Posts Tagged ‘NYC Marathon’

Just this week our blog – Joe Still Runs for Dom turned two years old.  Longer than our daughter Landry has been alive.  Longer than Dom’s cancer battle, longer than a lot of things – much longer than Governor Rick Perry’s candidacy for President is sure to last.

Over the last two years we’ve run a lot of races, 37 actually, crossing finish lines from Austin to Boston, Tempe to Charleston, Denver to New York.  Pittsburgh to Wickenburg.  We’ve been fortunate to participate in some large events literally on the world stage and some smaller local events where we were running because it was the “right thing” to do.

To raise awareness and maybe even a little bit of money to help those less fortunate.  We tied our shoes just a little bit tighter in those events and thought about how lucky we were to be there just a little bit more than usual.  Like my good friend Ashley Kumlein told me the night before the Boston Marathon in 2010, I’ve tried to run those events, “Like I would never run again.”

Well our follow-up race to this year’s New York City Marathon will be the 2011 Lights of Love 5K here in Austin on December 2nd.

I will never have participated in a more important event.

Well over a year ago I received a friend request on Daily Mile (similar to a friend request you might receive on Facebook) from a local Austin runner Bea S.  We met each other through the athletes website and started to encourage each other on training runs and races.

Coincidentally my wife Dawn knew Bea through church and we were all very surprised when we connected all of the dots to realize just how small the world can be sometimes.  Bea and her family have been friends of ours ever since.

A few months ago Bea and her husband welcomed their son Caleb to Austin just a short time after we were blessed with our daughter Landry.  Already I was concerned about another man in Landry’s life, but Caleb is pretty darned cute and I figured it would only be a matter of time anyway before I was chasing boys off of our porch.


Caleb however was born with some serious health issues.  He was born with a congenital condition – imperforate anus.  He also has kidney reflux and tethered cord.  Long-term serious issues that threaten Caleb’s life and development.

Most parents will tell you that all they hope for is a happy, healthy baby – that it is truly a blessing.  Seeing the things that Caleb and his family have had to go through so early in his life have illustrated to me just how lucky those of us with healthy children truly are.  It is a remarkable gift.

Caleb and his family have been working hard to find help for him and this search led them to Cincinnati where the top rated colorectal surgery team in the world resides.  The Smith family stayed in the Ronald McDonald House where the care and support the family needed took care of all of the daily worries for things such as food, shelter, laundry – all free of charge – which allowed the family to focus solely on Caleb and getting him better so they could return home to Texas.

The Ronald McDonald House has been doing this for years and years – providing countless families the support they need at the time when they need it most.

Caleb’s family wants to give that same experience back to other families with sick children.  As Bea put it:

“It was such a blessing, in your time of greatest need to have a home away from home where they cared for you like family- every family with a sick child should have that. They helped ease the burden, comforted us and encouraged us.”

I don’t ask for help very often on the blog.  I enjoy sharing my passion for running and for life with all of you and whenever someone reaches out to me for training advice, injury help, coaching or a sounding board I am more than willing to give my time, energy or effort freely and without pause.

Today, I’m asking for your help.

I am going to be running as part of “Caleb’s Army” on December 2nd – hoping to help the Smith Family raise money for the Ronald McDonald House – the recipient charity for the Lights of Love 5K.

If you can make it out to the event to race, please do so and help make a difference for families like Caleb’s.

If you can make a small gift and help me reach my fundraising goal of $250 for the charity – thank you and god bless you.  You can click HERE to help or visit:

Landry will also be racing for her (Boy)friend Caleb on the 2nd with a fundraising goal of her own of $100.  If you would like to visit Landry’s page you can click HERE or visit:

If you can find it in your heart to help, I greatly appreciate your efforts.

On December 2nd we’ll be toeing that starting line as part of Caleb’s Army and I plan on leaving it all out there.  From Staten Island to Caleb’s race, I can’t think of a better event to return to racing.

Go Caleb!

It seems like the more marathons I run, the more challenges the race sends my way.

This go round it is in the form of a cold I have come down with just days before the race. What started as a case of the sniffles in Austin on Tuesday is now a stuffed up sinus cold that has me taking medication and trying to stay hydrated.

I’ve run many times with head colds and in the past it really hasn’t bothered me very much while “underway”, it is more a hassle at this point than anything and is effecting my sleep as I am waking up a few times each night with a clogged nasal passage.

I keep telling myself not to let it get to me, don’t let it distract you as you have never been more ready to run the marathon. There is a little part of me however that is concerned as I know that the marathon is a cruel race.

It does not discriminate. It attacks the weakness in every runner, whether it is a sore knee, a tight hamstring or an undertrained athlete. It shows no mercy and mile after mile it slowly grinds you down.

I am now settled in at our hotel – I’m fully unpacked and even have my race gear ready to go, bib attached to our shorts and even our bag check bag is ready with a few odds and ends I will have to add on race morning.

I’ve scouted out the subway route via the R Train to the Staten Island Ferry and know where we are going to pick-up our bagels for pre race breakfast I and II prior to the race.

All that is really left is tomorrow’s short 2-mile shakeout to get the blood flowing to the legs, and easy day of resting in the afternoon tomorrow and then a great pre-race meal at Tony DiNapoli’s in Mid Town.

If I could catch a break and have this cold move on out I would feel like I was as close to 100% perfect as I have ever been for a race. There is a little voiced inside my head however that is telling me that this cold may just be a factor after all.

I’m hoping that once the gun fires and it is go-time, any uncomfortable pressure and nagging stuffiness in my head becomes just a pre-race footnote to the 2011 NYC Marathon.

The weather is perfect, our training cycle was “best-ever”, so we should be primed for a good race performance on Sunday. To play it safe I’m thinking about taking the first half of the race out around 7:02-7:05 pace instead of 6:52-6:58 and settling in to guard against any early flaming out.

I should know by the time we reach mile 8 and the Blue, Orange and Green courses join together whether we are ready to drop pace and make a run at 3 hours. If not, we’ll continue to run by feel and go for the big PR.

Either way, Sunday is going to be a big day for me – I’m determined to do my absolute best and leaving it all out on the course. By the time I have my daughter in my arms after the finish, I hope to be the best marathoner I have ever been.

Somehow I know that if that is the case, there won’t be a whole lot to be disappointed about no matter what the clock has to say.

About 42 hours to go time – time to get right and get ready to run the race of our life.


A Post From Landry

Posted: November 3, 2011 in Training
Tags: ,

I’m getting really excited! Tomorrow morning Mommy and I are flying on an airplane!

We are going to New York to watch my Daddy run in a really big race. Pretty much the biggest race in the whole world he told me.

It’s already been an awesome week as on Monday I got to dress up in my Piglet outfit and go trick or treating in our neighborhood.

I got some candy, but my Mommy told me that wasn’t for little Piglets, so I ate some goldfish instead.

I think my Daddy ate the candy, he eats a lot even though he looks kinda skinny. Must be all that running that he does.

Daddy says we’ll be staying in Times Square and there will be more lights there than I have ever seen. More than Christmas even. That sounds pretty cool.

He also told me that we would go to an awesome toy store, FAO something which has it’s own Ferris Wheel inside!

Then on Sunday Mommy and I will be going to a huge park and wait for Daddy to finish his race.

I’m pretty sure he is going to win because he promised to give me his medal afterwards like he did for Uncle Dom after the race he ran in Pittsburgh.

I wasn’t born yet, so Dom got that one.

Anyway, New York sounds like a pretty awesome place for a race.

Go Daddy!





For the long-distance runner who is preparing for their first marathon, half-marathon or even a seasoned veteran preparing for an “A” race – the training plan becomes a huge part of their life.

Every day for 3-4 months they look at the plan, think about their next workout, move around meetings, travel plans, meals and time with their loved ones all around the “Square” that reads – “Thursday – 10 miles, 6 at Goal Pace” or “Sunday – 20 Mile Long Run“.

When Dawn asks me during marathon training, “Hey on the 14th there is a get together at Dave’s house on Saturday night, do you want to go?” the first thing I do is walk over to the refrigerator and look at the square for the 15th.  What do I have the next morning?  Can I move some things around or can I just go out and have some fun not worrying about what I’m going to eat and how much sleep I’m going to get.

This goes on for 18 weeks until race day.  You eat right, rest, take care of yourself and BOOM race day arrives.  You race the best you can, suffer a little, cry a little, hopefully smile a lot post-race and then it’s over.

In a way it ends with a giant thud.  There is no more thoughts of “tomorrow I need to ….” – it just ends.

A lot of distance runners go through symptoms very close to depression after the marathon.  After weeks and weeks, months and months leading up to this HUGE event – all of a sudden it is behind you and there is silence.  It can linger for several weeks until the runner either snaps out of it, finds a new distraction or what happens to most of us – signs up for the next race and the cycle begins anew.

There is a solution however and that is to stake out your recovery plan long before race day.  Create it just like you would your training plan and when you get back home after the race get right back into the habit of crossing off those squares.  My post-race recovery training plan lasts 4 weeks and it takes me from the day immediately following my marathon up to my Sunday long-run 4 weeks later.

Should I make it through the race “healthy”and by that I mean uninjured.  I jump right back into my Recovery Plan.

4-Week Post NYC Marathon Recovery Plan

After taking three days off completely from running I will go out for a very short, very slow 2-mile run the Thursday following the marathon.

The run usually goes something like this, “Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch ….” you get the idea.

But after about 15 minutes my body starts to loosen up and feel a lot better.  Blood is back circulating to all the areas under reconstruction and the final 1-2 minutes of the run feel pretty decent.

Instead of continuing on, I stop.

I take my normal rest day on Friday to help my body get back into its normal rhythm and then I run shorter than usual and easier than usual on Saturday and Sunday.

The following week I get back into my 5X per week running schedule, but again, at drastically reduced mileage and intensity.  In a way I am “reverse tapering”  – just adding mileage a little bit here and there – week after week so that at the end of this recovery period I am back to running a 12-mile long run 4 weeks after the marathon.

At that point I am more or less “recovered” and ready to resume training.

A lot of marathoners and coaches say that it takes one full day of recovery for every mile that you race.  The concept being that if you race a 10K you will recover fully in 6-7 days.  After a half-marathon about 13-14 days.  After a marathon you would be recovered in 26-27 days.  I think that is just about right.

So if you want to get back to running safely, healthy and in a positive mental state than I suggest you plan out that 27-30 day recovery period just as you would the final 27-30 days leading up to race day.  You might not feel perfect lacing up the shoes for your first few runs, but they are going to help you recover from your race mentally as well as physically.

Happy trails everyone!  11 days to New York! 


We are one more step closer to the starting line of the NYC Marathon after completing our first 100 Mile Training week.

Trying to balance my preparation for my first Triathlon on July 31 along with building a strong base for NYC has me burning the candle at both ends just a bit.  I know that I have to get stronger on my swim.  I also know that the only way to get stronger on the bike is to log time in the saddle.  I also know that the marathon makes exceptions for nobody.  If you don’t put in the work you will be exposed on race day.

And exposed cruelly.

Missing a workout right now is just not an option with only so many hours free to train.  Last week added the complication of a mid-week trip to Cedar Rapids, IA for work, which made for a lot of early mornings to get my miles in.

Monday:  15 Miles on the tri-bike trainer a.m., 1.4 mile Open Water Swim p.m.

Tuesday:  8.35 Mile Run before my flight.

Wednesday:  10 Mile Marathon Pace Run

Thursday:  15 Mile Ride

Friday:  8.35 Mile Run, 2000 Meter Swim Lesson, 15 Mile Ride

Saturday:  8 Mile Marathon Pace Run

Sunday:  17 Mile Long Run

10 Hours, 47 Minutes, 27 Seconds covering 100 training miles.  99.8 technically, but I decided to round up.

This week is going to prove an interesting one as we are beginning to scale back just a bit for our Triathlon debut two Sundays away.

I can’t afford to go into full “taper-mode” as I am still building that base for the Marathon, but I am going to take down the intensity level just a bit this week and even more next week as the race approaches.  Showing up in New Braunfels with fresh legs and a positive mental attitude is going to be a big contributor to whether or not I race as well as I can across all three disciplines.

I am feeling confident about my bike and my run, but the swim still has me a bit nervous truth be told.

This past week Coach Claudia continued to refine my form and suggest a few technical changes to the way I am entering the water with my hands and how “complete” my stroke is.  I had been cheating myself of some power and speed by ending my stroke a bit prematurely.  Cutting it off more or less 80% of the way through.

I was able to incorporate her suggestions into my workout on Friday and my lap times in the pool showed immediate improvement.

Tuesday night I will be able to take that technique to the Quarry where I will be participating in my first ever “Swim Event” – as I will be racing in the Pure Austin Splash and Dash.  The event is a 750 meter swim followed by a 3K run.

There will be a large wave start consisting of all male participants which based on past events should be approximately 110-125 swimmers.

If I was ever going to get my feet wet swimming in a crowd, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so without a lot at stake.  After exiting the lake and transitioning into my race flats we will come up the hill from the lake and then run a 3 kilometer (1.9 mile) footrace, which I should be able to hammer away on without too much difficulty.

I don’t have a lot of expectations from a time perspective for Tuesday evening, I just want to stay calm in the water, experience getting jostled around a bit and not lose my cool.  Just swim my pace, gradually pulling harder each 100 Meters until I am swimming hard to the finish.

I’ll hop out, dry my feet, pull on my flats and then go all out in the run.

The path is rather loose granite and there will be a lot of runners along the course as it will be three laps around a 1 Kilometer loop.  I will have to dodge a lot of traffic along the way, especially after coming out of the water toward the rear of the crowd.

I’d like to hold pace somewhere around 6:25-6:30 min./mile but we’ll just have to see what the swim takes out of me.

It will certainly make for an interesting race report if nothing else.  Make sure you stop back on Wednesday for all the gory details.

I am glad I took my coaches advice to participate in the event, I’m hoping that most of the nerves that I experience tomorrow evening will be out of my system when it is time to get in the water at Jack’s Generic Tri on July 31st.

That will bring its own set of challenges swimming, biking and running in race conditions for the very first time.  We’re still in the, “I’m new at this” mode to put too many expectations on myself with respect to results – but during the run portion of both events I expect to kick a little ass.

That is our discipline after all.  Shame on me if we don’t make a little bit of noise.  I’m hoping to hear a lot of, “where did that guy come from?” over the next two weeks, then it will be time to focus on NYC. 

I never thought of training for a marathon as being “easy”, but I must admit, it is going to feel like quite a break only worrying about my run workouts and the occasional swim or bike-ride thrown in for cross training.

Is it really July 12th today?  I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by.  Selfishly, I have to admit that I am looking forward to the Fall.  This has been one of the hottest summers in Austin with the lowest rainfall since 1942.

We have been over 100 degrees more than two dozen times already and we still have a long, long, LONG way to go.

As the calendar continues to move forward there are 8 races approaching over the next 16 weeks, no two of them are the same.

July 19 – Splash and Dash (750 M swim, 3K run)

July 31 – Jack’s Generic Tri (500 M swim, 13.8 bike, 3.1 run)

August 13 – 5K

Sept. 5 – Capital of TX Tri (10K relay leg)

October 2 – IBM Uptown Classic 10K

October 9 – Denver Rock N’ Roll Half-Marathon

November 6 – New York City Marathon

Obviously NYC is going to be the “A” race this Fall, along with October’s IBM Uptown Classic.  Two feature events where I hope to prepare my best, show up focused and determined and hopefully post PR’s at each race.

If I can pull that off I would achieve my most pie in the sky goal for 2011 which was to PR at every distance from the 1-mile to the Marathon. 

But there is something about doing something for the first time that takes on extra meaning.  Jack’s Generic Tri on my 44th birthday will be my first ever Triathlon.

There are not too many things that you can do for the first time at age 44 that you are still excited about, especially athletically.  I know that I am poised to make just about every rookie triathlon mistake in the book on July 31st.

No matter how much I train for the event, practice my transitions from swim to bike and bike to run, something is bound to go wrong.  That is just the nature of the beast.  It is a complicated race that tests many different disciplines and muscle groups all at the same time, and all at some level of fatigue after the swim.

I have really been hitting the swim hard trying to cram a lot of learning and improvement into the last 16 weeks.  My swim coach Claudia continues to push me and make small technical changes to my form to help me get faster.

Just this past week she changed the way that my hands enter the water at the top of my stroke and the way I catch and pull the water through and past my body as I glide.

The result yesterday was a 4 minute 15 second improvement during a 1.4 mile Open Water Swim on the lake.

Now, just the fact that I am now swimming 2,250 Meters or 1.4 miles continuously without a pause or break at this point is pretty remarkable.  4 months ago I honestly could not swim the length of our pool one time without stopping.

But to drop my time at that distance to 55:57 has me very encouraged with just a little less than 3 weeks to go before Jack’s.

I continue to work hard on my bike days and practice pushing through the low gears and staying in the aero position down over my bars on the Tri bike.

Yesterday a new aero helmet arrived just in time for me to get a few rides in it to get comfortable prior to race day.

Aero Helmet

The helmet will reduce drag and improve efficiency as I race over the course, reducing my “profile” and making me more aero.  Over a SPRINT TRI I may only pick up 30 or 40 seconds.  At the half-ironman distance, that type of reduction in drag can mean as much as 3 or 4 minutes.

In the end, it will be all about the run for me at Jack’s.  No matter how my first two events go, the run is where I am looking to make my mark.  I am going to go out with the intention of posting the fastest run time in my Age Group.

If I can swim the 500 Meters in 11 minutes, bike in 42 minutes and run in 2o:30, I’ll be looking at a total time with 3 1/2 minutes added in transitions of 1:17:00.

My stretch goal is to be somewhere below 1:16:00 on race day.

Will I get there?  Tough to tell.  I think I will know a whole lot more after next Tuesday night’s splash and dash where I get my first taste of swimming “in a crowd” with arms and legs going in every direction.

Exciting times – first birthday I can say I’ve been looking forward to in a long, long time.