#PresRunsCbus Training Update

Back on 26 May, I had posted that I had committed to running the 2015 Columbus Marathon this coming October. It definitely does NOT feel as if almost 2 months have passed. Today marks the end of training week #5 (of 18) and I thought it’d be a great time for an initial update as to how things are going.

First – a reminder of my goals for this endeavor:

  1. Run the entire Columbus Marathon (26.2 miles)
    • If I can’t run the whole thing, at least run as much as possible.
  2. Beat my previous marathon time (4:49:55)
  3. Raise $1000 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

As of today, I have run 84.06 miles (50.9 of those in July alone) with an average pace of 9:00 minutes per mile. The average elapsed time of my runs is right around 38 minutes. Longest run so far (without substantial walking) has been 9.11 miles, run in Tacoma, Washington one week ago on 11 July. If my training continues as it has so far, and I am able to keep my pace close to or under 9:00/mile, I should complete the Columbus Marathon in the neighborhood of 4 hours even – almost an hour faster than my time 11 years ago!

So, I would say that at this point – with 13 weeks of training to go – I feel that I am at least on pace to achieve goal #2 and beat my previous marathon time. As for running the entire distance (goal #1), the jury is still out, but I’m feeling very optimistic about the possibility!

As for #3, I have raised $360 of my $1000 goal for Nationwide Children’s Hospital thus far – but there is still much work to be done. Nationwide Children’s Hospital works day in and day out to cure, mend, comfort and save an estimated one million children who will walk through the hospital doors this year. Like so many others, I am seeking to raise money to help support the work of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and simply ask for your support as I work to meet that goal. If you would like to learn more about Nationwide Children’s Hospital and support me as a Children’s Champion, please click here — any amount you can give is helpful and appreciated!

Finally, THANK YOU to all those who have been so supportive – in person or online. It’s always great to get that cheering noise from the Nike+ app! In addition to tracking via Nike+, I also upload my progress to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram after every run- usually with the standard “#dropNgimme20“. This serves two purposes: keeps me publicly accountable and allows me to reflect on what I’ve achieved so far.

Sidenote: If you need/want motivation to start running or to keep running, get on Instagram or Twitter and search for #nikeplus, #running, #training (just for a start). There is an amazing community of runners out there who are super supportive and willing to share their knowledge and experiences. You can follow MY running via Instagram and Twitter.

Honeymoon Chronicles: Traveling by Train

Just a few days ago – 1 August to be exact – our time in Germany had come to an end, which meant another travel day and two more train rides. I should note all of our travel since arriving in Europe has been made possible thanks to a variety of European trains. In this post, I’ll do what I can to highlight the experience.

First off, know that this is the first time that either one of us has utilized traveling by train as a primary transportation method, as we usually fly or drive. I’ll be honest – I had my apprehensions about traveling by train across Europe. What if we miss a train? What if we can’t figure out the time tables? What if we get separated? More “what if’s” than I care to list. To my pleasant surprise though, the whole process has been incredibly easy and SIGNIFICANTLY less stressful than air travel.

There isn’t really any secret to train travel. You show up, get on your train, and go. For the most part, and assuming you have your ticket/reservation in advance (which I’ll talk about in a moment), you can show up at the platform for your outgoing train pretty much as it’s rolling into the station. I would not recommend doing so, but you don’t have to show up 2 hours early like you would for a flight. On average, we’ve been 30-45 minutes early for each train. And security? With the exception of the high-speed train between London and Paris, there aren’t really any security checkpoints.

Earlier, I mentioned having a ticket AND a reservation. Think of it this way – for a flight, you have to buy a ticket which will also include your seat assignment. For European rail travel, a ticket gets you on the train – and that’s all. Having a reservation in addition to that ticket will get you your seat. Without a reservation, you can sit down, but you are not guaranteed that seat for the whole trip. With that said, if you’re sitting in a seat without a reservation and along I come with the reservation for that seat – I get the seat and you get to move.

The biggest part of traveling by train…or by any method really…is knowing your travel information. This is nothing new but I cannot stress this enough though. You need to know your train number, what coach you’re sitting in, what seat your reservation is for, and where your train is going and where you get off. Not knowing your train info could quickly become a costly error. For example, there was a couple a few rows up from us on our train from Paris to Amsterdam. The train manager had come around to check tickets to find that this couple did not have the correct tickets. The gentleman in the couple was quite sure (see: arrogant) that he was on the correct train, in the correct seats, and was sure the train manager was incorrect. The train manager then pointed out, quite plainly, that the passenger and his companion were to have boarded a different regional train, not the high-speed service between Paris and Amsterdam. The couple had two options: 1) get off the train at the next stop with no penalty OR 2) get charged the full fare for the trip, as if they had joined us in Paris. They got off the train. What can be learned here? Know your travel information and NEVER argue with the man who could boot you off the train.

I can say that Tammi and I have really enjoyed traveling via train during our honeymoon. Most of our trains have been of the high-speed variety or darn close, making our travel days go by much quicker. As a result, I’m actually looking forward to possibly utilizing Amtrak in the future for travel back at home.

Until next time…

90 Miles – 90 Days

This past weekend officially marked 3 months, or 90 days, until Tammi and I get married.

Holy crap. It feels like just yesterday we were in Cleveland getting engaged.

Don’t get me wrong though – it’s not the wedding planning logistics that has me concerned – we’re actually ahead of schedule in a lot of ways. It is, however, the personal wellness part of the equation on my part that has me feeling much more like Grumpy Cat. Early last fall, I had hit a fantastic milestone – I had dropped approximately 20 pounds and was back in a good place with my running and workout routine. That was then. Today, I’m back up those 20 pounds and pretty much lost all the progress I had made throughout 2013 on my running.

So, yesterday I decided to go for a run. While I was out I decided to set a short-term personal goal to make some positive change in my own wellness. That goal?

Complete (at least) 90 miles in 90 days. That’s it.

The plan is just to run – or as Tammi and I often say – “get dem miles”. I’ll use the  Nike+ (during runs) and RunKeeper apps to track my mileage, duration, and so on. While the primary objective is 90 in 90, I’ll also keep track of food intake via the LoseIt! app to track any changes in weight.


That’s my goal – what’s yours?

Update: As of today, I’m at 4 miles.

Angry Birds Revisted

Last February, I had the opportunity to travel with five student representatives of the UNC Pembroke Student Government Association to the Conference on Student Government Association, or COSGA, on the campus of Texas A&M University. The conference focused largely on the idea of “Moving from Passion to Action” – taking initial ideas and moving them to an end product, all the while maintaining enthusiasm for the project at hand. As the spring semester begins for many, I thought it appropriate to revisit this post. Note: you can view the presentation at the end of this post.

Having my first conference presentation accepted was a great feeling, even if it was for a smaller niche conference – a presentation is still a presentation. However, then reality set in. How could I make this proposal something palatable for fellow advisors?

The answer came simply and quickly – make it fun.

I think that’s real message behind this post and the presentation itself. In fact, it is something I strive for in everything I do. If it’s not fun to some degree, if you get no enjoyment out of it, then chances are neither will anyone else. Granted, there are times in the things we do when humor and excitement aren’t really smiled upon – and that’s okay.

Just enjoy what you do and have fun doing it.

One Word Resolution 2012: PUSH

As 2012 gets off to a fairly quick start, I find myself lacking in the resolution department. This really isn’t a huge surprise, nor is it a huge departure from the norm, but I’ve actually taken notice this time around. I have a few goals I’d like to reach, and am still digging a little deeper on a few (see a future post regarding SMART goals…), but no huge resolution. Well, that was the case until I returned from my vacation and began hearing about co-workers and other professionals choosing One Word Resolutions for the coming year. The idea, if you are unfamiliar, is to select a single word that will essentially sum up how you want to act, do, live or what you want to achieve before the end of the calendar year. After a few conversations with co-workers, I’ve decided to join the One Word movement and my word for 2012 is PUSH.

Over the last 12+ months, I have found myself pushed and pulled in every direction possible – some good, some bad – and I’m not sure that fits with who I want to be or what I want to accomplish. I want to push myself towards legitimately  accomplishing my set goals, push myself by motivating others, and push myself to strive for those things that make me truly happy – professionally, personally, socially. Pushing myself also includes pushing past my known limits, but not pushing myself over the edge.

Push, to me, is a positive word for 2012 and I’m going to own it, have fun with it, and learn from it.

2010 and 2011 pushed and pulled me in many ways – 2012 is when I push back!

Update to “Off and Running”

So, when I began my blog back in October, I started off by following one of the prompts given to the students of the Leadership Living Learning Community at UNC Pembroke, which was to set two S.M.A.R.T goals. Since I have a little time, and am in the blogging mood, I thought I’d give a little update on my progress with mine.

GOAL #1-finish three books that I have started by the end of the year

I cannot tell a lie – not doing so hot here. I find myself having the desire to read and even taking the time to do so, but I also find myself often falling into the “what else can I be doing” trap. I’ve nearly finished one book that I had previously started. The remaining two books, while pretty far along prior to the goal being set, haven’t been touched.

GOAL #2-run four 5k’s before the end of the year

Unlike goal #1, I feel as if I am making more progress with this goal. While my training regimen is not exactly to the level I had hoped, I am chipping away at the overall goal. I did, in fact, run a 5K in October, running the Leave It To Beaver 5K on the UNCP campus.. My finish time is unknown for that particular race, but I did finish. Most recently, I completed the Run With The Hawk 5K last Wednesday, again on the UNCP campus, with a finish time of almost 30 minutes even. Not my best, but I’m out there and still running. To knock out this overall goal, I still need to complete two more races by the end of the year – both of which I have identified.

Like I said in the original post – while I believe in DWYSYWD, sometimes I falter and miss the mark. Personally, i will not be satisfied with missing the mark on these goals. Acknowledging where one stands in relation to their goals is a great opportunity for evaluation and progress. This post serves as mine.

Enjoy the journey.

Three’s Company

Don’t be confused. This post has nothing to do with the once popular television show of the same name. However, it does have everything to do with the number three.

Two weeks ago, I began what I refer to as “3 trips in 3 weeks” (or #3t3w for my Twitter friends). It started with a trip out west to visit my mom, followed by a trip to Oklahoma for the annual Bedlam football game between Oklahoma State and OU. I’m actually completing this post on the aircraft back to North Carolina as we speak and, by the way, Oklahoma State won 44-10. The end of #3t3w is next weekend for a graduation celebration. While the first two trips have been great, and I am sure the third will be as well, I have picked up a few travel tips (3 to be exact) to share which have made my own trips much easier and enjoyable.

    TIP 1–Forget Checking a Bag

Unless you are planning to be traveling for more than 5 days at a given time, you can likely get by with just a carry-on sized bag or combination of large carry-on (check at the gate) and a smaller one (take on the plane). How is this helpful? First, it helps you avoid the need (or want) to overpack. I am notorious for packing more than I’ll actually use on a trip. However, when using just a carry-on, I definitely getting better at identifying essentials. Secondly, utilizing only carry-on luggage will help you avoid paying obnoxious bag fees AND/OR almost guarantee that you will never come close to going over the “50 pound” rule. Third, and finally, a carry-on bag is with you throughout the trip. With the possible exception of waiting in the jetway for a few moments to retrieve your bag (remember, you may have checked it gateside), you can grab your bag and head to your connecting flight or straight to the exit. How about that – 3 tips within one tip.

    TIP 2–Download Apps Dedicated to Travel

Depending on the platform (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc), you should be able to download some type of travel related apps to help keep you organized for your trip. Of course, this tip is useless if you’re still using that Zach Morris phone from the mid 90’s. Keeping with this post, I would recommend 3 in particular. The first app I would recommend is TripIt. It’s not perfect, but this app scans your email (once set-up) for travel related content and then places all necessary information in one convenient location, which is also available offline. The #2 app I’d recommend is actually a tie between Wi-Fi Finder and AroundMe. Wi-Fi Finder does exactly what it says, locating paid and free wi-fi locations. You can also download the compete database for offline use. AroundMe is a great app to highlight the most searched for services in a given area, especially if you have never been to your destination or want to try something different. Finally, the final app I would recommend is the app for whatever the airline you happen to be utilizing for your trip. Some carriers, such as Delta, allow for check-in right from the app. Better yet, there is a digital boarding pass, which can be scanned at security as well as at the gate. I used this app today and found that it worked quite well. Hey Delta, how about that for positive review. You’re welcome.

*break from writing -landing to catch connecting flight*

    TIP 3–Do Your Homework

There is nothing worse than not knowing your way around, especially in a new city. The same can be said for amusement parks, visiting your great aunt Rose’s house, and airports. Case in point: a gentleman a few rows behind me on my connecting flight, who flew into the airport we just left for the first time ever, was extraordinarily grumpy because people could not answer his questions in the terminal. I feel for the staff in the terminal more than the gentleman on my flight because he could have easily done his homework about the airport ahead of time and avoided his frustration. While I am almost certain there is more to the story that I am reporting, it presents valuable advice – do your homework, know your options, and be patient. Hey look, another set of 3.

Well, at least for this trip, this ends my dive into “travel blogging”. Regardless of where your travel plans take you, enjoy the journey and safe travels.