Category Archives: Running Humor

Post about training fails, ill-advised and foolish workouts, and anything else that doesn’t pass the laugh test.

My GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap!!!

A Rollicking Running Tale Starring Tom Wolf, Tweet-Ups, and Kandy-Kolored, Tangerine-Flake, Streamline GORE-TEX®, Baby!!!

Center-City Philadelphia, Saturday November 22, Mid-Afternoon.  I MASHED the brakes and SWERVED into a tight parking spot on Level 5 as echoes of HONKING HORNS and SQUEALING TIRES cascaded up and down the endless BLIND-TURN concrete ramps in the JAM-PACKED parking garage at the corner of Broad and Race!!! I threw off my seat belt and joined in with THOUSANDS of RUNNERS as we SPRUNG from our CAGES and RAN like ENDORPHIN-FUELED CARBO-LOADED MANIACS down Broad Street!!!


Expo Entrance

And what to my WONDERING EYES should appear? BOSTON BILLY amidst ACRES of RUNNING GEAR!!!

Bill Rodgers

After snapping that pic of the GREAT Bill Rodgers, my first stop was bib pick-up, then I changed my starting corral from BLUE to BLACK. With a TORN MENISCUS and a HURTIN’ HAMMY, I had NO IDEA how close I might come to the 1:41:25 HALF-MARATHON finish time predicted by my Run SMART Project Jack Daniels Training Plan, but I was definitely going to run faster than THREE HOURS!!! The bib pick-up and corral change were quick and easy, an indication of the OUTSTANDING job that I saw from EVERY race worker and volunteer I encountered all weekend!Bib Pickup

Next stop GORE-TEX® EXHIBIT! If you ever need a HEAPING HELPING of ENERGY, POSITIVITY, MOTIVATION, and COMMITMENT to MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the WORLD through RUNNING, spend some time with Scott Crossin, Executive Director of Back on My Feet (BOMF) Philadelphia. BOMF Philly was the charity partner of GORE-TEX®, official title sponsor of the Philadelphia Marathon since 2013.  I was a BOMF fundraiser AND a member of Team GORE-TEX® for this year’s race, and I was TOTALLY STOKED that I had a chance to meet up with Scott at the Expo!!! Scott and Me

Scott told me about several AMAZING BOMF Residential Members who had gone from HOMELESSNESS to running the FULL MARATHON!!!!! And many more were running the HALF-MARATHON!!! Scott himself ROCKED the full 26.2 on RACE DAY!!!

BOMF is showing us how RUNNING has much deeper roots than just notching a PR, that RUNNING has a transformational effect on ALL HUMAN BEINGS in building self-worth through HARD WORK and SWEAT. Since September 2008, 230 BOMF Residential Members have gone from homelessness to obtaining employment.  Since 2009, BOMF Residential Members have collectively logged over 63,000 miles and boast an 81% attendance rate at their weekday early-morning runs!!!

After talking with Scott, I filled out one of the running-shoe-cut-out notes wishing BOMF runners well (see picture below).  For each of the thousand-plus notes that runners wrote, GORE-TEX® donated a dollar to BOMF Philly!! WIN-WIN-WIN…..TIMES A THOUSAND!!!!!!


I drifted over to the shoe display of the GORE-TEX® exhibit to visit one of the FEW PEOPLE who can match Scott’s INCREDIBLE ENERGY LEVEL and DEDICATION…DRUM-ROLL!!!…Kirk Christensen!!! Kirk, GORE-TEX® Running Footwear’s Global Leader, asked me if I had ever been part of something so spectacular as THIRTY-THOUSAND PEOPLE ALL GOING AFTER THEIR GOAL AT THE SAME TIME!!!! WOW!! NOW THAT YOU PUT IT THAT WAY KIRK, IT IS PRETTY COOL!!! How are the GORE-TEX® shoes selling? They’re flying off the shelves!!! GORE-TEX® is in A LOT of the MOST POPULAR RUNNING SHOE MAKES AND MODELS!!! Gore also outfitted BOMF members with Saucony Ride 7 GTX® footwear for the race!!!

Kirk & Shoe Display

As a member of Team GORE-TEX®, I had over 300 Miles on my Saucony Ride 7 GTX® shoes going into the race!! GORE-TEX® adds less than an ounce, is just as flexible as non-water proof shoes, and will protect your feet in the worst conditions!!! MAGIC!! Kirk and I jumped into the mini-pool just to feel the EXHILARATION of standing in ankle deep water with DRY FEET!!!! Go GORE-TEX®!!! Innovations currently in the pipeline are taking GORE-TEX® Shoes from 3-Seasons to 4-Seasons!!! OPTIMUM CLIMATE COMFORT!!! See my post, These are not your Father’s GORE-TEX® Running Shoes!, for more on the WONDER that is GTX® Running Shoes!!!

With Kirk in Mini-Pool

Kirk told me he would look for me at the finish line as he hung out with with Philadelphia Mayor Nutter and Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Tom Wolf (OK, not…that…Tom Wolfe!!!) in their attempt to HIGH-FIVE every last finisher!!

Now it was time to check out the Gore Running Wear® exhibit where I found Gore Running Wear® SUPER EXPERT and Sales and Marketing Associate Cindy Woods, whom I first met, along with Kirk, during my visit to Gore Headquarters back in September!!

I KNEW I could count on Cindy for a GREAT recommendation on which of my Kandy-Kolored Streamline Gore Running Wear® items to wear on Race Day!  Cindy recommended the Mythos 2.0 WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell Zip Off Light Jacket, which has detachable Zip Off sleeves. GREAT CALL CINDY!!! Cindy pointed out that with the Zip Off sleeves, you don’t need any throw-away gear for a cold early-morning race start!!


I let Cindy get back to the throngs of runners eager to buy up some COOL Gore Running Wear®.  Then I came upon two MARATHON MEDIA MAVENS, Lauren and Darby!! They are two of the SUPER-FRIENDLY FACES behind the Philadelphia Marathon’s SOCIAL MEDIA presence!!! I realized this was a REAL-LIFE FACE-TO-FACE TWEET-UP!! We had been tweeting and re-tweeting back-and-forth for months leading up to the race and now I got to meet them in person!!!

Lauren & Darby

My last stop at the Expo was a WEIGHTLESS JAUNT on the ANTI-GRAVITY Treadmill!! Running at ten-minute-per-mile pace at 60% of your body weight might look EASY, but you gotta have THE RIGHT STUFF to ride this thing!!!!!Anti-Gravity Treadmill

I left the Expo, checked into the Marriott Downtown as a guest of Gore, then hurried up to my seventh-floor room to get ready for a six o’clock dinner with my GORE-TEX® and Gore Running Wear® teammates at Bliss Restaurant on Broad Street. We met our host, Gore Associate Cynthia Amon, and walked through the City Hall Courtyard and down Broad Street to Bliss. Cynthia gave us each a wrist band for access to the GORE-TEX® tent after the race and a MEDIA PASS for access to the press-only areas around the finish!! COOL!!! The food was SUPERB and the company was COMPELLING!!! Make sure to follow my teammates: @TheGearJunkie, @SaltyRuns, @rhodymomrunner, @KBruning, @rowdy406, @kitfoxnews, @ROJRunning!!!

After dinner I met my wife Charlene, who had taken the train into the city, then we grabbed a couple frappuccinos at Starbucks in the Marriott lobby and went upstairs to lay out my racing gear, pin on my bib, and get some sleep!!!

MY GORE-TEX® and Gore Running Wear® RACING GEAR!!!

I went with Cindy’s pick, the Mythos 2.0 WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell Zip Off Light Jacket, for SCALABLE COMFORT that turned out to be PERFECT!!! I trained in this one A LOT, so I had a good feeling about wearing it!!!

Mythos 2.0 WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell Zip Off Light Jacket

Mythos 2.0 WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell Zip Off Light Jacket

With their LIGHT, SHEER, COMPRESSION FIT, the X-Running 2.0 Shorts were made for RACING LONG!  I TRAINED in these babies a lot too!!!

X-Running 2.0 Shorts

X-Running 2.0 Shorts

I love my Gore Running Wear® SO MUCH I dipped into my own pocket to buy this Mythos 2.0 Neon Beany to COMPLETE THE PERFECT HALF MARATHON RACING KIT!!!  You won’t get lost in the crowd when you’re wearing this LIGHT, BRIGHT, EAR-WARMING GEM on your NOGGIN!!!

Mythos 2.0 Neon Beany

Mythos 2.0 Neon Beany

POST-RACE: I picked the Mythos 2.0 Gore-Tex Active Jacket for after the race.  I’ve trained in this waterproof beauty in the rain, but it’s just as comfortable in dry weather. You’ll see it in some of the post-race pics!!!

Mythos 2.0 Gore-Tex Active Jacket

Mythos 2.0 Gore-Tex Active Jacket

I did all of my training and racing in my Saucony Ride 7 GTX® Shoes with GORE-TEX®!!! They are my new favorite shoes, so wearing them for the race was a NO-BRAINER.  In the picture below they had over 300 miles on them; they have over 400 on them as I write this and they still look and feel brand new after slogging through endless puddles and muddy trails!!!

Ride 7 GTX

Saucony Ride 7 GTX® Shoes


I didn’t sleep very WELL or very MUCH!! Five-thirty came early!! Charlene wished me luck and said she’d be out there on the course cheering and we’d meet up at the finish! I grabbed coffee, met my teammates, and we walked down the parkway to the start. The corrals were filling up!!! The ADRENALINE started to PUMP!!!!At The Start

The last time I toed the line at the Philly Marathon was for the full 26.2 in 2004.  That’s the day I ran my 2:53:14 Marathon PR back when I was a spry 45-year-old. I’m not in that kind of shape now, but I was still ready to GET AFTER IT!!!

I started STEADY!! I felt GOOD!!! I EASILY unzipped and stowed the ZIP OFF sleeves in my pockets at mile three while keeping up a sub-seven-thirty-per-mile clip!!!  I ran a pretty even race, slowing on the hills and speeding up on the flats!  According to RunKeeper, via my iPhone stored in the Mythos Jacket’s COOL media pocket, I ran 13.48 miles!!! Looks like I didn’t exactly run the tangents!!!

Phill Half RunKeeper

The going got tough in the final miles, rendering every one of my race pictures UN-purchasable due to the ZOMBIE DEATH-MASK EXPRESSION on my face. I did, however, shell out the bargain-price of $4.95 for the video clip of my finish (I’m crossing the line at the 12-second mark):

Charlene found me at the finish for a post-race photo:Finish Pic 2

We went to the GORE-TEX tent and had some coffee and talked about the race with the others gathering in the tent. We checked my finish time…AND…I…WAS……ASTOUNDED!!!!  I ran EXACTLY – DOWN to the SECOND – what my Run SMART Project Jack Daniels Training Plan predicted!!! 1:41:25!!!  A BIG Thank You to Run SMART Project Founder Brian Rosetti!!!  You and Dr. Jack Daniels are so GOOD it’s SCARY!!!

Charlene headed off to catch the train home and I got a free massage!!  Now it was time to use my MEDIA CREDENTIAL!!!! I wanted access to the most deeply-guarded MEDIA areas I could find!!!

The crowds were building and by the time I figured out where the media areas were and worked my way back through the flow of finishers, the winners of the Full Marathon had finished and were already on the podium receiving their awards.  I snapped this picture from afar, still not having reached the inner sanctum of PRESS PRIVILEGE!!!  I had been SCOOPED by the PROS!!!!  You can see Kirk there with Mayor Nutter and Governor-Elect Wolf.Marathon Winners Podium

I finally arrived at a gated area just outside the PRESS TENT!!!

“Can I get into this area with this credential?” I asked two young ladies.

“Why of course! Come right in! Hey, are you The Running Jones?”

“Why Yes, YES I AM!!!”  It turns out I had walked right into another TWEET-UP!!! This time with SUPER-FRIENDLY Gore Media Associates Kate and Toni, who had been re-tweeting all my tweets about GORE-TEX® and Gore Running Wear®!!!Kate & Toni

They took my picture and didn’t waste any time tweeting it!!!Gore Tweet And I re-tweeted it, of course!!!

With my entrance into the inner circle of media insiders, I began to explore my limits. Could I get into that little area in front of the main podium, between the finish lines for the Half and the Full? The PERFECT place for finish line shots? YES!!! RIGHT THIS WAY!!! And just in time to catch Ultra-Running LEGEND Keith Straw, veteran of multiple BADWATER, LEADVILLE, WESTERN STATES, and MANY more ultras and over 300 MARATHONS, as he was finishing the Marathon with a smile on his face!!!  I’m proud to count Keith as a friend, and he has helped me TREMENDOUSLY this year as I’ve gotten back into running!! I was SUPER-HAPPY to be in a prime position to get this shot of Keith in his Trademark Pink Tutu:Keith Straw

Then I saw a familiar face as I went back into the area where the Half Marathon winners were waiting for their awards. It was Lauren!! She pointed me in the direction of another tent and said that Mayor Nutter and Governor-Elect Wolf would be handing out the awards for the Half very soon. THANKS LAUREN!!!

I was burst-snapping away with my iPhone, angling for space with the REAL PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS!!! They treated me well, albeit with a few askance looks and requests to see my PRESS CREDENTIAL!!!! Here are some of the pictures of the Half Marathon award winners waiting for their trip to the podium!!!Half Winners

While I waited for the awards, I continued to meet the OUTSTANDING and EXCEPTIONALLY NICE Race Staff and Volunteers!!! First I spoke with Dawn Roberts, founding partner of KD Communications Group and speaker, media consultant, and event specialist extraordinaire!!!Dawn RobertsThen I talked with volunteers Vera (who gave me some advice on my upcoming torn meniscus surgery) and BJ (who’s a PhD in Psychology):Dr. BJ & Vera

Finally  Mayor Nutter and Governor-Elect Wolf appeared at the podium!! And the HALF MARATHON WINNERS ARE:Half Winners Podium

I made one last stop back into the media tent to grab a cup of coffee for the ride home and it turned into a FINAL TWEET-UP!!!! As I picked through the last of the bagels, two SUPER-NICE young ladies, another DYNAMIC MEDIA DUO!!!, offered to open a new tray of croissants!!! Would I like one? Sure!! And with that very hospitable introduction I met sisters Heather and Colleen who were at the race working media relations for none other than….. BOMF!!! It was a FANTASTIC experience to finally meet so many GREAT TWEEPS in person!!!

Heather & Colleen

I walked the mile back down the parkway, coffee and croissants in hand, and arrived at the parking garage that now seemed like a far distant memory from a previous lifetime!!!

Running with Team GORE-TEX® and fundraising for BOMF was FUN, REWARDING, and a ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCE I’d do TWICE if I could!!!


You can read about my visit to Gore Headquarters and my reviews of GORE-TEX® shoes and Gore Running Wear® by following these links to my previous blog posts leading up to race day:

Gearing Up for the GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon!

Training for the Gore-Tex® Philadelphia Marathon in Gore Running Wear®

A Rainy Thursday in my Mythos 2.0 Gore-Tex® Active Jacket

My Run SMART Project Marathon Pace Workout

I did my first Marathon (M) Pace workout on The Run SMART Project Jack Daniels’ 15-Week Marathon Plan this past Wednesday, March 26th.   My daily schedule in the VDOT O2 Application called for nine miles at M Pace, 8:13 per mile.  The graphic below shows my training calendar and the exploded view of the M Pace workout:

MP Workout

As the day unfolded, I had three doubts about being able to successfully complete the workout:

  1. First, I had to wake up at 0430 on Wednesday morning and then drive for four hours to work at a client’s location.  I didn’t get to bed as early as I’d planned and only got five hours of sleep.  I was tired by lunchtime.
  2. Getting enough carbs was my second concern.  I have been losing weight on Nutrisystem while increasing my training.  I have to work extra hard to make sure I don’t cut myself short on carbs leading up to quality workouts.  And it’s harder to eat right when I’m travelling.
  3. Finally, it was cold and very windy on the road along the Chesapeake Bay where I planned to run.  I walked out to my car at lunchtime and was hit with a frozen blast of forceful wind.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain a consistent pace, much less an 8:15 pace, running in that wind.  I didn’t feel confident about being able to gauge an M Pace effort.

There was a time when I would run an easy twenty-miler at 8:15 pace, but that was ten years ago.  It’s not easy anymore.  It will be again, but not yet.  As the workday drew to a close at 1630, it was time to erase the doubts and get the workout done.

CybexJust the thought of running gave me a shot of adrenaline and a second wind.  Scratch Doubt #1.  Thinking about the carbs during the day, I ate a few bananas (checking off two Nutrisystem Smart Carbs) and an extra Power Bar (38 grams of carbs, only 21 grams of it sugar) in addition to my normal Nutrisystem menu.  Scratch Doubt #2; I was carbed-up and ready to go.  To stack the deck in my favor, I bought a day pass at the local gym so I could do the workout on a treadmill.  Take weather out of the equation and Scratch Doubt #3.  Now I was psyched.

After I changed in the locker room, I did a set of pull-ups.  As I’ve lost almost twenty pounds, I’ve gone from being able to do one pull-up to being able to bang out six or seven.

I got on the old Cybex and did a slow warm-up mile, walking my way into a 12:00 minute mile pace.  Then I dialed in 7.3 MPH and tried it on for size.  It felt quick but manageable.  My breathing was fine, no respiratory discomfort, but it was hard to imagine going the full nine miles, if only because of the extreme boredom I was sure to experience.

After a few miles, I noticed several people were getting on the treadmill next to me, poking at the control panel for a minute or so, and then walking away.  I looked over and saw the letters “Err” on the display.  Just then a distinguished-looking gent in gray sweats and a cotton pocket-T did the same thing.  I said, “You might want to unplug it and plug it back in again.”  He said something I couldn’t understand, and kept hitting buttons. Oh well, I tried to help.

Then he walked away like the others.  But he turned right and walked along the front of the treadmills, and sure enough, he leaned down and pulled the plug just like I told him.

My old Cybex lurched to a stop and almost threw me over the console.  He was aghast and re-plugged me and apologized profusely at the same time.  I laughed and told him it was OK, that I needed a rest, and could he pull the plug out again in about twenty minutes?  He laughed and found the right plug for his machine and it worked.  He thanked me and got a few miles in and then headed off for the weight machines.

I was at about three and a half miles into the nine.  It was taking forever.  I was starting to feel some effort, but was still breathing easy.  I counted my cadence for a minute, and then recited the alphabet, which took a whole tenth of a mile.  I wasn’t any less bored, but at least now I knew I was taking 180 steps per minute and nearly 6.8 yards per letter.

By the halfway point, my legs were feeling stiff and tired and I was now counting hundredths of a mile.  After not running a lot for the past ten years, and getting ten years older in the bargain, I’m realizing that simply training my muscles, tendons, ligaments, and whatever else is holding me together is a bigger issue than getting into aerobic shape.  My legs were not keeping up with my lungs.

During the final three miles I remembered why, during the final miles of all five marathons I have run in my life, I have sworn never to run another marathon.  This wasn’t an idle threat I was making to myself.  I let twenty-five years go by between marathons one and two.  Now I was feeling that same dog-tired numb-legged feeling after only six or seven miles.  I soldiered on and was almost giddy when the end was in sight. Then I was done.  I felt a little dizzy and leaned on the old Cybex as it fell silent and I rested my head in my hands.

A voice jarred me out of my stupor; “You’re still here?”  It was the distinguished-looking gent back from his work with the weights.  I laughed and said, “Where were you when I needed you?”

Forefoot, Sorefoot! Poking Fun at Plantar Fasciitis & My Attempt at Minimalist Running

There’s nothing good to say about plantar fasciitis.  To runners, it’s a pervasive scourge, a grim affliction.  I’ve been fighting plantar fasciitis since last summer, but I’m finally running successfully with it.  Here’s my story.

It all started when I decided that an important part of my born-again return to running, after riding a recliner for the past ten years, would be to finally achieve that pinnacle of running perfection, to be a true forefoot-striking minimalist runner.  The ultimate utopian ideal would be to achieve a state wherein my winged heels would never make even fleeting contact with earthly terra firma, and owning a pair of running shoes with anything resembling a built-up heel would be sheer and utter blasphemy.

I considered using an old pair of magical weightless golden shoes from the back of my closet that looked like this:


Instead of putting the ten-year-old Pumas back into the rotation, I bought a pair of Sacony Kinvara trail shoes with a 4mm drop that looked like this:


I took the Kinvaras out to the biggest hills in Valley Forge National Park, Mt. Misery and Mt. Joy, and ran eight miles entirely on my two forefeet.  It felt great.  I was nearing perfection.

The next morning it felt like someone had taken my feet and manacled them into a torture rack and turned the crank until they felt something snap.  I couldn’t walk.

And that’s how I got plantar fasciitis.  No question.  Self-inflicted when I decided that running on my forefoot was as close as I could get to heaven without having to die.

I rested for days and weeks and tried to run again.  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t even walk when I got up in the morning.  I hobbled around and went downstairs sideways or backwards.  I even tried a pair of running shoes with some actual heels on them that looked like this:


Then I went back to running easy in the Kinvaras.  After a few months, the right foot got better; the left did not.  I would rest for several days then run four or five miles slowly.  And by slowly, I mean that people walking wandering dogs routinely passed me while I was out on these runs.  When I was finished running I couldn’t put weight on my left heel again for several more days.

I finally decided to see a podiatrist.  I like a doctor to be blunt and brief.  He’s seen a problem like mine thousands of times before.  I don’t like a chatty doctor with time on his hands who acts like my problem is unique and he’s never seen anything quite like it before.  That scares me.

So I was satisfied when my doctor entered the exam room abruptly and got right to business.  I described my problem.  He examined my foot, asked a few questions, and then laid out a four-pronged attack:

“I’m going to have you do several things.  First I want you in a different shoe.”

He was wearing the Brooks Beast himself.  He read the horror in my eyes at the prospect of wearing a motion control shoe and said that Brooks Adrenalines, a stability shoe, would be just fine.  I had avoided the ultimate comeuppance for a would-be forefoot-running minimalist.

The Adrenalines:


“Next, put a set of Superfeet in the Adrenalines.  Then you’re going to do calf stretches every day and I’m going to put you in a night splint that will keep your foot from dropping when you’re sleeping and it won’t hurt to walk when you get up in the morning.”

The Superfeet:


He said there were other weapons in his arsenal, but we would give it a month.  He prescribed some industrial strength anti-inflammatories to replace the Ibuprofens I had been tossing back like Skittles.

I asked him why everyone had plantar fasciitis and why no one could seem to get rid of it.  He said I was the fifth patient of the day he was seeing for plantar fasciitis and that he resolved it quickly in 99% of his cases.  The problem was that most people did not treat it properly.  He was confident I could beat it.

I felt great.  I went straight to the running store and got my new shoes and Superfeet.  The plantar fasciitis improved over the next month, but I was still hurting.  I went back to the doctor.

“You’re improving, but it’s still not acceptable.  We want to get you running pain-free.  There are two options.  Physical therapy or The Shot.”

“Is there a downside to The Shot?” I asked.

“Other than ten seconds of excruciating pain, no, there’s no downside.”

I asked if he could do it immediately.  He could and did.  It hurt just like he said, but only for about eight-and-three-quarter seconds.

Everything was great for a month.  Then I made the mistake of doing a warm-up stride at a frigid New Year’s Day 5K that turned out to be way too close to actual sprinting.  Hello my old friend!

Yes plantar fasciitis was back.

Since then I have been determined to outwait, outsmart, and outrun plantar fasciitis.  I have become clever like a fox.  I’ve started to run very slowly again for several of my runs each week.  I keep a quick turnover and a light stride.  Some days I walk instead of run to throw plantar fasciitis off its game.  I don’t do anything to give plantar fasciitis a new foothold.  I stretch, wear the splint at night, and take an occasional handful of Ibuprofens:


I switch back and forth between the Adrenalines and my Asics Gel-Neo33s, swapping the Superfeet each time, and I put them in on top of the original insoles:


It’s working.  I’m increasing my mileage every three or four weeks and running at faster paces.  The plantar fasciitis is still there, but it’s improving.  And one of these days plantar fasciitis is going to get tired of not getting any respect and just up and leave.

The lesson I learned the hard way is that a drastic change in running form shouldn’t be done overnight.  I might have read that somewhere and probably should have paid closer attention.  What was I thinking?

The Running Jones