Author Archive

Thank You

November 29, 2012

Wow, It’s been a month since Paul and I finally did what we set out to do. We set out to do this silly adventure in July 2009. We only started and kept up this blog as a means of motivation to keep us running. It worked. This little corner of the internet helped us keep going. It made it easier at times to run while thinking about what I’d write on here. It helped knowing people were reading our posts and developing expectations of us. This blog kept us going when we wanted to (and did) quit.

But there was so much more than we leaned on for support. There’s a ton of people I’d like to thank:

THANK YOU Nike+: I wouldn’t have run without your collection of my running data. Period.

THANK YOU Ipod: Without the music, I do not run. With the music, I run.

THANK YOU Multiple foot/ankle doctors: I had many, many problems but you were able to keep me healed so that the 3rd time I tried the MCM I was able to cry throughout it without an actual injury.

THANK YOU Baltimore Orioles for deciding to become Playoff relevant during my injury free marathon training and making me leave work early to run so that I could get home for the 8th and 9th innings on …. well that never happened cause I’m a great worker and never leave work early. P.S I LOVE YOU O’S

THANK YOU Cars that never hit me as I ran. Good looks.

THANK YOU Knees that never took a cue from my ankles to just give out. I look forward to you guys giving out by age 34.

THANK YOU VA Runners for properly fitting me into running shoes that would best help me. Made ALL the difference in the world. I’ll be back for sure.

THANK YOU Anyone that ever commented of viewed or read this blog. Paul and I created this to motivate each other and to maybe entertain anyone else that stumbled by. Secretly, we tracked page view stats (thanks happy dog picture viewers!) and ever comment (thanks mom!).

THANK YOU Everyone that ever ‘commented’, ‘liked’ anything regarding my runs on social media. Wither it was a simple click or acknowledge of a run completion, I swear every and any time you tried to be positive about anything I did towards running did not go unnoticed. I greatly appreciate it. It was fuel for me.

THANK YOU Paul. Simply put, I don’t run this thing without you. You’re my wife in this acceptance speech, minus the gown and TV ready cleavage.

THANK YOU To my sisters, whose every query into my running status was a new depth charge to my motivation, mostly because of how much I admire them.

THANK YOU To my Dad. You first put the seed of this kind of race into my head when you wanted to run a marathon with Megs and I. Your knees gave out not long there after and Megs and I saw that as an excuse to not run and be young and do a ton of karate. The bug of running never quite left me as I tried to pick it back up as I lived with Paul, Rachel and Nathan. I didn’t have an Ipod or Nike+ so I couldn’t track my total distance so I had to borrow Rachel’s little purple watch that had a stopwatch on it. I used it to keep track of how long I was outside of the house. I never knew how far I ran, but I’d always run the same amount and try to run faster. That was my start. Rachel thought it was silly. So did Paul. Soon after they moved out of that house is when Paul and I came up with the idea to run a marathon, siting my times trying to run. During my years of trying to run the marathon, I always kept your and Mary’s books and “Everyday Is Training Day’ shirt as motivation. Your presence at the marathon at the many stops was immeasurable but your words at Mile 19 will never leave me; “Keep going. I’m so proud of you. I love you”.

Last, but not least ….

THANK YOU To my Mom. There’s no doubt about it, you were the oil that kept this Tin Man going. You bought my first pair of  running shoes. You bought my second pair of running shoes. You were the first to text (after you learned I wouldn’t answer phone calls) after all of my foot doctor visits. You were my first phone call after my 2 marathon ending injuries. You were always the first to ask me how I was feeling. You were always the first to wish Paul and I luck in our races. You were always the first to say how proud you were. You were always first to comment on either of our blog posts. You were with The Running Jerks since day one. There’s no doubt in my mind that without your constant enthusiasm, spirit, and desire to see Paul and I to the end, we wouldn’t have done it. We’ll run another one so that you can double clothesline us both at the finish line. You’d also be the first to hug us and give us our medals.

To everyone I thanked and everyone I forgot to thank … I was able to do this marathon with/without you.

Thank you.

In case this is my last post on this blog, here is one more dog picture, for ol times sake.

The Running Jerks Run The Marine Corps Marathon

November 29, 2012

Holy Crap, we did it.

 

This One’s Written For You, Mike Roberts

September 24, 2012

Dear Handsome Devil,

This is it. You have to do it. You’ve blogged about this since day 1 of this blog, July 8, 2009. Remember when you made this amazing (and you still don’t know why they haven’t used it) picture?

The email you sent Paul about a blog name had like 7 or 8 suggestions. He chose The Running Jerks. I know that there was like 3 better options to choose from (the email in question was sent from the Radford.edu address, which no longer exists. DERP) but Paul said Running Jerks and I didn’t feel like fighting so TA-DA!!. I went to my ancient computer device and made the amazing logo you see above you but Paul shut it down and made the current one. I still think to this day that my picture is WAY better. It took me literally 7 minutes to make and I’m still thinking about it (and re-posting).

But this post is only about you, Mike. This is the last post before you try to run the marathon that you’ve tried to run since July 9, 2009.

You’ve had 2 timely injuries that have kept you out of both marathons. The first made your ankle swell the size of a softball and you never went to a doctor cause you didn’t have a job and no insurance (Sept 20, 2009).

The second happened because of a stress fracture 2 months prior and put you in a long boot:

Remember the past to make your future better. You can’t avoid injuries but you can train your body to be better. Keep running. You have to. Keep running farther than you want to. When you get to that point, keep running. Don’t stop.

Remember your first run? It sucked. It was so hard. You could barely run far at all.

Remember your 10th run? It sucked. It was harder than you thought. 6 miles was harder than you thought.

Remember your 20th run? It sucked. It was too hard for someone that trained to do this. Why?

Remember your 50th run? It sucked. It was easier than the 1st but its still hard. Getting better but I still get very tired.

Remember your 100th run? It sucked. It sucked cause you pushed yourself.

Remember your 150tth run? It sucked. It sucked cause you ran farther than you ever had.

Remember your 200th run? It sucked. It sucked cause you didn’t have enough rest cause you’ve been running too much recently.

Remember your 250th run? It sucked. It sucked cause you you ran when you thought you were too tired or weak.

Remember your 300th run? It hasn’t sucked cause you haven’t done it yet. It will suck because running isn’t fun.

But it can be.

Running was run. The videos you took had you smiling in them. You have to remember that. Don’t let yourself be your worst enemy when you run. Know that you worked hard enough physically. Know that your body won’t fail you. Be positive. You can do it. You’ve done it before, why not do it now?

Left foot, right foot, repeat. Running is that easy. Don’t be the fastest, just finish. Hydration is important. So is comfy feet, thighs, and nipples. Don’t get uncomfortable during the race cause that’ll hurt you mentally. Don’t lose your mental composure. Never think you can’t do it, because you can. It will seem like you can’t at many points during it, but never think you can’t. Keep moving forward. Paul will be there with you, he’ll help you.

You will start and finish the race with Paul. If you hurt, he will help you and if he hurts you will help him.

Don’t run with the pack because that’s the speed they are running at; it is very important that you run at your own comfortable pace. It’s a very long run, it’s not a race, just finish.

Get a lot of sleep beforehand and eat good carbs. Leave earlier than you planned to. Remember where and when your loved ones want to meet you during the race. Remember that everyone not running is there to see you so try and make their day as well. Be happy.

Do not doubt yourself. Never think that you cannot do it. You know you can. You have worked too hard for this. You ran in Fairfax. You ran in Centreville. You ran in New Jersey. You ran in New York. You ran in Wilminton, NC. You ran in Arlington. You ran in Ireland.

You want this. You want this badly. Don’t forget that. Don’t wait another year. Don’t give up.

You run for Elizabeth Healy.

You run for Paul Schratwieser.

You’ll run in honor of everyone you’ve ever known and loved.

You’ll never be more proud of yourself when you finish.

You can do it

You will do it

Do it

Run

Run

Run

Keep running

Cheers,
Mike Roberts

Be Postive And Good Things Will Happen

August 3, 2012

Maybe not at first. It may take awhile. Keep a good head and a good outlook and good things will happen eventually.

During this long adventure, I’ve been bitten by the Injury Bug more times than I’d like to admit (although if you run through the history of my posts here, you’ll be able to accurately count). It always happens as I’m gathering steam and about to make significant progress. It’s incredibly frustrating and even more deflating mentally.  Focusing on one goal and striving hard and moving multiple things in your life to accomplish it and then suddenly have to put everything on hold and just wait is maddening.

It’s a hard thing to describe to people that don’t actively run. As I’ve said many times, I only write here so that Future Mike can look back and enjoy the memories and the jokes that only Present Mike and Future Mike gets (for the record, if I do eventually grow up, Future Mike will be embarrassed and mortified in what Present Mike has done in these last few years; blog wise, anyways). I don’t write with a certain reader in mind, meaning I don’t assume that someone else who reads this might not be in my exact situation. Running has been part of my life for better or worse since we started this quest. It wasn’t always and it’s not for probably most who read this. A lot of what I try to describe or document doesn’t really translate to a reader who isn’t doing what I’m doing.

That being said, it isn’t too hard to understand the frustrations that come with being forced to stop doing something you like; something you’re going out of your way to get better at. Which leads me to my latest injury: Stress Reaction.

Its not serious … yet. A stress reaction is the little brother of what knocked me out of the last marathon, the injury that put me in a walking boot for weeks; the stress fracture. I started feeling bad pain on the side of my foot after runs a month or so ago. I would go on a longer run and would have trouble walking the next day because anytime I put pressure on my right inside foot it would hurt. The pain would go away by the time the sun went down and I’d run the next day only to have the pain come back. I did that cycle a few times and then made a call to Dr Pearl, Foot Doctor Dude Extraordinaire. First visit detected the stress reaction. Told me to stay off running for 1-2 weeks and it should heal itself. 2 weeks to the day and I return, take more x-rays, and he thinks its healed nicely, but not completely gone.

A bummer. I wanted to move on and not think about it again but he says it could return anytime. I made a frowny face and asked what I could do to help it not happen. He names off a few pills I could take everyday to detour it. “Damn, I take everyone of those” I said. “Oh, good, keep taking those” he said. At this point I’m glad I’m only due the co-pay. But there was another problem I came in with. A new pain, a pain in my front high ankle, anytime I raised it high, like taking your foot off a pedal. He took an x ray and came back with bad news that he delivered all too calmly (it was 2nd on the list, diagnosis wise). It seems that I have exhausted all cartilage inbetween the ankle bone and foot bone (not technical terminology, for those keeping score at home). “You know longer have any cartilage inbetween the ‘ankle’ bone and the ‘leg’ bone. Its pretty much bone on bone now, from the years of running” he said. “Ooohhhhh, thats not good. I’ve heard that happen to actual athletes. Don’t know why it happened here *I then point to feet*.”

“Ya, well a lot of running on pavement or concrete could do that, it happens” says doctor, anxious to get to next patient.

“Crap. Well, is there anything I can do? Anything to not let it hurt or help the pain? Another insole? New shoes?” said the concerned and very sexy patient.

“Not really. Once its gone, cartilage is gone, doesn’t come back” says doctor.

*I rip off my shirt, punch 32 holes in the wall and cry uncontrollably*

“It might be just a pain that you have to deal with from here on out. I have a knee pain but still play soccer every week” says Doctor Inspiration.

That last part wasn’t a particularly inspiring or revolutionary remark, but I remember it clearly. It kind of struck a nerve. It reminded me of my old thinking. When I first got inspired from running, my thesis on running could be summed up by “Shut Up And Do It”.

And that is what I’ll adapt as my mantra for these last (less than) 3 months. It’ll hurt. It’s supposed to. But be smart about it and shut up and do it. My plan: run hard, bike hard, wear the walking boot any other time to try and heal. Other than taking more weeks off (I don’t have that time to spare), I don’t have any other plan. It’ll have to do cause I’m crossing that finish line with Paul on Oct. 28th.

Enjoy life.

Storming The Castle In What You Hope Is Enough Time

July 13, 2012

Yowza. I haven’t posted in over 3 months. Well, back in the old days of this blog, we’d call that business as usual. But in that time, on the running trail, business has been picking up!

Last post was March 30th. Please do allow me to recap in numerical format the happenings since then with a generous explanation of each point afterwards:

1. April has 9 runs.

2. May is even worse, 7 runs, but the proudest.

3. Run my first half marathon race.

4. June is productive, 10 runs

5. July is usual July in that it is a terrible month, always

Generous Explanations:

1. What was supposed to be my Go Get Em month turned into a lazy one.  Didn’t hit my weight goal and I spent too much time boozing. Only 9 runs in the month but 3 were over 10 miles, including April 10ths run of 13.2 miles. I was ready for the half marathon then, but not ready for the weather change.

2. April’s laziness bleeds into May; I don’t run in the last 6 days of April or the first 5 days of May). Determination still rules and 3 awesome runs happen in the next week, including a 13.8 mile run. I feel ready but don’t want to injure myself so only 1 run of 6 miles happens in the next week leading up to the big run.

3. 1st half GREAT. 2nd half HILLS AND HEAT. Video:

4. Tuesdays through Fridays were filled with gyms, lifting and running. Saturdays through Mondays involved nothing but sloth like behavior. 1 cousin was married and my 2 best friends had babies turning 1 years old. Weekend wise was busy. Also, I was very much losing the battle of Eating Better VS. Fast Food. Laziness is Fast Foods stepbrother.

5. July is always a terrible month, aside from the amazing fireworks. Its hotter than need-be. If you life in DC I don’t need to tell you about the humidity and if you’ve ever known a person that’s been in DC during July, I don’t need to tell you about the humidity. People in Arizona, in 110 degree heat, look at the heat index in DC and go “oh shit, did you see that, over there *pointing to east coast*, ya, DC, WHEW! That sucks!”. July is horrible weather in which to go outside. If a human goes outside with the idea to use forward momentum is always met with an almost tangible wave of heat. Such an encounter makes most humans run back inside, usually complaining to the nearest human of the furious encounter they’ve just endured. Runners are a different breed of human.

I’ve done my rants about what make runners ‘runners’, but running in July DC heat makes runners ‘inhuman’. For me, at least, running outside in the worst of worst is like breathing in sand. I went to college so I don’t consider myself too stupid, but I didn’t go to become a doctor so I cannot declare myself an expert on lungs or how they’re supposed to work, but I’m of the understanding that lungs need outside air (oxygen) to work; therefore let my body work. When I’m breathing as I run in July, I literally feel like either I’m taking in half breathes or only half of what I’m breathing in is healthy (the other half being bricks and/or wet sand). July sucks.

Mentally, I was out of the ‘game’ for a few weeks. Never got in a good running rhythm, too many things came up and I didn’t have the dedication to say no and run. When a Mike is at rest, a Mike will eat whatever is close, which is never good. I got lazy and unmotivated. That sucks. Really sucks. I’m losing time. I’m not missing this a third time.

Before I got my kick in the ass to be better and excel, my right foot started hurting after runs (not during). A small sliver along the top of my arch would hurt hours after the run continuing throughout the whole next day; every step with a little bit of pain. The day after it would be right as rain and I would run as much as I wanted to. Any run over 4 miles would aggravate this pain. After a few runs I made an appointment with my foot doctor dude to make this better before it got worse.

I saw him today after I had run 8 miles 2 days ago. I still had a little pain in my foot but not nearly as bad as it was yesterday. After a couple X-Rays he determined it was not a stress fracture (like I had before, which required me to be in a walking boot for weeks), but a step down, severity wise, a stress reaction. I haven’t researched that yet, but its not supposed to be that bad and 2 weeks of not running should do me good.

I used to welcome any reason not to run, but dammit, I just got the running bug back so this is good but still unwelcome news. I’ll sit down like a good boy and wait out my time. I’ll hit the bikes in the gym and on the trail in the meantime. I mean to hit the ground running when I’m able to.

3rd times the charm. I’m running this damn marathon.