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For those who know me well, they know that I was never a runner.  I played a wide variety of sports but never ran for the sake of running (unless I had to).  So, I searched far and wide for a training plan that catered to my needs; slow and inexperienced…..

My search started at running websites, then took me through at least a thousand personal running blogs and finally to professional trainers…..  There were two things for certain: 1.) I wasn’t about to pay for a training plan 2.) I had no idea how to develop one!

Well, the answer that I was looking for was right under my nose the whole time…..  After my second knee surgery, I purchased an iPod with Nike+ sensor to track my running while providing tunes (I can’t run without my music).  The Nike+ website has a coaching program feature that I “borrowed” from to develop my half-marathon training plan.  I started out with a basic 12-week plan and adapted it into Microsoft Excel…..  “Training plan accomplished!”

My 1st attempt at what I consider a basic-intermediate level half-marathon training plan (below) outlines what I wanted to accomplish last year for the 2010 Cincinnati Flying Pig race.  I wasn’t able to successfully complete this training plan (due to family health reasons) and I didn’t think I was fully prepared for the event.  Despite my son’s hospital stays and minor injuries, I was able to complete the race and claim my first half-marathon finisher’s medal! 

2010 Cincinnati Flying Pig Half-Marathon training plan
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Well, I modified parts of this training plan and developed a similar program for the 2010 USAF Half-Marathon too.  Originally, I had signed up (and paid) for the full marathon distance.....  Unfortunately, several hospital stays with my children, increased time spent at work and personal injury prevented me from satisfactorily completing my training plan.  I changed my registration from the full-marathon down to the half distance and finished my second official half-marathon.  

For the 2011 Cincinnati Flying Pig half-marathon, I modified the training plan (mainly the training dates) and as of 10 Mar 2011 I have met or exceeded all training goals (distance and pace)!  My goal is to finish the 2011 Cincy Flying Pig in under 2 hours.....

2011 Cincinnati Flying Pig Half-Marathon Training Plan
(click image for full size)

Another one of my goals for 2011 is to finish at least one full-marathon; "what better venue than the USAF Marathon?"  This race takes place literally in my backyard and I must "represent" my local community, coworkers, and employer.....

My full-marathon training plan takes me through two phases of mind-boggling distance: Phase I consists of 228 miles while Phase II logs 312.  Doing the correct math, that = 540 total miles!  I think this training plan is ridiculous, but again I developed it from the Nike+ basic-intermediate level coaching program and through inputs from friends.  As a friend said: "just rack up mileage."  I hope this is enough to get me through 26.2 miles.....  

2011 USAF Marathon Training Plan Phase I
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2011 USAF Marathon Training Plan Phase II
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My next stop after the USAF Marathon is the Nationwide Better Health half-marathon in Columbus, OH.  I registered for this race last year but failed to run due to an injury.  I have a score to settle, and I hope to break my half-marathon PR there on flatter terrain (Cincinnati hills are too much for me to maintain goal pace).  I won't have much time after the USAF Marathon, so I tailored a short 4 week training plan to keep me going into Columbus (16 Oct 2011).  

2011 Columbus Half-Marathon Training Plan
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2011 brought about many wonderful things: family's good health (mine included), additional training time/opportunity and confidence.  I have dedicated a lot of time to running and so far it's paying off!  I only hope and pray that I can continue at this rate without any more family medical emergencies and/or personal injury!