Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 Recap: My Bling

As we finished out our last big race of the year with #surfandsanta15 I was thinking about how amazing 2015 was and still is.

I saw a lot of people post all their bling from the year and I just wanted to show some of mine off too. All these people are my bling.  My best bling I earned this year are the friendships I made with some amazing people.  So here it goes.........

First and foremost, my wonderful wife.  I couldn't be more proud and honored at the same time.  She supports me, she loves me and she has also dabbled in her own running journey.

Who couldn't ask for a more amazing group of people to run, train and party with.  I have officially been a pacer for three training teams.  I remember last year for #surfnsanta14, I showed up for the team picture and didn't know anyone.  This year, we have 160 new and old team members.  The difference from last year to this year is truly amazing.  I don't ever run alone anywhere.  Each and everyone of the team members I help pace each week is the best bling I could find.

I couldn't post anything without posting about #teamawesome.  Who is #teamawesome?  It's everybody.  It's the people always smiling, always cheering the last runner, and always being positive. It's who we are.  My mini-team is honestly the best people in the world.  They inspire me daily.

Last but not least.  #DEEZRUNNINGHOEZ

Did I tell you I was the only #hoez that didn't run the Seashore 50k.  Not only did my peeps run a total of SIX MARATHONS and countless half marathons, they all kicked ass Saturday at their first ultra.  Hats off #hoez.  But without these 4 blingtastic friends, I wouldn't be who I am as a runner.  My #hoez are so awesome that after running her first Ultra, Kim showed up in costume and volunteered at the J&A PR Bell and Chalkboard that evening at #surfnsanta15.  Who does that?  

That's why I love my bling.  My bling is way better than your bling because it involves people, friends, family, and life.  

I hope everyone else had a wonderful 2015 and I hope everyone also has a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2015

My Disappointment in Weight Watchers

I hate to even write about this but I have been very disappointed in Weight Watchers over the past few months.  I hit my goal weight in June and received my lifetime membership in July. But since then I have had a roller coaster of a ride dealing with Weight Watchers.

Let me start this by saying that I understand that I have my choices to make for eating habits and that they have been out of control since I started marathon training in the summer.  During the summer months, I was really able to eat anything I wanted and not worry.  But since I finished my marathon I have struggled a bit to maintain my weight.  I am really only two (2) pounds away from where I need to be but I could lose my lifetime membership if I don't get back on track.  To some that's not a big deal but to me it is.  I am also very proud of where I am.  But Weight Watchers has not helped any of this for the past several months.

I want to also say that I haven't been able to make meetings which as I analyze how I felt after last night's confrontation (talk about it soon) I know this hasn't helped with my habits.

It all started in late summer when I went to go weigh in at the Red Mill Weight Watchers store.  I showed up and weighed in.  I was well below my goal weight and was happy.  As I was catching up with one of my favorite Weight Watchers employees, she mentioned to me that the store was closing and they would find a new site later.  I was saddened by this.  Not for me, but more for the struggling people who are trying to lose weight.  Losing the Red Mill store is probably the biggest mistake they made.  They will lose out on a lot of walk ins, new customers, and what not.  After, I asked what I could do to voice my opinion on this and they didn't really give me an answer.  So I went online to the website and emailed customer service.  At this point, I got the wonderful generic email back from Weight Watchers that doesn't help anyone.  It probably is the least helpful response anyone can get.  During this, I get a message from one of the Red Mill store's leaders, Elyse.  She quickly becomes defensive and tells me everything will be alright.  Instead as I tried to tell her, I wasn't angry.  I was disappointed.  She said they would be looking for a new site for the store.  Quickly, she got defensive like I was attacking Weight Watchers but instead really, all I was doing was wanting to tell Weight Watchers Corporate that I am disappointed in their decision to close the store. I

Soon I would find out this was a hoax.  Instead, after I finally got a hold of someone at their wonderful customer service phone number.  And after multiple tries, the regional Weight Watchers lady calls me personally and basically tells me that the reason they closed the store was a business decision.  It had nothing to do with them losing their lease (as I was told).  I was pretty disappointed to hear this.  I told her about my disappointment and explained to her that Weight Watchers is not a business, it is a lifestyle.  And it affects our lives greatly.

For me personally, closing the store meant I had less of a likelihood to attend a meeting because we live so far from suburban areas.   By closing the store, it also meant that there were going to be less meetings.  For you "Non-Weight Watchers" people, the company has been making a huge transition from in person to online over the past few years.  They have jumped into the deep end into the online presence and think that the digital world is the future.  But they forget that we still need to meet and talk, learn and grow.

While this all is happening, Weight Watchers then decides to tell their customers that the Activelink (activity monitor) is being discontinued after two years.  This is after loyal customers purchased both 1.0 and 2.0 for $50 a piece and paid graciously $5 a month for two years to have it connected to your app.  Basically, I paid $220 for a activity monitor that doesn't work anymore (That is two fitbits).  In return, they offer me 20% off on activity monitors only on their website.  They also said they would allow the activity link to be active for a month longer and did not work.  I was pretty disappointed about the activelink.  I wore it everywhere.  I wore it every moment I was awake.

Next onto the issues came their wonderful app updates.  Since October they have been updating their app and website to be ready for their new system.  I think everyone who uses Weight Watchers and is a techy person can say they are probably the only company I have ever seen who updates an app that doesn't work.  Its 2015 not 2007.  You shouldn't update an app and put it out to millions of users who live and die by it and have it not work for days.  For some, still not working.  But since October, they have deleted your favorites, foods, and all kinds of stuff.  Mind you, this is all while I am struggling to maintain.

Then here is the kicker.  Last night, December 10, I go to a meeting at Courthouse Methodist in Virginia Beach to learn about the material.  I show up and I am greeted by the wonderful Lori.  We talk for a few.  I told her I wasn't weighing in because I didn't need to until December 21 and I was just coming to learn about the new program.  Instead, I was scolding by the meeting leader, Susan, and I was told they couldn't even give me the new material because I wasn't weighing in.  She was actually really rude about.  Lori then asked if I wanted to weigh in.  I told her I knew I wasn't going to make it but I still attempted.  So I stepped on and I was a few pounds over.  No big deal.  I knew it.  But I basically had to be shamed into stepping on the scale and feeling bad about myself just to try to get the new material.  Instead, this should of been the moment Weight Watchers stepped in to help me.  To support me.  But instead, Susan was sturn on her decision and made me feel like I wasn't a customer and not important.  Lori told me I could stay for the meeting but by then I felt ashamed and embarrassed.  I was also pretty disappointed that I couldn't feel supported when this was probably the first time in the two and half years I needed support.  It's the holidays, I am on maintenance and I am struggling a bit trying to maintain my weight.

I have never been so disappointed with Weight Watchers.  I am decided to just not do Weight Watchers anymore.  Basically, get rid of the lifestyle I have been working on for over the past two years.

But instead, I am not going to let someone be such a negative impact on me and I am going to move forward.  I am going to keep doing Weight Watchers because I love the program.  And I love the people I have met that are struggling like I am.  I am going to get back on track and be where I want to be.  But I will not ever let someone feel unsupported like I did last night.  Doesn't matter where I am.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Harbor Lights Weekend 2015 Recap #trainjanda #harborlightshalf15

A weekend full of friends, family and awesomeness.  That is what the weekend was about.  For those that know me I help pace the J&A training team.  Today was our epic finale to our months of training in 90 degrees, hurricanes, and torrential down pours.  We had injuries, amazing PRs, and tons of ups and downs.  This was my second round of pacing and it was as awesome as the Shamrock team in 2015.  We started at the USS Wisconsin and finished at Town Point Park in Norfolk.

We had runners race in Detroit, Hershey, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, Richmond, and tons of other places. Our team was made up of 5k-ers to ultra runners and fast to slow.

Today's race was probably one of the coolest moments I have been able to be part of.  I got to volunteer to cheer on my teammates and watch them all come in.  I got to watch and hangout at the training team area.  And it was the best seat in the house.  Our team did incredible.  Some really fast and some slow.  But they all finished.  #teamawesome did amazing.  Some of my crew killed it,  some ran their first halfs and some fought really hard. The moment that immortalized our team was when our last member of our team, Tiffany, came coming in.  She was one of the last runners on the course.  So think about this.  It was in the 40s and it rained the whole time.  Constantly dropping on our team as they chugged through Norfolk.  Now if you run a 1:45 half but think about what its like to be out in that weather for 4 hours.  4 hours of dripping, soaking wet, chafing, chivering cold.  Watching someone come in after 4 hours in this weather is awesome.  This is what running is.  Watching over 50 of your teammates jump the course to run your final teammate was incredible.  It was the best running high I have ever had.  Watching someone smile as like that and fall into her husband's arms was incredible.  If it doesn't get you going then I don't know what will.

Another one of my favorite moments was when one of our teammates, Alyssa, was coming in after 3 hours and as she was coming through the finish, she looked at me, flicked me off with the biggest smile and she did it.  She did amazing and the best part was she that she was with another teammate, Jessica, who probably had one of the worst starts to a race morning I have ever seen.  Jessica got to the training team area literally minutes before the start with no bib, couldn't remember where she parked, and had a close family member pass the way the night before.  Her face showed me everything I needed to know.  She needed a friend.  Thank god for the amazing staff at J&A for assisting her and finding her bib.  But watching these two was incredible.  Watching people transform themselves is what running is.

On top of all this, we also had a teammate get engaged.  Her poor fiance had this magical plan of asking her at the finish line but things didn't work out as well as he thought.  Instead, as he finished, he turned around and she was right behind him.  LOL.  But thinks worked out.  We quieted the team at the tent, he got down on his knees, and he earned his victory.  She said YES!

This weekend was my PR.  I got to watch my friends kill it today.  I got to watch my new friends make some amazing things happen.  I got to watch my wife PR at her 5k.  It was a perfect ending to a perfect season.  Nobody is going to remember the weather.  They are going to remember the stories, the engagement, the camaraderie, and all the smiles that we saw.  I loved peaking over my head and looking at my teammates at the fence cheering on all the runners as they finish.  This is who they are.  This is who I am.

So thank you #wolfpack.  You guys are all my spirit animals today.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My First Marathon: Detroit Free Press Marathon 2015 Recap

Just the title of this post is insane to me.  There are so many words that come to mind of actually running my first marathon; tough, monster, long, amazing.  Before and after the race it sort of has changed back and forth of what I feel about it. But it still hasn't set in what I actually just did.  Having grown up around my Dad running, I never really fully understood the true power of what a marathon really is.  I even remember in March at Shamrock I was standing next to Howie in the J&A tent and asking him all these questions like it was nothing.  Boy was I wrong.  I think until you actually run one you can't really compare anything to it.  I give more props to everyone I know more and more now that I have run one.  The way I think about it is that the more miles you pack on, especially the last 4 miles, and the higher the level of tolerance and power for pain, strength, fortitude, and emotions goes up.  So here is my first marathon recap and please bear with me since it is 26.2 miles of a recap.

Everyone that knows me knows that I am born and raised in Metro Detroit.  I had left Detroit in 2009 and it was the toughest decision for me to ever make.  But without that decision, I wouldn't have all the amazing things I have right now in my life.  So every time I go back to Michigan I get pretty sentimental.  It's my home, they are my people, and everything about me is because of Michigan.  The road trip went great.  We got to Northern Virginia Thursday night late but that was okay.  Avery decided to party all night until 1 AM and we only got like five hours of sleep.  We left Friday morning early and got into Detroit around 3 PM.  I stayed with my best friend, Chuck and his awesome wife, Kelley, all weekend.  We got there and just relaxed before we met my good friend Phil and family and my big brother, Scott and family.  Chuck, Scott and Phil were my three groomsmen (minus Tim) for our wedding.  By the way, we definitely missed Tim on this trip but I would rather spend time hunting with him in December then him taking time off school for this.

Friday night we had dinner out with friends and it was fun the first time all three of my closest friends have got together with all our kids (six kids under the age of 8).  It's funny to think where we were ten years ago.  For dinner I followed Sam Wittenberg's recommendation from a Seminar at Running Etc about marathon nutrition and made sure I loaded up on Carbs two nights before the race.  Dinner was amazing and catching up with my friends was even better.  Not getting home for three years makes the short amount of time you have with friends even better.

Saturday morning we met up with my amazing God Parents Uncle Don and Aunt Shirley.  They have always been there for me.  My Uncle Don worked with my Dad and my Grandfather for many years and I they have always been a part of my extended family.  It was just great to catch up with them and talk.  They absolutely loved Avery.  Avery loved them too.

After Breakfast Avery took a nap and we just relaxed (we didn't get too much of that this weekend).  We met up with my brother and Melissa and had lunch at their house.  I got to meet to check out their house all fixed up and meet their new puppy, Max.

After lunch my brother, family, and Chuck headed downtown to the Expo.  I knew I wanted to enjoy myself and embrace the marathon weekend.  We walked around and they put on a pretty good expo.  I had to get my passport checked to get my bib which was weird.  But it is an "international" marathon and all (Take that Amy Cash).  Everyone had fun at the expo.  Even my brother and Melissa almost got the running fever.  Saturday night we had dinner with the Tickles and just relaxed.  It was funny because I got to watch my best friend freaking out about his first half while I was freaking out about my first full internally.

We met my brother at the Cobo Hall People Mover station and relaxed a bit before Chuck and I headed out.  We left the crew and Chuck and I jogged to the start line.  I had chuck stay next to me because I knew he was a little nervous and I wanted to enjoy the moment of starting with your best friend in his first race.  I reminded him of all the things that everyone reminded me:  No matter what it is a PR, don't go out too fast and enjoy the moment.  We talked for a bit and we both put on our game face.  The one thing the race did have was a sweet electronic start display. 

I started with the 3:55 pace group.  I knew if I had my race I would surpass this pace but I didn't want to go out too fast.  I listened to the advice of my coach (Thanks Ryan) and decided on sticking with a slower pace.  The group was pretty large and it was tough to stay with during the first few miles and up the bridge.  I told myself to stay true to myself no matter what.  The bridge was only two lanes for the bridge and there were a few times I had to jump the curb to negotiate slower runners.  The bridge is as big as it looked.  It didn't affect me but it sure was fun to run down.  Once I got to the other side, I was in the land of Canadian bacon aka where all the 19 year old Americans used to spend time.  Once I crossed the bridge, I left the pace group.

MILES 6-10
Mile 6 through Mile 8 went along the Canadian waterfront and was pretty chilly.  But there was a great amount of crowd support.  By this time, I was chopping off people left and right.  My goal was around 8:45 at this pace but I knew I was going a bit faster.  Miles 8-9 were in the tunnel and got pretty warm in there.  I expected that since I read some other runner's blogs on the race.  Going back up the tunnel was a bit tough but I was fine then too.  Once we crossed back into the US of A, I got pretty amped.  On my way out of the tunnel, I was chanting “Murica, ‘Murica”.  We turned  and headed Southwest and went towards Mexicantown.  This was fun running this part of the course.  They definitely should incorporate more of Mexicantown in the future of the race.  I was still feeling pretty strong at this point.  My GPS lost track in the tunnel and it took a bit too catch up.  But I ran on feel and I know I kept pace.  My watch told me I had a 9 minute mile then a 7 minute mile, so it was clearly catching up on the GPS tracking.

MILES 10-14
Once I got to mile 10, I was getting pretty amped.  I knew I was going to see my family soon for the last time until the finish.  Which means I had the toughest part ahead without any support.  At mile 13 I knew I was getting close and when I saw my family, I felt invincible.  It was awesome to have my brother there too.  When I got close, Avery just lit up and I got to give her a kiss.  There isn't a better thing in this world then your own daughter lighting up when you come running by.  I kissed her and went off.  On my watch, I was at 1:52 for the half, so I knew I was 8 minutes in the bank for my goal of 4:00 (Thanks Kim). 

If you are going to run a race, you might as well enjoy it.  So I decided to take a selfie and send it to the #trainjanda facebook page just to make sure they knew I was alive and also because the Free Press Race up was terrible.

MILES 14-20
Miles 14-20 went through Indian Village and I was pretty nervous because I was feeling really good.  I ran next to a nice lady named Lisa from Syracuse.  I partook in a beer too.  Well, actually just a sip.  At this point, I ran past my HS friend's husband, Matt.  I think I shocked him when I ran past him.  I also went past the 3:50 Pacer and I knew I was tracking well for my goal.

MILES 21-25
At Mile 22, I kind of had a come to Jesus moment.  At this point, I had killed my race and had run further than ever before.  By now, my legs were starting to get tired but I knew I had juice left.  At this point in the race, I was passing a ton of Relay and the US only half runners.  This made it very difficult to pace myself.  I also lost Lisa (hope she did well).  I also called my wife and told her I was doing well.   I knew she would be worrying and I wanted to make sure they didn't miss me at the finish.  I also decided to call the training team via Kim.  When I called her, everyone was still running.  She was really confused when I called her.  She is like, why are you calling me?  I told her, I just wanted to tell her I have ran further than I ever have.  Kim called me back ten minutes later once my buddy Steve finished his half.  Hearing Steve, Kim and Lori's voices really kept me going.  I was in new territory with my mileage and was all alone.  At Mile 24 I lost my music because my phone died from all the roaming in Canada and the tunnel.  I was pretty disappointed but I knew I would be fine.  I will admit, this really sucked at the time.  I had some really good jams to blast me through the last two miles.

The final mile winded through the waterfront boardwalk.  I was pretty excited to run this since it opened after I moved.  A few minutes into mile 26 I started feeling my hands shaking.  I tried to shake it off but I couldn't.  I knew something was wrong because I was starting to get light headed too.  The last half mile was all guts.  I decided I needed to keep pushing because I wasn't going to DNF on the last mile.  I also knew if I did slow down, it would mean it would be longer time to me figuring out my problem.  The last turn of the marathon was a short steep hill that I didn't expect.  At this point, I knew I was dehydrated and it was really tough sledding.  As I made the last turn, I knew I had nothing left and was just hanging on with a thread because everyone was passing me.  I tried to smile and be excited but by the time I finished I knew I needed to get help. 

As I was walking through the finish area, Lori asked me how I was doing.  She knew instantly that I wasn't feeling well.  If she didn't have Avery, she told me she would have jumped the barriers.  The rest was sort of a blur.  I kept asking people for help and where the medic tent was.  I knew I was going through shock because I started to slur my speech.  I finally got my way to the Massage tent and thank god there was a Nurse who helped me out.  She instantly asked my name, my wife's phone number and got enough information to call Lori.  By the time Lori got there they were trying to get as many liquids in me as possible.  Once she got there they stripped me down and put my dry clothes on.  At this point I was hypothermic. My poor brother got here at the same time and he kind of freaked out seeing me in such a bad state. They instantly took me over to the medic tent and kept giving me Gatorade, chocolate milk and bananas.  At one point I was cramping in my hamstrings, calves, quads and shins and also shivering from being cold.  Thank god for a great wife and medic staff who helped me stretch a little bit and help me rehydrate.  After about an hour I knew I was good enough to head out. 

It took me a few days to really figure out what went wrong but I will talk about that later.  Once we left the medic tent, we headed out for lunch and finally got to talk to Chuck about his race.  I was pretty stoked to hear he ran a 2:10.  I had put a ton of pressure of myself for this race.  It was my hometown, my first marathon and I didn't want to let people down.  I felt like everyone was riding on me.  I didn't want to let my pace team down, my running friends who have helped me train down and all of the J&A Training Team down.  My real goal for the race was 4 hours.  Even though I knew I could be faster, I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself.  Instead, I nailed my marathon even with the complications at the last half mile.  I ran a 3:48 marathon and was pretty happy.  I never would have imagined running that quick but I did.  I kept to my plan of running slower the first 5 miles and picking up my pace as the race went on.  I ran my perfect race and I am proud of that.  I also think I represented my family, friends and training team well.  I can't thank them enough for their love and support.

This marathon was the single toughest thing I have ever done.  As an athlete most my life I can say this was tougher than anything I did in high school football and lacrosse.  I would also say that running a marathon is ten times tougher than running a half marathon.  But it is also ten times worth it more after.  Two years ago I would have never fathomed running a marathon in 3:48.  I would ever never even imagined even enjoying it.  But I did.  And for everyone’s question, “Will I do it again?”  Yes, but not for a while.  I want to get my speed up before I attempt again.  But I will be running half marathons like I drink coffee, all day erraday.

For my dehydration issue, I have had a few days to think about it.  I remember listening last year to the nutrition seminar and distinctly hearing to take salt tablets before the race or even during the race.  This is I did not do.  I also think the temperatures being well below my training temps made me think I didn’t need as much water.  As I look back, I probably should of chugged more water.  I did drink water at every station but the temperatures made me feel like I wasn’t sweating as much.  I also probably need to try different types of fuel.  Energy Jelly beans at freezing temps were pretty tough to chew.  I also think I need to eat something more substantial during the race like I have before.  Maybe a clif bar or something.  But I have no should of, could of moments.  I ran my best and couldn’t be any happier with the results. 

I also want to give some thank yous.  So here they go.

Lori, my wonderful wife for supporting me.  Couldn’t of done it without you.  I also want to thank our kids, Avery and Tim.  They are always my motivation to keep pushing myself to a better me every day.  You guys are my everything.

Running Etc. – Thank you for the support.  Especially Drew and Mark at the Virginia Beach store.  Drew since day one has been a positive supporter of not just my running but to anyone who runs.

J&A – Thank you to Jerry and Amy for allowing me to be a pacer.  I never thought it would be so much fun and it has changed my life more than I can explain.

Ryan – Thank you for all the words of wisdom and being the awesome coach you are to the training team.

J. Wade – Thank you for inspiring me.

Kim, Amy, John, Mandy and Steve aka #deezrunninghoez – You guys make running fun.  You are simply the coolest people on the planet and I enjoy every minute I have running and hanging out with you guys.  You made training and running 170 mile months easy.  So thank you.

#teamawesome – I would name a few on here but there is more than just a few of you awesome people.  There are so many of you that I want to thank.  I love every second I get to run with all of you.  I am actually honored to be your guy’s pacer and friend.  I look forward to watching you guys kick some ass at Harbor Lights. 

The rest of #trainjanda – Thank you for embracing what the team is about.  Thank you for making it easy to want to wake up every weekend and go run with you.  Thank you for working hard and accomplishing all your own personal goals.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Being Grateful

If you haven't heard, Hurricane Joaquin was suppose to drop down on Hampton Roads and ruin everything I had planned this weekend. This weekend was supposed to be my 1 year anniversary of my first half marathon, Crawlin Crab. I was pretty bummed. So was my wife, my running friends and everyone else. Even though the hurricane went offshore and it will probably be nice, J&A Racing did the right thing by cancelling it for the safety of the runners and spectators. The sad part is I will miss the rescheduling because it is the same day as my full marathon. I was also bummed because I was going to race and PR again. That won't happen and that kind of sucked.

But then my running buddy, Steve posted an article on Facebook called, 5 THINGS SUCCESSFUL RUNNERS NEVER DO and it dawned on me. #5 was "DON'T FORGET TO BE GRATEFUL" which hit me really hard. Sometimes we get so caught up in this notion that the race is the most important thing. But the last quote said it best, "We forget that the true beauty of running is the ability to do it at all, that our bodies are letting us engage in this wondrous process of rapidly placing on foot in front of the other. To be able to run is a gift and one that should not be taken for granted." For me, that is so true. Last year, I was just happy to finish my first half marathon. And sometimes we just need to be reminded.

So today, I am going to be grateful for everyone I have around me when it comes to running. I am three weeks away from my first marathon and I am super stoked. I have an amazing family that supports me (which I appreciate because I know how much time I have been away somedays). I also have an amazing training team, running partners and pacing group. Instead, I am going to talk about them.

First off, if you follow me on Instagram or on here you probably have noticed the #trainjanda hashtag. Here in Hampton Roads we are pretty lucky to have an awesome running community including our local running store, Running Etc, local running groups like Tidewater Striders, and our local racing company, J&A Racing, which organizes the Shamrock Marathon weekend and many more big running events. The cool part about J&A is that they have a training team. The best part is that I have been part of it since last winter. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into by pacing but it sure has been awesome. We also have an awesome coach in Ryan Conrad who runs the training team. He is the perfect fit to lead and organize a program like this training team. I have been lucky enough to be part of it for almost a year. I am also to call so many of these peeps my friends. So many of them.

I actually have the best group, 12+ minute pace group. Every weekend they come out and keep pushing themselves. Some of them are newbies, some are veteran runners and some are in between. But all of them are awesome. They literally motivate me each week. Do you know how cool it is to run with someone on their longest run ever? Or their fastest run ever? That is all I do every weekend. I get to basically watch them kick ass and be awesome. That is why my group gave themselves the nickname #teamawesome. And they are truly awesome people. I could go on and on about all of them, past and present. I can’t say enough about them because truly they are epitomy of awesome. I also need to thank them for all the great moments I have had with each and one of them.

Then there is #deezrunninghoez. HA. During the Shamrock training team, I didn't really get to meet a lot of the difference pace groups, especially the quicker groups . But after Shamrock the training team kept on meeting up and I starting running with a few around 9 minute pace. At first I was pretty nervous because I didn't think I could keep up because I hadn't run that fast long distance before. One of their favorite stories is me asking them if I could tag along. From April until now, I have been running with them ever since and having amazing training partners is worth its weight in gold. I was just lucky enough to meet these crazy kids. Somewhere along the line we gave ourselves the nickname #deezrunninghoez and it has since stuck. And since it was one of them that gave me the idea of being grateful for what you got, I wanted to talk about each and everyone of them.

John aka Chili Dog himself. John is the silent leader. He is a veteran of running and the Navy. He is typically quiet but pretty funny once he does say something. He is very terrible at calculating distances for runs (My first 16 miler was a wee bit longer thanks to him). But he keeps the eye on the prize every week and keeps us up to date with our countdowns to our races.

Kim aka Juice. I don't even know what to type here. But she is the meaning of being a bad ass. She is a multi Boston Qualifier. She has run like 1,000 marathons and she runs faster on tequila. She also has the biggest heart and most positive personality you could find. She is always a cheerleader not just for me but to every runner she meets.

Amy aka Happy is my long lost DMB pal. She loves to gel numerous times on runs and everytime she does her paces goes up about a minute. She is nicknamed Happy because she literally says hi to everybody we see running (including the little kid on the bike she almost kicked over). She is like the sister I never had.

Steve aka Trouble. I don't know how he got his nickname but I am guessing it came from his wife, Becky. Steve is a machine. First off, he started running about the same time as me and Crawlin Crab was his first half marathon too. Crazy how paths cross. Second, He is also our elderly member of the group. Sometimes he forgets that he's almost twice my age. I really hope I can be as fast as him when I am older. He is just constantly the always a positive guy. And has a great name too. He is the glue of our gang.

Then there is Mandy aka Meghan aka Amy2. Lol. Mandy joined the training team for the fall and she is training for her first marathon too. She started running with us during mid summer and has been killing it too. I actually think she has the most 20 mile runs under her belt (I think she has run everyone's 20 milers even though we are all training for different marathons). Mandy is also another awesome person to talk with and run with.

Somehow they gave me the nickname Beast (As of last night, my official nickname is El Burrito).

But today I am grateful for all these people. As I have to taper the next two weeks, I will think about all the sweat and miles I have put under my feet with all these people and remember how grateful I am to have such awesome running friends. I can't thank them enough.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wedding Anniversary, Weight Watchers Anniversary, Big Boy Speed Work, and All That Jazz

Yesterday was Lori and myself's 3 year anniversary.  We were just talking about how it felt so long ago when we got married.  But we were two totally different people.  We are older, wiser, healthier.  We also have a busy life with a teenager and 16 month old.  We told ourselves that we need to take time out for each other so we decided to go to Ocracoke.  We both love the island, specifically, Ocracoke Coffee.  Anyways, we only went for one night but we had a blast.  We had amazing food, drinks, explored the island, coffee, bike rides, and no baby monitor.  We still seemed to wake up at 6:30.  But we really enjoyed bringing our bikes.  The island is a really bikeable place.  It is funny to think three years ago I was two fat to want to bike around the island.  This time, I wanted to even after running 18 miles.  But ocracoke was great.  We enjoyed every second of it and it was much needed us time.

September 21 is my Weight Watchers anniversary.  I weighed in for the first time truly committed to losing weight two years ago.  I weighed in at 330 pounds.  I remember when I used to lie to myself and pretend I wasn't over 300.  I would tell people I was 290.  But I stuck to the system, integrated exercise and here I am.  I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, I have been under 200 pounds for several months and I enjoy life much more.  It feels great to know I have accomplished it.  The hardest part is knowing I have to maintain and I don't have to lose anymore.  it is a much harder mental game.  But I am proud of where I am.

Let me tell you this, I just started doing speed work this summer for my full marathon training.  Since the beginning until now it all has been tough.  But it is a good tough.  Since long distance running is such a singular movement it is good to me moving differently with speed work.  Some people don't like but I do.  It reminds me of two-a-days in high school football.  I like the feeling of maxing out your cardio system and the feeling of extreme exhaustion.  But it has got a bit easier as each week has gone by even as we added more distance to it each week.  This week was the big boy.  For elite runners, they do crazy things like 3x5ks.  But for normal runners like myself, the big boy run is 3x 2 milers.  6 miles of fast pace speed work.  For some, their max speed isn't that much faster but for me, mine is pretty quick (sub 7 minute miles).  Man was it tough.  The winds were howling too with 20 mph winds on the back mile (you can see it in my pace).  No excuses though.  I did really well and I only missed the last one by a second so I was pretty happy.  I am also happy that it is done.

Monday I had off and it was nice.  I got to enjoy the day with Avery.  She is growing so fast.  I am very fortunate I get one day off every two weeks to enjoy with her.  I am really fortunate for everything I have actually.

So, on to the next one.  PS- I also went to yoga.

Monday, September 7, 2015

August and End of Summer Recap

I couldn't type up a post while on vacation.  Actually, I just didn't want to.  I enjoyed my vacation.  It was much needed since we haven't really had a true vacation since last July.  But August came and went fast and so did vacation.  Anyways, here it is.


Running has never been better.  Even though I have had a few bumps and bruises here and there from training, my body has held up nicely.  Better than expected.  Following a training plan and doing what is says has helped.  Since being part of two J&A training teams, I have learned a few things along the way.  The first thing I learned is follow the plan (Am I right Chuck?).  Don't over do it even though you know you can.  Follow the plan, follow the pace and follow the schedule.  The other thing is you don't need to make up a run.  It also helps running with great people too.  Having a great crew of friends to run your long run with is amazing.  The other thing I have learned is speed work helps.  So do it.  I proved this yesterday when after running 11 miles I was able to run two miles under 7:30 average but I will talk more about that later.  August I hit the most mileage I have ever hit, 177 miles.  I also did my first 20 miler with support from the wife on vacation.  I killed it with a 8:45 pace.

The Fall J&A Training Team also started 5 weeks ago and it has been awesome as usual.  I have a great group of people to train as their pacer.  It is very enjoyable to just relax and help other people pace.  When you are concentrating so much on your own training you sometimes forget to just enjoy the moments.  It's exciting to be able to watch other people have an amazing run.  My wife signed up this fall and she is enjoying the camaraderie and team atmosphere.  I have a huge group of probably over 25 people.


What a wonderful week.  We stayed at our timeshare in Myrtle Beach at the Sheraton Broadway Plantation and had both our moms, my niece and a friend of Tim's with us.  We enjoyed every second of it.  We just stayed at the resort and enjoyed the lazy river, pools, and everything else it has to offer.  It is amazing to enjoy a vacation with the people you love.  I love watching Avery grow each and everyday.  It is also amazing watching her try new things.  Overall, another amazing vacation.

That's all for now.  40 days until the Detroit Free Press Marathon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

July Recap: Weight Watchers Lifetime Goal, Longest Run Ever, and J&A Training Team

I am going to break this post down by topic.  I will just put it this way: Marathon training, kids, family, life, blah, blah, blah.

July was a crazy month for the family.  Tim is always busy between baseball, being a teenager and stuff.  Then there is the little chunky butt, Avery.  She keeps us busy 24-7.   I love every second of it but she is definitely my child.  As I learned from my Uncle Dan a couple weekends ago, my brother and I made him never want to have kids.  LOL.  We had a great July.  We got to go down to South Carolina and visit my grandparents, aunt and uncle.  My grandpa has had some major health problems in the past few years but he looked great.  I am pretty fortunate to have my kids be able to visit their great-grandparents.  It was great catching up with my family.  My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Dan are actually the family who came up and ran the Crawlin Crab with me for my first half marathon.  My Aunt Nancy also ran my first long run with me last summer.  It was that day that I knew I could actually run a half marathon.  So lucky to have such a great family to visit.

 Lori and I have been enjoying the summer.  The garden is in full effect, the CSA is giving us amazing foods and we are just enjoying the busy life of a 15 month old.  We don't get to do a lot of stuff we usually do in the summer but it's okay.  In a few years, it will be easier to take Avery to the beach, water park, and pool.  She is a ball of fun and we enjoy it.

If I hadn't decided to take a day off last week I would of broke my record for most mileage in a month.  I decided not to because I was on an antibiotic and wasn't feeling well.  I am glad I didn't because I felt great for my longest run ever on Saturday when I had 18 miles.  Running has been going great.  Except a few bumps and bruises and little tweeks here and there, I have been truckin'.  Being sore and hurting is part of the deal when you are training.  I will admit, full marathon training is a lot of work when you are a full time parent and work.  But I am pretty fortunate I have an amazing wife.

#deezrunninghoez, my mini group of running friends who I have been training with have been keeping me on top of my game.  It is great to have running friends to enjoy the tough and fun days of running.

The J&A Fall Training Team kicked off this past Sunday.  It was an amazing event with amazing people.  J&A did an amazing job of hosting us.  This will be my second team to pace for.  I can't even describe how awesome it is to be a team leader and watch people accomplish their goals.  This fall we have over 100 people including Lori.  The staff at J&A and the team do an amazing job keeping the energy of races going during training.  I am lucky to be part of it.

I officially became a lifetime member on Saturday at Weight Watchers.  What this means is that I have hit my goal weight and have maintained it for six weeks.  I had to start my 18 mile run at 5:45 in the morning to make the meeting.  But it was worth it.  Without Elyse and the Weight Watchers team at the Red Mill Commons store, I would not be where I am today.  I can't believe in September 2013 I started this journey and have lost 130 lbs.  I am healthier, skinnier, and stronger than I have ever been.  Weight Watchers does work.  But you have to do it to make it work.  I have combined a healthier eating lifestyle and exercise daily.  I have spent two years getting to this point and now I am scared of having to maintain.  I don't know how I will but I will keep working on it.  I am glad I have lost all this weight and I am able to be active with my kids and wife.  We enjoy our new life so much better.  It all starts with your first goal.  Mine was five pounds.  If I can do it, you can too.  Our instructor at Weight Watchers, Elyse, pulled me upfront at the meeting.  People asked me all kinds of questions and I was a little nervous.  It's funny because in the past year, I have been interviewed in Runner's World, will be in a new book by Runner's World next year, and I still get nervous giving other people advice.  But sometimes I still think I am that fat kid and I think people can relate to that.  
My new goal is to maintain my healthy lifestyle and stay at my goal weight.  I know I can lose more weight if it happens but I am happy where I am at.

Overall, life is amazing.  I am so lucky to have all the things I have today.  Take a deep breathe and look around.  Life is pretty grand.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I remember around 2006-2007 when I was getting annoyed that some of my friends were leaving Michigan for cities like Chicago.  It really annoyed me.  I was a huge "pro" Detroit person then and I still am today.  I used to get annoyed even when I had friends going to Chicago for the weekend.  I would be like, "Detroit is better than Chicago".  Then, in 2009 I moved out of Michigan and became on of those people.  It broke my heart.  I went to grad school in Detroit, bartended in Detroit, and absolutely loved the grittiness, beauty and age of the city.  I was born in Detroit and almost killed in Detroit.  It's my hometown and my favorite city in the world.  I miss my hometown and home
state every day.  I miss driving down Woodward Avenue.  I miss Royal Oak.  I miss running into friends all the time all over the place.  I hate missing out on things like being there for the Lions making the playoffs, Tigers going to the World Series, Eminem and Jay-Z at Comerica Park.

Nobody understands what it's like to never be able to move back to your hometown.  Here in Hampton Roads, people don't understand what it is truly like to have a hometown.  Most the population here is transient.  I used to hate thinking about how I would never make it back to Detroit.  Some days I still do.  I miss having a beer with my best friend.  I miss Yates Cider Mill.

But the one thing I learned a few years back is if you have the right person in your life, those things disappear and new things take their place.  That person is Lori.  Anybody that knew me probably was blown away that I married Lori.  But she is the one.  She completes me.  She makes me want to be better everyday.  I wouldn't have two amazing kids without her.  I wouldn't have lost over 130 pounds if it wasn't for her.  I wouldn't be where I am today.  But I think about moments like this weekend when we biked to see the fireworks at the oceanfront or we binge watched the first season of True Detective and I remind myself how happy I am.  We don't always like the same things.  But we love all the same things at the same time.

Nobody ever tells you how hard having a kid really is.  I mean, we are constantly on the move.  I think we need to train parents on what it is like to have kids.  Because for me it was a shock and awe campaign.  But I love it.  I love the few minutes I get with Lori where we can breathe, even if it is just for a few seconds.

As life is speeding past us faster than we think, I am glad I got her beside me.  Because I wouldn't be able to admire moments like this weekend.

Friday, June 26, 2015

How To Lose 130 Pounds

Last week I finally hit my goal weight.  This morning as I was driving to work I was thinking about how much I wanted to take a bike ride last night with my wife and it reminded me of a business trip to Ocracoke Island I had a few years back.  I was hosting peers for a two day trip and I hade to guide people on a bike tour.  Even though I owned a really nice bike, I decided to rent a scooter to give the tour because, well, I was really fat.  I played it off like, "oh, this is awesome".  But realistically it was because I was so fat I didn't want to be embarrassed of being out of breathe riding a bike.  So, as I was thinking, I really needed to jot down my thoughts about losing weight.  Here is my disclaimer: these are my thoughts, I haven't even had to start maintaining my weight and yes, I am just me (my body is different than yours).

So here is my key points of losing weight.


It really isn't.  It is a lifestyle change.  It takes work, it takes time, and it will is for the rest of your life.  You can't just lose weight and decide I can eat like I used to. Now some people do try some new fad or gimmick or stuff that even works.  I did not.  I used Weight Watchers and it worked for me.  it might not for you (So don't sweat it, try something else).  I use Weight Watchers because it simplifies your habits by making a useful app for your phone to add what you eat and it calculates what you should eat based off your age, height, weight, and gender.  Obesity is an addiction just like alcohol, caffeine, or any other type of drugs.  Just because it is legal doesn't mean it is healthy.


This follows the first rule.  You don't have to eat all vegetables, shakes, microwavable foods or whatever myth people tell you.  It is about portion control and being honest.  I still eat pizza, ice cream, and cookies.  I just limit how much of all that stuff I do.  I tend to have one bad day every week.  With Weight Watchers, you have extra weekly points that you can use if you go over board.  You need to enjoy yourself.  I tell the story about last summer when I was on vacation with my family and I not only used all my weekly points but I also used my activity points.  Almost every night we went out for ice cream.  I didn't care because I was healthy about my other choices and well, I did rule #3 (see below).  Starving yourself or eating incorrectly will do two things.  It will make you miserable and also stop your body from functioning correctly.  If you eat the right things, your body will work correctly.  If you enjoy it, you will keep it up.


Here is the one people forget.  Humans were not designed to be sitters.  We were designed to be nomads, hunters and gatherers.  Our bodies have a large amount of muscle and it needs to be used.  The more muscle, the less fat, and the more your body burns food.  Think of your body as a car.  take care of it, use it.  I only started running because the Elliptical was not enough for me at the gym.  But not only do you need to work out, you need to be more active.  I walk twice a day during work.  I spend 15 minutes each time.

Eat better and work out and your body will like you.  I also recommend buying an activity tracker like a fitbit, gps or whatever.  I actually use the Activity Link through Weight Watchers because it gives me points I can eat for being active.

I exercise so I can eat.  lately, my wife and I bought bikes and have been biking.  Last weekend we biked 7 miles to go get ice cream.  It was worth it.  Make it fun.  Do it with people.  But start slowly.  Even if you can barely move, just start with little things.


This is a big one.  Don't do this for the kids or your wife.  Do it for yourself.  yes, they can be your motivation.  But you have to want to be healthier.  You are the one who has to do it.


Very simple.  Keep positive people around you.  People will complain, bitch and do whatever else they want when they see your habits change.  Who cares.  If you are healthy and happy than be that way.  Don't let anyone let you down.  I can't tell you how many people have asked me, "how much more are you going to lose?".  I don't know.  It also helps having positive people around because it makes it easier to transition to healthier lifestyles and eating habits.  My wife and I have altered our meals but it was all gradual.  But we love it.  She has supported me the whole time and it has helped us both.


You can not compare with anyone else.  Everybody has a different body make up, age, gender, etc.  You are only working with yourself.

I am probably going to add things to the list but I think these are the most important.  A lot of this stuff is things people do tell you.  I don't have the perfect answer or tips for this but these are my thoughts.  And as I move forward, I am going to keep writing this stuff down because it is a reminder.  Good luck out there people.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Goal Weight Achieved

I don't even know what to say really.  When you first start Weight Watchers, you pick small battles like 1st 5 lbs, or 10%, or your 1st 25 lbs.  I remember my first goal was under 300.  It had been so long since I had been under 300 pounds that I was just excited to get there before New Years Eve 2014.  Then I hit 50 pounds (I was pretty excited).  Then I lost 75 pounds.  Then the biggest number I hit was 230 pounds which was a 100 pound weight loss.  That is a lot of weight to lose.  It wasn't easy.  My doctor even wrote me a note so I could get Goal Weight at 230 but when i literally weighed in I was 4 pounds too low.  So I had to reboot.

I picked 200 pounds.  I haven't been under that weight since middle school.  Those 30 pounds were the toughest.  I had more weight gains (I haven't had many) then I did the rest of my journey.  I haven't been going to meetings as frequent because they are the same time I run in the morning on Saturdays and their schedules are not really conducive with a working husband (most their meetings are during the weekday and not even early morning or late evening).  I would probably weigh in every 3 weeks.  I would start to stress during the second week when I didn't know where I was.  But.....

Today, I weighed in before work.  I finally hit it.  I weighed in at 198.  I hit my Goal Weight and begin to start the maintaining process.  I am pretty much scared because I have to add points to my daily system so I don't lose too much.  But I am also super excited.  Seeing that "1" on the scale was awesome.  I will hopefully be able to embrace my victory tomorrow morning with my old group.  I haven't made a meeting in a long time but it's only because I am much more active in my life.  I miss going to meetings but I have to pick my battles.

I never thought I would weigh less than 200 pounds.  It wasn't easy.  I had family deaths, family drama, holidays, partial separation, and everything else thrown at me.  But the reality is this:  I am and never was on a "diet"  I changed my lifestyle.  I changed my life.  Lori and I even bought bikes and a baby trailer for Avery.  We biked six miles to get ice cream last week.  Every Sunday we go to the Oceanfront to run and get coffee together.  We love it.

As Ice Cube would say, "Today was a good day".  

I couldn't of done this without great friends and a wonderful wife.  She has had her own weight loss journey and knows what it takes.  

I don't really know what my next plan of action is.  I do know I am going to keep running and keep doing what I am doing.

Here is my weight loss graph.  I have been consistent but I have had some bumps in the road.

Monday, June 15, 2015

CHKD 8k Run for the Kids 2015 Recap

So this is only the second race I have done two years in a row.   Last year, it was my second race and it was truly the race that really motivated me to run more.  In 2014, I ran the Shamrock 8k and I wasn't really addicted to running yet.  But the CHKD did it for me last year.  I didn't even know anyone at the race but I loved it.  Last year, I ran it in 56 minutes.  Which I was so excited because it was a big chunk off my last 8k at Shamrock.

The event is for a great cause.  It is for Children's Hospital for the Kings Daughter.  This year I was excited because this was the first race Lori was running with me (she says she's not a runner).  I helped Lori train pretty good.  She got a four mile run the week before which was more I got before an 8k last year.  She was nervous.  I was too for her.  It was dreadfully hot and humid.  By the time she finished it was 90 degrees out. At the start, I kissed her and wished her luck.  I was going for a PR and she was going to run her own pace.
I will say this, it was the second hottest race I have ever ran.  The #rftd2015 half marathon was as hot but I had to run a half. So that sucked.  Lol.


So, my longest run I have run at full tilt has been a 5k.  I knew I could push myself for this race but it was really hot and I didn't know if I could do it.  I ran the 5k at a 7:30 pace and I knew it was in me.  I kept pouring one cup of water on my head and sipped one at each water stop.  I was pretty stoked with my finish.  I finished in 37:56.  Which is a 7:29 pace.  I destroyed my last PR in the 8k at about 8 or 9 minutes.  Couldn't be anymore happy.

I found Tim and Avery, drank a bottle and took Avery to catch up with Lori.  I ran about a mile back and found Lori around mile 4.  She was overheated but was doing really good.  At that point, she had run farther than she ever has it.  I dumped a bottle of water on her head and she felt better.  Avery and I kept her on pace and she finished.  She was super excited.  She was exhausted but happy.  She really did good.  At one moment, she hugged me and cried and told me she never imagined she could accomplish running an 8k.

She had become a runner.  She loved it.  She felt so good about herself and she was excited to run the next day.  On Saturday, just like it was for Shamrock was the best moment you could have.  Helping and watching some finish a race and feeling the pride of accomplishment.  But this time it was my wife.  Which I couldn't of been prouder.

Running isn't just about yourself.  It's about the community, families, kids and accomplishments.  Running gives you a feeling most can't understand.

So, Lori, what's your next race?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Hoppy Hour Runs @jandahoppyhours

I remember graduating from college and living in Royal Oak, Michigan and thinking how awesome it was to live in a bike-able and walk-able city.  I bought myself a nice Giant urban bike to use.  I rarely did use it unless I was delivering for Jimmy Johns, which I made a bunch of money not having to deal with parking and being quicker than the drivers.  But I rarely used my bike like I truly wanted to.  I think I used it once to go downtown to go for dinner.  I also talked a lot about walking and enjoying the community.  That I never did.

Scroll forward ten years.......

And here I am 130 pounds lighter, ten years older, and I am the healthiest I have ever been.  I run 5 times a week and I walk regularly on a daily basis.  Lori and I go every Sunday and run together than get coffee at our favorite joint, #badasscoffee.

Last night, J&A racing had their first #jandahoppyhour run at Hot Tuna.  There were over 100 runners who met up, went for a run together and had some hops and food.  Lori asked me if I was okay with her joining me.  I said, Hell yeah.  Why not?  When I started to lose weight, I wanted our family to be healthier.  I wanted us to do things we didn't want to do before.  I love that my wife wants to join me for a run and bring Avery.  Actually, the best purchase I ever made was the jogging stroller.  Avery loves it.  Lori, when she is home, it gives her time to clean or cook while I take her.  It is also bonding time and it is also a positive image to show our daughter what it is like to be healthy.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad would take my brother and I on the Big Boy fun runs in Huntington Woods (If the Motor City Striders brought this race series back, I would travel to do it).

Back to last night.  It was a blast.  I never thought becoming an ambassador for #runningetc would take me to the places I have gone.  I never thought I would be so active.  It's great.  My wife loves it, I love it and Avery loves it.  You don't really understand how awesome a community is until you are part of it.  And the running community in Hampton Roads is top notch.  From our local running store, local race company and local running groups like the Tidewater Striders and Running Turtles, is just fantastic.  I mean there were 100 people out there.  That's awesome.  I mean 100 people being active at their pace.  There were kids, spouses, and people from all ages.

Last night, I also found a bike trailer for Avery so we can pull her on bike rides once we pick up our bikes.  I know, I know, where is this going.  Well, I started this post out talking about my old bike.  When I first moved into Lori's house (now our house), I sold my Giant.  I was like there is no way I would use it on these rural roads (this was before I lost weight).  Now, I run on these roads and Lori and I decided to buy each other bikes with our tax returns.  I am picking them up tomorrow finally.  But how great it is that when you are healthier, you love doing more things.  That trailer is going to be awesome.  I can't wait to take the family for a bike ride around Creeds or the oceanfront for ice cream or on vacation.  I never did that as a kid but I am excited that Lori and Tim want to.

So, this summer's theme is #hoppyhour.  Last night was the epitome of what I want my summer to be, family oriented, healthy, and active.  Summer is just starting but I am so excited to enjoy it with my family friends.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Run For The Dream Half Marathon Recap #rftd2015

Man, what a weekend.  Sometimes I don't know how I got so lucky.  Earlier in the week, I got sick (in turn got my whole family sick) and I got dehydrated.  Not only was worried about my race, I was more worried about my family.  Thank god everyone got better and we could still go camping for part of the weekend.  Lori and I had planned to go camping the whole weekend.  It would of been the first true camping trips for Avery, Tim and Lori.  But we decided to rest up and just go up to Williamsburg on Saturday and camp one night.  It was super hot this weekend but it was still fun.

The KOA in Williamsburg was really nice and clean.  We got a shaded spot and that was a bonus.  I forgot how wonderful it is to sleep two adults on a full air mattress (said no one).  But we loved it.  We made Avery's first s'mores.  We even set up the pack-n-play in the tent and Avery slept wonderful.  I think I was the only one who didn't.  But that was more nerves.  They also had a ton of things for kids to do.  A great pool at that too.

We had dinner with one of my fellow #trainjanda teammates, Joanna and her husband, Derek.  We went to Sal's by Victors in Williamsburg.  I highly recommend it.  Dinner and company was awesome.  We also stopped at DoG Street Pub.  Great beer selection.  

The race itself was fun.  Great course.  Difficulty level is pretty high for average runners.  Flatout Events is a great running company.  They do a good job of representing on the Pennisula.  I would run that course anyday.  I knew it was going to be hilly but it isn't a great combination with the race being after Memorial Day in Hampton Roads.  I only had two issues: change it to early April and have a shaded after party.  It was way to hot for the race and way to hot to enjoy the after party with the sun beating down.  But having a race in Colonial Williamsburg is pretty fun.  It was great running and seeing all the runners I knew.  Great job Flatout Events!

Oh yeah, I PR'ed by 16 minutes.  I ran the half in 1:54.  I pushed really hard the past two months.  Did back to back mileage of 115 and 133.  I deserved this race.  But the best part was coming to the finish and seeing my awesome wife, my son and my daughter smiling at me, cheering me on.  They are the reason I have made the changes in my life.  They are the reason I want to be a better me.  So thanks babe.

Time for a break from big races.

I also want to say thanks to #teamawesome, #trainjanda and #deezrunninghoez for keeping me motivated.  I also want to thank #runningetc for being the best damn local running store.