How did I get the name theBrainrunner?

Well it's a long story but I'll keep it breif. On November 3rd, 2008 I was getting ready for work and passed out in the shower. Luckily, my wife was home at the time and ran upstairs to find me and after having trouble reviving me she then called the paramedics. After an ambulance ride, followed by a CT scan, then a helicopter ride to another hospital I ended up having surgery to repair a ruptured Brain Aneurysm. 5 months later I had two more aneurysms clipped. I was thankful to be alive, as 40% of ruptures are fatal, and 66% suffer from some permanent neurological deficit. I use to be a runner in High School, and after I had recovered from the surgeries I wanted to be healthier than I had been at that time so my wife and I started running again. Every time I run I'm thankful to be alive and able to be outside doing what I love. Thus, theBrainrunner was born.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My First 1/4 Marathon

Over my life, I've run several half marathons with my next one coming up in May, but I've never run or heard of a quarter marathon before this race. My wife signed us up for the Sam Costa quarter marathon, as a training run for my upcoming half. We both like the races as they keep us motivated and pumped up. There's also a half marathon at the same time, but we opted for the quarter.

Never having raced this distance before (6.55 miles),  I thought about my goals going into the race and came up with a formula for what I thought I should be able to run. My last half marathon was run in November of last year with a time of 1hr 57min 31sec, and my last official 10k was in June of last year with a time of 59min 15sec. So I did some math on the way to the race, and figured out that I should be able to run an 8:54 pace and finish in just under 58:30.

It was 28 degrees outside and I was planning on wearing a long sleeve tech shirt and shorts, but thankfully I brought some other clothes with me just in case. On the drive, I noticed some flags and trees blowing significantly in the wind and I kept thinking that maybe it will warm up a little before the race start at 9:05am. But the closer it got to start time the more I realized that it was not in the cards. So, as I climbed in the car to change into my running shoes I also grabbed my tights and a second long sleeve tech shirt. With the windchill it felt like it was 19 outside, so I was happy to have the extra layers.

At a little after 9:05am the half marathoners started out on their course, some of which we would share over the 1/4M distance. At about 9:10am we got our instructions, warnings, and the countdown to the start of our race. With 317 runners in my race I started toward the front middle of the pack.

Within the first quarter mile there was a sharp turn and a steep decline where I could see the race leader begin to pull away from his contenders, and he was flying. (The winner ran a 36:28 for the course) The course wound through some neighborhoods and onto a bike path. At the first mile I realized I had gone out much faster than what I thought I should have with a split of 7:57. I thought that I was going to pay for my faster pace later. I tried to taper back my pace a little as I pushed on, but I had put together a really great playlist for this race so it was hard to slow down. Then mile number two came and went with a 7:58 mile. But, I felt good and didn't feel like I was pushing it too hard so I decided to try and keep a steady pace. If I felt like I was pushing too hard, then I would have to slow down. At this time though, I already had about a minute cushion in my pocket, so at the very least I would be able to catch my breath and get back at it.

Making a left hand turn after mile two, I was confronted with a decent hill, climbing over 50 feet in less than a half mile, which may not seem like much, but Indiana is a fairly flat state. I've not begun to work on any hill training as of yet, but I don't think I did terribly. I just shortened my stride and tried to increase my turnover a little. Mile three was finished in 8:28. The hill wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and I kept pushing on.

Miles 4 through 6 were about the same, and nothing major happened. However, I did get the pleasure of grabbing a cup of Gatorade that was mixed heavy on the powder and light on the water. WOW! That's a shocker to the the taste buds. The splits were 8:11, 8:17, and 7:59 respectively.

The last .55 miles were ahead of me and I knew there was a good hill waiting for me near the finish line so I picked up the pace trying to push it home. I finished my first 1/4 marathon in 52min and 9seconds.

After my wife finished, we went to check the official times and found out that I finished 3rd in my age group and 39th overall. I even won a little plaque for the age group finish. My hope is that I can carry this forward as I prepare for one of my "A" races in May. It was a great day, and as much as my time goal being beaten means to me, it means even more that I can get out there and have fun running.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A look back at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon

So, I haven't had any races recently, and my training  has been boring to say the least. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you a race report from my first half marathon in nearly 15 years, and the first since my brain surgery. The race was on November 6th, 2010 in Indianapolis Indiana, it was exactly two years since my first brain surgery. Needless to say I was a little nervous, anxious, emotional etc...

It was a cold morning at 26 degrees, I was meeting Roy, a friend of my wife and myself near the start. He and I were going to run together for the race. Most of my long runs up to that point I was running between a 9:30 and 10minute pace so my dream goal was to run the half marathon in a two hour pace. My realistic goal was to run the race at a 2hr 10 minute pace.

Lucas Oil Stadium
The first mile travels from Washington Street near the Capital building over to Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. At the stadium the Colts cheerleaders were out cheering on the runners, so me being the goofball that I sometimes am had to run out of the pack and go over to give them high-fives. We completed the first mile in 9min 14sec. We were only 4 seconds behind the 2 hour pace.

Mile two runs back up toward Monument Circle and we clicked that one off at 9:09. It was starting to thin out a little by this point so Roy and I were able to run more freely without having to dodge too many people so we picked up the pace a little.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Miles three through five run through the art district, up to the old Herron Art school buildings. I had a smile as I passed the school remembering some great times I had there when I was a painting major. Our splits were 8:37, 8:33, and 8:56 respectively. I remember feeling good through this point

Miles six through nine were good and I knew that at about 9.5 miles there was a nasty little hill as I approached the "Worlds Largest Childrens Museum" The splits, 8:50, 8:55, 8:47, 9:12 respectively. Somewhere during mile nine I got blocked in at a water station and lost Roy. We had made a deal that if the other felt good we wouldn't want to hold them back, so they should go ahead. I saw his head bobbing about here and there for a little while but didn't want to risk trying to catch up in a quick burst. So I decided to run my own race. 

Methodist Hospital
For miles 10 and 11, I felt like I was struggling. There were some longer uphill sections, although the inclines weren't that large, my legs felt like they were getting heavy. Mile eleven was emotional for me as I could see over a couple of streets to the hospital where I had my surgery and fought for my life only two years earlier. I remember thinking to myself that my aneurysm didn't get me and that I was going to finish this thing. It's amazing how emotional you can get during the middle of a run or race by some small things. Splits for 10 and 11 were 8:53 and 9:10.

Mile 12 to the finish: As I was approaching Monument Circle for the second time of the race, a very patriotic song began playing on my IPod and again I was fighting back the emotions. I also now knew I had at least a 2 minute cushion on my two hour goal. Once I made the final left hand turn I turned on my afterburners to finish strong. Then after I finished, my wife met me at the end of the finishing chute and all I could do was give her a hug and finally cry as I had beaten my aneurysm and been able to be active once again. Splits and finishing time: 9:01, 8:55, with an overall finishing time of 1hr 57min 31.2seconds. Roy finished in 1hr 54min 01.7min. Next time, I hope the gap is a little closer.

Me at the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Non-Bulldog Jog Race Report

Saturday March 5th was the Bulldog Jog that I had mentioned in the February 27th post. The day was chilly at 36 degrees when I awoke. There was a steady rain and as race preparations began I was not among the those that were to partake in the running events of the day. When I had inquired with my wife if she had signed us up  for the race on Feb. 27th she hadn't. So, we went to the race website to sign up and to our astonishment the early registration was closed already. This meant you could no longer register online. You'd have to go stand in line on race morning and try to register along with all the other procrastinators, not knowing if you'd be able to get in because they only allow a limited number of walk ups. As we remembered last year that process was kind of crazy, so we opted to not run the race. However we did sign up for the Sam Costa quarter marathon, which can be found at and is run on Saturday March 26th along with the half marathon. I'm using this as a fun run, as it's not one of my "A" races for the year.  My first "A" race is the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon which is one of the nations largest running events at 35k participants.

It's probably best that we didn't run the Bulldog Jog this year anyway. I've been having some issues with my calves being extra tight. It's not really a cramping issue they are just really tight so I've been working on stretching, mesage, rolling them out etc...

This week I've only run 12.6 miles, to give my calves a bit of a rest and hopefully get them back to normal.

Until next time enjoy your runs.
Thanks, theBrainrunner!

Cramps = Pickle Juice?

Recently, 10 healthy male college students filed into an exercise laboratory at Brigham Young University in Utah to drink pickle juice. Many people involved in sports are convinced that the briny fluid combats muscle cramping. In a 2008 survey, a quarter of the athletic trainers interviewed said that they regularly dispense pickle juice to cramp-stricken athletes. Many also report that, in their experiences, the stuff quickly brakes the cramping. The athletic trainers have told researchers that they believe the pickle juice must be replenishing the salt and fluids the athletes had lost to sweat. But no laboratory science had verified that theory.

Until now? Read the rest of the story at

I thought this was an interesting read so I thought I would post a link to it on my blog.

Thanks, theBrainrunner