Archive for the ‘Odd Ball’ Category

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This past weekend the family and I drove to Western Massachusetts; the week before we drove to Maine for a weekend of hanging with the Bushes in Kennebunkport (okay, so maybe we didn’t actually hang with the Bushes); two weeks before that Jess & I drove to White Plains, NY and back in one day – now quick, if a vehicle is traveling at 65 miles per hour and is 20 miles from their exit, how long will it take for them to arrive at said exit?  OR  if they are traveling at 71 miles per hour and are 31 miles from their destination, approximately how long until they arrive?

What do traveling on the highway and a flashback to primary school math word problems have to do with running?


I have written extensively about the benefits of running – weight loss, lower blood pressure, healthier heart, increased energy, an awesome community, runner’s high, just to name a few.  Well, it’s time to add one more entry.  Quite honestly, I only realized this a couple of weeks ago, but I know I have been experiencing it for quite some time now.  Over the last couple of years I discovered that long road trips had become easier. It wasn’t because the kids were getting older.  It wasn’t because Jess would stay awake to keep me company (she doesn’t – she’s like a baby – you start driving and within short order she is sound asleep).  It wasn’t because I finally found a good travel coffee mug (though I do find it indispensible!).

No, it wasn’t for any of the reasons above.  You wanna know why long road trips, specifically the driving, became easier?

Because I run.

That’s right, running and marathon training have helped my endurance in that family duty that can make any man question his sanity – the family road trip.

How you may ask?

Well, you may recall that in almost every marathon I have run there has come a point when I started doing math in my head.  It’s not random math mind you, but math with a purpose.  During the last third of just about any race I will constantly be calculating and re-calculating how fast I need to go to achieve the overall time I am trying to hit – the end of my Boston Qualifying run at Smuttynose was spent rolling the numbers over and over again, making sure I crossed that finish line in 3:20 or better.  Boston 2011 was spent watching my attempt at 3:10 and then 3:15 slip away like sand through an hour glass.  Maybe I do it to distract me from the pain at the time, maybe I do it simply to stay engaged, but whatever the reason, my endurance is tied to doing mathematical mental gymnastics throughout a race.

So how does this tie into driving? Quite nicely actually.

By simply adding a factor of 10, I get almost a straight correlation between my running and my driving.  If I am on a twisting back road where I know I will average about 30 – 40 miles per hour, I know that I will cover 10 miles in 15 – 20 minutes (a brisk walk).  Likewise, if I’m on the highway, I know that 60 miles per hours yields a 10 minute/10 mile pace (a slow jog); 65 mph? 9:13; 70 mph? 8:34 (both fall into the long, slow distance category); 75 mph? 8:00; and if I’m lucky enough to be in a flow of traffic that is moving at 80 mph? That 10 mile pace drops all the way to 7:30 (marathon pace, baby!).  All of the studying of the pace charts I did before every marathon has paid off in making the long drives of the family road just a little easier to deal with.

Anything shorter than 260 miles now seems easy.  And once I get within 60 miles of our destination? Forget about it! It’s like running a 10K – done before you know it!

So the next time you go on a lengthy road trip, bring your water bottle, stash a couple of GU’s in your pocket and make sure you’re wearing the proper attire – oh, and don’t forget to stretch!

Oh, and the answers to the above word problems were 18:27 and 26:06.

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I am running and quite frankly I’m a little disappointed in CNN.

Tonight is the first official debate between 2012 Presidential Nominee hopefuls for the Republican party. Forget the fact that I’m not a Republican, but come on CNN, not even a phone call or an email or a tweet to ask my opinion on the candidates?

Some of these guys JUST started running. I’ve been running for over 2 years!!!

Okay, so maybe I haven’t officially “officially” announced my candidacy for the top office of the United States, but come on!

Each and every one of these Republican candidates has a broad, if not very vague and general platform they are running on – cut taxes, cut spending, rescue the economy – but none of them is specific on HOW they are going to do that!

And don’t even ask them about health care. The only thing they can throw out is repealing “Obama-care”.


I’ve been running for over 2 years and my platform is fairly clear. Better living through better living!

  • Get This Nation Healthy – incentivize exercise and healthy eating and change the mentality of big corporations so they will want their workers to be as healthy as they can be.
  • Lower Insurance Costs – healthier citizens means lower health costs means lower insurance cost.
  • Increase Production – healthier workers means more production per man-hour.
  • Stimulate the Economy – bigger production and spending less on medical costs and insurance means more money being spent on goods means more demand means a healthier economy.
  • Regain Our Status – once the economy is clicking again, the United States will again be THE place everyone wants to be.

It can’t happen overnight, but with the right attitude and a strong desire, we can once again be the lean, mean powerhouse machine. With clear eyes and full hearts, we can’t lose.

Yeah, I may not be up on international politics, and I can’t say I really know much about how to run a country, but I DO know that we need to take care of our own people and give them the tools so they are able to succeed on their own. With some hard work, a lot of sweat and a little knowledge, we can get this country back in saddle!

Better living through better living – that’s the Run Luau Run platform.

Follow my campaign on Facebook:

Luau 2012 | Promote Your Page Too

Click the badge above to join the Running Party!!!

or follow the campaign on Twitter:


Now, who wants to be my running mate?

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So with Harold Camping telling us that the Apocalypse is 5 months away and that Judgement Day did in fact happen on May 21st, I’m left to wonder, were any of us saved?

Camping came to the date using the numbers 17, 10 and 5; 17 representing heaven, 10 representing completeness and 5 representing atonement.

Well, I have a theory. I think that some of us were in fact saved. Just like Camping used religiously inspired writings to determine the exact date, I have used my own religious sources to determine that if Judgment Day did in fact happen and if the Rapture and the Apocalypse are going to happen on October 21 then it is obvious who is among the saved.

If you look at any painting depicting the Rapture (go ahead, Google it), you will notice one thing in particular – every person rising up to Heaven has a runner’s body. Therefore, one can assume that if you are a runner, you have a pretty good shot at being called up.

Need more proof?  Here are a few more numbers to chew on. We keep hearing that it is estimated that 10 – 15% of the “believers” will be saved. We also keep hearing that the number of those saved will be approximately 200,000,000 people.  There are about 1.6 billion people in the world who run to some degree (courtesty of Yahoo!). If we take the average of 10 – 15% we get 12.5%. Guess what 12.5% person 1.6 billion is?

You guessed it, 200,000,000!

More proof?  According to Christopher McDougall, our species was “born to run”.  Therefore, it is how God made us.

So, to stay pure, we must run.

Still not sure?  Let’s get back to Camping’s numbers – 17, 10 and 5.

If you add 17 and 10 you get the approximate distance of a marathon. Many first-time marathoners will tell you that “completing” (10) a marathon has a euphoric, almost “heavenly” (17) feel to it. This distance is, according to some scientists, the average distance ancient persistence hunters may have had to travel to chase down their prey, usually within a 5 hour stretch.

Get it? The answer, just like Camping’s “indisputable” mathematical proof is so obviously clear: if you have run a marathon in under 5 hours, you will/have been saved.

If you qualify, you are part of the R-un-apture and you will be let into Heaven.  If not, get to work – according to my sources, there is an extension for those willing to run a marathon before October 21st…but you better do it in under 5 hours, otherwise you will be forced to suffer the Runocalypse.

a la NYCM's I'm In Stickers

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Last Monday night I went to the Sox game.  I went with one of my best friends, who was in from Texas.  The game itself was miserable at first.  The Sox, who had finally reached .500 a quarter of the way into the season quickly went down 6 – 0 early to the Orioles.  In the end however, the Sox battled back and eventually won on Adrian Gonzalez’s walk-off hit off of the Green Monstah.  During the game I downed 4 hot dogs, an Italian sausage with peppers and onions, a few beers and two larges slices of pizza (one pepperoni and one veggie) – I was a junk food eating machine.

What the hell does this have to do with running?

Hold on.  I’m getting there.

The game was nearly 4 hours long, ending after 11PM.  I dropped my buddy off at his hotel and didn’t get home until close to midnight.  By the time I fell asleep, it was nearly 12:30AM.  Not good on a school night.

When the alarm went off at 4AM, I felt like crap.  I mean, I really did not feel good.  The food and the beer had done some very funky things to my system, and my whole body was rebelling against me.  As I struggled to the bathroom to change, my stomach gurgled, my head pounded and my gut just hurt.

I put on my running clothes and stared into the mirror.

What are you doing, man?

I had no answer.  So I started to take my running clothes back off to head back to bed.  As I began to take off my shorts though, I thought, when am I gonna make up the mileage? I had 12 miles on the schedule and honestly, there was nowhere else in the week to put them without throwing the whole training week off.  So as crappy as I felt, I pulled the shorts back up and staggered downstairs for a run.

I lay on the ground to stretch and closed my eyes.  The room felt off-center, tilted.

This is NOT going to be good.

I took a deep breath, decided to skip the stretching, skip the outside and just hit the treadmill.  At least this way, if something went terribly wrong I could run to the bathroom to throw up instead of on some neighbor’s lawn.

The first few miles were tough.  My legs were still a bit beat up from my impromptu attack on Heartbreak Hill on Sunday.  Combine that with the processed food hangover and the mild alcohol headache and it was a perfect mixture of nausea and pain.


Within minutes I was sweating.  At the time I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.  Normally when I run, I don’t start to sweat for a good 10 – 20 minutes.

This was too soon.

But I quickly realized that as I sweated more and more, I began to feel better and better.  As painfully slow as the first 6 miles felt, I could feel myself purging the toxins out of my body with each step, with each drop of sweat.  By the time I reached mile 7, I was in cruise control, covering the last 5 miles feeling great and refreshed.

And so I was able to take on the rest of the day much differently than had I gone back to bed.  I am sure that if I had given in to the siren call of my pillow (and believe me, my pillow sings beautifully), I, along with anyone else who falls victim to those dreaded singing bird women, would have spent the whole day feeling like a big pile of poo.  Instead, I was able to flush the toxins out of my system and actually enjoy my day – refreshed, purged, cleansed.

The next time you drink a little too much or eat too much processed food-substitute, think about curing that hangover with a run.

It works!

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It’s less than 4 weeks away. It looms larger and larger with each passing day. The Boston Marathon will be here before we know it, and to be honest, I’m starting to get the butterflies.

But I’ve been training hard. Once or twice a week I’ve taken to running parts of the Boston Marathon course. The hills coming into Newton, especially after 17 miles, can be brutal whether in the race or on a training run. But I’ve stuck to what I said back in November – I have been trying to live by the mantra – Train for the Terrain. Hills have been part of my training.

What the hell does this have to do with Brad Pitt?

I want you to look at something:

What do you see?

Yes, yes, it’s Brad Pitt. Yes, it’s Brad Pitt with his past girlfriends. But take a closer look. In each of these pictures, you will see that Pitt has adapted himself to take on the look of his main squeeze of the moment.

Uh, right Luau. Been reading a little too much US Magazine lately? What the frak does this have to do with running and the Boston Marathon???

Well, it has less to do with the Boston Marathon specifically and more to do with Marathon Training in general, as in training for the terrain – adapting to the current situation. My hope is that I have managed to “Brad Pitt” my training and will be perfectly matched up for Boston – downhills early, uphills late, more downhill near the end.

My stated goal at the beginning of the cycle was 3:15 or better. That still remains the goal, though I’m gonna take a long, hard look at 3:10.

How’s your Spring Marathon training going? Have you Brad Pitted it? I wonder if you can work the verb “Brad Pitt” into a conversation today?

I guess the burning question now is – Is the Boston Marathon Juliette, Gwyneth, Jennifer or Angelina?

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There is a down side to regular running.  A dark side that people will try to paint over with white-wash and tell you it’s great.  If you are considering the prospect of taking up running, I urge you to think about these things before you start.

•Your clothes will no longer fit you – the added cost of having to buy a new wardrobe, in addition to the new running gear you just bought a few months earlier, can weigh heavily on your wallet.

•Your sex-drive will increase dramatically – I didn’t think that was possible in my case, but it in fact did.  The endorphins coursing through your body will keep your blood pumping long after your run is done.  It can be rather distracting, you know?

•Your appetite will increase – with the added expenditure of calories will also come the added expenditure of dollars replacing many of those calories.  You gotta eat, right?

•Related to your appetite, you will have to overhaul the contents of your cupboard and refrigerator – once you start fine-tuning the machine that is your body, you will become more aware of the fuel you are putting into it.  Regular leaded will no longer do.  A high performance engine craves the Super Unleaded.

•You will be happier – which sounds great on the surface, but it will annoy your friends to no end.  They’ll ask you what are you so damned happy about (even though deep down they will know why).

•You won’t get sick as often – again, sounds great at first, but think about it; if you don’t get sick, you don’t get to call in sick and take a day off from work.  That’s less time you get to lie in bed and watch crappy day-time television.

•You’ll make new friend – sounds good, but you know, I have a hard enough time keeping track of my high school and college buddies.  Do I really need another whole group of friends to max out my address book?

The bottom line is, be careful what you wish for.  This whole running thing may look good from the outside looking in, but once you’re in it, you realize that being in better shape, having a higher sex drive, being able to eat more and better food, being happier, rarely getting sick and making a bunch of new friends ain’t all what it’s cracked up to be!

You’ve been warned!

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Back in December of 2009 I put out a list of shows I called Pringles for the Brain.  They were shows that I enjoyed zoning out to when running on the treadmill. I thought maybe it was time for an update on what shows populate my Treadmill DVR. The current roster includes:

Chuck (NBC – Mondays 8PM) – currently one of the best shows on TV

CSI (CBS – Thursdays 9PM) – always good.

The Cape (NBC – Mondays 9PM) – New, campy and fun

Fringe (Fox – Fridays 9PM) – I think this is my favorite, it is The X-Files improved

30 Rock (NBC – Thursdays 10PM) – possibly the funniest show since Seinfeld

V (ABC – Tuesday 9PM) – New, after starting slowly, the show is picking it up

The Mentalist (CBS – Thursdays 10PM) – one of the more entertaining shows on TV, I wish I could do what Patrick Jane does

Family Guy (Fox – Sundays 9PM) – New – raunchy fun…sometimes crosses the line

Lie to Me (Fox – was on Mondays) – similar to the Mentalist

The Event (NBC – Mondays 9PM) – if LOST and 24 had a baby, this would be it

Human Target (Fox – was on Wednesdays, may be cancelled) – reminiscent of shows from the 80’s

The Good Guys (F0x – was on Fridays, may be cancelled) – would be a shame if this were cancelled, Bradley Whitford is extremely entertaining

Chase – (NBC – was on Mondays, may be cancelled) – Annie and her crew were growing on me, I hope they bring the show back

So there it is.  This army of shows has helped me through several long runs when the roads were just too icy to risk injury.  It’s tough to stay motivated for 20 miles on a treadmill without something to distract you, right?  If you have a treadmill but don’t have a DVR hooked up nearby, I highly recommend it, otherwise you’re stuck watching whatever is on the tube at the time.  At 4AM, when I run, there ain’t much on.

I would love to hear what you like to watch while zoning out and putting in miles.

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In recent months Brooke has struggled with her environment. The Fall transition has not been particularly easy. Brooke’s autism is infused with pervasive anxiety.  Over the last several months, her anxiety levels have increased just ever so slightly, leading small trickles to compound into crashing waves when the environmental conditions are just so.  A baby’s cry, a child calling for its mama, or even big sister Katie sniffing because of a runny nose – all these things can lead to meltdown.

Little things becoming big ones.

Glitches becoming catastrophes.

Jess and I are working hard to anticipate and re-direct, attempting to keep those trickles as just that…sometimes with success, sometimes in vain.  We’ve learned to identify some, but not all, of what induces the paralyzing anxiety.

I tell people that being the parent of a child with autism has made me a better father, a better husband, a better man. You learn patience. You learn compassion. You learn to suck it up.


What I never thought, was that being a parent of an autistic child would make me a better runner. Brooke has taught me perseverance, tenacity, and drive. She wants to be able to break through her walls.  The perfect example is when she insisted we get  a dog – this despite the fact that she was deathly afraid of them.  We spent the first three weeks of having a dog with Brooke’s feet never touching the ground when our dog was in the same room.  Today, she has overcome that fear and now loves dogs.  I mean she LOVES dogs!  Perseverance, tenacity and drive – I used all of those things at both the Smuttynose AND New York City Marathons. In one race I used those lessons to cruise to personal victory, in the other I used them simply to survive.

Something else I did not realize until recently that I learned from Brooke as it relates to running was anticipation.  I don’t meant the “licking you chops can’t wait for this dinner” kind of anticipation.  No, I mean preventative anticipation, defensive anticipation.  As runners we can often be hyper-focused on the training at hand.  We will pay close attention to the pace, the distance, the training, but if presented with a niggling pain we will brush it off as just part of the training.  Much of the time, that is just what it is, but how often have you suffered an injury and in retrospect known exactly when it happened?   Prevention is much more powerful than reaction. The time spent ahead of the curve packs so much more wallop than time spent recovering from disaster.  We (I) need to learn to anticipate which of those niggles are an indication of more to come.

In Chaos Theory there is something called the Butterfly Effect. Put in very, VERY simple terms, the idea is that in a closed system (like our planet’s environment or our bodies) we are all connected. Because of that intra-connection (and explained with a lot of high level math I don’t pretend to understand) the flutter of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil can initiate events in our atmosphere that eventually lead to a class 5 hurricane off the coast of South Carolina. The problem of course is that the math is so complex that in the end, the connections seems to be random, chaotic. Trying to determine which butterfly’s wing will cause the next Hurricane Andrew is practically impossible.

The math isn’t quite as complex when it comes to our running and our bodies. I am learning to filter out the normal aches and pains of running and focus on those that feel like they could be more serious; those that could be evil butterflies.


Watching my little Brooke recently, I’ve seen the little things that set off a chain of events leading to disaster. Our (Jess & my) job is to attempt to anticipate which little things, which butterflies will cause the hurricane. Sometimes it’s a single event; sometimes, like many pebbles thrown into a once calm pond, it is many events. The difficulty is knowing which pebbles to catch and which butterfly to squish.


Awareness makes us better people, in all things. The more we know, the more likely we can manage to stay calm in the face of adversity, the more likely we make the choices that lead to a desired ending.

Whether it’s protecting my little one or protecting my body from injury, it’s about looking out for the “right” butterfly – and squishing it.

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How many of you have been up late at night, flipping through the channels on the tv and come across one of those infomercials for the latest AbGutFatBlasterDoer or the EatAllTheCrapYouWant Diet?

“It’ll change your life!”

“I lost 100 pounds sitting on the couch, eating anything I wanted following Johnny’s three step couch aerobics program!”

“AbGutFatBlasterDoer took me from that to this in less than 3 weeks!”

There is no real product called the AbGutFatBlasterizer…at least not yet. But there are products out there like the Thigh Glider or the Shaker Weight or the Ab Circle.




Make it stop! Don’t people know that none of the “non-paid participants” are actually “non-paid participants”? I really can’t stand those commercials infomercials –  in large part because most of them are essentially empty promises.   Aside from the PX90 program, most all of these infomercial gadgets are bunk!


Well, I think maybe it’s time I entered this business of easy money:

Are you tired of being tired? Are you walking around at the end of the day wondering what can I do to get in shape?


Yes, for only 3 easy payments of $19.95, I will introduce you to the two greatest workout tools around.  They are guaranteed to get you in shape, IF YOU USE THEM!  These two items are SO convenient that you don’t need to store them under your bed, or in your closet or even in you workout room (if you have one).

You can take these two workout tools with you wherever you go and you will never know the difference that you are carrying them.  No extra weight!  No extra space!

Going on a business trip?  No problem!

Going to an out-of-town wedding? No problem!

Taking a family vacation?  No problem!

Yes folks, you can take these two convenient workout tools with you anywhere!  Just send me 3 easy payments of $19.95 and  you will be on your way to a –




Just ask this satisfied customer:

I started using these products and in three months I lost nearly 25 lbs!!!

-Luau (satisfied customer since November 2008)

Call/Email/Tweet/Text to order now – Operators are standing by… All major credits cards and paypal accepted.  Sorry, no COD.


Oh, you want to know what this product is before you send me your money?  Hmm.  Well, if I tell you, what’s to guarantee that you will still send me your 3 easy payments of $19.95?

Aw, what the heck.  You don’t need to send me anything, because I see you already HAVE the tools with you!

That’s right!  They are your hands and your feet!

With your hands (and the arms that are attached to them) you can do one of the greatest overall exercises out there – the push up!  If you can’t do a single one, don’t fret – my friend Steve can get you on the right path – for free!!!

And with your feet, you can do this amazing old school exercise called running!  Yes, running!  Again, if you don’t think you are ready to run, no need to worry, because there are free – FREE!!! – programs out there to get you started.


So, no more excuses.  No more “I don’t know what to do.”  No more “I don’t belong to a gym.”  No more “I don’t have the equipment!”

YOU have the tools, right there, right now.

Now get to work!


I’ll settle for one payment of $19.95!  Call now!

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For Your Entertainment:

Thigh Glider

Shake Weight

Ab Circle Pro

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Officer Thorny: Do you know how fast you were going back there?
College Boy 1: Umm…65?
Officer Thorny: …63.
College Boy 1: But…isn’t the speed limit 65?
Officer Thorny: Yes, it is.
College Boy 3: I’m freakin’ out, man!
Officer Rabbit: Yes, you are freaking out…man.

Opening scene of Super Troopers (2001)

Do you want to get high, so high

-Cypress Hill

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Last March I ate a half marathon for lunch. At least, that’s the way I put it on my various social networks’ statuses. Obviously one cannot literally eat a half marathon, but I just as well could have said that I had smoked a half marathon because despite fighting a raging head cold, I spent the rest of that day and a better part of the following day on a high that I thought one could only achieve through, er, pharmaceuticals or love. I felt great. I don’t mean “walking around with a general sense satisfaction” great, no, I’m talking, Tony the Tiger, I…felt…GRRRRRREAT!  All of this due to a midday run that just happened to turn itself into a half-marathon.

By no means was it the farthest of runs; I had just done a slow rolling 18 miler with my buddy Mike a week and half before. Nor was it the fastest of runs either; I had flown through an 8 miler just two days earlier at a 7 minute per mile clip. It just happened to be one of those runs that hit that sweet spot (~7:45 pace for me at the time) – one that anybody who has been running for a certain amount of time eventually hits and then, like a love-sick teenager or a junkie, spends the rest of their time trying to re-create.

Personally, I love the runner’s high. You don’t get your heart-broken like the teenager nor do you end up ravaging your body like the junkie (quite the opposite really). Very few things feel better too – very few!

Just like any other potentially addictive thing though, you have to be careful with the runner’s high. I was still feeling great mentally the following night, but I could feel myself coming down. I wanted to pump up the endorphins again despite the fact that my head cold was now worse and had spread to my chest. The wife looked at me like I was crazy when I put on the shorts and began to head downstairs to run for an hour or two. I could hardly breathe and my eyes and nose were running like Niagara Falls. I just wanted a fix. I was also convinced that a run would cure my ailments. As I walked downstairs however, I had a moment of clarity and realized that rest was probably what my body needed more than anything else. That’s not to say I didn’t take one more step down the stairs before I finally turned around and crawled into bed.

Even as I drifted off to sleep, I could still feel my feet nudging me to get up.

I’ve spent most of my life not understanding why gamblers continue to gamble or why drug addicts continue to destroy themselves. I have a mildly addictive personality, but when something looks like it might permanently hurt me or those around me, I tend to know when and how to say no. But that night on the stairs, I caught a glimpse, just a glimpse, of what happens with true addicts. I just wanted to feel the way I had felt the day before and running was the delivery system. Had I felt just a touch better, I may have continued down the stairs, to my detriment.


After my run that day, all of the worries that had been weighing me down simply did not seem so weighty anymore. Yes, they were still there, but I felt better equipped to tackle them. And to a degree, that’s the point isn’t it? Running can better equip you to deal with your daily crises.  Imagine if we could get everyone to experience the runner’s high just once.  Just imagine.

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