Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Revolution Run

Earlier in the year I was barely ahead of the least miles I have ever run in one calendar year (which was, ironically the year I ran 52 Marathons). I knew the reasons – travel, racing, and working all lowered the numbers.  My threshold for a successful year is 2,000 miles.  Not because it is arbitrary but because I have found if I am running around that many miles in a year, my results are best. When it appeared I was going to be in the 1800 mile range I didn’t fret.  But slowly a few things fell into place and with the last three weeks of December all being spent in my home (a rarity), the miles piled up. It wasn’t until this past weekend when I did my fake marathon run at Liberty Park that I realized that not only would I probably get 2,000 miles, I might actually get 2011 in 2011.

Then I also realized this was unnecessary.  I would already be upping my miles quite a bit this week and given that I had a fleeting bout with the beginnings of an injury just a few months ago, ramping up for the sake of hitting some milestone was pointless.  So I decided I would simply run what I was planning on running and if 2,000 was hit  - great! That said, barring an injury in the next three days, I will hit 2,000 miles somewhere on the Olympic Oval here in Salt Lake City early New Year’s Eve morning.

Two years ago, when a race got canceled on NYE I made up my own 6 hour run, doing 2 three hour loops of Liberty Park with a brief break in between each.  I did this to simulate what I would experience in the 202 mile run I was going to do just a few months later.  Last year I went to San Francisco and on a day where many seasoned ultrarunners ran well below their usual goals, was able to win the One Day Run with a total of 41.4 miles in 6 hours.

This year, I neither have to travel nor make up my own race as I will be running the New Year's Revolution Run. Supporting the Autism Council of Utah, running with old and soon-to-be-new friends as well, I am looking forward to another great ending to another great year. I will be shooting for about 30 miles, or 110 laps of the oval but the entire four hours will be just about having fun. hope to see many of you there!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Loopin around Liberty

So I described my Christmas morning run last week and I can say it went off smashingly yesterday morning. Seventeen loops of Liberty Park with a jog there and back to give me a smidgen over 26.2 miles.

My friend Chris was kind enough to waste part of his holiday morning with me and helped me kick off the first four 1.5 mile-loops at a nice clip (12:28, 12:16, 11:53, 11:47).  Chris is mostly a cyclist who is trying to cycle all of the designated state routes in Utah.  You can read about his adventures here. He has, however, taken to enjoy running even more lately, so it was a pleasure to have him out there helping me get my butt moving.

We talked about how I hoped to see Henry, who is an older gentleman I see on occasion when I run in the mornings.  I talk about Henry, ironically, in this post about a run on Christmas morning two years ago. We had not seen him by the time Chris skedaddled to go home to his wife and celebrate the holiday but three loops later (11:38, 11:49, 11:53), there Henry was!  I saw him for the next few more loops before he went about his business once again. As certain family members of mine struggles with health issues it is a melancholy feeling I get seeing Henry, so vibrant and alive, out here all the time.  It will be a truly sad day when I don't see him anymore.

The next series of loops was, to put it one way, odd. Somehow, even though at the halfway point of each loop, my times were all over the place, the next 7 loops somehow being almost exact mirrors or one another (11:38, 11:38, 11:38, 11:31, 11:38, 11:38, 11:36).  When each loop popped up with that 11:38, I just laughed more and more.  Being a little tired, I would forget about it until the loop was ending, hit my watch, and laugh again.

I saw more than a few runners out on this morning but a couple running together were out there for quite sometime.  They were running the opposite direction (who runs clockwise?! Weirdos.) and slightly slower than me so I got to see them pretty frequently.  They would sometimes stop, sometimes walk and sometimes utilize either the cedar chip trail or sidewalk.  I was very curious about what exactly they were out there looping around for but I am sure they were thinking the same thing of me.

My friend Darby showed up and did a few loops as well and it was nice to be able to see her.  A few other friendly faces popped in and out and I loved how so many people were taking advantage of a pretty darn nice running day.  The inversion (Utah pollution for those not in the know) wasn't too bad, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the high 20s or low 30s.

I saw I had an off chance to run virtually the exact same time as I had run last year (3:24:26) so I picked up the pace a touch on the last three loops (11:27, 11:24, 11:14).  It wasn't enough however and I ended up running just a hair off in 3:25:31.  I was pretty darn pleased. Kind of amazing to me how just running a minute or so off of pace per mile can make even 26 miles seem relatively easy.  Given the adventure I have coming up next April, this was definitely food for thought.  

Here's hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Running Fun

Last year I had my plans for all the major holidays mapped out.  Then life intervened. So I had to change them.  On Christmas morning I decided I would run a marathon distance around the loop in Liberty Park, the park across the street from where I live.   (I seriously love this freaking park. Made a video of it HERE. Yes, it is schmaltzy on purpose.)

When I move from Salt Lake City, I am going to total up the number of miles I have run on this 1.5 mile loop. It would surprise me none if the total was over 2,000.  It is convenient, safe, clean and flat. It is absolutely perfect for me.  Some people think the idea of doing 17 loops (25.5 miles plus the .75 of a mile total from my doorstep to the start and back) sounds monotonous and boring. Which is fine because I find some people boring. So it all evens out.  But the loops of Liberty allows me to just zone out.  No stoplights to worry about and no street crossings -  just the occasional idiot drive in a car not realizing they need to slow when they enter a pedestrian place and lots of time with one's own thoughts.

Last year I was clipping along at a very solid pace when I realized that I was actually going to run a solid marathon time for a simple training run.  I ended up running 3:24. I had a few people pop in for a few laps which really warmed my spirits on a chilly day. Christmas this year looks like it will be more of the same - quite brisk with a light covering of snow.

I have no idea what I will run this year in the Second Annual Dane Rauschenberg Memorial Christmas Mid-Morning 26.25 Marathonish Distance Classic and it really doesn’t matter.  It is about embracing the ability to exercise and having fun while doing so.  Even though it is Christmas morning and I would rather be spending it with my family and friends, burning off 3500 calories, enjoying what should be by then clean air and spending time to think about those I cannot be with is not a bad replacement.

So starting at 9 AM (ish - again, it's Christmas!), you will know where to find me for the next 200 minutes or so.  And if you don’t see me, stand in one spot and in less than 12 minutes guaranteed I will go running by.

Merry Christmas everyone! Love you, Mom and Dad!

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Marathons in Review

I knew this year would not be one that was focused on marathons. In fact, half-marathons alone outnumbered fulls 20-14. Throw in my beginnings of a foray into the triathlon world, all while continuing to travel and speak and promote health and fitness, and I am surprised I even got 14 marathons in at all.

Of course, one always hopes to do well when they toe the starting line and in spite of training that really did not point to it, I was hoping for a PR in the marathon distance in 2011.  That didn’t happen.  But in hindsight, 2011 was a very good year for me marathon-wise. 

First, I did my first ever back-to-back sub-3 hour marathons. I was surprised I hadn’t done this before, but lo and behold there are still plenty of things for me to achieve in marathoning. Second, in spite of a near Achilles tear that would have sidelined me for quite some time, forcing me to shuffle through a marathon and reconfigure my schedule for the remainder of the year, I averaged the fastest overall marathon time for a calendar year since 2008.

So as the year comes to a close, here is a look back at the marathons I did in 2011. (Full recaps can be accessed by clicking in the name of the race!)

01.08.11    Mississippi Blues Marathon - MS

For the third straight year I was honored to be the guest of the MS Blues Marathon in Jackson, MS. In 2009, it had been hot and humid.  In 2010, bitter cold.  2011’s weather was darn near perfect.  Finally starting to get over what had been a horrendous-month long cold, I was just one week removed from winning the 6-hour NYE race in San Francisco.  Funny how one thinks that because the calendar changes the body should be refreshed.  I remember going out at a sub-3 pace for the first 5 miles and knowing there was no way that would continue.

Somehow it did and I ran a 2:59:43. (Video HERE)

01.16.11    RNR AZ Marathon - AZ

Right before the race I did some stat searching and was shocked I had never done consecutive sub-3s before.  Well, I figured I could not only do that but also try to knock off  “2:57” from the times I have never run previously in a marathon.  I fell off the pace in the last 5k and missed that 2:57 goal but still got a nice 2:58:39 to get the back to back sub-3s. Great way to start the year.   

Friday, December 16, 2011

Active at Altitude - Life Changing Training Camp

 I have been extremely blessed in my running life.  I have experienced almost uninterrupted health with just the niggling of an injury here and there. Through my own speeches and presentations, I have spoken to literally thousands of people, heard their stories and have been inspired. My great fortune continues with some of the luminaries in this sport who I can actually call real friends. All that I have been doing in the exercise world for the past half of a decade was not just to see how fast I can get from point A to point B (although that has been definitely an integral part) but rather to learn as much as possible, explore what the body can do, give and receive information from athletes of all abilities and soak all of it in. My desire has been about more than just being an active participant in the sports I love but to give back what I have learned.  I have always said that knowledge not shared is wasted.

That is why I am able to announce, with the utmost of pleasure, I have been asked to host one of Terry Chiplin’s Active at Altitude Running Camps, set to take place from May 13 to May 18, 2012 in stunning Estes Park, Colorado.

I have spent some time in Estes Park already and cannot wait to be back there again just a few weeks shy of my 36th birthday. More information about the camp, prices and everything else can be found on the Active at Altitude website To be working with Terry, who has conducted dozens of these camps, is a treat and an honor. Terry and I have been working on this camp for months and will be giving campers an experience they will never forget.

So start planning your schedule for next year and let us all teach you how to Refuse to Settle!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kiawah Island Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 6; 44th Edition 
683.1 miles raced, 7480 meters swam and 202.3 miles biked in 2011
Race: Kiawah Island Half Marathon
Place: Kiawah Island, SC
Miles from home:  2199 miles
Weather: 40-50s; overcast, slightly humid

Going into my final traveling race of the year I was quite excited. First, to be back in Kiawah, a race that I rank as one of my favorites, was indeed a treat.  To be asked to be the presenter at the post-race dinner for the second straight year was an honor and the cause for more excitement. At the dinner I would be premiering the trailer for the short film that was made about my solo running of the 202 mile American Odyssey Relay in 2010. Ever since the race was completed I have had to muzzle myself and not talk too much about the race or even write a recap of sorts. Mostly, I had no idea how I could even encapsulate how amazing the adventure was or how grateful I was for my crew’s assistance in a typical recap. Then, when I first got a glimpse of the footage for the entire endeavor about a year ago, I knew how I could do all of those things by making sure I kept the vast amount of my feelings and emotions about the trek quiet until the movie was finally released.

While the release date is soon, but unknown (most of the editing process and everything involved is completely out of my hands) being able to at least show the trailer for the movie has had me ecstatic for weeks. So, even though this is out of chronological order, as I ended my weekend by showing this trailer, I will start this recap off by showing you what those in Kiawah were the very first to see.  Click Here to watch!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More than the Bare Minimum

I once was checking my email and saw some of the headlines posted under my web browser’s “Hot Topics List”.  More often than not I glance at these for two seconds (as I do not care about Justin Beiber or most of what counts as a hot topic) but I do like to be informed about the world around me.

However, on this day, one of the headlines was:

"The bare minimum amount of exercise you need to stay healthy (it's less than you think!)"

I shook my head and read on. The gist of the article is that just seven minutes of exercise weekly, if it is vigorous, may prevent diabetes by controlling your blood sugar. Yep, SEVEN MINUTES a week. British researchers say that "You can make just as big as an effect doing this as you can by doing hours and hours of endurance training each week."

OK, let's get serious here. I get the reason for this article. Every single person in America thinks they have the busiest schedule on the planet. No one else has a job, or kids or a life to balance. As such, it is hard to find time to exercise (or so I am told.)

These articles are designed to say "Hey, I know you are super-d-duper busy but you CAN still be healthy." They are trying to get people to at least start on an exercise plan hoping that the feel-good benefits will make them exercise more, plan their day better, eat more healthily and do so incrementally. I get that. Sometimes it is the baby steps that are needed to get us going.

The problem is the article is only talking about what "may" be needed to help control your blood sugar. I think every exercise sports therapist type person in the world would agree that blood sugar alone and its control are not all that is needed to stay healthy, as the title suggests.

And do we really want to be advocating the bare minimum? Is that what this country has come to? I mean, the obesity epidemic is well-documented. After returning from foreign countries I am shocked at how fat the average American is.  Or, in my line of work, after spending a weekend at a health and fitness expo, walking into an airport is a shock to the system. When I was in Korea a few years ago, my two Aussie friends and I played a game of "Spot the Overweight Korean Person." It took us over half an hour to even find one and we were out running amongst the masses. Do you think you could make it to your car before the winner of that same game would be declared here in America?

Perhaps I am too sensitive to the entire exercise side of things. People know what I have done and think that it is obvious that I am all for exercising because it is so easy for me. I am here to tell you that hasn't always been the case. I was definitely overweight in college when I played rugby. Not obese but I did eat a little too much a little too late in the day and too often the wrong types of food. So suffice it to say that even though I know the health benefits of exercise, a run can sometimes be the last thing in the world I want to do.

But here is the kicker. I will run/swim/bike etc.  I will not necessarily go run vigorously for 7 minutes and come home and call it a day. Bare minimum or not, I want more. And I am not saying that solely about running and exercise. I am talking about life.

Do not settle for bare minimum. Refuse the status quo. Strive for more. If you fall short of more it will still be far greater than the equivalent of 7 minutes a week.

Monday, December 5, 2011

St Jude Memphis Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 6; 43rd Edition 
670  miles raced, 7480 meters swam and 202.3 miles biked in 2011
Race: St Jude Memphis Marathon
Place: Memphis, TN
Miles from home:  1519 miles
Weather: 40-50s; sunny, windy

In my third marathon ever, the Marine Corps Marathon, I ran as a St Jude Hero, having raised the requisite amount of money required to run for the organization as a charity runner.  In fact, the race was so challenging for me, if I had not been wearing the red singlet with the St Jude name on the front, I am unsure whether I would have finished. Heat exhaustion had taken over well short of the 26.2 mile mark and just the desire to show that what I was dealing with was nothing compared to what the children had to handle on a daily basis kept me moving forward. When I finished, I was a dreaded mess and remember vividly thinking I would never attempt another marathon again. Obviously, that did not stick.

As I near the end of one of my many running goals, it is no coincidence that Tennessee would be the 46th state I had run a marathon in. You see, I had been saving this particular state for the official St Jude Marathon held in Memphis every year. Finally, this year my schedule abated and I was not only able to run the race but along with Hal Higdon and a few other speakers, kick-started the first every speakers bureau that the St. Jude Marathon has had. This was a fantastic honor for me.

Working with the Tennessee Beef Council, I was also at the expo in my penultimate appearance of the year as the spokesrunner for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Combining what I love to do (run) with what I love to eat (beef) and doing my first ever race in Tennessee in a race I had ached to do for years was the perfect trifecta. Seeing many friends who I had not seen in ages, along with meeting many people who I had talked with for quite some time but never actually met made it all even better.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Don't Call Me Crazy

Nope, I am not crazy. Or nuts.  Or insane.

I know it is meant as a compliment. I really do. 99% of the time I take it as such. But recently when I have heard it, it began to irk me. Let me explain.

It first started when I ran 52 Marathons in one year. It progressed when I ran four marathons in 13 days, two of those being the Boston Marathon at its regularly scheduled time, then the course again later in the day, followed by one in Korea three days later. Then with my 202-mile solo running of the American Odyssey Relay, I heard it more and more. The problem is I feel the use of the word shows both a lack of both imagination and the desire to push our limits.

Allow me to reiterate the first paragraph’s premise so it is clear. I know that no one who says that is trying to insult me. They are just trying to state that what I am doing seems a little out of the realm of their comprehension. (OK, maybe some are trying to insult me, to which, you really are going to have to try harder. I write on the internet - you don't think I know real insults?)  But there is indeed an underscoring of that word that I think is one of the problems with today’s sedentary American.

Why is running 202 miles crazy? Well, because to 99% of people in this country, running a marathon is still something that seems impossible. A 13.1 miler is still slightly insane and an “I only run when someone is chasing me” attitude pervades 290 million people in these United States. So, without a doubt, 202 miles would seem insane, even to many runners out there.

I submit we stop using the word. I think it is the real "c" word. I admit I have been caught saying it once in a while but I really try not to do so. There is nothing crazy about chasing your dreams. No insanity is needed to wish to push the boundaries of one’s own body. In fact, as I have often said, crazy is sitting at home doing nothing eating crappy food endlessly. Insanity is going to work in a dead-end job while your dreams float away. Pure madness is staying in a loveless relationship when there may be the person of your dreams just around your corner. All of those things I mentioned make you a complete and total nutter.

Me—I just want to see if something I would like to do is past my limitations. I already know what I can do. I want to see what I cannot do. So, if you wish to compliment someone because they are doing something which seems either impossible or beyond what you think you can do, find a different word.  Or make one up. Or just tell them they are inspiring and you hope to someday chase down your own unattainable goal. 

Just drop the "crazy" crap.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Northern Central Trail Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 6; 42nd Edition 
643.8  miles raced, 7480 meters swam and 202.3 miles biked in 2011
Race: Northern Central Trail Marathon
Place: Sparks, MD
Miles from home:  2089 miles
Weather: 30-40s; overcast

After being nervous for my marathon in Tulsa last weekend because it was my first after dealing with a wonky Achilles the month prior, I was surprised how serene and calm I was for this marathon less than a week later. Even a mid-week sickness (I get about one a year that knocks me on my arse) didn’t really make me more nervous. It made me wonder if I would be able to complete the race without hacking up a lung, but I wasn’t nervous.  I had some prescription medicine to nip a ridiculously sore throat in the bud (why exactly does a throat get sore from swallowing anyway? Off to the internet I go!) and as time rolled around for the beginning of the race, I felt at least plausibly ready to run 26.2 miles.

First 6 miles: 6:52, 7:19, 7:23, 6:29, 7:03, 6:53

I remembered from running this race as one of the 52 marathons I completed in 2006 that the first few mile markers were off.  I remember being told this by the race organization on the webpage and wondering why if they knew they were wrong why they did not fix them.  Now, it really doesn’t matter where the mile markers are per se as long as the full distance is fine but still it raised a curious point.  To be completely honest, with my sickness the week prior, traveling and everything else, I didn’t look up a single thing about this race. Barely know it started later than most at 9 AM until the night before.  I knew it more or less followed the exact same course I had ran previously and if it didn’t – well I wasn’t going to be first so I would just follow the leaders.

Speaking of which, this race always has a rather tough field with the runners from the area and beyond always coming to run the course.  For example, in my race last weekend with over ~1500 runners, there were 18 runners under 3:00.  In this race last year, with exactly 400 finishers, there were 16 runners under 3:00.  Top heavy indeed!

Within the first 100 meters or so after the race started, I could tell that today would be a combination of watching fast guys fly by and me trying not to cough up yucky stuff on my fellow runners. I was happy to be simply running but knew it would be simply wise to run 3:10ish pace and call it a win for the day.

By the time the fourth mile marker passed, some of the inconsistencies in placement of said markers appeared to be out of the way and I fell into a nice little groove.  I ran with a few different runners for the first 6 miles including another fellow swimmer who got into running because he wanted to balance out his triathlon skills. We were all just taking in what was a fantastic day for marathoning- overcast with hints of sunshine, cool temperatures and no wind. Hard to ask for much better.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Route 66 Marathon recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 6; 41st Edition 
617.6  miles raced, 7480 meters swam and 202.3 miles biked in 2011
Race: Route 66 Marathon
Place: Tulsa, OK
Miles from home:  1212 miles
Weather: 30s; cloudy; windy

People don't believe me when I tell them I still get nervous for marathons. I do. Truly. As I have said often, it is 26.2 miles no matter how many times today you have run 26.2 miles in the past.  It may get "easier" but if you are pushing yourself, it never gets "easy". However, throw in the fact that the last time I toed the line for a 26.2 miler I wasn’t even sure I was going to get to the starting line because of an inflamed Achilles tendon, then you can imagine my trepidation at the start of the Route 66 Marathon. I had barely run anything but races in the time between these two races and was feeling anything but fantastic.  Fortunately, in one of what had to only be about three times this year, I was not working an expo the day before a marathon. For those of you who may scoff at the notion of how much added exhaustion this can put on your body prior to racing, give it a shot. Instead I got to wake up late, stroll around the expo (hang out with Arturo Barrios for a while), get my packet and head back to watch Penn State play Ohio State.

As a proud Penn State grad I had mentioned on facebook that I would be wearing my PSU hat and singlet to show my support for the university I know- the one which has graduated so many people that one in 700 people in America is a Penn Stater. I was not trying to overshadow what may have happened with Jerry Sandusky. I was not trying to put the face of my university over the children who may have been abused.  In a rush to state “No *I* really hate child abuse much more than you!” many had lost perspective.  If the allegations have occurred, there will be no one more ashamed than Penn State grads. I heard someone tell me that of all the friends they have from various universities all over the country, that she had never seen such fierce loyalty as she had amongst Penn Staters as well as the biggest sense of being completely aghast at what could have occurred on our beloved campus.  So my point of wearing the singlet was to show my pride in the ideals that I feel my school has. Not to support the football team and not to support Joe Paterno.  Penn State is much more than both (although we owe the world to Joe and you cannot begin to fathom how shocked any of will be if he knew there were untoward things going on and did nothing about it) and that was why I was donning the Blue and White. If some felt it was “too soon” and I was not being contrite enough, then that is their problem. I feel it is never too soon to show that what you believe in differs from what the masses may think you do.

Race Day:

I was fortunate enough to have a hotel just a few short blocks away from the start of the race. With a late start (8 a.m.) that meant I wouldn’t even need to get up until 6:45 a.m., leaving me plenty of time to get ready and saunter to the start.  It was a chill and blustery morning later called “prefect running weather” by some newspaper article (interestingly enough I have heard the same words to describe about 15 different weather patterns for races across the country.) However, it was indeed a great temperature. The wind, on the other hand, was going to be a problem.

First 10k(ish): 6:35, 6:58, 7:07, 6:44, 7:02, 6:32

My plan was to hit the first half right around 90 minutes and see what I had in the tank to potentially go sub-3. That, of course, goes completely against being nervous about even finishing the race but at times runners can be both extraordinarily wary and full of bravado. I do not tempt to explain it, but merely report on its presence.

 For the first few miles I found myself running next to two of the three founders of the group Marathon Maniacs. I laughed because there had been a post on the Maniac facebook page by some runner  that the “true spirit” of the Marathon maniacs was about simply completing the races and not about running fast. Yet here were 66% of the founders well under sub-3 hour pace. Guess the self-appointed spirit-assessor may have been a little off.

I hung with them for a while but then before the third mile I had to take a much-needed bathroom break.  For the next 10 miles or so I would be just a few hundred feet behind the tell-tale signs of their bright yellow singlets. I figured I could push to catch up to them or simply stay where I was.  As long as I didn’t lose any further ground I figured that where I was suited me just fine.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three more races

As we approach Thanksgiving, I am thankful for too many things to properly mention.  However, two of them have to do with racing.  First, I am so thankful that I am healthy and able enough to toe the line for three more races this year before I pack it up for 2011.  I am also very thankful that it is only three more. Dane is tired!

First up, this weekend I revisit the Northern Central TrailMarathon in the greater Baltimore area.  This race was one of the 52 marathon I did back in 2006 and I am looking forward to being back there again.  A very simple out and back with killer hill at the end, the crushed gravel rails to trails course is very quiet and serene.  Definitely not the race to be running if you need spectator support but one to run if you like beauty in the woods in the late fall.

Next weekend I will be a participant in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon.  Not only is it my first marathon in Tennessee (Tennessee is an anomaly to me.  At one point I had been in every state that touches Tennessee but never Tennessee.  Any idea how hard that is?) but it will be also to support a wonderful cause.  St. Jude is what I ran my first marathon for a cause for back at the MCM in 2004.  If I had only known then where I would be now in terms of running marathons I am fairly certain my eyebrows would have been raised.  However, with this race I will knock off my 46th state I have run a marathon in and be down to the final four.  I guess next up is provinces and European countries.    
Finally, my last race of the year is revisiting the Kiawah Island Marathon weekend.  I will run the half this year and if my legs cooperate, may just try to set a new half-marathon PR.  That would put quite the cap on a year of tons of personal bests. I will also be premiering the preview of my movie about my 202 miler.  All those attending the post-race dinner will get to see that and hear a little about how I was able to run 202 miles from Gettysburg, PA to Washington DC in 2010.

These three races will conclude a one year project I have been working on with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to inform people about how healthy eating lean beef is.  I have been met with resounding support from a silent majority of athletes out there who not only enjoy beef but are well-versed in how it fuels their bodies. Are their other ways to properly fuel yourself for races? Sure. Is their a tastier way? Probably not! 

All in all it has been a hugely successful jaunt to what will be 20 different races in 15 different states. We have been able to put together Team Beefs in plenty of states and jumpstart others.  In addition, and more importantly, we are teaching children about the perils of bad eating and no exercise.

In this time of thanks, I am extremely thankful to be at the front and part of a community of people who are for the most part always striving to improve themselves while also helping those around them. I am looking forward to these next three weeks of meeting even more of those people and being inspired by them.  See you on the roads and trails!