You might be a Runner…

You might be a Runner…

I remember growing up and hearing the “You might be a redneck jokes,” by Jeff Foxworthy. Well on my run the other day I thought of some “You might be a Runner,” sayings. I’m sure there are some you can even think of on your own or maybe some I mention you can shake your head and say yup that’s me.

  • You might be a Runner- If you decorate your house based on the trophies and awards you get from races.
  • You might be a Runner- If you know the exact Personal Best time you have ran from a one mile to a marathon but you don’t remember phone numbers without looking in your phone’s address book.
  • You might be a Runner-If you have more running shoes than any other selection of shoes in your house.
  • You might be a Runner-If 90% of your clothes is either running gear, or running shirts you got at races.
  • You might be a Runner-If you see another runner on the road and you try to catch to them.
  • You might be a Runner-If easy and 10 miles are in the same sentence.
  • You might be a Runner-If you run circles around the outside of you house to finish up that last mile in your run.
  • You might be a Runner-If you plan your vacations around races.
  • You might be a Runner- If you have tried an energy gel and liked it.
  • You might be a Runner- If you get up at 5 am on the weekends for a “fun” long run with friends.
  • You might be a Runner-If you have had to make a mad dash into a nearby corn field for a #2.
  • You might be a Runner-If you carry water with you like it is precious gold.
  • You might be a Runner-If you ran in the morning and then forgot you ran and then run again in the evening.
  • You might be a Runner-If you run over your lunch break.
  • You might be a Runner-If planning your day involves getting your run in.
  • You might be a Runner- If you did a run and posted that your ran on social media.

Birthday Run

Birthday run- A run that equals your age in miles or kilometers to celebrate your birthday. I first read about this concept in college with Dean Karnazes Ultramarathon man book. Here is the segment from that book: As Karnazes recounts, “it was my 30th birthday. I was in a San Francisco bar, drunk on tequila and fed up with my life in PR for a multinational corporation.” Suddenly he flashed back to his preteen years as a running and hiking sensation and decided that was when his life had had meaning. “Somehow, I found an old pair of sneakers, stripped to my shorts and, seven hours later, wound up in Half Moon Bay—I’d run 30 miles, straight through the night, to celebrate my 30th birthday.

Well I started my tradition back in 2016. In 2016 I turned 30 and ran Whitefish point marathon on my birthday. I thought why not do 30 miles like Dean Karnazes to celebrate my birthday so between my warm up, marathon, and doing a little cool down run back to the hotel I did 30 miles. In 2017 I did Sunburst marathon, ended up getting misguided and ran 27.4 miles, add that to my warm up 1 mile run and I just needed to do 2.6 miles which I did in the evening to celebrate turning 31. Well in 2018 I wanted to continue the tradition of running my age in miles, this year 32 miles. This time it would be different, no race to keep me mentally engaged, no medal at the finish line, no fan support, or aid stations. It was me against the distance.

On June 10th I started planning my route for my birthday run for June 11. Initially I thought about running from my house to pumpkinvine towards Goshen and using the Elkhart bike path go 16 miles and come back 16 miles, since there are a few parks I could refill my water bottle.  However, we did get some rain and I didn’t want to run in the muddy crushed gravel section. On to plan B. I decided I would run towards Shipshewana on pumpkinvine from my house. I would spur off the trail and hit River Bend park to fill my handheld water bottle up that would be around mile 9, then I would continue that road until I got to CR 43 then turn until I hooked back up to the pumpkinvine then take the trail all the way to Shipshewana town and refill my handheld at the bathroom and water fountain by Morton street at 16. Then retrace my steps and refill again at RiverBend park. Overall, that was a fantastic route. Now on to the run details.

June 11th my birthday. I woke up at 6:00 am I wanted to get out the door by 6:15 am. I gobbled up two POP TARTs (not the healthiest choice, but works for those long runs). I tried to go #2 before I ran but had no luck. I knew that would be a problem, more on that later. Anyways I got out the door with my 5 Honey Stinger gels on my SpiBelt, my handheld water bottle full, and singlet, shorts and hat on. I started off slow the first mile 8:23, then 2nd mile 7:30. Around mile 2.5 I got the sensation to have to do a #2. At this point I was on the pumpkinvine trail, and no good place to hit the trees, plus there were some bikers already on the trail. I ran slowly like a penguin until I got the port o John at mile 3.5. So mile 3 was my slowest at 8:59. After that pit stop I felt much better. The next several miles were around 7:30 pace. At mile 9 I hit a 8:08 as I stopped quickly to refuel my water bottle. The weather was hazy and humid so I made sure to stay hydrated. I hit 16 miles in Shipshewana in 2:04:40 and refueled the water bottle and hit the bathroom. Halfway done, and I was feeling good. The next 6 miles, 17-22 I picked it up some, it helps that the trail is slightly downhill heading towards Middlebury. 7:01 was my fastest mile at 22. Mile 23 was my bottle fill up time and it was about empty since I was sweating hard due to humidity. Temperatures were fine it was just muggy. 9 miles to go I thought to myself I got this in the bag. At 26 I hit 3:18:19 which I glanced at my watch at the 26.25 mark right around 3:20 for a marathon. The last bit of the run went by pretty good, even though I had a nasty climb on CR 20 to go up. I was around 7:35 pace the last 6 miles. The best sight to see when running is the finish line. I was glad to see my house when climbing my last hill up to our subdivision. 32 miles done, and I was all sweaty. 4:04:14 overall time 7:38 per mile pace. I negative split my second half. I was 1:59:34 the last 16 miles. Before I started my 32 mile journey in my head I was shooting for something close to 4 hours. Overall, I felt good afterwards too. My family even went out for bowling that evening. Hopefully I have a few more birthday runs in me in the future.



Two races in one day

On June 9th 2018, my wife Laura Gillette and I had planned to do two local races in the same day, and one of races had a  mile that the kids would do. It’s not often that you can do two races in one day, but we were up for the challenge. I will admit I was a little nervous on race night while in bed, it probably didn’t help that I watched WHERE DREAMS GO TO DIE – Gary Robbins and The Barkley Marathons, if you haven’t seen the movie it’s free on Youtube. Anyways I kept thinking I would either out sleep my alarm, or miss a turn or something like that. I know weird, but sometimes you get that feeling the night before a race. 

The first race was in the morning and called Puerto Rico Rising 5K RUN/WALK it was held at Bethany Christian schools in Goshen. The race proceeds were to help efforts to benefit Academia Menonita Betania (Bethany Mennonite Academy) of Aibonito, Puerto Rico….a pre-K through 10th grade  Mennonite Education Agency school and service location for Mennonite Mission Network Volunteers. Hurricane Maria has significantly damaged the school. I thought it was a neat idea to do. One of our running friends Ruben Falcon and his family were organizing the run. The race had volunteer to watch kids so parents could run the 5k. So that was awesome and both Laura and I could run race at same time which doesn’t happen often. The run started at Bethany and then went out and back on Bethany bike path that goes to Goshen College. It was really flat. The goal for Laura and I was top 3. I ended up winning and getting 17:28, and Laura got 2nd female in 20:12. We finished right before it started down pouring, unfortunately some runners did get soaked. Luckily there was a pavilion for the awards ceremony. The race came together very well for first year event and Laura and I both got some nice prizes fleet feet gift cards and I got some cash.

The 2nd race we were to do that day was Randy Miner Memorial Country Run held at Etna Green, Indiana in the evening. One of our running friends Todd Hoffer puts on the race in memorial of Randy Miner. Funny thing on way there the kids asked in the car how many hours until we get to the race. I think they are used to our family travels with marathons, and driving a while to get to races. Anyways this race I was doing the mile run, kids would do the mile run, and Laura the 4 mile run. The weather was great considering other spots in Indiana were getting thunderstorms, it was clear skies and sunny in Etna Green. The mile course you ran about 400 meters or so on grass then the rest in the city streets. My goal was top 3 to get a nice prize, handmade clock and fleet feet gift card. There were some fast runners in the mile so I knew it would be tough. The race started with a firing of a cannon, if that didn’t wake you up to run, then I don’t know what would. I was close to the leader in the grass, could tell he wasn’t used to running in grass as much as I am due to getting off road for running. Anyways once we got on the road he put a couple of surges in to gap me. I stayed somewhat close to him until 500 meters to go, then he really turned it up, and I pretty much knew I had 2nd so just wanted to keep my placement. I ended up with a 5:08 and 2nd male in the mile. Then I waited at finish line to see my kids come in. On Tuesday June 5th Reith Runs Brayden actually beat Natalie, and she wasn’t happy about it, and doesn’t like me to bring it up. So I was wondering if she was going to hold him off in the mile. I saw Natalie coming up towards the finish line 8:28 was her time, and 4th overall girl to come to the line, and first in her age group 9 and under. Then I saw Brayden I could tell he was exhausted and he was battling some other boys towards the finish. They ended up out kicking him and Brayden got 8:44. That’s a personal record mile for Brayden, not bad on a tough mile course with grass and hills, he held his own against some bigger kids. Next was Laura in the 4 mile. The 4 mile course is a country square course. The goal for Laura was top 3. They started up the hill and next time I would see her would be when she was finishing. It didn’t take long and the first few guys arrived. Then I saw the lead gator vehicle and noticed it was my wife who was leading. Awesome! She finished first female in time of 26:57.

We both enjoyed the challenge of two shorter races in the day. We picked up some nice awards from the races and got some excellent speed work in.


Oh Boy! Race Recap

Back in December my wife and I had tentatively made plans to do a family trip out East and for her to knock out another state with Vermont City marathon in Burlington, VT, and for me to do knock out a new one as well at Oh Boy! marathon in Waterbury, Connecticut. Also, we thought it would be fun to see family members that we have out East. Several things had to fall in place for it to work: we had to wait to make sure we weren’t bombarded with a bunch of snow days at school, since school would be out Thursday before Memorial Day, and I would have work Friday for Teacher Records day. We had a few snow days and even a flood day. Luckily, we had used some built in snow days: holidays like Martin Luther King Jr day, President’s day, and a planned make up day on April 27. Once it looked safe from any snow we registered both of our races, booked the hotels, and made arrangements with family for Memorial day. We left as soon as I got home Friday to start our journey. Sunday was Vermont City marathon for Laura and she ran a 3:09 and 15th female in a huge field and Memorial Day Monday was my marathon below is the recap for my run.

Not many marathons are on a Monday. Luckily for me Oh Boy! Marathon is always on Memorial Day, so I was able to do Connecticut, with our quest of all 50 states. I hadn’t really thought about my race plan for Oh Boy! I was coaching my wife that week getting her ready for Vermont City marathon. I knew one mission was to try to get the course record of 2:56:14. The USATF certified course for Oh Boy! is an out and back 2 mile loop with some flat sections and some rolling hills at Hamilton Park. So my plan was to ease into the first few loops and get used to the terrain then try to pick it up later on. It was nice to see one of our friends at the race, which also happened to be his birthday. What a way to celebrate your birthday Benn!


The pre-race instructions were given about 10 minutes before the start on the 53 degree day. Plus, a moment of silence for those who died fighting for our freedoms and remember then on Memorial Day. Then a Pastor blessed the race and gave a prayer. A very nice touch with both of those things. The race director also told us why race was called “Oh Boy!” I will let you try to figure that out by checking the race out yourself.

Ready set Go! Race goes off and one of the marathon runners took off like a lightening. “Oh Boy!” I thought to myself, this will be interesting. I told myself stick to the plan and see what happens. First mile 6:23, and guy in lead probably had 100 meters on me or so. We get to the sidewalk portion and it was a little narrow but had some downhills, but I knew at the turnaround part we would have to climb up those downhills. Man were those hills on sidewalk a little tough. I thought from the turnaround point to the finish that mile section was always a little bit slower due to the hills you had to climb up. Considering you had to do the loop 13 times those little hills did add up for sure, but overall it wasn’t too bad, especially if you relaxed on downhills.                  Anyways the guy in the lead kept looking strong and had a lead on me. After mile 6 I had to hit the Port o John really quick for a number 1 stop. It was a bit cooler, and misty/hazy/humid. I knew I needed to make a pit stop since it felt like I already I had to go. So mile 7 was my slowest at 6:41 due to the pit stop. Now the leader had probably 90 seconds on me. Time to reel him in I thought to myself so I dropped a 6:27. Then I saw my cousin Stephen, who lives about 30 minutes from Waterbury. I thought to myself I can’t sandbag this sucker, let’s get this guy, and try to win it, boom 6:08. I didn’t see the leader anymore? Where did he go? My guess he probably had to hit one of the Port o John’s on the course. So I kept plugging away. 6:19 going up the hills on sidewalk, then I see the guy and boy is he flying to catch back up to me, most likely he had to do a pit stop. I knew I needed to keep grinding and pushing. Usually I would pick it up on the road section as well since there was more room to run. He kept holding strong. I probably only had about 40 second or so lead through 16 miles. I think he had to hit the bathroom again, because around 17 my lead looked like 2 minutes or so. Then when I was at 20 miles I saw that he was walking. The repetition of the hills must of gotten to him. I would later on lap him. I would cheer him on each time I saw him, hoping he would get a Boston qualifier time still. At mile 25 I noticed I had a shot at another 2:45. I pushed hard to try to break 2:45 but that didn’t happen. I finished in 2:45:09, first overall, and new course record! It’s my 3rd straight marathon in 2:45s which is consistent, and weird at the same time. Overall it was my 22nd state done, and 19th state that I have done a sub 3 hour marathon, and 89th marathon overall, plus 40th win. It was a fantastic weekend for us to race and to see our  family members.                                                                                 .34107647_704622230228_5838461238035611648_n

Kalamazoo Race Recap

     Initially I had no plans to run Kalamazoo marathon on May 6, 2018. It wasn’t on my racing schedule that my wife and I planned out with our races that work around her work schedule. It was over Spring Break April 2-6 when I was looking at game plan for April and May for our long runs and training schedule. Based on our schedule we would have to do a long run 20-22 miler on May 5-6 weekend to prep us for our marathons memorial day weekend. I then approached my wife about an idea I had for my long run with me doing Kalamazoo marathon on Sunday May 6. She knows usually when I have a crazy idea to just roll with the punches, and see what happens. She didn’t say no, and I told her I would make the decision after doing Circular Logic marathon on April 7th. April 8th she wanted an answer since the price would increase on the registration fee. I told her I’m doing it. I would just get up early and drive up on race morning and she could go to church with kids. So that’s the backstory on how I ended up on the starting line now time for my race recap.

    My plan for Kalamazoo was 2:45 or faster. I have heard the rumors that Kalamazoo is hilly. My plan was to go out easy so that I would have some left in the tank to tackle the late hills and not hit the wall hard. The marathon started with the half marathon at 8 am. One thing you always have to be careful is getting sucked into the crowd especially all the half marathon runners that go out hard. I knew to worry about myself and focus on my plan. I even told my wife that early in the week. My first mile was 6:12 it felt very comfortable. Several people were ahead of me from the marathon and half marathon, but I wasn’t worried. On the 2nd mile we had a little bit of a downhill. When you have a course that has uphills and downhills, you just go with the flow of the course. My 2nd mile was 5:59. Mile 3-9 had some climbs and some downhills as you go through Western Michigan University. Mile 3 was about where the marathon and half marathon split off and someone told me I was in 7th place at that point. I maintained 6:10-6:20 range during the section going with the flow of the course.

     At mile 10 I was able to pass a runner to move into 6th place. I was feeling really good at this point and hit some low 6 miles. I was pretty much in “no man’s land,” I didn’t  see anyone ahead of me so I was just focused on my pace. Then around 16.0 I got a glimpse of someone. “Is that another runner,” I thought to myself. My eyes probably lit up like a Christmas tree. “Game on,” was what I was thinking in my mind. As I got to mile 17 we had a nice straight stretch of running and it was in fact another marathon runner ahead of me. Then I saw another guy about 500 meters ahead of him as well. All of a sudden a guy on a bike got next to me and he a GoPro recording some of the race. I told him my plan is to catch those guys and he said I will check on you later to see if you get them. As we reach mile 18 I got one of them. Now I’m in 5th place. I didn’t want to get too excited and told the guy come with me let’s go we are almost done. He said I’m hurting it’s going to be a while. Then I got the other guy about 2 minutes later. I put a surge in right when I passed him to make sure I had him. Now I’m in 4th place I thought to myself. Around 20 we join the last part of the half marathon runners. I was feeling decent as we did some running on a bike path. I kept thinking ok how many half marathon people can I pass. It definitely kept me focused on keeping my pace at a good clip. I kept mile 20, 6:17, mile 21, 6:21. Then we approach popsicle hill. You know it’s going to be a tough hill when they have popsicles at the top, 90 feet of elevation gain in less than a half mile. At this point of the race you are focusing on one step at a time and conquering that hill. I looked at the top of the hill and moved up as steady as I could 6:31 in that mile. Had 4 miles to go and I dug deep to keep 6:25 pace the rest of the way even with a couple of little climbs along the way and a short steep one at 25ish. I looked at my watch and knew 2:45ish was possible and focused on a good finish. Although I didn’t see another marathon runner the rest of the way and only passed half marathon runners I did manage to finish 4th overall in the marathon with a 2:45:25. Overall I was satisfied with my race, I moved up in placing throughout and my last 13.1 miles were only about 25 seconds slower than my first 13.1. Overall a great game plan, and my fastest marathon so far in 2018.


     Final thoughts: Yes Kalamazoo marathon has some hills, but don’t let it scare you away. I thought the race had excellent organization. Parking was very easy and right on site near start/ finish line. Decent post race food as well, chocolate milk at the finish is always a plus. I will always keep Kalamazoo marathon as an option if I need a marathon/ long run in the future. It is close enough to drive race morning without getting a hotel which saves money. If you have never done any of the races offered at Kalamazoo Borgess Run for the Health of it in 5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon then you need to seriously consider checking it out in the future.

Wakarusa Maple Syrup 5k

On Saturday April 28, 2018 Laura, and I participated in the Wakarusa Maple Syrup 5k in Wakarusa, Indiana. One of our running friends Paul Kern is the race director. He told us both of us should run it in 2018.  Luckily, Laura didn’t have to work that weekend so we registered way ahead of time to get the fantastic deal of $15 race entry.  We had it set up that his daughter or another friend of ours wife could keep an eye on our kids while we did the 5k. We appreciate the kindness with that. Race morning was a little chilly and windy so we knew it would be a little challenge.

Race Recap: Laura did a fantastic job in her 5k considering she just ran Toledo marathon 6 days before. Racing a 5k is no easy task, especially when your body’s on marathon mode pace. She was the top female in 20:23, she was trying to keep close to one of our running friends Mark Davidhizar Daddy did you win?  but he finished a solid 15 seconds ahead of her. He also did Toledo as well. Both of them had a fantastic race after doing a marathon. In my race two local studs Elias Rojas, and Justin Kowalski were there, these guys are solid sub 16 5k runners. I knew I wouldn’t repeat as a winner, but that was fine as long as I got top 3 and a big maple syrup. I also knew Kevin Hill was there a guy that trains with me sometimes on track workouts or long runs. First mile I was 5:26 and right at 3rd place with Fg Garcia. Kevin was maybe a couple of strides back. I used a downhill to shake Fg off then I was in 3rd all alone. From around mile 1.5 to 2 the wind really zapped me and my pace was 5:42. Ouch that was a big slow down. My right quad was tightening up too probably from the cold and wind. At the turn around spot at mile 2.4 or so I see that Kevin is maybe 6 seconds behind him. I surge to try to maintain my lead even though it felt like I was running on one leg since my right quad was tight as a banjo. We get close to mile 3 it sounds like I hear Kevin coming I sprint as fast as I could and maintained my 3rd place. I finished in 17:17, which was 14 seconds slower than what I did in 2017 when I won it. Kevin finished in 17:20, which is a new personal record in 5k since high school for him. The last .1 I covered in 28 seconds a 4:48 pace just to maintain. I made sure to congratulate Kevin and we look forward to hitting some great track workouts this spring together.

Thoughts about the race: Paul does a fantastic job with the race. He had about 250 runners in 2018. 2017 he had 105 runners. His hard work of promoting the race, asking people to come paid off big time. It would be a race directors dream to pull a 100% plus growth from one year to another with participants. The course was spot on 3.1. I know weeks leading up the race he ran the course probably 10 times to check the distance to make sure it was spot on. If numbers continue to get bigger maybe a newer course venue in Wakarusa would be a little better, maybe finishing in downtown or something. There are some areas of the course were you are running out and back. One section around mile 2.7 you go thru a little fence opening with runners heading towards mile 2 and those heading to finish it got a little congested there. Awards are awesome with Maple Syrup awards. Race is really nicely priced especially if you register early for $15, which includes the shirt, and great discounts to Maple Syrup Festival, like the pancake breakfast, which we used for our lunch. He had about 50 prize drawings. If you are looking for an April 5k in 2019 I would recommend Maple Syrup Festival 5k. After doing the race check out things in the festival too!

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The Jacket

I will be the first to admit years ago I didn’t think much or care about the Boston Marathon celebration jacket. Sometimes I thought people were bragging by wearing it and was showing the world “look what I did,” as they pranced around with their jacket. I wasn’t jealous, I just didn’t understand it.  After having my Boston Marathon celebration jacket for over a year I have changed my feelings of the jacket. To me it comes down to three things the jacket brings out: pride, camaraderie, and commitment.

Pride: I remember going to school at Arcadia Valley high school and our mascot was the Tigers. Our principal would have a little saying called “Tiger Pride.’ it made students feel proud of their school. I have come to have the same opinion about the having the Boston Marathon jacket. By wearing the jacket I feel pride with the marathon,the city, the history of Boston. That pride is felt even more after the tragedy of Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

Camaraderie: Wearing the jacket at expos of marathons or as warm ups you get a camaraderie with other runners. I’ve had complete strangers come up to me at expos and say 2017, man that was a hot Boston. Then they proceed to talk about their battle at Boston. Since each year Boston Marathon changes the color of the jackets it’s need to see people wearing them before races and figuring out what year they did it. Those who got their Boston marathon jacket in 2018 will have stories to tell for years as it was cold, wet and miserable.

Commitment: There are some things in life that shows commitment. A wedding ring shows you are committed for life to your spouse. Some people are committed to their favorite sports team and decorate their office to that team. Well the Boston Marathon jacket shows commitment of your personal Boston Marathon journey. Only 35,000 people or less are allowed to run Boston Marathon in a given year. Getting in to the race is most runners life long commitment since they have to qualify to get in. Sometimes runners miss the cut off by seconds and are devastated and are committed to get in and train harder to break the barrier. Earning your jacket shows you put in long hours of training and were committed to your running craft. 

I know my 2017 Boston Marathon jacket won’t be the last one I get. Hopefully I get a chance to get a couple more in my lifetime.


Circular Logic Marathon

On April 7, 2018 I toed the line for the 4th time running the Circular Logic Marathon in West Lafayette, Indiana. A very fun and unique event as you run 1 mile loop around Cumberland Park. An awesome venue for the marathon. As we all know Indiana weather can be very tricky. Today was no different as race temperatures were 24 degrees at the start.  Since it was cold I started the marathon with a jacket, and under that was my singlet and arm sleeves. Of course I still wore shorts for the marathon. Since I have ran the marathon here before I knew the course was flat and fast. My plan was to try to hold on to dear life to a pace around 6:00s even though I just did Knoxville marathon 13 days before.

Race Director Joe Ely, and a friend of mine, got us all lined up for the marathon group starting at 9 am. (They also had an 8 hour ultra that started at 7 am and an early 8 am start for marathoners). Off I went like a rocket. Probably a little too fast, but there was an opening with no people to pass. The nice added addition that I didn’t experience on my other times running the race was the fact that now the race is able to run on the road on the far East side of the course instead of a narrow sidewalk. That made passing people a lot easier! The first loop you do you have to do a little spur on another part of the bike path to get the .2 needed for 26.2. I hit my first mile at 5:55. Nice right on target for a sub 2:40 I thought to myself.  I was feeling decent. My plan was to take hydration every 2 miles. So I blew by the aid station tables after one loop was completed. They had litter free aid stations, which means bring your own bottles to use. They have tables assigned based on your bib numbers. The runners going after a Boston Qualifier had their special table assigned to them. The tables are located a little bit ahead of the start/ finish location. You just tell volunteers what you need and they hand you your bottle, then drink it while you run and throw your bottle in a laundry basket that is about 100 meters ahead. Then the volunteers put your bottle back on the table. All your bottles have tape with your bib number written on the tape to identify your own bottle. 30264939_10215945640016576_1152684310742958080_n

My 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mile I kept going at a fantastic pace and they were sub 6 as well. I hit 10 miles right at 60 minutes. Again right on pace for a sub 2:40. At mile 15 I was at 1:30:30. I was slowing down a little but still on pace for sub 2:40. It seemed like after every lap I did the wind was picking up. I even said to a running friend of mine when I passed him “man this North wind is picking up.” I knew I had a decent lead on 2nd place guy since I had lapped him earlier.

At mile 19 I could start feeling my calves tightening up like a brick. This could of been from a mixture of things: Knoxville marathon 13 days ago, being a little too aggressive in beginning, cold weather, or the wind picking up. My goal the last 7 miles changed since I knew sub 2:40 wasn’t going to happen. I was now hoping to maintain 6:30s the rest of the way, with hopes of a sub 2:45. It seemed like anytime I thought I was picking it up more I would still be in the 6:30s. Mentally I was counting down my laps the last 4 laps, “Just focus on this lap I would tell myself.” The bell rang when I had one lap to go. I gave the final push around the course. I came in 2:45:28. Just over 2:45. First overall male. I was a little upset with my time considering I have gone sub 2:40 there twice before, but those feelings quickly vanished as I was happy to get my 4th win at Circular Logic marathon. Those looking for a Spring marathon, relay, or ultra in Indiana. I would recommend Circular Logic marathon.

Congrats from Joe Ely to me for the win.

Knoxville marathon race recap

Throughout my running journey I have meet new friends along the way. One of our friends we have met thru running lives in Knoxville, TN. He told us in the fall of 2017 come on down to Knoxville you will have a place to sleep at my place and you guys can do the marathon and he planned on doing the marathon too. We instantly wanted to do Knoxville marathon to get a new state done and see our friend’s new house. We are grateful for the generously of our friend for opening his home to us and his wife for watching our kids while we did the marathon.

Packet Pick up:

Packet pick up was very simple. It was at a convention center near World’s Fair Park. We were in and out in probably less than 30 minutes and that includes walking through all the vendors. They gave you free cups, and various other free things that you could win by spinning wheels at different vendors. My kids always love spinning the wheels for the gifts.


The morning started chilly but not too bad it was around 42. I knew that it would be ideal conditions for running since there was hardly any wind and all the rain passed thru during the night. Now the week of the race I have been dealing with some nasal drainage and my wife picked it up from me probably on Wednesday of that week as well. When warming up we both had snot rockets and I figured I would have more during the race as well. The race started after a nice singing of the national anthem.

The first mile had a little hill and I came thru at 6:19. Not bad for a first mile. After the first mile we had a downhill so that got me a 6:05. That would be the trend pretty much the whole race. During a mile that had a climb my pace would be a little slower, and when we had a flat section or downhill my pace would be faster. I was running with some half marathon guys early on as the super-fast marathon guys were way up there. No way was I anywhere in their league of hitting 5:40s. My sole focus was on my race and keeping my pace in the mist of shooting my snot rockets and climbing some hills. At 12.5 miles or so the half marathon splits from the marathon. I saw a marathon runner up ahead and passed him around 14 miles. I hit half way at 1:23:48. I knew any chance of a sub 2:40 wasn’t going to happen, but I could potentially negative split since I heard the 2nd half wasn’t as hilly as the first half. I was running by myself until I saw someone up ahead of me at mile 18. I dropped a 6:02 probably because I was excited to see another runner ahead. I had to tell myself to calm down a little since I knew there were still a few more climbs to conquer in the race. I hit the next two miles right at 6:15. I caught up to runner slightly after mile 20. I dropped a 6:08 mile at mile 21 just to make sure I had some distance from him, but he looked pretty beat up when I passed him. The last 5 miles I averaged 6:20 pace as we had some climbs mixed in, a curvy one right around mile 24. I didn’t see anyone else ahead of me the rest of the way to the finish until we met back up with the half marathon runners. We all merged together for the nice finish at the 50-yard line in University of Tennessee football stadium.I did the 2nd half of the marathon in 1:23:30, 18 seconds faster than the first half. Overall, I was pleased with my 2:47:18 marathon time since I was dealing with the nasal issues. It would of been nice to be a little bit faster but I will take it. It didn’t seem like I  hit the wall either, and ran consistent throughout the race, a great sign for things to come.  I did get 6th overall. 5th was 4 minutes ahead of me and I never even saw him. Bad thing was I was one away from prize money. It happens, like I said earlier there were some fast runners ahead of me, sub 2:30 guys.  It was my 87th lifetime marathon and 21st state to run a marathon in. If you’re looking for a marathon in Tennessee I recommend Knoxville.


My top 10 race failures

If you have been running as long as I have, since 7th grade, roughly 20 years then you will experience failures along the way with races. I’ve had my share of them over the course of my running career with over 200 races in my life that I ran. I’ve even heard the chatters and haters say throughout my career, maybe he needs to see a sports physicist, or maybe your not that good. Now like I said I have had some failures throughout my career, and I don’t remember every little failure, but I have become a better runner, and person overall. It makes winning taste that much sweeter too. So below is my top 10 race failures.

1) 2004 High School State Track meet- 3200 meter race. To this day this race is vivid in my mind. Overall I finished 10th in the finals out of 16 runners. I moved up throughout the race. 4 spots from hitting All-state in track. I know if I had that race back I would of been a little slower first two laps for a better kick in the 80 degree Missouri weather.

2) 2008 NAIA TRACK nationals- Marathon event. I was in top notch shape my senior year in college, hitting great times in workouts and meets. Nationals were held in St. Louis area that year and it turned out to be a humid and hilly day. That day my legs just cramped up later on. Finishing in 2:56 was not my plan, but that’s all I had. A terrible way to end my college career. It took me a while to do another marathon 9 months to be exact, just because how this race turned out.

3)  2010 Xenia Marathon Xenia, Oh I came into the marathon thinking I could win this race. Early on it looked like it would be a nice battle I was with the leaders then about 12 miles the wheels feel off. I cramped up (not sure if it was due to juice I had at breakfast or a gel) it was so bad I ending up walking/running most of the way back with my head down in disappointment. Hurts really bad considering the winner was 2:52. To this date it is my slowest marathon that I wasn’t a pacer. I ended up with a 3:22 (OUCH).

4) 2011 Maple Leaf indoor marathon Goshen, IN- I had a battle with a fellow runner Gary. Eventually I took the lead while we struggled with cramps. I had probably a 2 minute lead on him. Then he took a drink of some Coke and magically gained it back, meanwhile I dealt with some cramps in the hot building and he passed me and got the win. I got 2nd.

5) 2013 Run for the Troops marathon Dyersville, Iowa- Nothing more annoying then waiting around for a race to start. We had to wait an extra 90 minutes due to a rain storm. Granted I had a great early part of the race, felt decent on the gravel rail trail. My pace wasn’t slipping much in the humid conditions, but all of a sudden at mile 22 a guy flew by me. I was defended at that point and slowed down the last few miles. He ended up winning, I got 2nd.

6) 2014 Girls on the run 5k Buffalo, NY. Since my wife did a race on Saturday in PA, I thought it would neat to hit a race on Sunday on our way back. It’s not like I had a bad race 16:43. It was the fact I got out kicked the last mile. I ended up 2nd. The winner shredded the last mile and beat me by like 20 seconds. At least my son cheered me up.


7) 2014 ONU indoor marathon- Ada, Oh. I was again battled a guy in the lead. Legs felt good early on. Then I got a stomach cramp, I think due to the red Gatorade. I came in with a 3:08 and in 2nd. Way slower then what I was planning on.

8) 2014 Potato Creek Marathon- North Liberty, IN. Trail running is a different beast. One moment you could be climbing muddy hills, or twisting back and forth on switchbacks. I had a huge lead early on in the race. I was familiar with the course since I have done in the past. I still had a lead with 6.5 miles to go. Hitting the mountain bike trails again took its tool on me. My hip flexors tighten up and I eventually got passed with 4 miles to go. 2nd was tough especially since I had a decent lead.

9) 2017 Boston Marathon Boston, MA. I am still upset with how Boston turned out. I trained my butt off to prepare. Sometimes the elements of mother nature ruins your plans. Having 72 degrees at race start was not ideal weather. I was running smart, then got a nasty Charlie horse on my hamstrings around mile 18. Only good thing at least I got a sub 3.


10) 2017 Morgan Valley marathon Morgan, Utah. I knew the race would be a little challenge with elevation 6,000 feet at start, and hills to contend with. I was running very well early on and got the lead at mile 5. Was cruising along hitting great splits. At 20 I was getting a little tired maybe due to sweating, and elevation. I started to slow a little bit. That cost me, at mile 24 I got passed. At least I came in 2nd got a sub 3 and still got some prize money, and gift card for shoes.