Running – Comparing A Marathon vs. Ultra-Marathon

I’m often asked, how does running a Marathon compare to running an Ultra-Marathon?

Other than the obvious difference in milage, a marathon being races of 26.2 miles in length.  A Ultra-Marathon being races longer than 26.2 miles for example a 50k (31 miles), 50 milers, 12 hour races or the Grand Daddy, the 100 Mile endurance races. A Ultra-Marathon is different in many way, I address four area that I believe are keys to success. 1. You’ll spend more time on your feet. 2. You have to find a way to eat on the run.  3. The increased physical pounding and 4. Coping with the mental aspect of running the additional mileage.  In the videos below I address these four challenges of the Ultra-Marathon.

Running: Comparing Marathons and Ultra-Marathon

Running: Marathon vs Ultra-Marathon – Time on your feet

Running: Marathon vs Ultra-Marathon – Nutrition

Running: Marathon vs Ultra-Marathon – Physical

Running: Marathon vs Ultra-Marathon – The Mental Game

I believe the keys to successfully running and finishing an Ultra-Marathon are Time on your feet, Nutrition, Physical, and the Mental game.  Anyone can jump up to the Ultra-Marathon distance if they set their mind to it.

Running: Marathon vs Ultra-Marathon – Closing

Go Air Force, Army and God Bless the UNITED States of America.


Runner – Dear Younger Me

A letter to the younger me…

You can’t listen to this song and not wonder what you would tell yourself if you could write a letter to the younger you.

brian mckean

Dear Younger Brian,

You are valued and important in the world.  If someone does not have the time for you, no matter who that person is…it’s their loss.  You are worthy, you are good, you are special and you will be someone special in the world.

Invest in people and relationships, not things.

The thing that seems most important in the moment, will hardly matter in the course of your life.

“I can” comes very shortly after “I can’t”….just keep digging, moving forward and working hard.

Believe in yourself.  No one has enough power over you or your life to say you can’t.

Life was not meant to be lived alone.  Love large.

Not every battle has to be won by nuclear war.

Set your course and do not sell out to the world.

Treat the world fairly and people will treat you fairly.

With love and respect,
The older you.

13900072_1298080476869772_8235949979389878068_n(52 does not feel too bad….)

What would you tell the younger you?




Running – The Best Time To Run Is Now

When is the best time to run?

Are you a morning runner who likes to get it over with before the sun comes up?

Would you rather run during lunch and break up the day with a fast heart rate, sweat and miles on the legs?

Or are you a night owl who loves to run under a blanket of darkness and the quiet of a sleeping city?


Myself I have run at all times of the day, depending on work, life, and temperature.  To be honest, if I had a choice, I would run in the early morning hours. Saying that, I don’t mind running at any time of the day.

In my mind, it does not matter at what time you chose to run as long as you run.

(A Runners World Article on when is the best time to run)

So what are some basic tips to help you get going, no matter the time of the day?

Don’t put it off…  I’ve heard a lot of my (try to be a runner) friends talk about how they had good intentions until the phone rang, the dog wanted out, or the latest episode of “Guiding life” came on the t.v. If you want to run….run.

Be flexible…24/7. There was a time that if I missed my planned run time, I was done for the day.  Not anymore.  I’ll get a run in at an alternate time but I’m running.


Refuse to take a goose egg…any time of the day.  There have been days when I just wanted to go home, sleep in or be lazy.  I committed to myself to not take a zero.  I by logging at least one mile it opened the door to keep moving once my body warmed up and the cobb webs were beaten back.  I once turn a refuse to take zero runs for an 18 miler.

Take the run with you…in the mornings.  I used to lose a few run days to my vacations, not anymore I run while on vacation building my runs into a part of the sightseeing plan.  What better time or way to see a new city then while on foot and on the run.


Get the right gear…during the night time hours.  Running at night can be a bit unnerving or intimidating.  With the right gear, a bright flashlight, reflective outwear and a good GPS map of the city a night run does not have to be so stressful.



Running – 18,000 miles – marathon – ultra marathon – long run

18,000 miles I’ve run since I started this crazy journey on the 2nd of August 2000.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guess that through some high times, some lows, some injuries and some challenges I would still be running 17+ years later.


Running and a fitness life style have added so much to my life.  Over those 17 years I’ve logged a lot of miles…and became a better person.

18 Lessons Running Has Taught Me

1.  Time away from a problem makes it much easier to solve…and running gives you that time and creative energy to see the solution.

2.   Running helps to make a bad meal, or snack not so bad.  I’ve also learned that unfortunately you can’t outrun a bad diet.

3.  I’ve met a lot of good great people (friends) running.

4.  My health has improved beyond measure.

2016GrandCanyonR3NorthRim(On the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, May 2016)

5.  I seen things/places I would have never experienced without the run.

6.  I’ve reinvented who I thought I was.

7.  Life is sweeter while on the run.

published2(The second of two articles I’ve had published)

8.  I’ve found my creative voice from running, I’ve found I can tell a story about my run.

9.  Miles are more than a measurement of distance.

10.  To stop and smell the roses.

11.  Sometimes its fun to be lost.

Umstead-buckle(Sub 24 Hour Buckle From Umstead 100, 2014)

12.  I can do more than I ever thought.

13.  A mile is a really long way.

14.  A mile is nothing at all.

15.  When someone yells “BEAR” in the middle of the night, you’ll run faster….it does not matter if you ran 80+ miles before hand.

16.  I can completely change my clothes in my car without flashing anyone.

17.   80% of the people do not return a friendly wave while running.

18.  When I look for a reason to NOT run, I normally find more reasons that I should.

AND Finally…

gy100picturedunes1(I Ran 102.5 Miles Down the Outer banks of North Carolina)

I may never win a race, or place in my age group, but I can do epic, I can run epic and my life will be epic. ~ Brian

P.s. thanks for reading my blog, here’s to the thousands of miles in front of us.

P.s.s My thoughts when I ran my 15,000th mile.

Running 100 – Umstead 100 – Oops I Did It Again

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeahYeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
I think I did it again…
Just Like Britney,  YES I DID…I DID IT AGAIN
I’m an official 2017 Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Race Entrant.
Umstead was my first 100 mile race, when I ran it in 2014.  You can read my race report here, I documented my race, the training and the support required to run 100 miles.
Let the training begin…

Running – What Are You Thinking About?

For all the miles, for all the time we spend on our feet. For all the running we do over different terrains, different distances and for our different training objectives. Turns out most runners are thinking about the same things. That is according to a study in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Those thoughts could be grouped into three categories:

Pace and Distance
Pain and Discomfort

This study got me thinking about all the things I think about while running.  I was onced asked, what do you think about during a long run, my answer….everything and nothing at all, and with much skill I master those complex trains of thought all at once.

Ten things I think about during my long runs.


1. Oh, this first mile sucks…

2.  I hope that dog does not eat me, followed by I hope that girl, guy, old person, young person, middle aged person, monster truck driver notices me while texting/talking on their phone.

3.  What a beautiful sunset/sunrise.

4. My pace, am I running to fast for my long run or am I running to slow for my short run.  It’s a paradox.


5. Sex…okay I’m a guy.

6.  I hope that hill ends soon, followed by, I need to run more hills….I Love hills!

7.  Is that a blister forming or is that muscle twinge an injury coming on?

8.  I wonder what it’s like to sleep in…

Cleveland Browns v Tennessee Titans

9.  Will the Cleveland Browns ever turn it around?


10.  Quiet time with God.  (not really in scope with #5 but then again, I’m a guy.)

So what do you think about on that long and sometimes lonely open road?



Runner – Anton vs. Me

Anton vs. Me


A Facebook friend posted this picture of super star runner  Anton Krupicka.  Anton is an American Ultra-runner.  Anton has won the Leadville 100 twice, the Miwok 100, the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler, the Collegiate Peaks 50 miler, the White River 50 miler twice, the High Mountain 50k and the Estes Park Marathon.  He also came in second in the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run in 2010 in what would have been a course record time of 15:13:53.

Anton is a “Rock Star” in the Ultra-world…many including my friend think he is just dreamy.  I have to admit he does have that special “look.”  But then I thought…so do I, right?

1.  Ultra hair…Anton has thick, long and wavy hair.  Mines thick….

2. Ultra beard…With years of growth ahead of me, Anton’s beard is the envy of many.  I’ll get there unless my wife tells me she has had enough of it.

3.  Massive ultra lungs…sure Anton runs at elevation…but has he run in 106f heat index on a hot and humid North Carolina night?

4. Ultra-waist line…Being a vegan it would be easy to have a trim waist, try that eating pizza, cookies and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

5.  Short ultra shorts…I think we have a push here, we both pull off the short shorts look.

6.  Powerful mountain climbing quads…okay I concede this one.

7.  Runner’s calfs, not sure about Anton but I can’t wear skinny jeans (boot cut are hard to get on) because I can’t get the narrow cut ankles over my calves.

8. Sense of style, I’ve never been accused of leading edge style, Anton sets the style in the ultra-world…but these socks?

9. Ultra Resume, as noted above Anton has won many 100 miles races.  Myself I’ve finished second twice, once in a USAF 5k while holding off a young butter bar LT 20 years younger than me.  I also won my age group at a North Carolina small town 5k and kept up with the local 16 year old high school track star to place second, again.

All joking aside, don’t compare yourself with other runners.  You are the best example of you that you can be.  If you want to be faster…train harder, suffer more, run longer…but don’t compare your efforts or results to others.  Compare your race times against the you that you want to be.

It has been proven over time that people live up to the expectations they set for themselves….set those high.

I Am A Runner – Why I Run

Why do I run?  There are a lot of reasons. I run because, I enjoy it.  It’s fun.  I run to see new places in a different and exciting way.  I run to enjoy the company of other runners.  I run to experience the beauty of nature, a gift which God has given us.  I run , to be alone, and to be in good company.  I run to challenge myself and to compete with others.  I run to feel young and to learn from years of wisdom.

The reasons are endless.

On one of the many cross country flights I’ve taken, I was seated next to a young girl (she was maybe in her mid 20s) who was overweight.   When she took the seat, the middle seat, next to me “she” apologized for being so large and that she would be most likely taking up some of my space.  I smiled, said hello and told her it was okay.  She then asked the flight crew for an extension for her seat belt.  As she attempted to buckle it out of the blue she opened up to me about her struggles with “being large” and all the things in life she could not do.

She could not go on amusement rides, ride a horse, go for long walks, feel good in a crowd, walk up stairs, go hiking, and wear cute outfits.  What caught my attention during this list of things she could not do was that she said she could not run.  I could feel the the hurt and saddens in her voice.   I smiled and said that I was sorry.  I almost mistakenly told her that I understood, but how could I?  I told her that I did not judge her and that we all have our battles in life and to keep on fighting.  Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what to say.

We made small talk for the rest of the flight and I assured her that I did not mind sitting next to her.  I shared some of my “military adventures” and parts of the world I had seen.  The flight of over five hours, which started off with an uncomfortable conversation ended rather quickly.  At the end of the flight we said goodbye.  Needing to get to a connecting flight I quickly gathered my things and got on my way.  Before exiting the plane I looked back in the direction of my previous seat assignment.  The girl was struggling to make her way between the rows of seats as she moved towards the exit.  She noticed I had looked back for her and smiled.  I smiled back and gave her a quick nod.  Then I turned and made my way out of the aircraft, down the flight ramp, into the airport and on to my next flight.

During my runs I often wonder how her life is going and is she still struggling?  I often wonder why?

11813341_10153598437366458_5794626971266741540_n(Running the March 50K, 2015)

I run to have a body which does not limit the things I can do in life.



Ultra Marathon Runner – My Bad Habits

Running blog post after blog post trumpets the virtues of running.  Some run bloggers post about their perfect training plan, routine and or running program. Myself I’ve posted many times on how you can run better, but let’s be honest.  Let’s be clear.  Let’s be open and transparent.  None of us are perfect.

My Bad “Running” Habits

I do not stretch - Not before, Not after and not during.  Maybe on the starting line or a race I might take a few seconds to stretch out my quads and or hamstrings.  I might take a few moments to warm up my achilles tendons but for the most part I do not stretch.


My diet leaves a lot to be desired - I’ve gotten better over the years.  I’ve tried really hard lately.  I know I need to improve but the number of slices of pizza I eat out numbers the veggies.

I still have a bad Dew habit - I had a period of success, but I’m back to drinking Diet Dew more than I should.

I hate to throw out running gear - I’ve got some shirts and shorts that are over 10 years old and I refuse to throw them out.  They may be too big, the cords (in the shorts) and elastic is gone but I still keep them and yes wear them once in awhile.


I like black -  On 99.999% of my outings I wear black shorts, black compression shorts, black leggings or black pants.  I feel a lot of pressure to make sure my bright colored running shirts match my shorts.  It used to cause me a lot of stress until I figured out everything goes with black.

I have a sock problem - I believe new sock day should be a national holiday.  Nearly every time we go shopping in person or online I can be found checking out the newest high tech socks.  The right socks can make the man or the run.


I don’t wear sun block - No I’m not George Hamilton or the new Crispy and creepy Colonel Sanders…I’m just dumb.

Running is about getting better, it’s about improving….so I’ll continue to run and try to improve on my bad habits.  Until then…anyone up for some sun bathing and pizza?

What are your bad running habits?