XX2i Hawaii1 Product ReviewΒ 

Disclaimer: I received the XX2i Hawaii 1 sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (Ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

First off, I have been a BibRave Pro since the beginning of the year. Since then, I have had the privilege of meeting many other runners through social media and through the BibRave Pro program.  I have a couple of races coming up that I will be representing BibRave at and have had the opportunity to try out a lot of new products (and pass some discounts on to you as well).  If you are a runner, enjoy connecting with other runners through social media and at races, apply to be a BibRave Pro

Over the past month, I have been testing out the XX2i Hawaii1 sunglasses.  If you have followed my blog since I became a Pro, you know that these are the 3rd pair of XX2i sunglasses that I have tested.  The first was USA1 followed by Bermuda1 (casual pair).   I have been very pleased with the XX2i brand and they have become my go to sunglasses and I have bought some very expensive sunglasses in the past.  I was very excited when given the opportunity to try out the yet to be released (at the time of delivery), Hawaii1 sunglasses.  

The Hawaii1 sunglasses came with a hard zip case and microfiber bag/cleaning cloth. The first thing I noticed was how light weight these glasses are.  The frame is carbon fiber, the lenses are polarized, and the nose piece is bendable fir a better fit. 

Let’s start with the pro’s

  • Very light weight as already mentioned
  • I appreciate the frame design 
  • Clarity 
  • Great looking design

Now for the one Con

  • I could never get the fit to feel like they were not going to fall off.  They just constantly felt lose on me and I keep pushing them back up my nose.  When running, my sunglasses are one of those things I just shouldn’t have to keep on adjusting.  I was really surprised by this because I have been very happy with the fit on all the other XX2i glasses that I have tried. I do, however, seem to be in the very small minority on this issue amongst other BibRave Pro’s, so please feel free to read their review to see what they have to say. 

AngieAllenGinaErin

    Want to try out the XX2i Hawaii1 sunglasses for yourself (or any of their other great models)?  Use promo code XX2iRocks to get 50% off your order on any of their great products.  

    Want to win a free pair of Hawaii1 sunglasses? Join us on Tuesday (May 31st) for #BibChat on Tuesday for your chance to win. 

    Preview: Earn Your Mittens

    A couple years back, I had heard of this thing called “Earn Your Mittens.”  It is a challenge where you run the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha on Saturday, then the Kalamazoo marathon the next day. I though at the time that I would like to try it sometime.  Then last September, I guess I decided that 2016 would be a great time to try it.  At the time it seemed like a great idea, now it just seems a little insane.  But, sometimes running is insane.  Well, the Earn Your Mittens weekend is here.

    To make this weekend experience if more insane, after a less than desirable performance at the Carmel Marathon, I will be running the Wisconsin Marathon aiming to run under 3 hours.  The Carmel Marathon was 3 weeks ago, not much time for recovery. This will probably make the Kalamazoo Marathon a little unpleasant.

    I will be honest, since my coach and I talked about going all out at the Wisconsin Marathon (conversation probably began about 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line in Carmel), I have not thought much about the Kalamazoo Marathon at all.  All preperation has been focused on the Wisconsin Marathon and whatever happens in Kalamzoo, happens.  

    Here is what I know about the two races.  Looking at the map for Wisconsin, it is mostly a North/South course along Lake Michigan.  Depending on the wind direction, this could be a benefit.  At the time of me writing this blog however, winds will be out of the North between 15-18 mph. Not ideal.  Really hoping for the wind to be coming out of the east or west.  There is also a chance of rain/thunderstorm.

    Also after talking with fellow BibRave Pro, Lisa (who is from the Kenosha area and earned her mittens last year), it is a mostly flat course with a hill at mile 9. So with all this in mind, here is how my coach and I have planned this race out. The first 7 miles, I will aim for low 6:50 pace.  This is a few seconds slower than Carmels opening miles.  Miles 8-19, I will be aiming for around 6:40. This is when the wind we be at my back the most, if the weather doesn’t change. Miles 20 to the finish is basically what I have left in the tank.  It will be interesting with the wind as these miles all head north.  Lisa also shared that there really isn’t much of a crowd on the second half of the race so I am not expecting much support.  
    Truthfully, with only 3 weeks between marathons, I will be happy with a sub 3 hour marathon.  Anything faster is an added bonus.

    As for Kalamazoo, there really isn’t much of a plan other than to finish without an injury.  I can guarantee one thing, there will be walking involved. If I had to come up with a time goal, I would say keep it under 4 hours.   All that I really know about this course is that it is really hilly.  Walking up some hills are probably in my future. 

    I won’t be alone on this adventure.  My wife Tina (you can read her post on the upcoming weekend here), is running the Half Marathon Challenge.  I feel bad for how long she will be waiting for me on Sunday. 

    When I originally planned on running this weekend challenge, the plan was to run both marathons relaxed.  Things don’t alway go as planned however.  So it will be business on Saturday and just enjoy the run (or walk) on Sunday.

    New Blog!

    I have decided to start a new blog page, along with a new Facebook page. Why you may ask? Basically it comes down to the fact that the 2015 Boston Marathon is over and completed, so the title of the Blog doesn’t make sense any more. When I started Mark to Boston 2015, I planned on it being just a blog about getting ready for the 2015 BostonMarathon. But it became more than that with race reviews, product reviews, and other things related to running. 
    Also, along with a new blog page, I have started a new Facebook page. You can find that page Here. I hope to offer encouragement, advice, product reviews and more. I would appreciate if you would like my new page and follow along as well as contribute. It’s a lot more fun when others are involved. 
    So why the name “Daddy, Did You Win?” After every race I run, no matter how large the race or the distance, my two daughters, Emma (8) and Chloe (7), ask me, “Daddy, did you win?” They even asked me after running the Boston Marathon.  
    So please keep following along both on the New Blogand on Facebook  

    Sunburst Half Marathon

    For those of you who know me well, you know this is not my favorite race. I do complain about this race every year, but I do actually have some positive things to say this year as there were some improvements.  I run it for a couple of reasons: 1. Just about every runner in the area runs this race.  It gives you an idea of where you stack up in the local running community. And number 2: it’s a points race in our local running club. 

    Sunburst offers a wide variety of distances to run/compete in. They offer a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon. If running is not your thing, they have a 5k walk as well. I have said in the past that I would never do the full marathon again at Sunburst (I first said it in 2004, and also after going against my better judgement and running it again in 2013).  This year I held true to that statement and ran the half marathon.  

    The major benefactor of this race is Memorial Children’s Hodpital in South Bend. 

    The typical course for Sunburst races starts in down town South Bend and finishes somewhere on Notre Dames Campus. The typical thing that drawls people to the Sunburst races from out of down is that in past years, all the races finish at the 50 yard line inside of Notre Dame Stadium.  For the second year in a row, the races were unable to finish inside of the stadium due to construction to the stadium itself. Not a big deal to me, but apparently it is to others as registration has dropped by about 25% over the last two years.

    Also this year, all the courses were drastically changed.  In my opinion, they were changed for the better.  No more running by the waste water treatment plant north of down town South Bend for the half marathon and marathon.  The half marathon course went east out of South Bend and into Mishawaka along the river and back into South Bend before heading to Notre Dame. 

      
    My Race:

    I came into Sunburst not knowing what to expect.  With focusing on the marathon distance over the last couple of years, I really had not run a great half marathon race in a long time.  I decided on what I considered an obtainable goal, running a 1:24:00.  Not real fast for me, but considering my past times, not bad, especially considering my time last year at Sunburst (1:27:17). 

    The race started at 7:30 for the half marathon, an hour later than originally announced.  The start time was changed from 6:30-7:30 due to fears that the 5k and marathon runners would clash on the course.  So the two races were switched.  Runners in the half, such as myself would prefer the 6:30 start to avoid as much heat as possible.  While those in the 5k were upset as well because a lot of younger kids were running the 5k.  I couldn’t imagine waking my kids up for a 6:30 5k race. 

    Luckily, the heat stayed maniagable all morning, with temps reaching of 60s.  I would have preferred 50s, but with temps getting up into the 70s and 80s in the past, I won’t complain about this years weather.  

      (Start of the full marathon at 6:00)

    Race started on time at 7:30. The goal for the first mile was to go 6:35-6:40 for the first mile and take it easy. This didn’t happen for either of us as we ran 6:19. (Average for a 1:24:00 half marathon is 6:24). It didn’t feel like I was working too hard, but still wanted to go slower.  

    The next several miles were consistent with running a 6:21, 6:19, 6:19, 6:21. The only bad thing about the day’s weather was the wind.  Gusts were out of the east, which appropriately enough, with the new course, was the way we were running the first 5.5 miles. Wind wasn’t too strong but noticeable.  There are only so many things a race can control, and weather is never one of those.  

    Splits started to drop off at mile 6 with a time of 6:29, followed by 6:23, 6:23, 6:32, 6:39, 6:53,  and 6:36.  Right after crossing mile 12, was “Hallelujah Hill.” Marty Stern once said “if the hill has its own name, then it’s probably a pretty tough hill.” In years past, I have made fun of Sunburst for naming a the hill because it wasn’t all that difficult of a hill.   This year, they moved it a couple blocks east, and it was a lot steeper of a hill. 

      

       Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Heartbreak Hill, but with how steep it was, it was tough. 

       
     

    The hill was only a .1 mile but with an elevation gain of about 40-50 feet quickly, made for a tough section in the race. The last mile was run in 6:57, a bad way to end the race.  Overall I finished in a time of 1:25:03, beating my time from last year by a little over 2:00.  I will take it. I finished 12th overall and 3rd in my division. 

      Myself and my friend Todd Hoffer, whose race I will be running in this Saturday. 
    Tina ran the 10k.  It was not a PR race for her, but according to her Garmin, the course was .2 of a mile long. If it was closer to 6.2, she would have set a new PR. It also sounds like Hallelujah Hill got the best of her as well.

    Here are my ratings for the race itself, and how it was run. Highest score is:

    πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ».

    Registration: πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    Registration opened up on Black Friday.  Sunburst had a promotion for up to 33% off your registration when you registered on Black Friday. I think you had to register for either the family walk (held on Friday night), or the 5k walk to get 33% off.   

     Basically it came to be that you got $5 off your race entry.  Not a fantastic deal, but I guess $5 is better than nothing. Plus throw in that in the picture, the 33% could be mistaken for 55%. Other than those mix ups, registration was easy. 

    Start time: πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    Originally the half marathon was to start at 6:30, but in mid May, Sunburst announced a change in the srart times. To read more about this reasoning, click Here. For a lot of people, this was a late notice for child care arrangements that were already made or for other travel arrangements.  Also through in the younger runners and parents trying. To get them out of bed early for a 6:30 5k race. 

    Sunburst got a little lucky this year on the weather. If it were a warmer day, the half marathon would have been miserable.  

    I would like to see the half marathon and marathon start together as they do at other races. 

    Packet pickup/expo: πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    For me, this packet pick-up is the most convenient one for me, 2 blocks from where I work, so I was able to walk to it during my lunch hour. For those who don’t not have that luxury, there is plenty of parking around the former College Football Hall of Fame, where the expo was held.

     I wouldn’t come to Sunburst looking for a large expo.  If that’s your thing, then prepare to be disappointed.  However, Fleet Feet was there selling shoes and running gear, as well as gels.  Basically, if you needed a last minute item before the next days race, they had it there.  There were also a couplets other races on hand that you could register for.  I took advantage of a $10 off discount and registered to run in the 2016 Carmel Marathon and signed Tina up for the half marathon. 

    Packet pickup is smooth.  You go to one tent to pick up your bib, and another to get your shirt. And your done. This year, however, they didn’t give you bags to carry your stuff in.  So people like me had to go ask Fleet Feet for a bag or risk losing their bib number on the way back to their car or office.  

    Course: πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    This was the biggest improvement I believe for this years race compared to years past. I have said a few times that the only thing consistent about the Sunburst course is that it consistently changes.  I have never ran on the same course twice.  But this course I hope they change.  The course runs towards Mishawaka, through Buetter Park which allows a large portion of the course to run along the St. Joseph River. The course is not all on the roads (wide sidewalks as well), but what is on the roads, you get to run in a course that is completely closed to vehicles.  

    The only part of the course I would change (other than Hallelujah Hill) is this: 

     It looks like I went the wrong way or had to duck into the port a potty or something, but it’s actually a small out and back section right before the 10 mile marker. 

    I guess if there was one more thing I would change, it would be to have the start/finish at the same place.  Either at Notre Dame or in downtown South Bend.  The locations are over a mile apart, just make it easier. The race does provide shuttles for after the race (not before), but in years past, it has been faster to walk back to downtown. 

    While the half marathon seemed to measure accurately for me, Tina had the 10k measured as long and a few marathon runners said the course was 26.6 miles long.  Usually on the Garmin, a course will measure a little long (26.4 is common) depending on how well you cut the tangents. 

    Shirts: πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

     

    Not a fan this year.  They πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ» just for it being a tech shirt.  Blue was for the half and full marathon, yellow was for the 5k/10k. Name of the race isn’t even on the front and the wording makes it look like its a kids fun run.  Our 7 year old daughter even asked that, since it’s a fun run, does she get to run? (True story). 

    Finishers medalsπŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    A lot of people have one complaint when it comes to this years medals, the date on the ribbon: 

     the race was run on June 6, 2015. Oops. 

    This is not the first time I have received a medal with an issue of the date being wrong on the ribbon.  I know some are asking for a new ribbon with the right date on it.  It’s just not that big of a deal to me. 

    Over the years, Sunburst has improved their medals:  

     2004 marathon finishers medals (this was at the time where all marathons seemed to have started giving out finishers medals, so at the time it was nice, now we would consider it small and cheap. 

      2010 half marathon finishers medal.  That’s right folks, it’s a cheap medal with a sticker. 
      2013 marathon finishers medal 
      2014 half marathon finishers medal.
    Finishers medals are not that big of a deal to me.  I do keep them, and hang them on my medal hanger, but never put them on again.  Basically they are a reminder of where I have ran and sometimes help remind me of certain events in running or in life in general. So a lot of times, it doesn’t matter what they look like or how cheap they are (or if the dates wrong on the ribbon). 

    Post race food πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    I think I have mentioned this before, but after a long run, last thing I personally want to do is eat.  I don’t think I ate anything for 2 hours after I finished. They had basically chocolate milk and fruit.  That’s all I recall seeing.  I just grabbed a chocolate milk (chugged it down right away) and 2 bananas (I think my 2 year old son, Derek, ended up eating them), and that was enough for me.

    However, I do know that others like to eat right away and a lot of the marathon runners were upset because the chocolate milk and fruit were all gone when they finished.

    Bang for your buck πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    Typically you get a nice shirt and medal, but for the price, especially if your coming from out of town, I don’t think it’s worth it. Here are the registration fees: 

     

    Make Running Fun For Kids

      

    With childhood obesity at all time high in the United States, one of the best things you can do, along with saying no to all the junk food and the sugary drinks that many parents allow their kids to drink, is encourage your kids to run.  No, running will not kill them and it’s not child abuse.  The more you instill a healthy active lifestyle in your children at a young age, the more likely they are to continue it as they become teens and young adults. So how do you get your kids to enjoy running and keep doing it?

    FOCUS ON PARTICIPATION AND IMPROVEMENT 

    Encourage your child to participate, not winning. Keep track of what runs your kid has done and keep track of their times.  Remember what their PR is.  There is nothing wrong with pushing your child to do their best, but remember, just like you, they are not always PR on a given day.  Remember, these are children and their mood and desire can change by the second. 

    Last year at the Blueberry Stomp in Plymouth, Indiana, I pushed Emma to run a kids mile even though she was saying she didn’t feel well.  She finished the mile but whined and cried the whole way.  As we found out later, turns out she had a double ear infection.  Oops.  Listen to your kids. 

    REMEMBER, ALL KIDS ARE DIFFERENT

    Not every kid can run a 10:00 mile. There is a huge difference between our daughters, Emma and Chloe.  Emma has longer legs, Chloe’s legs are quiet short.  I think Tina and I agree that Emma has more running talent, where with Chloe, we want to see her improve and stay active.  Let’s face it, Chloe will be our soccer player, Emma will be the runner.  No two kids are the same so don’t compare their progress to another kid. 

    LAY OFF THE HARD TRAINING

    Really, for a child who is just starting, running 2-3 times a week is probably enough, and 1 mile each day is plenty.  Pushing your kids too much, who have not developed proper muscles, could lead to your child getting hurt and loss of desire to run. And if they have to walk, let them walk, but encourage them to keep moving. 

    INCREASE DISTANCE GRADUALLY

    Start with a quarter mile.  Once the child is able to run that far, go up to a half a mile and so on. Also, as much as I hate it for adults, use the run walk method with your child.  Run a couple minutes, walk a couple minutes. 

    PARTICPATE IN AGE APPROPREATE EVENTS

    Keep to the kids races until you believe they can make it through a full 5k. The last thing you should do is discourage your child by pushing them to go further than they are ready for.  Keep them in races with kids their own age.    
    BUY YOUR KID RUNNING SHOES/CLOTHES

    You don’t have to go buy all expensive clothes, but allow them to feel like they are a runner. Old Navy has some cheaper clothes as well as JC Penny.  Obviously, they aren’t Nike brand, but let’s face it, in a year or two, they are going to grow out of them anyways. 

      

    Also make sure they have good shoes.  Once again, you dont have to spend a lot of money.  Basketball shoes do not make good running shoes.   

      

    DISPLAY THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

    Some races give out medals, or robins.  Hang them where your kid will see them and will be proud of their accomplishments. We have hung up a dry erase board for each girl to hang up their bibs, write their PR times and hang their medals.  

     

    Getting the Motivation Back

      The biggest struggle for me since finishing the Boston Marathon, now 4 weeks ago, has been staying motivated.  After finishing a race that you have been trying to get to for years, training for months for, and then, all of the sudden, it’s over.  Everything I have been training for, is now over. A long with the race being over, the motivation has been slipping away.  Is it because the big race is over? Or is it because I am training for a race right now that just doesn’t excite me all that much? Probably a combination of both. 

    So what is my motivation right now? For one, I believe I have a sub 2:55 marathon in me.  I just need to put it all together again like I did at the Monumental Marathon last November. Second, I do want to get back to Boston again.  No, I will not be running it in 2016.  The goal is to do it again in 2020. So for the next 3-4 years (registration will likely open in September of 2019 and I would probably have to have run a qualifying time sometime after September of 2018), I hope to continue to run BQ times 5:00 below my standard. The good news with getting older, effective this September (because once registration opens for 2016, you can start qualifying for 2017, and on the day of the 2017 Boston Marathon I will be 35, I will have an additional 5:00 minutes to qualify.  Did you follow all that? Basically, I will need to run a 3:10 marathon instead of a 3:05 that I need now.  But in order to get back to Boston in 2020, I need to keep in marathon shape and keep qualifying over the next 4 years. If I start letting my training slip away again, I am not sure I will get back to where I will need to be. 

    In order to keep motivated, I feel that I need to mix it up some.  For each spring and fall I plan to have at least one goal marathon where I plan on aiming for a BQ time. Then after that, try another marathon shorty there after just to run and see what I can do on short rest. 

    So what’s next for my running? Since Boston, I have switched over to half marathon training temporarily.  I will be running the half marathon at Sunburst in South Bend, IN.  I don’t really like Sunburst all that much, but basically, every local runner runs it spits almost like you have to do it as well. 

    After Sunburst, marathon training starts back up again (16 week training program begins on June 8). I will be running the Grand Lake Marathon in St. Mary’s, OH. I have heard this course is flat and fast. The goal for this race is to break 2:55.  With it being late September, there are still chances of the heat playing a factor.  

     6 weeks later, I will be running the Monumental Marathon for the third year in a row.  Last year, the weather played a factor.  The temperatures am were in the upper 20s and winds were out of the north (head wind for the first half) at 20-30 mph, and I still managed a PR.  

     The following weekend I will be running the Veterans Marathon in Columbia City, IN. This marathon will be the marathon where I will just run by feel. 

      
    It’s looking like I have my spring of 2016 marathons planned out already.  In April, I will be running in the Carmel Marathon.  This was the marathon that I first qualified for Boston in. 

     Following that, I will be running in marathons in back to back days the first weekend in May. The first marathon is the Wisconsin Marathon in Kanosha, WI and the second is the Kalamazoo Marathon. 

       
     So for those of you who struggle with motivation from time to time, my advice to you is, mix it up a little.  If your focus has been on half marathons for some time now and you are bored with it , try a full marathon.  See what you can do. If you are tired of the full marathons, maybe try a 50k, or drop down to a half.  Also to keep things interesting in my marathon training, I like to throw in some shorter races (5k, 10k, 15k). This gets me in the competition mood and also adds some more speed work.  I don’t know if I could go through marathon training without any other races. It would drive me crazy doing all those miles alone. 

    Speaking of running alone, if you struggle because you are running solo, find a running partner with a similar goal.  Don’t have any close friends who are runners, join a local running club. A lot of running clubs have group runs with runners of all abilities who you can meet up with once a week or multiple times a week.  A lot of them also have race series events you can get involved with. Also another resource to use to find group runs is your local running store. 

    If you just need that kick in the butt to get started, check out your local running store as well and see what they have to offer for new runners.

    Fleet Feet Sports all over the country have a running program called “No Boundaries” which is geared towards providing runners a training program for runners, especially beginners, to meet their goals.  Start off with a goal of finishing a 5k, then after doing that, maybe running the whole 5k (if you had to stop and walk the first couple, which is fine). Fleet Feet also offers “No Boundaries” programs for when you are ready to move up to the longer distances (10k, half, and full marathon). If you struggle doing it alone, then don’t do it alone.  

     Lastly, if your struggling with motivation, set a goa, but make it realistic and not too far out. If the longest you have ran is a 10k, don’t make your goal right away to do a marathon.  Run a 15k or half marathon first. Also when setting up a goal, don’t say “in 2 years, I want to run a marathon.” I am not saying you can’t do it, but have another goal to go with that.  For instance, say in the next 6 months, I want to run a half marathon. Then over time, keep making the goal more difficult that way in 2 years, your ready to run that full marathon.  Don’t set your goals so far in advance that you can’t see them. 
    Tell me, what are ways that you keep motivated?

    Spring Fitness Run Half Marathon

    This was the first time that I have ran in the Spring Fitness Run event, held in Warsaw, IN.  I went into this race with the understanding that my legs are still not back to full strength as I continue to recover from Boston and training also for the half marathon at Sunburst, which will be held on June 6. So I came into this race with no real expectations. It was a small race, but I also noticed there were a few college athletes trying to qualify for the NAIA Nationals in the marathon (you can qualify with a fast enough half marathon time). So the chances of winning this race were non-existent, and I was fine with that. 

    The cost of this race was $23.00 when I registered, $25.50 after online registration fees.  It was $30.00 for day of registration.  So for a half marathon race, this was cheap.  Please consider that as you continue reading. 

    The race started at 8:30AM. At this time, the temperatures were in the mid 60s with 95% humidity. I wish it started at 7:00.  

    As the race started, what I thought would happen, happened.  Three college runners took off and that was the end of that.  At that point, I found myself in 4th place and to make a long story short, that’s where I would stay. 

    During the first 3 miles, you could really feel the warmth and humidity and was looking for an aid station.  Finally, at mile 3, you could see the table ahead.  Only one problem, there was no one handing out water.  There weren’t any cups with water sitting out at all. Just a table with two water jugs and cups stacked up.  

    At about mile 4 was one of the nicest sections of the course which was along Winona Lake.  You continued to run along the lake for about 1.5 miles.  Finally, at mile 5, another aid station.  And this time, there were volunteers, and the cups had water in them.  One problem, none of the volunteers were handing them out (and they were half filled Dixie cups).  I did my best to grab a couple cups as I ran by, while telling the volunteers that they needed to be handing the water to the runners.  

    At this point, with very little water in me, feeling very warm, and knowing that I wasn’t going to catch the leaders and didn’t feel that 5th place was going to catch me, I made the decision to just relax and use this run as a workout. 

    Mile 8 was the first time that I actually got a good about of water in me, but at that point, it was too late. At about mile 11 I came acrossed the water station that I passed at mile 5. They must have heard me as I was handed small cups of water. The last two miles I coasted in, starting to feel my arms and hands tingling, which for me, usually means dehydration is setting in. I finished with a very unimpressive time of 1:26:50, good enough for first in my age division and 4th overall (out of 86)
    Race ratings:

    Going to start something new.  I am going to give rating for each race, not on how I ran but on the race itself.  Like I said earlier, this race was $23.00, so take that into account as well. Top score is πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    T-shirt/SWAG

    πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    I half expected a cotton tshirt for this race, given the registration fee.  Very surprised by the tech shirt, and even more so by the fact that it is a New Balance shirt at that. Has a small race logo on it, keeping it simple.  
    Aid Stations/volunteers

    πŸƒπŸ»

    As stated above, the aid stations were lacking and sadly, the volunteers on the course we’re not too helpful. I hate saying that about volunteers.  Not sure if there was poor training/communication from the organizers or what it was. 

    Course scenery 

    πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    Probably the only great part of the course was running by the late.  If you are looking for crowd support, this race is not for you.

      
    Elevation Difficulty 

    πŸƒπŸ»

    Easy course with some small rolling hills. 

    Parking/Access

    πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ»

    Parking was right by the start/finish line at the county fair grounds.

    Awards

    πŸƒπŸ»

    First off, for the price, I didn’t expect a finishers medal, and after receiving one, they probably should have just saved the money.  

     

    The age group awards were nothing flashy.  Not even the event name or distance on them. 

     

    Overall

    πŸƒπŸ»πŸƒπŸ» 

    Would I run this race again? Maybe if I have a hole in my race schedule I need to fill, but it’s not one that I will be in a hurry to sign up for. Get more aid stations and volunteers handing out water and the rating would be higher. 

    David’s Run for AutismΒ 

    Saturday was the first (and hopefully not the last) annual David’s Run for Autism.

    The event offered a 5k and 3k.  

    David’s Run is a race organized by Noah Price and his family.  Noah’s brother, David has Autism.  Noah also has a Facebook page called: Autism Through A Brother’s Eyes with David Price (strongly recommend that you check out this page). The purpose of this run was for autism awareness.  This event was more than a run.  There were children’s games (my kids loved them) as well as a silent auction with a wide variety of items to bid on. Also Stu, the South Bend Cubs new mascot, made an appearance.   

        The event was very well supported by the town of Nappanee, with the mayor being present and spoke about how the city wants to see this race held every year, staff from the local schools, NorthWood’s Cross Country coach (Coach Bell) and many sponsors. There were also over 350 runners/walkers registered for the event. 

    Race

    The race began shortly after 8:30.  For me, the question was, how would my legs hold up?  It’s only been 12 days at this point since running the Boston Marathon.  In all the marathons that I have ran, this is the longest it has taken me to recover from a marathon. Goal was to start conservative and see what happens.  

    The course was basically an out and back with a small loop in the middle, which was nice do it wasn’t just a turn around a cone.  

     The town of Nappanee was great in allowing road closures for the whole course.  Often in small town races that aren’t large (over 500 runners or so), towns will not close roads needed for a run.  

    The splits for the run were:

    Mile 1: 5:42

    Mile 2: 6:05

    Mile 3: 6:14

    Not too fast of a start but my legs were not feeling it still.  After the second mile, I knew I wasn’t catching the leaders, and felt confident I would finish in 3rd so I took it easy the last mile.  

    Finished 3rd over all, 2nd place in the 19 and over age division.  

     I always appreciate a race that doesn’t go the cheap route on their medals and actually put the race name or logo on their medals.  I have quiet a few medals that I am not even sure where they came from any more.  Plus, this medal is a spinner.  Kind of cool.

    Organization

    The Price family did an excellent job in organizing this event, and I don’t mean for it being the first time.  This was a race that was very well run and organized.  I know that they had help from others, but the family put a lot of hard work in putting this event together.  So congratulations on a job well done.  

    2015 Boston Marathon

    First off, for all those who said they were stalking me (AKA: getting text update or following my progress online during the marathon) thank you very much.  I have heard stories from people I work with, go to church with, and even my kids school teachers.  Also, my mom had her students do some sort of graph of my progress.   

     Truthfully, I think she had them do the graph to give her a reason to have her cell phone out while teaching.

    You go into events like this with visions of what the day will be like.  For me, it was temperatures in the mid 40s, a tail wind, and overcast skies and running your best race ever. Obviously our visions of what we expect, don’t always work out the way we think they should. Race morning was 42 degrees but the real feel was in the mid 30s, windy and rain.

    Race morning arrived with the alarm going off at 3:00 in the morning. Yep, awake at 3:00 for a 10:00 race.  As expected, really didn’t sleep too well the night before.  We needed to leave Meghan’s house early because Meghan and Kelli needed to board their bus to athletes village at 5:45.  

     Pre-race photo with Meghan Irvine and Kelli White.

    As you can imagine, the roads into Boston at that time of morning were empty.  After we parked, Tina and I walked with Meghan and Kelli to the hotel that they would leave from.  From there we wished Meghan and Kelli good luck and headed towards Boston Common where gear check was at as well as where runners loaded onto the bus to head to Hopkington.  

    The weather for race day was not very promising. Calling for highs in the mid 40s, winds out of the east (head wind) at 20 mph with gusts up to 30mph, and rain.  

    Tina and I arrived early at Boston Common and just found a bench to sit in and wait until it was time to load up the bus.  I had made contact with a running friend of mine, Chad Ganger, who was with Ed McCollum heading to Boston Common.  The plan was to meet there and ride the bus together.  For those of you who know me well, I am not very patient.  I am the type of person who expects to be early.  My worry started to kick in for probably no reason at all, I messaged Chad that I was going to go ahead and get on the bus.  In the crowd of 30,000 runners on this day, I never did see Ed or Chad in Boston (sorry guys). Nerves were obviously starting to get to me as I used the port a potties 4 times while in Boston Common.

      

    I have heard people say they hate the bus ride up because they have you go up in an uncomfortable school bus.  I actually enjoyed it.  Got the opportunity to talk with runners from all over the country about running.  The common questions were, how many Boston Marathons have you run before? How many marathons have you ran? Where did you qualify at? Where are you from? How did your training go (typically asked if  they know where your from had an awful winter)? And of course, what’s your goal for today? People from all over the country, all kinds of professions, all with one goal, to run well at the Boston Marathon.  

    Athlete village was more of the same. People from all over the world, talking about running. Really, we didn’t spend as much time in athlete village as I thought we would, maybe an hour and a half. While there you could get your photo taken by the famous “It all starts here” sign as well as a couple other places.  I already put my money down to buy my race photos, so I was taking any opportunity that I could to get my picture taken and get my money’s worth. Also in Athletes Village, I used the port a potties 3 more times (bringing the total to 7).  At 9:05, the first wave of runners were called to start heading to the starting corrals. 

           The walk to the corrals from athletes village is about a half mile long.  On the way right before the corrals were tons of, you guessed it, port a potties.  I figured I better make one more stop (total of 8 at this point). Once in the corrals, I needed to go again (that’s 9. there is a reason I am sharing this with you, I promise). We were in the corrals by 9:30 with the race beginning at 10:00.  Once again there were more conversations with runners.  One guy was from Chicago, another from Edmonton.  The one from Chicago had about the same goal as me, and I thought I would hang with him for a while.

    My Goals for the race: 1. Run a new PR under 2:55 (6:40 average). 2. Run under 3:00. 3. Run a BQ time. 

    For those who are not familiar with the course, the Boston marathon is unique in that it’s a point to point course with a net elevation loss. 

        After introductions of the elite male runners and the national anthem, the gun went off and we were on our way.  At this time, there was no rain and light wind. There was only one problem at the start, I had to pee again. I swear, I really didn’t think drank that much water.  Also at the start, I lost contact of the guy from Chicago I thought I could run with and pace with.  I am not sure if he got ahead of me or behind me.  The corrals were so crammed and it was impossible to move side to side.  I was basically going to have to run my own race.  

           I have read and been told many times, when it comes to Boston, don’t push the opening miles.  It will kill you later.  All the people in front of you will slow you down, consider it a blessing. The first 4 miles are downhill, a couple rolling up hills but noticibly, you lose a lot of elevation.  But I kept it easy, maybe too easy.  First mile was 7:01. Ok, that was too slow, but really I couldn’t help it.  It was just that crowded that I couldn’t move faster. Second mile I was able to pick it up and ran a 6:37 mile.  At the end of the second mile, there was some relief, a port a potty.  After a 40 second pit stop, I was back running.  Probably tried to catch up too much at once and ended up running the third mile in 6:48. Considering the added pit stop, which I did not stop my watch, this was way too fast.

    Truthfully, I haven’t looked at my splits too closely until now (while writing this blog) and now I am kicking myself.  

    Mile 4: 6:25, mile 5: 6:38, mile 6: 6:23, mile 7: 6:28, mile 8: 6:36, mile 9: 6:45, mile 10: 6:35. 

    That was far from the plan, especially miles 4, 6, and 7. They say seconds in the beginning of the race equals minutes at the end.  How would this all play out later? It was also around mile 8 that it first started raining.  The rain lasted for a couple miles.  At this point, I had already threw off my hat and gloves. 

    I also learned, it is very easy to get distracted in Boston while running the marathons.  There are crowds like you have never seen at a race before, giving high fives to the kids along side the course, and trying to move amongst all the other runners.  It became so much of a distraction that I forgot about the fuel that I planned on using at mile 8 and remembered it at mile 11. Oops.  

     Everything you have ever heard about running through Wellesley is true, although I have been told that the volume and crowd was less than usual due to the rain.  But for a first timer like myself, I didn’t care. They call the course along Wellesely College, the “scream tunnel,” and for good reason. Wellesely College is an all girls school and you can hear them screaming from a mile away. When I first heard them, I just thought, you have got to be kidding me.  You couldn’t see them, but man could you hear them. Wellesely college is also known for trying to get kisses from runners.  For this reason, since they are lined up on the right side, I stayed left so that I wasn’t cut off by some guy trying to get a kiss. From Wellesely to mile 15 is just small rolling hills.

    Mile 15 probably has the steepest drop on the whole course. You drop about 100 feet in elevation right before the climbing begins. Mile splits for miles 11-15: 6:40, 6:32, 6:38, 6:39, 6:48.  Amazing, the most loss of elevation in a single mile, and it was a slow mile.  By about mile 12 though, I knew things were not going very well and it could be a struggle.  At the halfway point, I was at 1:27:05, 25 seconds ahead of goal pace. 

    At this point, it’s still raining and it would be until the end. My hands are numb, I am struggling to grab water at the aid stations, and having trouble seeing. 

    Mile 16 starts the infamous Newton Hills, a series of 4 hills over miles 16-21. My goal at this point was to relax on the up hills.  If the time slips some, that is fine. Mile splits on the hills were 6:36, 6:57, 6:59, 6:57, and finally 7:27 up Heartbreak Hill.  Obviously, Heartbreak Hill was an ugly mile for me. At this point my legs are dead.  It was really only a matter of how long until I hit the wall. At the top of Heartbreak Hill is Boston College.  Warning to anyone who runs Boston in the future, don’t take water from anyone who is not at an official aid station.  More than likely, at least at Boston College, it’s beer.  May not sit to well in your stomach. No I didn’t take any, but I could smell it as I ran by. 

        Mile 22 was run in 6:50.  Them finally, as we entered Brokline, it came, I hit the wall. During the 23rd mile I walked for probably a quarter of a mile.  Whatever chance there was of breaking 2:55 was gone.  23rd mile was completed in 8:20. Usually when I walk, it means that the rest of the way would be run walk.  

        I got going again and finished the race  running, didn’t need to walk. Final mile splits were 7:18, 7:10, 7:15.  Nothing fast but I kept moving. 

      Before getting to mile 26 was the most famous turns of all of running, Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston. As loud as Welesly was, Boylston was unreal, and the elite runners had been finished for almost an hour.  It was nuts.  I was looking for Tina as I ran down Boylston, and for some reason I had it stuck in my head that she would be on my right side. Turns out, she was on the left. Never saw her, but at least she saw me.  

                  

    Finishing time was 3:00:43, so I missed out on my first two goals.  

        After crossing the finishline is where the long walk begins. First Then water (thankfully the volunteers had the caps already off because I still can’t feel my hands were still numb). Then they give you your medal and take some photos:
    Then they give you a poncho to keep you warm (really wish this came before the medal) I had to ask the woman help because I couldn’t feel anything and couldn’t get my arms through the arm holes:  

        At this point, I must not have been looking to good because 3 or 4 nurses asked me repeatedly if I was ok.

    Then it was a long walk back to Boston Common to pick up my gear and meet Tina.  They provided changing tents for all the runners. On an average day, this would probably go pretty smooth but with the rain and cold, everyone wanted to change, and it was packed full.  

    Tina and I had some time to kill before Meghan and Kelli finished, so we went and grabbed a late lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. 

     cant think of a better way to celebrate than with Red Velvet Cheese Cake. While at dinner, we got text alerts of how Meghan and Kelli were doing.  Both ran impressive times for themselves, especially considering the conditions.  Meghan ran a 3:44:07, and Kelli (first marathon ever) ran a 5:16:14.  

     

    Questions I have been asked since finishing the marathon:

    Daddy, Did you win? Ok, this one came from our daughters back at home.  Simple answer, no, which was then followed by the questions: Why not? Maybe I should stop running the local 5k’s and 10k’s and lower my kids expectations.

    How did it go? Quiet honestly, it was one of the greatest weekends of my life. The experience of being in Boston for the longest running marathon was unreal. Along with that, I got to spend it with my wife, Tina. 

    But it was also the most miserable time of my life.  The weather was brutal.  I don’t remember ever being so cold. 

    Are you happy with your time? Yes and no.  I didn’t hit my goal, and weather obviously played a part in that.  But also, there were parts that I just didn’t run smart.  I believe I was ready to run a 2:55:00, it just didn’t happen.  However, it is hard to be disappointed with running a BQ time in Boston.

    Will I return next year? Well, I do have a qualifying time, but the answer, unless something drastically changes and we win the lottery (which we don’t play), the answer is no.  

    Will you return to run it again at some point? Assuming that I keep up my training and maintain qualifying times, it looks like maybe in 5 years for the 2020 marathon would be the most realistic chance of returning. 

    This was one of the most miserable (weather) experiences of my life, but at the same time, one of the best experiences of my life.  Thank you once again to all those who supported me along the way, especially my wife, Tina, who has to put up with my running schedule and me constantly talking about this race.  She put up with a lot. 

    Boston Marathon Weekend (Saturday and Sunday)

    What a great weekend it was in Boston, with so much to do.  No doubt about it though, we didn’t do or see it all.  For those of you wanting to read about the race, sorry, that will probably come later this week.  I am waiting for the photos from Marathonfoto to be completed.  This post is about the two days in Boston leading up to the Marathon.

    First off, I would like to once again say thank you to Meghan Irvine and her family for allowing us to stay at your house.  Despite the fact that we had to stay in a boys room with a bunch of Red Sox/Patriots stuff, it was comfortable and a lot cheaper than a hotel. 

    After a late arriving flight into Boston Friday night, Tina and I woke up early, drove a little over an hour into Boston for the B.A.A. 5k.   

     The 5k started and finished in Boston Common and included running down Commonwealth Ave. before joining the Marathon course going under Massachusets Ave, taking the famous last two turns of the Marathon course (right on Hereford, left on Boylston) and ran through the Marathon finish line before finishing back at Boston Common. 

    It was a perfect day for the 5k. Wish we got the same weather on Marathon Monday, but that’s a story for later this week. The 5k used a “pulse start.” Basically, the runners lined up with others of their pace and they would send out a group at a time.  After one group started and cleared the start line, another group started 3 minutes later. Beside seeing the elite 5k runners,  

     I also got to see Team Hoyt run as well. 

     

    Finally I saw Tina start.  Right before she started, the leaders of the 5k were finishing. Both the male and female winners set American 5k road course records.   

      I was able to see Tina at a couple of locations on the course.  Also along the course, I saw Sean Astin running the 5k.  

      

      

     Despite the crowded streets and zigzagging along the course, Tina ran a PR time of 31:15. 

       

     

    After Tina completed her impressive 5k, we made our way to the expo.  Before getting to the expo, we made a quick stop to get some pictures taken at the finishline.  

      

    Bib pickup for the marathon was easy.  We arrived at 9:30 with no lines at all.  

     

    Up next, probably the one thing that I was looking forward to most on this trip was getting to meet my running hero, Meb Keflezighi.  Meb won the 2014 Boston Marathon, becoming the first American to do so in 31 years.  But as good of a runner as he is, he is a better man.  He is a strong Christian, very personal, and puts others first.  Meb spoke on behalf of Generation UCan (think Gatorade but with a lot less sugar). It’s not a product that I use, but I greatly respect his commitment to the company.  Meb started to represent and being sponsored by Generation UCan 5 years ago in Boston when he met a 8 year old who had so many dietary issues and needed a lot of help.  The dietary program of Generation UCan helped the boy so much.  Meb was so committed to the products and the family of the 8 year old that he came to the boys birthday party, not just an appearance but to be there with him.  

    Meb also talked about last years Boston win as well as his famous finish at the 2013 New York City Marathon. Not a finish he is a famous for because he won (far from winning), but for the way he handled and awful race.  Elite runners commonly drop out of races when they know he doesn’t stand a chance of winning. Meb finished under a different mindset.  This was the year after Superstorm Sandy which canceled the 2012 NYC Marathon.  Men’s mindset was that there were so many people who would love to be running in this race and they were not selected, do dropping out was not an option, even though he admits that he wanted to. Meb was pushed to finish with Mike Cassidy and together they finished the race. 

     

       
      

    The rest of the day was spent at the expo, and Boston Red Sox game.  

      

      

      

    All together Tina and I walked 12 miles on Saturday according to our IPhones (oops).

    Following all the walking on Saturday, we did our best to keep me off of my feet on Sunday.  The Duck Tours are a great way of doing that in Boston.  It’s an hour and a half tour by duck (truck that can go into the water, if you have never seen one).    

    This tour allowed us to get off our feet and see parts of the city that we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.  

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

    I would recommend the tour to anyone going to Boston.  Great way to see the city and to relax. 

     After the Duck Tour, Tina and I met up with Megan, Killi, and Dion (who also stayed with Meghan for the weekend) and went back to the house for an early dinner and Carbo loading and get ready for the next morning.