In Response to Chad Stafko’s “Get Over It” Diatribe

A few days ago, Chad Stafko wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal entitled “OK, You’re A Runner. Get Over It” and since then, runners from all over the world have chimed in on what Stafko had to say, much less wonder what the act of running had to do with WSJ.

If you don’t want to read the article, he basically doesn’t get why runners insist on “patting themselves on the back” by showing the world what they’ve done. This can be in the form of wearing a shirt from a recently run event or, in some cases, a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car. He only quotes those two because 70.3 or 140.6 probably would have blown his mind.

But that’s the extent of belittling I’ll do here. In fact I probably shouldn’t have even gone that far because running is something not everybody “gets” and Stafko definitely falls into that category despite how many running friends he says he has.

I’ll quote one part of his article, prove my point, and the game will be over. It really will be that simple.

Why would someone want to get up at 5 a.m. and run 10 miles adorned with fluorescent tape to avoid being struck by someone who has the good sense to use a car for a 10-mile journey?

Easy. Because I can guarantee that this dad (2004)…

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…had a better chance of dying from something health-related than this dad (2013)…

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…who now runs events with his son and will continue to do so until he drops dead.

(By the way, those are indeed the same two people in both pictures: me and my son.)

He will also continue to be the person Stafko despises in the article: he’ll wear shirts from events, put [insert appropriate distance here] stickers on his car, wake up on any given Sunday at 5 a.m. to go for a 10-mile run, and even wear medals the entire day after competing in an event.

And it will be done with pride.

Running any distance is indeed an accomplishment and therefore, I believe is worth bragging about. Running has also changed, and possibly saved or extended, my life.

Game over, Chad.

And no, I won’t get over it.

Blogging 365, Day 68: Early to Bed

I am doing a 5k 10k* tomorrow morning so I must get to bed early after a little meditation.

That’s right – meditation, not medication. I started the other night and plan to keep it going as a way to center myself after a long day at the office, my commute, etc. I’ll expand on that a little later.

My pasta has been consumed and it’s time to get everything in order for an early morning. I hit the pavement at 7:30 am, the first day of Daylight Savings Time. Pictures from the run will be posted when I’m home and relaxing.

Until tomorrow…!

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*I originally registered for the 5k but upgraded to the 10k during packet pickup. This will be my first 10k event!

Blogging 365, Day 53: Like It’s Dynamite

267947_10151465053925042_1930891769_nTomorrow morning I will be getting my first medal of the year when I cross the finish line of the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run’s 30-Mile Bike Ride. It’s my first time riding in this event so I’m pretty excited yet somewhat freaked out about it since I’m roaming into unknown territory.

I mean, I know L.A. but this is nothing like riding in Long Beach like I have for the past 3 years (and again this year): no street closures, a lot more hills, etc. But regardless, I’m committed to it and I can’t wait to see what challenges lie in store for me.

But what’s going to be great about Saturday’s event is what will take place before it: the lighting of 100,000 firecrackers right in the center of Chinatown. It’s a pyromaniac’s dream and something that can only be done legally in Los Angeles during events in Chinatown since fireworks are banned within the city.

What makes that so great? Well, who doesn’t like firecrackers?

And it just so happens that the organizers of the event held a contest on their Facebook page a few days ago that would give 3 randomly selected riders a chance to help light the 100,000 firecrackers before the event starts. All interested parties had to do was change their profile picture to this to qualify for the contest:

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Oh, you know what the heck it’s implying and what it actually means. Don’t act like you don’t.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I went ahead and changed my profile picture.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I read one of their Wall posts that was congratulating the winners of the contest, one of whom was me.

Yes, that’s right, people. I was one of the lucky 3 riders who was selected to help light the 100,000 firecrackers and I can’t tell you how happy my inner childhood pyromaniac is. This is without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m completely honored and stoked to have been chosen.

This is taking tomorrow’s ride to a whole new level. I mean, come on. It’s called the Firecracker Run because the lighting of the firecrackers is a BIG part of the event, and I’m going to be a part of that opening ceremony.

This is nuts. How did I get to be so lucky?

Meh, I don’t care. All I know is that I’ll be 1 of the 3 lighting up those suckers tomorrow morning then hopping on the saddle to tackle almost 30 miles around Los Angeles.

Videos and pictures will be posted Saturday. Stay tuned!

(Posting this video to avoid the painfully obvious correlation between Katy Perry and the lighting of pyrotechnics)

Awesome ’80s 5k Run

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Another month, another 5k in the books!

I ran the inaugural Awesome ‘80s Run on Saturday in beautiful Pasadena, California or more to the point, the Rose Bowl loop. I had contemplated long and hard about doing this one or the Conquer the Bridge event since I’m not exactly made of money and must choose between events most of the time. In the end, this event won and I’m glad it did.

As the name implies, the event was ‘80s themed with participants encouraged to dress in ‘80s fashion and believe me, the neon was out in force for this one. Well, maybe except for me:

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But at least I have stories behind my outfit. The hat was from the 1984 Olympics which were held in Los Angeles, the shirt was from Depeche Mode’s 1988 concert at the Rose Bowl, and the Walkman (not visible) was the one I had in high school in 1986. The rest of the stuff was thrown together and were the best ‘80s-like items I had.

CAM01223At any rate, the vibe was excellent with everybody checking out each other’s outfits and costumes. I saw people dressed not only in ‘80s fashion but also ‘80s icons: Ghostbusters, Hulk Hogan, Boy George, Richard Simmons, and a few were even dressed up as Rubik’s Cubes and Simon games. It was amazingly cool, and there was even a replica Back to the Future Delorean you could get your picture with. To see some of the craziness yourself, click here to view their album on Facebook.

Okay, costumes aside, there was a 5k and 10k to run. Unfortunately there was a delay in getting the run going as the police had to limit the number of runners to 100 per pack. By the time I started going, it was almost an hour past the original starting time. Not cool but not something I’d cry over. It’s not like I had a job interview or anything.

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By the time I started going, I realized that maybe standing around for too long may not have been good after all as I started cramping up before I hit 1/4 mile. But I persisted, told myself I was fine and kept going. Just keep going…uphill…

One of the big complaints with runners was the lack of water stations during this event. There was one at about the halfway point which worked out fine for me but apparently not with others. It’s turned into a great, big ugly discussion on the event’s Facebook page, complete with name-calling and profanity. There was also a lack of nutrition at the race’s end, something I wasn’t prepared for as every run I’ve done has had either fruit or bagels at the finish line. Simple advice even for me: people, always come prepared with your own just in case.

In the end, however, my experience was more positive than negative. I met a few friends there and we started off together but then separated about 1/2 mile into it. And hey, I also met someone who was also at the Depeche Mode show in 1988!

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Sadly, she admitted to throwing out all of her shirts from that tour and offered to buy mine. Not for sale, I told her 🙂

Finishers got what will probably be one of the heaviest medals in the collection:

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This medals is seriously thick, seriously heavy, and seriously cool! Despite a few glitches, the Superhero Events team – they are also responsible for the Hollywood Half events – provided a memorable event and venue, one that was a bit more nostalgic for myself and my fellow DM fan. You could tell that people were loving this event despite the fact that most were probably born in the ’90s.

I left the event with yet another medal for my wall and a yearning to go back to the ‘80s for only a moment to see if we actually did dress as hideous as we did that day.

But I think we know the answer to that.

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Next event: Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour on October 7!

OC Fair 5k Fun Run

On Sunday I ran in the Orange County Fair 5k Fun Run, the first time I’d participated in the event. I had honestly forgotten about this one until I saw it being advertised in an email I got from Active.com so I figured I might as well go for it.

Much like the WetNWild 5k, this is more than your standard 5k. The route winds through the OC Fair and you have a choice of running straight through the course or, as was my case, decide to take several “Detours of Fun” along the way. I’ll get into those as you scroll through the pictures.

Speaking of pictures, here we go.

Here is the pile of finisher’s medals being prepped at the start/finish line.

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The start/finish line. I was back about halfway so that I could pace myself and not get in the way of anybody who wanted to pass me. And I was actually shocked at how many, um, thinner runners I managed to pass after the first mile.

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Here was one of the Detours of Fun: the Euroslide.

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And here’s a video from my POV sliding down it!

Did you notice the stuffed animal at my feet? No, it wasn’t a good luck charm that I carry with me to each 5k. It was a prize I won at another Detour of Fun in which runners were given two baseballs to break at least one plate. I managed to break two but we were only allowed one prize. (I couldn’t have done that if I paid!) I ran by Ann and Anthony during the run where I gave my prize to him, gave him a hug and a kiss, and kept on running. He named him OC5k.

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Another detour was at the Pacific Amphitheater. Here is the backstage VIP area.

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Nothing fancy, right? Well, they also let you go onto the stage. Here’s what it looks like to perform in front of…a bunch of empty seats.

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While onstage, you could have your picture taken as you live out your rock-and-roll fantasy by standing in front of a mic with a bass – back to the crowd, strangely. It’s worth noting that The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” was playing in the background as my photo was taken and I yelled, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”

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And, of course, my efforts were rewarded in the end. Here’s me, now goatee-free if you hadn’t noticed yet, with my finisher’s medal.

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A better shot of the medal.

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Oh, then there’s my not-so-magnificent time below. I can explain. The time you see is the total time that included my lollygagging with all of the Detours of Fun.

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But this is why I use the Sports Tracker app. I stopped it at all Detours and started it when I was finished. According to the app, my total time over 3.16 miles was 34:03 which is much more like my average pace. Click image below to enlarge.

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Afterward, we all sat around and waited for the Fair to open. Thinking we had to exit and come back in, we were told that we could just sit tight where we were and partake in the Fair once it opened. So that’s exactly what we did. Granted, we could have gotten in for $2 per person and I got a ticket as part of my goodie bag, but free is good. I ended up giving my ticket to a mom who was bringing her kids in as we were leaving.

And yes, Fair silliness ensued.

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That’s a totally big cow.

All in all it was a fantastic day for a run and some fun in the sun.

Next run on the list: Awesome ‘80s 5K/10k on September 1, 2012. I’m looking forward to seeing some awful ‘80s fashions at that one since runners are encouraged to dress the part.

And yes, my outfit is almost complete. You will see it in less than a month…