Big surprise

This past January I registered once again for the New York City Marathon lottery.

I woke up on Tuesday March 8th very anxious. It was a mix of nervousness and excitement. I hadn’t run a marathon since July (that story should be told at a later date), so I felt the need to try to plan to run  in the fall for my “A” race this year.

That morning went by as slow as humanly possible. The website states that all applicanr s would be notified their status by 9:00am on March 9th.

It didn’t take that long.

At lunch,I checked my bank account and found it a bit light on funds.

New activity had occured jyst moment before

New York City Road Runners Club had been charged to my credit card.

I had won the lottery.

November 6th 2016, I would be making my way through the five boroughs of New York City.




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Mt. Democrat

This is a continuation of my Breckenridge adventure for all of you patient readers. I had a rough couple weeks, so I chose to put the final couple posts off for a bit.

Day 4:

Early morning wake up! Lace up the  Solomon Speed-cross 3’s!  Today we loaded up FJ @ 5am to pick up Malia from her apartment and head out to the trailhead in Alma, CO.

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I’m missing a bunch of pictures from this trip…like crossing the steams and the Mountain goat we saw. It was all too much to take in.

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Here’s a few

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Amazing view of Kite lake!

The view was so incredible from the Saddle. I cannot begin to put it to words.

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Snow capped peaks along the Ten-mile range! I believe that is Mt. Lincoln in view

July….Snow. We hardly get a few inches in Selmer if we are lucky. And it was 96 degrees on this day back home with 83 percent humidity.

Some amazing wildflowers

Some amazing wildflowers credit Malia Brown

I wished I had taken more pictures (and got a GoPro!) for the purpose of showing others the beauty of the mountains. It is a peaceful place for even the most anxious people. I think I could have just laid down for a bit and enjoyed the air.

Great picture of Drew And Molly Had to "borrow" this from Molly's FB page. Credit Malia Brown

Great picture of Drew And Molly Had to “borrow” this from Molly’s FB page. Credit Malia Brown

These two were the best host couple I have EVER met. They made sure all my food needs were met and made me feel at home with them. It’s as if I knew them for years.

The Speedcross team!

The Speedcross team!

I don’t know that I could have painted an adequate picture of this adventure ( I definitely didn’t have enough to show on my hard-drive..I’ll add more pictures soon. Meaning a week)

Climbing at least one  14er  is DEFINITELY an experience for an adventurous person. It is enough to make plans for next year. I’ll hopefully be able to stay longer next time to do a little more running/exploring WITH others!

I truly hope more people come to experience this with me next year!!!!!!!

Experiences last a lifetime….this is one you’ll have to jump on!!!

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Breckenridge adventure Part 3 aka Fun with Howdyshell

Day 3: Feeling a bit more acclimated to the altitude today. Went over to get my laundry done at Drew and Molly’s house( they definitely are hospitable!!!!!) this morning.

A side-note…I thought I was going to just get training but I made some amazing friends as a bonus!

Afterwards we drove up to the area that  tonight’s trail race was at . after that…we drove to Southpark…

Yep where that crazy TV show was about.


I got to look around a little at the Huts at the trail-head, then we headed back to the store again!

Molly picked me up afterwards and we headed out to Frisco for me to get some time with Coach Joe “Rowdy” Howdyshell…

I really didn’t know what to expect when I started.

But little did I know how Mountain running would affect my gut.

I ended up having to stop twice for a pit-stop in the woods(normal when I carb too close to a run) Once I almost ran into a nest of Pikas.

Joe was very patient to say the least. We crossed two streams, saw thousands of wildflowers, and tried to spot a moose during the time on the trail.

Every rest break we took he gave a tidbit or two  to help me.

First: If you want to rate your run by how hard you are breathing and not your watch. If you can maintain a 3:3 you are doing   an easy pace, 3:2 is threshold, and 3:1 is lactate.

Second: he mentioned swimming downhill. Meaning letting your arms flail. Foot-strike at 90 per foot as well.( Coach Priddy had me doing foot strike as well)

His final tidbit was to not walk on hills but to do smaller stride lengths at the 180 steps per minute rate.

By the time we finished, my shoes were soaked  from stream crossings and I was warm( I started out with layers).

We grabbed some lunch afterwards at a local restaurant and said our goodbyes.

At about 5pm: Molly, Drew and I headed out to the race start so Vertical Runner could get set up.

Molly had some Youth camp runners racing in the short race (which was the one I ran too)

RACE TIME: Baker’s tank 3k:

I didn’t expect to be able to race well due to being a “flatlander” racing against native runners. I paced myself during the first mile. That didn’t last long.  I took Howdyshell’s advice on the downhills…I almost overshot a ledge at the end, but recovered and crossed the finish with gas in the tank.

After a short break, I checked the results board,

My mouth dropped open.

1st place in the 21-29 age group!!!!!!!

Here’s a little info on Joe Howdyshell . I hope to spend a little bit of time picking his brain next year

It was an event filled day….I think I might have to come back in 2016. Next year we’ll have more campers hopefully!!!!

To be continued….

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Breckenridge adventure part 2

I forgot the other day to mention a key player in getting me connected with Vertical Runner.

Ultrarunner  Mike Ambrose.

Mike actually met my current coach while running Leadville in 2014. He mentioned that he was looking to have a running camp in Breckenridge summer 2015.

Before I talked to Molly, Mike was my contact. In the end, Mike ended up transferred to Boston as a Salomon/Suunto rep. Quite a deal if you ask me!

Day 2: So much running!

I woke up at 5:30 this morning, slipped on my running clothes and shoes, and headed out.

Met with some of the Breckenridge trail runners this morning.

I have never seen so many wild flowers and whitewater streams ever! This whole experience is going to be amazing!

This honestly was the first run that I’ve done with ladies only. These ones really loved running. The conversation was all about summit crossings and future ultra trail runs they were planning on.

I was so distracted on the way back, that I rooted myself and had to break-roll to avoid bashing myself on my journey to the ground.

First mountain souvenir…a bloody knee.

I really enjoyed that first morning run so much!

Here is a picture of one of the amazing streams that I saw!

Afterwards, I went out to Amazing Grace (an incredible organic food store) for breakfast with Molly and Drew..

At about 10 am, Drew,Linus,Lucy (the furry kids) and I  drove up the ski road to a patch and he discussed goal-setting strategies with me. Unlike any other psychologist I had ever talked to, I really related to him! I  let him know about my involvement as a lead facilitator in my county’s Teen Challenge program and my goal to qualify for Boston.

He discussed a little of his past and shared how he ended up in Sports psychology.  I’ll leave that to you to find out(I posted his link in the previous post).

Molly met us back at the store and then took me to Frisco for a run up Mt. Royal with two other INCREDIBLE elite trail runners:

Gavin McKenzie  and Teague Holmes (Teague saves homes!!!!). It was quite an experience too!

It was only a two mile trail run,but,we were leg pushing at about the halfway mark. I quickly felt like I was having a major workout.

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At the Saddle of Mt. Royal

When we reached the summit it had started raining so my shirt was soaked (sweat isn’t able to show due to low humidity and high altitude)

As we descended rapidly down the trail (oh almost forgot. When I got back from morning running, Molly had a pair of Salomon Speed-cross running shoes for me) I could help but think how much I loved the mountain culture!

I finished my day with a nutritionist appointment at Vertical runner with a local nurse (which is totally worth the time by the way! It really helps to have someone evaluate your fueling.) She was very adamant that I get enough good food in me to replace all that I burn off during my training.

I really took away from it that many people have wrong…the mindset of runners being like furnaces: it doesn’t matter what you throw in…it all gets used up.

She told me something I’ve found to be true is that like a car that is run on low quality fuel, junk food slows you down. Nutrient rich foods help rebuild the muscles, stabilize stress -hormones,and are a quality choice.

This is referring to daily habits. It is hard to to eat well when you have just completed a massive distance. All you think of is: replenishing sodium, glucose, and lost electrolytes.

I still am working on getting more fat-adapted( which is not something you try a week before a marathon) I fell off the wagon early an tried limping along costing my marathon plan to suffer.

Anyways, I’ll write again probably on Sunday evening! Expect another post Monday at the LATEST!

P.s. Shameless plug to help Molly:

She is running the Everest (yes..THE EVEREST!!!!!)marathon  in May of 2016…I will be eternally grateful if you could help her out! click the link to find out more! Running the Everest Marathon to Benefit Others!

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My Breckenridge Adventure

It was Amazing!

Two weeks ago, I took off for a much needed vacation. To be honest, a “run-cation” is more of the proper term.

mt democrat

Hiked Mt. Democrat with a few amazing people. Drew and Molly Mikita were my hosts for the week of July 6th-10th. Molly’s store Vertical Runner in Breckenridge, CO sponsored the running camp.

Had I know what exactly I was going to get to experience, I would have taken more pictures! I decided to post details as a series since there was so much to talk about!

I got introduced to the running camp by a friend (who ended up my coach!) who posted a link on Facebook in March.

I quickly jumped on the opportunity.

Within four months time, I would be flying out to Breckenridge, CO…home of amazing ski resorts, amazing whitewater, and a haven for the mountain trail  community. I would be participating in morning runs, running seminars galore, advice from VRB elite runners, and staying one of Breckenridge’s amazing ski resorts along with runners from all over!

Excitement could not explain my emotions.

Then the shoe seemed to drop.

In all my excitement, I had signed up for the early-bird registration. I tend to wait too long to decide, so I jumped on it about 2 weeks after hearing about it.

I was the only one signed up when crunch time came for registration in May.

I was given two options.

1.) Be reimbursed 100% by July 1st

2.) Go out to Breckenridge and have the training one-on-one. Getting to run with the elite runners of Vertical runner Breckenridge elite team, a meeting with a sports psychologist for goal planning(Ahem…Drew Mikita ), nutritional evaluation, and hangout with Molly and Drew for breakfasts and lunches. Oh, and my lodging and shuttle from Denver airport was covered in the expenses.

Need I tell you which one I picked?

Day 1: Arrival @ Vertical Runner Breckenridge

Molly had painstakingly put together a schedule for my week starting right when I arrived.

I made my way to the hotel and dropped my stuff and quickly changed for a short  trail run. Molly had set me up with one of Vertical Runner’s cross-country elite runners; Skylar Drakos,  to do a few miles up the “Shock hill.” I felt my lungs react to the altitude quickly. I couldn’t keep a ten minute per mile easily anymore. My heart-rate soared that first run… In many ways. In the obvious way, the altitude made it hard for this Tennessee boy to breathe….but the views were breathtaking! Afterwards, I was taken to dinner at Kenosha’s Steakhouse along with Molly, Drew and Skylar. This was going to be an amazing trip! By the time I got back to my hotel (they put me up at a Hilton!!!!), I was almost too wiped to get a shower. I purchased dome altitude acclimation supplements at the hotel store (a need not a suggestion if you go! believe me!)

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my adventure soon!

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Garmin Connect

Garmin Connect.

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Training mask

I’ve decided to step up my game a little. I did a little research and found a training tool that I feel will both aid in my marathon training and in preventing many other problems due to fatigue.

Here is a link to get a picture of the mask:

(I wasn’t paid for this review by the way.)

Ironically, it makes you fatigue faster. That is until your body is adapted to the mask, that is. Then, you have to step up the resistance to reach the next height.

I’ve found plenty of critics that say that this mask is “worthless” and a waste of money.

But here is scientific proof that it really does work from a scientist that states that is is even better than High altitude training!

Whether it really does simulate high altitude or not, I think it was a worthy investment and a necessary tool to my training arsenal.

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Catching up

The past few months have been full. Between training for my third marathon and getting as much time with my sister’s family before they move, I’ve been absolutely worn out. Since I started this journey, my metabolism has gone from a conventional oven to a blast furnace.

No joke.

My weight is very normal healthy for my height, but I have stick-like arms. It can be a little saddening to see my friends and even my brother with a fuller upper body. It is the cost for being an ‘active’ marathon runner I guess.

I’ve hooked up with a few more runner groups: RunItFast and RunJesterrun and got to connect with a few ultra-marathoners ( tons actually) some of which that ran the  Badwater 135 this past July.Which is a hard-core race!

A few of the members of RunItFast  have given me some great pointers on obtaining a sub-3 hour marathon.

The process is no joke!

I’ve increased my weekly mileage to to peak at about 61 miles (which may not be enough),increased from 3.5 days of training to 6, and have two days of speed/tempo work in the mix as well.

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Watch “July 1st training update” on YouTube

July 1st training update:

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A little rant

You know how they say “practice makes perfect?”

I believe it is very true for writing. It seems the more I write, no matter how rough it seems coming out, it usually gets better over time.

Well, I have been majorly neglecting my hobby. I’m not an aspiring author; It may be down inside, yet to have been awakened, but I’m far from that point right now. Even at 28, it seems like I’ve yet to find my niche’.  

Most of my dreams have been swallowed up in daily routine. It has been the training that broke me free for the past few years. Even that lately…has become somewhat of routine.

I’m really unsure of my “actual life-goals.” 

I took on teaching an A&D program (Alcohol and drug Rehab) as part of Tennessee Valley Teen Challenge in Selmer about 4 years ago. This was never my intention, but was more of an avenue I fell into. I expanded into the local jail and have been at that almost two years. 

While it wasn’t my intention to get into a  Human resource position (which isn’t my job but a vocation), coincidentally I had the belief that it was a very temporary time until someone more qualified came along. 

If I haven’t ever made it clear in my posts (which would have been completely unintentional) I am a Christian. So most of my decisions are based on my beliefs. The time I’ve “taught” has seriously tested my beliefs and faith. Even the marathon training has affected my psych. I’ve learned to bear many massively stressful situations which I deal with weekly. Running has been a great stress relief and even a life saver to get some off-time to think through scenarios.

It has not been a waste. I’ve been pushed into some very maturing and humbling corners and have been to the end of myself more time than I could even have imagined in my earlier years. 

If I could say anything to myself is: It is going to be an adventure…. to the future self : Stay strong.


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