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The musings of an imperfect husband, father, teacher, runner, musician, photographer...


The 2014 Running Experiment: an update

So, we’re a month and a half into 2014, and as I wrote in an earlier post, I am trying to make it through the entire year without buying any running gear.  So far, so good.  I mean, that last pair of shoes that showed up to the house in the middle of January were ordered the day after Christmas, so that totally counts (right, honey?)

It’s a little hard to believe that I haven’t “needed” to buy anything to keep up this running habit.  Sorry, incessant marketers, but so far I’m resisting temptation.  I don’t care if your latest pair of shoes will tuck me in and kiss me goodnight (It is Valentine’s Day, after all)- I’m not buying.

That’s not to say that I’m not looking.  This is the time of year when all of the new models of shoes are starting to hit the market, and I’m always interested to see what the latest and greatest promise to be.  I am keeping an eye on things, but instead of rushing out to pick up a new pair, I’m making a wish list.  By the time 2015 rolls around (or my will power runs out), maybe there will be some decent feedback and reviews of the things I’ve been interested in.  Who knows, maybe I’ll end up making a more informed choice when it is finally time for a new pair of kicks.

I’m going to do my best to continue to use the gear I’ve already got, and I’ll keep you posted as the year goes on. Like they say, running is such a cheap sport.  All you need is a good pair of shoes, right?


This runner’s guide to 2014

Ok, folks.  I have crunched the numbers from 2013, and although I have fallen short of my mileage goal for the year, I am planning to up the ante for next year.  I had set out to run 600 miles this past year, and if I can manage to hit all of my scheduled training between now and December 31st, I will end up with 586 miles.  That’s close enough for me to feel that I have accomplished much (including a mileage gain of 175+ miles!), but far enough from my goal to keep me from busting out a 14 miler on a scheduled rest day.

The year in running, all in one place.

The year in running, all in one place.

So here’s the plan for 2014. 730 miles. That’s only an average of two miles a day. Fourteen miles a week.  When I looked at the graph of the past year, there were two major gaps in my year- following the Summer Run Streak (a great idea, but something I will try at another time of the year) and immediately preceding and following the birth of our second (and final) child.  I think that guarding myself from these gaps will help me on my way to reaching this mileage goal.

Oh, and here’s a bonus goal- how about a 100 mile month for good measure? We’ll see if I can’t get that done in January, leading up to the Tallahassee Half Marathon on February 2nd. Speaking of races, I am planning to run the Tallahassee Half in February, the Springtime Tallahassee 10K, and the Tallahassee Turkey Trot 15K for sure.  I am sure that there will be a couple of other races thrown in there, so we’ll see.

So while I may not be quite ready for the elusive 1000 mile year, I am hoping that my goals for 2014 will be enough to get me out the door regularly without being overwhelming, all the while maintaining the work, family, and grad school responsibilities.

Two miles a day.  Just two miles a day.

The Great Running Experiment of 2014

Alright, friends. 2013 is almost in the bag, and it was a good one as far as running goes. I ran my first half marathon, set a couple of PRs for other distances, and completed a summer run streak (at least a mile for 81 straight days). When it’s all said and done, I think I’m going to fall short of my mileage goal for the year by about 50 miles, but that still puts my total for the year at about +150 over 2012’s numbers.

In life outside of running, 2013 has been a good one as well. I started grad school in the summer, in order to finally get the education degree I rebelled so strongly against in college. My wife and I added another little one to the fold, so if you’re counting at home, that brings the total for kiddos to 2. Both of these life changes were contributing factors to my mileage slipping off in the second half of the year, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

As I look ahead to 2014, I am trying to come up with some solid goals of running in the next year. The Tallahassee Half is already paid for, so that’s happening for sure in February. I’m excited for the race, but I’m not going out there to try and set a PR. My training has not been as regimented as it was last year at this time (see above). I will probably try to run a couple of other races around Tallahassee through the spring, and we’ll see where things go from there.

So there’s a mileage goal to be set, obviously. For 2013, I wanted to get 600 miles run, and I’m going to come up just shy. I’ll have to sit down with the numbers from this year and come up with a goal in the next couple of weeks. I’ll post it here once I’ve made a decision.

As I was putting away clothes in my closet this evening (super exciting, I know), I realized that I have a crap-ton of running shoes. My wife has known this for quite some time, but I have been in the throes of denial. In addition to the shoes, I have a crap-ton of other running gear- shorts, socks, pants, tights, gloves, hats, etc., etc. Some of this stuff is not even appropriate for the climate in this region, but I’ve got it, just in case Tallahassee gets a freak blizzard. Nothing’s going to keep me from getting out there.

So here’s the thing. Let’s call it the Great Running Experiment of 2014. I am going to try to make it through all of 2014 without spending money on running gear. It’s killing me to think that the shoes I’ve got are the shoes I’ve got for the next year, but after looking at the numbers (and yes, I keep meticulous records of the mileage and use for every pair of shoes in my little Imelda Marcos stockpile), I should have no problem covering the miles I am thinking I might run in 2014. I’m not calling this a goal, more of an experiment. We’ll see where it goes. I will be buying essentials (Body Glide, specifically) in order to get through the year, but I’m going to try my darnedest not to make any major purchases.

And so, all 12 loyal blog followers, I want you to be prepared for this to be my place of accountability. Think you can handle that? It might not be pretty. I’m a gear head when it comes to running stuff, so this will be coming as a major change. Feel free to post comments of support, send gift cards (that’s not cheating, right?), or take whatever steps you see fit to help me in this endeavor. Here’s to hoping I can make it at least until February…

What are your goals for 2014, running or otherwise?

50 days?!? (And a big @procompression discount!)

You read that title right- today was 50 of the Summer Run Streak! Things are going well, and I’m excited to keep this up through the rest of the summer. Before I started this little adventure, I hadn’t even run a week straight.

There are a few things that are helping me on this journey.

My foam roller- if you don’t have one, get one. You’ll hate it and love it all at the same time!

My Monday night group run crew- while most of my runs are solo endeavors, it’s great to touch base with these guys, whether we’re celebrating or commiserating.

And a new one as of this week- my PRO Compression marathon socks. I’ve used various brands of compression socks and calf sleeves, and the black and yellow pairs I picked up this week from PRO Compression are great. And I have never seen a client base that so rabidly endorses a product.

And so, after a couple of runs in my PRO Compression gear, I want you to join the bandwagon! They’ve got a 40% discount site-wide (plus FREE shipping) through August 4th. Check out their website, and use the promo code JULY when checking out. Your legs will thank you!

Summer Run Streak Report: Week 7

This week has been a pretty solid one, from a training standpoint (You can scroll down to the numbers if you’re just dying to see.  I won’t tell.). On the nutritional front, however, things haven’t been so stellar.

I’ve been relying heavily on the, “I run every day.  Did you hear that?  EVERY. DAY.” conversation (either internally or externally) when justifying some of the things I cram in my face.  I know that I can’t possibly be working off all of the calories I am consuming. But I run every day, see?

This is the negative feedback loop I’ve been stuck in the past couple of weeks. Plus, it’s been hot (I’m not sure if you’ve noticed), so the wife and I are less inclined to want to heat up the entire house by cooking at home.  Oh, and Little Man loves to go to restaurants (which is kind of weird, because he oftentimes acts as if he is on a two-hour pass from the looney bin once we get anywhere).

So there you have it. Hot weather, eating out, running every day (Did I mention that already?). I think I may have had a breakthrough moment this week when I ran across the following:


Image: runtothefinish.com

This is what I needed to see! So much so that I printed it off real big (at work, of course) so that I could stick it on my fridge.  So far, it has only made it as far as my work bag. But I know it’s there, so that counts, right?

Apparently, some actual change in behavior is required. I wasn’t thinking about that when I ordered a giant grilled enchilada that night.  Needless to say, my run that night was not fantastic.  Not even close.  In fact, my notes in my running log state that it was, “not a lactate threshold workout, but a reflux threshold workout. Awesome.

So, I’m learning some lessons this week.  Hopefully I can turn these little lessons into progress. Nobody wants to see any more race photos full of moob (sorry about that).

Here’s the numbers:

This week’s mileage: 22 miles

Total streak mileage: 125 miles


Summer Run Streak Report: Week 6

Six weeks already? I guess it has been 42 straight days of at least a mile. (Not that I’m counting. Oh, wait. Yes I am.)

This week was one of those grind-it-out, just-get-out-there-already, you’ll-remember-why-you-like-this-once-you-get-started kind of weeks. I was again confined to the treadmill for a few runs, since we seem to be locked into the monsoon pattern for weather here in the panhandle. I did manage to get outside a couple of times, one of which was the group run I do on Mondays. Thank goodness for a little peer pressure accountability.

Had a little scare this week, as I got sucked into a late-night History Channel black hole and nearly missed a run. It was close, but I had to tell myself that King Tut would still be dead when I got back from my run. For those of you wondering, he was still quite deceased upon my return.

I’m hoping that this week was just one of those times when you have to force yourself to get out there no matter what. But that’s what a run streak is about, right?

Here are the numbers for week 6.


This week’s mileage: 14.35 miles

Total streak mileage: 103 miles

Summer Run Streak Report: Week 5

Wait, didn’t I just post about week 4? Ok, I’m catching up. Don’t judge.

This week has been crazy.  Sure, we’re on our break between summer school sessions, but we’ve been running around like crazy, trying to get the house ready for our expanding family.  After a legendary trip to IKEA, I’ve been trying to turn this

IKEAinto usable furniture for our house without looking like this:

image: IKEA

image: IKEA

In addition, it is monsoon season here in the Southeast. We had four straight days of heavy rain this week, forcing me onto the treadmill at the gym most nights (Yippee!).  So what’s a guy to do? Sign up for a 4th of July race, of course.

The Firecracker 5K was a soggy one, to say the least. I was imagining that I would be drenched as soon as I got out of the car.  Fortunately, the rain stopped for a few hours.  Unfortunately, the course resembled a steeplechase, and the humidity was like July in Florida. (Oh, wait…)

The race went fine, and my time reflected both the conditions and the maintenance phase my training is in. Here’s a photo of yours truly, exercising the freedom to show a little leg on the 4th.

image: Herb Wills

image: Herb Wills

I realized that I also was showing a little more moob than I’d like.  Let’s face it. Nobody wants to see that.  It may be time to tighten up on the nutritional front around here.

The run streak is still going strong, and here are the stats:

Week 5 mileage: 15.8 miles

Total streak mileage: 88.7 miles

Week 5


Mileage is a little less this week. Maybe it was the weather.  Maybe it was the holiday.  Regardless, I’m reminded of the wise words of one of the fathers of our great country.

image: Runner's World

image: Runner’s World


Anyway, keep exercising the freedom to get out there and run!