Tag Archives: Strolling Jim 40

Goals, Goals, Goals


Oh, Harvey. You’re such a hottie.

I love goals, and I love to plan. I make to-do lists and schedules for myself at least once of day. I have 2 paper calendars and a google calendar. I keep a legal pad that’s just for my “agenda”. For goal races, I’ll post my goal time on the mirror with a sticky note or on the fridge (usually near the beer drawer which is where it’ll get the most eye traffic). I always make A, B, and C goals for these races and write them down everywhere. As much as I love both of these things, I don’t think I’ve ever planned out my goals for the year (Maybe I have and there’s a previous blog post that’ll call me a liar, but I’m too lazy to go fact check myself). And for accountability/transparency’s sake, I’m sharing this with you, my loyal 22 readers.

General/Vague Goals — Faster/Stronger/Mentally Tougher

Mileage — 3000 for the year


Mt. Cheaha 50K (Feb 27) : no time goal really (no, I’m serious). Sub-6:00 would be nice but using this has a “get back in shape run”

River Gorge 10.2 (March 26): Course PR

WDW Star Wars 1/2 Marathon (April 17): PR BUT with Disney crowds this may be hard

Bend Marathon (or 1/2) (April 24): This is a questionable race b/c of time, finances, and the fact it’d be one of 4 straight road races. But another pour from my Smith & Lentz growler, and it’s about to be unquestionable

Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon -Nashville (April 30): running this in conjunction with Nashville Running Company and Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s fundraising opportunity

Strolling Jim (May 7): sub-6:00

Race Against the Sun: No expectations; just a “fun” night race in prep for AC 100

Angeles Crest 100 (Aug 6): Don’t die/Finish — and that’s lofty.

The rest of the year is kind of dependent on AC100 recovery and what not. Would love to do Upchuck 50K. Up to suggestions for end of year races!





Newton Distance IV Review

Obviously, trails are my true love, but out of convenience, a lot of my runs are done on the road. Thanks to Strava, I can keep track of how many miles my shoes have logged. My road shoes have over 600 miles on them, and I thought that warranted my review of them.

Since 2012, when I first started shopping at NRC and discovered there was a whole world of running shoes outside of Brooks, I’ve only worn Newtons on the road. I have had no less than 7 pairs, including the Distance III. I’ve loved each and every one but not like I love my latest pair, the Distance IV. As soon as I put on this shoe, I was obsessed. I’m not saying that it was exactly like Meg Ryan’s infamous scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” but it was close. Two days after I got them, I ran a marathon in them. Two weeks after that, I ran a 41 mile race in them, and my feet felt great (well, for having run 41 miles on the road. In hilly Tennessee. In May).

Rocking the Distance IV at Strolling Jim

Rocking the Distance IV at Strolling Jim

There were just a few changes from the Distance III, and aside from the color, I think they were all for the better. Newton is known for their lug technology; the lugs encourage midfoot running, as well as maximize running efficiency. The Distance IV is a part of the POP 1 (POP = point of power) group so there’s a whole lotta lugs. The lugs on the Distance IV seem to be more prominent than on the other models, and they haven’t worn down much even after 600 miles. Also, I definitely think that the lugs on the IV are more responsive than with lugs past. I feel a little more pep in my step from these. The heel of the IV hasn’t worn down as much either which I can only assume stems from the advanced lug technology (and perhaps, I’m finally getting better with my form). The tongue has less material and is less “cushy,” but it actually stays in place better. Even though the IV is a little heavier (and by heavier, I mean .6-.7 ounces), I haven’t been able to tell a difference.

Probably, the biggest thing for me is the toebox seems a little wider. One of the issues I’ve always had with Newtons is that my pinky toes would start hurting in the middle of long runs. The IV hasn’t given me this problem at all. Like I said, I ran a marathon and 41 miles in them, and my feet were about the only thing that felt good at the end.* My only complaint, and which really isn’t a complaint at all, is based solely (ha get it) on aesthetics. I may be one of the few people who is not a fan of flashy, loud shoes, but color is no reason to buy or not to buy certain running shoes. The Distance III was a beautiful white while the IV is BRIGHT YELLOW (which is still better than pink). The neon yellow was blinding at first, but after 600 miles, they’ve dirtied into a more pleasant, subdued hue. However, even if these shoes bright orange and blue, I’d still wear them. They’re that good.

Looking pretty good for 600 miles

Looking pretty good for 600 miles

So to sum up this succinct review — I really, really flipping love these shoes.

*Full disclosure: I wear currexSole insoles in all of my shoes as recommended by my PT. I have terrible arches and a (finally) healing but weak ankle.

**Super full disclosure: I run on NRC’s Race Team which is sponsored this year by Newton, but as I said earlier, I’ve been wearing Newtons since 2012, long before I was fast(ish) or on the team.

Embrace the Suck

Every now and then I get in a funk . . . and not the Uptown Funk that sexy ass Bruno Mars sings about. I’ll have a week or two of just feeling “blah”. I think (hope) that’s pretty normal for most people. I’ll also occasionally go through a short period of what I call “going to Arizona” (named this because when I got overwhelmed as a college freshman — I know, it makes me sick to write that sentence. I’d kill to be “overwhelmed” like that again — I sincerely contemplated just packing up and driving to Arizona. Anyone who knows me, though, can appreciate the hilarity of this because I can’t read a map and would never have made it out of Alabama). Anyway, the week before Strolling Jim, I was having a going to Arizona moment, a mini-almost-third life crisis if you will. On top of trying to figure out my life, everyone and everything was making my blood boil. So needless to say, it was a super fun week.

If you read my blog or talked to me since Strolling Jim, then you know that it was a complete suffer fest. Half of the race just flat out sucked. It took absolutely everything I had to finish that race. But, miraculously, after the race was over, I was completely free of my terrible mood and existential crisis. This wasn’t simply because of some exercise-induced endorphin release– I’m pretty sure my body was devoid of any endorphins after mile 18. I felt better because I had just suffered my ass off. The race took everything out of me; it forced me to dispose of every thing and every thought that I didn’t need in order to make it across that finish line. I was in pure survival mode — if it didn’t have to do with food, water, and shelter from the sun, I didn’t have the time or energy to worry about it. I left all of my baggage and issues out on that course to rot in the hot Tennessee sun . . . just like the 12 dead animals we saw along the race course. This time, it wasn’t the joy of running or first place or even the camaraderie at the race (though that was amazing) that made me feel better. It was the suck, the suffering, the absolute misery that I felt during part of that race that stripped me down and built me anew. So don’t shy away from suffering, and embrace the suck; not only can it help you grow as a runner, it can provide you with exactly what you need as a person.

Week Recap:

Monday: 2 easy miles — legs felt like garbage (Plus I had to get to a meeting about upcoming RunWILD training – STAY TUNED!!!)

Tuesday: Red trail with Phil; Red trail with RunWILD Tuesday Night Trails

Wednesday: East Nasty (5 miles)

Thursday: RunWEST am & pm

Friday: 5 easy miles

Saturday: RWB + RW with Yong, Lindsay, and Jobie. Welcome back, heat and humidity!

Sunday: 8.5 miles on Shelby trails

Respect for the Jimmy

There are some races races that you never think about again after you cross the finish line, there are some races that you think back on every now and then but they don’t really affect you, and then there are races that stick with you, permeate almost every thought, leave you wanting so much more of it. Strolling Jim is definitely the latter.

Jobie ran SJ last year and said it was a good way to get some miles on the legs before River of No Return. He was running again this year as were Jeff Walton, Sinith, and Roy. 41.2 miles on the road — you want to make sure you know a few faces out there. After surviving Boston, I finally pulled the trigger on SJ with the intention of running it as a training run for RONR. Again, 41.2 miles on the road — I assumed it would be brutal, miserable, and that I’d never want to do it again. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Jobie and me pre-suffering

Jobie and me pre-suffering; Photo cred: Yong Kim

Sinith, Roy, and Me at the start

Sinith, Roy, and Me at the start; Photo cred: Yong Kim

I recruited my mom to come crew for me, and around 5:15 am, we headed over to Wartrace. By the time we got there, I had just enough time to pick up my packet, hit the port-a-john, give Yong and my mom a hug, say hey to Jeff, Sinith, and Roy, and toe the line next to Jobie. After an unceremonious start, we were off. We settled into a decent sized pack, right next to some ultrarunning legends. As I was running with them, I knew I was going to pay for it later, but it was oh so worth it. I mean one of the guys had run SJ for as many years as I’ve been on this Earth. When you can run with these guys and listen to what they have to say, you do it. Plus, the miles were really clicking by (probably because we were running under an 8:00 pace) . . . even with the “hills”. Spray painted on the first, shall we say, incline was “This Is Not a Hill” — a theme that would continue throughout the day. (Apparently, Laz doesn’t believe anything under 1000 ft is considered a hill and which according to this, there’d only be 4 hills the entire race) We kept trucking along, listening to ultrarunning war stories from these guys.

The week before the race Jobie warned me that 9 was an evil number — big hills fell around miles 9, 19, and 29. Sure enough, right around mile 9, we just kept going up and up. As we reached the top, the pavement read “That was a a hill”. Yeah, no shit, Laz. Even with the hill, we got to Mom and Yong at mile 10 more quickly than expected. I exchanged out my bottle and kept on running. I still felt good and kept up with the group for another 5 or 6 miles I think. I started running with one of the Huntsville guys, Tim. We ran off and on together throughout the day.

Tim and Me around 19ish   Photo Cred: Yong Kim

Tim and Me around 19ish; Photo cred: Yong Kim

Eventually, Tim and I separated from the pack. For me, wheels started falling off after the hill at mile 19. I had already been struggling a little through miles 17-19, but my stomach and legs just wouldn’t cooperate. I chugged some coke and tried to eat a little bit before getting back after it. I still felt terrible and really had to work hard to keep up with Tim. We each reassessed some of our goals for the day. Mine became just survive and finish, and even that seemed lofty at times. I have never wanted to drop from a race as badly as I did between miles 22-27ish, but I kept thinking about something Tim said a few miles back — the only way he wouldn’t finish a race was if a bone were sticking out. Damn straight. I knew I had to just suck it up and walk the whole damn thing if I had to. (Of course, there were a few moments when I tried to think of the best way to get my bone to stick out so I could quit but those were fleeting). Around mile 23 (I think), I stopped to get some hydration and nutrition, and I told Tim to go on. I had a feeling I’d be there a while. I knew I needed to eat something so I tried a few Pringles. Nope. I threw up everywhere– my first time doing so in a race. I just drank more coke and filled up a bottle with Skratch. After she doused me with gloriously cold water, Mom told me to get out of there. I started shuffling along and pretty soon I felt a little better. I was actually able to enjoy some of the scenery– it truly was a beautiful, bucolic setting for a race.

By the time I got to mom around mile 27 or 28, I was feeling good (good being a relative term). I knew that, with only a half marathon to go, I could finish this race. Per Tim’s earlier suggestion (he was long gone by now), I had Mom mix some coke and water in my bottle. Perfection. It was nice to see Mom every couple of miles so I had her keep that up through the remainder of the race. I was so damn hot and so damn tired that the few minutes “wasted” by stopping every 2 miles were completely worth it.

Soon, I was at mile 30 or the “Walls”– just one rolling hill after another. However, it was pretty shady here, and for some reason, this was my favorite part of the race. After the Walls, we began retracing our steps back towards the finish. There was absolutely no sun, but Mom had a system down for cooling me off and getting me back at it. Eventually, I saw Tim again but our crews were staggered so we didn’t stick together long. Also, he got an amazing second wind, and I never saw him again after mile 35ish. I continued on the country road, talked to another guy, Martin, from Huntsville, really tried to enjoy myself. I was still hot and tired but felt good compared to miles 19-27. At some point, I grabbed Mom’s iPod. I rarely listen to music while I run but was desperate for any little help. “Dancing in the Dark” came on (my favorite Springsteen song) which really picked up until I saw Yong and Mom back together again around 37. Mom gave me some coke while Yong wiped me down with a cool rag. This was my first time having a crew for a race — I really like the star treatment! I asked about Jobie who I hadn’t seen in 20 miles or so, and then Yong told me to go– I only had a 5k left.

Sure enough, not too far down the road were the words “Only a 5k Left, Start Your Kick Now” spray painted on the road. It was on an incline, and my “kick” involved me walking up it. But after that, my legs got going, and I could see Mom up at the 2 miles to go mark. I had her wait there just in case I needed something to make it to the finish. Right as I was getting there, Tony, the guy who’d been helping out Tim and Martin, pulled up beside me and said that somehow the 2nd place female was coming in hot behind me. After all of the struggle and suffering, I did not want to give up first place with 2 miles to go. I dug deep, and fortunately, my legs wanted to cooperate with my heart. I ran past Mom and told her to go on to the finish. Soon, I made my way onto the main road that would carry me home. This section was completely exposed and, shocker, had an incline. I didn’t care though– I was ready to finish and finish first. Tony drove by, gave me the thumbs up, and said homegirl was about 3/4 mile back. I started pushing a little harder. FINALLY, I saw the gas station which was so close to the finish line, pushed as much as I could, and made it across the finish line at 6:16:50. I’ve never been so happy to see Mom, Yong, or Jobie in my life.

Greatest swing on the planet

Greatest swing on the planet

All I could tell people after the race was over was that it was absolutely miserable. And it was. But I cannot stop thinking about that damn race and how badly I want to do it again next year. I’m not sure if it’s the vibe or the history or the badassness that surrounds it, but it definitely has a magnetic pull on me right now. So yes, it was brutal, it was miserable, but I will do it again next year. And I’ll do it with much more respect for the Jimmy this time.

*Huge thanks to my mom and to Yong for all of their help. I think part of the reason the day was so special to me was that I got to share this experience with my mom. There were definitely spots in the race where I wouldn’t have wanted to see anyone else out there but her. It meant a lot that she willingly spent her Saturday watching me puke and suffer. Love you, and Happy Early Mother’s Day.

**Thanks also to Nashville Running Company for their support

***I think I repressed parts of the race so if description/mileage/etc are off, please forgive.