Monday, August 18, 2014

What makes someone a Marathon Maniac?


I answered "yes" to all 15 of these questions below on marathonmaniacs.com. Guess that explains why I am Marathon Maniacs #6697 on their membership roll. How about you?
  • Do your thoughts switch to the next scheduled race immediately after finishing a marathon?
  • Are you signed up for more than one race right now?
  • Do you know specifics about many of the marathons? Dates, courses, years run, etc.?
  • Do you know the story of how the marathon got started? Also why the course is 26.2 miles?
  • Do you read books on marathons like Marathon and Beyond?
  • Is www.marathonguide.com bookmarked on your computer?
  • Do you look at the race schedule more than once a week?
  • Do you start to feel down when you haven't run a marathon in a while?
  • Are your closets and dressers filled with marathon t-shirts?
  • Do you have so many marathon medals that you've run out of room on the hook they hang from?
  • When asked about your racing from non-running people, do you find yourself talking with great passion to the point that the person that asked the question regrets ever asking?
  • Have you run marathons on back to back weekends? Or better yet back to back days?
  • Have you run a marathon as a training run? Or just to pace a friend?
  • When asked by loved ones what your plans are for the weekend, you feel guilty telling them your running another marathon so you tell them "it's only a half this weekend"?
  • Do you plan all your vacations around a marathon race?

    There are actual qualification steps to be a Marathon Maniac, of course. I got there by running an ultra within two weeks of a marathon. But I think those 15 questions pretty well cover the criteria best. All of them hit close to home here, probably why I go by @marathoner on Twitter!

    Next up: Hamptons Marathon on Sept. 27, Walt Disney World Marathon on Jan. 11.

Friday, August 15, 2014

ASICS GEL-ELECTRO33



ASICS sent me a free pair of GEL-ELECTRO33s to test out a few months ago. Initially I felt a bit of rubbing on my back heel and worried about blistering, so I put them in the closet. Then I gradually would pull them out and wear them casually. Then I started moving around in them, and now I'm rotating them in with my Hamptons Marathon trainers. Has anything like that ever happened to you? They are super-light and make me feel fast. Let's see where they go now. After my 10th PT session today, hopefully my hamstring will be up for marathon No. 15 as well on 9/27.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meet the Perfect Marathon Runner

Say hello to the perfect marathon runner:



Why, you ask, would a headless mannequin in the ASICS NYC Meatpacking District Store be the perfect marathon runner? Because if you look closely, you can see he has no head.

Our marathon mannequin is sculpted into an ideal running body, a wiry frame with good arm swing and forward-leaning gait. Yes, he has great ASICS gear, from neck to toe, rockin the new Urban Run tee, but more important than anything is his complete absence of a head.

This is important not in a 1790s-France sort of way, not in a Sleepy Hollow-horseback sort of way, but in a metaphorical way that every runner must understand. Let's start with this premise:



That is a list I just created that I hope will be helpful to aspiring marathoners and especially those who plan to do this for as long as they live. Seriously, I know it is vital to use your noggin for positive thought, for awareness of your surroundings, all that good stuff. I'm one of those people who always has said this is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental.

It's just that part of that 90 percent is knowing how NOT to use your head. I'm just saying that by not using your head, by basically having no head, you can get lasting benefits. Consider:

- If you have no head, you can easily put your last marathon behind you. And you have to put it behind you if you want to run your next one. You can leave it on your wall in the form of a medal, but put the trials and tribulations away and freshly focus on your next scary goal ahead.

- Andy Potts and Ryan Hall each shared a great tip pertaining to this while addressing our ASICS Blogger Challenge Team during brunch after our group run the day before the ASICS LA Marathon in March. Potts pointed with both hands at his own head and said, "You've got to keep it right up here." Don't let panicky thoughts take over. And Hall, well aware that it was going to be in the 80s the next day, told us he never lets himself think that he's hot, or else he will repeatedly think that the rest of his race. In both cases, they are marathon mannequins to a point.

- I have been running basically since the day I quit smoking on Dec. 1, 2006, with some breaks here and there. In the first few years of marathoning, I went through a bout or two of post-partum blues, following up a particularly purposeful race (fundraising and dedications, for example) with a melancholy stretch of wondering how I keep that edge for beastmode training. I got through this by realizing that it doesn't matter. Just don't think about it. Don't worry. The day soon came when I was inspired to run by proposing to my wife at a finish line. Or by being asked by ASICS to run. There is always something that will move you. Just let it flow.

To this last point, just consider this tweet that I saw today on the @BeachBody account. They have a large following and I don't mean to be critical, but these are the kinds of seemingly innocuous tweets that drive me crazy as a runner:

I object to everyone -- usually more corporate fitness accounts -- asking their followers what motivates them. All it does is force the individual to stop and think about how they are motivating himself or herself. Some will suddenly realize there is no real motivation at the moment, that they are just training without a heroic cause or inspirational fellow human. And that is actually doing a disservice to runners. Stop asking runners what motivates them! Please! You're actually doing more bad than good by asking, because you're suggesting they need to go find something.

Know when to be a marathon mannequin like the guy above and just run, run, run, run.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Latest Looks: Inside the ASICS NYC Meatpacking District

Thought I'd give you a virtual look at some of the coolest new stuff at the ASICS Meatpacking District Store in NYC. It's located on 14th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, across from the Apple Store in what is now one of the hottest parts of town. You can find all of this stuff on asics.com.






















Here's my friend Justin, a store staffer who's also an endurance cyclist and marathoner, holding up one of the new Favorite Half-Zips in the color he's planning to buy himself . . .





There are a lot of new touches to this including the light and breathable fabric around the thumb holes, as you can see pictured here from the ASICS product page. I'll be running in this.



Like this Urban Run tee below?



I do. So do others I see. And they have stacks of them, or it's $34 at asics.com. . .



Happiness is a wall of running shoes. Here are four categories I was looking at . . .

CUSHIONING




SPEED




TRAINING




MAXIMUM SUPPORT




There's a whole wall full of those for women as well, obviously. I just did a Follow Friday (#FF) on my ASICS @Marathoner account on Twitter, listing every ASICS retail account around the world, and if you follow those, then you will see some really cool ways they show off their own hot items that are just-in. If I could walk out of the ASICS NYC Meatpacking District Store with one box of shoes right now, I believe it probably would be . . .



. . . and maybe this . . .



There is still room in my sock drawer for a new pair of these . . .



In a matter of hours, I will be looping Central Park in the New York City Marathon Long Training Run #1. We are being blessed with some unbelievably fantastic summer weather lately in the Big Apple, and I figured we earned it after that last winter that tested one's soul. So on these #SummerRunnin days, my thoughts are still of running in tops like these . . .





Make sure the ASICS Meatpacking District Store is a stop on your next trip to New York, or head on down if you're in the area. It's like a playland if you love ASICS, as I do. They have the best shoe testing treadmill area in NYC, so be sure to let the pros there test you and get in the right type of shoe for you so you always get to the start line healthy. Tell 'em ASICS @Marathoner sent you.

Friday, June 27, 2014

10 Rules of Physical Therapy


Thanks to my friends at Professional P.T. in NYC / Chelsea for posting this in the men's locker room!

What do you think of PT? Got any more to add?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Queens 10K Race Recap





I stopped to smell the flowers after the Brooklyn Half marked my milestone 100th race. Literally. We made several trips to the New York Botanical Garden, where we are proud members, and rebuilt our garden out back with a wide array of perennials, annuals and organic vegetables and berries. Assorted work around the house including the annual opening of our pool, always an adventure. There was less focus on running over the past month, just occasional maintenance runs.

Then, on the first full day of summer yesterday, it was time to refocus and start on the next 100 races, beginning with the Queens 10K held entirely within Flushing Meadows Corona Park next to Citi Field, and I did so with a PR. In fact, 1:07 (10:54 pace) marked my fastest 10K in two years!



That's me in the final stretch, going for it. My 5K split was 31:59. Considering where I am in my fitness right now, I am very happy. Have been a gym stranger and my core has been mostly ignored. It's OK. I have learned over the last 7+ years of running that it is important to really stop and smell the flowers. Don't listen to those who say it has to be year-round focus or you will fade. Take your breaks. The biggest obstacle to sustained running is Loss of Purpose. Stay fresh. Have fun. Then run again!



The best thing about that race picture above is my pair of shoes. In honor of ASICS' #SummerRunnin campaign, I broke out the ASICS LA Marathon GEL-Lyte 33 shoes that ASICS gave me as part of being on the first ASICS LA Marathon Blogger Challenge in March. They had sat in a closet since then and I was thinking of just keeping them away as a memento of that experience. But instead I wore them to Queens and it was such a great experience. I still need more cushion for longer runs, but for the Queens 10K, my legs felt so light! I could feel my quads actually lifting easier in stretches. They felt sensational and I will use them more going forward. They helped me to a respectable finish, and now am on the brink of 2015 guaranteed entry for the TCS New York City Marathon and the NYC Half:



I thought it would have been cool to run this race in a full black suit and maybe a giant cockroach on a leash. Maybe next year. This is where I got that thought . . .



Just imagine, when they created the World's Fair on this site, there was a thought that perhaps those could be platforms for air transportation such as the Jetsons' space ride. Maybe one day . . .

What's ahead: My next scheduled race is The Color Run MLB All-Star Game 5K on July 13 in Minneapolis, where I will be working All-Star Week, staying that Wednesday to Wednesday. Then I am registered for both NYC Marathon Long Training Runs, although I am still TBA for my fall marathon. I am registered for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January as well. Will gradually fill out the schedule.

This morning I was diagnosed with a mild case of ITB Syndrome on my right side (two years ago I was treated for left side), so I'll be looking at PT sessions in coming weeks and that will take care of it to strength my right hip. No worries. I'm ready to go! Here's to great #SummerRunning and all these friends...