A Good Start

Here we are the Runnin’ Rueffs four weeks into our training for the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

Four weeks?


I had planned to give a weekly update, but when you have the training, the boys’ schedules, your own work schedule and other activities I rarely find myself in my “Mind Palace” like I would want. In a perfect world, I am in my citadel Saturday night sitting at my desk typing away with the weekly recap. Wendy hearing my pounding of the keyboard on my laptop and wondering if there’s smoke coming from it. It seems that 5:30 a.m. alarm keeps getting earlier by the day.

It’s been an interesting month to say the least. As previously stated in my last post, I introduced two different speed workouts to Ryan – pyramid intervals and alternating laps between jogs and sprints, which we have been doing on Tuesdays at the Mount Pleasant Christian Church CLC. I am waiting for it to get lighter sooner outside before I introduce the “Mailbox” fartlek workout. We have done some stair repeats after easy runs on a couple of Wednesdays.

It snowed one morning and I didn’t even look at the temperature. I had us layered up in clothing and strapping on the YakTrax heading out for five miles. Ryan and I both spent the rest of that day plus the following rest day trying to warm up from that run.

Because of the cold temperatures and below-zero windchills throughout January, as expected, we spent a majority of our training last month at the Mount Pleasant gym running laps. Running outside is one thing but running laps – it’s like Moriarty says about Sherlock – “it’s so boring.” I’ve done my best to keep the mundane running in circles (243 laps at this point) as entertaining as possible, especially when it wasn’t a speed workout.

Week 1

Our first training run was a simple 5k. We went on our usual route and along the path, which is just across the bridge into the older subdivision of our neighborhood. We made the turn around in the cul-de-sac which is right at the beginning of what Ryan calls the “Fancy Houses” and headed back. Nothing really happened. It was a good run since we took the previous day off after running six miles on Saturday and our “virtual” 5k race on Friday.



Ryan and I after our 5k the first day of our 500 Festival Mini Marathon


Ever since I had devised the training plan I had looked forward to this day. The second day would be my introduction to Ryan of speed workouts. It’s still too dark to do “Mailbox Fartleks” effectively and with pyramid intervals or even a scaled-down variation of Yasso 800s I needed to be able to see my watch for time and laps. We headed over to the Mount Pleasant CLC that morning. Ryan wasn’t exactly sure what to expect as we got ready to hit the track. We jogged a couple of laps. Finally, I told him it was time and when I said “Go” he was to sprint for the next 30 seconds. Then we did one minute followed by 90 seconds until we had completed 21 laps for three miles that day.

Wednesday of that week we ran an easy four miles. We ran the first two miles of our regular 5k route but then went back the way we started to complete the four-mile trek.

We ran the new 5k route I had devised back in November to help change things up. Ryan liked this day because it was raining and he enjoys running in the rain and getting wet. The downside to this run though was I forgot our hydration belt (I left it in the car from our running at the CLC on Wednesday) and we were a little underdressed with just long sleeve shirts and shorts.

We finished the first week of training with a six-mile run which included several inclines including the one at about the midway point of the path at New Hope Church.

First full week of training for the 500 Festival Mini Marathon complete with 19.5 miles.




Ryan and I just being silly after our first long run of 500 Festival Min training



Week 2

The brutal cold and snow hit Indiana. I kept hoping it would be warm enough for us to continue outside running, unfortunately, it wasn’t to happen for most of the week. We ran 24 laps at the CLC for about three-and-a-third miles the first day.

The second day we again did the pyramid workout from the previous week. When we got to the 90-second intervals of the sprint there were a couple of times Ryan had this look on his face that he had enough and really kicked it up a gear. It was hard for me to stay with him. He had a smile on his face once I said stop on the last one to complete the three miles for that day.The third day was back at the gym and 28 laps for four miles. We played “tag” for the better part of miles two and three. During the fourth mile, I had him “catch the rabbit.” He caught a few times. In the last couple of laps, I let him go as fast as he wanted.

The weather warmed up Thursday and allowed us to go to the new monthly Fun Run at The Runner’s Forum. When we got there, Ben, the manager asked if we had planned to stick around after the run. I told him we did.

There was still some snow, ice and slush along the route. It’s still getting dark early and we had to use our visibility gear. Good thing too because there were a lot of slick spots along the route. It was hard to get into a comfortable pace because Ryan and I couldn’t decide if we wanted to be fast or hang back with the group of other runners. It was definitely good practice for what we will likely encounter with the 500 Miler Series and the 500 Mini in May.

Afterward, Ben began to talk and said he wanted to make a presentation. To our surprise Ben and the rest of the staff of the Greenwood Runner’s Forum had decided to induct Ryan into their Wall of Fame.

Ben said it was because of Ryan’s continued determination to get better (based on his PRs) and having attended almost every fun run the store has had since October. Ben mentioned the run back in November when the Center Grove Cross Country team participated and Ryan kept up with them.

The picture we took with Ryan and the CG runners is the one which will be up on the wall. Ryan really comes out of his shell in those runs. When he runs like he does at those you can really see his determination. I think he likes it too because he gets to run with others besides me.



Ryan giving his thumbs up with Ben Houston on having his picture placed on the Wall of Fame at the Greenwood The Runner’s Forum after the “New Year New You” Fun Run.




Ryan with the members of the Center Grove Cross Country team. This is the picture on display at the Runner’s Forum in Greenwood.


The cold weather returned on Saturday and we went back to the CLC. This time, I took my phone to use the MapMyRun app. I wanted to see if it truly was seven laps to equal a mile. After seven laps it wasn’t even close to a mile and it said my pace was 12 minutes. I decided to turn the app off and we ended up just running the other 42 laps to finish our scheduled long run of seven miles. Ended the week with 20.6 miles.

Week 3

The windchill showed -15 and again we headed to the CLC. This time 22 laps for a 5k.

The next day was a speed workout and instead of the pyramid intervals after warming up for a couple of laps, we sprinted for two laps then jogged for one. We alternated that for 28 laps. We had been between :58 and 1:02 per lap when we were sprinting. For the last two laps, I challenged Ryan to have both laps under one minute. He nailed :55 and :53 respectively.




The Mt. Pleasant CLC where we do our lap running when it is too cold to run outside or we are doing speed workouts.


We woke up to snow Wednesday morning. I didn’t even check the temperature. I went to Ryan’s bedroom and woke him up. I told him to put on a long-sleeve shirt, then a short-sleeve shirt and both pairs of his tights. “It’s snowing and we are going to run this morning in the snow.” He came downstairs and I strapped the YakTrax on his shoes and then mine and we were out the door. It was a soft falling snow by the time we got going. We tried to catch snowflakes with our mouths and probably caught one out of every seven. Ryan enjoyed it. I hadn’t heard him giggle like he does during a run in a long time.



Ryan on the path making the trek for home during his first run in the snow. We ran 5.1 miles that morning.


The weather in the south wreaked havoc at work. I was called in for Friday. We got up early and again put on the YakTrax and ran a little more than four miles that morning.

The work scheduled changed for Saturday. I contemplated moving the long run to Sunday. The more I thought about it though keeping Ryan on the schedule we would always go long on Saturdays was too important. The snow had melted enough I decided we didn’t need the YakTrax as we went out that morning. We ran across the bridge and around the circle, which is right before the path. We ran on the path and through the rest of the subdivision into the “Fancy” and up and down the two cul-de-sacs which have really nice inclines and then to the entrance.

As we started back it dawned on me I couldn’t remember if on our return we went back around the circle before the bridge or not. As we re-entered the older subdivision my mind became side tracked as Ryan slipped on snow as we turned a corner. I looked down at him and he looked up with a big grin on his face. “Well, that was slick.” There are just times when he says things I have to also return the grin and we continue on.

We approached the path and my mind was back on exactly what are we supposed to do on this route today. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember if we go back around the circle before the bridge or not. Ryan seemed to be going at a pretty good pace and looked comfortable. I decided we’d go ahead and run the circle anyway.

We finished the run and stretched. I went right to the computer and mapped out the route. We didn’t need to go around the circle after all. Actually, it added fourth tenths to our run. We had 23.75 miles in for the end of the week.



“Dad, seriously! You couldn’t remember the route.”


Week 4

I don’t know if it was from running the previous Friday and Saturday in the cold. It could also have been from someone at work coming both Friday and Saturday sick enough they should have just stayed home.

Whatever it was, Ryan and I both came down with severe head colds. We always take Sundays off from running – unless it’s an extreme situation as to why we missed Saturday. I decided it was in our best interest to take another day off before getting back to the training.

I adjusted the training schedule and we ran an easy 21 laps at the CLC Tuesday. When we arrived I opened up the pouch in our hydration belt I noticed our cards were missing. They had fallen out on the path when I went to get my phone out to take the picture of Ryan running in the snow. I found the cards last week after the snow had melted. They were stuck together face down on the path.

Then we again did the speed workout from the previous week with a light warm-up followed by alternating sprints and jogging with two laps of sprint and a lap of jogging for four miles. I again challenged Ryan to stay under one minute for the final two laps. He again did not disappoint turning laps of :54 and :52.

Finally, our colds were gone and the cold weather for the most had gone away as well. We were back outside for an out-and-back route of five miles.

Unlike the previous Saturday, I remembered the route this time. We again went through our subdivision, the older part, the “fancy” houses and the New Hope Church path and back through for 7.8 miles.

Despite the unplanned rest day to begin the fourth week, I thought we finished it strong with the speed workout on Wednesday and then the two runs on Friday and Saturday. Altogether for the week, we got 20 miles in and have run 83.85 cumulative for the first four weeks.



Week four of training started out slow with both of us battling the sniffles, but we finished with a strong eight-mile run.


We are almost done with the fifth week of training. We have a three-mile race this Saturday. It’s the first of the Indy Milers Series – as part of the 500 Festival Mini Marathon training experience – at the NCAA Hall of Champions. Our times from the Festive Four Mile Foot Fest on Thanksgiving at Perry Meridian qualify us to be seeded for the 500 Mini. I plan to turn the results of that race in when I pick up the packets tomorrow. Being seeded will be nice to not have as many people to get by. It also means we’ll get passed later than we possibly would have by Meb Keflezighi. The Boston Marathon. New York City Marathon and Olympic marathoner is running the 500 Festival Mini Marathon. As part of it, he will be an honorary starter for a couple of the flights and then begin his race from the back.

Just another thing to look forward to in Ryan’s Running Journey.


One thought on “A Good Start

  1. You guys are rocking it! Great job!


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