The ultimate ego boost!

The ancient Olympic games date back to 776 B.C. At the games the victors in each competition were adorned with olive wreaths.  The contemporary tradition of awarding gold. silver, and bronze medals for the top three finishers began over  a hundred years ago when such medals were first awarded in every event at the 1904 Olympic Games held in St. Louis Missouri.  

The modern marathon also began with the modern Olympics first held in Athens Greece in 1896. Its current distance of 26.2 miles (42.195 km) was standardized by the International Amateur Athletic Federation 1921.

The practice of giving out finisher’s medals to all participants completing a marathon race did not become common until the mid to late 1980s.

Today, there are currently over 1000 marathons races held across the United States each year. About 1% of the US population has run a marathon. Marathons are the ‘gold standard’ of running. Nearly every runner wants to run at least one marathon in their life. Non-runners sometimes even put running a marathon on their respective bucket lists.  If you asked the average person on the street how many miles are in a marathon, 90% or greater would not be able to tell you the correct distance, despite the prevalence of all those oval car stickers with the 26.2 on them.  However, the MOST popular distance race is not the marathon, but the half-marathon.  The number of half-marathons held annually in the USA is nearly triple those of the full marathon. Many seasoned runners sign up for multiple half-marathons each year. 13.1 miles is still a challenging race, but it does not beat-up your body as much as a full marathon. The bonus of this race is that you also get a finisher’s medal if you complete the distance.  Some runners collect the various finisher’s medals, either by running favorite races annually, choosing races by the medal offered, or an combination of both.

Shorter distance races such as 5K , 10K or 15K do not as a rule hand out finisher’s medals. The only medal you’ll get in these races is if you place in the top of your division. Ultra-marathons also exist but only .03% of the population has run these distances of 50K (31 miles) 100K (62 miles) or 100 Miles (161K). At ultras, finisher’s medals may, or may not be offered depending upon the race.

Running half-marathons, full marathons, or (for those brave souls who dare) ultra-marathons is no easy feat. It takes up to 20 weeks of training to achieve these distances safely. If you skip the training program, you can expect a world of pain and physical injury, or possibly even death. Two out of every three Americans are overweight, and exercise is a foreign concept for most of them. Your health is your wealth, and you only get one body. I don’t care how easy or difficult running a half-marathon or greater is for you, but if you complete that distance you deserve a medal. You earned it! You’ve accomplished something that roughly 97% of the people in the country couldn’t do to save their lives. You are amazing!

In the short run

As previously stated, to earn a medal in a short-distance races such as a 5K, 10K, or 15K, you need to place in a top position in either your gender, age division, or weight class as is the case of Clydesdales.  By breaking the race down into different brackets, you even the playing field so that all participants are able to compete at their best in an effort to shine by going for the proverbial gold. Winning a medal in your division is an incredible ego booster. It is a physical representation which proclaims that you bested another athlete. It is an amazing feeling to have that medal placed around your neck, or handed to you in front of a room of your peers.  When I began running, I ran with a small group of fellow runners all of whom were very supportive and encouraging of ‘the new guy’. And that’s a great thing, to feel accepted and be part of the group.  But it was kind of a mismatch as this pack of runners were much faster than myself, and overtime, they began to grow weary of waiting for ‘the slow-poke’ at the end of these fun runs on local trails.  These athletes ALWAYS walked away with a medal at the post-race award ceremony.  THEY expected a top place medal. THEY WERE FAST!  My hope was just to maybe one day earn 3rd place.

Since then, I’ve met many other running-friends most of whom are roughly the same pace as myself and we have much more fun. 

Expect the unexpected

At the 1st Third Thirsty Thursday race of 2020, I was sitting with that original group of faster runners and watching them go up one-by-one to get their medals. By this point I had lost all hope of ever getting one.  I was stunned when my name was called for the 1st time ever.  I had to ask race director Ron Horn three time “ME?” while point at myself as he said “YOU!” while pointing back at me before I claimed my medal.

The best medals are the ones we don’t expect. The worst medals are the ones we think we deserve, but don’t get. It can be soul-crushing to see someone else walk away with the last medal when you ran you’re fastest pace ever and thought you had the award without a doubt.

Ironically this happened to me just last year. Once again it was at a Third Thirsty Thursday race on May 21, 2021. The thing about the Clydesdale Division is that after a while, you know your competition. The course is a straight out-and-back 5K.  You go straight down the trail 1.55 miles, turn around at the marked point, and run straight back. So as you run out, you’re aware of who passed you, and you have an idea of who’s still behind you. As you see people in your division heading back to the start, you count. 1St, 2nd, 3rd, etc. This particular race is a series, but it also allows for race day sign-up, so the line-up of competitors can change from race to race. As I counted the 4th male Clydesdale heading back, I was confident the 5th place spot was mine. Hitting the turn-around point, I saw that fellow Clydesdale Joe was right behind me by mere yards.  This began a frantic pace to stay ahead as Joe and myself kept trading the lead. I re-claimed the lead at the last quarter-mile calling out as I passed “I’m fighting you to the finish ‘Apollo’ you ain’t taking the win, I’ve got ‘The Eye of the Tiger’!” As the finish line came in sight, Joe yelled back “Alright, LET’S DO THIS!” We sprinted the final 50 yards neck-and-neck like two crazed stallions. And just like that, Joe crossed the finish line  with me just one second behind him.  I was crushed!

Ironically, it was all for nothing.  I had missed a ‘faux pony’ who must have technically just barely been a Clydesdale. The coveted 5th place spot had already been claimed. Joe was 6th and I was 7th. But what a race it was!

The Epic Battle for the gold against Muhammad Ali

Until I began running, the only medal I ever earned in my life was that one time when I was competing against Muhammad Ali. First I didn’t even know I was battling him, it was a total surprise.  Second, it wasn’t THAT Muhammad  Ali. It was this short Muslim kid in 9th grade named Muhammad S. Ali. It was our final year as seniors at Van Wyck J.H.S 217 in Queens NY and we were both the top students in computer programming. We had to right a computer program that did two things based on the info entered. I don’t remember the specifics, but I only know that my program worked and his didn’t. I ‘think’ I used a bit of spaghetti logic with an IF-THEN-GOSUB line that delivered the proper answer.  At graduation we earned the top awards in computer science, I took the gold medal, he got the silver.     

The eye of the beholder

Like beauty, these medals  only have value given to them by the recipient. They are either treasured mementos, or worthless trinkets.  If it’s important to you, then it’s important. Most runners like myself display our medals on the wall.

Some pack them away in a keepsake box. One very competitive runner I know has an entire trophy room to display medals, trophies, race-bibs, and framed news articles,  If I owned a house, I might do likewise some day. On the other end of the spectrum, I know a runner who throws away his race-bibs, and gives away his awards to his grandson to play with. He ran the race, he knows how he did. It’s done, who needs a keepsake? Well that’s his viewpoint not mine. I earned my medal and you can have when you pry it from my cold dead hands!

You can find me at these upcoming local races

March 2022

Shiver by The River 10K Winter Race Series #4 of 4  March 13th @ 10:00am Muhlenberg PA

Be sure to check back  on March 13th, 2022 for another article.

As always, I wish you success and happiness!


Starting over, AGAIN!

It’s 2022 and the first month of the year is just about over. Like many people, you probably started the year out with a New Year’s resolution or two.  That’s a wonderful way to begin the year by wiping the slate clean. The bad news is by the end of the first month, about one in three people have already broken those resolutions and given up.  To those of you who have still managed to hang in there and are on track to accomplishing those goal, kudos to you! You are awesome! For those you stumbled and fell this first month, you too are awesome! You tried, you didn’t succeed, BUT you still have eleven more months of the year. There is no rule that says you can’t start over, again. January is a long, cold month. I only managed to get two runs in this month. A personal 5K on New Year’s Day so that I could start the year running, and the Shiver By the River 10K on January 16th. My New Year’s Day run is  a ‘new tradition’ I first began on January 1st 2020 with my running friend Steve.

It was cold, but we did it together.  I do it solo now, but we all have to start somewhere and that was the beginning.

 I encourage all runners to start the year out with a New Year’s Day run. It’s a way of setting the year up. You can tie this in with any number of personal Virtual Races if there is no local in person race, and you can earn a medal to commemorate the occasion. But it’s vitally important to start the year with a run to set your mind for the year ahead. If you didn’t do this in 2022, plan to do it on January 1st, 2023. A runner runs!

Also be sure to sign up for the Run The Year Challenge from Run The Edge.  Registration includes a tracker app that you can pair to your Strava or Garmin so you can track your mileage for the entire year . Last year I only managed to run just over 300 miles, but hopefully I’ll do better this year. In order to run the entire 2022 miles, I needed to achieve a 5.54 mile every single day.  I fell short by missing most of the month. Now to achieve my goal, I need to up the mileage to 6.6 miles per day, every day for the rest of the year.  You need to challenge yourself and keep motivated, this is a great way to do that.

So IF you fell short of your resolution in January, all is not lost. Begin again on February 1st. February is a cold month, but it’s also the shortest month.  I have 3 in-person live races slated that I plan to run. Once again, these winter months are brutal, but the key is not to quit! Winners never quit, and you are a winner, not a quitter.  Grab those running shoes and go for a run! The ONLY goal I task you with is to run more miles in February than you did in January. That’s it. I can do it, and so can you!  

You can find me at these upcoming local races


Arctic Blast 5K February 5 @ 10:00 am Reading PA

Shiver by The River 10K Winter Race Series #3 of 4  February 13th @ 10:00am Muhlenberg PA

Ugly Mudder 9.5K Trail Race February 19 @ 10:00 am Reading PA  

Be sure to check back  on February 13th 2022 for another article.

As always, I wish you success and happiness!


Rest and recovery take time!

“According to the brain-centered model of exercise performance, a runner achieves his race goal when his brain calculates that achieving the race goal is possible without catastrophic self-harm.” ― Matt Fitzgerald

Each year, more than half of all runners experience some type of injury. This is a higher percentage than in any other sport. The reason may be that unlike football, baseball and countless other sports, running has no set season. For both the elite runner and the weekend recreational competitive runner, this lack of a sport season leads to a cycle of endless running. We train and run constantly without allowing our bodies to have a break for rest and recovery. It is the constant push to attain faster speeds and run longer distances which pushes our bodies to the breaking point. Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong even though our mind refuses to accept the reality of the situation as we attempt ‘just one more lap’.

The number one goal of most new runners is to run a marathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles (42.16km) and this distance is very hard on the body of the newbie. Scientific research has concluded that after running 26.2 miles you experience significant muscle, cellular, and immune system damage which can last  for 3-14 days post race. Notice that the range of recovery differs from as short as 3 days to as long as two weeks. An experienced marathoner can recover much faster than a runner who attempts their first marathon. The more fit you are, the faster your body recovers and heals itself.  This level of health and fitness takes time to achieve, there are no short cuts! This is why all training programs for runners gradually increase the distance on the short and long runs over time to allow the body to grow strong and adapt. Compare and contrast training schedules for novice runners vs elite runners if you have doubts.

Given enough time and training, your body can be conditioned to endure physical achievements that would have been impossible when you first started out. When I began running in 2019, it took me a month to fully recover from my first half-marathon.

By mid 2020, I was capable of running a half-marathon every weekend, usually setting a personal record (PR) with each race I ran. By Fall of 2020 I had placed 5th in my division twice on 5Ks!

This all changed in 2021. Suddenly I was ending races in last place, and hitting my worst times ever, slower than when I began. Yet I kept pushing myself because my mind was telling itself that I was capable of running 10 minute miles even as I struggled to run 18 minute miles. Eventually this constant over-training lead to a hamstring injury in July. Still I tried to force my body to heal itself faster. THERE ARE NO SHORT-CUTS! I re-injured my hamstring in August when I attempted to run the DOUBLE TROUBLE 15K Trail run at French Creek State Park in Elverson PA. I tripped on an ‘invisible rock’ at mile three, twisted my leg the wrong way to avoid slamming into the rocks, and then limped in pain to the water station where I pulled myself from the race. My first DNF (did not finish).   Last month, I forced myself to run The Bird-in-Hand half-marathon. I struggled the final four miles, but I did actually finish. Dead last, 1169 out of 1169.

It was worth it, but it also forced me to accept the reality that my mind was rejecting. My body needs to heal and this is going to take time.  The Bird-in-Hand half-marathon is my last long race of this year. For the remainder of 2021, this has lead me to the difficult decision to STOP ALL long distance running and focus on strength training, short distance runs, and speed-work. Sadly I will not be able to run in 3 upcoming half-marathons,  nor will I be able to run the Philly Marathon, The OLEY Classic, and the Dirty Bird 15K either. For the next 90 days I will not run any distance greater than a 10K. It’s the only choice I have at this point as I have tried EVERYTHING else to avoid this drastic decision . THERE ARE NO SHORT-CUTS! The sad fact in that the endless 60+ hour work weeks at my day job  have left me in a state of perpetual exhaustion, and I cannot properly train under these conditions.   My mind keeps telling me that “today would be a beautify day to go for a run”, but my body is screaming “are you out of your mind?!”

The Road to recovery.

The plan for the rest of 2021 is to take it easy and stick to the three goals of strength training, short distance runs, and speed-work.  Hopefully I will be able to get my 5K times close or better than my PR of 33min 22sec. Come January, I will re-initiate the Hal Hidgon training plan for novice runners with the goal of running the Gettysburg half-marathon Sun April 10, 2022 Gettysburg, PA 17325 US  and setting a PR. Forcing myself to not run is a hard thing to do, but when you’re confronted with the choice of sacrificing a few upcoming races verses never being able to run again, it’s definitely the smart thing to do.

You can find me at these upcoming races:

OCTOBER 2021              

Third Thirsty Thursday   5K Race Series – Race 7/7 October 21st @7:00 pm Reading PA (The last TTT of the year is a night race in the dark followed by Halloween Dress Up party!)

Be sure to check back on October 31st for another article.

As always, I wish you success and happiness!



2021 is a whole new  year and now that we’re done putting a bow on 2020, it’s time to dust off the ashes of the old year and do what needs to be done to make 2021 a better year than the dumpster fire we all just survived. I don’t think that there’s a person alive today that will look back on 2020 with fond memories.

So here we are in this new year with another chance to start over once again. As I stated in my previous blog post, this year I’m changing the format of a bit.  New content will still be uploaded on Sundays, but only once or twice a month instead of weekly, and I’m shifting the focus away from finance and politics towards running and fitness. You may be asking yourself why. The answers are simple. Over the last three years, I have provided you all the tools and advice you need to get your financial house in order.  I’ve proven by my example to you that just as I am having a comfortable life free from the self-imposed monetary burdens that enslave many people, you too can free yourself from these chains. I have written over 100 articles on budgeting, saving, planning, and investing. I’ve provided you the keys, now you must open the locks and free yourself. You must do it yourself, I cannot do it for you.

As for the lack of discussions of politics, let’s just say that I’m done with politics for the foreseeable future. The results of the 2020 presidential election broke my heart, and I see dark days ahead for my country. Donald J. Trump was the president America needed. May God have mercy on our fallen nation.

As I have said many times in the past, your health is your wealth. Staying strong and healthy will shift the odds in your favor of a long and happy life.

I started 2021 by hitting the ground running. I mean this both figuratively and literally. The phrase ‘hit the ground running’ means to start something and proceed at a fast pace with enthusiasm. On New Year’s Day, January 1st, 2021 I did something again which I did last year. I got up early and went out for a run. Unlike last year though, this time it was a solo run, as well as a virtual race.

Last year when many of my official races were cancelled, I discovered ‘virtual races’. If you are unfamiliar with the term a virtual race is one when you sign up online and pay your entry fee.  Then you pick your own course and distance, and time yourself with your GPS runner’s watch, or phone. You upload the results and you get your medal in the mail.

Now I had signed up for not just one but TWO virtual different virtual races. One for just that day, and one that lasts the entire year.  For New Year’s Day, I selected a virtual race called ‘Run out of the 2020 Zone into the 2021 Zone’ because the finisher’s medal had a Twilight Zone theme to it. This race was sponsored by  I was only intending to run a 5K, but I got caught up in my enthusiasm and kept on running. I don’t know what I was thinking when I passed the 10K turnabout point and kept going. It was below freezing and I was not prepared for a long run. For some odd reason, the thought of running a half-marathon popped in my head, but by the time I had run 4.7 miles (7.6K) down the trail,  I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew and had to turn back.  The final 2 miles were a struggle, but another  runner who had passed me earlier was now heading back as well, and she was able to provide encouragement and conversation as we matched pace and ran back to the start.  It was a good thing Kris happened by when she did because I was discouraged and just walking at that point because I was cold and tired. I ended up finishing with a 15K (9.3 miles) that took 2 hours 38 minutes 46 seconds to complete.  The temperate was 24°F (-4°C)

What prompted me to press on beyond my initial intention of just running 5K (3.1 miles) was the OTHER virtual race I had signed up for. For 2021, I had opted to join the RUN THE YEAR CHALLENGE. This is a yearlong virtual race offered by where you run 2,021 miles in 2021. It has a beautiful finishers medal that anyone would be proud to display.

Now how you run this seemingly impossible distance is entirely up to you. The key is to have a plan, and this is where the 6P Rule comes into play. Simply stated  the 6P Rule is: ‘Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance‘.  Memorize that phrase, learn it and live it. If you are going to be successful, you MUST plan. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Without a proper plan firmly in place at the onset, failure is inevitable.

When you divide 2,021 miles by 365 days you get 5.53 miles per day. That’s not a bad exercise goal to stick to for the year. I do not own a treadmill, there is no space in my apartment.  Running outside is far better, and it’s free. The problem lies with the weather. There are days when running outside is a miserable option, or even out of the question. As I said, right now it’s bloody cold outside, but I am managing to run about  20 miles a week despite the cold weather and the 60+hour work weeks I face at my day job. I’m trying to run distances of at least 7.5 miles at a clip. Sundays are my long runs, so anything up to a half-marathon is possible , weather permitting.  Last Sunday Jan 17th 2021, I ran a winter half-marathon for the 1st time ever. Temperature was 36°F. I chose the 2020 Dumpster Fire Half-Marathon from

Just like 2020 was a Dumpster Fire of a year, so was this run. To my credit, I did not give up despite the cold, but this was my worst time ever for completing a race of this distance. 4hours 26Minutes 55seconds. Normally I can run this distance in about 3 hours or less, but I have NEVER run this far in temperatures this frigid, so there is no sense beating myself up over this.

Last night I ran 7.5 miles, and it was a much faster pace.  So far this month I have run 50 miles. Today is Sunday Jan 24th 2021 and I’m going for a long run, probably a 15K again. As I RUN THE YEAR, I will continue to post progress updates as well as upcoming races where I can be found.


HumBug Bustle 5K Saturday Jan 30th 2021 Reading PA

Shiver by the River 10K Sunday Feb 14 2021 Muhlenberg PA

When the weather gets warmer, I should be able to run further distances and more frequently.  I only have 1,971 more miles to run, and I have the strength and motivation to accomplish it. Perhaps my fitness journey will encourage you to pursue one of your own.  The year is still young. As always I wish you success and happiness!


Merry Christmas, and God bless us, everyone!

Well, this has certainly been a very different and disappointing year for most of us, to say the least. Unless you were living under a rock,  you know that COVID-19 (or as I like to call it, The Snowflake Flu) struck mid-March shutting down most of the world for months, cancelling plans and pretty much ruining people’s lives.  The whole year flew by in the wink of an eye. Today is Christmas Day. It’s 30°F and there are occasional snow flurries here in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year! In 7 days it will be 2021. Decades ago, television station WPIX 11 in NYC began the fun NYE tradition of running a Twilight Zone marathon. 2020 was not my favorite year, and I think many people will second that. I felt like I was living in The Twilight Zone, my only fun was running, and I ran my first marathon.  I found a virtual race for New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day that had a Twilight Zone theme that just fit this entire sorry excuse of a year. Add-ons included a Christmas ornament which was the very last one which I places on my tree, next to a door and a blue ball. The blue ball was from the first real Christmas tree that I had in my apartment. If you recall the intro to the Twilight Zone, (depending on which of the 5 seasons ) These is an eyeball, a door, or a spinning black and white cone. I think I captured the look.

Two weeks ago, our evil tyrant, state Governor  Tom Wolf shut down PA for the rest of 2020, forcing more closures, cancellations, and misery.

Last night was the 1st time in 20 years that I didn’t go to Christmas Eve service.  Stupid shut down and mask rules. So I worked 13 hours.  Today I slept in and did my virtual Kris Kringle 5K race. My last 3 December races were postponed to January,  or in the case of the Kris Kringle 5K went virtual.

Now you’re probably wondering what happened this summer as I was training for a (cancelled) marathon, and getting ready for a vacation at the shore. Suddenly without warning my weekly blog went silent without warning. I apologize for that. If you were worried about my health, I did get injured a couple of times, but nothing serious.  Also, my day job is considered essential, and because of COVID-19 we have been severely short-handed. I have been working mandatory 12 hour days six days a week, and training or racing on Sundays. Over the last 3 years, I have taught you everything I know about how to succeed. There is nothing new that I have to share about health, wealth, politics, religion, or attitude which I can explain to you. From this point on, your success is up to you. I have given you all the tools you need. If my advice has fallen upon deaf ears, there is nothing I can do.  Starting in 2021, will no longer be posting weekly. There WILL BE new blog posts, at least once or maybe twice per month, and the focus during the coming year will be on running. Hopefully my longtime readers will enjoy the new focus and format.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and there is always something to be thankful about  if you pause a moment and think. Maybe 2020 was a very bad year for you and you are one of those people who blames the year for your misfortune.  Find things in your life to be thankful about and shift your focus there. Attitude is more important than what is happening in this crazy world we are living in. Seize control of the things that you have the power to change and be the architect of your future success and happiness. One week from today you will have a whole new year. You can continue to wallow in self-pity, or you can choose to do something about it! Right now, I am home all alone on Christmas Day. What am I doing about it? I did a virtual race, I took pictures of Christmas trees, I looked at beautiful displays. I am posting a blog, one last time for 2020 to show you that happiness is a choice you have to make for yourself.  To show you that success is possible if you choose to pursue it. To prove to you that you can do ANYTHING if you are serious and do the work required.

So what happened with my running and the marathon plans?

The USA re-opened in July and REAL races returned by the beginning of summer. I signed up for every race available. I was still doing my Hal Higdon marathon training, and I was attempting to run my first 30K Trail Run in August when I fell at mile number 5 during the Double Trouble 15K/30K. The impact knocked the wind out of me, and severely slowed me down. As a result, I could only complete the first lap, 15K.  My bruises on my thigh took 4 weeks to heal.

I went to the beach for Jeep Week through Labor Day down in Ocean City Maryland, and ran 5 miles on the boardwalk in the early morning  several  times during my vacation. By September I was fully recovered, and on September 20th, I ran a solo 20-mile run completing my marathon training. As the Phily Marathon was cancelled, I was determined to keep training and stay in marathon shape until the time came. I ran a half-marathon every Sunday in October. Life happens.  I never gave up! Quitters never win and winners never quit! This IS attitude! This IS Determination! This IS how you succeed in the face of adversity! YOU DON’T QUIT!

I signed up for the LABOR PAIN 10 ENDURANCE TRAIL RUN being held on November 22nd . (This race normally is 12 hrs, and was postponed from its NORMAL Labor Day Weekend Sunday, as well as being re-located to French Creek State Park, all due to COVID-19 restrictions ) By shear co-incidence, this was now scheduled the EXACT SAME DAY as the Philly Marathon was supposed to have been held. I ONLY INTENDED to run 24 miles, that was my INITIAL GOAL. I figured, trail runs have dangerous and uneven footing in spots, so a slow nice 2.4 mile pace for 10 hours= 24 miles, and it would be good training for the future marathon, whenever it eventually happens. First thing Ron Horn (the world’s greatest race director!) asked me was “what’s your goal today Michael?”. When I said 24 miles , he replied “24? If you do that you’ve GOT to go for the marathon!” I just said “we’ll see”. 7 hours and 56 minutes later, I finished my 6th 4-mile lap. 24 miles, with 2hrs. 4 minutes to go on the clock.

THEN I GOT THIS WILD IDEA! If I can JUST run another 7 miles, I can pull off a 50K! I almost have enough time if I really haul ass, I thought to myself.  I could ULTRA before I marathon!  I only needed 1 more full lap, plus 1 out-and-back to the 50K turnaround sign. I took off at break-neck speed as I began lap 7 with darkness approaching. 1.22 miles into the lap, maybe 50 yards past the Marathon out-and-back turnaround sign, I tripped and slammed full force into the rocky ground! I hit so hard my Garmin Forerunner 945 ended my run to send off an emergency distress beacon! This ‘special feature’ sent out a text message to all my emergency contacts alerting them that I had an accident. It gave GPS co-ordinates and a live tracking map of where I was, just in case I am immobilized or unconscious.  I cancelled the alert, texted and phoned my emergency contacts that I was ‘alive and mobile, sort of’. Then I took a step, and my leg informed me that I was NOT finishing this lap, nor beginning an 8th. So I limped in pain back 1.1 miles in the growing darkness. It took me ONE HOUR to go ONE MILE. I had bruises on both knees, right thigh, stomach, scratches on my left calf, plus I injured my left iliotibial band which let me know with every painful step.  I finished my endurance run at 9 hours 21 minutes 43 seconds having completed 26.2 miles. I had not intended to run a marathon, but I had ‘accidently’ done so. I had pushed myself to new personal records for both time and distance.  My awesome running friends (all of whom ran 40 to 48 miles each) grabbed my gear and helped me to my car after we paused for our team photo.

I could not walk for the first 2 days after the race, and it took weeks to fully recover. If you want to avoid sports injuries, don’t do sports.  They go with the territory and whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Pain is just weakness leaving the body. By  December 6th I was back at French Creek in Elverson PA  in time to do the Dirty Bird 15K trail run.  

My body heals much faster from injuries now that I am in the best physical shape on my life.

When 2020 began, I had planned to run just 25 races. By the time 2020 was almost over, I had run more than 50 races instead. When you push yourself to new and greater heights, nothing is impossible!

The way I see it, you have two choices in life. You can sit on the couch and become a mountain, or you can run up a mountain and become a MAN! I choose to be a MAN! Your health is your wealth, and you should spend every day of your life working on some form of self-improvement. If you think you’re perfect, you’re perfectly wrong. There is always something you can improve upon. I made a decision to do something about my weight three years ago when I began the odyssey of diet, exercise, and self-discovery which got me from couch potato to marathon man.   I did my research, I asked questions of expert runners, and I changed my entire lifestyle. I ate healthier, exercised more often, and got more sleep.  As a result I feel great and I am in better shape now than I was at 25.

Your life IS YOUR LIFE. You are responsible for you own wealth, health, success, and happiness. The world owes you NOTHING. It is your job to pursue your own personal path to success. It is out there. Opportunity abounds and the possibilities are endless.  You yourself have to do the work! No one is going to do it for you, and even if they did, could you truly appreciate it? There is pride in personal achievement.

 If you refuse to set an example and inspire others, then you become a cautionary tale. There are people watching you every day that you aren’t ever aware of.  Countless people I have met during my runs have told me I’m amazing and called me an inspiration. It is a humbling experience to be held in such regard. Everything that I have done to make my life better, you can also accomplish as long as you have the courage to make the necessary changes and the determination to tough it out to the finish line.

The caterpillar cries that the world is ending while the butterfly shouts the adventure is just beginning! You can fly too, but you MUST leave your cocoon behind. So as we leave 2020 behind, make the powerful and wonderful decision to take the steps needed to live your life to the fullest!  Choose to be the best YOU that you can possibly be. Don’t repeat the same year over and over and call it a life. Fly into 2021 with a renewed sense of purpose and the determination to soar to new heights! You are not alone! God is with you always, and with God all things are possible! I wish you all the happiness and success that God has planned for you in 2021!