Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bluegrass Runner Starts

I have been wanting to start a blog for some time that dealt with a number of aspects related to    OK, I know some may cringe at the mention of “faith” but I do not apologize for speaking on the subject and the truth is everything we do in some way revolves around and is informed by ones faith.  That faith may be in the Sovereign God of the Bible, as in my case, it can be in humanity in general or in some other area but we all have faith in something.  My Christian faith informs every aspect of my life so it will come up in my writing.
running such as Faith, Training, Diet, Racing and anything else that comes up.

That said I figured I would start with some background as it relates to running.  At the writing of this first post I am just turned 57 and have been running now for about 44 years.  While there were periods I did little or no running I have not been far from it at any time.

I started running in 1973 when I did not make the tennis team as a freshman in High School in Tucson Arizona as my goal at the time was simply not to do PE so with tennis out X-Country was what was left.  I had actually been playing football, err soccer, for most of my early years but on moving to Tucson soccer had been removed as a sport so as providence would have it I was led to x-country.  The good news I was in shape, the bad news it was not shape for distance running.  Thus started by running career but it would be some time till I showed any promise, if you can call it that.  I went through 3 years of running in high school not really doing anything till my senor year and even then not really doing much, maybe running 4:27 for the mile and never getting under 10:00 for two miles.

My senior year I started to get faster in road and trail races and I decided to go to school locally so went to the University of Arizona as a walk on.  That did not go well as basically every workout was a race just to try and make the team for the next meet and in a few years I was burned out.   In that time I did have some good races.  Running a 2:30:52 marathon at 19 and routinely running 15:00-15:30 for 5K and in the 31:00-32:00 range for 10K with decent success in trail races.  The problem was at the time in Tucson those times could get you 10th or farther back in many races due to the quality of runners there.  Looking back I should have gone to a smaller school or maybe just have run trail races but at the time it did not seem the thing to do.

For a number of reasons after about 3 years at the UofA I dropped out and started racing bicycles and quickly improved to a Cat 2 doing best in time trialing and hill climbs.  I later moved to Seattle and continued road racing on the bike as well as racing on the velodrome.  To quickly move forward I ended up coming back to Arizona for a couple years then going back to Seattle.  All this time mostly racing bicycles and running sporadically.  Finally, due to a job opportunity with Univega Bicycles I moved to California and continued racing but due to work and life started to not be able to find the needed time to race as a Cat 2 and worked to go back down to Cat 3 or 4.  I continued to ride into 1987 but was doing more running even doing a few Biathlons, including the original Desert Princess and Borrego Springs Biathlon.

After getting married in 1989 I still rode but gradually was moving towards more running due to time constraints.  Around 1992 or so I was just riding a few times a month and running when I could.  Gradually I ran less and less till I was down to less than 20 a week and having a hard time breaking 23-24 minutes in a 5k.

Now moving forward to today, about 4 years ago my family and I moved to South Central Ky to get out of the city and California.  While at the time running very little and riding less a local family was running a few times a week and I started up slowly getting back into running.  I ran my first 5K in a number of years and ran in the high 22 minutes and from there started getting back into running more.  This past year (2016) I ran Boston and while not a good race at all, ran 3:52:02 having qualified at 3:34:22, it was a good experience.  I also ran my first 50K this past year and while it was rather hot and didn’t to go as I would have liked it to was also a good experience.  In the last year I have gotten my 5K down to 19:49 and actually was able to win a trail marathon. 

The goal for the upcoming year is to run under 3:30 as the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis this coming November and then run my first 50 miler at Land Between the lakes in March of 2017.  I am also looking to slowly move my 5K time down during my training for longer stuff and have some 5ks interspersed between the other races.  Along with this is a goal to qualify for Boston at least every 5 years so I can go back when I am 60, 65 and – well we will see how that goes.  I also am looking to do a 100 miler when I am 60. 

Another topic that will come up in my posts will be training and diet as I have changed mine over the last year in looking to find a training plan that would maximize my time and minimize injuries.  In the past even with some success I have always at some point succumbed to injuries and as one get older injuries are even more troublesome as they take longer to heal.  I have been following Phil Maffetone’s MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) plan also with using information found in Mark Sisson’s book Primal Endurance.   Basically this plan had most runs controlled by ones heart rate based on 180 minus ones age with some adjustments.  While HR training is not new the level of the HR is low, for me, based on what I am used to and the majority of training is done at this lower level.  I will not delve into this much here but this plan also includes diet principles that works to increase one’s fat burning capabilities, also called maximizing fat metabolism.  Again, I will touch on this more in future posts but wanted to be upfront about the direction I have taken in this area. 

So that is a very quick rundown of where I have been and where I am now.  In a new stage in life where running is simply part of a bigger picture and with that in mind I do want to race as fast as I can and run as far as I can but health is of more importance since being healthy not only allows me to run farther and faster it will also work to make me most useful to what God has in store for me.

I will also be adding info in the sidebars as I work on the site with links to various resources.

More to come.


  1. Great stuff Tony! all the background insights.

  2. Great start Tony! I'll be following you...