Monthly Archives: September 2018

Cleveland Marathon – A Running Weekend in 2019 – Run Cleveland


I’ll be back, again…again…again and again in 2019

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I’ll be returning to North East Ohio to run the Cleveland Marathon series in 2019 and I can’t wait.  To help you reach your goals I’ll be posting training tips to help you run your best Cleveland!

Tip #1 To have a successful run at Cleveland, build your base now.  A successful marathon begins at least six months before race day.  You need a solid base of fitness to maximize your efforts on race morning.TipsCover

Want to run your best Marathon or any race for that matter?  Click here to learn the tips and tactics I’ve learned over 18 years of marathon racing.

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To help you save money, I’ll have a special discount code for my blog followers to save a few bucks on your entry fee.  Stay tuned for more exciting news….

Why you should run the Cleveland Marathon.

Disclosure: I was selected to be a race ambassador for the Cleveland Marathon and received a free race entry. This WILL NOT influence my posts in anyway. I tell it like it is…period.

 

 


Races That Changed My Life – Marathon and Ultra Marathon Running


Five marathons or ultra-marathons races/runs that changed have my life.

When I first started on my fitness journey, it was never on my scope to run a marathon or an ultra-marathon.  18 years later I can hardly believe the number of miles I have covered or the lessons that have I learned.

1.  My First Marathon - I began my fitness journey to simply get back into shape.  At that time, I was a mid-30 something young man who was beginning to feel the mid-life riff.  Stepping on the treadmill that faithful day I had dreams of regaining some form of fitness and one day running a 10k where my heart didn’t explode.  Maybe in my wildest dreams I could envision a “better” version of me running a half-marathon.  A full marathon, that is what “other” people did.

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On April 24th 2005, in just over four hours, I ran the Shakespeare Marathon.   My life would never be the same.  I learned much about myself during the nine months of training.  I found my spirit during the time it took me to cover the 26.2-miles.  After finishing the race, I believed I could do anything I set my mind and my will to accomplish.  I became aware that I was capable of being that “other” person, the ones who achieved their goals and dreams.  I learned that any task, challenge or ambition could be met if you tackled it one step, one day at a time.

Nothing seemed impossible after this race.

2.  My First 24-Hour race -  I didn’t see it coming.   A simple black and white flyer picked up at a local running store enticed me into signing up for a 24-hour race.  What was I doing, I asked myself?  How hard could it be to run for 24-hours?  I reasoned it’s only one day.

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I started that race alone, one runner among a group of people each testing themselves against the clock.  I learned a lot about myself as I struggled in the latter stages of the race.  I completed 52.5 miles in just over 16 hours.  More importantly I was introduced to the ultra-running community.  I learned that your competitors can and will become your best friends and your greatest supporters.  I discovered that runners are a community who live, laugh, love and toil together.  I learned that each of us while trying to do our best can lift up others around us.  I learned that although running is a solo sport it is also a community of friends who understand the challenge of pushing our bodies beyond what we believe are our limits.

Running has never felt the same since that day.

3.  My First 100-Mile race –  When asked by friends if I would consider running a 100-mile race, not this guy…had been my standard reply.  “I’m not that crazy.”

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Running the final half mile of the Umstead 100-mile endurance race, knowing I had covered 99.5 miles in under 24 hours, I could barely contain myself.  Approaching the finish line, I looked for my wife who had provided crew support all day.  In between emotion filled eyes I spotted her and yelled “Michele, get to the finish line.”  I’ll never forget her reply “You’re done?  Your early!”

I continued to run for the finish line as she made her way to greet me.  At this point my body was in such pain, and my mind was using every trick in the book to compel me to keep moving forward.  With my goal, just a few strides in front of me I couldn’t believe I was going to complete a 100-mile race.

As I crossed the timing stripe for the 8th time the volunteer sitting behind the timing table called out my number, looked down at the scoring sheet and said “congratulations.”  I remember seeing my wife standing front and center behind a string of yellow tape.  I noticed her eyes were full of tears and my running mentor George stood just feet away looking proud of me.  I can still recall in great detail when Blake Norwood handed me a Umstead 100-mile sub 24-hour finishers buckle and I remember straining to hold it all together.  Blake next presented a girl standing next to me with her buckle, she began to cry and I lost all control.  I was a 100-mile finisher and I could no longer keep my emotions inside.  I moved slowly but as fast as I could, towards my wife.  She hugged me and took me into the cabin to sit down.  I was happy to be still.  I was so proud I had completed my goal, so thankful to everyone who invested and supported me on my journey to run further than I ever imagined possible.  I knew that somehow, 100-miles later, I had become a different person.

100-miles changed my outlook on life.

4.  Running the Grand Canyon – It’s sometimes hard to imagine a race or a run being bigger than the total distance.  Running the Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim was so much more.

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The beauty, the friendships, the distance and the struggle to finish left an impression on my soul.  It’s hard to capture in words the overwhelming beauty of the Grand Canyon.  The colors, shapes, and textures flood your senses.  For a brief period, I was not simply a visitor to the canyon I along with four friends were part of the Grand Canyon.  We gathered as friends along the south rim, wide eyed, open minded and unsure of what we had gotten ourselves into.  I believe each one of us knew we would never be the same.  Over the course of the day, over the 44-miles from the south rim to the north and back we shared our excitement, we shared our journey, our experiences, our struggles and we created a bound we will share forever.  It’s funny whenever I see a post from anyone of this group on Facebook I instantly remember our run at the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is more than a place to run it’s a life shaping experience on so many levels.

5.  Shamrock Marathon 2013 – Susan was told she had breast cancer.  She was told that one day she would not be able to walk because of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Susan asked if I would run with her while she trained for a half marathon. (spoiler alert, she didn’t stop there)

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Nearly a year later Susan and I ran along the Virginia Beach boardwalk with the finish line celebrations just out of site.  “Susan.”  I called out in between deep breaths as I tried to keep my composure together.  “Susan, you’re going to do it…you’re going to finish the Shamrock Marathon.”  I had spent over four hours glued to Susan’s shoulder.  I was so proud of her.  Susan was a fighter, she overcame some of the scariest health concerns.  She was determined, never giving up day in or day out.  Susan was the first person I ran with consistently.  We ran in the rain, the heat, the cold, through thunderstorms, and in races.   Together we ran easy miles and we ran the long hard miles.  Susan overcame so much and I learned to open myself up to others.

Running was no longer about finish lines…running became about the journey, the adventure, the experience and most importantly about the relationships.

Check out my two running related books on Amazon.

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Honorable mentions:

JFK50 (I’ve run this race three times) – to run the one of oldest of ultra-marathons gave me the sense that I had arrived.

Graveyard 100k and 100-Miler – I ran the 100k step for step with George N, we finished in the exact time.  My second 100-miler made me feel like the first wasn’t a fluke.  I ran this race solo.

Yeti 100 – Joined the cult.

Hinson Lake 24-hour race 2017 - First race that proved I could run for 24-hours.

In all of these great events I learned that running will always be about my next great running adventure…


Ultra Marathon Success and Surviving a DNF – Did Not Finish


In life and in running it’s important (so I’ve learned) to not take your successes or your failures to serious.

It takes a lot of courage to sign up for a race.  It takes a lot of dedication to train and prepare for the big day.  Likewise it requires a major commitment both personally and financially to show up on race day.  If you run and race long enough it is bound to happen…Did Not Finish.

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“Defeat should never be a source of discouragement but rather a fresh stimulus.”   Robert South

So how do you survive a DNF?

1.  Accept it.  It is what it is…on that day and time you were unable to finish that one race.  Plain and simple theirs nothing you can do to change that fact.  Like many of life’s challenges the first step in getting over it is to accept it.

2. Remember a DNF does not define you as a person.  I get it running is a big part of our lives.  It consumes much of what we do, think and plan for.  BUT…running is only one part of who you are.  You are so much more than the results of a race gone wrong.  One event won’t define your life…one race does not make your running career.

3.  Give yourself time to grieve.  That may sound foolish, but its true.  Like anything in life, if it means enough to you…when you lose it it hurts.  Allow yourself to mourn the loss of the goal.   Acknowledge the pain your feeling.  Set aside time to grieve…but limit that time to a productive period.

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4.  Learn from it.   There are lessons to be learned in everything we do.  Once you can look back at your race subjectively, rid of the emotions, look at the race to learn where things went right and where things went wrong.

5.  Get back on the horse.  The best way to move on from the past is to focus on the future.

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald