This is Sparta!

I know you’ve seen it. I know you’ve quoted it. But have you actually lived it? “This is Sparta!” I shouted while puffing out my chest and brandishing my spear (okay there was no spear, but I pretended to hold one). The whistle blew and a passel of ratty-sneaker wearing warriors crossed the starting line–my girlfriend and I included.  This was the Spartan Super Race.

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12 Races a Running–a Year of Running in Review

I jiggled my toes and fingers vigorously like a Salvation Army worker repeatedly ringing his bell outside of Jewel Osco. As I lined up for the 9th annual Gobble Gallop in Duluth Minnesota a warming thought enveloped me despite the negative 10 degree morning—exactly one year ago today I’d set a goal for myself…

Run 12 races in 365 days—1 race every month.

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Exactly one year ago, as I’d lined up for the Gobble Gallop on Thanksgiving Day 2013, I’d never run a race before in my life. In fact I’d never even considered running a distance of more than 4 miles!

Now on November 26th, 2014 I’d come full-circle. In the nerve tingling air I had 3.1 miles to pause, (well run actually) and reflect on a half-baked idea I’d morphed into a full-blown hobby. Continue reading

Pints and Paces

Beer has a lot of best buddies: beer and football are Sunday sidekicks, beer and pizza rule the kingdom of bachelor pads, restaurants and dinner tables across the country, beer and the beach make me wish I wasn’t sitting at this computer right before the 1st of November ….the list goes on…beer and running

Errrk. Pump the brakes on that one.

Beer and running? As in running to the bar at last call to get another drink? Oh you must mean running to the store to grab another six pack.

Nope I mean good old fashion lace up your tennis shoes and hit the pavement running. Continue reading

Third time’s a charm?

Third time’s a charm.

More like third time’s a harm

The wind blew stiff and cool across my face. The stubborn breeze slapped at my face like the nagging loose thread on a tightly wound scarf, trying to slap a little energy into me. I snuck into Corral D just in time to hear the MC call the two minute mark. I’d done everything right this time—rested for two days, forgone lifting, abstained from alcohol, eaten only cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas, and pasta for the past two days. I was carb-fueled, sleep-satiated, and with my girlfriend, Stacey, and parents somewhere amongst the thick crowd I had a support group to cheer for me.

And yet, I didn’t want to do this.

I didn’t want to run the Chicago Half-Marathon. Continue reading

Nine Miles of Nerves

Nervous. Really nervous. And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. I’d been here before right? I mean the scenery was a bit different, sure. I wasn’t out in the tiny suburbs running some back trail race .

No this was the big city. And this was the Chicago Michelob Ultra Half-Marathon

They closed down roads for us, sectioned us off into groups with pacers based on our average mile time – I mean the announcer told me there were live bands, spirit groups performing and tribal drummers drumming along the way. For godssake I had the most picturesque view of the Chicago cityscape in my eyesight ( albeit a bit blurred behind the copious beads of sweat ) for the first half of the race. But, like I said I’d run those dreaded 13.1 miles before, so why so serious nervous.

 I’m not sure where the nerves for my second half-marathon race in three months came from, but they propelled me forward…at least for the first nine miles of the race.
From the opening gun – and I know I said that guns at the beginning of races are a myth, but it seems they just eluded me up to this point ( remember this race is legit) – my head pounded, my heart leapt bounds and it drove my legs onward. I’m usually a steady 8:40 minutes per mile runner, but for the first nine miles I ran between 8:12 and 8:00 minutes per mile.

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Race Day!

Well it’s the morning if actually I’m driving to the race right now. I’m not sure why I’m so nervous I mean I have done this before. I guess we’ll call it adrenaline. I’ve done all the right things- tapered my runs, eaten my pasta dinner last night, drank countless glasses of water throughout the week…when it comes down to it thought there’s just not way around it ya gotta run the race. When the gun goes off at 7 ( they don’t actually do that but it sounds good) its just gonna be me, my legs, and the beautiful scenery of the lake for the next two hours. And yes I have survived sober for the past six days, but I can tell you the best part of passing that finish line will be the free cold one I get to crack. See you at the finish!