Monday, December 22, 2014

Reminders and Progress Since my Crash

Five months ago to the day I was going for the podium in my second triathlon of the summer. My conditioning was in great shape. Earlier in the year, I broke one of my goals for the year in breaking "sub twenty" in a 5K. I "blew that away" with a 19:21. I knew my open water swim needed help this last summer and I spent a lot of time out at nearby Chatfield Resevoir working on the open water aspects of my triathlon game; remaining calm and swimming straight. The bike was the least of my concerns, but became my weakest link in my first ever "DNF" (did not finish) in any race in the Rocky Mountain State Games on July 19th, 2014.
Before my race

I had a good excuse for my "DNF" as a wicked downhill corner caused a "spill." Spill is a poor choice of words as this was a full-on crash. I remember looking down and seeing the corner of a highway cone that met my tire and caused my bike and body to slam onto the asphalt in the turn. I thought I had the wind knocked out of me. Later at the hospital, I learned that I broke four ribs and collapsed a lung. Two months later, when my shoulder still hurt worse than my ribs, I learned that I'd separated the right shoulder and torn my labrum. No surgeries were required, but it was the first time in my life where I stared at death. Sometime early Monday morning less than 48 hours from my crash, I was "unresponsive" and they administered Narcan which reversed the plethora of pain medications I induced on Sunday. This meant I was wrenching in pain more so than when I was admitted as I now had a garden hose stuck in my chest cavity to drain the fluids to help re-inflate the right lung.

In the E.R.
For those of you that have had broken ribs before, I'm sorry, and you can relate. I've heard stories of friends who have had bruised ribs or cracked one rib. Three of my four broken ribs were completely "snapped."I needed drugs...a lot of drugs to temper the severe pain. I'd have to go back to my hospital records to list all the drugs I had on Sunday, but it was a lot including the button I would push in my hospital bed to give me a boost of pain medication. I clearly took in way too much as it lead to my unresponsive state that early Monday morning. As I started to "come around" my pain was at it's highest point. The Narcan wiped out any relief. I needed to throw up. I think I did. I had the chills, but the worst was the look on the young nurse's face at Memorial Hospital. It scared the ever living shit out of me as she had the concerned look of a nurse who was losing a patient. I thought I was in Kansas City. I was not. They were screaming at me to calm down. I'd learn later that my blood oxygen level was at 50%. Google would tell me that anything below 80% is considered dangerous or life-threatening. My first conscious thought was my wife and daughter aren't here and I don't want to die alone.

Six months later, there are still more than subtle reminders that this was not a spill. While I have been "off" the hardcore pain meds for six weeks, I'm not "pain-free." Sleeping has improved as my official Boston Marathon training started this week. Swinging arms and pounding pavement for 40 miles in a week probably have something to do with that. I manage during the day with things pretty much back to a normal life. Nighttime still remains the worst time of the day as normal activities combined with training raise the pain level ever so slightly by the time I head to bed.
My first race after the accident. 5th in my AG.

Sleeping brings out the "worst" if I happen to roll over onto my right side where all the body-slammed injuries occured. My ribs will occasionally wake me up and I'm sore when I wake up in the morning. Training likely exacerbates the pain, but it has the benefit of raising my morale, getting me back into shape, and more often makes me more tired than I've been so getting to sleep seems to be getting easier.

Halloween weekend was the last weekend where I rode the "oxy train." Oxycontin is highly addictive and my regular doctor did not want to fill the last prescription he gave me, but "over-the-counter" meds did absolutely nothing at that time to help me get any amount of sleep. I went with a "cold turkey" plan and stopped taking oxy the first week of November. That week was hell as I was essentially going through narcotics withdrawal. I had three sleepless nights with "restless legs" where I paced the darkness of my house the entire night. I can honestly say, I have no desire to take another pill and drop back into that "abyss."

There are other physical reminders of the Rocky Mountain State Games Triathlon. I have a "hunk" of flesh about the size of a large fishing lure under my skin that's adhered to my lower right rib area. My "Google MD" wife labels it as "scar tissue." I'm sure it's harmless, but I subconsciously grab it throughout the day and it reminds me of the crash. I have road rash scars on my right hip and I look at the pneumothorax scar every day in the mirror along my rib cage where 10" of tubing lived in my chest cavity for ten days in the hospital. My right elbow has a small red scar that hurts when I glance my elbow against something. This is a long way of saying, I don't have the podium medal I was hoping for, but have plenty of reminders of my first DNF.
My longest run since the accident. Eleven miles last weekend.

With the injuries I sustained, running was out of the question for at least two months and biking was not an option as the thought of even tipping over while waiting for a red light to turn green would be bad...very bad. The later was not an option since my bike was totaled. This was the same bike I hopped back onto after I crashed and completed the first of three loops in the bike leg of the race. It was after the first loop that I pulled off the course just beyond the transition area and knew my day was done.

It's good to write these words and reflect on the accident as a reminder of how lucky I am. How lucky I am to still be able to do some of the things I love; running, swimming, biking (indoors,) and writing about it. While I'm still the same person I was before the crash, I am also different. I love my wife and family more. I love life more, and I'm beginning to train again.

Over the last four weeks, I have started to implement portions of the training routine I'd grown accustomed to; notably "pushing myself" at least two days a week. Part of that is speed work on Tuesdays. That's a bit of an oxymoron as I don't have the speed I had back in March when I set my
Getting back into the swim of things
PR in a 5k and grabbed 1st in my age group. My favorite speed workout are Yassos (1/2 mile repeats.) I have slowly increased speed each week initially starting out with five sets and "up'ed it" to seven sets this week. My running coach often layers on alternating speeds so I've done that with my Yasso's alternating between "fast" and "faster." This week that meant starting at a 6:15 pace and progressed (another one of her training aspects) to a 5:56 pace. Fast by some people's standards but not close to the 5:30ish pace I was pushing myself earlier in the year with much less stress. I have also started to go a bit further in time and distance on the weekends.

This last weekend I went the furthest I've gone which was eleven miles. Distance and speed still feel very "labored" to me mainly from a cardio standpoint. It scares me that the right lung that collapsed won't get back to where it was six months ago. I try and convince myself that I'm merely "ramping back up" on my conditioning and it will get there.

As I'd mentioned above, the hospital did not diagnose the separated shoulder, but I knew something was wrong two months after the accident and went in for an MRI which diagnosed the separated
shoulder and torn labrum. I have Steadman Hawkins Clinic and my physical therapist, John, to thank for rehabilitating my shoulder. When I went in for my first PT session, my right shoulder blade literally "floated" around my back and John could fit his fingers under the scapula.

I have been "religious" with my rehab which includes 20-30 minutes each day with a variety of exercise. I had tried to swim a month after my accident, but it was a disaster and filled with pain. A
Returning to speed and drill work
freestyle stoke and a separated shoulder do not go together. I have started to implement at least one day a week of swimming into my weekly training plan and I was surprised the first time I got in the pool that it didn't hurt and my swim conditioning was not that bad; in fact better than my run. I now have my standard routine of two 800 meter sets (one mile) each time in the water. I will continue to rotate one day in the water each week as part of my cross-training.

To give myself a morale boost, I had my first race since my accident at the end of November for a Turkey Day 5k. I knew this was not going to be a podium day. I had gotten spoiled prior to my accident as I'd hit the podium in 11 out of the last 12 (not counting Boston and Columbus Marathon) races. My race result was almost three minutes slower than the PR day I had in March, yet I came within eighteen seconds of first. I "pushed it" in the first mile, and throttled it back in the second mile on a somewhat hilly course. I was disappointed in coming in fifth in my age group, but knew this was an honorable time. The beer in the beer tent after that race tasted sweeter than normal.

While I was not hard on myself for the turkey run, I wanted to get one more boost of adrenaline before the end of the year so I signed up last minute as a walk-up registrant for another local 5k, the Santa Stampede. I flew home from Seattle the day before on Friday and had a late business dinner Thursday night so I crashed hard Friday night before the five kilometer race. My wife had a bout with allergies so my sleep was a wreck and Friday night pizza had my gut in knots Saturday morning. In other words, I was set up for a perfect race. I'd say I didn't have a time goal, but that would be a lie. I wanted to improve on the twenty two minute 5k from three weeks earlier and deep down, I wanted to taste the podium again (not literally.)

The weather was "crisp" and cold hovering the lower 30's yet I still opted for shorts and a singlet, but added arm sleeves and gloves. It was great to see many local run friends since I didn't really run into anyone at the previous Thanksgiving race. I warmed up a full three miles with one of my really fast run buddies from my 2014 Race Team, Working Class Athletics (Kevin.) I "dosed up" with some Generation UCAN and did a few sprint drills as well before the race. Like the previous 5k, I went out fast, slowed a bit in the second mile, and finished fast in the last half mile despite a perplexing windy route through some trees and packed snow (not as perplexing as the earlier leg through an apartment complex that ran through a huge patch of ice.)

I met both goals of improving my time shaving 74 seconds off my previous race and grabbing second in my age group. It was great to hear my name called out again and get a gift certificate from Runner's Roost which is my 2015 Triathlon Race team. Five days before Christmas and Santa delivered early.

In April I will race my fifth Boston Marathon. It's too early to set any goals other than "complete the training" and "toe the line" in April. If I had to guess at this stage, it would be a lofty goal to grab my eighth BQ. It might be a lofty goal to run 26.2 miles since the eleven miles I ran "slow" this last Saturday completely wiped me out.

Given all this, I have so much to be thankful for with Christmas coming next week. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday as a child and as an adult. Each year it's a time when I can finally
relax and not stress over work, sales quotas, or finances. My daughter came home yesterday from her holiday break of her sophomore year. My favorite Aunt Marge is coming into town. My boys are out
of school and are anxious to see what's "under the tree." My wife is happy she has a husband, and I'm happy to have all that and to say I've started training for my fifth Boston Marathon.

Footnote: My son raced the same day with his triathlon team. I thank the Barber and Oliva parents from Teens That Tri who helped me that day and for William for calling the Race Director to tell him about the severity of my crash. I still don't understand why they told him they couldn't contact me due to any potential liability. I contacted the same race director when I got home from the hospital to see if he would send me my brand new goggles that were left behind in the transition area to my home. He said he would, and never did. Not likely I'll give them my race dollars in 2015, but I will leave it behind me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rudolph's Island of Misfit Running Toys Holiday Wish List

FAIR WARNING: This post may contain adult material unsuitable for children (which means at least one four letter word.) Read at your own risk.

Even though I've seen it dozens of times, Rudolph came on t.v. the other night and my channel surfing stopped to take in the Christmas classic. It's timeless and always takes me back to my childhood when I looked forward to seeing Rudolph, Frosty, and the Grinch once a year as my favorite holiday approached.

One of my favorite scenes is when Rudolph, Hermie, and Yukon Cornelius escape the clutches of the Abominable Snow Monster and land on the Island of Misfit Toys. Plenty of symbolism there, as Rudolph is a misfit himself as is Hermie and the more I think about it, so is Yukon Cornelius--do you ever wonder why he licks his pick after striking it on something? Talk about odd...

As I often do, my imagination started to run wild and I came up with my runner's version of the island. I have done my runner's shopping wish list blogs before, but far more interesting is Rudolph's Island of Misfit Running Toys Holiday Wish List. These toys won't make it to the popular running blog wish lists, and will likely remain on the island with the train, spotted elephant, "charlie-in-the-box," and "Dolly." With that, my top ten misfit running toy list.

1) Copper Mountain Chili Gel Pack. The energy companies continue to come out with new flavors to make you go the distance. They went too far and this makes you go in the wrong way. Cases never sold and landed on the island.
2) Free entry to the Axis of Evil North Korea Marathon. I previously wrote about why I'm not racing (HERE,) but I'm not the only one that doesn't want this in their stocking.
3) Hostess "Twinkie" fuel belt. Before Hostess went under and sold their assets, they tried to jump into the fitness energy market. Fuel belts equipped with Twinkies was their desperation idea that sealed their fate for good. Maybe after a race as a "cheat food" or reward, but this will guarantee projectile vomiting in a race.
4) DumbWool Racing Singlet. Wool socks make a lot of sense. Wool on the torso is an itchy hot mess.
5) Runner MILF on a Shelf. The mother of the mischievous and infamous "Elf on a Shelf" is equally mischievous and that's about all I can say about her.
6) Lee Nails Black Toenail Cover-Up kit. Right problem, wrong solution. Runners do not want to hide their badges of honor. One of many inappropriate Instagram posts of mine show off my ugly feet. Be black and be proud!
7) Shards of Fiberglass Compression Socks. Have you ever installed installation, or accidentally rubbed up against it in the crawlspace or attic? Attempts to compress and keep your legs warm went awry with this product gone bad. Combine with the race singlet and you're one itchy mutha.
8) Maximilist Lead Running Shoes. Minimalism in the running shoe market has a hot segment including the ape looking Vibram FiveFingers. Going the opposite direction, these shoes are the heaviest on the market with lead weights in the soles. Only fit for Hermie on Misfit Island or Jimmy Hoffa going for a swim.
9) Nipple Glue. An attempt to take market share away from BodyGlide, Nipple Lube was nicknamed Nipple Glue and never sold since they discovered that the lube combined with sweat and heat would adhere nipples to clothing. You wouldn't have the dreaded bloody nipples at the end of a race, but you would once you ripped your shirt (and nipples) off.
10) Sheer White Run Shorts. They look okay on the rack in the running store, but anything over ten minutes when the sweat starts producing and they magically leave "nothing to the imagination." If you've ever considered a nude 5k, but were afraid to, wear these and the matching top and you will have entered one accidentally by the end of the race.

Whatever your religious affiliation is this season (Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hannukkah,) here's hoping that UPS doesn't deliver any of these to your doorstep. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Turkey Hangover and Ten Things I'm Thankful For

Since everyone was hopefully "offline" either running in their turkey day 5k or indulging in football or the Thanksgiving feast, I've got my post-Thanksgiving "Ten Things I'm Thankful For" post. I had a lot of people I hadn't seen in awhile that I ran into over the long weekend. The most common questions were;

"Are you running again?"
"Are you all better?"
"Tell me about your accident?"
"Did you really meet Kate Bosworth?"

Yes, kind of, long story, and yes are the answers.

Last night, my ribs woke me up at 2AM and my sleep hasn't quite returned to normal. In terms of everyday life, I'm around 90%. In terms of running, I'm perhaps 70-80%, but working hard at it. Regardless, there are many things I am thankful for with my glass more than "half full." My top ten thankful list.

1) The gift of life. While I still occasionally "sweat the small stuff," I feel like I have a whole new outlook and appreciation of life. Nothing like waking up in the hospital with a "we're losing him" look on a nurse's face to have you appreciate each day.
2) The gift of running. While I've only been back at it for the last few weeks, I am thankful I'm able to return to the sports of running and triathlons.
3) A return to "speed work." I have only had two sessions the last two weeks respectively and have a
long way to go, but good to use the word "Yassos" (1/2 mile repeats) in my vocabulary again. I pushed myself to just over a six minute per mile pace. A far cry from where I was in July, but progress nevertheless.
4) My family. I'm fortunate to have lots of family in town and around the country that I'm very close to. I'm especially happy to have a phenomenal wife and three kids that deal with me, my range of emotions, and my obsession with this sport.
5) Kate Bosworth. Had to get number four in ahead of Kate. After a million miles on United Airlines
largely sitting next to smelly businessmen that don't know the rules around sharing of the armrest, I won the lottery on my last flight before Thanksgiving. Not only did I get the first class upgrade, but actress Kate Bosworth sat next to me. Far more beautiful in real life and crazy nice. I neglected the urge to say, "Aren't you that actress,?" and shared small talk, a flight of champagne, and hand holding the rest of the flight. Okay...I made up that last part, but she is crazy nice.
6) Thanksgiving Day 5ks. I love racing on Thanksgiving morning and have made it part of my holiday ritual. The problem this year, is I was nowhere close to being 5k "race ready" and I don't know how to jog, or "run for fun." My desire to put a bib on for the first time since my accident in July far out-weighed the fact that my body wasn't ready so I signed up for the local Highlands Ranch
Turkey Day 5k. I went out fast, settled in on the second mile knowing, that it wasn't going to be a podium or PR day, and had a "kick" the last half mile to give me fifth in my age group. If I knew first place was a mere 18 seconds ahead of me, I would have found a way to try and close the gap. This 5k result was a full three minutes slower than my PR set in March, but I'll take it. 22:39. Great to be back out there!
7) I didn't sink. I had to look this one up. When was the last time I swam a mile? My birthday on July 14th shortly before my triathlon crash. If you know anything about ribs and swimming, broken ribs are not a swimmer's friend. On Sunday, I took to the pool for the first time (upon recommendation of my physical therapist) and the (separated) shoulder felt great. The bigger surprise was my conditioning felt decent despite the long water layoff. I should "thank" Steadman Hawkins for helping rehab that shoulder to get me where I am now.
8) Team work. Right before the holiday, I was notified that I made the local Runner's Roost Triathlon Race team. I had applied before, but did not make the team. They must have lowered their standards (#sarcasm) as I made it this time around. Super excited about wearing their race gear and being an ambassador for the sport and their stores.
9) Close to pain free and off the pain meds. I'm not an expert, but my doctor hopefully is. He was reluctant to renew my last prescription for "oxy." I had no choice at the time as aspirin didn't cut down the pain at all, and sleep is a bit of a necessity. Weaning off oxy after three months is no trivial manner, but I went "cold turkey" (no pun intended) after Halloween. There were three "nightmarish" nights, but my desire to return to the sports I love again out-weighed any desire to take another pill.
10) My running and triathlon blogosphere. I have made some great friends over social media who have been a source of encouragement as I went through the accident, long layoff, and continued rehab. My blog surpassed 200,000 page views in the month of November which helps me maintain accountability towards my goals. Giving up is not an option, and I'm sincerely thankful for all that help motivate me with "Likes," "tweets," and the like.

Here's hoping your holiday was filled with running, love, and lots of good food. I look forward to continuing the journey in December as I start training for the April 2015 Boston Marathon here in a couple weeks.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blue Shoes

The back of my Land Rover looks like a mobile running store. I have three canvas bins that have run gear, tri gear, and an overflowing supply of running shoes. I can almost always piece together a complete ensemble to go out for an impromptu run and always have additional layers for colder weather. For the second time since my accident in July, I was going to attempt some speed work inside. Don't be a treadmill hater--the temps were crazy low, and I'm not about to take a spill on the ice with a set of ribs not quite healed. Nevertheless, I got to the gym with a set of clothes I'd packed in my gym bag along with come Generation UCAN to fuel my run. All set, or so I thought.

At the gym, I started to change into my run gear, and realize I had no run shoes in my bag. I have forgot run socks before and improvised with black dress socks, but you can't substitute run shoes. In this case, it's a good thing I have a mobile running store out in the parking lot. I head outside and sort through what shoe matches the workout I was thinking of. I have at least a dozen pairs of running shoes; some with worn tread, some for long distance, some for speed, and some race flats. My most everyday "go to" pair of shoes lately are the Adidas Energy Boost shoes--I love them, but both pairs were at home. I pull out a pair of Adidas Adios Energy Boost shoes--built for speed.

As I start putting the shoes on inside the symbolism hits me. The last time I pulled these out of my bag was for a race, but they never made it on my feet. They were lined up on my towel in the transition area of the Rocky Mountain State Games. Yes, that race where I made it out of the water, onto the bike, and crashed so hard it sent me to the hospital. The only other time I'd worn them in a race was earlier that month at a 4th of July 5k. That was a much better day as I came in second in my age group.

Perhaps with a mixed set of emotions, I strapped them on for my speed work. This week was four months from the crash and I've only really been running for the last few weeks. Baby steps. After a two mile warm-up, I decided on Yasso intervals. In later stages of normal training, I would do eight to ten 1/2 mile Yasso intervals. Today, I was thinking 4-5 and mustered only four. While the time on my feet running has progressed and my heart rate has stabilized a bit on running in a 9:12 per minute pace, running fast is just not there. Interval paces wound up being; 6:30, 6:15, 6:30, and 6:15. I probably could pushed a bit faster or tried another 1/2 mile, but my conditioning is just not there yet. Four months earlier, I could do several of these and was pushing myself well below a 6:00 per mile pace. At times, I was critical of my performance on this day and frustrated that I was so winded. Then I remembered that the crash collapsed one of those lungs, and I spent eleven days in the hospital.

"DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF,!," I mentally muttered to myself.

The ribs are not entirely healed and a dull pain still radiates along my right rib cage up to my right shoulder which was separated. The good news is that I have been diligent with my physical therapy at Steadman Hawkins. I still go there once a week, and have daily exercises I perform religiously. My P.T, John, has me now doing six different band exercises and planks. When I first went in, my right scapula "floated" around my back. This last Monday, he told me he was impressed with my progress and added in some plyometrics catching a weight ball and flinging it back. I cringed when he told me what we were going to do, but my shoulder was able to handle it. Progress!

Anyhow, next week is Thanksgiving, and I've got mixed emotions about my normal ritual of racing in the local 5K. Race is probably the wrong word to use. We shall see if my stubborn competitive self can strap on the blue shoes and try and "run" the 5k versus "racing it."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Like a Glove: Eddie Bauer Run Gear Review

Everyone owns a little bit of Eddie Bauer. A shirt, winter jacket, or a pair of gloves in the hall closet. For me, there's a duffle bag that's been all over the world and a pair of gloves that are guaranteed for warmth. Eddie Bauer is known for quality and durability, but they've never been a place I'd shop for my run gear...until now.

Eddie Bauer is now marketing their First Ascent line for running.  Many of the qualities I would expect are found in three products I recently tested. Being based in Colorado and entering the cold part of the season, there are many long runs ahead as I start training in December for my fifth Boston Marathon in April. I have a love-hate relationship with the elements. A light rain is nice on a warm day, but a downpour in a race is not fun. Light snowfall can be a religious experience, but sub-zero temperatures combined with wind will tempt your faith.

I tried out three products in the Eddie Bauer line. A 1/4-zip pullover shirt, Hangfire Pro Hooded Jacket, and Men's Touchscreen FluxPro Gloves.

Pullover Shirt

The Ascent 1/4-zip pullover shirt as they say, "fits like a glove." I normally wear a large-sized shirt in a dress shirt, but when I'm running, I don't like a fit too tight, or too "blousy" either. Too tight combined with the wrong seam can literally rub you the wrong way over a twenty mile training run
1/4-zip pullover shirt
or race. No pun intended, this has an "athletic fit" and was extremely comfortable. Eddie Bauer states, "Next-to-skin crew features exclusive FreeHeat™ Pro polyester/spandex. The cutting-edge fabric actively generates additional heat when worn against the skin by harnessing kinetic ultraviolet energy." Silky smooth, this is one comfortable long-sleeve shirt that will get a lot of miles this winter.

Additionally, the shirt features

MODIFIED RAGLAN SLEEVES. Excellent range of motion
STRATEGICALLY PLACED SEAMS. Prevent chafing when layering or running long

And two of my favorite features in a winter long-sleeve shirt; thumb holes and a mock-turtleneck zipper to keep the neck warm.

Hangfire Pro Hooded Jacket

I wrote a post awhile back called the "Sore Nipple Calculator." In that post, I summarized what type of clothing I'd need based on the weather forecast for the run. I have gone "long" in Colorado in blinding snow and single digit temperatures. When it gets that cold, you need a good shell jacket.
Hangfire jacket, 2014 Boston Marathon Cap, Fluxpro gloves, Adidas Energy Boost, and Oakley Sunglasses.

The Hangfire jacket sports many of the same features as the 1/4-zip pullover; soft, breathable fabric with extra attention to detail on seams, a drawstring hood that works, thumb holes, and an iPod eyelet inside the chest pocket. Additionally, the jacket boasts;

Ultralight Flexion four-way stretch performance shell of nylon/spandex/polyester offers superior flexibility and breathability, and is wind- and water-resistant. StormRepel® durable water-repellent (DWR) finish beads water so it doesn't soak into the fabric. Streamlined design eliminates bulk while allowing full range of motion.

Depending on the weather, I will opt for race hat, light wool cap, or heavy wool for my head. When weather turns during a run, it's nice to have a jacket with the hood to add a few more degrees of warmth, or to protect the head when precipitation starts to fall.

Men's Touchscreen FluxPro Gloves

Back to my point of the "Sore Nipple Calculator," I currently have various weights of gloves I use depending on how cold it is outside. The Eddie Bauer Men's Touchscreen FluxPro Gloves are crazy comfortable and feature a fully-conductive palm fabric that has a grip you would expect on a pair of NFL receiver gloves. Taking the above picture in Roxborough State Park in Denver, the snow was falling lightly and temperatures dipped to 14 degrees. The touchscreen gloves actually worked when navigating my phone to capture the pictures--many gloves boast this claim, but these worked with the phone without having to remove them.

As I write this post, the trees outside my window have turned crimson red and and golden and have started to Fall. Temperatures are in the teens and expected to go lower. The mornings are getting cold, but I've got a few more tricks in my bag to keep me warm on my way to the Boston Marathon.

Note: The products above were provided for review. There's no compensation for this post other than the words above. As always, I will tell you whether I like the product or not. In this case, very impressed. If you doubt this disclaimer, you clearly didn't read my review of Nike's latest Gyakusou.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Three Things Thursday

I'm starting to feel like a broken record. Slow going on the recovery, but depends on whether you view the glass as half full or half empty. A few thoughts on a gorgeous autumn day in Colorado.


I've now had a few runs in my rehabilitation since my accident in July. I have yet to really open up the carburetor...until this week. When I'm in training, which is most of the year, I spend 1-2 days a week with an aggressive run with Tuesday or Wednesday as a speed day. Perhaps a bit too early, but I tried a few intervals indoors this week with my typical routine; warm-up two miles, strides and drills, intervals, and a cooldown. I wound up with two 800's, 400, and a 300 ranging in pace from 6:15-6:30 minute per mile pace. While those numbers may sound encouraging, I left the gym a bit discouraged knowing that pre-accident, I was running 800's comfortably at a 5:30 or faster pace. My lungs just aren't there yet.  Some big video of the strides in the gym.

Good Mail Week

A boost to my running mojo this week did come in the mail with my Confirmation of Acceptance
into the 2015 Boston Marathon. Oh happy day, and oh panic day. This means I have another month to build some level of conditioning to formally start my typical 16 week program sometime mid-December. #gulp

Question of the Week

This was a good one from a reader who asked me, I haven't trained for my upcoming marathon, and the furthest I've run is 13 miles, I need some "professional advice." My answer was you made two mistakes, not training, and using me and professional advice in the same sentence. I am not a coach nor do I claim to be (but I do play one on T.V.)

After giving it some thought, I DM'd my email and plan to talk by phone. My thoughts are;

1) This is not recommended.
2) How much did you pay? Can you defer (probably the best answer.)
3) When was the last time you ran 20 miles? (I think I know the answer.)

Regardless of the answers, you certainly can't "RACE" this marathon or have any speedy goals. Having said that, we have all seen marathon runners who come in at the five hour mark or slower. Some I've seen don't look like they've trained at all yet finished. I think it is possible if you slow it WAAAY down close to a walk. Take a bunch of pictures along the way, and insert plenty of walk breaks.

How would you answer the question?

Friday, October 31, 2014

How Far I've Come in Fifteen Weeks

A look at how far I've come since my triathlon accident ended my 2014 race season and put my quest for the 2015 Boston Marathon in jeopardy. 

By the numbers.

7-19-14: Triathlon Accident
4: Broken Ribs
3: completely fractured ribs
1: Collapsed Lung
1: Separated shoulder & torn Labrum
11: Days in the Hospital
2: Days I thought I would be in the hospital
50%: Blood oxygen level Sun. Night in the hospital
80%: Blood oxygen level considered dangerous.
3: Days in ICU
6: Pain Killer refills
1.5: Average number of hours of sleep WITH painkillers in the first month home.
54: Days without a run outdoors from the date of my accident
2009: Last time I took more than 54 days off from running.
30: Days I thought it would take to resume training.
10-29-14: 4 Mile Run.
9:00: Minute per mile pace
7:30: 1/2 mile interval pace inserted mile 3-3.5. An ambitious marathon goal pace considering I have no lungs at the moment.
20: mins. of Strength Work
170: Days until I run the 2015 Boston Marathon.
0: Regrets (other than taking a different angle on that downhill corner in my last triathlon.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Outran A Security Guard

Things are picking up for me. This week I outran a security guard. I'm no longer limited to out-walking the walkers in my neighborhood.

Overall, this was a fantastic week. On the work front, I headed to Kansas City for meetings. Most of my work trips are booked last minute and this was no different other than the fact that I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get flights in and out of KC which is normally pretty easy. Oh yes...a little thing called the World Series was going on. This meant an extra night in the land of barbeque, but I decided to take advantage of it.

My brother passed away this last July and his wife was still obviously grieving over the loss of her husband. She also wanted to attend the Shawnee chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as he was a happy and recovered alcoholic when he died. Linda wanted to bring a pie, but wasn't sure if she had the emotional strength to see his friends. I enjoyed a lovely dinner with her and the following meeting nearby.

There were some gut-wrenching stories including the man who spoke of drinking binges when ended with him literally in his closet while his young kids were in the other room. Heartbreaking and inspirational. Equally rewarding was the conversation over dinner with me as usual trying to insert some laughter to take tension out of the situation.

After a fantastic customer meeting, I had an extra day to work out of the hotel room. After a productive morning of calls, I decided to use my lunch hour to take in nearby Kauffman Stadium where the Kansas City Royals won game two the night before. The skies were overcast and the temperatures were cool. I thought this was perfect for trying my second outdoor run since my accident in July. I was in my second week of physical therapy on my separated shoulder which was building up strength, but also increasing the pain in the area. A little sore, but I didn't want to turn down the opportunity to run around the area--as they say, when in Rome...or when in Kansas City.

Aside from my passion for running, I am more than a bit of a sports nut so checking out the Royals' ballpark adjacent to Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium was a hoot as I'd never seen either park. With both stadiums in adjoining parking lots, it laid out a perfect non-traditional run route for a short run. I wound up running a mere three miles and ran it much faster than my ribs probably wanted me to running my first sub-eight minute miles since July. Perhaps Royals adrenaline, cool Fall weather temps with accompanying grey skies and gold and crimson leaves dotting the isolated roads around the stadiums.

There were plenty of breaks for selfies and snapshots of the area. I posted to Instagram my #InTheMoment pic. Ironically, on the heels of my Matthew McConaughey MKC commercial, Runner's World Magazine PR sent me a blogger promo for #InTheMoment. Post how you live in the moment and you can win a trip to New York City, San Francisco, or Chicago.
Moments before the security guard chased me off

After my #InTheMoment selfie, I circled Arrowhead and spotted the Chiefs practice facility in the distance with a couple camera guys in the tower. Figuring they were practicing, I veered off that direction with nothing but a empty beer can and several hundred empty parking spots between us. As I approached, I saw a man get out of his car parked overlooking the practice going on. As I got closer, he looked like a Chiefs employee and he was looking my way. As I got even closer, I realized he was a security guard so I pulled out my headphones. His body language indicated he didn't like where I was headed especially with the Chiefs playing the the Rams on KC on Sunday. The conversation was brief, "you can't be here," he said. "I'm just a tourist," I said. It reminded me of the same time I got shooshed out of the Stanford Campus track field during practice. I ran fifteen feet away, stopped to snap just another selfie, just has he said, "you can't..." and I took off. "Try and catch me" I thought.

A great few days on the road and on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beauty and The Beast: Nike Gyakusou and Tracksmith Review

Winning the recent Chocolate Milk, Men's Health and Runner's World Magazine Recovery contest, I've had a $500 gift card for Nike burning a hole in my pocket. Considering I haven't been running due to injury, I haven't been in a huge rush to spend the money, but have been building a "Wish List" with the Nike
account I created. I have to be honest with you, I keep expecting to be dazzled by Nike, but I continue to be disappointed. The word "Fugly" comes to mind. That could be the other reason I haven't spent the five "Benjamin's." I keep wanting to convince myself that Nike with all their Beaverton connections and history with the first waffle iron running shoes has got products I'd be dying to spend my new good fortune on, but as McKayla would say, "not impressed." Don't get me wrong...there is some cool stuff to be found, but I don't know who's on the design team, but it's overpriced and in some cases, downright ugly.

I once again got my hopes up this morning when I saw that they had a new line, "Gyakusou" coming out. WOW! Cool name, but it also rhymes with "vomit suit."

Perhaps Mike Parker (Nike CEO) is overthinking it, his Fast Company "Most Creative CEO" moniker went to his head, or it's tough living in the shadows of Phil Knight. The Gyakusou running shorts sell for $130 and resemble a Hefty garbage
bag. The symbolism is stark. Like many of their products, they're extremely over-priced and in my humble opinion are downright ugly.

Keep clicking and keep looking and it doesn't get any better. the Gyakusou Four-Way Stretch Hoodie is an equal disaster. I can overlook that perhaps it's not meant for my demographic, but not sure the twenty something metrosexual will find this worth spending money on either. It looks like an Oompa Loompa men's speed-skating suit. No wonder the model to the right looks bored. No one will run with him. Not the look I was going for, and being "on the shelf" for three months due to injury, the skin-tight fit won't be flattering. I won't be spending my Nike dollars on Gyakusou.

Across the country, there's a small company called Tracksmith that is so hot that many of their products are sold out, and my subtle overtures to getting some swag to review or "do you have an ambassador program" are overlooked because they're too busy cranking out really cool retro running gear for men. Like Kara Goucher, my innocuous requests to bond over the social ecosphere have gone unanswered, but that's okay. With this weekend's football bet winnings (I don't condone betting, but I have to do something when everyone else is racing marathons) I have the Tracksmith "BQ Singlet" in my shopping cart. To purchase the BQ singlet, your name has to be on the 2015 Boston Marathon registered runner list. They have a similar one for the New York City Marathon.

Yes, a bit pretentious, but marketing brilliance. They earned my coin.  Equally expensive (their longboard shorts are $90 and the race shorts are $60) but if Mick Jagger ran marathons in the 60's, he would have worn this stuff instead of the garbage bags from Nike.

Yes, I just committed blog suicide by dissing Nike, but unlike Asics, they follow me on twitter and engage in conversations with mere mortal runners like you and me.

Like trying to get into a cool nightclub, I have to wait, after checking out, the just announced BQ Singlet is on backorder. Without speed work or warm weather right now, it's worth the wait.

"Twas beauty that killed the beast."

Thursday, October 16, 2014


I was going through my briefcase today in my office looking for something. As a traveling sales guy my briefcase is a bit of a black hole with a collection of everything; aspirin, phone cables, even emergency sewing kit--you never know when you are going to "pop a button" an hour before a big presentation. I pulled out a tube of something that looked out of place. 
"Mystery" balm I discovered

It resembled something you would find in a woman's purse...some kind of lip balm with the words "lavender," "in your dreams" and "MIKA" in bold letters as the product name. I had no idea what it was or how it got there. I ask my wife who was sitting nearby if it was hers or knew what it was. It seemed like a cliché...a man asking his wife what a mysterious woman's item was doing there admitting innocence over an innocuous item. She informed me the "other woman" was my sister. 

My sister Kim is a nurse and spent many evenings visiting me the second half of July as I sat in my hospital bed writhing in pain. Daytime was rough enough but evenings in the hospital were more like a nightmare. Kim offered MIKA as stress relief and something that might calm me before I attempted a couple hours of narcotics-induced sleep. A gift of love and kindness. A smile came to my lips when I remembered getting the balm then and why I had it in my briefcase. It made me once again reflective of all the love and support I've received since my accident.
Day 1 of PT at Steadman Hawkins

It seemed to be a fitting symbol that got me to where I'm at in my recovery. I made great strides in the last week with my MRI diagnosis of a torn labrum, separated shoulder,  and "sick scapula." The later is not cool skateboarder lingo, but a term for "really jacked up" shoulder blade floating without the expected muscle structure and range of motion without pain. I have begun physical therapy at the world famous Steadman Hawkins clinic (hey...if it's good enough for Missy Franklin and John Elway, it's good
My first run since July
enough for me) to strengthen that area and felt strong enough to throw a mile and a half of running into my long walk on Saturday. I took it a step further and ran a full three miles yesterday. Yes, I RAN! Significant in that this was my first running since the middle of July. I ran the three miles at around a 9:40 pace and the lungs, ribs, and shoulder seemed okay. Far from my 5K PR pace of a 6:13 mile, but I was happy that my lungs could manage three miles a mere three months after my right lung collapsed. Yes, last night and today I was quite sore combining the running with the twice-a-day shoulder exercises. I'm certainly not ready for 5-6 days a week knocking out 50+ miles, but I'm thrilled to label myself a "runner" again versus a walker (not that there's anything wrong with walking.)

I will continue to take it slow in "ramping" this up and "listen to my body." Yes, it's stressful to not be where I was at in early July hitting the podium in my last run race over the 4th of July. Yes, it's stressful to watch the fall marathon results come in as I'm envious that I'm not out there. Stress? It's okay...I have MIKA.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Oh, And Another Thing

Two days away from twelve weeks from my accident (original race post HERE) and something is still not quite right. While I've had a couple breakthrough days over the last two weeks, I've had an equal number of bad days. Not mentally bad days as there has been plenty of those grappling with the fact that I'm a runner who can't run during "marathon season." No...there have more than a few days where the pain crept in earlier than normal in the day which affects everyone close to me. Daddy isn't very fun when he's in pain.

Knowing something was not quite right primarily with my right shoulder, I set an appointment with an ortho that lead to an MRI last Friday. What was "not quite right" you ask...aside from the pain, my right scapula (shoulder blade) was more than a bit "wonky" as it floated around without the expected muscle structure I've got on my left side. Where my right collar bone meets the sternum, there's an "abby normal" bump (name the movie reference and win a Seeking Boston sticker) which was freaking my shiz out. Add that to the fact that I still need more than children's chewable aspirin at night to sleep lead to the recent trips to the good doctor.

My ortho of choice was Dr. Genuario from Steadman Hawkins in Denver--yes, that Steadman Hawkins. Their lobby is like a Asics commercial with a who's who of athletes seeking miracle surgery and treatment to get back to the sports they love and get paid the big bucks for. Me? I've got that whopping $3 a month I make on my blog and my readers are getting tired of my human interest stories that have nothing to do with running. In other words, I gotta "get back on that horse."

I also want to get off the pain meds. I'm at peace (no pun intended) with the pain meds as I've talked to plenty of people who have dealt with chronic pain and the bottom line is you can't walk (or limp) through life with a grimace on your face due to pain. Yes, addiction is a real issue or challenge to consider, but I also have to function in life (at home, at work) with some sense of normalcy.

It's not a surprise that I've got pain in my shoulder as I "body slammed" the asphalt going 25+ miles per hour in my race which resulted in four broken ribs and a collapsed lung. The more I hear about my pneumothorax, the more I realize the "bullet" I dodged--especially considering "dumb ass" (me) hopped on the bike and rode another 20 minutes trying to finish. I then waited at least that long for a medic, then another 15-20 for the ambulance. The math there is not good.

At this point, you're what was the MRI result?!? Not a surprise they found something, but a bit of a surprise that Memorial Hospital where I spent eleven days did not. I only told them from the very start that all my pain shot out the back of my right shoulder blade like an exit wound from a dull crossbow arrow. Dr. G explained that I have a separated shoulder and a torn labrum. #ouchiemama

The good news in all that?

1) I'm not as big of a giant baby that I thought I was complaining about all that shoulder pain.
2) No surgery! Physical therapy starts when I get back in town after two trips (one for work and the other a college visit with my son.) Next Monday.
3) Genuario said I could start running when I feel up to it. I wanted to know what was going on with my shoulder and be off pain meds before I started running. I'm close.
4) Like the others in the lobby of Steadman Hawkins, I should be able to return to form and the sports I love; running and triathlons. The only thing I worry about there is getting that right lung back.
5) The ribs. They broke. They take time, but now it seems they're ahead of the shoulder.

I only wish my hospital doc had said, "well, you've got four broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and oh, and another separated your shoulder and tore your really did it up right!" He left out that last part. I doubt I've lost much time with recovery since I likely couldn't have started much intense therapy anyway as I needed to be somewhat sedentary to heal those ribs.

No pain no gain...or more like a lotta pain and a little bit of gain. I have two months to get my ribs, shoulder, and lungs to a place where I can start my typical sixteen week training plan for a little race called the Boston Marathon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meme Monday: Matthew McConaughey Goes Long

I had toyed with the idea of a Lincoln commercial spoof, but Ellen DeGeneres beat me to it. "Larry the Foul-Mouthed Unicorn" jumped into the fun. Have a great week and congrats to all those that raced this last weekend. Lot's of marathon results! How did you do?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

#tbt Voicemail Time Capsules

I know I've posted a lot lately about non-running activities, but this layoff has allowed me extra time with the family and sometimes accidents have a way of making you a bit reflective. Whether or not you are a parent, these two clips are absolutely priceless to me, and hope you will enjoy them as well. For those that are parents, save will love listening to them ten years later. The two below are from my kids; my son is now a senior in high school and my daughter is a sophomore in college. The first is a voicemail from my son who had his football cards destroyed in the wash.

And one from my daughter worried about dad being on a plane in a blizzard.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It Pays to Blog and Know Your Recovery

First off, I have to apologize. I'm not much to look at on video and realized halfway through production, I had some "crazy hair" happening. I will fire the stylist tomorrow. This week's video blog is not so much an update on my injury recovery, but I got my 2nd place prize in the #chocolatemilkcontest sponsored by Rodale, Runner's World Magazine, Men's Health Magazine, Bicycling Magazine and Got Chocolate Milk.

I wrote about how I recover after a training session or race (HERE) and was thrilled to get 2nd place. Thanks so much to all my mom's friends who voted every day along with everyone else.

Also..congrats to my running and blogging buddy Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders for coming in Third. I told her the only reason she came in third was that I had a huge head start!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Need a Laugh Monday: Dad Detective and Bad Facebook

Dad Detective

I love playing dad detective.
Dad: "What's this blue chalk on my ottoman!?"
( answer in the house.)
One son walks over, gives fake perplexed look on his face and walks away.
Later I discover homecoming event meant aforementioned son came home covered in blue paint. Ironically the same hue of the paint matches the hue of the blue tainted ottoman.
I re-confront the teen and ask him "why didn't you tell me you rubbed paint on my ottoman?"
Son: "You said it was chalk."
Yes, technically I was looking for the blue chalk culprit, but one would presume a son would fess up to the paint. #not
Once confronted,  he starts to tell a story about it was some kind of accident. The "boy who cried wolf" story doesn't hold water. Perhaps came home from school and sat down to kick off shoes. Paint transfers in the process.
Case solved, but ottoman is still blue.

Bad Facebook

You probably already knew this, but don't ever try updating your Facebook cover photo on your mobile phone. After my alma mater beat Boston College IN Boston, I thought I was updating to this;

It turned out looking like this. I mean I love the CSU head coach, but not in that way...or that much...not that there's anything wrong with, you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three Things Thursday Near and Far

Random thoughts for three things Thursday.

No Pain, No Gain

This week marked the second work travel trip since I busted up my ribs in a race. Saturday will be ten weeks from my accident. Sadly, I am still in quite a bit of pain. I am also running out of the "really good stuff" for night time pain management. I will explore some options next week with a consult with the Dr. The good news is that six weeks ago, it took narcotics every two hours to sleep through the night and I couldn't sleep on my stomach or side. Now...1-2 pills gives me 4-5+ hours of sleep and I'm at least attempting some side and back action. I'm not ready to start running, but hoping that I'm close.

Waiting Back Home

I fly home in the morning and understand I have a "treasure trove" of prizes awaiting from the #ChocolateMilkContest sponsored by Runner's World, Men's Health Magazine, Got Chocolate Milk, and Women's Health. I love a good mail day.


Guess what bridge?

Do you know what time it is?
I was looking for some photos and realized that over the last two years I have been able to run in some amazing places including Barcelona, Paris, London, New York City, San Francisco and lapped the Taj Mahal. A couple pix reminiscing some of those great runs.

Seeking Boston Seeks Barcelona

Seeking Boston Seeks Singapore

Seeking Taj

Friday, September 19, 2014

Nine Weeks After Four Broken Ribs

It's been awhile since I've provided an update from my triathlon crash nine weeks ago tomorrow. Recovery continues with some progress to report and some great things happening in my world. My latest VBLOG update.

Thanks for reading, watching and all the encouragement on the way to my recovery.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blueprint for Building a Run Blog Brand

In high school, I was the co-editor of my newsmagazine. I know. Nerd. I remember back to grade school writing often in a comedic and sarcastic style that sometimes evoked a laugh or disapproving grade from my teachers. In other words, I've been writing, offending or entertaining for a long time. Being competitive by nature in running, I also want my blog to have some level of success. While I enjoy writing in and of itself, the whole idea for me is that hopefully someone else gets some enjoyment or information about running from my blog.

I have had some success in building my readership which has lead to some great opportunities such as interviewing Josh Cox one-on-one at the 2013 Boston Marathon sponsored by Poland Springs and finally getting follows from the likes of Asics on twitter. (They have 53k followers and only follow back 731. I doesn't take much to get me excited.) I have not ventured out into the wide range of ambassador programs because I either don't have the time, haven't been approached by the right products, or they don't find the humor in my North Korea Marathon parody post.

What I've told my kids is that you can never claim to know everything or stop learning so I reached out to a number of my favorite online runners to get their input on what works, and what doesn't when building your brand. Some focus on driving traffic to their blog while others have built a huge fan base on Facebook. Whether you're a blogger or not, these are some great runners to follow. Their story and advice below, but first I'd be remiss if I didn't list my other social links where you can find me.


You'll notice no one gave me their Google+ account as we're all still probably trying to figure that one out.

For the Love of Running

I found Michelle on Facebook and have built a strong rapport with her prior to this year's Boston Marathon. I was within minutes of meeting her, but opted out for a Generation Ucan seminar with Meb Keflezighi. She understood that we couldn't connect (considering he won two days later,) but hope to meet her soon. She kills it on the run course and on Facebook with over 4000 likes. Her thoughts;

"Nobody has been more shocked than me at how quickly my Facebook page took off. I started it on a whim, and as I got rolling and saw how much fun it could be, I was hooked. And that, I think, is the key - I truly find it fun. For a while last year, I was getting frustrated with not showing up in people's newsfeeds as frequently, and not having enough blog views to get sponsored or be an ambassador for products, and trying to figure out ways to 'outsmart' the system so that I'd get as many views and likes as possible. And frankly, it was exhausting and annoying and took all the fun out of it. So I let go of all that, and got back to why I started the page in the first place - to talk running. That's what I find resonates with people the most. Product reviews are nice, don't get me wrong - but what people want to hear about are the ups and downs, the struggles we all face, the triumphs we share - because we do share them, and that's what makes the community so great. I revel in other's success, and I commiserate when they don't succeed. It's a little running family, and I love being a part of it. It does require some work to build your page initially, if you want bigger numbers - comment on other's pages, put yourself out there and try to post every day - but it shouldn't feel like work. It should feel like chatting with your best running friends, because at the end of the day, that's what we're all doing."



Talk about bizarre encounters meeting a virtual acquiantance in the real world. On the 5K race day prior to the April Boston Marathon, I literally ran into Linzie Starr in the Boston Commons during a shake-out run having recognized him from his tiny little online icon. He recently re-branded from SeeSharpRun to SharpEndurance. What works for him?

"Social media is a very unique animal. The most important thing to remember is to BE YOURSELF! Authenticity goes a very long way. Your readers and followers aren't dumb, they can tell if you are aren't being "real". Be yourself. Also, if you have a point of view be sure that comes through in what you do. Try not to crowd or clutter your feed with information, photos, or content that doesn't have anything to do with your platform. Lastly, be responsive and engage people. Don't be afraid to join a Twitter chat hosted by a brand to increase your reach, or enter contests from your favorite brands on Instagram. Doing these small things will grow your online presence as well as establish you as a noteworthy resource readers will want to continue to connect with."

Linzie is an ambassador for INKnBURN, Orange Mud, RunnerBox, EnergyBits, and PRO Compression.

"Brands also want you to be authentic and not pushy. Love the product and usually they will pay attention to you if your point of views aligns with what they are looking for."

You can find Linzie at;

Run Ginger Run

I met Sarah through one of my favorite online chat groups, #RunChat. She's been a big fan of mine and vice versa particularly as I've been on the road to recovery from my triathon accident. More about Sarah and her advice;

RunGingerRun is authored by Sarah who is a proudly self-proclaimedGinger (Redhead). You can find her running the roads of Tulsa, OK with her husband. Together they have conquered everything from the 5K to 50K distances and almost everything in between. Her favorite race distance is the Half Marathon, however she is currently training for the Honolulu marathon in December. Sarah is a BibRave Ambassador, ENERGYbits Ambassador as well as a Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic. When she is not running she is either blogging or connecting with other runners on social media.

Sarah's best advice for increasing readership following through social media is to be a part of the conversation! She has learned that engaging in conversation leads to better relationships and increased following more so than just hitting the follow button. She has found that Twitter has been the best avenue to increase traffic as she finds it welcomes discussion more so than other platforms from runners all over the globe. Sarah recommends participating in Twitter chats that follow along with your target interest. For example, #RunChat on Sundays and #BibChat on Tuesdays are both great ways to connect with others who love all things running.

You can find Sarah at;

Weight Off My Shoulders

Dani is a "superstar" in the run blog world. My definition, not her's as she's modest and quite enthusiastic. At times, she's provided advice to me, and was great to finally meet her at a blog meet-up at this year's Boston Marathon. She has strong ambassador relationships including GotChocolateMilk. Her advice to me in Boston was "don't be shy" about asking vendors for a relationship, but okay to be a bit picky--don't just promote anyone who reaches out to you. Her take on how to build a social brand.

"My biggest piece of advice is to be authentic. It is the best compliment I receive on my social media channels. I share the highs and lows, the ups and downs. I am the first to admit when I slip up because there is no reason to lie to my readers. I spent so much time lying to myself which led me to be 235 lbs. If I don't lie to myself then I can't lie to my readers!! Additionally with being authentic it is the same when it comes to your online 'persona.' I am the same online as I am in person.

I get so discouraged when I meet bloggers that are 100% opposites as how they appear online."

You can find Dani at;

Running on the Fly

Kim has been a pretty serious runner since 2005, when she finally (after several failed attempts) ran her first 5K without walking.  She became a very serious runner in 2008, when she ran her first 20K and was instantly hooked on the longer distance.  She became a crazy serious runner in 2013, when she crossed the finish line of the Quad Cities Marathon...her first 26.2.  She has done more than twenty 20K's/half marathons, and is currently training for the IMT Des Moines Marathon (October 19th).

"As far as social media, my preferred place to play is Facebook.  I started my page, Running on the Fly, in January of 2013.  I try to post something every morning, the earlier the better.  Most people scroll through Facebook as soon as they wake up, so it's best to have something there waiting for them.  Typically, I'll find a couple different images to post, and have at least one of these images invoke a hopes of getting my followers to reply to it (which, in turn, will hopefully get more followers to follow suit). I post a lot of pictures...motivational stuff, colorful images, and (the often dreaded) selfies.

I try to keep the words to a minimum and have the picture be the focus (personally, if I see a very lenghty FB post with a lot of "words" I tend to scroll past them, so I try to avoid doing that with my page).  I also write a blog, so I link most of my blog posts on my FB page. Another trick I have learned is to "share" informative articles from other sites on my page.  Not only does it build good will between fellow page admins, but it usually shows (on the main newsfeed) if any other page shares it as

well...kind of like free advertising for all those who have shared."

The places you can find me:

Blisters and Black Toenails

The 2014 Boston Marathon was all about redemption for many runners who ran in 2013, but for me, it was also great to meet many run virtual friends who I now can say I've met in real life. Another completely random run in, I met Phaedra finally for the first time in the Athlete's Village in Hopkinton prior to this year's Boston Marathon. We have become even better friends on all social channels. More about Phaedra and her advice;

"Blisters and Black Toenails is home to the chronicles of Phaedra Kennedy, a self proclaimed racing junkie.  She is an endurance athlete that loves to test her limits.  She races everything from 5km to Ironman and is often accompanied by her husband.

Together they can be found racing in various triathlon races throughout Ontario.  Phaedra's favourite triathlon discipline is short course (750m swim, 30km bike, 7.5 km run) and her favourite run distance is the Half Marathon.  She's currently coming off an action packed season that has seen her re-claim her "old broad" age group title (40-44) in her favourite triathlon race series.  Phaedra races for the Real Deal Racing team and is a Sweat Pink, Mermaid Club & Fitfluential Ambassador.   In order to support her racing habit, she works full time as a stills producer.  When she's not working or racing, she's either instagramming, blogging or coaching.

Phaedra has found that the best way to increase your readership through social media is to engage with others, whether it be by commenting on blogs, or responding to comments on her own blog, it's important to be an active participant.  She's also found that linking her social media accounts to Twitter has helped increase her traffic.  It's like being in multiple places at once and it provides an excellent forum for discussion."


Confessions of an Amateur Athlete

Jeremy is one of my new running friends from the virtual world. I have mainly interfaced with him on twitter. His blog, Confessions of an Amateur Athlete has only been around for a short time, but he's built a strong following and has struck up some good ambassadorships. Jeremy's views on building his social brand;

"Anyone can start a blog, but before you do, I have to ask... how dedicated are you?
You have to fall in love with it in order to make it grow.  You don't want it to become a chore or else it won't become what you want. No matter how great you think your posts are, no matter how awesome the content, you're going to have to spend time on social media meeting other runner/bloggers and put in the time to connect with others.

The easiest way I've found to help my blog grow is visit other bloggers' pages, comment on them, and they usually will return the favor. Also, by finding a product or brand you love and applying to be an ambassador for them can really launch you forward.

I'm currently an ambassador for @bibrave and @cocogo and love being involved with them!

I've also grown to love what I do so much that I've created my own local running group for runner/bloggers with a social media addiction! We're #RunEatTweetAZ! Check us out and feel free to ask us any questions you might have about growing your own blog."

Jeremy's Links:

#RunEatTweetAZ Links:

Thanks to everyone above for the fantastic input and more importantly your online friendship. I left out a lot of runners, but please chime in on the comments section. As for me, what's worked? I think being genuine is important and I heard that a lot from the above. I tend to hang myself out there a lot...perhaps crossing over to my personal life too much, but it's cheaper than therapy. I agree that it takes a lot of time and helps to connect with a lot of runners in forums like #runchat and #bibchat. Doesn't hurt to occasionally poke the likes of Bart Yasso. He's a lot more approachable than you think and a funny and genuine guy. In media, Runner's World magazine is "king" and I've also got to know the PR folks there which has lead to great opportunities such as the #ChocolateMilkContest. I found out yesterday I came in third! Huge thanks to them and all my readers that voted for me.

Please follow these great runners and let me know what you think. Run and read on.

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