My wife gave me her standard smirk when I mentioned to the kids that today’s rainy 45 degrees was perfect running weather.

As runners, we all have family who insist we are a bit crazy for willfully subjecting ourselves to the pain of endurance training.

Unless you’re an athlete, it’s difficult to understand why one would push through years of physical discomfort for little more than a finisher medal or finish line banana and bagel.

But of course it’s the intangible rewards that keep us at it.  The confidence gained from rising to a difficult challenge.  A sense of accomplishment from completing a race.  The feeling of incredible mental peace in a physically taxed body following a workout.

But maybe the most important result from endurance training is resilience.

The famous Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote:

“It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself for difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favors on it is then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.”

I like how Tim Ferriss put it a bit better though:

The more voluntary suffering you build into your life, the less involuntary suffering will affect your life.

Do The Work

Steve Pressfield received unexpected advice upon finishing his first book.

He was ready to sit back and relax.  The book had been a major struggle.

His mentor told him to start his next book the same day.  Steve didn’t know it but his mentor was trying to save him from The Resistance.




The Resistance is the name Steve uses for the our tendency to put off doing our work.

The Resistance is grounded in fear but the excuses it gives us can appear quite reasonable…I deserve a break, I’m too stressed out, I’m sore today, I need to clean the house, etc.

The key to defeating The Resistance is to sit down and do your work every day.  Don’t let anyone interrupt you.  Don’t worry if your work isn’t perfect.  Perfectionism is another symptom of The Resistance.

Pat Lafontaine, regarded as the best American born hockey player in history, worked with NHL rookies after retiring.  The first thing he always told them was as follows (I’m paraphrasing):

Congrats on your accomplishment. But that part about getting here is now considered easy.   You’re here.  The hard part now is moving forward and getting better. If you want to stick around in this league you need to bring your A-game night after night, year after year. 

Let go of the past.  Let go of the future.  Both are distractions.

Do your work.

Let the results be what they may.


PS – This is fabulous advice for when you don’t feel like training.

The Secret To Getting Fast

Getting fast is boring.

  1. Put in the work – day in and day out.
  2. Don’t miss workouts.

I used to think good coaching was about complicated interval workouts.  Then I got a coach and she sent me the most simple workouts.  I thought she didn’t know what she was doing.

  • “Bike 60 minutes push the hills 80%”
  • “Run 40 minutes EZ”

I blew away all of her and my expectations under her guidance.  Little did I know that this is the approach all good coaches take.

Getting fast is hard but not difficult.  .

The secret is that there is no secret.

Optimism and Pessimism and Living a Life of Purpose

memento mori

The Earth is a messy, cruel place and the best we can hope for is to die with as little physical and emotional suffering as possible.

Sorry to be a downer.  This article is actually about living better.

Stick with me.

How many of us were taught as kids that we will one day find our soul mate?  That good always defeats evil?  That we will have a nice house with a nice picket fence and a nice family to put inside it?

Why didn’t our parents give it to us straight?

Why didn’t they tell us that the world is brutal?  That life is brutal?  That everyone will be fired from a job at some point.  Half of us will get divorced.  We will lose friends, fingers, and get colonoscopies before the age of forty.

This video, from one of my favorite new Youtube channels – The School of Life, really irked me at first.  But I’ve come to appreciate its wisdom.


The point of all this isn’t to focus on the negative.  I think there are two takeaways:

  1. To base our expectations on reality so we can be happier and more grateful
  2. To live better lives with purpose

There are going to be bad days for sure.  But why do so many of us react when this happens?  It should be no surprise when things go wrong.  How much better would our mental outlook be if we didn’t feel crushed every time?  How much more grateful would we be after a great day?

The media is obsessed about mass shootings.  Yet if you ask an economist about the topic, they wonder why aren’t there MORE shootings.  About 34 Americans die from shootings each day.  It sounds like a lot until you remember there are 316 million people in the U.S.

At Ironman Florida three weeks ago, I raced sick and came down with pneumonia.  I almost quit 20 minutes into the swim, fought dizziness for the majority of the bike ride, and walked as much as I ran in the marathon, finishing the day 2 1/2 hours slower than expected.

Before the race my buddy Derek told me to remember the Idiot’s Running Club Rule #6.  When we talked afterward I was mentioning that I thought I broke the rule.  He said, “if you felt that bad and you still finished, dude, you didn’t break the rule.”

Yeah.  I like that.

Maybe I need to start every day, every race, every appointment with the certain knowledge that it could all go very badly.  Things will not go according to plan.  And simply fighting, even if we fail, can be heroic.

How many people do you know who are living with purpose?  Who have jobs that they love to go to every day?  Who are making a real difference in the world?  Not many.

Now, how many people do you know who are mindlessly repeating day after day, week after week?  Going about our business mostly based on habit.  Pretty much everyone?

Why don’t we take a lesson from Medieval artists who kept a Memento Mori nearby?  A Memento Mori is a small object that reminds us of our mortality.

I recently bought a plastic skull to keep on my desk to remind me to spend my time doing things that matter.  I’m going to die one day and right at the end I’m going to be pissed about all this time I spent on Facebook.

I’m probably going to be just as pissed if I don’t follow through on some of my bucket list ideas, such as being part of a massive food fight, throwing a giant party with lots of alcohol and karaoke and calls for the police, and running in a naked mile running race.

The Memento Mori sounds a bit dark, but thanks to that skull I truly have made better decisions lately about where to put my efforts.  It has given me the strength to say no a lot more.  If you know me, you know I HATE saying no.  But I’m coming to realize that I hate wasting my time even more.

You can always make more money.  Buy another house or car.  The one thing you absolutely cannot get back in life is your time.  Time is the only non-renewable resource known to man.

The ancient Greek Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote:

“There is nothing the busy man is less busy with than living.”


“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”

This really rings true for how I’ve been living for a very long time.  As a result, I am making some big changes in my life that I’ll elaborate on soon.  Eliminating the clutter.  Getting less busy and hopefully living more.

I’ve always been a bit of a Pollyanna.  It drives my wife crazy.  Her realism/pessimism has similarly challenged me.

But I think I see a middle ground now.  Rational pessimism with an optimistic glint.  Expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

This new outlook is already changing the course of my life.  Maybe it could do the same for you?

If you don’t mind, please share in the comments what you could eliminate?  What changes will you make to live a more meaningful life?  

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

Strength training will allow you to run less and get faster.

Yes, if you like you run then you probably think lifting weights sucks.  To be honest, I feel that way sometimes.

But what if you could replace two hours of running per week with one hour of weights and run better times next season?

It might be worth considering.

Strength training makes you faster in three ways:

  1. Stronger athletes have more power for going uphill or into the wind on flats.
  2. Strength leads to better efficiency, which equals faster running, biking, and swimming.
  3. Stronger athletes with better muscle balance get hurt less and are more consistent with training.

If you’ve read my blog or know me, you know I’ve struggled with serious injury issues since 2003.  Many practitioners have tried but none can “fix” me.

In 2013 I began a serious strength program.   Since then I’ve been more durable and powerful on LESS endurance training.

The key is doing the right kind of strength training.  The right movements with the correct weight and rest.  Done properly, you should not feel completely destroyed afterward.

In the video above, I interviewed Eric Pohl, MEd, CSCS at Mercy Health Tracks about strength training for endurance athletes like you and me.  Health Tracks works with athletes from all sports, including high level cyclists, swimmers, and runners.

Eric answers questions about strength movements everyone should do and how to specifically find your weaknesses through a tool called the Functional Movement Screen.  I truly feel this is one of the most effective ways you can injury proof your body and get faster.

What has been your experience with strength training?  Please leave feedback in the comments section below.


My New Body




I can remember what running felt like in 2001.  Like a deer.  Effortless.  It was freedom.  Joy.

I wasn’t good at many things growing up.  Sometimes I felt like my one true gift in life was running.

I was like Forrest Gump.  I’d run to get the mail.  Home from school.  In jeans or dockers.  My neighbors thought I was crazy.  Racing circles around our back yard with my dog after school.   I was the worst soccer player you ever met – no skill, falling all the time – but I could play all day long.  And outrun everyone late in the game.

On the second day of my freshman year of college, I joined in some games of pickup basketball with these tall black guys (man, sometimes I wish I was a black guy!  So athletic and so cool!  Totally opposite of me).  I don’t think they were on the college team but they were good.  I was terrible but I lasted four or five hours.  Finally I had to quit when all the muscles in my legs began spasming uncontrollably.  I actually crawled part of the way back to my dorm room.  But I never got tired.

Steve Prefontaine once said, “Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run…It’s being creative.”

That was exactly how I felt.

Now when I run it’s like I have a peg leg.  Slap. Slap. Slap.

It takes twice as much effort to go the same speed.  I’m like a man who has lost 90% of his vision.  Thank god for that last 10% but it’s still painfully obvious what’s gone.

We all eventually slow down.  Sometimes due to age.  Sometimes injury.  It doesn’t really matter why.  Neither reason makes it any easier to accept.

Did you know that your body turns over nearly every atom in your body every five years or so?  You get a new suit of skin every couple of weeks.  A new liver every six weeks.

The body you have today isn’t the same one in old photos.

The smiling lady in your 5K or marathon PR post race pic?  Maybe not a stranger, but definitely not the lady in the mirror.

Why should we expect to be able to perform the same today as we did five years ago?

Why do I continue to hold out hope that one day I’ll get past my injuries and make a run at my 5K PR?  That was fourteen years ago!  My training partner and I were rocking out to Ricky Martin on the way to races, if that gives any perspective.

[Fun Fact: After the race we’d go home, break out my trumpet and his trombone, and play and dance along to She Bangs in our underwear.  Then at night we’d go to a bar called Cowboys 2000 and he’d try to teach me how to dance and pick up girls.  I never succeeded in either.  But we did have some great footraces in the parking lot at 1am]

American sprinter Justin Gatlin is in the news.  He had two doping suspensions in his 20’s and is now running the fastest times in his life (and the fastest times in the world) at 33 years old.  He’ll probably win the next Olympic 100 meter gold medal.

If you chart the best times for the fastest sprinters in history, all of them ran their fastest times in their early to mid 20’s.  Gatlin can’t understand why people are suspicious.  He’s now running faster than he did when he was younger and on drugs?!  No way.

I don’t think it’s hard to understand we’re going to slow down.  It’s a fact.  Facts are easy to know.

But some facts are really hard to accept.

Some of my friends have begun keeping track of their “decade” PR’s.  Best times in their 40’s, 50’s, and so on.

Others have started using the WAVA calculator.  This calculator is a way of comparing your current running times to those of your prime.  Kind of like a golf handicap.  We can even compare men and women of different ages in the same race.  Here’s an example:

  • Bill, 59 years old, turkey Trot 5K time 25:10.  WAVA age graded time: 20:25
  • Kate, 64 years old, Turkey Trot 5K time 29:04.  WAVA age graded time: 20:06

So Bill runs almost four minutes faster but Kate has a better adjusted time.  That is, she performed better relative to her age and gender.   Some races even give out awards based upon WAVA times.

Another fun thing to do with WAVA is to plug in your race times every year.  Despite slightly slower times, you may actually have relatively “faster” performances as you age.  For a goal oriented person faced with a slippery slope of decline, you can still have something to train for.

wava chart

WAVA Calculator showing a 20 minute 5K for a 39 year old male is equivalent to a 19:03 5K in his prime

Maybe I should stop longing to go back to the good old days where I could cruise through a mile in under five minutes without too much effort.

Would I even want to go back to that person?  Cocky, self-centered, a know-it-all.

I remember talking to my training partner at the time about some older runners in the local running club flirting with 3 hours in the marathon.  These were truly great times for guys in their 50’s.  He wondered if we could do it.  And I said that if I couldn’t run a three hour marathon untrained I would kick my own ass.

Not exactly modest.

If I could go back in time, I should probably go back to my 7th grade self.  The smallest kid in the school, afraid all the time, who would let anyone copy off of his test for friendship.  The kid with a crush on Kendra from math class.  Kendra, who told stories about her and her boyfriend licking each other’s eyeballs.  Wow, that sounded so cool.  I wanted to lick someone’s eyeballs!

Or maybe I should go back to my 18 year old self below.  Still pretty much a complete dork.  That Eric really liked MC Hammer.


For me, the running slowdown is a metaphor for dying.  I think that’s why it’s been so hard for me to accept.  Dying scares me more than anything.

I remember the first time I actually thought at length about my own mortality.  I was probably ten years old and had an intense panic attack.  I still have them when I think about it.

The first time I found out I had gray hairs was 7 or 8 years ago after shaving my hair off with clippers outside.  I went to clean it up the next day and genuinely thought my wife was messing with me.  I thought she put a bunch of gray hairs in the pile.

Turning 40 next year doesn’t bother me.  I can’t wait for the next age group.  But gray hairs bother me a lot.


But maybe it’s not so bad to be slower now.  I have WAVA.  I have other priorities.  My kids.  A great job.  A totally fun blog.  And after all, I’m not the same person I was in 2001.

This is my new body.

How about you?  How do you cope with slowing down?

10 Ways to Cope With Injuries

stress fracture

I was talking to a friend the other day about ultras.  Ultra is short for ultra marathon, which includes running races longer than a marathon.

The Ultra seems to be the new marathon.  The ultimate physical challenge.  The bucket list event.  The thing to brag about at work.

The longest advertised distance I’ve seen is 100 miles in a single day.  Apparently 26.2 miles is now too easy.

It’s not just crazy elite athletes doing them like it used to be.   Regular crazy people do them too.

To be fair, running long distance has been around probably as long as humans have been running.  Japanese monks have a 1,000 day challenge.  In the beginning, they run about 25 miles per day.  For 300 days straight.  And that’s the easy part.  They do twice that later on.

But we’ve seen a real explosion of running in recent years.  A second running boom.  With far more average joes taking up the sport.

I love it.  I love watching my friends set and reach really cool goals.  I love to see them get happier through running.

I wonder what ultras are doing to their bodies though.  Is the human body meant to run that far in one day?

People come into my store with injuries all the time.  It’s fun trying to figure out what’s going on.  I feel like a detective trying to put pieces together.

Sometimes a different shoe helps a little.  Sometimes a foam roller will make a dent.  They generally don’t like going to the doctor, which is why they come see me.  After consulting Dr. Google and Mr. Facebook of course.

But I can relate to them.  I’ve had just about every running injury possible.  One time I ran a marathon with a stress fracture in my foot.  Runners are determined, awesome, goal-setting people.  Notice I did not say smart.

Here’s my favorite Demotivator of all time.  That’s me on the left.


I can’t help but think the ultra fad will make people worse.  I see friends hobbling from event to event like the walking wounded.  On one hand, I feel for them and wish they would let their bodies heal.  On the other hand, it sounds totally awesome!  (See you guys in 2016 with my first 50 miler!)

Some of my old friends have had to quit running.  I look at my tri club and most are new members.  Are all the veterans burned out?  Or maybe just sick of dealing with injuries?  It’s hard to say.

At the store, I’ll never “fix” someone with a lot of different injuries.  I can offer 10 tips on how to cope with running injuries though.

I’m not saying they will work for you.  But they have for me.  And when you’ve run with pain for twelve years, maybe that means something.


So here are my top 10 ways to cope with injuries.

1.   Be thankful.  Every day someone gets cancer or just drops dead from a blood clot.  Lance Armstrong can’t even enter a triathlon.  He’s banned for life.  I get to run and all I have to worry about is a little pain.  Plus, two testicles!  Life is good.

2.   Help others get into the sport.  It’s really fun watching a friend as they get into running.  They seem to be happier every time you see them.  Even if they don’t lose any weight, they just look healthier.  You just made a difference.  The world is a better place because you existed.  That’s the meaning of life if you ask me.

3.   Live vicariously through their achievements.  I remember when my buddy Spencer first came into me store.  He was just this skinny little middle schooler who liked to do 5K’s with his mom.  He eventually went on to win two state mile championships.  Now he runs at an Ivy league college.  I had nothing to do with his success but nevertheless I felt triumph every time he won.

4.   Cross Train.  Everyone says cross train when you’re injured.  They say it will help you get back to running faster.  Yeah, that’s true.  I’m not saying you should do it for that reason though.  Any exercise will make you happier.  Just get some blood pumping and release some endorphins.

Richard Branson says the number one reason he is successful is exercise.  He can’t run his company if his body isn’t in prime condition.  That’s pretty hefty advice coming from a billionaire.

5.   Plan Your Comeback.   I let myself get too busy.  There’s just no time to really sit down and plan out my training.  So I end up doing whatever I feel like on a given day.  That’s not training, that’s exercising.

Training involves following a plan.

Use your down time to plan all the things you are going to do right next time.  Maybe that means getting a personal trainer or a coach.  Maybe it’s working on your technique.

A brief note about being busy.  A wise man once said that “lack of time is lack of priorities.”  Think about that for a second.  Is your day filled with urgent but unimportant tasks.  Why not cut those things out and focus on the important stuff?  The things you will be glad you did when you look back on my life in later years.

“No” is a powerful word.  I need to say it a lot more.  Maybe you do too?

6.   Surround Yourself With Positive Influences.  Jim Rohn famously said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  Spend a lot of time with workaholics and you’ll probably become one too.  Think about who you need to cut out of your life so you can become the person you want to be.

You don’t need to be mean about it.  Just think of it like this.  Your time on the Earth is pretty limited.  Why spend it with people who bring you down?  Avoid them.

Some people ask me what to do about family who are downers.  Same answer.  If they make your life worse, they have to go.  Do you really have to visit that Aunt and Uncle at Thanksgiving that hate you?  Nope.  Is it worth staying with a spouse “for the kids” if you each are miserable?  You’ll both probably be far better parents if each of you are happy.

How about finding positive influences?  Start a mastermind group.  Volunteer at a charity.  Ask someone you admire if you can do some free work for them in exchange for mentorship.

Ryan Holiday slept on his boss’ floor and worked for free before becoming director of marketing for American Apparel.  He learned the book industry from Tim Ferriss and translated that into a New York Times Best Seller.  He put himself near people he wanted to be like.

7.   Learn.  Check out some books about your running injury.  Watch some videos online.  The more you read, the better you will understand the injury.  You might even figure out how it happened in your case.  Maybe you can prevent it from coming back.

Maybe you can become such an expert on that injury that you can help others.  Also, I’ve never heard someone say, “I wish I hadn’t learned that.”

8.   Meditate.  I’ll be honest, I’ve only meditated maybe a dozen times.  And I last around five minutes max.  But you know what?  I feel better every time.  I use the Calm App on my phone.  I heard about it from one of Tim Ferriss’ podcasts, which are super interesting.  Listen to one on a run some time and tell me you didn’t learn at least one really cool thing.

People who meditate a lot report that they handle their emotions better.  They still get angry when someone cuts them off in traffic.  But instead of being overcome with anger in every fiber of their being, they quickly rebalance…and notice the emotion of anger.  Almost from a distance.  They turn it around and say to themselves, “Huh.  That’s anger.  Interesting.”  And then they let it go.

I really would like to get better at this.  About once or twice a year I get so mad I break something.  I threw a microwave turner at a wall in college and it shattered everywhere.  It was over an argument about dishes with my roommate.  What a dumb thing to get mad about.  The next week he stabbed a knife through my face in a photograph and stuck it to a watermelon.  College!  Best years of our lives!

9.   Write.  I was a late bloomer growing up.  My first driver’s license shows I was 5’3″ and 105 pounds.  High school is pretty much like Lord of the Flies.  Kill or be killed.  Couple the the constant threat of being beaten up or harassed with teenage hormones and you’ve got a pressure cooker.

About this time Doogie Howser, MD was on TV.  Cheesy 90’s TV at it’s finest.  The episodes always ended with Doogie writing in his journal and learning a lesson.

I never thought about journaling until I got a really big crush on my cousin at a wedding.  I couldn’t tell my family.  My parents weren’t exactly tight lipped about secrets.

This particular secret was burning a hole in my soul.  Every waking moment that weekend was spent planning what to do and say around her.  I had this great idea of faking a trip and falling toward her.  Which would of course lead to our lips coming together in an “accidental kiss”  My first kiss.  And then she’d realize I how amazing I was because I would be a naturally fantastic kisser.

[Side note: the first girl I kissed told me I was a terrible kisser]

Regarding the accidental kiss plan, I should have known better.  I actually tried it already – in 5th grade.  I had a huge crush on this girl Amy.  My plan was to push her a little too hard while playing tag and accidentally fall on top of her.  Then…the kiss.

Kid logic never works in the real world though.

I pushed her way too hard.  She went sliding into a huge mud puddle and ruined her white pants.  I can still see her crying.  Her mom came to pick her up that day because she was too wet and dirty to stay at school.  Sorry Amy, wherever you are.

Back to my cousin.  Watching Doogie Howser helped me realize I could write things down in a journal.  What a relief.  But I didn’t want anyone to be able to read it so I created a letter code.  I’d spend a half an hour writing a single sentence.  Amazingly, I was suddenly relieved of all that pressure.  Well, most of it.  I was fourteen after all.

I’ve journaled off and on since then.  I am always in a better frame of mind when I’m doing it.  It lets you get all that crap out of your head.  To me, it’s like a reset switch.  Blogging is kind of like journaling too.  Only now instead of writing embarrassing things on paper to myself I write embarrassing things on the computer to everyone.

Things on the internet never really go away.  My wife says you have to be careful about what you post because it could come back to haunt you.  I’m not too afraid of that.  The best case scenario is some aliens get a laugh out of this blog in a few billion years.  “She was wearing white pants!  What an idiot!  Ha ha ha…”

10.   Write Ten Ideas Down Every Day – I like James Altucher’s books.  He has the most interesting life story.  He’s made tens of millions of dollars and lost it several times.  I’m not sure I’d be friends with him if I knew him because he’s pretty weird, but I’ve learned so much from him!

The awesome thing about books is that authors can serve as your mentors.  You can read a book and learn all kinds of lessons the author had to learn the hard way.  You can have hundreds of mentors.  Just read lots of books.

James has this daily habit where he writes ten ideas down about something every single day.  The topic changes and he doesn’t even save the lists.  It’s all about becoming an idea machine.  No one’s ideas are all great.  Most ideas are bad, but occasionally a really good pops up.  This is always when he finds success.

If you do this every day you will get really good at finding creative solutions to problems.  It takes a while and you have to stick with it, but I think it works.

Here’s a possible outcome: You get good at ideas and become more valuable at work.  People ask you for advice.  You meet other creative people from these new friends.  Maybe you get offered a great job at another company.  Better yet, maybe you see a niche that you can turn into a business.  And then you work in your underwear at home while eating waffles.  Success!

If you’re injured, this idea generation might just open up some doors in your life.

I’ve been writing ten ideas down most days for the past couple of months.  It’s pretty fun and it just takes a few minutes each day.  I had a couple really cool ideas that I’m excited to try at my store.

Just remember, not all ideas are good.  Like my new idea to advertise Bra Fittings below.

That’s ok.  I’ll keep trying.



Derek was perfect to include in this post. He runs ultras and has absolutely no shame in taking ridiculous pictures. He’s also recently engaged. Congrats buddy! So happy for you.


What do you do to cope with an injury?

Feel free to share your experience.  Maybe your idea will help someone else.



I Believe In You



My boss, Amy Livesay, ran in the GoGirl 5K in Springfield yesterday.

With about 1/3 mile to go, she was running neck and neck with a 13 year old girl.

At this distance in a 5K, racers generally start sizing each other up for the final sprint.  Amy was steeling herself for a big fight.

13 year old girls can sometimes be really tough.  Sometimes a lot tougher than 13 year old boys because they mature faster.  They are deceiving too.  They’re usually really skinny and don’t look fast.

Then this girl turned to Amy and started to speak.

What?  No one talks at this point in a 5K.

And the girl said, “You can catch that lady ahead of us.  I believe in you.”

Stop and let that sink in.

That 13 year old girl represents the best of what we can find in running with others.

This is now my favorite running story of all time.

As a father, I think what I love best about my kids is their innocence.  We always assume that growing up brings with it a certain degree of jadedness.

Does it have to be like that?

Why can’t we all be like that 13 year old girl more often?

I think part of the problem is the news.

Imagine you were an alien from outer space watching our news.  You would probably think the human race was a lot more horrible than it is.

And you’d probably bomb us out of our misery.

We forget about all of the amazing, tiny joys in our days.

Yesterday afternoon I sat in our back yard while my boys were flying their little kites.  I started to get antsy and considered going for a book to read.

But then I asked myself how many chances will I really get to see them do this?

When I’m 70, do I want to remember a book or two little boys circling our yard, falling, laughing, and having fun?

My wife and I have a running joke about police officers.  From time to time they pass us at high speed on the highway.

I always say, “they’re probably hurrying to help someone.”  She gives me a smirk and says, “yeah right.”

We’re a good team.  She’s street savvy and reads people well.  She’s also a great negotiator but sometimes doesn’t give people a chance.

I tend to trust people more.  Sometimes they really come through.  Sometimes I get taken advantage of.  Ok, I get taken advantage of a lot.

I’m not saying either perspective is better, but I prefer mine.

I’m happier living in a world with (mostly) good people.

People like that 13 year old girl.




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My Broken Body

Talk About An Ugly Stride

Talk About An Ugly Stride



In 2003, I got a pretty bad running injury.  Then I tried to run through the injury for about a year before finally giving up and letting it heal.

I became really depressed.

My entire ego was tied to my running.  If I wasn’t winning my age group or running a PR, I didn’t think anyone would like me.  I still feel this way some times.  But this is a story for a different day.

During that year my brain changed the way I ran.  I can’t tell you exactly how…because who knows exactly how they move?  This kind of this happens unconsciously.  The brain is a master at avoiding pain.

So now I run really funny.  No “haha” funny.  More like “messed up” funny.

I have pain from this.

Sometimes it’s barely noticeable and sometimes it bothers me for days even if I don’t run.

In 2009, my left calf spasmed almost every day at work.  For a full year.  It was so frustrating I wanted to cry.  I actually did cry a few times.

I’ve tried changing my stride in every way imaginable to fix it…

…shorter strides, higher cadence, lean to the right, fire the glutes more, run on my toes, run on my heels, run with no shoes, run with two different shoes on each foot…

Unfortunately, trying to change the way I move makes worse things happen.   I get new weird pains…a stabbing pain in my back, a grinding hip pain, or stress fracture like pain in my feet.

The lesson I’ve known academically but keep forcing myself to learn the hard way is this:

The way you move now is the best way your body can move in its current condition.

So what is the best way to get past an injury that still plagues you to this day?

To tell the truth, I don’t know.

But remember that part in bold.  That’s important.




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Is Blood Sugar an Important Marker to Track in Running for Non-Diabetics?

glucose meter

Blood glucose meter showing a reading of 88 mg/dL from me prior to exercise or breakfast


The 2012 Bass Pro Marathon was my first “real” marathon and boy was it a wake up call.  I never would have expected to positive split the race by almost 30 minutes and to find that my sprint speed at mile 24 couldn’t keep up with the grandmother who was passing  me!

Having completed three Ironman Triathlons up to that point and a strength in running, I felt confident that I’d be able to complete the race with minimal problems.

Sometimes overconfidence can be our undoing.

Several factors played a part in my massive implosion at this marathon.  I had a great base going into the fall but took the 8 weeks off before the race to recovery from the Redman Full Triathlon.  So long runs were certainly missing.   I also paced the marathon incredibly poorly (more on this in a future post).

But probably the biggest factor was a lack of calories.  I like to think of myself as a smart person but I guess we all make bonehead errors from time to time.

I ate a normal breakfast but chose not to carry any calories with me.  My good friend Megan asked me at the start, “what are you planning to eat then?”  I shrugged and said it would work out.

Excited by a quick early pace, I became very overconfident.  I crossed the 13.1 split in around 1:34 and was feeling on top of the world.  Dumb dumb dumb.  Oh how the mighty can fall!

Over the next few miles the monkey started to jump on my back.  I took some sport beans at an aid station but they seemed to have no effect.

By mile 20, I was struggling to avoid walking.  By 24 I was walking and running.  Each mile became worse and worse.

By the time I finished, I felt like a corpse.  Sights and sounds were blurred and my stomach ached for food.  A quick bowl of rice and chicken quickly brought me back into the world.

Looks a lot better than it felt!

Implosion complete.  It was, as they say, fugly.

This race was the first time I became truly curious about how calories impact running performance in a race.  I began asking myself a lot of questions:

  • What happens to my blood sugar while running?  How about after I eat something?
  • Is blood sugar a good marker for “energy levels” while running?
  • Are there some foods that are better than others for maintaining energy?
  • How does this vary among different non-diabetic athletes?

I finally got around to purchasing a Blood Glucose testing kit in February of this year (2015).  Knowing nothing about the various brands and models, I picked one priced in the middle at my local CVS and went home to experiment.

I didn’t have a specific schedule for testing.  I just started taking measurements at various times of day…mornings before breakfast, following runs, mid day after eating, and evenings.

So far, the pattern I’m noticing is that my blood sugar:

  • Sits in the 70’s-80’s (mg/dL or milligrams per deciliter) in the morning before breakfast and exercise.
  • Sits in the 90’s-100’s following runs.  I was at 83 following a challenging 18 mile run on 3/20/15, which makes sense since intentionally avoided calories to train my body to use it’s fuel better.
  • Sits in the 110’s-130’s in the middle of the day after eating.

I’m nowhere near done testing.  This is very fascinating to me and I hope to learn a lot more about how certain foods work better or worse for me.

I’m very excited to soon take regular measurements during a long run to see how glucose levels fluctuate.   I’m also excited to see how certain foods affect my glucose levels differently.  I am a fan of Generation Ucan (it works well for me) and am curious to see any differences between it at regular gels considering their marketing focuses on maintaining level glucose levels while exercising.

That’s it for now.  If you’ve experimented with your blood glucose levels in relation to exercise, I’d love to hear your experience.  Of course diabetics will have vastly different needs and results, but I’m still interested to hear from them as well.

Feel free to leave a comment here or reply via social media.