Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Korrey Effect: 10 Things I Learned From a 5-Year-old About Running

If there is one thing that I like more than my own running adventures, it is the inspiration that I get by seeing the joy, determination, and success of others in a sport that I so love. Inspiration comes from all people, no matter the distance or pace or age. Everyone has their own story to tell, not only in life but in their running adventures or, shall I say, through their running adventures.

Three of the inspirational people that stay with me through running are my nephew Shawn, my wife Cindy and a 5-year-old named Korrey, my step-grandson. Shawn has run some great races including a 9:06 finish at the JFK 50 and a 3:36 Baltimore Marathon. We have run together in races, raced in races and have had some great conversational runs. Cindy, the bionic lady, with two artificial hips and an artificial shoulder due to osteoarthritis, completed the Tobacco Road Half-marathon, a 10K, and multiple 5Ks. But, the Tobacco Road Half brought tears to my eyes. She trained hard, knew it had to be a run-walk and persevered for a 3:06 finish. I wrote about it here. She is also the best crew anyone could ask for.

For the last 6 years, we have ventured to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Running Festival, a weekend celebrating running and Cincinnati. There are races for everyone from the baby crawl to the full marathon and even a flying fur event for dogs. The entire family can be involved. In our first year In 2014, Bree, Korrey's sister did the Piglets race of 25 yards at the age of a few months past 2 years. Bree ran and ran and ran past the 25 yards to the big kids' finish. In 2015, it was time for all the kids to run the piglets races. The theme that year was All-Star and they were all All-Stars. Read about it here. In 2016, Cindy, her daughter Becky moved up to the 5K while the kids still did the Piglets races.

Now, let's skip a few years and get to 2019 which relates to the tile of this post - The Korrey Effect. In 2018, all 9 of us, well, 9 1/2 since Jenn was with child, did the 5K. The kid's races got so crowded that we figured it would be more enjoyable to do the 5K. We did and we all finished in good time and spirits. But, in 2019, I got to run the entire race with Korrey, and run we did. For a 5+-year-old to finish a 5K, it takes a lot, but for the same kid to finish while running every step of the distance, that is a truly an enduring, persevering effort.

Frankly, I didn't know what to expect as we started. First, there were so many people and so many adults that I needed to hold Korrey's hand so that he didn't get trampled on or step in a hole or trip on uneven pavement. We started a bit fast and as the runners spread out we had more room to move around, passing people, being passed by others but just plowing along. The first mile was run in 10:44 which must have felt blistering to a nearly 6-year-old. Although I was holding his hand, I wasn't pulling him along as I let him set the pace. Although his brother Jaxon was ahead, Korrey ran his own race. 

Korrey Effect 1: Run your own race!

With his eyes fixed on what was ahead, we moved into mile 2 which included two hills at 2.4 miles and 2.8 miles. 

Korrey Effect 2: Focus and fix your mind on the task at hand! 

Korrey Effect 3: Eat hills for breakfast! 
Throughout the run, he heard words of encouragement not only from me but from the runners around him.

Korrey Effect 4: Take in words of encouragement and use them to your advantage!

There was an aid station at mile two with some food and drink being handed out. I asked him if he wanted to drink and he said "no" but he did take a pretzel and ate it while running. 

Korrey Effect 5: Learn to eat and drink on the run and don't lollygag at aid stations, particularly in ultras!

This probably felt like an ultra to him. The previous year, I watched the boys while Cindy, Charlie, Becky, and Bree ran the 5K. When I say watched, I mean cheered and high-fived as spectators. Now, Korrey was being cheered. 

Korrey Effect 6: We runners need to cheer on others as spectators or volunteers sometimes!

At this point after finishing mile 2, I still could not believe he was still running and hadn't stopped to walk. I saw his strained face determined to keep going. It probably didn't help by me saying "almost there" which I cringe at when a spectator yells it at mile 20 of a marathon.

Korrey Effect 7: Don't believe all that you hear, know where you are in your own race at the distance you are running!

However, we were truly getting close but I could not remember where the exact finish was since it was changed the year before. Korrey knew that wherever it was, he couldn't stop until it truly was the finish. 

Korrey Effect 8: Run to the finish. There is no finish except at the finish line!

We pass mile 3 and we literally can see the finish line and we speed up as we pass all of the cheering finish line spectators but Korrey is still focused on the finish.

Korrey Effect 9: Run faster down the stretch and be happy!

We pass the finish line and grab some food and drink to celebrate our race, have a picture taken and enjoy the accomplishment.

Korrey Effect 10: Enjoy and celebrate what you have done!

If Korrey had a mantra or even knew what a mantra was, this would be it and it is one that we all cannot only run by but also live by!

The Full Korrey Effect?
Relentless Forward Progress!

Time 36:13

The course and split times

Some pictures from the Expo and The Flying Pig 5K

Family Time

Bree and a Flying Pig

The Start Line

Rowan's First 5K (although he got to ride)

Rowan's bib

Calvin, the Kids and Cindy

Bree (how does she twist her leg like that?)
Almost There (haha! The Finish Swine!)

Bree and her Medal

Brother, Sister, and Family

The Medals Are Real!

Cincinnati Skyline Before the Marathon

Yes, I do!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Parkwood Lake Heron Marathon

OK, I am making it up! Parkwood Lake exists. I live on it. Herons exist. I watch them everyday fishing from the banks. What doesn't exist is the Parkwood Lake Heron Marathon. Or, does it? It does now, at least for one day, because I ran it - solo. The perimeter of the lake located in the southern part of the city of Durham, NC is 1.5 miles. Four roads make for a relatively flat (30 feet elevation gain per loop) traverse through the neighborhood of Parkwood. Parkwood was one of the first communities to house the ever-expanding Research Triangle Park in the late 1960s. My house was built in 1968 after IBM and RTI moved into the park. The Triangle is what the area is known by due to the proximity of Duke in Durham, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and NC State in Raleigh. Parkwood sits within the Triangle, which now makes me wonder what a true Triangle ultra would be like traversing the endpoints from city to city.

Parkwood Lake 

I have run 106 marathons and 8 ultras but I have never run a marathon solo for the 'fun' of it. Certainly, I never imagined running a marathon solo in the middle of the summer in NC. Yes, I could run it as slow as I wanted since I was both going to win and come in last. I didn't really mean for it to be a training run, just a run to do while Cindy was visiting her grandson in Boston. Doing loops, with my house on the loop, meant that I could set up my own aid station, have access to a bathroom, and let the dogs out half-way. To get to 26.2 miles, I calculated that I needed to run 18 loops which would also be a challenge. The most loops I have ever run in a single race or run of any kind is 4, each being 12.5 miles (Umstead 50 miler). I have also never run 26.2 miles without someone, even one person, saying "you're almost there" or "the last hill" or "you look great". Frankly, I was afraid that someone was going to call the police.

Durham 911: Hello, what are you reporting?
Neighbor: There is a man running around the neighborhood. I think he is casing the houses.
Durham 911: Mam, people run in neighborhoods all the time, what makes you think he is casing houses?
Neighbor: This is the 12th time he has passed my house and it is still dark.
Durham 911: What is he wearing?
Neighbor: For the first few times, it was normal running attire but now he has no shirt on. I have kids and I think he is a predator.
Durham 911: So a shirtless man wearing just running shorts, shoes and socks is running multiple times around your neighborhood in the dark?
Neighbor: Yes
Durham 911: Don't worry mam, I think he is training for an ultra!

Doh! The community does take "see something, say something" to heart as well they should in this day and age. But, the reality was, nobody called the police. I set my alarm for 3 AM and that is just mental right there! I got up, had my coffee, let the dogs out and got my aid station together. I pulled my pickup to the edge of the driveway and set-up my aid station just inside the tailgate. It was actually probably a better aid station than most marathons but not as good as the smorgasbord at ultras. I had water, no sugar Gatorade, mini blueberry bagels, Gu (including birthday cake flavor), Gu chews, and bananas. For the first half-marathon, I only stopped every 3 miles or 2 loops because I did not want to gorge myself. The humidity (actually the dew point) was quite high as it always is in NC in the summer. I listened to Training for Ultra podcasts with Bart Yasso, Karl Meltzer, and Amelia Boone/Maggie Guterl. Halfway, I was soaked so I took a short break to change clothes including shoes and let the dogs out for their morning potty break. The first half was run in 2:17, way off my normal split but hey, it's solo, it's summer and it was dark the entire time.

The course - 18 loops

Aid Station

I started running again after about 15 minutes. It was getting light and I started to see a few people and cars out and about. I saw two cars in the first 9 loops. Although there are street lights, I wore my Noxgear Tracer 360 to be illuminated just in case of errant drivers or wild beasts roaming around. It is still a bit eery running at night with noises and movements that are not yours. I know ultra runners experience this often especially at night. I experienced it at Rocky Raccoon. It is quite surreal and maybe part of the allure.

Completing 26.2 miles was going to give me 43 miles for the week, not out of the ordinary in total milage but cramming most of it into one day was going to be the challenge. I really wasn't sure I was going to make the second 13.1 miles. I had run a 17.68 (gosh, I am anal) miler the Saturday prior and I was spent just running that distance, ironically on the Research Triangle Park loops. So, I just ran what I could with the goal of completing loops, moving forward with relentless forward progress. Part of my motivation for the agony of 18 loops is the fact that I registered for the Tideland 24 hour race in November. Run as many loops as possible on a 1.377 mile packed sand and wooden bridge loop over the marshlands of cedar point natural area. Running or I should say moving for 24 hours is a new challenge for me. I have never run farther than 50 miles. I have never run overnight. I have never done more than 18 loops (now that I have done this.)




As I continued the loops, I began to walk strategic (hah, that sound so ridiculous) parts of the course. As I mentioned, it is mostly flat but there are two small hills that deserved to be admired as I walked those stretches. I also drank a little bit on each loop, had a few bites of banana and a couple of chews. The sky luckily remained cloudy which kept the sun away from me. I removed my shirt and ran semi-naked for the last 5 loops. Although I don't make a habit of it being self-conscious, I feel a bit more comfortable these days running without a shirt and it was much cooler.

I finally made it to the last loop but the 26.2 ended on the other side of the lake. I stopped my watch right on 26.2 but I still had a half-mile to walk back to my house. My final time was 5:07 an hour and 6 minutes slower than my last marathon in Cincinnati. It was a rewarding adventure that I would recommend to everyone. It was also a humbling experience as every one of my marathons and ultras has been. These distances strip you to the core and that is what I like and need. I really enjoy the half-marathon distance as well.

The marathon will humble you - Bill Rodgers

I know some runners, particularly ultra runners do these kinds of runs all the time. Mentally, I needed to prepare for 3 AM wakeup call, the 4 AM start, summer running in humidity, the distance, being by myself.  Even at a slower pace, it gives confidence and mental fortitude for other races. Maybe I will make this an annual event, run it for charity, have others join, either running or walking and making it the Parkwood Lake Heron Marathon.


On Sunday I contemplated what distance and where I was going to run. In the Karl Meltzer podcast, he said go for a good walk the day after so I thought going to Umstead and doing a hike would work out the stiffness. To my surprise, once I got on the single track trails, my legs felt great and I ran most of the single-track on Loblolly. Overall I ran/hiked the single-track and the bridle trail for another 10.2 miles. The hills at Umstead are special. When I say that, I mean challenging. The day before I had only done 660 feet of elevation gain over 26.2 miles. At Umstead, I did over 1,000 feet in 10.2 miles.

Sunday morning sunrise

It was a good weekend of running and the most miles I have run on a weekend except for the 50 milers I have done. Later, I made some strawberry popsicles in the mamscicles molds.

After a day off, I ran 4 miles at 8:43 pace and was happy with my recovery...

Some photos from my 10.2 miles run at Umstead on Sunday, mostly on the Loblolly Trail.

Davies Pond

And then the vulture eats you - the title of an ultrarunning book!

Finally - Burger and Beers at Town Hall

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Urge To Go TOO Far

Distance Running Quote

In celebration of my 25th year from my first marathon, 1994 NYC, and after 106 marathons in all 50 states and DC, 8 ultras, 45+ half marathons, countless other races, and training runs covering approximately 27,000+ miles, I still have the urge to go TOO far.

I have pretty much run all distances between 1 mile and 50 miles, some successfully and some not so successfully. I know that I can run the marathon distance quite well or maybe I should say comfortably hard because I am not likely to win an age group award in the marathon, although I have in half-marathons; my recent endeavors have been solid finishing 4:01 in the 2019 Flying Pig at age 59, this, only 3 weeks after Blue Ridge Marathon, touted as America's Toughest Road Marathon, the optimal word being 'road'.  Blue Ridge felt sort of like an ultra to me, managing the ascents and descents, enjoying the aid stations, views, and other runners, and just having a fun time, before, during and after the event. A month prior to that was the Umstead Trail Marathon, which also had an ultra feel to it, 6 miles of single-track trail and 20 miles of hilly bridle trail, the same trail as the Umstead 100. With those two races, an early 25K at Salem Lake in Winston-Salem, really good training runs, and a desire to break 4 hours for the first time in 9 years, I went into the Flying Pig, my 6th, feeling positive. I just missed it having an ill-timed cramp after mile 25 that required the dreaded curb stretch. But, I came away from that race and the winter-spring season of running confidently that there still could be a sub-4 hour marathon, once again, waiting for me.

But my urge is to run TOO far! I was a sprinter in school -100 and 200 meters (or yards in those days) and I thought running anything more than a mile was just stupid. Call me stupid because, with the distances I have run over the last 25 years, none have been 100 or 200 meters unless I am chasing my dog who is chasing a UPS truck (yes, that happened!) So how far is TOO far? I have never DNFed a marathon but I have DNFed a 50K, 50-miler, and 100-miler. Some DNFs have been time constraints (missed cutoffs or in the case of the 2008 JFK 50, finishing the 50 miles 10 seconds after the 12-hour time limit and being an unofficial finisher and in this case 1st loser) or distance constraints (just not my day and can't go the distance.) This leads me to believe that the ultra-distance can be TOO far. This intrigues me and when I came across this quote by T.S. Eliot, I thought, "How far can I go now? When will I know it is TOO far?"  Well, I won't know until I risk it.

I titled this post as "The Urge" not be confused with "The Purge". The urge that I have is to register for some ultras at varying distances and time constraints. Two distances that I need to run are the 100K and 100 miles and the time constraints that I need to run is 24 hours. Would this make a complete running resume? Every distance between 1 mile and 100 miles and also a full day (no matter how many miles) of running in circles? No, not really as I have never qualified for Boston, but then, even with that, does that complete a running resume? No, it doesn't. A running resume to me is being able to have a lifelong running journey, experiences while enjoying the diversity and joy of the sport in the people who run but in the multitude of events that grace the calendar every weekend. Am I ever going to win a race? No. Win an age group? Maybe, now that I am approaching 60 (although there are some seriously good runners in these later age groups.) But, what other sport gives one the opportunity to toe the line with the best? I can go to a 50 or 100-mile run and cross the same start and finish lines as Jim Walmsley or Courtney Dauwalter, maybe hours later and many miles behind but experience the same course and challenges.

For me, management of the course in an ultra is key, the course, my energy, my pace, my nutrition to get to the finish and ironically not have the distance be TOO far. In previous ultras, I don't think I ever managed these areas well and I have never fared well in any distance greater than the marathon. Yes, I have finished 8 and DNFed 4; 66% is a D. But is this the point, to risk going TOO far to find out how far I can go? So, let's try to go TOO far again and see where it takes me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

It's Been Awhile

...since I have written and I'm not sure why...because I really enjoy writing about running. I read enough about it so I might as well get back to writing about it. My last post in April was about the 'exit strategy' and frankly not having one. Since that post up until about two weeks ago, I have run really well, losing 35 pounds hasn't hurt either. Consistently, my pace has been between 8:30 and 9 minutes per mile and on race days at short distances around 8 minutes per mile. I had not seen this kind of pace for nearly 8 years. They say every pound is a difference of 3 seconds per mile pace. It has held true as I had increased my pace by more than 90 seconds per mile from last summer. Last year, I could barely make it through the summer heat and humidity from 10:00 to 10:30 per mile. I sued to make excuses as to why I was at the weight I was. Uh, I am getting older and getting older it is harder to lose weight. Uh, I am running OK because as I am aging I am running slower. Uh, what is wrong with a bowl of ice cream every night? In any event, I eat differently now and I run better. Believe me, I have not really given up anything but very conscious of what and how much I put in my mouth or I have made substitutes. Overall, I am feeling great and my running has been great.

...until the weekend of hurricane Florence. I went out on a run in the rain and going uphill, my left quad didn't like it and I felt a strain that in 25 years of running I had not felt before. What the hell? I have had aches and pains through those 25 years but nothing debilitating except maybe a sprained ankle from trail runs. I have run through most everything, changing what I needed to to get through the runs, even marathons. In 101 marathons, I have never had a DNS or a DNF. But for this simple 5-mile run, my quad was not going to let me go any farther, so I walked and then gingerly stepped/jogged two miles back home. It was as if overnight, my body deteriorated, or at least my legs. I took the next 5 days off walking in the mornings to stay somewhat active. Feeling a bit better and knowing I have a half-marathon and marathon coming up in October, I ventured out for what I thought was going to be 10 miles. Being a nice day and changing my stride, I ran 13.1 miles but at an 11+ minute pace. How do I go from running 8:40 pace for 13.1 a few weeks ago to barely under 11:30? I don't get it. Of course, compensating for my left leg, my right leg took much of the pounding and felt worse than my left. The next day I ventured out for 7 miles, did 6 slowly and walked 1. It felt like I had run back-to-back marathons. It was crazy! Looking back, the only thing I can put my finger on was a binge on sugar (candy bars) and some other not so good things over the few days of the hurricane. My body has likely been living in ketosis from losing the weight and those few days of binge eating sugar may have taken its toll on my muscles. So, I am back to regular healthy eating again, lean proteins, fish, spinach salads, vegetables, carb smart ice cream, but yes, my burgers, beer, and occasional funs stuff. There is no reason to give up the fun stuff at age 58 but there is a reason to not binge on it. I think I now realize that! I am happy being around 160 give or take a few pounds, down from 193 in December. Now I just need to keep the muscles fed appropriately to run most effectively!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Exit Strategy

I have never thought about an exit strategy from running. While reading the March issue of Ultrarunning Magazine, Errol "Rocket" Jones had a piece about an exit strategy called Exit Stage Left.  In many companies that I have worked in, particularly start-ups, there has always been an exit strategy, whether it is to go public, be bought by another company, or to have an exit strategy of not exiting at all, continuing to grow, to serve and be better with age. There are generally two motivating factors as to which strategy to follow, money or ego.

The same might hold true for elite runners. Being an older mid-pack runner, there are many reasons to exit. Our aging bodies slow us down. health issues and aching bodies may present a challenge, motivation wanes, it takes longer to recover. None of these things has had me think about an exit strategy. Its made me think about managing expectations, managing my runs, and managing my health. So, it is all about managing oneself. At 58, relatively speaking, I am running better than I have in many years. It would be difficult for me to think about exiting and nearly impossible to actually do it. I'm sure that day will come but I think it will hit me all at once.

Some companies try to be more than they are and think they are more valuable than they are. I run the way I can and the way I am. I can't think that I am an elite runner when I'm simply not. But within the context of where I am in life, I can be the best I can be. In March, I ran 3 half-marathons three weekends in a row. For the first time in nearly 25 years of running, I pulled in two age group awards with some seriously good runs. My age-graded times were better than my pure times when I was younger.

Some people want to exit when they are on the top of their games. I just want to be in the game as long as I can. I have been through the valleys where I could have easily hung up the running shoes. I have also run well enough, in quantity or quality, where I could say, it's enough, I've reached my goal and its time to exit. Running, particularly races are great because there are age groups. Every five years, you are the youngest in your age group. We not only get to reset our expectations, but we can be rejuvenated and run past the exit ramp.

We need to look for more entrance ramps, maybe even entrance strategies to keep us going and motivated as opposed to exit strategies; new distances, volunteering, age-graded times, new events, new states, new countries anything that keeps us in the game, the one that has given our life meaning.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The 100

This is not about the TV show for those of you who did a google search for "the 100". This post is about a lot of things, mostly related to running but not necessarily all. The post title "the 100" is related to having completed my 100th marathon in 2017 and I will get to that in a bit. It's been since May that I have written a post and frankly I miss writing. Its been a tumultuous year and yet I still find running my road to sanity through it all. I won't get into my political angst and will save that for Twitter as the cesspool becomes murkier and smellier than ever. I'll internalize the professional challenges after yet another acquisition brought down one of the best companies and teams that I have worked for. And personally, I just try to do the right thing in all circumstances.

I have enjoyed the variety of running this year; different distances, trail and road, forests and cities. I haven't run well in marathons, been OK on the trails, but have faired quite well in half-marathons. And yes, I reached a major milestone in completing marathon 100. I never really set out to run 100 marathons, frankly never thought about it until after completing running a marathon in all 50 states and DC in 2015. Kauai was marathon 89 and the completion of all 50 states and it put me to the test. Read the story here. Running for me has been: set a goal, achieve a goal, evaluate new goals, repeat. Once I finished the 50 states and was so close to 100 marathons, that became my new goal. Two years and 11 marathons later, marathon 100 was in the books. Again, more about that in a bit.

The singlet and the bib

Racing in 2017

Race Date Distance Result
Lakeside Trail Race, NC 1/14/2017 15M 3:03:01
Salem Lake Frosty Trail 25K, NC 1/21/2017 25K 2:27:40
Race 13.1 Wilmington, NC 2/19/2017 Half Marathon 1:59:24
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Trail Half, NC 2/25/2017 Half Marathon 2:31:41
Tobacco Road Half Marathon, NC 3/19/2017 Half Marathon 1:56:42
Raleigh Rock n Roll Marathon, NC 4/2/2017 Marathon 4:33:02
Western Maryland Rail Trail Half, MD 4/9/2017 Half Marathon 1:55:08
Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, OH 5/7/2017 Marathon 4:38:17
Sioux Falls Marathon, SD 9/10/2017 Marathon 5:17:17
Steamtown Marathon, PA 10/8/2017 Marathon 5:29:48
Baltimore Marathon, MD 10/21/2017 Marathon 5:14:36
Skinny Turkey Half, NC 11/23/2017 Half Marathon 1:57:25
Race 13.1 Durham, NC 12/9/2017 Half Marathon CANC

In 2017, I completed 12 events, 3 trail races (2 technical trails), 10 road races, 5 half marathons and 5 marathons. Over the past few years, I have observed some interesting trends but also things I have known from past experiences. Plainly, I train better in the winter and run better in the spring. It's much worse training in the summer heat and humidity which affects September/October races, then November/December races seem to be better. It's somewhat obvious because runners generally like it cooler/colder for training and races. The heat and humidity are oppressive in North Carolina and getting long runs in during July - September is quite difficult.

The Winter

Lakeside Trail Race

This was a nice low key event in the woods around Lake Townsend. The trails are lightly technical. This was my first trail race in awhile so I was stepping a bit gingerly over the roots and rocks. They have an 8 and 15-mile course.

Looks like an ultra

The trail got more technical

Salem Lake Frosty 50K/25K

This is a well-done race and features a 4 loop 50K, two-loop 25K and a relay. It is also totally runnable on a wide crushed gravel trail with some greenway. Its well-supported and a beautiful venue. I've run both the 50K and 25K. Shawn visited and ran a great 25K as well.

Love this sight before a trail race

This is part of the RACE 13.1 series, generally a good series of races, particularly the North Carolina ones. This course is pancake flat and fast. I paced with the 2-hour group for about 11.5 miles and slightly went ahead to finish about 30 seconds under 2 hours. Cindy completed her first 10K. I was really proud of her!

Cindy's first 10K finish!

Squeaking in under 2 hours

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF) Trail Half Marathon

I enjoyed this half on a technical trail with two small river crossings, almost knee deep water. The race was postponed a few minutes due to a horrid rain/thunderstorm, yes, even in February, and the temperature was near 70.

Waggin' Wild 5K

This is one of my favorite events having participated in it the last two years. Casey has run it in about a 9:45 minute pace. More importantly, he has won largest dog participating two years in a row.  This year Gabby and Cindy ran as well. So, it was a family affair.

Our running family

Mama and Gabby finishing!

Daddy and Casey finishing!

Good boy! Who loves ya?

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

Arguably my favorite event of the year, not because what I did, but because Cindy completed her first half marathon and I was so proud of her for the training, the excitement, how well she did, everything about it. Frankly, it was a glorious day. You can read about it all here.

Ring the bell baby doll!

Two half marathon finishers!

The Spring

Raleigh Rock n Roll Marathon

Oddly, this marathon was my best of the year. Its a difficult course, unrelenting hills but my racing prior helped build strength and endurance, particularly on the trails and then speed in the two half marathons.  Although I am not a huge fan o Rock n Roll events, this one is well-done. Although we live just 20 minutes from Raleigh, we stayed the weekend in Raleigh and had a good time visiting the Museum of Natural History, Crankarm Brewery and some downtown restaurants.

If I had a child

Yep, that's a mess of a course!

Crankarm Brewery day before Rock n Roll!

Visiting Museum of Natural History

Sir Walter Raleigh deck out for Rock n Roll!

Start running toward the Capitol!

Welcome to Raleigh

Shining bright!

Thumbs up at the finish!

Red Hat Amphitheatre

Western Maryland Rail Trail Half Marathon

Only a week after Raleigh, I ran a fine half marathon on a cold but beautiful day in April. Being in Hancock, MD, Shawn ran this one as well. He blazed the course. Its an out and back course on the rail trail.

Brothers in arms and two great finishes.

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

 It's quite the party atmosphere with this running festival and its a fun course with plenty of spectators. It was my 4th pig and ran an OK time relative to what I would run the rest of the year. The rest of the family also did some event from the kid's runs to the 5K.

After Cincinnati, I had my sights set on marathon 100. I wasn't sure beginning the year when or even if I would get to 100 in 2017. I looked and looked at schedules to see how I could get this done. If planned correctly, I could make Baltimore my 100th marathon and since I have run all 16 previous Baltimore marathons, it being sort of local to my hometown in Maryland, and a nice party atmosphere, I figured out a schedule to get me there. Then, I asked the marketing VP at Corrigan sports to help me secure bib 100 to commemorate the accomplishment. I was able to have bib 50 running my 50th marathon on my 50th birthday in New Orleans and also to have Bib 50 finishing my 50th state in Hawaii. Bib 100 would be a nice addition to the family.

Charlie, Becky, and Bree at the 5K start

The twins and me high-fiving runners who happened to be Bree!

A family affair finish - Grandma finished too but she's taking the picture!

Korrey, Jaxon, and Bree at the Reds' stadium

Piglet dash Jaxon, Korrey and Charlie

Jaxon and Korrey with their medals

The big boy's race - at the start with Cynthia


26.2 miles makes one thirsty for beer!

The Summer Safari

In between all the running, we went to Africa on Safari - a trip of a lifetime still etched in our minds. It was a two-week safari in Tanzania - Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti - for Cindy's 60th birthday in June. It deserves not only a post but a book. I did make two short movies and need to finish a third. Tarangire movie. Ngorongoro movie. There are 4,000 pictures. Here are just a few.

When you think of an African sunset!

Selfie with elephants?

This fellow was none too happy!

Love this shot of the wildebeest

King and queen of the grassland!


Home away from home

On the prowl

Monkey see monkey do!

A family affair

He didn't roar, only growled!

Here's to ya, my friend!

Wildebeest with no purpose in mind!

Sunset in Tarangire

Hey Babs!

Just please let me sleep in this tree!


Waiting for dinner


Cheetahs not to be preyed upon but looking for prey

It's a long way down to drink water

These tusks are mine, not yours!

eye for an eye

pride on  the watch

The Fall

The problem with early fall marathons is doing the training through the heat and humidity of summer, especially in North Carolina. I don't do well running in humidity. As much as I made the effort to get longer quality runs in, it was just abysmal. I knew that these next couple of marathons were going to suffer, more likely I was going to suffer and suffer I did. I was hoping to use Sioux Falls and Steamtown as my long runs focusing on Baltimore for a better time. It just didn't pan out that way.

Sioux Falls Marathon

I was quite pleased with the entire Sioux Falls experience from visiting the city to running the marathon. The falls are absolutely amazing which is a must to visit but the course runs through the area as well. Its a mix of roads and greenway trails has an indoor start/finish, and a hotel adjacent to the expo and start/finish. The weather was warmer than normal but less humidity. It was comfortable but without the good long runs in the summer, I struggled after mile 19. The only downside was that there was no food or beverage left when I finished, just water.

Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls

Our names, and every other runner's name on this truck!

Start/Finish indoors

All ready for a 5K

Running through Sioux Falls

Crossing the Big Sioux River

Crossing the Big Sioux river 23 miles away

Finally but no food and beverage left!

Two finishers!

Pretty on pretty!

Steamtown Marathon

I have wanted to do this marathon in Scranton, PA for some time but it never worked out. Both Cindy and I have a lot of history, separately, in this area of the country so it was fun going back to visit. Although this year's race was only two weeks before Baltimore, I thought that it would be another good long run. Steamtown has a net elevation drop of 944 feet and reading the reports, the course can do a number on your quads. Its a point to point course and requires a bus ride up the mountain to the start but the finish and bus pickup are in the center of Scranton and near hotels. It was raining for the entire bus ride and right up until the cannon. However, the staging is in a high school so everyone was kept dry. Now, for the weather. You would think Scranton, the first week of October would be nice and cool. Nope, not this year. It was the steamiest Steamtown in the history of the race, 70 at the 7 AM start, very humid and near 80 with the sun at the finish. It was an ugly day for me. I felt done at about mile 9, not good in a marathon. It was in my bottom 5 marathons time-wise. I must say, the spread of food at the end was the best I've seen. Its a really well-organized event with a really funny assistant race director.

Yes, we attended a Paranormal Conference at the Hotel

What would Steamtown be without steam locomotives?

Steamtown National Historic Park

Electric trolly ide from the national historic site

Black bear was seen from the electric trolly

Built on the John Oliver Show and sent to Scranton - too funny!

The black and white

Finally to the finish - fantastic food!

Looking for Cynthia Anne

You talkin' to me?

Cindy's house once upon a time in Clarks Summit

A neighbor Cindy ran into at a diner who was a child when she lived in Clarks Summit

Baltimore Marathon

...which brings me to my 100th marathon, 99 marathons since Baltimore 2001, the inaugural, and with my first being in New York City, 1994, an even 100 marathons. Of course, I have also completed 8 ultras so for the 26.2+ mile distance, the total is 108.

Why Baltimore? Throughout my 17 year adventure, not including my first NYC marathon, Baltimore has been a staple on my marathon calendar having run all 17.  I have had some great Baltimore marathons (3:47:33 in 2006) and some horrible ones (5:14:36 in 2017), It has always been a festive event, hence, why it is called the Baltimore Running Festival. Corrigan Sports always does a great job every year tweaking the event to make it better. This year was probably the most drastic moving the finish line to Pratt Street and the celebration village to the inner harbor. There have always been course tweaks. Another reason I chose Baltimore was it being in my home state and my father being born in Baltimore. I was also able to secure bib number 100 working with the VP of Marketing at Corrigan. It was very much appreciated that he was able to secure that number.

The weekend started with our traditional lunch at Pratt Street Alehouse, this year with Shawn and Rene. They have great food and cask conditioned ales and outdoor seating. It's a nice way to start the weekend. The expo was its normal medium size and held across the street at the convention center. It was nice to see the bib number given to me. The volunteer giving it to me said, "that's a nice round number." I said, "yeah, for my 100th marathon..." People sometimes give you the "dog look" where their head cocks to one side when you say things like this. We walked around the harbor a bit after the expo, chilled int he room and then had dinner at Sotto Sopra.

The weather, unfortunately, looked like it was going to be warm again, 60's and 70's. That again didn't bode well for me. I wore my new North America 100 club singlet and after pinning on bib 100, it brought the reality to what I had accomplished. Wearing the singlet lead to a lot of conversations during the run. Many other runners asked how many I had run and telling them that today was my 100th and showing them bib 100, they let out big congratulations, amazement, astonishment, craziness. It was the most people I had spoken to while running a marathon over my last 99. From that perspective, it made for a great day.

From an actual running perspective, I ran really well through the first half running 2:07 but I just couldn't hold it together past mile 18 or so. I saw Cindy at mile 9 and Cindy, Rene and Shawn at mile 13. I think I was still on track for a 4:30 finish through 20 miles. I was skeptical that the finish would not be as cool as finishing between Camden Yards and Ravens stadium. I was wrong. I enjoyed running down Pratt street to the finish. The last two miles are mostly downhill to finish at the inner harbor. Cindy greeted me as she always does and we hung out at the promenade for a bit exploring the new set-up. Later that evening we celebrated with a nice meal at Capital Grille. Frankly, it was a bit anti-climactic. I've always imagined big parties, sharing running stories with friends, celebrations but that has never been me. Yes, there have been some nice blog posts about my adventures, Facebook kudos, etc but never the true celebration of running all these events. I will change that by doing something with my medals, bibs, mementos, and blog posts. Its been a great adventure and its not over yet. Hopefully, I can still do these kinds of things until my heart says, "no more."

Thank you, Chris Tomlinson, for securing bib 100 for me!

The Baltimore skyline

Thank you, Shawn and Rene, for being there for my 100th!

And of course Cynthia Anne for my 100th and last 50 marathons!!

Dinosaurs are not extinct in Baltimore!


Mile 8.75 and still running strong!

Cool crab shell medal

Mayor of Baltimore - Photo Op!

The lights of the inner harbor

Rejoice, finally, 100 marathons!

Skinny Turkey Half Marathon

With the awful fall marathons, time-wise, I really wasn't sure how Skinny Turkey was going to go. It's a challenging, hilly course and I was going to be happy with a 2:05, even a 2;10. It was not to be. It was much better than I anticipated due to some fine pacing. Over the past couple of years, I have paced in half marathons with the 2-hour groups and generally have been able to finish 1 to 5 minutes faster than 2 hours. It's the one distance that I still feel fairly confident in. I wasn't planning on running with the pace group at Skinny Turkey. I just happened to be around them, felt pretty good running with them and stayed with them for the first 4 miles. Then I decided to move ahead a bit, much earlier than normal. as I did, a young lady, who turned out to be 22, went with me. Without saying a word, but knowing we were running together and pacing off of one another, we ran the next five miles at an average pace of about 8:38. I really didn't think I could keep the pace at times but we sort of drove one another to the pace. But, at mile 9, I fell back a bit and lost her pace. I still maintained a decent pace on the remaining 4 miles of hills and finished in 1:57:25. I was so happy with that run. It validated my hot weather issues since the temperature that day was in the 30s and 40s. I saw the young lady after the finish and we chatted a bit. She finished in 1:54:53 and she said that I was a really good pacer. But truly, it went both ways, we were good pacers to each other. The ironic thing in this finish is that I got 2nd in my age group out of 15, only my 2nd age group award and first in a half marathon. The irony was in the fact that since I never win age group awards, I left before the awards were announced. Maybe I should start sticking around!

Fine run on Turkey Day!

Race 13.1 Durham

I was really looking forward to this race since I hadn't broken 2 hours on this course yet. It has its hills but nothing harder than Skinny Turkey. However, due to "winter precipitation", the event was canceled. I put that in quotes because it means something different here in North Carolina.

What's Next?

So that's my year in running. For 15 years, I was trying to get to all 50 states and DC marathons and then for two more years trying to get to 100 marathons. Missions complete! Now what? first, I am free to run what and when I want except for running the Baltimore marathon every year. I may go to the 10 provinces in Canada. I have one and considering Ottawa this year. I may go for 100 half marathons. I have 39. How about another trip around the states? I have 15. How about 2 more ultras to get to 10? How about different distances? 100K, 100 miles, 24 hours, 12 hours? How about international besides Canada? How about a coaching certificate from RRCA? How about pacing? How about volunteering at races? How about working with new runners? How about a food truck called Runners Thoughts or In The Moment Running serving up light food and beverage at races or training areas? How about writing a kids book on running?

Geez, I guess there is still a lot to do!