Guest Blog: John's Goals for the 2014 R4F5K


Our 2014 guest blogger, John Thompson, knows a thing or two about setting and achieving goals! Click below to read about his personal goals for this year's race and then click around his blog a bit to see how he's handled other running and fitness goals!

John's Goals



Starting To Run

A finish, of sorts

Today I finished my C25K program!  While I still have weeks to go before the Race 4 Freedom I did, indeed, finish my 9 week course.  While it's certainly not the end of preparation for the Race nor the end of my running in general - it is gratifying to me to have finished something like this.  I'm pretty sure the last time I finished a complete workout program was in high school.  I plan on incrementally increasing my intervals over the upcoming weeks, my program finished with having me run for 30 minutes straight.  I need to find a personal balance between running harder and running longer - I'm sure it will reveal itself through trial and error.  I also plan on running the actual route for the 5K very soon - not only because it's extremely close to my house (because it is) but also to test myself actually running a full 5K.

I am really looking forward to experiencing my first actual race as well as seeing all the community support for ICTSOS and the great cause that it is championing.  I know that personally all of my prep for this race and writing this blog has been intrinsically focused - I sometimes lose sight of the real reasons as to why this race and organization exist.  If you need a refresher, take a look at this recent post.  I never want to keep the reason that this race exists to far from my mind.


Walker Schwartz

This is How We Help - And You Can, Too.

We have a very exciting, timely way to show exactly what the Race4Freedom will benefit, and the awesome things that can happen when people get involved.

Yesterday afternoon, a young woman in Oklahoma was rescued from her trafficker by organizations working together - people working together - first to minister to her on the street, and then to come to her aid when she called for help to leave "The Life". She and her two-year-old son have been rescued and brought to an undisclosed location right here in Kansas. They have nothing but the clothing they were wearing at the time.

This is an amazing success - each young woman, man, and child rescued from slavery is awesome. But there's still more to do. By visiting ICT S.O.S., you can see the needs of this particular family, and links to donate if you are moved to do so. Also, you can see the tremendous effort taking place right here in Wichita to end human trafficking.

And by reading, running, walking, and volunteering - you're all making a difference. Register for the Race4Freedom today!

Starting To Run

Hello all!

The biggest improvement and update to my training that's happened in the last few weeks is that I finally faced the reality that I needed new shoes.  When I started this C25K program I didn't want to get bogged down in conditional requirements or me needing to do or get certain things before I started.  I knew if I did that, I'd never actually get started.  I just wanted to lace up and hit the door - which is exactly what I did.  There certainly was a subtle downside to that - the shoes I was using.  The only pair of kicks that I had that were even remotely suitable for running in were a pair of K-Swiss casual shoes that I bought years ago and now only kept around to mow the lawn (I'm sure you have a pair yourself).  It was just fine at first - my short intervals and running periods didn't lead to any increased aggravation or discomfort.  That didn't last all that long - my calves, ankles, soles of my feet - they all started to hurt more than I thought they should and I realized I needed to get my flat feet into a store.

So I did.  A big thank you to Russel Warren and the folks at New Balance of Wichita is in order as they made it extremely easy. I've never been fitted for shoes before and it was a little daunting before I went into their east location.  It was extremely simple as my flat-as-a-board feet were easy to diagnose and fit.  It was striking, how the proper shoes with the proper inserts and support felt to me - I've never really felt that before.  I quite literately spent 5 minutes just rocking back and forth in my new shoes, feeling the arch support!

My new shoes!

But did it make any difference?  Yes, 100%.  about 5 minutes into my first run with the shoes I felt the difference.  There was no creeping pain for me to ignore as it make its way from my feet to my calves.  It was subtly energizing.  I can not wait to put them on the pavement of the Race 4 Freedom track - It's less than 3 months away!!



Walker Schwartz

Starting To Run


This past week's theme was adaptation and preservation.  I absolutely did not expect the heat on Monday.  Because of my job, I have a lot of flexibility as to when I can run, in fact, I usually run during lunch time.  As I stepped outside on Monday morning, I realized that it  wasn't going to happen that day.  I ended up running at 9 pm Monday night - after a full day - it was not fun.  At all.  Although I did hit every interval and I was glad I did not wuss out.  I decided I needed to do my runs in the early morning from here on out.  My wife runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for the Prairie Fire Marathon, so I could keep my M, W, F rotation with out any trouble.

Wednesday morning, everything went along quite well.  I got up, found everything, and was outside in good time.  I have a habit of opening my running app, turning on my music and just going (not looking at the what my intervals are going to be since the program tells me when to run and when to walk).  That is not longer the case as I had gone significantly farther on the first interval.  I was afraid my app had malfunctioned, so I checked, and the intervals for Wednesday were significantly different than Monday's.  "Oh well," I thought and powered through.

Friday morning I pulled up my intervals just to see what was in store.  There was only one interval: just run for the entire time.  No walking, no splits.  I kinda freaked out in my own head.  I hadn't ran for that long in years - I honestly didn't think I could do it.  I briefly contemplated not even running at all.  I quickly dismissed the idea, finished getting ready and got outside.  I told myself that I was going to run as long as I could and if I needed a 30-second walk break - I'd take it.  I actually had the presence of mind to pace my run and I completed it with out stopping!  I was really stoked as I got closer to the end.  I felt great - I completed a workout I'd almost skipped.  Now that I know I can run that long with out stopping I can run my intervals a bit harder this week.


I also realized that what I eat the day before (specifically the night before) can make a HUGE difference.  How late I eat, how much water I drink a head of time, and how many minutes in the morning I give myself to completely wake up are HUGE.  I know most runners already know this, but having that personal revelation helps me keep focused during the week.  I'm not just eating right because I should; I'm doing it because this program is important to me and it's something I want to do the right way.



Less than 24 hours!

I am SO excited about all the people who want to know more about how they can help stop human trafficking in Wichita! We launched this web site and our Facebook page yesterday afternoon, and we have over 100 likes ALREADY and we have sold 3 tickets! People are TALKING!!!

Our (extremely lofty) goal for this race is 1500 participants and raising a net profit of $30,000. A typical first-year race in this area will have around 400 participants and maybe raise $2,000 or $3,000... so our goal is pretty GRAND!!! It's going to take a lot of preparation and publicity - but it is SO worth it for the girls it will benefit who are enslaved in human trafficking. This money raised will go towards a (short-term) goal of overnight housing for the girls who are rescued (who are normally placed in jail due to the lack of adequate housing). Our long-term goal is to have a local residential facility in the surrounding rural area of Wichita for these women where they can go for 6 months to a year to be restored to life and reintegrated into society.

I am working today on a brochure for the race and I'm brainstorming potential sponsors! If you have ideas, let us know via the "Contact" page above, or email me at And spread the news on Facebook and Twitter!