Sprints…in the Pool

As I wrote on my Facebook Page I love running intervals on the track or the treadmill.  400s, 800s, 1Ks, 1200, mile repeats, even 3200s all are a great interval challenge! I’m not super fast, but I can hit the 7-min mile pace for 400s and 800s. I really enjoy interval workouts as you get in, get the mileage done fast and get back out again with time to spare for corn flakes!

On Thursday “The Minnow” decided I needed to do sprints (intervals) in the pool.  She asked if I wanted to do 25 yards or 50 yards for distance.  I chose 50 yards as I wanted to push it. Yep, I am an idiot! Halfway back on the 2nd 50 yard sprint I had no kick left. I was going as fast as I could and just wore myself out in two sprints. I told The Minnow that I needed to switch to 25s. She agreed and told me that I only get 30 seconds rest instead of 45 seconds…great.

I went for 25 yards, rested, went back another 25 yards rested…then The Minnow said that since I was changing my mind that she’d change her mind too.  I was doing two 50s followed by four 25s then two 50s followed by four more 25s…again…great.

By the end of it I had nothing left. I was spent. I had zero kick. I was breathing (barely) like the first time I had tried to run a mile back in 1994. I could feel every inch of every muscle fiber in my triceps muscles. My legs were two noodles in the pool.

BUT WAIT! There’s more!  We have 10 minutes left?!?!?

Says The Minnow, “Go get this 10 pound brick off the bottom of the deep end. Oh, and since we are at the wrong end of the pool you can do one more 25 yard sprint to the other end of the pool!”

The Stupid Brick
The Stupid Brick

I swear if I survive this then I am buying her a 10 pound brick for graduation so she’ll have an extra and I can quit diving to the bottom of the pool to get one. I’m not joking…they cost $35.

After a couple tries I finally got the stupid brick and lesson #3 ended. I really hate that stupid brick.

Happy Training!



Diet Bet

Have you heard of Diet Bet or Diet Better rather? It is a part of the newest (or new to me) online phenomena called, Social Dieting. My sister-in-law turned me onto it about 10 weeks ago. I played a “round” that lasted 4-weeks and the bet was $25. Anyone making their goal won some cash by splitting the pot.  I took home a whopping $43 and change which I could either receive in a Paypal payout or put back down for another round.

Screenshot 2014-04-07 19.41.52

There are two games you can play and games start all of the time almost daily in some cases. Diet4 is about losing 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks. That’s the one I played and won a chunk of the pot with maybe 20+ players. Then there is Diet10 nicknamed “The Transformer.” As you probably guessed it is about losing 10% of your body weight and the time period is 6 months.  5 months to lose it plus an additional maintenance month to show you can keep it off. There are milestones along the way that you must hit in order to stay in the game. Each round the pot grows as people stay in it to win it. The nice thing is that everyone I have come into contact with is very motivating and you get a sense that everyone wants everyone else to succeed. That is surprising considering that less who succeed through Round 6  get a larger percentage of about $70,000+ and that’s no chump change! As the site explains, “There’s no extra credit for finishing first or for losing the most weight. Everyone who wins splits the pot equally.”

However, I must say that I don’t think that the possibility of just one person winning it all is very likely with 528 total players. In fact, even if 25% of the players don’t hit their goal then the take home pot for the remaining players will be around $175. Not bad, but really even if I don’t make it all the way through if I include the single round from earlier I will have lost  approximately 7% of my body weight since Super Bowl Sunday. Not bad and much cheaper than a personal trainer! When you get down to it the site is about goals, motivation and accountability.  For me, it’s working as I know I have that weekly weigh-in.  In this regard it is a lot like weight watchers, except I can win cash and I don’t eat a lot of processed weight watcher products that I will eventually stop buying.

Currently, I’m closing in on the end of Round 1 of “The Transformer” and I am doing well. In Round 1 a player needs to lose 3% and I’m 93% to my goal for this round meaning I have a little less than half a pound to lose in the next 10 days.

Each round’s loss goal are as follows:

  • Round 1 – 3% (I’m at 93% of this 3%)
  • Round 2 – 6% cumulative
  • Round 3 – 8% cumulative
  • Round 4 – 9% cumulative
  • Round 5 – 10% cumulative
  • Round 6– Maintain 10% cumulative

A Few More Details:

On the Diet Better site you have a profile which you can make as private or open as you wish including if someone can see your weight. For official weigh-ins you submit 2 photos each week (suggested) or you can not weigh-in and just do one official weigh-in for each round approximately every 4 weeks.

If you do weigh-in each week then you are entered into drawings for prizes like gift cards, cookware and fitness equipment. I’ve weighed-in each week to keep myself moving toward the target goal of a total of 10% overall. Your photos and weight are reviewed by a third party of the site and you get a confirmation email that your photos and weight have been approved.  Photos are in “airport security attire” meaning that you are wearing shorts and a t-shirt sans shoes. One photo is full body and the other is of the digital scale (digital required) with a password the site gives you for each weigh-in. At each submittal you check a box stating that you understand that you may be audited at any time for submittals. I would surmise that someone who magically loses a large percentage of their weight in a short amount of time would be audited. The game is set up to be fair and reward steady progress toward your goal.

Overall I like it! Plus, assuming I hit my goal I will be at or near my performance weight for my ultra marathon come June! My Fitbit feeds into the site so I can share activities  and even weigh-ins from Fitbit if I so choose. Other fitness social media as well as standard social media can be attached to feed into or out of the Diet Better site as well so it’s obvious that some thought and planning was put into this site. The combination of Diet Bet and Fitbit are really helping me stay on track day by day and hour by hour.  All the data I need is available and I can check where I am at any moment of any day and make healthy choices accordingly.

Give it a try if you want a new and different way to get motivated about dropping a few pounds! Just be realistic and help yourself by helping others stay motivated! I’m sure I will keep you all updated as I progress through the  6 month challenge.

Happy Training!


Jessica Goldman is crazy awesome!

If you’ve never heard of Jessica Goldman then you just may start to hear about her in the next few weeks. You see, she’s running from California to New York looking to break the world record for the women’s US transcontinental passage starting on April 16th. That’s 3,197 miles if you’re playing the home game. To do so she will run between the two city halls of San Francisco and NYC with a GPS tracking device that records her position at regular intervals, as well as other requirements to prove her success in the journey. Also, she’s doing this solo pushing a special stroller to carry supplies. Oh, and she’s doing all this on a plant based diet.

Her journey isn’t all about doing the trip solo and breaking the world record though. Along the way she will raise money for the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).

I am looking forward to tackling my own run of 500 miles with five other runners starting in August of 2015 for the Do Away with SMA (DAWS) charity. With this in mind I cannot imagine a journey of over 6 times that distance and running 3 times as long for time! Doing 19 back to back marathons is crazy so I do not know what you classify doing 61 back-to-back 50 milers!  We’ll just call Jessica awesome until the English language comes up with a new word to justify her unique level of heart and determination.

In the mean time if you’d like to follow Jessica along her journey, visit Jessica’s Facebook Page, give it a “Like,” read her blog and if you can spare an extra Lincoln for the BIAA then throw her a fiver. Finally, be sure to keep a lookout over the next few weeks because that crazy chick running by your window pushing a stroller full of camping gear and all natural trail mix is crazy awesome!

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. – Gail Devers

Happy Training & Good Luck Jessica!


Stupid Brick

Today was my second swim lesson. I started last week and was paired with a young high school swimmer as my swim instructor.  We’ll call her “The Minnow” to protect the innocent.

If you need a quick catch up remember that I registered for my first triathlon later this year in September.  So I need to learn to swim better as I am severely under trained for the swim portion of the triathlon. I mean if you can’t ride a bike anymore then you pedal slower or get off and walk the bike, if you can’t run anymore then you walk, however, if you can’t swim anymore then you sink to the bottom and drown…hence the swim lessons.

Also, you may recall that I don’t swim.  I mean I can swim, but I haven’t really done any real swimming outside of splashing around in a high school pool since junior high. See, I’ve never really been comfortable in the water.

For one, don’t forget that I was a fat kid growing up so I had to endure all the usual teasing whenever we went to the pool, but all that is behind me now and those assholes work for [insert worst employer imaginable for low pay] in my fantasy world so they don’t bother me anymore.

Second, I had a brother who was a bit of a bully to say the least so any time I went near water he thought it was fun to grab me and hold me under. If you are wondering how this affects a person’s love of oceans, lakes, pools and bodies of water in general I will let you know that I just see big open expanses of beautiful deep blue death!

Friend: Hey Brian! Want to go to the beach?

Brian: You mean the sand next to the deep blue death?  I’ll pass, but thanks though!

So anyway, last week The Minnow thought I needed to retrieve a 10 pound black rubber brick from the bottom of the pool…the deep end…the 11 foot deep end.

The Minnow explains it.

Minnow: It’s easy! Just go down to the bottom of the pool and get the brick. Then swim back up…simple!

Brian hears: Waaaawaaawaaawaaa bottom of the pool of death, grab the WaaaWaaaWaaaa from the bottom of the pool of death and then WaaaaWaaaWaaaaa from the depths of the pool of death…simple!

Long story short, I didn’t get the stupid brick last week though I did get well acquainted with getting near the bottom of the pool of death and then making a quick exodus to the surface of the depths of the deep end of the pool of death.

The rest of the lesson was treading water and working on my head position when breathing during free style. I told you I needed lessons!

This week I opted to try and get the stupid brick before treading water for 10 minutes. The first couple times I missed it but got close, but finally I got fed up and just jumped off the side of the pool to get to the bottom quicker, grabbed the stupid brick and then came back up.  I retrieved it three more times from the depths of the pool of death before treading water.

I also found out that unlike Michael Phelps,  my arms and legs do not move in a coordinated effort…quite the opposite. In fact there are times when what I believe that I am telling my legs or feet to do have no effect on what they actually do!

The Minnow had me grab a kick board so I was using nothing but my legs to go through the water.  Apparently, my legs can help me go about 12.5 yards before running out of propulsive power, awesome! Only 2,099.5 yards to go for my swim in Lake Erie in September!  Did I mention the deep blue lake of death for my triathlon is Lake Erie? Wow, can I pick ‘em or what? The only great lake with a scary name! Let’s do this!

So there I was stuck in the middle of the pool, kicking to beat hades and going no where. I turn my head in time to hear the life guard on the stand say, “Dude, you need to relax.” in what had to be the best impersonation of Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure that I have heard since 1989.  My thoughts, “Easy for you to say from that chair…I’m the one in the pool of death!”  ….then I realized where I was at and just put my feet down.

The Minnow had me finish up with a couple sets of 50 yards on pull and standard stroke. All in all I am realizing that I have a decent amount of fitness for a mid-pack recreational runner and I am finding that this level of fitness in no way helps me swim.

Abs Abs Abs will be my focus as The Minnow told me that the abs tie the upper and lower body together and make swimming a whole lot easier. Learn to love abdominal work she says.

Thanks Minnow! See you next week!

Happy Training!



45th Annual Sam Costa Half Marathon Recap

Great race today for the 45th annual Sam Costa Half Marathon and Quarter Marathon. This was my 41st race overall and my 18th half marathon. This race was my first of the season and I felt I got off to a good start as this was also just my second outside run of the year! I represented Team DAWS by wearing my red Do Away With SMA running shirt!

The race started out a bit breezy and the temperature was a balmy 37 degrees! Once we were underway I warmed up and the temperature was perfect! The course took us through some of the more rural areas around Carmel, IN and Noblesville, IN as well as some scenic neighborhoods. Overall the course was a good one and the all of the volunteers, firemen and police officers were great at helping us get through the 13.1 miles.

Aside from a couple slight inclines in the road the course was mainly flat and fast. If anyone wanted to run a good local race with easy logistics and a smaller group of runners then this would be a good event!

The only downside of the event today is that I have no idea how I actually did as far as timing. When I crossed the finish line I asked if the clock time was total time for the race at ~02:02:13. The two guys manning the timing equipment said yes, but that I would get my “official time” on a print out inside. In my four plus years of racing every time I look at a clock at the end of the race I know that my official time would be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes faster depending on how far back from the start line I began.  I was initially elated as 02:02:13 would be a 3+ minute PR!!!  I couldn’t wait to get the official results inside!

I go inside and get my print out and my “official time” is almost 9 minutes (00:08:41) slower than the total clock time. My official time was 02:10:54 meaning the time on the clock at the finish line could not be accurate or the print out is incorrect. I went back out to look at the clock again and the finish line clock was just then reading 02:10:00 plus.  So how can I have a net time for the race that is longer than the total time for the race from start to finish????

Thinking back to the race, I had two guys behind me at mile marker #2 whom I overheard saying that they needed to slow down because they were at a 9min/mile pace and would burn out if they did not slow down. They slowed and I didn’t. I carried my own water so I didn’t have to walk any water stops save for three toward the end for just a few feet to swig some gatorade as I was running low on fluids.

So I either PR’d by ~3 minutes today or I just had a decent first Half Marathon of the season at 02:10:54. I’ve never had total clock time and official time be so different AND have me slower than the total clock time.  Makes me wish I would have worn a sport watch today!

I’m a little frustrated on the results, but it was a great run! I’m looking forward to the Carmel Marathon coming up on April 12th and then the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 3rd!

Happy Training!


Inaugural 2014 Avenger Bibs Pre-Sale Opportunity with DAWS

Originally posted on Do Away with SMA:

The DAWS – Do Away with Spinal Muscular Atropy 501(c)3-pending charity has an opportunity to purchase race registration bibs for the Inaugural 2014 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon available NOW!

How you might ask? runDisney let’s charities sell bibs for the Inaugural 2014 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend and other runDisney events. And…Do Away With SMA (DAWS) is putting it’s name in the hat for charity bibs for this race!!

If you’d like to run with us, let us know soon because this opportunity won’t last long due to the demand for inaugural race registrations! Plus, the Avengers are just really cool!

Runner Facts:

  • Each race bib for the Avengers Half Marathon will be $285. This includes a 1 day/1 park ticket, taxes and race fees.
  • There is also a minimum 3-night hotel room accommodation attached to the race bib through Outlander Travel, our partner in this endeavor. Runners…

View original 693 more words

We have a Hulk!


Wow! Get a bib for the inaugural race right now and skip the lines on pre-sale? Awesome!

Originally posted on Do Away with SMA:


That’s MY SECRET…DAWS is putting it’s name in the hat for 2014 Avenger Inaugural Half Marathon Bibs.

The Truth is… DAWS is shooting for charity bibs for the 2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort.

We have been burdened with the Glorious Purpose…gunning for charity bibs for the Avengers Half Marathon.

How you might ask? Run Disney let’s charities sell bibs for the Inaugural 2014 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. And…DAWS is putting it’s name in the hat for charity bibs for this race!!

If you’d like to run with us, let us know!!!

Runner Facts:

  • Each race bib for the Avengers Half marathon will be $285. This includes a 1 day/1 park ticket, taxes and race fees.
  • There is also a minimum 3-night hotel room accommodation attached to the race bib through Outlander Travel, our partner in this endeavor. Runners will need to arrange…

View original 616 more words

2014 and Beyond…a Look Forward

2014 is a big year!  Lots of goals and most of these relatively short term goals are to prepare me for 2015 and the charity run we have planned that will take the DAWS Spinal Muscular Atrophy Running Team (S.M.A.R.T.) 500 miles from The Walt Disney Family Museum to the gates of Disneyland after which we will run the Dumbo Double Dare to top off the mission to raise awareness and funding for research on Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease that is the #1 killer of children under the age of two years.

So how does one prepare to run 19 back-to-back marathons to equal 500 miles then think it’ll be a walk to run another 19.3 miles around Disneyland? The answer: Lots of planning!

Screenshot 2014-02-15 13.22.55

I need to bring my physical self to a whole new level and I plan to do that by training for three BIG events in 2014 with several smaller events sprinkled in for continued motivation and fun. You can checkout my full race schedule here! Let me know if you’ll be at any of the races and we can meet-up for a pre-race  photo while we still look good!

Event #1: The Hendrick’s County Park-2-Park Relay

This run spans 45 miles. I will run it solo (I’ll have a support crew) on June 14, 2014. The event is timed and the cutoff is 9-hours. This will be the most difficult event of the year due to the cutoff. This ultra marathon event will be a huge push for me. I am planning on dropping 25 pounds to reach my best performance weight prior to this event, but it is the staging ground for all other events in 2014.

Event #2: Ride Across INdiana (RAIN Ride)

This ride will take me 164 miles across the state of Indiana in a single day. On July 12, 2014 I’ll ride this event with a group of friends so this should be a fun event, but I will not let the future fun detract from the fact that I’ll need to spend quite a bit of time in the bike saddle in order to prepare myself to go the distance.  Thank goodness this one has a lunch break around the halfway mark!

Event #3: Cedar Point 70.3 Triathlon

I am in the process of becoming a triathlete and with this event on September 7, 2014, I will earn my place as a more all around athlete. This event includes a 1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon. This one is a little scary as I haven’t swam any distance at all in the last 20 years and before that it was just laps during swimming in middle school…good times!

The Plan

Training for three events is taking a lot of patience and planning. Currently I am doing two-a-day workouts in the morning and at lunch with a long run on Saturdays and a long bike ride on Sundays. The cross training is helping my recovery from any one workout. I usually swim in the mornings three days a week, and then also lift and bike in the mornings two days a week. Across lunches I’ll either do the elliptical for 60 minutes or run either a tempo run or do intervals. If I need a rest day then I take one and I have planned in pull back weeks where I drop my training volume significantly in order to let my body rest that week.

I was already trained to run a full marathon at Disney so it’s good to be starting from a solid fitness base. Dialing in my nutrition will be an important part of the training as will my recovery efforts. Nutrition will be 70% of the training as I must reach a healthy performance weight in order to maximize my training and push the envelope on training volume when I need to.

Of course, on September 8, 2014 what’s a guy to do considering all three of the big events will be completed? Easy, I “start” training for the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World coming up in January 2015.

I have a half marathon planned in October and in November I have a full marathon and a 30-mile ultra marathon on back-to-back weekends. I’ll be 8 weeks out from the Dopey Challenge at this point and poised to run a great series of races across four days!

I’m hoping to take a lot of pictures and have a lot of fun this year as I reach my short term  fitness goals to prepare me for 2015 and the DAWS  running team’s 500 Mile Challenge.

So expect a LOT of race recaps this year!

Happy Training!


You can also follow me on Facebook at Running Down a Dream 23

Mou Ichido

When I was 19 years old I started taking martial arts lessons. I eventually earned my black belt in an Okinawan style of karate called Shorei Goju Ryu. Throughout the years I trained in karate there were several key lessons that have stuck with me to this day.

The most memorable stems from what my sensei jokingly called, “The Great Okinawan Lie.”  The “lie” was a Japanese phrase he used on the mat almost daily. He would tell us repeatedly, mou ichido (pronounced Mo-EE-Chi-Doh). In Japanese, mou ichido translates to “one more time” and conveys a sense of one’s repetition of something as part of a process.

There’s a lot to be said about repetition and muscle memory; how it can help us perform without thinking whether that is the way we do our job or how some runners can seemingly on instinct run a specific pace and come in within a few seconds of their target goal each time regardless of the distance of the race. The conscious effort to continue or to do another repetition leads to a habit or muscle memory that becomes over time, second nature to how we perform. We begin to perform on autopilot. However, we must consciously push mou ichido and strengthen that muscle memory and our very resolve to continue when otherwise we don’t feel like it or are just unmotivated.

Screenshot 2014-02-05 12.11.24
Muscle memory comes after 1000s of repetitions, but you have to choose to practice, train and do it, mou ichido.

To this day I still find myself repeating the mou ichido mantra during training sessions. One more time, one more repetition, one more rep, one more set, one more lap, one more mile and sometimes, one more step.

Happy Training


You can follow me on Facebook at Running Down a Dream 23!

Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

I apologize.  Wait….what? That’s a weird way to start out such a happy post about a weekend of running at the most magical of places! An apology?  What gives?

Well, I have to apologize for what will be a blog post with nearly a complete lack of pictures. You see, for the first time in four years I decided to not run the Disney marathon “just for fun.” Therefore, I didn’t take a lot of pictures…none actually. Instead, I had my eyes set on a PR (Personal Record for non-running folk). Originally, my friends and I had planned on running a sub 5-hour marathon which would be a PR of ~15 minutes for me. Let me tell you that running for over 26 miles at a pace that is ~30 seconds faster per mile than the last marathon you PR’d is a LOT faster. I knew it was going to be doubly tough because over the last year I managed to gain an extra 20 pounds…my training and focus on nutrition just wasn’t as sharp as in years past.

Three of us planned to run it together and use the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method. As the time approached for the race we found out that Mitch had a stress fracture in his foot and would not be able to run with us. Also, the week before the race Matthew came down with a stomach flu, but was still going to give it a go! Joe decided to run with us though he was doing the Dopey Challenge and had turned his ankle during the 10K so we were a sorry lot by the time Sunday came around. Joe, Matt and myself started the marathon together and it was a laughfest!

We went along for over half the race when not too far from DAK Joe had to slow a bit due to the pain in his ankle (he still finished!). Then it didn’t seem too much further down the road Matt had to slow down as well most likely due to a bit of dehydration (he ALSO still finished and PR’d). This left me to run the remaining back half of the race on my own and I just kept moving forward.

They say that at some point during a long run that it won’t hurt any more than it currently does…that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt like hell just that once it really hurts it probably won’t get any worse.  I would like to thank the person who thought that tidbit of insight up and shared it. When Matt and I had been at the 13.1 mile mark we knew that we weren’t going to come in under 5 hours, but that didn’t bother me as my previous PR was 5:15:07 so as long as I PR’d I was happy, but it was a bit disappointing that the initial goal was already out of reach.

At the 20 mile marker running solo I was not a happy camper. My feet hurt like hades and I was looking forward to a trip around the world showcase. It was then that I really appreciated the volunteers and the spectators.  It’s not difficult to see the look of pain on a runner’s face as they go by plus if a runner is taking 5 hours then most likely they have long since passed the enjoyment phase of the marathon until they see the finish line.

One spectator called out to me by name to keep going and that I was getting close. Another couldn’t see my name on the bib, but instead called out my team name (Team DAWS). Again and again the crowd was yelling out to individual runners!  I was amazed at the sheer number of spectators yelling to the runners. I’ve ran a lot of races and have observed this before, but never so many.

By the time I reached the Disney Hollywood Studios I knew I was still on track to PR by over 10 minutes which is a great accomplishment considering I was carrying the extra weight.

I knew members of Team DAWS & the WDW Radio Running Team would be waiting just inside EPCOT and I really needed the boost of energy from seeing my fellow team members and running family. As I came into EPCOT I saw everyone and my face broke out into a big smile that stayed with me for the last mile plus of the race. I hadn’t smiled that big since I had finished my first marathon on this same course four years ago.

After crossing the finish line I knew that two of my friends were volunteers assigned to hand out medals so I hung back until I found Beth and Mike. It was extra special to have them give me my medal!

A PR for marathon #8!

In the end I found that I had improved my PR for a marathon by 10 minutes and 25 seconds and this was also my best course time for the Disney marathon by over 26 minutes! It was time to celebrate with my running family so I headed to the buses to go back to the resort, get cleaned up and head back to EPCOT to start the celebration!

2014 promises to be a big year as I train for my first 70.3 triathlon, my first ultramarathon, and the Dopey Challenge for January 2015!  Be sure to checkout my Facebook page for weekly motivation and running tips at Facebook.com/RunningDownsDream23!

Happy Training!


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