Writer's Block (again)

So, once again I find myself with so much to say and so few words to say it. I guess everyone goes through periods like this, only mine seem more frequent than others. I will soon resume blogging as usual, but I want to give a preview of what I need to write about:

I'll be putting together a 2010 year in review of course. I also have a couple of race reports that I can probably combine into one to highlight my quest for and achievement of a new 5k PR. I also have to kick it  into high gear in the fundraising arena with a bunch of product donations to give away in exchange for financial donations to my "Miles for Miracles" campaign. I'll be giving away some more Brooks Running shoes, a pair of calf sleeves and a tech shirt from Zensah, a running watch from Soleus Running, some Punk Rock Racing gear, a runnerd headband from Go Headband, signed copies of Mary McManus' books,  and many more to come...

I'll also be doing my very first product review! Yay!

So, lots to look forward to here, if I can just get the words out of my head.


A New Month Brings a New Challenge

It's hard to believe it's December 1st already! Crazy! There's so much that I haven't gotten done. My life has been such a whirlwind since Charlotte was born at the end of August, I really don't know which end is up right now. I have to admit I'm in complete shock over where the time has gone. Literally. So, when I was uploading my workouts from last night and this morning, I noticed something peculiar. As of this morning (prior to running 4 miles), I was at 1116.7 miles for the year. I had noticed much earlier in the year that I was on-track for hitting "at least" 1200 miles this year. With the rough Summer, lack of training and the birth of our second child I kinda lost sight of 1200 as a goal (frankly, at one point I'd figured I'd blown my chances).

This morning I realized two things: 1) I'm only 83.3 miles away from that nice round number and 2) I have 3 short(er) races planned and they are all in the beginning of the month (the last one is the 19th). What this means is I am going to need some help staying motivated (especially after the 19th) to reach this BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). What better way to stay motivated than to drop the gauntlet so-to-speak and put a challenge out to the running community on dailymile. You can view and join the challenge here... The basis of this challenge is a slightly existential one: Can someone who calls himself "Really Not a Runner" actually run 1200 miles in one year? If he does, can he continue to call himself @reallynotarunnr

Along with the challenge I am inviting feedback. In fact I'm hoping to stir much feedback and even spirited debate. As I've stated before, the reason I chose the moniker and thus the title of this blog was that I often used the statement "I'm really not a runner" as an excuse not to run. After all, I'm 6'1" and what you would definitely call "big-boned." I was an athlete my whole life (even a collegiate wrestler), and had all sorts of nagging sports-related injuries. I had "bad" knees, back, and hips, I was 275 pounds when I started running (and had been over 300 lbs. at different points in my adult life), and certainly didn't fit the mental or physical profile of a runner. In fact, when people started noticing my weight loss and asked what I was doing, you should've seen the looks of absolute horror on their faces when I told them I was running. I certainly wasn't the picture of what a runner was. I'm still not much of a specimen to look at, even though I've lost almost 80 lbs. I guarantee that "runner" isn't the first thing that comes into anyone's mind when they look at me.

Which kind of brings me to my point. I started this blog with the intention of inspiring every day people to follow my example and start running for their health. I want to provide a positive living example of what is possible when you put your mind to it. I want everyone who says "I'm really not a runner" to look at me, see my accomplishments, and take up the mantle on their own. Because, as cliche' as it has become, "if I can do this, anyone can." Truly. I also want to provide a blueprint for them to follow so that they can train smart and not make the silly mistakes I made when I was starting out. I realize everyone is going to make their own mistakes because that's the best way to learn and gain "experience," but not everyone has to go all out, end-up overtrained and needing knee surgery, before deciding to get a coach, learn about pacing strategies and developing a proper training plan that will cater to their needs and minimize the chance of injury. Hopefully they can use my knowledge of different gadgets, shoes, websites, formulas, nutrition, products, gear, etc. to at least get started on the right foot and headed in the right direction (out the door).

So, in a nutshell, that is the challenge and the existential dilemma I am looking for solutions to this month. I am 100% confident that I can count on you all to help me with both aspects of this challenge!

Speaking of challenges, that leads me to my next blog contest! Did you not get into Boston because of the record 8 hour sell-out? Or are you just looking for a challenging marathon to train for and run in the spring? Then have I got a prize for you: The Blue Ridge Marathon on April 16, 2011 in Roanoke VA might be just what you're looking for! This marathon calls itself "America's Toughest Road Marathon." With 3620 ft of elevation gain and 7234 ft of total elevation change, through one of the most beautiful scenic mountain ranges in the country, running it might just give new meaning to "the runner's high!"

The race chairman Pete Eshelman (@BRM26pt2) has graciously donated one race entry for me to give away in support of my "Miles for Miracles" campaign! So, much like my last contest, I will be giving away this entry (an $80 value and a priceless experience) to one lucky donor and contest entrant!  To enter this week's contest, go to my "Miles for Miracles" page and make a donation, any donation at all (although, I'm kinda' partial to the $26.20 donation which would be even more appropriate for this particular contest). No donation is too small or too large to enter this week! Once you've made the donation, come back to this blog post and make a comment stating that you've made your donation and you are entering the contest! On Monday December 13 (that's right, I'm giving you 11 days on this one) I will assign a number to all of the entries that correspond with the order they were received in and use the Random Number Generator to select the winner! Now, to get you as pumped-up for this contest as I am, I'm going to leave you with the promotional video for the marathon featuring Ronny Angell, the most fired-up race director in the country! Seriously? If this video doesn't get you excited to run this race, nothing will. And if this race gets you as stoked about running as this guy is, I can't wait to run it in 2012! It must be something in the mountain air...

Blue Ridge Marathon: America's Toughest Road Marathon from Pete Eshelman on Vimeo.