Ryan’s Remarkable Running

Five minutes.

It might not seem like a lot, but when it comes to running and when you think about Ryan it is an unbelievable accomplishment.

In almost a year Ryan has taken five minutes off his 5k since I first timed him when we did a “mock” race the same day as last year’s 500 Festival Mini Marathon. He ran the 5k in a time of 27:24.


Ryan and I after running our “TheraWheel 5K” on May 2. We had a time of 27:24

A month later in his first real race – the Race Away Against Domestic Violence 5k at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis – Ryan ran the 5k course in 26:40. In November at the New Beaver Moon 5K in Noblesville, Ryan was almost faster by three minutes with a time of 23:56.

Then came New Year’s Day. As part of Coach Jenny Hadfield’s “Holiday Challenge,” we were to run a virtual race with other members of the group. We were to run the race and then post pictures with our “bibs” along with the distance we ran and the time. Because of my crazy work schedule during the month of December at “The World on Time,” we didn’t get the running done I wanted to before New Year’s Day. I had intended for us to run a 10k, but with the lack of time on the pavement, I decided we would run a 5k.

I plotted out a new 5k course for us to run. I wanted us to try and start and finish at the same location. This would require us to make a small walk to the corner of our street and the little cul-de-sac down from our house. This course almost has us making a complete circuit around the cul-de-sac upon our return for 3.1 miles.

Wendy was concerned about us running in the neighborhood early in the morning fearing people, who had tried to sleep off their partying from the night before, would be out driving and not as fully recovered as they thought they should.

Thus, I delayed our virtual race until 11 a.m. This allowed us to use the tornado-warning-practice sirens as our starting gun. We started the race in the direction of our new route we have been using from our house the last couple of weeks. We had run the same 5k route on a regular basis since the Mill Race Half Marathon. I figured it was time to freshen things up and go in the opposite direction.

We crossed the bridge, which connects our subdivision with the older part, and approached the path we regularly run. We ran around the winding path and crossed the entrance off Smith Valley Road of the subdivision and made it to the first-mile marker at 7:32. I was a tad ahead and slowed down to hand Ryan his water bottle off our hydration belt. Maybe a topic I’ll write about some day is why at my age of 44 I make sure to drink water at every mile marker.

At the completion of our second mile we were 18 seconds slower than our first, but still on solid pace for Ryan to once again set a personal record for his 5k. As we made it around a cul-de-sac I told Ryan to pick up his pace. I reminded him he should run like he did at a fun run at our local running store – The Runner’s Forum – when he ran with the members of the Center Grove High School Cross Country team and stayed with them for the better part of those three miles.

Ryan did as commanded and picked up his pace as we left the circle and headed toward the main road of our subdivision. When we got to our landmark of the yellow-painted-gas pole where he usually begins his “kick” he really turned up the heat. It was tough for me to stay with him as we crossed the bridge. We made the turn toward our “Finish Line” on Haywood Road. I looked down at the MapMyRun app and it showed our pace -5:50…5:35 and as we crossed the finish line – 5:29.

We ran around the circle on Haywood Road and finally I yelled as best I could “STOP!” The time was 22:52. If I could I would have done my best Tom Carnegie impersonation and said, “It’s a new Personal Record for Ryan Thomas Rueff!”

As we began our cool down both of us were breathing heavily. The hard running along with the cold-January air had my lungs feeling like they were on fire.


Ryan holding his Coach Jenny Holiday Challenge Virtual Race bib with his new PR time of 22:52


Since May 2 of last year: Five minutes.

Prior to the virtual race on New Year’s Day, Ryan and I had run in two other races and two fun runs. As previously stated, we ran in the New Beaver Moon 5k at Potter’s Bridge Park in Noblesville. From the results Ryan finished 22nd overall, fifth in his age group and was again the fastest 12-year old in the race. The youth age group for this race was a bit deceiving because it was 18 and under. There were four high school cross country runners which beat Ryan. If a breakdown such as the one at the Race Away Domestic Violence 5k or Mill Race Half were used Ryan would have won his age group.



Ryan beginning to pull away from me at the New Beaver Moon 5k at Potter’s Bridge in Noblesville, Ind. He was the fastest 12-year old.




Ryan showing off his new shirt and medal from the New Beaver Moon Twilight 5k


A few days later we did a fun run at The Runner’s Forum store. When we got there my friend, Howard Harrell, who is the cross-country coach at Center Grove High School, was there with four of his runners. Harrell introduced Ryan to the runners and they welcomed him like he was a part of the team. When we started the run Ryan fell back behind the four as well as Harrell and me. The four high school runners were constantly looking back and encouraging Ryan to keep going. After about two miles Ryan picked up his pace and was right behind them. When we made the turn where we could see the store the high school runners along with Ryan kicked it up a notch. As they got to the front of the store Ryan was right there with them.

It was my proudest moment. I think I was prouder of him keeping up with those four high school runners than when we finished the Mill Race Half Marathon. He didn’t wait for me to say, “Kick it. It’s go time.” He didn’t look back at me at all. Once those four picked up the pace he went right with them.



Ryan with the members of the Center Grove High School Cross Country team after the fun run at The Runner’s Forum in November


On Thanksgiving morning we ran with our football-watching friends, the Hassee’s, at the Festive Four Mile Foot Fest (try saying that real fast about four times) at Perry Meridian High School on the southside of Indianapolis. We also met some lifelong friends in Ronnie Bolyard and his wife, Lori along with his sister Andrea. I hadn’t seen them in years and it was good to quickly catch up with them before and after the race.



The winners celebrate Jim Hassee, Ryan and me with our gift certificates to The Runner’s Forum for placing in our respective age groups.


Ryan didn’t have a particularly good morning. He seemed in slow motion for most of the race. He picked it up toward the end, but not like he had at New Beaver Moon or the fun run. It was the first time I had beat him while trying to help pace him during a race. In the end, I won my age group with a time of 30:22. Ryan finished second in his age group with a time of 30:23 and our friend, Jim Hassee, finished first in his age group.

With 2015 now in the rearview mirror and 2016 started with a new PR for Ryan that leads us to what’s in store for this year. After a long run, last Saturday and a rest day on Sunday, Ryan and I began training for the 500 Festival Mini Marathon on Monday. As I earlier said we plan to run the 500 Mini for fun. From a training standpoint, it will be a stepping stone for when we begin training this summer for our return trip to Columbus, Ind. and the Mill Race Half Marathon.

I once again conferred with Tad Frahm and also with some insights from Jenny Hadfield and Howard Harrell. The plan I devised was similar to the one I used for my first half marathon – the Indianapolis Half Marathon – where I finished with a time of 1:35:00 and placed fifth in my age group. All three liked it for the most part and added some insight to what they would do now that Ryan is also part of the training. I plan to use their thoughts and put together a solid scheme for us which will be used not only for the 500 but the Mill Race Half Marathon.

One of the aspects this training plan for the 500 will have that the Mill Race Half won’t is several races leading up to the big run. Between now and May 7 we have four races as we will run in the 500 Festival’s Miler Series, which is a race on the first Saturday of February and March and the second Saturday in April. Each race is scheduled to coincide with the training for the 500 Mini. The race in February is three miles, March six and April is 10. We are also running the inaugural “Rock the Block” race at Center Grove High School April 23. We will run the 10k of that race. It works out perfectly as we begin to taper for the 500 Mini two weeks later.



Ryan and I after our first 500 Festival Mini Marathon training run.




The Runnin’ Rueffs being goofy after a 10k training run on Saturday. The cold winter weather has hit Indiana. Looks like we’ll run indoors most of this week.


After the 500 Mini, we are going on vacation. We will take that week off before gradually ramping back up to begin training again for the Mill Race Half Marathon, which is Sept. 24. Last year the main goal was to get to the starting line injury free and finish strong.

We still want to get to the starting line injury free and finish strong in both races. Though for the Mill Race Half Marathon, there is a set time goal along with an ultimate time goal to reach.

Training for the Mill Race Half Marathon will be different than last year, which is why the training for the 500 will be a pre cursor for both of us. As I talked to a friend the other night, Wendy came into my home office and handed me a note. She overheard me tell my friend, “Last year we were just happy to be at the Mill Race Half Marathon. This time, it’s a business trip.”

She left the room cracking a smile and shaking her head.

Fasting from Sports

I have almost completed my first week of not watching games on TV or reading any articles about sports.

Since the end of the World Series in October, I began to think I needed a break from sports. I have been known at times to take a sabbatical from watching or reading sports at peculiar times in the “sports year.” Most notably my breaks would take place during March. After Butler’s run in its conference tournament was over and I knew the Bulldogs would either make the tournament or would have to wait until Selection Sunday to find out their fate I would not watch any of the other conference tournaments. I would resume watching the selection show and then the preliminary games, which are played on Tuesday.

Despite not watching several of my favorite teams in December because of work I felt convicted I needed a break. I wasn’t sure how I would accomplish it with Butler’s conference season beginning and, of course, the NFL playoffs about to take place.

My answer came New Year’s weekend when in his sermon Chris Philbeck challenged the congregation to fast from something for the rest of the month of January which was keeping us from making God the top priority.

I was reassured of my decision after somethings I texted about Peyton Manning to our football-watching friend, Elizabeth Hassee, and a message I had sent to one of my Broncos’ fanatics in Tiffany Catellier about what I hoped the Broncos do to Andrew Luck next year if he’s the Colts quarterback.

What I wrote to them was not what I remembered of how I liked sports. It was definitely time for me to distance myself from watching, reading or even listening to play-by-play on the radio for an extended period of time.

Actually, I haven’t listened to sports-talk radio since May 2013. I haven’t watched or listened to an NBA game since the last time the Celtics played the Pacers last season. Surely, I can go a month without watching or reading about sports altogether.

Philbeck’s challenge has been fully accepted.

It’s had a two-fold effect. Trying to fast from sports has kept me off social media for the most part except when posting about the boys, Downton Abbey or Sherlock. When I do log on to Facebook or Twitter I count how many post are sports related before I get to one that is not. On average the number is 27.


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