Friday, July 26, 2013


Seven or eight years ago a bunch of us got together at Kosciuszko Hall for a special run. We were only going to run about two miles. It was in honor of my friend Kevin Holmes, who that day would log his 100,000th mile of running. 
Runners are crazy about their stats, their streaks, their accomplishments. It's part of what we are. The reason I'm thinking about that this week is because on Saturday, I ran my 241st marathon in Okoboji, Iowa. That day I went to about 990 miles left before I've logged 24,902 miles. That number also happens to be the circumference of the earth. Sometime early in 2014, about 20 years after I became a runner, I will log the mile that says I've run the distance around the world. 
Also in Okoboji, I ran into the 2011 winner of our marathon, Justin Gillette. He's a speedy guy, and went on to win Okoboji that day. Right now he has a pretty nice stat going -- he's won at least one marathon every month since February 2012. What's that -- 17 months in a row now?  Nice work Justin!
This year, our 10th running, we have a bunch of people who have run our marathon or half EVERY YEAR so far. I think we have everyone on the list, but if you're not, please let me know and I'll fix it. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

So far ...

Hey, it's been a great training summer! Not too hot most of the time. Nice.


Now, as you lengthen your long run, especially those of you new to the marathon, you'll notice new muscles you didn't realize you had. Your first 10-mile run hurts. So does 12. And 14, 16, 18, 20, ....


But then you back off. After you've done 12 miles, 10 doesn't seem that hard. When you hit 18, then back off to 16 the next week, it's not nearly as bad as the first time you ran 16.


What you're feeling is your body getting stronger. You're allowing the AWESOME to come out. It's FUN. Race day will be even better. The next day you'll be able to walk, but you really won't want to. By Tuesday night it will feel better and you'll actually be able to do stairs without that stupid grimace on your face. After that, you'll continue to heal and feel better. 


But you get to keep the finisher medal forever! Bragging rights, accomplishment, officially awesome and loving it.


We're almost ready to order the race shirts. This is fun. Lots of good stuff planned for our 10th running.


I'll see you at the finish line in October.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fun with course certification

Wow! Some of the long races around West Michigan are updating their courses this year. Recently, I was over measuring the Park 2 Park half marathon course in Holland. It's a great half-marathon warmup if you're doing our marathon about three weeks later. Flat course, scenic, well organized. 

The Octoberfest Marathon in Spring Lake is reworking its course as well. It's another great tuneup race - while you're in shape for one, may as well do two, don't you think?

Certification is the key to being a Boston Qualifier. What that means is that the course is measured to USATF standards. It also means it's NOT SHORT. 

You probably think a marathon is 26.2 miles. (Actually 26.21875.) It's measured that way, plus a tiny "short course prevention factor" which puts it a little closer to 26.25. And then, the course is measured via the tangents, which means if you cross the road or run beside someone or don't follow the exact inside of all the curves, you're going to run longer. Most marathons can't be done in less than about 26.4 miles. If you're in Chicago weaving in and out around thousands of other runners, you may even get to 26.6. If you're running a trail marathon, it's not certifiable in most cases, but they're rarely short.
Especially if Randy Step has anything to do with it.