Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: My Year In Running

Can't believe another year has come and gone.

Time certainly does fly, especially when you're having so much fun!

Heading into 2012, I knew I enjoyed and loved running. I just didn't realize how much I loved it!

And never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd be so enamored with the marathon, and not with the race itself but the training as well! Nothing like pushing yourself to the limits ... and beyond!

Before I review how I did on my 2012 goals, I'd like to share some of my highlights.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Yep! I've Become One Of Those People

My daughter putting me through a workout.
You know those people who feel the need to get a workout in every, single day, aren't they annoy?

I mean, they go on and on about how they "got an easy 5-mile run in" this morning, or how today was a "rest day" so they "only did a spin workout for 30 minutes and mixed in some core work."

Well, I have a confession. I've become one of those people.

Not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, but I feel the need to run, workout or exercise in some fashion every, single day.

Let's just say I want to get my sweat on.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My 2012 Races In Photos

2012 was an amazing year for me running-wise.

It has been nothing but incredible. And while I will have a year-in-review post coming in the next few days, I wanted to relive with you my races this year in photos.

It was a low race count for me this year as I ran in only four races. However, two of those were marathons, so the excitement, milestones and sense of accomplishment were high for me.

So without a further ado, let's look back.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Going Back For More ...

Yesterday it began, but today was my first training run for the 2013 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

Yup, I'm going back for more.

For those keeping track, this will be marathon No. 3 for me. And all three will be within just over one year. (My first was the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon on April 1, and the 2013 edition is on April 7. So, three 26.2-mile jaunts within 371 days.) 

Believe it's safe to say I've gone from "never doing that" to a marathon addict rather easily.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

7 Bridges Marathon Recap: It Just Wasn't My Day

Some of my swag from the 7 Bridges Marathon
It's amazing how you can pour hours upon hours into your training, run hundreds of miles to get yourself prepared for a race, but then to have things not coming together like you planned or hope on race day.

Such is the life of a runner.

Some days just aren't your day. And this was certainly the case for me as I ran the 7 Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Sunday (October 21).

There had certainly been some hiccups in my training - like injuring myself while trail running, but in the weeks leading up to the race, I had every reason to believe another sub-5 hour marathon and quite possibly a PR was in the cards for me.

Alas, it just was not my day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Funny Thing Happened Along The Training Plan ...

My knee after my tumble.
Everything was going so well, so smoothly and the miles were piling up.I was closing in on a career-high monthly mileage total. Marathon training was going great. It was as if it was too good to be true.

Then reality hit, and it was too good to be true.

Actually, reality didn't hit. I hit ... the ground ... hard.

On August 25, I decided to take my marathon training to the trails. I was getting a little bored running on the roads, so I thought I'd mix things up on the trails. The plan was to get 20 miles in, but those plans got changed shortly have mile 3.

Things were going great. It was a comfortable morning, temps in the low 60s and the humidity was very tolerable for August. It was dark when I started at 5 a.m., so I was a headlamp. I wasn't going too fast because it was dark.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mark Rucker's Journey: From Couch Potato to Triathlete

Mark after the 2012 Iron Horse Half Marathon
I've been thinking for some time to mix in some guest posts. I've been fortunate to get to know some amazing people through Twitter, DailyMile and the blogsosphere, that I want to share their stories as well.

Finally, I'm adding guest posts, and I could not think of a more perfect person to feature - Mark Rucker.

I met Mark through DailyMile and then got to meet him in person as we ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon in October of 2012 - his first half marathon. His upbeat, positive and encouraging personality you see online is exactly what you get when you meet him in real life.

Over the past couple years, Mark has been waging the Battle of the Bulge, and he is winning as he's gone from a couch potato to a soon-to-be Ironman! His story is so compelling, he was recently featured on

So without any further ado, here's Mark in his own words:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Focusing on the Positive

Today's run was caught on film. Relative happened to see
me running through town.
It's easy to dwell on the negative. It's easy to pile on. To whine. Complain.

When we hit rocky times, we all too often become 'Debbie Downers."

Problem is when we do so we take our focus off our goals and make the task at hand even more difficult. We become our worst enemy, and we can find victory because we're defeating ourselves.

Look, bad runs happen. They're going to happen whether we want them to or not. We're not also going to be at our best when we head out for a run, and from time to time, an "easy 6" quickly turns into a "sadistic 6."

Instead, find the positives out of the run. There's always some good to pull out of a 'bad' run.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

To borrow the phrase from Charles Dickens: It was the best of the times; it was the worst of times.

That pretty much sums up my first month of training for the 7 Bridges Marathon ... except that it was the worst of times and THEN the best of times.

The first two weeks were rough.

Check that. The first two weeks were harsh, tempestuous, difficult, grueling. Pretty much flat out tough.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Product Review: Go Sport ID Prototype Singlet

Front (left) and back photos of the Go Sport ID prototype
singlet I was sent and tested.
A while back during a session of #runchat, Kase - the person who oversees the Go Sport ID Twitter account, mentioned the company was going to add singlets to its line of products.

Half-heartily joking, I tweeted back to him, "if you need someone to test them out, let me know." Doesn't hurt to try, right? Well, it worked because a few weeks later, I was contacted for my address so they could send me one of the prototypes to try out.

Before I go on with my review, I feel it necessary to share two key bits of information in the spirit of full disclosure. First, this was my first singlet in years. I had not worn one since I was on my high school track team, and we don't need to discuss how long ago that was. I run in tech shirts, a few are sleeveless but not what you'd consider a singlet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Week That Was: Marathon Training Week 1

Well, Week 1 of my training for the 7 Bridges Marathon is in the books. And one would've thought since my life is normally crazy come mid-August through May due to the nature of my job, that this week would've been normal and easy to stick to the plan.

Not so much.

I forgot about two other factors that can throw a training plan a curve: 1. the weather, and 2. family commitments.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

When Something Seems Amiss, Adjust! Adjust! Adjust!

There are times when things just don't go according to plan during a run. And yesterday was one of those days for me.

Saturdays are my normal long run days because I generally have more time for them than I do on Sunday. It's an awful rush for me sometimes to get 13 or more miles in on a Sunday and then get ready to be at church by 10 a.m. ... and then stay awake during the worship service. So, Sundays are my recovery run days.

This weekend, my schedule was thrown off by my son's baseball tournament. Knowing his game was not scheduled to start until at least 10 p.m. Saturday, I KNEW my Sunday run was out the window. So, I decided to tack on a few extra miles to Saturday's run to make up for it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Go Time!

Today, the journey to 26.2 miles begins ... again.

My training for the 7 Bridges Marathon gets underway today. And the workout for today was tough: a rest day. (Tough because I WANT TO RUN.)

Rest day aside, training for my second marathon has now commenced, and I can't be more excited about it.

I've spent the past few days laying out my training plan, mapping out when my long runs will be. Let's just say, it's going to get interesting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Be Prepared: You're Not Always As Safe As You Think You Are

Nothing like enjoying nature's beauty during a run.
We runners are a pretty carefree lot at times. We love to just pick up and go for a run, don't we? After all, it's a blast to just hit the pavement and/or trails, push our bodies to the limit and enjoy the joy and freedom of running.

It can be pure bliss.

While running emboldens us and gives us a great sense of freedom and strength, it is important to be prepared in cases of emergencies. You never know what can happen to you during a run. Don't believe me, just ask Dorothy Beal.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Finish Line

Saucony has this great promotion going on right now called "Find Your Strong."

The concept of the program is pretty simple: what is your strong? What do you find your strength? What motivates you? In other words, where do you find your strong?

This is a pretty great promotion in and of itself. But since Dorothy Beal - a Twitter running friend, is one of the faces and voices behind the project, I'm an even bigger fan. Saucony didn't hype this promotion with a bunch of superstars and high-priced athletes. They used real runners from all walks of life and backgrounds. I highly recommend you check out Dorothy's blog and story.

But I'm getting a bit of subject here. (What? Me ramble? As if ...) This week's "Find Your Strong" asked for people to share photos of their finish line - where you finish your run. The photos range for the typical photo of someone's home to finish-line photos. Others are a different take such as a couch, a person's favorite post-run beverage and their kids.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

National Running Day!

It's National Running Day!

Normally, I'm not a big fan of celebrating created holidays, but this is one I can really get behind and support, and not because I am a runner - although that does help.

No, this is a day that needs to be touted, promoted and so much more, especially since we are living in the 'Age of Obesity.' Should this not be a day that everyone gets the day off from work to go for a nice, long run? I would think so.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When Did I Cross Over To The Dark Side?

I'm not sure when it happened, but it most certainly did. And to be honest, I never saw it coming. In fact, I swore up and down to myself that it wouldn't happen. I was not going to allow it.

But yet, it happened.

I crossed over to the dark side, thinking more and more about running marathons and beyond.

It wasn't so long ago I solely focused on doing as many half marathons I could. Now, the half marathon distance is a nice, long run on weekends.

What has happened to me?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Could Not Be Happier

Something amazing happened yesterday.

I went for a run ... with my ENTIRE family.

Yup, it was pretty sweet. 

As most of you are aware, my bride recently completed the Couch-to-5K program and ran her first 5K. The program worked so well for her that she thought it would be perfect to use to get our two heathens kids more active.

Our kiddos are active ... to a point. Jayson plays baseball nearly year round and mixes in some basketball when he can't get on the ball field. Haylee plays soccer, does gymnastics and cartwheels around the kitchen. But when they aren't doing those activities, they are generally at home, on the couch watching TV or playing video games.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My View From The Sidelines

My bride after her first 5K with some bling!
Saturday was a fun day for me. If you are DailyMile and/or Facebook friends with me or follow me on Twitter, you know I was a wee bit excited Saturday morning as my bride was about to run her first 5K.

When I sent the following post/tweet out - "Today is my bride's first-ever 5K. Don't know who's more excited - me or her. :) #runchat," one of the responses I got back was: "I'm going to say you :)."

Not going to lie, I was thrilled to have my bride of nearly 15 years join the running ranks with me. It's great when you find a partner in life. It's wonderful when you find a good running buddy. But words can not describe how awesome it is to have a your life partner as a running buddy.

Granted, Genople and I run at different paces, and she's not yet ready to log the miles I do on a regular basis. Yet, I don't mind slowing my pace to run with her and tack on a few extra miles with you. Also, my lovely bride noted she liked running with me because it pushed her to try harder and go faster than she otherwise would. Besides, time spent getting fit together is time well spent in my humble opinion.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Once Was Not Enough

Guess what, friends? I'm coming back for more.

That's right; I'm signed up and registered for my second full marathon - the 7 Bridges Marathon on October 21 in beautiful Chattanooga, Tenn.

Not going to lie, I'm still processing the fact that I'm putting my body through this again. For those of you who are like me, you realize this was a no-brainer. I had to sign up for another marathon. I ran one, so why not another, right? See, you get my logic.

Truthfully, I had already begun plotting my next marathon even before I ran my first. In the weeks prior to the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, I started looking for what my next big race would be and when and where I could find a marathon perfect me. Call me crazy, but I really enjoyed all the training for the marathon and was going to miss it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nothing Like Being A Cheerleader

I got to be a part of something truly amazing yesterday.

As many of you know, my lovely bride has been doing the Couch-To-5K program for the past several weeks. She completed the course on Sunday, and her first-ever 5K is this weekend. In the meantime, we are working in a few runs to keep her in shape and ready to go for Saturday's race.

Since the start of the program, I've told her I believed she could complete the 5K in under 40 minutes. I guess I said this enough times that she accepted this as her goal.

On Sunday, Genople came oh so close to hitting that mark, going 3.09 in 40 minutes flat.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sometimes Rest Is Best

Yep, this is pretty much the flow of my life :-)
It's been six-plus weeks since running my first marathon and I felt the effects for much of those weeks.

Now, I was not injured, and there's nothing major going on with me (I hope and think not). It's just been hard for me to get back up on the horse per sa since covering the 26.2-mile jaunt.

Of course, I kind of rushed back to running pretty quick after running the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. I *thought* I was easing back into running by training with my bride as she prepares for her first 5K. The pace we ran was much slower than what I normally ran, so it felt easy on my legs.

Buuuuuuuuutttttttttttttttttttttt ...

No matter how fast you run or how slow you go, miles are still miles. And the miles were wearing on me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Taking Time To Say Thanks

Nearly four weeks ago, I completed my first marathon. Running is an individual sport, but there is no way I made across the finish line without the help, support and encouragement of others.

It was an amazing journey. Of course, the race is still fresh in my memory, but I believe the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon will go down as one of my all-time favorite races. And why wouldn't it be? It was my first marathon! I had a truly amazing experience, and I'm ready for more.

But before I get too far away from completing my first and before I begin focusing on my next race adventure, I want to take a moment to take those who helped me get across the finish line. I realize it's impossible for me to name each and every one of you all, and I don't even want to try to list all who were there for me during the journey. There are so many of you I know I would leave someone out. It's inevitable.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

No Foolin'! I Am A Marathoner!

I. Am. A. Marathoner!

I've been thinking about this all week, and I could not think of any better way than with that statement. 

This past Sunday (April Fool's Day), I ran the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

Allow me to let that last statement sink in.

I, Jay Stancil, ran a marathon. 

That is a sentence I never ever thought I'd pen. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would run 26.2 miles. At one time. Twas a mere two years ago I had taken up running. My goal then was to run a half marathon. After my first half and then my second one, I still couldn't see myself running a full. Yet, as I headed into the fall racing season with three half marathons lined up, I felt the itch to run a full. So, I signed up for the Knoxville Marathon.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Know I'm Preaching To The Choir, But ...

A fellow runner tweeted yesterday an acquaintance of hers said "people need to realize training for a marathon has no real world function." Obviously, as a runner, I took offense to this, but it got me to thinking: "Does marathon training have real-life applications?"

I realize I am preaching to the choir with this post, but after some in-depth thinking - most of it during my 5-mile run this morning, I came up with some good real-life applications for marathon training. Granted, I wouldn't call myself an expert on this subject since I'm in the tapering stage of my first full marathon (T-minus 3 days!!!). However, I've learned a great deal about myself during the past 16 weeks in training for my 26.2 jaunt.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Running Gives Me ...

running appsLike a lot of runners around the world, I use DailyMile. It's a wonderful website to help you connect with runners/athletes/triathletes nearby as well as abroad. Of course, you log your mileage and various other exercises there, but DailyMile is a great place for support and encouragement.

This description didn't originate with me, but it is the best way to describe DailyMile: It's Facebook for runners.

(If you're not already on DailyMile, I highly recommend you checking it out.)

Anywho, every day DailyMile asks a new #dailymission. What it is is a question or comment regarding running. One day they will ask, "what's the one piece of running gear you can't live the house without?" Another day they'll ask, "morning, noon or night? When do you like to run?" For the most part, I don't respond or comment on them. But every once in a while, they have one that peaks my interest. Today's #dailymission struck a nerve with me. So much so, I felt a blog post was in order to fully share my response.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Running Is My Crack

Yes, I know it's been forever since I've posted anything. Life has been crazy for me since the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon. Between family life, work and everything else in between, free time to update you all on my running adventures has been few and far between.

(Of course, that's part of the reason I created a Facebook page for this blog. I can update regularly there without all the long narratives you find here. Translation: this is a big ol' hint for you to 'like' and follow my Facebook page! :-) )

I've got a long list of things to share: updates on my training for my upcoming marathon (my first full is only 19 DAYS AWAY!!! eek!), how the month of February went for me (OK, I'll just tell here and now - it went GREAT! 156.7 miles with a pair of 20-mile runs) and an assortment of other items.

But what I want to share with you today is this revelation I had this morning: I'm addicted to running.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A PR Without Trying? Why Yes! I'll Take It

This is definitely not the race recap I was expecting to write. After all, Saturday's Strawberry Plains Half was supposed to be merely a training run for me as I prep for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

I had no real expectations for this half marathon. It's through the east Tennessee countryside, and the weather was less than ideal. Though I've heard the hills on the Strawberry Plains Half are small compared to the Knoxville Marathon, I wanted to run a hilly course to get me ready for my first full.

All in all, I was running for the fun of it. In the back of my mind, all I wanted was a sub 2:15 time. That's become my benchmark.

Seems I now need a new benchmark ... BECAUSE I PR'ED!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

January - My Month of Running in Review

Wow! Where did the month of January go?

The month just seemed to fly by. So much so, I can't believe it's February 7 and I'm just getting to my monthly recap. (I've been a wee bit busy, sorry.)

It was an amazing month of running for me. And I would like the thank God for the wonderfully mild and warm weather because it made me want to get out and run ... AND I DID!

January was such a great month weather-wise here in Kentucky. Last year, I had to wear my cold-weather running gear from December through February and on into March some. But I can honestly say that I've worn shorts and short sleeves more in January when running than anything else. It has been awesome!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Me Speedy? Who Knew! - Calhoun's 10-Miler Recap

Daniel and I before the race.
You never really know what you're capable of until you put yourself to the test. Thing is, I wasn't looking to test myself per se. My goal was to get myself used to running some hills for my upcoming marathon.

Today (Saturday, Jan. 28), I ran the Calhoun's 10-Miler in Lenoir City, Tenn., with the sole intention to get used to running hills. The Knoxville Marathon is notoriously hilly and has earned the nickname the "KnoxHILLS" Marathon. Not having completed a full marathon before, I want to make sure I am as prepared as possible for my first. I'm not dead-set on a certain time (other than to finish under 5 hours), but my main goal is to finish and survive.

The Calhoun's 10-Miler is a nice out-and-back race with rolling hills along the way. Definitely a great test for me as I gear up for running 26.2 miles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Taking A Moment To Celebrate

Yesterday, I had a running epiphany.

I accomplished something I hadn't really considered to be a possibility. Even though I know I still have a long way to go, I want to take this moment to celebrate my most recent achievement.

Life is a journey, and along the way, it is important to celebrate the milestones you reach along the way. At least, that's what I believe.

So, join me in my little celebration.

Friday, January 13, 2012

You Might Be A Runner If ...

This has been done before, and it'll be done again.

But after longing to write a new post, I thought I'd add my own. Nothing real thought provoking, just a little fun here on a cold winter's day.

So without a further ado ...

You might be a runner if ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Can't I Just Run?

(FYI ... the title of this post is supposed to read with a bit of a whine, mmmk ... Now to the post)

I'd admit I'm still new to this running thing. Yeah, I'm closing in on 2,000 miles for my career, but I've been hitting the pavement for less than two years. I've still got lots to learn.

Along the way, I've learned a lot, and I look forward to learning more.

What's the old saying? "Knowledge is power."

One of the things I've heard from other runners over and over again is how beneficial cross training is. In this 2004 article, Runner's World spells out eight benefits of cross training. And they all seem well and good even though No. 8 (Fit Pregnancy) doesn't really apply to me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My 2012 Running Goals

Another year has come and gone, and 2012 is quickly underway.

2011 was an amazing year for me. I can't believe all that I was able to accomplish running-wise. From running over 1,250 miles in the year to becoming a half fanatic to posting not one but three sub-2:15 half marathon times, let's just say I impressed myself.

I am not a fan of the 'New Year Resolution.' Resolutions always seem to easy to break as if it's an ideal to strive for. I really liked what one of my new Twitter follows called her list: a Bucket List for 2012.

But I won't steal her name. Rather, I'll go with goals.

I like using the term goals for a couple of reasons. First, a goal is something to shoot for, something which might appear daunting can be attainable. Secondly, viewing these as goals is enough motivation in and of itself to make me want to work hard to check it off my list.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seriously ... Just Go Out And Enjoy The Run

Folks, I have a confession. Now, before I reveal this truth, let me just say it has taken me a lot of soul searching and some wrangling with my emotions.

This was not an easy revelation to come to grips with.

But I've finally accepted this fact. So, without a further ado, here's it is.

I, Jay Stancil, am not and will likely never become an elite runner.

Whew! That felt good to get off my chest.

Truth is, I've never since eternity I'm not an elite runner. Speed has never been one of my strong suits, and the odds of me BQ'ing aren't very good ... until I hit age 80. (Of course, they doesn't I want try to continual improve my times.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Running In A Winter Wonderland

Love this! Found it on the "I <3 to run" Facebook page.
Well, winter finally showed up here in southeastern Kentucky today.

Temps in the 20s with wind chills in the teens. Snow blowing all over the place, making the roads slippery and visibility reduced severely at times.

And I love running it!

Unfortunately, today is a rest day for me. I'm on full-on training mode for my first full marathon, and I really want to stick to my training plan. Given the fact I've never run more than 15 miles in a single run, let alone 26.2, I do not want to do too much outside my training plan. I'm determined to finish the marathon, and I will.