Running thoughts

After the tragedy yesterday, a slew of folks like me have been writing about the event, running and what it means.  Here are a few that stood out for me:

http://honeybadgermom.com/2013/04/16/i-am-a-runner-and-i-am-undeterred/
https://medium.com/running/af611c72a9d3
http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/17-things-running-teaches-you-about-life/
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2013/04/the-woman-near-kenmore-square.html
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/04/the-meaning-of-the-boston-marathon.html
http://jezebel.com/the-people-who-watch-marathons-473405924

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Boston: Heartbroken but Hopeful

In what has become a tradition for me now with the Boston marathon, I follow the tweets of the event on my way into work. This year, the Boston Marathon seemed particularly interesting with drama throughout the race. For several miles, the elite women and men were tight, someone would break from the pack only to have the lead swap again. It seemed to be quite an exciting race to experience, even on Twitter thousands of miles away. Though I wasn’t running, nor knew anyone running, reading the updates in real time certainly had me caught up in all of the excitement of the day.

Then, tragedy.

Explosions went off at the finish line a few hours later when people were still watching runners complete their race. It’s too early to know much at this point other than many people are hurting in the wake of this tragedy.

As a runner who has spent a lot summers in Boston as a kid, and someone who has lots of friends and family still in that area, this hit close to home. Like many, I spent some time today with the frantic call to relatives out there — hoping that they were ok. It’s a horrible position to be in — that not knowing, that helplessness. I don’t wish that on anyone.

At the same time, I am hopeful for we are already hearing reports of random acts of kindness like people opening up their homes to those in need. Or also this account of Carlos Arredondo. He seems to encapsulate what Fred Rogers said about explaining scary news to children:

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

This is who we are.

As a running community. As a nation. As a human being.

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What I #runfor

Dick’s Sporting Goods recently launched a campaign asking people what they #runfor.  It’s a great question, and from what I’ve seen of the campaign, I am intrigued.  The stories selected so far pulled me in and left me wanting more.  

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I kinda wish I didn’t have to wait for all of the stories.  Maybe this is the end result of the all you can eat approach to binge viewing, but anyway…

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In terms of why I run, I used to do it to fit into my pants.  I was gaining a bit of weight and I didn’t want to buy new pants.  Thousands of miles and many half and full marathons later, that’s not really an issue any more, nor is it my motivation.

So if it’s not vanity or frugality that motivates me, what keeps me running?

Over the years, I’ve come to really appreciate the running community.  While I don’t make it a habit to run with folks, when I run races or encounter other runners there is this sense of camaraderie that is different than I get with other people.  Maybe it’s that we all know how much we feel better after a run or something.  In fact, I like this feeling so much, I am a bit of an evangelist when it comes to running.  Last year, I even convinced some friends and my wife to run a half marathon with me.  I have to say, it was a lot of fun.  We haven’t all run much together since then, but hope to do more in the future.  

Another reason that I run is for the focus it brings to my life.  I find that if I don’t run for a few days, I am more easily distracted and out of sorts.  With all the things we do to keep ourselves busy, running provides a way for me to decompress and just be in the moment — running brings me back and clears my head.  

I’m sure if I spent more time on this, I’d come up with a dozen more reasons for why I run but I think I’ll just leave it at that.  Kudos to the team at Dick’s Sporting Goods for getting me to reflect a bit more on why I run.

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NYC Marathon following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

After a few days of controversy, the NYC Marathon for 2012 is postponed.  Leading up to today, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many were torn about the initial decision to hold the marathon less than a week after the devastation to the East Coast.  As someone who grew up in NY and as a runner, it pains me to see all of this unfold.

One of the things I love about the NY community is that it really pulls together and gets s#!* done.  Folks willing to lend a hand, offering assistance.  That’s just some of what I love about the City.  

This spirit of helpfulness, this notion of community is also what I see in the running community.  At any race, no matter if you’re a seasoned runner or a first timer, there is this notion that we’re all in this together.  That community ethic is one of the many reasons I love to run.

Reading reports of the devastation and of so many people are still in dire straits, I completely understand the arguments against holding the marathon right now.  Likewise, I also understand the arguments that the economy needs the boost from the marathon, that the City needs to continue on.

Thinking about my relationship with running, running is something that I am incredibly lucky to do.  Aside from being in good health, I have the means to do it.  Financially, socially, and all that.  Right now, there are so many who are not as fortunate.

I am pleased to learn of grassroots efforts for the runners to give back.  Part of me is hopeful that *all* the runners do this as a show of solidarity for the City that has given so much to the runners year after year.  While I’ve never run the NYC marathon (hope to someday), I’ve run enough long distances to know that the support of the crowd really helps carry me through to the finish line.  It seems to me this is a time where the runners can give back to the City instead.

Given that many runners are in transit or are already there following the postponement of the race, I hope folks look at how they can give back as a running community to a city (and area) that really needs all of us right now.

As for me, I wasn’t signed up to run the race on Sunday.  That said, I will be looking at my milage from this year and donating that dollar amount to aid efforts.  Being thousands of miles away, I figure this is the least I can do to help.  

My thoughts are with all dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

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marathon infographic

I ran across (ha!) an infographic on marathons that I had to share

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New year, new goals

According to Nike+ and my own back of the envelope calculations, I ran about 30% more than I did in 2010 (220 miles vs 170 miles).  Not too shabby in terms of meeting my goal of running more.  This year, I hope to run more again than the previous year.  On that front, I’ve already signed up for the Vancouver half in May with L.  We’re trying to convince some other folks to run with us and we’ll see how that goes.  To make it easier, I also mapped out some upcoming races to help people pace their training.  I gotta say, it was pretty fun mapping out some training races to build up to a half marathon.

Since sending out that list, I ran across another list pulled together by Everymove that looks promising.  If the exact timing of the earlier races don’t work, I might end up swapping a few races out.In addition to the half, I signed up for the NYC Marathon lottery.  I’ll find out in a few months if I’m lucky enough to run in that race.  In the mean time, I’ll set my sights on Vancouver.

Another item in the back of my head is the Kauai Marathon.  L was the one who planted the seed in my head actually suggesting we could do it for our 10 year anniversary.  Can we make it work?  We’ll see.  It’s nice to dream for now 🙂

As if that weren’t enough, I’m going to try to run as many of these races in my Vibrams.  Admittedly, I’m a bit slower than I am in my Brooks, but I presume that will change as I build up some other muscles.  We’ll see how all this goes.

Outside of running, I started doing yoga to help with my core.  It was a bit rough yesterday, being a bit congested in the head and doing downward dog.  Hopefully I’ll be better by the next time around.

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runners of all ages

real quick post.  This article in USA Today is quite inspiring for runners of all ages:

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/fitness-food/exercise/story/2011-11-02/Behold-the-agelessness-of-these-long-distance-runners/51049132/1

I hope to still be running when I’m that old.

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