Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Best Running Partners

One of the things I love most about running is doing it with other people.  I'm a fairly extroverted person and combining running with hanging out is the perfect combo.  But, not everyone likes to talk while they run so I often get told to shut my mouth when we hit a hill or start doing speed work.

Anyway, this past Saturday my goal was to run somewhere between 10 and 15 miles.  As I mentioned before, Sal has started training for the Thanksgiving Half Marathon!  So, I decided I would run about 10 fairly early Saturday then join her for her 3.

The first 10 miles were great but the last 3 were some of the best ever.  We went down to the river near our house to run.  I pushed Daye (our precious baby girl) in the jogging stroller and held Phelps on the leash so Sal could focus on running.  I have to admit it was a good bit of work to keep Daye straight while Phelps was pulling in every direction.  But it was worth every bit of effort.

It's really funny when me and Sal run together because at some point in the run she turns to me and says "what are you going to talk to me about?" Translation: I don't want to talk and you always have tons to say so now's your time.  I usually have a hard time coming up with anything.

I've been reading "Run" by Dean Karnazes.  He is crazy but it's extremely inspiring because I think he's tapped into what's deep inside a lot of us.   It's this desire to push ourselves and see how far our bodies can go.  But, I think we/I often lack the mental fortitude to truly push ourselves.  The combination of reading the book and my bday coming up are tempting me to do something crazy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Being Apart of Something

I'm just like a middle schooler!  I've started running with a fairly serious running group near our house and it's awesome!  There is something about being apart of something where a group is pursuing the same thing.  And, where people are similar to you.  I would encourage everyone to get involved with a group doing something you love.

I say I'm like a middle schooler because they are influenced so easily.  Call me weak or a follower or whatever, I find myself wanting what the other guys have.  Some examples...they all run in these really cool shoes that help you run on your toes rather than heel to toe (big controversy I know!) and I find myself wanting them.  They all run with GPS watches so they can track time, distance, pace, elevation, and heartrate...I want one.  I can understand how kids get pulled in a particular direction!

The weekly workouts go something like this: Tuesday = Track workout (I love these cause they are hard and different); Thursday = Tempo run (holding a certain pace for a certain distance); and Saturday = Long Run.  My father in law helped me fix up an old Schwinn Varsity road bike from the late 70s and I've been biking on some of my off days.  It's really fun too!

I've been running with them simply cause I enjoy it but training for a couple of events has begun:
  1. Odyssey Relay = 200+ relay with 11 other guys (I'm not officially apart of the team but hoping to snag a spot); the group won it last year and they are shooting to do it again
  2. Thanksgiving Half - This is becoming a tradition that I love AND my amazing wife is training for it also which is one of the best things ever
  3. Late Fall or Spring MARATHON - I haven't picked a race but I'm hoping to and will be shooting for Boston Qualification.  The snag is the qualifying times drop in September so I'll have to run 3:05 or better...yikes!
Since I haven't been training, I've been asking myself why do I run?  I like pushing myself, I like being apart of something, it's a great workout, and, weird I know, but I like pain.

It's been forever since I sent an update but I've been dying to.  I would love to be more consistent but not sure if it will happen. 

God speed and hope you get out and run!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

However many weeks after the race!!

So many events and details to post about but I'll try and stick as close to running as possible.  We had a baby!!!  Augusta Daye Stanfill was born on Thursday April 7th (not named after the masters!).  It was/is amazing.  Check out Sal's blog for more details about that (

Bottom line, I did NOT qualify for Boston.  I was on pace until mile 25 and I ran two 10 minute miles to finish the race in 3:15:50.  I needed to run 3:10:59.  I have never all my years of playing sports and watching others cramp it never happened to me until mile 22 of the Myrtle Beach marathon.  It was the weirdest thing...all of the sudden it felt as though worms were crawling around in my calves and every time I tried to push off my toes they would flare up and completely disable frustrating.  I somehow managed to alter my strides from 22 through 24 but then 25 hit and I was done!  I could hardly walk without wanting to fall to the ground.  It was almost comical because I felt as though I had fuel left in the tank if I could get my legs to cooperate.  So, I would give myself a pep talk (I think several were out loud with the Lord) and then try and pick up the pace only to cramp up and slow down again.

BUT, what could have been a fairly devastating moment was a moment of true elation.  I was constantly praying that the Lord would be with me, guide me, be my strength.  And HE was, just not in the way I would have imagined.  I ran the last 2.2 miles hardly able to stand but I couldn't help but smile and laugh.

Over the last year or so I've realized that I believe my value is based on what I do or accomplish.  At work, at home, and worst of all, in my relationship with the Lord.  Through prayer, counseling, and family, the Lord has begun the healing process.  He has begun to show me that NOTHING I do or don't do will ever impact HIS love for me.  It's unconditional and he's already boldly stated "You are worth it" because He came and laid His life down for me.  I was worth His life.  Amazing!  So, I've been resting in that truth and praying that I would not find my worth in whether or not I qualified for Boston.  In the final moments of the race, the Lord answered my prayer and allowed me to experience pure joy that was not dependent upon how I performed.  It was absolutely exhilarating!

As promised to my wife, I took approximately 5 weeks off of "running" after the race to let my leg heal.  I got into some yoga and abs classes with Jillian Michaels through our TV.  Ridiculous, I know, but I had to stay active!

Now, I'm back at it and slowly ramping up the mileage!  I learned so much from training and running this past marathon and can't wait to sign up for the next one.  Qualifying for Boston will still be the goal.

I've even started mixing in some "barefoot" style runs.  I couldn't bring myself to buy the expensive Vibram 5-fingers.  So, I bought $7 water shoes from Wal-Mart and they have actually done great.  If you're looking to get into barefoot running I highly recommend the water shoes first!  I'm planning on a trail run tomorrow in my water shoes so we'll see how that goes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Big Race

4:20AM on race morning.  It's mixed emotions.  I went to the Dr. last Thursday and he said I have a Stress Reaction which is the precursor to a Stress Fracture.  He said I'm okay to run the race but not to do any running until then (I haven't).  He also said I need to listen to my body.  If it keeps getting worse and worse I need to pull out of the race.  So, since I haven't run in nearly 2 weeks and the pain level is unknown, I am nervous.  But I'm also really excited.  The energy of race day and approx 7,000 people gathering together to go after something is so amazing.  Everybody has a story.  I joined a pace team which means there is a leader who is a very experienced runner and if I stick with  him there is a really good chance of qualifying for Boston.  "If I stick with him" is the key phrase there.  Assuming my leg holds up, I think the test will come between mile 20-26.2.

Peoples support means so much...especially the wives.  Sal and Linds are driving us down there at 5AM.

I'm going to finish my cup of coffee, eat a banana and peanut butter and head to the race.  Just like my mom always said..."just do your best."  I intend to and I also plan to leave it all on the course this morning.  God Speed!!!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Let's try mountain biking

So my leg has really been hurting me and Thursday's run in the cold rain didn't help much. I was supposed to run 15 today but decided to lay off because im worried I might be working on a stress fracture. If that's the case then I'd likely have to sit this race out which would really be a bummer. I'm just taking it one day at a time and trying to not let my pride get in the way. Plus if you think about it this race means very little. Christ still died for my sins so I will spend eternity with him. I'm married to an amazing woman who is expecting our first child in April. I have an amazing family and group of friends.

All that to say I couldn't sit around so I decided to go for a long mountain bike ride instead. We are in north Georgia at sals parents house celebrating Tombos birthday. Its beautiful up here and fairly mountainous which makes any run or ride more difficult. I mapped out a route on some of the gravel roads around the house and took off. I had a blast. Some of the terrain was really tough and my legs were burning but it was beautiful. Oh and go was raining most of the ride. I'm not good at timing my workouts.

At the halfway point (about mile 6) I stopped to enjoy some nuts I had packed and relieve my feet. My feet were numb because I was riding in my uncles shoes which are 2 sizes too small. But they clip into the pedals which is crucial when riding long. I clipped back in and headed home. My ride home consisted of picking up my water bottle that fell out on the way and being chased by some sort of chow mix that seriously wanted to tear me to shreds. I laughed as I pedaled furiously past him. He took the wrong angle.

I don't know how a bike ride fits in to the training plan but I'd rather be able to finish the marathon than push too hard and not be able to race. Race is 2 weeks from today! Btw, typed this on an iPad which is cool but forgive any typos.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cold Rain & Sleet

I had an amazing adventure run with Scottie and Marcus last night who are also running the Myrtle marathon in 2 weeks.  They were planning to run 21 miles so I decided to join them for the first 10.  On my way over to Scott's house it started sleeting and raining really hard.  I called Scott and Marcus to make sure they were still down to run and, as expected, they were.  We got ready to go and were giddy like little kids.  There is something so fun about running in the worst of conditions.  We also talked about how it makes us feel more like men (girls don't get this and I know it's really dumb but it's true...we want to feel like warriors...and we did last night)!  No lie, we laughed so hard during the first half mile we hardly had anything left.  That's what warriors do. 

We headed south on peachtree and turned right on Weiuca.  We felt on top of the world as we weaved in and out of cars on a stretch with no sidewalks (still pouring).  Then Marcus and I started talking about work and life; discussing the balance between being patient and grateful for your job but being proactive about where you are headed long term. 

As we approached Roswell Rd, dodging puddles, we started talking about getting together a few days before the race to eat lasagna and watch Chariots of Fire, a great running movie.  The girls have book club on the Wednesday before the race so we decided to do it that night.  Lasagna, bread sticks, salad, and an inspiring running tale...can't wait! 

It was somewhere over the next mile or two as we were running up a nasty hill on Roswell that it hit me..."I'm really cold, soaking wet, and I think the temperature is dropping."  We approached Peachtree again and took a left and now it was a straight shot back to Scott's house.  At this point we all got a bit quiter as we focused on each step. 

We finally made it back to the house and I felt as though my hands were going to fall off.  Some people think I'm dramatic but I'm pretty sure I had a mild case of frostbite.  Lindsay brought us a few towels and we dried off the best we could.  I was thinking, surely these guys are going to call it quits and save the next 11 miles for another day.  I was wrong.  They started talking about the next 11 and where they were going to go.  They fueled up with Gatorade, Sport Beans, and Wheat Thins.  We all talked about how cold it was.  Scott put on fresh dry clothes along with ski mittens (sorry Scott) while Marcus stayed in the t-shirt and shorts he'd been running in the whole time.  So, we all headed out the door but I was getting in my car and they continued to run.  When I passed them 30 seconds later I thought "They are warriors baby!"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

20 Miler!

Just got back from finishing the final 20 miler before the Myrtle Beach (forgot to include that last time) marathon which is 3 weeks away.  I did something I thought was a blast...I showed up at a weekly running club that runs on Saturday mornings.  It's really designed for members but I figured I could check it out, meet some new people, and maybe find a running partner for the day.  About 40 people showed up which was larger than I anticipated and they had maps laid out starting at 6 miles going up to 20 miles.  It was pretty funny because I grabbed the 20 mile run map and it was front and back full of turns every half mile or so.  So, I spent much of my run navigating which ended up being great because it takes your mind off of  how far you've run.  I ran part of the time with a lady named Rebecca (Sal, not to worry we were in a group).  Rebecca is a crazy athlete who has completed 5 or 6 ironman triathlons including the world championships in Kona, Hawaii.  She is quitting her job at the end of March to coach people who are training for marathons and triathlons.  This was perfect because I was able to ask her all kinds of questions (remember I don't have a nothing box so while most people like to run in silence I was yapping it up) about training, eating, race day routines, injuries, etc.  This was also perfect because I'm cheap and it was free advice..ha!

At mile 15 or so, the group split and EVERYONE went one way and I (alone) went another!  This is where the mental aspect of running kicks in.  At this point, I'm tired, my leg is starting to ache and I'm alone with 5 miles to go. SIDE NOTE: I thought everyone had daydreams.  Not like a fleeting thought that runs through your mind and you get distracted but I'm talking full on dreams where you meet people, have conversations, and scenes come and go.  Apparently, not everyone has these.  END NOTE.  Somewhere between 15 and 20 I had a daydream that there would be a group hanging around the finish that might help cheer me on as I came down the final half mile stretch.  This was not the case.  I rounded the corner and the only thing cheering me on was an empty milk carton that used to contain orange gatorade.

So, I walked around a bit, stretched, then hopped in my car and headed to Great Harvest Bread Company in Smyrna, GA.  It was the best breakfast sandwich ever!!! Seriously!  I sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee, thanked the Lord for giving me the strength to get through my run, and enjoyed a sausage, egg, cheese, and herb mayo on honey whole wheat.  I also got my sweet bride a oatmeal blueberry muffin which I know she'll be excited about.

My run today represents the peak of my training.  From now until the race I'll be tapering (slowly reducing my mileage).  This is a huge relief and something I am very thankful for.  What a beautiful day!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011


I love sharing anything and everything with people.  It makes you feel connected and it's just part of my personality.  Every time I run I have a million thoughts, stories, and experiences I think would be fun to share with others.  Hence, the purpose of this blog.  I wish I had started this sooner because man I've had some amazing experiences running (ice, snow, rain, sleet, mud, perfect days, sunrises, sunsets, mountains, Africa, experiences with the Lord, etc).  I can't wait to share many of those as they unfold in the future but for now I'll start with my run yesterday.

I am training for a marathon that's 3 weeks away and my goal is to qualify for Boston 2012 which means I have to run a 3:10 or better (7:15/mile).  So, each week I run some easy runs along with some grueling intervals (really fast miles mixed with slower miles) as well as tempo runs (runs that average faster than my goal race pace).  Yesterday I ran a 7 mile tempo run and it hurt!  I got to mile 6 and realized I had to run a 6 minute final mile to hit my goal and I did it!  At this point in training my body is pushing hard against me screaming "what in h$** are you doing!"  I think I'm part crazy because I love this aspect of running and life, but I think there a many people who would agree the pain is exhilarating!

There is a theory that men have a "nothing box" where they can go and honestly think of nothing.  Scottie, one of my best friends, assures me I have no such thing.  Yesterday as I was running I had a few thoughts:

  • Man, this hurts worse than yesterday...Can I make it?  Am I going to fail?  It would suck to fail after all this training.  Lord, help me to find my value and purpose in you and NOT in running
  • Do the people living in these houses realize that 26,000 children die everyday from preventable diseases while they enjoy a 10,000 sf home...I think I should let them know
  • Lord, forgive me for judging!  Please break my judgmental spirit and give me the Love of Christ for all people
  • I sure hope someone from work drives by and sees me running...that would really make me look cool
  • Dude, get off your cell phone
  • And then I honestly went to my nothing box for a short time
I was able to endure mostly because me and Sal were going on a date after I got back and I couldn't wait to be with her, catch up, and chow down!  I'm resting today (hoping the pain in my leg dies down) and am going for 20 miles tomorrow...yikes.  I'll let you know how it goes.