This past weekend I experienced a pair of “byes” and it gave me a strong moment of clarity to reaffirm why I love distance running and races.

byeLet me ‘splain.

My main college team, the Wisconsin Badgers (Go Bucky) were on a bye this past Saturday and while I did keep tabs on my other alma mater Florida State (Go ‘Noles), I kind of felt disinterested in college football for a weekend. It was similar to how I didn’t really care so much about pro football last weekend when my Green Bay Packers were off. A little bit of out of sight, out of mind.

Now also this past weekend I didn’t run a race. I’ve got a half marathon in two weeks, the Lexus LaceUp Ventura Half Marathon, so I was just doing a long run in preparation. Believe it or not, most weekends I don’t run races (only about 12 out of 52 weekends annually am I actually on a bling hunt).

What made it a little different than normal was this was a big race weekend for many of my friends.

The Long Beach Marathon was going on in town (which I’ve run several times) and I had over a dozen friends running. The Chicago Marathon (another race I love) was also going with several friends pounding pavement in Chi-Town. I also had friends running races in Portland, Munich, Louisville (Ironman) and other cities. I kinda felt a little like I was the only person not racing this weekend. Poor poor Scott.

But rather than tuning out to what was going on simply because I wasn’t involved, I was actually more excited about racing than usual. I was excited for all of my friends. Thanks to social media and race tracking, I was able to follow everyone’s preparations and share in their enthusiasm. I saw a whole slew of selfies/videos and plenty of “my outfit is laid out and I’m ready to run” photos.

It was great.

And when I awoke on Sunday morning (a little later because it is my one day to sleep in) I quickly checked to see how everyone fared.

I took great joy in seeing how several of my friends PR’d in their races. A few others struggled, but still finished. And I anxiously read their stories and sent out congratulatory texts and posts to everyone.

I was utterly happy seeing my friends succeed. And there was that strong moment of clarity I mentioned.


And the P is for “Personal.”

One of the things that makes me enjoy distance running and racing is the strong camaraderie. It’s not about competition or beating someone else (or some team). It’s about pursuing a goal, determination in the face of adversity and individual achievement. Finisher times and places don’t have to matter unless you want them to.

We can cheer for everyone.

We can all win because we’re only really competing against ourselves. And that’s why every finisher deserves a medal when they cross the line.

So to my friends who ran their best races this past weekend, I am thrilled for you and impressed by your achievements. And to those who didn’t log their best time, but still gave it their all… my hat is off to you as well. I consider myself lucky to have you all as friends and to share in both your struggles and triumphs.

Maybe bye weeks aren’t such a bad thing after all.

Support each other… and Run on!

Posted on October 12, 2016, in General and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hey Scott. I have a blog follower that is running Canyon City Full coming up. What tips can you give, as I know you’ve run it before. Thanks!

    • Happy to give my two cents.

      Since your friend is running the full, they should know that the biggest declines come in the first half of the full marathon (4000′ + in the first 13.1 miles as opposed to about 1000′ over the last 13.1 miles). And it’ll basically flatten out over the last 2-3 miles. They should definitely get in some hill training (up and down) to prepare them for the steep declines and how it’ll impact their legs differently over the long haul.

      I also suggest that on the downhill portions they run based on effort as opposed to pace. They’ll naturally be going faster on the declines, don’t waste energy trying to slow up, run at the effort level that feels comfortable. Also, since this is a course down a mountain it can wind around a bit. They should run tangents whenever possible (shortest distance through a curve), just be mindful of the other runners.

      And if they’re shooting for a PR, I suggest that they try and “build a cushion” in the first half of the race when the declines are steepest (don’t go crazy, but you can pick up the pace). It’s not “banking time” per se, but on a downhill course you do get the benefit of the decline and gravity, so use it to your advantage when it’s available.

      There’s info about running downhill courses on the website blog. And if they have any other questions, please have your reader reach out to me, I’d be happy to talk their ear off.

      Oh, and they should have fun, this is a neat course with good food waiting at the end.

  2. Very nice post, Scott, and being one of those fortunate enough to PR this weekend, I appreciate it! Yay Long Beach! That race had been my nemesis for three straight years, I’m not sure why, but this year I was able to exact my revenge. Great weather, strong start, everything fell into place. I love it when that happens!

    • Thanks. Congrats again Chris… and seeing your PR as well as two other friends in succession is what motivated me to write this. I’m thrilled that you were able to finally get the better of your nemesis race. And it’s awesome when you have a race where for whatever reason “everything clicks.” (ooh, that sounds like motivation for another post).

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