Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Top Ten (or Eleven) List

Happy Thanksgiving to all my run world friends.  My top ten list of things I'm thankful for on this day.

1)  My family.  Glad to have all three of my kids with me today (with one home from her freshman year in college.)

2)  The fact that toenails grow back and blisters eventually go away.

3)  My run coach (@benitawillis.)  I had a "breakthrough" year this year hitting the podium in every triathlon and run race I competed in this year except the Boston Marathon and the Columbus Marathon.  Hard work plus the right coach equals good things.
I know...a crappy place to run...

4)  Body Glide.  I don't think I'd have nipples without it.

5)  TheNorthFace.  Thanks for sending Seeking Boston Marathon some sweet running swag.

6)  My job.  It's been a great year and it's allowed me to send my first off to college and also allow me to see fantastic parts of the world including Amsterdam (I didn't inhale,) Paris, London, Dusseldorf, and Singapore.

7)  My wife.  She puts up with me AND my running.  Lot's of sacrifice to be married to a runner when I'm gone most Saturdays.  I try to convince her it would be worse if I took up golf. #boring

8)  Strong bones.  I'm a "freak of nature" in that I shouldn't be able to run due to Arthritis, but "flip the bird" to the A word.

9)  The fact that Bill Engvall made it to the final four of Dancing With The Stars.  It had nothing to do with Bill, or dancing, but made channel flipping between Monday Night Football and #DWTS with my wife quite bearable. #emma

10)  My second PR of the year this morning unexpectedly at the Highlands Ranch Turkey Day 5K.  My earlier PR this year was at the Slacker Half Marathon (1:29:18.)  This morning delivered a 20:09.  A mere ten seconds behind 1st place and nine seconds away from my first sub twenty.  #nextyear

11)  (I can't count or this is the equivalent of a "bakers dozen" in "top ten" lists.)  The fact that my wife and I survived the Boston Marathon this year mentally and physically.  Better yet, we will be back there in five months.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Seeking Boston By the Numbers

A Seeking Boston Marathon look at "By the Numbers."

2000

A new "high water mark" for me on miles trained and raced in 2013.  If I was to run from Denver to my new favorite vacation retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, I would be roughly 32 miles away.  
My 100,000 cake from earlier this year.

Five

The highest number of missing number of toenails in 2013 at one time.

8.5

The number of toenails I have right now.

Eight

The total number of chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, and massage therapists.  Nine if you throw in the occasional (mental) therapist. #ipistmyself

Zero

The number of Seeking Boston Marathon sponsorships.  One if you count the fact that I was a Columbus Marathon Instagram Ambassador.  They have a "loose" standard on the occassional blog "F bomb."  I'd rather have readers than sponsors (a lie) so I will maintain the sometimes "off color" writing style so I'm guessing this number will hold for awhile.  It could also be that the video from my Thanksgiving trip to Vegas last year surfaced.  What would you do if called onstage to (ahem) dance in the Absinthe show? #gobigorgohome 

Two

The actual number of F-bombs dropped in the lifespan of SBM...since I brought it up.

5/7

My race-to-podium ratio this year.  Tells me I didn't really race that much this year, but when I did I was pretty happy with the results.  The two races I didn't podium in?  The Boston Marathon and the Columbus Marathon.

130,000

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  130,000 page views on my blog.  And to think that I started this thing "on a lark" to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Eliminate my mom and her friends and this number is 2,600.

47.19

Unpaid earnings on my blog.  Proof that this is a for passion and not profit.

Five

Five months from the Boston Marathon.  This will be my fourth.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Another Perfect Day: A Seinfeld Episode Day

This could really have been a Seinfeld episode in that it was a great day without anything relevant.

It started out with two fantastic car rides and included a run that reminded me why I love to run.

Stopped to snap a pic of the beautiful day with my beautiful daughter
My middle son is six weeks away from getting his driver's license and I drove him to school.  Nothing special other than I relish the conversations we have knowing there are few left before he's driving himself to school.  The faint image of the moon was still hovering over the skyline even though the early sun had come up.  Being in a good mood and with holidays not far off, I throw a little "Jimmy Stewart" at him telling him I'm going to "lasso the moon."  "Do you know what movie that's from,?" I asked.  "Bruce Almighty" (with Jim Carrey) was the reply.  We both laughed over how far off we were on the topic.  "No, it's from 'A Wonderful Life'...it's a holiday classic."  He looks at me like I'm crazy.  The conversation turns to running and he asks what I'd do if I didn't do running.  #blasphemy  He tells me that I'd still probably do something to stay in shape.  He knows me pretty well.

My second car drive was returning my college freshman daughter up to the CSU campus after she'd spent the weekend in Denver.  After a quick Starbucks trip to fuel the car ride, I hopped on an early morning conference call and had it on the car's speaker phone.  My "business voice" combined with very distinct accents from India and London on the other end shared perspectives on a sales deal I'd been working on. Very routine conversation for me but wildly entertaining for my daughter.  The accents had her giggling as if tuning into a YouTube video or "The Simpsons" episode.  It was probably more of an indication of her perspective on life by drawing happiness or humor even out of the mundane.
Backdrop for my awesome 90 minute run

We finished the car ride with questions about boys, her grades and her decision to go to Ft. Collins for school.  She'd alternate her answers with rotating radio channels and turning up the sound on songs she likes.  We both tried to understand what lyrics were in the Drake song on the radio, and both agreed that while it sounded like "oy vey," we didn't think he was Jewish nor was that the line in the song.  More laughter ensued.

After dropping my daughter off on campus, she rushed off for her morning class.  I then turned the car south to head home to my own zip code.  In all, I'd already logged four hours in the car and I hadn't squeezed in my workout yet for the day.  The sun was out and I was in a good mood after the high quality time with my kids.  I made the executive decision to switch my crosstraining (planned) with an outdoor run.  After skipping my Sunday long run for a lazy morning in bed, I decided to "go long" in the awesome Colorado Fall weather on this fine Monday.

Being in my "off season," I didn't need to go especially long, nor fast.  I decided to "hover" around an 8:40 pace, but not pay too much attention to my Garmin.  While I brought my iPod, I opted to skip the music and soak in the sun and sounds of nature.  My energy level was better than it was even for my last marathon.  Perhaps the last few weeks of "taking it easy" had slightly recharged my battery.  I thought to myself, "this is why I'm a runner" since I truly enjoyed this one.  Fall colors combined with cool temps that glided smoothly in and out of my lungs.  I stopped to take a couple pictures.  Images I would have never wasted film on in an old Kodak, but couldn't resist on my smart phone.  This was not a PR, nor were there bagels and medals at the end, but equally satisfying.
Cottonwood on my run

The only things that slightly interrupted this great run karma were the two housewives in two different cars that didn't look both directions on my way home from the running trail.  One was gulping down a McDonalds cheeseburger.  The other didn't look at all, and I (more than) gently tapped the rear quarter panel of her car with my water bottle.  I'm hoping she released a small amount of urine when she heard the "thud" and realized she almost hit me.  She didn't almost hit me since I'm accustomed to defensive running in the burbs.  Yeah Lady, that strip of concrete they call a "sidewalk" sometimes has people on them that walk or run from place to place--you might want to look both ways.

The day ended just as uneventful as it started with my son studying at the dining room table and me on the couch flipping channels between Tom Brady on "Monday Night Football" and "Dancing with the Stars."  My wife by my side, it seemed like a fair trade-off, but she's "on to me" and has realized that I don't watch the show for the dancing or the costumes, but sometimes for the lack of the later.

The day with not much at all had it all.  I'm the "Master of my Domain."

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wall Street Journal's Little Lord Farquaad

Shrek: [observing a giant building] "That must be Lord Farquaad's castle... Do you think he's maybe compensating for something?"

This week the Wall Street Journal, published a column by Mr. Chad Stafko (aka little Lord Farquaad) entitled, "OK, You're a Runner. Get Over It."  Why all the hate...are you too compensating for something? I'm giving Farquaad the benefit of the doubt that this was written in a satirical tone meant to fill his inbox with runner hate mail.  It worked if that was your goal.  Farquaad rants about how the benign oval 13.1 and 26.2 marathon car stickers irritate him.

"What's with this infatuation with running and the near-mandatory ritual of preening about it,?" Farquaad writes.  Wall Street Journal?  I would expect this kind of anger-invoking article to grace the pages of the free urban newspaper at the coffee shop next to the ads for medical marijuana and the "Warm Springs" massage parlor.





















I won't stoop to your level Farquaad, but (I will and) I'll assume you've got some inside aggression that spews out through your fingers onto the keyboard for some kind of displaced anger.  Did you read this babble before you hit the "submit" button to your editor?  Since you made some assumptions about all of us, perhaps we can make some assumptions about you Lord Farquaad; too lazy to get your fat ass off the couch and out on the road yourself, couldn't get a date to the prom, short man (or manhood) complex, or kicked off the cross country team in high school?  My guess is you couldn't qualify for the "all abilities accepted" X-country team.  Do you have the "My kid beat up your honor roll student" bumper sticker on your car too?  Only assholes adorn their minivans with those.  As ridiculous as this sounds, so are your points.

Lord Farquaad writes, "I have a theory. There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running. When runners are dashing down a street in the middle of town or through a subdivision, they know that every driver, every pedestrian, every leaf-raker and every person idly staring out a window can see them,"  What the f**k?  I can tell you the last thing I think about when I go out for a 5 AM run is, I hope some stranger driving by on their way to work sees me and thinks, "wow, that guy is really something special...look at those calves!"

Despite your theory, I originally took up running to cope with a divorce and get into shape.  Running helps balance my life and has got me through some very dark moments in my life.  I know plenty of other great stories of runners who overcame horrible accidents, raise money for worthwhile causes, or are fighting off cancer and running is their solace. Way to piss on someone's hopes and dreams Farquaad.

Am I proud of my accomplishments as a runner?  Absolutely, and I don't think there is a damn thing wrong with it.  Do you know it takes approximately 500-600 miles of training to run in a marathon?  Those aren't Little Lord's miles back and forth to the 7-Eleven in your minivan to pick up this month's issue of Tiger Beat magazine (#BieberLover.)

I think a runner deserves the right to put a frickin' bumper sticker on their car if they finish it.  It's quite an accomplishment.  You claim that "Many of my friends (debatable) who regularly run have done so for years, decades before there was a thing called social media to put humanity's self-absorption in overdrive."  Wow! Really?  I'm guessing if they are real runners, they may not be friends with little Lord Farquaad for long after reading this sewage.

One of your ex-friends ran Boston.  I qualified for Boston and yes, I am proud of it.  I occasionally wear my Boston Marathon jacket(s.)   Am I proud of those races and jackets?  Yes.  Am I a self-absorbed asshole as you insinuate?...in your eyes perhaps, but not in the eyes of my children who are proud that their dad who has arthritis and was able to qualify and race Boston three times.  They are proud of their dad just as I am proud of them...I suppose you have an issue with that too...parents proud of their kids?

What a Farquaad!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Running Bra Review or Sex Parity in the Blogosphere

No.  This is not a running bra review.  I don't wear them unless you count Halloween last year.  My guess is that this blog title will drive more clicks than a men's running watch post would.  No doubt a blog post that will drive some debate or drive readers away due to some sort of sexist or feminist reverse discrimination response, but I have a question.  Where are the male bloggers in the running world?  I know a good number of the men who run and write about and there are some good ones;
The feminine side of SBM: "I was beat up by a Ballerina"

Run Luau Run:  I met Matt (Luau) at a DailyMile Boston Marathon meet-up a few years ago at Boston.  Great guy, great blog, and passionate about running and driving awareness around Autism.

Run Bulldog Run:  I met Steve and his wife Ally at the same meet-up.  Steve is wicked fast and one of the few that places in races and can say that he ran the Leadville 100.

Joe Runs for Dom: Blog created by Joe for his buddy Dom who was fighting and succumbed to Cancer.  Another cool fast dude.

Pavement Runner: Probably the most widely followed male blogger who has graced the pages of Runner's World.

The Beer Runner: Two of my favorite things; beer and running.  #nuffsaid

For every Steve and Matt, there are dozens of women bloggers.  For starters, I should set the record straight.  I will not make a career of running, nor will the $2 a month from my blog cover my mortgage.  I'm okay with this.  I simply love running and had a re-birth as a writer in 2007 when I created "Seeking Boston Marathon."  I love to combine writing and sometimes illustrating my stories as it makes me feel better about "selling my soul to the devil" my freshman year in college when the right brain won out over the left brain and I switched from the art school to the business school.  My sometimes "off color" writing has perhaps kept my audience down and the sponsors away (see Fifty Shades of Marathon Grey.)
A "Man" blog post

In high school I was not a runner, but I was the co-editor of my high school news magazine.  Surprise, surprise...I wrote a lot of satire pieces.  I'm my biggest fan as I recall reading one of my papers in grade school and nearly (actually) wet my own pants.  #nerd

My wife is an avid blog reader which probably fueled some early delusion that my blog would "take off" as she would tell me stories of women who quit their day jobs to work their blogs full-time taking pictures of food, furniture, kids, or the milk can they spray-painted and sold on Etsy.  My blog fantasy continued as I thought readership would skyrocket and I'd make it to Runner's World magazine some day and Kara Goucher would not only respond to my Facebook and Twitter "follow" requests but occasionally respond with an "LOL" to one of my tweets or posts.  Then I woke up.

I'm beginning to sound like a bitter writer, but I'm not. Blogging and running gives me balance in life as I juggle a career, heavy travel, my amateur karaoke singing status, and trying to be a good dad and husband.  Having said that, it baffles me when I see someone who started a Facebook Fan page six months ago with "I'm cute, I wear a ponytail, I'm training for my first marathon, and I have 6,000 followers."  I'm not, I don't, I've run ten and I have 500 followers.

If I haven't proven a point;

There's a #blogher conference, but no sign of a #bloghim conference.

I was thrilled to break the "glass floor" and be named to WomenRaces.com's Top 100 Motivating Endurance Facebook pages, but where is MensRaces.com? #urlnotfound

MensRaces.com can't be found on the internet
I saw a runner friend (woman) who liked "Runner Girl" on Facebook as I sat down to write this.  48,355 likes.  Granted, this is a whole 'nother level in the social running world, but to prove a point, I typed in;

runnerboy.com


I know, it doesn't exactly sound right and who knows what would pop up.  My parental or employer filter may have blocked the results, but it came back fairly innocuous.  Nothing to do with running, they're peddling IT services.


Runnerboy.com will help you fix your computer
Megan Garber from Atlantic.com wrote an article on the topic last year called the Digital (Gender Divide) and states that women are simply "more likely than men to have a blog and a Facebook profile."  I'd take it a step further and conclude that men are less likely to read blogs and wormen are more likely to read women blogs.  Further proof that most of my 125,000 page views comes from my parents.

I'm not sure what my point is other than it confuses me.  I'm thankful that I can run and write about it.  I appreciate the occasional perk of being a blogger by interviewing Josh Cox at last year's Boston Marathon, being an Instagram Ambassador for the Columbus Marathon, and the treasure trove of The North Face running gear they sent me to test drive.  What you won't find here are milk cans on Etsy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Seeking Boston Seeking Singapore

"Seeking Boston" seeks Singapore by the seashore.  Say that five times real fast.

In hopefully the last leg of my 2013 global tour (de force,) I ventured off to Singapore on my latest work and running adventure.  Just how far away is Singapore?  I had to consult the map as I am many years away from grade school geography.  From Colorado, the answer would be fourteen timezones ahead, across the international dateline, over 9000 miles, and two long-ass flights.

Work has been good to me and allowed me to enjoy some pretty exotic and cool places this year and Singapore was the latest not to disappoint.  I won't complain about missing Halloween (that was last week's blog,) but this was a Saturday to Friday affair.  As long as you're going halfway around the world, you might as well spend a few days there.

Some of the highlights of my trip including a run of course.
View from the Ritz Carlton Hotel of the Marina Bay Sands

The Trek and Arrival

My only "bonehead" move on the trip was slightly miscalculating my arrival.  I left on the Saturday before Halloween and saw that I was arriving late Monday night.  I realized my error the night before I left Denver which was that I was to arrive late SUNDAY night so I was in need of a hotel for my late arrival early Monday morning.  Using my secret decoder ring and secret hotel discount codes, I booked the Ritz Carlton on the Kallang River.  After a delay out of Denver, I missed my connection in Tokyo which caused a "ripple effect" in my trip and a 3AM arrival (or was it four) to the Ritz.

Being somewhat "punch drunk" or loopy and being a Marriott Platinum member the women working the early morning at the Ritz took pity (it felt) and upgraded my room.  "Could I please get a late check out?" was met by "how about 2PM?" #sold  The pictures don't do it justice, but perhaps the nicest hotel room with a view I've ever had.  It was larger than the first apartment I ever lived in, and opulent beyond words.  I was exhausted, but not tired so I took advantage of the king-sized bed and watched a little NFL on my Slingbox until the sun came up.  Finally delirious, I "conked out" until after Noon.

I stayed in the room as long as I could as I drafted a postcard for back home and went through all the Nespresso capsules they had in the room.  After stealing a bunch of French soap, I was off to downgrade to the Four Seasons on Orchard Road.

One observation about the Kallang River is that it really didn't seem like a river, but more like a bay which was built up on land that didn't exist ten years ago.  This is where you'd find the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel...why isn't it called the Kallang River Sands Hotel? #hmm

Shopping is not my thing

I attempted to shop for loved ones back home on the famous Orchard Road, but began to understand that this was one expensive town.  Think Hermes purses.  I only know of these things because I have a wife who educates me on such worldly things.  After seeing too many $400 t-shirts, I blew off the shopping as my "shopping timer" went off.  My "shopping timer" is normally 30-40 minutes on a good day...go in, get out, or I explode.  Don't believe the television commercials, they don't take Visa in Singapore.

Our last day (with work stuck in the middle,) we went off to the other ethnic areas of Singapore to once again find something to bring back home.  For the second time, on the trip I was out of my element as I had no idea what to look for in the textile area of Malaysia.  At this point, I was thinking coffee cups and snowglobes from the airport.

Singapore Duathalon

I may not run marathons on seven continents, but I did want to check off a decent run while I was in Singapore.  The Four Seasons recommended a number of options out of the hotel.  I chose a short run to the Singapore Botanical Gardens a short ways from my hotel.  One thing I learned about the city is that it very safe.  It must have something to do with the severe punishment associated with even the mildest of offenses.  The aforementioned markets sold t-shirts that made fun of the various fines for chewing gum (broke that one,) and spitting (broke that one too on my run.)  I got a bit of a late morning start which made this one hot, sticky humid run.  This is essentially a tropical island in the summer.  Einstein forgot to pack shorts other than my running shorts, and I was not going to spend $400 for a pair on Orchard Road.

I had no energy perhaps from the flight and the fact that I'd raced the Columbus Marathon only eight days earlier.  This allowed me to stop and snap pics as a tourist of the Swan Lake, waterfalls, and Ginger Garden (I figured my redhead daughter would get a kick out of that one.)

I did not rent a bike like we did in Amsterdam, but I was also able to get in a mile swim another afternoon to pull off a duathlon while I was there at the Four Seasons Pool.  Giant lounge chairs complemented the pool and palm trees.  Not a bad place to get a mile swim in and get a little work done on the laptop poolside.

Dining in Singapore

We were spoiled with the food while we were there and enjoyed quite a range of food including the sampling of the famous local chili crab.  This is a town you could go crazy in as far as dining and also drop some serious Singapore dollar.  Another highlight was dining at Level 33 which overlooked the Marina...Kallang River water area and the light show at night at the Marina Bay Sands.

The best dining experience of all was having "high tea" with my childhood friend Beth at the Four Seasons.  With English colonization as part of the history, it only seemed appropriate to have high tea.  I've known Beth since grade school and we went to the same high school.  We got reaquainted in recent years and at our high school reunion.  It was truly a delight to see a friend so far from home and catch up on our lives and others we went to school with.

The Journey Home

Once again, the "travel gods" threw a curve at me as my connecting flight in Tokyo was delayed four hours.  With several hours to kill, I finally took care of that last little bit of shopping and completely crashed in a "transit hotel" at the airport.  Akin to what you might expect for the Tokyo businessman who crashes after a night of cocktails and karaoke.  No cocktails this night and karaoke would have to wait for the neighborhood pub when I got home.  While there are many wonders in the world, this was a trip that made me feel like "there's no place like home" when I finally got back home.

About Me

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine