Originally from Louisville, KY, Paul started running the occasional 5K & 10K race just for fun starting in 2008. During a particularly bad flare up in early 2011 (Paul has had UC since age 14), he vowed to get into shape and work his way back off the medications and rid himself of their side effects. His first race in the fall of 2011 was a simple 10K that just happened to be the first race of the Austin Distance Challenge. Paul signed up, not having any idea of where this simple act would lead. A 10 miler and 3 Half Marathons later, he was hooked and couldn’t get enough, which led him to seek out as many half marathons as he could. This brought him to the 2012 Napa To Sonoma ½ Marathon and Team Challenge.
In full remission and off medications (which he attributes to the Specific Carb Diet), Paul was excited to join Team Austin as a Coach for the 2012 Vegas ½ Marathon season and is now returning for his fifth season with Team Challenge.
During the day, Paul is a software engineer for his own startup company. Paul and his wife donate regularly to multiple national and local charitable organizations (including CCFA). Paul is also working on a new type of fundraising software that he hopes will make supporting charities more efficient and cost effective.
Paul is married, has two children and a rescue pit bull. Unfortunately, husband, kids and the dog aren’t really into the “whole running thing” (even though many of his wife’s friends are). He tries to find as many excuses to go down to the trail for a run, and Team Challenge is one of the greatest motivators to do so.
My personal story with Crohn's disease is watching my younger brother struggle with the disease. Matthew was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when he was only 15 years old. He's had more than his fair share of battles with the disease-- mostly GI bleeds. One GI bleed in particular landed him in the hospital for several weeks. He had six blood transfusions and nearly lost his life. I cannot imagine a world without my brother.
There is no cure for Crohn's disease; sufferers can only hope for remission. Though big sisters would love to fix all problems for little brothers, I cannot cure Crohn's disease. I can, however, run for the cure.
In 2013 I signed up to raise $3,800 and run for a cure. I felt like it was an impossible goal, but I had to make a difference for Matthew. It’s amazing how things work though, on Matthew’s 26th birthday I reached my goal and raised the $3,800; and by race day I had raised over $5,000.
Since my first race I have continued to be involved with Team Challenge by returning as a mentor for the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in July 2014 and I'm thrilled to be returning this season as a Coach! I am blessed to use my good health to raise money to find a cure; and the friends I made along the journey are a constant reminder of blessings and hope for a cure.
If you're planning on running or walking a summer half-marathon, the time to start training is NOW! The most important thing you'll need to get started is a good pair of training shoes, and the most important feature of a running or walking shoe is how it fits YOUR foot. Don't worry what the Olympic Champion wears, and don't think about what color the shoe is; the only things that matter are how the shoes fit on your feet and how they fit your personal biomechanics. (Of course if the shoes fit your personal biomechanical needs AND come in Team Challenge orange and blue, well that wouldn't be a bad thing!)
Happy feet = happy training!
Q: I’m not currently running or walking more than a mile or two at a time a few days per week. How will I be able to finish a half-marathon?
A: Your coach will design a program for you based on your current level of fitness, whatever it may be. You’ll gradually build your mileage over the course of the coming months until you can walk or run (or with a combination of walking and running) a ten-mile workout. From there, well over 99% of our participants complete their half-marathons.
Q: What kind of shoes do I need?
A: Everyone has different feet and biomechanics. The staff at your local running/walking specialty store will be able to fit you for these needs, as well as your mileage level, and the surfaces on which you train. To find a local specialty store, head to www.runnersworld.com/store-finder
Q: What’s a “GU”?!
A: “Gu” and other sports gels (PowerGels, Cliff Shots, Hammer Gels, etc.) are concentrated forms of carbohydrate about the consistency of honey. They are an alternative to sports drinks and are designed to provide athletes with energy for endurance activities. Each gel contains about 100- 110 of concentrated carbohydrate. Many half-marathons will provide gels in the later stages (around mile 10) to give runners and walkers an energy boost for the last few miles. Although they are generally pretty easy on the stomach, especially when taken with water, it’s always a good idea to try gels several times in training first before using them on race day.
Q: I had to miss three days of training. How do I make up the lost days?
A: You don’t! If you’ve missed anything less than a full week of training, just jump right back into the schedule. If you missed more than a week, talk to your coach about modifying your schedule to get you back on track.
Q: My fingers swell during my training walks. What’s going on?
A: Your heart beats harder and faster when you train, so blood is sent more forcefully to the extremities. Muscle action helps to return blood back to the heart, but many walkers don’t pump their arms very much when they walk (they should!), so blood pools in the fingers. Swollen fingers are more common with changes in temperature, during pregnancy, and when electrolytes are out of whack. Clenching and unclenching your hands, or shaking them over your head will help to pump the blood out of your swollen fingers.