Running the Tortoise and Hare 5K Again

I ran the Tortoise and Hare 5K in Wind Gap, PA back on Memorial Day in 2018. What a differern time that was! Two things stand out; the Memorial Day picnic food spread – best I ever had! And the military person there doing the National Anthem (meh), she was introduced with her partner; a woman. I loved that.

Back then I wrote this on Instagram, from May 30, 2018:

Hey pals – thanks for putting up with my running nerd stuff in addition to my metal nerd stuff. This is me from Monday smiling like a goof because we all raised $260 for Project Child in the Lehigh Valley, then I ran a sub 30 minute (barely) 5K and ate vanilla cream cookies.

So they’re doing it in-person again this year. I did a 10 mile trail race back in October, so let’s see how this goes. THey’re limiting it to just 200 people. I’m also raising money again this year (you can do that here), help out if you can.

My time from 2018: 29:09 (9:24 mile), 118th out of 329, 70th male out of 136, and 6th out of 12 for my age group. This year I’ll be in the 45-49 age group! Moving on up! My goal is to hit 25 minutes this year, around 8 minute miles (my best 5K was in 2019, at 25:25).

Saturday Brunch

Since I’m sleeping so well lately, I’m actually recovering well, too. Seriously, the past few months I’ve felt wrecked, and oh my god, I feel great now.

Could I really head out for 1400′ of elevation over 6.5 miles on dirt roads? Well, only one way to find out.

Took me about 30 minutes to get to the top of the first climb, which is a bit slow for me, but whatever. I walked most of it – it’s mostly all 10% grade, and upwards of 15% in places. Figured I’d save my energy since I never attempted this route before.

Made it to the top! That’s the Appalachian Trail, heading north. I think the next trail head there is Palmerton, PA.

Now it’s time to head down the northern side of the mountain, which I’ve never done before.

I mean, it was gorgeous. Windy – I wish I wore my jacket at this point, but I survived. Had my first GU Energy gel while descending, and wow – that got all over my fingers and felt sticky like maple syrup. And it was very sweet. Like, I felt like I needed to brush my teeth afterwards. I usually use Spring Energy for food on longer runs (for me that’s 1.5+ hours), and wow… I miss them already.

This road goes out to Route 309, just another half mile down the road (to the right in this picture, not in the direction I’m facing here). Didn’t feel like testing if I had the extra mile in the tank, so back up the mountain we go!

Yea, that’s a “Fuck Your Feelings” banner there. So welcoming!

This side was much easier to climb. Still walked a bunch, but the grade was a little more forgiving.

In all, a good run. Took 1:25 to go 6.5 miles, with a total of 1,416ft of elevation.

Help Daryl Murphy Build Free Libraries

Daryl Murphy has ran a 5K every day for over 265 days in honor, and silent protest to the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and way too many others who’ve been killed by police. Now he’s onto his third fundraiser, using his running for another great cause:

The goal of Miles For Justice III is to raise $10,000 to bring 10 Little Free Libraries filled with books that feature POC authors and POC characters into communities with limited book access. Each library will be placed in a highly visible location with ample foot traffic that’s easily accessible for all members of the community.

Right now he’s at about $1,000, so if you can contribute, do it. If you can’t just share the link:

I Ran 1,100 Miles in 2020

How do you walk to Cleveland? One step at a time.

This 1,100 miles happened one day at a time, one mile at a time. Most runs were short, probably around 3-ish miles. My yearly pace was something like 10:45/mile. For me it’s just been about staying healthy, to run within my means, and not push myself too hard, too often.

My longest run was 18 miles back in February, and I hit four years running in July. Bought a GoPro, and switched back to a Garmin from an Apple Watch.

At one point I saw a fox run across the road. At mile eight a random dog started running with me, and stayed with me for a bit until his owners drove up with their mini van and he jumped in and bailed on me.”

A year ago today I was in Philadelphia and ran myself into the ground. Ran four races, three virtual (the Golden Coast 5K, the Philly 10K, and the Truthsgiving 4 Miler), one in-person (new 10 mile PR).

The Golden Coast 5K and the Truthsgiving 4 Miler raised money for good causes, the Philly 10K got me a nice poster, and the 10 miler got me out of the house.

Bought a bike in 2020, which helped me keep up some fitness without being on my feet, but as the weather got cold I stopped riding as much. Biking in the cold is harder than running in the cold, so my bike has just been sort of sitting around.

I did a 100 mile week total to help raise money for the Running 4 Rivs fundraiser. That was a combo of biking and running, which I continued for a few weeks after just for the heck of it.

Back in April I tried running four miles (the fourth month of the year) every day, but managed only 21 days before some foot pain forced me to stop. Started a one-mile-a-day run stream on November 23rd, and as of December 31st hit 39 days in a row.

So yeah, I guess that’s how I hit 1,110 miles. Add some variety, some challenges, some spontaneous adventures, and take it slow. Staying healthy means you get to keep running, so I’m planning on more slow-time adventures in the near year.

Know When to Jump In

How can I run through a washed out road in 30°F weather and not die? Are my shoes water proof? How do I keep my feet from freezing?

First, run through a washed out road in the middle of summer. Discover first hand what it feels like. How’d it feel plunging in? How’d it feel on the other side of the road? Think back, charge ahead.

Second, know what comes next. On this day I knew I only had about two more miles to run. Cold is cold, sure. But I can cover two miles in about 20-ish minutes. I won’t die.

And lastly, fuck it. Jump in.

My favorite Seth Godin truth is “this might not work.”

Some social media strategy idea for my day job might not work. Some new system. A song idea I finally record. A video I make.

This might not work.

There’s a time for safety which, okay, is most of the time. But there’s a time to say fuck it and let it rip.

The magic is knowing when.

Keeping Things In Focus Even When It Sucks

From today’s ‘Soft Run’ newsletter:

“There’s grit to running fast. Every now and again you’re gonna feel good and just let it rip – great! But you gotta bring it back. You gotta rest. Trot. Shuffle. Walk. 

See, just as you seek to get that fast pace, search for that slow shuffle, too. You want to be in control at all points during your run. How can you be in control when you’re running fast if you can’t do it when shuffling along?”

Stay Focused Where You’re At

If you want to learn how to play guitar, you have to get good at picking it up everyday. Dream someday of writing for an audience of 1000s? Better get good at writing for 10 people today.

I’ve been running for almost 4.5 years, and this is the first where I racked up 1,000 miles. It took a lot of shitty, slow, gross feeling runs. Expecting each run to be a joyous flowery affair isn’t reasonable, just as expecting each guitar lesson to feel amazing doesn’t make sense either.

Finding the grit to keep going when it doesn’t feel good is the hard work, and everybody has to find their own path on that journey.

How to Speed

From my recent Substack newsletter, ‘The Soft Run:’

So when you’re out of breath, slow down. Recover. Tearing down your body isn’t helpful when it needs rest.

You’re not failing, you’re recovering.

And slow just means more times outside, not looking at your computer, or reading emails.

Whew, Substack sure is a thing, but whatever, I enjoy writing a newsletter like that, without need a full website and all. Check out the full list of pieces I wrote here.

Just Keep Running

I met Eddie back in the 90s, when we were in our late teens, playing shows at colleges and tiny all-ages venues. He was raw energy then, playing drums in a band called Bedford.

Many years later (decades), our paths crossed again, this time because of running. Got reconnected via Instagram, swapping comments and occasional DMs.

I remember bumping into him randomly in Philadelphia, a few days before the Philly Broad Street run. We saw each other on opposite sides of the street, waiting for the light to change. He has the best smirk.

Then one day, he disappeared from Instagram. I didn’t have his number, so I couldn’t reach out. I didn’t think much of it.

A few months later I’m working in a coffee shop in Philadelphia, and he walks in. Completely random.

He gives me a big hug. Ed gives great hugs. “Man, you just dropped off the face of the earth,” I said. “Everything okay?”

That’s when he told me his wife died in a car accident a few months back. In a second his life flashed through my mind – those shows in the 90s, the runs, the Instagram photos. I remember the feeling of my heart collapsing on itself, time standing still.

Ed’s been running 10+ miles everyday for the past 250+ days, as a tribute, a connection with his late wife. He ran a 12 hour ultra-marathon. He did the Warrior Run in NYC, from the upper West Side to Coney Island.

The video above sums it up pretty well.

Follow him on Instagram (@ebgiii).

The Soft Run on Substack

I wrote about “Soft Running” a few days ago, and the idea has kept with me. Enough so to start a Substack newsletter for the idea, the concept. The idea behind the Soft Run Substack newsletter (sign up here) is to have it’s own home, a space, to explore the idea a bit more.

It’s been a weird time for running in 2020, especially if you’re just getting started. There’s no run groups, no local 5K races to join with your friends. So how do we get started, and keep going? That’s what I’m going to be writing about.

Time in Nature

Some days hurt, some days you float. This was a nice six miles around the Trexlertown Nature Preserve, on a new route I’ve never done before. Started off chilly and breezy, and saw a woman modeling with antlers in the woods, so all in all a great run.

The thing about trail running is it’s time in the woods, which I cherish. Lately I’ve been taking it slow and easy, which just means more time in the woods, so it’s a win win all around. I keep reminding myself that I’m not racing, I’m just out in nature. So when it hurts, slow down. Walk. Take a photo (or two).