I began running my Senior year of high school in 1992 by joining the track team, after being pressured by my friends to fill a vacancy on the team. After completing my first season running with the team I realized I had enjoyed the daily activity of running and decided to keep running multiple times a week. Over the next 20 years, I ran around 5 miles 4-5 times a week with no watch or structure. My interest was to run just enough to stay fit and free my thoughts during the run.
In 2012, I decided I would like to run one marathon before I turned 40. After searching for the ideal marathon, I decided to register for the Walt Disney World Marathon. With a busy work schedule and no serious knowledge of how to train for a marathon, I began to run 6-8 miles daily only 48 days out from the race date (obviously, this was not the ideal training plan).
On January 12, 2013, I ran my first marathon placing 121st overall, with a finishing time of [3:10:16]. During the event, I had stopped multiple times to take photos with Disney Characters on the course and was having a blast. With no knowledge of how to fuel and hydrate properly for 26.2 miles, I encountered cramping and dizziness in the late miles. After finishing the 26.2 miles, I swore to myself I would never run another marathon again.
After a week to reflect and slowly recover from Disney, I decided to sign up for the 26.2 With Donna Marathon with the Goal of breaking 3 hours. Using the upcoming month, I trained and planned more carefully for the marathon to set myself up for a better finish. On February 17, I ran Donna 26.2 finishing 28th overall with a time of [2:59:04].
Feeling good about my sub 3-hour finish, I started to take running more serious. In March 2013, I joined PRS Running Club of Jacksonville FL and began using the coaching services of Coach Paul McRae. Over the last 3 years, Coach McRae improved my marathon time to a PR of [2:35:37] and 3 marathon victories
In 2016, I decided to run some Ultra Marathons competing in 6 and 12 Hour events. On December 10, I ran my first 100 milers, competing in the Daytona 100. In a race that ran from Jacksonville to Daytona FL, I finished 1st overall with a time 14hr. 41 min. Realizing that my interest remains in Ultras and wanting to improve on my 100-mile time, I started to research some running options.
Speaking with the Jeff Galloway Training program of Jacksonville, I was offered the opportunity to run the Disney Marathon using the Run/ Walk/ Run method. After practicing with ratios and techniques, I decided to use a 6-min. run / 30 sec. walk.
Race morning was cool 48 degrees with wind gusts of around 15mph. I was confident that the wind would play less of effect using the Run/Walk method. Before the gun fired, I set my Garmin Fenix 3 to the [6:00]/:30 setting. I was feeling great and confident from the start of the race as I attempted to hold a [6:30]-mile pace. Six minutes and less than a mile into the 26.2 I began my scheduled 30-second walk. For someone who competes for placing in these races, this was very frustrating but was advised to stick to the plan and it will pay off in the late miles. Over the next 4 walk breaks, I would be passed by several runners. Mile 10 began and I still felt very fresh. Over the miles, I made minor tweaks to the Walk breaks if I saw approaching water stops. This allowed me to consume the proper nutrition rather than force it down on the run. Mile 13 was the difference maker. I began to see all those runners that passed me in the early miles to come back, to me.
Over the final 13 miles, there were runners as far as I could see to pass. At mile 20 I made my final walk break for nutrition and began to pick up the pace. Over the final 6.2 miles, I could run around [6:22] pace. Approaching the finish line I was feeling the best I have ever felt while running a marathon. I crossed the finish line at [2:52:39] 24th Overall.
I was very happy the way the Galloway Run/Walk method had worked for me. Usually, I struggle with recovery the days following a marathon. The Monday following the race I was back on the street running a [6:39] pace. My legs felt heavy but I had no pain or stiffness that usually follows the marathon.
Six days after running Disney, I finished a local Half marathon at [1:16:52]. I was very surprised with the time and had not planned on running that fast, but everything felt great and just ran comfortable. I can credit this quick recovery to the Run/Walk method. I am very intrigued with Galloway Run/Walk/Run method and how it will help me in my Ultra Distances.
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Did you miss the Jeff Galloway Race Weekend in Atlanta? It is not too late to still win the shirt and medal for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 and/or the Barb’s 5K. You can do this by signing up to participate in the Virtual Jeff Galloway 13.1 and Barb’s 5K. You can use a training run or race of the 13.1 or 5K distance to participate. Go to https://jeffgalloway131.com/virtual-jeff-galloway-13-1-and-5k
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