Wow! I need to update this thing a bit more often. It's been super-busy. I started writing this article in January expecting to get it online before February. Well, it's May now... so... yeah. Here it is.

Before 2014, I had never entered a running event, and had only done two sprint-distance triathlons (in the summer of 2007). The only prior events worth mentioning were two different trips to ride the Octoginta in Lawrence, KS (road cycling, 40 mile option) in 2011 and 2013. I registered to run the Kansas City Half Marathon in 2013, but broke my hand a week before the event, and had to drop out.

As 2013 was winding down, I found myself racking up some serious mileage during my fairly casual "lunch runs" at work. I added some longer runs to my weekends, and got back into swimming (after a 6-year break from being in a swimming pool).

I really found my passion for running when I did a 10-mile trail run on a rather cold day in February. It was hard, exciting, uncomfortable, and felt amazing! I decided that this was something that needs to be a long-term part of my life. I realized there are a lot of people who would have a difficult time training at my level, and I decided I wasn't going to take my physiological good fortune for granted.

Shannon seemed extremely supportive of the crazy schedule I had to build (out of bed at 4 A.M. nearly every day). I was able to later return the favor by watching the kids while she started up a "couch-to-5k" running program. She came to running from a nearly completely sedentary lifestyle. A year later, she completed her first half marathon!

There are a lot of compromises I had to make to get to this level. Between work, family time, and training, my personal entertainment and education time evaporated into about 10-15 minutes of reading per night. I no longer get to enjoy video games or movies. I've suffered a fair number of varying injuries to my legs, but I just learn from each injury, and add to my knowledge of prevention and adjust to make my training healthier and more productive.

I've had to combine certain interests. Since I do a lot of the cooking at home, I've turned it into a quasi-hobby to learn more about cooking, and try different things; all while keeping the family diet healthy and reasonably economical.

On the up-side: I almost never get sick anymore. I never feel overly burdened by stress or emotional issues (they're still there, they just don't affect me nearly as much). I look a whole heck of a lot better than I did two years ago. I also get to eat a wider variety of food that I wouldn't have otherwise (things with a little more sugar or carbs).


As I mentioned above, 2014 was the first year I entered a running event. My first organized run was a 10k run through some pretty neat (and naturally temperature-regulated) engineered caves. It was a pretty laid back event, and I found I enjoyed the feeling of running around other people (especially the part where I pass them).

After completing my first running event, I went ahead and completed my first trail run. That was the fantastic experience I also mentioned above. I was hooked. What a great way to spend a February morning!

While I was at it, I went ahead and completed my first marathon. Overall, I enjoyed it. It was a character-building experience, and I was still learning how to run long distances. It rained hard, and I even got hit on the head by a piece of hail. About four miles from the end of the run, I was spent. It was the hardest four miles I had ever run up to that point. Experienced runners say you don't have to train up to 26.2 miles to be ready for a marathon, but after that, I decided I needed to get at least one 26-mile training run in if I wanted better performance.

A week after finishing my first marathon, I joined a group of guys at work, and ran the Tough Mudder: my first obstacle course event. It was a very singular experience, and I really had a good time. They set up a 10-mile course with what they call "military grade" obstacles. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say anything was "military grade." But, I did get knocked unconscious (for about three seconds) from an electrical shock to my head. The intensity of the upper-body strength requirements was a bit overstated. I was glad I did it, and I have a cool, orange headband.

While I'm plowing through firsts, I raced my first duathlon. I'm weak on the bike, so I didn't do anything spectacular. But, when I did my following training run, I had built a ton of speed overnight. The "brick" workout is a real thing, and it is very helpful.

My first Kansas triathlon (the Kansas City Triathlon) was a bit of disappointment. I was not expecting such cold water (I was one of a very small minority of folks without a wetsuit). I couldn't get into my stroke very well, and ended up meandering through the swim. Even after being on the bike for a few miles, my semi-hypothermic brain was still feeling strange and off-balance. I finished with a decent run, but I wasn't happy with the race. I found a good deal on a wetsuit.

My first half marathon followed. It was on a "hilly" course (as reported by people living in Kansas). It was not hilly. I would call it "mildly slopey." But, it was super-well supported, and a lot of fun (best freebies, too).

I prepped really well for my second triathlon of the year, but it was cancelled due to lightning.

My actual second triathlon of the year was my favorite. The organization was better than the Kansas City Triathlon, and I performed much better. If was stronger on the bike, I would have finished in a fairly respectable position in my age group.

After that, I started having some health/nutrition issues, and I really noticed it on my third triathlon. It was a very poor performance. I was fatigued, sleeping poorly (if at all), and I wasn't feeding my body appropriately. I had nearly constant muscle cramps, and my ankles and feet were so swollen, I didn't recognize them as my own. I got better...

I PR'd (set my personal record) on my third attempt at a half marathon. It was a strange day, but there was free pie at the end, so I think that went a long way to getting me to run like crazy.