SAM_0328To start I am runner trapped in a big guy’s body. I am 6’2” and well over 250lbs, and this year that will change! Why do I mention this? Simply because I want you to realize I switched to Altras and I am not planning on switching back. If you are a big guy or gal, I bet one of the first running shoes you ever wore was a stability shoe, likes the Brooks Beast or variation of the kind. Trust me there are alternatives out there if you learn good form and technique.

So let’s take a look at my past year. My year really started a little over a year ago in February when I was recovering from foot surgery. Over time I developed capsulitis, and plantar fasciitis, and eventually they developed into a really bad hammer toe and a bunion on my left foot, which I had to fix with surgery. Prior to the surgery the only way I was able to run with the hammer toe and stay pain free was by wearing custom orthotics. So I had to have the surgery and looking back I think over the years having the wrong shoes on my feet may have been what really caused my issues. I was not able to run for nearly 5 months after the surgery and I wanted to run. With 2 screws now permanently in my foot, I missed running but was nervous about running again. I had all kinds of questions:

  • Would I be able to run?
  • Would my foot hold up?
  • Had I gotten too big to run?
  • What Shoes should I wear?
  • Could I get back to running Marathons?

I needed help so as my recovery started I reached out to a good friend, excellent running roach and awesome trainer Jimmy Hart to get me started. The best part is I got reset everything and I could pick a new pair of shoes. Much to my surprise and dismay Jimmy Printtalked me into wearing my first pair of Altra’s, Provisions. I practically laughed out loud when I saw these shoes. They looked too thin, no support, no wide sizes (I have always worn 4e running shoes) and this zero drop thing maybe it was just a gimmick. Then I put them on and the first impression was how comfortable this show was. I did not need the wide size and the foot shape really makes a difference. Then I went for a short run just a little under 1 mile, everything was great, including the shoes. The shoes really made a difference but I was woefully out of shape.

So Jimmy and I started slowly building my running back up again and we decided to set one goal. Run the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon almost a year away. The best part is that I got to run in several races during my training and all of them in my Altras.

Here is a quick recap of my running year

  • Patriot Half in Rockwall, TX on Memorial Day: I was nervous this was my first race back and was not sure if I could make it as I stepped to the race start. 2:33 minutes later I crossed the finish line all intact but very happy! I realized I was back now the training had to begin. A great race and I will return for the gently rolling hills this year!
  • Wounded Warrior 10K: these runs are simply amazing and I will run again this year. The cause behind this run should be enough to get you off the couch and support the project. As a run goes this was a nice training run with Jimmy and I was able to run in 1:05. A special thanks to Deb for coming to get me as I accidentally locked my keys in the car.
  • Hottest Half in August in Dallas: Yes a run in August in Dallas and it did live up to its name. This run was bit slower than I would have liked 2:47. Crowded trails attributed mostly to this. The best part is that I got to see one of good friends Dan Barnes complete his first half marathon. The best part he was in first pair of Altra Provisions as well! Great job Dan!!/home
  • Azle Lake half marathon, in Azle, TX: This is one of those spur of the moments run where Jimmy and I signed up 1 week away from the run. By this time I was in full marathon training mode and tired of our regular trails so we decided for the 31st annual run. All I have to say is if you are looking for a hill training day, look no further than this run. Holy Hill batman, this was a tough run and seemed like head winds the entire run. Azle has turned into a battle cry when Jimmy and I run on hills. I was even more surprised at my time2:23, my PR for the year and I was ecstatic. Even better I won 2nd place in my age group, granted there were only two. Still I got some extra bling!
  • New Year’s Double, ½ marathon on New Year’s Eve, and a 5K on New Year’s day: Signing up for these runs was just to finish off the training and get ready for Disney is just 10 days. This was an interesting run with a cool medal plate if you ran both. The half was a very cold and rainy day. The run was fairly straight forward and I was glad I ran. Best part was another PR, ran it in 2:18 and I was feeling great. Although the next day promised to be as cold, and when the gun went off for the 5k off I went. I got done running, collected my bling and hopped in my car. I was cold and was ready to get home did not even look at my time. I checked my results later that day, imagine my surprise when I saw 26:20 for time and imagine my smile, when I found out I won the Clydesdale division! Truly a great way to start the New Year. I will be going back to defend my title next year!
  • SAM_0306Disney World 20th Anniversary Marathon: So here I was 1 year later getting ready to run 26.2. My training went well and I was excited running with all my friends. I really only had two goals for this run finish and ride Expedition Everest around mile 13. I am excited that I did both and got one of the coolest medals I have ever seen! My time was a lot slower than I would have liked at 6:34. I was on the course for a while, but finished! The main reason I was slow that day was due to the heat and humidity, race start was 60 degrees Fahrenheit and ended around 85, so a hot day to say the least. Around mile 17 I knew I was dehydrated and walked 6 miles until I recovered enough to finish the last 3 miles running. Thanks to my good friend Lori for hanging with me. I was a little frustrated I had to walk that much. However, my legs were still solid and more importantly, my feet felt great in my Provisions! I will be posting a more detailed review of my run next week on my blog at: If you have never run Disney, I highly recommend it. In fact I will be in Disneyland this year, for the Dumbo Double dare! I am looking forward to it!

The year was a great year and a year of recovery that just amazed me. I did all my runs in Altras and have fallen in love with the best shoe on the plant. In the end I have learned two things. First off having a great pair of shoes on your feet makes a difference and learning proper form also makes a difference. For me Altra’s do both! A special thank you to Jimmy Hart for giving me the gift of running back in my life and for getting my first pair of Altras!

God Bless and drop me a line if you want to learn more about my story or go for a run! So what’s next for me? A Year of Losing Weight all in my Altra’s! Looking forward to writing that post!