iCare 5k

Every year a nearby food bank hosts a 5k almost in our backyard. Blessings of Hope has a huge yard sale, auction, food vendors, activities for kids, and of course a 5k race in beautiful Lancaster County. The company is predominantly Mennonite so it attracts the local Amish and Mennonite community at large. Turn out is always HUGE.

This year the 5k drew a much larger crowd as well. The course was the same as the previous year, a nice easy run on the back roads of Amish Country. There is a slight incline, at the very start, but for the most part it’s nothing too crazy and very runner friendly.

At the very beginning I noticed a lot of kids hanging around the starting line- in fact there were a lot of kids and I thought how fun it will be to blow past them at the half way mark. The announcer’s voice boomed over the handheld speaker as she yelled “GO!” and we were off. Truth be told: those Amish kids took off and I didn’t see a single one after that. Even though my first mile was complete in 7 minutes, and my second mile at 7:20, those kids were fast and long gone.

The course was beautiful as always, and the atmosphere and iCare event was a lovely experience. Even though I hit a few PRs, fastest mile (7:11), fastest 2 miles (14:31), I still finished 25th overall. I placed 3rd in my age group and received a fidget spinner medal- all-in-all, it was pretty fun.

Last year I ran a lot slower, with an average of 9:00 min/miles and placed 2nd in my age group. So this year I’d say the amount of competitors was a lot higher and the skill levels were just as high to match. This is a fast course and we saw some really fast times! Looking forward to next year!

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It’s a GIVEAWAY! (kinda)

Honey Stinger Fans rejoice, I have coupon codes worth 37% off your total order when you buy all your favorites from http://www.HoneyStinger.com!  This is a one-time coupon, to be used at checkout, for 37% off your entire order so STOCK UP!

I’ve given away one coupon code to one of my amazing Instagram followers, and he’s also a pretty cool dude to boot, for correctly guessing the make of my car (Subaru). That leaves me with two remaining coupon codes left to share with the masses!¬† So if you aren’t following me on the Instagrams, I suggest you do, have a look at my latest post and keep those guessing rolling in!

Official rules:
1. Enter code at checkout to receive 37% off
2. Codes good for orders on honeystinger.com only
3. Codes valid for non-Hive athletes only
4. Codes must be used before April 1st, 2018

These are a few of my favorite things – Part II

Race day is a very exciting day, in my early experience I would show up, dressed and ready to run.¬† Part way through the race, I was itching for an aid station for a drink, or some boost to keep me going.¬† This would often slow me down – ever try to¬†grab a water from an aid station with hundreds of other runners?¬† Yeah, no thanks.¬† It wasn’t until I started to prepare for my races that I really started to enjoy the process.¬† Arriving prepared, not just in gear alone, can make a race day experience so much better.¬† 5K races I generally treat as fun runs without much fuss, but on long-distance runs, and races over the 10-mile mark I generally start to think about fuel on the go.

Please keep in mind these product reviews are entirely my own, my own experiences, tastes, preferences, and do not express the views of the manufacturer. Please proceed with caution, individual results will vary.  While I have an ambassadorship with Honey Stinger, the best in sports fuel in the industry, I developed this list prior to joining them so there is a bit of a variety.

In this post, I want to focus on two things: Gel and Hydration Race necessities.
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Hershey Half Marathon, a Wrapup

Well another year has come and gone and another chance to hit a PR was on the line. The Hershey Half Marathon is one of my favorite races of all time and continues to serve as a benchmark for the race season ahead. So how’d it go? Here’s the nitty gritty.

Did I PR? Why Yes, Yes I did!
I managed to snag a course PR… by 9 seconds. I guess I shouldn’t complain because a PR is a PR is a PR. My finish time was 2:13:51 and I’ll take it.¬† My goal was to hit 2 hours even, by the start of the race I was held up by some slight congestion with the mass of runners and the first two miles were averaging around a 9:30 pace.

I knew from the start that if I wanted a 2 hour finish I needed to dig deep and push hard.  Unfortunately my body had other plans, and rather than injure myself I decided to run at the race my body was telling me.  The first 5 miles I was running a comfortable 9:30 average pace and if I held that pace I knew I would hit a 2:04ish finish time.

Learning from Last Year:
Last year I had to stop twice to pee – which cost me precious time.¬† So taking a note from last years race, I made, what ended up being a crucial mistake, by deciding to not drink a lot of fluids the night before and the morning of the race.¬† I figured I’d carry my own water (infused with Nuun) and would make due on the course.

Mile 6-7 proved my no fluids tactic was dumb and my left leg revolted in the worst cramps I have ever experienced! I ran into some friends that could see the struggle in my face, however their encouragement pushed me to press onward and run through the pain.

I could feel the tension in my left calf muscle, but as long as I put most of my weight on my right leg it wasn’t horribly bad. And the fact that I had some friends nearby I felt the need to keep up. I held an average 10:30 min/mile for as long as I could. By mile 10-11, I knew the race was almost done, but my calf was just not in the mood. I slowed down, got to the side of the course and stopped- a cardinal sin in my book of running. I stopped and evaluated my situation, I ran both hands down my legs to make sure they felt the same. My thigh muscles and calf muscles were identical so I knew I hadn’t done serious damage. My left calf muscle just felt tense- so I took the opportunity and massaged it firmly while stretching it out a little. The brief stop was relief enough for me to bounce back slightly and maintain a 10+ min/mile pace.

As I rounded out the course there were kids from the Children’s Hospital there cheering us on and the emotional experience took my mind off the pain and I pressed on.

I finished the race, grabbed my medal, my snack bag and headed right for the infield of the stadium. I collapsed and immediately began stretching and massaging my left calf in an effort to rid the pain. After about 10 mins I got up and at that point noticed walking was out of the question- the stiffness was too great. Walking was out of the question, but as long as I kept my heel up, jogging back to my car was still in the cards.

As I jogged back to my car I overheard some people saying “that guy is still running- guess he thought this was a Marathon…” I laughed in my head as I returned to my car. I guess from someone else’s prospective it would appear that way- which made me stop and think for a brief second: Should I run a full marathon next?

Crazy right?

Great Pumpkin Run, a Wrapup

Well, another fun 5K in the books.  The Great Pumpkin Run, held at Savidge Farms by Sour Fish Events, proved to be another interesting race experience.  And since we are such good parents, we enrolled our children to tag along as chaperones.  The course was a winding adventure through corn fields, some woods, fields again, a pumpkin patch and wrapped up with a cattle chute finish through a narrow corn maze.

The good stuff:
The event itself was fun and family friendly. Make no mistake, we enjoyed the atmosphere and thought all-in-all the course was challenging and exciting. ¬†Our chaperones did okay considering this was their first “off-road” course. ¬†It my rookie mistake only training with them on smooth paved trails. The rocky fields and wild corn husk now and then of Savidge Farms, proved to be a little more tricky than dodging cyclists on our home training grounds. ¬†Despite having to stop to fix a shoe, walking in sections that were deeply rutted by farm equipment and my irritating words of encouragement, the kids maintained a 14 min pace.

If you read my previous post about 80/20 running, my slow runs are around 11:30-12 min pace, so this was a good test of remembering to slow down.

The not-so-good:
The course was fun, but certain sections bottle necked runners close together. (Small rant Warning) I’m all for loving thy neighbor, but there seemed to be a lot of people in a hurry to catch a PR and made for rude attitudes, yelling, and a few elbows in the way. ¬†Now, mind you, this race has your typical waves, so the more “advanced” runners should have put themselves in an earlier wave or at least started at the very front of the slower waves.

Just a side note: If you want to catch a PR, sign up for the first waves dedicated specifically for Running. Leave the Run/walk waves to those of us with kids that just want to have fun.

I realize I’m just complaining about circumstances out of the event organizer’s control, so take everything I’m saying in strides.

The race metals were pretty sweet, (see picture above) but I think the shirts lacked a little something. ¬†The screen printing on some of the shirts were damaged and I noticed a few people went to Facebook to complain about the quality of the tech shirts. ¬†Again, all minor details, we had fun and that’s what counts.

Family Finish Time: 44 mins 40 seconds

Endorsed by Brooks!

Thank you, thank you Рautographs at the end of the presentation please.  I decided to adopt an official sponsor and seek endorsement deals for the 2017-2018 racing season.

I’m happy to say that Brooks Running has decided to endorse me this season, their support has been fantastic and a welcome addition to the KenStandsOnThings Raceteam.

I’ve been running for the last two years and have had my share of running shoes. ¬†I started out with Nike, and found them to perform very well. ¬†The Bike running community is pretty strong and was happy to follow other Nike Runners. Always looking to change things up, I switched to New Balance. ¬†My New Balance shoes were a breath of fresh air, and did me well through a handful of 5 and 15Ks. ¬†The New Balance community was a little more uptight, and I felt welcomed in a weird “this is my cousin tagging along with me” to your popular cousin’s friend’s party. ¬† After the New Balance stint, I jumped to Mizuno running shoes. ¬†I fell in love with my Mizunos, they were light and airy and packed a powerful punch when I had to dig deep. But noticed that they lacked the sense of community that I felt with my other running shoes.

Fast forward to Brooks Running Shoes. The sense of community is strong from Brooks and they are all too happy to reach out and be a part of my running experience. ¬†Not to mention the Launch 4’s I picked up super awesome and a great running shoe. The Launches feel light and springy and during my runs I can still feel the ground beneath me. Since I need a neutral running shoe I’m super picky about groundfeel and cushioning. ¬†If a shoe is too soft or lacks ground control I end up injuring myself, so when I laced on these Brooks and hit the road, I was pleasantly surprised. ¬†So, now that I’m endorsed you probably are thinking about striking a deal with them as well – head on over to The Big Endorsement Deal

Anyway, what shoes do you prefer? Let me know in the comments and share your reviews! I’m always interested to see what other people are running in these days.

Half Marathon Training!

I’ve neglected to update this poor blog, so in an effort to maintain some level accountability here’s an update on training. ¬†I recently discovered Matt Fitzgerald’s book “80/20 Running” and have taking stock in adopting the principles of slower running. ¬†In a nutshell 80% of my training will be dedicated to slow run, like really slow running. ¬†Running so slow that I’m slightly embarrassed to post my 5K runtimes in the 40 min range slow. Buuuuuuut, if it means I can crank out a Half Marathon under 2 hours, I’ll take it.

Speaking of a half marathon finish under 2 hours, will it happen in a few weeks?! Not sure, yet. ¬†I have been maintaing weekly averages in the 10-15 miles range, and only as of lately strayed to scale things up. ¬†I’ve got 4 more weeks until the Hershey Half, so I’m not going to get too strung out if I don’t hit my under 2 hour goal.

Week 1 (6 weeks until the half)
Training consisted of two (2) 3 mile runs during the week and ending with a 6 mile run on Sunday.

Week 2
Training consisted of one (1) 3 mile run, and one (1) 4 mile run during the week, ending with a 6 mile run on Sunday.

Week 3 (current week)
Training this week included one (1) 3 mile run durig the week, one (1) 5k Pumpkin Run Race this Saturday, and ending out on Sunday with an 8 mile slow run.

Next week’s training (week 4) will include 3 mile runs during the week and another repeat 8 mile slow run. ¬†After that (weeks 5 & 6) will include light 3 mile runs during the week and then my long runs will increase from 8 miles to 10 miles on Sundays. The follow Sunday (week 7) is the Hershey Half and will end the week with a 13 mile run.