Training for Alaska

Midnight Marathon June 2000

The following is a written account of my first attempt to run a marathon.

Me at the at the Finish Line with my Marathon medal..
Click Here for more pictures

To all first time marathon runners, I hope you find this information interesting and helpful.

1995--"My knees always give out after 1 mile. I've finally realized that I will never be able to run as an exercise again.  I have given up running"

1998-- "After several years of not running, my knees are stronger.  I've tried running again.  No knee problems.  Just so out of shape.  Can barely make a mile.

Mar 1999-- Ran 3.1 miles on treadmill in 20 minutes!

Aug 1999-- Ran 4 miles on padded track

Sep 1999--Ran 5 miles on padded track.  Tried running on road, my knees started bothering me.

October 1999--Ran 6 miles on padded track! Starting to develop running style to shift out of momentary knee complaints

11/4/99-- Joined Leukemia "TEAM IN TRAINING".  Work is busy and my running has slacked. 

11/8/99-- My knee and ankle has been bothering me even while walking sometimes!  I've stopped running for now.

11/17/99 -- I think I sprained my ankle. It's very intermittant. I'm going to take it easy as I have plenty of time to renew my training. It's better to get a full recovery on a minor injury than to try and run through it.

11/20/99 -- Started some swimming. The kicking while swimming should help rehab my ankle gently, and the excercise will help hold my aerobic capacity. Still not running.

11/28/99 -- On Wednesday, visited doctor who did some myo-fascial/muscle releases to relieve strain. Felt better. However, still have an occasional slight twinge in ankle. Since it's still early, I'm going to hold off running until the ankle feels 100% rock solid. I Have been pretty sedentary this entire week trying to get this website up. That combined with the holidays has probably taken a toll on my aerobic capacity. I went swimming today for 30 min. Still no running. I'm down to 1 swim per week.

11/29/99 -- My ankle was a bit stiff. I Went to a Tai Chi/ Chi Goong class and things felt alot better. I followed up with some horizontal leg presses to strengthen up the knees.

12/1/99 -- Nothing on the running, but I did want to mention that Terron my Mentee got 100's on his social studies tests!!, Just a few weeks ago he was near failing this course. That was a motivational boost for me!

12/4/99 -- My ankle feels 99 percent. I ran 1 mile indoors on a treadmill in 8 minutes. I could have run faster and farther, but I'm trying to pace things much slower. Everything felt good. My stamina is a bit off. My right knee felt just slightly weak.

12/5/99 -- I went swimming for 30 min.

12/8/99 -- I saw Terron and had a big encounter with Racism. Kind of knocks the wind out of my sails. All of a sudden things seem insurmountable! Click Here for more on recent Racism.

12/12/99 -- I ran 1 mile on treadmill at 9:00 pace. Right ankle started off funny and then right knee started bothering me. I stopped to loosen the lacing. I experimented with running style and finished off 2 more miles at 7:00 pace. Towards the last mile the right knee stopped complaining. I felt no after effects.

12/15/99 -- The right knee feels slightly inflammed when I bend in certain angles. I know that I need to do some knee strengthening before pushing with further running. I met with Terron. He apologized for his behavior last week (12/8/99). I wanted to at least let Terron know that he was not responsible for hurting me. After all, he only told me the truth, and that's all I could ask for. One of the teachers helped out a lot by talking to Terron and telling them that the other kids making fun of me was really an extension of their jealousy of not having a mentor of their own. Click Here for more on recent Racism.

12/19/99 -- The right knee is still weak under some angles. The right ankle also gave me some trace twinges. I concentrated on horizontal leg presses to strengthen my knees and ankles. The right knee definitely felt very tentative. Afterwards, it started feeling stronger. I did absolutely no running, and think it was best that way. I plan on doing more leg strengthening the rest of the week. Terron my mentee called me up to tell me he got a 100 on his social studies test!

12/20/99 -- Repeated inclined leg presses to strengthen knees. Felt stronger.

12/21/99 -- While walking when just getting out of bad I experienced very slight twinge on right ankle. I did another set of inclined leg presses.

12/22/99 - Rested. Terron showed me his two 100's he got on his tests. Teacher's are complaining that Terron is increasingly belligerent. We played catch with a baseball.

12/23/99 -- More inclined leg presses with some stress on calve raises.

12/24/99 -- More inclined leg presses with some added weight and stress on single leg presses.

12/25/99 -- Switched over to new Asic Kayano shoes for first time. Tried running on road surface. Ran a 2 mile road course with hills at about a 7:30 pace. Felt slightly fatigued, but absolutely not the slightest complaint from joints! Even several hours afterward no signs of weakness in any joint.

12/27/99 -- Ran 2.7 miles in 20 minutes on treadmill (averages a 7:10 pace). I felt pretty good on stamina. My joints felt perfectly fine. No after effect signs of weakness. Things are looking good.

12/28/99 -- Single leg inclined leg presses with more weight. Slightly strained left knee.

12/29/99 -- Switched back to older New Balance 1200 shoes. Ran on treadmill for 2.83 miles at 7:04 pace. The left knee felt slightly weak. No after effect signs of weakness.

12/31/99 -- Did leg presses with reduced weight. Left knee felt slightly weak. Slight after effect weakness through out rest of day.

1/1/00 -- Ran 3 miles on outdoors track using my Asic Kayano shoes. Very minor weaknesses at beginning. Joints felt solid at end, although a bit tired.

1/3/00 -- Did some inclined leg presses with light to moderate loads. Joints felt a bit tired. Right ankle had a brief tinge.

1/4/00 -- Met with coach on first Team in Training practice. Did total of 8 sets of single lap interval training. Each lap was only 1/8th a mile. The total workout was 3-1/2 miles and was fairly relaxed and easy.

1/6/00 -- Ran 3 miles on treadmill in 20:55. This averages to a 6:58 mile pace. This was a difficult run and I was quite tired at the end. However, my joints felt great!

1/8/00 -- I biked on hilly route for about 5 miles. I'm told that biking strengthens my inner quad muscles to balance with running which works the outer quads. The biking was exhausting on the hills.

1/9/00 -- Ran 5 miles on treadmill at about 7:34 pace. In beginning my right ankle started to bother me. I felt tired, however, the pace seemed to be about right. My left knee started to bother me at the end, and so I stopped immediately. After stopping there was slight weakness in left knee. After several hours everything felt fine.

1/10/00 -- Did 4 sets of leg presses.

1/11/00 -- Met for 2nd Team practice. Did 5 sets of double lap interval training. The total workout was about 3-1/2 miles and was a bit tiring. Initially, my right ankle was complaining, but started to loosen up.

1/13/00 -- Did 8 sets of leg presses. Did 3 sets of stomach crunches. Did light running on indoor track for 20 minutes. Then went on treadmill at 9 mph pace for 10 minutes. Felt fairly strong. Joints were fine.

1/15/00 -- Road stationary bike for 40 minutes at challenging pace. I felt tired.

1/16/00 -- Ran on outdoor track for about 3 miles. It was very windy and I felt very tired. My left knee felt slightly weak. Everything else was fine.

1/18/00 -- Met for 3rd team practice. Did more extensive interval training for overall distance of 5 miles. I felt tired after the run. Joints felt mostly ok. Towards the very end, during my cool down, I felt something on left knee. There were no after effects. My primary concern is a potential stress fracture on the right ankle. I'm scheduled for testing on the 1/25. My gut feeling is that this is not a stress fracture, but more of a small muscle strain that I'll need physical therapy to iron out.

1/20/00 -- Did 3 sets of leg presses.

1/21/00 -- Ran on tread mill for 40 minutes. Did 5.68 miles at average of 7:03 pace. I felt tired afterwards. Towards the very end my left knee just had a slight sensation.

1/23/00 - Ran on tread mill for 40 minutes. Did 5.76 miles at average of 6:57 pace. I felt tired afterwards. No joint problems.

1/26/00 - Got snowed out of team practice. Today I did 5.58 miles at average of 7:10 pace. I felt tired. When I slowed down in the middle of my run, my left knee just had a slight sensation. This pace so far feels too fast to maintain for a marathon.

1/29/00 - Ran outdoors on the road for about 6 miles! At about 4 miles I started to feel some discomfort on the left knee. It was intermittant and so I pushed on trying to take it as easy as possible. Towards the end I was definitely more tired than I've been in a long time. Afterwards there were no symptoms with my joints. This is a good sign!

1/31/00 - Did mild sets of leg presses. Followed up with a 5.5 mile run on treadmills.

2/1/00 - Did moderate run for about 40 minutes outdoors at Univ. of Delaware. This felt very very easy. My left knee had very very slight symptoms.

2/3/00 - Got back results from triple-phase bonescan. No stress fracture! Good news. I ran today on treadmill for 5 miles at 6:46 pace. While this was fast, my distance isn't increasing significantly. The primary restriction is the limitation on treadmill time. I am hoping that my improvements in running speed will help me when the weather improves for outdoors running.

2/5/00 - Ran outdoors on the road for about 5 miles. At about 4 miles I felt some discomfort on the left knee. It went away while running on a downward sloping portion of the course. I definitely ran hard and felt strong. My right calf started to bother me slightly. This was the same area I suffered a season ending muscle injury when I was on my high school cross country team.

2/7/00 - Worked on leg presses.

2/8/00 - Ran indoors for team practice. Did about 3 miles worth of interval training. Then did additional 3 miles worth of moderate running. The total distance including warm-up and warm-down was between 6 to 7 miles.

2/10/00 - Ran 6.5 miles outdoors. I probably ran about an 8 minute a mile pace. I felt a weakness on left knee at about 4 miles. I'm scheduled to start seeing a Feldenkrais physical therapist to address intermittant, although minor, complaints in my right ankle and left knee.

2/12/00 - I concentrated more on stretching muscles around the hip to help me lengthen and relax my strides. Then I ran 7 miles outdoors. This was definitely one of my better runs. The pace felt like I could go for longer distance and my joints were definitely in good condition.

2/15/00 - Ran interval runs with team. Did a total of 8 sets of 800 meters at about 6:30 mile pace. The overall run was about 7.5 miles. This was definitely my hardest run to date. I was definitely exhausted. Felt slight soreness on right ankle, but overall my joints felt good.

2/17/00 - I ran 7 miles outdoors. During the first mile my right ankle bothered me a little then got better. My left knee started bothering me at mile 7. Since I was very tired, I felt this was a good place to stop. My pace felt fast. I felt exhausted.

2/18/00 - Did some leg presses and some upper body strengthening. My joints felt strong.

2/19/00 - I ran 5.62 miles at an average pace of 7:07. I was definitely tired on this run. I ran the first 3 miles at 6:52 pace and then slowed up at about a 8:00 pace for about 15 minutes and picked the pace back up the final 5 minutes of my run. Toe blisters are starting to bother me. I put some petroleum jelly and it helped.

2/21/00 - I ran 10.12 miles outdoors! During the 1st mile my right ankle was bothering me, but felt better on mile 2. During mile 7 my left knee starting bothering me. The discomfort subsided on mile 8. I intentionally tried to pace myself as if I had many more miles to run. At the end, I was slightly weak, but could have gone on significantly further.

2/23/00 - Visited physial therapist. He prescribed some excercises to strengthen my ankles, lengthen my stride and to improve pelvic motion during strides.

2/24/00 - I ran 3.68 miles outdoors at a fast pace. I felt very good. I only limited the run because I simply didn't have the time. It's kind of odd that a few months ago I would have thought of a 5K race as a race. Now a 5K race would simply be a warm up.

2/26/00 - I ran 7.36 at an average pace of around 7:12 a mile. My initial goal was to run 10 miles, but I was too tired to continue. I felt very tired even several hours after my run. I definitely ran this faster than I thought.

2/27/00 - I ran 3.68 miles outdoors at a moderately fast pace. Initialy I felt a slight strain in the right ankle that went away. I felt slightly tired at end. I felt that if I continued further I would be even more tired than I did yesterday.

2/28/00 - I ran in the morning and felt much stronger. I ran 7.36 miles outdoors at about a 7:20 mile pace. I had slight strains on the right ankle which quickly cleared up. I started out sluggish and then during the last 3 miles I had a sudden kick of energy.

3/1/00 - I ran 8.28 miles outdoors at average pace of 7:15. I felt like I had energy to go on a few more miles.

3/4/00 - I ran 11.96 miles at average pace of 7:27 min. per mile. At around mile 9 my left knee started bothering me, but cleared up a little at mile 10. At mile 11 I was definitely starting to feel tired.

3/5/00 - I ran 3.68 miles at moderate pace. I was definitely tired and sore from yesterday's run.

3/9/00 - I ran 3.68 miles at brisk pace. I felt good.

3/11/00 - I ran approximately 9 miles overall indoors at moderate pace. Towards the end of the run I felt like I could run longer.

3/18/00 - I ran for 8 miles outdoors on a track a moderate pace. I started trying to use some advice from my physical therapist on narrowing my stance. This helped reduce fatigue in my pelvis, but resulted in a lot of strain in my buttocks and ultimately bothered by knees. As soon as I widened my stance, my pace suddenly picked up. I believe that trying to narrow my running stance will be beneficial towards more efficient running. However, it's something that my muscles will need to get used to.

3/20/00 - I ran for 9.2 miles on the road at moderate pace. I felt very strong at the end.

3/23/00 - I ran 10.12 miles on the road at 7:43 mile pace for a total run time of 1 hour and 18 minutes. I felt ok up to mile 9, and tired on mile 10. I started to feel slightly hungry at mile 10. My left knee and right calf was starting to bother me at the end.

3/25/00 - I ran 13.8 miles at 8:04 pace for a total run time of 1 hour and 51 minutes. I took drink and food rests at 4 miles, 7 miles and 10 miles. During mile 10 my left knee was definitely weak. Towards the end I was tired, but could have definitely pushed on. I elected to stay conservative and stop.

3/27/00 - I did approximately 6 miles of interval runs on treadmill. I ran 4 separate mile intervals at approximately 6:30 pace with rest in between. The workout was tough, but overall less taxing then a long distance run.

3/30/00 - I ran 6.44 miles at average pace of 7:46. I had to stop short of an originally planned 10 mile run because of a sharp cramp on the right calve muscle. My calves always feel sore after a hard run and today I ran pretty quick pace considering I Iwalked and stopped a few times and still came under 8:00 per mile. It seems that today that my running on the left side of the road contributed to my right calve fatiguing early. On prior runs I concenrated on the right side of the road.

4/2/00 - I ran 17 miles! The total run time was about 2 hourse and 36 minutes! I went out with other team in training runners and slowed my pace to about 8 minute per mile pace. The weather was overcast, windy and in the upper 50's. I got by with no fuel and very little water. At the end I felt like I could possibly have completed a full marathon. However, I was definitely very hungry, slightly cold and tired. Two hours later I took a short nap and woke up with sore muscles, felt fatigued and dehydrated.

4/6/00 - I ran 10.12 miles at 7:19 pace! At the end I felt like I could go farther. At about mile 7 my left knee started bothering me. At mile 9 my left knee cap was feeling sore, but subsided. At mile 10 I slowed down for a while and things felt much better. I did not stop for water or food.

4/7/00 - Concentrated on inclined leg presses to strengthen the knees, especially the left knee.

4/9/00 - I ran 3 miles on treadmill in 18:11 or an average of 6:04 per mile! The first mile felt easy the 2nd mile was challenging the final mile was very tiring as I was unable to keep up the 6:00 pace the entire run.

4/13/00 - I ran 6.44 miles at a fast pace. I didn't time it, but I was probably under 7:00 per mile. I felt moderately tired at the end. I also did this run on my previous New Balance shoes retrofitted with some ASIC insoles and experienced no joint problems. Either insoles helped or my legs were simply much stronger. Either way this is good as I will need to retire my current running shoes soon.

4/15/00 - I ran 18.4 miles in 2 hours and 23 minutes. This averaged out to a 7:46 mile pace. This was probably slightly faster than I would have attempted if I was actually running a marathon. The day overcast with occasional rain. The temperature between 50 and 60. I expect this could be very representative of the conditions to expect in Alaska on the actual race day. I refueled and drank water at 8.28 miles. For the first 12 miles I felt very strong. Between 13 to 15 miles I felt fair. I drank more water at around mile 13. Starting on the 16th mile things felt difficult. I started to feel hungry but had no more food or water left. By mile 17, I was definitely struggling. By mile 18 I was dying and since I had no more water or food, I felt there was no sense in pushing through and completely knocking myself out. If this was the actual marathon, I'd seriously be considering quitting the race! Afterwards I was completely wiped out the rest of the day, feeling sore, tired, thirsty and hungry. The next day I was still feeling weak.

4/19/00 - I ran 9.2 miles at a fast pace. I intentionally ran the first 3 miles very fast and then settled back at a slower pace. I tried to use the fast run as sort of a rapid warm up of my muscles. Around mile 5, I regained my momentum and started moving on a bit of a runner's high. In some sense I felt like I was moving faster. I experimented by trying just for a fraction of a second longer to stay in the air longer. The result was slower stepping rate to allow me to relax more, but longer strides to allow me to cover more ground per step. In the end I believe I achieved a faster pace while staying relaxed. At the end of the run, I definitely felt great with plenty of energy to go on. However, I don't know how I'd be after about 15 miles. The pace here was definitely faster than when I ran 18 miles, and at that time I was exhausted.

4/22/00 - I ran 10.12 miles at 7:19 pace! During the first 2 miles my right ankle was bothering me and so I struggled. Up to about the mile 7, I definitely felt tired. Then I kind of kicked into a runner's high as my stride started to relax and lengthen. At mile 9 I felt the freshest and so I was able to pick up the pace. At the end I was feeling very strong and could definitely have gone farther. I did not take any water or food.

4/26/00 - I ran 11.04 miles at 7:27 pace. My buttocks still felt sore from previous run. I definitely felt weaker. My left knee started bothering me at mile 10.

4/30/00 - I ran 20.24 miles at 7:57 pace. At mile 2 I was already feeling sore. At mile 8 I felt very strong and decided to eat a banana and drink. Oddly after eating, I started to get a little sluggish. I suspect it was the effect of digesting the food. At about mile 10 I was moving at a very brisk pace. At mile 13 I started to feel tired and decided to refuel with a Power Gel. As I was eating I started to feel an immediate boost of energy and my pace freshened up a bit. At mile 17 I was definitely feeling sluggish again. I drank more water and felt slightly better. At mile 18 I was definitely feeling very sore and tired. At mile 19 I started to get some momentum back, but by buttocks were definitely very sore. My left knee was sore but the pain was under control and didn't feel like it would result in injury. At mile 20 I was able to keep up a fair pace, but I was definitely very weak, tired and now hungry! My sense was that with enough determination that I could push through another 6 miles. There was simply no more kick left in my legs. I spent the rest of the day recovering. Admittedly I wasn't as tired as when I ran 18.4 miles 2 weeks ago at the faster pace.

5/4/00 - I concentrated on leg presses to strengthen my knees instead of doing any running. This will be the longest I've gone without running. However, I still didn't feel 100% and had a bothersome strain in the inside of my right thigh. Considering my success on 4/30, I figured the risk of getting injured by running without proper strengthen outweighed the risk that I'd lose some of my stamina.

5/5/00 - I ran 3.68 miles at 7:36 pace. I still felt sore in buttocks. Towards end I started to loosen up.

5/6/00 - I ran 4.6 miles at approximately 8:00 pace. I still felt sore in buttocks. I tried to concentrate on loosening up. The weather was humid and above 80 degrees. I definitely felt it harder to breath because of the heat.

5/8/00 - I ran 5.52 miles at approximately 7:30 pace. I still felt some soreness in buttocks. I was definitely very sluggish the 1st half mile but started to get back some bounce after a mile. At about 2 miles I definitely found a bit of the bounce in my stride that I was missing for several days. Towards the end I was moving at a very fast pace.

5/9/00 - I ran 4 miles with other runners in the form of fast interval runs. I was a bit taken aback when the first interval was about a 75 second 400 meter run. Many of the runners were much stronger than me. After about 4 intervals, I had to drop off the pace and settle to about 1:30 per 400 meter. Towards the end I felt like I regained some energy and could have settled for a few more intervals at 1:30. I stopped because everyone else had already stopped, making me feel like I was doing something foolish to push further.

5/12/00 - I ran 9.2 miles at approximately 7:30 pace. I still feel soreness in buttocks. I was sluggish the 1st 1/8th mile and was quickly able to loosen up. I was weak the first 5 miles. From about mile 6 to mile 8 I seemed to pick up momentum and energy. Around mile 9 I started to weaken from the faster pace and dehydration.

5/13/00 - I ran a 5K race in 19:56. Overall I felt good. I still felt a bit tight so my strides tended to be on the shorter side. The first mile was quick at about 6:09. The remaining 2.1 miles I had difficulty gauging the distance so I psyched myself out of being more agressive. At the end I was definitely very very spent, but I still had more to push. Today was definitely a best effort.

5/16/00 - I ran five 1000 meter runs with team. I definitely felt very strong and could definitely have gone further.

5/17/00 - I ran 7.84 miles untimed. I felt like I was doing about 7:30 pace. I felt slight soreness in buttocks, which cleared up as my muscles warmed up.

5/21/00 - I ran 20.24 miles at 7:39 pace! I ran at a very relaxed and conservative pace in the beginning and for the most part kept the pace constant all the way through. The weather was cool, overcast with considerable rain. This was my first time experimenting with carrying a fanny pack. I felt slightly sore in beginning and slightly weak at about mile 8. I ate some caffeinated Power Gel at mile 8. I believe the caffeine helped counteract the sleepiness I had felt on previous runs while digesting my fuel. At mile 12 once again I felt week and ate another Power Gel. At mile 17 I felt weak and hungry, put did not have to let up on my pace. Mile 18 came without any problems. At about mile 19 I mentally decided to stop the run at 20 miles, and so I pushed the pace slightly towards the finish. I probably felt the best I've ever at this distance. However, without a doubt pushing forth another 6 miles would be very difficult.

5/22/00 - I walked for 1 mile.

5/23/00 - I ran with team runners for about 5 miles. Towards the end I felt much better and had a surprisingly quick pace.

5/24/00 - I went to the Team-in-Training pizza party. I met Mave and Dalton in person! It totally threw me to find out that Mave was the cute and very boisterous girl in front of me. She is now a 3-yr old girl that exudes happiness and joy. Mave has been off of chemo-therapy for 2 years straight. The 2-year mark is a major milestone as it's about the time at which one is likely to experience a relapse of Leukemia, should treatements prove unsuccessful. His parents told us that recently Mave got her wish from the "Make-a-Wish Foundation" to visit her grandparents in South Africa. Dalton and his family came in a bit late and kind of tired. I know Dalton is in the earlier stages of treatment compared to Mave and might still be in chemo. One thing to remember is that once your off chemotherapy, you're never truly sure if your cured for life. If you stay symptom free for several years straight then your considered cured as far as statistics are concerned.

5/25/00 - I warmed up 1 mile and ran slowly for about 3 miles. I felt a muscle strain in the left inner thigh, it definitely felt like the type of strain that could result in a serious injury so I stopped immediately.

5/29/00 - I ran 10 miles a approximately 7:30 mile pace. I felt sore in the beginning, mainly from a tennis game I played the prior day. This course began with a 1.5 mile uphill climb and finished with the a 1.5 mile downhill run. I picked up a very fast and relaxed pace at the very end.

6/1/00 - I ran 5.52 miles at a moderate pace. Originally, I had planned to run 9 miles, but my leg muscles were still surprisingly sore. At this stage I need to concentrate on recovering from all my soreness instead of building up stamina. Therefore, I stopped the run short and just walked for another mile.

6/3/00 - I ran 9.2 miles at 7:35 pace. I felt a little better than on the previous run. Again I still have a significant amount of residual soreness. I had to concentrate hard on keeping the pace down. There's that competitive part of me that likes to see improvement in my time. However, I really have to be confident that I'm going to be ok for the marathon so I don't need to push myself now as it will only work against me on the actual race day. I think this will be as farthest distance that I'll run until race day.

6/6/00 - I concentrated on strengthening my knees. During the last 20 mile run my knees were both badly weakened and my left me started bothering me. I did several sets of leg presses, some stomach crunches and upper shoulder excercises.

6/8/00 - I ran 4.6 miles at a very slow pace. My muscles were still alarmingly sore so I concentrated on staying just below the sore level, while trying to at least get them warm.

6/10/00 - I ran 6.2 miles at around 7:35 pace. The temperature was in the 90's and I failed to bring some water so I was starting to feel a bit overheated. I was originally going to try for about 8 miles, but stopped short to play it safe. I was happy that the soreness was dramatically less than it's ever been. I'd say I'm now about 85% recovered.

6/13/00 - I ran 5.52 miles at 7:24 pace. The pace felt easy. The temperature was in the 60's and overcast, very much like Alaska. The soreness has come down further, I'd say I'm about 90% recovered now. The forecast for race day is about 50 to 60 degrees with rain. The run should be similar to what I did on 5/21. That means my hat and maybe a jacket for the 1st part of the run.

6/14/00 - I strained my left shoulder. I went to the gym to try and strengthen my shoulders to relieve some of the impingement. I expect to be hauling some luggage around and I don't want to aggravate my shoulder to the point of interfering with my running. I also did some leg presses to strengthen up the knees.

6/15/00 - I spent several hours at Philadelphia Airport praying we could get a flight to Chicago. We finally got to Chicago 3 hours late due to bad weather and missed our connecting flight to Anchorage Alaska by 20 minutes. However, we had really nice accomodations in Chicago. We were put up in a humongous suite that seemed to sprawl as far as the eye could see. It was equipped with multiple tv screens! And 100's of beds. Click here to see! Actually, we spent the night in the Airport. Needless to say it was hard to sleep on cotts next to the rumble of the baggage claim conveyors and tons of people making creaking noises as they tossed and turned on their fold-out cots. Not the best thing to prepare for race day.

6/16/00 - We wait on Stand-By to catch a flight to Anchorage. This flight is supposedly fully booked. We all desparately want to take a shower and get some sleep. We are all worried that we might not even get a flight to make the race! Fortunately we all made it through stand-by and arrive in Anchorage at 1:43 PM. By around 6:00 PM, I was really tired and had a huge headache. This traveling ordeal was definitely a marathon on your faith. One big lesson to all you fliers, always apply for frequent flier membership even if you don't fly that airline often. Why? Because the mere membership will give you priority in standby situations.

6/17/00 - The race actually started at 8:00 AM but is called the Midnight Marathon because it is done on a day where at midnight there is still light outside. I woke up at 5:00 AM for the race, which wasn't too bad because it was like 9:00 Eastern time. I was really a bit uptight about making sure I didn't forget anything or that I had my pictures taken or that my belt wasn't too tight or etc. The race crowd wasn't too bad as I crossed the starting line probably within 3 seconds of the gun firing. I started out trying as much as possible to be semi-conservative while acknowledging the fact that the first 1/4 mile I was losing time negotiating alot of traffic. I wanted to make sure that I hit 7:30 in the first mile. I felt like that maybe I was running slightly fast, but I ended up clocking in at the first mile at around 8:20! That totally scared me, because this felt more like a 7:00 minute mile. I sped up a little to make up the difference and made the 2nd mile in 15:30 which then made me feel better. The 3rd mile I settled out at a little over 22 minutes. This made me feel good as I knew I was settling down nicely at around 7:39 a mile which was matching my best expected performance. My right knee started bothering me around mile 4! It started to become somewhat sharper, like the kind of pain that could end the race. I slowed down and softened my steps, but it still remained. On mile 5 we entered the dirt trails and it immediately went away. However, then my left knee acted up. But it shortly went away. But I definitely lost significant momemtum fighting the knee pain. Then it was just pure stamina for the rest of the race. However, there were many many uphill portions on gravel and dirt trails which little by little sucked energy out of my legs. Never once did I feel that there was a good flow. I was not running efficiently, but pushing on with quick short strained strides. The down hill portions seemed few and far between and I found that I did not have the strength to push faster on the downhills. That fact was pyschologically defeating.

On mile 16 I was a bit tired and saw my running mentor wave to me, but she didn't run along side of me, thinking that I was doing fine. I started to feel like I was alone as I couldn't find a runner who would stick at my pace. At mile 17 I started to feel very emotional. I was feeling really depressed as groups of people were happily chatting and gliding effortlessly past me. Older men seemed to be hobbling faster than I was running. I felt like crying and tried hard to fight back tears. Then suddenly there was this large crowd of people roaring at me with cheers! And suddenly I smiled and waved back at all the people and then my stride picked up as I crested over the highest point in the course. At mile 20, I just settled into the strategy to just make it. Forget about time. People were gliding past me breathing hard, but I just took baby step strides and was breathing very lightly. I figured that they would eventually lose their momemtum, but they didn't. At mile 23 I was trying to gather some pitty from a runner who was slowly passing by. He told me to just keep a steady pace on up hills and down hills. I ran with him and he helped me pick my pace back up. Then I had momentum to slowly move away from him. I never saw him again. At mile 24 a larger gentlemen glided past me but with a very very labored stride. He looked really slow, yet he was passing me! I decided to fight hard to stick with him. I then picked up speed and pulled away. But later he caught right back up, and so I just stuck with him, not trying to pull away. At mile 25 he helped me as I started to whine about how hard this was. He raised his hands in joy and said to me that 1.2 miles was no big deal. He picked up the pace, I pushed myself to keep up. Then suddenly he slowed down a little, but I kept up the pace and never saw him again. Then I saw in the distance a steep long hill. I powered up that hill and for the first time was actually breathing hard as I passed quickly past several people. I kept pushing hard until the hill leveled out. And then I heard cheering in the distance and then I saw the finish line! I eventually entered the track, back on a slow and labored pace. Then I saw the timer in the distance, the track felt good so I started to accelerate and ran past someone crossing the finish line in roughly 3 hours and 48 minutes. It was strange that I felt no emotion about crossing the line. I just was so happy that I could stop running. The rest felt soooo good. I definitely could have run it harder, judging from how much strength I actually had going up that hill. I talked to another runner who finished 8 minutes faster and he mentioned that he was brought down to a crawl going up the hill, and that he struggled to get to the finish line. I never breathed hard, because I was generally not motivated to increase the pain. For more pictures from the Marathon click here.

7/14/00 - It's now about a month after the race. The question some people have asked me is now what? When I started this, I knew that I didn't want this to be just about a marathon. Otherwise, the only goal I could have was to focus on the next physical challenge. If you've visited the rest of my sight, you'll see that there is alot more to me than just a marathon. There is much good that I hope to do and my goal is to be able to do this more by example and action than words. So for now although this website and journey was kicked off by the physical adventure of running in Alaska, there's going to be more things to come in the next several months.

Now as far as future marathons, maybe next year. I'll probably try a few 5K races and am very likely to run a 1/2 marathon. For the most part I don't want to dedicate to much of my time towards physical challenges. I have been trying to keep up with my running, since it's a great gift to be able to run for so long as an exercise. To date I've been struggling with my running due to reacurring knee pains. It's odd that the same symptoms that had threatened to limit my training for my marathon are now suddenly appearing after the marathon. A month ago I could run 15 miles at a quick pace without any problems. Now 3 miles is a big deal! Partly this is the fact that my muscles are still slightly sore from the marathon! The other part is that my knees have tended to give out after about 3 miles.

This past Tuesday I started training with some former marathon runners and was able to gradually pick up my mileage to 5 miles.

7/18/00 - I ran with some of the Team again today. We did interval running for about 4 to 5 miles overall. I felt very strong!

7/22/00 - I ran on the open road for about 8 miles! My legs are healthy again!