Monday, February 8, 2016

Meme Monday: Cam Sandwich

Congrats to Von Miller as Super Bowl MVP and the Denver Broncos as Super Bowl champions. Happiness in the SeekingBostonMarathon offices today.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Disney Half Marathon Pricing More Than a Bit Goofy

Walt Disney has gone mad...madder than the Mad Hatter with more than tea in his tea cup ride. Registration for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend opens up on February 2nd. What in the wild world of Walt Disney is going on with that pricing??? A whopping $205 for a half marathon, $120 for the 10K, and $80 for the 5k. How happy is your "happiest place on earth" wallet with those prices.? For those fast sub-twenty 5k runners, that's $240 an hour. Do I get a selfie with Ariel at that price? Yes, I think the correct answer to my sarcastic question is yes, but you get the point.

Do not take me for a Disney hater. I have been a frequent flyer of the Flying Dumbo ride since the 60's when the monorail was considered part of "Tommorowland." My kids have been on a Disney cruise and punched their ticket to Disneyland at least five times before they were ten...and yes, my daughter was at one point a Disney princess.

Yes, they have some of the best SWAG going when it comes to race bling, but $205 for a half marathon???

I am a fanatic when it comes to running and admit, I haven't done Disney yet as my kids have grown out of the demographic. I know, I know, you don't have to be a kid to enjoy Disney and I still do. I would  like to run the Star Wars Half at some point as that would likely be the coolest medal in my bookcase aside from my unicorns. I just can't see it.

I suppose I could see some value in it being a "destination race," particularly if you have a family with little ones in tow so it becomes a "win-win" for the family. But there are other fantastic destination half marathons to consider. Competitor Magazine's January 2016 Issue features their Ultimate Running and Racing Guide with plenty of options.

One of my favorite half marathons is right here in Colorado; the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon. The current registration (early bird) price? $50. I'd argue that the mountains of Colorado offer a destination value that rivals Disneyland with historic mining towns "book-ending" the start and finish line. Another local favorite in Denver is the Platte River Half Marathon which also opened up at $50 (early bird) pricing, and is currently $70. Use my BibRave discount code (Bibrave10) for 10% off. The Platte River Half Marathon includes downtown Littleton, the (you guessed it) Platte River and historic Buckhorn Exchange which is the oldest restaurant in Denver.

I can see perhaps some novelty of running through the Disney park itself, but I've heard of other reviews of their races and the park itself was a small portion of the race with less than picturesque scenery along the rest of the route. I was looking for a course map on their site and and it only provides a description that includes "picturesque" Anaheim and "past the Honda center." Oh boy, an arena parking lot! Sign me up...for a different race. I think Colorado wins the scenery "bang for the buck" here.

I would love to hear from those Disney runner fans out there about their experience.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Words Removed From My 2016 Vocabulary

I'll make this post short and sweet. I'm tired of talking about what ails me, and I'm sure you are too. While I am out of the walking boot, I'm not "out of the woods" just yet. I'm meeting with my ortho on January 25th. Things are certainly trending in the right direction, but I can't run just yet. With that, I have a few words that I am "swearing off" for 2016. I won't share those words as I've written them off, but they rhyme with...

Make sense? Do you have words you're writing off in 2016? DNF or DNS would be a couple other good ones.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here it Comes: XX2i Optics Review

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.
(The Beatles)

(Disclaimer: I received a XX2i Optics to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!)

There are two to three things that a runner can never have enough of. Shoes, socks, and sunglasses. In the case of the later, I'm a glutton when it comes to sunglasses. Perhaps because growing up skiing in Colorado, then going onto college, I was always in sunglasses. I am also prone to losing mine...a pair on a trail in Pennsylvania, and a $300 pair at a race in Vail this last summer. Doh! I'm always on the hunt for a good pair.

Given all that, when BibRave asked me if I wanted to test a pair of XX2i Optics sunglasses, I raised my hand in earnest, and said, "pick me, pick me, pick me!" As someone that also just had a bout with skin cancer, I will not head out on the run trail anymore without a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.

Sunglasses fulfill the obvious need to protect your eyes from the sun, but they also will help eliminate squinting into the bright sun. A relaxed face also means relaxed shoulders which means a better stride and saving crucial energy especially in a longer run, marathon, or ultra race. For me personally, for my races, I feel more confident in the race if I'm comfortable in my gear. I know, I know...the shoes (or in this case the sunglasses,) don't make the athlete, but higher confidence helps going into any race.

With that, here's my review on the XX2i USA1 sunglasses. I'll start with my confession that this is not a brand I was aware of. Brand is important to understand as the sunglasses brands you may think of you're likely paying to wear their logo versus the product itself. Given that, I'm not one to buy gas station $12 sunglasses as it is a bit of a "get what you pay for" world. In my case, I have a certain quality threshold for any product I wear and these guys meet or exceed those expectations.

For my run optics, I will admit that "how they look" have a lot of bearing on whether or not I'd spend the cash, and I dig the look. I have a pair of the XX2i USA1's with the white gloss frame finish and "blue flash" lens. Me likey, likey. For me, the other "must haves" in a pair of shades include interchangeable lenses, and a non-slip nose piece. Check and check! As far as the nose piece, other brands I've used have tried to overthink this part of the design with rubber nose pieces that slide over (I'll call them) hooks. Over time, I've had difficulty keeping that rubber piece on as they've worn and perhaps picked up body oil. USA1's have a single solid piece construction that replace with a couple of eyeglass screws. With this design, I don't see them slipping off like my Oakleys do over time.

If this doesn't sound good, I have two more things to share; warranty and a 50% discount!

Most people don't think about warranty, but XX2i has the unthinkable warranty and exchange policy. Lifetime warranty (see their site for details) is a "no questions asked" policy, bend, break, or scratch them and merely pay for the shipping. If you don't like the style you purchased, you have ONE YEAR to exchange; both for mere shipping costs. Unheard of with any other brand.

On the discount, through mid-January use code XX2iRocks for a 50% discount. I mentioned the cost of brands above, the XX2i USA1's only retail for $59.95 so you're talking $30 for a pair that could cost you $100 or more elsewhere. Sign me up!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Seeking Boston Marathon: 2015 Video Year in Review

Thanks for everyone in my run world that has supported me over the last year. I overcame a lot, and am proud of what I accomplished. My 2015 Video Year in Review.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Share the Gift of Running

By now, you've got all your holiday shopping done, and have poured through countless runner holiday buyer's guides. Yes, a lot to drool over, but after shoes and perhaps a Garmin, what else do we really need? I have something you can add to your list before the end of the year that does not cost anything, but provides the greatest reward you might give and get this coming year.

This last year (and a half for that matter) has been the most challenging time in my time as a runner, but nothing compared to what my new friend Liam has gone through. I met Liam through I Run 4 Michael. I had noticed a couple of my online runner friends (including Michael Scott from Run Nerds Rock) were posting their runs on twitter and Instagram and were tagging and sending out positive messages to a special online friend.

I was curious about I Run 4 Michael and discovered that they "match up" runners with (primarily) kids (and some adults) with special needs. Safe to say that these "buddies" cannot enjoy the gift of running like many of us. For them, it allows them to live vicariously through runners as we post our daily training and perhaps triumphs in races. The organization asks for very little; perhaps 2-3 posts a week tagging the parents on Facebook.

In the case of my running buddy Liam, he can't read the posts as he is blind. His mother Joan reads them to him. She (politely) reminds me to try include other senses as he can't see the photos. I try and be descriptive and even wrote a race report this summer (Road to Redemption: Through Liam's Eyes.) She (and Liam) ask for little, and I get so much more than they can imagine in return. Liam has truly become my "buddy."
Liam was born in Naples Italy while his parents were both active duty Navy. He has three older brothers. Ken age 30 works for the state as an analyst. Colin age 27 in the US Marine Corps. Myles age 27 in the Navy. Liam was born with hydrocephalus, which is "water on the brain." He was 10 pounds 10 ounces at birth, and was immediately flown back to the US for treatment. Liam had his first shunt surgery at day 3 of his life at Walter Reed Hospital.

Due to complications and ongoing medical treatments, the family eventually relocated to San Diego, CA. Liam does not get to experience the thrill of running or racing as he's confined to a wheelchair. He also battles cerebral palsy. From November 1998 through August 2000 Liam had four major brain infections and over 124 brain surgeries. In other words, he has had more surgeries than I've had races (I'm approaching 100.)

Despite all these life challenges, you will never find a kid more full of life. He loves music, Cheerios, and loves being in the water with assistance from his Dad, Fabian. His mom tells me, "He can strum a ukulele and slam some sound out of a snare drum too!" After my triathlon accident in 2014, I returned to the same race to exorcise some demons and gain some redemption. I was not really ready to race (this July) as I was dealing with my own setbacks but Liam provided the motivation to not just finish, but podium.

I have not met Liam in person yet, but plan to soon. I mention the above race as I sent my medal along with my sister on her visit to San Diego earlier this year to give it to Liam. It was some serious "bling" but it would merely collect dust in my office. It was special to me to let Liam (and his mom) to share the victory (shown in the YouTube video above.)  He's often seen with something in his mouth.  His "binkie" is always in his mouth or hanging out nearby. I was excited to see him put the medal immediately in his mouth, but was worried about the dental bill if he chomped too hard into it!

Getting back to the "gift," enjoy all the run gear you might get this holiday season, but I'd highly recommend checking out "I Run 4 Michael" as it's the best running gift I ever got. Tim Boyle (founder) posted last week that they are lacking runners to match up with buddies. I told Tim, I'd spread the word. Match up with a buddy HERE.

Tim Boyle started I Run 4 Michael after getting inspired to run for more than health and weight-loss by a viral meme saying, “I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run, what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them.” When Tim shared the meme, Michael, a 50-something man with Down Syndrome, replied, “You can run for me any time!”

Launched as a private group of 10 runners and buddies with special needs (20 total) who shared workouts and health updates in a private setting, IR4 rapidly grew to over 22,000 members and nearly 7,000 matches, with 3,500 athletes waiting, within 18 months.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Meme Monday: Ho, Ho, Ho and Mistletoe