Tag Archives: Running

Finish Medal Display Rack- $25


12243397_955502504522125_2121772756324176549_nWhat a great Gift for the runner in your life! Aiden and Isaac are selling these hand crafted, oak display racks for your race medals. Made with furniture quality wood, your rack will look beautiful in any room. At just $25 these are affordable gifts.

Want a customized message across the top? No problem! For just $5 more, the boys will stamp your favorite motivational phrase, your name or any thing you want that is about 25 letters.

The proceeds go to pay for them to attend Boy Scout Summer Camp and 90% of the work is done by Aiden and Isaac. Our neighbor, Russ helps with the power tools and they do the rest. They are also earning a woodworking Merit Badge and valuable business experience.

To order, private message me and we will get your Medal Rack done! We can ship it or deliver it locally. If we ship it, we will just charge whatever UPS charges us and zip it to you! Cash Check or PayPal is accepted.

Dan Clark




What if We Age Graded The Tom Walker Half Marathon Results?

The top 4 women all score  over 78%.
The top 4 women all score over 78%. (photo credit: Leonard Grill)

The 2015 Tom Walker Memorial Half Marathon brought out some top regional runners. The Women’s side was won by Joy Miller from South Carolina in 1:22:03 while a local runner, Mike Hensley, won the Men’s race in 1:13:53. The depth of the field was impressive too. The spread between the 1st place woman and 4th place was just 1:28. The women ran together for much of the race, pushing each other to fast times.

  • 14 runners finished under 1:25:00. That’s 14 runners averaging faster than 6:30 per mile.
  • The top 20 runners all averaged under 7:00 per mile
  • 11 of the top 20 men were Masters runners (over 40 yrs old).
  • At least 10 runners score over 75% on the age graded scale

So what would the top 10 Overall look like if we age graded it? Basically, Age Grading is a way to handicap the performances of various athletes based on age and gender. USATF Masters uses this simplified chart to give you a feel for the scale:
100% = Approximate World-Record Level
90+% = World Class
80+% = National Class
70+% = Regional Class
60+% = Local Class

(If want to know more about Age grading or how it works, click this link: http://www.usatfmasters.org/fa_agegrading.htm )

Name Age Gender Gun Time Pace Age Grade %
JOY MILLER 28 F 1:22:03 6:15 79.46
SABRINA HECK 20 F 1:22:43 6:18 79.43
MIKE HENSLEY 30 M 1:13:53 5:38 79.02
BETSY SUDA 34 F 1:23:31 6:22 78.61
DAN CLARK 43 M 1:18:13 5:58 78.52
ANNE ELISE CREAMER 25 F 1:23:25 6:22 78.16
STEVE DETWEILER 68 M 1:40:31 7:40 76.82
LUKE JESKE 21 M 1:16:25 5:50 76.40
KEVIN SWEENY 46 M 1:22:24 6:17 76.11
DIANE MILLER 64 F 1:58:22 9:02 75.22

There was some impressive running out there and looking at the top 10 Age Graded Performances, you can see the ability levels were very similar too! Congratulations to all of you on a great race.

Want to see how you would come out with an age graded time?


Full Race Results:  http://georesults.racemine.com/Start-2-Finish-Race-Management/events/2015/2015-Tom-Walker-Memorial-Half-Marathon/results?preview=1

Dan’s Top 10 Undeniable Truths of Running

Truth #5
Truth #5

10.  If the official race website describes the course as having “gently rolling hills” the course is mountainous.

9.  As your desperation for a bathroom rises, the quality of available bathrooms declines.

8.  Everyone ran a 4:30 mile in high school. Some of you will get this; others of you need to read the book.

7.  The guy that is “just going to tempo” the race is a liar. He actually is gunning for you!

6.  If you did all the stretches and exercises Runner’s World recommends for runners, you’d never have time to go running.

5.  The better the shoes feel, the uglier / more obnoxious the design and colors.

4.  The runner who always gives out unsolicited training advice is the LAST person you should listen to.

3.  The more expensive your running socks are, the more likely they will disappear in the washer.

2.  The most frequently injured runner seems to know all the best ways to avoid / cure injuries.

And the #1 Undeniable Truth of Running: The best training for running is RUNNING. Not swimming, …. not biking, not yoga…..

What It Takes

In the fall of 1987, I was just a new kid on the Cross Country team at Boca Ciega High School, wanting to make some friends and get in shape for Soccer season. After a freshman year at St. Petersburg Catholic where I ran Cross Country and recorded a 19:something 3 mile time, I was not considered a top runner. Growing up I had run dozens of recreational races with my dad and I enjoyed the sport but I hadn’t thought about being competitive. That was about to change. Our top runner, Steve, was a senior who also played soccer so I paid close attention to how he trained. I wanted to make the Soccer team so if I could emulate his training, maybe I’d have a better chance.

By the fall of 1989, I was one of the best Cross Country runners in the state, cranking out 70 mile weeks and tearing up Cross Country courses with a ferocious competitive drive. How did that happen?!

Legendary Coach, Jack Daniels says there are four main factors to running success:

Ability: The God-given talent for the sport.

Motivation: How bad do you want it? What sacrifices will you make to become competitive?

Opportunity: Available time and training resources like good places to run.

Direction: Coaching.

I can honestly say that while I arrived with some amount of talent for the sport and had the opportunity to train, I was lacking in motivation and direction. Fortunately, those gaps got filled by some fantastic people.


Training every day with Steve Wilcox was a challenge. It was a race or competition EVERY DAY! Track sessions, distance runs, or goofing around before practice. We sometimes had competitions before practice at the High Jump pit. Why on earth would a few distance runners try to beat each other in High Jump? Because Steve challenged us! Why would we sprint to a bridge in the middle of a long run? Steve Wilcox. Why did we keep track of times for the run back from Gulfport Beach? Because we wanted to beat Steve’s time.

Me handing a relay baton to Steve Wilcox
Me handing a relay baton to Steve Wilcox

The other motivation and support came from my family. My dad was a dedicated runner and supported my training. He always attended meets and ran around to various spots on the course to get splits and yell encouragement. My mom came out to many meets and although she didn’t understand my fascination with running in circles, she supported me anyway. She also supported my nutritional needs at home which were quite large. I always had good options at home and she took pride in serving healthy meals. Breakfast was ready for me before school every day, lunch was packed and we had nutritious dinners. I was fueled well! Mom frequently reminded me about what to eat so I could run fast.


Coaches take athletes with various levels of motivation, try to rev it up some and steer the energy in the right direction. It’s really a lot like being a backseat driver. They can advise the driver about how hard to hit the gas pedal, when to brake, when to turn and how fast to drive but they can’t actually do it themselves. Pretty frustrating! I had some good backseat drivers.

Coach Mayes- If you want to know the correct way to do any athletic moves in Track and Field or Football; ask Coach Mayes. He knows correct running form, correct hand-off technique for relays, correct long jump form and just about every aspect of every event. My running form was a typical distance runner, long, loping stride. He taught me to shift form and sprint at the end of a race rather than just try to go faster with distance runner form.

Coach Mayes
Coach Mayes

Coach Ingram- Know your times, and work the formulas. It’s not surprising that a math teacher would rely on numbers to tell you how to race and train. Coach Ingram paid attention to race times, split times, track interval session times and other statistics to paint a picture of training. He also took a holistic approach to training, including push-ups, dips, pull-ups, ab work and flexibility. I went home sore from finger tips to the bottoms of my feet!

The Dream Team: Coach Ingram, Wendy Burgasser (standing in for Coach Joe), Coach Mayes and Steve Wilcox
The Dream Team: Coach Ingram, Wendy Burgasser (standing in for Coach Joe), Coach Mayes and Steve Wilcox

Coach Joe- When I first met Joe at a 5K race in June of 1988, I told him I just wanted to train a little bit through the summer to get ready for Cross Country Season. Little did I know that “a little” is not part of Joe’s training plan. Ever. I logged 40-50 miles per week with one track session weekly and frequent beach races. I learned the truth that Cross Country races are NOT won in October and November. They are won in July and August. Miles and relentless training is what it takes to win.

Last week, I was inducted into the Boca Ciega High School Athletic Hall of Fame. It was a humbling experience mainly because I played only a small role in my own success! I showed up with a fair amount of athletic talent through no effort of my own. I had a family that supported and encouraged me. Coaches took that lump of clay and molded me into a pretty darn good runner. I got to go along for the ride doing something I truly enjoy- running! What a good deal.

Here are some pictures from the event. This was a special time to see some friends I hadn’t seen in years. This was a very nice, individual honor but it took a team to earn it.

My family in front of the Hall of Fame display at the Boca Ciega High School Gym
My family in front of the Hall of Fame display at the Boca Ciega High School Gym
Bogie 5 Mayes coaching
Coach Mayes coaching my kids at the dinner.
Coach Ingram, Me, Coach Roberson, Coach Mayes.

Bogie 7 Bogie 4 Bogie 3 Pirate Bogie 2 DSCN4170 DSCN4165 DSCN4164 DSCN4162 DSCN4161 DSCN4153 DSCN4140 DSCN4124 DSCN4121 DSCN4114 DSCN4105 DSCN4099 DSCN4098 DSCN4097 DSCN4092 DSCN4090 DSCN4086 DSCN4085 DSCN4083 DSCN4082 DSCN4081 DSCN4078 DSCN4077 Bogie HOF

Junk Science- 15 Minutes on a Stationary Bike Could Make You a Faster Runner

My rebuttal to a Runner’s World Junk Science Article


Articles like this drive me crazy. Based on this article, to improve your 3,000 M time (and probably your 5k time as well) you should hop on a bike and do short intense reps with short rest intervals- right?

Not so fast!  While there are interesting implications for runners in the story and it demonstrates that short intervals with short rest improve speed performance it does NOT by any stretch demonstrate that cycling is the best way to become a better runner!


  1. If you take a bunch of runners and one sub set does everything the same, and the other adds additional exercise, the ones doing extra work get faster. Duh.
  2. Among the ones doing extra work, the shorter rest intervals athletes improve the most. Duh.

What if your compared a group of people who did short bursts of running with short rest intervals to runners who trained with short bursts of cycling and short rest intervals? We don’t know for sure but I suspect the answer is that the principal of specificity comes into play and the runners get better at running while the athletes doing the cycling training improve some but not as much as they would if they did the running sprints.

I still don’t understand the running community’s fascination with cross-training. I love to run. Running is the best training for running. Not swimming, not cycling, not yoga, not cross fit, not burpees, not Zumba, or anything else. If you want to get better at running, RUN! Or try Cat Flexing. I’m pretty sure there’s a scientific study showing how it can help you run a faster 5k.

Cat Flexing! The new Cross-Training Fad! Cat-Fit!
Cat Flexing! The new Cross-Training Fad! Cat-Fit!

Fall Race Recommendations

Do you have your fall race calendar set? The last few weeks I’ve had several people ask me what races I’m getting ready for. Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. My fall schedule is still somewhat up in the air. I have some friends who are registered for an October / November marathon as a big target race. Others who are looking for a trail ultra and some who are looking forward to a bit of fall cross country running. To help you make a plan, here are my personal recommendations. All of these are either races I’ve done before or I have first-hand knowledge of the race organizers and I have faith that they will put on a great race.

August 22nd  https://runsignup.com/Race/FL/Alachua/2014XC5kChallenge

Alachua XC 5K Challenge- I ran this last year and it is a TOUGH course. Be ready for grass and hills. The course is also beautiful and the race is well organized.

Photo credit : Dan Stoner. A view of a hill at the XC Challenge.
Photo credit : Dan Stoner. A view of a hill at the XC Challenge.

September 19th : http://www.gatorzone.com/schedule.php?sport=crosm

The Mountain Dew Invitational at UF is a tradition for high school and college runners. If you can run fast enough to get in the race as an open runner (8K for men and 5K for women) it is a fast field and fun event. If you don’t want to run with the speedsters, come out  to see some of the top college runners in the country and the best talent in the state for the high school races.

Running with the young guys at the MtDew XC Invitational.
Running with the young guys at the MtDew XC Invitational.

October 11thhttp://www.lloydclarkesports.com/raceregistrationALhalf.asp

The Alachua Lake Half Marathon is new this year, being organized by veteran race director Bobby Burk from Lloyd Clarke Sports. There is also a Prediction 5K at the same time so if you’re not up for 13.1, do the 3.1. Considering Lloyd Clarke Sports puts on some of the best local races, you can be assured this one will also be top notch!

October 17thhttp://www.lloydclarkesports.com/raceregistrationY5k.asp

Y-5K at Camp McConnell- Another inaugural race from Lloyd Clarke Sports, set at the YMCA Camp. Be ready for more than just a race with games and family fun after the 5K.

October 17th : http://www.rattlesnakerun.com/

Running with Rattlesnakes sounds fun right? The Rattlesnake Run in San Antonio Florida (just north of Tampa) is a fun event attached to the Rattlesnake Festival. Snake shows, fair food, bounce houses, and tons of fun await you after the finish line. I’ve run this one a few times over the years and it is always a good one.

October 25th: http://www.1stplacesports.com/pumpkin.html

Pumpkins line the course of this Jacksonville tradition. Run 10 miles through a beautiful and historic cemetery to get in the mood for Halloween. This is a fun, well organized event and you will go home with a free pumpkin.

Paved, flat and scenic. A nice 10 miler for sure!
Paved, flat and scenic. A nice 10 miler for sure!

November 7th: http://www.1stplacesports.com/mandarin.html

Looking for a fast 10K course to hit as the weather cools off? The Mandarin 10K is a safe bet. Flat, fast course and plenty of competition to pull you through. Early November is usually cool enough to shake off the summer slog and finally hit a fast race!

You'll find some top talent on the Start line at the Mandarin 10K. Flat and fast course.
You’ll find some top talent on the Start line at the Mandarin 10K. Flat and fast course.

November 26th:  http://www.lloydclarkesports.com/raceregistrationTT.asp

A Thanksgiving Day Tradition! The Turkey Trot has a 10K and 2 Mile so you can burn off as much turkey as you need to. Half trail and half pavement through the Tacachale Campus in east Gainesville.

You could win a Turkey Trophy! Fun event  and a nice Thanksgiving tradition.
You could win a Turkey Trophy! Fun event and a nice Thanksgiving tradition.

Step #3 of Being Awesome

I recently had a brief exchange on Twitter with @TheRunnerDad. He asked if anyone wanted to help write a book. I replied, “Sure, what are we writing about?” He said we could call it 10 steps to Being Awesome. We further decided- step #1 : Becaome a runner. Step #2: become a dad. This is logical since we are both awesome and we are both running dads. So what’s step #3?

What does it take to succeed in running? Hard work, good mileage, track sessions, mental toughness and strength training all play a role. The real trick is putting all elements together in a well-designed plan. You can pick up on tips for pace, track sessions and strength routines in countless articles in Running Times, Competitor Magazine or Runner’s World. But how do all the pieces fit together in your already busy week?

Here’s step #3: Surround Yourself with Awesome People

The good news is you probably do this already. Your friends, who run local races, show up for group runs and text you at 6:00 a.m. to make sure you’re on the way to the workout. These are your built-in advisers. Now take a next step and formalize this relationship. Ask four or five of the most knowledgeable, dedicated, successful runners you know to be your training advisory committee. Ask them to help you with your goals and hold you accountable. Send them emails about once a month asking for specific advice and letting them know how you’re doing. Most runners will be flattered that you asked. They will give you sincere insights and genuine encouragement.

How to pick your team

When I first tried this exercise, I had some people in mind. There were a few obvious choices. Then I thought through the qualities I needed to work on and which runners had those strengths. Mental toughness? Training tweaks for increasing 10K speed? Off the chart enthusiasm and that essential element of craziness? The voice of reason to moderate the crazy guy’s advice? I had check marks for all of these qualities in friends both locally and out of town. I had two runners that were younger and faster than me. Two who were close competitors to me and one who was quite a bit older than me but was a super-fast masters runner and currently terrorizing the 70+ age group runners. An All-Star team for sure.

Find at least one Crazy Runner for your advisory team.
Find at least one Crazy Runner for your advisory team.

Your advisory team will probably look much different than mine but select your advisors based on what you need to learn. Select only positive personalities and only serious athletes. Think about how they talk after a race. You want someone who can be analytical and honest but remain encouraging. Don’t pick the runner who always has a complaint about how something went wrong in the race. Watch for the runner who cheers for their friends enthusiastically and is generous with high fives. Do some Athlinks stalking and find that runner who is consistently solid and improving.

Dan with friends and super fast Masters guys, Dan Monteau and John Johnston.
Dan with friends and super fast Masters guys, Dan Monteau and John Johnston.

I have seen this concept succeed several times in my running career. As a kid, my running training was typically only once or twice a week. I would run occasionally with my dad on a four mile loop or go to the track with him. Then on many weekends, we ran races. Running races frequently was a wonderful experience to learn strategy, toughness, disappointment and the thrill of a PR. I also got to hang out after the race with other runners. Many of them took time to talk with me and encourage me. I was surrounded with solid, adult runners who helped motivate me and educate me. Additionally, I saw my dad arise early each morning to get in his training. I witnessed first-hand the dedication it took on a daily basis to be a runner. I was surrounded by good running influences!

In high school, my team wasn’t great. So I joined a running club with the one kid on my high school team who was a serious runner. At the running club track sessions, I was surrounded by experienced runners who were much older than I was. Soaking up their knowledge was extremely valuable.

Running in college was another giant step. I went from being the third fastest runner in the state to being the seventh fastest runner on the team. My teammates at the University of Florida made me a much better runner. Running with national class athletes everyday forces you to elevate your training and racing.

This concept holds true in life as a whole; not just running. Apply what you learn in running to become truly AWESOME.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

“Birds of a feather flock together” – old proverb

Whoever walks (runs) with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

“With many advisers, plans succeed, but without counsel, they fail.” – Proverbs 15:22

Shifting Gears: A Lesson from Jimmie

Jimmie is a weight lifter and personal trainer. He is built like a power lifter and has thrown around some impressive chunks of iron in his day.  I’ve known Jimmie since 1998 from the old Gold’s Gym days and back then if you offered to bet me $1,000 that in 2015, Jimmie would be running regularly and cranking out frequent 10 milers, I would have taken that bet. Then I would have offered to up it to $10,000.

I would have lost.

Train Harder
Train Harder

Jimmie had an injury recently and can’t do all the upper body work like he has for so many years. So in his words, “The sun’s still gonna shine so I better go workout.”

That means running. I’m impressed that he can shift gears like that. We all have setbacks in training: Injuries, time constraints, bad weather, or just low motivation. When you hit one of these problems shift gears and become solution oriented. You still have to work out! The fat’s not going to burn itself! Train Harder.

Three Track Sessions to Get Mentally Ready to Race

Many of us focus on the physical aspects of  track workouts. We look for hard sessions that balance speed, strength and pace work for a goal race. The often overlooked aspect is finding sessions that mentally prepare us for the race. Here are three workouts that will get you physically AND mentally ready for your next race.


Ready to RACE!
Ready to RACE!


2 Mile + 6 X 300: Run 3200M (2miles) at goal 5K pace. Rest 5 min. Then do 6 X 300 with 100 rest.

Run the 300s at a little faster than 1 Mile goal pace.

The idea of this workout is to wear out your legs on the 3200 M and then run the 300s feeling tired; just like the last part of a race feels. This workout gives you confidence that even with rubber legs, you can still run fast and finish strong.

Alternating Pace 400 /200: Run 3 miles continuously, alternating between:

  • 400 at 5K goal pace (or just a little faster)
  • 200 at Half Marathon goal pace

Or it could be written out as 8 X 400 with 200 rest. Run 400s at 5K goal pace, run 200s (rest) at Half Marathon goal pace.

Have you ever gone out a little too fast in a 5K and then had to recover during mile two (while still running fast) and resume full 5K speed for the last part of the race? Or have you had to respond to a surge in a 10K and then get back in a groove? Or fight up a hill and have to recover while still running hard?  This workout teaches you to shift gears and recover during a race which gives you a tactical advantage. Plus, the time you can run for 3 miles alternating paces, is very close to what you will run for a 5K race so it is a good prediction workout too.

14X400 Descending Rest: Rest 1:30 between rep 1 and rep 2, rest 1:20 between rep 2 and rep 3….. deduct :10 each rest interval until the rest before rep 14 is :10 sec. Run reps 4-5 seconds faster than 5K goal pace. So if your 5K goal pace is 6:00 per mile, that’s 1:30 per 400 M, so run these in 1:25 or 1:26. Don’t go too fast early in this one! You’re probably used to doing 400s faster than this but the short rest at the end will bite you. This purpose of this workout is to exercise control early, knowing that it will get harder- just like a race. You have to start out controlled and smooth and then be ready to fight the last few reps.

Pick one or two of these during the lead-up to your next race and you’ll have a mental toughness advantage.