The Boston Marathon 2013 – A Sad Day For Our Running Community

The footage continues to play over and over and over again until your head aches.  More news comes out, more sadness of how horrific this tragedy was and continues to be– the finish line, explosions, and thoughts of my friends running the Boston Marathon.  Are they okay; are their family members and friends okay?  I’m very concerned and scared; seriously this cannot be happening.  Innocent people about to accomplish an incredible goal as they run towards the finish line, innocent people cheering and innocent people just waiting to watch for their loved ones to victoriously cross the finish line… and then the unimaginable.  Unfair.

Boston Marathon

For runners who did finish, this marathon is probably no personal victory — the incredible accomplishment was doused by what happened at the finish line and the body pain from running 26.2 miles is replaced with a broken heart.  The medal, usually proudly displayed, well, not so much this year.  Unfair.

Dreaming of Being an Elite Runner

I remember last December while I was running the Honolulu Marathon, there was quite a long stretch of out-and-back.  Being a mere mortal, I was at about the 11-mile marker and in the distance quickly approaching on the other side was the first place elite runner, just about to cross the 20-mile marker.   As he approached, I turned to runner next to me and said “if only!”

Being an average runner, I sometimes fantasize what it would be like to just once experience being an elite runner.  As an elite, I could bypass all the traffic in the morning getting to the start line in a limo and be dropped off in the VIP area where I would be isolated from the crowds and even just about have my own port-o-let.  Oh, and I could save a ton of money since my entry fee is waived (actually they’d probably pay me) and my travel expenses and accommodations are also covered.  Plus all the free food! What a deal!

To Be an Elite Runner!

To Be an Elite Runner!

Want to Step Up Your Running? Join a Running Group!

So you want to step up your running?  Want to get motivated?  Want to get faster?  Want to make some new, like-minded friends?  Then join a running group!  It can do the trick!  Why Not?  Spring is around the corner and local running groups are probably just now gearing up.  Who knows, you could even find yourself running a half or full marathon by this fall!

Join a Running Group

Join a Running Group

My first experience with a running group was back in 2001.  I moved to Reston, Virginia, from Denver to be with my now wife, Debbie. David, whom I ran all 50 states with, said, “That’s it, you will never be back.”  We were only 22 states into our goal of 50 states, and I’m thinking, how am I going to maintain my marathon training and how in the world are we going to complete all 50 states?  So, before I moved I searched the web for running routes in Reston and actually found a running group, the Reston Runners.  This running group was a godsend to me and really transcended my running to a new level.  Not only did I discover wonderful running routes, but I actually became a better runner.  And, best of all, I made several new friends.

Got Runner’s Burnout?

It’s amazing to me the ups-and-downs and peaks and valleys of running.  The high times are when you feel like you’re on top of the world and your body feels like a well-oiled machine that can run mile-after-mile-after-mile — everything just clicks.  Even when you’re not running, you’re dreaming of running.  All you seem to think about is running, running and running.  It’s the anticipation to lace-up and pound out some miles, and even visualizing your next race.  The low times, however, come out of nowhere; something changes and your running motivation disappears, your times are slower and the floor drops from underneath and then you realize, gee I have a case of “Runners Burnout.”

Runner's Burnout

Runner’s Burnout

Yea, I know, now that the spring marathon and race season is just around the corner, the last thing you want to hear about is Runner’s Burnout!  But with the snow, rain, cold temperatures and flu these past few months, there are probably several normally motivated runners who are right now experiencing a severe case of Runner’s Burnout.  Just the thought of lacing up your running shoes is overwhelming, and forget about going outside.  Also, the dreaded “dreadmill” for a run is not even something you want to deal with.  And that upcoming race even seems impossible.  It sucks, but it does happen to us mere mortal runners every so often.

Post-Run Social Time! A Universal Tradition Among Runners!

In my opinion, running is so much more than just throwing on your running shoes and hitting the road or trails for a few miles.  The benefits of running well exceed the physical, and definitely capture the mental.  Runners use mostly four of the five senses when running — sight, hearing, smell and feel!  Taste, though, is reserved for after the run.

Nothing Like Social Time after a Run!

Whether you’re running with a friend, a group of friends, or an organized running group, there’s a very good chance when you’re finished with your awesome run, there’ll be some social time.  It’s a tradition among runners.

I’m a morning runner, which usually means my social time will involve a place that serves a good cup of joe and some sort of breakfast food (of course, beer and burgers is the food of choice for evening runners).  It’s amazing how many friendships are cemented and incredible stimulating conversations occur during the post-run social time.  This is that special time when you get to know more about the folks you spend so much time running with mile-after-mile.  Post-run social time is sometimes as important as the run itself. It’s the healthy cigarette after sex!  True satisfaction!

Maui Oceanfront Marathon – Good Times in Paradise!

There’s something wonderful about marathons, especially when you have friends from out of town joining in the 26.2 mile quest. Then, throw in some energetic, cheering family and friends following you along the way, and add in the beauty of Maui, and you set yourself up for a great day!

This is the second time I’ve run the Maui Oceanfront Marathon and, although a tough race, it’s put on quite well.  If you register early, minimum cost is $80 (and if you’re a local, you get a 5% discount).  Most runners probably procrastinate like me, and end up paying $115-$120.  Les Wright is the race director, and he also puts on a marathon in Lake Tahoe.  Les must be quite entrenched in Maui since he seems to have quite a bit of community support.  I requested bib #91 in advance (this was my 91st marathon), which Les said he put aside for me, however, I ended up getting bib #6.  Les said I was bumped over some donor program that gives the top donors the low numbers. He said none of the volunteers would know about it and neither did I.  Maybe I bumped myself out of #91 since I had bib #6? I did donate a little.  Oh well (and thanks for listening to my complaint).

In”VINCE”ible – Sending Good Vibes a Fellow Runner’s Way!

Each day we wake up and never know what the day will bring.  It seems the older I get, the more it is drilled into me, almost daily, that you need to live each day as if is your last.  The saying, “life is short” is so true, although we all think we have forever.

There are people I look up to, who motivate and inspire me, and most of them are a secret only to me.  But today I am going to share one of them with you, and ask that you keep him in your thoughts and send good vibes his way.  He’s in the fight of his life and he is tough, very tough, and I have no doubt in my mind he will overcome and win.

Dave Longcope, Vice DiCroce,  Jim Lynch

MY 2013 RESOLUTION – KEEP RUNNING

Running has been in the fiber of my being for several years, 25 to be exact.  Now, however, when the new year comes around, I don’t even think of resolutions that pertain to running.  Now a days, running is more of an enjoyment than an annual competition with myself, and I like it that way.  I just want to keep running!

Running Resolutions

I no longer get wrapped up in extensive regimented training, but don’t get me wrong, I give every run, training run and race my all.  I still prepare for marathons by doing my long runs, speed and hill work.  However, I no longer get wrapped up in trying to set a personal best or to qualify for Boston.  I’m just happy that I’m still running, especially injury free.  I just want to keep running!

When I’m at the start line of a marathon, I know I will end up at the finish line… eventually.  I also know it won’t be my personal worst.  Believe me, I still have my fierce drive and laser mental focus, and I still get that exhilarating feeling every time I cross the marathon finish line.  I just want to keep running!

A Thank You to Marathon and Race Volunteers!

I just ran my 90th marathon in Honolulu, Hawaii this past Sunday, which I will recap on my next blog, but first things first.  As I was reminiscing about the race while walking (hobbling) through the finishers’ area, and also thinking about it on my walk (crawl) back to the hotel, it hit me; marathon volunteers need a real loud shout out.

Marathon Volunteer

As runners, we simply pay our registration fee and, well, show up at the start line and run the marathon without any worry about the logistics along the way.  Our only job is to run the 26.2 miles, get through the ups and downs, joys and pains and mental roller coaster to cross the finish line and collect our finisher’s medal.  Along the way, everything is supplied to us.  It’s basically that simple–at least for us marathon runners.

The fact is, marathons just don’t magically happen.  It takes a good tireless race director and lots and lots and lots of volunteers–people that could be at home sleeping but instead chose to rise bright and early and give freely of their time to make our race better.  They show up and do whatever job they are assigned and happily perform their volunteer duty.

Running Shoe Confusion!

One thing I have never been, and that is an organized person.  Everything is usually a mess in my home, and my wife is always trying to nail me down to do some “clutter control.”  Besides my driving (getting lost and not wanting to use the GPS), clutter control is usually what we fight about most often.  I’m the type of person that mentally knows where everything is (or so I think), so why should I organize myself?  I’ve gotten through life just fine so far, and probably will until my memory goes completely haywire – and so what, I won’t remember anything anyway, so I won’t really care.

I’ve met some pretty organized runners.  They keep track of everything:  statistics, race results, training plans, the weather during each run, how many times they wash and wear their running shorts and so on.  Me, I just put my shorts on (yes, clean) and go – well, at least I hope I remember to put on my running shorts!  Fortunately for me, I mentally know which route I’m running that day, and sometimes even remember how to get back.  I always laughed at those organized runners.  Ha Ha Ha.  Until now.

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