Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: My Year In Running

Man, what a year!

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I'd take to running like I have.

2011 was my first-full year as a runner, and it was a good year to say the least. I set out the year with four goals and reached all but one. (The last remaining will be crossed off the list in the coming months, however.)

I've got a long list of goals for 2012. But before I share those with you, I want to take a moment to look back at the year that was 2011.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So I Went On My First Trail Run ...

A trail running we will go!
For the past year, I've heard so many tails about trail running. 

"There's nothing like trail running."

"Just you wait. You'll love it."

"Trail running is the best."

Those are just some of the things was told over and over and over. From more than one person, and from more than just from my local running group - the Falls Road Runners

So, this past Friday, I met up with seven others from our running group and hit the trails around Levi Jackson State Park in London, Ky. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

C'mon! Let's Race! ... Virtually

Looking for a fun race to participate in? Well, you are in luck because I've found the one for you!

Last week, fellow runner and blogger Doug Cassaro posted he was holding a Twitter Road Race!

If you're like me, it can be difficult to find a race to run in January. Oh, there are races out there, but you usually have to travel, and the cost of registration fees plus travel can add up ... quickly.

Enter Doug's #TwitterRoadRace!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who Inspires You? Tell Them 'Thank You'

It's sooooo true!
Had an awesome run this past Saturday ... and it had nothing to do with the sub-10 minute per mile pace I posted for my 7.65 miles.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, and I had the opportunity to run later in the day so I got the rare chance to sleep in. (BONUS!!!) So I headed out around 11:30 for an easy seven-mile run.

Midway through my run, I stopped for a water break when another local runner was finishing up his four-mile run. I had seen him before but never had the opportunity to meet him before.

But he knew me thanks to seeing me running around town and Facebook.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Road to Becoming a Half Fanatic

A few months ago, my lovely bride asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I'm not one who wants for much. I mean, I have a loving family, a roof over my head, food on my table and am healthy enough to run. What more does a guy need?

Yet, there was one thing I wanted. Money for membership in Half Fanatics!

My Bride: "Half Fanatics? What's that?"

Me: "It's a running club for people who half marathons and run so many during a certain about of time. With the three I'll be running in seven weeks, I'll qualify."

My Bride: "I think you're fanatical already."

My bride is wonderfully supportive of my running, but I know she thinks I'm nuts when I start rambling about running and all the races and distances I want to run. But she still loves me anyway. :)

Ever since I learned of the existence of the Half Fanatics, I longed to become one. I NEEDED to be one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Whole Lotta Ho Ho Hos - Santa Hustle Smokies Half Recap

Knew it would be a good race when my
race bib number was 816 - same as my
anniversary (August 16).
So, I ran yet another half marathon this past Sunday. My third one in seven weeks, qualifying me to become a Half Fanatic!

While I'm super stoked to join the Half Fanatics (member No. 1684!), a blog post on that will have to wait for another day.

Sunday's race was the Santa Hustle Smokies Half Marathon, and I was excited about it the moment I found out about it in a Groupon. Yes, I said Groupon.

Nothing like opening an email and finding out you can register for a race for HALF PRICE!!!

When I got the email, I was already signed up to run the Iron Horse Half and the Secret City Half. Those two races wouldn't alone wouldn't qualify me for the Half Fanatics since they were four weeks apart. But add in the Santa Hustle Smokies Half, and the three in 50 days did!

The fact I could become a Half Fanatic had me excited about this race, but add in the fact all runners would receive a special Santa tech shirt, a Santa hat and beard to run it, and I couldn't sign up fast enough. Hundreds of Santas on parade in East Tennessee!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nearing The End

The finish line is in sight, and I can't be happier.

Because I'm tired.

There I said it.

I'm tired of training. That's what my life has been since July when I began preparing for my stretch of half marathons. But all of that will be over come Sunday when I complete the Santa Hustle Smokies Half Marathon in Sevierville, Tenn.

In all honesty, I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I signed up for three half marathons within seven weeks time. I had no clue what toll it would take on my body, how I would feel after running a race and then turn around a few short weeks to run another ... and then another.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sooooo ... I've Signed Up For This Race

So looking forward to April 1!
This past Wednesday I signed up for a race. But not just any race.

I am now registered for the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon!

Oh ... and it's only MY FIRST FULL MARATHON!

Can you sense all the nervous excitement? What? You can't feel these vibes I'm sending through the Internet? Anywho, I AM STOKED! I can't wait for this race!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Battle That Raged Within - Secret City Half Marathon Recap-Part 2

Enjoying some Gatorade at the halfway point.
In spite of the overall wonderful experience I had at the Secret City Half Marathon, there was one thing I really struggled with. In fact, I wrestled with this issue for a few days after the event.

I had no clue on how I should approach this half marathon.

All along, I viewed this race as a 'fun' one. Just one to enjoy the scenery, clock 13.1 miles, collect another t-shirt and medal and just have fun, in large part, because my kids were also running. I wanted the day to be more about them. I, after all, had already run three half marathons and this was their first race ever.

Confusing me even more was the fact that this was the second of three half marathons I running in within a seven-week stretch. On Oct. 23, I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon in Midway, Ky., the Secret City Half was on Nov. 20, and I'm running the Smokies Santa Hustle Half on Dec. 11 in Sevierville, Tenn. I had never participated in races so close together before. Not even 5Ks.

But someone wants to become a Half Fanatic, so I registered for these three races.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Letting the Secret Out - Secret City Half Marathon Recap: Part 1

Jayson, Haylee and I after the Secret
City Half Marathon
There is so much I want to share about my experience at the Secret City Half Marathon (held on Nov. 20) that I don't think I can contain it all in only one post.

Well, I could, but I don't want to overwhelm you with all my thoughts about this wonderful event.

So, because I know you enjoy reading my writing so much, I've decided to split this up into two posts. This first one is about the overall experience of the Secret City Half, while the next one will delve into my inner conflict I faced (and still battle with) as a runner.

Without any further ado, on to the recap!

The Secret City Half is a well-organized event. The course was simple, pretty much a double loop, and the terrain isn't much different than what I'm used to here in southeastern Kentucky. Plus, the price was right. Registration started at $40 and then only went up to $50 after Oct. 20, so it was an easy sell for me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Geeked Up For Race Day

Jayson and Haylee with me after I finished
my first half marathon.
I am so excited about this weekend's half marathon.

This one feels soooooooooo different than the previous three I have ran so far. I was nervously excited for the my first half in Columbus, Ohio, but that's to be expected. I went into my second half a wee bit overconfident, sure of great success, but the heat and humidity of St. Louis kicked my butt. For my third, and most recent half marathon, I was optimistically confident I would do well and post a solid PR, having learned from my previous mistakes and trusting in my training.

But my excitement for this weekend's half marathon is on a whole other level.

I'm totally geeked up, psyched up, fired up and ready to go for the Secret City Half, and it has very little to do me and my potential performance.

So what, you ask, has me pumped up for this race? Well ... MY KIDS ARE RUNNING TOO!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mission 2:15 Accomplished - Iron Horse Half Recap

Gee whiz, I have been swamped. Finally going to get this race recap done ... only THREE WEEKS after the fact.

Ahhhh, the SID's life!

ANYWHO ... here's the recap

On Sunday, Oct. 23, I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon in Midway, Ky., and I loved it! And not because I kicked my PR in the butt!

Heading into this half marathon, my goal was to complete the course in 2 hours, 15 minutes - 16 minutes better than my previous PR. Training was going well until late September when life interrupted and complicated things. Travel for work and dealing with some other life issues, getting my training runs in became difficult. 

All of those was going on with less than a month away from the Iron Horse. At this point, I made a decision. I was confident in my training in that I knew I would PR. I've become stronger and my endurance had built up to a good point that I knew I would be able to break my previous PR of 2:31:01. So, I decided to just enjoy the run. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1,000 and counting ...

Ok ok ok ... I know it's been F-O-R-E-V-E-R since I posted an update. For this, I apologize profusely.

Life's been hectic to say the least the past couple of months. Hopefully, things will calm down so I can post more. I have much to say here on this blog, just need the time to write it all.

Well, back to way I'm writing today.

Yesterday, I hit a big milestone: my 1,000th mile for the year!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So I Went Out on a Run ...

So Saturday was my long run day, and like most Saturdays, I met up with my local running group, the Falls Road Runners.

In training for a half marathon, I'm used to long runs. Ten to 12 miles has always been the norm for my long runs. But with a number of other runners training for a full marathon, I decided to see what I could do this weekend when the planned long run for the marathon group was 15 miles.

And this wasn't going to be an easy run either. We had some hills on this course.

But in my normal fashion, I shrugged my shoulders and said to myself, "Eh, why not?"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Iron Horse Half Marathon - Training Week 4

Had a real good week of training. With the kids back in school, I'm really starting to get into a rhythm and a routine, which is nice.

The weather was also nice over the weekend. Temperatures were in the mid-60s and humidity was mild for this time of year, making my long runs nice and tolerable.

You know, I could really get used to that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Iron Horse Half Marathon - Training Week 3

This was a rough week for me running-wise. Life got in the way a wee bit and my knee bothered me some as well.

Ended up taking three days off in all, but not complaining or whining about it. I really do think I needed the rest so I'm going to embrace that and move on.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Iron Horse Half Marathon - Training Week 2

Another week is in the books.

Can't really tell you how glad I am in training mode. Nothing like going out on runs with a goal in mind and a target to shoot for.

And with each passing run, I get more anxious to run the Iron Horse Half Marathon.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quantity vs. Quality

For most runners - especially those like me, off/rest days drive you crazy.

You think, "Why am I not running today? I've got to get my miles in. I can't just do nothing. I NEED TO RUN!"

Or at least, that's how I feel.

I still can't believe how much I've fallen in love with running. Back in high school, I HATED running. Like the popular t-shirt reads, "My sport is your sport's punishment." And for me, running was punishment.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Iron Horse Half Marathon - Training Week 1

One week down, 13 more to go.

I am really liking the training program I'm using this time around. Also, like that I'm upping the ante by moving from the beginner/novice stage to the seasoned runner level. (FYI - I'm using one of Bart Yasso's training plans out of "My Life on the Run" book.)

Found out rather quickly this is the plan for me in order hit my goal of completing the Iron Horse Half Marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes as I posted weekly best mileage total. And that was just Week No. 1!

So without a further ado, here's how my week went.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mission 2:15 Has Begun!

Today, Mission 2:15 began.

During the next 14 weeks, I will be doing all I can to complete my latest mission.

I have my sights set on 2:15, and I'm determined to do this.

In case you're wondering, 2:15 stands for 2 hours, 15 minutes. That's the time I want to hit or beat in my next half marathon. My next half marathon is less than 14 weeks away.

On October 23, I will be lining up with a couple hundred of others to run to the Iron Horse Half Marathon in scenic Midway, Ky. - located in the heart of horse country.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Long Time, No Posts ... Mea Culpa

Myself and some of my SID pals at the CoSIDA 5K
Man, it's been a while since my last post, and I apologize for that. Life has kept me so busy over the past four weeks I've yet to figure out whether I'm coming or going. It's possible I stayed put and the world spun around really fast.

No, that definitely didn't happen.

Here's a quick rundown of what's been happening in my life: completed a crazy month of running, ran a 5K on a beach, learned not to run on the beach before dawn, completed my course work to get my masters (doing the happy dance), went to a national conference for my work/profession (presented on a couple panels), tried to enjoy some of the Florida sunshine while there, assisted my bride in running Vacation Bible School at our church (truth be told, I didn't do a whole lot. Just did what I was told) and celebrated my son's 11th birthday.

And summertime is supposed to be easy on me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Making Running a Family Affair

Yesterday was Father's Day, and I hope the gift I gave has a lasting impact.

No, not the gift I gave my father, although I have no doubt he will put it to good use and enjoy it. But the 'gift' I gave my son.

I know, I know. It's not typical for dads to give gifts to their children on Father's Day, but this is not the typical gift.

See, I'm giving the gift of running to my son.

Now, my prayer is that he takes to it much better than I did at his age.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

If I Could Walk 500 Miles ...

What wait? I not only can walk 500 miles, I just ran 500 miles.

Well, not all at once, but this morning, I hit the 500-mile mark for the year.

And when I set out on the journey that is 2011, I only had a goal of trying to run 750 miles during this stretch of 365 days. But as I got in the rhythm of training for a half marathon, I saw my mileage racking up and I thought, "You know, I wonder how far I can go?"

It's amazing the places you'll go when you simply put one foot in front of the other.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nothing Like the Running Family

Some of my SID Running Family
When I picked up running and eventually the 'bug,' I didn't have an inkling of what I was in store for.

I thought I knew what it was all about. After all, I've been involved in sports my entire life. Heck, my entire 17-year professional career has revolved around athletics either as a member of the sports media or as a sports information director.

I was even on the track team in high school, although I competed in field events only tossing the discus and shot put.

Sports is my life. So, one would think I knew what to expect when I became a 'runner.'

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't Forget Your Running Shoes

Let's be honest. Keeping up your fitness/exercise/running program going while traveling is never easy. If you're like me, you do what you can to get your runs and avoid the hotel dreadmill.

But when you go to a new or an unfamiliar town, finding a good place to run can be a challenge.

So imagine my surprise and absolute delight when I found the Greenbelt Park when I recently spent the better part of two weeks in Kingsport, Tenn., as I worked a couple of college baseball tournaments. And it was a double score since I had easy access to it from my hotel, meaning I could just step out of my hotel room and begin running to the park.

It was a lovely situation for me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Just Wanna Run

OK, it's official. I've got the running bug.


It's all I want to do anymore. I'm constantly checking the hourly weather forecast to see when I can get a run dry without having to deal with any rain or foul weather.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sometimes I Surprise Myself

Saturday, I ran my first 5K in who knows when. Now I know some of you are thinking, "Wait? You've run two half marathons in the past year but can't remember when you last ran a 5K?" Yeah, well, I do things a little differently.

It's been over 20 years since I've ran in a 5K. Honestly, I don't remember what race it was or when it was. All I know is that it has been a long time.

But after my last half marathon I wanted to find some other races to run before my next 13.1-miler as well as find some local races to participate in. The first one I came across was the Thin Mint Sprint 5K, a race to help raise support for Girl Scouts.

Wow! What A Prize Pack!

Calling all runners! OK, that's pretty much every one of you who are reading this.

Now that I've got your attention, you might want to go over to RunToTheFinish's blog and check out the giveaway the blog's author Amanda Brooks is having. Lots of great stuff.

To see all the items that are up for grabs, follow this link. You will be impressed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What A Way To Celebrate

It was in May of 2010 in which I began my full-fledged life as a runner. It was this time a year ago Dave Parsons talked me into running the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Half Marathon.

Wanting to get a jump on things, I began training almost immediately so I could steadily build my mileage up to be ready to go come July when it was time to begin training in earnest for the October race. Dave kicked off his running career on May 26, 2010.

Truth be told, I had run off and on for the past five, six years. However, it was not until May of 2010 that I truly took to the sport.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Milestone Delayed Worth the Wait

At the end of March, I bemoaned the fact I was unable to hit the 100-mile mark for the month due to illness. I was disappointed because I wasn't sure when I would have my next shot at reaching the milestone.

Since I was running a half marathon in April, I did not think I would run 100 miles in the month because I was not sure how I would bounce back from the race. And May is a crazy time for me at work since I tend to travel a lot, and we all know it's not always the easiest to get the miles in when taking out of your routine.

Consequently, I thought June would be the earliest I could achieve the milestone.

Well ... I. Thought. WRONG.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Sabotaged Myself

I did myself in. I undermined my training and sabotaged myself when I ran in last week's Go! St. Louis Half Marathon.

Make no mistake. I did post a PR, shaving nearly two minutes off my time. And I'm very pleased about that.

Yet, I know I could have done better, and I know it's my fault I didn't.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Couldn't Have Done It Without My Team

The Go! St. Louis Half Marathon has come and gone, and I posted a PR!

I missed my goal time badly, but a PR is a PR and I will take. My official time in the April 10 race was 2:31:01, almost two minutes faster than my previous half marathon.

There were a number of 'pit falls' and troubles along the way for me, but I don't have the time to delve into that right now. What I wanted to say right now is thanks to my support team.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Countdown to Race Day

This, for me, is the most anxious week. It always is.

The week before race day, especially for a half marathon, is maddening. No matter how much I check and double check everything, I never feel totally prepared as I gear up to travel to a race. I always feel like I'm forgetting something.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Milestone Will Have to Wait

Today was supposed to be a big day for me. I was going to hit a big milestone.

At least, it was going to be a big one for me anyways.

Following my run this morning, I would have eclipsed the 100-mile mark for the month.

Sadly, I've spent much of the day in bed. Sick.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Morning, Noon or Night: When Do You Like to Run?

Finding your rhythm, finding your stride, finding what works best for you. In whatever you do, it's always important to find what works well for you, and it's no different with running.

One key thing I've found is finding that time of day that works best for you to get your run in. Some like the mornings, others at lunch or early afternoon and still others like the evening.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pop Goes the Soda

Today is a special anniversary for me. Sure, it's only a five-month milestone, but given my life history, I'm pretty proud of this one.

Back on October 25, 2010, I gave up pop, soda, soft drinks - whatever you call it in your part of the world, and have not had a drop since.

Stopped cold turkey.

Since giving up soft drinks, I primarily drink three things: coffee, milk and water - lots and lots of water.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome to Runners Anonymous

"Hi, my name is Jay, and I am a runner!"

Whew! There. I admitted it to the whole world.

I, Jay Stancil, am a runner.

Never thought I would ever be saying something like that. Ever.