2022, One Heck of a Year!

As each year comes to a close, the common phrase, “I can’t believe 2022 is already over!” is used when there is a lack of anything else to say when we can’t quite identify the year’s highlights. Let’s face it, most of the time, it’s hard to remember what even happened during the year, let alone think about what is ahead the next 365 days. I consider myself fortunate. I’ve been incredibly blessed with the experiences of the past year. There is no way that I would be able to forget all the moments if I tried.

Looking back, I’m in awe of what I achieved. I ran five 5Ks (placed in my age group in 3 of them), two 10Ks (obtaining a PR), one 8K, two Half Marathons (obtaining a sub-2 hour), and ended the year by running two Marathons of a lifetime in Germany and Honolulu (obtaining a PR). Completing the BMW Berlin Marathon gave me my 3rd Abbott Star, getting me to the halfway point to the coveted Abbott Major Marathon Medal. Most importantly, I was able to share most of these experiences with my family. I made some wonderful lifetime friends overseas, as well.

It wasn’t all roses, though. This year, I contracted COVID in January, experienced shin splints numerous times, Runner’s knee several times, was attacked by two dogs during a training run, and suffered a fracture in my pinky toe, causing me to back out of my final race of the year. What is life without interesting stories, right?

In 2023, I have more exciting running adventures planned. The Gasparilla Classic Half at the end of February and the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K which I’ll be trying for more personal records. I also got accepted into the Chicago Marathon for the second time.

The year 2022 has been one heck of a year! It has humbled me, made me more resilient, and given me an even greater appreciation of my life and the people in it. I look forward to the lessons awaiting me in 2023. No doubt they’ll be doozies!

Happy New Year!

Gasparilla Classic, ready or not…here I come!

Today, I’ll be running the Gasparilla Classic again for the third time. After completing the Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge last year (all races for a total of 30.4 miles in 2 days), I signed up to do it again once registration opened. That was pre-injury.

A few weeks ago, I received the “it’s ok to go start back slowly” instructions from my podiatrist. I took that to mean, I’m healed. I felt good. Planned the following run with vigor. I was excited to get back to doing what I loved. What I soon realized was that I was very much not healed. My hairline fracture continues to rear it’s ugly head after every run.

I had to make a decision. Run or not run? I had to choose one of them since Gasparilla doesn’t allow for deferments. I had to be realistic. No chance I’d be able to complete the challenge without significant re-injury and undoing the healing process that had already taken place for the past 8 weeks. So, I decided instead to run the smaller of the two races, the 5K on Saturday and the 8K on Sunday.

So, it’s the day of the run. It’s cold (that doesn’t help calm an injury) and windy. I’m ready to slowly tackle the 5K, my first run since mid-December. A stupid move? Well, we’ll soon find out. And then, there’s tomorrow…

A Snag in the New Year

As a runner, I’ve learned that I’m going to face several triumphs and obstacles throughout my running “career”. For me, career is considered the time of my life in which I will be running and not necessarily elite status; although, I wouldn’t turn down a sponsor…hello, Brooks, Flipbelt…Balega…anyone?

First, all runners will accomplish a personal record or PR (sometimes called a personal best or PB). The first time you run, nothing has been recorded yet; therefore, your result will be your PR. It becomes the baseline for your future races, usually at the same distance. Second, you will inevitably face frustrating setbacks in the form of injuries. That is the nature of being a runner. Those who are willing to run the distance, deal with injuries, and then come back and do it all over again is someone who I’d consider a runner.

I know this because that’s exactly what has happened to me on numerous occasions. It is something that is happening to me now. As previously written, I’ve been dealing with a shin splint on my right leg that has been extremely painful. I deferred the Charleston Marathon for just this reason. I had another run scheduled for the end of February, so I knew that it couldn’t be ignored.

Last week, I decided to see my podiatrist, Dr. Brian Fullem. Dr. Fullem is a runner and knows all of the injuries that runners face; he has experienced them himself. After a few painful pokes, prods, and “Does it hurt here. How about now?”, we both knew the diagnosis. “Let’s take an X-ray just to make sure.” He did and there it was staring me in the face; my source of pain over the past few weeks.

Shin splints are a pain in the as…er…leg but they can be treated fairly quickly and with little effort outside of the norm. I didn’t have shin splints. My shin splints, for the most part, were gone. My pain was from a hairline fracture just above the ankle. Translation…a minimum of 6 weeks of recovery time at best, 8 weeks, at worst. The Gasparilla Distance Classic Challenge (30.4 miles in 2 days), which I was ambitious to attempt last year and crazy enough to try again this year, is 5 weeks away. A series of 3 shockwave therapy sessions is what the doctor ordered. Many prayers are what I ordered.

Hairline Fracture is located above the arrow.

This is what I signed up for. I am a runner!

2020 New Year’s Resolutions

My Running Year-end Review for 2019

It is hard to believe that 2020 is less than 15 minutes away. I’ve always liked New Year’s Eve. Turning the chapter in a book, unaware of what is written on the pages, is exciting. Being able to control the narrative on the pages is even better.

As I reflect on 2019, visions of all that I accomplished dance across my memories. In my world of running, I’ve done quite a bit. First, I survived the Gasparilla Distance Classic Challenge, which included a 15K and 5K on one day and a half-marathon and 8K on the next day – a total of 30.4 miles. Then, I was lucky enough to run the Skyway 10K for the second year in a row and the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K, of which I received a PR. I ran a few others during the year, which lead me to Chicago, my second Marathon Major. Chicago was the most challenging race by far, having started strong and locking up my calves around mile 16. I still managed a PR, of which I’m incredibly pleased.

So, what’s on tap for 2020? I’m going to focus on strength training. My biggest challenge has always been the time, or lack thereof, that I’ve put into pre- and post-injury work. That led me to end in a non-glamorously way and seeing a physical therapist for knee pains and shin splints, the latter being more painful. I made a commitment that I’m going to follow every instruction that my physical therapist prescribed me and will continue to put in the work. I’m also going to take it nice and slow with my mileage and speed build-up. Often, I tell myself I’m going to take it easy, and I don’t. Each of these resolutions will lead me to the BMW Berlin Marathon in September of 2020.

2019 was a fantastic year! I accomplished more than I could’ve anticipated at the end of 2018. In 2020, I’m looking forward to many more running adventures. For those who have supported me in my running endeavor, specifically, my wife, parents, in-laws, and many close friends, I thank you with all my heart.

I look forward to taking you along my journey in 2020! Happy New Year!

Tinsel Run 5K with Elvis, the Doodle

After not attending last night’s Jingle Run 5K in Bradenton due to more shin pain, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I decided that my leg could handle the Run Tampa Tinsel Run 5K. I also decided, at my wife’s recommendation, to bring Elvis, my Goldendoodle. I’m glad I decided to take her advice since Elvis stole the show. Not only did he grab the attention of many from children to adults but he also ran extremely well. His pace was 8:52 per mile with a final time of 27:48! Oh, yeah, my Dood is a runner!

The Road to the 2020 BMW Berlin Marathon

I’m very excited to share my next running adventure in Berlin! Not only will I be running for my 3rd Star in the Marathon Majors circuit but I’ll be on the Alzheimer’s Society Team! It is a great organization that works to find a cure to a condition that is suffered by many, including my grandma who suffered from dementia and great-aunt who had Alzheimer’s. If you’ve lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s or Dementia, I’ll be running for your family. I’m almost 1/2 way to my goal, so if you’d like to help me and the Alzheimer’s Society get closer to the finish line of a cure, please click the link to the upper left. Thank you so much for your support!

Hot Chocolate 15K

Today, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If there’s one think I like more than running; it’s running for a charity that helps people.

Today’s run comes after four days of painful shin splints on my right leg. Instead of giving it my all and trying for a personal best, I decided to run at a leisurely pace with my dad who also has been dealing with a injury. All in all, we didn’t do too badly, finishing at 1:47:27 or at an average pace of 11:32. Frankly, better than I though either of us would be able to do.

Tonight, my leg is still sore but not worse than what is was before the race. Tomorrow, I’ll work on strength training and foam rolling. No running for the rest of the week as I tend to my injury. Two more 5Ks towards the end of the week, so time will tell as to how much effort I put towards them.