Archive for the ‘race’ Category

Sorry about the video quality. I am still trying to figure out how to upload videos from my GoPro without compressing the file and losing audio/video quality.

My recent trip to California was literally the greatest time of my life. I got to spend some good quality time with my brother, run a marathon on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, and road-trip from LA to San Francisco.

The 2013 Beach Jam Marathon was Saturday morning and my friend Mary was supposed to meet me at the start. We ran together the evening before and she wasn’t sure if she was going to race. She decided that morning that she would run the half marathon, so I was going to run it with her. We had such a great time together at the 2012 LA Marathon so I knew this would be fun too.


The course was a 13.1 mile loop starting at Crescent Bay Park in Santa Moinca. From the start, you head south along the Venice boardwalk a few bocks past the pier and turn around. Then, back to the start/finish area for the first aid station. Continue north to the end of Will Rogers State Beach for the next aid station, then back to the start /finish.

The race was a small event held by Rocket Racing Productions. Between the 10 mile, half marathon, and full marathon there were about 75 people. I’ve learned to enjoy the small events because of the more personal atmosphere. Although I love great crowd support, some of my most memorable races have been very small ones like this.

My game plan…
Have fun, run smart. This wasn’t going to be a “race” to me. Since I’m training for my first 100 miler I just considered it my long run for the week, but this time I had company for the first half, a mobile pit crew (my brother), aid stations, and I got a medal at the end.

The weather was perfect that morning. Well, to me it was. Starting in the low 50’s, the the temps would rise to 71 before the race was over. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and just a light ocean breeze.

The first half…


This picture captures the mood perfectly.

As the race started, the conversation and laughs came quickly. We kept a slow, comfortable pace. My constant stops at every rest room slowed us down even more, but the clock wasn’t a concern. The mood was awesome. I felt strong. This was going to be great!


We continued on. Everything went great until mile 11. Mary was getting tired, and something didn’t feel right with my ankle. A few days before, I tweaked it while running in the snow and now the pain is starting to come back. As we finished the half marathon Mary got her medal and took off to get some food. She would come back to cheer me on at the end. I still had 13.1 miles to run, so I kept pushing forward.

The second half…

It was starting to get rough. I called my brother around mile 14. He was going to meet me a couple of miles down. I’ve never had a mobile pit crew, but my brother was amazing. He brought me beer and meds near mile 16 to help get me to the finish. I sat down in his car to enjoy my beer and my ankle was starting to swell. After a few minutes I took off and my brother was going to meet me a few miles later.

At the aid station near mile 18 I stopped to look at my ankle. It was getting bigger, and my pace was slowing rapidly. I typically run about a 9 or 10 minute pace for this distance but I was at about 13 minutes so I was obviously hurting. My brother met up with me again near mile 20. This time he brought me some ice, ibuprophen, another pair of shoes, and another beer. I rested there for about 20 minutes icing my ankle and keeping it elevated. I tended to the 2 very large blisters on my feet, changed my shoes, and went on my way. This race was getting brutal, but without the help of my brother I would have been suffering thru it.


I felt a lot better. The ankle still hurt, but I was close to my normal pace again. I saw Mary at mile 21. She walked with me for a couple minutes and we talked. She knew my ankle was in bad shape, but she could tell I was doing a lot better. I was ready to get this race over with. I only had 5 miles left. One more hour and I could relax and ice my ankle. That’s all I wanted.


Beach Jam Marathon course.

I pushed thru it and finally made it to the finish. I got my medal and Mary gave an ice pack for my ankle. This was the hardest marathon of my life. Other than my ankle I felt great though. I wasn’t even sore.

What I thought of the race…

*well organised
*race staff was very friendly
*aid stations were fully stocked – water, sports drinks, granola bars, gels, electrolyte tablets
*beautiful course
*plenty of rest rooms along the beach
*very affordable

*no crowd support
*not a closed course – had to dodge people the whole way (especially in Venice)
*medal was pretty basic
*not chip timed

The bottom line…

If you like quiet, scenic races then this is for you. If I lived in LA I would participate in other events held by Rocket Racing Productions.



Running For Angels 5k Virtual Race

When I decided to coordinate a virtual race, I knew it would be a lot of work. Yesterday the race registration opened and I’ve had some kinks to work out. I believe I have everything taken care of now. The awesome people at RegOnline are facilitating the registration process and although it was a ton of work putting everything together, they make it as easy as possible. I was able to add the race to a few different racing sites in hopes of gaining more exposure.,, and were added today. I plan on adding the event to many more sites over the next couple of weeks.

Things have been a little stressful, but I knew the very early stages would be. Setting up registration and dealing with the early problems were bound to be a little tough. Even considering all of this, I’m happy. I have wanted to coordinate a race since last March and I’m finally doing it. I really haven’t been this excited in a long time.

I have done several fundraisers for my races to raise money for F.A.S.T., but this one is bound to be my biggest fundraising event yet. They are doing amazing things with their research, and that’s why this is so important. They are currently doing clinical trials in Tampa, FL concerning the drug monocycline. It has shown to reverse the effects of Angelman Syndrom in mice, and there is hope that it will do the same for humans. The Angelman community has kept a close eye on the trials with hopes that their loved ones will someday have a cure.

If you would like to participate in my event, you can register HERE.

To follow the event on Facebook or to learn more, click HERE.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and this wonderful cause. If you plan on participating, don’t forget to tell your friends and family.

154407_323023577807019_403088688_nI’m proud to announce that the registration for the Running For Angels 5k Virtual Race is now open! The race is only $30 until 1/31/13. This includes a t-shirt and medal. These items will be shipped to you approximately 2 weeks after the event. I’m still working on putting together a design for the shirts and medals, but I will keep everyone updated. You can register at If anyone has any feedback on the registration, or any questions or concerns you can email me at Please remember, this is a virtual race. Anyone can participate no matter where you live. For more information on the cause please visit Thanks again for your continued support!

I am in the process of coordinating a 5k virtual race to benefit the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics. Please “LIKE” my Facebook page I created for the event if you’d like to learn more about it. A lot of the details haven’t been worked out yet, but I will post them as I figure things out.

Running for Angels 5k Facebook Page


On November 4, 2012 the 7th annual Bloomer Boogie 5k race was scheduled to take place. Each year it is held at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills, MI. It’s a beautiful park that is perched atop a hill overlooking the Clinton River. The course is set on the mountain bike trails that snake up, down, and across the hill. I ran this race last year with my friend Gen. It was her very first race, so I ran with her to keep her motivated and have a little fun along the way. This year I decided to go back and run it solo. Although most of my races are spent running with friends and having as much fun as possible, I decided to go out there and give it all I’ve got. Even though I do a lot of races, I rarely enter them with a competitive spirit. This time it was different. I had been in somewhat of a funk over the past few weeks due to personal issues, and really needed something to give me a boost of confidence.

My brother was flying in very early that morning, and I needed to pick him up at the airport at 6AM. I only get to see him a couple of times each year since he lives in Santa Monica, CA. I was really happy to have him there for my race. He’s such an inspiration to me.

After picking him up at Detroit Metro Airport, we stopped for coffee and then headed to Bloomer Park. The day started with the temperature at a mere 34 degrees. Frost coated the ground, and there was a gentle breeze adding a slight chill to the already cold weather. I knew this race was a small event, hosting only 92 runners the prior year. I figured this year there would be about 100 runners or so, which gave me a great chance for my best overall finish ever. My previous best finish was 11th place overall, so I really wanted to make the top 10 for the first time.

Although I’m considered by my running friends to be a “fast” runner, the 5k distance was definitely not my specialty. I spent the entire spring and summer this year training for my first 50 mile ultramarathon, which I successfully completed back in September. So, literally all of my running over the past 6 or 7 months was focused on distance rather than speed.

As we lined up for the start, I couldn’t help but be a little bit nervous. I had somewhat high expectations for myself, and also wanted to make my brother proud. I started out very fast. After the first half mile, my running app on my phone (Strava Run for Android) announced my pace at 6:56. This made me even more nervous. Thoughts started to race thru my mind as jetted along. Did I start out too fast? How long would it take for me to die out? There’s no way I can keep this up. But I kept pushing.

After mile 1 I heard my next pace announcement of 7:07. I was elated to hear that, but with over 2 miles remaining anything could happen. By this time the runners were pretty spread out. I knew I was in a good position, but was only able to see one guy in front of me. I didn’t really pay attention at the start, so I really had no idea what my exact place was. The terrain in this section had a lot of small rolling hills and I could feel my lungs burning. I saw my brother at the first water station. He looked so proud, which gave me the motivation to keep blazing along.

A short time later I heard my 2 mile announcement at 7:12. I started to feel strong, almost unstoppable at this point. My doubts started to fade away and my confidence took a huge boost. With just over a mile remaining, I knew I had it in me to finish close to this pace. I started to get closer to the only other runner in sight. Either he was dying out, or my pace had gotten slightly faster. Either way, I felt great. There was a short section of the trail that widened out, so I saw that as a great opportunity to take his position.

Mile 3 at a 7:07 pace. I could feel the finish line getting close now. At this point the afterburners kicked in and I took off sprinting to the finish. As I crossed the finish, I was greeted by my brother and a race official holding a medal. She said “Great job! You were really flying!”.


I found out that I placed 2nd in my division. This was only my second time placing 2nd, so that was a really big deal to me. I asked the race official if she knew what my overall place was, but she wasn’t sure. I would have to wait a little bit before the results were posted. My brother told me he thought I might have actually made the top 10, but I had to wait it out and see. I took this time to eat a couple of bananas and granola bars that were being served at the pavillion near the finish. My brother and I went to my car so we could warm up for a little bit. A few minutes later I could see a man taping sheets of paper up on a wall. I anxiously ran over to get my official time and place.


As I approached the lists, my name stood out right away. I actually did it! I placed 7th overall. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I would have been extremely happy with 10th, but I exceeded my goal by quite a bit. This is exactly what I needed.


*Beautiful course
*Small crowd, no traffic jams on the course
*Well-marked trail
*Very friendly, encouraging volunteers and race staff

*Little crowd support
*No photographers on course

The bottom line:
If you enjoy small events and beautiful fall scenery then this is a great race. Although this was a trail race, the course was fairly easy. No big ascents or descents.

Although I was not able to run the 2012 Detroit Free Press Marathon, I wanted to go to the race to cheer on all of the runners and hopefully meet up with some friends of mine who were running. My good friend Jason was running it with his wife Dawn, and our friend Mary. This was Dawn’s first attempt at running a full marathon. Jason and Mary were both battling injuries so I really wanted to be there to show my support for them.


One month earlier, Jason and I were running the Akron Marathon and Jason would get completely pumped up whenever we ran past anyone ringing a cowbell. So, on my way to the race I stopped at a local music store to buy one. I told the clerk that I needed the biggest, loudest one they had. He set me up with a really nice (and very large) cowbell made by Pearl and some Vic Firth drumsticks. I figured even if I wasn’t able to find my friends, I would still enjoy cheering on the other runners and have some fun with my awesome new cowbell. Around 11am I arrived downtown. As I walked toward the race route, I could feel the excitement in the air. About 24,000 runners were participating in this year’s race. I weaved my way thru barricades and crowds to make it down to the Detroit River Walk near mile 23. I knew my friends were not quite there yet, so I walked the race route in reverse in hopes of finding them. A short while later, I crossed the Belle Isle Bridge to take in a great view of the city and continue my search.


As I strolled along, I rang the cowbell and cheered for the passing runners. They greeted me with smiles, high fives, and the occasional thumbs up. I was loving it. My disappointment from not being able to do the race diminished and I was full of happiness. Although I have run many races, I never attended one as a spectator. I quickly learned that being on the sidelines was a ton of fun. Two guys ran past with Indian headdresses on and one of them called out my name. It was my friend Eddie and his buddy. After shaking his hand and wishing him good luck I continued on. Not even a quarter mile later I noticed a former running buddy of mine. This was also her first attempt at a full marathon. I trained her from the ground up, so I was very proud to see her out there running strong.


Near mile 18 I finally ran into Jason, Dawn, and Mary. I was so happy to see them. Lucky for them, I had a some Blue Moon beer, pain cream, GU, and salt and vinegar potato chips. We had a beer together and then they were off. I walked back to the bridge to cross back over to the river walk. I ran into them again near mile 22 and they were at a very slow pace. Their pain was getting unbearable so I decided to tag along with them for a little bit to give them moral support and refreshments if they needed them. I was definitely not dressed to run, and I had a backpack and cooler that I was carrying, but none of that mattered. What mattered was my friends finishing this race safely.


I decided to stick with them all the way to the finish. They battled thru all of the pain and completed the race. I was so proud of all of them, but especially Dawn for completing her first full marathon. It took me back to that race the year before where I did my first 26.2. The pride and sense of accomplishment I felt after crossing that finish line was unexplainable. I could see it in Dawns eyes. She did it. And, although she was in a tremendous amount of pain, she felt that amazing feeling of victory. The marathon is something that will change your life. Somehow, everyone who finishes comes out of it a stronger, more confident person. As I drove home that day and reflected on the event, I realized that I should attend more races as a spectator. It means a lot to a runner when people encourage them and cheer for them. Even if you have never met and will probably never see each other again, you can still make a diffence by simply encouraging them. I look forward to more events in the future where I can bring out the cowbell and lift people’s spirits.

Only 3 weeks after running my first ultra marathon, I ran the 2012 Akron Marathon with my good friend Jason. It was going to be a tough race right from the start. Both Jason and I were battling injuries, and neither of us should have been running. To top it off, I was also dealing with severe allergies the night before and I didn’t sleep at all.

The day started off a little chilly, as you would expect in late September. As the sun started to rise and the race began, fireworks took over the skies above us. I thought that was a really special and unique way to begin the marathon. Immediately after starting, Jason and I were both in pain. My foot had nerve damage, and he had an undiagnosed injury to his knee. When we run run marathons together, we aren’t concerned with our time. We are just out there to have a good time and complete the race.


Even though Akron is not a very big city, it had a lot to offer. Our injured bodies shuffled thru downtown and we worked our way across a few bridges. We were able to take in views of the valley below as well as the city skyline in the background. Water stations were everywhere. Literally every mile or so. We really appreciated that, but not once during the race did anyone have any food. No oranges, no candy, nothing at all. We started build up some serious hunger by the half way point, so Jason decided to run into a gas station and buy some Lay’s salt and vinegar chips for us to snack on. Immediately, we became the center of attention. Spectators watched with puzzled looks on their faces and runners drooled in envy over us having chips during a race. Our tasty snack helped curb our appetites as we continued on.


Just after mile 23 we met up with some really great people who were hanging out in front of their house watching the race. They gave us each a Michelob Lager, which really hit the spot. After slamming our beers and chatting for a while, we hit the road. With only 5k remaining, we decided to run a little faster. We pushed thru it even though the pain was really building. The race ended in Canal Park (Akron’s baseball stadium). As we came toward the finish line, the crowd cheered loudly. We were greeted with very nice finisher’s medals, an Akron Marathon running hat, and tons of refreshments. They had Michelob Ultra, TruMoo chocolate milk (my favorite), bananas, Powerbars, Oreo cookies, and potato chips. We finished the race in 5 hours 39 minutes and 39 seconds which was Jason’s personal record for a marathon. All in all, I really enjoyed the race. The only thing I would have changed was adding food to some of the aid stations.


-Plenty of free parking very close to the start and finish of the race.
-The course was wide open. Very little crowding on the course.
-Great scenery along the way.
-Fireworks at the start of the race.
-Plenty of aid stations and medical stations.
-Great swag for participating. Brooks running jacket, Akron Marathon hat, really nice finisher’s medal.

-No food on the course.
-Lack of crowd support on Tow Path Trail.