Eric Van De Vens Blog

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A1A Half Marathon wrap-up (day two)

Continuing from day one………………………………

“Never Trust a Fart”

That was a sign I saw while running the race. It had personal implications!

When I awoke at 12:00 midnight, I had severe cramps and an urgent desire to go to the bathroom.


This isn’t the exact sign, but runners will appreciate it!

Some may wish to skip the next paragraph or two as it is a bit graphic.

I ran to the bathroom where I experienced what is termed in the medical profession as, “explosive diarrhea”. The cause seems to have been those hot dogs mentioned in the day one recap as everything else I ate was gluten-free and fresh.

I continued running to the bathroom and returning to bed for the next 4 1/2 hours. A total of 26 trips in all…which has to be some sort of record!

The good news, when I returned home, I had lost 7 pounds over the weekend.

The bad news….the cause of an old nemesis reared its ugly head. 😦

The last words my wife said to me before I left for the race, “Remember to hydrate, as you are probably very dehydrated by now”. I hate it when she is right!

At approximately 4:55 am, I left the hotel and went to the VIP parking  lot located at the Bahia Mar hotel. Rarely do I have complaints about this race, but this time, I will make an exception.

In previous years, VIP parking for this event was located directly at the finish line. I would assume that the powers that be at the City of Fort Lauderdale no longer wanted the liability of cars parking where runners were finishing or wanted more money for the race promoters to use this area, or both.

In any event, the VIP parking was moved across the street to the Bahia Mar. Unfortunately, the staff at the Bahia Mar must not have been informed that a bunch of people would be using their parking lot at 4:30 in the morning. Eventually, I was able to find a parking spot at the very rear of the parking lot. That wasted about 15 minutes. Ever try to find a parking spot in a dimly to non-existent lit parking lot at 5 in the morning?

Now, it was time to walk to the bus pick up point. Which was probably further away from the VIP parking than our hotel! When I finally got to the bus pick up spot, the line was a lined up on a significant portion of the road running north on A1A. It took six buses to get the people in front of me loaded and on their way to the race. Finally, I got on the next bus and was on my way.

The ride to the start line was uneventful, unlike last year where we had to get off the bus on Broward Boulevard and run to the start line, but, I arrived, apparently, after the start of the race. It isn’t a big deal as your time doesn’t start until you cross the starting line, but still, I like to have some time just in case I had to use the bathroom….which at this time was my greatest fear!

I started the race and at my first interval, hear my pace of 15:40 and thought, “this is going to be fun”! My second interval announcement came 2 minutes later and was 12:52, so things were looking up.

Mile 1:    Time: 12:42      Pace: 12:42.

Mile 2:    Time: 25:21      Pace: 12:39

Mile 3:     Time: 38:13      Pace: 12:52

5K Time 39:10 A personal Best!!!


Making the turn up A1A the 5K mark.

I was running at a 12:45 pace and doing it quite easily!

Mile 4:     Time: 51:50     Pace:13:36

Mile 5:      Time: 1:05:26 Pace: 13:35

Mile 6:      Time: 1:18:56  Pace: 13:29

Mile 7:      Time: 1:33:08 Pace: 14:11

Remember that old nemesis I spoke of earlier? Well, here it is: Cramps!!  The cramps started out in my right calf. That continued for two miles, then, cramps in my left calf, then cramps in both calves…for the remainder of the race.

Mile 8:     Time:1:47:09      Pace: 14:00

Mile 9:      Time: 1:59:38     Pace: 12:28!!!

I had a brief respite from the cramps, or more accurately, this is after the cramps in the right calf stopped and before the cramps in the left leg started! This was also my fastest mile.

Mile 10:    Time: 2:14:24  Pace: 14:45 Ouch…here come the cramps in the left calf!

Mile 11:     Time: 2:28:10  Pace: 13:45

Mile 12:     Time: 2:43:08   Pace: 14:57

Ouch x 2 cramps in both calves. I had to stop and stretch. 😦

Mile 13:      Time: 2:57:08   Pace: 13:59

Mile .63 aka .1: Time: 3:05:46 Pace: 13:41

Final results:

Endomondo: Distance: 13.63 mi   Duration: 3:05:45 Pace:13:37

Official results: Distance: 13.1 mi Duration:  3:04:35  Pace:14:06

One issue was I ran an extra half a mile because some people still haven’t learned, that there are other people on the course, not just you! Dumbasses!!!!

The other issue was dehydration. And, boy, did I have that in spades! I barely sweat during this run, which even though the temperature was in the 60s, I sweat a lot and was pretty much dry at the end of the race.

I can’t be too upset with my performance as had I stayed on the pace of my first 3 miles, I would have had a pr and might have even broken the 2:30 barrier.


Here I am at the finish and note…”His hair was perfect”!  (WZ)

The aftermath: For the fourth race in a row, I am in little pain. Just a little soreness in my calves and that is about it. I have been to the gym twice this week and tomorrow will be a run day.

Bathroom issues: There were none to report during or after the race. The 4 Advil I took did the trick and I was “locked up” and didn’t have to use the restroom until I got back to the hotel! 🙂

We had lunch at the hotel, a drink or two, enjoyed the view and headed home.


A Mojito and a Cosmopolitan finish celebration drink!


The view from the pool deck…7 floors up!

Now that I have time to train, I can set my intervals to 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, up from the previous setting of 30/60.

This will help in the weight loss as well as endurance and eventually speed.

The next race on the calendar is the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon in November…..unless something else comes up first!

Stay tuned……………………………………..

February 17, 2016 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A1A Half Marathon wrap-up (day one)

Time for a recap of my 9th half marathon! Wow…I never thought I would say those words!

There were high hopes for this run…..were being the operative word!

During the two weeks prior to this race, as race director for our cub scout packs Pinewood Derby, I was busy making preparations for the event. This entails organizing everything, designing trophies, arranging a place for the race, and a whole host of things that take up a bunch of time. The reason for that is, that it was my first time running the entire event, with little left from the people who ran the event previously.

This meant, that everything I designed, would have to be sustainable for years to come. Luckily, that turned out to be the case as all of the “backroom” work has already been done for next years race. And even if I weren’t there to do it next year, someone else could easily step in to run everything.

The downside to this is that it took a lot of time…and most of that was leading up to the race itself, which was Friday  night and Saturday morning prior to the A1A race! Our Derby will be scheduled a week earlier than the A1A race next year!!!!!!

Friday night we had “Test and Tune” which is where the Scouts register and tech in their cars. They also get to make time runs down the track and can modify their cars between runs. I tried to bring my drag racing experience to the event and by all accounts, it was a big hit.


Marshalls car

Marshall dl

Marshalls official Drivers License

time run cards

Time Trial Cards

During the week prior to the A1A race, I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night. Thursday, I decided to make some hot dogs for lunch. I got them out of the freezer, but they weren’t frozen! I didn’t think anything of it and just cooked them. Later that night….my stomach felt a little off.

Friday, I woke up to a very painful stomach along with cramps. Friday was a long day. I spent the majority of the day setting up the track for the race and decorating the hall where we have the race. Then, I had to get my Scout uniform and then, back to the hall to run Test and Tune.

This went on until about 9:00 pm. I came home, printed out programs for the race and went to bed.

Saturday morning I awoke to a painful stomach again…..and cramps… 3:00 am! I never did get back to sleep! I went to the hall, started the race and everything went smoothly and everyone seemed to have a great time!


After cleaning up, time to go home and leave for the hotel.

As we did last year, we used our Marriott Rewards points to book a room at the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale Beach! No charge! Since it was Valentines Day, I spent a few dollars  to get the beach side upgraded room. And, it was well worth it!


The bed

room view

The view from our room…..


The bar……………..


Our official toast to start off a race! It’s a tradition!

After checking in and having a drink…….or three….time for dinner.

After last years tremendous meal at the H2O Cafe, we had no choice but to return!

Once again, the service and food was great. Our Server, Andre, was funny and was always right there to see if we needed anything.

They didn’t have the mussels that I ordered last year, but did have a suitable replacement.


Shrimp Cipria

Shrimp sautéed in a cognac saucewith cherry tomatoes, pinenuts and mushrooms. 

The Shrimp Cipria was outstanding!!!! I could have had about 4 more plates of this…especially since Marshall ate most of the shrimp!

Time for the main course!


Risotto Da Vinci

An array of fresh fish, mussels, clams shrimp and a touch of tomato. 

Teala had the Risotto Da Vinci pictured above and I had the Prime Rib, pictured below.


Prime Rib
Slow roasted with au jus, served with mashed potatoes and vegetable of the day.

The wife decided that since she deferred to next year, she would have a treat to go along with her wine!


Key Lime Pie

As you can see…someone started before I could even get the picture!

After a delicious dinner, we walked back to the hotel, had a glass of wine on the balcony, then I went to bed. It was roughly 9:00 pm.

I woke up at midnight…a full three hours before my alarm was supposed to go off.

On day two of this blog…you will find out why and also a race recap.

Stay tuned………………………

February 17, 2016 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to start training!

It has been quite some time since my last post. I have been busy with the holidays, Cub Scouts, and a whole host of other things….including, running the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon in November!

I was making great progress in my training and really felt good about this race. Unfortunately, due to severe weather conditions in the area, it was shortened to roughly 7 miles. This actually worked out well as I had plenty of time to take pictures of some of the characters on the course, as well as to run at a leisurely pace.

The shortened race also allowed myself and the wife as well as a couple of friends to enjoy the Wine and Dine portion of the event until 4:00 am!

There is nothing to really report with regards to that race. I barely broke a sweat and had no damage reported to equipment or myself. So much for old news!

a1a medal

Now, it is on to training for my 4th A1A Half Marathon! Hard to believe that someone who never ran and has the injuries I have, has somehow managed to run 9 half marathons and a 10 mile race as well!

As I do at least twice a year, I am finishing up the 7-day total body cleanse……..and boy do I need it!

It took nearly five days before I started to feel like “myself”!

Next week begins training for the A1A half marathon which will focus on cardiovascular training. This will be accomplished using a three day a week full body workout along with an hour of cardio on those days, split up into 2 half hour blocks, one prior to the weight workout, one after, and three running days.

The one thing I really like about the A1A Half Marathon is that is first thing in the morning. This means that I can do all of my training before 9:00 am, and that will carry over to race day.

I will try to update the blog once a week, hopefully, after a successful week of training!

January 9, 2016 Posted by | Home, Running | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s that time……Again!

I have been a bit lax since the last race in February. It seems, since we moved from Broward to Palm City, we seem to be doing a lot more activities! That is a good thing! 😉

Meanwhile…..back in running land….it is time to start training for the Walt Disney World Wine and Dine half marathon!

To bring everyone up to speed, as I sated, we have been busy. With Cub Scouts, work, and all sorts of “events”, time has grown scarce for training. Then there was the “knee” issue. Yes, “that” knee!

Some time in late May, my left knee began to hurt and lock up. It appears as though something has broken inside the knee and is bouncing around. Off to Doctor Baylis to see what is going on. An X-ray was taken, and it pretty much tells the story.


The knee with the screws in it is my left knee. If you look at the other knee, you can see a nice, smooth space between the knee bones. On my left knee, there is little space and, as I suspected for some time, my knee has worn unevenly which results in my left foot pointing out further than my right foot. The cure for this is…..nothing!

What apparently happened, is that a portion of bone has broken off above the bottom screw in my left knee. That bone, along with other debris, is wandering around in the space in my knee. Because there is no space, these tiny fragments cause the knee to lock up…until they work their way down past the middle of my knee. Then, they languish there for a while.

Dr. Baylis said we could go in and retrieve them, but, we would have to know where they are to get them out. He would only be able to remove the pieces he could get to and if a bunch are down the inner side of my right knee, that would require several incisions to be made just to find them. And, if we couldn’t find them, then it would be a wasted surgery.

Another option would be knee replacement. Which I do not wish to have done. All I hear is how the only thing the replacement corrects is the pain. I can handle the pain. Losing more mobility and the ability to do a lot of things I still enjoy, isn’t really an option at this time.

Looking back on previous years, for whatever reason, in March, April and May, I seem to have these occurrences. Coincidentally, that is also the busiest time of the year for my work. Navigating attics seems to aggravate my left knee, as well as my right knee and back!

So……on to plan F! I am currently getting hyaluronic acid injections. That combined with my newest brace from DonJoy, should allow me to continue to run.


I have also managed to find a set of walking around shoes. The New Balance 670V1s, which fit perfectly. The size is 11.5 4E. As my Saucany shoes are to narrow, I am going to try the New Balance M990V3 shoes which are for mild over-pronators. Hopefully these will work as the Saucanys have created a callous on my left inside front foot.

Right now, I am in day four of the 7-day Total Body Cleanse. I try to do this every 3 months, but it has been a long time since the last “clean-out”! A lot of people have negative things to say about these body cleanses, but I can say, that the one I use, from GNC, works. Usually, by day three, I am feeling much better. This time, it took until day four, but, I am starting to get my energy back.

I am pretty sure, staying on the BSN NoXplod and Nitrix for six months without a break is responsible for my sluggishness as of late. Your body adapts to these supplements and at some point, they do not work. The good news about the cleanse, is that gradually, I am able to tolerate fruit and vegetables. That will be incorporated into the new low carbohydrate diet.

Training will be broken up into to segments, weight training and running.

Weight Training: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, complete body workouts using lighter weights, 3 sets of 12 repetitions to start. Golds Gym has an entire row of machines starting with leg press and ending with arms. I can go right down the row and use every machine!

Running: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday will be running days. Tuesday and Thursday, shorter runs, and Saturday will be a longer run. I will be following the Jeff Galloway running program, and will just start with whatever week it is now as I think I am two weeks late for the very beginning of the program.

Weight Loss: Living the “high-life” adds pounds…quickly! The official starting weight for this training program is 244.5 pounds! YIKES!!

The good news there, is that eating all of this fruit tends to cause bloating and some water retention. That should subside after the cleanse is finished.

We have already paid for the race, and thanks to our Mousekeplanner Extraordinaire Jennifer Upton, our rooms are reserved for the race. All that remains is the training. Hopefully, all of my body parts will hold out and I plan, if all goes well, to run a personal best. I don’t know what the numbers will be, but they will have to be faster than a 2:45 time.

Stay tuned!

July 24, 2015 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running | , , , , | Leave a comment

A1A Half Marathon Wrap-up!

This was one of the best races and times we have had in a long time!

I will start with a trip down memory lane. But first……….

I decided to start Saturday morning with a soak in the hot tub!

The hot tub

The hot tub


Now, on to memory lane…..

This is the 11th Avenue Bridge. It is one of the few bridges here in South Florida, that turns instead of going up like a draw bridge. To the immediate left of this bridge, was a home owned by one of my fathers friends. He used to let me come over and crab off of his dock. Good times for sure!


The 11th Avenue bridge.


This is the Evergreen cemetery. It is the one of the oldest cemeteries in Broward County. Back when I was in high school, we used to jump the fence, which was lower than it is now, and have parties til all hours of the morning. The phrase was, we are having a party Saturday night…and everyone was dying to get in!


Evergreen Historic Cemetery


After driving around Broward County for a while, it was time to visit the Expo. As always, this Expo has just about everything you could want for running and fitness. We got our race packet, shirt, poster, sport beans, all in 40 minutes!











Lexus isle at the Expo.


Next, we took Marshall to his Aunt Rose Maries where he got to spend the weekend! After that, time to check into the hotel. When I went to get a hotel for this race, everything was booked, at least what was in our price range. So, we had to “settle” for the Ritz Carlton! The standard rate for this room was $599.00 per night……………unless……you have Marriott Rewards points! Since we use our Marriot credit card for everything, we have an abundance of points, so, 50,000 points deducted, and the room was free!! And what a room!

This has to be the best hotel room we have ever stayed at. Click on the link Ritz Carlton, just to look at the place. Below are a few pictures of our room and the view. As an aside, the service is unbelievable! Everything you want is a fingertip away!

The Bed

The Bed

Bathroom vanity

Bathroom vanity

The bathtub

The bathtub

The toilet room..with a phone and a TV in the bathroom!

The toilet room..with a phone………… and a TV in the bathroom!


The view from our balcony.

The view from the 7th floor pool deck.

The view from the 7th floor pool deck.

After we settled in, we decided to have a few drinks on the patio overlooking the Intracoastal waterway. The Miami boat show was going on the same weekend, but we had our own private boat show!

Bridge opening.....

Bridge opening…..



A nice boat....

A nice boat….

A real nice boat......

A real nice boat……

A really, really, really nice boat!!

A really, really, really nice boat!!

After viewing our own private boat show, it was time for dinner. We decided to walk around to burn off a few drinks and ended up at the Quarterdeck Lounge. This is a place that as youngsters, we used to frequent. Maybe when you get older, you notice more, but this place was a dump. After waiting 20 minutes for service, and none ever came, and being subjected to a smoker who appeared to be in the final stages of some sort of death disease, we decided to eat elsewhere!

We walked around some more and ended up back at the hotel to see about getting dinner reservations. All booked up. We walked back down “the strip”, and ended up at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Looking at the menu, there wasn’t much that appealed to me, so we moved on. Eventually, we arrived at the H20 Cafe.

The wife used her phone to look up the reviews and most were positive, so, we decided to eat here for our Valentines dinner.

We were seated immediately and our waiter asked for our drink order. My current training drink is Jose Cuervo tequila and diet Sierra Mist. It is a zero carbohydrate drink and not as fattening as my normal Tequila Sunrise. Since they had no Diet drinks of any kind, we had to improvise. Tequila, Seltzer water, lemon, lime, and Splenda!

With the drinks out of the way, time to order food.

First was the appetizer, Cozze Posilipo….which is “Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.”

Cozze Posilipo  Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.

Cozze Posilipo
Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.

This was absolutely fantastic! I was tempted to get another order, but seeing the portion size, figured the dinner would be plenty!

Speaking of which, I had the NY Strip Steak and the wife had the Risotto Champagne. Both were outstanding! I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in the area.

New York Strip Steak

New York Strip Steak

Risotto Champagne Risotto with baby shrimp and asparagus in a champagne cream sauce.

Risotto Champagne
Risotto with baby shrimp and asparagus in a champagne cream sauce.

The view of Fort Lauderdale Beach from our dinner table!

The view of Fort Lauderdale Beach from our dinner table!

Time to head back to the room to watch the sunset and go to bed around 8:30 pm.





Nite nite……..

What is that sound? Ah, the alarm… is 3:00 am!!!

Remember that hotel service I mentioned earlier?

Can you send us up a pot of hot coffee?

Can you send us up a pot of hot coffee?

Although it was 20 dollars, it was worth it!!!!! And, it arrived 10 minutes after the call and was fresh and hot!!

Now it was time to bathe, get dressed, and do everything else that you have to do before you head out to a race. We made a phone call to the valet, yes, it is mandatory valet parking, and when we got downstairs, our car was waiting for us! We even picked up a girl runner who was waiting for a cab, and we offered her a ride to the race.

Five minutes later, with a little “creative” driving, all routes to and from the hotel were blocked off and I had to navigate several cones, we were at the VIP parking lot, which is at the finish line. So far, so good.

Next we got on the bus and headed to the starting line, which is normally a 15 minute ride. Unfortunately, due to construction, several of the “usual” roads were blocked off and our driver seemed to have a hard time understanding what some of us locals were trying to tell her! Eventually, we ended up near the starting line, the driver pulled off to the side of the road, and we all got off and made our way to the start.


The Starting Line!

We only had to wait 20 minutes until the Star Spangled Banner was played on a saxophone. Then the wheeled racers were off. At 6:00 am, the race started. This race, unlike the Disney races or any other race we have run, is a mass start race. Everyone gets into position by markers for their projected pace. The only issue with this is that some of the slower runners, jump to the front of the line, which, later in the race, causes some runners, to have to weave around these other runners after you catch up to them.

In any event, I preferred this start as I only had to wait 6 minutes to get to the Starting line as opposed to the half hour or more at Disney.

As I started to run, I realized that I felt really good. I had no pain and also, no tightening up of my calves. I was running effortlessly, but still trying to keep a 13:30 pace.  For the first nine miles, I never was slower than a 13:29 pace. The first 4 miles were run in an average pace of 12:55!

5K time:38:48, which is  a personal best! The view of the 5K marker, which is now a castle instead of the previous sailboat.

5K castle.

5K castle.

Running along, at miles four and five, the sunrise….



Now it was time to focus on running. I was running at a consistent pace, 13:04 or so for a majority of the race. At mile 10, I finally had to urinate as I had been holding it for six miles! Miles 10,11,and 12, were my slowest miles. I was fighting a toe cramp in my left foot, as well as pain in my left hip. Luckily, those pains went away and to my surprise, and I didn’t know this until I looked at the tracker later, my fastest mile was my last! Mile 13 was at a 12:51 pace!

Here are the official and unofficial results:


Distance: 13.27 miles

Duration: 2:57:09

Average Pace: 13:20



Official time:

First Name Last Name Age 10k Gun Time Net-Time Pace
Eric Van De Ven 54 1:18:46 3:03:50 02:56:38 13:29

Not a personal best, but considering I was 15 pounds heavier than last year, I was only 2 minutes slower. And, no pain except for a little soreness.

Also, using the run/walk interval method and the low carbohydrate diet, I felt fresh after the race.

While waiting for the wife to finish, I took a few pictures of the beach and surrounding areas.

Fort Lauderdale beach!

Fort Lauderdale beach!

More beach....

More beach….

In the instruction manual of our new Canon camera, it says not to look at the lens if you are taking a picture of a bright the sun!

In the instruction manual of our new Canon camera, it says not to look at the lens if you are taking a picture of a bright object…like the sun!

The Bahia Mar hotel..

The Bahia Mar hotel..

A cargo ship...that was probably at least a half a mile away. That zoom really does work!

A cargo ship…that was probably at least a half a mile away. That zoom really does work!

Wishful thinking!

Wishful thinking!

Almost there!

Almost there!


The finish line! I took this picture while running with the wife to the finish!

The best thing at the cold low fat chocolate milk!!!!!!

The best thing at the finish…ice cold low fat chocolate milk!!!!!!



Now that the race was over, what to do? We got an extended checkout, so, went up to the room, rehydrated, and packed. We called the bellman and they took our luggage downstairs and held it for us. Meanwhile, we went to the pool patio deck and had lunch. But first, drinks!! Now that the race was over, carbohydrate fever! A Mojito for me and a Bahama Mamma for the wife!

Mojito and a Bahama Mamma!

Mojito and a Bahama Mamma!

A quick burger and Mahi Mahi sandwich..time to enjoy the view!

Bacon cheeseburger.

Bacon cheeseburger.

Mahi Mahi sandwich!

Mahi Mahi sandwich!

Bye bye Lauderdale...... :(

Bye bye Lauderdale…… 😦

This was a fantastic trip. No injuries and no drama..except for nearly missing the race! 😉

We are already planning for the race next year and it may be a 2-night stay this time!

Next race up….Disney Wine and Dine 2015!




February 16, 2015 Posted by | Gluten-Free Foods and Diet, Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two weeks later……………………

This time two weeks ago, I was gearing up for what would be the worst race, performance wise, I have ever run. The good news is that I had low expectations entering the race to the extent that I didn’t know if I would finish. The fact that I finished is an accomplishment in itself!

The last two weeks I have been slowly adding distance to my training runs. I am, for all intents and purposes, starting over as far as training for the A1A Half Marathon in February goes.

The first run after the Wine and Dine was the following Sunday.

  • DISTANCE:   1.46 mi
  • DURATION: 18m:43s
  • AVG. PACE: 12:49 min/mi

I have changed the run/walk settings on Run/Walk Interval to 45 seconds run/50 seconds walk. As I get faster, I will change the settings, but for now, I want to get to at least 10 miles with these settings and stay in the 12 minute mile pace range.

The next run was this Thursday.

  • DISTANCE:   3.29 mi
  • DURATION: 43m:15s
  • AVG. PACE: 13:10 min/mi

This run was at a slower pace, but getting used to the new settings is always a bit of an issue.

Todays run, Saturday, was the best so far since completing the Wine and Dine race.

  • DISTANCE:   4.25 mi
  • DURATION: 52m:54s
  • AVG. PACE: 12:27 min/mi

I could have gone to five miles, but I had to return to the home as the wife had to leave. The good news about this run, is that since I started taking Potassium, my cramping issues seem to have been resolved. Also, I am only running with four bottles of water/Gatorade. That removes a little weight as normally I run with 8 bottles. Speaking of weight, I ran the Wine and Dine race at a staggering 251 pounds! Since we have returned, my weight has gone down to 239 pounds as of today. I am going to continue to run, cross train, and stay on the Atkins diet. The goal is to lose another 39 pounds by February.

The biggest issue for me, is that when I can’t train, I resort to poor eating habits, which adds weight very quickly. Dealing with the pain of injuries also is an issue as alcohol seems to quell the pain the best! Unfortunately, it is also responsible for a lot of weight gain!

I plan on two runs next week as it is Thanksgiving, then back to two or three runs a week. Short runs during the week and a long run on Sunday mornings. This is in preparation for the A1A race which unlike the Disney races, is in the morning…Sunday, February 15, 2015 morning to be exact! 🙂

The next update should be in two weeks barring something spectacular!

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon 2014 (race day)

It would appear, that Thursday night dinner would be the high-point for this weekend!

Marshall was a bit Grumpy when he woke up this morning and wanted to “postpone the run until he was better rested”!

We loaded up and drove to Wide World of Sports for the Kids races.

The required picture under the ball at Wide World of Sports!

The required picture under the ball at Wide World of Sports!

Marshall ready to run.....

Marshall ready to run…..He is getting some last minute advise from his coach!

A few trips through the obstacle course, and Marshall was warmed up!

A few trips through the obstacle course, and Marshall was warmed up!


Marshall finishing. If he didn't trip at the start, he might have finished first in his wave!

Marshall finishing. If he didn’t trip at the start, he might have finished first in his wave!

Marshall and EJ at the finish.

Marshall and EJ at the finish.

Now it was time to take Marshall to his grandparents. We got back to the room and ate and tried to rest.

As I was on a gluten-free and mostly low carbohydrate diet, I made six cheeseburgers before we left. They came in handy for race fuel!

We got ready and headed to the bus in front of the hotel at 7:00. We arrived at around 7:45.

We mingled with some friends and got a picture taken:


The air was crisp, temperature around 65 degrees, and a slight wind…..when we arrived at Wide World of Sports!

That changed.

Right around 9:45, it started to rain. Just a slight drizzle. It never stopped!!!!

On to the race……

I was using the backup phone wrapped in a sandwich bag. The apps running were: Endomondo, Run/Walk interval, and Winamp for music.

The Motorola wireless headphones were also used.

Mommy ready to race!

Mommy ready to race!

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

And we are off………………………………

The Start

The Start

Right off the bat, I knew this would be a slow race. Between the large amount of participants, especially in the corral I was in, I knew I would be lucky to finish this race.

Mile                            Pace

Mile 1:                     14:55

Mile 2:                     13:33

Mile 3:                     13:26      Fastest lap! But, problems developed!!! 😦

Mile 4:                     13:56

Mile 5:                     14:02

Mile 6:                     14:13

Mile 7:                     15:01

Mile 8:                     14:41

Mile 9:                     15:05

Mile 10:                  15:31  More problems!!!!!!

Mile 11:                   15:55

Mile 12:                   16:11

Mile 13:                    16:51

Endomondo:      3:13;20     Pace: 15:04

Chip time:            3:21:37     Pace: 15:23

Considering the conditions, and the fact that I weighed 245 pounds at race start, I guess I can live with the results.

Problem one developed right after mile three. The insert inside my shoes, started to move and eventually, was crinkled up under my foot. I tightened up the laces on my right shoe, and that seemed to solve the problem, for that foot! The left shoe, however, was still having problems all the way to the end of the race. I tightened the laces three more times and it got better, but about every mile and a half, I had to stop, take off my shoe, straighten out the insert and re-install it. This cut into my time.

Problem two developed around mile 11. I get a warning that my battery is low in my headphones. Shortly thereafter, no headphones!! I managed to finish by counting on my fingers to forty for the run intervals and 50 for the walk intervals. At some point, it was quiet enough where I could hear the commands from the phone speaker. So could everyone else!

Problem three: While tying my shoes around mile eleven, I got a cramp in my left calf! Great!! The previous races “up north” I have cramped badly. This race I took special care to prevent that from happening. I was taking potassium, drinking a bunch of water and Gatorade, and doing everything to prevent cramping. The good news, was that when I got up to run, the cramps went away. The bad news, I had to adjust the insert three more times! Each time, I feared the cramps would return, but they didn’t. 🙂

After I crossed the finish line, I grabbed my bag and headed to the after-party. I met my wife and we decided that since I was shaking uncontrollably, we should go back to the warmth of our room! Once back to the room, I took a hot shower and then crawled under the covers!!

The aftermath………………………

As with all of these races, it is a battle between your mind and body. Your body keeps trying to find ways for you to go and lay down. Your mind says no. This year, the mind won as going into this race, I didn’t know if I would finish. After the race, I am pain-free. Nothing hurts and I could go out for a run today. I have never felt this good after a race. No pain in the shins, no pain in the knee or feet. I am actually quite surprised as after the race, due to the awkward running style caused by the failed insert, my left knee hurt. Sunday it felt fine and today, you couldn’t even tell I just ran one of the toughest half marathons in my life!

What’s ahead?

Depending on what happens regarding the wife, she fell at mile three, hurt her knee, and continued to mile 7, before finally surrendering to the pain, the next run will either be a local 5K and/or the A1A half marathon in February.

I wish to thank all of those who cheered us on at the event, and those that have wished us well on the blog, and Facebook pages.

Stay tuned……training resumes Tuesday! 🙂




November 10, 2014 Posted by | Gluten-Free Foods and Diet, Health and Fitness, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wine and Dine 2014 1/2 Marathon wrap up (Pre-Race)

Another race in the books!!!

This years race was one of the more enjoyable events, as well as the most painful! We will start off with the enjoyable part first!


We arrive bright and early to our hotel, the Caribbean Beach Resort. Checked in and then, got to the Pirate Room! Thanks Jen!




Now it was off to Epcot for the Wine and Dine portion of this trip!


I had to be careful as to which countries we ate at due to my gluten issue.

We started off in New Zealand, where I had the Steamed Green Lip Mussells. I forgot to get a picture! Next, we skipped around until we got to Morocco for some sangria. Which was the best sangria, hands down at the event. Then we went to France for the Braised Short Ribs and some Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Delicious!! Next, Brazil for Crispy Pork Belly and Black Beans. I had the Frozen Caipirinha…whatever that is!! It was very refreshing! We finished up the eating portion with a trip to Puerto Rico where I had a conch salad and sangria. We ended the Wine and Dine portion in Mexico where I had the third sangria.

Braised Short Ribs in France

Braised Short Ribs in France

Pork Belly and Black Beans in Brazil

Pork Belly and Black Beans in Brazil


Conch Salad in Puerto Rico

Bye Bye Epcot....for now!

Bye Bye Epcot….for now!

We went back to the room, had a snack, yes, hard to believe we will still hungry, and then, to soak in the hot tub.

Time for dinner! Every time we visit Disney, we try to eat somewhere new. This trip, we went to the Contemporary Hotel and ate at “The Wave“.

Contemporary Hotel

Contemporary Hotel

The Wave

The Wave

I started off with Steamed Florida Cedar Key Clams with Chorizo Sausage, Fennel, and Smoked Paprika, which was tremendous!!!

Steamed Florida Cedar Key Clams with Chorizo Sausage, Fennel, and Smoked Paprika

Steamed Florida Cedar Key Clams
with Chorizo Sausage, Fennel, and Smoked Paprika

That was followed by Herb-Salt Seasoned Beef Tenderloin Caramelized Field Mushrooms, Organic Green Beans, Potato Mash, and Sauce Bordelaise. This was also delicious!

Herb-Salt Seasoned Beef Tenderloin Caramelized Field Mushrooms, Organic Green Beans, Potato Mash, and Sauce Bordelaise

Herb-Salt Seasoned Beef Tenderloin
Caramelized Field Mushrooms, Organic Green Beans, Potato Mash, and Sauce Bordelaise

For dessert…and this isn’t on the menu, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake!!! I also ordered a Chocolate martini. This was one of the best desserts I have ever had! If you are ever at the Wave, make sure you order this combination. I was almost tempted to order a “to-go” version!!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with a Chocolate Martini

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with a Chocolate Martini

After dinner, we watched the fireworks and the castle got “Frozen”!

Frozen Castle

Frozen Castle

We went back to the hotel and to bed! Day one was tiring!!


Friday started off with a trip to the race Expo at Wide World of Sports. We had to get our race packets, bibs, run tracking, and a few supplies. Then, it was off to Animal Kingdom.

Marshall and Mommy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall and Mommy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall and Daddy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall and Daddy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall in the dugout.

Marshall in the dugout.

Home plate!

Home plate!

Sports Expo

Sports Expo

Off to Animal Kingdom…….


I finally got to see the walking tree lady!!

I finally got to see the walking tree lady!!

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life


Marshall riding a dinosaur!

Marshall riding a dinosaur!

A large lizard............

A large lizard…………

A lurking bat.....

A lurking bat…..

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

After lunch at the Flame Tree Cafe, we headed back to the hotel. Had a few drinks, relaxed, then it was off to dinner.

Dinner was at the Flying Fish.

A Blood orange margarita

A Blood orange margarita

The only picture worth posting is the one above. The food was pedestrian at best. The service and mass confusion was also a contributor to an overall forgettable experience. With such high ratings, we surprised by the experience. Young Marshall did enjoy the mussels though!


Time to return back to the room and rest up….

Next post….Race Day!!!!

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Gluten-Free Foods and Diet, Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Race week..Wine and Dine 2014 is here!

It seems only a few short weeks ago, we moved into this house and now suddenly, it is 10 months later!


Time to pack up the tribe and head north to Disney for our third Wine and Dine 1/2 marathon. All of the packing is done, well, most of it, and thanks to our Mousekeplanner, Jennifer Upton, our upgraded room should be ready when we arrive early Thursday morning.

On the training front, last Saturday night was supposed to be a simulation run for the race. The temperature dropped into the 40s and I was painfully reminded, that surgically repaired bones do not perform well in the cold! Back in 2010, I was wandering aimlessly around Disney in one of the coldest times of the year. The result of that trip was surgery number 5 on the left knee! It was the beginning of the “floating debris” that has been accumulating in my knee. The end result is that the back half of my knee locks up……which is detrimental to running!

Saturday night, the same thing happened. I was able to work it loose, and continue to run, but, I decided to cut the run short at 4 miles. There was swelling in the knee, which has since subsided. I guess the voodoo doll is back from vacation!!

Prior to the 2013 A1A half marathon, the temperature dropped into the 30s, which for us native Floridians, is close to arctic conditions! The workaround was to put the cold/hot gel packs in hot water then apply them to my knees. That worked and there were no problems with either knee. Hopefully, as the temperatures are supposed to be in the high 50s, I shouldn’t have to use the gel packs, but I am bringing them!

The weight loss is coming along, but I will still be running at the heaviest weight, probably 235 pounds on race day, that I have ever run at. I’ll just have to make the best of it. I am going to run a conservative race and shoot for a 14 minute/mile pace. Anything faster than that will be a bonus.

My playlist is done and I have three hours and seventeen minutes of music. Hopefully, I won’t need it all!

All that is left is to make the trip north.

Thursday will be Wine and Dine day as we eat and drink our way around Epcot.

Friday will be race packet pick up, Animal Kingdom, and possibly Magic Kingdom. Park orders are subject to change…and most likely will! 🙂

Saturday is race day and starts with Marshalls race in the morning followed by a day of relaxation and then race prep and the race for Teala and I.

Sunday will be a day where depending on how we feel, either a visit to a theme park or, an early return home…hopefully uninjured!!!

Wish the team luck!!!


November 4, 2014 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A funny thing happened……

On the way to running retirement! Pain free runs!

Since the last post, I got the results of the latest MRI and it is more of the same, torn rotator cuff, partially torn biceps tendon, but no torn labrum. So, an injection or two, and the left shoulder is returning to service.

Meanwhile, I have been training for the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 marathon. Since switching shoes to the Saucony Omni 13s, I have had no pain after any run. The mileage has been creeping up starting with one mile and getting to 7 miles last week. A brisk 3-mile run yesterday was also pain-free and the fastest run since I resumed training.

Saturday night is a scheduled 10-mile run to simulate race-day, then one more 3-mile run Tuesday, and that will be it for training.

The goal is a 13 minute/mile pace. The Wine and Dine has always been a problem race for me, between the crowds and cramping, I have never performed well there. I am hoping that will change this year. Moving to Palm City, it was apparent immediately, that somehow, there is more humidity here than back in Coconut Creek. This is evidenced every morning when everything outside looks like it just rained! The good news, is that I have as of yet, not experienced any cramps during any run. I am hoping that trend continues during the race, if so, I may kick things up during the last 5 miles of the race. I have also not experienced any pain, and by that, I many any pain, after any run. I suspect whoever was playing with the “Eric voodoo doll” has put it away for a while!

After this race, I will reevaluate everything, to determine if I will continue. Right now, it is a very good chance I will keep running. I am not sure about running the A1A race in February this year, as it is down in Broward, but who knows.

I will be posting the playlist next week and a final race-day post.

Stay tuned………………………………



October 31, 2014 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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