Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I found this online as I was looking for the article I share earlier in Runners World. Evidently they have a tattoo for your racing splits called Pacetat. It looks very cool. Check it out - it might be worth while for the race. It's cheep too - only $2.99 for the tattoo that goes on the inside of your forearm (big numbers too so easy to read). You can order them online, but I think there is a store in Chicago as well that carries them.

Here is the link...


Facing Discouragement

Greetings Runners,
I work with a crafty, veteran runner named Jim. He's in his late 40's and still runs with a passion. Jim qualified for the Olympic trials for the 10,000 meter steeple chase in 1980 (we did not participate in those Olympics though). He has run 32 marathons and countless road races over the years. He looks nothing like a runner by his build (looks like an average middle age man), but can step on a track and poop out a 5 minute mile without much efforts (goes to show the power of V02 Max and genetics). Jim was made to run. Conversely I was not, but we both share a passion for running. I have been pouting of sorts since deciding to hang up the shoes for Chicago. Jim took a moment today to encourage me and share a story to this "young grasshopper."

Jim had recently read a story (in the most recent Runner's World) about a man who was a fabulous cross country runner and an Olympic hopeful for the marathon in 1980. Soon before he was in a horrific motorcycle accident which nearly severed one of his feet (hanging by his Achilles). He begged the Dr. to reconnect it, but in the process severely maimed his entire lower leg. He suffered for years with terrible pain in the leg and a deeper pain in his heart to return to the running he loved (when its in your blood its in your blood). He became a doctor and married a runner as well (imagine that). After many, many years of enduring this pain he decided to start running again. He was able to somehow find a gate where he could plod along at 12 minute miles though the bone had degenerated in his foot to nearly nothing. This caused intense chronic pain. He started to read about the successes of amputees and their subsequent successes running. He made a decision. He decided to do what he probably should have done initially - he had his leg amputated. After several years of rehab and training he was able to run a marathon in the 3:20 range! Amazing story. Jim literally was tearing up as he shared this story with me, and subsequently touched me as well. I tried to find the story online at their web page, but it wasn't online. I would encourage all of you to pick up a Runner's World and read this article.

The impact for me was perspective. Honestly, I have been sulking and pouting about not being healthy enough to run. I will live to run another day, and my body will heal. It goes to show that we often can become discouraged when we turn the focus inward - it is when we put that focus outward that we come to see the reality of our position in Christ and in relation to our fellow man. This is not a setback, it is an opportunity to watch all of you do something amazing! I hope all of you realize what a gift it is to do what you are about to do as you put your foot on the starting line with thousands of runners. You will accomplish something truly amazing and significant and keep in mind that the journey that got you there is just as significant as the race itself...

I guess my moniker was a bit prophetic...Wounded Soldier. The significance of this is completely different (initially), but God has a sense of humor.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Post Race meal - Oct 12th

I need a headcount for the post race meal. Please reply to me with the number of people you expect at lunch following the race. This number includes yourself and any family/friends you expect to eat with us. Right now, I need the approximate number. So, if you think someone might be coming, please include them. We will get the specific number when we are one week out.

The food will be brought to our meeting place (TBD) close to the finish line. (Picnic style) I expect the meal to cost around $10 per person (lunch downtown Chicago)

Please respond to this by Tuesday night. (Sept 23rd)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh my it's early

This is what a 05:30A Wednesday start time for a 10 miler looks like:

Don't Ben and Scott look so anxious to run?

Here's one of Pat and Tracy on an early Saturday: Only Pat could be this 'on' so early in the AM

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Final Logistics! (reply requested)

Living In Faith Exchange Runners (LIFER's)
* John, Tracy, Steve, Chad, Bill, Rich, Courtney, Angi, Pat, Scott, Ben, Doug, Shane
* Team blog at marathon-for-life.blogspot.com.
* Team mission: God first, ProLife, encouragement, fitness!
Hi, LIFER's Team!

We are down to just a couple weeks of training before the two week taper leading up to race day! Let's stay focused on our training plan, take care of our injuries, and encourage each other to the starting line. Our preparation, smart race plan and the excitement of the event will get us to the finish line! Now for the final logistics...

* Friday night: We will do a search and destroy for food on Friday night...preferably walking distance from the hotel (1000 Drury Ln, Oakbrook Terrace, IL).

* Saturday morning: Free hotel breakfast begins at 7 AM. We will depart for the Expo at 9 AM, allowing people to sleep in.

* Saturday night: Angi's college roommate (Pam) volunteered to host us for the Prerace Meal (the price is right, not greasy restaurant food, served at the right time). The plan is to arrive to Pam's home between 4 to 5 PM, eat at 5:30 PM, and depart by 7:30 PM. She lives at 13538 Capista Dr, Plainfield, IL 60544 (about 30 min from our hotel). Here is the Prerace Meal guest list (please let me know of changes): Shannon family (4), Pat/Angi, Bill/Pam, Steve/Tina, Scott, Kevin, Rich, Courtney, Chad, Ben, Doug/Kerry.

* Sunday lunch: Chad Livingston is organizing a delivered meal to our designated meeting spot after the race. The meeting spot is still to be determined. Suggestions?

Lodging: booked rooms at Hilton Garden Inn Oakbrook
* Shannon family: booked (under John)
* Pat, Angi, Courtney: booked (under Pat)
* Chad, Ben: booked (under Chad)
* Steve, Tina: booked (under Pat)
* Bill, Pam: booked (under Bill)
* Scott, Kevin: booked (under Scott)

ProLife Charity: Please send me your ProLife charity today or tomorrow, as I will send these out soon to the LIFE Devotions Group for sponsorship consideration ($/mile). Thanks!
* Scott: Alpha-1 Foundation (http://www.alphaone.org/)
* Rich: Arbor House (http://www.arborhouse.org/)
* Angi & Pat: new C. Springs Pregnancy Center (across from abortion mill)

Run for ProLife,
Phil 4:13

Sept Roll Call- Big Ben

After some painful runs over the past couple of weeks I'm starting to feel better. I've been battling some intense IT band soreness, which is the muscle between your quad and hamstring. As I'm beginning to learn runners often deal IT band issues. I just got a new pair of shoes this week and they have made a world of difference. Additionally my chiropractor has stretched it out a couple of times which really makes my entire leg feel better.

After this evening's 6-miler, my right knee is the only thing that is sore. Praise the Lord! Hopefully, I'll get totally back on track this week and be able to run all the miles on my training schedule.

Less than 5 weeks till Chicago!

"Run for fun, Run for life, Run for Him"

Ben Fisk aka Big Ben

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Achilles Strain and Weigh-in

Greetings Runners,
I went into the doctor late last week and he confirmed that I have a strain of my right Achilles tendon or acute Achilles tendinitis. His recommendation was to take 1 - 2 weeks completely off (or risk further injury i.e. partial tear or rupture). I told him that was an option, and so we moved on to the next option which is physical therapy. I start that today.

I have been only running every other day the past week and I cut my long run in half this weekend from 12 to 6 miles. I am planning on starting a biking routine on my off days this week(probably an hour of biking at my target heart rate to stay conditioned). I have been icing it about three times a day (ice rub) and taking copious amounts of Ibuprofen, which seems to help. I have also continued my stretching regimen.

Needless to say I think it's going to take a miracle to get me to the starting line. I had a difficult time even walking after my 6 mile run on Sunday, so I don't know how I'm going to get my mileage where it needs to be. I have run a 20 and a 19 miler thus far in my training, but I'm very concerned this could get worse if I push it. I have already made the decision to pull out of the Sioux Falls 1/2 marathon this weekend which was very painful for me to make, but I know is the right decision considering the marathon is my ultimate goal.

I think my mental state is worse than anything. I'm just really bummed about the whole deal. I need to persevere and see where I'm at in the next two weeks. If it's not improving I'll make a decision then as to whether I'll be running again or not.

Oh, and to make matters worse my weight is up for the first time in my training. I weighed in this morning at....


Monday, September 1, 2008

Need some inspiration? Read about this guy.

I know I'm having some significant motivation issues right now. This helped:


August Roll Call (Rich)

August training has been a month for perspective. Eight mile runs that were long & painful at the beginning of the program have now become short mid-week runs that I now call "easy days." It was inspiring watching the long distance events during the 2008 Olympics. I was able to synchronize the start of one of my long runs with the start of the men's marathon. It was good perspective for me to find myself at mile 5 when the lead pack had just completed mile 8. It is amazing how the olympic runners can maintain a 5-min mile pace for 26 miles when I struggle with low 7's.

Somehow I have found myself 1 week ahead on my Intermediate I marathon training and am going to have to repeat a week to fall in line with the start of the Chicago marathon; 18-week Hal Higdon program has now become a Rich/Higdon 19-week program. This weekend I thought I had the first of my 20-mile runs scheduled and I decided to run a full marathon and simulate race day conditions as much as possible. I wanted to use this as a psychological boost to my training. I started the run at 8 a.m. having had a goo-pack 15 minutes prior. I ran at a consistent 3:10 marathon race pace (7:13 min miles; 8.3 mph). I had printed out the Chicago marathon course map complete with drink stations marked. I only hydrated at the marked drink stations alternating water and gatorade. There are drink stations at mile markers 1.5, 3.5, 5, 6, 8, 9.5, 10.5, 12, 12.5, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19.5, 20.5, 21, 22.5, 23.5, 24.5, and 25. I forced myself to use every single one of these rest stops to hydrate and view the course map to visualize my progress. The two most difficult sections of the course I found for hydration was between mile markers 6 and 8, and between markers 15 and 17. I absorbed my second goo-pack at mile 9.5 and my third coincided with the PowerBar/power gel station marked on the course for mile marker 18. At mile marker 20 I hit the usual psychological wall that I have experienced with past marathons, because my mind knows that I haven't trained for anything over 20 miles (the main purpose for completing a full marathon during this year's training). Hal Higdon might argue with what I was trying to do, but I believe that the mind is stronger than the body, and it can make or break your race, so you need to include it in your training. Starting with mile marker 20.5 I rewarded myself with pieces of fruit at each remaining fuel stations to coincide with the race day offerings. I felt really energized at mile 23.5 as I turned the hairpin corner up towards the finish line. Erica was really supportive during this experiment of mine; making sure that my fuel bottles were replenished. At mile marker 25.2 she surpised me by ringing a cow bell and cheering me on. Knowing that I only had 1 mile left I started my kick. I ramped up from my 7:13 pace to a 6 min pace. I sustained this through the final turn and sprinted to the finish line with a time of 3:08:20. This training day I killed my past best by 15 minutes. I felt pretty good afterwards. Erica said that it was the best I had ever looked, and I attribute it to how well I stayed hydrated. I felt that this little experiment was well worth the effort and has boosted my confidence considerably.

August Roll Call (Tracy)

August has been an intense month for me. My mileage has ramped up quickly and I will be tackling my second 20 miler this weekend. I feel great, other than an annoying hip pain (I think it's my hip flexor). It usually just bothers me at the beginning of a run, but loosens up once I get started. I ran a half-marathon today to get a better idea of my target pace and I felt great and ran much faster than I had hoped. I'm so thankful for the weekend group runs now that the Peakers have conquered the "mountain"!. My husband is even more appreciative that he can now sleep instead of waking up before sunrise each Saturday to accompany me on his bike for my long run. I'm looking forward to Chicago. I can't believe it's just over a month away! Happy training!