Sunday, December 27, 2009

2 The Subject is Unrelated.....


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One of my friends has this hilarious series of posts she does on Twitter called "the picture is unrelated." It's usually accompanied by a link to some really bizarre photo (culled from the web of course) that makes absolutely no sense at all. Of course, it's very silly (in an endearing sort of way that of course only she can manage to accomplish), but the comments she writes which accompany the photos are of course completely hilarious.


Some of you might know exactly whom I'm talking about. Here's a small clue, (which of course, in reality, is no clue at all! Hehehe.): This person is a funny, clever, beautiful, charming, heart-warming person who's got more energy & feistiness in her little pinky than most (er, non-exercising) humans typically have in their entire bodies. :-D If you could bottle her inner glow & market it, it would be a hot commodity. :)

(Of course, I'm protecting her identity as a courtesy, but her identity is probably a widely-held secret at this point, since she's so popular, and justly so. :) If she wants to reveal who she is, I'll let her do that, instead of unceremoniously outing her here. So if the particular person I'm referring to happens to be listening at the moment, feel free to reveal yourself in the comments section, if you like. :) )

Anyhow, I'm writing this post as a sort of tribute to that little no-longer-inside joke, because yes, the "subject" is in fact, once again, completely "unrelated," ...that is, to running. :)

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Lately, writing these sorts of unrelated-to-running posts has been akin to "breathing" for me. I hope you don't mind them, but some people have told me that they enjoy reading them. At any rate, it's very necessary for my sanity right now, which is teetering on the "OMG, I can't take not running much longer!!!!" boundary line. :-D

As I've recently been sick, and have been battling this on & off in addition to some other elements in my life that I won't go into right now, I've been spending a lot of "quality time" with my comforter and pillows. While I certainly enjoy sleep, there's only so much sleep & resting a person can do, before they go absolutely and totally ga-ga. And I'm not talking about Lady Gaga here. :) It's not exactly someplace that I enjoy being involuntarily chained to on a 24/7 basis, but I've made do because there's been no choice in the matter -- going on marathon sleeping sessions, cycling through shivers and fever, nasea, severe pounding headaches, & other oh-so-fun "joy rides" of sickness (i.e., the remaining details of which you will be thankfully spared), and reading continuously during any remaining time that I've somehow actually managed to be conscious. :) I've pretty much shunned any and all TV-watching at this point, preferring instead to bury myself in an entire series of escapist sci-fi fantasy books.

This explains a good bit of my recent absence from computer/internet-land. :)

Anyhow, the result of the above has been that my mind has been on over-drive. And of course, I'm restless now like you wouldn't believe. There's been altogether way too much time spent sleeping and thinking lately. And even during the sleeping, there was lots of thinking going on. :)

And that part probably explains the deluge of writing you see before you here.

At any rate, I cannot WAIT to get healthy ..and yes, to get MOVING, again. Ever since the physical exercise has died down (out of pure necessity/self-preservation), part of me feels like my body better get moving soon, before my brain decides to mutiny and stage a take-over. ;)

Just for laughs, I'm posting my last few Facebook status messages here -- no worries, I edited out any personal remarks from friends & family to protect their privacy -- so that you can see the state of my mind after I, Cyberpenguin, the sickly wingèd Sea Creature from the Deep, with eyes filmed with the heavy sea-slime of sleep, briefly re-emerged from the deep dark depths of my resting chambers (otherwise known as a bed to most people ;) ), and then slogged back to my fitful, accursed den of primordial ooze. Haha! (OK, I think these sci-fi novels are beginning to rub off on my writing somewhat!)

Facebook status messages (from this week):

"No, I haven't been attacked by a fifty-foot sea monster, in case you've all been wondering. Have been away. Then got sick, twice... with two totally different bugs. So it was kind of like getting attacked by a fifty-foot sea monster. ;) Just came out of the clear today."

(OK, what's with the sea creature references, this week?! ;) Well, I was reading about mythical monsters, and in a particular scene, one of them happened to emerge, very dramatically, from the sea. Hmmmm.)

"Life feels so different when you're not running or working out. Injury & illness have made it a strange couple of months. "

"Been listening to a lot of music & reading non-stop. It's been a quiet, self-contained world lately."

"Am sick of being sick. Know what I mean?!!!!! @#$&#$*!!!!!"

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This little moment of levity has been brought to you by a person who has clearly slept WAY too much and hasn't exercised in "I'm embarrassed to say exactly how long." My entire being is now cringing in horror at the thought that some of my runner pals will actually check my DailyMile log to find out exactly how long that duration has been. ;)

Ack! Now why did I write that thought outloud here. Smack, smack, smack! :)

This post is sure to be followed by some semi-serious posts, some completely ridiculous not-at-all serious posts, and then some inevitable writing about me getting back to running. The last action, however, will only happen after I've actually started running again, because I've found that publicly declaring or writing about my intentions to do anything, when it takes the form of an official announcement, usually has the equivalent effect of squashing them like little bugs frantically scurrying away from the massive shadow of impending doom ...i.e., the bottom of a big anachronistically-unhip -- think hideously clunky & squared-toed -- old shoe. ;)

Something strange seems to happen after the intentions begin to form in my brain and then travel from my brain to lips or typing hands (in this case). Instead of gaining momentum, they lose all potency, and the will that once accompanied these thoughts now just seems to evaporate into thin air. Some of you KNOW what I'm talking about here. This has NOTHING to do with slacking. It has to do with that interesting phenomenon known as "setting oneself up for a fall." It's been my observation in myself & in many others that expectations typically kill intention, so it's better not to make a fuss and quietly go about the "doing" part. Then after that part's done, it's much safer to talk about it. :)

Of course, the best way to preserve intention is to seal the lips (i.e., resist the temptation to discuss it with others), write down some realistic short-term goals to set them in your mind's eye, and then follow it up as soon as possible with some action.

So, in the interests of staging a successful outcome & remaining accountable for my actions, I'm going to just wait patiently until I feel well enough, and then just get on with the business of running, thank you very much. :)

Until then, have some peaceful silence, compliments of this blog. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

0 Exciting News! Coach Corey/Cyberpenguin Will Be Featured Guest on Runners Round Table Tomorrow Night!


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Exciting news! I will be one of featured guests on tomorrow night's episode of Runners Round Table, "RRT54: State of the Run Net Community."

Hope you can join us for tomorrow night's special RRT podcast. There will be a lot of interesting speakers discussing the online running community! One of the co-founders of RunCastTV, Phil Moneypenny" will also be featured on this episode, as well as several other figures in the running community ("Steve Chopper," "Nigel Runner," etc.). "Steve Runner" will be hosting. Should be a fun show!

You can tune into the broadcast tomorrow night, Sunday, 11/1, at 5 PM ET.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

0 Announcing the NEW Rock It! Running™ Company Blog, Website, & Facebook Fan Page....


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Just a brief FYI to let you all know that my running and wellness coaching company now has an official blog, website (currently under construction), & Facebook fan page. Now you too can show your support by following us!


Thanks so much for your continued support!

Sincerely,
Corey


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UPDATE: I just noticed that, ever since announcing my company's brand new blog (on Facebook, Twitter, & other social media, etc. on 10/13/09), that it already has 230 subscribers in only a matter of days. Wow! That's incredible. Thank you everybody for becoming subscribers/readers!

Monday, October 12, 2009

1 Online Charity Fundraising Tools: An Overview


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I recently ran into an interesting situation: I wanted to run my very first marathon for charity but the marathon that I'd registered for didn't seem to offer any charity fundraising tools officially affiliated with the event.

This is very odd, because usually, on previous occasions when I've raised money for charity for other races, there would be an official page where people could donate, plus the site also typically offered graphical tools (donation widgets, etc., to aid in the fundraising process. [There were, in fact, official charity fund-raising partners listed on the site, but since I wasn't running as an official charity race entrant, wanted to select particular charities of my own choice (most of which, with the exception of one, weren't on the list!), & was also getting involved in charity fundraising relatively late in the game, this made things considerably more challenging. ]

Also, the other factor is that I'd decided to donate to four different charities of my own choosing, and there doesn't currently seem to be a widget that can handle the disbursement of funds into four separate donations. However, this didn't deter me in my search for the right charity fundraising tool.

So, I scoured the web for resources. And what I found was very interesting, and highly illuminating. I'd like to share my discoveries here, so that those of you who are or might be doing the same activity in the future, can avoid having to 'reinvent the wheel':

The first resource I thought of was PayPal. I'd seen PayPal donation buttons on other websites, and that was pretty standard. However, I wanted something that would display a little bit more information -- ideally, the event name, charity names, donors, fundraising goal, and a graphical rendering of my fundraising progress.

Next, I came across some tools that did some of what I wanted, but not everything: For example, there were several sites offering free fundraising thermometers; IMHO, two of the best are from Kidica & JoomlaTabs, but both have be updated manually. Yes, they are free, & sure, these thermometer tools look great, but as a former IT professional cognizant of software engineering's key purpose -- software is chiefly designed to reduce one's workload & eliminate repetitive manual functions :), I bristled at the idea of having to do repeated manual updates. That is frankly inefficient & impractical. I wanted something that could be tied directly into PayPal, and would track donations & donors.

There were also sites which allowed you to create badges for promoting particular causes -- i.e., SixDegrees.org, Network For Good, and YourCause.com, but didn't seem to meet the other criterion. After all, I was looking for something that was event-specific, and could be directly associated with my marathon event. So the search continued......

In my quest to find the perfect fundraising tool, I also found a cool site called RoadTrip!!! that helps you track daily mileage & fundraise for virtual charity runs. It displays the amount of cumulative mileage you run in terms of their equivalent nationwide distances -- i.e., tour through Virginia and Washington, DC (68 mi.), Florida coastline from Daytona to Miami (267 mi.), US Route 101 from LA to SF (481 mi.), or US Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica (2,381 mi.), etc. Very cool concept, but again, not specifically geared to a single charity event. The 26.2 miles is a wee bit short of any of the preset routes, and there's currently not an option to create your own distance categories.

There's also JustGiving, which is based in the UK. At first glance, it appeared to be closer to what I was looking for in a fundraising tool So, just for the heck of it, I registered, & set up a fundraising page. Hmmmm, although the registration page accepted international addresses, the site only offered to calculate donations into British pounds, & not into other currencies. OK, so that's not ideal, but not exactly a deal-breaker either.

I had some basic questions about this site: To which charity or charities could people donate? Can I select a charity, either from a preset list or one of my own choice?! Whoops, not an option. During the charity page creation process, the site randomly autoselects predefined charities from its group of member charities. OK, so giving to charity in general is good, so I can let that one slide. Of course, t'd be even nicer if the site gave us the option to select a particular charity or group of charities, especially in cases where a race is being run in honor of someone who has or had a particularly meaningful association with a specific organization.

In my own case, I'm running my first marathon in honor of my maternal grandfather, who was himself very involved in charity causes and on also helped individuals in need in his local community, on a personal level. I know that he'd have been pleased to see that I was running to raise money for charities that help those less fortunate than the rest of us. In fact, the reason I chose these four particular charities -- Back On My Feet, Make It Right, GlobalGreen, & FeedingAmerica -- is that they address basic needs -- specifically, shelter and food -- and in the process, also help people to become self-sufficient. These are charities which address the present and also the future -- on local, national, and global levels.

So anyhow, I was just about to set up a widget for my charity event, when I realized that I needed to modify some of the event information. Now, wait just a minute, why can't I modify or delete the event or the event link?! Ack! That's not cool. Now to be fair, while it let me modify some general information, it didn't let me modify other information such as the event date, etc. Nor did it let me delete the event link altogether & start anew. The link is now stuck there permanently, or until it expires in 2010. Oh well.

Also, I saw that the JustGiving organization is able to reclaim reclaim Gift Aid from the government, adding £2.82 to each collected donation. Now that's pretty cool. They charge a 5% fee, which typically comes out of the Gift Aid, & is used to cover administrative costs of running the website & other the technology used to handle high-volume donations on behalf of member charities -- OK, that's pretty standard stuff. They only charge this fee after they receive the Gift Aid, along with credit/debit card/PayPal charges, and send the rest to the charity. However, the catch is this: If you are not a UK taxpayer & JustGiving can’t reclaim Gift Aid, then their fee comes out of the donations. OK, so in my particuar situation, that's not so ideal after all.

Upon further investigation of their website, I then discovered that JustGiving took their idea to the US in 2003 & started FirstGiving. This site had a tool which allowed you to search for charities & other nonprofits, & select them for your fundraising. You can even register charities if you aren't able to find them in the database. OK, that's a big improvement over its original sister site! Actually, this site seems pretty cool in general. Much more user-friendly too. (It looks like the developers for this site actually put a lot more thought into its construction than the UK site.)

I registered and set up a page, but the one catch is that it looks like I'll have to set up a page for each charity. That means four large widgets (of a fixed size!). Now where the heck will I be able to fit them on this blog?! Er, maybe not. However, I could add them to the body of this post & also put related badges for them on my Facebook page. Now THAT'S an idea. :-D

However, this site still gets a big thumbs-up from me, because it meets almost all other criterion, and let's face it, how many other people are there who are marathoning to raise money for four different charities?! I know, it's unusual, but hey, that's what I want to do. However, this site is perfect for most people who want to set up racing event-related pages for individual charities.

As it so happens, I did find a tool which was 95% perfect in terms of meeting my specifications, and it was the one I chose to go with in the end. Ironically, it was the very last site I came across, ChipIn. It allowed me to accept donations securely via PayPal (√), to configure donations for a specific event (√), to set fundraising goals & display them graphically within a widget (√), to show the total amount collected for charity (√), & to accept donations for multiple charities (√). (And that last one was an extremely difficult requirement to meet!) While this tool didn't allow give donors the option to display their names & contributions, I will, however, receive an automatic email notification of their donation & thereby be able to thank them in a personally-written email reply. I believe PayPal might actually generate an automatic message, but hey, if a person is willing to take the time to contribute to charity, the least I can do is thank them in a personally-composed email!

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For the record, I was able to find some commercial software/scripts that offered most of the features I wanted, but at a hefty price tag. In fact, some of which was absurdly expensive, and seem to have been designed for large nonprofits and corporations that can stomach paying anywhere from $99-$300 for this kind of software. Now since I am an individual raising money for charity, I honestly am not inclined to pay ridiculously unreasonable amounts of money for a simple widget to help me do good deeds! Somehow this concept strikes me as innately wrong.

Also, I wasn't about to fork over money to unverifiable website entities, that could potentially be scams. I make of point of thoroughly researching online retailers; a site's legitimacy must be verifiable by trusted sources (Verisign, etc.), before any financial transactions are going to happen. Maybe it's all those years I spent in the IT field -- Some might call it "IT security" paranoia, but I call it being smart. :)

Anyhow, I found a commercial site offering various fundraising scripts called WareSeeker.com, which appears to be legitimate. First, I used Norton Safe Web to assess any potential threats. (Here's the threat report & related user reviews/comments, if you're interested.) Then I checked out sites like Web of Trust (WOT), TrustPilot, Alexa, & KillerStartups -- to read ratings & reviews, for further verification. (I couldn't find their listing on the Better Business Bureau website, or sites like CNET or ZDNET, etc., but that doesn't necessarily mean anything one way or the other.)

Anyhow, on with the details about the software tool: The best, most reasonably-priced script I could find was called Simple PayPal Donation 1.0. For a $6 commercial widget, you really seem to get a lot of bang for the buck. (And in this economy, that's saying something. :) ) Yes, it's a simple & straight-forward interface, but it also has a lot of "whistles & bells." It displays a list of the most recent donors & their contribution amount, total amount collected, and the donation goal. OK, that works for me!

See below for a detailed view:



This software looks like a nice low-cost alternate for the individual charity fundraiser; you get a few extra customizable features without getting gouged, which is especially noble of the developer, considering we're individuals trying to raise $$$ for charity!

So, there you have it. Hope you've enjoyed this review of online charity fundraising tools, and have found it useful. Let me know if you've discovered any other cool software tools; I'm up for hearing suggestions, and would be interested in hearing about your experience with online charity fundraising tools.

-C

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2 See Corey Run 3.0: Blog Facelift Currently in Progress


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Hello All,

If you've stopped by for a visit to this blog (&/or my recipe blog) today, you've probably noticed that the page layout has been continually changing throughout the day.

If you haven't yet had a chance to check out the changes, I'll just point out that there are some new additions to the sidebars -- new links, brand new badges & buttons, etc. -- as well as several subtractions (I got rid of links & badges that either were defunct or had outlived their usefulness, etc.), in order to condense content & make the layout as clean & well-organized as possible.

I hope you will like these changes, as they were done in order to make it easier for people to locate information. My goal was to streamline the blog's appearance while preserving its extensive resources/content.

I'm still not done with the changes, so please be patient as the facelift continues. These improvements should be completed hopefully by sometime tomorrow.

-C


One of the new photo collage badges that has become my new signature both here and on other social media (like Twitter, etc.).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

0 What's To Come


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Just a brief post to let you know that I've got some exciting stuff in store for you at both this blog & my recipe/healthy cooking blog, "Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog."

Over the past several days I've been writing up a storm, & although nothing's been posted yet because it's still in the draft stages, I'm really excited to share these articles with you, that is, as soon as they are ready!

I don't want to spoil their content, so all I'll say right now is that I hope that you'll feel as energized after reading these articles as I did while writing them.

They are packed with lots of really useful & insightful tidbits, & while I've also been very hard at work on multiple projects, I hope to post these articles very soon.

Cheers,
Corey

Saturday, September 19, 2009

1 Join the NEW Facebook Group for Runners Who Tweet!


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Hello there, fellow runners-athletes & social media enthusiasts alike!

Check out the NEW Facebook group for runners/endurance athletes who are on Twitter, called "Runner Tweeps." Finally, a Facebook group JUST for us!

And, as far as I know, it's the first & only tweeting runners group of its kind on Facebook. :)

There are so many runners on both Facebook & Twitter, it just made sense to create this group, so we could all connect and share out Twitter IDs with each other. This site is the place where you can bond with long-time runner tweeps, find/reconnect with long-lost runner pals, & meet new runners who tweet (from all over the globe!).

To prevent spam, the group has been set up with closed membership (i.e., by invitation-only); however, if you'd like to join, all you have to do is request an invite & I'll add you to the group, that is, provided you aren't a spammer, & your identity is externally verifiable via multiple legitimate sources. :)

Twitter & Facebook are great places to help you stay motivated in your sport(s), discover new resources, get tips & exchange information, & support/encourage fellow endurance athletes! So hop aboard & see what the fun's all about. Hope you have a great time & enjoy socializing with the other runners there!

Wow, the group is growing quickly! (And he group's only been in existence for a mere few hours!) Thank you to those of you who've already joined & have left comments on the group's Facebook page!

--
@Cyberpenguin

Thursday, September 17, 2009

4 Some Thoughts Before A Run


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It's been a while since my last post, and there's a good reason for this: I've been really busy lately!

There are several new & exciting plans in the works, several of which I'll be revealing here at some point (hopefully!) in the near future.

As for recent news regarding the marathon training, I've had a small set-back and have been off my feet for an entire week, nursing some recurring knee pain & soreness. I basically already know why this happened, but don't really feel like going into it right now. Instead, what I want to focus on is getting back out there, while of course carefully monitoring the situation. If the soreness keeps up, I might be headed to the doctor.

Since it's been about week since my last run, the next run will most likely be a 3-5 miler. I always run based on feel -- how the body feels, and in this case, more specifically, the knees. The way I look at it, it's like my body is a car (I won't say what model year - LOL!) & I'll be taking her out for a test spin on the road today. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

0 Check Out the New Recipes I Just Added......


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Hi Everybody,

Just a quick heads up: I just posted some new healthy gourmet recipes on my recipe blog, Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog., so check it out when you get the chance.

There are also several new health/nutrition-related posts there as well.

Thought you might enjoy!

Also, I'm going to be featured as "Chef of the Month" at CookEatShare.com, which has been favorably reviewed by the New York Times, Daily Candy, Eater, & the like. You can read more about that honor here.

Please feel free to Digg any & all of these articles. :) Thanks!

-C

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2 Running Trivia Quiz Answers


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Hello Everybody,

It's been really busy here, but I haven't forgotten about posting the answers to the trivia quiz. Guess you can be thankful for the extra time to compose your answers. :)

So, as promised, here they are. Hope you had fun testing your knowledge!

Below is a re-print of the original quiz questions, followed by the answers, which appear in red, italicized font:

Just for fun, here are some trivia questions to test your running-related knowledge. Let's see how well you can do. Questions will start out fairly easy & get progressively more challenging. Without looking these stats up on the internet or elsewhere, do you know the answers to following?

Metrics:
(1) Approximately how many miles is the 400 meter dash?
Answer: 1/4 mile (or 1 lap) on a modern, standard-sized (i.e., Olympic regulation) race track.
(2) Exactly how many miles is a 5K?
Answer: 5K = 3.106855961186669848087170921816 miles. (1 mile = 0.621371192237333969617434184363 kilometers, so the answer is achieved by multiplying that figure times 5. :) )
(3) Exactly how many miles is an 8K?
Answer: 8K = 4.9709695378986717569394734749056 miles.
(4) Exactly how many miles is a 10K?
Answer: 10K = 6.213711922373339696174341843632 miles.
(5) Exactly how many kilometers are in a marathon distance?
Answer: Marathon distance = 42.195 kilometers. (That's 26 miles 385 yards, or 26.21876 miles.)
(6) Exactly how many miles is a 50K distance?
Answer: 50K = 31.06855961186669848087170921815 miles.
(7) **Bonus question: Exactly how many kilometers are there in a mile?
Answer: 1 mile = 0.621371192237333969617434184363 kilometers.

History:
(1) Name the starting & ending location of the very first marathon.
Answer: Going by the Greek legend as recounted by Plutrach's On the Glory of Athens, the answer would be from Marathon to Athens. (The first Olympic marathon, held in Athens, Greece in 1876, also had the same starting & end points.) However, there is some dispute over the historical accuracy of the legend, as well as the exact starting & end points. The Greek historian Herodotus records the starting & ending points as Athens & Sparta, respectively. (For a more detailed description of this history, please see the Wikipedia entry.)
(2) Who was the first person to complete the mile in under 4 minutes?
Answer: Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CBE. (3:59.04 in 1954.)
(3) Who was the first woman to unofficially run the Boston Marathon (without a bib number)?
Answer: Roberta (Bobbi) Gibb (in 1966). (BTW, on a semi-related note, Stamata Revithi was the first woman to unofficially run the Olympic marathon in 1896. She has a very interesting story of her own, which you can read more about here and here.)
(4) Where was the first triathlon held?
Answer: Mission Bay, in southern California.
(5) What year did Kathrine Switzer run the Boston Marathon with a number, and then get thrown out of the AAU?
Answer: 1967. (She ran as number 261.)
(6) When did the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series first begin?
Answer: The first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon was held in San Diego, California in 1998. (Source: WikiRun.)
(7) **Bonus question: Who is the Greek goddess of running? (Careful, it's not as obvious as you might think. :) )
Answer: Atalanta.

World Records:
(1) Who are the current male & female world record holders for the fastest mile?
Answer: Hicham El Guerrouj of Morrocco is the current male world recorder (3:43.13, 7/7/1999 in Rome) and Svetlana Masterkova is the current women's world record holder (4:12.56, 8/14/1996, in Zürich).
(2) Who are the current male & female world record holders for the fastest marathon?
Answer: The male record holder is Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia (2:03:59, Berlin Marathon, 9/28/08), & the female record holder is Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain (2:15:25, London Marathon, 4/13/03).
(3) Who is currently the oldest (living) person to ever have completed a marathon?
Answer: Fauja Singh, from Ilford, Essex, who at age 94, completed the 2004 London Flora Marathon in 6:07. (His current personal best: 5:40 in the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon, at age 92.) (Although not currently living today, the oldest person ever recorded was Dimitrion Yordanidis, aged 98, who, in 1976, completed the marathon distance in 7:33 in Athens, Greece.)
(4) Who is currently the youngest person to ever have completed a marathon?
Answer: Budhia Singh, who was four-years-old when he first completed the marathon distance on May 2, 2006.
(5) Who has the world record for the most marathons ever run in a lifetime?
Answer: Horst Preisler, 73, of Hamburg, Germany. There are conflicting accounts of the total number of marathons he's completed thus far: According to the most recently logged statistics at the 100 Marathon Club website (in Germany), Horst's record, as of December 30, 2008, was last reported as 1250 marathons & 349 ultramarathons, or a total of 1599 events equaling a marathon distance or longer. However, a more recent account, dated August 19, 2009, from Guernsey News, reports his current marathon total as 1640. Yet another news media service, Frankfurter Allgemeine, reported 1621 marathons on June 6, 2009, an even higher total marathon count reported at an earlier date than the previous account. (On John Wallace's blog, in a post dated August 23, 2009, he reports that Horst has now run a total of 1604 marathons, but I am hesitant to quote blogs as definitive references or confirmed information sources, since there is no way to definitely officially support or deny the factual nature of this particular claim without first corroborating the information against verified, official sources. Of course, I'd prefer to go by official, public records. Towards this end, I've tried searching the Guinness Book of World Records website to confirm these records, but strangely enough, I can't find his name listed there, nor any information about this current world record.)
(6) What's the official record for the longest consecutive distance a person has ever run?
Answer: Dean Karnazes ran 226.2 miles with only several stops of little more than a few minutes. Technically, if the clock's still running, a distance is considered to be "non-stop" whether or not the individual rests for a few seconds or minutes. ;-) There's also an unverified claim that a Canadian ran 240.11 miles in 48 hours on a treadmill at Club One Square One in Mississauga Ontario, Canada on November 28-29, 2004, but since I can't corroborate the source, I'm hesitant to mention it at all. Ahem, I would really like to know this person's name, and what official entity was present to verify this claim! :) Also, according to one contributor of Yahoo! Answers , who goes by the username, 'Yeti' (a highly ironic name that doesn't exactly reinforce the credibility of his claims ;-) ): "Yiannis Kouros supposedly covered 456 miles in 4 days in 1988 without sleeping, ...ultimately covering 1000 miles." No verifiable source is listed, so again, this claim is circumspect at best.

On a somewhat related note, this contributor, also lists the longest certified endurance race as the Sri Chinmoy 3100-Miler, (well actually he lists it incorrectly as a "1300 miler"! ;-) ), in which (acccording to the official event website) participants "must average 60.7 miles per day in order to finish within the 51-day limit."


(7) **Bonus question: What's the the record for the longest, non-consecutive distance a person has ever run?
Answer: Robert Garside, of Great Britain. According to Guinness World Records, he ran over 30,000 miles in 5 years and 8 months, starting in the second half of 1997 and finishing on Friday, June 13, 2003. He was credited as the first person to run around the world. However, this claim is not without controversy, and has been hotly disputed by various leading figures in the ultra running community.

So, how well did you do on this quiz? Hope you had fun & learned lots of new facts and figures about the sport of running!

-C

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

0 Some Cool Philly Marathon Links & Resources :)


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Hi All,

Just letting you know about two groups for people training for the Philly Marathon & other related events on that day:

"Philadelphia Marathon" group on DailyMile.com
"Philadelphia Marathon" group on JustFinish.com

The above two group are for those who have participated or plan to participate in events associated with the Philadelphia Marathon, including the Philadelphia Full & Half Marathons, Rothman Institute 8K, etc.

Also, for those training for the Philly Marathon & related events, we currently have a "Countdown to Philly" Challenge on DailyMile.com that you're welcome to join. The goal is to help motivate yourself & others to build mileage for your training.

These groups & the challenge are for both Philly Marathon newbies & vets alike. Hope you'll join us!

Good luck!
-C

P.S. I just found this really cool simulated, digitized tour of the Philly Half on YouTube:



Now does anyone know where I can find the digitized tour of the full? ;)

1 Update: Marathon Training Progess


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I'm headed out the door shortly for a run, but before I go, just wanted to give a brief "progress report" on my marathon training:

As many of you probably already know, this is going to be my first marathon. I've done everything from a mile to half-marathon racing distances, but have yet to conquer the marathon.

So, for the benefit of those who might also be training for their first or are curious to learn more about what's involved, I'd like to briefly share a bit of what I've been doing to prepare.

The training plan: I'm doing a modified version of the FIRST marathon training program, which has been specifically designed for first-timers. The reason I say "modified" version is that I've had to modify my goals due to some training setbacks. (One of these setbacks was an extended bout of respiratory illness in May & June that sidelined my training, & so I had to adjust accordingly. I basically went from running 10-13 miles in May to pretty much going back to the starting block with 3-4 miles!)

Also, even after I'd recovered, my training had been rather spotty from June to July, & not surprisingly, my pace had slowed down considerably from what it was back in January-April, so the goal has changed from finishing in 4:30:00 (which would be a 10:18 pace) to just finishing. :) A more realistic pace goal might be finishing under 5 hours. :)

If I ran a 11-minute/mile pace that'd put me at 4:48:12, and a 12-minute/mile pace would put me at 5:14:24.

The standard wisdom is that your half-marathon pace is helpful in approximating your marathon finish time. So, if we follow this guideline, then I should be able to finish in well under 5 hours. :)

I just ran 13.22 miles two days ago (i.e., this past Sunday), at an 11:44 pace, which is the first time since the beginning of May that I've run anywhere close to this distance, and that was almost 4 months ago. So, I'm really at the mileage rebuilding phase right now. Of course, this pace is somewhat slower than the 11:27 pace I ran during my half-marathon in the beginning of May. And honestly, my training had been rather inconsistent in the month leading up to the half-marathon race; so, if I'd have kept up the speed work I did back in January-March, I could've done a lot better in that road race. Example: During training runs for the speed development program I did back in January-April, we regularly ran 14-milers at an 11:00 pace on average, (& that was a training pace, not race speed), so I know I more than have it in me to best this time. Just earlier this year, I ran a mile in 8:30 (during a speed work session on a track), a 10K race at a 9:44 pace, and a 10-mile training run at a 10:00 pace.

Anyhow, enough about pace. I'm not trying to set any records or prove anything to anyone except myself. :) Right now, I honestly don't care about speed, because my first-time marathon training is about mileage-building. I'm a couple weeks into the FIRST marathon training program, at the beginning of week 13 (the numbering goes backward in "countdown" fashion from 18 to 1).

I base my daily and weekly mileage on how my body feels, instead of rigidly adhering to the training schedule like a pre-programmed automaton. :) Example: So, even though the program said "do 12 miles for your long run" last week, my body & brain felt like doing 13.22. :) Likewise, if I need to scale back on a particular day, I will also make the appropriate adjustments. I might toss in a shorter run somewhere in the week to make up for missed mileage, or just scale back altogether, and then be sure to get back on track the next week. Whatever I do, I try to adhere to the "10% rule" of running, never running more than 10% of the mileage I ran the previous week.

If there's one thing I've learned during my 30+ years of running & training for races, it's that it's SO important to be flexible, train gradually, and listen to your body during training; conversely, rigidity in one's approach to training typically results in illness & injury.

Anyhow, I've gone on a bit longer here than originally intended, & it's time to run, so I'll finish posting about other training details as time allows. There's so much still to cover -- fueling, hydration, sleep/naps :), gear, etc. Guess that these topics will have to wait for future blog posts. :)

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One final note: Since I'm now a full-time contributing writer as well as the Managing Editor of Running Hoosier Magazine, I might very well be reversing the trend I spoke of earlier: Whereas I started this blog as a journal & it then developed into more of an "advice column" about running, I will probably be reverting this blog back into a journal while I marathon-train.

As usual, I will also continue "journaling" my running activity & experiences on DailyMile. The DailyMile posts are more in the vein of "daily running reports," whereas the marathon-training blog posts will be more about observations & reflections on the marathon-training process itself.

Due to my magazine & coaching duties, I have a finite period of time that I can spend right now on social media (including blogging), so if I'm in the mood to write an article, in all honesty, it's probably going to end up in our running publication versus here for obvious reasons. [Part of the reason for this is that any material posted to the magazine needs to be original material and can't be culled from previous blog posts. :) ]

Of course, I will continue to post/share information about running-related subjects here, but for the time being, these entries will most likely be in the form of observations and insights about marathon-training and the marathoning experience itself. :)

Basically, any findings on the marathon-training process will go here on this blog, whereas the more "journalistic" style articles will be found in the new running magazine. So, if you'd like to read those articles -- along with many other writer-runners, including Josh Cox, Chris Russell, Dane Rauschenberg, Blaine Moore, Mark Dilworth, Ann Brennan, Julianne Chai, Tim Wilson, Steve Heath, and many, many other exciting and talented writers! -- you are welcome to subscribe to our magazine, which is only $1.67 per issue (or $10 for 6 issues)!

OK, I really do have to go on that run now. Have a great morning! Later.....

-Corey

Sunday, August 23, 2009

0 Quick Post Before A Run


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Lily (i.e., the family bulldog) and I just had our respective breakfasts this morning after her daily walk. No one else in the household is up yet, so I thought I'd write a few words while both of us digest breakfast and Lily naps at my feet, which is probably her way of digesting breakfast. :)

Or would that be a doggie "food coma"? Am not quite sure. :)

I'm really enjoying visiting in PA -- life is quite idyllic here, and every time I say I'm coming home in a day or so, then it seems I add another day or two to my stay. :)

It's also been a nice respite from my usual roster of responsibilities & tasks. I must admit that I'm also enjoying being a little less "plugged into the matrix." The only constant online activity I've been doing lately is recording my mileage on DailyMile. :) Other than that, there's been the occasional blog post here and there, some Facebook status updates (all via DailyMile), and zero tweeting. Yes, highly unusual behavior. :)

This stay has been really great. It's been great fun hanging out with Mom & Dad, and family friends.

Lily is getting used to her early morning walks with me, and I'm going to miss her when I leave. Then, it's back to Erik & cats, & friends in DC I go. I do miss everybody at home, but all the same, don't really want to leave PA just yet.

Maybe I'll head back on Tuesday? We'll see. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

0 Brief Weekly Update: Cyberpenguin's Gone Fishin' in PA :)


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Just wanted to write a brief update before I go out for this morning's run.

Here are a few things that've been going on here:

--We did the Lewisburg Triathlon last weekend as a relay team. A young lady named Johanna did the 600 yard swim, my Dad did the 15 mile bike ride, and then I did the 5K race portion at the end. It was lots of fun. More on that later.

--Robert Overton and I, and the rest of the magazine team have been hard at work on Running Hoosier's premier issue, due out in September. For more details, please visit RunningHoosier.com.

--For friends and family who aren't already aware, I just wanted to inform you that I'm in still visiting in PA, and will respond to your emails & other correspondence as time allows. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be returning to the DC area, probably Sunday at the latest.

OK, time to hit the trails. Have a great morning!
-C

Monday, August 10, 2009

3 Life Before Internet Access -- Did It Exist? ;)


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Let me just say up front: This post has NOTHING at all to do with running. However, since the topic at hand has affected my ability to post, I thought it deserved a brief mention. :)

My internet access was just restored late this afternoon after being down for several days. Without trying to sound melodramatic about it, I felt like I'd been marooned on a desert island. :)

Of course, being forcibly disconnected from the online world is certainly one way to get a sense of exactly how much one actually does rely upon it as an essential resource and communication tool for everyday existence!

As a person who works from home & relies rather heavily on internet access for all sorts of information & communications -- weather, news, business conference calls, staff correspondence, work-related research, etc. --it basically felt like I had been cut off from the outside world. :)

And what's most maddening about it all is not being able to tell people en masse "what has happened," (i.e., why I seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet! :) ), or not being able to explain to them why I haven't yet responded to their time-sensitive communications that I can't even view in the first place (but just know are piling up out there in cyberspace). Maybe it's worth getting a smartphone just for some emergency backup internet redundancy. :)

TV? Radio? Nah, these days, I prefer the internet as my primary go-to information source. And thanks to TiVo, I don't really watch live TV anymore, with a few rare exceptions. The bottom line is that the internet is just the most convenient, readily-available source for pretty much almost anything and everything.

Even though I have been known to text on a rare occasion, I'm not really part of the texting generation -- Not having an actual text plan probably has something to do with that! (Friends, please take particular note of this announcement. Thanks! ;) )

Frankly, I would rather tweet, DM, & IM for the most immediate forms of communication. As for Twitter, I'm not really into the Twitlonger app, so any correspondence over 140 chars will usually be relayed in an email or IM.

Notably absent from the above list are unscheduled (mobile) phone calls. :)

This is not to say that I don't enjoy talking on the phone; however, when it comes to time-sensitive information exchange, I prefer email. It's much more efficient, & I tend it check it more often than my voice mail. (Again, family & friends, please take note of this.)

This is one of the beauties of IP phones; at a former workplace, I used to have my voice mail autoforward to my email. Ah, now THAT's my idea of sheer perfection. :)

Frankly, I dislike having to check messages which are scattered about in a zillion different formats & locations. The bottom line is that people have enough to do, let alone keep track of messages in a zillion places -- For most of us, our memories are stretched to capacity as is. Plus, why create more needless tasks? After all, people are not squirrels or ferrets. :) Centralized messaging & tasking (with filtering/sub-folders) is my idea of absolute bliss.

Heck, if I could, I'd like to create one big cron job for all of the scattered messages across various social media & communication formats & tools (i.e., Twitter DMs & replies, Facebook, IMs, voice mails, emails, etc.), & anything else requiring my action or attention, & just be done with it. :)

Video teleconferencing via Skype is another preferred communication, but I prefer to schedule these first via email, IM, & Twitter.

Friends and family, you might want to make note of all the above, because it probably explains a lot about why you might not be getting timely responses in some communication formats & snappy responses in other formats. :)

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I realize some people might not understand or relate to this post. I'm OK with that.

You see, for many of us, being a geek isn't just a job description. Those of you who are into the joy of technology for its own sake, take pleasure in discussing new ideas that have yet to be born, & prefer to think "virtual media" as an enhancement of our existing realities, versus simply an extension of alternate realities -- those of you who live & think on that mental plane -- will know exactly what I mean.

Heck, some of my friends sleep with their smart phones underneath their pillow. I have not taken to doing this behavior, but then again, I don't yet own a smartphone. :)

Like Sam Altman, (founder of Loopt), predicted, I also believe that the current trend of "nontraditional" mobile phone usage (i.e., functions other than "verbal communication" :) ) will only continue to increase in the future.

But seriously, it's time to re-evaluate how we view our technology usage patterns, because they are going to change even more over the next few decades. I'm sure it's tempting for some to make fun of what they don't understand, or to ridicule differences. A lot of times this is done to create an artificial barrier between those who resist change and the entities representing that change. However, many of these changes are largely positive improvements & enhancements to our lives, & should be welcomed. Even if some of them present new social constructs & corresponding issues, we will no doubt come up with new ways of managing them all.

In fact, I would wager that some of these very same people who initially resist these changes will probably be eating their words at some point, as they gradually begin to take on some of the same technology-based activities of those whom they have made fun of most often. :)

Once the beacon beckons & the light bulb in the brain turns on, there's no turning back, baby! We can't make others see those wonders until they are ready to see it, but once their life is made quantifiably easier through the advent of new technology, it all somehow begins to make sense to them. Of course, personalizing the power of technology & showing people its instant applicability in their own daily lives is a small step on the pathway to enlightenment. :) Then, the process of technology transfer can truly begin.

It's like the old Gertrude Stein truism about how first everyone says no, and then gradually, they all say "yes." :) That applies to many societal patterns, of which the incorporation of technology is just one example.

Or to quote Douglas Adams (or heaven-forbid, Star Trek - LOL!), "Resistance is futile/useless." :)

While some may choose to hold out against trends in technology for various reasons, or choose to mislabel the technologically-enlightened as "addicts," others will choose to see these technology transfer patterns for what they really are.

Yes, for many of us, technology is just that essential to our lives. And even for those people who aren't yet a part of this reality, this truth is gradually becoming all the more apparent.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

3 Are We Friends Yet on Google Friend Connect?


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I'd like to invite you to become friends on Google Friend Connect. It's a great way to keep track of & publicly support each other's blogs. Just go to the "Followers" widget on the sidebar my blogs & either click the "Join This Site" or "Sign In" links, depending on whether or not you're already a Google account holder.

(To become friends at my other blog, please visit Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog.)

If you do befriend me, you might want to let me know in the comments section of this post, so I know about it. Google Friend Connect doesn't currently have a way of notifying others that this action has taken place. Thanks!

I look forward to connecting with you there!

Monday, July 27, 2009

0 Just for Fun: A Running Trivia Quiz For You


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Just for fun, here are some trivia questions to test your running-related knowledge. Let's see how well you can do. Questions will start out fairly easy & get progressively more challenging. Without looking these stats up on the internet or elsewhere, do you know the answers to following?

Metrics:
(1) Approximately how many miles is the 400 meter dash?
(2) Exactly how many miles is a 5K?
(3) Exactly how many miles is an 8K?
(4) Exactly how many miles is a 10K?
(5) Exactly how many kilometers are in a marathon distance?
(6) Exactly how many miles is a 50K distance?
(7) **Bonus question: Exactly how many kilometers are there in a mile?

History:
(1) Name the starting & ending location of the very first marathon.
(2) Who was the first person to complete the mile in under 4 minutes?
(3) Who was the first woman to unofficially run the Boston Marathon (without a bib number)?
(4) Where was the first triathlon held?
(5) What year did Kathrine Switzer run the Boston Marathon with a number, and then get thrown out of the AAU?
(6) When did the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series first begin?
(7) **Bonus question: Who is the Greek goddess of running? (Careful, it's not as obvious as you might think. :) )

World Records:
(1) Who are the current male & female world record holders for the fastest mile?
(2) Who are the current male & female world record holders for the fastest marathon?
(3) Who is currently the oldest person to ever have completed a marathon?
(4) Who is currently the youngest person to ever have completed a marathon?
(5) Who has the world record for the most marathons ever run in a lifetime?
(6) What's the record for the longest consecutive distance a person has ever run?
(7) **Bonus question: What's the the record for the longest, non-consecutive distance a person has ever run?

So how do you think you did on this quiz? The answers will appear in a later post. :)

0 Learn More About Running Hoosier Magazine


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Hello Everybody,

Below is a press release which I wrote about Running Hoosier magazine, for those who are interested in finding out more about the publication:


Who We Are:

Welcome to Running Hoosier Magazine! We're Indiana's only running magazine, and while we do feature the local running scene, our magazine is not just for runners, nor just for Hoosiers. We are also geared toward the entire fitness community.

Our publication is a refreshing, down-to-earth take on fitness and health-related topics for regular, everyday people. Running Hoosier will have something of interest and of use to all endurance, multi-sport athletes. We cover a diverse range of topics, including training, fitness, sports nutrition, health & healthy living, local runners and events, interviews, and other issues that we, as endurance athletes, face in our sports. Our magazine is for runners of all ages, shapes and sizes, and experience levels. So whether you are new to the sport or have run for years -- this publication is for you.

Our magazine team is composed of writers from all across the nation, with backgrounds in running, swimming, and cycling, etc.

We believe that there are many facets of fitness & well-being and will not shy from any of them. Three of them which are vitally important are the mental, physical and spiritual. Our magazine will provide useful information on all of these topics.

We at Running Hoosier magazine hope that you find our publication to be an invaluable resource for all your training needs.


How to Get Involved:

--There are several ways to connect and interact with our magazine: Visit our website, http://runninghoosier.com; join our Facebook group at http://bit.ly/rhmag and our social network at http://runninghoosier.ning.com.

--Get ready for the premiere issue of Indiana's ONLY running magazine, in September 2009! Magazine subscriptions are can be purchased online via the Running Hoosier website, http://www.runninghoosier.com/magazine-subscription/. Subscriptions are only $10.00 for six issues, or $1.67 per issue.

--Are you a writer? An endurance athlete? Do YOU picture yourself writing for our magazine? Running Hoosier is always looking for qualified writers who would like to contribute articles to the magazine. Please note that, while Running Hoosier does not pay for any article submissions at the current time, we do, however, send the writer a free copy of the issue in which their article appears, for their portfolio. If you'd like to write for us, please go to the Running Hoosier magazine website, http://runninghoosier.com, click on the "Freelance writers" link towards the top of the page, and fill out the contact form to indicate your interest in writing for the magazine. Please mention any previous writing and running-related experience, including published works and blogs.

--After a pre-screening process, the Managing Editor of Running Hoosier magazine will contact individuals and ask them to submit 3 writing samples which best represent the writer's work. Writers, please note that we accept only original content for publication. Content must not be published elsewhere, including verbatim content which has already been posted to blogs or submitted to other publications. We will, however, accept articles on topics which the writer has written about previously, provided it is not simply duplicate or paraphrased content.

--Advertisers interested in reserving ad space, as well as those interested in other, non-writing related career opportunities with the magazine, please contact us using the appropriate contact forms ( i.e., the "Advertising Information" & "Contact Us" links, respectively) on the Running Hoosier magazine website, http://www.runninghoosier.com/.

--Robert Overton, Editor-in-Chief, and Corey Irwin, Managing Editor, can also be contacted via Twitter at @runninghoosier & @cyberpenguin, and via Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/robert.overton & http://www.facebook.com/cyberpenguin, respectively. Please do not send any time-sensitive correspondence to Twitter or Facebook. Thanks!

Regards,
Corey Irwin
Managing Editor
Running Hoosier Magazine
http://www.runninghoosier.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

1 Being A Running Coach Doesn't Mean You Have to Be Perfect :)


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It's been a while since I've written searingly honest prose here, so after chatting with one of my friends about the topic of the importance of balancing the concepts of "blogging with honesty & realness" with "putting one's best foot forward in the professional realm," I've decided that it was time to finally get some things off my chest here.

First of all, I would just like to say that one of the reasons I switched careers & became an entrepreneur is that, in addition to feeling the need to more readily control my destiny & make executive decisions, I wanted to work in a different & much healthier work environment, one that agreed with my constitution & frankly, with my soul. :)

I also felt that a need to resolve the internal conflict between the need to "be myself" (in a fuller & more meaningful way) & "being successful."

In both the running & writing worlds, the concept of these entities living in harmony is frankly, much more possible. In what I'm doing now professionally (with both running & writing), these two ideals aren't continually duking it out with one another. This is not always so in the realm of "behemoth corporate world."

I'm not saying that resolving the two has ever been easy. In fact, this blog has born some of that internal struggle over the past few years, whether or not people have realized it.

Indicators include some of the subtle & not-so-subtle changes to this blog. To those of you who've been long-time readers, witness how much this blog has changed, even over the past year or so.

Now, to be fair, some of the changes are only natural in the evolution of a blog. For example, a blogger typically develops a more specific & refined viewpoint as time goes on & is still free to develop or change the blog's scope as the blogger themselves develops as a person & as a writer. Hopefully that growth is a lifelong process. :)

It's not simply about getting to know one's own mind better; it's also about improving & fine-tuning the way in which one's thoughts are communicated.

So yes, this blog has probably changed in all of those ways.

And, "not that there's anything wrong with that," to quote the famous Seinfeld line, but it's probably obvious to readers who've been with me from the beginning that there's now "less of me" appearing here in this blog (& not just in a literal sense, after getting into shape! LOL!) & "more of other people." This blog, is now focused, to a much larger degree, on providing running-related tips & covering events in the running world, whether local, national, or global. It is less "journal" & more "resources & advice." There is no judgment either way in mentioning this fact; it just is.

It's not that I'm being any less honest in the process, but rather that, as I've transitioned my running-related activities into a professional sphere, I'm feeling a bit, well, more reserved. :)

Basically, it's the internal struggle between the need for "protection" & a sincere longing for "openness" & "communication."

This goes back to an earlier discussion I had with a friend. She told me that her running coach feels a lot of pressure to be perfect. It's as if somehow, in the act of becoming a running coach, that they appear "less human" to others. They are expected to somehow have all the answers, etc., etc.

Now laugh if you want, but I think there's some truth to this.

The pressure is both externally & internally imposed.

Without revealing a lot of details, let me just say that I recently had an interaction which more or less confirmed this expectation that some have of running coaches. :)

Of course, we are just as human as the next person, but somehow, in becoming a mentor & role model to others, we're expected to put forth a "veneer of perfection."

This is not only ridiculous, but dangerous as well. Why is it dangerous? Because then it means that the process of coaching & running becomes vastly oversimplified & somehow synonymous with "perfection." And what happens when we've supposedly attained "perfection"? There's no room to improve! Is that really what people want?! Why would we ever want to misrepresent ourselves this way? Another way to phrase that would be "stunted growth."

We must not forget that error & failure are part of the larger process of learning & growing, & that running itself is a process of struggling & overcoming, & persisting through it all, & becoming the better for it.

Failure is part of life, & instead of being fearful of it, I say, "Embrace it, learn from it, & then move on." That's what will make you a better athlete & a better person. It also keeps us humble, real, & connected to the process as well. :)

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Now I used to be in IT for several years, & one of the lessons you learn being in this profession is how to be resourceful & think on your feet. It's not so important that you (as a systems administrator or even as an IT manager) know all the answers, but rather, know how to find or figure out the answers. That requires quick, adaptive thinking, knowing how to ascertain the nature of a problem (troubleshooting), & leveraging one's resources to their best advantage.

In a profession that's all about learning & the application of practical knowledge, it's common for technical people to come into contact with people (i.e., whether they be part of the user community or upper tiers of management) who have absolutely zero cognizance of the processes required in order to arrive at these solutions. Now, of course, you could argue that it's not really their concern, which is probably, in most cases, a fairly accurate assessment.

However, the problem with others who are "peering from the outside in" is that, not only can they not understand or relate to the nature of the challenge, but that they often make incorrect snap judgments about the nature of the problem & the troubleshooting process itself, as well as the persons putting these processes in motion. :)

The reason I bring up all of the above is that there are a lot of parallels between the IT worlds & the worlds of training & coaching running. Also, more specifically, I think it's important that people recognize the true nature of what's required as part of the process of performing these activities, from the perspective of the one who's in the "driver's seat."

And yes, like troubleshooting a computer problem, both coaching people & getting into shape are processes. I say this, not to "cut myself any slack" as either a coach or an exerciser, but rather, to put the process of exercising & coaching into a larger perspective.

All of these processes share something in common. They require flexibility in one's approach, being able to think on one's feet, & the ability to make changes as other elements shift in one's situation. [And, with running & coaching, one's situation would, of course, include the personal/physical/mental constitution & overall training of the runner(s).]

In fact, many (although not all) of the same qualities that make a great IT professional -- "quick, adaptive thinking, knowing how to ascertain the nature of a problem (troubleshooting), & leveraging one's resources to their best advantage" (as previously mentioned above) -- are also the very same traits which make a good athlete & coach.

Likewise, in IT, a profession that's all about creative troubleshooting & the application of practical learning, you learn how to stay mentally agile & focused in the present. The same could be said of training & coaching. :)

And also just like IT, training & coaching are all about the process of getting there, whether the "getting there" part be a solution to a computer problem, getting into shape, or effectively motivating clientele based on who they are & how they respond as individuals. :)

And similarly, in all of the above activities, it's important to be constantly learning & keeping up with the latest cutting edge technology.

Additionally, those technical people who interface with the public are expected to have people skills, whether as part of the general workforce or on a managerial level. It's a seriously incorrect assumption to say that all "geeks" don't have people skills. :) OK, there are indeed some who could be placed in that category, but chances are, unless you're an IT person who spends all day in the network closet or working with servers, you're going to have to possess some interpersonal skills, or you won't be successful.

Likewise, there's both a technical & a personal side of coaching. While, on the one hand, I frankly don't want to spend all of my day being nothing more than a "human calorie calculator" for someone else because they are too lazy to do the calculations & the upkeep for themselves -- That's fairly low-level & uninteresting work, & is not the reason why I became a running coach -- I also recognize the importance of designing programs which factor in such calculations, so that people can reach their goals.

Again, it's all about balance & the specific individual with whom I'm working. There are some people for whom metrics are going to help them hold themselves accountable & further motivate them. And then again, there are others for whom this technique is completely inappropriate. In certain cases, focusing on calorie-counting or other metrics too heavily might actually be counterproductive. In this particular instance, it's my job to refocus these individuals on other positive progress markers which will spur them to reach their goals.

As a coach, I need to provide my clients with an overall balance between structure & variety, & also make sure that the exact amounts of both are appropriate to the specific individual I'm coaching.

Moreover, while I am there to provide motivation, I also realize that, unless a client really wants to make the necessary changes to reach their goals, & wants to make these changes for him or herself more than I want the changes for them, that any changes they make to their training & their lifestyle will only be temporary. Only when a desire for change is coupled with a readiness to see certain truths within oneself -- & these two elements are aligned in a person's mind, body, & soul -- is a person then ready to truly learn & do what's necessary to take them to the next level of their fitness & overall well-being.

I am a catalyst, but it's up to the individual clients to be the engine that starts the process.

And this is a concept which certainly isn't static. These are principles which I too must put to the test every day, not just as a coach but as a marathoner-in-training.

In both the personal & professional realms, it would be unfair to set others accountable to a standard to which I'm unable to hold myself. As a runner, professional running coaching, consultant, & the managing editor of a magazine, I'm continually testing myself -- to perform to the best of my abilities, & to be the kind of leader that embodies the kind of consistent internal strength, courage, vision, & ideals that both I & others will respect and believe in, without losing my humanity in the process.

Once again, the point is not to be perfect or to appear so. Rather, we need to find a way to exist in the present without precondition, & accept the process of growth, & help others to understand that its ever-changing nature is an opportunity & not a threat.

As a running coach, I hope that others can see the beauty in the noble struggle to continually improve one's fitness & well-being, & not just in the end result. Those who can understand, appreciate, & apply these big-picture concepts will continue to growth, & will hopefully also develop a newfound respect for those who both teach these precepts & perpetually go through the process themselves.

Each time we go through the process -- either of getting fit or getting fitter, we not only learn, but also rediscover who we are.

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