Saturday, February 26, 2011

In the groove

I feel like a liar. I posted with promises of "to be continued" on some blogs, and in others I guaranteed some follow up. I feel like a liar because I did nothing of the sort.

To be perfectly honest, i've hit a bit of a "mindless groove" in my running, and therefore in my blogging. For those of you distance runners out there, it's like miles 14-18 of a marathon. You're in a groove, haven't yet hit a wall and have managed to just turn your mind off and run.

I guess I just turned my mind off.

I'd promise to write more in the coming weeks, but I don't want to risk lying to you lovely people again. Off for a run...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Let's talk about running, Part 1

I'm gonna be straight with you...runners love to talk about running.

We don't care if you've ever picked up your feet and ran a mile yourself, for most of us it is our passion and we can't help but want to share it. Unfortunately, "non-runners" usually last about six seconds before they completely lose interest or write us off as crazy.

For those of you with an attention span longer than six seconds, I thought I would share some tips for talking with a runner. Maybe you have someone special in your life who has a passion for running, or you want to appear like a runner to friends/coworkers, or perhaps you are making an effort to not be a jerk and to participate in conversations with others.

Whatever your motivation, here are some simple do's and dont's that will help you navigate your conversation...

DO ask about the their goals

DON'T ask what their race time was, unless you know what their goal was and/or what a reasonable time would be for them (the marathoners you see on TV finishing in 2 hours ARE NOT comparable to your running friends, guaranteed).

DO talk to them about how many miles they run per week.

DON'T ask them how fast they are. Apart from this being a tough question to answer directly, it's awkward. If you really feel the urge to ask, lace up your shoes and go race 'em.

DO ask them abour upcoming races

DON'T ask them how long "this marathon" is. All marathons are 26.2 miles.

DO ask them what motivates them

DON'T ask them how they could like something so boring or painful. Just because you don't like our hobby doesn't mean you get to bash it.

I'll continue this conversation in my next post...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Running is like dating

I shared in a recent post that running is very much like dating, so I thought i'd try to expand on that thought. Here are a few truths that apply to both running and dating...

1. Neither has to be expensive, but the more serious you are about it, the more it'll cost you.

2. If you're in good shape, you're more likely to be successful.

3. You will get hurt, but the recovery process is what makes or breaks you.

4. It's a whole lot more fun when you're going through it with someone else.

5. If you start too fast, you risk flaming out early. Start too slow and you risk finishing altogether.

6. It's important to know your weaknesses. You may not be able to do anything about them, but it'll help you avoid failure.

And a few ways that running is like dating...

1. Standing at the start line is like a first date, you get butterflies in your stomach no matter how many times you've been there.

2. I would imagine finishing a race is like tying the knot, you rejoice that the first challenge is over, but know plenty more lie ahead.

3. Running is just like dating in that it'll never be perfect and you will never be the best, but the moments you'll experience are unlike any other.

4. In running, as in dating, no matter how long you have been doing it there is still something new to learn.

5. Running is like dating, both require encouraging spectators to give support when things get tough.

To be continued...

Saturday, February 12, 2011


As a runner, I don't mind blisters on my feet or even losing the occasional toenail. I can put up with some chafing or even turning an ankle every once in a while. The one thing I can't stand is falling. Face down, hands to the ground, scrape up your knees type of falling.

To some runners, falling may be just as normal as the occasional blister, but in my short running "career" i've been very lucky and have managed to stay off the least until the last couple of days.

Thinking back, I can only remember falling one time while running. Three fall. The last two days? Ate pavement on both runs. Un-freaking-believable.

If you have ever read my blog, you have shared in the many life lessons I have learned through running. This lesson is no different. It may sound simple, but if you are not focusing on life where you are at right now, you will stumble and fall.

Too often I find myself planning for the future, working towards the future and never taking my eye off of what lies ahead. Sometimes the present sneaks up like an uneven sidewalk and forces me to come to a screeching halt.

I've had to learn, in life and in running, that the future will get here and i'll be ready for the meantime I need to stay focused on the present, living and loving now, because I hate falling.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My biggest fan

Webster's dictionary describes a fan as an "enthusiastic devotee, follower or admirer". I describe it as someone who is willing to wake up before the sun and stand on street corners in the cold for four hours just to support me in doing what I love.

It's for those reasons (and many others) that I am incredibly thankful for my biggest fan, my girlfriend, Lindsey.

If you've followed my blog for some time, you may have read a post in which I describe how/why running is simply not a spectator-friendly sport. For those of you who have witnessed a marathon as a spectator, you can surely attest to this.

It is painful (sometimes literally) to be a devoted supporter of a runner, but the encouragement and motivation it brings to the runner is indescribable.

So I would like to issue a special thank you to my biggest fan. Thank you for giving up your weekends, for braving the cold and dark street corners, for waiting and waiting and waiting. Your support and encouragement mean more to me than I could ever begin to tell you. Thank you, Button.

Runners High: I'm a believer (Surf City Race Report)

The morning of my 10th marathon started off much like the nine before it, an early wake-up call followed by a quick breakfast. For the first time, though, I had to throw some cough medicine into the mix as I continued to fight off a cold. I felt good enough to run, but my body was definitely not at 100 percent.

Lindsey and I were out the door at 5:20 a.m. to make the very short drive to Huntington Beach. My always-faithful-maybe-slightly-crazy girlfriend is always ready and willing to support me, no matter how early the wake-up call.

Standing at the start line to the race, I was in a sort of daze. I had little to no energy and couldn't shake this deep-chested cough. Next thing I knew, we were off and running. Somehow I ended up between the 3:40 and 3:50 pacers. I knew that wouldn't last for long, but decided to try and ride the wave of adrenaline from the start line.

Two miles in my body was not happy. I was coughing and was struggling to find energy. I passed Lindsey and told her, "This is gonna be a long day". I really thought it was.

Minutes later I was contemplating the upcoming 23+ miles and decided I needed an attitude adjustment. I knew if I let myself make excuses, it would indeed be a very long, painful and frustrating day. Instead, I decided to turn my excuses into motivation. I would take the "I wasn't feeling good, so I didn't run very fast" and turn it into, "I ran my fastest yet, despite being sick". Sounds simple, but it was a huge turning point for me.

At that point, although very early on, I was posting 8:45 miles and was on pace to finish right around my previous personal best. This was no big accomplishment, as I had been at that same point in a majority of my races but failed to hang on in the end. For some reason today was different.

Maybe it was the weather (beautiful and overcast) or the course support (excellent) or the other Maniacs on the course, but I found new energy that never left me.

As I neared the 20 mile mark, I started to anticipate "hitting the wall", physically or mentally it had happened to me in each of my first nine marathons (in varying degrees). Instead, I noticed that my mile pace was getting quicker. It was as if my legs didn't know what was going on. Maybe they were too sore from my race two weeks ago. Whatever it was, I LOVED IT.

I was passing other runners and kept seeing my new PR get faster and faster. The sun still hadn't shown its face and I knew I had only a couple miles left.

I was cautious, hoping my legs wouldn't start cramping as I neared the finish line, but I pushed myself harder anyhow. With about a quarter mile left, I spotted Lindsey and my parents (who surprised me by showing up) and I had all the energy I needed to sprint to the finish.


I pumped my fists and let out a yell. I felt way too good to have just run 26.2 miles. For the first time in 10 marathons, I never stopped to walk, I never hit a wall and I never let an excuse slow me down. As a reward, I experienced a serious case of runner's high. Maybe it was the sickness leaving my body or the shock of setting a PR, but I don't think I have ever felt that good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Three days until my next marathon and I can't seem to shake this cold. It's been hanging around for a couple of days and just when it seems to get better, I wake up feeling even worse.

I never get completely sick. It's always this kind-of-sick-maybe-just-tired-and-worn-down-don't-need-to-stay-home type of sick. Chances are it'll still be that way come race day.

One thing is for sure, i'm running that race.

I may have to add some dayquil in with my usual shotbloks or down some cough medicine and chase it with Gatorade, but I will race and I will finish.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surf City here I come...

The more races I run, the less special they start to feel. Eventually I will probably get to the point where it will be hard to tell them apart. My next race, however, is very special to me for a number of reasons.

1. This will be my 10th marathon. I never thought I would run a single marathon, let alone get to double-digits.

2. This is a "hometown" race. Growing up and living 10 miles away adds a warm, hometown feel to this race and having run the very same streets in trainingwill no doubt benefit me come race day.

3. I'm hoping to have family and friends come out to support me as I run (it is local after all, guys).

4. This is my fifth marathon in five months, only one more to complete my "Six in Six" goal.

5. It's Super Bowl Sunday. One of my favorite days of the year. What could be better than burning 3,000 calories and then putting 5,000 back in?