Archive for October, 2009


The Swag Bag

Tomorrow morning is the 40th running of the New York City Marathon.  By pure luck, I’m one of the people running the marathon.  I’m not really fast, but I’m certainly not really really slow.  I hope to finish around 4 hours if everything goes well, however I have a lingering leg injury that may cause me to miss that.

This is my fourth marathon, and I noticed that each marathon has been four times larger than the previous.  Erie had about 700 runners, Pittsburgh had around 3,300 for the marathon, Twin Cities had around 10,000 and New York will have around 40,000 tomorrow morning.  As the size of the field grows, so does the size of the expo and check in.

Picture of NYC Marathon Expo

The NYC Marathon Expo was Huge

Along with the marathon expo growing in size, so does the amount of swag and promotional items.  In this case, there’s a whole lot of swag, much of which is utterly confusing.

items from the NYC Marathon swag bag

All the stuff that comes in a New York City Marathon Swag Bag

Most of the stuff that comes in the swag bag is your standard fare.  On the the left is a magazine promoting the New York Road Runners, a map of the course, my number, some pens, etc. Next is a pack of chocolate covered almonds, a key chain, a temporary tattoo which is mainly an ad for Foot Locker,  and a couple of pens.  Next is an ad for a race in Spain, a towel advertising T-Mobile and Blackberry, and of course, the marathon t-shirt.  In the middle is the most confusing item.  A double sample pack of extra virgin olive oil (15mL) and vinegar (10mL).  The confusing part is that all of the writing on the package is in Spanish — the Spain version.  Above that is some coupons, a random bag, and my pace gear.  To the right is a collection of ads and bumper stickers, most of which will go in the trash.  For some reason I can’t see my actually putting the 26.2 Dunkin Donuts sticker on my car.

So, the olive oil and vinegar are the two strangest things in this swag bag, what’s the strangest thing you’ve received in a swag bag?


Welcome Back Cold Weather Running

It’s now the middle of October and the warm weather of summer has given way to the cooler weather of fall.  Here in Minneapolis the cool weather of fall has already given way to some almost wintry weather.  Yes, cold weather is back.  This morning I woke up at 7am to see it was 24 degrees in downtown Minneapolis and that there was about an inch of snow on the ground.

A Healthy Coating of Snow on the Cars

A Healthy Coating of Snow on the Cars

By some stroke of luck, or by the luck of me checking the weather report earlier in the week, while running errands yesterday at Target I happened to purchase a pair of running tights and some gloves.  I’m pretty sure that now that I own running tights and tight running shirts for running the cold that I’m officially a runner.  This provided me a nice chance to test of the tights, and I have to say that I was really pleased with the performance despite the fact that they’re just cheap tights from Target.  I never felt cold despite the fact that the temperature never rose about 30 during my run.

I'm sure those sprinklers help when it's 25 degrees outside

I'm sure those sprinklers help when it's 25 degrees outside

Unlike a lot of runners I’ve spoken to, I love running in the cold weather — blame it on my Minnesota blood.  When training for the Pittsburgh Marathon some of my favorite runs were when it was brutally cold outside (for Pittsburgh, at least) — when the temperature was down below 10 degrees.  One of the greatest things about running when it’s cold is that it’s quiet.  There’s some magic in being the first person to break into the a nice thin layer of snow.

I wasn't the first runner out this morning

I wasn't the first runner out this morning

Running in the snow isn’t always great.  There were a couple of bridges that ended up a little like skating rinks this morning, but they were clustered early in the run.  Also, a section of my path was boardwalk with snow on top of it, which I decided it was better to just avoid because of the potential danger of ice on the wood.  However, for today, the cold weather proved to be a great run.  I ran 18 quality miles at a pace that was better than my typical marathon pace — a great training run for the New York City Marathon in a few weeks.  The plan called for 20 miles today, but given the marathon I ran on Sunday, this was perfect.  Cold weather, beautiful snow, and quiet.  I look forward to quite a few more quiet cold morning runs.

What about you?  Do you live in a climate where the weather gets cold?  How does the cold weather change your training routine?


Welcome to Twenty Six and Two

A little over a month ago I was having dinner with a group of friends in Manhattan and was lamenting about my horrible commute and how it sapped the will for me to do most anything creative.  My life consisted of me getting up in the morning, taking the train to work, working, coming home on the train, running, and then going to bed.  A friend suggested that I should start a weblog.

“A weblog?  About what?”

“Whatever you want man, whatever you’re good at at.”

“I’ve had a weblog for years, and I write about what I’m good at.  Most of the time it sits idle because I don’t have time to write about anything interesting.”

“Then write about what you’re passionate about!”

As my older weblog is very old, with some entries dating back to 1999, it’s almost entirely technology focused — things that are very related to my daily work.  This weblog will be largely the opposite, covering what excites me and gets me going.  What’s that?  Running.

I don’t claim to be a very good runner.  I’ve got some pretty bad form, and I’m not that fast.  I’ve run three marathons and my best time was 4 hours and 12 minutes.  I don’t run with a group of people and most of the things I’ve learned about running I’ve learned on my own.  However, despite my anti-social running style, I’m very passionate about it.  On a daily basis running is what keeps me going, even if I’m not going very fast.  This blog will chronicle my running and my attempts to be a better runner.

I’ve now run three marathons and am training for the New York City Marathon, my fourth marathon in a little under a month.  After my last marathon, which was the Twin Cities Marathon last Sunday, I was thinking about giving up marathons after New York.  However, there was a looming marathon in April 2010 — The Big Sur International Marathon.  It’s one of the hardest but most visually spectacular marathons in the world, and I’m going to get a good time doing it.  I hope you’ll come along on this journey with me, it’s gonna be awesome!

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Marathon Times

2011 NYC Marathon3:57:45
2011 Hartford Marathon3:58:17
2011 Chicago Marathon4:20:16
2011 Grandma's Marathon4:07:43
2010 Big Sur International Marathon4:22:49
2009 NYC Marathon4:37:05
2009 Twin Cities Marathon4:43:28
2009 Pittsburgh Marathon4:14:38
2008 Erie Marathon5:11:40

Upcoming Races

  • Nov 6 - New York City Marathon, New York, NY
For previous races, check out my Race Log