5 on the Booty

Tour de Charlotte Running continues!  After running with Charlotte Running Company on Monday, I decided I definately wanted to try out some more run clubs in Charlotte.  I must say though if you are in Charlotte and looking for a great group of people Charlotte Running Company is it!

Okay, enough with that, that was another blog!  I wasn’t sure I would be able to run with a group but the schedule was flexible for the evening and I was able to!  I decided since I needed to run, some extra miles I would run to the meeting spot.  It was a litte over 2 miles and made for a good warm up.  


Charlotte Skyline
The run group calls themselves ‘5 on the Booty’ I have no idea why, it has nothing to do with where they meet.  The meet at a bar called Hickory Tavern, perhaps it is because they run a 5 mile loop but I don’t know where the ‘booty’ comes from.  When I got there, some people were already there.  I noticed one woman from the night before, she was the only one I recognized we talked briefly.  Then the person I assume was the run group coordinator asked if anyone was new and not familiar with the route.  I spoke up and said I was new.  I was the only one…

Instead of him introducing himself he asked my pace, I told him I would probably run around 8:15-8:30.  He said okay I’ll run around that pace you can follow me, then he went back to talk to people he knew.  I was a little put off by this, but I assumed he didn’t mean to be rude.  Everyone seemed to know each other so I sort of felt out of place.  After what seemed like an hour, it was really only 10 mins the same person announced we would be starting the run.  We walked down to a running/biking path and some of the guys took their shirts off and put them behind the bushes.  I thought this was something you wouldn’t see in Baltimore, the shirts wouldn’t be there when we get back, haha.  One of the things that is great about the south!

The run started and the guy who said he was going to run around the pace I wanted to, put headphones in.  I don’t run with music anymore, I think you can listen to your body more closely without it and adjust, if necessary.  I thought to myself, well this is great, I’m not going to have anyone to talk to.  That’s fine I don’t need to talk when I run, but that is sort of why I like to run with people.  I decided to run a bit faster with a group of 5 that was out front, they were probably running around a 7 min pace and I didn’t want to run that fast, so I fell into the ‘lone’ zone.  Just running by myself, trying to keep the leaders in sight so I knew where to turn.  

During the run someone ran up along side me and then decided to pass me, all the sudden I felt like I was in a race, ugh!  I stayed about three paces behind him and when his pace slowed I took over again and didn’t let him pass again, but I did have to keep turning around and pointing to ask which way to turn, haha.  At the end of the 5 mile loop I had done 7 miles at an 8 min pace.  The person I was ‘racing’ finished a little behind me.  He came up and introduced himself, his name was Fry (sp?).  He said I was a good runner, so I felt like I proved myself, though I wasn’t exactly trying to do that.  We waiting for everyone to finish and I tried talking to a few people but they seemed more interested in mingling with who they already knew.  I also found it interesting that people who finsihed about 2 mins behind me said they ran a 7:48 pace, not sure how that happens, anyway I’m being petty now.


Foutain at Start and Finish of the run
I still enjoyed the run, it was very scenic and much more flat then the night before.  Before I left I did say bye to Fry and he asked if I was joining them for a beer but I declined, I didn’t really feel welcomed like I had the night before.  

One thing I did take away from tonight is to make sure new people feel welcome when they come to a new run club.  I hope I do that back in Baltimore when someone comes to group I’ve been running with for a while.  As I mentioned in a previous blog I am an introvert, but I do try to make people feel welcome the best I can.

I still don’t know why the group is called 5 on the Booty or who that person was who asked my pace…

What do you do when your the new person?

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Charlotte Running Company Fix

Wow, after a taxing week last week, I was happy to be going to Charlotte, NC for work this week.  I had been looking into different run groups in the area, but I wasn’t sure I was up for running with new people.  Late on Monday afternoon I decided I would run with the Charlotte Running Company after finding them on Meetup.  It looked like they have a good showing, so I figured why not.  After a short nap, I hopped in an Uber and took the short ride to the run group.

I got to the Charlotte Running Company at about 1820.  As soon as I walked in I was greated by, David, the run club coordinator.  He was very friendly, went over the route, gave me paper directions, and advice to not start out to fast, it is a hilly course.  I tucked that info in the back of my mind and then talked with some of the other runners there.

Just before we started, the other run club coordinator came up and introduced himself as Linwood.  He was very welcoming and we quickly talked about running, before it was time to start.  At 1835 we went out back behind the store to start the run.  David had told me, the first half mile is downhill and then the rolling hills start.  He wasn’t kidding, the route was like waves on the ocean up and down, repeat!  It was a good course though!  It was hot, close to 98 degrees.  I stayed near the front of the pack most of the route, at mile 3 there was a water stop and I stopped with another guy I was running with, Matt, to get a drink of water.  Then we were off again, I chatted with Matt the rest of the way.  Total the route was 4.44 miles of rolling hills, I finished with an even 8 min pace.  A little faster then I wanted but I was feeling strong and the welcoming runners pushed me through the run.  


Lake and Fountain at mile 3.
After the run many of the runners stood out back of the store chatting and waiting for everyone to finish.  Linwood came over and asked me what I thought of the course, I thought it was great and told him the group has a lot of good runners!  I finished at the back of the lead pack; you could tell everyone was there to make themselves better runners and enjoy the social aspect as well.  After about 15 mins, David came out and and told everyone there was beer inside, so of course we started to file into the store.  Runners love a cold beer after a run!  I was surprised to see a bar set up, first run store I’ve been to that has that!  Linwood told me that Brooks had sponsored the bar for the runners, how awesome is that!


Brooks sponsored bar for runners! #awesome I think that may be the store owner serving, I didn’t get his name, oops!

I talked to some more of the runners and they invited me out with them.  I love Southern hospitality, I really wanted to accept but it had been a long day and I wanted to get some rest and I need to do some work, so I declined.  Some of the runners run on Tuesday so I may see them again, they also invited me to runs on Wednesday and Thursday, I have work events but maybe I can squeeze in a run with them.  It would be great to run with them again.


Charlotte Running Company really knows how to welcome a new runner.  Thanks for a great run!

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Week 3 (6/29-7/5)

Week 2 of training is in the books and it was a good one.  Ran in everything from the humidity to the pouring down rain!

Monday:  3 Miles (Pace 8:16)

Today, I was pretty worn out and did not feel like running, but for the streak and my training I did.  The weather was warm, in the 80’s, not nearly as hot as it was last week thank goodness!  I ran in my neighborhood, there were quite a few people out and they are beginning to set up for the Heritage Fair this weekend.  That is a tradition in these parts!  They say in Dundalk we have two seasons Christmas and 4th of July.  Normally the end of my loop is a slight decline, I decided to change the route a bit and end on a slight incline.  I ran negative splits each mile.  During my daily runs I haven’t been trying to set a blistering pace, especially as I’m increasing my mileage.  After my run I stopped at Subway and order a 6 inch veggie sub and walked home in the cool of the evening.  At the start I didn’t feel like running but afterwards, I felt refreshed and energized as I do most times!

Tuesday:  6 Miles (Pace 8:37)

It was overcast when I started running today and was hoping to get my run in before the rain came.  In mile 2 of my run, the sun came out for a little while, but then in mile 5 the sky opened up and there was a brief shower.  By the time I finished my run the rain had passed.  Even though it was overcast, it was still humid and muggy.  When the breeze picked up it felt nice and kept me somewhat cool during the run, but even before the rain came I was soaked with sweat.  My legs felt strong but tired if that makes any sense.  I had even splits during the run, I wasn’t trying to do any speed work and just wanted to stay consistent.

Wednesday:  1.2 Miles (Pace 8:21)

I went off the plan again today, I was extremely dehydrated and not feeling well all day.  I felt like a reset was needed.  I waited till the evening air came so it would be a little cooler when I ran.  I took the pace easy and was actually surprised I had any fluid to sweat out.  I was just glad to keep the streak alive, earlier in the day I thought I may be calling it over.

Thursday:  3 Miles (Pace 8:04)

Today was the fist time since running cross-country in high school that I actually did a speed workout.  Before the run I was sort of nervous.  I programmed my Garmin 220 for interval training; today I would be doing 4 x 800s.  I put off the run earlier in the day and it was close to 21:30 when I started (military habit with the time, 9:30 for civilian types ;)).  I started with a non-timed quarter mile warm up before the intervals.  I was bummed I couldn’t see how fast I was running the intervals until the workout was over.  The training plan says to run faster than marathon pace so I was running what I felt was reasonably hard.  After each 800, I took a quarter mile break, I ran very easy and tried to focus on getting my breath under control.  After the third interval I wasn’t sure I had another one in me, I focused on deep breathing and took off for the final 800.  I was happy to finish and for the cool down!  I was really happy to see my 800 times, surprised actually!

1st-800:  3:25     2nd-800:  3:15     3rd-800:  3:19     4th-800:  3:16

Each 400 break was around 2:30.  My overall 800 pace was 3:18, I’m pretty happy with that for my first speed workout in almost 15 years.  My 800 pace was much faster than even my 5k pace, I’m actually thinking maybe I should run a 5k soon to see where I am at.  I haven’t ran an ‘official’ one since December when I PR’d at the beginning of the streak.  Tonight was a good run, and a nice surprise!

Friday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:46)

This morning when I got out of bed my legs and feet were throbbing in pain.  I should have stretched before bed, lesson learned.  My big toe on my right foot was really sore as well, the intervals really kicked my butt!  I spent the morning catching up on some work and writing the blog about becoming a race director.  My best friend called and convinced me to go out on the boat for a few hours, even though I knew I should have ran, I decided to go the weather was perfect for it.  It wasn’t a long trip, I told a local business owner and friend that I would work his snowball stand at the Heritage Fair.  I’ve been helping out the last 3 years at Stouten’s Snowball stand, best snowballs around!  On the boat my quads really started to tighten up, so much I thought I had pulled something, after massaging them for a bit, I was feeling better.  We headed back in after only an hour and a half, I had to go work the snowball stand.  I spent the next 6 hours on my feet, when I finished up it was late, after 10.  I did not feel like running.  I changed and hit the pavement, my legs felt like lead blocks.  My feet clunked as the hit the ground, not my normal quite stride.  I couldn’t get into a good groove so I just clunked along for a mile, to keep the streak alive.  I’m not looking forward to the 6 I have to do tomorrow, oh and another 6 hour shift at the snowball stand.

Saturday:  6 Miles (Pace 8:00 )

Today was a busy day, lots to do on the 4th of July.  Even with a nap I didn’t feel like running but knew I had to, I didn’t want to run late again, especially with more miles to do.  I went back and forth between wearing my sweat gutr or a hat, since it was raining on and off most of the day.  I opted for the hat.  Starting out I was hoping for an 8 min pace, but during the run I thought I was feel strong and thought I might be able to squeeze in under that.  At the end I was right at 8 mins.  About half way through the run, I saw something that really bothered me and got me thinking for a while, it was the Confederate flag.  It got me thinking so much I actually wrote a brief blog about it.  The run was overcast with light rain on and off.  I felt good through the run, but was glad to be finished I had so much more to do today!

Sunday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:49)

Well today I really went off the training plan, I was supposed to do 8 miles and when I woke up I had every intention of doing so, then the day started.  During breakfast I started receiving emails regarding a situation in the community which I needed to address, throughout the day I tried and stay out in front of it.  I don’t want to go into to much detail but it was distracting.  Next week I am traveling for work, so I needed to get a haircut, cut the grass, do laundry, and a few other things.  I also had to work the final shift 6-hour shift at the snowball stand.  After standing for over 18 hours in the last 3-days I just didn’t have 8 miles in me and I didn’t get home till close to 2230.  The days events and dealing with a variety of things left me feeling deflated, though I think I could have ran more than a mile, I still had some emails I needed to send and that was bothering me on the run, so I kept it to 1 mile.  Hopefully, I can make those miles up, and it is still early in the training cycle.

Oh, Don’t forget to sign up for my free giveaway!!!

Total Miles:  21.2

The Sweat Life
The Sweat Life

Because I’m a Veteran…

While I was hoping to keep politics out of my blog and focus on being a vegetarian and my running, I saw something on my run yesterday that really irritated me, so I’m going to take some blogger’s liberty and tie it in.

Sign of treason against the United States


Around mile 3 of my run, I saw a truck drive in front of me flying a Confederate Flag.  I am the first to tell you, the First Amendment gives you every right to do that.  What really irritated me though, is that it was the 4th of July.  We are suppose to be celebrating America’s independence, not traitors who stood in direct opposition of America!

Many oppose the Confederate Flag because it is a sign of racism and violence, I’m not going to try an argue a moral point, you can never win a moral argument if the other side isn’t rational.  The Confederate Flag symbolizes whatever meaning you give it, just as wedding ring symbolizes whatever meaning you give it.

The Confederate Flag was flown by those in opposition to the United States and the Constitution our country was founded on!  That opposition is legally known as treason because the opposition took up arms against the Union.

As a Veteran I fought for the United States of America, the promise that all were created equal, that all have the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I wasn’t fighting for Maryland (my home state), or Georgia, or California or any individual state, I was fighting for all states, unified under the Constitution.  The Confederacy was part of our history, and we should remember that, but it has no place of honor during 4th of July celebrations.

I picked up my pace a bit that 3rd mile thinking about recent events in our nation and how ignorant people are when it comes to what the Confederate Flag actually stands for.  People can say it is southern heritage, they can say whatever they want, history and the facts show that flag to be a sign of treason.

Because I’m a Veteran, I don’t want to celebrate traitors.  I want to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America.  Not to be cliche, But we all know ‘Freedom isn’t Free’.  If the Confederacy had won, I don’t think we would have the same freedoms we have today, not all of us anyway.

To the politicians who are out on television and in the papers nationally and locally making statements about southern heritage and observing people’s rights; they are correct individuals can do whatever they want on their property, but on government owned property that flag should not be displayed or sold.  For those politicians who can’t strum up the capacity to understand this is a sign of treason, I say to them you don’t know your history and you probably don’t understand the Constitution.  I hope all Americans remember some of the statements politicians are making when it comes time to vote.  Exercise your right to vote, Veterans fought for you to be able to do that.

Veterans also fought for your First Amendment rights, so you can display that flag if you feel you need to.  As a Veteran I’d ask you to think about what that flag represents before you do it.

For what it is worth I also support flag burning, Veterans fought for you to be able to do that to.

Sorry to devote so much time to a political issue but since it affected me while I was out running I thought I would share my thoughts on the topic.

Let me know where you stand and why. 

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Air Force

4th of July

The other day I saw Picky Runner did a ‘day in the life of’ blog, so I thought I would follow suit on today.  As a veteran this holiday is especially important to me, it is a time to remember those who fought for our freedom and are still fighting for it.

0530:  Alarm goes off, snooze twice

0549:  Finally wake up and get in the shower and get ready for the day.

0616:  Make breakfast.

Quick, easy, healthy, and filling breakfast!
Quick, easy, healthy, and filling breakfast!
0633:  Filled up the fountain as I left the house.

Daily Routine
Daily Routine
0641:  Walked by my friend’s house, who is setting up for his annual 4th of July Parade.

Phil's house at the top of my street, he gets ready early!
Phil’s house at the top of my street, he gets ready early!

People place chairs out to make sure they get a spot for the 4th of July parade.

Grand Stand and Dundalk Main Street
0654:  Arrived at Parade start line; since I am President of the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, I get to walk and represent the organization.  We also have one of our volunteers who likes to dress as ‘Uncle Sam’ ride in a convertible.

Just a few people starting to get ready.
Just a few people starting to get ready.

Gov. Hogan's campaign bus is here.  I find that odd, considering he won the election months ago.  Perhaps stop campaigning and start governing.
Gov. Hogan’s campaign bus is here. I find that odd, considering he won the election months ago. Perhaps stop campaigning and start governing.
0708:  Lead runners pass parade start line.

Lead Runner in the Dundalk Heritage 6k
Lead Runner in the Dundalk Heritage 6k
0710:  First Ladies pass in group of 3.

Tight race for the women!
Tight race for the women!
0714:  Marching Ravens arrive.

Marching Ravens, a piece of living Baltimore history.
Marching Ravens, a piece of living Baltimore history.
0715:  My best friend and his wife, pass by on race course.

John and Marisa Olszewski on the course, Marisa running for 2!  She pointed out she was running and I was not! ;)
John and Marisa Olszewski on the course, Marisa running for 2! She pointed out she was running and I was not! 😉
0841:  After over an hour of waiting and wondering where the car for the Parade was at, it finally arrived and the parade started.

Our car and 'Uncle Sam'
Our car and ‘Uncle Sam’
0842:  Parade starter dropped her pen, so I picked it up for her.  When I handed it to her she said, “Oh, you probably shouldn’t have touched that I am really sick.”  Great hope I don’t get sick!

0847:  Someone in the crowd boos ‘Uncle Sam’ because Uncle Sam is the one who raises taxes…only in Dundalk.

0915:  I always see people I know along the route, one person I always look forward to seeing is my second grade teacher, Mrs. Shatz (pronouned Shots) and her husband.  I also saw my high school librarian, Mrs. Kimos and her husband in the same spot.  Oddly, they don’t know each other, other than from seeing each other at the parade each year.

0950:  The rain starts but we are close to the end, just a light rain, but I’m not looking forward to running in the rain again.  After walking the 3 mile parade route and started and stopping, I’m pretty tired.

1010:  The parade is over we pack up the decoration from the vehicle and I walk back to the DRC and then home.  During the parade I always make sure to shake every Veteran’s hand, at least those that are easily identifiable.

1025:  I arrive back home, it started raining pretty hard so I had put on my Lululemon Pack-it jacket, during the walk.

Glad to be home and out of the rain!
Glad to be home and out of the rain!
1040:  Make a sandwich and relax.

It doesn't sound good but it is delicious!
It doesn’t sound good but it is delicious!
1050:  Called my parents since forgot to call them back from earlier in the week.

1056:  Catch up on DVR’d shows.

1245:  Woke up from a nap, still don’t feel like running. My legs and feet are so tired after the last few days.

1319:  Started my run, today was 6 miles at ‘race pace’  I wanted to run a little faster but I ran an 8 min pace.  Around mile 3 I saw a truck that had a Confederate flag on it.  It really bothers me that people fly that flag, on a day like today.  Probably not for the reasons you think.  I’ll write more about that in another blog.

The Sweat Life
The Sweat Life
1417:  Shower

1432:  Walked to my friend’s party.  (see earlier pic)

1526: Left party to eat at the Heritage Fair before my shift at Stouten’s snowball stand starts.  I help them out every year.

1529:  Arrive at the Heritage Fair, Phil lives pretty close and it is a quick walk.

People getting ready for the concerts.
People getting ready for the concerts.
1538:  Ate two slices of really greasy pizza, thank goodness I ran.  There isn’t much for vegetarians to eat at the fair.  I did see a sign that said Veggies and got excited, but when I got closer I saw they were deep fried veggies, sort of defeats the purpose.  Then again greasy pizza can’t be that healthy either.


Probably not the best thing to eat, but my options were limited!
Probably not the best thing to eat, but my options were limited!
1600:  Start my 6 hour shift working at the snowball stand.  

Best snowballs around!
Best snowballs around!
2000:  You could hear what was suppose to be the big band called ‘Merica’. Only in America are we to lazy to pronounce America. 

2200:  Shift is over and my legs and feet are throbbing from being on them all day.

2213:  Arrive home!

2220:  Shower

2245:  Sleep!

How did you spend your 4th of July?  Happy Independence Day!!!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Becoming a Race Director

In late July of last year, the team that had traveled to Liberia months before were having dinner with some of our Liberian friends who had flown in for a conference.  I couldn’t make dinner because it was the first time Tin Roof Runners were running and I had committed to that before I knew about dinner.  I was sad I wouldn’t be able to see our Liberian friends, after the run they were still at dinner at a restaurant close by so I decided even though I wasn’t dressed for it I would stop in and see them.  It was great to see them even if only for a few minutes and get updates on how everyone was doing.  As I was getting ready to leave our team leader, Dr. Sampson, asked if I would be interested in helping get a 5k together to raise funds for our next trip and to assist in the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.  I told him sure and to give me a call to discuss it.

We didn’t discuss the 5k again until late fall, sometime in November.  Once we did, we talked about what would make a good 5k, a list of things we needed to do, and where a good place for a course would be.  I recommended somewhere that we would not need to shut the roads down.  Since this was the first year of the race, Dr. Sampson and I were pretty much funding the start up cost ourselves we wanted to keep cost down.  Dr. Sampson suggested Perry Point VA Property in Havre de Grace, MD.  We went out and looked at the property, it was pretty flat, right on the water, and no major traffic on the property.  We both agreed that it would be a good site.

Aerial view of Perry Point VA and Park
Aerial view of Perry Point VA and Park

In December we met, to develop a more detailed list of things we needed to do; start to look for sponsors, race insurance, advertising, confirm we could use the property, the date, shirts, medical on site, volunteers, and a few other things.  At this meeting Dr. Sampson asked me if I wanted to be the project lead (race director) and I happily accepted.  We started to compile a list of volunteers and who would be the point person for them, we started to list business to ask for sponsorships, digital timing companies, and then we needed a name and logo.  We talked about several different names for a a while and after about 30 minutes we settled on Global Health 5k and Fun Run!  We thought it fit our message perfectly, our goal is to affect global health and in the future we want to expand the race to around the World.  We also checked the race schedule on a few websites for the upcoming year and picked our date, April 18th, 2015  With that we wrapped up the meeting and we had our marching orders.

I designed the logo, Dr. Sampson had it cleaned up and rendered.
I designed the logo, Dr. Sampson had it cleaned up and rendered.

Over the next few weeks Dr. Sampson began to round up volunteers from the hospital and other organizations he was a member of.  I worked on a logo and called around to digital timing companies.  Once we had our logo, I began to build our website.  Dr. Sampson was able to secure the Rotary as a Title Sponsor and they would provide the insurance for the race, we were really making progress.  One area I was having difficulty with was finding a digital timer, all of them were booked.  I asked a friend Paul, who has organized several local races, if he could recommend anyone and he had a guy he thought I should meet with.  I emailed the person he recommended and set up a meeting to discuss the race and where we were at.  When I met with him in January, he said we did a lot but was concerned we did not have enough time left for a successful event.  He gave me a timing company we could use for a good price but did not do digital timing.  I left the meeting feeling a bit worried.  Dr. Sampson and I talked it over and we had the same thought, what if we bought the digital timing equipment and set up a separate company ourselves and did digital timing on the side.

I looked around at several different product lines and even attended a 3-hour webinar to get more information.  After all that it  was not financial feasible to purchase the base level equipment and be able to recoup our money within the first year, we estimated it could take over 3 years to make our money back.  We stayed out of the digital timing business and ultimately decided to have the race without digital timing and hired the timing company that was suggested RASAC Harford County Running Club.

As the race got closer, more sponsors were coming in, I had gotten permission from the director at Perry Point VA to use the property, we laid out the course on google maps.  Then we realized the date we picked for the race was the same day as Sole of the City in Baltimore.  It was February now and we had been advertising for a few weeks, it was to late to change the date.  That would explain why we hadn’t had that many runners sign up.  I told Paul about it and he said that is just the way it works most of the runners will sign up in the last 2-3 weeks.  That was a scary thought!  For our first year our goal was to have 200 participants, we currently had 10.

In mid-March the sponsors were really starting to coming through, I thought this would be a good time to start doing some more social media advertising.  I started running more paid ads on facebook and through active.com.  Slowly but surely runners started signing up!  I was starting to feel better about the race.

April had arrived, only a few weeks till race day.  Dr. Sampson and I were feeling good about where we were at with the number of runners but knew the next few weeks would be hectic.  We met at the Perry Point VA on a Saturday morning to run the course and make sure we planned out a good route.  It had been a harsh winter and though I ran everyday we waiting to run the course.  It was a good thing we did, we actually had to modify the route.  On the google map it showed a road that was no longer there.  It actually worked out for the best, with the modification runners would run along the water and have a better view for a longer portion of the race.  We needed mileage markers as well, I had been thinking of things we could use and put a sign on to note the mile and the sponsor for the mile.  I couldn’t find anything that looked good, so I decided to build the mileage markers myself.  I went to Home Depot, bought wood, hinges, and paint and went to work.  Total it took me 3-4 days working on and off to finish the mileage markers.

Almost finished, photo of start and finish was lost when my iPhone died :(
Almost finished, photo of start and finish was lost when my iPhone died 😦

The week before the race was super hectic, I had to finalize the shirt design make sure all of our sponsors were included.  Sponsors were asked to provide a high-res logo when the signed on, since I’m not a graphics person I didn’t realized some of them were not.  After scrambling Dr. Sampson and I were able to get all of the logos in high-res and I had to have our logo redesigned to meet the same standard.  Just as Paul said more runners were starting to sign up, which I liked seeing more sign up everyday.  Once I had the shirts sorted out, I ordered our trophies for the race.  The winners would get a trophy and gift card provided by Road ID, who also provided the bibs.  I would recommend Road ID as a sponsor!  Two days before race I went to Sam’s Club and purchased water and refreshments for on the course and at the finish line.  The night before we had packet pick up, which went pretty smoothly.

Shirt design
Shirt design
Trophy design
Trophy design

Race Day:

I was up at 0500 to drive to Havre de Grace and make sure everything was good to go.  Security would be opening the gates at 0600, Dr. Sampson was calling me by 0530 to ask why the gates weren’t open.  By the time I arrived around 0550 Dr. Sampson had found security and had them open the gates even earlier.  At the start line we set up registration, and then the phone calls started coming in of people who were lost.  On the website, I guess it was not clear enough where the start point was.  In generally talking with the runners we said Perry Point VA hospital, the actual start line address was on the Perry Point Park side of the property.  Dr. Sampson and I fielded calls like that all morning, including from our timing company. The race started at 0800 and it was 0700 and I hadn’t set the mileage makers out yet.  I went to do that, one part of the course I needed to drive into a field to place the marker on the other side of the road.  The field was pretty muddy, but I wasn’t worried since I have a 4-wheel drive truck…I got stuck.  I started to panic.  Even in 4-low the truck kept spinning wheels, at the same time my phone was ringing with people trying to find the start line.  I was really starting to freak out.  I gave directions again, took a few deep breaths and got my truck rocking back and fourth and finally got it free!  I was so relieved.  After I set up the course and made it back to registration, everyone asked why my truck was covered in mud, I simply replied “Don’t ask”.

This pic doesn't really show how covered my truck was.
This pic doesn’t really show how covered my truck was.

There were a few hiccups at the registration table of people who did not realize you could only pay cash if you registered on race day, though it was clear on the website.  I was able to go into active.com and open registration again and we got it resolved.  Earlier Dr. Sampson had suggested I run the race as well, I hadn’t planned on it, but I did since he suggested it.  After getting everyone checked, explaining the 5k course and the Fun Walk route we got the race underway at about 0810.  I finished in overall 6th place and immediately made my way back to registration table to make sure everything was good to go for the finishers.  What I didn’t realize was some of the water that was meant for the finish line was taken to the water stop on the course.  That caused a bit of a backup as people finished but we got it under control.

Registration Table
Registration Table
Finish w/Refreshments
Finish w/Refreshments









Even though there were a few problems on race days, we learned some good lessons for when we do it again next year!  Both runners and walkers commented on how nice the course was and really enjoyed the water view.  We again thanked everyone for the participation, recognized the sponsors, and held our awards ceremony.  By 1015 everything was wrapped up and the first Global Health 5k and Fun Run was in the books.  It was stressful at times but well worth it, knowing that the money we raised would be going to help out those affected by Ebola in Liberia and Western Africa.  Between runners and walkers our final count was 180, we were pretty happy with that.  Look for more information in the coming weeks on how you can participate next year!

Have you been a race director before?   How do you handle stress on race day, as a runner or organizer?

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Free Give Away Nike+ Sportband

Yes you read correctly, free!!!


I have not had a chance to do a wear test on the Nike+ Sportband, so here is your opportunity to do that.  It’s never been used, has the instructions and everything you need is included. If you are the winner I would just ask that you email me after you receive it and let me know what you think of it!  It doesn’t have to be a super long or detailed review, just let me know what you thought and I’ll put it up on my blog.

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Free Give Away Details:

Here is how this is going to work.  I am going to determine who gets the Nike+ Sportband by random drawing.  Each person can get up to 3 chances to win the drawing.  You can earn a chance to win by following my blog, following me on twitter, or following me on instagram!  Each platform you follow me on, you will get another chance to win.  I will keep a spreadsheet of everyone and then randomly draw the winner on July 30, 2015.  Once the winner is chosen I will contact them directly for their mailing information.  (Only personal accounts qualify for entry)

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If you have already followed me on one of those platforms after June 10, 2015, you are entered in the contest.

Is this a way for me to boost my followers…yes!  But you also get a chance to win some run gear!

Remember to share with your friends!

-Veggie Fueled Runner


Week 1 (6/15-6/21)

Marathon Training has begun!

Monday:  3 Miles (Pace 7:47)

The training plan recommends running slower than race pace.  I’m not sure if that means for all your runs or just your longer runs.  Today I decided to run negative splits for the 3 miles.  It was hot and humid, and I was glad to get it over with.

Tuesday:  5 miles (Pace 8:12)

Today was awful, this had to be one of the most humid days yet!  I ran downtown with Tin Roof Runners, I wanted to start off at a slower pace but my friends took off right out of the gate.  I forgot my Sweatgutr and sweat was pouring into my eyes and stinging horribly.  Every time I ran by a restaurant I looked to see if there was a napkin I could grab to wipe my forehead, no such luck.  The only thing that kept me going was knowing water was at the end!

Wednesday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:19)

I was really busy today and pretty dehydrated from Tuesday’s run.  I diverted from the training plan and got my mile in to keep the streak going!

Thursday:  3 Miles (Pace 8:09)

I wanted to run a more relaxed pace today, to get ready for my upcoming long’er’ run.  My quads were pretty sore and it was also suppose to be a hills day, but I planned to do some hills on Friday morning with November Project, so I just did a loop around my neighborhood.

Friday:  3.5 Miles (Pace 8:17)

Hill Repeats!  I did quarter mile hill repeats near my house, I didn’t make it to November Project.  I should have gone though, they run at 6:30am when it would have been much cooler.  I saw one other runner out, I think most people are running early morning or late evening when it is a little cooler.  My quads were a pretty sore after the run today!

Saturday:  7.1 Miles (Pace 9:14)

I moved my long’er’ run to today because I was going to be busy Sunday.  It was really humid, I wanted to follow the plan and get in 10 miles, but after 5 I knew that wasn’t going to be possible with the scorching heat and humidity.  I was running much slower than normal and just trying to get in the mileage.  When I knew quality miles weren’t going to happen anymore I decided to cut the run short.  I had an encounter with a driver who didn’t know the rules of the road in Mile 1 which quickened my pace more than I wanted early on.  (There will be a blog about the encounter)

Sunday:  1 Mile (Pace 9:02)

Mile legs were really sore after the first week, I used today as a shake out run to loosen up my quads.  In the plan it does say you can modify the runs if needed.  I don’t want to go to far off the plan, but today was one of the days I needed to, I just wanted to get a run in and keep the streak alive.

Total Miles: 23.6









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2 Countries, 1 Day, 1 Run!

December 21st, Day #57 of the running streak!  I had ran about 3 miles earlier in the day, it was Sunday and I wanted to make sure I could enjoy the Ravens game without worrying about running when the game was over.  I met a few friends at Tin Roof, it is a bar in downtown Baltimore, near Power Plant Live.  There wasn’t much I could eat there, bars never seem to have vegetarian options.  There were a few things on the menu I could get one being a quesadilla with avocado, various peppers, mushrooms, and cheese on it, so that is what I ordered.  My friends and I watched the Ravens get run over by the Texans, it was a lackluster game to say the least.  Towards the end of the third quarter an idea popped into my head to take a spontaneous trip!  I had the next two weeks off from work and nothing really planned, so I started googling places to go.  Airfare was pretty steep for most places since I had waited till the last minute, so I started thinking about places I could drive to.

“Who wants to go to Niagara Falls?”  It was an open invitation to my friends at the table, some looked at me puzzled and one asked me when?  I said right now, it’s only about a 6 hour drive!  I almost got my one friend to go but then she decided not to.  I was trying to convince someone to be spontaneous with me, but it wasn’t working.  The waitress came and asked if we needed anything else, I said “May I ask you a question?”, she replied “Sure”.  “Are you spontaneous?”, I asked.  She said, “Yes!”.  So I followed up with, “If someone asked you on a whim to go to Niagara Falls, would you?”.  She quickly replied, “Yes, I’ve never been there.”  So I figured why not ask.  When I asked her to go it seemed like she actually considered it for a second or two, then declined.  I told her I would take my check, I had to get on the road!

My friends didn’t believe that I was going to go, but I was!  I stopped at my house and packed a change of clothes, some running gear and I was on my way.  My check oil light had come on, so just to be safe I stopped and got some oil to put in my truck.  I am glad I did, somehow my truck had burned almost 5 quarts of oil, so I could have had quite the problem had I not stopped.  After filling up the oil basin I was on my way to Niagara Falls.

When I left Baltimore, it was about 8 in the evening so I would be getting there really late.  I don’t mind driving at night and I don’t mind long drives.  Most of the time I actually choose to drive, instead of fly, given the option.  I don’t have anything against flying, I just like that when I am visiting somewhere I can drive if I need to run to the store or something.

I used the Waze App for navigation, it took me on some backroads through Pennsylvania, I stopped to get gas in a one stoplight town along the way.  While I was on the highway about 2 hours outside Niagara, I saw a glowing in the sky, it looked like a huge fire in the woods.  It was getting brighter and seemed very large as it reflected off the low cloud cover, after about 10 mins of driving, I could tell it was an oil refinery burning off something.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a wildfire.  My drive up to Niagara was pretty uneventful, I was surprised when I got close to Buffalo I could still pick up a Baltimore AM radio station, WBAL 1090.  I guess other than the cloud cover near the oil refinery it was pretty clear and the signal could carry really far.  Yes, I do listen to AM radio; at night when I’m driving I usually listen to Coast to Coast, for a good laugh and just to keep the drive interesting.

As I got close to the Falls there was some construction going on so I followed the detour signs and at just about 3am, on what would be Day #58 of the running streak, I pulled into the parking lot adjacent to Niagara Falls.  Surprisingly the park never closes, not surprisingly I was the only one there and it was cold.  If I remember correctly I think the temperature was close to 16 degrees.  When I stepped out of my truck I could hear the Falls raging as the water flowed over.  I decided I would walk around a bit, so I bundled up and went for a stroll.  It was icy along some the pathways because of the mist from the falls.  There were huge ice chunks in the river, which was cool to see.  The lights were not turned on at the Falls, I found out later they turn those off at 11pm.  I couldn’t see a lot of the Falls but as I walked closer to were the water goes over, the noise from the raging water grew louder and finally you could see the edge where the water drop into the abyss.  There was lots of ice and it was so cool to Niagara like this.  I hadn’t been here in more than 15 years.  I walked around a little more and tried to take some photos, but the flash on my phone wasn’t working, so they didn’t turn out so great.  It was getting late or early depending how you look at it and I was pretty tired after the drive.  I have a pretty spacious truck, so instead of getting a hotel I opted to find an empty parking lot close by where there weren’t any parking restriction signs and get some shuteye.

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I woke up around 7am to the sound of some construction worker replacing some sort of piping at the end of the parking lot.  I decided I should go see the Falls during the day.  I was in awe, it was better than I remembered it.  It is an amazing site to see that much water constantly flowing over crashing onto the ice, rock, and river below.  I walked around for about 45 minutes, crossed a bridge to Green Island and then Goat Island and got a view of Niagara from the other side.

Niagara River
Edge of the Falls

I was getting pretty hungry so I started to head back.  I spotted a small family owned hotel and restaurant, which I have forgotten the name of, and stopped in for breakfast.  I ordered a veggie skillet with toast.  I made small talk with the waitress and she was surprised that I had just driven up, but commented she wished she had that spontaneity.  When my breakfast arrived I was stunned how much food it was, there were going to be leftovers.  After I finished breakfast and boxed up what was left, I was tired again, so I decided to take a nap.  On my way back to my truck, I spotted a Park Police officer and asked him if there were any running trails around, he gave me a few routes to run, I thanked him and then went and took a nap in my truck for about 2 hours.

My Skillet Breakfast
My Skillet Breakfast

When I woke up the air was much warmer but it was still in the 30’s, it was time for a run.  I changed into my running tights and shirt, I took some gloves, hat, and a baclava to cover my face.  After about a half mile of running I didn’t need those anymore, my body was warming up and so was the air.  I ran around the American side of Niagara Falls, back to Green Island, Goat Island, and Three Sisters Island which is a bit farther up river.  Seeing the falls from so many different angles was great, I had to be careful in some areas because of the ice, the ice closed some trails that were lower down, that was a bit disappointing.  I made my way up to the American observation deck, that was enclosed by glass, it was a bit unnerving but was a great view of the Falls.  After exploring the American side it was time to make my way over to the Canadian side, I had brought my passport just in case I wanted to go into Canada and after running around, I wanted to see the Falls from the Canadian side too.  I ran across a long bridge that connects the US and Canada, it was awesome, it was about 300 feet off the water and you could see both the American and Canadian Falls.

Ice covered paths from the mist
View from Goat Island
View from Goat Island
American Observation Deck
American Observation Deck

As I got to the end of the bridge I entered the Customs and Immigration building.  To my surprise there wasn’t a line.  I walked right up to the Canadian Immigration Officer and handed him my passport.  He asked my purpose for visiting and I explained, I think he thought it was odd that I came up just to run for the day, but he didn’t make a big deal about it.  What he did make a big deal about was that I had been to Liberia in March.  I explained it was before the Ebola outbreak.  He asked why I was there, when I told him it was for a medical mission that didn’t help my case.  That is when he started to get really concerned.  He said he would have to call his supervisor and asked me to stand in the corner by myself.  From a distance he asked how I knew I didn’t have Ebola, I went through the entire medical explanation of why it wasn’t possible for me to have it and finished with, “Plus if I had contracted Ebola, I would have died months ago”.  I don’t think he found that reassuring and he didn’t share in my love for sarcasm.  Finally after about 15 minutes of standing in the corner and watching people pass by he spoke with his supervisor who gave me the all clear to enter Canada.  He apologized for the delay and said he was concerned because I came into the building sweating (which can be one sign of Ebola, high fever) and he saw Liberia on my passport and thought the worse.  I told him I understood and knew he was only doing his job, with that I was out the door and into Canada!


As I made it down to the footpath parallel to Niagara Parkway the Falls came into view, it is true what people say about a better view from the Canadian side.  Just an amazing view of the power nature has!  I decided to try and FaceTime my Mom and surprise her at where I was, FaceTime didn’t want to cooperate so I called her.  When I told her I was in Canada she wasn’t all that surprised, I’ve taken random trips like this before.  I text her a few pictures and told her I would be home sometime late that night, as all Moms do she told me to be safe.  I started running along the path taking pictures along the way.  As I went further along it seemed like it started to rain, but it was actually the mist coming off the falls, you could even see rainbows forming, the mist was that heavy.  I ran the entire length of the path which stopped on the other side of the Canadian falls a little way up river.  I sat for a few minutes took some more pictures and then started to head back.  On the way back I wanted to try and avoid the mist and dry out a bit, although I was wet I wasn’t really that could.  The sun was shining and even though it was in the 30’s it was a nice day.  On the way back I stopped in the visitors center and viewed the Falls from there, most of the attractions were closed since it was the middle of winter and a Monday.


I made my way back across the bridge and into the US Entry Point building.  This is the part of my trip where I got a little irritated, in order to get back into the US, I needed to pay 50 cents for an entry fee.  I only had a $20 bill.  It was a turn-style booth, like in the subway, but no one was working there.  I thought about jumping it but cameras were all over the place.  There was a phone off to the side with a number to call for assistance.  I called and explained I only had a $20, the person said someone would be up to help me.  After waiting for about 10 mins, someone finally came with change and I was back in the US, my pockets 50 cents lighter.  It really bothers me as a citizen and a veteran I have to pay to come back to my home country, but I don’t want to digress to much.

I entered into the US Customs and Immigration building and approached the customs agent.  He looked at my passport, he asked me about Liberia, I went through the whole explanation again.  He understood, he asked me how long I had been in Canada, I told him an hour or an hour and a half max, this is when the red flags when up.  He asked what I was doing I told him I went for a run, he asked where was my car, I told him where it was parked, he asked where I lived, when I told him Baltimore, we started the whole series of questions again.  He also asked me several questions about my motives for coming up here, why only for a day, was I smuggling anything?  I felt like telling him, I’m wearing a pretty snug shirt and running tights, where do you think I’m hiding something.  Using my better judgement I thought that wouldn’t be a good idea.  After about 5 minutes of questioning, he literally threw my passport back at me and told me to proceed through.  I was a bit taken back but wasn’t going to let his lack of professionalism bother me.  I left the building and ran back to my truck.

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All total I ran about 6 miles on day #58 with amazing views!  I was glad I decided to be spontaneous and drive up to see Niagara Falls.  I changed out of my damp running clothes, finished my leftovers from breakfast and decided to take a nap before driving again.  I slept for another 2 hours, when I woke up I took one last walk around and took some final pictures.  I left Niagara Falls at about 4pm.  Other than a little hale on the way home the drive was pretty smooth, I got back at about 10:30pm.  It was a day of running to remember!

Bridge to connecting US and Canda; Maid of the Mist in drydock
Maid of the Mist



Have you ever taken a spontaneous trip?  What is your favorite running adventure?  I’d like to hear about it!

-Veggie Fueled Runner


No Pain, No Spain

On Dec 6th, 2014 I decided to enter a 5k.  I had run this race the previous year and did okay, but I was eager to see how and if my race pace had improved since starting the streak and becoming a vegetarian.  I had run a 5k race about a month before on Day #9 of my running streak and wasn’t pleased with the time.  My body was still adjusting to running everyday, and race conditions were rough on that day, lots of wind and pretty cold.

Today was Day #42 of the running streak and I was feeling strong!  Whether it was psychological or an actual effect of becoming a vegetarian, I felt less stressed and more energized.  My legs were feeling great and by this point I had lost close to 12 lbs.  When I was running on my own or with my friends my average pace was getting faster so I was ready to see where I was at on an official course.

The race commonly known as “No Pain, No Spain” is actually the Patterson Park 5k and Fun Run hosted by the Patterson Park Public Charter School.  The proceeds from the race go to help students travel to Spain for a summer program.  My friend Pat is very involved with the school and is a past board member, so I had an extra reason to participate.  Pat and I have a friendly competition and the previous year he had beat me by a decent margin, 3 mins.  (As I mentioned in a previous blog the year past hadn’t been that great for running)

The weather was overcast, cool, and drizzling on and off.  Whenever it rains, even a little, I wear a hat with a brim to help keep the rain out of my eyes, I also wore a long sleeve Lululemon 1/4 zip vented shirt, and Lululemon running tights.  As the race welcome ceremony got underway I chatted with Pat and told him I wasn’t really looking for a specific time, just wanted to gauge where I was at and to have a solid race.

5k Course
5k Course

The race starts in the middle of the ‘big Park’ on a slight downhill, some of the Charter School students were the race starters and the race was underway just after 11am.  I like the later start, at least in the cooler months, you get to sleep in a little and the weather warms up slightly.  The first mile of the race was pretty smooth, Pat and I were running stride for stride.  I thought we were going out a little fast but I felt good so I didn’t say anything.  At approximately, the half mile mark you cross over into the ‘small Park’, you need to cross a street but the race staff has it closed to traffic.  This begins the first hill of the race, it isn’t a big one less than a quarter mile.  Anyone who knows Patterson Park knows there is going to be lots of hills!  As we peaked and began the decent I was still feeling strong but started to get a little warm, so I unzipped my shirt a bit.  As we completed the half circle around the ‘small Park’ we crossed the street again back into the ‘big Park’ that was mile one.  Pat and I were still side by side our mile pace was 7:20, pretty fast for me but other than feeling hot I was still feeling strong.  The next mile would be the challenge.

Mile 2 of the race is pretty much an uphill climb and gets pretty steep about half way through.  Starting mile 2 I remember thinking I wish I didn’t have this hat on, it was keeping heat in and I had pulled down my zipper as far as it could go on my shirt.  I thought about taking my shirt off and tying it around my waste but I was worried I would be too cold, I decided to leave it on.  As Pat and I started the climb I asked him if he had been doing any hill training, he said not much, to which I replied well I haven’t done any so if you feel like you have it, go for it!  We ran together for a little longer then Pat started pulling away, I just needed to keep him in my sights if I wanted a chance of redemption for last year.  Then I thought wait I’m not racing Pat, I am just want a solid race…we all know no matter what you say you are always comparing yourself to something in a race, whether it is the clock, another competitor, or the place you finish.  Halfway through mile 2 I could still see Pat but the incline was getting steeper, I passed some spectators and threw them my hat.  I had to get rid of it, I figured I would try to track them down after after the race and get it back.  On the steep climb up to the Pagoda I really slowed down, I was just trying to stay steady and make sure I had enough in the tank to finish strong.  Three other runners had passed me and I really couldn’t see Pat anymore.  As I crested the steep hill it flattened out and began to go downhill and mile 2 was behind me.  My pace had really fallen off, my mile 2 pace was close to 8:30.

Mile 3 began with a steep downhill, which was welcomed relief after the last mile.  Running downhill pounds your quads but gave me a chance to get my breathing back into rhythm.  In my mind I set a goal over the next mile to catch those three runners that had passed me.  The course had long straight-aways in the first portion of mile 3 so I could see how far ahead of me they were.  I got back on my pace, my breathing settled in and I started to bear down on the runners who had passed me, one by one I caught up to them and then passed them.  When I passed that 3rd runner I felt great!  I had set a small goal, mid-race and pulled it off.  As I came around the second to final turn I could see Pat again, he had a pretty good lead on me, I wasn’t sure if I could catch him.  As I rounded the final turn I entered the final ascent of the course.  An uphill finish, always makes it interesting.  With a 1/10th of a mile to go I started to kick, I wasn’t going to catch Pat but I could hear steps pounding the pavement behind me.  Out of the corner of my eye could see a female runner coming up along side of me, I tried to kick harder but the hill in mile 2 and catching the three runners had taken a lot out of me.  I watched as she passed me and I didn’t have enough in the tank to catch her.  She crossed the finish line just before I did, turned out she was the 2nd place female finisher.  I crossed the line and felt I had a solid race and given it my all.

My time was 23:34, it was a Personal Record by 13 seconds!!!  I didn’t expect that especially with my slower second mile and the hilly course.  I was stoked, even though Pat had beaten me again, but only by 30 seconds this year.  My overall pace was 7:36 per mile.  I felt really good about that.

After chatting with Pat a bit, I went to try and find my hat as I cheered on other runners who were still out on the course.  I found the person I threw my hat to and they said they had given it to the race director.  Pat knew who that was, so I figured I’d find her later.  We cheered on the rest of the runners and then went to the home brew beer tasting, which was included in the entry fee.  The beer tasting was something new that was added this year and it was great to taste several unique home brews.  Some of the students had formed a band and they were performing some covers as well as some original songs, they were awesome (I wish I could remember the name of their band).  I finally found the race director and got my hat back, Pat and I hung out for a while enjoyed the music and beer and then called it a day.

Pat and I after crossing the finish line.
Pat and I after crossing the finish line.

When I checked the race results I was really happy to confirm my PR time!  Overall I was 18th out of 197, and 7th out of 35 in my age group.

A PR is always great, but it is even better when you weren’t expecting it!

Have you had a race that you were running for fun and it turned into a PR?  Have you had to adjust goals during a race?

-Veggie Fueled Runner