After the 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon ended, I was hungry for another race. A great week of active recovery filled with yoga, a 5 mile dog walk, and elliptical workouts helped my legs bounce back relatively quickly.

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While I was The Hooley in Kamm’s Corners, I stopped by St. Joseph Academy’s booth and saw that they were hosting the Earn Your Spots 5K on Memorial Day morning. My mom is a proud alumna of St. Joseph Academy, and I also thought that I should take advantage of the fact that this race was within walking distance of my house. I told myself that I’d wait and see how my legs felt before I signed up for it. Last year, I came back too quickly after some races and I wound up hurting myself, which consequently put me a bit behind the proverbial eight ball with marathon training. I didn’t want to make the same mistake again this year. When Thursday night rolled around, my legs were feeling great, and I went ahead and registered.

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I thought this was a cool title for a race! (Source)

 

Heading into the race, I had hopes of setting a new 5K PR, but I told myself that I wasn’t going to injure myself in the process. I set a new 5K PR with a time of 24:12 at the 2014 Bay Village Snoball 5K, and I thought I had a relatively good chance of setting a new PR. Unfortunately, I started to feel slightly sick over the weekend, and when Sunday night rolled around, I wasn’t feeling the typical prerace excitement that I usually feel when I head to bed. Read the rest of this entry

While I did my best to chalk up my difficulty during Easter Sunday’s 8 miler to improper fueling and mental turmoil, I still had a few seeds of doubt in my mind about my training going forward.

Tuesday’s rough 5 mile run didn’t do much to dispel my doubts. I work late on Tuesday nights, and I carry a lot of my work stress to the gym. Burning off the stress is very cathartic in the end, but doing so makes for some tough workouts!

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I had to wear my 2014 Official Blogger shirt for some added inspiration. There’s no way I was going to get on here and talk about how I was too stressed and tired to get my run in when there are folks getting up at 4:30AM to run before work. Thank you, readers, for helping keep me accountable!

My Wednesday work schedule is pretty hectic, so Wednesday usually turns into my rest day. I’ve tried to finagle in time for a workout on Wednesday multiple times throughout my training cycle, and I’ve never had much success getting in anything substantial, so I’ve changed up my schedule and made Wednesday my rest day. Thank God for a wife who is cool with Friday night workouts! Read the rest of this entry

I’m a FitFluential Ambassador!

I’ve got some pretty cool news that I’m pleased to share with all of you…

I was selected to be a FitFluential Ambassador!

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with FitFluential, here’s a little bit of information about them from their website:

“FitFluential is a nationwide network of highly influential fitness enthusiasts sharing their journey both online and offline through multiple social media platforms. Founded in April of 2011 by Kelly Olexa, FitFluential was designed to connect health and wellness brands with their ideal target market through customized, long-term experiential and contextual marketing campaigns.”

I actually received the news a few weeks ago via e-mail when I was in the midst of a very stressful family-related phone call. Read the rest of this entry

I just wanted to stop back in with two quick updates!

I’m not sure why I forgot to post this, but I served as a Guest Blogger on The Runner Dad’s blog last week. This is the first time that I have ever had the opportunity to serve as a guest blogger on a blog and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share my thoughts on such a popular blog! I shared a few tips about having a great first half marathon. Check out my post here!

While we’re talking about first half marathons, I had the privilege of serving as an Official Blogger for the 2013 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon as I trained for my first half marathon. I am once again serving as an Official Blogger for the 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and all of the Official Bloggers have been given a free race entry to give away on their blogs. This race entry can be used for any of the four races that occur during race weekend. My giveaway starts tomorrow (February 14) and runs through February 21, so be sure to stop by!

Everyone who is planning on running the full 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is well into their training plans. However, those of us who are running the half marathon, 10K, or the 5K probably aren’t starting our “official” training plans until late February. I’m running the half marathon, and the first run of my training plan doesn’t take place until February 25th. I know that my muscles will appreciate the rest that they’re getting now when September 2014 rolls around and I’m completing the longest runs of my training plan for the Towpath Marathon. Last year, I had many low-mileage weeks during January and early February and my muscles held up relatively well through my marathon training.

However, I can’t deny that my workouts have felt a bit aimless in recent weeks as I have been working without a formal training plan.

What’s a bored runner to do in the meantime?

I did some thinking and came up with five small steps that all of us can take during late January and early February in order to set us up for success in May! Read the rest of this entry

I’m thrilled to announce that I have been selected once again to serve as an Official Blogger for the 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!

1398484_10201668949759306_1769179088_oThose of you who have been reading for a year or so may remember that I also had the privilege to serve as an Official Blogger for the 2013 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. In typical Joe style, I submitted my application approximately 15 minutes before the midnight deadline with the hope that my weight loss journey and my transformation into an avid runner might win over the selection committee. To my shock and delight, I found out via e-mail that I was selected right in the midst of a frantic search for a set of missing car keys that eventually turned up a few minutes later!

I had a great time documenting my training on my way to the starting line of my first half marathon. Read the rest of this entry

A Christmas Story 10K Race Recap

As a proud lifelong Clevelander, I know that the following statement may be heresy, but…

I’ve never seen A Christmas Story from start to finish in one sitting.

In my defense, I’ve seen the entire movie through bits and pieces of various viewings over the years. I’ve also seen the play (and I missed a Browns game to see it too!).

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Of course, the game I missed happened to be the one in which we actually beat the Steelers in 2009. I still haven’t seen this game in its entirety!

Nevertheless, when I first heard about the A Christmas Story 5K\10K, I wasn’t too excited. Perhaps that was because I’ve never had a proper viewing of the movie? In September, my stepmom forwarded me an email with a Groupon for the race and I didn’t sign up. At the time, we were looking for houses pretty regularly. I thought for sure that we would be moved to a new home in another part of the city by December, and I figured that paying to run in an area in which I have run regularly for almost two years now was a waste of money.

Fast forward to November, when it became obvious that we weren’t going to be homeowners by December, let alone moved into a new home by December. Read the rest of this entry

We saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Friday night down at the Cinemark in Valley View. The movie was excellent, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you do so (just read the books first!)

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Katniss and I remembering who the real enemy is

As we drove home along Canal Road, I looked out at the section of the Towpath running adjacent to the road and began to think about all of the various runs that I had done in that specific area over the past year. Read the rest of this entry

Life was pretty busy in the week before the Towpath Half Marathon.

I woke up on Friday to find that one of my tires had finally given up the ghost and died. All four tires on my car were very old and I knew that they would need to be replaced before snow started flying. Longtime readers may remember that I had a flat tire on the way to the Cleveland Marathon Expo. As I made arrangements to deal with my tire, I figured that perhaps the flat tire might be a good omen that signified that I would be having as much success at the Towpath Half as I did at the Cleveland Half Marathon.

Packet pickup was much closer to my house this year, which was nice. Whenever I go to an expo or packet pickup for a race with a distance that I have never previously run, I always feel a bit lost and uncertain…almost like I don’t belong there. I wind up wandering around in a daze and I’m sure that more than a few race volunteers have wondered how I managed to wind up at the starting line! Because I had already run a half marathon, I didn’t feel this way at packet pickup, and I had a good time stopping by the various booths and talking with the various exhibitors who were there. I picked up some Gu packets because I thought the aid stations only had Powerbar gels, which I have never used before.

After taking Sheila to the airport, I spent the evening relaxing at home with some video games and carboloading with a delicious Mexican pasta bake that Sheila made so that I wouldn’t starve while she was gone!

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I could seriously eat Mexican food for every meal. I took some students on a trip on Tuesday and I pointed out multiple Mexican restaurants that I love as we drove and by the end of the trip they were all making fun of my zeal for Mexican food. LOL!

As anyone who has read this blog for awhile now can attest, I have a bad habit of getting to races without much time to spare. Read the rest of this entry

Towpath Ten-Ten Training: Week 1

I thought that the past few months leading up to the Cleveland half were as crazy as life could get.

Boy, was I wrong.

Life since the half marathon has been absolutely insane!

I’ve had major freakouts over the past two weeks because we have events almost every night through the end of June.

I’m not big into defining myself by personality tests or labels—to quote R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe response when he was asked about his sexuality, “Labels are for food”—but I have spent a decent amount of time in recent years figuring out whether I’m an introvert or an extrovert.

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Thank God for Michael Stipe or else I would have felt completely not OK about marching to the beat of my own drummer during high school. (Image obtained from commons.wikimedia.org)

Read the rest of this entry