Monday, September 30, 2013

Meep Meep

Hello all!

Welcome back to my blog.  A lot has been going on in the past 22 days (since my last post).  I'm going to have another post about the move in a couple days.  I'm going to use this post to talk about the Akron "road runner" Marathon, since the pain memory is still fresh.

I drove in from Virginia Friday starting at 3:30 in the AM.  After some gas and potty stops I found myself back in Canton, Ohio.  It had only been a week since I was on those same roads but it felt like forever.  No attempt was made to improve conditions of said roads..

But I digress!

I met my friend Joey for lunch and we caught up.  After that I made my way to my old office to pick up my new laptop (which was shipped to my old office because?).  From there it was time to do some expo-in!  I wouldn't make the trip alone.  James "product of science" Monroe, Adam, and Bryce came along for the ride.  It was cool being with fellow runners at the expo.  In the past I had gone with my wife, my wife and her sister, and Savannah.  They weren't too impressed.  We serpentined the expo floor, stickers were purchased, tri bikes were drooled on (Bryce and Adam), and running swag was picked up.  The awesome thing about Akron is they don't give their full marathoners shirts.  Oh no!!  They give Brooks running jackets!  Another cool attraction the expo had was a car with every participants name on it:

Hey! I know him!
After the expo I made my way to my in-laws to see my wife and girls.  It had been a LONG week away from them, which I said I will get into the move and that week in my next post.  Be patient!

I hadn't run in the past couple weeks (and only a few other times the couple weeks before that) so I wasn't confident about the race.  At the expo I saw something on Facebook about staying positive and positive things will happen (while Adam and Bryce were drooling).  With that in mind I started to say positive things about the race, my performance specifically.  I started to believe in myself.

Personalized bib name, and the blog name "running for h2o" compliments of my friend Matt Regimbal
The same guys I went to the expo with were also going to be my dinner partners for the evening.  The four of us, family in tow, had a pasta dinner.  Yum yum.  I was looking forward to the race...

Saturday morning came quickly and I met up with the rest of the high mill runners (and Adam).

Running is fun!!
Before we knew it the horn blew and we were off.  2013 Akron Marathon was a go.

My plan was to bring down my pace and try to sustain it as long as possible.  Everything was going good the first 8 miles.  I didn't see anyone on the course that I knew.  My wife and fam would be coming later to see me finish.  Everyone else had family with them but I was in the back of the pack so they had moved on to see their loved ones by the time I passed.  At mile 8 someone said my name.  It was Scott Radcliff!  Scott and I had been running partners for the past couple years.  Actually, the first time I recreationally ran outdoors was with Scott.  It was a frigid February morning.  The temperature was 10 degrees (not including wind chill).  I was wearing shorts.  I kid you not, shorts!


He had finished the second portion of the relay (Akron has the largest relay in the country: FACT) and waited for me.  We ran the next couple miles together.  We got to catch up about my move and his recent return from Colorado with other leaders from High Mill.  Aside from friend and running partner, Scott is also one of the small group leaders at our church.  Aimee and I were in his group.  Before the pack of runners headed out of downtown Akron Scott broke off.  Having him wait for me and run is a testament to his character.  Hard to find friends like that.  I was now back to running by myself.

Or so I thought!  Right before the halfway mark Adam's wife Erin shouted my name and ran with me a hundred yards or so.  When she headed back I made a restroom stop and was back on course.  Not for long though...

The wheels fell off between miles 14 and 15.  My legs had no strength.  I was in some good pain.  At one point a spectator yelled out "you're looking great!!" to which I replied "that's debatable!".  I got a couple laughs out of that one.  I'll take it.

For the next 10 miles I would run for 20-30 yards until my muscles spazzed to the point of almost buckling.  It was mostly my calf muscles but every now and then my quads would join in the fun.  It was evoking a range of emotions.  At first it angered me.  I would stop and clench my fists or rip my hat off and smack it against something.  Later on it made me upset.  I wasn't going to be quitting though.

There was one mistake I have to mention in regards to my race prep.  I had the wrong shorts.  The pair I brought had built in spandex under the shorts, but it didn't have the positive effects because they were older and stretched.  I wear it under my shorts to avoid chaffing.  With that said, I chaffed.  Badly.  To the point that I stopped at an aide station for Vaseline (and a couple tylenol because I thought it would help my muscles).

I was looking forward to the last couple miles because they were predominantly down hill.  Going up or down hill actually helped my muscles from spazzing.  On the final downhill my left leg locked up.  Total pirate peg leg situation.  I still ran.

I'm not trying to make myself sound courageous or strong to fight through the pain.  The reason I was in pain was because I had been an idiot for the month leading up to the race.  Not running is a horrible way to train for a marathon!  The last few miles I thought to myself "I hope they still have medals left"...

The finish line was on a baseball field.  Before I turned into the field I stopped to stretch.  Pride is a silly thing, people.  I had to make sure I ran the whole length of the stadium and across the finish line without stopping.

I made it!

I heard Bryce yelling, and probably the rest of my friends and family, but I didn't look for them.  Eyes on the finish.  If I made eye contact I would have lost it.  After crossing the finish I had a little trouble breathing, which was helped by first aid volunteer.  Aside from that, and complete exhaustion, there wasn't much to report in the finish area.

They did have some medals left though:

They also gave towels as finisher gifts

I soon caught up with those who waited for me.  James, his wife Ranita, Kayla (who ran the half), and her husband Cory watched me finish but had to leave before talking with me.  Hearing this blew my mind.  They had finished between 3-4 hours before I crossed the finish and still waited!!

Fellow marathoners Bryce and Adam.
My wife is thinking "Oh god.. he's touching me..."
After pictures were taken and gear was unchecked my wife, father-in-law and I made our way to his car.  I got into the backseat and every muscle starting at my quads down to my feet freaked out.  It will go down as the single most painful experience in my life (since I can't birth children).  I am not exaggerating, ask my wife.  I wanted to ball my eyes out but I was too dehydrated.

It's been 2 days since the race and I'm still in a good amount of pain.  I can't keep my legs in the same position for long or they stay that way.  I'm looking forward to my next marathon.  Redemption will be sweet.

The other High Millers/Active:Water runners did great:

James ran his first half at 1:37.
Kayla ran her first half, on two bad knees, at 1:54 or so
Duane ran his half at just over 2 hours
Adam ran his first full under 4 hours
Bryce ran his first full just over 4 hours

I'm stoked for everyone's accomplishments.  Akron knows how to put on a good race!  I will run it again someday.  Maybe even all 26.2 miles of it!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I'm going to ruin the end of the story.  I got the job.

With this new job is coming a lot of changes.  I'll get to that a little later.  First, some running stuff.

Yesterday I ran a 20 mile training run with my two marathon partners in crime Bryce and Adam.  Looking back it wasn't too bad, but during the actual run I felt a little whiny (I'm sure loyal followers of my blog have NEVER heard me whining or being complainy...).  The first ten miles were a little rough.  Riddled with stomach pain.  It was nothing a bathroom stop could have helped.  I know the reason my stomach hurt during the run too: Me.  I haven't been eating good as of late.  It's been a stressful few weeks and I've been eating the easiest food I can conjure (by conjure I mean hot n ready pizzas from Little Caesars).  I thought of even turning back.  It hurt typing that last sentence.  It never happened, luckily.  One reason was because I had no idea where I was.  The only way to get back was to complete the run.  I kept up with the guys for 12-13 miles.  The remaining 7 were a slow, but steady, uphill.  The last mile was all downhill.  Which at first read sounds pretty nice huh?  Not so fast my friend!  Imagine your body being exhausted and throwing all your weight on it.  Not purty.  Only finished 20 minutes behind the guys though.  Not horrible.  Plus when I got back one of them was searching for a toilet so I didn't have to make anyone wait.  SCORE!

Wednesday I got an email at work.  I didn't get the job (GASP!).  The manager I knew in the dept was out of the office so I texted him for the hiring manager's information, this was so I could get some feedback on why I didn't get the job.  He called me back inquiring who called me about not getting the job, wanted that person's number, and he would call me back.  A few minutes later the sender of the email gave me a ring.  She apologized for the mistake and told me that I was not out of the running.  They hired one person but they were going to be hiring two.  At this point I had been waiting for a response for a few weeks.  What's a couple more days?

Thursday came and I had a good feeling.  This feeling was confirmed as I got back from lunch.  I got the job!  Weeee!  It starts on the 23rd of this month.  The excitement didn't last long, unfortunately.  Then the financial part of it reared it's ugly head.  I would be getting a lump sum of money to move, but it was far less than what we expected.  This is my fault actually.  If I would have done proper research I would have known the number we were throwing around wasn't going to happen.  Then again, it's not good to ask about financial stuff when you don't have the job yet.  Either way, we started stressing a little bit.  Where would we live?  How would we get there?  How would we afford a moving truck?  Who would help us move?  When would we move?

These are not problems I'm upset about having.  I'm aware how nice our family has it.  There is a big world outside of my blogosphere.  I'm in a country where I don't have to worry about walking out my front door.  I don't worry about shrapnel hitting me when I'm running around the city.  I need to give time to thank the Lord for these things and help/pray for people in lesser situations.

On Friday we went out to meet Aimee's parents for dinner.  About a quarter mile away from our destination I hear a snap and the car starts sliding.  Wheel bearing went out.  We were already stressing a bit (as mentioned above) but this kind of set me over.  I turned into an introvert.  I didn't want to talk.  I didn't want to mention the car.  I just wanted to eat and get home.  AKA I was a big baby.  Here is a little segment I typed squeezed  between two car seats in the backseat.  I wanted to include it in the blog:

I was in a BIG baby mode.

How ridiculous is this?  I got a new job.  I'm going with my beautiful bride and two girls.  It's an adventure.  A move I feel is supported by God Himself!  These distractions are just getting in the way of the real mission here.  Through our tests is a testimony.  

I know the Lord will provide for us.  He already has in the form of my Mom supporting us and my in-laws being there when our car broke down to help us.  It'll all be OK.  Breathe Thomas... breeeeeathe.

Which brings us back to Saturday.  After the 20 mile run I got home and we decided to take on this move the same way you eat an elephant.  One bite at a time.  We looked for places and found a great townhouse in an extremely nice area.  We found out it was nice with a website Nationwide provided me with for reviewing cities and zip codes.  The area is over half the national average in terms of crime (our current zip code is over 2 and a half times the national average which surprised us because we are not in a bad area).  Also someone from our church is working on our car.  Should get it back tomorrow.  Then today at service we had numerous people coming up asking if they can help us move.  An overflow of love.

On the Tri front I will not be doing any down in Virginia.  I gave the bike that Bryce was going to sell me back to him.  I'm also selling my back up bike back to my father-in-law.  It's all good.  I'm still going to plan on finding a place to swim in Richmond.  My plan is to still do a half iron next year and a full the year after that.  God willing.

Thanks for reading.  We appreciate your prayers through our move.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Ok, I'm the worst blogger ever.

I've wanted to blog but I don't like doing it when it feels forced.  I go on Twitter and see so many people posting multiple times a week and I don't know how that happens.  Positive posts.  Give-aways (where people actually try to win the item!).  Big triathlons being finished.  All these things aren't the reason why I'm not posting.  I'm not trying to be other people or anything like that.  I'd like to start sharing more, honestly.

Lots of things have happened since you read my last "post" on here:

1. I still haven't heard anything about the job in Virginia (I guess that isn't something that's happened)
2. I've acquired an addiction to the BBC series "Sherlock".  I highly suggest you do the same
3. I haven't swam once
4. In other entertainment news I saw the new Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright flick "The Worlds End".  That's another multimedia venture I recommend
5. My wife is pregnant
6. Still training for the marathon and I'm looking forward to it.
7. Fund-raising isn't going as planned but there's still time
8. My wife isn't really pregnant.  I know a few people who recently announced they're pregnant and I was feeling a little left out
9. Two kids is a perfect amount
10. My wife is awesome
11. A lot of fantasy football

The new job has been a roller coaster of thinking/emotion.  I've been able to stay mostly positive, aside from a few moments of weakness that I'm not afraid to admit I've been having.  It's been tough on the misses.  A lot is hanging in the balance with what side of the fence this job falls off of.  My wife babysits kids, people are coming to her for photography sessions, contemplating buying another/better car, our daughter is starting pre-school on Tuesday, there's a triathlon the day before the job starts (which I'm signed up for), the running team, next year's mission trip, etc etc.  The opportunity is there with this position and it feels like the right road to go down.  Going to try to be positive till I get the word from the higher ups.  Either way I've got a job.  Silllllllver lining!

In terms of running, since this is kind of a running blog, it's been going good.  I went into this Akron Marathon training with a good base of fitness from training all year.  While it's made me a little tired, I am able to take a couple days off without feeling guilty.  Saturday I, along with Bryce and Adam, finished 16 miles, in some reallllly humid conditions, right around 10 minutes a mile.  It's faster than I wanted to and faster than race pace.  When I heard that I was excited.  My only marathon to date was close to 11 per mile (in PERFECT running conditions).  What a difference a year makes.  This Saturday a local running store is holding a practice run on the race course.  Excited for the opportunity to get some course practice.

The Saturday morning group may not be big in numbers but it's awesome getting to know some of the guys in my church family better.   Plus I'm able to stay humble with the healthy joking.  Lord knows I dish it out much more than I take it in.  I've been building my defenses up over the past few years with a healthy dose of self deprecating humor.

Phew.  That wasn't too bad.

Thanks for reading.  Hopefully an update on that job sometime soon.