Saturday, January 31, 2015


On the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, it's time for a rant.

Seriously, what's so super about it?

Don't get me wrong. I love to watch football. Every year I live and die with my Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, I attended Super Bowl in 2005, in Jacksonville, Florida, when the Eagles lost to the New England Patriots.

Football players, for the most part are tremendously gifted athletes. Taking a hit from a 265-pound linebacker, who is faster than the best sprinter from your high school track team, is like being run over by a small truck traveling at 25 miles per hour.

Football has become, as we have tragically seen this year, a circus. It is inching closer to the gladiator games of ancient Rome, and is not far from professional wrestling.

Beating your wife, your child, rape allegations, and cheating scandals have dominated the headlines this past season.

Spoiled, pampered babies, some are horrific role models. This week, a guy sells out his hat concession, not for his accomplishments on the field, but because he doesn't talk to the press.

Oh, and a guy who COULD be playing for the Patriots tomorrow, is in the middle of a murder trial instead.

Meanwhile, we all run and race.

Our rewards may include a shiny medal, a plaque, or a really cool shirt.

While professional athletes whine, party, and continue to be rewarded for bad behavior, we lace up our shoes, in all kinds of weather, and continue to perform the purest, and perhaps the oldest of all human activities: placing one foot in front of the other and going as fast as we can for as long as we can.

Tomorrow, then, break out the party food. Cook the wings, eat the nachos and celebrate.

Don't celebrate the cheaters or the loud mouths...celebrate YOU!

Crush a workout or a race tomorrow morning, then celebrate YOUR Super Sunday. Celebrate and rejoice in the fact that YOU are participating in a super sport, with super people. You have whipped your body into super shape, and you cover a distance from point A to point B in a super fast time, that few humans (certainly few NFL players) can match.

Yes, tomorrow is the NFL's Super Sunday. But for all of you, 2015 will bring many Super Sundays, and Super Saturdays as well. They are the days you will put your training on the line and test your skills against others. They are the race days, when you will cover distances that are only driven by most. They are the days you will race in big cities and small towns. They are the days when YOU are the Super Heroes.

Now that's what I call super!

Friday, January 30, 2015


It was a miserable day for running today. Three inches of snow fell overnight, blanketing a cover of more than a foot that already cloaks the ground. Snow mountains are forming everywhere.

Adding to the misery, behind the storm, winds whipping at 35 miles an hour are causing the temperature to plummet. Dangerous wind chills of 20 to 30 below zero are predicted for tonight.

Around midday we set out for a five-mile run. The sun had appeared, and the roads were, for the most part, just wet.

With less than a quarter mile to our finish, we ran, facing traffic, on a rather heavilyt raveled road. Our distance on that particular street was only a couple hundred yards. As we turned at a red light, a car waited, but the driver, failing to look both ways, inched out, attempting to make a right turn on red, just as we ran in front of his bumper.

I am a strong believer in "Runner's Rights." Vehicular traffic does not "own" the road. Unless it's an Interstate Highway, or a major artery, runners, walkers, and cyclists are owners as well.

I yelled something incoherent like, "Yo." Hey, look, I live north of Philadelphia, and most of us have a little Rocky Balboa in us. I held up my hand in a 'stop' motion, and turned left, glaring at the driver.

The incident passed, our blood was not spilled, and no bones were broken.

My running partner, Eric Anchorstar, and I walked the last 100 yards or so to my house.

Suddenly, next to us, a car stopped.

It was the car and driver to whom I had just administered the 'Evil Eye.'

Conflict appeared imminent.

The gentleman, in his forties, rolled down his window, and could not have been more apologetic. He invoked me by name, and told me several times how sorry he was.

When he left, Eric exclaimed, "That has never happened to us."

Indeed it hasn't.

I wrote a chapter in my first book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice for Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes," entitled, 'Why Do They Hate Us So Much?' listing some of my most memorable confrontations.

In reality, most drivers are courteous and respectful to runners, as this incident illustrates. As is the case in so many of life's endeavors, a small percentage of jealous, narrow-minded individuals contribute to our discomfort.

Thanks to all who respect what we do.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Running may be an individual endeavor, but in order to attain longevity in this sport, one needs to assemble a strong team.

As runners, we think we're invincible, but we're not. Sadly, we're as susceptible to the twin killers of cancer and heredary heart disease as the next guy.

The head coach of your team needs to be your family doctor, and you need to visit him or her once a year, even if it's just for a chat.

It's important to choose the coach of your team carefully. The coach needs to really know you, how crazy you are, and how much running means to you. He knows that simply telling you to "Take time off," without offering you a logical explanation, simply won't do.

My family doctor, George Heffner, is a 4-hour marathon runner, who participates in many local races.He is tremendous human being and a fine doctor. At my annual check up in October, he glanced at my chart while he was outside the door and exclaimed. "Good! He's in a different age group now."

How can you NOT love a doctor who says that?

My dentist competes in local races. My podiatrist is a competitive cyclist. My physical therapist is an ex-collegiate football player, who, at age 60, is an avid weightlifter. Even my urologist is a competitive tennis player, who runs regularly.

Jason and Jennifer Burgess are my chiropractors, major members of my team. Back issues have nagged me for years. Jason, who graces the cover of my book, "Personal Best," and his wife, Jennifer, who is featured in the book are excellent runners. Jennifer is a veteran of the Boston Marathon.

Back to my family doctor.

After a few years of persuasion, Dr. Heffner finally convinced me that, at my age, I should have already had a colonoscopy. (don't worry, it's not going to get gross here)

As I lie in the bed before the procedure, a nurse takes my pulse. Soon, I'm surrounded by several nurses. (no priests however)

It seems as though my near-death, low pulse rate alarmed them. My wife quickly reminded them, before they brought out the heart paddles, that I was a long distance runner, and that my resting pulse rate was in the forties.

Always make sure, if you require a procedure that involves an anesthetic, that you inform the staff that you are a distance runner, and that you are in hellish shape.

Rely on the coaching staff of your team. We are NOT invincible. Err on the side of caution, and visit a health care for preventive care, or when you feel something isn't right.

By doing so, you can remain a runner for a very long time.

                                                               Dr. Jennifer Burgess

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Personal Best is my second book about running. I wrote it as a running recipe/road map to running success.

You can achieve your personal best in 2015 by reading Personal Best.

For the next month, until February 21, the eBook version of Personal Best will be available at Lulu, in the Apple iBookstore, at Barnes and Noble Nook, on Amazon Kindle, and at Kobo for the LOW PRICE OF $2.99, and you receive it instantly, with no messy postage or handling.

Of course, you can visit my website: and I'll send you a signed copy of the printed book for $12.99, with NO postage and handling fees.

$2.99 for an eBook?

That's right!

Cheaper than those big-name running magazines, and with no advertisements.


Here we go.

Five inches of snow fell on Friday evening. A ''clipper," a fast-moving snowy system, will dump a few more inches this evening, and then a significant Northeast storm is scheduled to hit on Tuesday and Wednesday.After that, a bitter blast of cold air will envelop us for the rest of the week.

Winter, with all it's fury, is here.

What's a runner to do?

Go long!

Today, in balmy 36 degree temperatures I slogged out an 8-miler, still shaking out the soreness from last week's Charleston Half Marathon. Next weekend, on dry land or on snow-covered roads, I will run a 10 to 12 miler.

Winter is the time to grind out the long miles. There are two key elements to racking up big winter numbers: First, pick a safe route. Don't be afraid to loop and loop and loop if necessary. If you find a safe, dry route, stick with it. Next, be sure to dress properly. You know the drill. Don't overdress, as your body's furnace heats up rapidly. On the days when the wind is so strong it forces you to hurdle trash can lids, choose an out and back route, with the wind at your back coming home. Shed clothing along the way if you have to.

Throughout my career, I have consistently logged more miles in January than in June.

Use these next few weeks to build a good distance base for spring races. Don't worry about breaking speed records; rather, grind it out, accept the dreadful conditions, and go, adding up the big miles each week. For the most part, you're not racing as much, so you don't have to taper. And, psychologically, after a few weeks of this, you'll be more than ready to go to the track, or enter races in order to go fast again. And, the miles you have recorded now will pay big dividends in March, April, and May.

So, chill out. (oh man, awful choice of words), relax, accept the inevitable, and safely pile up the miles, as the snow piles up around us.

More blogs, books, and advice at:

Thursday, January 22, 2015


On Saturday, around the 12-mile mark of the Charleston Half Marathon, I passed two runners. One of the gentlemen was talking continuously, as the other politely listened, offering brief words of affirmation. The "talker," spoke about his previous week's race, how he ran slower than expected, and offered a litany of excuses for his current race pace. You see, he had been sick, bronchitis, I believe was the ailment. What's more he had been sick over the Holiday season. He would have run faster today, but...

My pace quickened. I could no longer listen.

Excuses, excuses.

So, borrowing words from the chapter of the same name from my first book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice For Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes,", let's talk about excuses.

Let's break down "excuse makers" onto two groups:

First, we have the 'ex-Phenom.'

You know who I'm talking about. The person at the Christmas party, wedding, or other social event who engages you in conversation. You tell them about your half marathon, and they go on to tell you about how they ran a 4-minute mile in high school. You marvel at that statement as you stare at their belly and their several chins. "Oh, I gave it up  because I'm too busy."

Wait a second.

And you're NOT too busy.

How 'bout, "I quit because I don't want to ruin my knees."

Ah, that extra hundred pounds is going to ruin your knees faster than a running regimen.

There's "I don't want to get too skinny"

"I get bored when I run."

"I'm more of a sprinter."

"I don't like to sweat."

It's got make you feel pretty good. You've overcome all of those formidable obstacles. You train and you race


If you've been at this running game long enough, you have learned an indisputable fact.

Runner's are full of excuses!

Some runners are able to rattle off excuses before, after, and as in the aforementioned story, even DURING a race.

Here are some of my favorites.

"I was just running this race as a workout."

This somehow implies that, if I beat you, it is a hollow victory. After all, YOU were only running the race as a workout. As my friend of 37 years, Brian Tonitis says, "When you pay the entry fee, it counts."

"Oh man, I was partying until (insert time) last night."

In the words of Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does." Enough said about that lame excuse.

The, "I've been injured, sick, my parakeet's is ill" body of excuses once again implies that, if the excuse-maker were healthy, you'd be nowhere near him at the finish line.

Here's a good one,

"I was catching up to you in the last mile."

What does that mean?

Fact of the matter is: You didn't succeed buddy.

And finally, the mathematically-challenged.

"I was on a sub-3-hour pace at 15-miles."


A marathon is 26.2 miles and you ran a 3:15.

As most of us know, when it comes to race-day excuses, there should be no excuses. On race day, only your feet should do the talking.

Ok, let's keep this going.

Email or message me the favorite excuse you've heard during your time as a runner. I'll compile them, and we'll have fun with the excuses in a future blog.

I have to stop now.

I think I have a hangnail!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


It's cold, the winter doldrums are in full swing. Most spring races are a few weeks away. We all need motivation if we're going to achieve our personal best in 2015.

You can achieve your personal best in 2015 by reading Personal Best.

And now you can purchase my road map/running success recipe book for less than the cost of a gallon of milk!

For the next month, beginning today and ending on February 21, the eBook version of Personal Best will be available at Lulu, in the Apple iBookstore, at Barnes and Noble Nook, on Amazon Kindle, and at Kobo for the LOW PRICE OF $2.99, and you receive it instantly, with no messy postage or handling.

Of course, you can visit my website: and I'll send you a signed copy of the printed book for $12.99, with NO postage and handling fees.

$2.99 for an eBook?

The other day I visited a local running store and I saw a rack holding a prominent running magazine, with a price tag of $4.95.

I'm gonna guarantee you, you'll receive better, more practical advice, for less money, when you buy Personal Best in eBook form. (And I promise no advertisements)

Best wishes for a successful 2015. Let's all work toward a personal best.