The Journey Of Ascent

My Path, His Call, Our Adventure

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 34 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon Week — August 28, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 34 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon Week

Sunday, August 20 – GCT Day 104 – No Workout

Monday, August 21 – GCT Day 105 – Tempo Run – One mile warmup (10:45), one mile at HMP (9:04), one mile cool down (11:14). I followed this up with a 1.5 mile walk.

Tuesday, August 22 – GCT Day 106 – Light Cross Training – It’s race week so my cross training days are supposed to be lighter than normal.  I did a nice easy 2.2 mile walk at a 17 minute pace.  Still struggling with the fatigue factor a little bit.  I’m starting to get slightly concerned about it.

Wednesday, August 23 – GCT Day 107 – Drill Run – This run ended up happening on Thursday instead.  I overslept and then thunderstorms rolled in after I got home from work.

Thursday, August 24 – GCT Day 108 – Drill Run (from yesterday) – Did a short 35 minute drill run including cadence drills and acceleration gliders.  3.3 miles.

Friday, August 25 – GCT Day 109 – Rest Day

Saturday, August 25 – GCT Day 110 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon (2:20:37 official). The only good thing about this run was the weather.  A lot went wrong that was unexpected.  Glad to be moving on to marathon specific training for the next 3 months.  Recap will be posted separately.  13.14 miles.

 

2017 RACE SCHEDULE

March 18 – Shamrock 8k (Virginia Beach, VA) 42:35 (PR)

April 8 – Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon (Chesapeake, VA) 2:07:52 (PR)

May 6 – Breathe Easy 5k Run/Walk for Asthma Awareness (Virginia Beach, VA) 27:08

May 27 – Elizabeth River Run 10k (Portsmouth, VA) 59:32

June 3 – Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon (Ridgecrest, NC) 2:06:44 (PR)

August 26 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon (Ashland, VA) 2:20:37

October 21 – Baltimore Running Festival Moron-a-thon Challenge: 5k and Half Marathon (Baltimore, MD)

October 28 – Anthem Wicked 10k (Virginia Beach, VA)

November 11 – Richmond Marathon (Richmond, VA)

WTD – 23.14

JANUARY – 141.60

FEBRUARY – 111.50

MARCH – 125.20

APRIL – 105.2

MAY – 90.4

JUNE – 103.2

JULY MTD – 87.8

AUGUST MTD – 88.74

YTD – 853.64

PRs

5k – 22:44 (Breathe Easy for Asthma 5k, Virginia Beach, 5/5/2016)

8k – 42:35 (Shamrock 8k, Virginia Beach, 3/18/2017)

10k – 52:42 (Chick fil a Run with the Cows, Newport News, 5/28/2016)

17.76k – 1:44:38 (Independence Day Classic, Charles City, 7/2/2016)

Half Marathon – 2:06:44 (Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon, Ridgecrest, NC, 6/3/2017)

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2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 33 — August 21, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 33

This was apparently ‘Listen To Your Body Week.’ I had been feeling a little bit of fatigue in previous week’s but kept pushing through it.  This week, after Wednesday’s less than stellar 800 workout, I made the difficult decision to skip Thursday and Saturday workouts and let my body get a little bit of rest.  Fortunately I’m in the taper cycle for next week’s Patrick Henry Half Marathon, so while I would have liked to get those workouts and roughly 9 miles in, I think this was the right call.

Sunday, August 13 – GCT Day 97 – Cross Training/Water Running – Sunday’s have not been good for training.  I was planning a walk since the Y wasn’t going to happen and every time I got ready to go for that walk, something happened that required my attention.

Monday, August 14 – GCT Day 98 – Hill Repeats x 4 – My body likes the tapering process (I have a half on the 26th). My mind hates it.  The mileage is less than I’m used to and it messes with my mind.  Anyway, I got out to Mount Trashmore this morning for hill repeats.  My legs felt incredibly heavy after Saturday’s 17 miler, but I knocked it out and logged 3 miles to start the week.

Tuesday, August 15 – GCT Day 99 – Cross Training – Got a 2.1 mile walk in today.  Needed to do more, but something is better than nothing.

Wednesday, August 16 – GCT Day 100 – 4x800s – My final 800s workout before the Patrick Henry Half Marathon next week.  I think I made the mistake of taking this workout too lightly and started later in the morning than I wanted to so the heat was already creeping up close to 80.  The first 2 800s were 3:45 and 4:00 but I puked after the 2nd one.  I finished the workout but slowed down considerably (4:38 and 5:02). 4.6 miles done.

Thursday, August 17 – GCT Day 101 – Drill Run – No Workout

Friday, August 18 – GCT Day 102 – Rest Day

Saturday, August 19 – GCT Day 103 – Tempo Run (5 miles) – No Workout

2017 RACE SCHEDULE

March 18 – Shamrock 8k (Virginia Beach, VA) 42:35 (PR)

April 8 – Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon (Chesapeake, VA) 2:07:52 (PR)

May 6 – Breathe Easy 5k Run/Walk for Asthma Awareness (Virginia Beach, VA) 27:08

May 27 – Elizabeth River Run 10k (Portsmouth, VA) 59:32

June 3 – Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon (Ridgecrest, NC) 2:06:44 (PR)

August 26 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon (Ashland, VA)

October 21 – Baltimore Running Festival Moron-a-thon Challenge: 5k and Half Marathon (Baltimore, MD)

October 28 – Anthem Wicked 10k (Virginia Beach, VA)

November 11 – Richmond Marathon (Richmond, VA)

WTD – 9.7

JANUARY – 141.60

FEBRUARY – 111.50

MARCH – 125.20

APRIL – 105.2

MAY – 90.4

JUNE – 103.2

JULY MTD – 87.8

AUGUST MTD – 65.6

YTD – 832.7

PRs

5k – 22:44 (Breathe Easy for Asthma 5k, Virginia Beach, 5/5/2016)

8k – 42:35 (Shamrock 8k, Virginia Beach, 3/18/2017)

10k – 52:42 (Chick fil a Run with the Cows, Newport News, 5/28/2016)

17.76k – 1:44:38 (Independence Day Classic, Charles City, 7/2/2016)

Half Marathon – 2:06:44 (Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon, Ridgecrest, NC, 6/3/2017)

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 32 — August 13, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 32

Sunday, August 6 – GCT Day 90 – Water Running/Cross Training – Once again, water running didn’t happen.  I love that workout, but hate trying to get to the Y on Sunday afternoons after a long morning at church.  I did manage to still get in 45 minutes of cross training with a 2.8 mile walk Sunday evening.  Hills tomorrow.

 

 

Monday, August 7 – GCT Day 91 – Hills x 10. I changed things up a little bit with this one in that instead of running the .2 mile long and gentle incline, I ran a shorter (.05 mile) hill that was much steeper because I wanted to try this with a hill that I could attack full throttle.  If my coach is ok with this change, I may alternate hills each week. My times up the hill ranged from 15 seconds on my slower efforts to 11 seconds on a few that I was really busting it up the hill.  All in all, I logged 3.2 miles today including the 10 hill repeats.

 

 

Tuesday, August 8 – GCT Day 92 – Cross Training – Lately, I’ve been using walking as my cross training.  Well, today, the weather wreaked havoc on that plan as we were dealing with rain pretty much every time that I could have gone out.  It turned into a rest day.  Also today, the latest version of The Extra Mile Podcast: Jeff Galloway Edition released.  You can hear my latest interview with host Kevin Gwinn and super coach Chris Twiggs as well as some really cool stuff from Jeff Galloway.  Give it a listen.

Wednesday, August 9 – GCT Day 93 – 14x800s – This workout was going great.  It was the first time that I was doing 800s without a walk break during the 800.  Consequently I went out way too hard on the 1st one and did it in 3:35. I was running as hard as I had been running with walk breaks factored in.  I would eventually get my pace figured out and settled down into a rhythm each 800.  Unfortunately as I got to number 7 I saw the field hockey team beginning to assemble at the track.  Once I finished my 8th, they were beginning to use the track and I knew I needed to go.  I squeezed in a 1 mile cool down and called it a morning.  I hate that I didn’t get 14 in, but the 8 I got in felt great. Finished with 8 miles including warmup and cool down.

 

 

Thursday, August 10 – GCT Day 94 – Drill Run – Nothing like getting up for a drill run to try to shake out the heavy legs from yesterday’s lengthy session of 800s.  Ha! Despite the heavy legs, I knocked out my cadence drills, acceleration gliders, and tempo run on this workout.  Admittedly the tempo was not as fast as it needed to be, but I will get there.  4.3 miles done with a rest day tomorrow to gear up for Saturday’s 17.

 

Friday, August 11 – GCT Day 95 – Rest Day

Saturday, August 12 – GCT Day 96 – Long Run (17 miles) – I genuinely didn’t know what to expect.  Two weeks ago I did 15 and thought I might die.  How was my body going to handle 17?  Well, the answer surprised me.  I was out the door by 3:40 (I had a 9am event to be at). Rather than going somewhere more scenic and less familiar to run, I kept it in the area around the house.  I truly felt really good through the 15 mile mark.  Mile 16 was a struggle and included a lot more walking than I would have liked, but I sucked it back up and did the last mile with my normal long run ratio of 60/30.  I know I was nowhere near (hopefully) marathon pace (these runs are supposed to be slow), but I was very happy to get my 17 miles in at an average pace of 12:33.  I think I’m at a good place being 3 months out from Richmond.

The next 2 weeks are kind of a taper situation as I am heading toward the Patrick Henry Half Marathon on August 26.

2017 RACE SCHEDULE

March 18 – Shamrock 8k (Virginia Beach, VA) 42:35 (PR)

April 8 – Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon (Chesapeake, VA) 2:07:52 (PR)

May 6 – Breathe Easy 5k Run/Walk for Asthma Awareness (Virginia Beach, VA) 27:08

May 27 – Elizabeth River Run 10k (Portsmouth, VA) 59:32

June 3 – Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon (Ridgecrest, NC) 2:06:44 (PR)

August 26 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon (Ashland, VA)

October 28 – Anthem Wicked 10k (Virginia Beach, VA)

November 11 – Richmond Marathon (Richmond, VA)

WTD – 35.3

JANUARY – 141.60

FEBRUARY – 111.50

MARCH – 125.20

APRIL – 105.2

MAY – 90.4

JUNE – 103.2

JULY MTD – 87.8

AUGUST MTD – 55.9

YTD – 823.0

PRs

5k – 22:44 (Breathe Easy for Asthma 5k, Virginia Beach, 5/5/2016)

8k – 42:35 (Shamrock 8k, Virginia Beach, 3/18/2017)

10k – 52:42 (Chick fil a Run with the Cows, Newport News, 5/28/2016)

17.76k – 1:44:38 (Independence Day Classic, Charles City, 7/2/2016)

Half Marathon – 2:06:44 (Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon, Ridgecrest, NC, 6/3/2017)

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 31 — August 5, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 31

Sunday, July 30 – GCT Day 83 – Water Running. Sunday is a hectic day for us.  Sometimes it makes workouts tougher to get in.  Today became a rest day.  Since Saturday is only a 5 miler with a magic mile this week, I will do either some water running or some light cross training on Friday.

Monday, July 31 – GCT Day 84 – Hills x 8. Woke up and went out to Mount Trashmore for my morning hill workout. Was pleasantly surprised by the 62 degree temperature that welcomed me outside as I left my house.  The Galloway hill workout doesn’t have a ton of running involved.  Here’s a snapshot of the workout.

  1. Walk for 5 minutes
  2. Run/Walk/Run for 10 minutes – (30/30)
  3. 4 acceleration gliders
  4. Walk for 5-10 minutes and finish at the base of the hill.
  5. Walk up the hill
  6. Walk down the hill (counting the steps)
  7. Run 5 strides up the hill and come back to the start (repeat 5-10x, I did 5)
  8. Run up the hill and then walk down x 8
  9. Cool down walk (I added this part as it’s necessary to get back to my vehicle)

All in all, this workout totaled 6.5 miles for me.  The pace seems slow on paper, but each of this hill repeat splits were at a pace right around and occasionally below 8 minutes/mile.  All hill repeats were done in a time range between 1:18 – 1:20 which is pretty consistent.

I did not get my strength training in as I had to take our dog to the vet at the last minute.  Still a solid start to the week.

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Tuesday, August 1 – GCT Day 85 – Cross Training. So last night, the dog decided to pace as though the world was coming to an end until about 3:30am. Consequently, when the 4:30 alarm went off to meet my running group, I shut it off and went back to bed.  Before you think that I blew today’s cross training off, I did not.  I just opted to do it around the neighborhood instead of at Mt. Trashmore.  I went for a nice walk at a sub 16 minute/mile pace.  Finished with 3.2 miles to start the month of August.  Oh, and for the second day in a row I enjoyed temps in the low 60’s for my workout!

Wednesday, August 2 – GCT Day 86 – 4×800.  Ok, so consistency will NOT be the theme of this relatively short 800s workout.  With only 4 on the schedule I decided to start a little bit later than normal and wasn’t hitting the pavement until 7:15am.  I also opted to not go to the track for this one.  I typically run my better and more consistent times at the track and that would play into today’s work.  The workout started with 15 minutes of warmup.  The plan was 5 minutes of light jogging (30/30), 5 minutes of acceleration gliders, and 5 more minutes of light jogging (30/30). Then the 800s started.  I absolutely smoked my first 800 with a time of 3:52 (this was also the only one that I followed my coaches instructions to the letter of the law).  The 2nd 800 was 4:04. I was still under the target time of 4:10 and I increased the one walk break from 15 – 25 seconds.  The 3rd 800 was 4:18.  Not good, however I again messed with the walk break and pushed it out to 30 seconds.  The last 800 was even worse at 4:25. I really messed around with this one though.  Rather than taking the walk break at the mid point precisely, I decided to take it when my cadence count hit 200 which put me slightly beyond the halfway point.  I also did a 25 second walk break with this one.  I had slightly heavy legs today, but still felt good about getting the work done.  After a cool down that roughly mirrored the warmup, there were 5.4 more miles in the book.  If you notice the times in between each 800, those are 400m walk breaks that are supposed to be at the same time mark as the previous 800.  Basically that’s half the pace of the 800.

Thursday, August 3 – GCT Day 87 – Drill Run. Dead and heavy legs made for a tough drill run, but I got it done.  Wasn’t thrilled with my pace during the 15 minute HMP portion of the run as I was almost a minute off of where I want to be, but I didn’t pack it in early and did the entire workout.  4.4 miles of running and once I completed the prescribed workout, I reset the Garmin and took a very slow walk the last .2 miles back to the house.   No idea what to expect from Saturday’s Magic Mile.

Friday, August 4 – GCT Day 88 – Rest Day. Ok, I know it says rest day, but I went out for a casual 2.6 mile walk at my mom’s house.  After missing Sunday’s workout and spending 5 hours in a car last night and most likely 5 more in the car tonight, I needed to do something to stretch the legs out.  Pace was slightly sub 17 minutes so I definitely wasn’t working hard.  I just needed to move a little bit.

Saturday, August 5 – GCT Day 89 – Magic Mile #4 (5 miles). Previous MM Times (7:27, 7:30, 7:23) Anyone that has taken up running and stuck with it, knows that there is so much to this sport that is mental.  That was incredibly true this morning.  After driving from Virginia Beach to just outside of Baltimore on Thursday night and then coming back to Virginia Beach last night, my body didn’t want to start moving.  The 6am alarm went off and was silenced.  I did eventually get up and talk myself into getting this workout done.

I have to be honest, I was expecting a time over 7:30.  The past month has been horrible on me physically (I’ve gained weight) as well as emotionally and psychologically. My legs have consistently felt heavy and I haven’t been able to hit my prescribed paces on most runs.  My warmup mile was faster than I thought so I hit my magic mile (mile 2) with some optimism.  Every time I checked my watch during the first half mile it was showing anywhere from a 6:30-6:55 pace.  I hit my walk break knowing I had a chance to beat my previous best MM, but wasn’t sure if I had spent too much energy on the first half. I was pleasantly surprised when my mile beeped off on my watch at a time of 7:14.8. That took 9 seconds off my previous best MM!  I finished out the 3 mile cool down part of the workout at a pretty slow pace, but didn’t care because I had smoked that mile.  Woohoo!! Now I can start freaking out about next Saturday’s 17 miler, not to mention 14x800s on Wednesday.

For those that are interested in my jars……the beads moved the right way this week.

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2017 RACE SCHEDULE

March 18 – Shamrock 8k (Virginia Beach, VA) 42:35 (PR)

April 8 – Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon (Chesapeake, VA) 2:07:52 (PR)

May 6 – Breathe Easy 5k Run/Walk for Asthma Awareness (Virginia Beach, VA) 27:08

May 27 – Elizabeth River Run 10k (Portsmouth, VA) 59:32

June 3 – Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon (Ridgecrest, NC) 2:06:44 (PR)

August 26 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon (Ashland, VA)

October 28 – Anthem Wicked 10k (Virginia Beach, VA)

November 11 – Richmond Marathon (Richmond, VA)

WTD – 27.3

JANUARY – 141.60

FEBRUARY – 111.50

MARCH – 125.20

APRIL – 105.2

MAY – 90.4

JUNE – 103.2

JULY MTD – 87.8

AUGUST MTD – 21.6

YTD – 787.7

PRs

5k – 22:44 (Breathe Easy for Asthma 5k, Virginia Beach, 5/5/2016)

8k – 42:35 (Shamrock 8k, Virginia Beach, 3/18/2017)

10k – 52:42 (Chick fil a Run with the Cows, Newport News, 5/28/2016)

17.76k – 1:44:38 (Independence Day Classic, Charles City, 7/2/2016)

Half Marathon – 2:06:44 (Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon, Ridgecrest, NC, 6/3/2017)

Weekly Training Blog – Week 30 — July 30, 2017

Weekly Training Blog – Week 30

Finally a normal week of training.  Well, I did have to shift a couple of workouts around due to an early morning doctor’s appointment for Hannah on Wednesday.  That said, there were two important things that happened for me this week.  First is that on Saturday, I had my longest run to date.  I hit the fifteen mile mark!  Secondly, I have decided that it’s time to get serious about dropping some of this extra weight prior to Richmond.  I know have 2 jars on my bathroom counter.  The one has beads in it representing the pounds I need to drop and the other has beads representing the pounds I have dropped since Thursday of this week.  Needless to say, there’s a long way to go.

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Sunday, July 23 – GCT Day 76 – Scheduled for water running.  Afternoon storms nixed that idea and then evening storms cancelled my attempt to get a nice walk in.  Gonna have to start doing an early Sunday AM walk during the summer months so that if the weather prevents the water run, I’ve still got some X Training in.

Monday, July 24 – GCT Day 77 – Hill Repeats x 6. I’m not going to list the segments of the workout, but there is an extensive warmup period of close to 30 minutes that includes a good bit of walking prior to doing the hill repeats.  The hill segment that I have is roughly .17 miles. In the workout you run up the hill and walk down then repeat.  By the time all was said and done, I had logged 5 miles.  Felt pretty good for my first hill work.

 

Tuesday, July 25 – GCT Day 78 – Consistency is coming back.  That’s step one.  It was drill run day.  I completed the entire workout, but mixed it up for variety.  I did my 10 1/2 minute warmup (1:00/:30), then I went straight to the optional 15 minutes of half marathon pace (2:00/:30). I didn’t hit the 8:50 pace. I was around 9:28, but given the near 80 degree temps at 5:30 and my body still getting back to itself, I’m ok with that.  I did an extra 30 seconds of walking to even the clock out before doing my 5 cadence drills and 5 acceleration gliders.  This time I alternated doing them.  I finished with a 10 minute cool down (:30/:30). This put me at 46 minutes of interval training and 4.42 miles.  The rest of the workout was an extended cool down walk.  5.2 miles total on the day.

 

Wednesday, July 26 – GCT Day 79 – Rest Day

Thursday, July 27 – GCT Day 80 – 14 x 800s. The schedule called for 14 800s with a 400 recovery walk in between each one.  Given the past few weeks, I knew this would be a stretch but I hoped to get 10 in at least and if 14 happened it would be a bonus.  Well, I got 7 in.  Could have probably squeezed 3 more out, but then I felt like I would be risking the success of my long run on Saturday.  Times of the 800s ranged from 4:01-4:17 which was a little more erratic than previous 800 workouts, but I was also much closer to the target time of 4:15 laid out for me by my coach.  Not quite as consistent as I would like, but I’m getting a better handle on how to hit that specific pace.  6.1 miles in the books.

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Friday, July 28 – GCT Day 81 – Rest Day

Saturday, July 29 – GCT Day 82 – Long Run. This morning I met up with some friends from the Running Turtles to get this 15 miler done.  So thankful for my friend Brian who hung with me for a little over 8.5 so that I only had a little over 6 to do once he was finished.  I intentionally took it VERY SLOW, but I got it done.  It’s a great feeling, but hey, in 2 weeks, I’ve got a 17 miler!  The joys of marathon training.  Ha!

2017 RACE SCHEDULE

March 18 – Shamrock 8k (Virginia Beach, VA) 42:35 (PR)

April 8 – Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon (Chesapeake, VA) 2:07:52 (PR)

May 6 – Breathe Easy 5k Run/Walk for Asthma Awareness (Virginia Beach, VA) 27:08

May 27 – Elizabeth River Run 10k (Portsmouth, VA) 59:32

June 3 – Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon (Ridgecrest, NC) 2:06:44 (PR)

August 26 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon (Ashland, VA)

October 28 – Anthem Wicked 10k (Virginia Beach, VA)

November 11 – Richmond Marathon (Richmond, VA)

WTD – 31.3

JANUARY – 141.60

FEBRUARY – 111.50

MARCH – 125.20

APRIL – 105.2

MAY – 90.4

JUNE – 103.2

JULY MTD – 81.3

YTD – 760.4

PRs

5k – 22:44 (Breathe Easy for Asthma 5k, Virginia Beach, 5/5/2016)

8k – 42:35 (Shamrock 8k, Virginia Beach, 3/18/2017)

10k – 52:42 (Chick fil a Run with the Cows, Newport News, 5/28/2016)

17.76k – 1:44:38 (Independence Day Classic, Charles City, 7/2/2016)

Half Marathon – 2:06:44 (Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon, Ridgecrest, NC, 6/3/2017)

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 29 — July 22, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Blog – Week 29

Sunday, July 16 – GCT Day 69 – Scheduled for water running.  Still here at mom’s house for a few more days (Dad’s funeral is Tuesday) and I have no access to a pool. For the first time since last Monday, I got out and logged some miles.  I went to the Wakefield Valley Trail which is my favorite spot to run here and pounded out 4.5 slow and contemplative miles.  I needed it badly just to have some time alone with my thoughts as I’m also preaching my dad’s service on Tuesday.  On this run, I made the decision to dedicate my Richmond Marathon run in November, to his memory.  He would have loved to been at the finish line to congratulate me on the race.  Dad, this one is gonna be for you!

 

Monday, July 17 – GCT Day 70 – Hill Work Day.  This is a new addition to my training, and I was looking forward to knocking it out early this morning.  Unfortunately, I was awake from 2:30am on with some GI issues (it’s not like there’s any reason for that at all…sarcasm intended) so the plan is to scratch tomorrow’s cross training and get my 4 hill repeats in early tomorrow morning before Dad’s funeral.  I’m dreading today and tomorrow so much, but at the same time I am ready to have them behind me so that I can begin to move ahead in this new stage of life without my dad.  Is that weird?

Tuesday, July 18 – GCT Day 71 – We buried my dad today.  There was no amount of early morning motivation that could get me out of bed to go run before getting ready for the funeral.

Wednesday, July 19 – GCT Day 72 – Travel day.  Headed back home to adapt to a new ‘normal’ that I already know I don’t like very much.

Thursday, July 20 – GCT Day 73 – Back at it and it hurt so good.  I did a 4.4 mile drill run that included a 1 mile warm up, 5 cadence drills, 5 acceleration gliders, 1 half marathon interval (2:00/:30), an extended walk break to avoid puking, and then a :30/:30 cool down the rest of the way home.  Emotional stress takes a far greater physical toll than any of us  give it credit for and I felt it bad today.

Friday, July 21 – GCT Day 74 – Rest Day

Saturday, July 22 – GCT Day 75 – 5 mile tempo run.  Today’s workout called for a 1 mile warmup (10:54), then 3 miles at HMP (9:38, 9:53, 10:27), and a one mile cool down (17:09 – I walked that).  While the 3 tempo miles are not even in the ball park of my goal tempo (8:50), I’m encouraged that after the events of the past 2 weeks, I completed the workout using the assigned ratio and didn’t puke.  I should also mention that by the end of my 5 miles it the heat index was already 85.  It’s gonna be hot today.  I’ve also learned that any summer run here in Va Beach is a run worthy of a sQoosh band. Check them out.  They’re awesome!

2017 RACE SCHEDULE

March 18 – Shamrock 8k (Virginia Beach, VA) 42:35 (PR)

April 8 – Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon (Chesapeake, VA) 2:07:52 (PR)

May 6 – Breathe Easy 5k Run/Walk for Asthma Awareness (Virginia Beach, VA) 27:08

May 27 – Elizabeth River Run 10k (Portsmouth, VA) 59:32

June 3 – Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon (Ridgecrest, NC) 2:06:44 (PR)

August 26 – Patrick Henry Half Marathon (Ashland, VA)

October 28 – Anthem Wicked 10k (Virginia Beach, VA)

November 11 – Richmond Marathon (Richmond, VA)

WTD – 13.9

JANUARY – 141.60

FEBRUARY – 111.50

MARCH – 125.20

APRIL – 105.2

MAY – 90.4

JUNE – 103.2

JULY MTD – 50.0

YTD – 729.1

PRs

5k – 22:44 (Breathe Easy for Asthma 5k, Virginia Beach, 5/5/2016)

8k – 42:35 (Shamrock 8k, Virginia Beach, 3/18/2017)

10k – 52:42 (Chick fil a Run with the Cows, Newport News, 5/28/2016)

17.76k – 1:44:38 (Independence Day Classic, Charles City, 7/2/2016)

Half Marathon – 2:06:44 (Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon, Ridgecrest, NC, 6/3/2017)

The Greatest Man I’ve Ever Known — July 18, 2017

The Greatest Man I’ve Ever Known

For those who were unable to attend Dad’s funeral, I thought I would share in writing what I shared during the service today.

Kenneth Duane Darling:  6/12/48 – 7/12/17

My Dad

Several have asked me in the preceding days about why I would choose to preside over my dad’s funeral.   I must honestly admit that there have been several times during this process that I have questioned it myself.  Am I crazy? How in the world will I ever get through this?  The answer to the first question is that I probably am crazy, but that’s a topic for another day.  The answer to the second question is simply, I don’t know if I will.  Having said that, I am going to fight as hard as Dad fought these past five months and honor him the best way that I know how.

The finale from the musical Hamilton is called “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”  Three questions are asked. The reality is that we have no control over the answer to any of these questions.  You see, eventually, someone is going to tell our story in one way or another.  That’s why I had to be the one to tell Dad’s story today.

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All of us that are gathered here today have stories to tell about Duane Darling.  I have a hunch that if we went around the room and listened to all those stories, we would find a common thread of self-sacrifice.  You see, Dad was fiercely devoted to his family. He would do anything possible to make sure that mom and I had anything we needed.  That self-sacrifice didn’t stop with just his wife and son.  It reached to his entire family and beyond.  If Dad saw someone with a need and he had it in his ability to help meet that need, he would.

My earliest memories of my dad are probably around the time that I was 3 or 4 years old.  At the time, his work schedule at the fire department was something like 4 days, 4 nights, off 4, so there were sometimes extended periods of time where I didn’t see dad a whole lot.  Despite not seeing Dad all the time, I never had any doubt that he loved me.  For some reason, when I was that age, one of his favorite things to do to me would be to sneak up behind me when I was playing on the floor and throw my blanket over my head.  I would quickly yank the blanket off and we would commence wrestling around on the floor laughing the whole time.  The shift schedule would later be changed to 2 days, 2 nights, off 4 which made all of us happy.

I also have great memories of our family’s yearly trips to Hershey Park. At least once a year we would load up and take a trip to Hershey.  I think my favorite trips were the ones where we would take Dad’s ’81 F150. Us kids would get up in the bed of the pickup and ride all the way up there in the back of the truck.  Yes, you could legally do that in those days.  Dad took me on my first roller coaster, my first looping roller coaster, and even got to ride with us when Carrie rode her first roller coasters.  On our most recent trip to Hershey, Dad would still ride the Comet and the SooperDooperLooper. I started to head over to ride Sky Rush and Dad decided that he wanted to ride it with me.  Well, by the time that ride was over and the train was sitting on the brake run, I looked over at Dad and his face was as white as I’ve ever seen it.  From that point on, he stayed to the two old faithful coasters at Hershey.

Dad and I shared a love of baseball.  He was an assistant coach on every little league team I ever played on and when I started playing ball for school, he was always changing his work schedule around to be at my games (home and away).  He often drove the bus for away games.  I think that it was during these years that my relationship with Dad grew from him not only being my Dad, but my friend.  Baseball was a way that we bonded.  I think my favorite memories of baseball with my dad are when I took him to Oriole Park to see the Braves play the Orioles for Father’s Day.  Dad had become a Braves fan during the early 90’s so an opportunity to see them play in Baltimore was a rare treat for him.  When I stayed in Cleveland, TN for a summer while working on my master’s degree, mom and dad came to visit.  We drove down to Atlanta to see the Orioles play in Atlanta during Cal Ripken’s final season.  We both loved the game, and even during the offseason, it was rare that our conversation didn’t turn to baseball at some point.

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Another thing that I can say about my dad is that he supported me whole heartedly in everything I did.  When I was traveling around as a child singing up and down the east coast, he was always there driving the bus to get us wherever we had to go.  Dad loved driving and he would drive any length of time at any hour of the night to help us get around.  In the 5 or 6 years that we traveled, I can only think of one trip that he missed due to work.  There’s that self-sacrificing thing again.

During my high school years, we attended church in Severn which was a 36 mile one way trip for us.  I was one of those kids that was involved in anything and everything that was available.  I played in the church orchestra, youth praise band, teen hand bell choir, adult hand bell choir, and was a youth leader.  Consequently, there were activities that had us driving to Severn sometimes 4 or 5 days per week.  On Sunday’s we would often just spend the day in Severn.  I remember during my senior year of high school our youth praise team did a worship night for the entire church every Sunday night.  There was dad, every week, helping me to set up my drum kit beforehand and tearing it down afterward.  Dad was proud of what I had accomplished and wanted to continue to help in any way that he could.

When I met Beth, Dad was so happy for me.  He very quickly accepted Beth as part of the family even before we were married.  He treated Beth not as a daughter in law, but as a daughter.  I pray that I can be as gracious to my daughter’s future husbands MANY years from now.

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And speaking of my daughters, it would be completely impossible to not talk about what those two little girls meant to him.  I couldn’t be on the phone with him for more than 30 seconds without him asking me how they were doing.  I will never forget last month I was up here on Dad’s 69th birthday and he was feeling crumby.  It was the day before they were going to put his port in and the last thing he had on his mind was celebrating a birthday.  Well, I got the girls on the phone and they sang Happy Birthday to him as only Carrie and Hannah can (complete with all the extra cha cha chas). That was the only time that I saw my dad genuinely smile that week and his face lit up.  He loved them so much and was so proud of the young women that they are growing up to be.  You can rest assured that those two little girls felt the same way about their Dad Dad.  They loved him to pieces.

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My Dad taught me what it was to love your family above everything but God.  I watched him take care of mom when cancer attacked her in the late 1990’s.  For the last several years, I’ve watched him adjust his work schedule to be able to take mom to doctor’s appointments whenever necessary.  He loved mom so much.  I truly hope that I can show the same kind of love to Beth and our daughters that Dad showed to Mom and I.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul is writing to Timothy from Rome.  He is keenly aware that his time on earth is winding down and he wants to leave his young protégé some encouraging words to help him through the grief that losing Paul was sure to bring.  Paul pens these words to Timothy. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

Duane Darling fought his fight with courage, with dignity, and with honor.  From the first time that we heard that horrible word, ‘cancer,’ the only thing on dad’s mind was beating it.  He was convinced that with the prescribed treatment and the Lord’s help, that he was going to be just fine.  In fact, as recently as two weeks ago he would still mention his plan to return to work as soon as this was behind him.  Cancer wasn’t going to beat him, he was going to beat cancer.

Well, last Wednesday those of us who knew and loved Dad were reminded of the words of Isaiah: His ways our not our ways.  If we had our way, Dad would have kicked this cancer’s butt.  God’s way was to look at His faithful servant and say, ‘You know what? You’ve fought long enough.  You’ve endured enough tribulation.  It’s time for you to come home where you belong.’

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The very selfish side of me wants to look at God and say, ‘but You’re taking my father away from me and that’s not fair.’  In fact, I’ve said that to Him more than once during this past week.  I doubt I’m the only one.  The painful (for me) truth that I must come to terms with is that while I will miss my Dad terribly for the rest of my time on this planet, Dad is infinitely better off than he would be even had God chosen to heal his physical body.  As much as Dad loved everyone (and we all know that he loved everyone), he wouldn’t come back if he had the chance.  He is now reunited with loved ones that have gone before, and he is waiting for those of us left behind to join him on the other side of eternity.

The way to meet Dad is clearly marked.  The life he lived while here on earth points the way.  That way is found only in accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dad wants to see every one of you over there.  Whether that happens is now up to us.  Jesus has paid the price for our salvation.  The question that remains and the question that Dad would want me to ask today is have you accepted Christ’s gift.  If you have, you can have the peace that comes in knowing that today is just a temporary goodbye.  It’s a see you later.  If you don’t have that assurance that when your time comes you would make it to heaven to see Dad and much more importantly, Jesus Christ, then Dad would want to know what’s stopping you.  The gift of salvation is free to any who would receive it.  You just have to believe.  Dad would beg you to not let another moment go by without accepting Christ as savior.

It is obvious that we are all feeling the pain of our loss here on earth today.  We will never ‘get over’ the pain that we feel.  I want nothing more than to hear my dad’s voice just one more time.  However, if I truly understood that wonder that heaven holds, I couldn’t possibly ask him to come back no matter how bad my heart hurts.  Dad now has a brand new body.  There is not even a hint of cancer anywhere.  He is experiencing no more pain.  He has met his savior face to face.  I can almost hear him saying, ‘If you could see me now!’