2014 – Looking back and forward

2014 was quite a year. The highlights included running 4 Full Marathons (including a new PR), 4 Half Marathons and running over 2,000 miles (unplanned). I completed my 10th Full Marathon in Baltimore this year (running with my Wife) and raised over $4,000 for charity (Autism Speaks).

December 2014 – Nike+ Summary

This month I ran a total of 211 miles. That is the most mileage I have ever run in one single month. It was a combination of getting my training done for the upcoming 2015 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge, business travel (where I had a little more time to run but I ate a lot more) and the realization mid December that I was actually close to 2,000 annual miles. With all that said I added a couple of extra miles here and there and a couple of extra runs over the course of the month and finished December with 211 miles and bringing my 2014 total mileage to 2,005 miles. Not sure I will be repeating this pattern too many times but it’s quite an achievement for me.

2014 – Nike+ Summary

2014 – Nike+ summary by month

There were many highlights of the year for me, starting back in January with running the inaugural Walt Disney World ‘Dopey Challenge‘. Four races in four days for a total of 48.6 miles. It was so much fun. Not sure I would rush to do it again though based upon the cost and logistics involved it ended up being a solo trip for me, however, I did make many friends that weekend and met up with lots of familiar faces too. I also attended the Mickey Miles Podcast breakfast after the 5K and was there for the launch of the Mickey Milers running team. The team raises funds for the Give Kids The World charity village in Orlando Florida. We are all over the country (and international too) but we interact regularly and meet up at races and I’ve even met up with members on business trips and on vacation. We are very identifiable by our yellow and purple team shirts and hats. It’s a great group and a great cause.

Running the 2014 Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World

Running the 2014 Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World

Mickey Milers Running Team

Mickey Milers Running Team

Post-race with the Mickey Milers (Janee, Brittany and Joe)

Post-race with the Mickey Milers (Janee, Brittany and Joe)

My other endeavors for charity are again for Autism Speaks and as of December 31, 2014 my wife and I raised over $4,000 and will be running the 2015 Walt Disney World ‘Goofy Challenge‘ in just a few days. My goal is to make my miles mean something for more than just my fitness and raising funds for charity is a way that I can do so.

Autism Speaks

In terms of racing I achieved a PR at the New Jersey Marathon at the end of April a year after my meltdown at the same race. It was a pretty tough winter here in the north east and I did much of my training indoors at the gym. I learned to cope for multiple hours on a treadmill but it was great when spring finally arrived. Conditions on the day of the marathon were tough and windy but I achieved what I set out to do (even though it was just by a few seconds). I was happy. A few days after the marathon I had a small medical scare but thankfully all turned out for the best.

New Jersey Marathon - New PR and a pretty cool medal

New Jersey Marathon – New PR and a pretty cool medal

My wife and I took part in a few races together this year, the Hot Chocolate 15K in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon in August and the Baltimore Marathon in October. Great fun at each race and she also achieved a PR at Baltimore. Great race, great weekend.

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K

With my Wife and Father-in-law at the Rock and Roll Half Marathon

With my Wife and Father-in-law at the Rock and Roll Half

2014 Baltimore Marathon

2014 Baltimore Marathon (my 10th Marathon)

 

I was also selected as an INKnBURN ambassador during the year and had lots of fun wearing some colorful and artistic outfits at races. I have lots of options now to run in. I have the INB shirts, my Mickey Milers team shirt and my Autism Speaks team gear for the Disney races. I think I don’t need to buy any gear for a while (this is not a New Year’s resolution so don’t hold me to that).

INKnBURN Ambassador

Another PR this year was achieved at the Bucks County Duathlon. I was unable to participate in 2013 due to a family wedding but this year I came back and beat my previous PR by 5 minutes. I had a bit of a struggle at the ‘Chasing the Unicorn’ Marathon in August but the highlight of that day was running across the finish line with my family. That made anything else unimportant and I was happier than my performance really reflected as a result.

A good day for a PR as I headed home.

A good day for a PR

My best ever finish.

My best ever finish.

So what does 2015 have in store to improve upon 2014? I’m not sure yet but plenty of things already lined up to look forward to.

In a few days my wife and I will be running the 2015 Goofy Challenge down at Walt Disney World. It is the 10th anniversary of that particular event and the medal looks quite cool. Most of all I’m looking forward to having my family with me at Walt Disney World this year and having a mini vacation with them. My wife and I are also signed up for the Pittsburgh Marathon in May and we are again doing a little family road trip with the boys. It should be a lot of fun. I’m also signed up for my very first ‘triathlon‘…we shall see 🙂

2015 10th Anniversary Goofy Challenge medal

2015 10th Anniversary Goofy Challenge medal

Thanks for sticking with me for another year. I appreciate all your ‘likes’ and kind comments and look forward to seeing you at events and hearing on your success too. Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2015.

With my wife enjoying the Baltimore Marathon. Good times.

With my wife enjoying the Baltimore Marathon. Good times.

 

October 2014 – Month in review

October 2014 – Nike+ Summary

October 2014 – Nike+ Summary

158 miles this month.

Fall is definitely here. I have broken out the long sleeve t-shirts and the lightweight gloves for some of my early morning runs. We are about to set the clocks back so I may yet see another sunrise on my morning runs before the year is over but mostly I have been starting and finishing my morning runs in the dark.

As I end October I can look back on a marvelous time running the Baltimore Marathon with my wife and also working towards running the 2015 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge in just over 2 months from now. I’ll figure a time to rest up eventually…

2014 Baltimore Marathon

2014 Baltimore Marathon

This month I finally took the plunge (perhaps literally) and signed up for my very first triathlon. I will be participating in the 2015 New Jersey Triathlon next July. I signed up for the Olympic Distance which involves a 1,500 meter swim, a 25.5 mile ride and 10K run. I signed up with my local tri-club (Bucks County Triathlon Club) and joined the local YMCA pool so that I can get an early start with the swim training. I have 9 months to be able to compentently and comfortably swim 1,500 meters. So far I have been to the pool once per week since signing up (logging my workouts in swim.com) and I plan to step up to two times a week if I can from January and then the full training plan post Pittsburgh Marathon in May next year. I should have 12 weeks between the marathon and the triathlon which is about the right amount of time based upon the training plan I have chosen. We shall see!!

With a view towards the Disney training I am now in my back to back plan mode that I have used the last few years which is a modified Hal Higdon plan. The last couple of years I had 8 weeks between the Philadelphia Marathon and the Disney Marathon but this year I’m up to about 12 weeks. I am hoping to break out the training to roughly 2 weeks of recovery, 8 weeks of training and 2 weeks of taper so that I get to the start line both healthy and somewhat rested. There are two of us in the house training for the Goofy Challenge so I’ll be doing lots of the early shifts during my runs, even on the weekends. Hopefully when we are on vacation in November my folks can look after the boys and I can get some running time in with my wife (also somewhere warmer than home).

Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge

10th Anniversary Goofy Challenge Medal

10th Anniversary Goofy Challenge Medal

Also this month I am pleased to tell you that my wife voluntered at a local 5K race and at the last minute, as her role was pretty much done, decided to run and actually won the race. Another trophy to add to her collection. Overall first female to go along with her age group awards. She likes to remind me of the fact that she has these awards but I’m not (that) bitter. My highlight this month was completing my 10th marathon. We both have our accomplishments and I’m as proud of her as she is of me (I hope 😉 ).

1st Place Female

1st Place Overall Female

November is taken up with a family wedding, Thanksgiving and a family vacation. In between all of this will be lots of training as we wind the time down towards January’s marathon. Can’t wait!!!

I am still fundraising for Autism Speaks for whom I’ll be running at Walt Disney World. If you would like to support me this would be greatly appreciated. Here is the link to my personal fundraising page.

Thank you for reading.

September 2014 – Month in review

September 2014 – Nike+ Summary

September 2014 – Nike+ Summary

147 miles for this month.

As the month ends my Wife and I are less than three weeks away from the Baltimore Marathon. Most of this month was taken up with the peak of our marathon training. We got quite a number of long runs in over the weekends and various other available times. The end is in sight and the race will be the reward.

This month we ran the Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon for another year. Although it wasn’t our best performance together it was by no means terrible. We put our performance down to fatigue from the marathon training and the surprising heat and humidity on the day which seemed to have impacted a few other folks too. It was a fun day though and also an opportunity for my Father-in-law to join us in an event as he ran his longest distance in many years on that day. That weekend also provided me the opportunity to meet up with some of my Mickey Milers team mates who came in for the race. It was a great weekend all around.

With my Wife and Father-in-law

With my Wife and Father-in-law

Post-race with the Mickey Milers (Janee, Brittany and Joe)

Post-race with the Mickey Milers (Janee, Brittany and Joe)

The last weekend of the month was the time for my last 20 mile run of this current marathon training plan. The fact that I was attending my future Brother-in-law’s bachelor weekend notwithstanding, I got up early after about 3 hours sleep and headed out the door for what was planned to be 20 miles. It was strange walking through a casino in Atlantic City, NJ in my running gear knowing that most of the folks on the floor still had not gone to bed from the night before. I started out on the Boardwalk and went up and back a couple of times and ultimately ran through 4 towns (Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport….and back) and certainly earned my breakfast buffet at the casino. I ran a couple of miles longer than planned (22 vs 20) but the weather was fantastic and the terrain was flat and so I felt I could do a little more. I timed my run perfectly, arriving back in the room as everyone was still getting ready, hopped in the shower and was down for breakfast within 30 minutes…I almost ate all the calories back that I had just burned. Needless to say I had little else to eat for the rest of the weekend.

Wlaking through Harrahs Casino in Atlantic City, NJ at 4:30am

Wlaking through Harrahs Casino in Atlantic City, NJ at 4:30am not quite fully awake yet

Atlantic Ocean sunrise

Atlantic Ocean sunrise – Mile 7

Lucy the Elephant in Margate, NJ - Mile 9

Lucy the Elephant in Margate, NJ – Mile 9

At the end of the road in Longport NJ - Mile 11

At the end of the road in Longport, NJ – Mile 11

Atlantic City Boardwalk - Mile 19

Atlantic City Boardwalk – Mile 19

Happy to be done - Mile 22

Happy to be done – Mile 22

As the month ended we started thinking about next year’s running events. I had wanted to run the Pittsburgh Marathon for the last two years and it clashed with the New Jersey Marathon in 2013 and the Broad Street Run in 2014. Entry for the 2015 race (held May 3rd) opened up on September 30th and so I coaxed my wife into the idea of visiting her old university town for perhaps the Half Marathon and she actually agreed to sign up with me for the Full. So there you have it, next May we are running the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon together 🙂

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks/months. In addition to the Baltimore Marathon on October 18th we have a family wedding in November as well as family vacation with my folks who are coming in from England for the wedding. This means that I will be down in Florida for Thanksgiving and will need to hunt down a new Turkey Trot this year. Then shortly after in January we have the Goofy Challenge where we are running for Autism Speaks.

Our fundraising is now kicking into high gear. I recently achieved my fundraising target so now I am working hard to help fundraise for my Wife. The good news is that the charity is allowing us to pool our fundraising together so whatever extra funds I am able to raise over and above my initial target will count towards my Wife’s goal. If you would like to help, please use this link to reach my fundraising page. Thank you.

Also, don’t forget that October (I extended the date by a month) is the last month to sign up and run for one of the virtual races to help raise funds for Autism Awareness and this counts towards my fundraising goals for the year. There are still some great prizes out there to be won as well as some awesome looking medals (although I am slightly biased). Click HERE for the link to the ‘Going Goofy’ 5k and HERE for the ‘Secret Agent 005K’ event.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to next month’s recap as well as a review of the upcoming Baltimore Marathon.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Today I took the ice bucket challenge as I had been called out by a friend on Facebook. I have seen many of my friends take this challenge and I knew eventually I would get my turn. I am glad that such a great idea has become viral and the numbers speak for themselves, raising millions of dollars in the process.

Untitled

Me and my ‘Mini Me’ taking the challenge

The idea is to donate to the ALS Assocation (www.alsa.org) or dump a bucket of ice water on your head. Seems easy. You either do it or pay up.

So, I did my challenge and I also made a donation. It’s fun but I’d more likely make a donation to a good cause. I just got caught up in the social media hoopla. Yes, I know there has been an outcry for all the natural resources wasted when there are other charities whose main goal is to bring clean water to places where there is none but if it raises the money (i.e. people actually do donate and not just post videos of them dumping water on their heads) it is worthwhile.

ALS

I know how hard it is to raise funds for charity having done so over the last few years. You cannot keep going back to the same well. I get the “Didn’t I already give you?” comment a lot. Hey, sometimes raising funds is often harder than the training for the endurance events I take part in.

So, rather than nominate someone to make a video of them dumping ice on their heads, I welcome you to make a donation directly to the ALS Assication but also challenge you to head over to www.philly2goofy.com/charity and make a donation to Autism Speaks. Let’s leverage of one charity to help another.

So here is my video. Enjoy.

 

July 2014 – Month in review

July 2014 - Nike+ Summary

July 2014 – Nike+ Summary

As I end the month of July I am just over a couple of weeks away from the ‘Chasing the Unicorn‘ Marathon. This was a month of buckling down and get my training runs in. This month I managed 194 miles as I keep up the training plan I chose this time around. In hindsight, training for an August marathon is probably not my wisest decision based upon the heat and the training plan I chose (Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2) but there has been some cooler weather so all the runs were manageable and I’m feeling good and confident of my goal for the race.

I took part in one race this month, the In24 Midnight Madness 8 mile run. This was more of an event than a race and I ran a pretty decent time considering the time of day and how many hours I had already been up at that time. It was fun and you can read my recap here. I got to try out some new gear (Noxgear Tracer360) during this race which was fun and did draw some positive attention. I’ve subsequently run while wearing this during my early morning runs when it wasn’t part of the night run…not sure the attention was as positive…more strange looks, especially from the wildlife in the park where I run. Literally I know what ‘a deer in the headlights’ really looks like close up 🙂

Wearing my Noxgear 'Tracer 360'

Wearing my Noxgear ‘Tracer 360’

As this was a holiday month and we didn’t go away for our usual week of vacation for July 4th we have taken advantage of our weekends. I gave each of my boys a special day during the month. With my youngest we went to the Bucks County Children’s Museum and with my eldest we spent a day in Philadelphia celebrating ‘Benjamin Franklin’ and visiting all places related to the Founding Father. We also as a family spent two days in New York City. We had a great time and took the boys to the top of the Empire State Building and also to the Statue of Liberty. We also got to eat at the Peanut Butter Company Sandwich Shop. I would recommend it as a place to visit if you are ever in Greenwich Village.

Family time with 'Thing 2'

Family time with ‘Thing 2’

Family time with 'Thing 1'

Family time with ‘Thing 1’

Lady Liberty with Things 1 and 2

Lady Liberty with Things 1 and 2

I received my Mickey Milers team jersey this month. It’s great to be a part of a running group even though everyone is spread out across the country (and beyond). I have managed to meet up and run with a couple of team members so far and we will be having a group meet up at the upcoming Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in September. The team’s goal is to raise funds for the ‘Give Kids The World‘ Village in Orlando, Florida.

Mickey MIlers team shirt

Mickey MIlers team shirt

Also this month I was invited to join the INKnBURN Ambassador Program. I am very excited to be a part of this team as I really like the products they make. I mentioned last month that I had wanted to try this brand for a while and when I did I really liked how they looked and performed. Now I am proud to have been chosen to ‘spread the word’. I will be doing a detailed review in the near future and will be able to share a special discount code with everyone. I’m excited to see some new products and look forward to sharing my impressions of them and wearing them in some upcoming races.

This month I am continuing to promote my two virtual runs to raise funds for Autism Speaks. If you haven’t yet checked them out please do so here. I have some great medals and great prizes which were donated from some leading running gear providers. Also I am continuing to fundraise for Team Up for Autism Speaks as my wife and I both run for their charity team for the 2015 Walt Disney World ‘Goofy Challenge’. If you would like to support me please use this link here. A big thank you in advance.

'Going Goofy' 5K medal

‘Going Goofy’ 5K medal

'Secret Agent 005K' medal

‘Secret Agent 005K’ medal

Upcoming I have the ‘Chasing the Unicorn’ marathon on August 17th and I just recently signed up for the Bucks County Duathlon on August 31st (I participated in 2011 and 2012 but missed last year due to a family wedding). A lot of things to look forward to and a goal to achieve in August.

Thank you for reading. I hope you had a good July and have a great August.

 

June 2014 – Month in review

Lots of fun times in addition to running this month including a couple of nice surprises.

June 2014 - Nike+ Summary

June 2014 – Nike+ Summary

I reached a new milestone this month. This was the first month since I started running that I ran more than 200 miles in a month (202 per my stats). No wonder I’m tired. This is mostly due to me using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2 plan which has more mileage midweek and an extra 20 miler in the plan (1 down and 2 to go as of June 30th). So far all is going well even as the heat and humidity makes the runs more of a workout than normal. I guess training for an August marathon will test your endurance.

The month started with me continuing on the training plan for the marathon but now the distances are becoming greater every week. The good thing is that it is lighter in the morning and with the exception of when I had to travel out of town for work (more on that below) I have been able to run in the daylight and on a few occasions see the sun rise. It’s been fun. I am seeing a lot of familiar faces and a few new faces as I run my usual laps of the park. Good to see some folks out there making their first strides. I encourage with a smile and a wave as I run past as it seems everyone is plugged in but it is paying off now and I get the smiles back. Runners etiquette. Love it.

We finally said goodbye to our BOB Ironman double stroller. Our boys are just too big for this now and I was really struggling to run and push them and keep up with my wife when running. They really had exceeded the weight limit and my eldest son’s knees were pretty much touching his ears. We had lots of fun with that stroller over the last couple of years and we put on a good number of miles together. It was great while it lasted but when casual observers commented that my son was big enough to push me we knew it was time.

Our first stroller run - Memorial Day 2012

Our first stroller run – Memorial Day 2012

Our last stroller run - Memorial Day 2014

Our last stroller run – Memorial Day 2014

On Father’s Day I ran the Gary Papa 5K for Prostate Cancer and met up with my fellow Mickey Miler, Joe. It was nice to meet him and it was a fun day. I travelled down with my father in law and it was good to see him back running races. He is signed up for a few more this year including the Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in September. Together with my wife, my sister in law and future brother in law we have a full caravan of cars heading down and it should be a fun day.

At the start with my Father in law

At the start with my Father in law

At the finish line with Joe.

At the finish line with Joe.

On Father’s Day we also go to celebrate my son’s team winning the Flag Football Superbowl. They were unbeaten all season. Now I have to start building my son’s trophy shelf. He was very happy and we are very proud of him and how he played with the team.

My little champion

My little champion

This month also included the Cycle Bucks County event. This was the third year I have taken part in this event and it was a really beautiful sunny day. I opted for the 25 mile route (actually 27 miles) and there were also 10, 50 and 60 mile routes to ride. It was very hilly but a good workout. I did walk a couple of hills (as did many others) as I didn’t want to fry my quads and also as I had a 19 mile run on the training plan the day after.

I earned my ice cream on this ride.

I earned my ice cream on this ride.

With a net elevation of almost 1,900 feet it was a very good workout. You can see the route here.

We had a pleasant surprise when my in laws offered to take our two boys up to Albany, NY for the weekend to visit family. My wife and I had free time which we had not planned that weekend and we took advantage of having some personal time on Saturday to get some stuff done which we wouldn’t have had a chance with the boys around, go out for a nice relaxing dinner and catch a movie. The next day we could sleep a little later and both get our long runs in. I had 19 to run as I said earlier and my wife joined me at mile 8 and we ran my last 11 miles together. She took me to some places in Tyler Park that I had never visited and some hills I had never run before (probably not planning to run those again either). We then had a nice quiet brunch and then headed out to an evening concert (The Steve Miller Band and Journey). A great weekend.

Running the 'Covered Bridge Trail' in Tyler Park. A first for me.

Running the ‘Covered Bridge Trail’ in Tyler Park. A first for me.

Work took me to Atlanta, Georgia this month (and I will be heading there a few times this year). My hotel was nearer Piedmont Park this time around and the office I needed to visit was next to my hotel. With the exception of my first travel day when I headed straight to the office I was able to run every morning. With my short commute (next door) I was able to get my longer training runs in without getting up so early. I usually commute about 55 miles each way so I have to get up early to get my running in. This was also the first of my big weeks on the training plan and it called for runs of 5, 10, 5, 10 and 20. The sun does rise later as we are further west so I had my headlamp for both of the midweek long runs but was able to finish in the day light. It was warm and humid but good training for the heat I will expect in August.

While in Atlanta I got the chance to catch up with ‘Fast Eddie’ McCoy. He is a big part of the Mickey Milers running team and is a big inspiration to many as well as lots of fun. He met me on Wednesday evening while I was there and took me out for a group run from one of the local breweries (Red Brick Brewing Co.). It was about 90 degrees when we ran and it we hit some pretty big climbs. Eddie is fast and his slow is my fast. I was keeping up but it was a hard and fun workout, especially considering the heat. We shared a couple of beers and then had a really nice dinner at Tin Lizzy’s Cantina in Midtown Atlanta. I will definitely be heading back there when I next visit. The last couple of trips to Atlanta I have participated in group runs. I will be looking into doing another one evening on my next trip as I will be travelling solo next time.

Post 5K run with Eddie.

Post 5K run with Eddie.

I finished off the month with a 20 mile long run when I got back from Atlanta. It went well and I felt good even the day after when my boys and I had a crazy busy day together using our membership at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.

Enjoy time at the Adventure Aquarium

Enjoying time at the Adventure Aquarium

Great times at the Adventure Aquarium

Great times at the Adventure Aquarium

Enjoying a 'Cake Batter Shake'. I claim only 1/3rd of the calories :-)

Enjoying a ‘Cake Batter Shake’ with my boys

Also new this month, for me anyway, were my new shirts from ‘INKnBURN‘. I took advantage of some discount codes online and purchased a few items. I’m really happy with them. I think the shirts are great and they work well as technical running shirts. Very comfortable.

The 'Healing Mandala' tech shirt

The ‘Healing Mandala’ tech shirt

The 'Ganesha' tech shirt

The ‘Ganesha’ tech shirt

The 'Rock and Roll Run or Die' tank top

The ‘Rock’n Roll Run or Die’ tank top

It was a busy month and I had lots of time on my feet outdoors both training, running with friends, running with my wife and playing with my boys. I’d say June was a success. Looking forward to the rest of summer.

While I have your attention (if you have stuck with me this far I guess I have) I’d like to remind and ask you if you would be willing to support me in my fundraising efforts for Autism Speaks. As you may know from this blog I will be running the 2015 Walt Disney World ‘Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge’ with Team Up / Autism Speaks. This will be my third year running for this team and I hope to take my total raised over the years to over $10,000. I cannot do this without everyone’s support. If you feel you can contribute I would very much appreciate this. I thank you in advance. You can donate by using this link.

Thank you for reading and have a great summer.

It’s been a fun and rewarding journey…and I haven’t finished yet

A few months ago my Wife told me about an application for the iPhone called ‘Timehop’ which describes itself as follows:

A time capsule of you. See your photos and updates from this exact day in history. Timehop helps you celebrate the best moments of the past with your friends!

Or as some folks probably would say it shows how much time you may have wasted on social media over the last 4+ years (LOL).

For me though it provides a window and a reminder of some of the things I did with my kids when they were little (they are still only 7 and 4 but time flies for sure). Today’s ‘Timehop’, however, was a big ‘Wow’ moment for me. In the feed today it had the photo shown below.

Timehope 2010

This is me back in June 2010 at Sesame Place with my youngest who was about 5 weeks old.

Also in the feed were a few more photos (which for personal reasons I will not be re-sharing) showing me playing in the water with my eldest son and wearing a heavy cotton shirt despite the sweltering temperatures on that day. Why is it a ‘Wow’ moment? It is this picture that  which prompted me to change my habits and start to get healthy. I got my first iPhone around this time and started using the LoseIt app. Shortly after this and I began running a few weeks later using a Couch to 5K app. My life over the last 4 years has transformed.

You can see from this blog as a whole how much I seem to enjoy life and not just running but family and other activities we do together and with friends old and new. It is amazing how I had been a yoyo dieter and an exercise quitter for many years over and over again. Something about this picture of me holding my newborn son changed everything…for the better.

Running the 2014 Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World

Running the 2014 Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World

I’m very proud of how far I’ve come on this journey and what I have achieved. I didn’t do it alone and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the support, especially from my Wife who has joined me on this journey. I never knew what I was capable of and I am still tapping into that potential but along the way I have had the most amazing time. I’ve also been able to use my new passion for good and have to date raised over $8,000 running events for Autism Speaks. None of this would ever have been possible had it not been for my reaction to that photo. Thank you Timehop for showing me how far I have come.

2013 San Francisco Half Marathon

2013 San Francisco Half Marathon

Thank you for sharing this adventure with me. Long may it continue.

Get out and run for a good cause

Just a reminder that as part of my fundraising efforts this year I am hosting 2 virtual 5K run/walks. You can run or walk each of the events. There is no need to submit a proof of time but if you want to win one of the prizes you will need to submit a photo so that other entrants can vote on the winners. Here are the two medals that are available for the events.

'Going Goofy' 5K medal

‘Going Goofy’ 5K medal

'Secret Agent 005K' medal

‘Secret Agent 005K’ medal

Last year there were some great photos submitted for the ‘Where’s Dopey’ 5K and the event was a big success. I even did my own entry during a trip to San Francisco. Here are a few examples of photos that were submitted.

12974_221615817988514_1509098446_n 988269_221615824655180_806247907_n 995976_221616017988494_1739712951_n 1003520_221615467988549_1610459434_n 1146663_221615447988551_1843898926_n 1146708_221614634655299_1532530944_n 1148939_221614681321961_1711435627_n 1157605_221615521321877_341710910_n

Please take a look at the events and I invite you to take part. Funds raised will be going to Autism Speaks for their ongoing research and support for autism and autism awareness.

Here is the link to the ‘Going Goofy 5K’ and here is the link for the ‘Secret Agent 005K’.

Have fun out there. I look forward to seeing you photos.

Autism Speaks

April and May – Month(s) in review

As I was starting my review for May I realized that I never posted the month in review for April. It may have been that I was a little busy around the month end (see here) which took my mind elsewhere for a few days and I never actually realized my oversight until just now. April, after all, was a pretty big month for me.

April 2014 - Nike+ Summary

April 2014 – Nike+ Summary

My monthly stats show 152 miles but that is not the whole story for the month. I set a new Marathon PR (3:54:30) at the New Jersey Marathon. In addition I ran a the inaugural Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K and the Bucks County Half Marathon. With the inaugural Philadelphia LOVE Run back on March 30th this made for a very busy few weeks of training and racing. The cool thing about that is that all my race times were around my marathon goal pace so I actually went into the marathon with confidence. All the hard work paid off. I was a very happy fellow for a few days…until I had to take about 10 days of unforced rest.

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K

Bucks County Half Marathon

Bucks County Half Marathon

What else…oh yes, my wife and I signed up for the Baltimore Running Festival. We will be running the Baltimore Marathon together. My hope is that we can bring her marathon PR down further. I’m confident she can. We also signed up for the 2014 Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. I was hesitant to do this again as I have run it for the last 3 years and we had discussed skipping this but for some reason we decided to give it another chance this year. After all, we have a family wedding later this year and we want to look good in the pictures.

April was also registration time for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. Again I signed up with Team Up/Autism Speaks for a third year but this time ‘just’ the Goofy Challenge. My wife also signed up with Team Up so we are fundraising together (harder than training if you ask me). As part of our fundraising efforts we are running two virtual 5K fun run/walk events. This proved both popular and successful for me last year and we are hoping for the same this year. We actually have some really great medals and vendors have been generous to offer some cool prizes for participants this year. I hope you take a few minutes to take a look, perhaps join in one of the events and please do share this with your friends/running partners. It should be fun. Here are the medals designed for the events.

005K medal

005K medal

Going Goofy

Going Goofy

With a rather abrupt end to April (running wise) and a short break in training in May I had some ground to make up…well, really I was antsy and wanted to get back out there ASAP. Here is my recap for May.

May 2014 - Nike+ Summary

May 2014 – Nike+ Summary

I still managed to get 113 training miles in during the month and was very grateful to be able to do so. The weather outside in May has been glorious. Yes, there have been some cool mornings but with the exception of a couple of rainy runs it has been great to be outdoors in the early mornings as the sun is rising and get my runs in. Now that I am training using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2 training program my weekday mileage has crept up a little. I’m glad for the extra sunlight so I am not so reliant on the headlamp right now.

My wife ran in a couple of races this month. Early in May she ran a new PR at the Broad Street Run 10 miler in Philadelphia and on Mother’s Day I signed her up for a local 10K where she came back with a 2nd place age group finisher award. Go Shari!!! I’m a big fan (when I can keep up with her).

My wife with one of her awards (2nd place age group - Mother's Day 10K)

My wife with one of her awards (2nd place age group – Mother’s Day 10K)

The rest of this month has really been focused on managing the new training program and the increase in mileage. I am trying to follow the program diligently and doing the pace runs before the long runs. So far so good. Holding about an 8:30 min/mile pace on the hilly course where I train so I’m pleased with that.

On Memorial Day I finally took the bike out for my first ride of the season. I’m pleased to say that I got in 20 miles and felt comfortable. I have signed up for a third year now for the Cycle Bucks County riding event in June so I’m looking forward to that. I think 25 miles is my comfort level when it comes to cycling right now. I’m not yet ready for the Ironman training.

Memorial Day was also the last time we did a family run with our double stroller. The boys are just too big. We bought the double stroller back in 2012 so that my wife and I could both run together with the boys. We have put on well over 150 miles running together with the stroller including three 5K races as well as a couple of long vacation runs. We figured that the boys were on the cusp of the weight limit at the end of last summer but held on to it over the winter. We took it out on Memorial Day and I just couldn’t keep up with my wife. My boys are getting bigger and we were not able to keep up with each other. It was time for it to go but we had some great times running and a lot of fun. It went to a good home.

Our last stroller run. As you can see, the boys are big enough to push me.

As you can see, the boys are big enough to push me.

With the good results of the medical procedure behind me I can now concentrate on other matters. One thing I wanted to look at since I PR’d at the New Jersey Marathon is a chance to better it. I think I can do it. I signed up for a local marathon held in late summer on a flat and fast course along the Delaware Canal Towpath. It is in August so there may be some heat to deal with but that is my goal and after that I can enjoy Baltimore and then Goofy with my wife.

I’ve also signed up for the Gary Papa Father’s Day 5K in Philadelphia. I ran this back in 2012 and this is still my 5K PR (23:31) although I don’t run many anymore. I haven’t decided if I am going to race this for a PR or do this for fun. We shall see how I feel closer to the date. It is a good fundraiser for prostate cancer awareness and draws a large number of entrants. It is a fairly flat and fast course down by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That is coming up on Father’s Day (June 15).

Also, I finally I decided to sign up for a race that I had been tempted to in the past but had not done yet. A midnight 8 miler in July as part of the ‘philadelphia#in24‘ series of races taking place along the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia on July 19 through the 20th. It is a 24 hour event featuring an ultra marathon, a relay challenge, a midnight run and a 5K. Should be fun. I’ll be there all lit up in lights and reflective gear.

I have a pretty busy season coming up and lots to look forward to. It’s not all running though. As much as my wife and I pack in with our training and racing we still have plenty of time for our boys. There is a swimming pool in our development for those hot summer afternoons, we just bought a trampoline so our kids can tire themselves out (hopefully) as well as memberships at Sesame Place, the Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (thank you Groupon for all you do!). We are also planning a weekend in New York City with the boys and are planning a trip to the Statue of Liberty. As I said, running is just part of our lives…not all that we do.

Thanks for reading. Hope you are having a good start to the summer.

2 new virtual races/challenges to raise funds for Autism Speaks

In an earlier post I mentioned that I had signed up once again to run for ‘Team Up for Autism Speaks’ for the 2015 Walt Disney World ‘Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge’. This will be my third year in a row running for this team. This year my wife will also be running with the team and we will both be ‘Goofy’ together.

As part of my fundraising activities, and with the success of last year’s “Where’s Dopey 5k” my wife and I are planning two events this year to help raise funds for Autism Speaks and hopefully get closer to achieving our fundraising goals. We are pleased to share that these events which are now live and the details are below:

Race/Challenge 1:

‘Going Goofy 5K Run/Walk for Autism Awareness’

This is a themed 5K run or walk with a fun challenge. Everyone who enters by making a $25 donation to Autism Speaks receives a special themed medal. The $25 fee covers registration fee, medal and shipping (international registration fee is $30 and includes additional shipping costs). You can sign up using this link.

Here is the medal (design is based on original artwork last year by the wonderfully talented Ruby Dee).

Going Goofy

Going Goofy 5K Medal

Now here’s the challenge. Taking a lead from my son’s ‘Flat Stanley’ school project, in addition to running or walking a 5K I am asking participants to take Goofy along with them (either a picture or a character doll) and take a picture and post it to my Facebook page. You can sign up early and do the run or walk anytime between now and July 31st. Just remember to send those pictures in by the end of the event.

Race/Challenge 2:

‘Secret Agent ‘005K’ Run/Walk for Autism Awareness’

This is another themed 5K run or walk with a fun challenge. Everyone who enters by making a $25 donation to Autism Speaks receives a special themed medal. The $25 fee covers registration fee, medal and shipping (international registration fee is $30 and includes additional shipping costs). You can sign up using this link.

Here is the medal.

005K medal

005K Medal

Now here’s the challenge. Whether you go undercover or are wearing your best evening wear you must take a photo of you or your running friends in your best secret agent action pose and post it to my Facebook page. Again, you can sign up early and do the run or walk anytime between now and July 31st. Just remember to send those pictures in by the end of the event.

The most creative or impressive pictures for both events will be voted on for prizes.

I reached out to vendors whose products I regularly use who were willing to donate a product for the event. To date prizes include:

Hal Higdon

A signed copy of Hal Higdon’s recent book about the events of the Boston Marathon Bombing in April 2014.

tiger tail

Product from Tiger Tail, a rolling muscle massager (which I carry in my gear bag post marathon). It is an awesome product. Love it.

Sweaty Band

An ‘Autism Speak’s’ branded Sweaty Band. a great way to stay sporty and look good for a great cause. Stay sweaty!!

LL_Triathlete Ad December_half-page_v2a 10-2013_OL

Some product from Lock Laces which is a brand I use on all my running shoes (my wife does too). I cannot say enough about this product.

SPIbelt

A SPIbelt. You cannot carry everything. In races I dispense with a water belt and use this to carry my phone and gels.

Pacific Health Labs

 

 

 

 

Pacific Health Labs are providing some of their new Pina Colada ‘2nd Surge Energy Gels’. They sound yummy.

logo

 

 

 

GU Energy are providing some sample packs (I hope that includes some of their Salted Caramel product).

I am hoping to add to this list as the event progresses. I will update this page as necessary if I receive any more vendor sponsors.

So, sign up, get out there and get creative. Most importantly have fun doing it 🙂

Thank you for supporting Autism Speaks. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

If you would like to support us in this cause please follow the link to our personal fundraising pages – Shari’s PageMy Page.

Autism Speaks