Friday, April 30, 2010

Interview with Dick Beardsley

I have written about Dick Beardsley on numerous occasions before (reviewing two different books, one about and one by him here and here.) Ever since first having the pleasure to meet Dick back at the White Rick Marathon in 2006 (number 49 of 52 marathons for me that year) I have met and spoken to him a plethora of times.  I was fortunate enough to be humbled by Dick writing the foreword for my book, See Dane Run - a dream come true for a first time author writing about running.

Of all the pictures, I had to go with the one with the sweet ' stache!

However, today I am pleased to bring you an interview with the man himself.  If you don't know who Dick Beardsley is, I have to admit I am curious why you are even reading my blog.  But fortunately for you, the internet is vast and wide and you can do a quick brush up HERE on him. In the interim, I can say that besides being one of the fastest American marathoners ever, he is an inexplicably nice man and just an absolute tribute to the human race.  If I can be so bold as to call him a friend, it means I have done all right with my time on this planet.

Without further ado, my interview with Dick:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

AOR 202: A Final Note

First and foremost, I want to thank all the wonderful people wishing me good luck in my 202 miler starting *gulp* tomorrow.

Second, I want to let everyone know they can follow my progress on my twitter page which will be updated via my profile.  My crew will try to post every leg with its split time so you will always be able to pinpoint where I am.  For a list of all the legs and an overall interactive map, you can go to the AOR website here.

Third, good luck to all of the other teams as they start throughout the day on Friday (the earliest at 7 AM).  I myself am hoping to finish Saturday afternoon with a bulk of the teams but don't care much if it takes me until Tuesday.  Barring dire unforeseen circumstances, I will finish all 202 miles.

So from 95 Presidential Circle, Gettysburg, PA‎ to the corner of Water and 9th Streets on the SW waterfront in DC, I will be running.  Few of us know in advance when life-changing events will occur in advance.  I am one of those lucky few.

It's about time to go for a long run.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One week until American Odyssey Relay

Back in October I announced my next big running goal - running the 202 American Odyssey Relay solo. It seemed like a good idea at the time, safely 6 months into the future.  Just one week away, it still seems like a good idea, just one that most assuredly is going to hurt. A lot.

Unlike many people I have no problem sharing my goals and ideas out loud.  I know many like to keep their "a" goals secret and many even keep races secret from friends, preferring to run without the pressure of having others know what they wish to do or are in the middle of doing. Personally, I do not mind the pressure.  Sure it stinks when you have to tell friends you had to DNF a 50 miler, or drop down from a 100 mile attempt to finishing the 50 mile option instead, but then there are times when you bounce back and win a 50 mile race unexpectedly that make it all worth it. To me there is no pressure, no criticism, and no anonymous jackass emails that can come even close to the high standard I hold for myself.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Energizer Keep Going Award Nominations Open!

You may recall last year that I was one of the Top Ten Finalists to win the Energizer Keep Going Award.

While I was not the final recipient of this award (out of an outstanding crop of finalists), I was recently informed by those running this contest that the nomination process is open again. I obviously would love to win this award in 2010 as the winner receives $5,000 to go to the charity of their choosing.

Ironically, the deadline for submitting a nominee is April 23, 2010 - or the exact day when the American Odyssey Relay officially starts and I will already be ~100 miles into my 202 mile run. If you were to so choose to nominate me, I would of course be greatly appreciative of your doing so.  And if nominated I hope you will return to their site every day to cast your vote so I can bring home that bacon and help a worthwhile charity!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

St. Louis Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 13th Edition
356 miles raced in 2010

Race: Go! St. Louis Marathon
Place: St. Louis, MO
Miles from home: 1319 miles 
Weather: 50-70s; sunshine

I have never seen so many redheads in my life.

We often use hyperbole when we describe things but I am so glad my friend Alli with me to back this up.  Over and over again at the Go! St. Louis Marathon expo I saw redhead after redhead.  They say you easily see things you are trying to notice but unless Ireland was actually located outside of the Billikens Arena in St. Louis it was impossible to miss all the fiery goodness this weekend at the expo.

In the days before the race, I knew I was going to do my best to run rather slow and use this as my last training run before my 202 miler.  As such, I got to do all the things I usually do not get to do because I am too concerned with saving my energy for the race.  Being in St. Louis, my timing was right to not only see my first hockey game ever but to also witness Keith Tkachuk's final game as a player in St. Louis.

The next day prior to the expo, on an absolutely gorgeous day, I was able to head to the top of the Gateway Arch with Alli and check out the view from there.  Pretty fantastic.

But there was a 26.2 miler to be run, regardless of how easy I wanted to do it.  So after almost laughing myself silly at the 16,000 redheads I saw (and countless other wonderful people including many friends I was meeting in person for the first time), it was time to head to bed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meet me in St. Louis

After a 50 mile DNF, a 50 mile win and course record and 100 mile dropped down a to a 50 mile (where I just found out yesterday I took 9th place overall in - not bad considering I debated the fourth lap for 35 minutes!) it is time for me to run another marathon.

So off to the Go!St. Louis Marathon I go to take part in the 115th marathon of my life.  I will also be the featured speaker at this race weekend and be signing books from 11 AM to 7 PM on Friday and from 10 AM to 7 PM on Saturday at the race expo.

I am also happy to announce that this will be the first expo where I will also have my new collectible posters available for signing as well.  Capturing the final strides of my current Marathon personal best, the poster encapsulates everything I love about this sport: camaraderie, happy crowds, runners of all speeds, and beautiful scenery.

This race will also survive as the final tune-up for my solo running of the American Odyssey Relay.  I have my crew set, a mascot joining me, a camera crew on board and just 202 miles of road in the way between me and officially retiring from running another step again for the rest of my ever-loving life.  OK, I am kidding about the last part. But with two weeks left until I am on my way on this epic journey you can imagine I am a mixture of anxiousness, nerves and a desire to get this baby going. 

But first up, the Go! St. Louis Marathon.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

R.I.P.- James A. Fortner, Jr. (October 3, 1938 - April 1, 2010)

The running world lost someone special a few days ago.

James A. Fortner, Jr., known as "Jim2" to many, passed away due to cancer.  I just found out yesterday.

I had never met Jim. Neither did many whom he provided a great deal of information to.  That nonetheless does not mean these people won't miss it.  Heck, half of the comments on his obituary page start with something akin to "I've never met Jim..." and end with "but he helped me so much."

By the time I virtually met Jim, I was dozens and dozens of marathons into my running career.  He was still able to provide me with a great deal of sage advice, endless data, and helpful tidbits.  I once asked him (off the cuff), if he had any way of figuring out how many people ran faster than my current PR of 2:49:36 in the year I ran it (2009).  Before I knew it, I received an email with an attached spreadsheet that had 110 of the fastest marathons run in 2009 with total number of finishers and total number of runners under my PR, cross-sectioned not columns with a "with Boston" and "without Boston" total.  First of all, I have no idea how much time he spent on that.  Second of all, it went above and beyond the call of duty.  He could have just said: "about 1,000" and I would have been happy.  But that was not Jim's way. (FYI, it was 1295 including Boston; 885 without.)

As is evidenced by Jim's running page, he had a lot of info to share with a lot of studies and stats to back it up. if you have not had a chance to look at his page, and you run, I would highly suggest you do so.  A no-frills cornucopia of info, there is something there for every runner.

Please also take time to sign Jim's obituary guestbook.  Obviously it does nothing for Jim, but I am sure his loved ones enjoy hearing how many people he helped.

You will be missed, Jim. Hope you are setting new PRs wherever you are.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lengthy Response - I'm Not Crazy

A former co-worker (friend, and ironically, as we found out later, cousin) of mine, read my article  "I'm Not Crazy" and sent me this response.  I told him that so much time was put into it that it had to be shared as my eyes only seeing it would not do it justice.

His reply?  "Glad you liked it.  Of course, you do know I can argue the other side too!  ; - )"

The email is below:

I read your recent article and was intrigued about why people often refer to you as being  "crazy".  I've always found you to be a fairly rational person, but then again I'm not a professional psychologist or  psychiatrist.  However, as you know, I have received formal legal training and, as such, really enjoy working with the  definitions of terms and phrases and applying them to factual circumstances.  To that end, I attempted to apply the  definition of the term "crazy" to you and your running endeavors.                                                     
The Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary defines "crazy" as follows:

Main Entry: 1cra·zy
Pronunciation: \ˈkrā-zē\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): cra·zi·er; cra·zi·est
Date: 1566                                                                                                                       
1 a : full of cracks or flaws : unsound b : crooked, askew   
2 a : mad, insane b (1) : impractical  (a crazy plan) (2) : erratic c : being out of the ordinary : unusual (a taste for crazy hats)
3 a : distracted with desire or excitement (a thrill-crazy mob) b : absurdly fond : infatuated c : passionately preoccupied : obsessed (crazy about boats)                                                                                                                       

Using this definition, I do not believe running 202 miles in 2 days is "crazy" for you.  It is not "full of cracks or flaws" because you have adequately researched, trained & prepared for this specific race.

Many people may think it is "not healthy" (e.g. unsound) for you.  However, based upon your past experience, running this distance should not be unhealthy for you, especially in light of your aforementioned training & preparation for this race.

Based upon my experience, you have always been "straight" with me and have not been "dishonest" (e.g. crooked) or "out of line" (e.g. askew).

The fact you were capable of successfully conceiving, planning and executing "Fiddy2" & preparing for this race indicate you do not appear to be "completely unrestrained by reason and judgment", or "furious", or your actions are "incapable of being explained and accounted for" (e.g. mad), or you have a "disordered mind" (e.g. insane).

Many people may think the race is "not wise for you to put into effect" (e.g. impractical).  However, since your life's vocation is running & motivational speaking, it would be "unwise" for you not to attempt to run races that are capable of inspiring people, and thus providing you with practical advice & insights on achieving goals to share with others.

Again, successfully conceiving, planning and executing "Fiddy2" indicates you are not "characterized by lack of consistency, regularity or uniformity" (e.g. erratic).

Running this race as a solo effort is "out of the ordinary" and "unusual". However, in order to be an effective motivational speaker you need to be able to inspire people, and successfully completing things that are "ordinary" and "usual" does not inspire others.

Lastly, you are not "distracted with desire or excitement", or "absurdly fond" of, or "infatuated" with, or passionately preoccupied" with, or "obsessed" with running.  Again, this is your chosen vocation and you call attention to it in order to be successful at it.

I know I'd be "crazy" to attempt to do what you're doing since I haven't planned, trained or tested myself.  I think the same is true for those who refer to you as being "crazy".  

So, there you have it. Thought you would enjoy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

ASEA - Does it Work?

As with most people, I am quite wary of any product which tells me it can help me do something better without very little effort. In September of last year I was introduced to a product called ASEA at a marathon expo. I listened to a gentleman describe the product to me and I was intrigued. I learned how antioxidants, by themselves, are incapable of fighting free radicals without the help of certain reactive molecules. The reactive molecules contained in ASEA  are the fundamental components of cellular communication  and greatly influence the operation of the immune system. Why am I giving you a science lesson?

Well, without going into too much detail (as I probably do not fully comprehend all the science anyway), ASEA supposedly is the only product which can increase the effectiveness of the body’s most important natural antioxidants by over 500%.  Was I skeptical? Is the Pope Catholic? (Yes, he is.)

Unfortunately for my health and fortunately for the purpose of experimentation, I was just a few weeks removed from getting hit by a car and severely separating my shoulder.  I was in the perfect place to see if any product could help me heal faster and get me exercising as soon as possible.  When I saw that the product was  made up of Distilled Water and Sodium Chloride, I was even more skeptical that this “salt water” could do much for me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

American Odyssey Relay - Update!

Well, the American Odyssey Relay Race Director, Bob Fleshner, heard my pleas about how this was WAY too hard of a race and something needed to be done to make it easier for me because there was just NO possibility I could run 204 miles.   So he made it 202.

Obviously I am kidding about pleading with Bob but I found today that after some course modifications were done and the re-measuring was finished, that the course is two miles shorter than I originally thought it would be.  Now I only have to average two 101 mile days back-to-back!  Cakewalk.

So, three weeks from now I will already be a day into this race, hopefully somewhere around the Boonsboro High school or further.  I am happy to have Proctor Trivette and his film crew onboard to make a documentary of this excursion and am expecting many highs and lows along the way that will make for wonderful filming.

I am always looking for volunteers who would like to help my adventure along the way as I travel from Gettysburg to Washington DC.  We have a great core crew but if you would like to run along with me at any point, help in the RV or just experience history in the making, please do not hesitate to contact me at

In addition, I am delighted the folks at ASEA will be helping power this adventure.  If you haven't heard of ASEA yet, I will be blogging about them real soon.  Stay tuned!