My Next Running Goal!

Running in Japan

Accomplishments breed Progress.

Thus far, I’ve achieved two huge running milestones for myself: a sub 4 hour marathon, and an ultra. It’s hard to determine what’s next when you’ve already achieved what you thought might be impossible.

The vision must get bigger and bolder. What can one do in running when they’ve already hit their goals?

Do it Faster!

Coming off the slower but longer pace of the 50K run, I was pondering another street race. There’s something about flat-out speed that just gets really exciting. The speed bug always comes back!

What Race to do?

After some thought, I’m going to run the Cincinnati Half-Marathon Too!, on October 19th, 2014.

I ran in last year’s Cincy Half Marathon exactly one year ago from this race. Aside from the cold and rainy weather, it was a really good half-marathon starting at Sawyer Point & taking me around downtown Cincinnati.

Cincy Half 2013

Frank Dejulius and I after my 1st Half Marathon!

Believe it or not, last year was my first half-marathon, after 6+ years of running. I’d never gotten around to one of the most popular running distances out there!

It was a well-routed and well-marked course, and I had a great time, even despite the rain. It’s also sponsored by our good friends at Fleet Feet Sports!

All successes aside, there were a couple of issues from my first Half Marathon:

1. Unknown finish time

One of my toughest things to plan for last year was determining a finishing time. I didn’t really know what kind of time I’d be able to achieve. This is always a problem with initial PR’s (“Personal records” – Best time in a specific race length).

Last year I made a good PR of 1:42:20, because it was my first, and therefore best, time. It was pretty good, but for me, I felt like I was unsure of my true limits the whole time.

The main problem with last years race was that I didn’t have a good PLAN for how to run a half-marathon. I’m going to fix that this year.

2. Training schedule woes

I’ve always relied on others’ training schedules to carry me through a race. To me, it was great seeing everything laid out and not really having to think about a plan & just follow what someone else had made.

The problem with relying on someone else was I never did find a half-marathon training program that I liked or even used well.

I’m going to look at this year’s Half Marathon in a whole new way by owning my training.

This year, I’m making my Own training schedule!


Up until now, I’ve always been a follower with running. The 50K I did in June instilled in me that I NEED to start becoming a leader.

I’ve learned a lot over the past years of running, and it will all culminate into this upcoming training plan. I now know my body and personal schedule enough to craft a good plan.

Not only will this give me a tailor-made plan, but it will shift my race preparation into a new realm where I become the owner of my destiny.

I’ll be continuing this story in the next several months leading up to the big day. I’m excited to share this with the Hello Flecks community. I’m going to show how I fit training into an already busy schedule, as well as some success and failure points along the way.

Follow along with me, and I will share information that you can use to fuel your goals, whether they are running-related or otherwise.

I’m really looking forward to this, and I know you’ll find this info to be a great resource for you!

A New Site Theme and Purpose


Welcome to the re-imagined Hello, Flecks!

In March, we started this blog project with many ideas. We had a lot to say and wanted to get it all out there for everyone to benefit from. We covered everything that we thought you might want to read about.

In short, we painted with a very broad brush.

The problem with trying to help everyone is that we were not focused. We wanted to cover all topics, yet sometimes we felt like we were saying nothing. It was time to go back to what we know and what we can help others with the most.

If you go back and read both our stories (Kristin’s here, and Ethan’s here) you’ll see that these two posts are really at the heart of what we wanted to share. It tells two great stories about how we weren’t engrained with success, it was a skill that was learned along the way.

This is what we will share with those that are ready for a journey.

We will be focusing on personal health and wellness going forward.

Many of our topics will remain, but the content is directed to start or maintain your success in those areas.

Welcome to the re-imagined site, we think you’ll find it even better than before.

– Ethan & Kristin

50% Complete

50 Complete
I can’t believe the year is already halfway over.

It seems like just a few short months ago that I was making plans on what to do this year. Some goals I thought of were easy goals, and some were lofty stretch goals.

In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” A lot has happened in these last 6 months. This is my snapshot of where we are in our halfway mark with a few of 2014’s Goals.


I had planned to run something longer than a marathon this year. “2013 Ethan” would have thought I would need to give myself plenty of time to train for an even longer run, so it had to be in September or October.

As I got closer to my annual Flying Pig marathon in May, though, it dawned on me that it would be much better to pick something sooner, so I signed up for Another Dam 50K in June, only 4 weeks after the Pig.

It turned out to be a great run and very helpful to set those runs close together so I didn’t lose training momentum. I feel like I can now tackle new, even scarier challenges with confidence. I’d even like to set a goal to hit Marathon Maniac status in the future!

Ethan's 1st Ultra

For the 2nd half of 2014, I’d like to keep my good running base by doing another marathon or half-marathon. I’d also like to work more on speed. Kristin and I are even looking at getting a GPS/ heart rate watch!

We’ve already been really successful this year with exercise, and we’d like to build upon that success base in the second half of the year.


We made great strides in our finances in 2014 as a couple. Kristin got a new job that has much better pay, and we have regained focus on our target to pay down the remaining student loan debt we owe, which is about $30,000.

We had given ourselves a short break from intense saving, and we now have new purpose with which to attack that goal. Paying off the student loans will help us to set up some amazing things in the near future as well. It’s our only debt besides the house!

It feels really great to have the freedom and security that financial success allows. The only money problems we seem to have are the good kind these days, and that is a real blessing.


One of our biggest goals this year was to start this blog.



For a new blogger like myself, It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I get excited, scared, frustrated & satisfied all at once.

Kristin has really helped me along in navigating these new paths, and it’s been really rewarding and surprising to see some of the things that have come out of this project.

In the future we hope to grow this hobby and allow it room to expand. It is not the center of our lives, but I feel like it is helping us to build a solid foundation on which to create our voice, for whatever we do going forward.

Personal Growth

If you had told me that I’d be journaling every day consistently 1 year ago, I would have told you “that’s a nice idea, but it will never happen”.

About 12 months ago, I started journaling as part of the Start Experiment, and it wasn’t until January this year that it became almost daily. I now have 2 journals, actually – a personal journal and a productivity journal.

I should have been doing this years ago. I had this notion in my mind that writing in a journal was embarrassing. That only 12 year old girls write in journals. I admit was wrong.

Journaling has brought some great clarity and focus into my days. It helps me to deal with the issues of the day, it helps me reflect on what I’m doing right and wrong, and it gives me perspective on what is really important in life.

I highly recommend you just start doing it if you’re on the fence. I limit myself to 15 minutes a day using DayOne, and that works out great for me.


It may seem easy for most, but another one of our goals was to set up a home office. Kristin and I had gone back and forth about converting a lovely baby’s room from the previous homeowners into an office. They had decorated the third bedroom in Winnie the Pooh with a hand-painted mural, you guys.

We couldn’t bear (pun intended) to cover over that work of art for almost eight months, and finally we realized that it was doing no good for us in its current state. We painted it over with the help of family and bought a desk and lamps to create an office space. I also hung a cork board, and we plan to get a white board as well.



As I look back at the year that’s already halfway over, I’m proud of all of our accomplishments thus far. This is one of the first years that I’ve written down and then checked back on my goals in a timely fashion. It has helped so much in keeping myself on track and accountable to finish by the end of the year.

92% of New Year’s Resolutions get side-tracked. Don’t become another statistic.

I hope to set and achieve bigger and loftier goals in the future. I want to be the best me that I can be. In order to do so, I realize that, though it will take hard work and dedication, the rewards are worth the effort.







Signs Your Significant Other is a Runner

Anyone in a relationship with a runner knows there are certain things that are just par for the course. You may not see it at first, but one day you’ll wake up and realize that your life revolves around running too, even if you aren’t the runner!

Signs Runner GifHere are some signs that your significant other is a runner, and you are a runner in spirit!

1. When someone asks if you’re going out on a Friday night, your answer is always, “we have a race in the morning.” (even though it isn’t your race!)

2. You’ve become an expert at hitting as many spots along a marathon route as possible to cheer your mate on.

3. Your treadmill sees your significant other more than you do.

4. You can often be found in a race shirt that you didn’t even run.

5. You have as much of a “race day routine” as your significant other does.

6. You schedule vacations around races.

7. “Long runs” take up a big chunk of your weekend, too.

8. You can pack a race day bag with the best of them.

9. It’s routine for you to spend hours at a Starbucks or Panera in a random city while your significant other is running an Ultra.

10. You’ve got the pre-race dinner down to a science.

11. You’re well-versed in moisture wicking wear and the latest compression gear.

12. You get race day jitters.

13. You can closely estimate any race time finish by pace- off the top of your head.

14. You love race day as much as they do!

Just Because I Can (A 50K Recap)

Just Because I CanThis weekend I ran an ultra marathon. When I write those words, it makes even me think of something that’s unattainable, like a unicorn. Like it’s some wild, mysterious creature that’s too awesome, too weird, or too scary for most people to see or even comprehend.

After 5 successful years of running marathons, this creeping feeling started in me. Something in me kept pondering that awesome mystery of what was next. Where can I go from here? What can I do now? What’s beyond the marathon?

This year, I signed up for my first 50K trail race. Even though I was filled with fear at signing up, I did so for the very same reason as my first race: Just to see if I could do it.

I signed up, just to see if I could do it.

I didn’t have any experience running on trails. I barely run outside to tell you the truth. I wasn’t really sure of what to do or how to prepare. None of that mattered because I was going to learn and train anyway, trusting that I was going to make it.

For those of you that have run a road race before, this is not like a road race. Speed is a factor, but not the driving force. There is not much of a worry about negative splits or trying to pass others. I carried no music and ended up talking almost the whole way.

It was unlike any experience I’d ever had on a run before. I met so many nice and amazing people out there, right from the very start. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, in the race was so kind, caring and uplifting. I guess that’s what you get when you begin running distances like this.

Ethan's 1st UltraThere were people of all ages and walks of life that had ran 50 milers, 100 milers, or 14 hour endurance runs. Within the first 10 minutes, I talked to someone that ran across the Great Wall of China. All of these amazing people around me, and I was a part of this group!

I became a leader and I became a follower on that run. Typically on runs, I like being a follower. There is always someone faster than me, so I would make excuses like “this is my first time on this course” or “I’m really bad with directions” so I allowed myself to be a follower all the time. In my first 50K, I got the chance to actually lead. I held strengths out on the run that others did not, and so I used them and let others know what I can contribute.

There was also a great feeling of quietness and solitude in certain sections of the race.  Sometimes there were these pockets where no other runners were in front of or behind me for a long time. Long enough to where I could walk for quite a while by myself and just ponder the feeling I was experiencing in a lush, green forest.

Somewhere or something like that had definitely been missing in my life. It could have been the expanse of the park bringing this feeling of solitude.

It just hit me in little moments that made me feel so thankful to be out there. It was like a dream in some ways. This was my favorite part for personal reasons. It was amazing to be with such awesome people, but the real treat for yesterday, I think, was being alone with myself.

My emotions got more mixed up as I went further along the run. The hours soon started feeling like days, and wasn’t sure if I was in pain or pleasure. At times I wasn’t sure where I was going or how I got here.

I had two opposing forces while running, one was against my body and one was against my mind. I’m happy to say that my mind drove my body at those tough points.

On the final hour, I was fortunate enough to catch up to someone who turned out to be a great running partner. We both brought each other through to the finish without even remembering we were in pain and just wanted to quit. We were just two guys talking.

At this point even our minds had trouble battling us. And then we saw the finish through the trees.

If you tackle something that you’re not sure you can accomplish, your reward is paid in self-confidence.

When you succeed at something you never even thought possible, you begin to think why you created this fear in your mind, this fear of success. There’s a wall that breaks down within you. All of a sudden, you are free to dream.

I overheard something that really stuck with me during this race. Someone said “I’m going to try to run up that big hill on the last loop instead of walk, just to see if I can”.

For me, it solidified that fact that that is a perfectly acceptable answer to running.

Why do I run? You may have thought I’d have figured this out in my years and years of running, but lately I’ve actually been searching for a definitive reason of why I run. A lot of things come to mind like health, mental grit, or planning, but in all honestly, I think I’ve found my answer this weekend.

Just because I can.

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