Friday, November 4, 2016

One Last Ride

Two years ago I started this journey as a pacer.  I didn't know what I was doing (I still don't).  I remember showing up at my first run scared shitless.  Here I was, just finishing my first half just a few months ago pacing people that have run dozens of halfs and marathons.  I remember asking Ryan, "What am I supposed to be doing?".  Sixteen weeks later and Shamrock weekend over, my life was completely different.

During those sixteen weeks, the elite group of individuals that I ran with each and every week steered me along.  We had some really crappy weather days during that training cycle.  I still remember the feeling of one January run at Seashore and every step felt like ice daggers into our feet because it was so cold and rainy.  But we got through it.  We weathered the storms.  We weathered injuries.  And together we became #teamawesome.

Before pace group names were a thing, there was just #teamawesome. We were the last ones back and the ones always cheering and smiling.  For 64 Saturdays in the last two years, I paced these kids.  And they changed my life forever.

Saturday brings an end to me pacing #teamawesome.  It is very bittersweet.  I take my job as a pacer very personal.  When they PR, I PR.  When I race, I always race for them.  Both my marathons I ran for them.  When I was hurting, I would think about them.  But tomorrow brings an end for me but not for #teamawesome.  #teamawesome is more than one person.  It is a collection of individuals who I admire and respect.  #teamawesome will move forward with another amazing pacer.  As I have said before, "Next one up".

To #teamawesome (old and new), Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have given me.  I will miss our Saturday runs more than you will ever know.  There is too many of you guys to name but I love you all.  As we move forward to Norfolk Harbor weekend, I can't wait to celebrate your accomplishments.

I just ask one thing, to keep #teamawesome awesome.  Everyone of you guys made our group amazing.  You are the reason our training team is so special.

So tomorrow, One Last Ride.......

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Crawlin Crab Highlights 2016

Crawlin Crab is my run-versary.  2 Years ago I embarked on a journey I never thought would bring me where I am today.

Two years later and I have a giant group of amazing friends, running friends, and family.  Being an ambassador for Running Etc. and being a Pacer for J&A Training Team has allowed me to be part of the Hampton Roads Community.  And our community is the best.

Crawlin Crab would be the only half I am doing this fall.  This race was also very important to me because of its meaning in my past and because of my friends. There were a lot of big moments that really reminded me why I love running.

Here's a few of the highlights..........

Karen, my tempo running partner and friend, kicked cancers ass this weekend.  About two months ago we were running and she wasn't feeling right.  She instantly went to the doctors and found out she had lymphoma (short version).  But instead of wallowing in pity, Karen decided to kick some ass. Right now she is on her 3rd round of chemo and she still decided to run a half marathon.  If you want to watch or meet someone who has handled this gracefully and positively, shes the one.  I am actually kind of scared when she comes back.

I ran because I could Sunday.  I ran for Karen. And Karen ran for herself.  And she kicked ass. Luckily, she had an awesome race partner in Kristy who supplied Orange Crushes via Christian on bike support.  You know you have a good set of friends with you when they supply Orange Crushes during a race (Am I right ELO?)

Then there is this fierce lady I know Tina Babcock.  A lot of people on our team didn't know Tina ran her first half this weekend.  Oh yeah, I forgot, she also has MS  and her speech at our Training Team's Running Reflections night was amazingly inspiring.  It was awesome watching her finish. She is one of those people who just supports everyone with positive energy and love.

I also wanted to talk about my favorite lady from Wales, Leonora.  Leonora is on her second training team with us.  She trained her ass off last winter and the season ended with her missing Shamrock because of her father's passing.  She trained for 16 weeks and didn't even get to celebrate it with her teammates or for herself.  Instead she turned it around and has worked her ass again and finally finished her first half at Crawlin Crab.  She did phenomenal too.  This was a well deserved weekend for her.  On top of all this, she found out this past year she has Lupus.  She also doesn't dwell on the bad parts but instead she decided to be an amazing example of positive energy.

Next is Allison.  She finished her first half this weekend also.  She is one of those people when you hang out with them they are just always upbeat, positive and just all around awesome.  I don't need to say too much because she just destroyed her race and is basically the most awesomist (that's a word) person ever.

Lynn Dove, my favorite neighbor.  Lynn is a good friend of Lori and I's.  She lives down her in Georgia (Pungo).  Lynn is also part of the amazing group in our community called the Running Turtles.  She and the Running Turtles represent the true meaning of what a running community is about.  They are always smiling, always fun, and always kicking ass.  Why I want to bring her up is because she was the 1775 out of 1775 finishers.  I am only posting this because she is very inspirational.  She's always positive and always a lot of fun.  I was pretty excited seeing her coming in at the finish so I actually gave her my beer.  Which was great for the finisher's photo but not for security (sorry Jerry and Amy).  She is always #1 in my book.

What about Elisabeth too.  She has trained for the 3rd time with #teamawesome and the first two times she got injured.  Crawlin Crab was basically her coming out party for races.  I couldn't of been more excited than watching her come across that finish line healthy!

Man, I can't forget Rachel.  Who Freaking ran 6 months pregnant.  She took care of herself and baby Steven James very well I might add.  But kudos to Rachel for kicking some pavement.  She has an awesome attitude while running and really inspires the rest of the team.

If I missed a highlight I am sorry.   These are just some of the stories from this weekend.  I can't even wrap my brain around them all. Honestly, there are so many that I can't even name them all.  From Rebecca Denny running with me at the finish to other teammates who held the rope the whole race for our group.  Also have to give shout outs to all the teammates who cheered us on (Thanks Boo).

And also mad props to our coaches, Ryan and Josh.  Amazing coaches and even better friends and human beings.

One race down and a few more to go.  Looking forward to Wicked, Harbor Lights and Surf and Santa.

So proud of #trainjanda and #teamawesome

PS- mad props to my #runninghoez Amy for PR-ing.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I have been thinking a lot lately about running, friends, life, and everything else.  Running is something that has (since I started) always given me happiness.  I remember the two biggest moments in my athletic career before I started running was the last games I ever played in lacrosse and football.  Too bad both were losses.  Lacrosse was the state semi-finals and football was the playoffs.  It always sucks ending with a loss.  But what was worst was trying to figure out what to consume my competitive nature and team atmosphere with.  I lost that for many years.  I was completely lost after high school.  I didn't have the competition and most importantly I didn't have the camaraderie.  The grind of two-a-days.  The pain of wins and losses.  The emotions of giving everything you have on the line with other people.  I missed that a lot. I never really found that.

Until I found running.  And not really until I found #trainjanda.  And most importantly my running partners.  You don't really figure it out until it happens.  You don't really feel the emotions and bonds of these people until that we make over training runs it just happens one day.  If it’s while you are running in First Landing State Park and your crappy past comes swarming in your head and you break down.  Or when you are hammering tempo miles repeatedly and your partner stops and breaks down.  Or when you are running with a new team member and she starts to cry and hyperventilate.  This happens and that is what makes running friends so important.  You don't know it until it just happens but these are the people who are there when you need a laugh, a cry, a hug, or just a hard damn run.

You see these emotions sometimes too rarely.  Some people don't feel it until the race day when we cheer everyone on and we bond over cold shitty weather.  But the reality is these real emotions and the bonds are what make these friendships and memories.  We talk about marriage, kids, life, death, love, friendships, bodily functions, and a whole gambit of funny stuff and sometimes real shit.  But we are always there when we need it.  

When I run, I enjoy it more with company.  The painful slog of every run is always better with a partner.

When I race, I am racing for them.  I am racing for my tempo partners, my hoez, and #teamawesome.  And I know they are all running for each other too.

Sometimes shit gets in the way of training and running.  Sometimes shit gets in the way of life.  It can be dramatic, painful, and sad.  It can be as simple as an injury.  And sometimes it can be something bigger than you can ever imagine.  

I remember when I was 20 years old, I ran a 5 member relay with my dad and his friends.  My dad’s running buddy from when he was 18 had been fighting colon cancer.  We had two teams of five running the Detroit Free Press Marathon (it was my first running medal).  I still remember the feeling I got passing my section during my first full marathon this past fall.  But the relay was awesome.  Even though my dad’s best friend couldn’t run, he was there supporting us.  Cheering us on.  I remember as a kid, watching him and my dad, after their first marathons together, in pain, hobbling around, drinking a beer.  You could tell in both their eyes what that day meant.  It was the result of many tough miles together during training and that moment will never be erased. 

Just as running was my dad’s answer to competition and friendship so has it been mine.  Without I would be lost.  Without my friends I would be completely lost.

The best part of running friends is that we will always be there for each other.  Through the easy, the hard, the unthinkable, and the unimaginable.

So sometimes you need to re-analyze your goals, pace, and life in general and just enjoy the miles together.  No matter how hard they are.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Being Thankful

This weekend I got to visit my Grandparents in South Carolina.  It was a an amazing trip filled with memories of our kids spending time with their grandparents.  I was pretty fortunate that both my kids got to meet all four of my grandparents.  But being able to spend time with them and watching my kids talk and play with them was incredible.

This trip topped off a month of visiting all the grandparents in the month before the summer ends.  Two weeks ago Tim and I headed to Pittsburgh to visit my Pap.  Lori stayed home with Avery because she had Pneumonia and a double ear infection.  But Tim and I did our best to cheer Pap alone by talking and catching up.  Selfishly, I always think about how sad it is watching my grandfathers age.  I remember a time in High School my Pap could beat me in an Arm wrestling with his left hand (I'm left handed).  Its a selfish thought because I have to remind myself how lucky I am to still have them around.  But visiting Pap was great.  Checking out his new facility during the tour gave me comfort that my cousin put him in the best facility for him at this time of his life.  Having the conversations is always what is about.  Tim knows how important my Pap is to me and he purely loves just listening to my Pap's stories just like I did and still do.  Tim always wished he got to go hunting with him at least once.  But through his stories and our memories of our own, Tim can dream out them and make new stories with me.

Visiting my grandparents in South Carolina is always fun.  Aiken, South Carolina is very different from any other place my family calls home.  But it was just nice visiting and spending time.  We got to visit my Grandpa everyday at the nursing home.  he got to watch Avery run around crazy outside.  he got to talk to Tim about baseball, girls, and school.  My grandma is the coolest.  We spent hours catching up with her.  Telling us about her weekly brewery current event meet-ups, her new room mate, her dulcimer band, and her new cat.  My grandma is basically what a hipster wants to be.  She doesn't even know it.

We got to go see my grandma's Dulcimer Band play.  It was hosted at the Aiken Visitor Center.  The center is a re-built version of the old train station in Aiken.  Upstairs it had the history of the southern rail lines that went from Augusta to Charleston.  Avery and I spent a lot of time checking out the trains.

We also got to catch up with my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Dan.  They have always been wonderful hosts.  My aunt is actually the one who gave me the confidence to run a half marathon.  They both came up with my two cousins and ran the Crawlin Crab in 2014 to cheer me on.  It was two years ago on one hot morning that I ran with my aunt and she told me I should sign up for a half.  They picked a different family half marathon just to support me.  Clearly the running bug stuck with me.

Two weekends is never enough with family but I am so thankful for having such wonderful grandparents and family.  I would not be who I am without my grandparents.

Be thankful for your family.  Go visit them.  You might learn more about yourself.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Slow Ride Virginia Beach

One of my favorite things to do with my family is biking at the Oceanfront of Virginia Beach.  One of the coolest things we have in Virginia Beach is the beach.  We are pretty fortunate that our city has built and promote biking and walking facilities throughout the city.  We have the Oceanfront Boardwalk and bike lanes, trolley lanes, miles of multi-use paths and soft surface trails in many of our great state and national parks.

But the one thing we don't have is a community outlet for average bikers.  Yes, we do have a ton of spandex riding groups who ride from Fat Frogs and Conte's but we don't have an outlet for the average biker.  The average biker isn't road biking fifty miles.  The average biker is taking their kids to the park, for ice cream, or just for a nice ride at the oceanfront.  The average biker is a me, my wife and kids.

As an "active" transportation planner of seven years (Bike and Pedestrian Planning) I have learned that there really isn't any push by the average biker.  For instance I work for the City of Chesapeake.  Our Bike Month events were either Road Bike events or school bike rodeos.  In Virginia Beach they had Bike to Work events, Road Bike events but nothing really for the average person.  The City of Norfolk had several events and have had great success with their events.  But how can I change this?  Do I plea to the City Council of my employer or the city I live in?  Do I go to every bike store and plea for the average biker?  I don't know. Until now.......

After I moved away from Detroit, I watched something happen that was pretty cool.  It was called Slow Roll Detroit.  It is basically the idea I am looking for.  It is a community based bike event that is free, fun, and slow.  Anyone with a bike can show up and ride.   I would watch Slow Roll Detroit grow via Social Media and it was beautiful.  Seeing thousands of citizens coming together riding through places that some would seem dangerous or unsafe and at the same time promote a healthy lifestyle and community engagement.  With numbers comes safety.  So the more you have the safer it is.  A vehicle is more likely to yield in the face of multiple bikes versus a single bike.

I was sad Slow Roll Detroit starting only after I left Michigan.  before I lost weight, I never thought I would enjoy biking as much as I do now.  But now my family probably bikes 3-4 times a week when its nice out.  Even if its a short ride around the block.

So because I can't attend Slow Roll Detroit, I decided I needed to find something similar.  I looked and looked and looked.  Nothing came up.  So I decided I should try to start something.  Why not, right?

So I contacted my social media little sister, The Fit Petite, and we texted back and forth and she loved the idea.  It was simple.  Pick a start and end point, pick a watering hole, and post it on social media.

So I did and out of that came Slow Ride Virginia Beach.  Our first ride will be June 27 starting from the Virginia Beach Convention Center and end at Back Bay Brewing Co.  We will ride off at 6:45 and ride about 7 miles.  It will be a safe and slow pace so all can participate.

At first I was scared to do it but I would regret it if I didn't try.  Worst case scenario, a few of my friends show up, we go for a ride and have a few beers after.  best case, I start a revolution.  Hopefully a revolution of promoting bike safety, healthy lifestyles and local businesses.

So come join me on June 27.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Race Recap: Shamrock Weekend 2016

I don't even know where to start with this epic weekend.  It was the first of many amazing things. First year the whole family ran a race including the 8k and Leprechaun Dash on Saturday and myself running the Marathon on Sunday.  I couldn't be more happy with the outcomes with PRs for the whole family.

First and foremost though I need to thank a few people.  I can't say anything without thinking about thanking Jerry and Amy Frostick aka J&A.  They are probably two of the most epic people I have ever met.  You know when you start in the Shamrock Marathon and #shamrockbob announces your name is pretty awesome, so thank you Bob.  Ryan Conrad, thank you for being an amazing friend, amazing coach, and amazing leader.  Josh Wade, you are an inspiration and many thanks for all that you do.  Rob Hunter, thank you for everything you do.  And last but not least, there are not enough thank yous that can go around to my wife, Lori, and our kids.  There are a lot of things I give up and they give up for me to train and also be a pacer.

So now onto the races.

So Saturday started with the 8k running with the family.  I pushed Avery and we had a blast.  We also ran with Becky and Steve Wyatt.  Sometimes as you train hard and race you forget about the fun moments.  It was a lot of fun to be able to run with Lori and Tim on their first Shamrock race.  They were there when I did my first Shamrock 8k two years ago.  I don't get to run a lot with Lori because I am either training or pacing the training team.  The best part was that Lori PRed her race by several minutes.

After the 8k we had a few minutes to get ready for the Leprechaun Dash.  It was pretty hectic.  It was so crazy I forgot to put Avery's bib on her and had to run back to the tent to get it and put it on her right before.  Then because of all the chaos we didn't get a good picture of Avery running.  She was pretty quick though.  I think she was the fastest in the first corral if it was time.  Just saying.  But the fun part was that all the training team members got #teamnugget shirts for our kids.  Avery loved it and it was adorable.  Who doesn't love watching an almost 2 year old getting a medal and a bib with her name?  It just shows how important family is to Shamrock Weekend and J&A Racing.

So here goes the Marathon part. Two years ago I was scared to run the 8k and here's me going for a 3:30 Marathon.  Who goes from a 12 minute pace to a 3:30 Marathon in two years?  Building up to this marathon I had everything lined up.  I know 18 minutes was a big gap for my goal but I knew I had it in me.  The week leading up to the race was pretty stressful.  The weather changed everyday.  As a pacer for so many, I wear my heart on my sleeves and this being the first race I was finishing in front of them was a lot of pressure.  I didn't want to let anyone down.  I didn't want to let Ryan down, the training team, my pace group or my wife.  I know I shouldn't feel this way but I always carry my team and friends on my shoulders.

So the weather sucked.  Let's just put that out there.  It wasn't fun for anyone.  Not the half or full was any fun.  During the marathon we had 30 mph winds in our face for most of the course from mile 8 to 18 and then right on you in Fort Story.  But weather is always there good or bad.  You just need to be prepared.

I started out with the 3:35 pace group.  It was pretty large and they stuck together most the race.  I stayed with the, into the first 10k then left them to get to my pace.  The only thing I would regret is not staying with them because it probably would've been easier in the wind through the middle quarters.  I felt strong.  The first 6 miles was with the wind in your back.  It was pretty awesome hearing my name from #shamrockbob.  I fueled like I trained and everything went well.  As we went out of on my own I was with a small group.  We got back on General Booth and crossed our final bridge.  A few of us traded blocking the wind onto the boardwalk.  It worked out well until me and this little lady were the only ones taking the lead.  The other runners just used us as blockers.

During this part, either the runners were getting faster or slower.  It was pretty frustrating going on the boardwalk and back onto Pacific.  We basically had the wind in our faces at 30 mph the whole time.  I stayed on pace until mile 20ish.  By this time we were getting into Fort Story and it didn't fail to show us how tough the environment is through there.  Fort Story is the toughest section of the half and full at Shamrock.  But on this race day, the wind was right on you.  It literally was pushing you sideways or in your face the whole time.  A lot of runners were either slowing down or walking for small parts.  I decided to slow my pace down and stop fighting the wind.  What would 30 seconds slower for a few miles do anyways.  But around mile 21 I cramped up instantly.  So I decided to stop and stretch my hamstrings.  My right leg had nothing left but I knew I needed to keep pushing.

At this point I was freaking out internally.  I was thinking I was going to crash like I did after I finished Detroit.  I was also freaking out because everyone was waiting for me and expecting me to finish at 3:30.  As I headed out from Fort Story and reminded myself that I got this, I have been through worse and I can do this.  From this point on it was a fight of me versus me.  I stopped and stretched basically every mile.  But when I got back on Shore Drive I remember seeing some of my teammates heading North.  I was hurting so bad but seeing them motivated me.  I remember seeing Sarah and reminded myself I got two miles and she has over 10.  It was what I needed to keep moving.  I wasn't going to quit.  I wasn't going to let the bad wolf win.  I wasn't going to let the weather beat me.  I was going to win.  As I got closer to the boardwalk, I saw one of my teammates Shannon cheering.  She ran with me and put a smile on my face.  As I ran onto the boardwalk I started to go through an emotional hurricane.  I could see King Neptune and I knew my team was waiting there for me.  I was so pissed because I couldn't kick up the speed.  I tried to pick up my pace but my hamstring wouldn't do it.  So I just stuck it out.

As I finished I could first see my teammates on the left, my family on the right and my coach right there at the finish.  I barely made it across the line and basically fell into Rob and Ryan.  I was cramping badly and they walked me to the fence.  My wife Lori yelled, I love you.  I told her that back.  At this point I was so emotional.  I stretched and finally got to give my wife and kids a hug.  Ryan wanted me to go to the medic tent and I told him, NO.  I was going to enjoy this one with my teammates.  And right there, Elizabeth, one of the ladies I paced who got injured finally put my medal on me.  It was an honor to have her do that.  And across the other side was my pace group and teammates waiting for me.  There isn't a feeling that I can describe that was like seeing the people you pace each and every weekend there to cheer you on.  I gave them a huge hug and I probably cried (I deny it).

There are some photos that perfectly show the emotions of the race and I got one that was perfect.  I might not of hit my 3:30 but even in my blog when I announced it, I said I would be happy with anything in the 3:30s.  And that I did.  3:39:21.  I PRed by 9 minutes and crushed my goals no matter what.  Jerry Frostick said it best, it's not always about PRs.  It's about moments, it's about people, it's about everything that surrounds you.

I did learn a few things out there this weekend.  I learned that no matter what, running a marathon is epic.   Doesn't matter your time.  I also learned that sometimes the weather is something that you can't plan for.  My legs gave me all they could.  I think they just got exhausted fighting the winds all morning.  But I don't have any regrets.  I gave it my best.  3 years ago I was 330 pounds (probably 339 at some point) and yesterday I ran a marathon in 3:39.  So I am changing my official goal to #339for339.  I am pretty happy with that.

The best part is I got to party and celebrate with my friends, family and teammates.  Shamrock weekend wasn't about me.  It was about everyone that is around me.  My wife PRed, My kids PRed.  #teamawesome all had amazing races.  And at the end of the day everyone on our team had smiles on our faces.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Shamrock: A Family Tradition

So in January 2014 I decided that I was going to attempt to run again.  As I was losing weight I knew I needed to start working out.  I would go to the gym, do some weights, the elliptical, and whatever.  But I knew I needed to do something much harder.  When I was younger, I ran with my dad a few races, nothing big.  I think the most I ran was a 5 mile part of a relay for the Detroit Free Press Marathon.

I knew March was coming and one of my favorite runs I ever did was the Corktown 5k in Detroit, which celebrates St. Patrick's Day.  I liked it because they gave you beer.  Simplistic, I know.  But it sold me.  So the next thing I did was Google, St. Patrick's Day races, and magically J&A Racing Shamrock weekend came up.  I kept looking and looking and I was really hoping for a 5k.

Needless to say, they did not.  I kept going back and forth with Lori and decided to sign up.  I got one 4 mile run I think before the race.

On race day I was scared, Lori (7 months pregnant and Tim) came with me that morning.  I didn't know what i was doing.  I didn't know anything about J&A.  I just knew the expo was awesome and ginormous.  Tim loved it because of the free smoothies from McDs.

Off I went.  I think I was in corral 13.  I joked then that I was the caboose of the race. I was running with old shoes that were completely the wrong type.  I wore baggy shorts and a cotton t-shirt on race day (I think it was actually the race shirt).  I also rocked my run with my phone in my pocket to listen to jams.  I didn't have a care in the world.  I was just running.  It was incredible too.  I remember after I hit Mile 4 and I had an epiphone that I had just gone the furthest I ever had.  I remember finishing and I was so excited.  The best part I was excited because I ran a 12:18 pace.

But that day started me on the path I have been on since.  After I ran that race, I decided that I could run a half marathon.  So I did the Crawlin Crab Half that fall.

And magically I was asked by my now buddy Ryan to become a Pacer for the J&A Training Team via Running Etc. Ambassador Randy.  I remember my first day as a pacer.  I didn't really know what I was doing.  I was pacing people who have ran way more than me, were stronger than me and just straight up intimidating.  I remember Denise scaring me with her MCM jacket with at the time felt like 40 MCM patches for every year she ran the race. I was so scared and intimidated.  But during the training, I learned my teammates and felt more comfortable.  I learned what they needed from me as a pacer.  That was consistency and friendship.

Shamrock 2015 was amazing.  I was lucky enough to catch up to Carla during the race.  We ran basically the whole second half together.  I remember at one time she was like you can leave my side.  I was like no way.  I was already going to PR my half time by a lot.  Which I did. But the best part about Shamrock was the Camaraderie on race day.  it truly transformed myself and I think the team. People became friends who at the time were just teammates.  Instead, there was a bond there that sealed.  The glue was in place during all those tough runs.  But race day solidified it.

And so after Shamrock a core group of people hung out each saturday and ran.  I got caught up with this crazy group of people that we now call ourselves #deezrunninghoez.  And through the summer into the Fall training we built a great bold among the runners.  As I have talked about in past posts, Harbor Lights was a success.

And then it came time to start Shamrock 2016.  The training team was basically double from the year before.  Each weekend we had so many people that we actually had parking problems at Murphy's.  But the coolest part about 2016 is that my family is doing Shamrock too.  Lori and Tim are both running their first 8k and Avery is going to do the Leprechaun Dash.

The greatest part about this all is that not just my family but many families have involved their kids and spouses.  So much that we have actually had #teamnugget #trainjanda t-shirts made up for the kiddos.  It makes me happy that we have that energy around us.  It makes me happy the whole team does.

So as the Shamrock tradition continues in my family I hope it grows stronger.  Without J&A I wouldn't have this.  I wouldn't have a weekend to remind me where I am compared to where I was.  Some people on the training team don't even know I was 330 pounds 3 years ago.  Some people don't believe me that I used to run 12 minute miles.  But Shamrock is that weekend for me.  My first one Avery wasn't even born and now she is running an event.

I couldn't ask for more.  I am fortunate to find a group of people passionate about healthy lifestyles.

As I reflect on Shamrock and go for my #330for330 I need to remember where I was and where I want to be.  And remember how much my family has truly grown.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Donate to the Access College Foundation = SHAVING THE #SPEEDSTACHE

So I have decided that I am going to help a friend fundraise for a good cause.  

By doing this, I am doing two things: 1. Making my wife happy and 2. helping raise funds for a good cause.  

If you don't know Megan Overbey, you should. She is an amazing person and not only is fundraising for this good cause but also works for it. She is raising funds for the Access College Foundation which helps students with all the costs getting into college and what not. It is also one of the official charities for J&A Racing's Shamrock Weekend.

So back to the #1 reason I am doing this. So last weekend, while running a friend asked, "when are you going to shave that hideous thing?" and I responded, "What thing". She said, "your creeper stache". As I thought about, I said hey, if people really want me to shave it, how about I ask people to donate some money to a good cause and they can help me shave it after the race on Shamrock Weekend. And by doing this, my wife, Lori, will be thrilled it's gone.

So here is the deal. You donate any amount you want to this great cause via this link: Megan's Access Fundraiser and you get to help shave my #speedstache or watch on March 20, 2016 (after I finish my marathon). Your choice. My goal is to help her raise at least an extra $100. I would like more but anything helps her program.  

Just think, you can help raise money to help get kids off to college and also make my house a happy place in one swipe of the card.

So Please, think about helping and no more #speedstache.

Thank you,


Monday, February 29, 2016

If Your Dreams Don't Scare You They Aren't Big Enough

This weekend the J&A Training Team finished our last cycle and we all completed our biggest runs of the season.  For some it was their biggest ever.  For others, it was the final long run of some grueling weeks.  For me, it was the final push of hard work that started last summer in August.

Most of #teamawesome decided to push themselves to their limits Saturday.  Most of the returning crew did their longest runs ever of 14 Miles.  For the newbies, they still killed their first 12 Milers.  And for the 8kers, they did awesome running the course.  Thinking about this just made me proud.  After doing two marathon training cycles back to back sometimes makes me forget how many miles 14 miles really is.  But thinking about it makes me so proud of them.  To think they decided to push their bodies a mile further than the toughest thing they have ever done is incredible.  This is going to be very helpful come race day when they can tell themselves, "It's only a half".  it was a tough day for most of them because one of their teammates, Elizabeth, got injured the week before and they dedicated the run to her.  She was an integral part of #teamawesome and her positivity shines through everyday.  The best part of Saturday was knowing as I held the rear of the group, the front pack waiting for two of their partners to finish.  As a pacer and leader of the team, I know I have done my job right by seeing this.

I always tell people being a pacer is an awesome job.  I get to watch and feel the emotions of what it's like each and every week a new runner hitting a new goal.  It rejuvenates me.  It motivates me on my own runs to realize how special running really is.  What my team doesn't know is how thankful I am for them.  I really can't wait to finish my race so that I can find out how they all did.

One of the quotes that our chalk master, Josh Wade, put down this weekend goes as follows: "If Your Dreams Don't Scare You They Aren't Big Enough".  Well, my dreams do scare me.  Running a marathon is like walking a thin line of epic proportions.  It's a big ugly scary monster that everyone has to respect.  Once you run one you understand this.  Until that happens there isn't any advice that can explain that feeling when you are running your last few miles of a marathon.  It is pure grit, strength and mental toughness.

Even though I have had an epic training cycle and really can't complain about my runs. I am still scared.  I am scared of pushing myself.  I am scared I might fail.  I am scared I might let my team, friends, and family down.  I am scared I am not good enough.  But as I read that quote on Saturday, I am glad I am scared.  Because as #thefitpetite said to me last week, "nervous means you care".  And I do care.  Everything I do in my life I have to be passionate about to do it.

No matter what happens Shamrock Weekend, my goal is 3:30.

But my bigger goal is to hear about how my #teamawesome succeeded.  Some it will be their first half marathons, first Shamrock weekend, first 8k, or even a challenge.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

16 for 2016

Since my buddy Ryan came up with this idea of 16 Goals in 2016 and I thought it was a great idea, I decided to follow the trend.  Even though it is February already, I thought it was still early enough in 2016 to set out my goals.  But I needed sometime to think about it.

So here is my 16 for 2016:

  1. PR Marathon: As stated my last post for Shamrock.  I am going big with a 3:30ish goal.  My training is going well and hopefully everything will align perfectly on race day.
  2. Run with my wife for her first Shamrock 8K.  This is easy and probably my favorite.  
  3. Help all of #teamawesome kick ass during Shamrock Weekend.  If I see smiles, tears of joy, and laughter from my team I will be pretty stoked.
  4. Be a better Father.  This one is tough.  Being a Dad is the toughest but most gratifying job you can ever have.
  5. Be a better Husband.  I can't be a better Dad without my wife so I better be work on this too.
  6. Get rid of debt.  Most of my friends know Lori and I are on a tough budget for long term success.  Our goal is no debt except mortgage, student loans and car payments in a few years.  
  7. Succeed on Weight Watchers.  Weight Watchers has helped me so far and it will in the future.  But working hard at it is important.
  8. Spend more time in the woods.  I need to spend more time hunting, fishing, and just doing anything outdoors.  The world around us is such a beautiful place.
  9. Go Camping.  some of my fondest memories are camping with my family.  
  10. Take Lori and Avery up to camp for the first time.  It's my favorite place in the world.  
  11. Put in new water softener in house.  Ugh.  The only problem in Pungo is water.  And we need a new Water softener system.
  12. Take time for Just Lori and I.
  13. Visit my grandparents.
  14. See my brother.
  15. See more movies in the Theatre.  
  16. Enjoy life.  Don't let time slip by and regret.  Life is too beautiful to take it for granted and always be serious.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

From 330 to 3:30

After my first marathon this fall I was kind of in shock. What do you do after you kill your first marathon?  Do you push harder or be content?  Some people would die for a 3:48.  Some people just dream of breaking 5 hours or 4 hours.  For a few weeks I didn't know what to do or say.  I remember when I ran my first half over a year ago and I was so happy for a 2:21.  I remember saying to myself, "if I run a marathon my goal is 5 hours".

Then I remember in April of last year I asked to run with these crazy marathoners who I just met.  We met up that Saturday and we ran 12 miles at 8:47 pace.  Amy and Kim laughed when we finished and saw our time.  I was shocked.  From that point forward I ran with this crew every weekend.  Then came my training for my first full.

Each week I kept getting stronger and stronger.  I remember my first 20 miler on vacation in South Carolina running an average pace of 8:45.  Then came my second 20 miler before my race I killed my run and had an average pace of 8:37.  But running with my friends kept making me stronger and stronger.  Sometimes when you run in a group the miles are shorter the temps or cooler or hotter and the time is shorter.  Not only was I lucky enough to find the J&A training team but I was also lucky to find a group of friends to grind with when the runs are tough.

Last Sunday, I had to do a long run by myself while all my teammates got their runs in on Saturday.  I was lucky enough to be able to run with one of my friends and teammates, Ashley.  Not only did I have a killer partner, she killed the run.  Even though it was a bit slower than my training pace, running with someone for 18 miles in cold and wind is way better than running by yourself.  You can't buy company on a run.  You can't buy good teammates or friends.

This morning I had my first 20 miler scheduled.  Not only did I kill it but I felt strong.  I felt like I could do a marathon right then.  My last 11 miles were averaged under 8 minutes.  In the back of my head I keep thinking what should be my next goal.  Should I go big or go home?  So today I decided I would announce my goal.  Sometimes you need to write it down.

So my goal is 3:30ish.

I said it.  There it is.  That is my ultimate goal.  And the reason this number is so important is because when I started my weightloss journey I weighed 330 pounds.

As with any race I will be content just finishing and feeling good.  And if I just squeak past my first marathon time I will be happy with that.  But I have a goal.  And I know I can do it.  I put in the work.  And if I have the perfect day, perfect run and everything works out then I will nail it.

So Bring it Shamrock.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Thankful for Life

This week was such a crazy week.  Between a crazy deadline at work, running, and oh, this thing called a teenager and 20 month old, it's been a fairly busy week.   Add in a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery and Lori's work schedule, we have had fun.

But today on my run with the Ryan Conrad, I was thinking about how thankful I am for all the things I have in my life.

Tuesday at the Memorial Service it was a bitter sweet day.  Lori and I took Avery with us because we know my Grandma Joanne would love to see her again.  Avery got to also spend some more time with her Great Aunt Nancy and Uncle Dan.  Uncle Dan was very thoughtful and got Avery a plate full of whip cream.  It was also a sad day because we finally laid my Aunt Linda to rest.  But rest assured, she will be where she belongs.  With all the other great men and women who have served our country.  Watching a service at Arlington is very different than any other service I have been to.  It is a very beautiful site.  I am very thankful to have such wonderful family like my Aunts, Uncles and my grandparents.

Thursday and Saturday was filled with great memories with #trainjanda.  Thursday, Lori ran with her running partner, Becky.  These two keep each other going when they want to quit or cut it short.  Saturday was a wonderful morning.  So many people had new accomplishments.  Lori and Becky ran their farthest run together and finally got to the water stop.  Stephanie, Bianca, and many others ran their longest runs ever.  Dennis, a 65 year old navy vet ran the farthest he ever has, most of #teamawesome including Julie, Debbie, Jackie, White Keisha, Elizabeth and Ashlee all killed their run and had dominant negative splits.  Watching my team grow is what I love about pacing.  Watching them do what they think is impossible makes my job so easy.  All this is what I am thankful for.  It motivates me.  It makes me happy.  I couldn't be more proud of being part of watching this team grow.

I am also so thankful for my wife.  She puts up with me.  She loves me for me.  And she supports me.  I can go on and on about things I don't have but I would rather talk about the things I do. I never thought seven years ago I would have a home to call home, a loving wife, a family and two wonderful kids.  All the things I have in my life are amazing.  I have amazing in laws and my family is amazing too.

Today I ran the best run I had in a while mentally.  I had some really great conversations with Ryan.  Sometimes all you need is a beautiful 65 degree day in January at the beach and a good buddy to run with. It refreshed my training. So Thanks Ryan.