Try to achieve, anything is possible

Check out this video, it is amazing, mesmerizing and energizing. (The site I grabbed this from,, is currently one of my favorites. Every morning, 5 new videos, family friendly or at the very least SFW. Broad range of videos that are entertaining, education, thought-provoking or all of these.)


I would say that about 75% of the clips presented in that video are of normal folks, just like you and me. Okay, maybe the demographic trends a bit young. None the less, it shows everyday people doing amazing things. You can over analyze it to see the impossibilities (‘I don’t have time to practice that move 1,000 times,’ or ‘I’m too old to do gymnastics like that,’ or on and on).

My point is this – what in your running plan/goals/objectives are you doing that is amazing? If for no one else, yourself. What are you doing that when accomplished will make you say ‘wow, I can’t believe I did that.’ If you’ve already done something (ex. couch potato to 1/2 marathon in one year), then congratulations. Now what?

Watch it.

Share it.

Be inspired.

Find your next mountain to climb, and get cracking.

Good luck, get running and keep those feet on the road.


Why Do You Run?

why What is your motivation? Is it for the glory of attaining something that seems impossible, like completing a marathon? Is it to become a ‘runner,’ to have your identity be partially formed as that of a ‘runner?’ Is it something deeper?

I run for two simple reasons:

  1. Health/fitness. I engage in a lot of exercise and view running as the foundation to my health. I want to ensure I am around as long as possible to not only enjoy life but be in the life of my children.
  2. Because I can.

The second reason sounds too obvious or silly as stated. But it connects to something deeper for me. My father had Multiple Sclerosis. He was diagnosed before I was even born. So it was always part of my life with him. I never saw him run. That sounds a bit melodramatic, because no one really laments not seeing a parent exercise. My point is that he couldn’t. I can. Therefore, I run for him. In memorial if you will.

runninginthedark Why do I get up at 5:30 AM, in February to run? Why do I log a 30 mile training run in preparation for an ultra? Why do it in the cold, in the dark, in the heat, in the wind? Because I can do it for both of us. The running keeps him present in my mind. It also helps connects two worlds that never met – my father and his grandchildren. I stay healthy and engage my children in ways that he would’ve. In ways that he couldn’t with me.

What gets you up and running? Find your reason, your anchor, your motivation and make it central to running. It will propel you forward, it will make you achieve new goals and personal records.

Good luck, keep running and get those feet on the road.

Akron Marathon 2010 – Recap of my run

This week I’m providing a breakdown of my run in the 2010 Akron Marathon. It was my 8th time participating in that event (7 full marathons, 1 relay team).

5:35 AM Wake, shower, get everything together – body glide application, re-tape my toe, pin-on bib number, attach D-ring timing wrap to shoelaces, pack some ibuprofen in a baggy (duct-taped to inside of running shorts – not a good choice, tape peeled back, stuck to skin, pulled off skin), put on temporary tattoos (road runner bird, handed out by the race)
6:00 AM Out the door. Staying at in-laws house, only about 2.6 miles from the start. Have started running to the start, nice easy jog to warm-up.
6:25 AM Arrive, get some coffee, warm-up, stretch. Pretty warm from my jog despite temp of 55 degrees.
6:45 AM Get in the coral, queue up in-between the 3:50 and 4:00 pace groups. Nervous energy (mine and those around me) starting to build. Periodic motivational announcements over the loud speakers.
7:00 AM The race is officially underway!!!
7:01:30 AM I officially cross the start. This is an important bit to keep in mind, need to subtract the overage from every race clock I see as they are all running on gun time, not my chip time. At a bigger race, like Chicago (by the way, I highly recommend it – extremely flat course and 1 million+ spectators. Good fun), it might be 6+ minutes until you actually cross the start. Also this is important to understand as the official pace groups adjust their pace/time to finish with the clock time matching their pace group sign time.
7:02 – 8:30 AM Nice pace, about a 9:08/mile. Still running thick in the crowd. Only problem with my finish time/pacing is that it is the ‘meat’ of the crowd, lots of people to move around. Especially relay team folks that are slower. Pet peeve – folks who queue up way ahead of their finish time. They really cause problems on the course. And if your walking, get to the back. I know that sounds jerky, but it really is an issue, especially when you have 4-5 walkers all in a long row out for a Sunday stroll. Think about the other folks.
8:30 – 8:54 AM Picking up speed, a big downhill portion from downtown Akron to the towpath entrance, laying down around a 8:22/mile pace. Then on the towpath keeping the pace around 8:30/mile, trying to ‘bank’ some time for later use.
8:55 AM Cross the half-way point, have ‘banked’ some time to allow for a little slack on the back half and still aim for a sub-4 hour finish.
9:10 – 10:00 AM Back portion of the towpath and then into Sand Run. Not a fun part of the course. In Sand Run 99% of the fan support disappears (metro park). It is also almost all uphill. This is where I use some of that ‘banked’ time, drop my speed back a bit to 9:15. Maybe 9:30. For reference, here is the elevation chart:


10:15 AM Toe starts to take over, really beginning to feel the miles on it
10:30 – 10:55 AM Portage Path to Market Street. Portage is great, flat and lots of fan support. Market starts out great in the Highland Square area but quickly gives way to very few fans and lots of angry motorists (at the back-up due to Portage/Market intersection being closed).
11:11:05 AM Cross the finish line. Note: Actual time to run was 4:08:43 – the 2+ minute difference is attributed to clock time vs. chip time.
11:12:00 AM Start analyzing race for areas to improve, aiming for 3:50 in 2011 . . .

Here’s a great place to start – examining my pace over the entire course. This is a screenshot from my Garmin Forerunner 205 Training Center software, the green line shows course elevation, blue line shows my pace at all times (peaks are typically water tables stops, approx. 15 seconds, and valleys are where I was burning fuel. At the end you can see where things fell apart, 3 hour mark was first sign of trouble and then by 3:15 you can see my ability to hold the pace really degrading.):


Desire to Run

Do you really want to do this? Why?

When friends ask for advice about getting into running, this is what I should say to them (instead I tend to demur and tell them to do what they are happy with). It is really the core question to consider and answer before embarking on a life of running.

What is your motivation?

I suggest starting with this question because I’ve seen plenty of friends start out with running and in a few short months they tell me it is a drag. I ask why and the answers are varied, but it all comes back to that central question – why are you doing this? In short, what are your goals? If you don’t have a goal you probably lack objectives and in turn have no compass or direction for the weekly grind of putting in the miles. Running to run is not a goal. Your not a perpetual motion machine cranking out the same rote actions.

Wanting to run a marathon is a goal. Wanting to put in X minutes per week to increase your cardio is a goal. Even the dreaded specter of weight loss is a goal (although I must say, exercise is a small piece of the weight loss equation, contrary to what many think). The list goes on and on – you need to find your motivation, the answer to the why. Without it you will hit a brick wall in your running program.

‘In the absence of a deadline nothing gets done.’

This is one of my favorite little chestnuts to rollout at work. It has obvious application for work situations – managing a project, working on priorities, organizational goal attainment, etc. (Here is a link to a great little podcast that talks about applying that sort of thinking to personal creative projects. It applies just as much to running). People like to keep work and personal life separated, but I say boulderdash. Why not leverage successful techniques and methods in either domain. Put some structure around your running life. Align it with your desire and motivation (again, the why). Don’t think of running as something you do 3 times a week for the rest of your life. That’s tedious. That’s enough to make me want to stop running. Instead chunk your running into concrete and discreet segments. Answer the ‘why’ for 2010 only (what’s left of it anyway!). From today through 12/31, what do you hope to get out of running? Plan your daily, weekly and monthly running regiment around that goal.

Look at 2011 and set a goal or multiple goals. The balance to the desire, the part we don’t like to acknowledge, is reality. You might desire to run a marathon in April, but if you live where I do (or probably 60% of the rest of the country) then be prepared for winter running. That means running in the dark. Running in adverse conditions – rain, snow, ice, etc. Getting out there when it is cold. Running in the cold and staying cold until you heat up from the run. Does that sound bleak, tough and uninspiring? It is if you really don’t like those conditions. Because that is a large part of what you need to consider and account for if you really desire that April marathon. I’m not attempting to discourage, I’m trying to help establish realistic expectations. If those are show-stoppers then hold off on running until April. Be a summer/fall runner. There is nothing wrong with that, as a matter of fact it can keep you fresh – apply a season mentality to running.

So again, answer the why but be sure your answer aligns with reality. One more thing about desire. If you reread the above, you will see I didn’t talk about ability. When I say ‘ability’ I’m not talking about actual physical skill or running at a certain level. Conversely it is not about evidenced injury that would prevent you from running (ex. Bad knees that balloon up after 2 miles on any day, warm or cold). I’m getting at your internal voice. That voice that tells you ‘stop this, go home. Have a beer or a hot chocolate by the fire. Stay in bed. Snuggle under the covers. Don’t run today, you can run tomorrow.’

The mental challenge.

Your ability to succeed, to attain what you desire is directly proportional to mental fortitude. Continue to have positively directed thoughts on achieving your goal, on achieving the goal for that day. If you start to think negatively, then guess what – you’ll always find a reason not to ‘do it.’ When that alarm goes off your first thought should be ‘what running shirt should I wear” or “what route should I take” or “which playlist should I queue up?”  Anything else is a distraction.

Good luck, keep running, get those feet on the road.

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