk about things we saw on our trip.

Friday: We flew into Salt Lake City, got our rental car and headed towards Morgan, Utah. On normal traffic it should of only took about 50 minutes, but it was Friday afternoon/evening so it took us about 90 minutes. Luckily the race did a free pasta dinner at the fairgrounds where packet pickup was. So we ate and got our packet. Afterwards we went to Walmart to get Gatorade, bagels, and other food items that we needed for the next few days.

Race: The marathon started at 5:30 am, so that meant a 3:30 am wake up call in the morning. We stayed at a Best Western about 10 miles from the race, since the town of Morgan didn’t have any hotels. We wanted to leave about 4:25 am or so. Traffic was no problem and we were one of the first few cars at the fairgrounds. The marathon started at 5:30 and the half started at 6:30. After warming up in the dark, we felt ready to go. Race started right on time which is always nice. Right away a few guys and even a girl sprinted in the front after the gun. It took me about a half mile to pass the girl and she looked legit. It took me a while to get going, not sure if it was because of the early start, or the 5,000 feet elevation. Around mile 6 I caught the guy who was in the lead. Then I heard some foot steps behind me, so I knew I had to keep my pace moving. Since the course has some hills and downhills my pace would fluctuate a little. I kept leading the marathon until around mile 24. Then a guy passed me. I didn’t have much left in the tank. We had climb a decent hill at 21 and I think it took some out of me. I came in to finish in 2:50:52, 2nd overall. The guy who won was 65 seconds ahead of me. It really stinks having a lead for so long and getting passed towards the end. I will use it as a learning tool. After the race I was talking to the guy and he has a 2:35 personal best, and was a local runner who did that marathon a few times. My thoughts was he just knew the course better and maybe I wasted too much energy after 13 miles running so hard. Anyways shortly after the third finisher comes in and its the girl that was ahead of me earlier in the race. She has ran at the Olympic trials before. Laura ended up being the 2nd female finisher. So we both got 2nd and $100 cash, and a $80 gift card to running shoe store for running shoes.

utah marathon

Saturday afternoon: After the race awards we got back to our hotel to shower, and relax a little. It was 10 a.m. too. While we waited we did a load of laundry at the hotel since our running clothes were sweaty. We then planned out the rest of the day. Go get lunch at Costa Vida (a local taco place) shoes at the running store, Salt lake Temple square, and then to Salt Lake Antelope Island park. It was nice to see all those things on Saturday. We went knee deep into Salt Lake as well. We were so full from lunch, for supper we just got an ice cream shake and some sweet potato fries.

temple   Salt lake

Sunday: We got up early to eat breakfast and wanted to head out towards Arches National Park by 7 am, it was a 4 hour drive from Morgan, UT with some of it through Canyon, curvy areas. It was going to be hot in Arches National Park and we had plenty of Gatorade, and water, and our bagels for lunch. In fact while we were there it was 103 degrees. Arches National Park is a must see if your ever in Utah. Well worth the drive from Salt lake City for us.  We did some hiking on different trails, with the longest and hardest hike we did (4.0 miles total) to see Delicate Arch. It was worth it. We made sure to drink some on our hike too. Once we got to the top I got right next to the Arch, but Laura wasn’t feeling steady enough, especially after doing a marathon the day before. The rock platform Delicate Arch sits on also declines towards a cliff. I told her to stay where see was and snap some photos of me. We also had some people take a couples photo for us.



They had construction on one of the side roads so we couldn’t see Broken Arch. Overall though, we saw pretty much all the Arches we wanted to about 15 of them and was there about 6 hours. We then had to drive about 3 hours 30 min to Salt Lake City to our hotel which was close to the airport, since we flew back Monday morning.

Overall, we had a lot of fun in Utah and it was nice to knock out another state in our quest for a marathon in every state.

Maryland/DC/ PA Trip

Normally you are used to me blogging about my training updates, or races. However, this blog will be all about our driving trip/ vacation out East. It was a trip that we didn’t do any races, if you can believe that. This trip has been in the works for months. Earlier in the year we found out one of my wife’s cousins were going to get married June 11th. My father-in-law  thought it would be nice for all of us to try to go to Pennsylvania for it. When I first got word of the plan I instantly thought, it would be nice to explore Washington DC, and I wonder if my cousin Jeffrey and his wife can allow us to stay at their place in Maryland for two nights and the kids wanted to stay with Aunt Carol in PA for the times we needed to be in PA. However, for a while we hit a roadblock.

My wife was suppose to work Saturday June 10, and Sunday June 11. When a nurse has to work the weekend it is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, all pieces have to align right for it to work. She isn’t allowed to take vacation days on weekends she works. Two options she has is trying to trade weekends, or give the weekend away to someone and not get paid for the hours missed. After trying for weeks,  she eventually just gave the weekend away (she was able to use PTO hours though, since she had so much stored up).  After she got confirmation I started working on the details for DC. For any major building tour in DC you have to go through your local representative. We wanted a White House, and US Capitol tour . After a few days I heard  back that the US Capitol Tour was good to go on Thursday, but White House tour was unavailable. My cousin Jeffrey was able to work his magic and got us a White House tour scheduled for Friday at 10 am, more on that later. So everything was lined up nicely and we were on our way Wednesday night to my cousin and his wife house. The rest of the blog will be broken down by each day and what we did.


For most of the day we drove to Maryland. Had very good traffic really. We wanted to go out to eat at GrandE Buffet & Grill in Laurel, MD. It is a Chinese Buffet that my Uncle took us to last March when we did B and A trail marathon in Maryland. The restaurant was very good. Has Baltimore crab, clams, and other items that you would expect at Chinese buffet. After eating we went to Jeffrey and Melissa’s house. Kids played with the cats for a while, and we talked some. Then went to bed.


We had our US Capitol tour at 10 am, so we needed to leave early in the morning. Jeffrey only lives about 50 miles from DC, but it could take about 2 hours if traffic is bad. Traffic was pretty bad lots of schools were doing field trips, I already had a parking garage lined up, and parked there without a problem. However, it was 9:45 am and we had about 1 mile to US capitol visitor center. I called to let my tour guide know we would be there around 10:30 am. They said no problem and after finding the Visitor Center (its underground under the capitol) we had to go thru security and we were in around 10:30 am. The US capitol was very neat and I loved the Rotunda area, and the Crypt. We also went into the House Chamber, which was really neat. After the US capitol tour we ate lunch and then started walking to other things in DC. We saw the Washington monument, WW2 memorial, the reflecting pool (which seemed rather green from algae), Lincoln memorial,linc

from distance could see the Thomas Jefferson memorial, and then we wrapped things up at Smithsonian National Museum of American History. We enjoyed seeing everything we saw that day. Things in DC are more spread out then you think in total we probably walked about 8 miles on Thursday according to my wife’s fitbit. Good thing about DC is most of tours, and museums are free. We wanted to leave DC around 4:30 pm since my cousin Jeffrey was going to cook us a meal. The meal was excellent, and lo and behold he surprised me with an ice cream cake, since my birthday is June 11. Jeffrey and Melissa spoiled me for sure.



We went back to Washington DC Friday morning. We had our White House tour at 10 am. We left in plenty of time, and Jeffrey, Melissa, Laura, me, and kids all were able to fit in our SUV so we only had to take one vehicle to DC. We got excellent parking in a garage close to the white  house and got in line at visitor center check point. Then we ran into a snag. Our names weren’t on the list. We all found that unusually since we had the confirmation letter. We knew something was up when other people’s names weren’t on the list either. We were waiting in line on sidewalk for about 90 minutes or so. The 11 am and 11:30 am people were going in, we knew things were off. Well apparently the department lost about 200 names on the 10 am list. Luckily, my cousin knew someone who worked in White House and we were able to get in through a separate entrance. Once we got in it was already 12:30 pm. Brayden was getting a little hungry, but once we got to see the different rooms he was excited. White house tour is self-guided so you can go at your own pace too. After the tour we ate at Potbelly’s then went back to Jeff and Melissa’s house to get our stuff and head to PA for supper with my wife’s friend. We stayed with my wife’s Aunt and Uncle house Fri, Sat, and Sun night.


We had several things planned for family stuff on Saturday in PA. After breakfast we meet Uncle John at his tractor shop/store. There he gave all the kids tractor rides which they really loved. After that we had a lunch meal at a church celebrating Grandma Herr’s birthday. It was nice to see all of the Herr family. In between that and supper we drove to Outlet mall and went into Nike (got the kids a shirt that was on sale), and we went into other stores. For supper we went to Grandma Brubaker house for pizza and hanging out.


We went to church then we went out to eat at a local diner. It was good food, but service was a little slow. At the meal Laura’s dad must of told them it was my birthday, at the end of the meal the waitress brought out a cheesecake. We wrapped up lunch then we visited some with Grandma Herr at her house, and got ready for wedding. Wedding was nicely done. The reception had great food, and even an ice cream truck. Awesome!


We wrapped our last day away with a few tours Herr’s Chips tour, and Hershey Chocolate tour. The Herr’s chip factory is about 20 miles southeast of where Laura aunt and uncle lives, so it wasn’t in the direction of heading home, but it was very fun tour. It started with a 10 minute video in the theater about the history of Herr chips. After that you go to different areas of the plant to see how they make pretzels, and chips. At one point a worker went and got all of us on the tour chips that were freshly made. The tour was neat and at the end they give you two bags of chips. We drove about an hour until we got to Hershey, PA home of Hershey chocolates. A few years ago we did the free tour, and the kids wanted to do it again. They did change the tour up compared to a few years ago. Of course at the end you get a little chocolate bar. We were then ready to head out and head home. It was a fun weekend away and we appreciate being able to stay at family’s houses. We never had to get a hotel which was nice.


Sunburst Marathon Recap

Sunburst marathon. Where to begin. I guess I will start with the good, then the bad, and lastly the ugly things about the race. This blog will be a little longer hope you enjoy hearing about the story.

The Good:

This year Sunburst moved the expo to the Century Center in South Bend. It was a nice adjustment and good location. As long as you were planning on getting in and out in less than 2 hrs you could park at a nearby parking garage for free. Expo was pretty decent.

Aid stations on the course were great. They did a fabulous job, even little kids were helping handing out cups which was neat.

Start line at Four Winds Baseball Field was a nice touch, and easy parking access.

The course overall was decent, except for a hiccup, which I will explain later.

Post race food I thought was decent, but they should have the water bottles in ice or something who wants a hot water bottle after running in the heat.

The bad:

The finisher medal is pretty generic. Looks like something my daughter could draw. My suggestion is to have a 3D picture of something unique. Why not slap a Studebaker looking car on the medal, or picture of four winds field. The medals that have something unique about the area are always neat. Here is a picture of Sunburst medal compared to the last two medals my wife has gotten at her marathons. Yeah Sunburst should step it up on their medals.sun

The race needed more signs, arrows, even on the river walk it was confusing at times. Which leads me to the confusion that I encountered with some lead half marathon guys. At about 11.5 miles we were on Sunny side road, we kept going down the hill. I thought we were going the correct way, no one told us to turn, nor was there an arrow sign. The pack of half marathon guys, me and a few marathon guys went all the way down to South street. A volunteer said you guys are not suppose to go down this way you were suppose to turn at Colfax. So we ran back up to Colfax and made our turn. When we got to Colfax a race volunteer was there directing runners, boy would that of been nice to have for our pack of runners. This little hiccup cost me 1.17 miles, (I checked later on with my Garmin Connect Saturday night). Frustrated and in disbelief at what happened, (especially since I was running really good and in top 3 in marathon at that point), I ran a mile slower (6:50)  than what I was averaging (6:15) to ponder my options. I was strongly considering to DNF, (DID NOT FINISH) which I have never done in a race, then I thought I will just jog the rest and save it for my other marathon in June. Well then I hit the 13 mile mark sign on the course 1:30:00 , which was actually 14.27 for me.  I thought to myself, well why not try to catch the guys way up there who went the right way, and also go after a sub 3 still. So I busted my tail at one point I looked at my watch 5:45 pace, ouch I better calm down I still have 11 miles to go. Suddenly I was picking runners off one by one. Then I see a cop on a motorcycle leading a runner. At this point I have no clue if Andy Williams, one of the runners I know who is a stud marathoner and was leading early on, got misdirected or not. A renewed sense of focus came on, I thought man either Andy quit or a cop is directing us since Andy was so far ahead. I kept pushing along and was battling with another runner named Clayton it was his first marathon, he was representing Indiana State proudly with his race singlet. We caught up to the runner who was near the police motorcycle. As I passed the guy I could tell he was toast, looked fatigued and we were at mile 20.5 I will talk about this guy more in the ugly section. Anyways Clayton looked strong and said keep pace with me as he passed me, I tried to hold on, but he maintained a 400-500 meter lead on me. As I approached ensuing aid stations they would tell me I was in 3rd place. So I knew Andy was way up there still. I kept pushing hard trying to hold my podium position and even saw running friend of mine Joe Ely who was heading on the North section of the course and said you are in 3rd and 2nd is about 600 meters ahead. At the race sign mile 25 I looked at my watch, dang I would be done by now if I wasn’t misguided. Shortly after that we had to go up hallelujah hill. Considering I already did a marathon distance it was a little tiring going up, plus we had all the half marathon people and everyone else finishing up their races all together again so it was a little crowded. After getting up the hill it was ¾ of mile to finish line. I know at this point my wife is probably wondering what happened to me since it was over 2:50 clock time. I crossed the line in 2:54:45 and DJ announcer said 3rd overall male. My wife even said I was the 3rd male to cross the line. The miss direct on the course didn’t bother me, it is what it is, I felt happy that I was able to move back up and got a podium top 3 spot, well that’s when the ugly happened.

The ugly

Initially my wife, the dj, and even on runsignup results had me listed as 3rd. I had to hit the bathroom then I wanted to get food. Food line was super long and I chatted with some people that knew me, and others that just met me. I told them about the miss direct. After getting food I wanted to figure out award situation. I went to the information booth and they said I was 4th and some guy was listed 2nd with a 2:45. I knew instantly something was off I would of seen that guy for sure. Well questions still remained Saturday night. Running friends of mine and I were chatting online trying to solve the mystery of the 2:45. You knew something was really up when it showed he did the last 10k in 30 min. That’s faster than elites at Boston. There was no word from anyone from Sunburst on Saturday evening either. Well Sunday the race director got a hold of me on the phone. Apparently the guy who had 2:45 complained about the miss turn (that I also missed at 11.5) to the race director at the information booth. His clock time was around 2:56. He told the race director that he had around a 2:45 at 26.2 on his GPS and did an extra mile due to the misdirect. They gave him a race adjustment time and a 2nd place finish in the marathon. On the phone the race director asked if I wanted a race adjustment time I said NO. I told him ultimately it is the runner’s job to know the course, and times can’t just be adjusted for mistakes. Awards are based on gun times per USATF rules anyways. He felt bad about the whole deal and offered a $50 fleet feet gift card which would of been my 3rd place award. I thanked him for that offer, and told him my suggestions to improve the race. The feeling of being top 3, and having it taken away from you by a time adjustment is beyond disbelief. At least in a few weeks I will have another battle with 26.2, and new running memories to make. Thanks to all my friends for all the support, and comments with this situation. 

Stride on my friends- Jake Gillette

Training Recap May 15-21

Since I haven’t done a training recap in a while, I thought I would update you on some of my training. May 15-21 I ran 64 miles. I was building the miles back up after doing Wisconsin marathon on May 6. Was  a little busy this week with getting things set up for garage sale, swim practice for my daughter, and mowing grass. So here is a breakdown of the week.

Monday May 15: 4 mile run at 6 am, 4 mile run on treadmill in evening after mowing the grass.

Tuesday May 16: Did a real nice interval workout (1600,1000,800,600,400). Total mileage around 7 miles.

Wednesday May 17: Easy 4 miles. Was pretty busy getting stuff ready for garage sale, and my daughter had swim practice at a certain time in the evening. Should of gotten up early to do a two a day, but stayed up too late Tuesday setting things up for garage sell/ cleaning up house.

Thursday May 18: 12 mile tempo run. Was a great day for a run. Felt good.

Friday May 19: 4 mile run at 6 am, 8 mile run in the evening.

Saturday May 20: 10 mile run at 6 am. Was a nice cool morning.

Sunday May 21: 5 mile run at 6:30 am, and 6 mile run on treadmill in afternoon.

Top 10 running mistakes I have made

Even though I have done 80 plus marathons, and over 200 plus races in my life I still consider myself a rookie in the running circuit. I’m still learning from others, and knowledge for running. Well in my running career I have made some big rookie mistakes. Below is a top 10 list of mine.

  1. Packing a long sock and a short sock to a race. I still don’t know how this happened as I thought I checked the length of the socks before I packed them. Anyways if you want to look like a fool have a long compression sock on one foot and an ankle sock on the other. Of course as long as you win the race, like I did, people won’t think you’re a fool anymore.
  2. Not using bandaids on your nipples before a marathon- if you have sensitive nipples they chafe. Luckily I didn’t bleed or anything but they still felt bad. Throws your whole race off.
  3. Racing in too old of shoes- face it as runners we try to squeeze every mile out of our shoes. I tried racing in shoes that were clearly too old and my legs paid the price.
  4. Not bringing extra safety pins- I really don’t know why races guard their safety pins like gold. However, when you only get two and don’t have any extra with you your racing bib flies up and down.
  5. Eating too much the night before- Before marathons my wife and I used to go to Olive garden to eat. I stopped doing that after the food just sat in my belly for the marathon and I felt bloated. Just make sure you don’t over eat the night before you don’t need more weight to carry in a race anyways.
  6. Taking a gel you’re not familiar with- once I took a gel during a trail marathon some brand I never heard of. I took one bite of it and instantly spat it out. This particular gel had weird seeds inside. I didn’t have any issues in that race, but I have in others. That’s why I stick to my honey stinger gels from now on.
  7. Forgetting my watch- let’s just say running a race without a watch isn’t a good thing unless it’s a shorter race or something.
  8. Starting out too fast- No matter how many races I have done the temptation is always there to start too fast. I’ve started out too fast in many races and paid the price later on.
  9. Oversleeping your alarm- Always have two or three alarms set. Although I did end up waking up thanks to baby Natalie at the time. I had to drive 80 mph to get to the marathon that was 100 miles away just in time 8 minutes before the start. Luckily a friend got my bib and I pinned it on. What’s even crazier is I actually won the marathon.
  10. Not drinking enough during a race- if you come to an aid station even if you don’t think you need water or Gatorade get some and sip a little. I’ve done some marathons where I decided not to get aid at a station and later on got light headed or my legs felt flat later on.

Wisconsin marathon

One would think 4.5 hrs would be enough time to go 186 miles. Not when you have to travel thru construction and congestion near Indiana/Illinois line heading thru Gary and Chicago. Packet pick up ended 7 pm central time. We left 3:30 pm Eastern time, 2:30 pm central time. Initially it said we would get there by 5:15 pm central time. Then as we crept closer and closer to Gary the time increased more and more. Within a few minutes the projected time increased by an hour. Luckily I had some friends running it. So instantly I thought of Stephanie Allen since I knew she was staying at host hotel near packet pickup. I messaged her while I was at a standstill. She agreed to get my packet and I forwarded all my information she needed for packet pickup. I also asked if it was ok to eat when we got to Kenosha before I met her for my number. At this point it was like 6:45 central time, 7:45 pm our time and my kids, and my wife were getting hungry. She said that’s fine. We ate at noodles and company and one of our running friends who was running Wisconsin marathon as well Joe Ely met us at noodles and company. After dinner I drove 10 more minutes to Stephanie’s hotel to get my number. I thanked her for getting my bib and apologized for ruining her evening, even though she brushed it off and said no big deal.

On race day I wasn’t concerned about the temperature it was going to be perfect but the wind was going to be an issue since the course went mostly north/ south. The wind was coming from the north. The last 10k would be heading back north, as well as miles 3.5-10. I started off a very nice pace and we had the wind on our back for the first 3.5 miles. Was running smooth and it felt very easy especially with wind behind us. At the 3.5 mile mat split I was at 20:56 (5:59 pace), I was sitting about 4 or 5th in marathon but wasn’t quite sure since the half marathon was going on. Then we had to head north and fight the wind. On my way back north I saw Stephanie and Joe Ely informed me I was in 4th. As we approached the open stretch by the lake the wind was really bad, you could see waves crashing up over the rocks. I have to applaud the aid station workers at mile 8, they probably were thinking to themselves why did we volunteer for this. At the turnaround point at mile 10 my split was 1:03:03, 6:19 overall pace. The wind was now on our back as we headed back south, but you felt like you were zapped. Again Joe saw me as I was heading back south and he was heading north and said “here is the situation you’re in 4th, and 3rd is 500-600 meters ahead of you.” I was running with the overall lead half marathon girl at that point and stayed with her until she made the turn to finish. My half split was 1:22:28, 6:18 pace. I thought to myself that 2:45 was within reach. Although the wind was on our back from 13.1-20 it didn’t feel as easy as before since we just got done battling the wind. Plus we did encounter some gravel roads from 18-22 which always slows you down compared to pavement. I hit mile 20 at 2:06:31 6:20 overall pace. I knew it would be a battle coming back north and fighting the wind again. At the turn around point I saw two marathon guys coming who were about 500 meters behind me. I couldn’t see the 3rd place guy at all so I knew I had to keep pushing to at least maintain 4th. Although my effort seemed like 6:20s in the last 10k I was running 6:40s, probably due to the wind, and some fatigue. I glanced over my shoulder at mile 25 to see if anyone was coming and I didn’t see anyone. So the last mile I ran a few seconds slower than mile 24 since I had 4th in the bag. I finished in 2:48:20 4th overall, not too bad considering Boston marathon was 19 days before. Overall it was a pretty decent course, mostly flat, the wind and gravel just slowed you down some.


Wakarusa Maple Syrup 5K

Wakarusa Maple Syrup 5K was a race that almost didn’t happen to me, but I am glad things worked out and I was able to do it. I really wanted to do it because one of my running friends Paul Kern who is the race director was in a car accident  March 18 on his way back from Fleet feet Mishawaka promoting Wakarusa Maple Syrup 5k at Michiana Running Festival. Someone had rear ended him on his way home. He suffered some due to the injuries. He recently did Carmel marathon and posted this on his facebook page: What a day..words can’t explain how I feel..after march 18 my world was flipped upside down..5 seizures in the er and a concussion. I’m thankful so many wonderful pacers, friends, family and lots of prayers. It still be a long road but we are taking every day one day at a time and run one mile at a time!

Here is the backstory of why I almost didn’t make it to the race:

Saturday morning started like most days when my wife works I hear her alarm go off at 3:30 am and I nudge her to wake up then I go back to sleep. Then all of a sudden my phone rings. It’s Laura Gillette (my wife for those who don’t know). I don’t even know what time it is I answer, not knowing what was going on. She says the car won’t start. Instantly I jump up ready for duty, it’s about 4:30 am. I go to the garage and try both keys and get nothing, but weird clicking sounds. Quickly, I wanted to try to jump it but time was running late, and she need to clock in at work before 5 am. She took our older car and went to work. As soon as she left I started researching and trying to figure out what it was. I was pretty sure it was a battery issue. Upon my research I found that our vehicle, which we got used, but is only about 2 years old still is under the KIA  5-year/60,000 mile roadside assistance plan. So I called the hotline at 5:20 am, why not, it would be a free service, and maybe I could still make it to the race. After giving my information they estimated a guy would be there at around 6:13 am, he was there by 6:00 am, a local towing company from Goshen. He checked things out, and hooked up his jump starter. Once he cranked in the juice I tried starting it, first time acted like it would start, then waited a few seconds, 2nd time started. Quite possibly an internal light was left on, even if you don’t shut the trunk hard enough the lights will stay on. It started and I still had time to get to the race it was 6:20 am. I woke up the kids, dressed them, of course Brayden wanted cereal before we left so I gave him some while I gathered the rest of the things for the race. On we were to Wakarusa.

I showed up to Wakarusa around 7:13 am a little later than I wanted but with the car issue I was happy just to be here. I saw Mark Furkis as I was driving towards the school, and he met me in the parking lot. His wife was able to come and watch my kids in the field area at the park while I was able to run, the backup plan was Paul would have had some high school track girl from Northwood keep in eye on them. I applaud Cindy for coming and watching my kids and Paul for setting things up for me if it didn’t work out for Cindy to come due to work. After I got my race number and chip Mark Furkis and I did a little warm up. While we were running we talked about some strategy and my car issues. We also checked out how we finished and noticed it went slightly downhill.

We gathered at the starting like at 7:50 ready for instructions, I asked a guy next to me what he wanted to run he said he didn’t know and he asked me the same thing. I said 17 something, then he said I will probably stick with you. After a pray and count down to the race it started right on time. I took it out a little easy there were some anxious young kids that sprinted off thinking it was a mile race or something. After the first turn I settled in the front, right next to me was the guy I talked to at the starting line. We had a little slight hill on the road and the guy was matching me stride for stride. We had a turn around point then back down the hill and a nice straight away to run back towards the park, but a little wind. I hit the first mile at 5:26. At this point I was probably one second ahead of the guy. I pushed down the hill even with the wind in our face to get some separation. We get back towards the school and park area and we have to do an outer path loop around the park and turnaround and then head to the finish. At this point we are about 1.5 miles in, halfway I said to myself and still in the lead. I hit mile 2 at 5:27, and I am still in the lead. Pretty soon we would have the turnaround point and I would get to see how close the guy was to me. I made the turnaround and I was starting to feel gassed and that my momentum was shot. But I saw the guy was about to do the turnaround as well. I thought to myself less than 3/4 of a mile get it done, hold on, and stop running slow.  We got off that path and on to another path heading towards the finish area and I knew it was slightly downhill and about a little more than a quarter mile to go. As I moved on the new path I quickly glanced to see where the guy was, man he was within striking distance if he kicked it hard. I had to kick it in NOW. So I started to pick it up, which basically reminded myself to stop slowing down. I hit mile 3 in 5:37. At this point I am not getting passed I said to myself. I hammered the last little bit as much as I could on the cool 50 degree windy weather and legs would allow me ( was still feeling it a little from Boston Marathon). Boom I won. 17:03, and the guy that was on my tail was 17:08. Afterwards I told him you pushed me man, that was a good race. Top 3 overall got a huge bottle of Maple Syrup and top 3 in age group got a smaller maple syrup jug. I’m glad I got the win. Thanks for Honey Stinger for the support. Paul Kern this win is for you buddy.



Recovering from a marathon

So you ran a marathon, now comes the recovery. Just like each marathon is different, recovering from one can be different too. I’ve done over 80 marathons and it seems each one I’ve recovered differently depending on the course or terrain. The general guidelines from experts from running magazines is it takes 26 days to recover from a marathon. However, if well trained I believe you will feel completely fine in 7-10 days. In fact, many people do back to back weekends with marathons, and I have done that twice in my running career with both cases my 2nd weekend was faster.  The day after Boston my quads were super sore, even though they never hurt during the race.  It literally felt like a Mack Truck hit me. So I knew instead of worrying about running for certain mileage the day after Boston that I would run for 20 minutes and see what that got me. 1.5 total miles. Yup, that’s how sore my quads were. Then the day after I went for 30 minutes. I’ve also done marathons where I felt fine the day after the marathon and even went for 8 mile run. This happened the day after I even got a PR in the marathon. The main key for recovering from a marathon is the listen to your body.  If you have extreme soreness work it out by running or walking based on minutes the next day or two days after the marathon. If you feel good, do a certain amount of miles.