Tag Archives: Bill

Marathon Training: 20 mile run done

When one follows a typical marathon training program, he or she will steadily increase their weekend long runs from 6 or 8 miles until they run 20 miles about 3 weeks before the 26.2 mile marathon; this will be the longest run achieved before the race. While training for the marathon last year, I injured my Achilles while during my 16 mile training run and I never progressed any farther. In fact, I was unable to run in the marathon and half marathon for which I’d already paid entry fees.

Fortunately, I was able to return to running later in the summer, but I’ve been quite cautious and, frankly a bit scared, as I’ve increased my weekly mileage. I chose a training plan that was 20 weeks instead of the typical 16 weeks. For obvious reasons, when I completed my 16 mile run back on February 25, I was ecstatic. Each week has seen me progress to longer distances and today I completed the final goal of 20 miles.

I chose to run on the Mill Creek Trail, which comprises a portion of the Garmin Marathon that I will be doing in a few weeks. It’s a bit lonely running 20 miles by oneself, but podcasts and the occasional passing cyclist was just enough to keep me entertained.


I’m looking forward to the 3-week taper that will allow me to run fewer miles on each of my training run – all with the intent to allow the body to recuperate and rest before the actual race. I will continue to do my strength training and yoga – along with my foam rolling. It’s exciting to see that this day is finally getting here!

The only downside to the run – I forgot my bandaids and Body Glide; my fellow runners will know exactly how I’m feeling right now!

Singing National Anthem for Big 12 Basketball Tournament

Being involved with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus can sometimes have its perks – including getting asked to sing the National Anthem as a quartet before one of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament games. 

I met with 3 of my fellow Chorus members early on the morning of March 9 at the Sprint Center. We were escorted down to the floor for sound check and figuring out where we would be standing. We then spent the next hour in the actual Green Room – the one used by performers when they’re at the Center for big concerts. After hanging out a while, waiting for the Iowa State and Oklahoma State fans to fill in the arena, we were summoned to mid-court along with a Color Guard from the KC Police Department. We performed a wonderful 4-part harmony rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, followed by a rousing applause upon its completion. 

We’re working to get a copy of the Jumbotron footage and audio; so, hopefully I will be able to post that here soon. In the meantime, here’s a picture of us at mid-court before the teams and crowds arrived. 

Once we were done singing, we were able to go sit in the front row right behind the OSU band. This was our view as the game started – with the players on the other end of the court. 

After the first game (which Iowa State won), we sang God Bless America for the crowd before the Kansas-TCU game. I didn’t get to stick around for that game because I had to go to work, but it would’ve been a fun game to watch.

Discovered my Achilles Heel…

It was one week ago. I was running my “long run” for the week – fortunately, only a 12-mile run after running 16 miles the week before. I’d been experiencing a bit of soreness in my heel over the past couple weeks, but I assumed it was because my mileage had drastically increased since running my half-marathon a few weeks ago. Let’s face it, every run lately has started with a bit of soreness, but it had always worked out within the first 1-2 miles. It’s really not that big of a deal.

However, this run felt different. The soreness in my heel was a more sore than usual. But – I pressed on, like a good boy should. By the mile 3 I was still hurting and started to worry that I would really be hurting by the time I finished my 12 miles. Around mile 4, I was going up a short incline (in a motion much like running up some stairs) when I experienced one of the worst pains I’d ever felt – a pop in the back of my heel. I immediately assumed I’d ruptured my Achilles tendon. My training as an emergency physician was quickly put to use – and I determined that the tendon was not ruptured. I tried stretching; tried walking it off; tried a slow jog…nothing was working. I quickly determined that my run was done and I needed to start walking home.

I texted Linda and called Anna – someone would come pick me up. By the time Linda got there, I was only 1/4-mile back and couldn’t take one more step without being on the verge of tears. This was more pain than I experienced when I broke my pelvis 4 years ago in a bicycle crash. Honestly, my “almost tears” was the frustration over the fact that my marathon training had come to an abrupt halt. So close, yet so far away!

I used crutches the first 24 hours, but quickly moved over to the cane that I used for a few weeks during my pelvis fracture healing. The best thing that could’ve happened was an invitation to be evaluated by a good friend that is a physical therapist. She did some magic massage and ultrasound therapy that made my heel feel much better. Kinesiology tape and a heel cup have also been a miracle.

My marathon is 5 weeks away. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to run it, but I’m hoping that I get the chance to try. I’ve rested for a full week and I’m expecting another week of no running. I’m hoping to start using the stationary bike soon to keep my cardiovascular status in check. If things work out, I’ll run the marathon – but in a much slower time than previously expected. At this point, I’ll be happy just to get the chance to try.


Rompin’ Stompin’ Raider 5K Run (2015)

On a recent (very cold) morning, Linda and I helped raise money for our high school marching band (the Rompin’ Stompin’ Raider Marching Band) by participating in their 4th annual 5K run. The marching band is near and dear to our heart, considering both of our daughters are connected with the band. When given the choice to sell popcorn, candy, wrapping paper, or run a 5K – it’s a pretty obvious choice which one we’d rather do.

This was the first time that I had registered for a 5K run. The 5K is a great race for runners – usually completed around  30 minutes. However,  my first race was the half-marathon that I did in May 2014 and the only other race was a 4-mile run on July 4, 2015. When I do my regular runs, I will always run at least 5K (or 3.1 miles).

I usually run my regular runs around 10:00/mile , which is a comfortable pace. But, I had made the decision to try to run the 5K race at a faster pace. I tried to keep up with a couple of people that were in front of me for the first mile, but they were obviously running a bit faster than the pace that I could keep beyond the first mile. I settled in to a pace around 180 steps per minute – which is supposed to be the sweet spot.

Additionally, I decided to do this run without listening to music or podcasts (I normally run with something occupying my brain). I wanted to enjoy the run and stay tuned the fellow runners.

Despite being cold (around 40 degrees), it turned out to be  a great run for me. I ran at 9:13/mile, which is the fastest i’ve run in a long time. Out of about 250 participants, I was the 59th finisher overall and the 5th finisher in my age group (men 45-49).


To help keep me humble, the overall winner finished the 5K in about 17 minutes. Most astonishing, a 9-year-old boy ran it faster than me (somewhere around 21 minutes, if I remember correctly)!

Linda walked the coarse with a really good friend, Robin. I was able to catch a photo of them crossing the finish line:


Finally, this picture proves that we’re fun,  selfie-taking, photo-bombing crazy people:



My First Half Marathon

I picked up running as an exercise option last fall, trying to find something different than the biking that I’d been doing. My sister (and her husband) and also Linda’s sister had been running for a couple years. I thought to myself, ‘if they can do it…”.

My hatred of running

One must understand how much I’ve hated running throughout my entire life. Being made to run a mile in 5th grade made my side hurt with cramps every time. When I ran any time in middle or high school, the same thing happened and I was always at the back of the pack. I’ve never been fast and I have NEVER experienced a runners high.

Upon joining the Army, I was made to run a lot. Despite the multiple opportunities to get better at running, I never found any joy and actually came close to despising the exercise. The only thing I hated more were the pushups that were also required. One of my driving reasons for leaving the military was having physical exercise (including the running) as part of my job requirement (as a nurse). To put it plainly – I hated running. The only time (and last time) that I ran since then was about 15 years ago when I ran a bit for exercise during medical school.

I need to lose weight

Back in the fall, I decided I needed to do something about my weight as I had slowly gained back all the weight I’d lost back in 2010. After losing almost 35 pounds, I’d gained it all back by enjoying my food and craft beer. Biking did it’s best to keep my weight in check, but it wasn’t providing the needed kick to get the calories burned and help convince me to drop extra calories. I began to run a couple miles on the treadmill at the gym. This was a good beginning.

I started using a few apps on my phone to start tracking everything I did. I used MyFitnessPal to track my calories and RunKeeper to track my runs. When February came around and the Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon was announced, I quickly made the decision to run the race. I’ve never run a 5K or a 10K or anything close to it.  I used the RunKeeper app to create a training plan.

I ran alternating 3 and 4 mile runs with increasing distances each week. Eventually I was up to 12 miles, but quickly found my left knee a bit sore. As I would get to distances past about 5 or 6 miles, I had a hot-poker pain in my left knee every time my left foot struck the ground. If I stopped and walked, the pain would almost go away; but resuming the run would recreate the pain. As a physician, I had no real answer as to why this was the case. I chose to rest the knee as much as I could and take it easy on the runs to prevent extra stress on the knee.

The rehabilitation and rest seemed to work as I was able to do the race this past week.

The race

Linda and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary on May 22 last week. We went to Manhattan the night before the race to pick up the race packet. We also enjoyed our anniversary with a nice dinner at Bourbon & Baker. We stayed at one of the new hotels built in the downtown area; it was a gorgeous place and amazingly comfortable.

Because we were being bussed to the starting line in the morning, I was in bed by 9:30pm; unfortunately, I tossed and turned all night. I even had weird dreams that the race was really a front for a drug cartel and the race was not happening – all that training for nothing. I eventually woke early at 4:45am and was out the door by 5:15am.

I met a line of school buses at the Bill Snyder Family Stadium. They were there to bus the 1,008 participants out to the start line near I-70 on Highway 177 (The Bill Snyder Highway).


Once out at the start point (at 6am for a 7am start), we stood around trying to stay warm in a 55-degree morning with a brisk southerly breeze. I stood there shivering, thinking of all of the energy I was wasting by shivering. I met up with several friends from high school and enjoyed catching up while discussing all of our training that we’d done.

IMG_7650IMG_7649bazu-6316963The race started with the first 8 miles running along Highway 177, over the viaduct and into town. The first 8 miles is essentially all downhill with the slightest elevation at one point. Around mile 6, there is a long downhill that lasts almost a mile. My average pace of 10:00/mile was quickly improved while running 8:11/mile going down the downhill.

Linda brought her bike so that she could jump around to see me at different spots along the race route. She was able to meet me at mile 8 (where I was able to dump off my jacket with her).

16492_10153482790941159_9026657750282235263_nAfter getting around the mall and turning on Poyntz Ave, it was nice to finally be in town and no longer out on the highway. It felt like I was almost done, but I still had 5 miles to go. Fortunately, the knee was feeling really good.

There were water spots every 2 miles or so and also GU available every 4 miles or so. I had been a bit worried about my hydration status along the race (especially since I’ve never experienced this), but the water spots were perfect. It’s a bit hard trying to drink from a cup while running; I eventually started to walk briskly through these spots to get the water and Gatorade down (and not wear it on my face).

IMG_7657After running through downtown on Poyntz, we ran around City Park and then down Moro in Aggieville. There were supporters all along the route with signs and clapping. Best sign I saw: “Worst Parade Ever”. I honestly laughed out loud.

After passing through Aggieville, we crossed in to campus and ran through Kansas State University and then into the Jardine area next to the stadium. Once I could see the stadium, I felt amazing and really felt like I might be able to get the race done around the 2-hour mark. My goal was to have it done within 2 hours and 30 minutes. However, despite being able to see the stadium, I still had about 2 miles to run (or almost another 20 minutes).

Linda was waiting for me as I entered the parking lot at the stadium (with another 0.75 miles to go). It was at that point that I knew I was going to make it. I picked up the pace and put it all out there!




Click HERE for a video of me crossing the finish line.




IMG_7655Brian Schottler is one of my high school friends that had been training alongside me for this race (via RunKeeper app only). He finished a bit quicker than me, but was there with high-fives and a big smile!

Looking forward to more running – because I love running now and I’m hooked!

By the way – I lost the 35 pounds that I wanted.




My 2015 Tour of Sufferlandria


When it gets cold outside, we are often forced to ride our bikes in the basement on a trainer. Linda and I both have our bike hooked up to a CycleOps Magneto trainer.  It can be very boring, but we can at least watch TV while riding our bike. The thing I like least about riding on the trainer is that I generally don’t get as much of a workout when I’m just mindlessly spinning the pedals and watching TV. In fact, I rarely even break a sweat.

Enter The Sufferfest.


These are a series of biking videos that can be watched while riding hard on the trainer. The workouts are generally a series of high-intensity interval training type workouts. The best way to describe it is “doing P90X on the bike”.  Because these workouts are usually a bit exhausting, I have only intermittently utilized the videos over the past 3 years.

Sufferlandria is the mythical country from which each Sufferfest rider pretends they are citizens. For the 3rd straight year, the “Tour of Sufferlandria” (“The Greatest Grand Tour of a Mythical Nation in the Whole Wide World”) was offered. This is a 9-day event utilizing almost all of the cycling videos available. It raises money for the Davis Phinney Foundation. Davis Phinney is a former pro cyclist who now has Parkinson’s disease; his foundation raises money for research and helping those with Parkinson’s disease.

After initially being scared about trying to do 9 back-to-back days of Sufferfest videos, I made the decision to participate this year. Over the 9 days, I rode just over 13 hours and travelled a distance of 219 miles (without ever moving an inch in the basement).  This was a fun event to do and I will certainly do it again next year.Here you will find the stages, duration, miles travelled, and also calories burned.

Stage 1, Sat, 24 Jan: Elements of Style + The Long Scream
Duration: 1hr 10mins
Distance: 19.35 miles  (784 calories)

Stage 2, Sun, 25 Jan: Blender
Duration: 1hr 40mins
Distance: 26.03 miles (1105 calories)Stage 3: Mon, 26 Jan: Fight Club
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 16.97 miles (635 calories)

Stage 4: Tue, 27 Jan: Nine Hammers
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 17.25 miles (785 calories)

Stage 5: Wed, 28 Jan: Angels
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 16.04 miles (720 calories)

Stage 6: Thu, 29 Jan: Local Hero
Duration: 1hr 25mins
Distance: 23.72 miles (1100 calories)

Stage 7: Fri, 30 Jan: The Rookie
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 15.31 miles (710 calories)

Stage 8: Sat, 31 Jan: Revolver + Violator + Half is Easy (Dame Alissa Memorial Stage)
Duration: 2hrs 25mins
Distance: 39.36 miles (1825 calories)

“Our youngest Knight of Sufferlandria, Dame Alissa Schubert, was killed earlier this year when she was hit by a truck while out cycling. Revolver was her favourite video. We dedicate this stage, the hardest stage ever to feature in the ToS, in her memory. We also dedicate it to her parents who also became Knights of Sufferlandria with Alissa. A true Sufferlandrian’s stage. Crush it.”

Stage 9: Sun, 1 Feb: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
Duration: 2hrs
Distance: 30.36 miles (1352 calories)




“Messiah” with Kansas City Symphony & Chorus


So, I’ve not posted for quite a while. Frankly, life happens and I’ve been so busy with work, family, and all of our activities. One of my activities that has kept me very busy lately is my position as a Bass II with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus.

We rehearse every Monday evening, but when we have concerts, we rehearse every night of the week leading up to the performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

As usual, we were joined by the Independence Messiah Choir (they’ve been doing the Messiah every year for over 90 years).

IMG_6699 It’s a very busy week, but so rewarding when the audience gives a standing ovation and they enthusiastic applause after 2 hours of singing.


If you’re looking for me in the above picture, you’ll find me on the 2nd row of the choir loft. I’m the 3rd in from the right.

Each day, Thursday through Sunday, I took pictures as I approached the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. Enjoy the view that I got each day.
IMG_6701 IMG_6712 IMG_6710 IMG_6716

Tour of Kansas City Gran Fondo


Saturday was the Tour of Kansas City Gran Fondo. Linda and I had chosen to do the 100-mile route (which somehow had become the 104-mile route). Our friend, Wally, had talked us into doing this many months ago as a way to force himself to train for his half-Ironman race. We figured we hadn’t ever done a century ride, so it would be good motivation for us also. (We signed up for the Biking Across Kansas date after signing up for this ride).


However, now Wally was sick and not with us. Paul Beuchter (a friend from the KC Symphony Chorus) was riding, but he had changed his mind from doing the 104-mile route to the 54-mile route. We probably should’ve listened to him. He had done the route the week before and realized that the route plus the heat would be hard. We decided we could do it – besides, we’d just done a century ride the week before.


We saddled up at 7:20 for the 7:30 start. They had us lined up behind our average speed – the 14mph was the slowest one offered. We started out easy and it felt like this was going to be a great ride – slow and steady. However, the day wore on and got warmer and more humid. The SAG stops were perfectly placed and always seemed to be right when we needed one. The half PBJ sandwiches, fig newton cookies, pickles, and ice cold water with Gatorade powder was heaven-sent. The rolling hills after rolling hills after rolling hills were sent from hell. Every time I’d crest a hill, there was yet another one right after it. I believe curse words were slipping from he corner of my mouth by about mike 75.

Linda was a very strong rider for most of the ride. She’d trained hard throughout the spring and has been consistently attacking hills much harder than I have ever done. These hills were no different and she could’ve easily left me many times over. However, the heat started to take a toll on her and she started to wear out after 75 miles. We were both very tired and the hot humidity was really hurting us. We started taking frequent breaks and stopping every 3 miles in whatever shade we could find. Whenever we could catch our breath and calm our heart rate, we set out to attack the next set of rolling hills.

There were several times when the roving SAG vehicles would stop to check on us; we would just wave them on – until we started needing more water. By the 90th mile, we were beginning to be concerned that the heat would do us in. However, we kept cheering each other on and we eventually pulled in to the final run. The last few miles found me grunting with a sharp pain in my left knee. The hills and headwinds had created enough wear on my knee that every pedal stroke caused a hot-poker pain right in the middle of the joint.

We officially finished at 9 hours and 55 minutes (about 7.5 hours of actual pedaling time). This was about the time that we did the century last week – that was almost fully flat. We were cheered on by other riders that were lining the finish line. Cow bells were ringing, hands were clapping, and friends were cheering. I really wanted to celebrate, but all I could do was heave one pedal over the other to make it up the small inclined finish. Turns out, also, there was an additional 2.5 miles added in because of a “parade start” that had us do a small loop at the beginning. So – our 104-mile ride became a 106.8-mile ride!

Our final results listed me as dead last and Linda finished right before me. However, there were a lot of riders that were SAGed in and didn’t complete the ride. We, at least, can say we finished the ride.

There was a party and dinner available at the end of the ride, but we literally rode directly to the car and loaded up and went home. We were so hot and exhausted that all we could think of was a shower and air conditioning. We showered upon arriving home and immediately fell asleep on the bed – for at least an hour. So exhausted, but so proud of what we had accomplished.


Return to the KC Symphony Chorus

We got a long deserved break after the marathon of Christmas shows with the Kansas City Symphony in mid-December. It was nice to have my weekly night free from rehearsals and do things with family and friends. However, the rehearsals have returned and we are already in the swing of things getting ready for the next concerts.

We will be performing Verdi’s “Requiem” with the KC Symphony on May 30-Jun 1.

We have also been asked to add an additional concert on May 4. This will be a concert at the Kaufmann Performing Arts Center (Helzberg Hall) with only the Chorus. We will be accompanied by organ only (no symphony). This is unusual, but there has been a lot of buzz about how great the Chorus is and that we are only heard a couple times a year with the Symphony. This will be an opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities and talent. The tickets have already been placed on sale and start at only $10. If you can make it, you should come!