5 Thanksgivings

Since ending the run streak and taking time off after running two marathons, I haven’t had much to write about.  I have only ran once since the marathon and I could barely walk the following day.  My calf is still tight and my right foot is still sore; so right now I am just taking time to recuperate.  I have also been pretty busy with work and some other projects I am doing on the side, all of that being said not a lot of time to write, but since Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday and that means Thinking Out Loud, I thought I would take some time to write before going to sleep.


For those of you who know me ‘in the real World’ know that I don’t like celebrating holidays.  It wasn’t always that way, but being in the military and away for 8 years holidays just become another day, besides that I don’t like the commercialization of holidays.  That is my real pet peeve.  Though I still enjoy Thanksgiving; for the most part ‘they’ haven’t found a way to commercialize Thanksgiving yet.

This week for TOL I thought I would share 5 meaningful Thanksgiving memories.

2014:  Running–Last year Thanksgiving was also day #33 of the run streak.  When I started I wasn’t sure I could make it 33 days, looking back I’m still not sure how I made it 365 or if it was worth it.  Did I sacrifice my marathon training for the streak?  I’ll never know, but I will have another shot to run a marathon and I’ll always have that year of running!

#tbtt Throwback Thursday & Thanksgiving
Throwback Thursday & Thanksgiving

2013:  Nick’s Seat–Every year since I can remember my family has always gathered at my Aunt’s house for Thanksgiving, it is the one thing I always look forward to!  I could probably tell you a story from every year, we always make memories and reflect upon years that have past and tell each other stories about the ones that have past, that we all know by heart.  Sadly in 2013 my Uncle passed away.  He was an avid golfer and I really enjoyed the times he would ask me to golf with him.  On Thanksgivings we would normally switch back and forth between golf and football depending on what time of day it was.  2013 was the first Thanksgiving without him.  Even though we don’t have assigned seats at the table we all sit in the same chairs each year.  After my Granddad passed away my Dad took his spot at the end of the table and Nike had always had the other end.  This year I wasn’t sure who was going to sit in Nick’s spot or if anyone would.  When it was time for dinner my Aunt asked me if I wanted to sit in Nick’s seat, I wasn’t expecting that.  I don’t think she realized how important or honored I was to have his seat.  So now it is me and my Dad at the ends of the table each year.

2012:  Gordon Biersch–In 2012 I really started running with people and going to different run clubs until I found one where I fit in.  That is where I met FKBT, I didn’t call him that then, I called him Tim.  If you want to know the story behind FKBT read Sarah’s blog.  Anyway, Tim was the leader of the City Sports run group and it just so happened that run group this particular week fell on ‘Friendsgiving’.  Tim had arranged for a rep from Brooks to come and demo some shoes; after the run Tim, myself, a few other runners, and the rep from Brooks went to Gordon Biersch around the corner from City Sports.  The rep offered to pay for the first rounds of beers.  After 1 or 2 rounds pretty much everyone left, but Tim and I stayed and talked with the rep for a while.  Next thing you know we were quite a few rounds in and having a blast.  At the end of the night the rep looked at us and said, so there were like 20 people with us tonight right?  We all agreed and the rep picked up the whole tab for Tim and I!  Pretty awesome!  I only tell that story because the rep no longer works for Brooks.


2003:  Surprise–This was the year I got to surprise everyone with a visit on Thanksgiving!  I missed the last two Thanksgivings, I was away in the military.  This year I flew in from Turkey and surprised everyone.  I know Turkey/Thanksgiving you can make some puns of your own.  It was great to see the surprise on everyone had on their faces.  I think I was only able to come back for 3-4 days and then back to Turkey, but it was well worth the trip.

2001:  The Redding’s House–My first Thanksgiving away from home I planned to spend in my dorm in Minot, ND.  Not very exciting, the holidays this year were especially rough being the first time away from home.  The day before Thanksgiving I got a phone call from pretty much a stranger.  She said her name when Ester Redding and she went to the same church I did.  She told me the pastor had mentioned it was my first Thanksgiving away and didn’t have any plans.  I told her that was correct; with that she invited me over to have Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family.  Normally I am not up for meeting strangers in a new setting like that, but I decided I would go.  I was pretty anxious about going, but once I arrived everyone was really welcoming and the Redding’s made my first Thanksgiving away from home a little easier to deal with.

2000:  Turkey Cup–Fifteen years ago my best friend and I asked two of our other really good friends to go golfing.  We decided to have a friendly competition, we called it the Turkey Cup.  The first year I won!  My friends did it again the following year, but I wasn’t able to defend my championship because I was in Minot, ND my first duty station.  Each year since the Turkey Cup has grown, sometimes we play on Thanksgiving, sometimes the day after.  This year we will play on Thanksgiving and have over 20 people playing.  The format of play has changed, instead of individual tournament we make it two-person best ball.  It has become a tradition we all look forward to and one that will hopefully continue for many years to come.

Yes, I know I chose 6 memories, I had to add one at the last minute after I originally posted.  Well there you have some of my most memorable memories from Thanksgiving.

What are some of yours?

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Veggie Fueled Runner



1 Week without running…except for that cat

After running everyday and following that up with running back to back marathons it was really odd for me to take an extended amount of time off.  I know my body needed it though.  If you read my Marathon #5 blog you know how bad I was hurting.  The soreness, hobbling and pain lasted most of the week.  I think Tuesday may have actually been the toughest, not sure I was just really sore that day.

Last week's #tbt for Veteran's Day
Last week’s #tbt for Veteran’s Day

The place I normally go to get a massage actually called me on Monday, I had not been in for a while.  I asked to schedule an appointment and the earliest they could get me in was the following Thursday, over a week away, I was hoping it would be sooner.  Most of my soreness had subsided now, although this weekend I had what I am calling ‘phantom’ pains in my feet.  It could have been that I was standing for a while or the shoes I was wearing but it they felt like I had just gone for a long run, but no apparent reason why.

The Phantom is everywhere!
The Phantom is everywhere!

Without running what have I been up to?  Hmmmm, work mostly!  It was a pretty busy week last week, I had several early morning and evening appointments.  I also had an overnight stay on the Eastern Shore, near Ocean City.  I didn’t have time to stop by the beach 😦  I had to work on Saturday morning as well, so it was a long week.

I pack light!
I pack light!

Finally Saturday evening arrived and a little time to relax.  My best friend, John, and his brother, Jordan, came and picked my up, we went to a local bar that was closing down the next day.  They had sold the property to a company next store, that another friend actually happens to work for, and they are going to tear it down.  We had two beers and went to my friend’s house to watch the big MMA fight.  Before going to my friend Tir’s house we stopped and bought some food and drinks to take over with us.  The three of us have been best of buds since high school, so more than half our lives.  I grew up in what most Marylander’s would consider a small town, everyone knows everyone, and their business, haha.

So that didn't run out the way Vegas was hoping!
So that didn’t turn out the way Vegas was hoping!

My John and Jordan had to leave after about an hour to go to some other events but they said they would be back later, before the main event.  Sure enough about an hour later John came back, but Jordan was still out and about with some other friends.  We will all sitting around watching the fights in the basement enjoying the evening and then that is when it happened.  We heard some noise outside and the lights started flickering.  John, said ‘Is that Jordan coming back?’  Then we heard a loud pop, pop, pop, pop, just like gun shots.  My first thought was Jordan had come back but something happened.  He is a police officer and my initial thought was some sort of ambush.  We all took off running upstairs, someone was pounding on the door.  I went for the door and I heard Tir yell the house next door is on fire.  I quickly opened the door, it wasn’t Jordan it was a lady explaining what Tir had just said.  Tir’s cousin Michael was with us to and we all ran upstairs as quickly as we could to get Tir’s wife and the kids out of the house.  Tir’s wife, Amy, had the newborn, Michael grabbed the middle child, I hopped up onto the top bunk to grab the oldest, woke him up, and handed him to John who took him downstairs and outside.  Smoke was already starting to fill the house.  We all made it out safely and Amy turned around and said we have to get the cat.  I was walking down the outside steps and turned around, just at that time I saw the cat run by the door.  I went back in, that same lady held the door open, when I went in.  I kept thinking in my mind over and over, you’re never suppose to go back for the animals.  I was yelling for the cat and saw her dart behind the sofa.  I grabbed the sofa and pulled it out from the wall and grab the cat.  I don’t think I was in the house more than 40 seconds, but I was coughing quite a bit when I came out.

Fortunately, everyone is okay, and the children were not in the smoke that long.  Tir had called the fire department and they started to arrive.  The kids were cold, we all tried to keep them as warm as possible.  Amy called her aunt who lives about two blocks away and we all went over there to warm up and come up with a game plan.  I didn’t even realize I didn’t have shoes on till I was walking over to Amy’s aunts with the oldest child.  Tir actually pointed it out, once the kids were safe inside we walked back over to the house.  The fire department had contained the fire from spreading.  Tir and Michael went back into the house to get some essentials that Amy, Tir and the children would need for the night.  I stayed by the door and kept it open, the house had quite a bit of smoke still in it.  Tir grabbed my shoes for me!  His fence was damaged, the fire melted about six panels of it.


The important part is everyone got out okay, oh and as for the house next door, it was empty the people had moved out two weeks ago.  So that is the story of the time I went running for a cat.

Not the actual cat, this is a cat body-double.
Not the actual cat, this is a cat body-double.

How was your weekend?

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Marathon #5-The Outer Banks

After deciding a few weeks ago I would run the Outer Banks Marathon, race day had finally arrived.  It would be my second marathon in three weeks.  My body felt strong, rested, and ready-to-go.  I woke up around 0400 hrs, to have breakfast.  I had a protein shake and went back to bed until 0530 hrs.  I woke up meandered around the hotel room and finally got dressed for the race.

When I stepped outside I was immediately hit by a constant forceful wind.  I walked down to the beach and the waves had to be 6-7 feet high and rolling in!  The wind would be at my back most of the race so I actually welcomed it, the temperature was in the upper 50’s.  The weather wasn’t as good for running as it was in Baltimore a few weeks ago, but it was much better than it had been the day before.
  I drove to the parking lot where the shuttle would pick me up and take me to the start, as I walked towards the bus I saw Jim and his wife Suzanne.  We rode to the start line together, chatted a bit when we arrived, and then made our way to our starting corrals; Jim and I were both in Corral A.  Jim started further up in the corral and I started towards the back, I wanted to make sure I followed my plan of starting out slowly.  The race started right on time at 0720 hrs., the first mile I think my Garmin had a hard time picking up satellites.  It was telling me I was running a 10:30 pace but I knew I was much faster than that, when I reached the mile marker it beeped and displayed a 9 minute mile.  I was right where I wanted to be, now I just needed to hold that pace and wait to speed up later in the race.

My calf was tight and bothering me a bit, the tightness had gone away in previous runs but it was sticking with me now.  It wasn’t enough to worry me yet, but knew I needed to listen to my body.  Through mile 4 I was keeping my pace at 9 mins, I wanted to speed up and it took a lot for me to hold back.  Somewhere in mile 5 my back spasmed, it caused me to jump up and threw my stride off.  It only lasted a second or two, that had never happened to me before while running.  The pain didn’t last and I kept going making sure to refueled with a blok.

The course support was excellent at almost every mile marker there was a water station, bathrooms, and a med tent.  The course support was some of the best I had seen.  Along the first seven miles there were lots of spectators as we ran through the neighborhoods, my only complaint would be the winding course.  It was hard to figure out the tangents, but a little extra never hurt anyone right?  Halfway through mile 7 my stomach was starting to feel uneasy.  I was wondering if I could make it the whole race without stopping, nope, I made it to mile 10 and stopped to use the bathroom.  I wasn’t to concerned about losing time.

After my bathroom break it was into the woods.  Miles 10-13 were on the trail, any of you who know me, know I do not enjoy trail running.  I didn’t realize there was a trail portion when I looked at the course map.  The trail was uneven and hilly, like any trail usually is.  My stride changed and I slowed down to around an 11 min pace.  I could feel my IT band getting tight as I was using different muscles in my stride to stabilize.  It seemed like I was on that trail for much longer than I was; I was very happy to see pavement again at mile 13.

As I hit the asphalt, I tried to get my stride and strike back.  Normally I am a toe to mid-foot striker, but through the trail I was running on my heels more.  I tried getting back to mid-foot striking but my calves were tired and I couldn’t stay ‘up’.  I knew I was going to have to adjust my stride for the rest of the race.  The rest of the race I was striking heel first, which made it feel like the shock of hitting the pavement was reverberating through my body.  My pace fell off a bit but I was still around 9 mins.

I was making sure to take bloks more frequently than I have in past races to hopefully keep some glycogen in my body for later in the race.  I had to make another bathroom stop at mile 16, my stomach didn’t want to cooperate with me today.  After the second unexpected pit stop, I noticed I was starting to chaff under my arms and it was starting to bother me.  I decided at the next med tent I would get some vaseline.  Mile 17 nor 18 had a med tent, finally at mile 19 there was a med tent and it felt so good to put the vaseline under my arms.  Then it happened…

In the middle of mile 19, my body said enough.  The constant heel strikes for the last 8 miles, the run streak, the marathon 3-weeks before hit me.  My legs didn’t want to go anymore.  The pain in my quads and claves was almost intolerable.  It felt like my muscles were ready to jump through my skin and out of my body.  I started stretching on the side of the road  and while I was stretching I was looking at my watch, I could still break 4 hours I just needed to push through this and get going.  I popped another block and started running again.  The run didn’t last long before I was walking again.

My body has never felt like it did those last 6 miles; during a race or in training before.  During those miles I though that maybe running marathons 3-weeks apart after a year of running wasn’t the best idea.  After a year of constant running, tendonitis, and 3 more weeks of training my body decided it was time to rest.  The last 7.2 miles took me around 90 mins to complete.  I knew by mile 21 I wasn’t going to break 4 hours, I just wanted to finish the race.  I ran, walked, and shuffled my way to the finish line.  I somehow found the tolerance to run the last half mile and crossed the finish line at 4:40:52.  I added 29 mins to my time from just 3 weeks ago.  I didn’t really care, I was just happy I didn’t give up.

I made my way through the finisher’s area and sat down.  I wasn’t sure I was every going to get up again.  I had never felt so bad after a marathon before.  I sat there for about 20 mins, planning how to get up and make it back to the bus that would take me to my car.  I finally got up and hobbled to the bus.  It was about a 40 min drive back to the parking lot.  I replayed the marathon in my mind and wondered if I could have done anything differently; the only thing I could have done differently is not run.  Although my body felt good going into the race, I think it was still recovering and wasn’t ready for another 26.2 miles.

It is now time to rest, recoup, and start thinking about next race season.  This one is over and though it ended on a bad note, it was a great race season.  I had two PRs (half and full marathon) and came close to a PR at 10 miles.  I’m looking forward to trying for some more PRs after allowing my body to heal!

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Outer Banks Race Weekend


After work I set out for the Outer Banks, the GPS said it would be about a 5 1/2 hour drive down.  Along the way I decided to stop when I saw a sign for Wawa and get a sandwich.  Much to my disappointment as soon as I exited the highway the sign for Wawa said 3 miles, rather misleading from the highway sign, but I still went refueled and had a sandwich.

Water tower just off the exit!
Water tower just off the exit!

When I finally made it to the Outer Banks it was dark, but much to my surprise my hotel was right on the beach!  (I didn’t notice when I booked the hotel)  After I changed I walked down to the water, it was ice-cold!  I didn’t go in any deeper than my ankles, there were still a few people trying to eek out the last little bit of light as they were surfing.

Cowabunga Dude!
Cowabunga Dude!
Last of the light!
Last of the light!

I came back to the room and text my friend who is also running the Outer Banks Marathon this weekend.  He and his wife are doing their first marathon.  We made plans to meet for dinner at a place nearby called Chili Peppers.  For dinner there were seven of us, he and his wife had brought along four friends who were doing the half marathon.  It was great to meet everyone, the conversation was light as I got to know everyone.  One of Jim’s friends mentioned they were thinking about starting a blog, and I recommended doing it!  Of course we talked about mine and then how I become a vegetarian.  Jim’s wife and a few of her friends said they were going try being vegetarians for 30 days, they were inspired!  Woot Woot!  I told them they have to keep me in the loop.

Lots of business had signs up welcoming runners! First one I saw when I entered Kitty Hawk.
Lots of business had signs up welcoming runners! First one I saw when I entered Kitty Hawk.

After dinner, I went back to the hotel to watch some television.  There wasn’t much on, I watched a show on Discovery called Pacific Warriors.  It was about ‘local’ Hawaiian fisherman.  It was hard not to laugh.  I lived in Hawaii for four years, the people on the show were no way locals.  They didn’t talk like the locals and had problems getting the native dialect (pidgin) correct.  I could be wrong but I very much doubt these people actually grew up in Hawaii.  After a good laugh I went to bed.


I slept in, all the way to 0900 hrs.  That is actually pretty late for me.  When I woke up I had a few banana chips and went for a shake out run.  I ran about two miles, trying to keep a slower pace.  I want to start the race really slow around a 9 min pace.  I know I have said that before but I really mean it.  It was already warm and humid outside.  I am hoping the weather forecast is right and the cold front comes through or it is going to be a long race.

Cool wind turbine.
Cool wind turbine.

After the run I walked down to the beach for a little while and there were quite a few people surfing and doing stand up paddleboarding.  I took a shower and made my way over to the running expo.  The parking lots were small and I had to drive around to find parking but the expo itself was pretty nice.  They had lots of vendors and a nice swag bag.  I walked around the expo for a while before deciding it was time for lunch.  A Harris Teeter was only a mile away so I made my way there to get some lunch and sunscreen.  I’m not sure if it is going to be sunny tomorrow, but I figure I should probably get some just to be safe.

Maryland Harris Teeter's need this section!
Maryland Harris Teeter’s need this section!

I had pizza and some desert and then took it easy.  I decided to take a nap, hey you can never have too much rest before a marathon 😉  While I was napping I thought I heard a knock at the door, before I could answer the door was opening.  It was someone trying to check in.  Apparently, the hotel does not have good record keeping.  The people apologized and went to sort out the issue, I did notice it was raining pretty hard.  Hopefully that will cool things off.

Surprisingly I’m not nervous or worried about this race like was for Baltimore.  I don’t know why.  I have a plan for this race and hopefully everything comes together and I can break the 4-hour mark.

Around 1800 hrs. I went over to where Jim and his friends were staying.  Some of his friends had made a runner’s dream dinner, Ziti!  Time to carbo-load.  I had gone to Harris Teeter and bought coconut cake for dessert.  Dinner was excellent, on top of the Ziti in pasta was OBX made with noodles (Forgot to take a photo).  After eating we watched the movie Inside Out, normally I am not one for animated movies, but it was pretty good!  When the movie was over we all wished each other good luck and I headed back to the hotel.  I arrived and my room key did not work, I went to have it rekeyed and told the desk staff about my unexpected visitors earlier.  She said she would let the manager know.  I watched some television, set me alarms and went to sleep.


Very windy, these waves were between 6-8 ft.
Very windy, these waves were between 6-8 ft.

0400 hrs. I woke up to have a small breakfast and went back to sleep for a little while.  0530 hrs. time to get up and prepare for the race before leaving around 0630 hrs.  I drove to where the parking lot was near the start line and took a quick shuttle ride to the start line.  Before getting on the shuttle I ran into Jim and his wife and we rode over together.  The start line had plenty of porta-potties so the line the use the bathroom was not long at all.  The race started right on time 0720 hrs. and we were off!  I will have a full race recap later this week, let’s just say things did not go according to planned and it was a painful race.  After the race I took the shuttle back to the parking lot, hopped in my truck and went back to the hotel to shower.  My body has never hurt so much after a race.  I didn’t feel like eating anything so after showering I hit the road to get home.  I stopped once to refuel and grab a little something to eat.  I still didn’t feel like eating but knew I had to.  I finally made it home around 1930 hrs.  I unpacked, put my laundry in the wash and went over my best friends to watch Sunday Night Football.  After the game, I came home and fell asleep almost immediately.

The race didn’t go as planned and it wasn’t a PR, I will detail that more in my recap, but looking back I don’t think it was a good idea for me to run two marathons within a 3 week period.  Especially after my 365 day running streak.  My race season is officially over, it is time to rest and let my body repair itself.

How was your weekend?  What recovery tips do you have?

-Veggie Fueled Runner


CH3CH2OH Thinking Out Load

Perhaps that is a bit of an unorthodox title to this week’s Thinking Out Loud.  I can’t blame you for being confused.  Most of the time I write quite a bit on a certain topic.  Tonight I have decided to change things up a bit.  Often times I struggle from Monday to Wednesday thinking about what I am going to write about for TOL.  This week, as Thursday approached, nothing came to mind; I could have written about my upcoming marathon, this weekend, but I felt like I have stressed the importance of that enough.  So I was at a loss as Thursday approached.  On Wednesday, I watched the Country Music Awards and was inspired by them and some other life changing events that occurred of the week.  (yes I am a country music fan)

As I collected my thoughts I knew I had more to say than I could fit in one edition of Thinking Out Loud, so I thought it would be a good idea to lay out some of my thoughts in an outline and discuss them over the next 5 weeks.  After all I have noticed most bloggers who write on Thursdays create a list, so I thought I would create a list to follow as a guide to my blog on Thursdays over the next five weeks.

I hope you enjoy my Thinking Out Loud series in 5 weeks!  It may not make sense now, but in the end I hope it does and it may not always be related to running, but it is always meant to get you  Thinking Out Loud!

The five topics I will be covering are (not necessarily in this order):

  1.  Tennessee Whiskey and Kentucky Bourbon
  2. 365 Days and 10 years later
  3. You are who you believe you are
  4. 4 Minutes (When you couldn’t wait)
  5. A Letter to:

Bonus Points if you know what the title means 😉

-Veggie Fueled Runner