So why do we race?

I stumbled upon this quote by the legendary Amby Burfoot (Boston Marathon winner back in 1968, who later became a well-known writer for Runner's World) on a LetsRun message board thread of all places. Amby is 63 now, but still competes all the time:

The Why Race? question is interesting. It's not required after all. I can be a runner without being a racer. My wife is always advising me to be "more moderate in all things." And she's smart, this is good advice.

But you know what? A person can get too much of this moderate stuff. Who wants to live a life that's always safe, controlled, aiming for the middle path?

Every once in a while I still want to feel the burn. To push to the limit. To be near collapse when I cross the finish line. Sure, I already know the result: It will be shown that I'm older and slower than I was yesterday and the day before that. I don't need a race to tell me these things.

But a race says I'm not ready to surrender. It says I'm going to keep struggling to squeeze all I can out of this life. It says I'm not checking out of here until I've given it my all. Yes, I know I'm gonna die some day.

But I have a good feeling about tomorrow's race.


Running Update

Training has been going well as I get ready to wrap up my season with a 5K on Thanksgiving and the Club Nationals Cross Country race in Lexington, KY on Dec. 12. I'm excited to be on a team for nationals (Second Sole Rocky River) as it was a lot of fun running for Team Good River in Cincy two years ago. I managed to get in 71 miles this week with mainly easy running, plus a session of hill repeats on Thursday and a really nice 14 miler in the metro park yesterday. In other news though, my coach Pete Magill is no longer doing online coaching after December, so I'll be back on my own after Club Nationals. I've definitely gained a lot from working with Pete and over the course of 6 months I've gotten to the point that 65-70 a week is "normal" for me, whereas last year it was more like 45-50. I'll take some down time after club nationals and then build a good winter base before racing again in March. Being that it's Ohio in the winter, I'll focus on easy mileage and some old school basics like hills and progression runs.


New Age Group Debut

It feels weird to say this, but I ran my first race as a 45-year-old and finished 4th overall and 1st in the 45-49 age group at the Twinsburg Turkey Trot. My time was 29:34 on the hilly 5-mile road/trail course, which was designed by my Second Sole Rocky River masters teammate Jim Chaney, who timed the event. Check out his new events management site: . I was really happy with the race and especially pleased that I could keep a good rhythm going after repeatedly trashing my legs on the climbs and descents. An excellent cross country simulation, though I think the Kentucky course in December will be pretty flat, but most likely muddy from rain/snow. Training has gone well. This week I'm bumping the volume up to around 70 with a few longer runs and some hill repeats on Thursday. The plan now is to do a 5K road race on Thanksgiving as my final tune up before Nationals on Dec. 12. Ok, off to the metro park for a 12 miler before work.


Cross country and other stuff

I've been pretty busy at work lately and definitely not blogging as much as I had been, but things have been going pretty well. I brought out the spikes a few weeks ago for a cross country race in Ann Arbor (photo above) and did ok in less than ideal conditions (cold, very windy, half inch of rain the night before). I finished 4th overall and thought I ran as well as I could for the day (don't even ask me what my time was!), but man does XC hurt. Normally, I don't get the dry heaving feeling until about a half-mile to go, but in that race it was more like a mile to go! But then, cross country is the most challenging when it's run on a tough course. The race was a good reminder that cross country really is a different sport than track or road racing. Sure, you need to do pretty similar training to be good at both, but you definitely need to get in the practice racing off road before your peak race. Club Nationals is on December 12 so I have a few more tune ups before that. This Saturday, I will be running in the Twinsburg Turkey Trot, which is half on roads and half on metro park gravel trails. On Nov. 21 the guys on my team, Second Sole Rocky River, will be doing a 4 mile cross country time trial. Trainingwise, my workouts have been faster over the last few weeks than any time of the year, so I'm a little bummed that I don't have a flat, fast road 5K coming up, but I'm happy to be in really good shape for cross country nationals.


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