Monday, November 24, 2008


One thing I have learned about myself through 85 marathons, thousands of miles of running and pushing myself through extreme temperatures and climates, is that I sweat. Sure we all sweat to some extent but Webster may think about putting a picture of my pores next to the definition of "sweat". They work hard. They do their job. They just make it really damn hard for me to keep adequately refreshed in the races I love to run so much.

As my new book See Dane Run says, I almost gave up long-distance running a few years ago as I felt I was not built for it. I would get to the half-marathon portion of a marathon feeling great. then a few miles later the crash and burn would occur. As I soon found out, I was losing electrolytes FAR faster than most other people through the copious amounts of sweat I produced in rigorous exercise.

Soon thereafter I learned how to drink more properly through a race and if conditions were cool, I was fine. But without a doubt, as the thermometer goes up, my chances for success went down. As time has passed, I have found myself far better at adapting to these changes and doing the best I can to keep that crash abated. However, I really put myself to the test lately in the 12-Hour One Day Race in San Francisco.

You see, the temperature on this late October day in San Francisco reached a high of at least 82 degrees. There was not a cloud in the sky the entire days and there was not a leaf of shade on the course to keep the ELSO (Evil Life-Sucking Orb) know as the sun from breaking me down. Since my goals for the day were going to be far less than I was hoping for, I decided to experiment.

For months, I had been using a product called Prolytes to help replenish the electrolytes in my system before or after a run or workout.

But I had never done so during a race. On this day, I most assuredly thought it was worth the effort to try something new. The old adage of never trying anything new on race day goes out the window when you know that conditions are already changing your goals! So, I started taking Prolytes in my liquids I was drinking. Gatorade, water, you name it, I put the Prolytes in and took it down. The day wore on and I got tired. The sun beat down and I went through more liquid than I can remember. It was hot and I was sweating. But I never completely crashed.

The end result was 68.3 miles and a 3rd place overall finish. Without a doubt, this was the best I had ever managed a hot weather run, especially one of this length of both distance and time. I think that my doing so was in no small part due to my taking of the Prolytes through the run.

Nearly flavorless and packed with a powerful blend of potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride and sulfate, Prolytes can be mixed into any drink you desire.I would highly recommend that for those looking to effectively re-hydrate and replace your body’s lost electrolytes that you give Prolytes a try.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yoga For Athletes- Kimberly Fowler

Recently I had the pleasure to be invited to a Yoga for Athletes class taught by Kimberly Fowler. I say "pleasure" as I can openly admit my trepidation for the "y" word and how I did not think I would necessarily enjoy the session.

Before I get there, a little about Ms. Fowler.

First, she is a fellow graduate of both law school and the corporate world. Like runners who can share a knowing nod about certain things without so much as a word exchanged, law school grads share a kindred spirit. So right off the bat we had a certain connection.

Second, if "surviving" law school was not enough, Fowler literally survived something worse than Torts or Mergers and Acquisitions when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in her second year of school. Determined to get well, she incorporated yoga into her treatment plan and recovery. Cancer-free twenty plus years later, Fowler credits her yoga practice with helping her reach deep within to find the strength she needed to save her life.

Third, Kimberly is both a marathoner and a triathlete. And to be honest, if the first two did not sell me on giving this whole yoga thing a shot, this part of her life surely did.

That said, Yoga for Athletes is a sixty-minute class which has the tagline of “No Chanting. No Granola. No Sanskrit.” Apparently, changes have been made in the yoga world in the past umpteen years which makes this not all that surprising to those in the know, but the fact remains that for many of us, including myself, yoga always seemed to be too frou-frou for me. Not more than a few minutes into the class I saw this was not your father's yoga class. As part of an overall studio called "YAS" (Yoga and Spinning), Kimberly proclaims "I am not your guru. You are."

Fowler's style is very straightforward, and the sequence she taught seemed both suitable for intermediate practitioners and those with a higher skill-level (it was my first yoga class ever and it appeared there were all skill levels there as well.) She had spectacular pacing and I never felt rushed or that I was holding a pose for too long. Fluid movements moved one pose to the next, always centering in a pose which gave me a moment to rest and wipe sweat off of my body. At one point, when Kimberly was helping to align my position she actually asked "Would you care for another towel?" Yes, Kimberly, I am a sweater. Be proud.

After the hour was done, I was sold. I am now the proud owner of the Yoga for Athletes DVD which more or less mirrors the class I took. I laughed when the students in the DVD all had matching Yoga for Athletes outfits but only because that is what the class itself looked like. People who were in the class were proudly wearing their YAS apparel. Apparently, Kimberly has struck a chord with many people.

And may I add, forget about bars for meeting fit, attractive people. While I still think that libraries would be the best place to meet someone you would be most attracted to, I think those in the Dewey Decimal System Fanclub frown upon lightly-clad sweaty people in such close proximity.

So, for both the health of your body and your lovelife, go to a YAS class asap.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I recently had a chance to try out a pretty neat little product called the SPIbelt. I had seen it at expos and on a few runners in races but never really thought much about it. However, when I saw the same person working the SPIbelt booth at three straight races, I figured I might as well see what the product was all about.

I am a minimalistic runner. If I wear something it is either necessary, nearly invisible, unnoticeable as I run or all of the above. I understood that the SPIbelt was supposed to help you carry things while you ran but, well, I never carry much with me anyway. I sort of thought it was unnecessary.

Well, I stand corrected. I first started wearing the SPIbelt a few weeks ago and now it is standard for my running gear. In my first test run, I put a Gel, my cellphone, a chapstick and my keys into the pouch. The pouch expanded to fit all of them but also held them snug. No jiggling of keys! No bouncing around! It really fit me well. Now how would it feel after 12 miles of undulating hills and tempo work.

Actually, quite fine. It took a little bit of getting used to, simply because if running naked were legal I might do it. So anything on me feels a little "off". But soon I was reaching down to see if the SPIbelt was even there. It was that unnoticeable. On top of that, they come in a variety of colors but I have the black pouch with the navy zipper. Stylish yet functional.

I would highly suggest you get one of these products. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

7 years ago today

This is the 7th anniversary of the day when I ran my first Marathon. The Harrisburg Marathon in Pennsylvania. It was a tough day and I learned a great deal about myself that day. While it was a brutal day for me physically, running a 4:12, what I learned was not because of the marathon (which did teach me me to not wear a three-quarter lengths sleeved cotton t-shirt, beaded necklace, wire-rimmed sunglasses, and shoes that weren't even meant for a 5k.)

No, on 11/11/01, I lost my Grandmother Roessner . Being the youngest by far in my family, I was too young to remember most of those in my family who passed when I was a little boy. My Grandmother passing, which I did not find out about until AFTER I finished the marathon, was the first time I lost someone close to me in my life. With her picture on the wall exiting my bedroom, I think of her everyday.

It is weird to me that my grandmother, and then eventually her husband, my Grandpa, who would pass in early 2004 and with whom I shared so much of my life, never witnessed any of my marathoning in the form it is today.

So, on this Veteran's Day, I salute not only the Veterans that have helped protect this country (of which my Grandfather was one) but also my grandparents as well.

I miss and love you both.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Book!

First off, I want to take this time to thank everyone who inquired as to when my book would be available for purchase. When I was asked what sort of book tour I would be going on, I was extremely flattered as well. (Currently there is no book tour planned per se but that will all change, hopefully, when sales are spectacular!)

Regardless, I am in the final stretch here before its first printing run and the book chronicling my 52 Marathons in 52 weeks is about to hit the shelves! More than just a book about running, or even my running, it is a book which was meant to entertain and inspire. Note, just 14 months before I started the adventure, I had only run 2 lifetime marathons!

More detailed information about how and when it will become available to the mass public will be following very soon. As for now, you can visit the publisher's website HERE. They are currently accepting advance orders of the book and you can do so by contacting Michelle at this email address:

Stay tuned for more information!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Boo Cold!

With all my traveling over the past 2 months, I have not been able to get a feel for the changing weather here in Salt Lake. I would be gone so frequently that I did not know if the leaves were going to stay on the trees very long, if there was a great deal of fluctuation in temperature or how soon fall would end and winter would begin. Well, I hope that today was not a harbinger of what to come.

I woke this morning to brightness filtering in through my windows but it was not sunshine. Pulling the blinds I saw a thin, but constant, blanket of snow. NOOOOO! I know the ski bunnies in the area are loving it but this former paperboy has never had an affinity for the white stuff (try lugging around 90 newspapers daily over hill and dale in NW Pennsylvania winters 6 days a week for 5 years.! The papers outweighed my scrawny little butt!)

While the forecast does call for temps getting as high as 55 degrees on Saturday, it most definitely looks like the cooler temperatures are here to stay. Just in time for me to be home for an extended stay for the first time since early September.

So as I debated putting on tights instead of just shorts, I thought about the upcoming winter. Last winter in SLC, the city received record-setting snowfall. I was happy that it was able to replenish a lot of this high desert with life when the spring flaw came but wasn't really digging it at the time! However, I realized how quickly this year is coming to an end. I thought about how runners seem to have a very good grasp of the passage of time. There are only so many weeks left until so-and so- race. Registration has already opened for this race all the way next fall. I better book my plane ticket for May before the prices go up. But the time still slips by.

Halloween is gone, the election is over and Thanksgiving is around the corner. I sighed a little but as I glanced out the window and saw the snow intensify. I finally decided to simply keep the upper body warm and wear only shorts. There will be plenty of time for full protective gear soon enough! I am fighting Mother Nature today.

Post-run Addendum: 9.8 miles on a circuit I haven't done in ages was good for the soul. I am still a mite bit tired from the past few months but the challenge was good. I could feel the difference in my lungs after spending the better part of 2 weeks at sea-level but after a few miles the breathing was back to normal.

Then the snow REALLY started to fall! (Note my poor car below after the run.)

But even though I thought about cutting it short a few miles, I gutted it out and felt better about it at the end. As I do every time I run.

But I should have worn tights. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Santa Clarita Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 20th Edition
463.7 miles raced in 2008
Race: Santa Clarita Marathon
Place: Santa Clarita, CA
Miles from home: 689 miles
Weather: 60s; partly sunny; humid

Having raced 7 straight weeks in a row, I have to admit I was quite tired going into this race. I was half-hoping to make a shot at the top three but knew my efforts hinged on how quickly and fully I was recovered. Regardless of my energy level, the Santa Clarita Marathon would not wait.

I knew in the few days prior that chances were slim to none of feeling good enough to go sub-3 but that did not hinder me from hoping so. At the speech I gave at the expo, some of the listeners questioned whether I was racing and if so, what I was hoping to run. On the spot, I said if all went well, I might give Chuck Teixeira a run for his money.

Who is Chuck
Teixeira? Well, in my research for the race, I had noticed that Chuck, in the last seven runnings of the Santa Clarita Marathon had place 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th and 4th in times of 2:52:24, 2:51:31, 2:48:31, 2:51:13, 2:50:58, 2:45:30, and 2:40:40 respectively.

At the end of the speech, a couple who was involved with the organization of the race, told me they knew Chuck and would introduce him to me at the start of the race.

Race morning:
Staying in a hotel just one block from the race's starting line was like heaven for me. A 7 AM race time meant I would not get up until 6 AM, at the earliest. I finally sauntered down to the starting line at 6:52 AM. I am not a warm-up kind of guy and an ideal marathon start for me is to show up 30 seconds before the race and go. However, I wanted to me Mr. Teixeira. At the starting line I was introduced to Chuck and we talked until just before the gun was fired. An absolutely stunning rendition of the Star Spangled-Banner was performed by a local singer. It was so phenomenal, that even after hearing it at some 100 races in my lifetime, it actually brought a little mist to my eyes. I blamed the humidity. Speaking of the weather, cool temperatures and a cloudy sky which were still forecasted just minutes before the start of the race did not stay around very long. Warmer than ideal (for me) temperatures prevailed as did a sun that broke through the clouds far more often than my tastes would like.

The gun sounded and Chuck and I stayed together for the first 3 miles or so. I could tell right away that today was not going to be a great day in spite of the relative ease that I went through this first 5k (
6:33, 6:31, 6:37). When I found out that Chuck had won at least one of the Santa Clarita Marathons in previous years, I no longer felt sorry for his "always a bridesmaid" status. I told him I was backing off nonetheless and did so with a 6:59, 6:45, 7:03, 6:58, 7:05, 7:18, and 6:44 to bring me to the 10 mile mark.

What was most odd about this stretch was that no matter how hard I felt I was pushing myself or how much I backed off, I more or less ran the same times. I finished the first half with a string of 6:59, 6:57, 7:12 to put me at 1:30:30 for the half. Feeling quite tired, the sight of all the half marathoners turning right to finish in 3 blocks was a sight my weary eyes did not need to see.

Miles 13.1-21

While the first half of the race was punctuated by the feeling that no matter what I did, I was going to run the same times, this little section was exactly the same but with the times just skewed a little slower. The next 8 miles had me running virtually identical times with a 7:17, 8:08, 6:21, 7:16, 7:16, 7:20, 7:26, and a 7:40. (Ignore the 8 minute and 6 minute miles. Obviously the marker was askew but the average of the two equals out to be right in line with everything else).

During this section I had a vague idea of my placing and figured it was in the teens somewhere. I saw Chuck on a few occasions just churning away and slapped him a high-five each time. Every so often a runner would appear in my sights and I would slowly chip away at his lead until I passed him. One or two runners passed me but soon I made up the ground and left them behind again.

The sun would intermittently burn off sections of the clouds and beat down but it was nothing horrible. That said, it was tougher than ideal for sure. The vast majority of this race was run on or along a bicycle bath that wound all through the Santa Clarita area. Without a doubt, if you did not run the tangents, you would easily add a mile to your overall distance. But the course was very enjoyable and never boring as the tree-lined sections provided shade from the sun and the foliage was in full autumn mode.

Final 5 miles:
On the final out and back portion of the course, I spied a female runner not too far behind me who had previously escaped my view. I guess she had been too close on the other out and backs for me to see her heading out. She was motoring very well and I fully expected her to pass me in not too long. I then saw another female who looked strikingly familiar. I learned later it was a friend of a friend who I had conversed with a few times online previously. Small world indeed. Laura is her name and she would end up as the second female overall. She is also ridiculously ripped, nay shredded. I do not even want to know what she has to do to maintain that physique as I know I will never personally follow suit!

A slight side stitch had come on and I was just wishing for it to go away. The course was not a tough course but its elevation has just enough undulation to wear you out in the end.
While there was little crowd support on the course itself, that does not mean there was no cheering and enthusiasm. I lost count (and definitely need to inquire with the Race Director as to how many there were) but I think there were 20 separate aid stations along this course. Granted some doubled their duty on the out-and-back sections but that still counts. There was plenty of liquid to be had by any runner. In addition, a vast majority of the aid stations were staffed by younger kids. Besides getting children involved with a race for the benefit of the runners (I will gladly take a liquid from any volunteer, but there is something about grabbing a drink for a wee one that gives me a huge smile for 100 yards), the added incentive for the kids is to see how fun physical fitness can be, which will hopefully make great leaps and bounds towards helping the ridiculous obesity epidemic in our country.

*Steps off of soapbox*

Still waiting for the lead woman to pass me, I ran a 7:33, 7:29, 7:52, 7:33 next few miles until mile 25. When she never appeared, I decided I was going to take it home a little faster. I knew I was not going sub-3. I also was not going to get a 3:06, a time I have never run. But I knew I most assuredly did not want to run a 3:08 (Yes, I know this is all little stuff but it is the mind games we play and you know it!) So I pushed it hard in the last mile making it in a 7:16 leaving me very little time to keep under 3:08.

During the last .2 of the race I almost took out an absent-minded pedestrian who decided that the moment I came barreling around the corner was the absolute best time to cross a street, on the corner, 50 yards from the finishline, without looking to see who might be coming at her.. I know a little Newtonian physics and was aware that two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time. As I was now full-tilt sprinting and weigh ~175 lbs, I knew that *I* would be the one occupying aforementioned space as the lithe pedestrian blissfully ignorant to her imminent trampling was in no way going to impede my running. With all the energy I could must, using the quickest amount of time possible, I simply bellowed:

hoping the sheer sound would scare her back on the curb. It worked.

I passed underneath the clock in 3:07:59 for 11th place overall. Chip times later show I had a little more leeway (3:07:51) but the race photo should be dramatic!

I was quite pleased with this race. It was very well put together and very spectator friendly. I saw some people who made the effort to cheer on their runners like 4 or 5 times at least. With its looping course and out-and-back sections, it affords friends and family the chance to see you at multiple locations. The bike path is a welcome change to the style of many road races, and at times when you veer off the bike path and into, little neighborhood paths, you feel as if the entire suburb was closed just for you. A little more neighborhood cheering would have been great but I absolutely hand it to the volunteers, children, local cheerleaders and everyone involved with the race. Out in force and doing everything they could to make sure runners had a great time, we definitely appreciate their efforts.

This race has no where to go but up if the present group of people working on it continue in their present efforts. I hope to make the trip back to here as often as possible. You should too.

By the way, Chuck finished 4th overall in a time of 2:52:33. Pretty fantastic for a 49 year old man. Way to go Chuck and all the other wonderful runners I had the pleasure of meeting this past weekend!