I had started a journal here over a year ago and updated it regularly until June of this year. Time just wasn't there to update it like I should and comments fell off so I felt like I was just typing for myself. At the time, I was also getting very discouraged about my advancement in running so it was easier to stop posting than continue to keep it up. Recently, I've had some huge breakthroughs in my running as I have completely re-thought my process and re-trained myself with the help of Coach Charles, my wife and actually paying attention to what I read! I started running in January of 2011 as a way to lose weight. I got on the treadmill and would run as much as I could for 20 minutes. I'd walk when I couldn't run, but I'd spend at least 20 minutes on the treadmill. Eventually, I got to where I could run the entire 20 minutes and built my endurance up even further. In the process, I lost over 50 pounds and felt (and looked) like a different person. I've always been an active, athletic person, but this was a new kind of fit I've never had. Late Summer 2011, my wife and I began running outdoors on the road in anticipation of entering a local 5k with some of our friends. We got our endurance up and entered a few local races and were happy with the results. I realized that despite my best efforts, I wasn't blazing fast. My 5k PR was 24:13 and I always finished just outside the top 3 in my age group. As we were both magically approaching our mid-30's, I knew the chances were greater for me to start getting slower in the upcoming years as opposed to the opposite. I had also hit a wall in my weight loss. I was down to my target weight, but wanted to lose just a little more. I decided I wanted to start running extended distances beyond the 5 mile max runs I was doing. I set my goal to run a local half marathon in March 2012. I didn't know much about official training programs. I had read a little about run/walk methods. I took a little of what I read and devised my own plan and planned to finish my first half in under 2 hours. I trained hard and actually had training runs of 13.1 miles right at 2 hours. I was running 9 minutes and walking 1. I had major cramping issues the day of the half and ended up finishing in 2 hours and 10 minutes due to walking almost 2 miles of the race due to extensive cramping. When I decided to enter the Disney full marathon 2013, I decided to back off my ratio and walk only 4 minutes and walk 1 minute to give my body more of a break. I was able to get the mileage up during the summer runs of 20 miles, but was having major knee, cramping, and other issues. I was in so much pain post-run, I could barely remove my shorts, socks, and shoes. I knew something had to change. I reached out to Coach Charles (cewait) on this board and asked him for help. He gave me a plan to google and we discussed some slight mods to it. He told me the marathon was too far away for me to already be logging the miles I was logging and I hadn't properly built up my endurance nor was I giving my body adequate recovery time. In conversation, I shared with him my frustrations with run/walk because I could never settle into a rythmn. I decided I would run and only walk when I felt I needed a break. At first, my body had become so lazy, even short runs of 3-4 miles, I couldn't complete without walking or feeling like I really needed a walk break. Eventually that passed. A few weeks ago, I was sharing with my wife how much I wanted to go further than 5 or 6 miles without feeling like I needed a walk break because I felt like I was finally getting into a rythmn at that distance, but my legs were so tired. She told me to SLOW DOWN! I'm super competitive and hard on myself so I always have a tendency to start off entirely too fast. My last 5k, I ran the first mile in a little over 6 minutes only to run out of gas at the end and finish in over 25 minutes. My goal pace was 8mm. I do that even during training runs. I feel like I should run faster at the beginning to bank time saved for when I tire out. Problem is, I tire out too quickly and fade faster than the banked time. The morning of my long run (scheduled 11 miler), I decided to do just that. My goal pace for the Disney Marathon was 9:09mm (finish in under 4 hours). I knew that may be a bit unrealistic for my first full marathon, so I adjusted it. I told myself to run today's run just under 10mm and no walking. If I got tired, I would slow down, but not walk. After a few miles, I began to settle into a pace and felt great. By the end of the run, I felt great and finished the final 2 miles faster paced than any other mile during the run. I had actually made it 11 miles without walking and averaged a 9:30mm pace! The next week, I didn't walk at all during any training runs. The next Saturday (this past weekend), I was scheduled for a 12 miler. Honestly, there were those thoughts in the back of my mind saying "what if last weekend was a fluke?", but I decided to give it all I had. I ran the first 2.33 miles with my wife who was doing a 4 miler and is a slower runner than me. This caused me to slow my initial pace down quite a bit. I finished the first 2 miles averaging over 10mm and the 3rd mile in 9:50. After 5 miles or so, I started settling into a nice rythmic pace. Every mile on the second half was consistently 9:15-9:20 and I fnished the 12 miler in a slightly better overall pace than the previous weekend's 11 miler! I feel like I've finally turned a corner and I am excited again about running. I no longer fear the dreaded bad run that occasionally rears it's head. I no longer feel like I have to walk regardless of the distance. I no longer feel like I have to finish in a crazy time. I feel like I just need to run. Thanks for reading and please comment. I will keep the posts coming and updates. I'm in week 6 of 18 for my marathon training. This week I'll run 4 miles tomorrow, 6 Wednesday, 4 Thursday and taper Saturday for 9 miles.