Archive for the ‘Race Recap’ Category

50 Miles: Alligators and Potato Chips

April 16th, 2017


Friday – Andrea and I flew down from St. Louis to Houston.  We drove to the Brazos Bend Park in Needville, TX to pick up my packet and listen to the RD Rob Goyen give his pre-race talk.  There was quite a bit of instruction about how to avoid, and more importantly, how not to get eaten by the many alligators that lived in the park.  It was at this time, that we met Nicole.  Nicole lives in Houston, and has followed RunHard-AlwaysFinish for years.  When I had put out that I wanted to try and run a 50, she wrote me and told that that Brazos Bend 50 was the one I needed to do.  I talked it over with Andrea and here we were.  Nicole has had a lot experience with Ultra’s and she was very prepared and let us know what to expect on Saturday.  We all went for dinner and I was in bed by 9:30pm.

Race Day

3:15am –  I rolled over and looked at my phone and as the alarm wailed on, my mind was already thinking about the run.  I got up, showered and as Andrea finished packing the last few things for the day, I put my gear together and we headed out.  We had a drive that took us nearly a half hour to get to the park.  It was a quiet ride, Andrea dozed as I drove, my mind still wondering what lay ahead.

4:30am – Arriving at the park, the first thing I noticed was how calm the starting area was, there was no loud music, bright lights, announcers talking, nope….it was just runners, getting ready to run.  We found Nicole and she was setting up camp right before the start/finish line, we had our own little RunHard-AlwaysFinish aid station prepared.  I ate some, used the restroom and pretty much just kept off my feet.  I met another runner named Chris, he was very cool, giving me suggestions and advice for what lay ahead, I still wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

5:50am – After an hour of sitting, talking and eating, I realized it was really going to happen and my nerves set in, I hugged Andrea, high 5’d Nicole and got ready to run.  Again, there was no big fanfare, just the race director counting down the beginning of the race, and we were off.  As I ran past Andrea at the start line, I looked at her and said “what am I doing?”

Miles 1-5 There was a little over 100 of us running the 50-mile race and we were all together tight on a small path at the start, but unlike so many other races, there was no jockeying for position or elbow’s flying, everyone just seemed to work together.  I was back in the pack, this is where I tried to find the pace, that I felt I could run for 50 miles. I knew that this would be a race of trial and error.  It was peaceful those first 5 miles, the out and backs created a spectacle of bobbing headlamps against the blackness of the park.  I was amazed at the pace of the leaders as they headed back on the trail, each one of them yelling “good job” to the runners that had yet to make the turn around. I watched the light from my lamp guide me, and I kept running.

Aid Stations– I had my first experiences with an Ultra Marathon Aid stations.  I am used to little cups of water and Gatorade being handed to me and getting out of everyone’s way quickly.  Not here, these people treat you like you were the only runner that they were going to see.  Filling my bottles, offering me food and if needed there was always an ice-cold sponge waiting for you.  It literally looked like a buffet of the best food ever.

Miles 5 – 16.8 Each mile ticked by and the sun was slowly rising.  I had seen Andrea and Nicole at mile 6 and it gave me a boost as I headed out into the back section of the run.  I stayed even paced and as the packed had thinned out I settled into my run, with my head on a swivel as I looked for alligators.  I felt comfortable during this first loop, it hadn’t sunk in yet, what still laid before me.

Miles 16.8 – 33.6 I arrived back at the start line, Andrea and Nicole were ready with fresh bottles and a dry shirt.  I told Andrea that my stomach was causing me problems, that aggravating, mildly twisting stomach.  She handed be a bag of potato chips, told me to eat them and sent me on my way.  That one simple act, changed my race.  (more later) I continued to run very comfortable for the next 8 or 9 miles.  I enjoyed the sights, the other runners, the awesomeness of the aid stations.  At mile 26.2 I stopped, I had never run further than a marathon, I never thought myself able to run Ultramarathon distances.  I have watched so many Ultra videos, (shout out Billy Yang), but didn’t think I could enter that league, yet here I was crossing that line, and so I kept running.  The sun was out strong now, and all though so much of the course was shaded, the heat was beginning to wear on me.  At the final two aid stations, I took my time, eating potato chips, getting a quick ice bath and filling my bottles.  By mile 30 I was doing Galloway Intervals and trying to just run the mile I was in.  The 2nd loop was coming to an end and I was so happy to see Andrea.  I changed my shirt and my shoes.  The shoes were purely a mind thing, as my other ones were fine.  I just wanted red shoes….after 33 miles your mind is a scary place.

Miles 33.6-50.4 This is where the race actually started for me.  I wasn’t racing other runners, I was racing my own fatigue, and I was relying on my will to finish and not give in to my want to quit.  Runners were allowed a pacer the final loop, and I welcomed the company as Nicole joined me on the trail.  She had brought a neck scarf that could be filled with ice and I gladly wore it, embracing the cold bite the ice had on my skin as I ran.  It was at Mile 35 where things turned dark.  I became very aware of the fatigue in my legs, fatigue that is the pain you feel at the end of a marathon and I wondered how I was going to be able to run another 15 miles.  Several times during the next 5 or 6 miles I told Nicole that I wanted to walk for a mile, just to rest and recover a bit, but I never did. I would walk for a minute and then run and repeated this cycle over and over again.  Each aid station, Nicole would make sure I had my bottles filled, support staff would ice me down and feed me my chips, then we would head out again.  I had been warned about the “hurt locker”, the “dark miles”, but until I was in that place, there is no way to prepare for it.  It was at mile 40 that I started to come out of the funk, I had broken the run down into 4 parts and I had already completed 2 of them.  The 3rd part was an out and back with an q-tip head on it.  It was hot and felt like it went on forever.  But I was prepared for it, and all though it was uncomfortable and the longest stretch between aid stations, I kept continuing my cycle.   Run –walk – Run – Walk- over and over.  My only times that I would stop, would be at aid stations and the few times I had boulders get lodged inside my shoes, Nicole had told me to stop and get rid of them right away or I would pay for it later, so I did. (really, they were pebbles the size of a pin head…but they had to go!!)  As I finished the 3rd part of the run, it began to dawn on me that I was in the final part of the race, and as I approached the aid station at 43 miles, those final 7 miles still seemed like another marathon was left.  We stopped and iced down, Nicole forced me to eat a bite of PB&J, then we took off on the 2.9-mile trek to the second to last aid station.  This section was not shaded, it was hot, I was tired, but I realized my legs didn’t hurt any more than they did at mile 35, they had reached their pain limit and this was AWESOME. Knowing that the pain wasn’t increasing, was a good thing and gave me confidence.  I decided to compartmentalize the pain and just go, so we did.  We reached the aid station, I ate chips, filled up with ice water and moved on.  We were at mile 45.9 and I was excited, I had less than 5 miles to go and I wasn’t dead yet.  There was more running than walking, (to be clear, my running was at times was no more than an exaggerated shuffle, but I felt like I was flying) I was smiling and my goal was to get to that last aid station.  We reached the last aid station, I loaded up on potato chips, filled my bottles and that is when I heard Nicole ask how far we had left, the answer…1.79 mile…. less than two miles.  I looked at Nicole and said, “Let’s go”.   We “flew” down the path, across the road and past the alligator infested swamp.  We followed the twisting path to the main road, and as we turned to the home stretch I still had this weird fear that I was going to cramp up and not be able to get to the finish.  I looked at Nicole with ½ mile to go and we high-fived, I was very grateful for her pacing me for the last loop, and my excitement to finish was mounting.  With a quarter mile to go, I heard, but couldn’t see Andrea, she is my biggest fan and she was screaming my name, I removed my Orange Mud and my second fuel belt, and took off running.  I ran as hard as I possibly could, pumping fists and pointing at my beautiful wife.  I ran through the finish line, and when Rob handed me my medal, I didn’t feel anything except joy. When I crossed the finished line, I expected to break down and cry. But there was just too much joy, all I could do was smile.  I was happy to not have to move, I was happy that I finished with power, I was happy to be an Ultra marathoner.  I was happy.

Potato Chips/Fuel – I struggled throughout my training for this race, finding the correct fuel.  I was excellent at finding the ones that would make me hurl, but I never dialed it in 100%.  I had finally settled on using my Heed from Hammer for calories and lots of water.  I ate plenty of watermelon and oranges during the race, but it wasn’t till Andrea handed me those chips at mile 17 that a switch was flipped.  It was a game changer, because up to that point my stomach just wasn’t right.  They calmed my stomach, seemed to give me energy and the salty, crunching texture tasted unbelievable.  I kept up with my Heed (aid stations had Heed which was a big help), made sure to continually take water in, and ate those chips…. lots of chips.


Training – This was my first experience with running an Ultra.  I trusted my coach Jon Sinclair and each week was an adventure as I completed some of the highest mileage weekends ever. I started training in November 2016 and missed only 3 runs of my schedule.  I logged 840 miles during the training period, and every mile was done with a purpose. These miles were completed each week as I traveled the country.  I ran in 11 different states, a cruise ship and couple of Caribbean Islands, in snow, rain and blazing hot temps.  I learned to embrace the long slow run.  My longest runs were Saturday’s with 24 miles in the morning and 6 miles in the afternoon, followed by Sunday’s with anywhere from 6-10 miles.  When I entered those dark miles between 33 and 40, it was then I felt the benefit of all those long miles.  Although I hurt, I never quit, and I had strength that was unknown to me.


Pain and Achievement – I have never had to dig so deep to finish a run as I did this day.  I learned more about my ability to deal with pain and fatigue in that final loop, than I have in all 16 of my marathons.  I was happy, because I had set a goal, worked extremely hard and achieved it.  This is the lesson that running teaches you, that can carry over into your everyday life.  Set a goal – Work Hard – Achieve it and be proud.  I had made many deals with myself during the race.  I told myself, that I needed a break from running, I agreed with the pain and decided that Half Marathons would be the longest that I would race moving forward.  But unlike other races where, you reconsider after the run when the pain subsides, I began to reconsider within the dark miles.  I realized that I was battling through them and that I could do better next time.  I don’t know if 100-mile race is in my future, but I am not ruling anything out now.  Listen, I finished a 50 mile Ultra Marathon…..what else can I conquer?

Reist – Nicole – Andrea


Thank you:

 Trail Racing Over Texas put on a spectacular race.  Rob Goyen and his staff understand how to give a “pure” running experience.  Volunteers were top notch and the day was memorable.  Brazos Bend State park was a wonderful venue and the park rangers were coolest.  (no one was eaten by an alligator…)


I am thankful for Jon Sinclair and his patience with Clydesdale runner, that asks a lot questions.  His confidence that I could run 50 miles and his plan to get me there was awesome.


Thank you to Nicole Berglund, for suggesting this race.  Being there for Andrea and myself with the preparation and running that last loop without pressuring me, but always being an encourager.


Most of all thank you to my wife Andrea.  She supports all my outlandish dreams, has confidence that I will achieve them and is always the loudest at the finish line.  We are a great team.


50.40 miles


Brazos Bend 50

Needville, TX



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Twitter – RunHardFinish

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The Day the Music Changed – A Runners Story

November 16th, 2016

There was a pounding in my head each time my shoe hit the asphalt.

I already knew that the wheels were coming off and as the 16th mile marker came into eyesight, my spirits slowly drained through the pores of my skin leaving me with the hollow feeling of defeat.  My mile time hadn’t decreased yet, I was still on goal pace…….. but I KNEW.

19 weeks of training had been a great teacher.  It had brought me closer to my body and understanding how it would react under just about any situation during the run.  So although the times were still good, and a smile was still on my face for each photographer, under it ALL was the heart of a defeated man.  The miles droned on and my mile 16 prediction of disaster began to show it’s true self as I passed mile 19.


It was a small crack in the armor but focus was disturbed.  The effort to remain at pace went from “marathon uncomfortable hard” (which those that choose to run 138,336 feet have prepared for and already accepted), this was not the “beautiful pain” of the marathon, it was just wrong.  I went deep inside for a little while, I played out every day of training, a cycle of training where I only had missed one run the entire 19 weeks.  It wasn’t making sense, why was this so hard?  This wasn’t my FIRST marathon, it was number 14 for goodness sakes.  How could I still be this bad at running 26.2 miles?  What did I do wrong this time?

My thoughts pounded in my head and became the harmony to the melodic sound my feet made as I continued on.  But now the music had gone from a song with energy, to a slow jam that would have made Luther Vandross proud to sing over.  I was rewinding back to mile 13 where it was simply a party in my head.  Math was still coming easy at that time and I was laying out the game plan for how this run was going to end.

In my head……..

  • Mile 21 was going to be the jump off point, I was going to find a gear that was going to propel me to the finish line and straight to the pancake buffet, where my medal was sure to be admired by all
  • My 21 mile warm up was just a prelude to the real story of this race, the EPIC FINISH. None of this played out in that way, I passed the 21-mile marker and there was no gear to be found, in fact I down shifted to a gear that was both painful and sad

There is so much talk about THE WALL, but when you hit it and I mean really smack your face against it, you are instantly humbled.  So here I was shuffling along, having those thoughts about how much I love 5K’s and how I loathe this race of 26.2 miles.  I dug out my phone and turned it on to call my wife.



  • By mile 22, I should have already crossed the finish line and I did not want her staring down the road, wondering if the next person to turn the corner was going to be me, because I was not turning that corner. I was still fighting one difficult step after the next.  So many thoughts rush through your delirious brain at the end of a marathon, but it is so hard to keep them in order so that they make sense.

Think of a word jumble, you see all the letters but you have to concentrate and search in order for the letters to form a word.  Experience has taught me to just focus on something simple in order to just get me to the finish line.  I chose to focus on my yellow shoes and the design they made in my blurred vision as I took each step.  Over and over I watched my shoes until I started to realize something was different, I was sure it was a snake on my shoe, nope…….it was just untied.  I slowed to a stop and just stared at the untied shoe, stared like a man who knew what needed to be done, but had no idea how it was going to get done.  My foot was so far away and I was scared if I knelt to tie the shoe, because there was no way I could bend over and do it, that I wouldn’t get back up.  So right there on the course, I performed some kind of Yoga maneuver, one we will call “Tall Bald Guy Shoe Tie” and tied my shoe, I high 5’d myself.

By mile 23.5, I shuffled on and a ball of energy headed right towards me.  My son ran up to me and looked me in the eyes and told me that he was going to finish this run with me.  I was excited, happy and revitalized.  I showed all of this emotion with a really exaggerated nod of my head, and a grunt, maybe a smile.


We ran that last 2.5 miles together, he never stopped talking, he used sayings and slogans that I have yelled at him as he runs his Cross Country races, he talked to me about the highlights of his homecoming dance, and I am pretty sure we talked about how bad I was looking. The music had changed again, to a comforting melody that didn’t pump me up, but left me relaxed and resigned that I was going to finish, let’s call it a “smooth jazz finish”.

He left me just before the finish line, and I crossed with hands raised as I am sure the winner had done.  My wife met me as I crumbled to the ground, reflecting on what I considered a failure, but she just looked at me and asked “What did you learn?” and promised that I was still getting pancakes.

I will run again…I am a runner.


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Training 2.3 – 2.6 The “Feel Good” Run

June 16th, 2015

The Story

In order to accurately describe the final few runs of the second week of training, I have to take you back to the shortest run of the week. Wednesdays are my dedicated rest day during training and while rest days are annoying, I also look forward to them. But this past Wednesday, there was going to be a short run completed on rest day. A year ago a guy asked me if anyone could run, especially a “big” guy. We talked about how running is possible for anyone, the key is to just start, which he did. He started by walking on the treadmill, 15 minutes left him winded, 15 minutes left him exhausted, 15 minutes is what he could give. He continued to work every day, he began to change his diet, and he began to see new results. We would often talk on the phone about how things were going, then we decided to set goals. At the end of January 2015 he set a goal to run a half marathon in February 2016, and with that decision we were off and “running”, (See what I did there) meanwhile he was still walking, still working. He would update me weekly, 20 minutes, 38 minutes, 45 minutes, he kept getting stronger. The question he would always ask me was, “How will I ever finish 13.1 miles?”image The answer is simple; you just don’t quit. Several weeks ago we talked and he told me that he felt like he had plateaued, both in his weight loss and conditioning. He was now up to 60+ minutes a day walking with no issues, he was definitely getting stronger. Last week, I was working in his area of the world and we met up for what he thought was going to be a Wednesday morning walk, we didn’t walk the whole time. On this Wednesday we RAN 30 seconds and walked 4 minutes, we destroyed a hill that tried to discourage us and finished 2.5 miles of running excellence. He crushed it plain and simple. Several hours later, he looks at me at lunch and says all morning he has been burning up inside, that he was so full of energy and wished he could just go back out for another run. “Welcome to the Runners High, I would like to introduce you to endorphins!”
I run for a lot of reasons. I have goals that I want to achieve, and work hard to chase of them. But as a runner, watching another runner achieve goals so far out of their comfort zone is ultimately one of the most inspiring things to witness.

This Weeks Totals:

This week ended with 4 solid runs, the final run on Sunday with my son was very cool. But my “Rest Day Run”will be the defining moment of this 2nd week of training.
Training 2.3 – Rest Day 2.5 miles
Training 2.4 – 6.15 miles 52:32
Training 2.5 – 6.26 miles 53:40
Training 2.6 – 7.02 miles 59:23
Training 2.7 – 9.04 miles 1:17:59
Week 2 Mileage Total – 46.55 miles
Shoes – Red/Black Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15

Week 2 Training is completed

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Training 2.3 – The “Rest Day”

June 14th, 2015

Training 2.3 – The “Rest Day”

Date – 6/10/2015

Runners always get asked how and when they started running and there answer almost always starts with, “I never thought I would be a runner”. I am no different, but how I started was a bit stupid, I was a bit stupid.

The Beginning 
In 2010 my sister in law up and decides she is going to run a marathon in honor of her mother, who has beat breast cancer twice, at the 26.2 with Donna Marathon in Jacksonville, FL. When she finished this race, she was very clear to challenge her unsupportive brother in law (me) to try and run a marathon. I accepted the challenge and then I didn’t train very well and when I stood at the start line in my cotton socks, no band-aids and never having run more than 8 miles, I figured I was ready.

Here are some things that happen to an unprepared marathoner:
-You don’t eat or drink because you are afraid to stop and use the porta-john (as if time was an issue!)
-You are confused why people keep offering you Vaseline; I figured it out in the shower later.
-I started with a banged up foot, I ended up with 2 displaced fractures and a broken toe, Nice.
-Medics followed me from mile 23 begging me to quit and when I finished, they  put me in a wheelchair while calling me names. (Deservingly so)
But guess what, I was hooked. I finished in 5:43:44 and I made the loud proclamation that I would be back and I would break 4 hours. I subscribed to Runners World, I went to the running store and got the correct shoes, I trained my butt off, and I was doing it right this time. And when I returned one year later, I ran 3:59:10.

2012 Finish 3:59:10

p 2012 Finish 3:59:I knew I had found something that drove me to set goals and then work to accomplish them.

I have run 10 marathons up to this point and my desire for the finish-line never wanes. What I didn’t know was, what an unbelievable community that we as runners are a part of and I wanted to try and make it better. I travel over 200 nights a year all over the U.S. and I get to run in so many different states and towns. I have been able to see all types of runners, fast, slow, big, or small and they all have one thing in common, they run. I am part of a community that survives on support from others. I started a page for my family as we all started running, to help encourage each other and at times talk a little smack. That page has grown into something I could have never imagined and it is so inspiring. Runners that I will never meet find and give encouragement through the page. Nobody cares who’s fast or how far they run, because all runners deserve a high-five! The page name came from my wife as I ran that first marathon. She stood on that course all day and found me at so many mile markers and screamed “Run Hard, I know you will Finish.” She believed in me and I figured I better believe in myself, so I finished.IMG_1920
What drives me to run? I want so badly to qualify for Boston. My marathon PR is 3:41:42 and my qualifying time is 3:25:00. It seems like a stretch, but I believe I can do it. So I keep pushing and I keep running. I run because I want to encourage others to keep fighting. I want everyone to experience the finish line at least one time. It can be that one time that sparks a fire. Running has shown me that I am tough and that I have a little bit of awesome inside me; I just need to believe it.
Quotes that help me:
Let effort, not speed define you as a runner.
You are STRONGER than you know.

The “Rest Day” is done

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2014 Portland Marathon

October 9th, 2014


On November 9th, 2013 I signed up for the 2014 Portland Marathon, I signed up sitting on my bed in my house in St. Charles, MO and then I went on with my life.  Before I knew it, the training started and then I got some great news, my friend Devon (from Distant Runners) agreed to run with me at the race.  So we trained, we encouraged, and then it was time to race.

My hot wife Andrea and I flew out early to Portland, took in some sights, I ate a lot, including Aarons (Devon’s husband) burgers and Waffles made by Jonalee and James who are friends living in Portland from back home in Missouri.  I carb loaded like a champ for this race.  Saturday for lunch, we ate my customary Pizza with my sister and brother in law and then we all met Colene (Distant Runner) at the expo for our race numbers….I did not buy ANYTHING!!!  I was asleep by 9:30….

Race Day:

4:00am – Walked to around the block and then stopped at 7-11 for bananas and Gatorade

4:30am – Laid back down and freaked Andrea out, because she thought I overslept…oops

5:18am – Devon texts and she is on the train.

6:00am – We are walking to the corrals.  They messed up on Devon’s corral assignment putting her in E and not B with me where we belonged, so I moved back and we positioned ourselves at the very front of the corral…we made mean faces so no one would try and take our spots.

7:12am – Runners ready – Set – GO!  We were off, here is something you may find interesting.  Those first few steps of the race were the very first time Devon and I had ever run with each other.  Over the years we have talked, I have had dinner with her family, my wife has made the comment that Devon’s husband Aaron is my twin, but we had never run once run together.  But, I trusted her, she made the plan, my job was to run.

Miles 1-3 we looked like we were playing Frogger as we dodged in and out of runners, Devon took the lead as we weaved through the crowd.  One of the benefits of being tall (Devon 5’11” – Me 6’3”) we were able to see the holes to run through.  We were like the Matrix…whoosh 8:23-8:17-8:32

Miles 4-8 after running mile 3 which was a HILL that I did not know was going to be there, we turned the corner to a smooth, easy downhill.  Devon had mentioned that we would not be going sub 8min miles during the first half of the race, but this hill was AWESOME and we crushed it.  It was flat for the next few miles and we settle in at a comfortable pace.  I never looked at my watch, I just ran next Devon and we had good conversation, we took EPIC pictures, and we ran.  7:45-8:02-8:12-8:13-8:16 

Miles 9-13 my description of these miles were warm/humid/hilly, but not difficult and I felt strong.  Again, I paid no attention to pace, I continued to follow Devon.  We found every photographer and frankly I think we scared a few of them. The run continued 8:17-8:16-8:08-8:24-8:14

Miles 14-16 for months Devon and Colene had talked with me about the hill at St. John’s Bridge, my plan when I got to Portland was to drive over and look at the hill and that never happened.  So as we eased into the final miles before the hill, it just seemed to get hotter.  Devon and I just kept talking and running, it is what friends that run do. 8:18-8:05-8:26

Miles 17 The hill hurt…that’s it. 9:09

Mile 18-20 when we crested the bridge and started the short downhill I knew something was wrong.  I felt strong, my legs were not hurting, but I could feel small cramps trying to grab me.  With my past disasters I had some panic set it in.  Devon was talking, trying to engage me, but I was preoccupied with what might happened. We kept running, we still took epic pictures. 8:29-8:23-8:38

Miles 21-23 at the 20.5 mile mark Colene was there, she was there with water and I think there was a halo over her head.  This was the moment that I knew, I was in trouble, because I was not enthused, I didn’t make any jokes, I posed for no pictures, I just kept running.  Devon did all she could to keep me entertained, told me stories, pointed out things to look at, and all she got from me was….nothing.  What I wanted her to know was I heard everything she was saying, I laughed at her stories in my head and saw the beautiful sights, but I had to focus.  I was hurting bad. 8:47-8:18-9:10

Mile 24 as we approached the mile marker sign I was prepared for it to say 24, instead it said 23 and I was deflated.  Devon just kept moving and encouraging, but that disappointment was more than I could stand at that point.  It is amazing how things affect you when you are exhausted, but that simple mistake in my head was devastating.  Devon had begun insisting that I drink more water, and proceeded to run ahead and fill her bottles and force it on me, at times she raised her voice “Drink it NOW”.  At some point in that 24th mile, I told Devon that I had to walk and get myself together.  She just ran ahead, she got me water and we continue running.  10:35

Mile 25 this is where it gets hazy.  I am going to include the link to Devon’s recap so that you can read her prospective of the race and get a much clearer description of the last 2.2 miles.  Here is what I remember; Devon continued to encourage, but also understood when quiet was the best encouragement. Although on the outside I am sure I had a blank face, inside I was a hurricane of emotion.  I wanted to see Andrea (hot wife), I was so thankful to Devon, the crowds began to build and they were completely supportive, but I was not just hurting, I was in pain.  Yet, we kept running. 8:57

Mile 26 The truth of the matter, I don’t remember a lot of the last mile.  I remember making sure to focus on Devon’s right elbow as it swung back and forth, who knows why, but that is what kept me on track.  I kept looking ahead for the turn to the final .2 and it seemed to be going away from me. The thought running through my head was “Devon, keeps telling me it is just ½ mile away, it is taking a long time to run 800 meters”, I am pretty sure it was further than a 1/2mile.   That last mile, I gave everything that I had, I knew that when I crossed the line, Andrea would be waiting, I could stop running, but for that moment I ran as hard as I could.  Devon and I just kept running. 8:19


Final .2 we made the right turn and Devon ran in close and said “this is what we have been waiting for let’s make it epic”.  We pumped up the crowd and high-fived who we could and then we made the final turn and I saw finish line.  I love the finish line and I had enough running, I wanted to cross it.  The adrenalin was flowing because I absolutely ran with whatever I had left to that line.  Devon and I crossed the line together, we stopped running. 1:57 7:30pace

Finish Times 

Reist Mummau 3:42:28

Devon Johnson 3:42:27

Post-Race – as we walked from the finish line I began to cramp and it was nothing like I have ever gone through before.  Devon found Andrea for me and before I knew it I was in the medic tent.  The cramps were rampant and in time they moved me to the bigger med tent.  For 2 hours they worked on me, the doctor was shocked at advanced stage of dehydration that I was at and they just kept giving me fluids.  My mistake was not taking enough fluids in at the beginning at the race.  The weather turned hot with high humidity and I was in trouble before I even knew it.  I am more knowledgeable about my body after this race, the lessons learned will only benefit me in upcoming races, and they better, because this race hurt.

I have run 9 marathons now and this one by far was the best.  I didn’t reach my goal of a PR, I did not run a perfect race, but I ran a hard race and left everything on the course.  I ran with a good friend, who was strong, encouraging, funny, and she is an excellent runner.  Thank you Devon, it was an epic day.   This was the first time that I had ever run that far with anyone, and I can’t wait to do it again.   For a different perspective, check out Devon’s blog about the race. 

Devon and I sporting our post race hardware

Devon and I sporting our post race hardware

I ran hard and finished, and just like at every race my beautiful wife was there to make me feel strong again.  She knows just what to say, she has the ability to boost my ego when my confidence is low, and she is what I would l think about when it got so hard on the course.  I write so often about impressing yourself with your running and it is true, but there is always a part of me trying to impress Andrea.  Thank you Andrea, we make a great team. – Reist

Andrea, Reist, Medal

Andrea, Reist, Medal

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Middle Seat Guy

May 25th, 2013

How Broken Foot Marathon and The Running Community Led To A New Lifestyle

In my exit row seat (The Clydesdale needs his leg room) I am reading Runners World during taxi and take off (no electronic toys allowed).  As the airplane is taking off I have put the magazine away and I am preparing myself for lavish meal I am sure to receive. Ha!  During this time of the electronic free zone, I am noticing across the aisle, sitting in the dreaded middle seat, a guy reading Runners World.  Not only is he reading RW but he is reading the same exact article as myself, and now I wonder what kind of runner is he.  Is he fast or slow, does he run Marathons or 5k’s, is racing against his DNA or is he compulsive with his race times..  I feel this immediate kinship that runners feel and yet we have not spoken to each other….YET!

How Did I Get Here?

This is making me think about the craziness that is the “Running Community”.  I am new to the community by many standards.  I am basically 2 years into running; I have finished 5k’s, 10k’s, Half Marathons, Full Marathons.  I basically got into running on a dare by my sister in law, who after completing her first marathon and taking the obligatory teasing from me, “Why run, you do own a car”, said I bet you can’t finish a marathon!  “Oh, it’s on!” and so the plans were made to meet at the 2011 26.2 with Donna Marathon and I would show her a thing or two!  Let’s just skip to race day, because my training was a joke, to call it training would be an insult to all those that had trained.  I arrived at the start line of the marathon with a very sore foot, cockiness in my head and not enough glycogen in my muscles to push a shopping cart through the grocery store.  I was not schooled on race terms, such as carb loading, body glide, cotton is rotten, hydration, pacing, for that matter I wasn’t even good at running.

The race went as follows:

Miles 1-5 running on adrenaline and my foot hurts

Miles 6-10 running slowly and my foot hurts – Why do they keep trying to hand me packets of slime?

Miles 11 – 15 running really slow and my foot hurts – Why do they keep offering me Vaseline?

Miles 16-20 running, not really but I am calling it running and my foot hurts – Why are people looking at me with looks of pity and shaking their heads?

Miles 20-25 Keeping it real, I was walking but my arms were moving fast and my foot was hurting. – Why do the medics on bikes keep circling me like buzzards over their next meal?

Mile 26+.2  I believe in my heart I was running, but I am not sure I was even moving.  I kept thinking someone was talking to me, and then I remembered I had headphones on with music playing.  Several people check that, all the people were asking if I was ok, I must have been quite a sight.  Then, up the road came this loud voice attached to a 6’5” hulk of a man, it was my little brother.  My family was worried and they were hungry and tired of waiting for me.  My brother came out and ran that last mile with me.  I crossed the finish line in a time of 5 hours 48 mins, they put me in a wheelchair and dumped ice on me.  I had a displace fracture of my left foot, dehydrated, and starving.  I was chaffed so badly, it looked like I had been dragged down the road instead of running on it.  But I put that medal on, and people clapped for me like I had won.  It was my first exposure to the awesomeness of the “Running Community”

I spent the next 12 weeks in a boot as my foot healed.  I read about running, talked about running, and waited until the doctor gave the ok.  On August 14, 2011 I went for a run.  I ran 1.87 miles and just about collapsed from exhaustion.  The next run I ran 2.01 miles and was just as tired, but I kept pushing and training and working.  I travel 200 nights a year for work, so I ran in little towns and big cities, in hotel fitness rooms, and mall parking lots.  I ran, in the morning and at night, I just ran.  On February 12, 2012, I lined up at the 26.2 with Donna for my comeback.  This time, I used BodyGlide, wore tech gear, carb loaded, hydrated, took advantage of the porta johns before the race and set off.  I finished my 2nd marathon with a time of 3:59:10 and I was hooked.

Flash Forward

So now I sit on this airplane having competed 5 marathons (3:41:42 PR I think it is a requirement to disclose your PR).  I sit in the airports each week and try to pick out the runners.  I see you in line at
Starbucks with your Garmin taking the place of your Rolex.  Standing in line for security, I spot bags received at races that have now become your carry-on luggage.  As we all sit putting our shoes on after disrobing to go through the x-ray, I see the wear on your shoes…heel striker – mid foot, etc.  So if you see me, stop me, because I would be happy to talk running.

We are descending now, my ears are popping and the pilot is talking in that pilot voice.  I am going to hold my Runner’s World Magazine in an obvious way so any runners on the plane can spot me.  Maybe, I gain a running partner, or maybe just another runner to talk Long Runs and SpeedWork with for the rest of the flight.  We are part of a supportive, diverse, awesome community and I love it!


I will let you know what brand of running shoe Middle Seat guy prefers!

2011 Finish With My Brother Cody

2011 Finish With My Brother Cody

2012 Finish 3:59:10

2012 Finish 3:59:10

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Marathon Minus a 5K – Respect The Run

April 29th, 2013

painIt is 2 days since the Illinois Marathon and it has been 2 days of trying to make sense of my epic failure. What were the factors that left me literally sitting next to the 23 mile marker with a teenager holding a walking talkie leaning over me asking “Sir, are you going to be alright?” How did I, a 5 time finisher of the marathon, end this marathon only a 5k short of the finish line? I was bewildered to be sitting in the medic tent and then in a van driving to the finish line. “This is not how you get here” I said to myself (and I meant that literally as the people driving the van got lost trying to return to the finish), FIGURES. I watched from the medics table as runners crossed the finish line and barely heard the doctor tell me how smart it was that I shut it down, the damage that could have done…blah blah blah, I wanted to finish. Yet the question lingers, What Happened? So after swallowing the disappointment, anger, and for that matter embarrassment, I have focused in on one word that I was lacking that lead to my failure, RESPECT. After several strong marathons, I got cocky. So what if I am dealing with Plantar Fasciitis and my training slowed to a crawl, pay no mind to the testy IT band that hurt so bad at the end of the last marathon in February, I will show up and run. Who am I to think that I can just put my shoes on pound out 26.2 miles without putting the work in, the marathon has a way of humbling you and let me say, I have been humbled. Here is a quick recap of the run, this will be short.

  • Mile 1 thru 18 Run at an 8:30 pace, foot with PF obviously hurting but it was not increasing.
  • Mile 19 though 21 – foot with PF pain increasing – stop whining
  • Mile 22 – ouch walking
  • Mile 23 – I went to the ground, I didn’t sit down, I WENT to the ground quick. I was dumbfounded, perplexed and as I tried to get to my feet, I slammed to the ground again, as my knee and foot were trying to get my attention. To the credit of the young volunteer that ran to me, he could tell this was not a runner just stretching, something was wrong and he had already called the medics. When the first one arrived, I was attempting to take off again and he looked at me, shook his head and told me to sit down. After checking me out, he told me I need to stop, the last time I ignored this command I ended up with a fractured foot and wife with not a lot of sympathy for me because of my hard head. So it was at that moment, I hit the button on the Garmin (which we all know means the run is over) and sat down.

So what do I do with this experience, how can I learn from it and get better?

  1. Respect the run or the run will humble you.
  2. If you start a run with an injury, it will not heal during the run; most likely you will end up with more than you had at the starting line.
  3. If you want results, put the work in, you cannot get by on past results
  4. Listen to the body, not the mind. Especially in my case, the body is much smarter.
  5. Deal with disappointment and failure but do not accept it as the end. Understand that it is what builds character and strength, but you have to get back up and fight again. Don’t quit.
  6. Set a goal and then work to achieve it, write it down, focus on it, and then go get it.

I was devastated in that van, but as we drove I saw all the runners and they gave me thumbs up, I found my wife and heard of her PR in the Half Marathon (by 13 minutes, yeah she is awesome!) and my mood was lifted. I read all of the great comments on the runHARD-alwaysFINISH page and I began to realize how great this community really is, I need to put this run in its place and go prepare for the next one. So that is what I will do.

Lesson – “RESPECT THE RUN or the run will HUMBLE you.”

-Reist Mummau
Twitter @runHARDfinish

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