Why Do Runners Pay To Run?

Before writing this, I did a Google search to see what would pop up if you type, “Why do runners…” I thought it was pretty funny :)


I’ve gotten the question, “Why would you pay to run??” a lot over the years. My BF just doesn’t understand haha. I bet most non-runners don’t get it. I mean why WOULD you pay hundreds of dollars to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles? Or even hundreds of dollars each year in 5K or other race registration fees? You’re literally paying to run a few miles! Crazy right?

Well, I obviously don’t think so, since I run race ;) So I wanted to talk about why pay to run, and what it means to me. I actually got the inspiration from I Heart Running, since she wrote up reasons why she pays to run. Here are my reasons:

  1. It holds me accountable. Registering for a big race like a half marathon or marathon gives me a goal to work towards. Without a race goal I really lose motivation. After NYC Marathon last year I had no race goal and just wanted time off. I didn’t end up running much at all. I was going to the gym and lifting regularly, but when it comes to running I need something to work towards.
  2. I can’t run race pace on my own. Might sound silly, but if I go out and say, okay I’m going to run my own 5K and see if I can break my PR…it definitely won’t happen. There’s something about running a race with a bunch of other people pulling you along that helps me run faster than I ever would on my own. Does anyone else feel that way?
  3. The experience. I want the New York City Marathon experience. And maybe next year the Chicago Marathon experience. One day maybe Boston. Sure it’s super expensive but some people choose to spend their money on vacations to other countries, and I choose to spend it on races that I can experience and also remember forever. I love that I can say I run with my mom and that we can have all these race memories together.
  4. The challenge. I love challenging myself and working towards new goals. Races allow me to test my fitness and see how far I’ve come. In strength training, people log PRs when it comes to how much weight they’re lifting. And in running, we run races to set PRs. Over and over again ;)
  5. The community. This is one of the more important reasons for me. I’ve written about the running community a couple of times, and this is really one of the main aspects that I love. Whether a runner or a spectator, this community supports runners of all levels. Runners are a friendly bunch and you can always make some new friends at a race. Who else can you talk to about bloody toenails, port-a-potty woes, etc? :) And spectators are who really get me through races. Like I’ve said a million times, spectators are what made the NYC Marathon experience magical for me.

So how about you? Why do you pay to run? (or bike, or swim?) Do you ever get asked that question?


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Runners And Superstitions

Runners, and athletes in general, can be a superstitious bunch. Many have their routines they have to follow before a race, or things they need to eat or wear. I was curious as to what people would say their superstitions were, so I did a little social media poll ;)

I don’t think I have any serious superstitions, but here are a few:

  • I need to eat the same dinner the night before a race, and breakfast the morning of. Usually dinner is chicken, veggies and a sweet potato/rice, and breakfast is oatmeal and 2 hardboiled eggs.
  • I have certain sports bras, shirts and shorts I wear for races.
  • I’ll look at my bib number and if it’s an odd number, I hate it (lol random).

Here are some superstitions people shared with me on Google+:

  • Alex H.-  I don’t shave my face for long runs,like in a week I’m doing a 50 k, I’m looking a bit like santa:-)
  • Nicole H.- I have to be chewing mint gum :)
  • Kevin R.- Race day breakfast is a bagel with peanut butter and honey
  • Pedro G.- I wear the same (material) shorts and shirt I train in to race…. gotta have gum… it calms me down. I also wear my dogtags that I’ve had since 1988.
  • Guiseppe M.- I don’t shave my face until the day before the race!
  • Kyoochan C.- I always wear the blue rubber band that my son gave on my right wrist.
  • Derrick J.- I pray before every run. For safety and enjoyment sake.
  • Patty W.- The type socks I train in for a race are the ones I wear @ race

And Twitter:

It’s funny how everyone has their own “superstitions” or that some runners don’t have any at all. Oh, and one of mine is that I always wear my hair in a bun to run :)

Do you have running superstitions? Or superstitions in general? Share them in the comments!


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My Holiday Wish List!

I’ve been seeing bloggers posting their wish lists or gift guides, and I wanted to join in. Hopefully my family and Dan see this ;)

Here’s what I want & would probably make great gifts for the runner or fitness lover in your life:

holiday list

Rumble RollerThis takes foam rolling to another level. It seriously hurts so good! You need to try this.

Race Registration – What better gift to give a runner? Race registrations can sometimes be pricey, especially if you’re traveling…or running multiple races a year. I would love a race bib to a spring half marathon!

PRO Compression Socks - I love these socks. Perfect for keeping my shins nice and tight during runs, or for post-run compression and recovery. They have so many colors to choose from as well.

Sports Bras - Whatever brand your fitness enthusiast loves, get it. My favorites are Nike and the Lululemon Ta-Ta Tamer. You can never have too many sports bras!

Erica Sara Designs - Can I have all of the things in her store please? I really love her stackable rings. But the personalized 26.2 and 13.1 necklaces are perfect for the marathoner in your life.

Lululemon Wunder Under PantsI just splurged and got these for leggings and they’re amazing (well, I had a gift card that paid for part of it). Nice and thick..and I made sure they weren’t see through ;) They also make them “brushed” which means they’re even cozier!

Running Shorts – The ones pictured are by Oiselle, but I am currently loving spandex/compression type shorts. My current fav is from Lululemon, but I hear Nike Pro compression shorts are great too.

Runner’s World Magazine Subscription – As a runner, who wouldn’t like this?! I usually check them out at the library but I’d love a subscription. Or any subscription relating to what your loved one likes. One year I got Dan an ESPN subscription :)

What is on your holiday wish list?

What is the best gift you have ever given someone?


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Guest Post: Training For Races

I have another great guest post today from Alyssa, who blogs over at See This Girl Run. She is currently training for a marathon, and has a lot of great tips for you, whether you’re training for a 5k or a marathon! I’ll pass it over to her now :)

Hello everyone! My name is Alyssa (a-lee-sa) and I blog over at See This Girl Run. Just as a brief intro, I first started running my 8th grade year with the high school cross country team and ran my 8th, 10th and 11th grade years. I then ran here and there all throughout college but was never very serious about it. This was very evident in my Freshman 10 hanging around for all four years ;) However, I’ve always loved health and fitness. I even majored in Exercise Science! It’s just something I’ve always had a passion for! My senior year of college I signed up for my first half marathon and I was hooked! I have since run 4 half marathons, one 15k and am currently training for my first full marathon. It’s safe to say I love running!
As I’ve trained for all my of my different races, including my upcoming marathon, there’s been a few things I’ve learned that may help you as you train for your next event.
1) Find and use a training plan
Whether it’s one that you create yourself or one that you find online or in a book, use a training plan! I know that this helps me to know what’s coming up for me as far as workouts and they push me harder than I would probably push myself. I also like to find ones that help me to incorporate a variety of workouts (ie. speed work, long runs, easy/recovery runs, strength training and cross training). One site that I would highly recommend is halhigdon.com. There you can find a lot of different training plans based on the length of the event and your ability level. I used one of their plans for my last half marathon and was able to PR.
For my marathon, I’m currently combining a couple of different things. I’m using a running plan from “Run Less, Run Faster” by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss for my weekday runs (awesome book! I highly recommend it) and Tina Reale’s Best Body Bootcamp for my strength training. I’m then doing my long runs on Saturday. So far I’m up to 15 miles and boy oh boy that was far! Good thing I still have 8 weeks to build up my mileage. :)
2) Don’t chaffe
Full disclosure, I have had issues with chaffing to the point of bleeding on nearly every run I went on, regardless of the distance. So I know from experience that something as silly as chaffing can totally ruin your workout because all you can think about is the pain every time you rub your skin. Discovering anti-chaffing “Body Glide” has been the biggest life saver! Especially if you’re going to be going farther distances, I HIGHLY recommend getting “Body Glide”. It’s worth every little penny.
3) Track your distance/pace
Find a way to track your distance and pace! For me, this is one of my biggest motivators to improving throughout my run. It helps me know if I need to pick it up or if I’m going to fast (this happens!). I am currently using my Garmin 10 and I absolutely love it. Plus I got it in purple. So cute!
In the past, I’ve also used the “Map My Run” app, which worked wonderfully. Plus, it’s free!! How much better does it get than that?! I’ve also heard really good things about the Nike app from quite a few friends. But regardless of what you use, I guarantee it will be a huge tool in your training and as you try to improve.
4) Learn How to Fuel
Before, during and after training runs and your race! This will make all the difference in how you feel on your run! Remember that as you increase your training, you should be increasing your caloric intake (in a healthy way). Your body is putting forth more effort and you need to give it the fuel to perform at that higher level!
Before your run, you should be eating a simple carb such as a banana or a piece of bread. These break down quickly and will give you quick energy.
During the run, there are so many different options for fueling! My personal favorite is Shot Blocks. They’re easy to eat while you’re running and don’t have a gross consistency, like goos. The fruity taste can sometimes be a little much while I’m running but it’s much better than anything I’ve tried so far. I can also tell a difference in my energy level within minutes of eating a block. These little things have gotten me through many, many miles.
After your run, you need to eat a protein. When you exercise, your muscles are broken down and literally torn. That’s why you’re sore. You have torn muscles! By being torn and built back up, they become stronger. As you eat protein after a workout, it will assist your muscle to be built up that much stronger, therefore making the most of all that hard work you just put in to your run.
Yes, that required all caps. I can’t emphasize enough, especially with this hot summer weather, how important it is to properly hydrate! According to Jillian Michaels, you should be drinking enough water that your pee looks like lemonade. If it looks like apple juice, you’re definitely not drinking enough. Graphic? Sorry. But it’s true. Drink your water! Get a water bottle that you can take with you throughout the day to work, class, wherever you’re going so that you can constantly drink throughout the day. Your body is 50-65% water, so if you want it to function properly, it needs to be well hydrated!
I hope those 5 tips will help you as you train for your next event. Even if you’re a seasoned runner, these are always good reminders!

Remember to listen to your body (sneaky tip #6). I know you’ll do great! Be careful out there, take care of yourself and good luck with your training!

Follow Alyssa’s blog here or like her Facebook page for post updates. Thanks for reading and I hope you have some new bloggers to follow now! :)

Guest Post: Running & Motivation

Hi everyone! Today I have a great post by Justin from Always Running Forward.

Sometimes you just don’t have the motivation for a run…let alone a long run during marathon training. Here are some great tips from Justin!

Running & Motivation

Running isn’t easy. You really have to want it to succeed. Running requires a lot of self-discipline, sacrifice and effort to make it work. And, even after you think you’ve found the perfect approach, running will turn 180 degrees and kick you in the face. Sometimes, it’s too much to handle and you just want to throw in the towel, and that’s when you need a good support system. In this sport of self-inflicted torture sometimes you need someone there to pick you up and get you back on track. This can be a family member, a coach, or even other runners who share in the same experiences (I believe the running community is a great example of how camaraderie is prevalent, even in the face of competition). After all, we runners don’t race each other, we race ourselves.

But, what if you are on Mile 18 of a marathon and there’s no support group? What if you are on a long training run, miles from home, and suddenly lost all motivation to continue? What if it’s 5 in the morning and it’s raining? There won’t always be a shoulder to lean on. That’s when we runners need to dig deep and find the motivation within ourselves to forge ahead. Sometimes, it may be a happy thought that gets you through the extra miles, and other times (from what I’ve heard are most effective) are mantras or key messages runners say to themselves to keep going. Finding motivation may be easier for some than others (I sometimes have trouble with it). But, I found some examples of what runners use to keep them going and wanted to share their inspiration through the perspiration.

Here are a few examples. See if they are similar to your methods. If not, what do you do to keep yourself motivated?

Breaking Up the Miles: Especially during longer races, breaking up the race into more manageable pieces may help to keep you motivated during the race. Do the math. If it’s a marathon, I like to break it into two half marathons with the first leg being a slow, methodical half marathon.

Run 1 Mile at a Time: Don’t think about the miles you ran, think about the mile you are running. Put yourself in the now by enjoying your current mile.

Focus On an Object in the Distance: Say to yourself, “If I can just get to that point…” Doing that will get you to focus on the race and not dwell on the mileage number. Refresh every time you get to that point. This is particularly easy for Disney races.

Find Something to Tell Yourself that You Believe In. Don’t say, “If I finish this marathon, the Cubs will win the World Series.” First of all, that’s not personal to your effort. Second, it’s just unbelievable. Instead, say to yourself “This race is mine,” or “I’ve got this.”
Some others:
· “I’m ready for this.”
· “This race won’t beat me.”
· “Another mile down.”
· “Focus.”
· “Speed. I am pure speed” (My personal go-to)
At the very heart of it, motivation needs to be personal to you. You can have all the support in the world, but at the end of the day it’s you logging in the miles and not every mile is going to be sunshine and roses. Hopefully, finding a way to make it just a little bit easier through positive affirmation or race day tricks to manage distance will get you through that next run. See you on the course!

Read more from Justin on his blog!


Would You Rather – Runner Style

I saw this survey on a new blog I’m following, Olive To Run, and thought it looked like a fun little thing to fill out!

Here are the questions:

1. Would you rather run a 5k or a marathon?
2. Would you rather run in the heat of summer or the icy winter?
3. Would you rather have new running shoes or a new running outfit?
4. Would you rather run alone or in a group?
5. Would you rather run next to someone in a race who tries to talk to you constantly or someone who breathes heavy and grunts?
6. Would you rather run a race because of the convenience (location, price, travel) or the swag?
7. Would you rather run a race with a group of friends or by yourself?
8. Would you rather run a PR but result in an injury or finish strong and missing a PR?
9. Would you rather eat a big meal the night before or a big meal after a race?
10. Would you rather be chased by a swarm of bees or a pack of dogs?

And here are my answers!

1. Would you rather run a 5k or a marathon?

5K. I love the marathon, but you can do 5K more often, and to me 5K is all about pushing yourself and being competitive with yourself. I am always trying to improve my 5K time and PR!
2. Would you rather run in the heat of summer or the icy winter?

While I did get used to running in the cold this winter, I think I would have to say heat of the summer. I love sweating it out in the summertime.

This was cool and all…but I love summer.

3. Would you rather have new running shoes or a new running outfit?

Running shoes because they are more pricey! I always by my workout gear discounted…I shop the sales at department stores, Modell’s, etc…and sometimes you find good stuff at TJ Maxx! But I never skimp on good running shoes.
4. Would you rather run alone or in a group?

Depends on my mood. I do most of my runs with my mom which really motivates me, but sometimes I love just going on a run alone and listening to music.

Mom and I after our first half-marathon. I can’t imagine running races alone!

5. Would you rather run next to someone in a race who tries to talk to you constantly or someone who breathes heavy and grunts?

Someone who breathes heavy. I hate when people try to talk to my while I am running! My mom always does it in races or in hard workouts and I’m like I CAN’T TALK RIGHT NOW.
6. Would you rather run a race because of the convenience (location, price, travel) or the swag?

Hmmmm….this is a tough one. If it’s a long distance race, I really want swag…like a cool medal. But I don’t think I’d run a race only for that. I think I chose races based on price and travel time.
7. Would you rather run a race with a group of friends or by yourself?

Probably by myself because if I was in a group I’d feel like we needed to run together, or we’d be talking and during races I’m competitive and just want to do my own thing! Though I’ve only run a race with a friend once, so I don’t really know. I had fun that time and it was great having someone push me!

Before the Big Chill 5K in December

8. Would you rather run a PR but result in an injury or finish strong and missing a PR?

Finish strong for sure. I have shin splint issues so I know injuries suck. I’d never want to deal with that despite having a PR!
9. Would you rather eat a big meal the night before or a big meal after a race?

After. If you eat a huge meal the night before it might affect your race. You might be all stuffed and in a food-coma, and it could just be bad news race day. I’d rather treat myself after a race. Though I thought I would do that after NYC Marathon but I had ZERO appetite. Went home, had a small bowl of cereal and passed out :-P
10. Would you rather be chased by a swarm of bees or a pack of dogs?

This is tough. Bees would hurt…and if you’re not near a body of water that would suck. Dogs…hmm…I think I’d chose dogs, because at least worst comes to worst you can climb up a tree!

What would your answers be to these questions? If you fill it out, comment with a link!

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Why I Love The Running Community

…and I think most of what I will say about the running community is also true of the general fitness community. (PS-This may be a longer post)

After everything that has happened the past few days, I have been reflecting, and began thinking about the running community as a whole.

I knew no one who was running Boston, or up there for the marathon.Yet, I still felt as if I did. I felt sad  and heartbroken hearing the news pour in. I saw this quote on Tumblr, and it made me realize why:

As a fellow runner, I feel as though someone just attacked my brothers and sisters. Praying for you, Boston.

The running and fitness community is amazing. We are strangers, yet I have created relationships with other bloggers and readers. We support each other despite not knowing each other. This was first evident to me when I started my blog on Tumblr. And it is even more apparent now as I read the stories of runners, and the acts of kindness they experienced. Here are a few examples I read from Kate’s blog at SoCal Runner Gal.

She was running at Boston…and the “runner love” started at the starting line. She realized her pants had a hole in the butt (!!), so her and her friend walked around the athlete’s village seeing if anyone had an extra pair of pants or shorts. This is what happened:

We found a woman who gladly gave me the tights right off of her body.  The very tights that were keeping her warm while we sat for hours in the cold.  That is typical of a runner.  Runners support one another even if they’ve never met.  I was incredibly grateful for this woman’s generosity but not at all surprised that I found someone in a crowd of marathoners willing to help out a stranger.  Runners are supportive, kind and generous human beings.

She also said:

I can’t tell you how many times I thought to myself, “Man! People are awesome!” as I smiled and ran.

Which is so true. I got emotional just watching the marathon on TV because I remember what it’s like to be running a marathon and having the spectators cheer you on and believe in you. When I was struggling in the New York City Marathon, a man hopped in the race and said he’d run alongside me for the next block, and said “You can do this!!!” He gave me the little extra push I needed…and I had no idea who he was…

Thankfully Kate finished the race before everything occurred. But I have read so many other stories of people who were stopped at mile 24-25, and the acts of kindness they experienced from strangers.

I saw this posted on Facebook by a woman, who is asking people to share the photo so she can find the man who did this…it is an incredible gesture. She was stopped around mile 25, and was emotional after hearing her family was okay. Then this happened:

The woman took the space tent off her husband, who had finished the marathon, and wrapped it around me. She asked me if I was okay, if I knew where my family was. I reassured her I knew where they were and I would be ok. The man then asked me if I finished to which I nodded “no.” He then proceeded to take the medal off from around his neck and placed it around mine. He told me “you are a finisher in my eyes.” I was barely able to choke out a “thank you” between my tears.

That literally brought tears to my eyes when I read it!

I’m not really sure where I am going with this post. But I just have been so touched by the things I am reading regarding acts of kindness and helping. We are all part of the running/health/fitness community, and we support each other without knowing one another. And that is what I love.

I will leave you with this quote that I found yesterday that is so true in my opinion:

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts, I’d love to read them.

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Shin Splints Remedies & Tips

Today’s post is actually a guest post by my running coach, Marc. I have been training with him for almost 2 years and have improved a lot during that time. It’s extremely helpful having someone plan out my training for me and tell me what to do. He motivates me to get out the door and run :) Here’s some great info from him on shin splits and how to treat them. Enjoy!

Welcome to my guest post!  I’m Marc Pelerin, head honcho at TrainWithMarc.com – your very own online running coach!  Like me on facebook.com/trainwithmarc for more information about my online coaching!  I’m writing about the dreaded shin splints – why you get them and more importantly, how to get rid of them!

So you’ve got what they call “shin splits” again.  They never seem to go away and you’re not quite sure how you keep getting them…Here’s a quick guide to get you back out on the road or trail in no time.

Issue:  Shins are sore on the inside, usually on the bone.  They hurt to the touch and they throb and ache during and after running.
What’s going on:  You’re not as stable as you thought you were.  You bought stability shoes, but they aren’t doing their job!  In short, your shin bone (tibia) is doing too much lateral movement (side to side) while you’re trying to get your miles in.
What you can do:  Start by making sure your shoes aren’t dead.  If they are, simple solution: replace them.  You should also start icing.  20 minutes on, 40 minutes off.  Repeat a few times a day.  When your shins get unbearably painful, freeze water in a dixie cup and massage and ice at the same time.  It’s also a good time to get back to some strength routine – work on stabilizing yourself from the ground up.  You can find some ideas here: Runner’s World Article.
What you shouldn’t do:  If the pain doesn’t go away after a few days of easy running or no running, you should continue to ice, stretch your calves and seek a massage.  If after all of those measures have been taken, you should seek a runner-friendly doc who’ll suggest your next plan of attack.  It’s best not to run through severe pain, but only you know what you can tolerate.  However, if pains persist for long enough, possible stress fractures can result.

Happy running!  And if you have any more questions about shin splints, training advice or just general running questions, like me on facebook.com/trainwithmarc and ask whatever questions you may have.

Marc Pelerin is a high school coach who still competes at various road races. He’s the owner of trainwithmarc.com – as an online running coach.  Marc is also a paraprofessional and is going back to school to be a certified special education teacher.


Race Recap: 5th Avenue Mile

The 5th Avenue Mile was amazing!!! Seriously, I still am feeling runner’s high from that race. It was my first time running it and I had a great time.

This was the first race where my mom and I were running separately. Since it’s a large field, they split runners up into age groups. My race was at 8:55 am and hers was at 10:10 am.

As some of you may know, I am NOT a morning person. But my running coach, Marc, sent me a race-day game plan earlier in the week where he urged me to get there with enough time to get my bib, warm-up, etc. Usually I’m running late and get there with just enough time to pick up my bib, run a few strides and line up. Miraculously, I made it there before registration even opened! I had enough time to register, do some pre-race stuff, and then do a 1 mile warm-up in central park. I was so early that, even once I finished my warm-up, the starting area was still empty :)

About five minutes later they called my age group in. I lined up closer to the front because once the gun went off, I just wanted to bolt!

Nervous before starting!

They counted down letting us know we had 5 minutes…2 minutes…1 minute…30 seconds…10 seconds, ah! I had so many butterflies because I had no idea what to expect. I had never run a mile on the roads before and had no idea how fast to go out. Once the gun went off I just ran as fast as I could!

My sister got one picture of me running and I’m in the corner, so I decided to be artsy and highlight myself:

I felt like I was going too fast, but again, I had no clue. At the quarter-mile point there was a slight upgrade apparently, but I didn’t really feel it. Those are the perks of living in a rural town with lots of hills…lots of hill training on daily runs! After the 1/2 mile point it was all downhill but I didn’t know if I should speed up. I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe my time so I figured I was going way too fast for my own good. At 3/4 of a mile I kicked it up until the finish. I finished in 7:07! My fastest mile time since high school! If only I could keep that pace for a 5K race…

Runner’s High

I feel like it may have been possible to run closer to 7 flat, but I am super happy with my time! The good thing about this race starting and ending at different points is that I was forced to do my mile cooldown. I jogged back up to the start to tell my mom about the race and course, and wish her luck. She ended up also running a fast time of 7:20 which she was very happy with.

Post-race with my mom

After her race, we stuck around to wait for Kara Goucher…my running idol! Since we were already in the area she’d be signing we ended up being first in line to see her. She was giving a special gift to the first 25 in line, which ended up being her book (which I already have…and she already signed). I told her about that when I went up and she laughed and said “I love it! This is old news to you then” so she signed my bib. I asked her why Shalane (her training partner) wasn’t there and she said she was supposed to be but her parents came into down. Dang! I would have loved to meet Shalane Flanagan. Anyway, we then chatted about her strength training and she told me she lifts 3 times a week on her easy running days and does a lot of core work. Good to know!

So excited to chat with Kara!

Afterwards, we headed back to 5th Ave. to watch the professional races. I was excited to see Jenny Simpson…especially after she replied to my tweet earlier in the week asking if she was running the race!

Sadly, I didn’t catch her during the women’s race – they’re so fast!

BUT, I did run into her after the race!! This seriously made my day. I met a World Champion!

Me with Jenny Simpson

On our walk back up 5th Avenue to our car, we caught some of the pro men’s action as well.

Overall, it was an awesome day. I had so much fun. The streets were lined with people cheering on runners. The race was short and sweet. I will definitely be running this again next year. Only 8 more races to go until we complete the NYRR 9+1 program and are heading to the ING New York City Marathon in 2013!

I’m going to end this on an inspirational note.

See that man up there? I believe he ran in the 60-69 age group. Just look at his finish time! Talk about inspiration. That makes me believe that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to achieve great things.

Next NYRR race? The Poland Spring Kickoff on Oct. 28.

Are any of you running a race soon? What’s your favorite race distance?