What To Do, What To Do…

This Sunday marks a week since the Des Moines marathon. My body is still in recovery mode, but my mind is trying to figure out where to go from here. I have had people ask me “Are you done now?” thinking that one stops after running 26.2 miles. But I know that my fitness and lifestyle change is one that is for life, and that means never falling back and returning to old ways. So while the body recovers from one event, the brain starts thinking up all kinds of ways to torture the body some more.

I already had one goal in mind even before the marathon started, and that was to train and run a 50k (31.something) race in 2015. That is still very much part of the plan. My dear friend and training partner Kara came up with the other goal, to train and compete in a olympic triathlon. Kara has never done a triathlon of any distance, and I have done only a few sprint triathlons, but never anything close to the olympic distance (1 mile swim – 25 mile bike – 10k run).

We had done a little pool training earlier in the year, but it tailed off as the marathon distances got longer. We have set a couple of mini goals of competing in sprint triathlons (one in January, and one in spring), and then training with our friends Connie and Eric on open water swimming. So now we work on getting pool time in and increasing distance in preparation for spring.

Kara and I met this morning at the YMCA, and I got 400 yds swimming in to Kara’s 500. We then toweled off and met on the track where we ran 3.1 miles. It’s going to take a little getting used to again, this dual and tri sport training. You can feel the difference in your muscles as you start the next exercise, and trying to get them to switch gears takes some work. But I am confident that we will get it done, just like we handled marathon training, together.

I am also doing a 30 day cardio and ab challenge hosted by my friend Lindsey. We have completed week one, and I never knew how weak my stomach and ab muscles were. I hope that working the core and abs daily helps with my other exercises as well.

Live healthy, be happy!



Crossing the finish at the IMT Des Moines Marathon … together!

The IMT Des Moines Marathon

Sunday was the big day! After hours and hours of training, after 750+ miles logged in, the IMT Des Moines Marathon was upon us. For myself and the iCan Running Team, it was a restless night, but the night before race day usually is … especially when it’s your first marathon as it was for so many of our team.

I have the greatest running partner in the world! Kara has helped me prepare for my second marathon as she readied herself for her first. Today was the day that we put all our miles of training to the test and cross that line together. Kara had some IT band issues during training, so she had the area taped with KT Tape. I’ve been having bursitis issues in the left hip, even after an injection. We were both hoping that we wouldn’t have issues during the run.

We met up at my place at 6:30 a.m. and headed for downtown. My wife, the saint that she is, got up and went with us when she could have slept in. Not only did she go with us, but she went to numerous areas, fighting road closures and traffic, just to cheer us on. Not something I would want to do when its 41 degrees out.

We met up with Coach Loran and the rest of the iCan team, chatted and took pictures. We tried to calm each others nerves, but before you knew it, we were heading to the starting line. Suddenly, we were off and Kara and I started a steady pace and stayed together.

The first 7-8 miles is pretty hilly, but we were prepared for that. We stayed steady, running about 10:20 to 10:30 miles. We even finished one mile of hills at 9:53! We were moving along, chatting and laughing like we always do. The last hill started to bother my hip, but I figured that once we got out of the hills, we would be home free.

We crossed the 13.1 mile mark at 2:10:35. That was great! I was hoping for 4:30 finish, and if we stayed the course, we would be right on time. It was a perfect day, perfect weather, beautiful scenery … you really couldn’t ask for more.

At mile 14 everything changed. Kara felt pain in her right leg; her IT band was screaming at her. We stopped and she stretched it out, and we walked a little bit until she felt ready to go again. I don’t know why, but it was then that my bursitis started to really go off and I had sharp stabbing pain in my hip socket (or at least it felt that way). We both stretched and decided to try again.

A couple of miles later, we had to walk for a bit again. The pain was too much for both of us, but with little breaks we were going to manage it. Kara is a trooper. There is absolutely no quit in that woman. She said we were going to cross that finish line together, no matter what it took.

Well, slow and steady wins the race. Using our run/walk method, we finished the marathon in 4:52:55, which is a PR for me. While it wasn’t the time I wanted, I got more than I imagined. I got to watch someone I love dearly become a marathoner. Not only watch, but hold her hand as she crossed that line and joined a very exclusive club. When we crossed the line, we were presented our medals, and then Kara turned to hug me, and the tears started flowing. She did it! We did it! Together, just like when we started this journey.

We gathered our composure and turned to see our other running partner Stephanie, standing by the side of the finish line. We went to embrace her, and the tears flowed again. Stephanie helped us along so much on this journey, that words cannot express the love and gratitude I have for her.

We then met up with friends and family, took some photos, and headed home to clean up and meet again for dinner. Sore, tired, and very hungry, our significant others listened patiently as we told our stories of the day.

Special thanks to Coach Loran of Ironworks Athletics, for working with us on this journey, to all the iCan Running Team members, to Stephanie for all her help and guidance, to my wife for not only putting up with this again, but running around and freezing just to cheer us on, and to everyone else for their help.

And to my running partner, my friend, my little sister in spirit, and one of the nicest and kindest souls you could ever meet, Kara. Thank you for helping me along all those otherwise lonely miles. Thanks for the advice, laughter, smiles, and companionship that we had and I hope we continue to have. It has been a blessing to train with you, and to get to know you, as we seem to discuss everything when we run! I love you to the moon and back! You are, and always shall be, my friend! Relax and rest now, you have earned a break …

Until we start triathlon training! Get ready!!

Live healthy, be happy!




Marathon Weekend

It’s finally here! Race weekend has arrived. I just returned from the packet pickup where numerous vendors were selling everything from medal hangers to shoes to clothing to chews. There was some serious bling to collect, and my bag was pretty full by the time I left. Now it’s time to rest and get ready, as the Des Moines IMT Marathon is Sunday.

My hip is still bugging me, but not to the point where I would even consider dropping out. I have been taking it easy, taking Motrin, and even had a cold laser treatment on it. I will probably run an easy three tomorrow and then it’ll be go time!

I will post on the race as soon as I can. I am so excited for my running partner Kara, as it’s her 1st full marathon. She is going to be awesome! The members of the iCan Running Group will be running as well and showing how awesome they are! I hope I can watch each and every one of them cross that finish line and forever be known as a marathoner.

This is marathon #2 for me. Wish us all well and send positive thoughts to us to help us power across that finish line!

Live healthy, be happy!


It’s Cold Outside . . . let’s Run!

I need to update a little before I get into todays run: the bursitis in my left hip flared up again during our 18 mile run last weekend (actually it make me stop running at mile 13 and walk the last five). It was so bad that I actually went to the doctor Monday morning. After a couple of X-rays, he gave me some meds, an injection into the bursa sac, and told me to rest for 3-4 days.

I made it the entire four days without completely losing my mind of killing someone (although it was close a couple of times). I wanted to try a short run Friday, but the weather and work didn’t allow for it so I waited until this morning (Saturday) to try out the hip on a 12 mile run.

It was windy, cold, and dark as the members of the iCan Running Group gathered at Gray’s Lake. When we got started, it was 36 degrees, with winds gusting from almost every direction imaginable. Before we took off, Coach Loran said that we have all got the tough miles in, and with three weeks left there is nothing that can be done that will alter our marathon. Coach said that due to the weather, we should aim for 6-8 miles and that would be good enough. Hearing that made me happy, because even though I like the long runs, I wanted to test this hip out. So we stretched, and off we went!

Cold and windy, with lots of wind gusts, that’s what greeted us running across the bridge and almost everywhere we went. I was glad I wore layers and gloves, although I hate having to put them on so early. When I got back to the start, I had 7 miles in. The hip felt pretty good, with only slight discomfort. I’m hoping that by race day it will be 100%.

Running in winter in Iowa can be quite a challenge, especially when the temperatures swing drastically up or down. There’s ice and snow to maneuver around, adding to the challenge. There are ways to get a nice outdoor run in during the winter months, and here are some of the things I do to prepare for winter running:

1. Thermal running pants or tights: These pants will keep your legs warm on some very cold days. I have several pair, each one made for a different temperature.

2. Thermal running socks: I have the knee high thermal socks and they go under the tights to give an extra layer.

3. Layers: I wear an under-shirt and over-shirt with the under-shirt tucked into the tights to keep out drafts and wind. The over-shirt is long sleeved and usually a dry-fit type shirt. Then a hoodie, sweatshirt, or running jacket goes over that.

4. Gloves: Your hands need protection too! They make running gloves where the fingertips are a special material, so you can operate your iPhone.

5. Mask: On really cold days, I wear a running mask. It does tend to cause my sunglasses to fog up, but at least my head stays warm. I just have to remember to take it off BEFORE entering a convenience store.

6. Tracks or cleats: They make tracks for your shoes to help running on snow and ice. While I haven’t needed them yet, the time is coming.

Now that you’re all bundled up, it’s time to run in the frozen tundra! I hope this helps you with outdoor running in winter.



Live healthy, be happy!