Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kneed I Remind You: Running Doesn't Kill Your Knees

I once again had to listen to someone who has only their shoulders to thank for not having their head further up their ass, tell me that running is bad for your knees. *collective sigh from those who know better* 

I feel that those who want to believe this will continue to believe it regardless of all the proof in the world.  However, I also know my website gets read thousands of times per month and hopefully by new runners looking for information. As such, I don’t mind putting this out there again for them to read.  In fact, let me break it down into a list for those of you who like lists.

1. Across the board, non-runners get arthritis in their knees just as often as runners. And possibly more.

In fact, if anything, long-term studies have found that runners have less incidence of knee osteoarthritis. One study which took place over two decades found while 20% of the runners developed arthritis during that time, 32% of the nonrunners did. I can only do math when I am converting miles to kilometers in a foreign soil race but I do know greater than and less than.  

Furthermore, another study which looked at both runners and walkers found that regular runners had roughly half the rate of arthritis as regular walkers. In that second study, the runners with the highest regular mileage had the lowest rate of arthritis. Now, this doesn't advocate that the more miles you run is better, and I am strict opponent of the high mileage game, but it is hard to argue that running causes arthritis.

2. Age affects knees the same in both runners and non-runners with regards to arthritis

There's no evidence that running accelerates the loss of cartilage, including that in the knees. You know what does? Living long and/or not taking care of yourself. So, you can chose to stop living and stop taking care of yourself if you are worried that eventually you might lose some cartilage. Seem ridiculous? About as ridiculous as not running to prevent it as well. In fact, one study found that when people who were at risk of developing arthritis began a moderate running program, the health of their cartilage improved, while the cartilage of a group of similar people who didn't start running didn't improve.

3. Supplements won't re-grow knee cartilage.

No dietary supplements have been proven to increase knee cartilage. The most popular such supplement, glucosamine, seems to have no structural benefit whatsoever.  In addition, a study that looked at vitamin D supplementation in people who had knee arthritis found that they had the same levels of pain and loss of cartilage after two years as did people with arthritis who didn't take vitamin D. The only D Vitamin good for you is Vitamin Dane. I suggest you take it often. I do.

4. Runner's knee is usually caused by issues elsewhere.

The most common knee injury among runners is runner's knee (chondromalacia) or inflammation of the cartilage under your kneecap. Most sports medicine professionals feel many people with runner's knee have a few common biomechanical problems. These include weak hips and glutes, which start the chain reaction down the leg; weak quadriceps, which can make it difficult for the kneecap to track properly; and tight hamstrings, which shift some of running's impact to the knees. 

That is why, even though I average about 2500 miles of running a year, and my quads are my engine, I still need to hit the gym, cross-train, and strengthen my stems. I do not think it a coincidence that my quads look like this and I have never had a hint of knee pain, even with my 149th marathon approaching this weekend.

5. Happy Up Your Knees

As noted above, weakness and/or tightness elsewhere in your legs can mean trouble for your knees. So get stronger and healthier. Extra weight places tremendous strain on your knees. The American College of Sports Medicine has said that each additional pound of body mass puts four extra pounds of stress on the knee. Science, yo.

As such, you can see how running, which helps keep weight lower (as do many other exercises) could easily be the reason why, as I mentioned above, runners have less incidence of knee arthritis.

Now, if you already have knee pain, well, that sucks. I can see why you would not want to run. Earlier this year I was having severe problems in my calf muscle in my left leg. I later learned it stemmed from a herniated disk from a bike crash. But it hurt to run. As such, I did not want to do so.  You can see how I am not someone telling you to suck it up and run anyway if you are in pain.  If something is not enjoyable you won't do it.
So take your time, lose weight, strengthen your legs, and make your knees a happy place. Hopefully you are not at a point where pain is a big part of your life.  But if you are, the key is to take it slow and pay special attention to make your entire body stronger.

And if someone persists on telling you how running damages your knee, please just show them this route I mapped out the other day in Portland.-------------------------->

Friday, May 23, 2014

So You're Running a Marathon This Weekend...

...or a half-marathon, or a 10k or a 5k.  All of them count. But I am pretty sure that blog title is pretty "Upworthy-esque" and will get more clicks. Nevertheless, here are some last minute tips/reminders.

1. Your Time Is Inconsequential

If you want to get right down to it, basically everything is inconsequential when you pull back far enough.  But my point is that if you don't run as fast as you want, it is not the end of the world. If you are looking for accolades, your friends in the know will still understand how someday race day is not your day and your friends not in the know think anyone running any distance ever is amazing. If you are running for self-gratification, then the fact you put yourself on the starting line should be enough, deep down, to give you a sense of accomplishment. If you are running for charity, or in someone's memory, or to have fun, who cares about your time?

2. You're Damn Right Your Time Matters!

The difference between running and racing is that when you toe the line of the race, you have made an unspoken agreement that you will run the fastest you can on that day. You can run easy and have fun and celebrate your existence the other six days of the week. Now you can argue with me but will you argue with the ghost of Steve Prefontaine (and his nipples?)

3. Chances Are High This Won't Be Your Day

It doesn't matter if you trained properly, ate right, had a wonderful night of sleep, etc., the odds you will have a great race are low. Why? Because, especially in the longer distances, the number of things that can go wrong are enormous.

Accept that reality. Do what you can with what you have. Racing is nothing short of a metaphor for life and life is nothing short of failing and learning how to do it better the next time. There are not shortcuts to the finishline. Well, there are, but you will get DQd.

4. HOLY CRAP! You Are Running Far

Think back to a time before you completed the longest run you have ever done. Try to not be a runner for a second. Do you best to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has not run 5 or 10 or 13.1 or 26.2 miles. It's pretty darn amazing. I often will see a destination sign on a road trip and think "Well, if my car broke down, I could run there in about three hours. In these jeans."

I did a 12 hour race once where I ran 84 miles around a one mile loop. That first step after 26.2 miles was the furthest I have ever ran. So, being a map guy, I mapped out what 84 miles would look like in a circle from the spot where I started. This is what it looked like.

I suggest you do the same with whatever distance you are running from a place you know very well.  Your home. Your office. Actually, do it from your childhood home. Remember how big everything seemed when you were five? Well,  plot out a 5 or 10 or 13.1 or 26.2 mile circle from the doorstep of your house. You are going to run that far! That is fantastic.

5. Don't Freak Out About How Far You Are Running

OK, maybe hold off on the circle until you are done. If I had done that before I ran the 12 Hour race I might have hyperventilated. Of course, I didn't know I was going to run that far and didn't know I really should not have been able to average an 8:34 mile for 12 hours, but still. Yes, you are running a long way. But you can only get there one step at a time. Don't worry about how long the total distance is. Worry about how far it is to that mailbox. Then to the corner. Then to that cute guy/girl in front of you who went out too fast.

Thinking about how far you have to go has never helped anyone get there faster. Simply think about how far you have come. Literally and figuratively.

6.  You Don't Have To; You Get To

I say this all the time. No one is forcing you to do this. You chose to do this. Also, think about how many people in this world would love to be able to run as far or as fast as you can. Think about those who never will be able to. This is a privilege. It is something you have worked hard for, no doubt, but it takes a lot of good fortune to even get to the starting line.  And the only way to get to the finish is to get to the start.

Now give yourself a high-five and triple check when you are running to make sure that fart isn't actually going to be poop.

You don't want to become a meme.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I have been wearing ROAD ID in some form or another for 8 years and counting now. For most of that time I have been working with Road ID to get the word out about how those who exercise need to make sure that if an accident were to happen to them, not only will those trying to help them have the information they need to assist in their well-being but those who care about you will be notified of your circumstances.

Even before I was featured in one of their advertisements back in 2007 for running 52 Marathons in 52 weekends, I was all harping on friends to carry identification with them. I heard all the excuses. I refuted them all and did my best to  being forward thinking with regard to your own safety. As a continuing member of a select group called Team Road ID that is something I still do to this day.

More than just the bands Road ID has made famous, they offer various other safety products as well to help and try to make their ID bracelets as unnecessary as possible.The entire Firefly line is meant to make you eye-catching as possible to anything which may potentially harm you when you are out and about.

I look forward to working with Road ID for years to come, helping to spread the word about not only what a wonderful product they make, but the exceptional customer service put forth by a company started by a father and son team-both who work with the company to this day. It is no surprise that I was wearing a ROAD ID shirt during my solo running of the 202 mile American Odyssey Relay.

If you find yourself wondering if you need Road ID, you only have to ask yourself one simple question: Do they call them accidents because you are able to foresee and stop them?

Get your Road ID on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Get Your Rub On: Massage Means Running Healthy

If I knew exactly how I am able to recover rather quickly from one race and move onto the next, I would bottle it, put a nice label on it, and sell it at marathon expos all over the world. (In fact, I recently found out through some blood work, that not only do I not know exactly how I do what I do, but that virtually everyone should be able to do it better than me. More on that in another blog.)

 I do know, however, that there are certain things I strictly adhere to which have undoubtedly helped me continue to run and race healthy for ten-plus years now. One of those is getting regular massages.

I remember where I was sitting: a sandwich place in Bellevue, WA with my friend Todd in 2006.  It was the day before the now defunct Seafair Marathon. My cell phone rang and I recognized the area code but not the number. I answered and was put in touch with a massage therapist, Terrel Hale, who was donating his services for the rest of the year in order to make sure I was able to complete my 52 Marathons in 52 weekends. Now, I had already been aware of how important massages is to overall health and fitness and was getting one about every month prior to this phone call. At the time it was all I thought I could afford. However, after getting the massages from Terrel for the remaining five months of that year, I changed my tune. Massages were no longer luxuries - they were necessities.

The knock on massages is that they are too pricey. Now living on the other side of the country and many years removed from the massages I received from Terrel, I can understand that rationael, being that they are no longer donated. But people spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on orthotics, hospital trips, doctor bills etc., when a simple $60 massage can help prevent many of those problems. We spend so much money maintaining our cars but so little money maintaining our bodies. When I moved to Salt Lake City, I made it a point to find an inexpensive massage place. Fortunately, I found a school where both practicing students and licensed therapists work together. Are the massages by the students the best in the world? No. Are they very inexpensive and still far better than nothing? Yes! In fact, I could get a massage for three straight weeks for the price of a regular massage elsewhere. That constant maintenance and care to my tired body has paid dividends. Now that I live in Portland, I have been frequenting a few places looking for one that has exactly what I need. In the meantime, even ones which are not perfect are better than nothing.

I have more or less been injured in every sport I have ever played. (Well,, I have never actually sustained an injury from usage as much as I have had accidents befall me.) While I have had aches and pains and soreness abound from what I do with my body in the running and triathlon world, I have now completed 148 marathons and continue to run injury free. Is some of it from genetics? I have no doubt. Is part of it my diet, which I talk about here? No one can rightfully question that. But I also know that taking care of my body not only means fueling it properly from within but also making sure it is cared for from the outside.

The benefits of massage are unchallenged. Physically it helps repair you. Mentally it rests your mind and puts you in a better place. As an athlete these two things are essentially priceless which, if I do the math right, is far less than $60. Don’t think you have it in your budget? Try not eating out at a restaurant once a week. Brown bag your lunch for a few days. The money will add up.

Your body will thank you.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lincoln Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 9; 8th Edition 
72.2 miles run in 2014 races
Race: Lincoln Half Marathon
Place: Oak Harbor, WA
Miles from home: 1600
Weather: 50s; bright sun; windy

This was supposed to be a race recap of my 149th marathon. Instead, for a variety of reasons, it is the race recap of my 76th half marathon.

While most of my racing plans for the year have been put on hold because of the extended layoff I am still in the middle of, this race was not originally one of the planned casualties. Suffice it to say that a day prior I didn’t think I would be running at all because of the stomach bug I was experiencing. Fortunately, I felt good enough to at least put my bib on to start the day. 

The Lincoln Marathon has an option which I think is very wise and more races should implement if the course logistics allow it; runners can choose mid-race which race they are running. I know that without this option I would not have even started the race.  I hoped I would be well enough to run 26.2 but if not, 13.1 isn’t too shabby.

Pre- Race:
When I was booked as the speaker for this race one of the race directors learned we grew up about 20 miles away from each other in NW PA. Nothing like having a neighborhood friend in a place far from home. Even without this connection I was immediately made to feel at home in Lincoln, a really enjoyable city. The morning of the expo I had the pleasure of firing the gun for one of the waves of the Mayor’s Run, a one mile run that thousands of kids took part in. Then, at my speaking engagement I had two packed speeches where the crowd was warm and inviting.

I spoke to many first timers at the marathon expo and their emotions were raw and open. I had someone who was particularly emotional and felt the need to apologize. I told them that not only should they be happy to be experiencing these emotions, they weren’t the first to cry and want a hug. I was happy to give it.
By the end of the day, all the stomach rumblings of the past few days seemed to at least be reduced to smaller grumblings. Maybe I could have a successful race after all.

Race Morning:

As I walked to the start of the race, the temperature was just a touch chilly but I realized that was mostly because of a ferocious wind whipping around the buildings. There was not a single cloud in the sky and the temperature was threatening to climb well above 70 by the end of the day.  In other words, ignorant sportscasters and your NRFs (non-running friends) would call this a “perfect day for running”.  I knew that even if I was able to run the whole 26.2, it might be a suffer fest.

I serendipitously ran into a runner, Jeff, who had contacted me about running this his first marathon. We chatted for a bit and talked about what a small world it was. He not only went on to get his goal (sub 3:45) but I was fortunate enough to put the medal around his neck.

As this race is tied with the National Guard, the race is the qualifier for the National Guard marathon team.  A set number of runners must qualify with a time here to be on that team. As such, many were on hand and I had the honor the previous night to speak at their dinner.  As such, even though I had the pleasure of knowing a few of these runners from other races, I made even more friends that I saw at the starting line. We were told the starting gun would be a cannon but when it fired I don’t think I was the only one who had to check my shorts.


First Three Miles: 7:16, 7:22, 7:36

As we took off, my main concern, as it has been for months now, was what sort of trouble my left leg would give me. Stemming from a herniated disk from a bike crash, the pain in my leg has gotten somewhat better as of late.  A high diet of weight lifting and lesser miles has seen to that. What I could tell immediately was the leg seemed fairly fine. I could also tell my stomach was fair and there appeared to be no chance of making a mess unexpectedly. But what was scary was that I could not breathe.Like, at all.

I assumed this would go away after a few hundred yards or so but it persisted past the first mile. Into the second mile I went and I thought each breath was being taken in through a straw. If this continued much further, I was going to be in trouble. But continue it did, even though I slowed.  By the time I hit the third mile I knew what I had to do. I needed to stop my race day 50% earlier than my original plan. In fact, if there had been a car waiting for me at the 5k, I am pretty sure I would have gotten in it and gone home. Take away a leg or make the stomach queasy and a person can solider on.  Take away their ability to breathe and they are done. I learned this as a Golden Gloves boxer over a decade ago and the same truth is still solid today.

I realized that while I was hardly feeling good or happy with my decision, I could now spend the rest of the time enjoying the race. Through crowded neighborhoods where people were out in force, I high (or low) fived kids, thanked spectators, made jokes with onlookers and did my best to enjoy what was indeed a beautiful day.

To the Half Way Point: 7:36, 7:16, 6:58

As I approached the fourth mile I heard a voice say: “How are you, Dane?”  I turned and saw it was Sergeant Hagen who had been the armed forces gentleman who took me to the National Guard dinner.  He was running the half as well before spending duties for the remainder of the day at the finish. I answered honestly and with an expletive which got a smile out of him. I told him I too would be calling it quits at the half. He asked me if I wanted to hand out medals to finishers and suddenly I brightened. My day would have some purpose after all, outside of myself.

As we ran along, I told him I was going to hang with him as long as possible. Wearing a National Guard shirt, the Sergeant received plenty of kudos from the crowd.  Running next to him in a similarly colored shirt, I felt like an impostor. I had told the assembled military members at the dinner that I always thank those in the military for their service and truly mean it. They do the things they do so I can goof around on weekends under the umbrella of safety they provide. (As a side note: at this dinner there is a roll call of states in which designated members of each Guard says a little something about the state, does a quick joke or in the case of the state of Washington, a full on “You can’t Handle the Truth!” speech that was tailored-specifically to running. It was, in the days of this overused word, rather epic.)

I tried my best to interact with the crowd and also the runners we were passing. I had begun to gain some wind back and thought perhaps I had been too rash in deciding to call it quits. But after second guessing my second guessing, I knew it was the right decision. I only felt good because as we approached the 6th mile, I knew I was almost halfway done.

The course has a sharp downhill here and I experienced what I assumed would be my only sub-7 minute mile of the day.  To wit, I had heard the Lincoln Marathon was flat.  This is not the case.  It is not the Whidbey Island Marathon or anything, and on a good weather day could still give runners some fast times. But if you come to the race expecting a track meet, you will be disappointed. Just a word of caution.

Sergeant Hagen had begun talking with a few other guard members and as he now had some company I took this chance to thank him for pulling me along for two miles, but I had to back off.  The lungs were tightening again and passing out was not on my agenda for the day. At least not until I finished.  then pass out all you want. You have the medal.

To Mile 10: 7:30, 7:14, 7:26, 7:01

I immediately felt better by just letting off the throttle. It never ceases to amaze me how a little less effort can mean the difference between collapsing and running smoothly. Run long enough and you will know where your redline is.  It changes race to race and mile to mile but if you can get in touch with it, you can race successfully and safely. In fact, as we entered a bike bath (which Sergeant Hagen and other members of the Nebraska National Guard actually had recently widened by laying down more pavement) I barely fell off the pace he was setting. I felt world’s different.

The volunteers at this race were top notch. The liquids provided to the runners were given to use in cups with lids and straws. I can say I do not recall ever having experienced that before. I am not sure it is any better for someone who knows the pinch trick but for those who spill a drink on themselves because of sloshing it was a god send.  I do know that with my diminished breathing it was impossible to use the straw. So I took the lid off, drank as normal and moved forward.

We turned north again and I knew this was now where we would not only begin heading home but also take on the biggest of the remaining hills. And as always, where I lose ground on flat portions of a race, I make it back on these hills. I am not as good of an uphill runner as I am downhill but I am usually better at both than anyone who is beating me on the flats. I have yet to fully understand why that is; I just know it is.

Cresting the hill around the 15k mark, we passed over a timing mat.  On the Lincoln Marathon website, people could track your progress at multiple locations. If you hadn’t known the distress I was in, you would have thought I was not too far off my desired 3:10 marathon pace for the day.  I started a little slow at 5k, picked it up at tad at 10k and was right about on pace here at 15k.  Unfortunately, that was the pace I wanted for 26.2 miles, not 13.1.  However, in spite of the fact that I knew I was dropping short, I had no desire to pick up the pace at all. When you have run 15 minutes faster for a half marathon, what difference does another minute or two make? 

I almost broke 7 minutes on the downhill and was surprised to see it. I had just a 5k left and I could smell the barn a little bit.

Heading To The Finish: 7:24, 7:10, 6:47, :43

When I ran up the last remaining hill faster than I had half of the miles previously, I knew the last 5k was going to be rather fast.  In fact, the stats show just that as you can see by this chart. But while that is nice to look at now, I knew I still had to conquer the distance.  Anything can happen in one mile, let alone 3.1. But as the 10th mile passed and we slipped by the Lincoln Country Club, I felt decent for the first time all day.

The 11th mile and all the way until we finished inside Lincoln Memorial Stadium was a straight shot up the street.  It took nearly 90% of the race but I could finally breathe.  If there had been no drop potion I very well may have been able to run the entire 26.2.  But here I had already mentally checked out and knew I would not go a step further than 13.1. 

Hitting the 12th mile, I passed Sergeant Hagen.  I wanted to wait for him and pay him back for helping me along but I knew I had to keep on going. Any slowing down at this juncture might have meant a full stop.  With the stadium looking like a colossus on our right, we made one final turn toward it.  With a big video screen showing runners running toward the stadium, we could look behind us to see who might be gaining.  Fortunately it was no one for me but I still had a few more in sight for myself.  Down the ramp into the stadium we went and I nipped two more.  I crossed the finish in 1:35:22 which was basically the exact pace I wanted for the marathon.  But this was not even close to that distance.

The best portion of my day came after I finished, went to the hotel to shower, packed my bags and walked back to the finish line. As promised I was happy to hand out medals to finishers. If I can suggest an activity to get you out of the doldrums and get you psyched about life, this would be it.  If you care to see joy, elation, exhaustion, achievement, demons being exorcised and dreams being made, lock eyes with someone finishing a half marathon or marathon while you put a medal around their neck.

I spent the next 3 hours doing just that, covered in crusty sweat from runner after runner that shook my hand,
hugged me and patted me on the back. These were not accolades for me. I was as incognito and faceless as possible. I was simply sharing in their wonderful moment. On many occasions I had a line of people waiting to get their medal and I couldn’t get them off my arm and onto their neck fast enough. I don’t know why my line got so long but maybe the runners could tell one of their own.  Maybe because I was trying to think up something witty to say to everyone. Maybe because my day had not turned out anywhere close to what I wanted it to be and I was trying to steal a little sunshine from these winners. All I know was that if there was a job that paid you to stand there at the finish and suck in this wonderfulness, it would be an awesome job indeed.

If you wish to run this marathon, you’d better be fast with your fingers.  The race opens and sells out in less than 12 hours. That would be one thing if it had 1000 people in it.  But with over 12,000 signing up, that tells you what an event this is. To be such a small part of it on just one weekend was an honor.  I hope to come back and claim my marathon medal someday soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Evansville Half Marathon Course Preview

I was fortunate enough to be asked to be the first ever speaker at the pasta dinner for the Evansville Half Marathon presented by the YMCA this October. Sponsored by the Women’s Hospital, I had heard great things about this race and was excited to be part of it. As such, given I had never actually ran the race, I

wanted to see the course and provide readers with a preview of it if they too are going to be first timers.
My friend Michelle Walker (known to many marathoners as Mom O’ Six; she’s Irish [I have no idea if that is true]) and one heck of a runner herself set upon this weekend turning what could have been a lonely run by myself into what was basically a small-scale version of the race. I guess when you are juggling 6 children, getting 30+ runners together is a piece of cake.

Suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised when so many people showed up to run 13.1 miles with me, especially since so many were in various stages of recovery from the Boston Marathon, the Kentucky Derby Marathon or a variety of other races the week prior. Prior to starting, I met for the first time, re-met and chatted with virtually every one of them.  Some I did not get to spend as much time with as I would like but there is always the next run!

We found out that we would have three aid stations along the course at approximately miles 3, 6 and 9. A local running store, Ultimate Fit, was gracious enough to provide those for us. Given that the day got to be quite sweltering, this was beyond appreciated.

The Course:

First Half:

I had heard many people mention that they had run numerous half marathons and this course just happened to be their personal best.  The way it is set up I can see completely why that is the case.

Runners start right outside of the Francis Joseph Reitz High School. After a quick loop around one heck of a high school stadium, a small climb begins. I think this is brilliant course design.  I have given lots of advice ion my day to runners asking how to run a smart race.  The number one thing I have said is to start out slow. Well, as you can see from the first few miles of this course, with a few small hills, it almost forces you to do so.

By the second mile you have crested the last of any hill worth mentioning and slip by the Hilltop Inn, voted the Manliest Restaurant in America in 2009. Known for its brain sandwiches, you might not want to grab one at mile 2, but think about it for later.

At this point a long nice downhill brings you through a part of town that with two quick turns has you crossing Pigeon Creek over a barely noticeable bridge and suddenly you are three miles done. A long straightaway on Fulton Ave heading north is next. I love long straightaways because you can really get into the race. No need to think about strategy and curves. It is all about beginning to feel what your body has and simply running away with it. 

However, I know not everyone likes the same thing with regards to course so that is why it is nice after this mile plus stretch, runners are taken off of the city streets and onto the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage. Running riverside for over a mile, with the babbling water beside you, trees overhead and green all around, it is a stark contrast to where you just were.

A quick jaunt around Garvin Lake has you running in the shadow of Bosse Field. Known for being used for game scenes in the movie A League of Their Own, it is the 3rd oldest stadium in regular use in America, after Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.  Now that is some history!

Second Half:

After slipping by Bosse Field, another long straight stretch affords itself to runners looking to open their strides and turn on the jets. Down Main street you go (how quaint) before passing under an interstate.  The next few miles encompasses a few turns but nothing too ankle breaking.  You get to run a little bit on the well-maintained brick streets of old parts of Evansville between some old style buildings. Turning at the Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science you head away from downtown and back into the neighborhoods. 

Here is where I can only hope townsfolk will be out cheering you on, as you pass by hundreds of homes. The next few miles showcase some of the various streets of Evansville with the next big attraction being the greenery of Bayard Park. When you hit this wonderful urban park, flush with trees, park benches and a playground, you know you just have a 5k to go.

Bear in mind that since that Hilltop Inn, the only change in elevation has been the hop skip and a jump over the bridge at Pigeon Creek.  If the weather is cooperating, this course can be very fast. After you leave Bayard Park, you have another mile long straight stretch to prepare you for the final two miles. Turning right on East Riverside Drive you know that in about a mile you will be hitting the Ohio River for the home stretch.

This final portion is a new(ish) addition to Evansville as it is yet another city doing what it can to make use of what it has to help people get fit. This river walk promenade along the Ohio River is a fantastic backdrop to what I suspect will be a fantastic race. I cannot wait to actually experience it on race day. Although it will be hard to top the medals that Michelle's kids put around our necks as we finished the run!

To the dozens of people who joined me to preview this course (including many who had run it previously and one person who ran the further she had EVER run on this particular day!) thank you for spending your Sunday morning with me. I look forward to seeing you all in October!