The Perpetual Training Cycle

We are moving into the Autumnal season soon (9/22) and are approaching marathon weekend for Disney the first week of January. I know many of you have already registered for additional winter races in January / February and have started registering for spring races from March thru May.

I need you to do something for me before you register for anymore races. I need you to STOP, collaborate with me, and above all take a moment and truly listen to me.

We all get excited when registering for races, heck I know I do, but it’s the perpetual training cycle that can get us into trouble if we do not plan our training well.

But wait Brian, how can training get us into trouble? Ah, excellent question! Let’s get into the specifics.  Training is good.  The perpetual training cycle (a.k.a., the never ending training cycle) can be bad.

I run into folks all the time (and train many) who can’t wait to tell me about the race they just registered for coming up in X number of weeks,months, or lord forbid…days. They then want me to figure out how to prepare them for that race given the other races they are already training for at this point in time. But the kicker is that sometimes that race isn’t the best thing for your training in the middle of your training for the other event. Even IF, all you want to do is start and finish a race then it’s still not a good idea to have a never ending training cycle where you are continually training for a race event. Let’s discuss why.

Now, before we get started I am in no way suggesting that you stop training or stop exercising regularly and sit on your butt.  No No No No…stop it…I said Stop IT. No.

What I am saying is, you need an off season every year to break the perpetual training cycle. What’s an off season you might ask?

An off season is a period of time where you have a lower training volume in regards to your primary sport, in this case, running. You might ask, “Do you mean that two weeks before a race?” NO, that’s called tapering and is a part of a training plan.

An off season is at a minimum 4-6 weeks and perhaps as long as 3 months when you lower your volume of training. Volume of training for a runner would be your weekly mileage. Instead you work on other restful and rehabilitating types of training and exercise that focuses on other aspects of fitness.

Such as Mr. Brian?

Glad you asked.

For 1-3 months do the following weekly then transition to a race training plan:

  • Swim 4 days per week, bike 1 day, do a single easy run of medium distance on a 6th day and sleep in the 7th day; or
  • Lift weights 3-5 days per week, do a spin class or yoga session a couple days per week, and sleep in the other days; or
  • Bike outside exploring the countryside or neighborhoods 3 days per week, swim 2 days, do an easy 5K when you feel like it, and sleep in the other days; or
  • Do a short 2 mile run followed by a spin class at the gym a couple days a week, lift 3 days per week, stretch a lot, and sleep in the other days; or
  • Focus on ab work 3 days per week, do a couple specific swim workouts or biking to maintain cardio, and throw in the occasional 5K for fun. Sleep in 1-2 days per week; or
  • Go to the gym 5 days per week for an hour WITH NO PLAN and do whatever you feel like when you get there. Sleep in the other two days.

Again, the above will not prepare you for a marathon nor is it intended to prepare you for a marathon…or half marathon for that matter.

At the end of your off season is when you START a new training plan for a future race. In other words, if you have a race scheduled AFTER your off season ends then you need to have 8-16 weeks from the END of your off season to the next race so you have time to train for that race. I’m not saying you can’t run a 5K fun run on July 4th or the Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving if that time period is in your off season…just don’t be training for a half, full, or ultra marathon because if you are then you are NOT on your OFF SEASON.

What do you think?

….I get it Brian, I get it…an off season is a time to recoup mentally, allow any nagging acute injuries to heal, to work on other fitness that will actually help my running and make it more enjoyable in the long run (pun intended), and allows me to focus on other aspects of my life like my son’s soccer season or my daughter’s band competition season or just spend time with the family or focus on my schooling.


I get it Brian…and I’m on board with an off season. I’ll start immediately. All I have is an easy half marathon in a month followed by a 3 person marathon relay two weeks after that and a couple 10Ks scheduled the following two weeks after the relay so right now is the perfect time for an off season.

STOP, NO, DON’T. If that is your schedule for the next 8 weeks then now is NOT a good time for an off season. An off season has zero long runs, relays or events that last longer than 45-60 minutes on course depending on your pace. An easy 5K for fun is okay but beyond that you need to train for an event or maintain a certain mileage…or should. With this in mind let’s discuss what is NOT an offseason.

What is NOT an off season?

  • Your 5-7 day vacation in the middle of your training program where you walked a lot at Disney, but didn’t get your training in as scheduled. NOT an off season!
  • That cold you had that sidelined you for a week. NOT an off season!
  • That time you had your wisdom teeth out and couldn’t run. NOT an off season!
  • The next two months when you only have a couple half marathons which are no big deal because you usually run full marathons. NOT an off season!
  • Those 2-3 weeks you had to limit running due to an injury, but still went hardcore on everything else so you could do your half marathon. NOT an off season!
  • Those three weeks where work was hades and you had to put in 80 hours per week for all three weeks and was just so tired that you only got in a couple short runs a week and now feel behind for your upcoming marathon next month. NOT an off season!

What IS an offseason?

  • See my above suggestions for activity/exercise/training then consider this schedule for example:
    • You have your final marathon of the spring on the third Saturday in April. You had a good race, finished strong, and felt good after the 26.2 miles with no injuries or nagging aches and pains.
    • Starting Monday you are on your off season for the next 6 weeks.
      • You follow the above suggestions I previously mentioned each week even switching it up weekly as long as you stay active and focus on rest, recovery, and other fitness besides running.
    • Your next scheduled long distance race is in the late summer/early fall with some smaller events like the Firecracker 5K.
    • You finish up your off season the last week of May, enjoy Memorial Day weekend with a cookout and start a race training program the Tuesday after Memorial Day.
    • Your next race is scheduled for a minimum of 8 weeks away (half marathon) or 12 to 16 weeks away (marathon) depending on the distance of the race and your goal for that race. The more substantial the goal, like a PR, the longer prep you should allow yourself.
      • Half marathon no sooner than the end of July
      • Marathon no sooner than mid August to mid September.
  • That’s it!

Ok, when is a good time for an off season?

Any time is a good time for an off season and you can even break them up and do multiple off seasons per year assuming it fits your schedule. Here are some considerations for when to schedule your off season each year.

  • Your “A-race”
    • This is your #1 race that you want to focus on performing your best and maybe even go for a PR. If that race is a marathon in February then the preceding 16-20 weeks can’t be a part of your off season. In other words you have dedicated yourself to training during the holidays for that race.
  • Local weather to avoid extreme heat or extreme cold.
    • Live in Florida? An off season in the summer might be a good idea.
    • Live in Canada? Avoid the long runs outside when the weather is 30 below with an off season and go to the gym instead.
  • Your Race/Family/Work/Church/Social Life/Friend Schedule:
    • Look at the calendar for the next year. Is that time period of two months when you have that week long conference followed by the destination wedding, and a family vacation cross country to visit the relatives in Arizona REALLY the best time to be training for PR marathon run?  No, it’s not. So pick a different “A-race” or tell Aunt Mildred that you’ll catch her in the spring for a long weekend.
  • Final Consideration: Cancel your race.
    • WHAT?
    • You read that right. If you are down for an extended period of time, can’t train, need healing time for the major running muscles, ligaments, tendons or bones, and need rest then the best thing may be to “live to run another day.” I’ve skipped races and DNS so I could focus my energies elsewhere. It’s okay, really. You’ll live. Sometimes overall health or another priority, like your doctoral dissertation, will take precedent even after you hit the submit button on your registration. Instead I continue going to the gym for shorter durations and to just stay active. After 6 weeks my work was done, the race had passed, and I was back to training for another race with better focus and energy.

That’s it for now. If you need help planning your off season or how to train during your off season then feel free to hit me up on my Facebook Account for Running Down a Dream 23. I’m happy to help with ideas and training plans.

Happy Training!


The Off Season is Over

I love my off season. It usually starts the week after the Disney Marathon weekend and depending on my first race of the year may extend through April. My off season started a little later this year as I did another race the week after WDW Marathon Weekend out at Disneyland…oh yes, it was awesome!

The off season is a time to work on other aspects of fitness so I can improve for the coming year.  An off season is crucial to overall fitness, helps alleviate burnout, allows for recovery from any nagging injuries from the previous season, but more importantly, allows for your running muscles to be worked in a different way and helps you enjoy your run even more.

The last six weeks I’ve been focusing on strength work and I’ve made some gains in the gym.  I lift four days a week with a rest day on Wednesday. The focus is muscular strength. Muscular strength is the ability of a muscle group to develop maximal contractile force against a resistance in a single contraction. Put more simply, it’s the heaviest weight you can lift in good form, one time. Traditionally, you hear some folks talk about their bench press max or their squat max or maybe even their dead lift max…there are other lifts, but you get the picture.  I do a four day split to focus on Chest & Triceps, Back & Biceps, Legs, and Shoulders, Traps & Core.

During my race season I still lift, but I lift for muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle group to exert submaximal force for extended periods. Again, put more simply, it’s the number of times you can lift a weight that is less than your 1-rep max. It’s all relative to the person, but having some level of muscular strength and muscular endurance is important to overall fitness and important to helping you perform better as a runner.

Runners who work both muscular endurance and muscular strength are less injury prone, faster, can tackle a more diverse terrain, and recover faster than a runner who focuses solely on “just running more.”

So, with the that being said, I am ready to move on to the next phase of training which includes increasing my weekly mileage and working on muscular endurance. Game on!

Happy Training,


Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon Recap

Yesterday’s half marathon at my alma mater was a lot of fun! This is the fourth year for the race and I’ve ran it all four years. I plan to continue to run it as I want this to be my legacy race.

The morning temperature was a brisk 34 degrees and only warmed to the upper 30s by the finish a couple hours later. There was a slight breeze which made the trek across the bridge to Lafayette and back to West Lafayette a little more chilly, but luckily the sun was fully on you for both those sections to offset the windchill. Other than the lower temperature it was a beautiful day to run a race.

Of late I’ve been solely focused on my course work for my dissertation as I’m 19 months away from graduation which isn’t very long when considering a PhD. As a result my workouts have not included any runs over a 5K. However, I do hit the elliptical machine several days a week on a higher resistance for 60 minutes. I also do core work and lift weights. Additionally, I regularly get in longer walks of over an hour. While I would not suggest this for a new runner or anyone really I know I can handle 13.1 miles with this level of training. All that being said, I was amazed that my cardio was much stronger than a few of the other athletes running a similar pace. While you can never tell if someone else is dealing with an asthmatic condition or didn’t train well I could see that when I was running my pace up a hill (I didn’t train for hills) that the others were sucking air while I was barely breathing heavy. I really think this is a testament to interval training. Being able to do higher intensity work for short periods really does help the cardiovascular system in comparison to focusing on endurance only, but I digress.

If you are in the area then run the Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon some October!  It’s a great race with a fun yet challenging course that includes some hills as well as a great tour of Purdue University and the surrounding community!

A chilly run for my fourth year running the Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon
A chilly run for my fourth year running the Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon!

Happy Training!


To All the Haters

To all my Haters,

I know that I am “slow.” I know that I am boring to run with, but please believe me that I am doing the best I can. I know there are those of you who regardless of my dedication will never like me and never accept me for what I am. You don’t care that I get up early every single day regardless of the weather and relentlessly pursue whatever goal is set before me. You don’t care that there are some things that are out of my control. You still blame me. You still call me names. You still curse at me sometimes even to my face. You use words like “hate.” You say that you dread being around me. You sulk and complain when you know you have to see me the next day. I think worst of all is that you post horrible things about me on social media. You make me the punchline of so many jokes it has almost become second nature for you to refer to me as anything but helpful.

While I recognize that you may never like me I hope maybe that you will at least try to think of me in a slightly more positive light. After all, I’ve been there for you on countless occasions so maybe…just maybe…you can choose to have a positive attitude when we see each other so our time together isn’t so bad in your mind. Maybe…just maybe…you choose to not follow the crowd and instead of hating me you choose to accept me as a part of your journey.

Your friend,
The Treadmill

May the 4th Be with You!

This past week the DAWS charity debuted their 2nd annual May the 4th be with You virtual race. The medal this year is the Yavin medal showcased at the end of Star Wars episode IV and it looks pretty cool! Here is a picture of the mock-up.

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We worked to get my blog readers a discount for the virtual race. All you need to do is register for the race on and when you get to the final “Review Cart & Check Out“ screen you can enter the coupon code in all capital letters. The coupon code is NERFHERDER. Feel free to copy and paste it so you get the spelling correct!

The virtual race needs to be completed in the month of May and you can run, walk, roll, or swim a distance of your choosing whether it’s a single mile or 26.2 miles! The DAWS group would love for you to post a picture of yourself at the end of your virtual race on the DAWS Facebook page!

The funds raised will help find a cure for and raise awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. If you are unfamiliar with this genetic disease then all you need to know is that it is the #1 genetic killer of children under 2 years of age and that there is currently no cure or even a treatment. It is a terminal and degenerative disease that causes weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles in infants and children. 1 in 6000 children are born with SMA.

Here’s what you get!

  1. A little motivation to run, walk, roll, or swim a distance of your choosing between May 1 – 30th, 2015.
  2. A cool medal!
  3. The satisfaction of knowing that you helped find a cure or treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Now get out there and register you scruffy looking NERFHERDER!! Okay…maybe not “scruffy looking.”

Happy Training!

runDisney 2015 – 2016 event calendar

runDisney released their 2015-2016 race Calendar. The list also includes dates for when races will go on sale. As expected, Tower of Terror has been eliminated from the schedule and this is said to be the last year for the Everest Challenge. Which races are you running?

  • May 1-2, 2015: Expedition Everest Challenge Weekend [SOLD OUT]
  • May 7-10, 2015: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry
  • September 3-6, 2015: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
  • November 6-7, 2015: Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
  • November 13-15, 2015: Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend
  • January 6-10, 2016: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
  • January 14-17, 2016: Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • February 18-21, 2016: Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
  • May 5-8, 2016: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry


Happy Racing!


2014 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Dopey Challenge Packing Checklist

Not much rhetoric on this blog post, but we all need to pack for Dopey (or Goofy). I’ll take it that you know to bring your deodorant and toothbrush so I’ll stick to the essential running supplies.

The list isn’t in any particular order:

  • Waiver document(s) for any and all races
  • Running Shoes (3-4 broken in pair)
    • Don’t wear the new New Balance shoes you bought at the Expo
  • Running shirt/top/singlet for each race (1 per race)
    • Check the weather for Orlando before you leave to see if you need long, short, or no sleeve running shirts
    • DO NOT wear the race shirt of the race you are running until you have earned it!  It’s bad juju!
  • Running shorts or tights
    • Again, check the weather for Orlando before you leave to see if you warmer running gear
  • Calf compression sleeves
  • Cold Gear tights (depending on the weather)
  • Cold Gear shirts (depending on the weather)
  • Cheap long sleeve shirts (Good Will) to throw away before the races start (1 per race)
    • It usually is a little chilly at least 1-2 mornings and you will stand around for a while before the race
    • There is also a 20 minute walk to the start line form the EPCOT parking lot for the half & full
  • Body Glide
    • If there is ONE caveat to the “nothing new on race day” mantra, Body Glide would be it.  Use it!
    • Nipples and thighs people…nipples and thighs.
  • Knee brace, ankle brace, full body cast or KT Tape…anything you are using to keep yourself together across 48.6 miles
  • Gels, chews, honey stingers, UCAN or any other fuel you use in the amounts you will need for all the races
    • Don’t assume that they sell your brand at the Expo. I have to bring my own.
  • Hydration/fuel belt or Camel Bak
    • It’s nice to have a water bottle on your person regardless of how many water / Powerade stops Disney has setup.
    • Sometimes I’m thirsty NOW, not when there is a planned hydration stop
  • iPod, iPhone, foot pod, Fitbit, Garmin, Nike+ watch and the nuclear launch codes…don’t forget your tech.
  • Bandaids, mole skin, medical tape, gauze…why not just bring the whole First Aid kit.
    • Add triple antibiotic ointment as well.
  • Tylenol, Advil, Aleve or whatever painkiller you like.
    • Use these at bed time, but not right after the race.
    • Don’t use these too much until Sunday as these products may block muscle repair (especially NSAIDs).
    • Instead take longer to warm-up for the half and full.
  • If you ignored the Body Glide suggestion then go back and mark it down on your list, trust me.
  • EAS protein (for immediately after each race)
  • Sun Screen (yeah, it’s winter, but it’s still the Florida sun)
  • Oh, and don’t forget your deodorant…

Optional gear for potential weather during a runDisney race:

  • Flippers
  • Snow Shoes
  • Snorkel & Mask
  • Parka
  • Snake Bite Kit
  • Scarf
  • Yaktrax
  • Boogie Board
  • Skis (water & snow)
  • Poncho
  • Water Wings
  • Ice Melt
  • Umbrella Hat
  • Ice Axe
  • Life Preserver

Happy Packing!


Brace Yourself. Dopey is Coming

December is always an interesting time for me. As I peruse Facebook, blogs, twitter and other nooks and crannies of the internet I see many folks in a panic as their January Disney races are quickly approaching. Of course unlike many single races the Goofy and Dopey Challenges as well as the full and half marathon are the focus of even more anxiety. I see people falling into a few different groups.

Group 1: The Procrastinators

It’s December and now would be a good time to start training….yes START TRAINING for the race / challenge. I mean you had so much time back in October, but just couldn’t get going!  You said, “I’ll start tomorrow.” …but tomorrow never came. There are various excuses as to why training for a 48.6, 39.3, 26.2 or 13.1 mile race has taken back burner. BUT, as my 10th grade history teacher used to say, “Nice excuse, but do you have any reasons?” I seldom did. I’m sure some do, but that does not take away from the fact that in about 2 weeks most runners will start their taper for Disney’s Marathon Weekend as opposed to ramping up mileage because they haven’t been training. So what to do considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about NOT training over the past three months.
  3. Starting TODAY, do what you can. Start with 20 minutes of activity every day.
    1. Bike, walk, jog, run, elliptical, weight lift, swim, row, ANYTHING!  JUST DO IT!
  4. After the first few days keep adding 5 minutes to each session until you reach an hour regardless of the activity, but keep at it DAILY!
    1. Walk at lunch.
    2. At work, park as far from the door as possible to add steps to your day.
    3. Take the dog for a longer walk.
    4. Play with the kids until you get winded.
  5. Work up to 1-hour EVERY DAY!
    1. Yes, I mean Christmas and New Year’s Day as well.
    2. It’s okay to do three 20 minute sessions or two 30 minute sessions.
  6. Enjoy the race experience. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World!

Just remember that there is NO TOMORROW so start now!

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Group 2: The Less Prepared

Maybe you got a late start, but you DID get started.  Maybe you are only going to have a single 20 miler or a single 17 miler before Dopey starts. Regardless, you are feeling ill prepared for the challenge ahead. So what to do considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about getting a late start.
  3. Don’t over do it as this will invite injury. Adding a bunch of mileage last minute will do nothing but increase the potential for you to get injured.
  4. Stick to your plan.
    1. Just going to have a single 15 miler before Dopey? Then that’s it! Live with it, but make it the best 15 miler you can by fueling for it like you would for the real deal, dressing as if it’s the real deal and recovering from it like it was the real deal.
  5. Want to do more? Focus on core work.
    1. As you run you get tired. <– Quite the epiphany I know!  ;-)
    2. Fatigue means your running form will begin to break down which makes it even more difficult to run.
    3. To stave off your running form breaking down focus on the core (abdominal work).
    4. I have a beginning core work plan you can follow here. Do it 3-4 days a week.
  6. Enjoy the race experience. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World!

Just remember, stick to your plan.

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Group 3: The Injured

It happens, it sucks, I’ve been there, now get over it. You’ve become injured AFTER the cutoff for deferral. So what to do now considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do now that an injury has occurred.
  3. How bad is it?
    1. There is only a few people who can answer this and NONE of them can be found in your Facebook group…unless your Sports Med Doctor happens to be a part of your Facebook group.
      1. Go to your general practitioner and get their opinion as well as some tests like an x-ray, MRI or something besides an opinion after they check your weight, heart rate and blood pressure.
      2. Next, get a referral to a Sports Med Doctor who specializes in this type of injury
      3. Your GP may not be qualified enough to give you an accurate diagnosis or prognosis on an injury they seldom see.
      4. Personally, I don’t trust a doctor about an injury unless they are a runner, cyclist or triathlete…my opinion only.
    2. Okay, it’s not that bad. If it’s something that you can recover from in a couple weeks then stop running and ask about cross training such as walking, swimming, rowing, biking or weight lifting for non-injured areas. If you can do this then DO IT!
      1. Cardiovascular fitness does not begin to deteriorate until after approximately 14 days of inactivity…you get more time if you maintain in some way even if it’s a different type of exercise.
    3. Okay…it’s bad. Ask yourself, “Am I okay with ending my running career forever if I continue to run with this injury?” I hope the answer is “No.”
      1. I can’t give you advice here, but that is the question you are asking yourself even if you won’t verbalize it.
      2. But…Dopey cost like $500!!!  In my opinion it’s still not worth potentially never running again.
      3. Make the decision with your medical professional.
  4. Consider volunteering for one of the races.
  5. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World! And please do go!  Soak up the experience and cheer on the other athletes.  Believe me, we need you!

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Group 4: The Newbies

It’s coming up so fast! AND, they keep posting countdowns on my Facebook group!  27 days…26 days…25 days….AHHHH! Will I make it?  What if my alarm doesn’t go off? What if I have issues on the course? What if it rains? What if it sleets? They keep saying that it was freezing back in 2010!!! Why do I keep hearing screeching violins like in the movie Psycho? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Hakuna Matata. There is nothing you can do now except finish the training plan you are on and prepare.
  3. Make lists to lower anxiety.
    1. What will you pack?
    2. What will you eat on course?
    3. Where will you eat each day for dinner? <– This is fun to plan!
  4. Study the course(s).
    1. Have an idea where the water / Powerade stops are.
    2. Know where you can see family or friends if they are coming too
    3. Know where you’ll meet that crazy person from your Facebook group.
    4. Know where the best beer in EPCOT is for Sunday’s victory lap at the end of the marathon.
  5. Enjoy the race experience!
  6. Take lots if pictures!
  7. Worst case scenario is you are still at Walt Disney World! Have fun!

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Happy Training!


PR-ing the Purdue University Boilermaker Half Marathon

Today was the 3rd annual Purdue University Boilermaker Half Marathon. I signed up for this race last year right after running the soggy 2nd annual Purdue University Boilermaker Half Marathon. Today’s weather was a cool 47 degrees and overcast. If you are unfamiliar with the West Lafayette and Lafayette, IN area that surrounds Purdue University’s campus then let me tell you the course is a bit hilly.

The course starts out on the edge of campus near Ross-Aide stadium and heads out toward the Purdue golf courses. The first 5-6 miles are very pleasant with a few rolling hills and even includes a great deal of downhill grade running as you cross down into the Wabash river valley to the Lafayette side. Once into Lafayette you run around the downtown Lafayette area and then begin your trek back to the shores of the Wabash around miles 7-8.  It is very picturesque and filled with memories for those returning alumni, like myself, who spent our formative years at our ol’ Purdue.

Do you remember me saying a few sentences ago that you were running DOWN into the river valley? Holy hell, you have to get back to campus! Mile 8 to 9-ish is all uphill. You think a bridge would be flat. NOPE!  It looked flat from the other side! …optical illusion apparently.

Up until then I had been maintaining a nice sub 9-minute pace and feeling great! I was fueling on a strict schedule and running through the water stops without slowing down. I used the crush top cup method to pour water and gatorade down my gullet and kept running never breaking stride and surprisingly getting most of the life giving liquids into me without too much spillage.

That “last” hill felt like it went on forever and it took a lot out of me. We climbed and climbed and climbed. I passed many a runner who was brought to a walk, but I had trained for this hill as I run most all my treadmill runs at a 1% incline so I am used to maintaining pace on an incline.  By the time I was at the top of the hill I felt like I was moving so slow, but my Garmin was still telling me that I was well below a 10-minute mile pace even though I was over my 9:05 needed to come in under 2-hours. At the top of the climb we made a turn to take us over to the Purdue University hotel and through the heart of campus to head back toward the stadium.

Passing the 10-mile marker I remembered where the course goes next and I remembered I was mistaken on that “last” hill comment earlier. The course doubles back on itself to go back by the Purdue golf courses toward the finish line in order to avoid running up that enormously steep hill that is right next to Ross-Aide stadium.  In order to accomplish this the course goes up Stadium Avenue to McCormick Road, passed the fraternities near Slater Hill…yes, it’s called Slater hill because well, it’s a big hill…like the kind you can sled down in the winter time…with a couch if done correctly.

The good news! It’s not that long of a climb. The bad news! It’s steeper than the bridge I mentioned earlier. This time my Garmin told me that I WAS over the 10-minute pace for a short period. I caught more and more runners as many walked up that hill. At the top of the hill was the 11-mile marker. I had 2.1 miles to go on relatively flat terrain and I was about 95+ minutes into the race. I realized I could do 10 minute miles the rest of the way and still beat 2-hours!  However, I didn’t come here to run 10-minute miles so I pushed it to keep a pace closer to 9:20. After passing the 12-mile marker I enjoyed the last 1.1 miles. At about a quarter mile out three Fleet Feet guys passed me and I decided to stick with them. They were running an 8:22 pace which felt surprisingly good to me! I cleared passed the three as I sprinted to the finish looking at the clock right as I crossed the line.

The clock read 01:57:08.  I know a few more seconds will be shaved off since I wasn’t toeing the start line at the gun.

Afterwards I was prepared for the smile, but I was unprepared for the emotion as I’ve chased this sub 2-hour goal for a couple years through unbearable heat and more than one very chilly race. Today’s race was perfectly set with a cool temperature, a sun under cloud cover and otherwise dry conditions. I cannot be happier right now and I’ve already put my new PR medal in it’s place of honor on my PR medal holder!

In two weeks I have the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. This is a training run for The Dopey Challenge and I am excited to run it! Next weekend I will still do a long run of close to or right at 20 miles. Looking forward to it!

Happy Training!


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