Category Archives: Cap City Half Marathon

Giving Back…One Mile at a Time

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone for a good cause.  I decided to take part in the Rogue Racers 24-Hour Virtual Backyard Challenge and use the miles to feed frontline workers who are treating patients battling COVID.  The ultimate goal was to get to 100 miles and knowing that I had never run more than 31.1 miles in a day or 73 miles in a week it would be a challenging task.

donatos dave

I work for Donatos Pizza and they agreed to donate an individual pizza for each mile I ran which I would then deliver.  I also committed to paying $1 for every mile I ran knowing that for every $5 we could feed another frontline worker.  Co-workers, friends and family have jumped on board with their own donations including some joining me in the per mile challenge and even a few donating based on the amount of elevation I would run since I had to do a bunch of hills from my house.  It has been awesome to feel the support and by making each mile and hill matter it really pushed me.

first four loops

The challenge got under way at midnight.  23 of us started with at least a 4.2-mile loop each hour.  We would check in after each loop on a Zoom call and while we were scattered from Ohio to California and Arizona it felt like we were together.  The weather was perfect and despite getting yelled at by a dude in truck on the first loop and dodging a skunk on the second loop things started off great!  I even found over $6 in change over the first five loops.

At the end of the fifth loop with nearly 22 miles completed, I started to experience the beginnings of some intestinal distress.  Having never done anything like this challenge where you had to report in every hour, I knew that fueling would be tricky.  I tried to keep eating and hydrating because I knew I would be burning a ton of calories (ended up burning over 9,500).  However, I actually think I might have overeaten early.

ultra fuel

The sixth loop got me to over marathon distance which was another plateau that someone had based their donation on.  My pace started to slow as my stomach began to worsen, but I was 25% of the way through the challenge.

The seventh loop was nearly my last as I had to use all my determination to fight through some issues (including stopping twice to dry heave) just to get back to my house before the hour was up.  I knew the next loop could very well be my last, but I wanted desperately to at least set a distance PR.

7

In order to make the eighth loop a little easier and to keep me close to my house in case I needed a bathroom, I decided to run back and forth in front of my house.  This was monotonous and mind-numbing, but it was a good decision as I finished that loop eight minutes faster than the previous one and exceeded my previous single-day distance PR.

I did the same thing again with the ninth loop and then headed out for the tenth loop looking to break the 40-mile mark.  Going into the tenth loop, I was thinking about venturing out into the neighborhood again because traffic was getting busy on my road that has no sidewalks and the endless back and forth was getting boring.  However, I’m glad I stuck close to home as I struggled to finish the loop as my stomach just couldn’t tolerate moving any more.  I did make it back before the hour was over with a few minutes to spare, but I couldn’t get out of my chair to start the next loop.  I had made it to 43.13 miles and I was done.

10

As I sat there and watched the 12 remaining competitors in the challenge head off from the Zoom call to do loop 11, I had a few moments of feeling like I failed especially since I hadn’t even made it halfway.  I knew that running 100 miles was a tall task especially since I hadn’t been training for anything like that AND I had never run even a third of that distance in a day before.  Still, I felt like I was letting down the people working on the frontline that I was trying to support with the endeavor.

I knew I was really out of it when the hour came and went and the group started loop 12 and I was still sitting there in the chair in front of my laptop.  I finally mustered the strength to go in the house and take a shower hoping that I would feel better.  It did help and as the group got ready to head back out for loop 13 I decided that I could at least go for a walk and try to tack on a few miles.  I live two miles from the Donatos in Mount Vernon so I decided to place an online order and walk to get the pizza since pizza was playing a big role in my motivation for this event.

ready to walk

It was a slow walk to get there, but once I ate the pizza I decided that instead of walking back home that I wanted to at least finish with 48 miles to match my age.  Then, it turned into, how about 50 miles?  I ended up walking for about the same time that it took me to run the Philadelphia Marathon (over three hours and 12 minutes) and I got to 55 miles.  My feet were tired and my stomach was still having issues.  I was glad to be home.  I took a shower and decided to lay down for a minute.

pizza

Next thing I knew it was after 9 p.m.  I had really passed out.  I was groggy, but I wanted to see if anyone was still in the 24-hour challenge so I pulled up the Zoom feed.  There were two guys still going and my four teammates doing a four-person relay were closing in on their finish.  I thought about going out and walking some more, but it was raining steadily and I knew I would be miserable in the dark.

I was looking through Instagram messages of support from everyone who had followed along with my day.  I was so thankful for all the encouragement.  We push each other.  Then, I noticed a note from one of my fellow M3S Sports race ambassadors, Dom Hoecherl.  She had congratulated me on my day and I responded that I was briefly tempted to go walk for more miles but that it was raining.  Her response?  “Well, you have 2 hours…do you have an umbrella?”

After reading her message, I glanced up and noticed my 2018 Boston jacket.  That was the year of the torrential rain throughout the race.  I was supposed to run that race but ended up being a spectator because of the car accident that resulted in me having a broken foot.

boston jacket

Dom was right.  I had two hours.  I still had not given my all.  My reason for doing this was not just to push my own limits but to more importantly find a tangible way to support those on the frontlines working hard to save lives.  I quickly got geared up and threw on the jacket and set out to see what I could do.  I figured I could at least walk to 60 miles and that would feed more people.

What happened next is something I can’t explain.  I decided to test my legs and see if I could run because the faster I went the more distance I could cover.  Surprisingly, my legs responded.  The first mile came and went in less than 9 minutes.  I was completely soaked after one mile, but it didn’t matter.  I was moving and moving well considering.  I started to mentally up my goal from five miles to eight miles and then 10 miles as the miles flew by.

When I got to seven miles, I started to do the math in my head as I kept adjusting my route to allow for more mileage.  Originally, I had planned to run the Cap City half marathon that day, but it was postponed due to COVID.  I wondered if I had enough time and energy to wrap up my day with 13.1 miles.  I decided that I was going to give it my all and try and get as close as possible.

And so the push began.  The next two miles sped up to 8:18 and 8:06.  I worried that I might hit the wall at some point since I had no fuel or water since I had just planned to walk.  But I wanted to go for it.

As I hit 10 miles and 65 miles for the day, I began to start getting emotional.  I wanted to finish strong and knew that I still had a 5K to go to hit my new goal.  I fought the wall at mile 11 and then began the home stretch.  As I hit mile 12, I made the decision to try to make my last mile of the day – mile 13 – my fastest of the day.  I gave it everything I had left and was so happy when my watch beeped 7:57.  I had done it.  I looped the final .13 to wrap up the half marathon in 1:53:07 and finish the day with 68.13 miles!  Wow!

68 and done

I quickly got my wet jacket and shirt off.  Then, the entirety of the day hit me.  With the help of so many people supporting me with both encouragement and monetary donations, we had just done something very cool.  So many of my teammates set distance PRs yesterday with all eight of us who signed up for the 24-hour challenge doing so and my four teammates doing a relay each setting new highs as well and becoming ultramarathoners in the process.  And all of that without a traditional starting line.  We are capable of so much when we put our heart into it and support each other.

I will look forward to the next part of this adventure as I begin to schedule the pizza deliveries.  Donations are still coming in and if you would like to be part of it there is still time by contributing through Venmo (@dponthego) or PayPal.

stats

Final stats for the day:

68.13 miles run – 37.03 more than my previous daily total

110,913 steps on my FitBit

3,599 feet of elevation gained

9,565 calories burned through miles logged

$6.55 in change found

68 pizzas donated by Donatos

Donation total for more pizzas raised still to come!

Jeff Baldwin, Cap City Legacy Runner

As we get ready to celebrate the 15th year of the Cap City Half Marathon on April 28, I think it is important to look back at the history of the race.  And what better way to do that than by asking someone who has run every single one of them.

Jeff Baldwin 2017Fortunately for me, I work with one such person.  Jeff Baldwin, the vice president of franchising and development at Donatos Pizza, has completed every Cap City Half Marathon dating back to the first one in 2004.  And what is amazing about Jeff is his consistency.  He finished the very first one in 1:48:25 (which is still his fastest finish) at age 32 and 13 races later finished the 2017 race (pictured at left) in 1:50:26 at age 45.

I decided to ask Jeff about his history with the Cap City Half Marathon and running in general and included some questions from my social media followers who had also chimed in.  This is what I found out:

Was there something specific that made you decide to start running?  “I started running after college when I started working and needed that release.  I tend to daydream when I run longer distances and it seems to give me a break from day to day.  Running gives me time to reflect on things going on in my life now, which is kind of cool since that was never the intent.”

Jeff Baldwin 2004Why did you sign up for the first Cap City Half Marathon in 2004?  He’s pictured at the right in the inaugural race in 2004.  “It was called the ‘Commit to Be Fit’ race, so it was perfect for me at the time.  I didn’t have enough drive to stay fit and I wasn’t playing any other sports.”

What kept you coming back each year?  “I joked with an attorney friend that it was a verbal contract to run the race every year with a sub 2-hour finish, so the joke has just kept going all these years!  Twice, I have been so close to two hours I felt like I could pass out trying to finish strong.  Those memories make me train a bit harder as I get older!  I also joke with my girls that I try to stay in shape so I can keep up with their kids someday.  They just laugh!”

At what point did you realize you had a streak going and is that streak important to you?  “It only dawned on me a few years ago when I realized how different the pre-race atmosphere was than back in the first year.  Music and local celebrities are everywhere.  There are so many runners now and it has turned into a huge event.  It’s very cool to have been part of it from the beginning.”

Which year was your favorite race and why?  “I think 2009 was the first year my older kids were there to cheer and actually understood what was going on.  I stopped to give my wife and kids a kiss.  Today, they understand the value of health and fitness and watching Dad has been a small part of that.”

timesWhich year was your least favorite race and why?  “The second year in 2005 when the race was in early April and it was 32 degrees with driving sleet.  I wore a hat very low and had to look down the entire race.  It was really tough running conditions which I think helped move the event later in April and even sometimes the first week of May.  I also had a bad IT band issue one year.  Running injured is never fun.”

What kind of training do you do each year to get ready for the race?  “I play ice hockey and tennis and normally run 10-15 miles per week throughout the year.  Starting in January and February, I will start to build to 20-25 miles per week with a few races over 10 miles.  I concentrate on pace and also speed training.  When I run distance, I wear a watch so I don’t have a set route and I don’t have to stop!”

If you could change one thing about the race, what would it be?  “I wouldn’t change much really.  There have been several race routes over the years – some good and some too tight for the volume of runners.  It was fun to run to OSU and around The Horseshoe several years back.  The most recent route is fair and interesting, but nobody likes the uphill climb from German Village to downtown near miles 11 and 12.”  (Note:  Jeff and everyone else will be thrilled to run on the new and improved course in 2018.)

What makes the Cap City Half Marathon so special that you do it every year?  “I enjoy the fact that this is something I have done for so many years, longer than jobs, age of my kids etc.  Knowing it’s on the horizon keeps me honest the balance of the year with training and exercise.  There have been a few near misses such as a daughter was born April 7 and a couple of weddings out of state near May 1, but none have disrupted race day.”

I can’t wait to see how Jeff does in 2018.  If you want to join Jeff and I at this year’s race, make sure to register now.  Use code 18VOCDAVE at checkout to save $10.

The Road to Cap City

It gets hard to imagine spring and warm races when it’s cold and snowy in Ohio in January, but we are now just 102 days away from the 15th annual running of the Cap City Half Marathon along with the Quarter Marathon and the Commit to Be Fit 5K.

VOCCHighResOver the next four months, I have the privilege of being one of eight ambassadors or “Voices of Cap City” for this year’s race.  What that means is that I’ll be posting about the race on my blog and social media and would love to answer any questions you have and also share some stories along the way as we all journey together to get to the starting line on April 28 geared up for a successful race.  As a way to encourage you to sign up to join me, register now and use promo code 18VOCDAVE at checkout to save $10 on any race distance entry fee.  Do it now before the prices go up!

One challenge that all of us are having these days is battling the weather to get our runs done.  I’m typically a predawn runner and freezing temperatures and slippery snow or ice-covered roads and paths definitely pose a problem when trying to run outside.  While I would always much rather run outside, I have come to value the treadmill as a necessary part of my training especially when trying to get speed work in or just trying to stay safe in the conditions.  If you don’t currently belong to a gym or have access to a treadmill or indoor track, you might contact a gym in your area to see if they have trial passes that you might cash in for a weekend long run if you can’t get outside.  If you do run outside, make sure to bundle up and stay very alert to traffic since the conditions aren’t always great to stop quickly.

26804815_10100125315185810_7851032349514182247_nOne other suggestion I would have as you begin to ramp up your miles as race day approaches is to not do too much too soon.  The general rule is to only increase your weekly mileage by 10 percent of what the previous week’s mileage total was.  This will help keep you from getting injured.  You still have plenty of time to log miles as you train for race day.

Also, cross training is a very important aspect to running that we all too often don’t make time for.  Take a spin class at your gym or try out one of the CycleBar locations where typically your first four rides are free.  If you have access to an indoor pool, go for a swim.  It’s a great workout and your legs will thank you for giving them a break while still getting an awesome workout.  Strength and core is also an important component of any running training plan.  You don’t have to belong to a gym or have a personal trainer.  You can do pushups and planks in the comfort of your own home.  It will make a difference and you’ll feel stronger if you do it regularly.  Finally, buy a foam roller and start using it daily after runs.  It will help get you to the starting line injury-free.

We can all do this together.  Feel free to comment below with any questions or send me a tweet at @dponthego.  There is a race distance for everyone at Cap City, but if you feel like you aren’t ready to run this year or maybe are battling back from an injury then consider volunteering as a way to get involved.  You’ll be inspired by all the runners and I guarantee it will be rewarding.

Until next time, enjoy your miles!