The Top of the Mountain has too Much Sun-Boston Marathon 2017 Recap-Part I


I have used this space to share my journey with all of you.  My journey from out of shape teacher, to marathoner, to full fledged marathon addict.  Often, these posts are easy to write, but I have found my post-Boston post difficult.  For several reasons, there are parts that I love to think about and rehash with friends, but there are some memories that I am still wrapping my head around.  I am going to use this space, as best I can to flesh all of these things out, and appreciate your time in reading it.


Build up to Boston (The trip to New England)

I am not the best airplane traveler in the world.  I am a total germaphobe and actually get claustrophobic pretty easily.  I have flown in the past, such as my trip to Orlando in November, but I prefer to drive.  We decided to drive to the race from Pittsburgh.  The decision was made easier when we decided to drive to Mystic, Connecticut for a few days before the race.  When we lived in Scranton, we’d spend weeks at Mystic every year.  We were there so often, we were known by the residents, and we’d always go to the non-tourist restaurants and hangouts.  Staying at Mystic would allow us to trim the trip a little, while resting a little bit as well.


My son and I chilling in Mystic, Connecticut-April 13, 2017

During this time, I was pretty anxious about the race, but kept up well with my routine (as best as I can).  I was doing some easy running, and staying pretty healthy.  The only lingering issue was a little annoying chest congestion left over from a cold that I had battled the week before.  It didn’t force me to do anything different, except have to deal with some gross phlegm during some of my runs.

 I must tell you that throughout this time, it was still unreal that I was going to run the Boston Marathon in a few days.  I was excited, but honestly would go through moments where I wanted to forget about it.  This is one of my post-Boston reflections: I allow my doubt and fear of failure to paralyze my actions.  In the deepest recesses of my mind, instead of realizing that I had trained great since January, I feared that I would drop the ball at the race in front of so many great runners, and many friends that were running.  I don’t think I even vocalized with anyone my clear goals for the race.  While part of this might be the fear of “jinxing” myself, I think it also allowed myself to think I could deal with failing at my goals if they didn’t happen.

For two days, we hung out in Mystic, and then traveled a little north to Providence Rhode Island on Friday.  Again, this made our trip to Boston even shorter, and we were able to go to a few places we loved in Providence.  By the way, if you have never been to Mystic or Providence… need to go.  They are both fantastic places to visit and eat.

Saturday-April 15th-Hopkinton to Boston (By Car)

On Saturday, we got up super early to go to Hopkinton for pictures.  It was getting real now, and I had my first horrible night of sleep in a long time.  In the back of my mind, I had two anxieties: failing to finish the race, and cramping.  For my first nine marathons, cramping had never been an issue.  I even remember running my 3:03 PR in Myrtle Beach, and walking to my hotel feeling great (and drove 500 miles in the car with no impact).  That changed at the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon, however.  At Pittsburgh and Chicago, I suffered from horrible cramps right after the finish line.  Both times, these cramps knocked me down, and in the case of Chicago (besides the issues with my concussion), I had to get an IV.  I honestly have no idea what changed in these races, but I was terrified that it would happen during the race, preventing me from finishing, or at the finish, where my family would be waiting.  Typically, my wife and son chilled at the hotel and waited for me to return, but they would be waiting for me at the finish this time.  That was pressure!

The drive to Hopkinton was fantastic.  The town is the picturesque New England town that you see in postcards, except they also have a Starbucks.  My wife packed my Boston Marathon Jacket because I had refused to jinx myself by packing it.  It even had the tags on it.  I wanted to take pictures with the jacket on, but would 100% not share the pictures with anyone until the race was over.  Yes…I believe in jinxes.  One of the funniest moments came when we gathered for our family picture at the starting line.  I put the jacket on, and my son said, “Dad…isn’t it bad luck that you put the jacket on.”  Ha!!!





I must admit that I was absolutely scared out of my mind for these pictures


Family Picture at the starting line.  This was a lot of fun.

After our trip to Hopkinton, we were off to Boston (albeit by car this time).  I was pretty much in full terrified-mode at this point.

Conclusion-For Now

Although I will focus on the race in my next post, I wanted to briefly discuss some lingering issues that, upon reflection, were creeping up on our trip to Beantown:

  • It felt like an out of body experience traveling to Hopkinton (and onto Boston).  I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t but it was.
  • I was doing a few things that were out of my routine, and I could tell that I was just a little of “my game.”  For example, I found myself worried about what I was eating, and how much weight I was putting on in my taper.  During my therapy sessions, I know that my eating disorder issues manifests itself a lot during times of stress (or inactivity).  I found myself worried about my weight, and was even pissed I didn’t pack my scale, even though my wife had taken that from me in January as my own New Year’s resolution.
  • I noticed that I had not taken an epsom salt bath for 3 days.  I typically take one every night.  Just another example of getting out of routine.
  • I wasn’t too concerned about over-hydrating, and instead just staying with my hydration routine.  All the weather forecasts were calling for decent temps and even a tailwind……….  Boy would they be wrong.

Thanks for reading.  For my next post, I will focus on Boston Weekend and the Marathon.


This is Me: This is my Journey to Boston (Part II)

As  I sit here, it is now 44 days until the 2017 Boston Marathon.  Given my lack of any fitness, and various health problems (all discussed in Part I), it feels unreal that I am running this amazing race.  While my journey from couch potato and soda fanatic to marathon runner was challenging, the road from running a marathon to running Boston 2017 was equally, if not more, difficult.  It would be a test of my physical and mental fortitude, and included many peaks and valleys (or would a correct runner term be “had varied elevations?)

2013-2014: It begins

After running the Steamtown Marathon in the fall of 2013, I immediately became addicted to marathons.  It sounds strange, but my favorite parts of the race occur from miles 21-26.2 because that is the “test.”  Those miles are a true test of physical conditioning, and mental focus.  I was particularly struck, as I started running marathons, how challenging it would be to keep running whilst seeing other runners walking, stretching, or laying on the ground in exhaustion.  This, I would tell myself, is the tightrope between finishing and not.  I was in love with the distance, and remain in love with it today.

I quickly signed up, which I heard is not uncommon, for the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon in November of 2013.  After having a fun race, I realized that I had improved my time in one month by almost 16 minutes.  I was slowly figuring it out, even running Philly with gels  (which I didn’t do at Steamtown).

If I am being completely honest, by the time of Philly, I was not engaged in, or knowledgeable about anything in the “running” community.  I didn’t run cross country/track, knew no famous marathon runners, and didn’t know any details about qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  By the end of 2013, however, I began to discover more of these details, and very quietly put a BQ in the back of my mind as a life goal.

I will leave a lot of 2014 out of this post because I have discussed that elsewhere.  Overtraining, a pelvic fracture, and a fun 2014 NYC Marathon meant an interesting 2014 was in the cards for me.  It was now 2015, when I was ready to chase the unicorn.

Pittsburgh, Erie, and Heartache 

Waking up on 5/3/2015, I didn’t think a BQ was in the cards.  I had been dealing with a little hernia pain, and life was getting a little ahead of me.  A few weeks earlier, my wife was diagnosed with early breast cancer, and we were spending our days scheduling her surgeries, and planning things that I wish on no one.  I was an emotional wreck.  Through it all, my wife was my inspiration.  She is absolutely in love with New England, and Boston is her favorite city ever.  She loves the Red Sox and everything New England.  When I woke up to run the Pittsburgh Marathon, there was a small spark in my mind that, if I can put it together, I would love to get her to see Boston on marathon weekend.

As I crossed the finish line, I could not believe my eyes, I had qualified for Boston when I crossed at 3:08:04.  It was BQ -1:56.  Based on people that knew more than me, I was Boston bound.  I remember hugging my wife and crying at the hotel telling her, “I got you to Boston.”   I think I smiled for a month, and it was great.


Me with my “Next Stop: Boston” sign after the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be in the cards.

During the summer of 2014, I trained for the Erie Marathon and was having some great success, PRing 10Ks and Half Marathon races.  Unfortunately, a bout with salmonella poisoning the week of the race had me toeing the line having lost a lot of weight, and even more energy.  Surprisingly, I BQd (by 10 seconds), but my heart was ok with it since Pittsburgh had “banked” me enough time.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and my application to run Boston 2016 was rejected because my -1:56 was not enough (it was 2:28).  Thirty-two seconds had destroyed a dream, and prevented me from taking my wife to Boston.  Honestly, I almost pulled the plug.  My BQs had been tough, and I didn’t think that “lightning in a bottle” was possible again.  At this point, I relied on my wife, my coach, Mark Hadley, and great friends like Kristy, Mark, Kris, and Laura for their support.  They had all been to Boston, and let me know that I should keep going.

Hell Yes, Its On

After a few weeks, I decided to lace up my sneakers, and return to the 2015 Steamtown Marathon.  I was determined to BQ, and was damn angry.  I had a benefit in that I would be 40 for the 2017 race, thus making my BQ time 3:15 instead of 3:10, but I didn’t give a shit.  I wanted to get that BQ by besting my Pittsburgh result.  I did just that.  I PRd my at 3:06: 50.  I also PRd the course by about 1 hour and 40 minutes (in 2 years).  I was mad that I had to wait until 2017, but knew that my BQ was enough.  A monkey was off my back.


Me with my Mom, sister, and Step-Dad after Steamtown 2015.  Boston Bound

Between Steamtown and the registration for the 2017 Boston Marathon, I ran two more marathons (Myrtle Beach which I earned my current PR of 3:03:40) and Pittsburgh (3:04:11).  As soon as I could, I bought my Boston Qualifier T-Shirt, and was so happy that I could run in 2017.


Me and my son on the eve of the 2016 Myrtle Beach Marathon.  Ready for a PR

It is possible

As I hope you have seen, the road to Boston is never easy. It can even tempt you to thinking that you have “done it” just in time for it not to be true.  I am running the 2017 Boston Marathon remembering all those great, and not so great moments.  My health, my Pittsburgh BQ turned to heartache, my wife’s health and recovery, and every moment my family and friends cheered me on.  Even all the words of support and encouragement from my coach, Mark, and friends throughout the country will be in my thoughts that day.  And yes, the competitive juices will be flowing, remembering the words of Max from the UVA Speed Clinic during my visit in 2016, when he said to me, “I think you have just scraped the surface, you can and should be running faster.”  You got it Max…I will do my best.

For everyone who has dreamed of running Boston, take my word, it is possible.  Ok Boston….game on. 




This is Me: This is My Journey to Boston (Part I)


Is This a Dream?

49 Days.  That is all that remain between now, and running the 2017 Boston Marathon.  Since it is my first Boston Marathon, it still seems as if it is all a fairy tale, and I will eventually wake up from a dream.

One of the most rewarding parts of running is finding out that everyone has their “journey.” Their story of how they started running, why they are running, who they are running for, and the hurdles that they overcome.  For every single runner in Boston this year, this is no exception.  Tens of thousands of people that have dedicated their life to this race, and the daily grind that comes with the territory.

I thought I would share my journey to Boston.  I am dividing it into two parts.  First, the journey to become a runner, and then the road from my first marathon to finally catching the unicorn. While my story may not be unique, it might provide some insight into who I am, and why I wake up at 2AM thinking, “Am I really running Boston?”

My Life Before Running

As a teacher, it is easy to fall into patterns and traps.  The demands of the job monopolize your time and emotions.  For me, teaching was all-encompassing.  School from 8-3:30, possibly coaching from 3:30-6, chaperoning, advising, fund raising, etc.  For the first 8 years of my teaching, life was teaching, and teaching was life.  In terms of fitness, it was non-existent.  I drank 8-9 sodas a day, and averaged 7-8 McDonalds meals a week (mostly eaten in the car on the way to an event).  Slowly, weight increased (maxing out at 215, and shopping for clothes became the ever present “creep” up sizes.  From 34 waist jeans in 1999 to 42 in 2007.  I was so out of shape that I would literally beg my wife to carry the groceries up to our 2nd floor apartment because I physically could not.  There were many incidents at this time that, looking back, scare the hell out of me.  For example, on New Years Eve, 1999,  I spent my night in the ER as I had almost turned blue from lack of oxygen.  As a result, I was given a strict regiment of inhalers, and a psychological new lease on life.


Me in Calgary (1999)


My Wedding Day.  I am on the left

Slowly Turning it Around

The road to turning my health and life around was long, with a lot of pitstops. There was no “come to Jesus” meeting, but one trip to the gym with friends turned into 2-3 days a week.  One 1/2 mile walk on the treadmill with some soft sneakers tuned into a 1/2 mile jog.  One less McD’s meal and one diet soda became finally controlling my nutrition better. By 2011, I had even signed up for my first local 5K.  I didn’t wear a GPS watch (mostly likely because I didn’t know about them), and survival was the most important.  I did it damnit! I did it!

As many can relate, finishing the 5K made me feel different about myself.  No longer was I wandering though life aware of my poor health and accepting it.  I felt great and proud of myself for the first time (maybe ever).  That led me to sign up for more 5Ks, and quickly transitioned into dabbing my toe in the 10K pool.  Combined with my running, I began keeping a food diary, began training at the gym, went to bed early, and walked during lunch period.  My health was improving, my asthma (which required 2 different inhalers daily) had improved greatly. By the spring of 2013, I had dreams of running a marathon.  My wife was very supportive, simply saying that I needed to run a half marathon first, which I did in Spring 2013.

My First Marathon-Dream Come True

After a year of thinking about it, and slowly training, I finally ran my first marathon in October of 2013.  I ran a 4:49, and could’ve cared less.  I ran and finished a marathon.  I hear a lot of questions about “why” people run marathons.  My response is that unlike a lot in life, you usually get out of it what you put in.  I had “put in” 3 months of training in cold, heat, sun, and rain.  The race was a celebration of my work.  It was fantastic and addicting.  As I crossed the finish line (posing like Sonic the Hedgehog on a dare with my son), I reflected on how unreal it was that, just a few years earlier, I couldn’t even walk up stairs.


Crossing the Finish Line at Steamtown (2013)


A dream come true. Celebrating Steamtown with the Family (2013)

Part I Comes to an End

As I close this Journey to Boston Post, I will note that running has changed my life.  It has changed my physically and mentally.  The required discipline to train, the feeling of accomplishment, and the physical benefits has been amazing.  I have not used an inhaler in 3 years, and I like to volunteer to bring in the groceries to our house.  I just call it active recovery, or core work.  Ha!

When the Boston Marathon starts, those days of ill health will flash back to me.  I can’t believe I am running this race.  It has been a long journey, but more rewarding than anyone can possibly imagine.

Thank you for reading. Part II (the marathon journey goes from hobby to chasing the unicorn) is coming soon.


A Look Back and a Path Forward

The Year that Was

December always seems a time to reflect on the year gone by, and create a path forward into the new year.  While it is easy and popular to see 2016 as a year of absolute political, economic, and cultural turmoil,  on a personal level, it was a year that brought a lot of joy to me. 

On a professional level, this has been a great year.  I had two papers peer-reviewed, accepted, and presented at conferences.  I am now coordinating all of our department’s graduate programs, and have gotten to serve on some high-level university committees that focus on curriculum and social justice (my two passions). In addition, I move one step closer to university tenure (one more year!), and I absolutely love my colleagues and students.  The transition from high school teacher of 15 years to university professor was difficult. University teaching, for me, is a lot more lonely since I miss the constant interaction with colleagues and students.  Unlike high school, virtually no one comes to see me in my office, and few students remain after class to talk.  There are 2-3 day periods where I may go into my office, complete tasks, and leave work without seeing or speaking to anyone.  Quite the difference. 

 On a personal level, I am always a work in progress.  Moving 300 miles from our families and abandoning a lot of familiar things, like decent Italian food, has been challenging, but my kid has really assimilated well at his school, and we seem to be finally getting comfortable, although I greatly miss NE Pennsylvania and our frequent trips to Philly and NY.  


Me and the Family at My Brother’s Wedding (November 2016)

2016-A Running Life

Virtually all my free time is spent running, or preparing for the next run.  It has been an interesting year for me running-wise. 

2016 began with my build-up and preparation for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, a race I set a PR at 3:03:50, and had a great time.  I did a quick transition to prepare myself for the Pittsburgh Marathon, and surprisingly almost matched my Myrtle Beach result with a lot less prep (and a lot of body exhaustion).  

May-September was a real challenging time for me.  I was prepping for Chicago, and ran the highest weekly and monthly miles in my life.  I was clicking away 65-70 miles a week, and put in my first 300 mile month ever.  I was feeling very fit and strong, but the hot summer (and burnout) wore on me greatly.  For the first time since beginning to run seriously, I looked forward to a post-Chicago break. 

Chicago was awesome, but frustrating.  Although I told no one, I thought a sub-3 marathon was within my grasp.  Unfortunately, marathons can present you with unique challenges on race day.  I admittedly made some rookie mistakes (such as going out too fast and walking more than I should have the day before).  In addition, I took a serious fall at mile 24-25, and was bleeding profusely from my head.  I was real super foggy, but knew that my “Goal B” of 3:05 was within reach.  I was able to cross the line barely at 3:05, but spent the next hours and days recovering from gashes on my head and a mild concussion. 


Me: Bloodied and Determined to Finish Chicago

Post-Chicago was an interesting time.  My heart was telling me to rest, but my mind and demons were singing a different tune.  As mentioned in prior posts, I have long suffered from body image issues and continue to see professionals regarding it. In essence, my running recovery phases suffer from the fear of getting fat and putting weight on.  I’m not going to BS you by saying I fear losing fitness.  At its base level, its my fear of returning to the 215LB person I was.  This is not healthy at all, and I have managed to navigate these troubled waters with care from friends and professionals.  

How did this impact my fall?  After Chicago, I rested, but was really ready to get back at it and try to run the Harrisburg marathon in November.  My body rejected that, though, and I ended up nursing a severely strained satorious and TFL flexor muscles.  This injury was a result of just wear and tear, and pushing through a pretty bad glute strain in September.  Since mid-November, I have been in physical therapy and slowly building up my mileage again.  

2017 Goals

Where does 2017 take me?  I can’t believe I can type this, but I am running the Boston Marathon in April.  It is still surreal that my 4:50-ish finish in a 2013 marathon would improve enough to get me to toe the line in Boston.  Although I tend to keep goals private, I am sharing some with you to make myself accountable:

Goal #1-Finish under 3 hours at Boston. (this is really dependent on my injury recovery and the weather in training, but damnit, I am going for it)

Goal #2-Run the “Run to Read Half Marathon” in January.  I love this race, but am far from at my peak.  I will run it and compete like hell.  Not a great PR shot, but lets get at it!

Goal #3-Remain fit enough to run Boston, Chicago, Pocono, and Philadelphia Marathons this year.  Consistent training and recovery is a must.  

Goal #4-Continue to listen to the words of friends, and my heart that my body image is fine and try to develop a lot more faith in myself and esteem for myself.  


I hope that you all have a peaceful and fantastic holiday season, and 2017.  Thank you for reading-Mike





Race Week!

My final long run before the Pittsburgh Marathon is in the books, as is countless hours of training and preparation.  This has been a super short cycle (since Myrtle Beach was only 7 weeks ago and I recovered for 2 weeks) but its been nice since I have gotten some great running in and remained healthy.  In 3 of the last 4 marathons I have run, I seemed to be beset by some injures.  For example, 2 weeks before Pittsburgh 2015, I got pains that still linger (I think it is a sports hernia since for the last 12 months it hurts when I cough and I cannot sit up in bed without my hand pulling on the mattress), and my serious calf pain before Myrtle Beach.  I sit here relatively fresh in the legs and mind.

Race Goals, Preparation, and the Future

My marathon prep is pretty simple.  I eat more pasta and sweet potatoes 3 days before the race.  I also drink the dreaded gatorade endurance shakes since they are loaded with amino acids and sodium.  I haven’t had any cramping issues in any race since adopting this drink.  My one race tradition is a chicken and pasta dinner prepared by my wife 2 days before the race.  Its fantastic.

My goals for the Pittsburgh Marathon are pretty loose.  Knowing that I have run a marathon 7 weeks ago has tempered my anticipation somewhat.  I would love to course PR the race (3:08) and may feel fresh enough to do more.  I am looking forward to the race. The crowd is great, and the course is real challenging.  I remember my chiropractor (a cross country coach) telling me last year that she’d never run it since it wasn’t a PR course.  Perhaps my lateness to the running scene has made me naive, but that is a pretty lame excuse.  Thankfully climbers up Mt Everest don’t avoid that mountain because they can’t break any records climbing it.  That shit just fuels my fire to run the course.  And boy….am I looking forward to that hill in the middle.  I remember planning on running that steep few miles at a 8:00 pace in 2015, and ended up running it at a 7:15 pace.  At the top, let out a huge “Fuck Yeah!” (sorry to the people manning the fueling station for my language).

After Pittsburgh, the Chicago Marathon is definitely going to be exciting, although I may enter the Erie Marathon as a prep run.

Professionally, I am in my last week of classes, and ready to end the semester.  I am 3/4 of the way writing my first research book (a collection of some scholarly articles I have written), and I am going to do some traveling.  I’ll be off the radar most of the summer, and can’t wait to enjoy it. Last year, my wife’s cancer surgery and recovery took most of the summer, so we are all looking forward to savoring life and travels this time around.

I hope that you are all well and I wish you happy running!



What I am reading-The Pentagon’s Brain by Anne Jacobson

What I am watching-The Wire (Season 3)

What I am listening to-of course…Prince!

Back in the Saddle Again



Back to the Grind (March 13-April 4)

In all honesty, part of my love of marathon training is the rigidity of a running schedule.  This became very clear to me during my recovery weeks after the Myrtle Beach Marathon.  While some may see rest days, or slower paced days as an opportunity to recover and/or complete those tasks that sometimes get cast off due to training, my mind goes crazy with the feeling that I am missing out, or going to lose fitness and speed.  This makes no sense, and I know that every bit of science and research say the opposite, but I don’t do recovery weeks well.


This blog, while not updated all the time, is a time for me to honestly assess myself.  While my public persona (especially in the classroom) may suggest I am an outgoing jokester, I suffer from some serious social anxiety.  I panic when invited to parties or gathering, and often will find ways out of them so I do not attend.  I am not proud of this, but it is very serious, and often causes extreme panic.  Besides meetings and required work events, I rarely talk or socialize with anyone.  While some may see this as standoffish, it isn’t.  It is real fear and anxiety.

Pacing a Friend

Sometimes life provides you with opportunities to break out do things that you normally would not do.  In Week 2 of recovery, I paced a friend for the remaining 10 miles of his 50K race.  It was a win-win-win for me.  I got to run a little consistently after 7 days of boredom, I got to help a friend compete and dominate at a goal race, and I finally was forced to break out of my social anxiety and run with people.  This was a big deal.  I have never run with people (besides racing).  Its was a great time, and the park where the race took place was great.



Half Marathon Race-3/26

My next opportunity to pick up the pace was Easter Saturday for the Yough Trail Half Marathon.  Although this was not a goal race, I wanted to do it to benefit our local trail and also to run with people.  I feel that I run better in race situations.  I absolutely hate long runs, because my mind goes everywhere.  “Watch your pace,” “Watch your stride,” “How long to go?” are things that go through my mind on long runs.  In a race environment, it is focused on running and competing.

The race was great.  I was able to tick off 13 miles at around 7:00 pace without any real effort or exhaustion after.  Honestly, I felt like doing more miles.  Although this was not a serious race for me, it let me know that my fitness was still in a good place.



My April

My April is dedicated to getting a few 20-milers under my belt (did one yesterday), and then getting ready for the Pittsburgh Marathon on 5/1.  I would really like to course PR Pittsburgh (PR-3:08:04), and at this point, I feel stronger than I did at this time last year.  I also have a 10+ BQ 2017 cushion already, so I think I can run a little more free of stress about getting BQd.

Speaking of the elephant in the room, this month’s Boston Marathon is a double-edged sword.  I am so happy and proud of so many great friends that will be rocking it out in Beantown, I am so disappointed that my -1:56 cushion of last year was not enough.  After BQing in Pittsburgh last year, I was on cloud 9 until getting the dreaded, “Thanks for registering, but you’ll be sitting at home” email in September.  While I would love to watch the race on TV, I am actually hoping for a soul crushing workout scheduled that day so I can workout, teach, and the go to sleep.  Even having that 10 minute cushion and taking over 5 minutes off my PR time since May hasn’t taken that anger and sadness out of my system.

I hope this update finds you all well, and I wish you happy and healthy running. Until next time!






Myrtle Beach Marathon Recap and a Look Forward


I hope this finds you all well.  It is now March, and I am listening to a ton of MLB Spring Training games.  That can only mean one thing: Spring!!!!  I am very excited about this since I have more trouble living through winter than I used to.  Perhaps going out 6 days a week to run in it does not help.

Myrtle Beach Marathon

I spent my first weekend in March by running the Myrtle Beach Marathon.  I was immediately hit by a wave of emotion when the race started, as I had been really struggling with an injury.

Injury Scare

Since November, I had put together some great training. Averaging over 60 miles a week, with a few over 70, and some great quality workouts build in as well.  My running fitness was great, and I was feeling pretty confident about being close to running my “A” goal of 2:59:59 at Myrtle.  Beginning around February 20th, I had begun to have serious pain in my right knee and calf.  I was forced to stop my 150 Minute Long Run 20 minutes into it (my first LR that I had not completed).  By the week of 2/22, I had a day I could not lift my knee above my hip, and one sleepless night where my lower leg felt like I was 500 Degrees, yet not hot to the touch.  I was legitimately close to going to the ER that night.  On race week, I went to my orthopedist (who helped me with my pelvic stress fracture in 2014), and he diagnosed me with a moderate upper calf strain.  Rest was ideal, but he said I could run the marathon.  Off to MB we went!

Race Day

I won’t bore you with the details of the race, but a few notes

  • Due to my injury, I was mentally ready for all eventualities.  My “A” Goal was 2:59:59, my “B” Goal was 3:05:00 since that would give me a 10 minute cushion under my BQ time.  My “C” Goal was 3:15.  I was also prepared with a plan to DNF if I felt my leg injury would make Spring running impossible if I kept racing.
  • While I loved the race setup, they used 12 oz cups on fueling stops, and sometimes had them 3/4 full.  That is just way too much liquid! I A lot of wasted liquid that day.
  • The race was very flat (and somewhat quiet due to it being in the off season).
  • Although a fast course, runners should be aware that miles 11-18, which are on Ocean BLVD, is windy.  Not windy due to weather conditions, but that constant ocean wind that seems to be going in all directions.
  • I was in the groove until mile 15, averaging 6:51 for the first 15.  Once I hit some wind, and some fatigue, my pace slowed.  I ended up with a 3+minute PR with a time of 3:03:39.

I am very happy with my PR time at Myrtle Beach. While I did not reach my “A’ Goal, my injury put this race in perspective, and I live to run another day.  I was also proud of myself that once Sub-3 was out of the plan, I did not quit mentally, but moved right on to my “B” Goal which was defiantly met.


Spring Running and Goals

I am now preparing to run the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 1st.  This is my hometown race, and the crowds are great.  I could not say no to this race. I honestly do not know how the race will go at this point, since I am still recovering, but I am competitive to a fault, and will give every bit of effort to get a course PR, which would be under 3:08:04.

Beyond Pittsburgh, I have set a few goals for myself this Spring:

  1. Do at least 4 of 6 weekly runs in a fasted state in the morning.  I want to work on my body’s ability to race on an empty stomach.  I felt some fatigue late in MB, and my body did not respond to the gels as I had hoped.  I want to train my body to run empty so that fueling and gels will be more powerful when I need them.
  2. Not weigh myself every day.  For many years, I have dealt with body image problems, and check my weight constantly.  Since going from 215 LBS when I got married to my current weight of 123, I know that my weight fanaticism impacts my running.  Honestly, it is an issue that even had me seeing a therapist for several years as I knew that my eating (or lack thereof) was not going to end in a good place. As a runner, this issue rears its head on my off days since they are usually days where my mind begins to get really defeatist and doubtful saying, “don’t take days off!!!”.  I am going to trust my training, my fueling, and my fitness.  I cannot make my weight a part of the equation.


Race Schedule: Next Few Months

March 26, Yough Half Marathon, Connellsville, PA

May 1: Pittsburgh Marathon

August 7: Mt Carmel Half Marathon, Columbus OH

September 11: Lake Erie Marathon

October 9: Chicago Marathon

*******March 17, 2017 THE BOSTON MARATHON!!!!!!!  🙂


I hope that you enjoyed this post.  Have a great day!!!