Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Interview with Ryon Lane

I recently sat down with Ryon Lane, otherwise known as the Runner with the Broken Neck. Ryon recently ran the NYC Marathon in November.  He ran that in 2:58:37. He did this just two years after breaking his neck in a beach accident.  As the year comes down to its final days, I felt it was as great time to share his wonderful story with my readers.

How did you break your neck?

On September 18, 2008, at a work beach event, I raced a co-worker into the surf, dove through a wave, and struck my head on something below the surface, presumably a sand bar. I've never been back to that beach in Santa Monica.

How severe was the injury?

My injury was very severe. I fractured my C-4 (cervical) vertebra in half, shattered all of the spiny processes attached to the back of the vertebra, and severely herniated the disk between my C-5 and C-6 vertebrae. During surgery, my surgeon inserted a cadaver femur crafted into the shape of a new C-4 vertebra into my neck to replace the destroyed one, replaced the herniated disc between the C-5 and C-6 vertebrae, and fused my cervical spine from C-3 to C-5 (including, obviously, my new C-4 "vertebra").

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010's Marathons in Review

When I started 2010, I knew the only thing that really mattered was putting the finishing touches on getting in shape to run the 202 mile American Odyssey Relay.  This meant I was pretty sure that at no point in the year would I be setting a marathon personal best.  Training to run a fast marathon simply did not go hand in hand with training to somehow run 202 miles.  And if I did successfully run it I doubted I was going to be in any sort of shape to try and run a fast marathon after it.

So the year held a lot of promise but it also held a great deal of doubt.  And sometimes that is a wonderful combination!  I hope you enjoy my year of marathoning in review.
They were tight too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kiawah Island Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 38th Edition 
984 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Kiawah Island Marathon
Place: Kiawah island, SC
Miles from home: 2195 miles
Weather: 30-50s; Rainy
When you are pretty darn sick for one marathon and you do another one 5 days later, chances are pretty good you are still going to be pretty darn sick. That is, more or less, the background of this particular race at the Kiawah Island Marathon.  However, fortunately, I went from horrific throat pain to your simple headache, fever, and runny nose.  Honestly, that was a major improvement. At least now I could drink on the course!

But the race forecast called for just about a perfect day for running which made me smile.  If that didn’t meeting some fantastic people prior to the race during my book signing definitely did.  Races with smaller expos are always ones that play right into my wheelhouse. Without so many distractions or vendors next to me trying to get people to check out their balance all the time, I can actually carry on conversations with people. You get to know even more about them than usual. You get to reassure some runners that it is smart not to run with a stress fracture. Others get to inspire you with stories of how they are competing in the Athletes with Disabilities division. Still many more quickly become fast friends, in spite of my sniffling and occasional sneeze.

When the day came to a close on the expo, I was ready for bed. I had hoped that I would miraculously feel better prior to the race but it simply wasn’t going to happen. I had thoughts of running a sub-3 hour marathon which would have been nice to book end this year with times beginning with 2 (having started the year at the Mississippi Blues Marathon with a 2:59) but I knew that was not going to happen.  Or I didn’t think it would anyway. As the guest of the race I was treated to a wonderful hotel stay just a few minutes walk from the start of the race (and the end as well) and was happy to see so many people I had met were also guests there as well.  However, I could not mingle as I knew I had to try and sleep.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dallas White Rock Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 37th Edition 
957.8 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Dallas White Rock Marathon
Place: Dallas, TX
Miles from home: 1245 miles
Weather: 30-50s; Sunny

In the week prior to this race, I had a family member take ill, another get in a car accident and have my own car demolished in another completely unrelated accident.  A touch of the flu with a sore throat that felt as if I was swallowing razor blades made me consider a DNS (did not start) which seemed far more intelligent than attempting the race.  I had felt mostly fine during my interview with 105.3 The Fan on Friday. And while, on Saturday prior to the race, my voice was diminished to a rasp during a pre-race talk to members of the Texas Team Beef, I was feeling fairly decent. As such, I figured it was just as easy to run the race, my 123rd lifetime marathon, than to stay in bed.

When I awoke in the morning prior to the race and I felt like death, I think my rationale for still deciding to run was that if I already felt horrid prior to the race at least when the inevitable tiredness set in late in the race, the swing would not be nearly as wide as usual.

Catching the shuttle bus to the start, I was freezing.  In my Team Beef singlet, which normally would have been perfect for me with the temperature hovering around 40 degrees prior to the gun being fired, my teeth were chattering.  The sponsors of the race had people randomly passing out rain ponchos (none was forecasted) and cotton gloves near the start.  I took both and immediately felt better.

Getting close to the start I saw the corrals were labeled by letters and I had an “E” on my bib.  I guess this was by estimated time but as I looked at the hundreds of people in A-D I was disheartened.  I definitely did not want to have to pass all these people in the race and I was fairly certain I would.  Before I could make any further thoughts about this placement I saw an older gentleman, in almost slow-motion, go flailing toward the ground.  Jogging to his own corral, he had tripped on something and went down.  With his arms locked up in a garbage bag to keep warm, he could not brace himself and took the brunt of the fall with his face.  Immediately a cut opened on his nose and he rolled over in obvious pain.  I saw a woman come to his side in a flash and surmised it was his wife.  We locked eyes for a second and I said: “Wait right here.” 

I sprinted toward the start line where I saw a vast amount of volunteers.  I told one of them we needed to get some medics to a man who had fallen.  She immediately pointed me to a man with a walkie-talkie and within seconds he was on the horn.  I then led the gentleman back to the poor runner who took the header.  His wife was bracing his head in the seated position and every time he took a cloth off of his nose it spurted.  I told her she needed to get him level on the ground and elevate his legs.  With the man with the walkie-talkie standing by me, I could hear the person he was speaking to was unsure of his position.  So I asked where the other person was and then ran in that direction to get him.  Finding an EMT who looked like he was looking for someone, I figured he was my guy.  Pointing him in the direction, I figured there wasn’t really much I could do.  But before I could decide to follow, the countdown for the race began over the loud speaker.  I happened to be standing right near the “A” corral so I just jumped in.

By this point people were throwing excess clothes brought to keep them warm to the side.  As I stepped into the corral I got hit in the face with a long sleeve t-shirt.  Almost without hesitation, I took my singlet off, slipped the t-shirt on and had the singlet back on just in time for the fireballs (yes, seriously), confetti, and gunshot signaling the start of the race.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Partnership with FLUID

Back in February I met some of the representatives of FLUID at the Pasadena Marathon.  I was interested in the muscle recovery drink and what it could do to help me recover from all the various events, traveling and racing I do.  As I have tried it over the past few months I have had a chance to see the positive effects it has had on me.  I then spoke with more than a few of my very athletic friends who were using the product as well and was pleased to hear that they experienced many of the same benefits I had.  That is why am more than happy today to announce my partnership with FLUID, the muscle Recovery Drink!

At the Santa Barbara Half-Marathon last month, I went immediately from running the half-marathon to going back to signing books at the post-race expo. No time to even grab a shower, I was still sweating from the run when I was already talking to other runners.  As I continued this for the next few hours, I was happy to have FLUID by my side. I could feel it even more the next day when I went surfing for the very first time.  Muscles I rarely used in this completely different sport felt not nearly as taxed or weary as they should have.

You can see why I am excited to see what heights FLUID helps take me in the upcoming months. I highly suggest you try it for yourself and why, in its first year on the market, Fluid was awarded "Best Nutrition Product of the Year" and "Best Sports/Recovery Drink of 2008".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview with Bob Fleshner- RD of the American Odyssey Relay

Bob and I at the finish of the AOR 202
As many of you know, in April I ran the 202 mile American Odyssey Relay as a solo participant.  Quite possibly the most difficult physical feat I have had the good fortunate to complete, it was made easier by dealing with the director of the entire event, Bob Fleshner.  Bob and I had become acquainted over the past few years and when I was choosing a race to run solo in this fashion, I knew Bob’s race would be the one to try.

After I learned he was going to go for a Boston Qualifying time at the Philadelphia Marathon (Bob needs a 3:45 as a 55-year old male) I asked him if he minded if I sat down with him after the race and interviewed him.  He agreed and the below is what followed:

Dane Rauschenberg: Bob, great to be talking with you.  Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.  So let’s get down to brass tacks.  Philadelphia Marathon.  Did you get the BQ?

Bob's BQ at Philly!
Bob Fleshner:  I did. 3:39:39. As you know, every once in a while, it all comes together!  I had told Phyllis (Bob’s wife) the night before that if everything went absolutely perfectly, I might slip in just under 3:40. I made it with 21 seconds to spare!

DR:  This is not your first marathon.   What was?
Marine Corps Marathon in 1981.  This was my 25th marathon in my lifetime.

DR: What is your marathon PR?
BF: 3:13 when I was literally half my current age!

DR: What race distance is your favorite?
BF: 1/2 marathon.  You feel like you've worked at it, but there's virtually no recovery period.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mesquite Half-Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 36th Edition 
931.6 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Mesquite Half-Marathon
Place: Mesquite, NV
Miles from home: 340 miles
Weather: WINDY 

The temperature doesn't really matter.  The cloud cover doesn't really matter.  All you need to know about this Mesquite Half Marathon is that for ~11.8 miles of the 13.1 we had sustained winds of 35 mph with gusts over 50 directly in our face. Oof.

The morning of the race broke fairly nice. I could see from my car that it had rained recently but the ground was dry.  I hoped that this would stay that way the rest of the race and any rain would have simply cooled the course a bit.  The temperature was just about perfect for racing and the slightly overcast skies also would have lent to a perfect weather combination if not for the wind.  However, while waiting for the buses to take us to the start, the wind wasn’t nearly as noticeable.  A breeze here and there but nothing that foretold of the oncoming blast fan we would be running into once we started.

We boarded the bus and began the drive out to the start.  I was on one of the very last buses to the start so I did not have to stand around very long.  The races do not post a specific start time as they say they will start when all runners get out there.  However, you can more or less figure out when the gun will fire (or in this case, the truck horn will honk.)  When one of the RDs said we would start in about 15 minutes there was some grumbling, presumably from the people who had gotten on the very first bus.  However, there could not have been all that much time between them arriving and me as I saw their bus leave when I was in line.  Nevertheless, people will complain about anything if you give them enough time.

I could see no less than 5 guys who looked in prime racing shape.  Any possibly inkling I had of winning the race and claiming the first place prize of $1,000 was gone.  This was slightly disheartening but also a relief.  I could just concentrate on running a fast time all for myself. I saw last year’s female winner and a few other top notch looking females. I could tell the prize money and the Runner’s World magazine article had helped swell the numbers and the competition as well.

As we got ready to go, I had positioned myself a few rows back in deference to what was obviously some stellar competition.  Even then I felt the wind but thought nothing of it.  Boy would I be wrong.  Away we went.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mesquite Half-Marathon

Running amongst the mesas in Grand Junction.
Every years since I moved to SLC, I have participated in a race put on by the Mammoth Marathons people.  This year has been no different as in May the first race I did after my 202 miler was a half-marathon in Grand Junction, CO.  Later in the summer I took on the Crandall Canyon Memorial Run, another half-marathon. This weekend, I will be taking part in my third Mamamoth Marathons race for the year, yet another half-marathon (bringing my total for the year to 15 when I had only run 11 half-marathon in my life previously!) at the Mesquite Marathon in Nevada.

The course records I held for the Little Grand Canyon Marathon (ran in 2008) and Little Grand Canyon Half-Marathon (ran in 2009) both fell by the wayside this year (*Dane shakes his fist like a bad guy character in a Scooby Doo cartoon*), which is always a little bittersweet.  But while I missed the chance to take place in either of those races this year, I will be returning to the Mesquite Marathon and giving the little brother race a shot this weekend.

Pushing for a PR at Mesquite in 2009.
My original plan was to do nothing this weekend race-wise.  Having two consecutive weekends off from racing sounded like a good idea.  However, as I had a bad race last year in the full-marathon, I guess I had some personal demons I wanted to exorcise. The clincher was when I saw an article in Runner's World magazine about how this race was their race of the month. I was shocked.  Not that the race did not deserve it but that a race with just one year of history, run by guys I consider to be friends was getting recognition I felt it deserved.  I knew I had to go back even if I wasn't in shape to try for a marathon personal best (as I had been attempting last year.) 

I wish the prize money was split up a little differently (it is a winner take all purse which means that just one uber-fast fella needs to show up, like last year's 1:12 winner, for the rest of us to go home empty-handed) but I don't think I have ever run a race thinking I will prize money.  I simply am not that fast.  But I do like to run races that give me a chance to do something a little different.  In the Mesquite Marathon, runners get to cross three different states as the go from Utah to Arizona and then finish in Nevada. given the shorter distance the half-marathon only goes through two states but is pretty darn scenic as well.

I don't think I am quite in shape to get a new personal best in this half but I am not afraid to say I will be shooting for the fastest I have run all year, beating the 1:23 I ran at the Chicago Half back in September.  The weather conditions look pretty perfect. Time to give it a go.  I hope to see many of you down there as well!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mother Road 100 rundown

This past weekend I was in Wichita visiting some friends and making a reunion of sorts with runners.  While we caught up, many were glued to my friend Hannah's cellphone as she was getting updates on another friend's attempt to crush is PR in a 100 mile race.  Long story short, that friend - Scott Hill -crushed his 100 mile PR by nearly 2 hours and took second place overall by less than 12 minutes finishing in 15 hours and 46 minutes in the Mother Road 100.  Fantastic work! (His running - not the website, which leaves a great deal to be desired.)  This followed up Scott's 2008 accomplishment of running a marathon distance or longer every week!

Me, 1st place, Mark
I then noticed that I knew the 3rd place finisher as well, one Mark Ott.  Mark and I met at the Running with the Horses Marathon in 2008 where he took second and I took third.  I laughed because the article listed Mark from Jackson, Mississippi - a mistake I had made as well once.  Mark is actually form Jackson, Michigan.  I wonder how many times that has happened to him.

Juli at the exceptionally hot 12 Hour SF One Day
Finally, I see that Juli Aistars, a pleasant woman I met at the 12 Hour Run in San Francisco two years ago was crowned "Queen of the Road" for being the fastest female to finish all three Mother Road 100 races so far. Apparently, if I met you in 2008 or you did something really cool in that year, you had to run this race.

On a weekend where I did no race of any sort whatsoever, it was nice to be able to sit back and watch those I know do so very well.  Kudos to all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Santa Barbara Half-Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 35th Edition 
920.5 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Santa Barbara Half-Marathon
Place: Santa Barbara, CA
Miles from home: 777 miles
Weather: 60s; Overcast; windy

More pictures to come when I get them!

Me and Christy at the San Fran Half
At the Marine Corps Marathon expo last weekend, I crossed paths with one of my favorite twins, Cindy of Running Skirts.  In our conversation we found we would both be at the Santa Barbara Marathon expo- each running the half-marathon.  Cindy mentioned her twin Christy would be running the half as well and would be shooting for a time around 1:30.  I told her I would be happy to pace Christy in the race if she felt so inclined.  And just like that, I had something to do at a race where I was just going to go for a nice jog anyway.

My weekend, a few months ago, looked completely different but one must roll with the punches and make do.  As such, I was pleased to spend some time with my friend Barb even though it looked like she might not be able to do the race at all because of a lingering foot problem.  At the expo, I spent some time trying some new products and am looking forward to see if they affect my training in the future.  Having run the full marathon last year, I knew the half more or less consisted of the second half of the race course and some minor changes would not add much of anything new to the race itself.  As such, I knew I would be able to give Christy all the info I had in her attempt to run fast.  I was aware a long drive from Running Skirt HQ in San Diego the day before the race and then a long day at the expo itself would make the race the next day a little difficult for her but we would give it a go.  That really is all one can do at every race, really.

We had a slight delay to start the race, which in hindsight was quite helpful.  But before the sun had even thought about breaking through the clouds, we were underway.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Off to Santa Barbara

Last year I was fortunate enough to get in on the revised Santa Barbara Marathon and experience what was a very well-put together race.  In the weeks that followed, I was flattered to see that my quote made the billboards and postcards that the race put out to promote itself.  When the race decided to combine with an existing half-marathon and move its date, I was not sure whether I would be available to take part.  I had some potential plans to attend the NYC Marathon but when they did not come to fruition, I immediately went back to where I had thoroughly enjoyed myself previously.  I had given thoughts to making this a double race weekend and heading up to Fresno to do a race there but sometimes promises are empty.  You learn that a lot in this world.

Regardless, I am quite happy to be back in gorgeous Santa Barbara and am very curious to see how the town takes to the race in its second year.  And, like last year where I was able to help a runner set a new personal best, I may be doing the same again this year.  Last year's was unintentional and unplanned until race time but chances are good that Christy, one of the two sister owners of Running Skirts, may employ my pacing services to get her a nice new personal best.  As a good friend, I can think of few better ways I could spend a Saturday morning than lending a hand to help a runner get something they are striving for.

As I will also be at the expo all Friday signing books, I may jump up and give a speech to those in attendance as well.  It should be a fun weekend in Southern California and I hope to see many of you there!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 34th Edition 
907.4 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Marine Corps Marathon
Place: Arlington, VA
Miles from home: 2079 miles
Weather: 60-70s; Bright sunshine; windy

The Marine Corps Marathon has always been a race that has been rather significant to me.  In 2004, it represented a marathon that almost was my last ever as I ran a rather disappointing race and thought maybe marathoning was not my thing.  The next year, it was the last marathon before my taking on 52 Marathons in consecutive weekends and also, a new personal best.  In 2006, it was the second fastest marathon of the 52 (and my life at the time) and showed me the previous race (the actual fastest of the year) wasn’t a fluke.  In 2007, it was my last marathon as a resident of Virginia and again a new personal best.  After a two year hiatus (I did run the first 9 miles last year with a law school classmate before stopping and cheering runners until the last one passed me in Georgetown), this year would be the first time I would go into the Marine Corps Marathon knowing beforehand I would not be going for my fastest time ever.  However, I was hoping to run a 3:02 this year, and if I did, I would have run every time between 3:00 and 3:30.  Not as significant as in previous years but still fun nonetheless.

As I had previously lived in Virginia when I had run the MCM (and right at the mile 2.2 point) I would simply walk from my apartment to the start. Simple as pie.  This year, staying in Alexandria, I knew it would be a little more complicated.  I thought I had it solved.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  With the morning breaking a little chilly (47 degrees) I decided I would wear a jacket to the start and for the first time ever use the drop-bag situation.  So after driving to a metro station, parking my car and riding the train to the area from which I always walked passed on my way to the start, I began searching for the drop bag station.  As time ticked down to the start, I simply could not find it.  After getting wrong answers from a few people, one Marine manning an aid station definitely told me where the UPS trucks holding the bags were located.  Great!  However, with 10 minutes until the start, they were 1.2 miles away from where I was standing.  Not so great.

I began sprinting toward the trucks.  If this was any other marathon, I would have stashed my bag behind a tree and hoped for the best.  But with so many people around and knowing that you just don’t leave unmarked bags near the race course lest they get thrown away as looking suspicious, I knew I had to get to the trucks.  Finally, after weaving my way through approximately 25,000 people I saw the trucks.  Based on my bib number, I was in truck 00.  The trucks, lined up next to each other were in numerical order.  The first truck was number 34.  Frick.  Sprinting to the last truck, I threw the bag down, thanked the volunteers and began praying that somehow I would make it back to the start before the howitzer fired to start the race.  At top speed, in and out of runners I headed. No where near the start, I heard the big ole gun fire.  Normally, in a chip-timed race this wouldn’t matter. However with thousands of runners between me and the start, I knew I had to try and get as far forward as possible before crossing the starting line. Otherwise I would spend miles upon miles stuck behind hordes of people. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Karl Meltzer's Pony Express Run

When contemplating one's own long distance runs crossing many states, it is always great to see you are far from alone.  On Tuesday, Karl Meltzer, from Sandy UT (just down the road from me in Salt Lake), finished running the entire 2,064 mile Pony Express National Historic Trail from Sacramento, CA to St. Joseph, MO.

Averaging over 50 miles a day, Karl topped 11,000 feet on his journey burning approximately 247,000 calories as he became the first person ever to run the entire length of this trail.  And to ca the entire journey off, he delivered a letter from the mayor of Sacramento to the deputy Mayor of St. Joseph.  I am personally a little disappointed the mayor couldn't make it out for Karl.  Maybe the fat that Karl covered over 100 miles in the last 24 hours caught the mayor off-guard.  Wow.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting Karl but we have exchanged a few emails in an attempt to find a time when we were both actually in the places we call home to go for a run.  If I didn't already know it, I definitely do now that I haven't the foggiest idea if I could keep up with him even on an easy day.  Karl has created one of the hardest 50 kilometer races in the country in the with his Speedgoat 50k.  Even the top competitors usually take 2 hours longer to complete this course than they do a normal 50k.  Obviously, Karl likes challenges.

Asking why he did this is a rather pointless question, in my opinion.  In fact, if I had a chance to ask 10 questions of Karl with regard to this excursion, that would be question 17 at best. He did it, I am sure, because he wanted to. He also had a steady diet of chicken and burgers along the way.  Got to love that a man pushing himself to the limit has no problem fueling himself with, amongst other things, beef.  If it is good enough for Karl, it should be good enough for you as well.

Regardless, a huge kudos goes to Karl for redefining possible.  One of these days I do hope we get to go on that run.  I am going to try and keep it under 20 miles, if at all possible.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Running for the Bay Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 33rd Edition 
881.2 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Running for the Bay Marathon
Place: Apalachicola, FL
Miles from home: 2081 miles
Weather: 70-80s; Bright sunshine; very windy

Sure there were some snafus. But the medals were pretty.  And honestly, people will remember medals long after they forget that the course could have had a few more manned aid stations or that the leaders were misdirected on the course on an occasion or two.  I don't mean to be flippant with the medal comment but my point is that the human mind romanticizes the good in the events in our lives and often forgets that bad things.  This is necessary in order to get through life.

With the Running for the Bay Marathon, there lies great potential. I mention the medal earlier because having a good medal means a great deal and not just in the "Hey, this is pretty!"sort of way.  No, the finisher's medal shows an attention to detail and care by the race organizers to the desires of its participants.  It shows they care enough to try and please their runners.  Heck, this race even had multiple-Olympian Keith Brantly come and speak to the participants at dinner.  Even if the runners may not have known who he was at first  (a knock on the knowledge of the average runner and not Mr. Brantly himself) it is an effort that means a great deal in country of nearly 500 marathons and far less attention spans.

Personally, this race presented a chance for me to do one of two things.  First, I wanted to run a 3:02 marathon simply because I have never run that time.  I have run every other time from 2:58 to 3:31 but I have never run a 3:02.  When I stated these intentions a few in the know said that a 3:02 would probably be enough to win the marathon outright.  Of course, now that thought was in my head.  So I said if it was close enough at the end, I would eschew the 3:02 and go for the "W" but the pace I would set from the start would be 3:02.  I could see that the weather would be warm, far more humid than my body can function in ideally and promised to be also produce a cloudless sky.  All things not in my favor.  In addition, as the weekend wore on and a lot more energy was being expended in places I was not expecting, I doubted a 3:02 would happen at all. Nevertheless, a 7:00 minute mile was the plan.  I shared this with tons of people at the expo the day before the race, listened to their stories and met, as usual, a ton of awesome people.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eating Beef

Anyone who has known me for any of my athletic career knows I have a long-standing love of fueling myself with beef.  For the most part, growing up, while I paid a little more attention to my diet, I know I decided a lot of my food choices by taste.  However, a staple of the Rauschenberg household was beef: roasts, steak, burgers, etc.  Well, that and fake double-surfing with my brother, natch.

When I began to run, run far, and run long my diet didn't change very much. Neither did my desire to basically see food as something I ate because of the way I liked its taste and the ease with which it could be cooked. Today, being home very infrequently and usually quite busy when I am home (and usually cooking for one) I don't make much time in my schedule for four course-meals.  Yet, I still have steak or protein-rich beef nearly every day, when possible.

The duck was merely an appetizer after my 33 mile birthday run.
My trips to steakhouses after marathons are basically how I begin not only the refueling process but the "OH MY GOD that tastes soooo good" process.  I make these trips because I knew it worked for me and I knew I felt good before, during, and after eating beef.  But as I started doing different running feats that obviously required something most people do not have, I knew that the three-headed beast of good exercise, good genes and good nutrition obviously played a part in what I was able to do.  So I did research.  I read books.  I experimented on myself with different food types.  Over and over again, the resounding proof in facts I found and the results on race day were that I performed best when I was making sure I had beef in my diet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kansas City Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 32nd Edition 
855.6 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Kansas City Marathon
Place: Kansas City, MO
Miles from home: 1067 miles
Weather: 50-70s; Bright sunshine; slightly windy

If I didn’t recall one or two marathons where I spent more time doing it, this would be the Marathon of Bathroom Breaks.  However, the Kansas City Marathon will still be in the top three, regardless.  But don’t worry, there is more to talk about than my gastro-intestinal issues.

With the short week following the Wichita Marathon on Sunday, the Saturday running of the KC Marathon gave me a chance to see how well my recovery, following months of being exhausted from my 202 miler in April, was progressing.  At the marathon expo I was given the pleasure of addressing runners as one of the featured speakers. The question of how I recover so quickly from marathon to marathon was one topic on the mind of many of those in attendance.  As I was working with the Kansas Beef Council and sporting my “Real Men Eat Beef” t-shirt, I can see why my particular eating habits were a hot topic.

While I made it clear that if I knew the exact reason why I am able to do what I can do I would bottle it and sell it, I said that I can tell them what I do and they can make their own conclusions.  As many people desire to eschew scientific studies and facts presented to them in favor of real-life testimonies, speaking about my own revelations is something many take very seriously.  Fortunately, love it or hate it, I pull few punches, regardless of the audience I am speaking to and shoot rather straight. So when I told those in attendance I can, whenever possible, get healthful lean beef into my diet, even the night prior to my races, a few eyebrows were raised.

Unfortunately, due to the lateness of the expo and my commitments to it, I had no chance to partake in my usual beef-loading and had to partake in the pasta dinner, hastily eaten in between signing books at the Beef Council’s booth.  No problem.  Pasta rocks too.  I then spent some time with a good friend after the expo, watched a little TV, and got to bed at a decent time (for me at least) of 1:30 AM.  Soon it would be time for my 120th Marathon to begin.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review: Angels and Antelopes: The Story of a Cross-Country Race

Angels and Antelopes: The Story of a Cross-Country Race is exactly what the title says it is: a tale about a certain cross-country race.  Did the race happen?  Is it fictional?  Does it matter if it is either?  No, not really.

While at the brand new GoRun Wichita store last week doing a book signing, I noticed this book on the shelf near the register.  Written by Randy Mijares, one of the co-founders of the GoRun Wichita store, the book is a story of middle school girls, as they take on the National Championship meet.  A race, told from the viewpoint of one of the young girl participants, unfolds before the reader in simple prose with more than a few chuckles.

Who wins or loses here is of little consequence.  One can tell the book was written by someone who cares about the nurturing aspect of the sport, so it is of little surprise that the author is also the founder of the Flying Angels Cross Country Club.  This club is a youth running team based in Wichita, Kansas comprised of girls and boys, ages six and up, who meet regularly to train together.

Undoubtedly many of the runners Randy has coached are either directly represented in this book or are a composite of many.   In either case, the book reads very fluidly and is one any parent with a middle school runner in their house would greatly enjoy.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 See Dane Runs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 31st Edition 
829.4 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon
Place: Wichita, KS
Miles from home: 1038 miles
Weather: 50-70s; Bright sunshine leading to cloudy skies

Sometimes you just get lucky. And by taking a leap of faith, based on hunches and personal connections, I got lucky with the Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon.

It was a crazy weekend (plus) in Wichita but in a wonderful way.  From television interviews to promote the race to giving pep talks to middle school cross-country runners to minor league hockey games to taking part in a race that was filled with both good parts already and great potential, I could not have been more happy to have spent the past few days in Wichita.

I can say right now that any recap of this race would leave out probably half a dozen things which were both fun and fantastic.  However, Wichita is definitely one of my favorite cities in this country. Mid-western charm, sports fans galore and a recommitted positive attitude to a marathon which had been flagging in both popularity and numbers of late, makes this a top-notch city.

I had the extreme pleasure to be in touch with many of those involved in making this race the success it way and in more than doubling last year's marathon finishers alone, this race is on the road to much more.  Were their things that can be better? Absolutely.  I am pretty sure there is no perfect race out there.  But little details were paid attention to and bigger details were handled masterfully.  I can only hope to be back here again next year and hopefully sooner than that as well.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kiawah Island Marathon

Even as my mind is gearing up for races of other distances and disciplines, I am still adding marathons to my schedule for the remainder of this year.  And more ironically, many of them happen to be ones I wished I had been able to run during my 52 Marathons in 2006 but could not for various logistical or financial reasons.

As such, I could not be happier to say that while I prep to run my first marathon in Kansas this weekend, I am also simultaneously making plans to not only run my first marathon ever in South Carolina but also to be the featured speaker at the Kiawah Island Marathon on December 11th!

With four years of living on the eastern seaboard in the greater Washington DC area, it is quite funny to me that only after moving to the Mountain States region of our country that I actually, in just this year, will knock off  South Carolina and Louisiana (the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, to be exact) from the States-I-Haven't-Run-A-Marathon-In list. Somehow, over half of New England, New Jersey and North Carolina remain. Nevertheless, now I will finally be running a race I have head nothing but good things about ever since I first started running marathons.

Here's hoping you will join me in running in the Palmetto State in December!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Running for the Bay Marathon

Just two weeks after I travel to Wichita to take part in the inaugural Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon, I will find myself in Apalachicola Bay, Florida to help start another new race weekend: the Running for the Bay Marathon!

It will be with great honor that I will join Keith Brantly, one of the most accomplished distance runners in US history, in welcoming runners to this brand new weekend of races. To be able to take part in an event that brings in that caliber of talent is something which I can be extremely proud and flattered by.  I hope to find the time to pick Keith's brain and learn how he was able to stay so competititve over such a long period of time.

Moreover, I will be assisting in some of the actual details of the race, as I have been asked to be a consultant on some of the finer details.  That too is a considerable honor and one I am more than happy to provide.

With a course that offers virtually pancake flat running and long crossings of bridges over the Gulf of Mexico, there is plenty to see along the course and for those who like to run their marathons on level courses - it would be hard to imagine one much flatter.  In addition, running along the beach houses of St. George Island should be able to give us all a place to think about retiring to, or at least coming back to sink our toes in the sand once the race is over.

It is easy to see I am excited about spending a weekend down here  in an area of the country I have never before spent time.  Registration was once closed but given the demand by more runners to be able to get in this inaugural race, the directors have been convinced to reopen registration for a few more days.  Don't miss out on your opportunity to be part of what is sure to become a destination race for many!

Please come join me the Thursday before the race as I will not only be doing an all-day book signing at Panama City's own Freedom Sports but I will also host their Bridge Run at 6 PM.  For more information, contact Freedom Sports! 

Look forward to seeing everyone at the Running for the Bay Marathon on October 23rd!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quad Cities Half-Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 30th Edition 
803.2 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Quad Cities Half-Marathon
Place: Quad Cities, IL
Miles from home: 1239 miles
Weather: 50-60s; Slight clouds leading to clear skies and good temps

As I wrote in my Blue Ridge Outdoors article, sometimes it is the smart thing to drop one of your goals.  Here at the Quad Cities Marathon, it made perfect sense for me to go from my planned run in the full marathon to cutting the distance in half and running the 13.1 mile option for half-marathoners.  I regret nothing about my choice at all.

As I met old friends, made new friends and have just a wonderful weekend in the Quad Cities area, I could not believe it had been four years since I had made the journey to this quaint cluster of cities nestled along the Mississippi River (and let's not forget East Moline, making it the "Quint Cities".)  I hereby vow, regardless of whether it is for the Quad Cities Marathon or not, I will not wait another 4 years to come here again to race, talk with friends and just enjoy wonderful mid-west hospitality.  The plethora of Chicago Bears paraphernalia sure doesn't hurt my desire to come back either (especially on cute girls.)

I may have found my future wife.
Prior to the race, I was honored to be asked to be the featured presenter at the Noodles Pasta Party.  I also found it funny that when asked what I fuel myself with I, at a pasta party, said I was on my way to go get a steak. But what I recalled about this exact room was how I had been asked by the effervescent Race Director, Joe Moreno, to stand up and give a few words about my 52 Marathon task under way four years ago.  They had not had the speaker in this room since then and here I was in the exact same place, speaking to just as many enthusiastic, smiling faces. Telling those in attendance that they should relish in pursuing the impossible, I had plenty of examples in front of me of those who were doing it - be they the invited runners who could run 2:09 marathons or those who were fighting their own impossibilities.

The Quad Cities Marathon and its related races were experiencing their biggest year ever, yet the races still had a small town feel in spite of full street closures, fire trucks with gigantic US flags blocking whole streets and the aforementioned talent on-hand to make the race seem far bigger than it was.  While I was disappointed to be not participating in the full marathon, I knew I would be able to at least fulfill a position on the pace team helping those wishing to run a 3:10.  My plan was to run as even-paced as possible through the first 8 plus miles and when the full marathoners continued on, I would keep the same pace onto the end so that anyone wishing to run a 1:35:00 for the half knew exactly where that time line was: me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon

It is not going to happen for another thousand years. The date is 10.10.10.  Besides the symmetry of the number, which is beautiful in and of itself, is the ultra nerdy stuff people like myself love. you see, 101010 is not only redundant it is also binary for the number 42.  If it were 26 maybe you, my American readers would be more intrigued.  But for those who see distances in kilometers, 42 means a great deal.  Like the number of kilometers in a marathon.  So there is no way I am going to miss running a marathon on 10.10.10. 

Where am I heading? Well, I have decided to take part in the Inaugural Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon!

This will mark, not only the first time I have run a marathon in Kansas, bu the first time I have even set foot inside the Sunflower State. Eight years ago, on a cross-country drive from PA to Los Angeles on Interstate 44, I drove within .17 of a mile of the Kansas border. I almost thought of exiting on the Missouri side, driving a mile into Kansas and turning around again. But the moment was lost.  Now, nearly a decade later, I get to take part, not only as a runner, but also the featured speaker at the Pasta Dinner to welcome people to this inaugural race.

Crossing the Arkansas River no less than 6 times, (I always love crossing rivers) the course meanders through downtown Wichita and through or around several parks as well. I am excited to have been asked to be part of this event and hope that I will see all of you there as well!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maui Marathon, 5k, and Front Street Mile Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 29th Edition 
790.1 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Maui Marathon, 5k and Front Street Mile
Place: Ka'anapali, HI
Miles from home: 2930 miles
Weather: 70-80s; Bright sunshine; high humidity

The Maui Marathon most assuredly did not go my way.  Even for Maui, the weather was unusually humid.  Humidity does not sit well with me. Actually, I suck in humidity. I wish I could possibly put it less bluntly but it's the truth. All runners will experience a slowdown in their running in humid conditions but I have to say there are few people out there who are as pathetic as I am when the humidity gets high and temperatures go up.  But, I am getting a little ahead of myself.

When I arrived in Maui to take part in the events for the weekend I was introduced to the concept of the Warrior Challenge.  Runners could run a 5k on Saturday morning, then take part in the Front Street Mile Saturday night, before choosing between the marathon or the half-marathon on Sunday morning. I had no intention to do anything other than the marathon this weekend but soon found myself with a Warrior Challenge Bib number by Friday afternoon. I am very impressionable.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Marathon Time! Nervous?


Seriously.  117 marathons under my belt.  Number 118 is happening this weekend on the beautiful island of Maui as I take part as both a participant and a speaker at the 40th Annual Maui Marathon.  And I am nervous.  When race morning comes it will have been 105 days between 42.2 kilometer races (I am going metric b/c Hawaii is far enough away to feel completely foreign.)  When was the last time I had such a gap between marathons?  Last year when I separated my shoulder getting hit by a car?  Nope. Sometime in 2008?  Not really.  At the end of 2007, I had an 85 day gap between Marine Corps and Carlsbad at the beginning of 2008 but that was partially because I was making a complete life change with my occupation and moving across the country. Surely it must have been the rest I took after completing 52 straight marathons, right?  not even close!  That was only 49 days.  No, ladies and gentleman, we have to go back to 2005 when I ran the Rock N roll San Diego Marathon in June and waited until October to run Marine Corps as my last marathon tune-up before the 52 Marathons began.  Yep, it has been nearly 5 years since I have had a "break" of this magnitude.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nite Beams - Product review

At the Chicago Half Marathon this past weekend, I spent some time speaking with the creators of Nite Beams. Basically, the Nite Beams are a LED line of safety products for anyone wishing to be out and about after dark.  Simple concept and one that has been done in some way or another for years. 

When I was given a Nite Beam armband to test run, I wasn't exactly blown away by any sort of inventiveness at first.  I have worn lighted warning products for years at night and didn't expect anything different with this one.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  On my run that evening down the Lake Shore Drive trail from my hotel to check out Soldier Field, the arm-band caught the eye of just about every passer-by.  It was unmistakably bright and with the option of keeping it light constantly or have it blinking, I noticed it really did make me more obvious to those around me.  As I was running on a car-free running path I could not test its effectiveness with actual traffic but he bright lights also lit the road ahead of me, letting me know that it was definitely making its presence known.

I felt the button that activated the light was a little too thick and mentioned this to the creators. They assured me they were working on that presently and would employ a system used i their hats to make it less obtrusive in the future.  Also, I felt the Velcro band around my arm was a little too stiff.  Granted, I basically took it out of the box and but it on my arm, and therefore it may need some breaking it.  Nevertheless, I think a softer foam rubber under-coating would have made it a much better product  For my 7 mile run it was perfectly comfortable but as an ultramarathoner, I think in much longer terms of running!

If the softness of the band is improved and the button made less fat, I think this will be an all-around top-notch product.  But with the one I tested, I think there were small tweaks which could be made to make it even better.  As such,  I give it 3.5 SeeDaneRuns with the potential to go up even further.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicago Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 28th Edition
759.8 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Chicago Half Marathon
Place: Chicago, IL
Miles from home: 1396 miles
Weather: 50-60s; Bright sunshine

I love Chicago.  Yet this race marks only the second time I have ever set foot within its city limits.  The last time was eight years ago and I spent less than two full days here and I had my car towed because I unknowingly parked in an illegal spot.  And I still love Chicago.  Much of it comes from my unabated, rabid and nonsensical love for the Chicago Bears. When I booked this trip a few weeks ago, I did not even take into account that the Bears might have a home football game the same weekend I was in the area.  I kicked myself when I learned this as I easily could have stayed in town a few more hours and watched the game.  As it ended up nearly giving me a brain aneurysm watching them eke out a victory over Detroit, it is probably good I didn't go.

This almost loss capped off what had been an almost horrible race day as well. Racing in the 14th Annual Chicago Half Marathon, I was hoping to continue the best running I have done all year starting with a simple workout about two weeks ago that lit a fire under me.  After lethargy stemming from my 202 mile run in April had set in, I found my energy level had ebbed extensively.  I would have a good workout here and there but nothing consistent.  So by running my fastest half-marathon of the year last weekend in Oregon and having a wonderful weekend at the expo working with the Illinois Beef Association to educate people about all the fantastic health benefits of eating a diet rich in lean Beef, I was ready to take on this course. Unfortunaetly, my body did not seem to agree.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 27th Edition
746.7 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon
Place: Lafayette to Carlton, OR
Miles from home: 802 miles
Weather: 50-60s; Overcast and cool with slight humidity

I have been looking forward to this trip and race for a few months now.  After I made an out-of-the blue decision that Portland needed to be my next home, I figured I should probably go there and actually see the area once before acting on that decision.  With the Oregon Wine Country Half marathon just south of Portland, I found my reason to make the trip.

Having completed the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon, put on by the Destination Races in late July, I had a feeling this race would present some beautiful scenery as well.  While I feel Napa had more of an actual "vineyard" feel to it, I think I prefer this beautiful course.  Moreover, after taking a break from racing last weekend (only the 4th such weekend since my 202 miler) I was actually feeling like a person who wanted to run again.  Amazing what an extra week can do for you.

First 5k: 7:14, 5:17, 6:52
The race started in between two fields of grapes at the Stoller Vineyards with Mr. Stoller himself firing the pistol to get us under way. My race plan was to hold myself in check and try to run 6:30 miles as long as possible and just enjoy the day.  Slightly overcast skies and a coolish breeze coupled with great racing temperatures to give us nearly ideal running conditions.

After the first mile marker proved to be a little out of place (proven by the second one being equally out of place on the other end of the scale) I was pleased to be right about where I wanted to be.  The lead pack of runners had disappeared off into the foggy mists of the horizon and we all wished them a fond goodbye.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Ironman Experience

This past weekend I got to get my first taste of the entire Ironman Triathlon experience in Louisville, Kentucky.  

While I was not racing, I most assuredly was wishing I was.  But triathlons and then potentially full Ironmans are going to be on the docket soon.  I am beginning to build my base of both experience and knowledge about them and expect to be cranking out more than a few in 2011.

However, as the guest of the Kentucky Beef Council, I got to spend three wonderful days at the expo meeting and greeting 3,000 triathletes and here their stories and how they go to this point.  Many had chosen Louisville as it has a reputation for putting on a great race and also has a little more give in its registration process allowing athletes a tad more time to get signed up.  Ironman and full 140.6 mile triathlons are becoming very popular which is a fantastic sign for this massively obese country we live in.

At the KY Beef Council booth, I was helping to get people signed up for Team Beef- a collection of athletes from all over the country who are proud to include Beef in their diet.  In fact, the response from people who wished to sign up for the team was so immense, we had filled the entire roster for Team Beef by 10 AM on Friday!  We had to turn tons of people away including pro triathlete Jocelyn Wong, who was crestfallen when she heard she was too late to join the team.  Fortunately for Jocelyn, she does tons of triathlons and chances are good she will be sporting the Team Beef singlet soon!

Also "hungry" to join Team Beef was Max Longree who took third place - OVERALL!  In this atmosphere for the first time I wasn’t sure what reaction these elite athletes would have to the message that beef is a good source of protein to fuel their bodies.  However, athlete after athlete came up and talked about how they fueled their training on all the different varieties of beef.  And those who had questions, were obviously intelligent people who had done their research (for those looking for more in-depth knowledge about Lean Beef the Ironman site itself, please go to this article by Shelley Johnson HERE.)  I was more than happy to have KY's Director of Marketing, Alison Smith, with me, (who herself is a cattle producer) to really nail down some of the more obscure facts and send more than a few people away with a "Hmm." expression on their face.

More than anything, my craving to enter this world of three sports blossomed as I stood around people who were either chasing a lifelong dream or were attempting to get on the podium.  While I can definitely state I am not really looking forward to all the aspects that come with using equipment in a race (e.g., everything that has to do with the bike) that is the biggest drawback I see.  Everything else is a plus. A new group of people to meet.  New stories to hear.  A separate world of athletics to try and conquer. I am ready to begin that journey and am glad to see so many other athletes, both seasoned and novice, follow a similar diet of lean beef!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Facts on Beef

As you have read in my Boilermaker 15k report, I was invited to join the NY Beef Council's booth to talk about how beef has helped me perform athletically in the ways that I have.

As I have always felt that it is more important what works for you specifically then what works for me I am loath to tell you what to eat, or in that case, how to exercise, what to wear, etc.  However, the world is filled with people NOT like me in that regard, who have no problem telling you the latest fad, food, stance, form, etc is the way to do things.  In fact, in response to a question someone recently posed to me on my facebook account about how I felt protein benefited me (one I would have happily answered privately but that wasn't the venue this person chose to address me) someone with an obvious agenda trying to point out all the ways that beef is bad for you.

OK, well it is one thing to state your preference.  It is another to say that perhaps certain things only work for certain people.  But it is another thing entirely to play with the facts.  While I will argue whether everyone is "entitled" to their own opinion, I vehemently agree with the latter portion of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's quote stating that we are not entitled to our "own set of facts."

So here are some facts for you about beef:

*Choosing lean meat as a source of high-quality protein can be a calorie-saver.

As people love charts, here is one for you.  Please note how many calories must be taken in by tofu, black beans, or peanut butter to match the protein in 3 ounces of lean beef.  In just 180 calories, you can get over half of the recommended protein needed for your daily allowance!  And who, besides tiny tiny humans, have just 3 ounces of lean beef?!

* Half the fat in beef is monounsaturated, the
same type of heart-healthy fat found in salmon and olive oil. In addition, one-third of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, which studies have shown has a neutral or cholesterol lowering effect.

*Lean meats contain heme iron, which is much more easily absorbed by the body than nonheme iron found in plant foods. Heme iron is an important dietary component for promoting cognitive health, including memory, ability to learn and reasoning.

These are just a few of many facts that anyone who wishes to disagree with me on the benefits of beef cannot ignore.  Beef is very low in calories, not nearly as "fatty" as it is portrayed and contains iron more readily absorbed than that in most plants.  Now believe me, there is no perfect food out there and I do not claim that beef is that food.  I just simply know that I perform well when I have beef in my diet as compared to when I do not.  And science, not just me being a freak, backs up this correlation.

Are there other foods out there which may work best for you? Yep!  And I most assuredly hope you find them.  But if in looking around, you dismiss the benefits of beef, you do so at your own risk. 

But what do I know?  I just learned a lot of these facts at the Mississippi Blues Marathon this past January while talking to some guy named Bill (or something), who won some rinky-dink races in Boston and New York like 30 years ago. Four times. Each.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drake Well Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 26th Edition
733.6 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Drake Well Half Marathon
Place: Titusville, PA
Miles from home: 1861 miles
Weather: 60-70s; Overcast and very humid

Click logo for full results.

If you wish to create suspense and drama, you can turn a one mile race into a 180 page book.   If you want to get to the point, a half-marathon can be summed up like this: 5th place in a time of 1:29:00.  That latter part is my place and time of my Drake Well Half-marathon in Titusville, PA today.  I wanted to place much higher and run much faster but neither happened.  However, even if they had, I want to speak about as many of the other participants as I can without turning this into laundry list.

David Terrill telling me in 2009 to turn the sauna off.
First, the big question for this race was the weather.  Last year, we had high 70 degree weather with sticky hot humidity.  Runners were far from pleased and I felt awful that it was so bad. This year, the temperature was 15-20 degrees cooler, with nice breezes and pretty much the same humidity.  Times should be better, right?  Well, wrong.  Besides the overall winner, Ben Ingram, who smashed the course record and ran a time of 2:45:33, many of the times were down.  Not to embarrass them at all but four runners who ran times of 3:03, 3:06, 3:45 and 4:07 ran respective times of 3:13, 3:19, 3:54, and 4:11.  Same runners, same course, supposedly better weather but slower times.  Very odd indeed.

The race was honoring the memory of Lisa MacDonald, who passed away a few months ago (I touch on that here.)  Running in her memory were four women: friends, Katie, Julie, Marianne and sister Stephanie.  Running in lockstep the entirety of the half-marathon and releasing brown and gold balloons (Titusville's school colors) at the start of the race, the women did their friend and family member one heckuva a tribute.

With the race featuring prizes including signed posters by local running legend and 1976 Boston Marathon Champion, it was great to have a local female, Jessica Zimmer (from nearby Meadville) win the women's full marathon. Misti Jesson from Hagerstown, MD took second overall while her training partner Angie Fuss finished just two minutes behind to round out the top three.

After Ingram's fantastic finish, 2009 3rd placer overall finisher Douglas Basinksi dropped 4 minutes form his 2009 time to take second overall in a time of 3:00:32.  Tim Snyder powered through for a third place finish just missing a Boston Qualifying time by 52 seconds.
Liz Hadfield rocking the New Zealand flag.
One of the furthest travelers, Kiwi Liz Hadfield who currently lives in Fort Lauderdale was nothing but smiles when she sprinted the last 400 meters around the Titusville High School track for the fastest overall finish from any runner from Florida!

Dana Casanave, who is attempting to complete 52 Marathons in a year's time, continued pushing through her year with one of her better times of the year by finishing in 4:37:40.  Check out her cause here.
The half marathon featured some amazing performances as well.  Jenny Fiscus, who finished second last year in the half, dropped 8 minutes off of her time from 2009 and won  the race outright. Jenny also has five children.  (The sound you hear is your excuses leaving the room.)  Coming back from a cycling accident just two weeks prior to the race forcing her to drop from the full, Minnesota Golden Gopher steeplechaser Dani Ashford came in second overall. Valerie McNelis from Irwin, PA finished third overall.

Terry's 1:24:48 at the Napa to Sonoma Half was stellar and kicked my butt.

On the men's side, Titusville native Jeff Nelson used the race as as tune-up for an upcoming 50k and took the lead late in the race for the overall victory and new course record of 1:23:30.  Youngster Tim Price just missed the previous course record as well with his second place finish.  However, it was ageless wonder, Terry McCluskey at age 62 whose third place time of 1:27:20 wasn't even close to the fastest time he has run in the past month!

The race had a couple of small snafus which are easily fixed but I heard next to no complaints.  one gentleman requested mylar blankets for runners but the absolute last thing one would expect to need in August in Pennsylvania would be blankets. (And it was like 70 degrees at the finish.)  Comments about the beauty of the course and the friendliness of all those involved warmed my heart - even though I know the marathon contained some tough hills in the beginning. The 13.1 miler was deceptively tough and often feels like you are running uphill both ways.

Changes are being made to add more races to the overall weekend, potentially moving start times of the two existing races around to have more finishers coming together at the end for more of a festival feel and many other things to continue to bring back runners to my hometown. While not officially confirmed, the date for next year should be August 21st and we hope to entertain and challenge as many runners as possible.  If the goodwill and comments from this race make it to the rest of the running world, we should have no problem whatsoever meeting our cap.  With ideas to create an even faster cut-off time, an overall faster median finish time will bring in tons of competition.  Now that Ben has thrown down a ridiculous 2:45, the challenge is set for those to try and best it.

Here's hoping we will see you next August in Titusville!