Rehoboth Beach, 2014

The marathon is an (edited for less clarity). It’s true. So… Saturday WAS my day. I executed the 18+ week training planning exactly as written by my coach, completed bi-weekly core and strength training workouts at the gym, lost weight and built muscle to get down to a lean 8.5% body fat (I still don’t know how accurate that gym scale is), tapered as planned, ate exactly as planned for the 6 days before race day (4 days high fat/low carb to drain the battery then 2 days high carb/low fat to push as much glycogen into the pantry as possible), got to the START well rested, hydrated, and firing on all cylinders – as much as I could see. Oh oh, and the last twelve Yasso 800’s where under 3:24 each.

A solid game plan. 7:50 avg, +/- 10 seconds and negative split. This is based on Yasso 800′s avg’ing 3:24, heart rate below 165 during tempos, and half marathon of 1:41 on a hilly/windy course on Oct 9th.
1-3 Hold your horses. 8:00 to 8:10

4 – the half Settle in 7:55 – 8:00

13-20 Go Time! Drift (push) to 7:50

21-23 Embrace the Fatique hang on to 7:50

24-end Air it out. fight to the death Push into 7:45


The first half sailed by uneventful in the wake of Carissa (QuadraCool) and Steve (New Bunkie) except for a pee break at the barracks of mile 8, WTF. I had experienced mild IBS after breakfast and blamed it on nerves then thought everything was cleaned out and good to go… stupid bladder blabber. I laughed that off and gladly tacked 25 seconds to that split, whatev…


By Mile 11 I knew that the 2nd half was going to be killer. Mile 13 the 3:30 pace group shuffled by and I crossed the 13.1 at 1:46:— woohooo, on track for a sub 3:30:— Jokers! Back into Henlopen State park for a few more miles right on pace… Except I felt like the END of a normal half. Ok… new plan. Let’s just finish this race and not embarrass myself, (a little crack runners math in a fuzzy head…) recovery pace is around 9:30 we will hang onto that. Then the squeeze began to screw tighter… what began as a slow hug quickly turned into a bear trap clawing my calves. My mental ability to fight was strong yet my heart rate was drifting up to 173 (should be closer to 165’ish at this point) and I knew glycogen was burning faster then a rocket disintegrating during lift off. I had to get out of there before the Devil knows I’m there.


Things got fuzzy after that and frankly I don’t want to remember it. So I won’t write about it. Something about gravel grinding my little toe tips on fire… stumbling over a tiny bump… and falling to the ground… taking my shoe off to dump out the fire and charlie horsing like a mother trucker… Glumsying my shoe back on…


Vividly aware that Facebook friends are watching my progress RIGHT NOW… Like, LIVE on “garmin live track…” (Hopefully they forgot and decided to sleep in this morning) Don’t want to let them down… Don’t want to let my emPower coach(s) down… Don’t want to let ME down cause I sacrificed pretty much all the extra cash (…and then some) for coaching and personal training in 2014 to train often before daylight 7 days a week for this epicness and redeem myself from last years cluster raisin. Same race same town.


Keep your **** together man…keep your **** together Mr Marathon Man… What would Meb do? and Kara and Shalane… Ryan Hall would fold and call a cab… But I’m better then that. Way. Too. Proud. **** this is gonna hurt. ****’n bloody ****. So I walked… And hobbled… Jill passed me going out on the “hugging trail” as I came back and offered “It’s not your day Paul?” I wanted to throw rocks at the truth.


It’s then I decided that when I was out of the mire and back onto the pavement I would run the last 2.5 miles like a 5K… Off I bounded at a blistering pace, I felt like I was FLYING… looked down at my  Garmin620 and saw a 9:45 OMF’ingG WTF Karma? What did I do to deserve this??? But I wasn’t angry. Not yet. Just salvaging what was left in my smouldering glycogen depleted quads. Every time I pushed the pace cramps seared the quads, calves, or ankles… “That’s the thing about some pain, It demands to be felt”.


25 ‘ish miles I gulped a few ounces of gatorade and primped for the photo op… Walk one then hobble one. Counting telephone poles as turtles buzzed by. Legs didn’t feel heavy, just blobbish. I was the captain and had ordered “Full Steam Ahead” but the response was a 404 error “system’s not found”. That dammed gatorade knotted in my stomach as if a mule had kicked my right side… Just for fun.


Ed eased by just as I settled back into a crawl, “Don’t do it Paul, don’t do it…” Keep on swimming…


Just then my 9 year old, Soren Tate, popped out of the wall of spectators, “Hey Dad!!!” I saw the pensive look on his eye as if “Dad I don’t know if I am allowed to be out here in the finish chute…” In that instant I didn’t give a **** what the rules where or what was proper… my flesh and blood had come to rescue me… I grabbed his hand like it was my last thread of hope to keep me from barreling over the cliff of death… Waddled across the finish line like a grandpa who refuses to walk with a cane but really should.



4:04:12. TOGETHER with Soren. Trashed legs. Shattered ego. Strong heart. Aching soul.

Finish Line photo

Today WAS my day. Just not the story I had written.


Then for the rest of the weekend I witnessed a miracle – someone else will write about that – where the Beer turned virtual friends into comrades.


I kept most of the ache inside unto now… Excuse me while I snatch a tissue and flush my soul.

And eat a box of butter pecan ice cream from the box with a fork.



PS. There is a whole lot more I could post about this weekend, like my family driving all the way down just to meet me at the finish line on Saturday morning. Seriously, Marlena woke and dressed the kids by 6:30am on Saturday, just to come cheer me on! Then they turned around and drove back home after stuffing our faces at Gratos.



PPS. Somehow I lost my SD card so the most important part of the race is GONE, not the mention the other 957 pics from 2014. Oh wait… Jill txt’d me on Monday saying Karlye found it! Hopefully there will be great pics to post later… Because US Candids is of no help so far.


God’s Country Marathon


Following is the email I sent to my running coach and strength trainer post-marathon:

re: God’s Country Marathon

I finished. What a race, wow.

First half finished in 1:46:– with a previous PR of 1:51:– so that was epic. I knew my heart rate was about 7 bpm higher than it should be (which is confirmed by the garmin data) but I felt wonderful, except for a little cramp in my quads at mile 14, it felt like I had been tazer’d in my quads first then instantly rolled into both calves… Plus my left ankle went numb, switching my breathing to in in out out solved that instantly as compared with in 3 steps, out 2 steps.

(…continued after video)

Slideshow of Race

Photo credit goes to my wife, Marlena

The Second half was a whole other adventure.

Walking the 3 mile steep part wasn’t too tough. Since I had a few cramps I doubled the VegaSport hydrator… Had been taking exactly 4oz of water every two miles like clock work. On top of the hill I ate 1/4 banana because I thought maybe I needed potassium for my electrical system. Half mile down the other side my right side (tummy) cramped like a mule kicked my gut and my core tightened like a brick… I breathed into my belly deeply and forcefully exhaled to no avail moaning and grunting. So I figured it would be 30 – 45 minutes till the bananan digested enough and returned blood to the bonked legs. It hurt as much to walk as to sit on the guard rail, so I walked a 14 minute pace. By mile 22 the cramp slowly dissolved and I tried to wake up the legs but a 9:30 was the best I could recruit till my quads started cramping, and my entire back & shoulders started tightening from a cramp or dehydration or both.

I walked to the last turn and tried to look good running across the finish line.

Had to lay down for about an hour and drink 3 water bottles, chocolate milk, more bananas, and some other stuff before I could walk without instantly cramping.

Today (Sunday) I can’t even feel I ran a race yesterday except for some shin splints kind of tightness in my left foot.

Final take is this. I ran like it was a half marathon and PR’d nicely (5minutes) even being a pretty nice uphill. The mistake was to let myself go by feel on race day instead of sticking with my race plan of a 8:15 to 8:30 pace on the first half. I don’t know what I can learn from nutrition or fluid intake? Maybe for sure not eat course food ie the banana if I expect to keep running. The VegaSport gel every 45 minutes and VegaSport hydrator kept me feeling satisfied and no dry/parched lips.

I just went out too fast for the marathon.

Marathon time 4:24:–

See race pics on Facebook 

Thanks for your excellent training plan, Chris! I will be sitting down with Angela & company (emPower) in the next week or two to brainstorm a longer term plan and hope you will consider continuing to be part of my coaching team!

Onward and upward,

Boston 2014

Cousin Mark Stoltzfus ran the 2014 Boston marathon and captured the following photos and video. He asked me to compile the photos and provided the music you will hear in the background.  Great job Mark!

Continue reading...

State of the Union 2014

State of Union Paul

I spent the better half of this week on jury duty and learned a lot about our justice system, about what works and what doesn’t! This is my third year running and each year builds up to a fall or winter marathon. In 2012 I ran the Philly Marathon then just a few months ago […]

Continue reading...

Rehoboth Beach Marathon


A decent PR : 3:53:55   Last Marathon was Philly on November 18th, 2012. I had trained with the Hanson Method and hit most training paces for a 3:30:– finish. Oh well so it goes. One tiny step forward. Link to Facebook pics of the Rehoboth Beach Marathon and Half  Tag all your friends in the Race! Rehoboth […]

Continue reading...

Race Against Racism


This was Ari’s first race – outside of the belly! Paul’s 5K PR 24:01 2013 Race Against Racism Results Here.

Continue reading...

#RunForBoston – Lancaster, PA


While most of you went to church a few of us shared a moment of silence, shed a few tears even a hug, and then did what we can’t imagine not to. Run Together. Because a few of our brothers and sisters can’t – EVER again. Lancaster Online covered the run. We love you Boston! […]

Continue reading...

Garden Spot Marathon & Half


A nice PR! 1:52:54 for Paul. For those of you who care about Splits and PR’s. This same race last year 2:09:53 Link to facebook Pics of the Garden Spot Marathon & Half  Tag all your friends in the Race! reports on the RaceDay Race Recap – This is your Day (Make sure to watch the […]

Continue reading...

Happy Easter!

Happy-Easter-Stoltzfus-FamilyContinue reading...


Bus-stop-fashion-failContinue reading...