Thursday, May 26, 2011

Team Open Hand FAQs

-Do you have any pace groups?

No. BUT, 'organic' pace groups often form during the course of the season. Something to keep in mind is that your pace will naturally increase over the course of the season. So, you may start out running 10:00/mile and towards the latter stages of training, a more comfortable pace for you might be 9:30/mile.

-What are we doing for the first workout on Sunday, 5/26 @ 9:30AM?

We are doing an EASY 2 MILE RUN (unless you are a 'Race' level runner). You can walk at certain points if you need to, but ideally we'd LOVE for you to cover the entire distance.

-YIKES! 2 Miles sounds like a LOT of running!

We don't expect you to set any landspeed records. Run the 2 miles as slow as you need to. You can take walk breaks if you like. Everyone from our previous program has completed two miles with no problems!

-Where do we meet for runs?

Here's a detailed breakdown of when/where we meet:

-Wednesday nights @ 6:30PM launching from the baseball fields in Golden Gate Park behind Lincoln/7th.

If you walk on 7th past Lincoln and into Golden Gate Park, you will see a small set of stairs. Walk down these stairs into the grassy area behind the baseball field and you are there. Here is a link for your reference-

Wednesday night run rendezvous point in GGP

-Wednesday nights @ 6:30PM launching from the Marina Green monkey bars through 6/24

We're supporting '2' locations for our Wednesday night run. Through 6/24, we will support a Wednesday night run launching from the Marina Green Monkey Bars. Here is a link for your reference-

Wednesday night run rendezvous point at Marina Green Monkey Bars

After 6/24, we will move to Presidio Sports Basement (610 Old Mason Street) as the Marina Green Monkey Bars will become unavailable due to the America's Cup.

Wednesday night run rendezvous point at Presidio Sports Basement (610 Old Mason Street)

Sunday long runs take place in various locations in San Francisco @ 9:30AM.

Long runs will take place in Golden Gate Park, at Lake Merced, at the Warming Hut, at the Beach Chalet, and other locations during the course of the season.


-Do I need to sign up for the half marathon?

It 'depends'. Some people simply want to 'train' and have no real interest in the half marathon we're training for.

But, I imagine most of you want to run 13.1 miles and finish in the ballpark! If you have any interest in doing this, you need to sign up for the Giant Race half marathon.

BUT, if you elected to fundraise $1,000 for Project Open Hand, you will receive a FREE entry into the race, so you don't need to worry about signing up.

The Giant Race Half Marathon (8/4) Registration

-What should I do between now and program launch?

You could head into Sports Basement Presidio and get fitted for a new pair of shoes, get a digital watch, a few pairs of good running socks, reflective gear (for our MANY runs taking place at night), a headlight (again, for night running), and/or some running shorts/shirts! Make sure to show up ready to run on Sunday, 5/26!

-What if it's raining!? Will we still run?

YES. We may encounter inclement weather on race day and I can pretty much promise you the race will NOT be canceled! So, it's actually a good thing to train during inclement weather as you will be prepared should you encounter it on race day and your friends will think you are REALLY tough! :)

Obviously, if there are 'monsoon' like conditions where this a torrential downpour and 50MPH winds, we will likely err on the side of caution and cancel a run. But, this almost never happens.

-Additional Questions/Concerns?


13.1 Reasons to Join Home Run 13.1

13.1 Reasons to Join Home Run 13.1

1. The Giant Race is sold out, but if you STILL haven’t signed up and want to train, we have a limited number of race spots available.

2. Just by joining the program you are being philanthropic as 10% of your reg. fee ($130) goes to Project Open Hand or you can join for FREE w/a $500 fundraising commitment to POH.

Because it’s more than likely what you were born to do.

It’s a quick way to burn off the garlic fries and hotdogs you consumed at your last Giants game.

5. Knocking out a few miles on Wednesday night @ 6:30PM in the Marina or in Golden Gate Park is the best way to get over hump day.

60+ Yelpers think the guy (and his team) running the program is kinda ok.

7. Because you need help channeling your inner honey badger.

8. Nothing kills a hangover from a rough Saturday night like a long run on Sunday mornings @ 9:30AM.

9. You receive a technical tee with the awesome Home Run 13.1 logo.

10. Lou Seal wants you to join.

Because running the Giant Race and finishing in AT&T Park is likely the closest you will come to being in the Majors.

12. It’s what Rocky Would Do.

13. While you may never play for the Giants, you can run a half marathon, which Tim Lincecum has never done.

13.1 Did we mention the Tim Lincecum bobblehead at the end of the race?

Online Registration for Home Run 13.1


Thursday, May 19, 2011

I run because the right path is out there...

I don't know too many people who haven't lost their way at some point in life. Maybe they were on the right path and got derailed. Maybe they were on the wrong path and just haven't found the right path yet. Sometimes the right path is in front of us and we just can't see it.

I was recently reminded of this about six weeks ago when I went on a grueling trail run with a group of fairly serious runners. I wouldn't consider myself a trail runner, but I had some trail running experience in my distant past. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I hit the trail which was probably a good thing.

This run was close to 12 miles which would be no problem on the road, but on the trail (and this trail in particular), it was far from a walk in the park. There's a level of focus and concentration required on the trail that just isn't present on the road. Every footstrike can potentially lead to disaster and on more than a few occasions I came close to wiping out.

As the run progressed, it occurred to me how LONG it had been since I had done any kind of serious trail running. Perhaps it was the marked fatigue in the quads that triggered this thought or the wheezing while running uphill for more than a mile that did it.

In the latter miles, I could already feel soreness creeping into muscle groups that were simply never used on the road. I knew I'd be feeling this run the next day....and probably the following day. Four days later, I was still feeling residual soreness/fatigue. It was as if I had run a marathon.

Clearly, I had taken on something that was totally foreign to my body...or was it? As I spent some quality time foam rolling and rubbing arnica gel on my wrecked legs, I found myself waxing nostalgic. I moved to California (Marin County, specifically) just prior to my junior year of high school. Shortly after arriving in Marin County, I discovered trail running and fell in love with it.

Interestingly, my best year of running was perhaps this first year in California when I was a junior in high school. I won every cross country race I entered with the exception of one which was a real surprise to me as I had only won '1' race in my entire running career prior to moving to California.

My senior year arrived and admittedly, I lost my way to a degree. I wasn't training as much with my cross-country team which meant I was logging miles on my own. I frequently would just log miles on the road rather than trails because it was more convenient.

My final year of racing was pretty lackluster and I found myself losing the passion I once had for the sport. Nearly 20 years later, I realized the lack of trail running may very well have been the reason for a mediocre season.

With these thoughts in mind, I gave myself a couple weeks to heal before hitting the trails again. I felt compelled to give it another shot because I had been so humbled the first time around. This time around, I was wearing shoes better suited for the task. I was sporting a decent headlamp (the beginning of the run requires this). I also knew how taxing this would be.

My second attempt at conquering the beast went much better. The muscle groups I had taxed so much the first time around clearly had adapted and while it had been awhile since they had been used in any substantive way, they vaguely recalled the day nearly two decades ago when they had been called to active duty.

In the weeks following this second attempt, I discovered something interesting. Running on the road was easier. I was running faster with less effort. I felt stronger and more balanced. This revelation triggered another more important revelation that hitting the trails on a more regular basis simply was the answer I had been looking for. It was the right path for me...and perhaps always had been.

There's only one last serious racing goal I have. This goal has been tantalizingly close numerous times, but for a variety of reasons has slipped through my fingers time and again. I take nothing for granted, but I can't help thinking I may have found the answer to achieving this goal...and it was right in front of me the whole time.

The experience of discovering a possible answer to achieving my goal has reminded me once again that achieving any goal in life often requires exploring a multitude of paths. It is those willing to explore the most paths undaunted by failure that will have the best chance of finding the right path.

So, I keep running because the right path is out there..

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Road Warrior Rewards Program 2014

Get $10 off ANY program.

Participate in a single training program and you will automatically receive a $10 discount off ANY Marathon Matt training program listed online in perpetuity via the 'MMALUMNI' code. This code can be used for a $10 discount at any time for any program in the future.

Get $20, $30, $40, $50 off the next training program or a possible FREE entry into the next program.

For each season you participate in, you will be provided a unique affiliate/tracking link for the NEXT training program.

If people sign up for the next program via your tracking link, I will provide you deeper discounts!

Here's how it works-

-If 1 person signs up via your tracking link, I will provide you a $20 discount code for the next program.
-If 2 people sign up via your tracking link, I will provide you a $30 discount code for the next program.
-If 3 people sign up via your tracking link, I will provide you a $40 discount code for the next program.
-If 4 people sign up via your tracking link, I will provide you a $50 discount code for the next program.
-If 5 (or more) people sign up via your tracking link, I will provide you a FREE ENTRY for the next program.

People frequently post their links via Facebook or Twitter. But, you can also email the link to friends, family, or colleagues who might be interested in joining.

I can track who has viewed and/or signed up via your unique tracking link and reward you accordingly!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Road Warrior Rewards Program

If you want to increase your discount from $20 to $30, $40, $50, $60 or a possible FREE entry into a future program, read on.

Here's how it works-

-$30 off any fall/winter program for FB/Twitter posting(s) & 1 person signs up for The City 13.1 via YOUR unique tracking link.
-$40 off any fall/winter program for FB/Twitter posting(s) & 2 people sign up for The City 13.1 via YOUR unique tracking link.
-$50 off any fall/winter program for FB/Twitter posting(s) & 3 people sign up for The City 13.1 via YOUR unique tracking link.
-$60 off any fall/winter program for FB/Twitter posting(s) & 4 people sign up for The City 13.1 via YOUR unique tracking link.
-FREE entry into any fall/winter program for FB/Twitter posting(s) & 5 (or more) people sign up for The City 13.1 via YOUR link.

I can track who has viewed and/or signed up for The City 13.1 via your unique tracking link once you have posted it on FB and/or Twitter and you can reap rewards accordingly!

*NOTE-None of the above discounts can be 'combined'. Any/all discounts are applicable ONLY to the programs listed above taking place in 2011.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I run because I don't know what else to do...

There's a certain tidiness that comes with running. Most of the time there are a clearly defined number of miles or a finite time period associated with each run. There may be ambiguity and uncertainty between the beginning and end, but there's always closure at the end.

I can enumerate countless reasons why I run, but I've recently realized the sense of closure associated with completing a run always resonates for me. It's a closure that unfortunately you just can't get in too many other areas of life as there are countless unsolved mysteries. Robert Stack can attest.

There are people no longer in our lives for reasons we can't fully understand. Maybe additional reflection and the acquisition of wisdom down the road will illuminate for us later why this is so. Maybe it doesn't really matter why they're not there anymore, but the generally obsessive-compulsive mind of a runner frequently seeks to know 'why'.

There are some injuries that don't fully heal. I like the idea that time heals all wounds and generally can get behind this sentiment, but certain injuries never fully heal. There are some that heal in such a way that you're almost always reminded of the initial trauma. It doesn't necessarily mean you're always in pain, but pain isn't too far from the surface. I don't know anyone who doesn't have an injury like this and if you don't be thankful.

There are things we can't say. Coming from someone who often errs on the side of saying too much, it's odd to read a statement like that, but it's true. Whether it's things we can't say to a parent, a loved one, or a vague acquaintance, there are certain things we just can't communicate. Like certain muscles that just don't fire when we need them to, there are certain things that just can't be said.

There are regrets. I love the idea of having 'no regrets', but it's not really me. I've always been a bit suspect of anyone who claims they don't have any regrets. I'm all for putting a positive spin on most things in life. I can generally point to ways (big and small) in which I ultimately benefited from a variety of misfortunes.

But, in our most private moments...can we REALLY say there is NOTHING we regret? I am reminded of one of my runners who decided to go full vegan a few days before her race and weathered cataclysmic GI distress in the middle of her race. I suspect she regrets this decision.

At one point or another, all of the aforementioned unsolved mysteries have given me restless nights. In lieu of finding a smoking gun for them , I run. I run because I don't know what else to do...and at least there's little a little bit of closure associated with logging a few on the road.

13.1 reasons to join The City 13.1 before 5/20

13.1 Reasons to Join The City 13.1 before 5/20

1. Running is like walking...only faster and markedly cooler. In short, it's what you were born to do.

2. You receive an excellent technical training shirt that will have the fashionistas drooling.

3. The $25 Fleet Feet gift coupon you receive will help you score some sweet new kicks to match your awesome new shirt.

4. Accelerate bootcamp for runners every Thursday night @ 6:30PM will prepare you for glory on race day.

5. If bootcamp isn't your bag, 'Need for Speed' every Thursday night @ 6:30PM will set you up for a personal best.

6. You need help channeling your inner honey badger.

7. GU Energy will be supplying the fuel (GU) and water (GU Brew Electrolyte tabs).

8. Your Saturday evening drink or two will be much sweeter after Saturday morning long runs @ 9:30AM.

9. In a similar vein, running is a great hangover cure for those of you who opt to not take it easy on Friday nights.

10. Nothing completes a Tuesday like an evening run in the Marina OR Downtown @ 6:30PM.

11. 60+ Yelpers think the program is kinda ok.

12. 13.1 miles just isn't as long as it sounds.

Swimming lessons are included

13.1 Last, but not least, all of the aforementioned (and more) is $150 through EOD 5/20!

Join The City 13.1 (5/21 launch)!

Need more than 13.1 reasons to join? Drop Marathon Matt a line-MARATHONMATT@MARATHONMATT.COM

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tuesday's downtown 2 miler (05/03/16)

Tuesday's satellite run launches from outside 333 3rd Street between Folsom/Harrison.

If you need to use the restroom, change, and/or store some personal items, head up to PSOAS in Suite 205.

Everyone is running a total of '4' miles. But, only '2' of these miles are to be taken seriously.

Here's a link to the course map-

Tuesday's Downtown Satellite Run Course Map

We will cross Folsom from 3rd Street onto the sidewalk and take a right. We will run along Folsom all the way to the Embarcadero. We will cross the street and take a left onto the Embarcadero.

Run along the Embarcadero to Pier 14. This is exactly a mile from PSOAS. You will do your standard warmup routine and then commence running 2 miles (out/back).

Everyone will run along the Embarcadero past the Ferry Building and continue all the way to the intersection of Embarcadero/Chestnut. This is 1 MILE. Turn around and head back to Pier 14 for 2 MILES.

Leslie will call out your time when you arrive. Once you have finished your two mile and made a mental note of your time, run an easy, cooldown mile back to PSOAS.

Marina 2 Miler....

In short, we will head NORTH from the Marina Green Monkey Bars on along Marina Boulevard until we reach Baker Street. We will take a right onto the Pedestrian Way running along the grassy, volleyball court area.

We will run past the volleyball courts into the parking lot. You will run through the parking lot and take a LEFT onto the Promenade which is effectively a dirt trail that runs along the waterfront.

You will see a parking area to your left(East Beach parking lot). You will run along this trail just past the end of the parking lot where I will be standing at the 1 MILE MARK. You will turn around here(I will wear something gaudy and conspicuous so you won't miss me ;) ) and head back the way you came for a total of 2 MILES!


You've logged the miles, you've done the crostraining, you're a few days away from getting your race bib, BUT, do you have everything covered? I've outlined below a 'proposed' race week itinerary that should have you good to go on race day. Read on!


-Identify your race day wardrobe.

Make sure whatever you choose is something you're comfortable running in. Plan for the weather conditions! Take a look at the extended forecast and plan accordingly! You may want to bring a few different options.

Try to make sure your wardrobe includes the 'Spring 13.1' shirt so I can readily identify you on the course! I will be getting QUALITY glamour shots and possibly video footage on race day! Your 13.1 miles of glory will be immortalized forever!

-Nail down your travel plans.

You want to plan on getting to the race start AT LEAST 30-45 minutes in advance of the actual start. Figure out how you're getting to the start of the half marathon NOW! Don't wait until later this week.

Arriving well in advance of the start of your race will give you time to use the restroom, warmup, and make your way to the start. For those driving in on race morning, allow PLENTY of time! It will likely take time to find parking if you're driving in the morning of the race.

-Review the parking info!

You cannot park along the course and there are limited spaces left on the shuttles leaving from Santa Barbara to the start of the course in Santa Ynez.

I drove to the start of the race from Santa Barbara last year and it was NOT easy to get there. PLEASE plan accordingly and allow PLENTY of time to get to the race start.

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Parking/Transportation Info


-Scout the course.

Check out the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon Course Info/Map. Trust are ready for this course. The latter half is cumulative downhill.

-Lube if necessary.

Some of you have complained about blisters on your toes/feet and chafing during the course of our training. Well, there's a handy product out there called 'Body Glide' that you can apply to your feet, thighs, underarms, or any other area where you encounter friction based irritation that will help reduce/eliminate this. It may be time to invest in some. Alternatively, you can use Vaseline, but it can be a bit on the greasy side.

Gentlemen, if you have experienced chafing of the nipples (my apologies if this grosses some of you out), stick a band-aid on both nipples and you should be good to go.


-Schedule a sports massage.

Some of you may have some residual soreness/tightness that has been bothering you these past few weeks. Now is the time to be a bit self-indulgent. In addition, to taking an extra day off and/or cutting a workout short, indulge in a nice sports massage to help knock out those last few kinks. I'd recommend scheduling one for Wednesday or Thursday, ideally.

Once again, PSOAS Massage & Bodywork gives us a standing 10% discount, so take advantage of this great discount and get some work done!

-Nail down race nutrition items.

I introduced you to GUs this season and hopefully you managed to identify the items that work best for you. Remember that you should be consuming one of the aforementioned items approximately every 45-60 minutes during the race to keep yourself performing at a high level.

Water and/or an electrolyte beverage will be provided about every mile or so of the race. Try to coordinate consumption of GUs (or whatever you're using) in conjunction with the water stops. Just a reminder that any product you bring should be washed down with WATER, NOT an electrolyte beverage.


-Skip Accelerate and Run an EASY 3 miles! I normally wouldn't discourage you from doing bootcamp, but given that race day is less than 48 hours away, I would rather you skip Thursday's workout and simply log a few easy miles. I want you fresh and ready on Saturday!

-Get your race bib/packet.

You do need to pick up your race bib/packet in order to participate in the race. You can pick up your bib on Thursday (for an additional fee), Friday (at the race expo), or race morning (for an additional fee). Check out the following link for the lowdown-

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon Bib Pickup Lowdown..

-Focus on complex carbs.

OK, we're a couple days from the race and now is the time to start making some adjustments to your diet to help insure you're properly fueled for race day. Think whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, whole wheat bagels, organic fruits/vegetables, etc.

Some folks only 'carboload' the day/night before an endurance event, but the reality is that carboloading this late in the game won't give you much bang for the buck. If you start a few days prior, your are insuring that your glycogen stores (primary fuel source) are topped off. This doesn't mean eat carbs EXCLUSIVELY!

But, if your diet normally doesn't include much of the aforementioned, make a conscious effort to include more at this juncture.

-Hydrate properly.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, one way you can identify whether or not you are properly hydrated is by looking at the color/quantity of your urine. In short, 'clear' and 'copious' is what you're looking for, respectively. You should start making a conscious effort in making sure this is what you're seeing in the days leading up to the race.

-Get a good night's sleep.

Given the early start time we have on Saturday and some pre-race nerves, it's not unlikely that you may not get a ton of sleep the night before the race. Ultimately, this isn't a big deal and has not proven to have a significant impact on race day performance by and large.

So, don't sweat it too much. BUT, try to make a conscious effort to get a solid night's sleep on THURSDAY. Make it a quiet evening of quality, complex carbs, rest, and relaxation!


-Get your race bib/packet.

Presumably, most of you will be claiming your race bib/packet on Friday at the race expo. Here's the link once more with the details-

Bib Pickup Details.

-Eat dinner early.

Given the early start time on Saturday morning-7:00AM, I'd encourage you to target 5PM or 5:30PM to get your final meal of the day. Again, you probably want to focus on complex carbs for this meal and try to stay away from anything that is spicy or markedly different from anything you would normally eat.

If you have a particularly sensitive stomach, you may want to plan on bringing your own food for this meal.

-Lay out your outfit for race morning.

I'd STRONGLY encourage all of you to lay out all the items you need for race morning on a chair or on the floor next to your bed before you go to bed. This includes your shirt, your hat, shorts, shoes, gels, socks, race bib, etc. Have everything laid out so that when you get up in the morning, you won't have to even think about it, you can just put everything on and you're good to go.

-Set your alarm clock, set your alarm on your cell phone, and request a wake up call from a friend or two (if they're willing).

This three pronged approach virtually GUARANTEES you will be up in the morning on time! You should plan on being near the race start area AT LEAST 30-45 MINUTES PRIOR TO START!


-Get your race bib/packet.

You can claim your race bib/packet on Saturday morning, but be advised there is an additional fee associated with this option-

Saturday Race Bib Pickup Details.


I'd STRONGLY encourage all of you to arrive at least 30-45 min. early. This gives you time to warmup, use the bathroom, change clothes, get your race bib (if necessary) and get positioned near the start.

THERE WILL BE NO FORMAL WARMUP PRIOR TO THE RACE. BUT, we will 'informally' congregate in front of Mavericks Saloon located at 3687 Sagunto Street (a few blocks from the start of the race)-

Mavericks Saloon

I will be running the half marathon in much the same way that I have all of our long runs with one minor wrinkle. I will be going out fast the first couple miles to 'thin the herd' and then I will wait for the first folks to come through to capture some glamour shots and run a mile with them. I will then stop and wait for the next folks to come through.

I will do my level best to catch all of you on race day, but I need your help! There will be A LOT of people running! If you wear your 'Spring 13.1' shirt, you will be making my job MUCH EASIER!

Look for me in a white Nike hat and a white 'Run Whisperer' shirt. I will be looking for all of you for 'glamour shots' with my camera after mile 2!

-Pace Accordingly!

OK, so you're probably going to feel pretty amped when the gun goes off, but please HOLD BACK and PACE ACCORDINGLY! You 'should' have a solid handle at this juncture on what you can maintain for 13.1 miles. Focus on running at your comfortable, conversational pace. There will be mile markers along the course.

If you run 10 min. pace, your watch should reflect roughly 10:00 at the one mile mark, 20:00 at the two mile mark, and so one. RESIST the urge to go out fast. If anything run a bit SLOWER the first few miles (10:10-10:15) and EASE into your comfortable, conversational pace. I want to make sure you have something left in the tank those last few miles!

-Take water/sports drink at every opportunity.

Even if you aren't necessarily feeling thirsty, TAKE IT ANYWAY! Some of you may have heard of 'hyponatremia' which is often associated with taking in too much water. Let me emphasize that 'hyponatremia' is MOST PREVALENT in marathons where elapsed time on the road exceeds 4-5 hours. So, this means that there is virtually zero chance of this being an issue for any of you.

-How to handle water stops/stations on race day-

There will be several of these along the course. Typically, there are several tables laid out. DO NOT GO TO THE FIRST TABLE YOU SEE! Let the other runners slow down and bump into each other to get their water and electrolyte drink. Try to go to the LAST TABLE you see at the water station to avoid slowing down or possibly stumbling. Certainly you can walk through the water stations if you like.

-How to drink water and/or electrolyte drink on the run-

When you get your cup of water or electrolyte drink, pinch the top of the cup closed and fold one of the corners over so you effectively have a small, narrow 'spout'. Pour carefully into your mouth. If you don't want to walk through water stops/stations, this is the best way I know of to drink while running.

-Take a GU every 45-60 minutes.

Make sure you get some simple carbohydrates (GUs or some other form of simple carbs) in your system every 45-60 min. This will help you continue to perform at a high level. Make sure to wash any nutrition product down with WATER not an electrolyte drink.

-Be mentally tough!

You've done the work. You've endured the long runs. You've tapered. You know how to fuel/hydrate properly. Remind yourself of all the hard work and preparation you've done those last few miles when you might be feeling a bit tired. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! YOU ARE READY FOR GLORY!

-Expedite race recovery.

As quickly as possible, get a quality combination of carbohydrates/protein in your system (remember 4 carbs: 1 protein is OPTIMAL for recovery. Chocolate Milk has this ratio.) I'd also encourage you to walk around for a few minutes to help increase circulation and help flush the lactic acid out of your system. If you have a stick or foam roller handy, spend some quality time with it!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

I run because it silences the critic..

Yesterday I ran the American River Parkway Half Marathon. This was my first time participating in this event and I was admittedly nervous. I wasn't nervous about 'my' performance as I wasn't doing this event for me. I was there for a few half marathon neophytes who had never run 13.1 miles in their life..or hadn't done it in quite some time. My case of the nerves had much more to do with them than me.

The days leading up to this race were stressful and frenetic as always. I fielded a litany of questions, concerns, and a few near meltdowns. I had to talk a few people off the ledge who simply didn't think their body would hold up. This is nothing new for me. I've done it every season (typically four a year) for the past five years or so.

I sent out numerous emails outlining 'exactly' what to do, where to be, and more. Again, this is nothing new for me. I've been doing it for years. I do everything I can to make sure that I've covered everything that needs to be covered. I try to make sure no stone is left unturned.

In the moments prior to the race I was fortunate enough to connect with my runners and I did my best to put on a brave face and not let on that I was nervous. This kind of thing is contagious and if I appeared cool and confident hopefully they would feel the same. Few realize that underneath this mask is a seething mass of nerves that likely dwarfs any anxiety they feel.

My anxiety stems not from the daunting task of running 13.1 miles as it's old hat for me. I am often plagued with self-doubt as race day arrives. Have I served them well? Have I given them all they need? Have I truly prepared them for what lies ahead? How will they respond to finding themselves deep in the valley of fatigue and self-doubt?

My own questions and self-doubts are as familiar and repetitive as the questions and self-doubts I hear from the countless runners I have helped guide towards completing half marathons over the years. I understand why one might get tired of dealing with it. I understand how it could simply get 'old' after awhile. The problem is questions and self-doubts never really go away.

The only way I know how to get better at managing them is to simply confront them head on...over....and over....and over again. Maybe they never really go away. However, it's likely their voices will become quieter and less pronounced over time. Your ability to shut them up improves. What may have been paralyzing self-doubt previously becomes a brief flicker and quickly dissipates.

All season long we work on silencing these inner critics who question and doubt our ability to confront the challenge that lies ahead. It starts with a couple miles. It continues with 3 miles, then 4 miles, and eventually snowballs into 13.1 miles and perhaps more. The inner critics never go away, but we can silence them and take the power from their voice...which is why I run.