2019 Riley Trails Marathon race recap

On August 17th I toed the line for the 2nd year for Riley Trails Marathon, half marathon, relay, and 10k runs. The race started at beautiful Benjamin Hope. Since this was my 2nd year doing it I knew the logistics from last year. I talked with a few people before the race started. Spring Arbor University alumni had some guys doing the relay version and some of the guys I raced against in college. Race Director Jason gave us pre-race instructions. He worked extremely hard making sure the course was marked well and explained things about the flags and how the marathon, and half marathon do a half a loop on their last loop before heading back to Benjamin Hope. Marathoners had 5.5 loops to do.

The race started right on time at 7:30. One awesome addition this year was each race had their own color on their bib. So you could tell who is doing each race. That was an added plus. The first mile you make your way to Riley Trails on a bike path. The first mile was rather quick but it was slightly downhill and your on a bike path. My time was 6:24 for the first mile. As we entered the trails 3 guys with Spring Arbor relay teams were in front and another guy was ahead of me and I didn’t know what race he was doing. Pre-race I did have a goal of trying to break my record from last year which I had ran a 3:11. I was running smooth early on but I was sweating a ton. By mile 4 I was already dripping with sweat. I kept pushing through, but I knew it would be a long day with wetness.

I kept behind the guy that was ahead of me until mile 5. I glanced at his bib and noticed he was doing the relay. At this point I knew I was leading the marathon. I entered the 2nd loop feeling good and pace was steady. I also started passing some half marathon runners who started 30 minutes after us. I notice I was going thru my hand-held water pretty quickly already. So I thought it would be a great idea to refill it at the aid station that we hit halfway through the loop and we actually went by that aid station twice in that loop. So I would fill it the 2nd time I went by it roughly 9 miles or so into the race. While I stopped to refill my water bottle I also drank some Gatorade there. Then I was off. Pace was going good still. On my 3rd loop I felt really good.

On the third loop I hit 13.1 miles. My time was 1:38 at that point. Not on pace to beat my record but decent considering the conditions. I made sure to get some more Gatorade at the aid stations and even one I had a small cup of Coke. I knew I was sweating like crazy. Good news I was still in first. Loop 4 I was holding on to mid 7:30s pace. Although the course isn’t that difficult however I was starting to feel every turn, every hill, and the heat. I also needed to refill my water bottle again which I did. I also took my 3rd gel. At mile 18 I started to feel it more. I was about to enter by last full loop. My body was done fighting the turns fighting the course. My splits starting getting into the 8s. My fear of getting passed was setting in. I stopped at the aid station that we go by twice in the back loop to get a drink of Coke both times I went by there. I don’t normally drink Coke but sometimes when the body needs sugar it helps. 

I then started my half loop. The half loop seem to take forever. My body was tired. I walked a few times on that short 2.3 mile half loop. When I did walk I counted to 10 then ran again. I had a mile in 8:31 at mile 23. At this point I still wanted to win but getting to that finish line was just as important. I wasn’t dizzy or anything like that. Just was exhausted due to some dehydration. So at various times I would walk 10 seconds then run. Mile 24 was my worst mile of the day I walked a couple of times in that mile and felt it. It was in 9:51. Mile 25 was still in the 9s but at 9:03. I was then on my way back to Benjamin hope. In first place with just over a mile to go. I will admit it I looked back several times in that last mile as I went from walking to running. I kept telling myself when we get half mile to go to run the rest in. I did exactly that. I also managed to win the race still in 3:32. Although my time was way off from last year. I still loved the trails, I was just dehydrated. In fact the race director helped me a bunch after I finished by getting me coke, watermelon, as I sat down in a chair half out of it. Reflecting on the race it reminds me of 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I finished the course, I have kept the faith.”       

riley trails     

Logan’s Run Race Recap

This year I had an opportunity to run Logan’s Run a race the benefits Logan Center in South Bend. A great center to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The past several years my wife has ran Logan’s Run while I was a cheerleader to her. This year a friend of ours, wife, was willing to watch our kids in the nice family activity area that they always do at Logan’s Run. I decided to do the 10k since it has been a while since I raced a 10k. In my head I had 5:45 per mile pace as a goal. We did a nice little 2 mile warm up before the race. My body was feeling good and was ready for the race.

As we toed the line there were several runners I noticed, and knew it would be a fast field. A group of us did a pre-race prayer before the run, which was awesome. The race got started and we were off. First mile of any race you always feel that rush, that excitement, the pain of moving fast for the first few steps. I kept composed the first mile, it’s a 6.2 mile race anyways. FG Garcia a very talented runner was out in front, Elmer and Drew, two studs, were right beside me 400 meters into the race. They told me to go get it as I increased my pace some. I hit the first mile at 5:40, still in 2nd. FG was still leading by a few seconds. I really liked mile 1-2 stretch and  hit a 5:36. I was gaining ground on FG as well. At around 2.5 miles I caught him and passed him and hit a 5:40 on mile 3. 16:57 at mile 3 split which was on target. Mile 3-4 was on sidewalk on Notre Dame campus compared to the smooth bike path it was a different feel, we had a cul de sac to do so it slowed me some. Hit a 5:44 on that mile. I was able to see some runners as I was running on the other side of the sidewalk of the cul de sac. 

I thought to myself 2.2 miles to go let’s get the win. Mile 4-5 was a little curvy and we had some gravel around the lake to run on. There were some rough spots in the gravel so I had to be careful. It was a little odd how we got on the path by the lake a rough 90 degree turn to the left. I think I lost some momentum on the lake loop but still pushed 5:54. Mile 5- 6 we still had some of the lake to run and then the toughest hill on the course. I also had to weave thru some walkers. The lead biker did a great job creating a path for me to run. Always exciting to have a lead biker tell the crowd first place is right here. I look at my watch at mile 6 and I know I have to sprint like I’m doing 400s to get a 5:45 overall pace. Looking at my Garmin stats my fastest pace 4:21 per mile was achieved sprinting to the finish. I finished first overall 35:30 a 5:44 per mile pace. My wife also won the 10k female overall. It was a great day for running for us. To God be the glory. 

logans run

Runner Spotlight: Bill Mitschelen

Runner Spotlight: Bill Mitschelen

On Saturday June 22nd, my wife ran Bremen Fireman 5k. At that race I witnessed some firefighters in full gear running the 5k. It was a friendly competition between different fire departments to try to win a traveling ax. One of the firefighters that ran in full gear is local runner Bill Mitschelen from Nappanee. He is also one of my friends. I had the opportunity to chat with him about the 5k, his life as a firefighter, his training, personal bests, and best advice. I hope you enjoy this special blog post. I think we all should applaud our local heroes, firemen, police, and EMTs.

I had the opportunity to hold the gear up that Bill wore in the 5k. I asked him later how it felt to run a 5k in all the gear. Together the full gear weighs about 60-70 pounds. He said it’s like a 3rd grader on your back while your trying to run. He made sure to wear running clothes under the gear to help with all the sweating he did. He also hydrated very well 3-4 days before the run. Running aside, just imagine that 60-70 pounds of gear during a fire call, definitely have to be a great shape for that. 

Bill finishing up 5k- Photo provided by Keri Mitschelen

Bill has been on the Nappanee fire department for 13 years. I appreciate his service to our community. Like most firemen Bill knows the struggle of balancing family life. He said one of the hardest challenges is missing things with his children. Sometimes firemen are on call for 24 hours at the station. Just imagine being at your workplace for 24 hours! 

As you can imagine, sometimes it is difficult to train. Bill said it is hard sometimes to get a good run or bike ride in. He often squeezes training sessions in between work, coaching, 4H, and going on fire calls. Bill has some very impressive running times ranging from 5k races to Full marathon. In high school he went sub 18 in the 5k. Since high school his 5k pr is 20:36. He has a sub 4 hour marathon with a pr of 3:54. A monster half marathon time of 1:35. A 7 minute pace 10k pr of 43:30. 

Bill currently is currently training for a triathlon. He plans on doing his first Half Ironman in Grand Rapids in August.

His advice for people for running: Remember to run your race and have fun. 


Swan Lake Marathon Race Recap

Swan Lake Marathon Recap

Race Date: June 9, 2019

Marathon number: 95

As mentioned in the previous blog post Laura and I tied our family vacation out west to doing marathons in new states. This blog post will be about my race recap from Swan Lake Marathon in Viborg, SD.

When I registered for the marathon back in December I selected the pasta meal option. I also noticed that they had rooms at the campgrounds of Swan Lake Christian Camp to stay at. I called and reserved a room. Both were very smart decisions and I recommend that option if you ever do the race.

As we pull into Swan Lake Christian Camp they had signs that directed you to packet pickup. It is all gravel back there, but considering all the rain they had it was in decent shape. At packet pickup they went over the course and explained the portions of the course that were gravel, gave me my race items, our meal tickets, and room keys for the night. The marathon course had to be adjusted to their other alternative usatf certified course of a double loop with a little spur on the 2nd loop so it is exactly 26.2 miles. This was communicated even 10 days out. With all the rain, some roads were still flooded. We went over to the office to pay and was shown our room. A very nice set up. Kids had bunk beds, and we had a queen bed.

We went to the pasta meal around 5:30 pm in the cafeteria. It was directly downstairs of the rooms so it is very convenient. It was a nice spaghetti meal, with salad, bread, and dessert items. After we got done eating we waiting a little bit then went outside to dip in the lake for a bit. The flies were a little bad, but we had bug spray with us. The kids loved the lake. We then went back to our rooms got showered up and finished the night playing Dutch Blitz in our room.

My alarm went off at 4:15 am to get up and eat my normal pre-race bagel with peanut butter. I usually like to eat 1:30-2 hours before a marathon. With the 6 am start it was perfect timing. As I was eating my bagel downstairs I was looking at the weather. One thing I noticed right away was how windy it was. You could hear it hitting the building! It looked like certain we were going to get lots of rain too. It was going to be chilly 53-56 which was fine for a summer marathon. I went out at about 5:15 am for a little shakeout run and found out it was very windy. This was going to be a long day I thought in my head. I went to the bathroom inside one more time. Then stretched inside for a little bit until I made my final journey outside at around 5:45 am.

The race started exactly at 6:00 am. They started the half marathon, marathon and marathon relay all together. The first 4 miles or so were on gravel and we had some wind. One guy quickly got in the lead but he was doing the half marathon. I knew to stay focused on my goal of sub 3 hour marathon, and not to fight the wind too much on the first loop, since I would have to do the same loop again. Mile 1: 6:41, mile 2: 6:43, mile 3: 6:26, mile 4 6:31. It seemed like I was really working even running 6:40s in the wind. Fear in my mind got to me. Is a sub 3 possible in these conditions. I quickly put that aside. Besides I was leading the marathon. The only other person ahead of me was the half marathon guy.

We then got off the gravel roads and pavement. We also had the wind out of our face. It was side wind from miles 5-6, then 6-9 was back wind some, but I didn’t notice much help from it. Mile 5: 6:24, Mile 6: 6:30, Mile 7: 6:28, Mile 8: 6:22, Mile 9: 6:26. Then from mile 9 to the rest of loop we were back on gravel roads. Mile 9-10 we had some side wind. Then mile 10 was a wake up call. Huge windy section for 3 miles on the gravel road. It also had 3 little hills. I knew not to fight it too much since I would have that the last 3 miles of the marathon.  I went from 6:26 at mile 9 to 6:54 at mile 10. Then mile 11 7:07, mile 12 7:08, mile 13 7:15. Hit the halfway point at 1:28. No time for any error. No time to slow down. Time to fight it I thought to myself. On to the 2nd loop.

Mile 14 I regained some of my pace but I knew I needed to push it more in the wind. I was 6:54 at mile 14 on a windy section. I knew in my head it was going to be close for a sub 3. I knew it there was no time for excuses. Mile 15 was 11 seconds faster 6:43. There we go I thought. Now lets take advantage of any spots we have of pavement and wind out of my face. Miles 16-22 was a very good stretch. Mile 16: 6:24, I saw another runner as I was coming down from the side spur, and he was doing the relay. I did not want him to pass me know. I stayed focused.  Mile 17: 6:27, Mile 18: 6:32, Mile 19: 6:21. Mile 20: 6:17, Mile 21: 6:13, and Mile 22: 6:22. My watched read 2:25:19 at mile 22 with 4.2 to go. No time to slack on the wind. I needed to fight it.

Mile 23 was half side wind and head wind like it was early in the race on the same stretch. I clocked a 6:32. Good I thought. Now to fight the 3 mile stretch of wind. The wind was whipping me some even messing my stride up. I even had to watch the footing of the road since it was gravel and wet. Luckily the rain never came that I thought it would. Just a chilly, windy, cloudy day, Mile 24: 6:42. Keep fighting it. Mile 25: 6:42 again. I was leading still. 1.2 miles to go! Mile 26 we had a steep hill which I knew from previous loop and footing was soft. 7:05. As I crested the top of the hill my right hamstring was tightening up. Probably due to fighting the wind so hard. I wasn’t going to stop my speed now. I made the turn into the campgrounds and finished 1st place with a 2:55:36. I got the win and a sub 3 in a new state. States with sub 3 marathons: 22.


West Trip

This blog post will be about our sightseeing portion of our out West vacation. I will make a separate blog post about my marathon recap of Swan Lake Marathon in Viborg, SD. The whole idea of doing a vacation out West was to explore places with our kids and to revisit some spots my wife Laura and I went to on our honeymoon 11 years ago. Natalie our daughter is also in 4th grade so due to that she got a 4th grade national park pass and we would be able to get into national parks for free. We also tied in our trip with doing marathons in new states for our quest for 50 states. My wife did Sandhills marathon in Valentine, Nebraska and finished 2nd female and I did Swan Lake marathon in South Dakota and finished 1st place. Again I will do a full recap on that later this week. Now that you know a little of the back story let’s get to the daily expeditions. This post will be a little lengthy but worth the read!

Friday May 31– We left as soon as I got home from work to head to Wisconsin to visit with some family on our way out West. This is also our wedding anniversary. Not super romantic driving in a car, but at least we were all together. Besides slow traffic in Chicago everything went smooth. Will all agreed it was good to get away for vacation for awhile.

Saturday June 1– We got to hang out with family in Wisconsin and have a nice meal together. It was nice to see everyone. We left just after 12:30 pm central time to make our 7 hour drive to Mitchell SD. Once in Mitchell we checked out the Corn Palace in town then checked into our hotel.


Sunday June 2- Got our runs done early in the morning. Found a nice little path in town to run on. Then we drove to explore Badlands. Kids did jr ranger book there. We also ate our picnic lunch outside in Badlands. We walked some trails. Then we went to Wall Drug. Got some photos on different animals and objects you could climb to get a photo on. Bought some fudge since we all needed a pick me up in the afternoon. Then we went to Rushmore. Parking was $10 at the parking garage. They were doing construction in the one center as you first walk in. So we had to travel to the sculptor studio to get the Jr Ranger books. Kids worked on the booklets while we listened to a neat ranger presentation. Walked the path, which seemed very different then it was 11 years. After the walk we got some ice cream to share at Rushmore. Then we went to Crazy Horse. Although I know they are working hard on Crazy Horse it doesn’t seem like much has changed in 11 years. We did explore around the different buildings, watched the film. Since it was supper time we decided to eat at the restaurant there as well. We thought about doing the night light show but we were all pretty tired. So we went to check into our hotel in Hill City,SD.

Monday June 3- Our hotel was located right by the Mickleson trail. Perfect for running. I got a nice 6 mile tempo on it. Laura had a nice run as well. Then we went to explore Custer State Park. 11 years ago we had hiked Harney Peak there but we wouldn’t have time for that with the kids. Instead we did some hiking around the lake and got some nice photos. Custer State Park also has needles highway a nice drive through some rock cut outs. So we did that drive. We thought about going to Jewel Cave but decided we wouldn’t have time since we needed to drive to Cody, WY. We did make a pit stop in Gillette, WY. We went on Route 16 off of 90 and saw some snow in the Bighorn National Forest. We then stopped at Ten Sleep, WY for bathroom, gas, and two ice cream snicker bars. Ten Sleep is a small town but it got its name from the Native Americans who said it was ten sleeps or ten days journey away from Yellowstone. We then made it to Cody, WY. We ate at Irma’s Restaurant. A restaurant that Buffalo Bill founded. Buffalo Bill helped establish Cody, WY. We were able to swim a little at our hotel as well before bed time.

Tuesday June 4– Had a nice run in town. Left after breakfast to head to Yellowstone. It is about an hour drive from Cody. Before we got to the entrance gate we saw bighorn sheep on the edge of the mountain. So we stopped like others did to take some photos. Good thing we did since that was the only bighorn sheep we saw. We then got into Yellowstone, the plan was to explore the North side of the park on our first day at Yellowstone.  We had stops at Yellowstone lake, visitor center to get the Jr. Ranger books. At Yellowstone they do cost $3 for the Junior ranger books. We went to Le-hardy Rapids for a little hike. Then ate our packed PB and honey sandwiches as we walked around Mud Volcano area. Brayden and Natalie quickly noted some of the geysers smell like rotten eggs. We then went to Upper, Lower falls, and grand canyon of Yellowstone and did some trail walking with that. Unfortunately Uncle Tom’s trail was closed. I really wanted to walk down the 328 steps to get a really close up look of the falls and canyon. I don’t know if it was closed due to construction or if it was too wet back there. We did get some good views though of the upper, lower falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I know we did not get to see this 11 years ago since it was snowing one of the days we were at Yellowstone and they had the road closed due to the snow. There is another view you could get at lower lookout point with North Rim Dr, but traffic was backed up so much to get there we thought it was best to keep going. We had some nice views of mountains as we kept driving North thru Yellowstone. We stopped at Tower Fall, did some hiking then got some ice cream. Stopped to show kids the rather lame petrified tree, we stayed in the car and just drove in and out of that. We then went to Mammoth Hot Springs. Did some real good hiking on the boardwalk there. Also saw Elk, and Bison there. It was about 6:30 after hiking so we decided to get a quick bite at Mammoth Terrace Grill. It was very reasonable. We then were going to quickly hit some spots as we made our way out of Yellowstone to West Yellowstone, MT. We took a quick photo at sheepeater cliff. We then saw a Grizzly Bear in the meadow. Then a little up the road traffic was stopped. I wasn’t sure if it was due to construction or something. This stop and go traffic continued for about 2 hours. It ended up being a pack of about 50 bison on the road. People could only pass when the bison got in one lane or off the road. Finally it was my turn to pass the bison. It’s always on their time and you wait. Then hope none of them charge at you when you pass them. We ended up getting at our hotel at 10 PM.

Wednesday June 5- We both got some good runs in around West Yellowstone, MT. The town is about 1 mile from the entrance of the park. You could see snow on Bald and Black Mountains. Our hotel Three Bear Lodge had a free breakfast for us at their restaurant next door. It was a good breakfast, pancakes were super huge! Very nice service too. We then went to Yellowstone to explore stuff we missed on North loop and finish up the South loop. We went to Norris Geyser, paint pot, firehole spring, there was no swimming at firehole river due to rapids being too strong, I wanted to dip my feet in the water. Oh well. Grand Prismatic spring had awesome views. We got stuck by a bison jam again but only like 40 minutes this time. Then of course exploring around Old Faithful and walking around the boardwalk a little bit. Kids went to a jr ranger program and got their patches. Then going to the gift shop for some t-shirts, and huckleberry syrup. We then left and drove through Teton National Park where we saw a Black bear. Stopped at Jackson WY for gas and supper to go in the car. We made it to Rock Springs WY at around 9:45 PM.

Thursday June 6th- We both got runs done on a sidewalk path that was close to the hotel and went by the school and housing area. There was some excitement at the hotel and Police came. Basically some guy who had mental issues or something was harassing hotel guests. His room was actually one across ours on the 3rd floor. So the Cops were right by his room telling him to leave and such. So we waited until that was done to leave. That meant we left a little later than we wanted at 9:30 am. We then went to Rocky Mountain National Park and kids got Jr Ranger books there as well. We saw some nice views of mountains. Did a short hike. Saw a few moose, and lots of snow. We did the Trail Ridge Drive, which they had just opened like a day before we got there. We then checked into our hotel. I asked the lady where a good restaurant was that had buffalo burgers and she told me. Well on the way to our restaurant as we were driving I notice a van starting to go sideways a bit, then a piece of red went flying up. I slammed on the brakes. Well it ended up being a 7 car accident in the lane. I am thankful I was paying attention and stopped way in advance. I got out of our car to make sure everyone was ok that was involved and it looked like they were. Maybe Colorado should ban drugs, just saying… looked like one of the drivers were half baked. So we went the other direction and ended up eating at Texas Roadhouse.

Friday June 7th- We got our morning runs in and then hit the road for Valentine Nebraska. We found it funny as we left Colorado as soon as you got into Wyoming a huge billboard says no drugs on our roads. Although Colorado has pretty sights the kids were glad to be out of the “wreck state,” according to Brayden. We had to drive through Wyoming some to get to Nebraska. We saw some pronghorn (they look like antelope) probably at least 100 throughout the drive. Driving in Nebraska to Valentine we got to see some of the most untouched lands in the US, with the sandhills. Basically land that can only be used for pastures. I’m not a fan of great farmland being used for solar farms, or wind farms. It was nice to see the untouched. The miles and miles of land without a house, solar farm, or wind farms in sight. It brings you back to the western times. The times of the explorers. It’s always fun to explore and see new things. Our family had lots of fun! Stay tuned for my next blog about my marathon recap.

Runners Marathon of Reston Recap

Runners Marathon of Reston in Reston, VA 4/7/19 Race Recap

Around December my wife and I locked in different marathons in Virginia that would be during the kids and my spring break time at school. She worked her schedule around to have days off at her work as well. Anyways we decided as we got closer to the trip to spend some days exploring DC. We did that and I discussed that trip in the previous blog entry.

On Saturday after Laura won Charlottesville marathon she got her really nice trophy and we were off for the two hour drive to Reston. No pressure on me now right? After my wife busted out a win on a tough course with 1,600 feet elevation gain, I had to have my A game as well.  We were able to get to Reston right at hotel check in 3 PM. I did a little 4 mile run on the path next to the road. It was a little warm 72 degrees, but it was going to be cooler in the morning so no worries. I got done, showered, and we were off to packet pickup at the high school which was about 2 miles from our hotel. There my cousin Jeffrey and his wife Melissa met us at the school. They did over an hour drive from Maryland to hang out with us for a few hours. That was awesome. Several times in the evening Jeffrey looked at me and said “you are going to win tomorrow.” I really wasn’t thinking much about the race, but boy did he pump me up. It was a real nice evening eating with them and hanging out in our hotel for a while.

They say you never really sleep good the night before a big race. Sometimes I sleep good but that night I didn’t sleep well at all. I guess it didn’t help that Michigan State’s game was the late one in the final four. I watched a little bit and tried to fall asleep. I kept tossing and turning. Seemed like everyone was sound asleep, or even snoring except for me. I was wide awake. I looked at my watch it was 10:40 pm. I thought the game was probably still on. It was and I turned it on and watched as Michigan State got the game close and let things slip away. I used that as motivation as well for my race. I wasn’t going to let things slip away. According to my Fitbit I finally feel asleep around 11:30 at night. Alarm was set for 5:30 am. I woke up and felt a little tired but like I said sometimes you don’t sleep well before a race. I ate my bagel with peanut butter and got things ready. We left the hotel around 6:35 am. Race was at the high school 2 miles away and parking would be very simple. I got a little warm up in and felt ready, no pain anywhere, praise God.

After some race instructions and the national anthem the race was off right at 7:30 am. The marathon course was a two loop course, with the 2nd loop doing a ¾ mile out and back section on a side road, the race committee doesn’t hide the fact that there are hills on the course. I started off at a 6:33 mile and there were a couple half marathon runners around me. Then after a mile 2, in 6:21 I caught up to the leader, and he was doing the half marathon.

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We ran together for the next 3-4 miles or so before he wanted to slow it down. Then it was me and the lead cop motorcycle. Not often do you have a lead motorcycle in a race. That was neat and he stayed ahead of me enough that I didn’t smell the fumes. My pace would fluctuate a little depending on if we had a hill or downhill, and the curves on the bike path. Mile 11 was a tough mile and I knew later on I would have to hit that hilly part again. It was a 6:48. Some tough hills on that mile on the bike path. After that mile we were back on the roads and a really nice downhill came. I clocked a 6:13, just moving with the course and not over running that section. Just after mile 12 I saw Laura and the kids since we were really close to the school. I hit the halfway mark at 1:24:35 and still in first place. Now to conquer the 2nd lap. I knew how the course went now.

Mile 14 I pushed it a little since that was nice downhill stretch on the road. 6:05. It was my fastest mile of the race. Mile 15-16 was during the out and back stretch going out it was a steady climb. I kept thinking stay focused here. At the turnaround I looked at my watch to see how much of a lead I roughly had. When I saw the next guy I had about 4 minutes on him. He looked pretty beat. I still felt pretty well. However, there would be more tough hills coming. I kept the pace around 6:20s until mile 19. That was when I was getting my gel out of my back pocket. Had a little trouble with the zipper, plus it had a really nice climb in that mile. I hit a 6:52. I was able to regain my pace to 6:30 for the next 3 miles. Mile 23-24 were a little rough, turns on the bike path and some hills. It was getting a little warm. Mentally I kept singing to myself “Lord I need you.” I knew if I got through these tough two miles I could bring it home pretty good. Mile 24 was a 7:12. Terrible I know and my slowest mile of the day. However, I got off the bike path and back on the road and mile 25 was a 6:25. 1.2 miles to go and I did a quick watch check. That 7:12 was rough, but I was still on pace for a sub 2:50, and still in the lead. We were close to the school at mile 25. I knew there were still a nice climb on the road the approaches the school since we did that earlier. I kept focusing and pushing. We then went on the school campus and I had to do ¾ of a lap on the track to finish the race. I get on the track and have 300 meters to go. I do a watch check. Ok let’s go I thought to myself. In my mind I was visualizing all those track workouts. Then 200 meters to go I needed to do it under 55 seconds for a sub 2:50. Easy on a speed day, but after 26 plus miles your legs are shot. I sprinted the best I could. According to my watch I hit the last 200 meters in 34 seconds. I broke the tape as a winner 2:49:39. It was a very tough and awesome win. What a way to cap off an excellent weekend. To GOD be the glory. Overall I would recommend Runners Marathon of Reston. Yes there are some hills. However, it is a top notch race. Fantastic post race food. Afterwards I even found out American High School mile record holder Alan Webb went to school there. Wow to run on the track he once ran on was pretty neat.

Lifetime marathon: 94 and a new state with a sub 3 hour marathon. Now I have 21 States with sub 3:00 hours.



Spring Break 2019

This blog post will be dedicated to the sight seeing portion of our Spring Break trip and how Laura did on her marathon. It will not include the recap of my marathon that will come in the next post. Although I will talk a little bit about running in this post. We had planned some of my spring break trip on sight seeing around DC area before we both had our marathons in Virginia, especially since Natalie is in 4th grade and 4th graders with their family get in free to National Parks. In the car we gave the kids a National Parks Passport where you get pages stamped of places you go. We thought this would be an item they could have for the rest of their life. Laura also got one for us. This post will be lengthy and broken down into our daily adventures. Enjoy the read.

Tuesday: We left around 8 in the morning after Laura did some running, and we were off for our 9 hour drive towards Great Falls Park on the Virginia side. We had some good traffic and got Chick Fil A to go for supper as we were heading to the park. We walked around a bit and saw the one side of Great Falls from Virginia’s side and then drove a little further down the road and across the river to Carderock Maryland. There the kids and Laura would walk around a bit while I ran on the C and O trail. It was misting a little so they didn’t walk much. I had a nice 3 mile run on the crushed gravel path. I saw 4 deer, and a red fox. The C and O path is 184 miles long and follows the Potomac River. Awesome path! Anyways after I got done we went to our hotel in Rockville, MD.


Wednesday: We left our hotel in the morning after we both got our runs in. Nice to have a little path by the roads that we ran on that morning in Rockville. We then went to Great Falls Park and visitor center on the Maryland side. Awesome views and you can really hear the rumble of the water. At the visitor center we found out about Jr Ranger program. It is a booklet of activities the kids can do and if they complete a certain amount they get a free badge. We thought that was awesome and it was free. So we sat down outside for a bit while the kids worked on the booklet. After that it was around lunch time which we had packed PBJ sandwiches and ate those while we drove the 30 minutes or so to Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington was very moving and awesome experience. It is very hilly walking around. We waited for the changing of the guards at the tomb of unknown soldiers, we walked and saw JFK Jr gravesite, and was amazed by all the soldier tombstones there. Arlington house was closed for renovations but we went into the temporary visitor center to get the passport stamps. While in there a Park Ranger talked to use a bit about Arlington House.

There we found out that Robert E Lee married George Washington’s great granddaughter. Weird history connection for sure. After Arlington we explored some of Tidal Basin and the Cherry Blossom trees and went to Thomas Jefferson memorial. Lots of walking but lots of fun as well, and beautiful. We then were heading back to walk to our car and trying to figure out what to do for supper and stumbled upon some seafood in The Wharf area. It was pretty busy and we ordered food. I think the cook was doing the best he could, looked like only one cook there. We waited about 30 minutes and our food was ready. It was 6:46 pm, and we had to walk about 15 minutes worth to get to our car out of the parking garage before it closed at 7 pm. We were walking the fast we could while carrying our food. Hindset I probably should of had Laura and kids stay there and I run to car and pick them up in the streets. However, we did make it just in time. Then we ate in car while heading to our hotel that we would be staying for two nights in Alexandria, VA. (Cheaper to stay out of DC for hotels).

Thursday: We both got a chance to run on part of Mount Vernon trail and other paths that morning. Very nice to have a path for runners on the side of the ramps where cars drive. Hotel was located nice right near a path that lead to Mt Vernon trail or other paths in town. After that we left our hotel around 9:00 am to go to Postal Museum. I found an awesome parking garage that was with a Walmart. You could park free for up to 2 hours and was within less than half mile to museum. What is nice about DC is most of the museums are free thanks to USA tax dollars. Postal museum was nice and we did a scavenger hunt that you could do with kids there. After that we drove to the Arboretum where we would eat our packed food and drive around there and see the old Capitol columns. It was pretty neat and I’m sure when more flowers bloom it is really pretty there. After that we wanted to go the National Mall area to see MLK Jr, FDR, Lincoln, Korean, WWII, and Vietnam Memorials.

We also picked up another Jr. Ranger Program for free for the kids to do and they earned a badge for that booklet, plus got our passport books stamped. Cherry blossoms were beautiful and it was a nice day to walk around. We ate supper at PotBelly’s a sandwich shop that was close to our parking garage.

Friday: We slept in a little since it was raining in the morning and to recover from all the walking on Thursday. Then we both got our runs in again hitting some paths in Alexandria area. We were not going to do much walking on Friday since Laura’s marathon was Saturday in Charlottesville. We left our hotel around 10:30 am and drove 1 hour 30 minutes to Shenandoah National Park. We originally wanted to drive a little bit in there on Skyline Drive. However, since it was raining earlier in the morning it was still very foggy in the mountains. It was 38 degrees just at the visitor center compared to 48 degrees below the mountains. So we drove 5 miles in to the visitors center at Dickey Ridge, and it was extremely foggy couldn’t see any mountains. The kids did a Jr Ranger book inside and got a badge, and we got our passport books stamped. Then we drove out the same way we came in. We then drove the rest of the way Charlottesville which was a curvy, hilly drive. Friday night was our best hotel of the trip, Residence Inn by Marriott. It was like a mini apartment. Plus, it was finally a hotel with an indoor pool which our previous hotels only had outdoor ones. Kids loved swimming that night and loved the pull out sofa to sleep on. Was really close to race start and finish for Laura’s marathon, about half of a mile, perfect for race day and not having to worry about paying for parking garage spot, and our hotel had free parking.

Saturday: Laura ran Charlottesville marathon and won the marathon. A foggy morning, but cool and nice temperatures for the race. She toughed it out on a course that had 1,600 feet of elevation gain. She earned a really nice big trophy for her win too! The finish was right by the old historic courthouse that at one point former presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and James Madison all did work inside there during the same timeframe. Pretty neat. After her race we made the journey to Reston, Virginia.


My next blog post will be about my marathon race in Reston. Stay tuned!


Feb 11-17 Training Recap

It’s been a while since I did a weekly running recap. I thought I would share what I have been up to this past week. Overall I think I am getting in great race shape I lost a few extra cookie pounds since I was devouring Christmas cookies like Tic Tacs back in December and January.  Yes, Valentine’s Day was this past week, but I’m not too big on candy, so instead my wife made me a cheesecake, which as of this writing is about half gone. I have also been focusing more on stretching my calf muscles. So how did the week of Feb 11-17 stack up. Below is a little insight of my week.

  • 87 miles of total running
  • 10:24:43 total time of running averages to 8.7 miles per hour (6:54 per mile pace)


  • Easy 13 miles on County roads- slow pace overall 7:55 pace. Sometimes time on your feet is better than blowing out a fast run everyday. Also muscled out this run, one of those times your plan is set on a certain amount, body is saying NO making excuses, (it’s a Monday, etc,) and you have to tell your body to be quiet.

TUESDAY- NO SCHOOL=MORE MILES, wife had to work, all miles on treadmill.

  • 7 miles on treadmill in morning 46:15 
  • 7 miles on treadmill in afternoon 41:39 TEMPO


  • Easy 10 miles on treadmill 1:08:52


  • 16 mile FARTLEK on pumpkinvine to Middlebury and back. 12 miles of 2:15 hard, 2:15 easy. Weather was 40 degrees. Wanted a longer run here since it was nice out, and wife would be gone to Florida for few days starting at Saturday morning. Overall pace was 7:27 but that’s not an overall picture of how fast my 2:15 minute sections were. A pure example of don’t get caught up on a certain finish pace, easy pace between repetitions slow your overall pace down, but that’s ok.


  • Easy 12 miles on pumpkinvine heading towards Goshen. 7:52 pace overall. You have to learn to take your easy days easy. Yes some miles were 7:30 pace, but also some were over 8 since there was some nasty winds.


  • 12 mile tempo on treadmill 1:20:27. Negative split this run big time. First 6 miles was 42:30. Brought it home at 37:57 last 6.


  • Easy 10 miles on treadmill 1:08:56


Treadmill workouts

Well if you live in the Midwest you know very well we are going to have extremely cold temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures that make you change your running plan. Running outside just isn’t smart to do with windchills at -35. Can it be done, of course, but it’s not a very good idea. Most of us will probably will be hitting the dreaded “TREADMILL,”  or planning our off days of running during the cold next few days. Although treadmill running isn’t the most enjoyable thing I have done in life, I would rather get the run done on the treadmill then to be out of shape. Through the years I have experimented with different workouts and what worked well for me on the treadmill. In this blog post hopefully you can get some extra motivation or ideas for your next treadmill workout.

THE MUSIC PROGRESSIVE RUN– Start the treadmill at a low speed to start with. For me it is generally 8.0 mph. Have music playing in the background or in your ear buds. Each time a new song comes on crank the speed up .1. Generally I do this workout for 70 minutes and range from 10-11 miles covered. Towards end of the workout I find myself at 10.0-10.3 mph just depends on how long the songs were.

10 MIINUTE CHANGE UP– Set treadmill for 70 minutes. Start at a low speed and every 10 minutes change the speed by .2. Makes you focus on that specific 10 minute segment.

3 x 3 x 3  @ marathon pace– Do a nice  1 mile warm up, then do 3 miles at marathon pace for me its 10 mph, then do half mile jog, then another 3 miles at marathon pace, half mile jog, last set of 3 miles at marathon pace, then cool down a mile.

MAX IT OUT-Do a 1 mile warm up, then for 1 minute max out the speed as fast as you can handle. I generally crank at 12 mph. Then do the next 1 mile at your warm up pace. Do this back and forth for 30 minutes and you will really work up a sweat.

800 Yasso 800 MP- This one will test you physically and isn’t for the faint of heart. Do a 1 mile warm up. Do 800 at you predicted marathon finish time (yasso 800s)  I’m hitting them 2:36-2:42 per 800, then do 800 cool down at marathon pace (3:00-3:05) per half mile. So for me I’m cranking each mile 5:36-5:45. Do 8-10 sets of these and your exhausted!

2018 Running Recap

Looking back at 2018 consistency was key with my running. No personal records were set in my races, but many miles were logged. 2018 was so consistent I actually had several marathons where I hit around the same time. Sometimes everything has to align perfectly to get a personal record in a race. Although I didn’t get a personal record in 2018 I am very proud of how 2018 went in running. God gave me the talent to be a somewhat mid level elite runner and I am thankful for the injury free fun filled year. I want to thank all those who are encouraging and supportive in my running. Want to also thank all my sponsors for 2018. Here is my 2018 running recap.

Miles Ran:  3719.7 mi   Total time: 466:44:08            Number of runs: 494

Average daily run: 10.19 miles which is about 71.33 miles a week average

Average speed: 7.96 mph which is 7:32 per mile average. Some runs are faster some are slower just have to listen to the body.

Most miles in a week: 101 miles which I hit once in January and February.

Most miles in a day: 32 miles. On my birthday June 11. When I turned 32 years old. My wife asked me the day before what I wanted to do on my birthday. I said get up early and log a 32 mile birthday run, come home eat lunch, then we can go bowling and out for supper. We did all those. I actually negative split the 32 mile run.

Lowest total in a week: 42 miles the last week of May. Week before a marathon and we traveled out East for those races.

Total days off of running: 6 days. Random days off before races or a needed day off.

New Marathon States or Countries: 3 new states with sub 3 hour marathons: Tennessee, Connecticut, and Missouri.

New Personal Best times: 0. I did not hit a single PR in any race, like I stated before.

Marathons ran 8: Knoxville: 2:47:18, Circular logic 2:45:28, Kalamazoo 2:45:25, Oh Boy in Waterbury, Connecticut: 2:45:09, Riley Trails marathon 3:11:44, Holland Haven, 2:40:22, Pacing Chicago marathon 3:04:28, Bass Pro in Springfield, MO 2:45:27. As you can see lots of marathons in 2:45.

Highlights for each month:

January: Hit a 101 mile training week Jan 1-7. Started 2018 with a BANG!

February:Hit a 101 mile training week Feb 19-25. With a 24 mile run to cap the week off.

March: Stayed at our friends house in Knoxville,TN and Laura and I ran Knoxville marathon  2:47:18, 6th place overall, one place away from prize money. Laura passed a girl late on and got 5th and prize money. Was a fun weekend.

April: Won Circular Logic marathon: 2:45:28. It was my 4th time winning that event. It was the last year of that venue but they are hosting another event at a different location in Indiana.

May: Ran two marathons in May. Kalamazoo and Oh Boy. However, I will say Oh Boy was a highlight, not only did I run a little faster, I also got the win. Saw a friend of ours at the race which it happened to be his birthday as well. Plus my cousin came out to support me while I ran the out and back short loop course. Was nice to catch up with my cousin after the race at lunch.

June: Did two races on June 9th, a 5k in morning and then a 1 mile run in the evening. Then two days later did my 32 mile birthday run.

July: No races in the month. Full training mode. Did 93 miles week of July 16-22.

August: Won Riley Trails marathon in Holland MI: 3:11.

September: Won Holland Haven marathon in Holland, MI. Was a fantastic race 2:40:22.

October: Paced the 3:05 group at Chicago marathon and enjoyed helping others reach their goals.

November: Ran Bass Pro Marathon in Springfield, MO 2:45:27. Third time a charm in Missouri as I finally got a sub 3. My other 2 attempts were 8 years ago and I wasn’t as experienced marathoner as I am now. Was nice to see my mom and step-dad that weekend as we celebrated my step-dad’s birthday.

December: Won Santa Stroll 5k in Bristol.