Running History

So a little about myself and my running history – I have had issues with my weight off and on for years since junior high. In high school I did some weight lifting and had a glimpse that for a big guy I might be able to run ok during some football training. Time stretched on and I didn’t really do much in the exercise department besides some random cardio and my weight continued to fluctuate.

Then I moved out of the small town I was living in and was able to start hitting a gym – did some cardio but got into weight lifting and could see some pretty good strength gains pretty quickly.  Managed to get my weight mostly under control but moved cities again and the weight fluctuated again ending up topping the 260 mark. Finally got my stuff together and started walking a minimum of an hour a day – dropped 30 pounds over a summer combining that with weightlifting at a gym.

Weight started to creep again and I couldn’t seem to find time to keep the walking up. Ended up moving cities again and eventually got much more regular about weightlifting and ended up getting a bit into running.  Some friends had planned to do a half marathon one year and I started to wonder what I might be able to do – I was doing some runs close to an hour long by then and thought maybe I could do a half. Eventually I got myself to the point that I could do the half distance – I didn’t do an official race but I did the distance.  It kind of surprised me but I seemed to have more endurance than I expected.

Time went on and I eventually got myself down to about 205 pounds…..and then it started to come back – I had bought a new house and with fixing it up, etc I never seemed to have time to really work on myself.

So come Jan 2002 I realize that I need to get it together and train hard.  I decided to try my first marathon in June – the Manitoba Marathon – I was probably at the gym 5-7 days a week (needless to say I was single during this period) and got to what is still my peak strength and was in very good shape for running.  Then I went too hard one day when it was very hot out, I ran out of water and ended up kind of messed up.  For about a week after that run I couldn’t even climb a set of stairs without feeling ready to lay down and collapse – pretty rough considering that run was about 20 miles long. The marathon was only about 3 weeks away at that point but I couldn’t train anymore and didn’t know if I would even be able to do the marathon. In the end I chickened out and signed up for the half instead – which ended up running in what was my personal best for the longest time on the half at 1:46:11 (finally broke that in May 2014 at the WPS Half marathon)– crossed the line and first thing I said was that I should have run the full – I was ready – missed opportunity. I was approx 215 at this point and could bench probably a bit over 150% of my body weight.

It was at this time I met my future wife and I started to focus less on the training.  My weight fluctuated again but I managed to get control of it and was probably about 225 when I ran my first full in June 2005 – 4:15:01 – ended up walking for about an hour during that marathon due to the heat shutting me down – I did the first half in a time that would have translated to about 3:45 but then had to walk for about an hour and then was able to kick it in again and finish in what is still my personal best time. (edit June 18, 2014 – finally beat the PR on June 15th) My wife and I got married that October.

I ran my second full in June 2006 and was probably about 235 when I did – I forgot my watch on that one so I really didn’t know how fast I was going – ran it in seconds under 4:30 and felt fantastic after I was done – even had a spectator ask if I was feeling as fresh as I looked – I did – I felt fantastic that race and finished with a smile on my face.

My son was born in August that year plus I was filling a temporary job at work which was very stressful – between that and being exhausted with a new born, etc the weight started to come back and the training slowed down or was very hard to get time for. I kept trying to train but things never seemed to work that well – I intended to run the full again June 2007 but ended up hurting my knee doing a half race in April that year – I did that half in about 2:10 and weighed 260 again – a pretty respectable time for that weight but still not pleasant.

We knew we were going to go to Disney World in Jan 2008 so I planned to do the Disney World Full Marathon and my wife Heather decided to walk the half.  She did well on her walk but my run did not go well.  I had some issues on the course and even though I played leap frog with the 5 hour pace bunny until about half way in I ended up wasting so much time and energy in the porta-potties that I was just under 6 hours to finish.  I was 255 at that time and got pretty discouraged about things.  I think it was about here that I went from being a long distance runner carrying extra weight to be a fat guy trying to run long distances.

Eventually at one point I hit just over 270 for a short period of time but managed to bring that back down to around 260 through diet change.

I was still trying off and on to get to the gym to weight lift, etc but it just wasn’t happening. Then in Nov 2008 our daughter was born and time and sleep became even more scarce!

Ended up trying the Goofy Challenge in Disney World in Jan 2010 (half marathon one day and then full marathon the next day) but went into it with the wrong attitude – I trained to kind of run halfs and figured I would run 2 back to back halves and walk out the remainder of the full. My goal was to do the first half of the full on the Sunday within 5 minutes of my time on the half the day before – I did manage that goal.  I finished the Goofy Challenge following that plan but it really didn’t drive any kind of good times – about 6:40 for the full. Weight still around 255. Between the bad runs, the weight not budging and the freaking freezing rain, snow and cold temps that year I really started to wonder what I was doing.

Next running attempt was the Goofy in Jan 2012 – kind of challenged my brother to do the race hoping that would give me motivation to try harder and train properly.  Still didn’t work – I couldn’t keep myself motivated – I was better than my previous Goofy by about 20 minutes on the full marathon portion but still not great and my brother beat me handily even though this was his first marathon and he had had problems training in the last few months. I was still around 255 – clearly something needed to change to get me motivated.

Nothing really clicked until Sept of 2012 when my wife convinced me to sign up for the Goofy again – I told her that if I was going to do it I had to do it properly this time – I was sitting around 257 at the time and I knew I had to change my diet and dedicate a lot of time to the running. I knew I would be taking a university distance ed course over the training period that was also going to take time and that would have to be factored in as well.

So then that was when I started tracking what I was doing better (including starting this blog) and created myself a training plan based up the Lee Hoedl plan and the Hal Higdon Intermediate II plan.  In the end things went pretty well – lost around 25 pounds, ran a solid half (slowed by the crowds), and while I got smoked by the heat I still did pretty well all things considered.  (2:20:34 for the half and 5:25:54 for the full)  Analysis of how I did:  scheduled versus actual

I knew I needed to continue on from there and build on those gains so I signed up for the Winnipeg Police Services half marathon in May and the Manitoba Marathon in June.  Training was pretty good up to the WPS half marathon but kind of fell apart for the Manitoba Marathon (times of: 1:56:13 and 4:40:09 respectively).  The WPS half represented a significant improvement (especially to be back under 2 hours which I hadn’t done since 2002) and the Manitoba Marathon was hampered by heat again but was a still an improvement.  In this training period I only came down about 5 pounds for around a total of about 30 down from my starting point.

We had a back yard pool put in and between lots of time in that and the yard requiring significant rebuilding I was able to get my weight to come down about another 10 pounds over the summer of 2013.  During that period I also started training for 3 half marathons I signed up for in September and October.  (post where I talked about those half marathons)

So as of the original writing of this I have completed one of those 3 half marathons (the Run for Diabetes Research in Winnipeg on September 2nd, 2013) in a significantly improved time even over the WPS Half marathon in May – I completed in 1:49:54 representing over a 6 minute improvement on my half marathon time.  (analysis of how I have done a year into this journey)

I am also now less than a week away from the second of the 3 half marathons and I will update this page (and the rest of the blog) when I am done that one on September 22nd (the Fort Garry Rotary Club Half Marathon).  After that It is one day shy of 4 weeks until the last of the 3 half marathons (the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services Half Marathon on October 19th).  My goal is to have broken my personal best on the half distance in at least one of these 2 races (must break 1:46:11 – last half was 3:43 slow – this should be a manageable goal!).

Edit – October 22nd – I have completed both of the 2 additional half marathons and while I did improve each race I did not hit my PR.  I am not discouraged though – I will keep training and pushing hard.  Fort Garry Rotary Half was completed in 1:47:50 and the WFPS Half was completed in 1:47:14.  Still very respectables times and if I keep it up and get the weight down a bit the PR is well within reach.  Race report for the Fort Garry Rotary Half is here and the race report for the WFPS Half is here.  Additionally my analysis of how I did on the WFPS is here.

I have also just found out that I will for sure be doing the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge in January 2014.  The goal there will be to take it easy on the half distance and see if I can break my personal best on the full (4:15:01) on the Sunday.  With all the training I have been doing to get my half speed up I think this should be attainable.

Edit – Feb 12, 2014 – I did complete my 4th Goofy Challenge in January – I walked the half with my wife on the Saturday in 3:08:25.  We had intended to run/walk but with the heat we just decided to take it easier instead. This did cost me a bit the next day on the full which I went out at my own speed for.  I had issues with the on course fuel impacting my system and my legs being kind of beaten up from walking the half the day before instead of running it.  Full time was 4:39:47 which was still better than my June Manitoba Marathon time even though I lost lots of time to port-a-potties.  A new PR was there but I missed it.  For more of an analysis of how I did on that run please see here.

Edit – June 18, 2014 – Since the last edit I have completed the 2014 WPS Half Marathon in May and the 2014 Manitoba Marathon on June 15th. I finally managed to break my PRs on both the half and the full on these races! New PRs are 1:46:00 for the half and 4:09:44 for the full. For a review of the 2014 WPS Half Marathon see the link and for a review of the 2014 Manitoba Marathon click the link.

Next races are the 2014 Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon in September, the 2014 WFPS Half Marathon in October and the Dopey Challenge in January 2015.

Edit – Dec 22nd, 2014 – Just kind of realized I haven’t updated this page in a while! I have completed both the half marathons listed above and smack in between them I also ran a 12 hour race (49.2785 miles). Dopey Challenge training continues and I am good to go for January 2015!

I managed to hit an awesome 1971 miles in 2014!

2014 Fort Garry Rotary Half race report

2014 WFPS Half Marathon race report

Lemming Loop race report


Edit – March 2, 2015 – to get this page back up to current below are links to my reports on:

– the 2015 Dopey Challenge (which included my 15th half marathon, 10th full marathon and 5th Goofy Challenge — I rocked the races – did way better than I expected…and enjoyed myself at the same time!)

– the 2015 Hypothermic Half Marathon here in Winnipeg – bloody cold…like -45 cold with the wind chill.

Edit – October 11, 2015 – been a while since I edited this page but as an overview after the Hypothermic Half in February, my training kind of fell apart. I got pretty sick for a while and wasn’t able to train.

I did the 2015 WPS Half Marathon in May and the 2015 Manitoba Marathon in June but neither went all that well. I completed both but not near where I wanted to be.

Continuing from there I didn’t get huge training in over the summer but did do a lot better and everything culminated in doing the 2015 Lemming Loop where I managed to squeak out 50.33 miles in 12 hours. Officially done a 50 miler! Whoohoo!

Please read the blog and watch my journey continue.


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