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Holy Cross Crusader 5K Recap

Back in my high school days, running was not my forte. In fact, the idea of running to me sent waves of panic down my spine. That whole "run a mile in gym class" thing...yeah, that wasn't for me. I'd have sooner found myself stricken with a nasty case of amoebic dysentery before plodding along to no doubt be the last person out there after 20 minutes struggling to reach the finish line.

So it was with great irony that one of my high school teachers posted a link to register for a race that my high school was holding on my Facebook page. While the race was for a 5K which is a distance I haven't found myself registering for many races for lately, I couldn't resist the opportunity to go back to my high school and actually run that pesky mile that eluded me for my two years of gym class.

My wife who went to the same high school and my oldest son also joined me to run the race. One of the best parts of the race was that it was just five minutes from our house, which made sleeping in a nice bonus. Coupled with some absolutely gorgeous spring weather, the race was shaping up to be fantastic.

We grabbed our bibs, which were oddly enough recycled from a different race held earlier in the year, something I've never seen before, then did something we often did in our high school years - we hung out in the parking lot.

The race was a decent sized event, not too large, with a great kids race around the parking lot before the 5K kicked off.

As we lined up, I found myself at the front of the pack right on the starting line. I hoped I'd be able to keep this position for the rest of the race. As the race started, I had some serious doubts!


Now, hills are nothing new to anyone running in Connecticut. We have them, we get over them. But it's something else when you have a race course designed with no map given prior to the race and instantly you're faced with multiple hills. Right after we turned out of the parking lot, BAM - hill. Then we made a left hand turn - BAM - another hill. Then a right hand turn - BAM - one big ass hill!


By now, the only thought going through my mind was my poor 7-year-old was going to have a miserable time by the time he hit the quarter mile mark. I was struggling to get up the last hill, but finally hit its peak and was greeted with a nice flat surface, followed by some gentle downhills.

The hills continued all the way throughout the course, with the last stretch of the race being a sizable uphill. As I made the last turn, I was certain my stomach wasn't going to contain itself any further. It had gotten hot and the hills had taken their toll.

But thankfully I made it through the finish line in just over 21 minutes, which was good enough to take first in my age group, and quickly took a seat to let my stomach settle down before heading back down through the course to meet up with my wife and son.

When I caught up to my wife and son, he was having a pretty hard time. The heat was starting to affect him, combined with the climb of the last hills. But, he did not give up and made it to the finish line!



Savin Rock Marathon Recap

This recap is a long time coming. As I sit here in 80 degree weather writing a recap about a marathon that took place in the snow, I realize I have some major catching up to do here!


Mother Nature does not like me. Over the past few months, every race I’ve run has been met by her miserable attitude in the form of rain, cold weather, more rain, and even more rain.

So it should have come as no surprise to me several weeks ago when I went to pick up my bib for the inaugural Savin Rock Marathon that the skies decided to open and snow started falling just as I rolled into the parking lot. Thankfully the weather forecast for race day had sun and warmer temperatures in store for us. But as my wife and I woke up the next morning to get dressed, it became apparent that Mother Nature didn’t bother to watch the Weather Channel that morning.


As we walked out to the car in the fresh three inches of snow, the urge to turn around and go back upstairs to my nice warm bed grabbed me and tried desperately to win me over. Had it not been for my wife reminding me what a waste of money it would be to stay home, I’d have probably caved to my bed’s callings.

I kept checking the forecast on my phone as we pulled into the race, trying to determine how many layers I should throw on. The weather kept reassuring me that it would get sunny and warm out, but the snow coming down said otherwise.

As we let the last bit of heat from the car escape us upon exiting to the cold, snowy air, my wife and I looked at each other and wondered what the hell we got ourselves into. We lined up, keeping close to each other to conserve body heat and were caught off guard as the race suddenly started. The course was extremely narrow at the start and the slippery conditions made for very slow passing as runners tried to avoid losing their balance and injuring themselves or the other runners packed in close to them.

After about a mile, the course finally opened up and runners were able to stretch their legs as they started on their 13.1 and 26.2 mile journeys. For full marathoners, we would be back to this very spot shortly as the course was a two-loop run.

The first four miles were a nice flat area that went by fairly quickly. The snow hadn’t let up yet and was starting to accumulate as we entered a residential section of the course that was just chock full of hills.

In fact, hills are what I remember more than anything about this race. As each hill passed, I began feeling more and more miserable. Despite having been born and raised in Connecticut, I hate winter, mainly because of the snow. Each hill became a greater challenge as the snow accumulated because getting traction for each step required more and more effort. There were several times I felt like I was spinning the wheels but wasn’t going anywhere thanks to the slipper slopes.

It also didn’t help that because it was a two-loop course, the mile markers for the second half of the race were there mocking me just a tenth of a mile before the markers for the first half of the race. “Hey, bet you wish you were here at Mile 22! Just kidding, you’re only at mile 9. Have fun sucker!!”
By the time I hit the mile 10 mark, I had enough. I was just going to run the last three miles and take a half marathon finish. I’ve never DNF’d a race, but today was going to be the day. I couldn’t feel my toes anymore, and pain was quickly setting into my left ankle with every passing step.

Mile 11 came and went, then 12 and I was ready to throw in the towel. The damn snow was coming down so hard that it was accumulating on my eyelashes and in my hair. I was ready to jump in my nice warm car and go home.

As I passed the mile 13 sign I had come to terms with the fact that I’d be walking away from this race defeated. I came up to the finish area and was routed off to the side for the full marathon course where I began the walk to my car. As I started walking down, another runner came up to me feeling the pain the weather had set in. He complemented our half time of 1:53 and while we both commiserated that we weren’t trained for these conditions, he told me he was going to finish the last 13 even if he had to walk it because he had come that far.

And dammit, it was at that moment as I saw my car coming up that I thought of my kids and what would I say to them as I showed up home without a medal. How could I explain that I set out to do something and quit? In high school, I quit things all the time. Football, wrestling, basketball. I was never any good at them, so I never enjoyed them. Running is something I am actually good at and never before had I ever walked away from a race that I started.

So I started running again, not towards my car as my cold feet so desperately wanted, but back down the now slush-filled course and on to mile 14. I didn’t know if I could physically do it, but at least I knew I’d be giving it my all. At mile 15, I stopped to walk and grab some jelly beans out of my hydration pack to help fuel me. As I shoved a handful in my mouth, I realized that changing my candy fuel from my normal choice of gummy bears was a big mistake as I gagged on the flavors of the jelly beans in my mouth. I also then realized that when I pulled my hydration pack off, I had yanked my phone off my arm and had to turn around and run back a quarter mile and rescue it from the snow before it ended up a water-damaged casualty.

For some reason, the second half of the race actually felt like it went by faster. I was back at the hills before I knew it, which this time around I opted to walk a few. Since I wasn’t out there breaking any records, I didn’t want to risk hurting myself by slipping on the snow going uphill.

I eventually made it to mile 23 and fatigue was setting in. The sun had finally started to come out and warm things up, but the last 5K of this race seemed to last an eternity. By the time I reached mile 25, my left ankle was in some pretty serious pain that was starting to affect the rest of my leg. I kept pushing on and finally made it to the 26 mile mark. Pushing through the last .2 of the race took every effort, but finally I made it to the finish line.


My wife was there waiting for me, the first time she ever saw me cross the finish line of a marathon and she was the most beautiful sight for sore eyes. While the conditions had been miserable for her in the half marathon, she had rocked it out and had a really strong finish time.

My car never felt like such a welcome sight. As I blasted the heat at 80 degrees I felt accomplished knowing that despite wanting to give up more than I ever had before, I had been able to dig down deep and finish what I set out to accomplish.

2015 Racing Schedule

I have to say, my 2015 racing schedule is shaping up much slower than I thought it would. But a big part of that is I keep picking some really expensive races!

Right now I have a great grouping of races, but apparently I must be bored with Connecticut because as of right now, only two of them are actually in this state.

Here’s what’s on the schedule so far:

March 14 – Rock ‘n’ Roll DC

I’m beyond excited to finally be taking on a marathon in a place other than Connecticut or Disney World. Of 8 marathons that I’ve run, they’ve all been in those two places. Having missed out on the Marine Corps Marathon last year, I can’t wait to finally get the chance to run through the nation’s Capital.

March 21 – Savin Rock Marathon

The next week, I’ll be back for another CT-based marathon. The Savin Rock Half Marathon has traditionally been the race to kick off the racing season here in Connecticut. This year, they’ve added a brand new full marathon option. This is the only race is what’s known as the Shoreline Shark series that I haven’t tackled yet, and I’m really happy to be able to take on an inaugural marathon.

This has been one runDisney event that I never thought I would actually do. That is, until runDisney announced that this year would be the last year for it. My wife has wanted to do this race for years, but traveling so far for a 5K just didn’t seem worth it. When runDisney let it be known that the event wouldn’t be going on after this year, I surprised my wife with entries for us to take part in its last running.


Another race I didn’t think I’d be doing this year was the Ragnar Cape Cod relay. Having done it the past two years, I didn’t think I’d be able to get a team together. Then I found an ultra-team that needed another person and before I knew it, I had myself signed up to take on 200 miles of Massachusetts miles with five other people, rather than the usual 12.


While I love the concept of the Ragnar Relay with traveling over 200 miles, the idea of the Ragnar Trail races really intrigues me. 8 runners are on each team rather than the usual 12, and instead of driving 200 miles, runners have a base camp where all runners start from then run through three trails until all runners have finished. It sounds like a great party atmosphere and a more laid-back vibe than the energetic van relay.

September 3-6 - Dumbo Double Dare

West Coast Disney races are always so unique compared to their East Coast counterparts. With this being the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon, and since my wife and I both took part in the 10th Anniversary of Goofy, we couldn’t say no to making the trek our west to earn my wife’s first Coast to Coast medal and my third.

October 17 - SoNo Half Marathon

In a year of inaugural and anniversary races, I’m excited to be taking part in the inaugural SoNo (South Norwalk) Half Marathon. I just happened across this race thanks to Facebook and it is shaping up to be a really exciting race. The scenery for this course is said to be amazing and the excitement that any inaugural race brings really has this race standing out.

My family had such an amazing time at this race last year that we ended up signing up for this year’s race the day we got back. The course is fantastic, the medals are amazing, the race is a massive event and Cleveland is such a great city to visit. This is the perfect race to end the year with.



What's on your race calendar for 2015??

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Holy Cross Crusader 5K Recap

Back in my high school days, running was not my forte. In fact, the idea of running to me sent waves of panic down my spine. That whole "run a mile in gym class" thing...yeah, that wasn't for me. I'd have sooner found myself stricken with a nasty case of amoebic dysentery before plodding along to no doubt be the last person out there after 20 minutes struggling to reach the finish line.

So it was with great irony that one of my high school teachers posted a link to register for a race that my high school was holding on my Facebook page. While the race was for a 5K which is a distance I haven't found myself registering for many races for lately, I couldn't resist the opportunity to go back to my high school and actually run that pesky mile that eluded me for my two years of gym class.

My wife who went to the same high school and my oldest son also joined me to run the race. One of the best parts of the race was that it was just five minutes from our house, which made sleeping in a nice bonus. Coupled with some absolutely gorgeous spring weather, the race was shaping up to be fantastic.

We grabbed our bibs, which were oddly enough recycled from a different race held earlier in the year, something I've never seen before, then did something we often did in our high school years - we hung out in the parking lot.

The race was a decent sized event, not too large, with a great kids race around the parking lot before the 5K kicked off.

As we lined up, I found myself at the front of the pack right on the starting line. I hoped I'd be able to keep this position for the rest of the race. As the race started, I had some serious doubts!


Now, hills are nothing new to anyone running in Connecticut. We have them, we get over them. But it's something else when you have a race course designed with no map given prior to the race and instantly you're faced with multiple hills. Right after we turned out of the parking lot, BAM - hill. Then we made a left hand turn - BAM - another hill. Then a right hand turn - BAM - one big ass hill!


By now, the only thought going through my mind was my poor 7-year-old was going to have a miserable time by the time he hit the quarter mile mark. I was struggling to get up the last hill, but finally hit its peak and was greeted with a nice flat surface, followed by some gentle downhills.

The hills continued all the way throughout the course, with the last stretch of the race being a sizable uphill. As I made the last turn, I was certain my stomach wasn't going to contain itself any further. It had gotten hot and the hills had taken their toll.

But thankfully I made it through the finish line in just over 21 minutes, which was good enough to take first in my age group, and quickly took a seat to let my stomach settle down before heading back down through the course to meet up with my wife and son.

When I caught up to my wife and son, he was having a pretty hard time. The heat was starting to affect him, combined with the climb of the last hills. But, he did not give up and made it to the finish line!



Monday, May 11, 2015

Savin Rock Marathon Recap

This recap is a long time coming. As I sit here in 80 degree weather writing a recap about a marathon that took place in the snow, I realize I have some major catching up to do here!


Mother Nature does not like me. Over the past few months, every race I’ve run has been met by her miserable attitude in the form of rain, cold weather, more rain, and even more rain.

So it should have come as no surprise to me several weeks ago when I went to pick up my bib for the inaugural Savin Rock Marathon that the skies decided to open and snow started falling just as I rolled into the parking lot. Thankfully the weather forecast for race day had sun and warmer temperatures in store for us. But as my wife and I woke up the next morning to get dressed, it became apparent that Mother Nature didn’t bother to watch the Weather Channel that morning.


As we walked out to the car in the fresh three inches of snow, the urge to turn around and go back upstairs to my nice warm bed grabbed me and tried desperately to win me over. Had it not been for my wife reminding me what a waste of money it would be to stay home, I’d have probably caved to my bed’s callings.

I kept checking the forecast on my phone as we pulled into the race, trying to determine how many layers I should throw on. The weather kept reassuring me that it would get sunny and warm out, but the snow coming down said otherwise.

As we let the last bit of heat from the car escape us upon exiting to the cold, snowy air, my wife and I looked at each other and wondered what the hell we got ourselves into. We lined up, keeping close to each other to conserve body heat and were caught off guard as the race suddenly started. The course was extremely narrow at the start and the slippery conditions made for very slow passing as runners tried to avoid losing their balance and injuring themselves or the other runners packed in close to them.

After about a mile, the course finally opened up and runners were able to stretch their legs as they started on their 13.1 and 26.2 mile journeys. For full marathoners, we would be back to this very spot shortly as the course was a two-loop run.

The first four miles were a nice flat area that went by fairly quickly. The snow hadn’t let up yet and was starting to accumulate as we entered a residential section of the course that was just chock full of hills.

In fact, hills are what I remember more than anything about this race. As each hill passed, I began feeling more and more miserable. Despite having been born and raised in Connecticut, I hate winter, mainly because of the snow. Each hill became a greater challenge as the snow accumulated because getting traction for each step required more and more effort. There were several times I felt like I was spinning the wheels but wasn’t going anywhere thanks to the slipper slopes.

It also didn’t help that because it was a two-loop course, the mile markers for the second half of the race were there mocking me just a tenth of a mile before the markers for the first half of the race. “Hey, bet you wish you were here at Mile 22! Just kidding, you’re only at mile 9. Have fun sucker!!”
By the time I hit the mile 10 mark, I had enough. I was just going to run the last three miles and take a half marathon finish. I’ve never DNF’d a race, but today was going to be the day. I couldn’t feel my toes anymore, and pain was quickly setting into my left ankle with every passing step.

Mile 11 came and went, then 12 and I was ready to throw in the towel. The damn snow was coming down so hard that it was accumulating on my eyelashes and in my hair. I was ready to jump in my nice warm car and go home.

As I passed the mile 13 sign I had come to terms with the fact that I’d be walking away from this race defeated. I came up to the finish area and was routed off to the side for the full marathon course where I began the walk to my car. As I started walking down, another runner came up to me feeling the pain the weather had set in. He complemented our half time of 1:53 and while we both commiserated that we weren’t trained for these conditions, he told me he was going to finish the last 13 even if he had to walk it because he had come that far.

And dammit, it was at that moment as I saw my car coming up that I thought of my kids and what would I say to them as I showed up home without a medal. How could I explain that I set out to do something and quit? In high school, I quit things all the time. Football, wrestling, basketball. I was never any good at them, so I never enjoyed them. Running is something I am actually good at and never before had I ever walked away from a race that I started.

So I started running again, not towards my car as my cold feet so desperately wanted, but back down the now slush-filled course and on to mile 14. I didn’t know if I could physically do it, but at least I knew I’d be giving it my all. At mile 15, I stopped to walk and grab some jelly beans out of my hydration pack to help fuel me. As I shoved a handful in my mouth, I realized that changing my candy fuel from my normal choice of gummy bears was a big mistake as I gagged on the flavors of the jelly beans in my mouth. I also then realized that when I pulled my hydration pack off, I had yanked my phone off my arm and had to turn around and run back a quarter mile and rescue it from the snow before it ended up a water-damaged casualty.

For some reason, the second half of the race actually felt like it went by faster. I was back at the hills before I knew it, which this time around I opted to walk a few. Since I wasn’t out there breaking any records, I didn’t want to risk hurting myself by slipping on the snow going uphill.

I eventually made it to mile 23 and fatigue was setting in. The sun had finally started to come out and warm things up, but the last 5K of this race seemed to last an eternity. By the time I reached mile 25, my left ankle was in some pretty serious pain that was starting to affect the rest of my leg. I kept pushing on and finally made it to the 26 mile mark. Pushing through the last .2 of the race took every effort, but finally I made it to the finish line.


My wife was there waiting for me, the first time she ever saw me cross the finish line of a marathon and she was the most beautiful sight for sore eyes. While the conditions had been miserable for her in the half marathon, she had rocked it out and had a really strong finish time.

My car never felt like such a welcome sight. As I blasted the heat at 80 degrees I felt accomplished knowing that despite wanting to give up more than I ever had before, I had been able to dig down deep and finish what I set out to accomplish.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Racing Schedule

I have to say, my 2015 racing schedule is shaping up much slower than I thought it would. But a big part of that is I keep picking some really expensive races!

Right now I have a great grouping of races, but apparently I must be bored with Connecticut because as of right now, only two of them are actually in this state.

Here’s what’s on the schedule so far:

March 14 – Rock ‘n’ Roll DC

I’m beyond excited to finally be taking on a marathon in a place other than Connecticut or Disney World. Of 8 marathons that I’ve run, they’ve all been in those two places. Having missed out on the Marine Corps Marathon last year, I can’t wait to finally get the chance to run through the nation’s Capital.

March 21 – Savin Rock Marathon

The next week, I’ll be back for another CT-based marathon. The Savin Rock Half Marathon has traditionally been the race to kick off the racing season here in Connecticut. This year, they’ve added a brand new full marathon option. This is the only race is what’s known as the Shoreline Shark series that I haven’t tackled yet, and I’m really happy to be able to take on an inaugural marathon.

This has been one runDisney event that I never thought I would actually do. That is, until runDisney announced that this year would be the last year for it. My wife has wanted to do this race for years, but traveling so far for a 5K just didn’t seem worth it. When runDisney let it be known that the event wouldn’t be going on after this year, I surprised my wife with entries for us to take part in its last running.


Another race I didn’t think I’d be doing this year was the Ragnar Cape Cod relay. Having done it the past two years, I didn’t think I’d be able to get a team together. Then I found an ultra-team that needed another person and before I knew it, I had myself signed up to take on 200 miles of Massachusetts miles with five other people, rather than the usual 12.


While I love the concept of the Ragnar Relay with traveling over 200 miles, the idea of the Ragnar Trail races really intrigues me. 8 runners are on each team rather than the usual 12, and instead of driving 200 miles, runners have a base camp where all runners start from then run through three trails until all runners have finished. It sounds like a great party atmosphere and a more laid-back vibe than the energetic van relay.

September 3-6 - Dumbo Double Dare

West Coast Disney races are always so unique compared to their East Coast counterparts. With this being the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon, and since my wife and I both took part in the 10th Anniversary of Goofy, we couldn’t say no to making the trek our west to earn my wife’s first Coast to Coast medal and my third.

October 17 - SoNo Half Marathon

In a year of inaugural and anniversary races, I’m excited to be taking part in the inaugural SoNo (South Norwalk) Half Marathon. I just happened across this race thanks to Facebook and it is shaping up to be a really exciting race. The scenery for this course is said to be amazing and the excitement that any inaugural race brings really has this race standing out.

My family had such an amazing time at this race last year that we ended up signing up for this year’s race the day we got back. The course is fantastic, the medals are amazing, the race is a massive event and Cleveland is such a great city to visit. This is the perfect race to end the year with.



What's on your race calendar for 2015??