Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Upcoming Marathons

It is hard to believe I do not have a marathon planned until May.  Then again, when you are training for different events and actually wish to "train", your schedule changes.  That said, I am looking forward to being part of a new marathon, a well-known marathon and one I have run before. In addition, at all of these races, I will be working to help further educate people about the benefits of eating lean beef with the Beef council in each one of those states.  Having been working in conjunction with the State Beef Council for about two years now, I know that education in regards to how healthy lean beef is for people, especially endurance athlete, is still necessary. In addition, myths and rumors about beef production still hold tight even in the face of completely contrary evidence.

Last month I went to the largest feedlot in Idaho in Grand View. Spanning some 750 acres and protected by a natural rimrock, the feedlot also benefits from minimal rainfall and moderate temperatures year round. I went there to have further first-hand and up-to-date knowledge of these feedlots. Even though from previous experience I already knew how cattle were handled (humanely) and had seen it on smaller scale feedlots, I was a little nervous at what I might see. The problem with misinformation is that even when you know it is incorrect, it seeps into your mind.  So when I saw this massive expanse of land, with thousands of cattle simply enjoying the day, I was a little surprised (even though I should not have been).  On an unnaturally warm day in early January, the cattle were sunbathing, eating and simply milling around in this mass space of land. There was no overcrowding, there was plenty of area for the cattle to move and far as anyone could tell these were some very happy cattle. Again, I should not have been surprised how humanely the animals were treated.  However, the fact I was reminded me how much education still is necessary to those who have not had first-hand experience and rely on word of mouth or stories that are told from a biased viewpoint.

So throughout this year I will be continuing to be the first official SpokesRunner for the Beef Checkoff which will entail me working with various states at a variety of events and races to spread the knowledge. Spreading correct information is what the mission is about: not telling people what to eat but to simply educate them to how healthy eating lean beef is and how unbelievably beneficial it is to the body.

Bob on the left, me, and will Wise of the OR Beef Council
This past Labor Day, I was in Oregon to run a half marathon.  I happened to meet up with Bob Anderson, the creator of Runner's World magazine. Bob and I had a lengthy discussion about how beef helps improve performance and make one a better runner.  He told me about how he had made a switch, a few years back, to a diet that consisted of either no beef or very little amounts.  His race times dipped and he assumed that was just the process of aging.  When he happened to add lean beef to his diet, his race times improved. Ever since then as he continued to eat beef, his times continued to drop.  His health improved and he felt like the runner he had once been.  Now, he is a huge proponent of beef. On this particularly challenging course where we met, Bob ended up running a 1:35:52.  Bob is 63 years old!  In one of his most recent races, the Kaiser Half Marathon, he ran a 1:30:52. It is so heartwarming to see how beef is helping someone who once thought it might not be good for him.  It is an honor to spend time with Bob and I love getting his emails about his unbelievable times.  Check out his UjENA Fit Club here and read more about all he is doing.

This brings me back to my original heading of this article. I am so looking forward to working with the brand new Canton Marathon coming up this June. Chances are I will be doing something a little interesting at this race that will involve me running something a little different than just a marathon.  Working with the Ohio Beef Council, it is going to be an awesome experience involving a brand new Team Beef in the Buckeye state.

Before that, I will journey to Wisconsin to work with the Wisconsin Beef Council at the Green Bay Marathon. Only a race director as good as Sean Ryan could convince a Bears fan like myself to come to Lambeau Field to run a marathon! Even better, speaking with the sponsors at the pre-race luncheon will allow me to the opportunity to help spread the beef message to those in the land of cheese. I also fully intend to lower my Wisconsin marathon best at this race as well.

Prior to that race, I will return to Louisville, KY for the Kentucky Derby Marathon. I last ran this race in 2009, when, under the wilting sun of an abnormally hot day, I failed for the first time ever at leading pacees to a 3:10 marathon.  Considering by mile 13 I was running alone, having had everyone drop in the heat, I do not feel all too bad about missing that time.  With some courses changes since I last ran the race, I am very eager to see what this new course has to offer. Currently, I am planning to test myself at the 13.1 mile distance the race has to offer but plans could change. Either way, the Kentucky Beef Council will have a major presence at this race and I am honored to be the pre-race dinner speaker at the event.

It is going to be a busy year but that is how I like it.  Hope to see you all at at least one of the races.  Stay strong and healthy and eat some beef!

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