Friday, January 29, 2016

An Interview With Ludivine The Running Bloodhound

An amazing story about a dog named Ludivine made national news earlier this week when it was revealed that the 2 1/2 year-old bloodhound jumped in a local half marathon in Elkmont, Alabama, and eventually finished the race in 7th place!

You can read about Ludivine's half marathon debut here and you can check out more about the (now renamed) Hound Dog Half Marathon on the race's Facebook page. They even offer t-shirts that benefit the Elkmont High School track and cross country programs. I can't wait to wear the one I just ordered! Ludivine even has her own Facebook page!

I started following this story on Monday, so imagine my shock when I received an email from Ludivine herself saying she was a fan of the blog and was wondering if I'd like to write a post about the race. Ummm...yeah!

Of course, being she is a little busy now our interview was done via email, but she let me in on a lot of great info. So here are a few highlights from our conversation.

Photo from Hound Dog Half Facebook page
Let's Run Forever: First of all Ludivine, congratulations on finishing your first half marathon, and thanks for joining me today.

Ludivine: Thank you! Of course the pleasure is all mine. I've been a long-time reader of your blog and you have been a real help to me in my training.


LRF: Wait...training? 

Ludivine: Yes, training. Do you think I would hop into a half marathon without training for it? I'd been planning on running this race since it was first announced. I just was afraid to tell anyone about it, so I kind of kept it to myself.

LRF: What made you afraid to tell anyone?

Ludivine: Well, you know, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it, and I didn't want to get my hopes up, or anyone else's. That was also why I ran the race as a bandit, which I felt bad about, but was glad in the end everyone understood. Needless to say, the way my race unfolded was a crazy surprise to me!


LRF: I'd say, did you have any idea you would be able to finish seventh in 1:32:56?

Ludivine: Oh no. I mean, I'm a dog so I don't have a huge concept of time, you know? It's not like I can really wear a watch, so in training I would just run and try to have fun with it. On race day, when I finished and everyone was so excited, I kind of didn't understand it for a minute. But I felt so proud when I finished, and I was so happy to get a medal. My first race bling!

LRF: You do look very proud in your finisher's photo.

Ludivine: Oh because I was! I had worked hard for that medal! I haven't taken it off yet!


LRF: So let's backtrack a second. How did you start running?

Ludivine: Well, I have a pretty nice life with my mom, April Hamlin, but a few months ago I realized that I'd been kind of lazy and had let myself go a little bit. I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to feel that way any more. So on one of my trips into town I was walking past a running store and started talking to a dog whose dad was in getting some Gu for his long run. She started telling me how much she likes to run with her dad and how much better she feels, and she looked great! So I asked her for some advice and got started.


LRF: How long did you train for the half.

Ludivine: About 12 weeks.


LRF: And you kept it a secret all that time?

Ludivine: Well, it was actually pretty easy. Before I started running I would often wander off of our property, so April was kind of used to seeing me leave and come back a while later. So whenever she would let me out, I'd walk slowly away like I was heading off to explore and when I got out of sight I'd start running!


LRF: Wow! So what was your training like?

Ludivine: Since I'm a dog I discovered I really had the genetics to be a runner! Who knew? I was lucky that I built up a pretty good base quickly, but most of the time I'd run until I was hungry or thirsty and then I'd head home. I also did a lot of interval training, and that helped build up my speed.

LRF: Interval training?

Ludivine: Of course! I'd chase rabbits and squirrels, stuff that went bump in the night...I discovered that just doing what a dog does is great speed training.



LRF: But April said that you were still kind of lazy...

Ludivine: Yeah, because I was tired from running! :--) See, that was part of my cover, I made it look that way so no one was the wiser.


LRF: Good plan!

Ludivine: I couldn't believe it worked so well. No one had any idea.


LRF: So tell us about your race day...

Ludivine: I was so excited that I could barely sleep! When the sun came up I went to the back door as if I had to -- well, you know (blushing) -- and when I was let out I headed over to the race.

It was so exciting to be there! There were so many people, and lots of music, I just wandered around and made a bunch of new friends until it was time for the race to start.

LRF: What were your emotions as the race started.

Ludivine: When it was time to start I was both nervous and excited. I wasn't really sure where to line up, though. I mean, I had trained all by myself and didn't know how fast or slow I was. So I made sure when the race started I stayed off to the side a little bit to stay out of everyone's way.

LRF: Then you went straight to the front!

Ludivine: I know, right! It kind of surprised even me! But I just focused on my breathing and tried to set a good pace. Joanie, the dog I met at the running store (Editor's note: Named after the legendary runner Joan Benoit Samuelson) once old me I should try to be able to keep a conversation while I was running. So every so often I'd bark a few times to make sure I didn't go out too fast. And it worked!

LRF: In the pictures I saw it looked like you were having fun!

Ludivine: More fun than I'd ever had! The guys I ran with were very nice, they let me run with them and gave me a lot of encouraging words.


LRF: One of the runners said you veered of course a handful of times, once to smell a dead animal, you played in the woods a couple of times and even went into a field full of cows...

Ludivine: You know, some things you just can't help sometimes. Like with the rabbit, I was running along, saw the rabbit, and something in my brain just said, "Stop and smell the rabbit." So I did. I went into the woods for a drink of water, and actually I had made friends with the cows on my run a few weeks before, and they insisted that I stop and say hi!

And besides, what fun is running if you don't stop and appreciate things every so often? I had a couple of runs where I got so focused I kind of lost sight of what was around me, and really that wasn't a lot of fun. So I decided that I was going to make sure that I had fun on every run I did.

I should also say that I was following the Jeff Galloway method of incorporating walk breaks into my run, so if anyone saw me slowing down or looking distracted, I was probably taking a walk break. Jeff's stuff really works!

LRF: How did you fuel during the race? Did you take any Gu or gels or anything?

Ludivine: No, just water. It was a cool day so I didn't feel like I needed anything else. I tried Gu once on a training run and it didn't go well...it got stuck to the roof of my mouth and I needed April to help me. That was the only time I think she may have come close to figuring out what I was doing.

LRF: Did you ever get tired?

Ludivine: There were a couple of times, but I just trusted my training, had fun and did my best. That was enough for me.

LRF: Did you ever think when you crossed the finish line that you were about to become famous?

Ludivine: No! The first thing I wanted to do was drink some water and take a nap? Then I saw a lot of people gathering around me and taking pictures and I realized then that maybe I had done something special.

LRF: So how are you handling things?

Ludivine: I just keep doing all of the things I usually do. I still wander around town and go for runs, but April, my dogmom, has done a great job of keeping everything pretty normal.

LRF: How surprised were you when you found out the race will be called the "Hound Dog Half Marathon"?

Ludivine: Very surprised and kind of embarrassed! I am just a dog that likes to run, but I'm very flattered too. I'm looking forward to being an ambassador for the race.

LRF: And it is bringing attention to a good cause...

Ludivine: That's the best part! The race was put on to raise funds for the Elkmont High School cross country team, so the attention has been so good for them. I see the kids out running, and they all work so hard, so it's nice to get them some of the things they need. That's the thing that makes me the happiest about this whole thing.

LRF: Well, Ludivine, it was so nice to talk to you. Thank you for reaching out to me and for such good conversation! 

Ludivine: Thanks! I hope to see everyone at next year's race!

-----

That was fun! I also recorded a podcast about Ludivine and how she could teach us a thing or two about our own running. You can hear it here!














Monday, January 25, 2016

Crazy Winter Runs

With the East coast digging out from their weekend blizzard -- and I hope everyone reading and their families are OK -- I started thinking about some of the crazy winter weather I've run in over the years. In the first few years I was running I was a bit "crazier" than I am now, of course, having a better schedule and access to indoor facilities have helped too, but before saner ideas prevailed, I was up for pretty much anything.

So here are a few that come to mind:

* On February 1-2, 2011, we had a blizzard in Aurora that dropped 17-18 inches of snow. 

In the Midwest, especially northern Illinois, we usually get hit with a storm that drops a foot or more of snow every couple of years, so getting a big storm like that one isn't all totally uncommon.

Still, I remember this storm because it was the only blizzard that scared the crap out of me! I was living alone in an old apartment building and despite a pile of movies, and, I must admit, a night of drinking, the wind and the noise was kind of creepy.

What made it worse is that I lived a couple of miles from a decent sized rail yard and all night I could hear were the lonely calls of train whistles piercing the cold night air. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night.

When I awoke I was greeted to a pretty impressive winter wonderland. I went out to see what was going on and coming down the street there were a bunch of guys from the Aurora University cross country and track team getting in a run.

So I figured, hey, if it was good enough for them it's good enough for me! After the storm moved through the temperature dropped to near zero, but I bundled up and got a 4-miler in. Thanks for the incentive, guys!

*I've run several times when the temperature has been below zero (F), but one day in 2003 really turned some heads. When my kids were young and I was working two jobs, I spent several years doing most of my runs during lunchtime at work.

I think for the most part my co-workers had come to see it as a normal thing. When people were coming in and out of the building, it wasn't strange to see me doing the same in my running clothes. While I got some occasional strange looks or comments, most people are very supportive, and many people who have known me a long time ask me, "So what marathon are you training for now?"

I've never minded running in the cold, but it has always been the wind that has bothered me. On the days where I have run in extreme temps, it's usually when the wind is down so it's not a big deal.

Anyway, one day we were in the middle of a cold snap and by noon the temperature stood at minus-3F, and it was snowing! But since I was deep into Los Angeles Marathon training, I needed to run. It wasn't windy at lunch so I layered up and headed out.

I'm pretty sure I got strange looks not just from my co-workers, but from everyone I encountered outside as well, given the number of cars that slowed down to stare at me! The run went well, I stayed really warm and the snow was beautiful, leaving just enough of a dusting where I could see my footprints.

I think in my co-workers eyes I crossed the line of crazy that day.

*But like many runners, I totally embrace my inner crazy. One day I came home from work and it was snowing pretty hard, and not the sweet, puffy flakes, but the nasty, heavy ones. I had a 5-miler on my schedule that day, so I was determined to get it in.

There was about five inches on the ground and the plows hadn't done the side streets yet so I knew I'd be slogging it a little bit. One thing about snow events like that one is that the temperature hangs around 30 degrees and the wind doesn't blow at all -- the snow just falls straight down and keeps coming.

I got dressed to run and went outside, but realized I'd be way too warm in running pants, so I went back in and changed into my shorts! Needless to say I was quite the sight, running in thick, heavy know in shorts. Picture that one if you can!

*One thing I'm proud of, though, is that my crazy has been passed on to my kids. One Saturday night in December, 2013, I had the boys for the weekend and Matt -- who was getting ready for his senior track season -- was a bit bored and decided to go for a run.

An hour, and an estimated seven miles later, Matt returned looking like this! I'm so proud.

So how about you? What's one of your craziest winter runs?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Time For A New Challenge

So far this month, I've been following stories on social media about people making goals and their quest in getting there.

Most of the time, I'm pretty inspired, it's great to see people stepping up and getting out of their comfort zones. I especially have a couple of friends that I'm rooting for, and I hope they keep it up.

But I have to admit, I'm discouraged sometimes too. There are lots of people who are a lot further in their running or fitness journeys, and sometimes their happy photos of them doing something awesome while flashing their toned muscles and flat stomachs brings me down. I'm happy for them, and I'm glad they are sharing, but at the same time, I feel like a total slug compared to them, me and my big stomach, lame left arm that struggles to lift weight of any kind and a scale that still reads close to 240 pounds.

Yeah, I'm having a pity party, and I'm being hard on myself. I know that. In the end, I'm happy with my running and think I'm making a lot of progress, and I know if I just continue on this path it will pay off down the road.

In fact, as a sort of self-motivational speech, I created a podcast episode about it. You can hear it here:



The more I've thought about it, the more I realize that there are two things that stop us from meeting our goals:

*Ourselves. Well, duh, that's the most obvious, right? But it's true. Negative self talk and "falling off the wagon" are the fastest ways to destruction, but we do it. We are all so good at times at taking a bad day and letting it snowball into our lapsing back into our old ways. Keeping a positive frame of mind and focusing on little things turning into big things -- workable parts, as I call it in the podcast -- will keep us on track.

And.

*Comparing ourselves to others. We all do it, I admitted that up above. It's really hard not to, given how it's in our faces more than ever before. The mistake we make is that we don't have the same life circumstances as others do -- whatever those may be -- whether it's time, motivation, resources...whatever.

We know deep down that social media is a collection of people's "greatest hits" but we won't really allow ourselves to truly accept it and use it as a filter for our own expectations.

It's like when Khloe Kardashian Instagrams a photo of her abs and someone thinks, "Look at her! She used to be heavy and now she is ripped! Why can't I do that?" What we don't realize is that Khloe's job is being Khloe! If you watch their show for 10 minutes you realize that none of them do real, actual work, unless their mom puts them up to it. Their job is cultivating an image...if that was your job you would look good too!

I think we all have to realize that we have "greatest hits" too, which are pretty freaking good! Why don't we try and record a hit of our own instead of trying to live up to someone else's?

For me, there is one more.

*The scale. Or as I call it, the bane of my existence. I'll be honest, I focus on that number way too much, especially when I'm not running. When I am, I tend not to think about it very much, but in the back of my mind, it's still there.

I know that number is just that, a number, but at the same time, that number is why I'm not getting any faster. And, since this is a bit of a confessional today, I think that number (and how I look because of it) is a reason why I don't get a lot of hits to my blog or podcast, or why I'm not one of the cool kids on social media, despite my best efforts. I'm a fat runner, who wants to hear what I have to say?

Sorry to be so down and brutal, but that is how I'm feeling the last few days (and no one except spammers in Russia and the Ukraine -- plus my wife, are going to see this anyway), the optimism I had a couple of weeks ago has changed. So, I have to change with it.

My mantra has long been this: control what you can control. The first two things can be easily controlled, I need to keep running, trust the process and stop worrying so much about others, or my place in the social media world.

The third is pretty easy too: I'm just going to stop getting on the scale.

Yep, you heard correctly. I'm creating a campaign, and I'm calling it the Six-Month No Scale Challenge. I'm going to stay off the scale until August 1. Instead, I'm focusing on getting better every day and making positive changes, letting little things add up to big things.

When August 1 rolls around, I'm going to get on the scale, look at the number, and live with the result. If you'd like to join me, that would be great! I'd look forward to the chance to work towards this goal by supporting others.

August 1 is 190 days away...let's get started!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Trusting The Process

About this time of year, a lot of new runners join the community, and runners who may have been out of the game for a while make their way back. For sure, I'm glad to have all of them, the more people we have running, the better!

One other thing that comes with this time of the year is that people decide to take on a challenge, be it a 10K, half-marathon, marathon or even ultra. For those of us who have been at this for a while, and have covered distances all across the gamut, a jump to a bigger distance isn't horribly daunting. I would like to make the jump to a 50K (31 miles) this year, but since I've run eight marathons (and hopefully a ninth and maybe even a tenth in 2016), I can wrap my head around it pretty easily.

But for those who are fairly new to this, lots of questions spill out onto their blogs and social media. Almost inevitably, two questions come up...one is how do I do this? and the second is can I do it?

The answer to the second question is easy...of course you can! Look at how far you've come in so many ways since you have started, lots of things seemed unreachable when you began running, but look at all of the milestones -- both physical and mental -- you have knocked down since. Whether or not you can do something should be the least of your worries!

How do you do it? There's lots of ways: you can grab a schedule from the Internet, or hire a coach, join a club or training group, run with a charity...there are tons of answers and ways to get there.

When I get asked these questions by people I answer them this way, but I also tack on an extra sentence...

You have to trust the process!

Say, for example, you have decided to run the Chicago Marathon. If you had to run a marathon today, you probably couldn't, right? And that's OK, when I went for my first run on January 2, 2000, I couldn't either. I ran a mile around my neighborhood in about 15 minutes and wondered how I could possibly be able to run 25 more!

Yet, 294 days later, that's exactly what I did!

I'm not anything special, thousands -- if not millions -- of people have done the same thing. Which is one justification to trusting the process, because it's been done.

Getting back a couple of paragraphs, you've decided to run the Chicago Marathon, so you've gone to Hal Higdon's website (as I once did -- in fact, I've used his programs or a hybrid of them for all of my marathons) and looked at his Novice program.

(Courtesy of Hal Higdon.com)




It looks pretty simple, and it is, which kind of scares people, I think. Some have a hard time believing that this program will get to the finish line. To me, the beauty is in it's simplicity, because if you want to finish a marathon, this right here is the blueprint! I actually used this program in 2013, because I had pretty much been out of running for a while and was just wanting to finish the Chicago Marathon. I completed 66 of the 72 runs on this program and got it done!

The easy part of completing this -- or any -- program isn't in going out and doing the running, it's having trust in that this 18-week process is going to get you there. In order to accomplish your goals, you have to, have to, HAVE TO believe in the process. As each week goes on you have to believe that you are getting better, stronger and faster.

That applies to everyone, from newbies to the best runners in the world, especially the best runners in the world. They run for their livelihoods, and in the middle of a Diamond League meet in Europe, or the Olympic Trials, or an Olympic final, they have to believe what they did along the journey is going to see them through.

Living outside of Chicago, I'm around one of the best high school and college running programs in the country in York High School and North Central College. York, located in Elmhurst and coached by the legendary Joe Newton, has won 27 state cross country titles over the last 50-plus years. North Central, located in Naperville and coached by the equally legendary Al Carius, has won 16 national Division III cross country titles (with 15 more second place finishes), 10 combined indoor and outdoor national track championships, and his runners have won the CCIW conference cross country championship 42 years in a row.

What do these two coaches have in common? I could go on all day about both of these guys, but the biggest thing is that they have created a culture and environment where an athlete knows they can succeed. And, they have created successful training programs that their athletes know if they follow they have a chance for success.

Newton says so in the documentary, "The Long Green Line". His training programs have changed little over the years, so if you want to be an all-state runner, you look back at the other all-staters and just follow the same training program they did.

When he was running in college last year, my son Matt was coached by a runner who had run for North Central, Andy Remley. Andy was part of a couple of national champion cross country teams, and on the track ran in the steeplechase (he also has a 2:41 marathon to his credit). He said the same thing, when he was at school there, Coach Carius encouraged runners to look through the training logs of runners that had come before them, because they would see they were doing the same workouts as kids who had become national champions and All-Americans.

Andy, who never advanced to the Illinois state cross country meet and only ran in a 4x800 semifinal at the state track meet, said he looked through a lot of those and decided if it worked for them, it would for him too. So that's what he did, he followed those programs and became a champion.

Crazy isn't it?

We tend to get caught up in all of this stuff that is supposed to make us better, gear, shoes, GPS watches...but in the end it's about trusting what you are doing, it's that simple.

So if you are making the jump to a bigger distance this year, and feel uneasy, or even a little scared, that's fine, because the unknown is the cause of anxiety. But when you hit the road and start training, trust yourself, and trust the process, and it will get you there.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What A Great Week!

What is it that makes the week between Christmas and New Year's so absolutely blah? Is it the let down that the holiday season is over? A post-Christmas, I've-put-on-10-pounds-since-Thanksgiving-and-now-I-regret-it thing? Cabin fever with the kids on break? The sudden realization of..."how the hell am I going to pay for this?

A combination of all of the above?

Whatever it is, people just seem to get knocked completely out of their routine as the year comes to a close. Add in a lack of motivation -- picture me raising my hand -- and it's just a lost week for lots of us.

After only running a couple of times last week, I promised myself that I was going to try and make this week count. I really tried to get back into eating better, drinking more water and getting my shoes on and getting out the door.

The result? Success! I made it out for five runs this week for 24 miles, and better yet, lost six pounds in the process! So a great start to the year!

Monday, 3.97 miles in 42:30 -- The challenge this week was making up some new routes as some of the sidewalks I use were still covered in snow and ice. So it's been a lot of taking new streets and going down a street to the end and making a U-turn and coming back. Surprisingly, it's kind of broken the monotony s bit. The run started out slowly as I tackled some uphills, but my last mile was the fastest, which is always the goal.

Tuesday, 3.42 miles in 37:30 -- I didn't want to go as far as Monday so I ran a little bit of a modified version of one of my shorter routes. I ran the last 1.5 miles at about a 10:20 pace, which made me happy.

Friday, 4.66 miles in 47:31 -- Every so often, you just have a run that was so awesome in one way or another that you remember it for a long time. Friday was one of those. I don't know what I did any differently during the day, other than maybe I was a bit excited after recording my podcast, but it was just different.

It was a bit warmer on Friday -- 41 degrees -- but it was getting foggy and a little mist was in the air when i started my run at about 4:45.

I just felt "faster" from the jump, and was really getting into an early groove. Then it started actually raining, and it inspired me to pick up the pace. At about 3 miles or so, it was dark, the rain was coming down, I was hammering it up this huge hill and a Paul Oakenfold mix was blasting through my earphones. it was that moment I remembered how much I loved running in the rain and that I was breathing deeply in the zone.

Like Blake Griffin dunking over a couple guys!



Anyway, it had been so long since I'd run in the rain (or dunked over two guys) that I forgot how much I loved running in the rain! It just felt so good to be out there, working hard, with the rain coming down.

Saturday, 8.15 miles in 1:30:31 -- With some really cold weather moving in Sunday, I decided Saturday was going to be my long run day. I was also meeting my coach, Vince, for part of the run. It was our last run together before he headed to Iowa State to start grad school.

It was about 36 degrees when we got started, but the rain from Friday night had iced over in a few places, so we went slow and easy. Plus, we talk the entire time. Not always about my running or training, just stuff in general. One of our big topics of conversation was Mark Zuckerberg's Year of Running campaign, which you can read -- and listen to -- my thoughts in my post from Friday.

We also outlined the next two weeks of training, which I'm really excited about. He wants me to go 9 and 10 miles over the next two weekends, and we are also entering a little "pre-speedwork" phase as he wants me to do one fartlek run each week, adding 20-30 second bursts throughout the run.

Nice! I like speedwork and like training fast, so I'm all in for that. In the past I've improved pretty quickly when I've started doing that stuff, and I'm hoping that's the case this time.

After I ran 5.4 miles with Vince, I went home, got some water, changed into some dry clothes and headed out again for 2.75 miles. I had debated whether or not I should've had a banana but I skipped it, which came back to haunt me!

I was hoping to stretch the run out to 9.5 or even 10 miles but I just started to get really hungry. The only thing I'd had to eat was a banana before I left to meet Vince, so I was feeling pretty weak. I tried a couple of walk breaks and tried to hang in there, but I ended up just stopping and walking home.

Oh well, the positive was that miles 6 and 7 were both run at about a 10:15 pace, which I was happy with. Usually because of the hills my routes around home are 4-5 minutes slower than on a flat course (on a 9-10 mile run), so thinking ahead to my races coming up I'm really optimistic.

Sunday, 3.8 miles -- I could hear the wind blowing outside all night long and just knew there would be something waiting in the morning! I was right, it was 12F with a below zero wind chill when we went to Mass, and 7F with a feels like of minus-11 when I went out to run.

It probably took about as long to get dressed for the run as the run itself. All things considered, I was actually pretty warm, although my face stung a little bit when I ran into the wind.

No doubt, it was the coldest run I had done in quite some time, but it was good to get out there in those kinds of conditions again so I could remind myself that I could do it if need be. It's supposed to get colder over the next couple of days so I might head inside, but I don't have a "fear" (f you want to call it that) of the conditions any longer.

So how was your week? Did you run a race or achieve any goals?


Friday, January 8, 2016

Zuck And The Year of Running

Hey all! Sorry I've been off the blogger grid the last couple of weeks...but the holidays. I'm sure most of you can relate!

I hope you had a good holiday (however you choose to celebrate), and a wonderful New Year. Christmas and New Year's were both very low key for us, which is how I like it! Like the proverbial "kid at Christmas", I'm still playing with my "toys". I got some great new running gear, and actually, my favorite gift is a toy, so maybe I shouldn't be using quotes.

Yes, what you see is an RC short course truck. For the longest time I though RC cars were kind of dumb, but last year Kevin got one for his birthday and we have had a lot of fun with it. So now I have my own so we can play with the cars together. Sometimes it's tough to find common things to enjoy with teenagers, so I'm glad we have our RC cars.

New Year's was nice, too. I had to do a bunch of IT stuff so I was stuck at home that night, but that was OK. I finished in time to ring in the New Year with Darcy and all was well.

So here we are now, into the swing of 2016, and by now I'm sure you have heard about the "Year of Running" campaign launched by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg likes to set goals at the beginning of the year to challenge himself in some way. Two years ago he learned Mandarin, and last year he tried to read two books a month. This year, he wants to run 365 miles and invited the Facebook community to join him.

He even created a Year of Running page, which as of right now has close to 91,000 members. I'm a member of that page, and it's so inspiring to see people all around the world share their love of running.

To me (and many others) this is a game-changer. No one before this has created a worldwide social platform like this, and I'm interested in seeing where it goes. I have made a podcast about this subject, where I view it from different angles, so give it a listen.

The main theme is...make a difference in your running community! So many negative people want to be part of the problem, be part of the solution instead. Rock your own year of running like never before!

Enjoy the podcast! And feel free to leave your comments below!