Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Journey


As a child there is no doubt that I LOVED to run. This running was primarily about racing.


  • Trying to run faster than Julie Elam and Cally Jewett during playground races at H.O. Sonnesyn Elementary school.

  • Recording one of the fastest 600 meter times for elementary students in the nation as a 4th grader.

  • Winning the 5th Grade District Track and Field 1600 meter with a time of 5m:43s.

  • Running side-by-side with Dave Kleyman in Junior Olympic events for team Overland Express.


I skateboarded away from running in 8th grade and did not return until the first day of 10th grade when I decided to join the Robbinsdale Armstrong Cross County Team.


  • Participating in a meet my first week of high school cross country; a sophomore cross country mile. Senior Bart Bailey was responsible for guiding us through the course and he was upset when I pushed him with a 4:52 mile.

  • Dropping a big personal best in the 1600 meter during my junior year at the Regional Track and Field Championships. Missed qualifying for the state meet by less than a second.

  • Our Cross Country team qualifying and participating in the Minnesota State Cross Country Championship Meet my senior year.

  • Taking my 1600 meter personal best a little lower my senior year during the Regional Track and Field Championship: 4m:23.8s. Again, missed qualifying for the state meet by less than a second.

  • Assistant coaching both at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School and at Clover High School in Clover, South Carolina


I can vividly remember the day I walked away from running in 1991. I was summer training for my first year of college cross country. Even though I took a year off between high school and college to pursue other interests, the distance running coach at Moorhead State University still offered me a small athletic scholarship to participate in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. I was really pushing myself one morning and suddenly all the wind went out of my sails regarding running competitively. I ended the run, put away my shoes, and called the coach to inform him that I was no longer intending to run.

During the next few years of my life I still enjoyed recreational pursuits but my fitness got momentum in a negative direction. I tried to return to running on a couple occasions, but I would quickly get discouraged and give up.

In 2008 I got consumed with trying to read as many books as I could in one year and soon I found myself getting closer and closer to 300 pounds.

Thankfully 2008 was also the year that I started reconnecting with old high school friends via Facebook. I was shocked at how many were marathoners and that sparked something in me. I bought a cheap pair of running shoes and decided to give a return to running another try. This time I had my heart set on getting into marathoning shape, and this helped me get past the very uncomfortable stages and finally recover enough fitness that running was enjoyable again.


The Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k in Springfield, MO on 11.27.2008 was the first time I had participated in a running event since 1991. I started the journey to get myself into marathoning shape on 09.21.2008 with a mile and a half run-walk-mix. During the 67 days prior to the event I saw my fitness quickly improve and I started to experience the extra weight melting away. I was pleased to average 7:27 per-mile for this event. More: here.


The Christmas Mile in Springfield, MO on 12.20.2008 fulfilled a childhood dream of mine, that is, participating in a one mile road race. I was hoping to get as close to 6 minutes as possible, and managed to clock 6m:02.9s. More: here.


The Run for the Ranch 10k in Springfield, MO on 12.28.2008 was an opportunity for me to test my progress. I was pleased with averaging 7:27 per-mile for the event and with the bonus of getting 3rd place in the male 30-39 division. More: here.


The Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 10 Mile Trail Race in Kansas City, KS on 02.14.2009 was a very memorable and challenging experience. This was my first trail event and it really stretched me with regards to endurance and peseverance. This was also the first event that Scott Griffith [AKA The Flying Duck] and I travelled together for. It was a blast of a weekend. More: here.


The Little Rock Half Marathon in Little Rock, AR on 03.15.2009 was my first half-marathon and was the first time I saw my high school friend and teammate Steve Hibbs since 1993. It was a very memorable and inspiring weekend and I was pleased with averaging 7:42 per-mile for the 13.1 mile distance. More: here.


The Frisco Fifty 50k from Willard, MO to Bolivar, MO on 04.18.2009 was both my first long run wherein I at least covered the marathon distance and my first ultra-marathon completion. Prior the event the longest distance I had covered was 22.5 miles. I really got stretched over the last few miles of this event and in the process I discovered that my spirit animal is a skinny bear. 04.18.2009 was the day that Rob "Skinny Bear" Horton fully emerged. Initial 50k best: 5h:02m:00s (9:43 per-mile). More: here.


The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, OH on 05.03.2009 was my debut marathon event. This was the event that Scott Griffith and I had been training for. Scott almost opted out due to an Achilles injury but I convinced him to at least try and walk it. It was an awesome weekend with family, friends, and an awesome marathoning experience. First Half: 1h:53m:41s. Second Half: 1h:48m:37s. Initial marathon best: 3h:42m:18s (8:30 per-mile). More: here.


The Minneapolis Marathon in Minneapolis, MN on 05.31.2009 was a great excuse to make a trip to Minnesota. This race included my first attempt to see how I measured up against the Boston Marathon qualifying standard. For a few miles I actually thought I might pull it off. Great trip. More: here.


The Patriots' Run in Olathe, KS on 09.11.2009 was my first attempt to go beyond 31 miles. I had 9 hours and 11 minutes to log as many miles as I could. My heart was set on getting 50 miles. I needed a few bonus minutes to get the 50. 50 miles in 9h:18m:15s (11:10 per-mile). More: here.


The Omaha Marathon in Omaha, NE on 09.27.2009 was the first marathon that I completed without employing any walk segments. My 26.2 mile adventure in Omaha also included getting hit by a police car and clocking a personal best of 3h:38m:00s (8:20 per-mile). More: here


The Des Moines Marathon in Des Moines, IA on 10.18.2009 was a very glorious marathoning experience. I moved my personal best marathon time from 3h:38m:00s to 3h:22m:41s (7:44 per-mile). It was great to spend some more time with Hibbs during the weekend. More: here.


The Halloween Hustle 10k in Springfield, MO on 10.24.2009 was my first and only 10k in 2009. I was pleased to average 6:48 per-mile (42m:16.7s) and to earn 2nd in the male 30-39 division. More: here.


The Run to the Lights 5k in Branson, MO on 11.13.2009 was my first 5k of 2009. This event featured a very challenging course. A very fun outing with family and friends. 4th in the male 30-39 division with a time of 20m:35.7s (6:37 per-mile). More: here.


The Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK on 11.22.2009 was my first marathon that I took on the role of pacer. My great bud, Scott Griffith, had it in his heart to run a sub 4 hour marathon. We made it in 3h:59m:59s!!! Awesome experience. I really enjoyed meeting Scott's sister and brother-in-law. More: here.


The Gobblers Run 5k in Wake Forest, NC on 11.26.2009 was my fastest 5k of 2009 and was another very cool family event. 3rd place in male 30-39 division with a time of 19m:41.29s (6:20 per-mile). More: here.


The Little Rock Marathon in Little Rock, AR on 03.07.2010 was a big confidence builder for me as a marathoner. I clocked a new personal best of 3h:21m:07s (7:41 per-mile) to prove to myself that my marathon performance in Des Moines was not a fluke. More: here.


The Chicago Lakefront 50k in Chicago, IL on 03.27.2010 included one of the most glorious athletic achievements of my life! I shocked myself by covering 31.05 miles in 4h:03m:04s (7:49 per-mile). My time was a 59 minute improvement over my previous 50k best. Very much enjoyed staying with Carla and Brett, and the Chicago pizza. More: here.


The Frisco Fifty Marathon in Bolivar, MO on 04.17.2010 was another event with a personal best. I fought hard during this event in an attempt to earn the status of Boston qualifier (fell short). 3rd place overall. 2nd in male 30-39 division with a time of 3h:19m:18s (7:36 per-mile). More: here.


The Kitchen Run 5k in Springfield, MO on 05.08.2010 was my first 5k event of 2010. I enjoyed participating in this event with a few co-workers. 2nd place in male 35-39 division with a time of 19m:30.2s (6:17 per-mile). More: here.


The Fargo Marathon in Fargo, ND on 05.22.2010 was the event wherein I completed my 10th State of marathoning/ultra-marathoning. Was a disappointedly hot day. Awesome to stay with and visit the Dews. More: here.


The Kettle Moraine 100 in Eagle, WI on 06.05.2010 was my first attempt to complete a 100 mile ultra-marathon. The day ended for me at the 100k finish line. The day included symptoms of hyperthermia, symptoms of hypothermia, 6 hours of down pouring rain, and a gear failure on my part. Made some very negative comments after I got my kettle. Logged a new distance personal best. More: here.


The Heart of Summer 10k in Minneapolis, MN on 07.24.2010 was my first and only 10k of 2010. I got to run this one thanks to the generosity of my friend and former classmate Mike McMahan (MM # 1912). I was in Minnesota for my 20th class reunion (and that was thanks to the generosity of my friend and former classmate Steve Hibbs (MM # 1027). A very enjoyable up-tempo run of 41m:13s (6:38 per-mile). More: Here.


The Great River Ragnar Relay from Winona, MN to Minneapolis, MN on 08.21.2010 was an awesome highlight of my running journey. We managed to pull together many of members of our 1989 State qualifying high school cross country team. All the members of the team were Robbinsdale Armstrong graduates. Our team was 27th out of 286 finishing teams and 3rd in the male submasters division. I covered legs 4, 15, 16, and 28: 23.46 miles in 2h:52m:33s (7:21 per-mile). More: here.


The Illuminating the Darkness 5k in Springfield, MO on 08.27.2010 was another enjoyable 5k with co-workers and was my first division win since my return to running. 1st place in male 30-39 division with a time of 18m:37.1s (5:59 per-mile). More: here.


The Run for the Young 5k in Springfield, MO on 08.28.2010 was an event that I participated in as a chaperon. Back-to-back events wherein I took 1st place in my division. 1st place in male 30-39 division with a time of 19m:23s (6:14 per-mile). More: here


The Patriots' Run Marathon in Olathe, KS on 09.11.2010 was my most miserable marathoning experience to date. Attempted to be competitive and crashed hard. More: here.


The Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA on 10.10.2010 was my first marathon that required a sit-down-potty-stop. Beautiful course and an excellent event. Enjoyable weekend trip with the Flying Duck. More: here.


The Indianapolis Marathon in Indianapolis, IN on 10.16.2010 included the first time I completed 2 marathon events within one week. A highlight was going back out on the course to join Scott and Susan Griffith to finish Susan's first marathon with her. More: here.


The Mother Road 100 from Baxter Springs, KS to Catoosa, OK on 11.13.2010 and 11.14.2010 was my 2nd 100 mile attempt and my 1st 100 mile completion. I thought the journey was over at mile 37, but via Mountain Dew and walking I made it through that rough patch and never entertained a doubt after that. The support and crewing of the Flying Duck was top notch, and the support from family and friends via Facebook was another factor that kept me rolling. More: here.


The Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL on 12.11.2010 was my best marathoning performance of the 2010 fall marathoning season. A very encouraging and helpful outing. More: here.


The Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, FL on 01.09.2011 was an awesome 26.2 mile journey with my sister Sarah. Sarah had a hamstring injury that painfully emerged early in the journey, but she did an excellent job finding a way to adjust and persevere. Enjoyed spending a few days with the Urichs and getting a couple bonus days of vacation. More: here.


The InStep Icebreaker Marathon in Milwaukee, WI on 01.23.2011 was both my first indoor marathon and my first marathon on a track. On paper it looked like an excellent opportunity for a personal best and possibly qualifying for Boston. In reality, the pure flatness of the track gave my legs a challenge that I was not prepared for. On a positive note: I established my indoor marathon personal best of 3h:40m:13s (8:23 per-mile). More: here.


The Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon in Galveston, TX on 02.20.2011 was a breakthrough marathon for me. I set aside obsessing about pace and focused purely on maintaining an enjoyable sustainable glide for 26.2 miles. Kept it rolling without opening the walking door. Clocked a 3h:26m:26s, and took home 3rd in my division. More: here.


The St. Louis Marathon in St. Louis, MO on 04.10.2011 was a HUGE disappointment. I enjoyed the weekend visiting with friends old and new, but the event experience was very traumatic. It was my first gig as a pacer, and I failed. The temp climbed into the low 80s, and I could not get myself to stay on pace. I even receieved a follow up email from a runner who shared his critical review of my performance. Pacing does not appear to fit into my re-creational zen approach so I don't see myself doing that again anytime soon. To add insult to injury, my timing chip was not active and I am therefore not recorded as an official finisher.


The Great River Ragnar Relay from Winona, MN to Minneapolis, MN on 08.19.2011 was a blast. This was year 2 for our Armstrong alumni team. This year we attempted to take a more competitive approach. I was at times concerned if our approach would impact our enjoyment, but it turned out to be another great Ragnar experience. Passing over 200 teams really got us jazzed up. It was great to get in another Minnesota trip via my running journey. More: here.


The Wild Life Marathon in Concord, MI on 10.09.201 was an enjoyable (re)creational journey. At some point during the event I grabbed the goal of going after a sub-4-hour mararthon in all 50 States. 14 down, 36 to go!!! More: here.


The Dogwood Canyon 25K Trail Run in Lampe, MO on 10.23.2011 was a blast of a time on a blast of a trail. More: here.


The Louisiana Missions Marathon in Shreveport, LA on 11.12.2011 was a challening trail marathon event wherein I logged my 18th US State wherein I have completed a marathon or ultra-marathon event. More: here.


The Run for the Ranch Marathon in Springfield, MO on 12.18.2011 was a fun local event with many fellow Marathon Maniacs. I was not realistic about my fitness and walled out in a big way. More: here.


The Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson, MS on 1.7.2012 was an encouraging marathon for me. I was feeling like I needed to run really wise to get in under 4 hours with where my fitness was at. I ran wise and experienced an encouraging accomplishment of getting that sub-4-hour US State #15, and US thoning State #19. More: here


The 2012 Go! St. Louis Marathon on 4.15.2012 was a redeeming marathon pacing experience. I was thankful for the opportunity to get another shot at an official pacing gig following my failure in St. Louis in 2011. A highlight was seeing one of the runners who started with me getting a 19 minute personal record. The 360 over the finish line will likely be my new signature finish.
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