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



Guest Post - Questions for You

StartHappy Thursday!

I hope you are having a fantastic week, or at least a dry one! Mine was not... Water found its way into our basement on Sunday, but thanks to a wonderful neighbor and some hydraulic cement, the leak is sealed and the only damage is a small hole in the wall where I tore out some sheet rock! I know some people were not as lucky as me, and I hope they are able to get things fixed and back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible!

Today, I’d like to YOU some questions. The race is a little more than a month away, I’m getting SOOOO excited! Nervous too, but I’ll get over that. I’d like to know the answers to three simple questions leading up to the race itself.

1. What routine do you use leading up to a race? Do you start a week before? 2 weeks? I know some people would say, “Joel, it’s ONLY a 5K, chill out!” Maybe to YOU it is, but I’ve never run for distance, plus I’m a 350 pound (for now) man, who tires easily :) Any advice on this would be great (eating, training,sleeping, etc.)!

2. Do you prefer to listen to music while you run, or, if you’re running with a group, is it rude to listen to music instead? Music helps me a lot, and it’s part of my routine. Should I just stick to it?

3. Most importantly: Where is everyone going afterward to celebrate!?!?!? :)

Thanks for helping this first-timer out! As far as my training goes, I’m still running a couple times a week, plus playing basketball and softball. I’m really looking forward to hearing people’s responses, and actually running in September!

Take care, happy running!
Follow my training on DailyMile:

heatherlarson_1365256607_18PS: I saw that Heather, from Power 93.9’s morning show will be the emcee for the event and also be running. Heather is an awesome person! I used to see her when she volunteered at Youthville. She always had a smile on her face and was very involved with the children. She’s a rock star!

Guest Post: Why do you run? (Week 2)

We will have guest posts throughout July, August, and September from Joel Ramos, a fellow Wichitan who is running for the cause! Get to know him and cheer him on as he trains for the Race for Freedom 5k! You can also ask questions and learn from his training. We hope you enjoy as you train! ~Race for Freedom Team


Hope everyone had an awesome week! It was pretty uneventful for me last week, but it wasn’t because I wanted it to be. My weekly ‘work-out’ routine starts with open-gym, 5 on 5 basketball on Mondays for a couple hours. After that, I try and make Wednesday a running day. Thursday nights are for league softball with my church.  Another run on one or two days of the weekend caps off the week.

I was invited to play with my little brother’s rec-league basketball team last Thursday. They needed a ringer, and since none of the WSU basketball players were available, they asked me! :-)  I also had two softball games that evening, so it was going to be a very busy night for me.  Close to the end of the basketball game, I went diving for a loose ball. As I was getting up, an opposing player, who was also getting up, accidentally (I hope) hit me in calf with his knee. O.U.C.H.!!!!!!!!!  I tried to get up and walk it off, but I could not. Call it what you want, cramp, charlie horse, contusion, muscle bruise, it HURT!!!!  I was unable to play softball that night or do any type of running/walking all weekend.  Today is the best it’s felt, so I hope to ease back in, hopefully without re-injuring myself.  Lots of heat, ice and stretching is what I’ve been doing and continue to do until it’s back to normal.

I also got my new pair of running shoes on Friday. The shoes I chose were Mizuno Alchemy Wave 12’s. I have moderate pronation, plus flat and wide feet, so those were the shoes recommended for my feet. I have yet to use them, but I have worn them around the house.  They feel pretty good, and I can’t wait to try them out in the neighborhood this week.  I was wearing Nike Free’s, and they felt good, but I was starting to wear them out on the outside toes, and also on the bottom, inside portion of the shoe. Hopefully the new shoes will help with comfort and keeping my feet more controlled when I run.

I’ll report back next week about the shoes, hopefully the calf holds up! Have a great week everyone! Happy running!

Guest Post: Why do you run?

We will have guest posts throughout July, August, and September from Joel Ramos, a fellow Wichitan who is running for the cause! Get to know him and cheer him on as he trains for the Race for Freedom 5k! You can also ask questions and learn from his training. We hope you enjoy as you train! ~Race for Freedom Team


Let’s start with the basics. My name is Joel Ramos. I’ve been married for 4 years to my bride, Amber. We have 2 great kids, Armando (3) and Izabel (8 mo.). I am originally from Greeley, CO and moved to Wichita in 1998. Am a graduate of Wichita South, Butler Community College, and Friends University.

I’ve always been a ‘bigger’ guy. In high school I weighed between 280-300 pounds. Even though I was big, I still was in pretty good shape. I played sports, both in school and recreationally. Weight was not a problem then. College turned me into a lazy slob and in a matter of 3 years, I gained almost 100 pounds! I’ve maintained at my heavy weight for several years, basically telling myself that everything was fine. I finally opened my eyes this year to the fact that I was basically killing myself, so I decided then and there to make a change.

I started working out, thinking it was just like riding a bike, right? WRONG! I struggled and wanted to give up. I tried several things, but got bored with them easily. One day I decided I’d go for a walk on the track. That walked turned in to a jog and I haven’t looked back since! I’m down almost 40 pounds, and am consistently running/walking 2-3 miles. I love the looks on people’s faces when they see a 350+ pound guy running either at the gym or in my neighborhood! I used to be nervous about it, but I say ‘Look all you want!’

I decided that a great goal for me would be to run a 5k (my first one ever!) and the Race for Freedom was the perfect choice. The money goes to great organizations to help prevent human trafficking, something I think most people don’t even know exists, much less, think it is a problem. I’d like to thank the Race for Freedom for allowing me to share my running progress up to the race; any helpful tips from readers would surely be appreciated. I’ll try to update on a weekly basis, good or bad. I also have a personal blog with a bit more about myself and my challenge to live a healthier lifestyle. You can find that at

Have a great week everyone, happy running!

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