Saturday, September 29, 2012

I'm Better Than You. Now What?

In recent days I have done quite a bit of thinking. My mind has been reeling actually because of a comment I received from a reader on one of my Grand Canyon Rim To Rim To Rim posts. Back in May my friend Matt and I successfully completed a double crossing of The Canyon, a most memorable experience for us. We travelled through one of the most glorious places I can imagine on earth. We laughed, joked, struggled, stood in awe quite often of this wonder and simply enjoyed our time there. We captured much of it on camera and were proud and excited to share the pictures and story with our families, friends, colleagues and friends of Just A Mile To Go.

This comment, which you can read here, came 4 months after our adventure, and I will admit when I first read it I was seething. My first reaction was Fuck You! How dare you step all over us like that with a self promoting comment. As you can see I did respond in a less aggressive manner and now that I have had time to properly digest, I realize I wasn’t really angry.

I am disappointed. My frustration lies in the fact that there are people not only in our sport, but our culture, who find joy somehow in calling out their accomplishments at the belittlement of others. Don’t get me wrong. I love sarcasm. I have been the butt of many jokes and have been known to throw around a disparaging remark or two. Who is to say however, that one success is any greater than another, especially in a sport of individual achievement. Is one person’s PR more difficult to achieve than another. Since we are all different, and every day is different I say no. Your best is all you’ve got and if you give it, you have hit your top level of achievement. I am not looking for a pity party here. I am not suggesting every team in little league should get a trophy just for participating either (that’s another topic). I am saying it would be a good thing if people could be happy for others in whatever they do and for once not put their accomplishments in front of another’s as a mechanism for self gratification. In other words “Get a life”. Ok, maybe I am a little angry.

Anyway, I meant it when I congratulated Cheryl on her accomplishment. Cheers to everyone out there and your accomplishments. I don’t care if you go faster, slower, shorter or longer. JUST GO and give it all you got!

Peace and Have A Great Day

Friday, September 21, 2012

Running Simply

One thing I have always loved about running is its simplicity. Just put on my shoes and out the door I go. Actually that’s not quite true because if all I did was put on my shoes I would be running around the neighborhood naked. Aside from being arrested we wouldn’t want my neighbors throwing up so I put on my shorts, shirt, socks and shoes and then out the door I go. At least that’s the way it was a long time ago. So long ago in fact I had forgotten what it was like to run so simply. When I trained for my first marathon I had 1 pair of shoes, 1 pair of shorts, and I wore whatever cotton socks and t-shirts I had in my dresser (I did buy a technical shirt eventually due to the chafe monster). Other than the race entry fee, I spent about $100 on running stuff.

How is it that something so simple and beautiful has now turned into a laboratory and resulted in drawers, shelves, closets and storage bins full of gear. Not to mention the insane amount of decision making that goes into each run, as follows:
  • Select between at least a dozen different pairs of shorts, countless pairs of socks and buckets full of technical shirts (of course 95% of the time I wear one of my 15 or so orange MMRF shirts).
  • What is the weather like outside? Do I need sleeves or a jacket?
  • Am I running in trail shoes or road shoes today? Do I want to wear the TNFs, Brooks or Hokas? Do I want the red, green, orange, blue or black ones?
  • Do I need my handhelds or a hydration vest?
  • Am I wearing one of 3 different headlamps or carrying a handheld lamp this morning along with a reflective vest and LED lights if running on the road.
  • Am I using Hammer Gel, HEED or Perpetuem on my long runs? Should I bring S-caps?
  • Do I bring a phone, and don’t forget the epipen?
  • Should I bring an iPod or Garmin today?
  • Remember ID and don’t forget to lube up in all the right places!
Getting out the door has become a nuisance. It drives me crazy and I am sure all the crap around the house and my constant preparation for each morning drives Tani crazy too (although you would never know it).

What does all this mean? The obvious answer is I am obsessed. The real answer is I simply love to run, and as part of this journey have collected lots of stuff to help me run longer, faster, safer and more efficiently.
However, aside from all the incredible experiences that have come along with running, it is the pure freedom and simplicity of running I love most.
As my training and running goals have ramped up these past few years I really began to lose sight of this and I actually began to get (I cant believe I am actually saying this) a little bored and dare I say annoyed with running leading into Badwater this past July. I therefore made it a point over the past couple months since my return from Death Valley to run simple. I choose one or two of my shorter runs each week and don’t think about anything on my way out the door. I grab my favorite of everything and only mandatory items. No watch, no iPod, no packs, no bullshit. Just me, the road and my thoughts running simply as it was meant to be. It feels so good to be out in the early morning hours simply running free. Try it!

Peace and Have A Great Day

Monday, September 10, 2012


Eleven years ago I was training for my first marathon, NYC.  My oldest son was 2 1/2, my youngest just 6 weeks old. I had run 4 miles that morning, and a beautiful morning it was. I was sitting in my office, starting my day, listening to Howard Stern. I don't recall the exact words that made me look but they mentioned something about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center buildings. When I turned around to look down Park Avenue, I was horrified to see the jet black smoke distinctly clouding the crisp blue sky. After watching coverage on TV with many co-workers the entire building was evacuated. As I made my way north, clueless, not really knowing what was going on or what I was doing, I stopped to look at more reports on a monitor in the window of a bank branch on Madison Avenue. The first tower fell. In shock, with many others we stood in horror. I left and continued north towards a friend's apartment who I hoped would be there when I arrived. On the way I came upon a news van on Park Avenue as commotion erupted. I stopped to see, and the second tower had fallen.

Later that day, early evening, the trains, packed with horrified people, many covered in soot, began to shuttle us home. It was silent, but for the clanking of the wheels and the subtle sobbing of many. I can still feel the hollowness in my stomach as I think about that day. I will never forget, but will never let the murderous actions prevent me or my family from living our lives.

If nothing else we owe it to those we lost to live, not recklessly, but freely in memory and honor of what was taken from them.

Tomorrow, I will still be with my beautiful wife, my sons will be 13 and 11 and my daughter will be 2 1/2. I am so very lucky to be here today and I will run for the nearly 3,000 people who were murdered that day and their families. Let's all remember and live in Peace!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

EricG's Running Tips #35 Getting Back On The Horse

It has been days, weeks, months or even years since you last ran, rode, swam, practiced or worked out in any fashion. I don't know what it is that makes it so tough to get back on that horse and we all know how hard it can be sometimes not to get thrown.  There are a number of things we can do to get over that initial mental hurdle and stick with it.
  1. Don't dwell on the past. What you did or rather did not do is over and there is nothing you can do about it so stop beating yourself up.
  2. Focus on what you are going to do tomorrow. Commit to it, do it and be positive about your effort no matter how tough it is getting through those first few work outs. 
  3. Set a long term goal with lots of smaller goals to get you there. If you want to run a 5k or even a marathon that's great but break it down into smaller short term goals to get you there. Yes a schedule.
  4. Setting challenging yet attainable short term goals with an eye on the bigger goal will give you something positive to look back on and feed off of going forward. 
  5. If you hit a bump in the road along the way forget it and move on. Shit happens
  6. Most importantly commit to yourself that you will do what you say you will do. Each time you come through for yourself it will make it that much easier the next time because you know you can do it. Success breeds success as the saying goes.
I am a firm believer in setting numerous short term goals with an eye on a bigger prize. I use this to get me through my training all the time. If I look too far ahead it can be overwhelming and feel like the mountain is way too big to climb.  I hope you find success in whatever methods you use to stay on that horse.

Peace and Have A Great Day!
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