Hospital Hill Half Marathon

Hospital Hill Half Marathon – Done!

I was really happy with this race as opposed to Rock the Parkway HM.  I know I never got to a race report for RtP but it wasn’t good.  I PR’d there but missed my goal by 17 seconds.  Basically I went out way too fast and the wheels fell off the bus around mile 10.  This wasn’t good for a fairly flat course.  I was not going to let that happen at Hospital Hill.
All in all everything went right that morning.  At 6 am it 55 degrees and stayed there until about 9. I was really worried about the weather because it was hot by the middle of May and last year it was 80 by 7am at the race.   Today the weather was just absolutely perfect.  I was feeling pretty good for the race.  That morning I ate a bannana, pop tart and some green tea.  I picked up my running partner and we arrived about 30 minutes before start. I did about a half mile warm up and then headed to the starting line.  They were trying something different this year and had starting corrals.  We were lined in in Corral B with the 1:50 pace group.  Our stratagy was to stay right in front of them for the first 10 miles and see what we had left after that.
This race is not flat by any means: Hospital Hill Elevation There are 3 significant hills.  The first hill comes in at mile 1.5 and climbs 180 feet over the next mile.  The good thing about the corrals is that is spread everyone out and I didn’t get caught up in the bobbing and weaving to pass people.  This helped at the first hill.  We came out fairly conservatively at about 8:20/mile.  By the time we hit mile 4 we noticed we were actually ahead of the 1:45 pace group.  The next hill was at mile 5 and gained 100 feet over a half mile.  At this point the 1:45 pacers sneaked out ahead of us but we were feeling good so we just zoned in and hung out just behind their group.  I started developing a hot spot in the arch of my right foot.  I was pretty irratated with this because the Saucony’s I was wearing already had about 70 miles on them and I have taken them up to 12 miles.  I never had this problem before…oh well…c’est la vie.  Miles 5 -8 were little rollers through the UMKC campus and old tree-lined neighborhood called Brookside.  This was probably my favorite part of the race.    At mile 8 it is downhill for two miles and that is where we cooked it.  We were hitting about 7:45-7:50 minutes per mile here but we knew what needed to happend before mile 10.  Miles 10 -12 are a constant drudging climb back up to downtown KC.  No more trees just buildings, Sun, and running.  I don’t remember much during these two miles and we didn’t talk much.  We just looked forward and pushed.  Around 12 you crest the hill and just for torture the race organizers put this short super steep little hill right at 12.3.  Luckily this is where most the people were and you got a nice cheering group up that hill.  The rest of the way to the finish is all down hill.  I guess it is the high school sprinter in me but I can’t finish a race without pushing it as hard is I can for the finish.
I finished 20 seconds ahead of my friend but we both were able to qualify for Corral C at Chicago this year.  I came in at 1:45:24 and beat my previous PR at RtP by 6 minutes.  We are now 18 weeks out from Chicago so marathon training has officially started and I am already behind 🙂

Heartache and Headache

Well it has been a quite difficult week. I still owe this blog a couple of race reports. Hopefully I will get to them before the next race.

This past week I had surgery to repair my deviated septum and enlarged turbinites. Let me say that this has not been fun. I am cleared to run tomorrow although I am not sure I will have the energey but we will give it a go.

On a more serious note if you remember from my last post I let you know that I was raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in honor of two people close to me that were fighting cancer. One of those people was my father-in-law and he passed away last Tuesday morning. I write this post with great sadness as I try to get some semblance of life again. The last two weeks were particuarly rough for him and he was in tremendous pain. When he finally passed he was surrounded by the love of his family, we are sad to lose him but relieved that he is no longer in pain. He was a great man who was proud of his work and loved his family.  It was a great testament to his life to see the number of people at his service that had been impacted by him.

At this time it may seem trite but I don’t know what else to do.  I am running Chicago’s Marathon in memory of my father-in-law, to honor his fight to stay with his family as long as possible, to help support those that have gone through or are going through the horrible disease that is cancer.

It has been too long!

It has been quite a while since I have posted last. A lot has happened since then. I am still dealing with some tendonitis issues but have been able to run and train. I finally graduated from my Masters program, I have been trying to adjust to life with a second kid, and just dealing with life and family crises.
I am getting ready to run my first half marathon of the year this weekend. I have also decided to add a 2nd half in June. Hopefully this will somewhat prepare me for my first full Marathon for Chicago. The focus of my training so far has been trying to find a shoe that will provide me the support I need for marathon training as well as suiting my running style. One thing I have learned is that running shoes and reviews are so subjective. I have done what I can to research shoes through, their forums,, and All are great sources of information, but the information can be overwhelming at times. I submitted some videos of my form to Running Warehouse to have a “gait analysis” completed. The results were that I was an extreme overpronator and I needed a maximum support shoe, thus started my attempt and finding the correct shoe for me. I first started with some Saucony Hurricane 14’s which are listed as maximum stability shoes but the felt so sloppy and unsupportive. I then tried Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8’s which were super supportive but they causes some severe arch pain after 5 miles. Finally I went back to Saucony and tried some Progrid Guide 5’s . These are not supposed to be as supportive as the Hurricane’s but oddly enough, they felt more supportive to me. It may have something to do with the placement of the medial post. I must say, I do really like the 8mm Heel to toe offset. The guide 5’s just might be my shoe. After the physical therapy for my Achilles I have been transitioning to a more midfoot strike as opposed to extreme heel striking. I am not quite there but the guide 5’s seem to help. Lets hope they hold up for the training.
On a different note: I have decided to run for charity at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I am running for LIVESTRONG in honor of two people very close to me that are currently fighting with cancer. LIVESTRONG does great work in supporting those with and those affected by cancer. You can read about their organization at and research their financials and effectiveness at If you are interested at donating please visit my personal donation page at:
Hopefully during this process I will update this blog more 🙂

Das Boot

I know, I know.  You have been wondering where I have been and what has been going on, sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for another eximplary post from me.  Well, wait no longer because here it is:

So I last left you at the point of my taper and getting ready for the Kansas City Half Marathon.  I was very happy with the race and completed it under my goal time.  I ran the entire Half in 1:52:09 which is a 8:34/mile pace.  I will gladly take that for my first half.  The course was good.  There are a couple of pretty killer hills with one hill that seemed to last for 5 miles.  I didn’t experience any problems until mile 11 where I began to hit the wall.  There was a band on the corner playing Springsteen’s Born to Run.  That pumped me up quite a bit.  My feet held up pretty good until the last mile but I was able to push past the pain and haul it in.

I couldn’t walk normally or where tight shoes for about two days.  The tendons on the outside of my left foot were pretty painful but that went away in 2-3 days.  What didn’t go away was the pain in my Achilles Tendon.  As you know that has been there for a little while and still hasn’t gone away.  It isn’t extremely painful, kind of dull and always there but enough to keep me from running. After about 2 1/2 months of this I finally went to the Dr. to have it checked out.  She wasn’t sure it was straightforward tendinitis and thinks there is possibly some bone bruising.  I am going to blame this on my attempt to push myself too far in the Five Fingers.  (they may do well for some people but I don’t think I am cut out for them)  So she has put me in a walking boot for two weeks to help stablize it so it will heel faster.  I see her again in two weeks to see if I have made any progress.  Fortunately she said we can work treatment in conjunction with my goal of running another Half in the spring and a Full in the fall.  So for the time being I am cleared to cycle but not to run.

Which leads me to the 2nd reason I have not been on here much.  My second child was born in the end of October and we all no how a newborn affects your schedule.  So for the time being I will be taking it easy, hopefully getting in a ride when I can.  Maybe my mid-December I can start hitting the run again.  It is amazing how much you miss it when you have been doing it regularly.  If you would have asked me last year I don’t know if I would have gone back.  Anyone else missing the run?

Taper Weeks = No Running for Me

I am now 10 days out from my first half marathon.  My training has gone well I think.  I have been able to get a few 8-12 mile runs in so I know I am able to hammer out 13.1.  This last week I started having some soreness in my Achilles and on my 4 mile run this Monday it was really sore.  I believe I am dealing with some tendonitis and it stems back from my attempt to gear up miles in my Vibram Five Fingers.  I have had some soreness throughout the summer but nothing lingering so I didn’t worry too much about it.  I don’t blame the VFF’s but myself for trying to do too much too fast in them.  So now I am going to rest for the next 10 days in hopes that it will heal enough for me to complete my first half.  This is definitely not a flat nor fast course but I am hoping for a sub 2:00 half, maybe that is over zealous for my first half.  Part of my problem is my love for shoes.  I want to run in the cool minimal shoes the everyone else does not my dorky support shoes.  I worry about my form and how horrible it probably is.  It’s probably time that I stop worrying about all that stuff and just run…..I am my own worst enemy.  Hopefully I will see you on the other side of the Kansas City Half Marathon.

It Gets Me Thinking

Running 12 miles allows you plenty of time to think.  I have learned that is one thing I like about running.  It gives me a chance to focus, gather my thoughts, and think.  My life is so hectic right now it is ridiculous.  I am in my last semester of grad school, I work full-time, my wife works full-time, we have one daughter and another child that will be here in about one month and this is actually less hectic than two months ago.  I am not saying this so you will feel sorry for me, I am sure your life is just as hectic as mine.  I really don’t need one more thing to add to my schedule but running is different.

This past weekend we organized a benefit walk to raise money for my wife’s father who was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  I decided that I would get up early and do my long run there.  Talk about getting you thinking.  I am running for two hours early in the morning on the way to a cancer walk.  This run helped me realize just how blessed I am.  My wife is the most understanding woman I know.  She is always supportive of me even though she may not always understand why a person would run 12 miles.  She is a hard worker, a loving mother, a loving wife, and probably one of the strongest people I know.  I am blessed because I have an awesome daughter (and another on the way) that looks up to me and is pretty active.  She wants to run with me and ride her bike.  I don’t want her to lose that and spend her time in front of the TV.  I am blessed because I am able to run 12 miles.

I run and cycle because I am a lazy person.  If I didn’t set these goals for myself then I would spend most of my time eating junk food and watching TV (at least that is what I did a lot of for the last 10 years).  I run because I want to have a happy and healthy family.  I run because I can.

Why I Run

Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge

Well, its done.  I have completed my first “Adventure” race and let me say that it was one of the most fun competitions I have ever participated in.  The weather that day was absolutely perfect.  It was 70 when the race started and 85 at noon.

That day started pretty early for me.  Lawrence, KS is about an hour from me and I had to pick up my team-mate.  I woke up about 5:00am.  I was pretty excited about the race but I had slept pretty well.  We loaded our bikes ate some food and headed on our way.

Car loaded and ready to go

The race takes place on the Lawrence river trails along the Kansas River.  We registered and set up our gear in the grassy transition are.  Transition AreaNow it was time to wait……..

Run 2.2 Miles

The first mile on the run was on the flat levy trail made of crushed gravel.  My team lined up towards the back.  I always struggle with the start of long races because my adrenaline is pumping so hard.  I was a sprinter in High School so I have to suppress that need to take off as fast as I can.  We were passing quite a few people but seemed to be running at a comfortable pace.  After a mile the trail turns onto the single track which has small undulations and quick turns.  This was so much fun running on this.  Our main goal was to beat some friends of ours who were about 10 years older than us.  During this run the were a little bit ahead of us.  I tried to keep them in my sights and not let them get too far ahead.

Split:  20:00

Mountain Bike 17.2 Miles

The transition to the mountain bike was slower than I would have liked it to be.  I was holding my teammate up through part of this.  I really didn’t practice the transition and could see the benefits of that now.  We led out on the flat levy trail again for the first 4 miles.  We once again passed a few people but not many since I was running a single speed.  Once we turned onto the single track that was were the real action started.  It felt like we were flying through these trails.  I will say that these are some of the fastest trails I have ridden.  I was happy with my decision to run a single speed with a 2:1 gear ratio.  I was able to tear through these trails on that machine.  The hardest part about this leg was passing people.  The trails were narrow, most people would be curtious when you asked for a pass but there were some that would not.  This caused some pretty big frustrations, especially when they completely stop on an uphill or at the bottom of a blind turn.  This was the one drawback to my bike.  I was like a diesel truck, it took me a while to get back up to speed, especially uphill.  My teammate was really killing this part.  He was taking corners faster than I could on my 29er, it was great to have someone pushing me like that.

Split: 86:00

Paddling 4.2 Miles

I was pretty happy with this transition.  I threw off my shoes, put on my running shoes, grabbed a drink and we were off to the water. This section we did not train for at all.  I was initially pretty worried about how we would do.  The river was calm.  We were able to get into a decent rhythm and just dug in and went.  We were passed by one team during this section but did not let anyone else catch us.  My arms were burning but we didn’t let up.  I was really proud of our performance here, especially for no training.

Split:  49:00

Run 4.1 Miles

Here is where things really mattered.  We have already put in about 2.5 hours of physical activity. Do we have what it takes to push out a 4 mile trail run?  My team-mate and I downed some GU Roctane and headed out on the trail.  My legs were definitely tight from sitting in the canoe for almost an hour.  After about a half mile they finally loosened up and things felt good.  We were passed by two teams but that would be it.  We found a guy running by himself and paced off of him for a few miles.  I was feeling pretty good buy my teammate was struggling.  His body was definitely ready to be done.  I applaud him greatly because he did not stop and pushed the 4 miles out (I also wouldn’t let him stop).  I am pretty sure I lied to him at least a dozen times  telling him we are almost there.  We broke out of the trees and headed for the finish line.

Split:  43:00

The Finish Line


Our total time was 3 hrs and 18 minutes.  We finished 16th out of 56 teams.  All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the race and can’t wait until I do it again next year.  My teammate says he will never do it again….we will see about that.


Congrats to everyone who participated in the race!  What an awesome experience.  Check out a video put together by whom I met afterwards.


Wakarusa Off Road Challenge 2011 Results

Up Next:  Kansas City Half Marathon




Things are Gettin’ Real!





As I am writing this post it is 14 days, 22 hours, and about 20 minutes from the start of my first off road race.  If you haven’t caught it in any of my previous posts this race consists of a 2 mile run, 17 mile mountain bike, 4 mile canoe, and 4 mile run, all on trails (with the exception of the canoe of course).  I am fairly optimistic about this race and I hope that does not come back to bite me.  I have been training pretty regularly for this as well as my first Half-Marathon in October.  My miles have picked up quite a bit.  I got in 17 miles of running in June, July I hit 38, and at this point in August I am  at 40!  My teammate has also been training hard but unfortunately we have not been able to train much together.  In this race both of us do everything at the same time and we cannot be more than 50 feet apart during the race.  I am thinking we can get top 10 but hopefully that is not too overly optimistic.

For the rest of the upcoming schedule things are going to start getting a little more difficult.  I have started my final semester of grad school which begins to tighten my schedule up quite a bit.  I find it difficulty to run in the mornings when I actually have time but I don’t have much time after work either.  I am also working one full time job and one part time job.  Hopefully I will be able to keep my miles up.

On a somewhat unrelated note I ran across a skunk on a recent long run.  I didn’t have my contacts in that morning and couldn’t quite make that out what was sitting in the middle of the trail.  We had a storm the night before so I was assuming it was debris from the trees along the trail.  When I got closer and saw the black and white tail lift into the air I knew exactly what I was dealing with.  Too bad I didn’t have a heart rate monitor because I am sure it spiked quite a bit right there.  Luckily he scooted to the side of the trail and didn’t spray me but I made sure I was past him as fast as possible.  Talk about speed work!


Cycling Rites of Passage

I read this on the other day and thought it was pretty spectacular and spot on with a lot of things.  Read the full article at Rites of Passage, Mark Levine does a great write up on riding and why we do what we do.  Here are his rites of passage:  How many relate to you?


02. You go from one pair of shorts to a dedicated drawerful. 

03. Being unable to sleep the night after you first shave your legs, because of the tingle of bedsheets against your skin. 

04. When “thanks for the ride” goes from something you overhear to part of your lexicon. 

05. You see someone at the beach tanned low on the quads and biceps, and give him a nod of recognition. 

06. Bonking so bad you don’t think you’ll be able to make it home. 

07. Discovering how a convenience-store Coke can resurrect the dead. 

08. Starting and finishing a ride—the same one—in pouring rain. 

09. When you hang out at the bike shop and no one expects you to buy anything. 

10. When your bike computer registers triple digits for one ride. 

11. Clearing a log on a the trail.

12. You embrocate. 

13. Staying with the paceline long enough to take a turn at the front. 

14. You’re on the bike for the fifth straight day, and your butt doesn’t hurt. 

15. You try bibs and realize you can never go back to shorts. 

16. You stop riding beside and behind the pack and instead ride inside of it—with no claustrophobia. 

17. You swing off the front of a paceline before you get tired. 

18. You blow a snot rocket without hitting your shoulder or leg—or the rider behind you. 

19. You notice that someone else has the chain grease on his right calf. 

20. You get stuck in your pedals and topple over at a stoplight. 

21. Someone you introduced to the sport kicks your ass on a ride. 

22. Riding a bike through a big, congested city and feeling smarter than everyone else because you’re moving. 

23. You wake up to find the sheets stuck to your road rash—and still feel excited about riding that day. 

24. Your boss stops by to ask you to explain what’s happening in the Tour de France. 

25. You fix up your old bike to get someone into the sport.

26. Wearing out your first set of tires. 

27. You ride through a pothole, and it’s no big deal. 

28. Getting hopelessly lost—deliberately. 

29. You stop midride to give your only spare tube to a stranded cyclist. 

30. You realize you’re driving your car as if it’s a bike—drafting, looking for holes, getting away from the squirrelly guy. 

31. Fixing a busted chain. 

32. When you no longer have to stop to take off your jacket. 

33. Feeling confident about taking off your jacket while riding—then catching the trailing sleeve in the rear wheel. 

34. The first time you crumple your race number. 

35. Planning a riding vacation. 

36. Seeing a sunrise from the saddle. 

37. Wondering how the biggest local hill would rank on the Tour de France climb classification. 

38. In your head, Phil Liggett narrates your ride. 

39. You got dropped, you flatted, bonked, got turned around—and when you got home you said you had a great ride. 

40. You roll through a patch of gravel and, without thinking, reach back to brush the crud off your tire with your palm. 

41. A rider you respect says, “You were flying today.” 

42. Rolling through a stop sign—and knowing it was the right thing to do. 

43. Doored! 

44. When you crest the summit of a climb, start down and realize you’ve gone the wrong way. But keep going anyway. 

45. Rubbing wheels—and staying up. 

46. Letting go of your kid’s seat and not having to grab it again. 

47. Getting a bike stolen and being surprised at how deeply it hits you. 

48. Cleaning the cassette with your old toothbrush. 

49. Sprinting the neighbor kids. 

50. Chasing a rabbit down singletrack. 

51. Falling asleep when you stop for a break on a mountain bike ride. 

52. Endo. 

53. Telling someone which bike to buy. 

54. Overcooking a turn. 

55. Breaking a collarbone. 

56. Figuring out how to layer without overdressing. 

57. Deciding which car to buy in part based on how it will carry your bikes. 

58. Your first ride with a jersey instead of a T-shirt. 

59. Riding on a day so cold the water in your bottle freezes. 

60. Discovering that a shot of Jameson in each bottle keeps the water fluid. 

61. Though you’re not clear on exactly how to do it and unsure of the outcome, you manage to fix your first flat.

62. Walking home in your cleats. 

63. Getting so deep into the sport you think your helmet looks good. 

64. Following a favorite pro racer–besides Lance Armstrong. 

65. Finding out your favorite pro racer was doping. 

66. Wrapping your bar tape so the handlebar plug stays in and no bare bar shows at the tricky bend at the brake hood. 

67. Naming a route. 

68. Bumping elbows, then being relaxed enough to make a joke about it with the person next to you. 

69. Sitting in with the big weekend training race. 

70. Developing that “V” of muscle definition on the back of your calf. 

71. Espresso at the halfway point. 

72. Crashing and immediately asking, “How’s my bike?” 

73. Fixing your bike with a rock. 

74. Paying for a coach. 

75. Figuring out that training advice doesn’t get much better than “Ride lots.” 

76. Clacking into a rough tavern in cleats and spandex. 

77. Having a position on Bartali vs. Coppi. 

78. Throwing up after a sprint. 

79. Chasing back on after a flat. 

80. Winning a town-sign sprint and remembering it forever. 

81. Explicating your training in exquisite detail on a blog, then realizing nobody cares. 

82. Watching the compressed CO2 from your only canister shoot off into the air instead of into the tube. 

83. Matching your bar tape to your tire’s sidewall– then realizing on your next ride that your bike looks like it’s been decorated by a blind pimp. 

84. Riding someplace you’ve always driven. 

85. Outsprinting a crazed dog. 

86. Summiting an H.C. climb. 

87. Waving at a cyclist coming the other way and being ignored. 

88. Getting annoyed by an uninvited wheel sucker. 

89. Getting so fast you’re confident enough to ride slow. 

90. Wondering if cycling matters too much. 

91. Not caring if it does. 

92. Surfing traffic on adrenaline and luck in one of the world’s 10 biggest cities. 

93. Sitting up, taking your hands off the bar on a downhill. 

94. At the PTA meeting, looking around at all the fat parents. 

95. Dropping someone half your age. 

96. Outclimbing someone half your size. 

97. Passing someone whose bike costs twice as much as yours. 

98. Looking inside the bottle you’ve been using all season, seeing mold. 

99. Dismissing what used to be your favorite cycling magazine because it keeps repeating topics. 

100. Reading The Rider. 

101. Coming home from Europe with a cobblestone in your luggage.

102. Finding out no one makes your favorite handlebar-bend anymore. 

103. Riding down a trail you couldn’t safely walk. 

104. Telling the joke, “God wishes he was Eddy Merckx.” 

105. Cheating a crosswind by joining an echelon. 

106. Feeling superstrong, then turning around for the ride back and realizing you had a tailwind. 

107. Pedaling the Brooklyn Bridge, toward Manhattan, at night. 

108. Being the person whose bike squeaks drive everyone nuts. 

109. Reading a rites of passage list and finding that your own favorite one is missing.