Saturday, January 29, 2011

Less sugar now=more energy later

“It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them.”
- Caron de Beaumarchais

See, whining pays off!! Week after week, I complain about the cold weather, and voila! Mother Nature caves in and today is going to be 67 degrees! 67 in January! My trail run this morning was so much more delightful without 3 layers of clothes, two layers of gloves, and HotHands. Surely Winter is over and it will be like this till next October. I love my little fantasy world.

When I first got the absolutely crazy idea to run a marathon more than 30 years ago, I had no clue that there was more to it than just piling on the training miles, ignoring any aching niggles here and there, and then gutting it out during the event. Cotton shirts were great because that's all there was, shoes were apparently way ahead of their time because they had no cushion (barefoot running?), and you drank water, an infant form of Gatorade, or (ready for this), defizzed Coke. Then in the late 70's, something called ERG came along that said Glucose was the main element needed for long distance running, and since then, the discussions for sugar DURING the event has been (to steal a phrase from Waffle House)) smothered, covered, chunked, diced, peppered, capped, and topped. It seems that many folks now do Saturday or Sunday long runs with a fuel belt around their waists, like they're running the Trans-Sahara, even if they are only going a few miles.

So, with coaching long distance runners for a long time, and discovering the many pitfalls myself, I thought I might shed some light on a small aspect of fueling during the run as seen from my eyes (my eyes!). Although I will concentrate on gels, think of "gels" as a generic term for jelly beans, blocks, drinks, bars and a variety of concoctions that comes from the "if-you-buy-it-we'll-make-it" School of Research and Development. While ingesting carbs during long training runs may make you feel better, I believe it defeats the purpose of the run and turns off the exact signals you're trying to turn on.

First, you need to understand that the primary purpose of training long is not to just make you tougher when faced with the Fatigue Monster (see last week's blog), though that's definitely in the top three. No, along with a whole host of really neat physiologic changes (well, I think they're neat), you teach your body to store more glycogen (energy sugar) in the muscles and train your energy system to burn that glycogen more efficiently along with fats. The ability of the muscles to propel you down the road or trail for prolonged periods is strongly influenced by the amount of carbohydrate stored in skeletal muscles, with muscle glycogen depletion becoming the decisive factor limiting prolonged exercise.

By far, carbohydrates are the #1 choice for fuel by the muscles, but our injector system only stores enough glycogen in the muscles, liver, and blood to get us a little more than 2/3's of the way down the marathon road (can you say WALL?). Running out of glycogen presents an enormous threat to your muscles' survival, so when you train long and the fuel gauge creeps towards "E", the muscles start sending up rescue flares and a very strong signal is sent to cause 3 things to happen:

1) Your brain says to your muscles "Hey, I'm not exactly sure what the heck he's doing, but he may do this again", so more glycogen is made and stored in your muscles than what was previously present, thus putting out the fire of the threat and increasing endurance for future efforts. Research shows that the more your glycogen tank is emptied, the faster and more it's refilled. That's a good thing, because the more glycogen you have packed into your muscles, the greater your ability to hold your marathon pace to the finish. To create the largest muscle glycogen storage possible, you need to deplete muscle glycogen on a regular basis.

2) Your muscles are forced to rely more on fat as fuel, making them much more effective at using fat for energy. No matter how thin you are, you have oodles of fat. The problem is that muscles like the rich, high-octane stuff, not that low-grade, hard-to-burn fat. But, the better your muscles are at using fat for energy, the longer it will take to run out of your limited store of glycogen and the less your pace is going to slow toward the end of the race. You need 100% energy and so you go further burning 50% carbos than burning 80% carbos.

3) Your very smart liver, sensing that muscle glycogen and blood glucose are low, synthesizes new glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, namely amino acids and lactate. The new glucose is then used for energy so you can maintain your marathon pace.

So, when you down those gels, or some other form of sugar energy during your long training runs, providing muscles with a ready fuel, you blunt all three of the above adaptations. To maximize your physiological adaptations, it's better to cut down on your "topping the tank". I teach my runners to take no more than one gel during a training long run (usually at the midpoint) and drink mostly water instead of gulping down a sugar drink every 2-3 miles. With this method, your energy system won't expect a constant jolt several times along the way.

Now, in the marathon itself, however, you do want to consume carbohydrates since it's important to maintain blood glucose levels for as long as you can so you can use it as fuel. First, energy will be derived from the glucose in the blood, then the muscles, and finally, the liver. Of course, there's some overlap, but basically, that's the pecking order. So, you begin ingesting your first gel at about thirty minutes, and then about every 30-45 minutes after that. If you drink an energy drink at the aid station, don't "Sugar OD" by adding a gel. You can only absorb about 240 calories of carbohydrates an hour, so based on about 100 cal/gel, two gels an hour is about it. More than that...well, don't complain to me if your tummy starts to feel like a giant Boy Scout knot.

Running a long distance is a series of doing things right, cutting corners when you can, and not going down the "I'm different than the average runner" road. I strongly believe that a steady flow of injested carbohydrates during the event will help your outcome, but you can tilt the odds in your favor with some solid fuel planning in the months and weeks before you toe that starting line. Train smart my friends.

For those of you in Birmingham, tomorrow, we have our last "on course" training run from Boutwell downtown. That'll be 13 miles for those training for the full and 8.6 for the half. We only have 2 weeks folks, before the Mercedes Marathon, so now would be a good time to see and feel the course. Leave your gels at home (except one), and I hope to see you all on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

Saturday, January 22, 2011


"Fatigue makes cowards of us all"
- Vince Lombardi

I just can't seem to figure it out. Somedays are diamonds and somedays are coal...somedays you're the windshied and somedays you're the bug...somedays you're the bat and somedays you're the ball. Ok, this is even getting old for me, but you get the gist. A week ago, I went out for my pre-dawn run, and it was like I never laced up running shoes before. Every step was plodding, every step was an effort. Then, for absolutely no good reason, my next three runs were wonderful and my longest of the three was also my fastest! Of course, that run had a little boost because I was running in Boston on the Marathon course. It wasn't because I was trying to make it my best run of the week, but it was the one where I felt the most in tune with what I was doing. My legs were propelling me forward, not exactly effortlessly, but it felt smooth instead of my legs just moving forward to keep me from tipping over onto my face.

If you're going to get yourself swallowed up by endurance events, you've got to prepare yourself, and pretty much expect, that for periods, sometimes rather extended periods, you will just feel like "who-did-it-and-why'd-they-do-it". One of the many things long distance running has taught me is that most of the time you'll work yourself out of most of these difficult patches if you just hang in there and accept it as part of the deal. That patch might be a few minutes in a 10K, a couple of miles in a marathon, several hours in an ultra, or a couple of weeks in your training schedule. This is not the "wall" so many new endurance athletes work themselves into a lather about, but just a period where the fatigue point rears it's ugly head and the left side of your brain becomes domineering with thoughts of how good it would feel to quit this foolishness and sit down, be it on the curb in a road race, in the middle of a trail in some woods, or right in the middle of your training schedule.

Now, if there seems to be a pattern that every week you're bailing out of at least one run, well, then, you're developing a wicked habit if you wish to sculpt your body into a long distance machine. I know I'm having a devil of a time getting myself going regularly in this cold weather. I'm just plain tired of it (the cold weather, not the running). Once I kick myself out the door, most cold weather runs are actually very good, but my short term memory wants no part of it and the next day, I have to grapple with myself again - ugh! Sometimes, you get going and you know in the first quarter mile that today is going be a rough day. In those cases, try to give it at least 15-20 minutes and if you still resemble yesterday's fish (your run stinks), then start to head for Plan B, which is usually heading for home. But in a planned long run, if you start to fade, understand that this is part of the process, and you slow down, drink some Powerade, and take a Powergel or some other form of sugar (though how anybody eats those sports jelly bean things, I have no idea). Then get going again and see if your body tries to climb out of this "bad patch". Remember, in a marathon (or longer race), you will have long time to try to work things out - maybe not enough to accomplish Goal A, but it doesn't have to be a total disaster. If you're going to give in to the Bad Patch Monster every time it comes out of it's cave, then you're doomed before you even begin.

We have a lot of seasoned marathoners out there on Sundays at our runs mixed in with newer long distance hopefuls, and no matter where you're reading this (believe it or not, from Canada to Russia to Australia and 6 of 7 continents - nobody in Antarctica has read RWA!), one thing that is common amongst all veteran runners is that we all love to talk about running - the good and the bad - and each of us will boost your confidence by telling you horror stories about how we had runs that were just falling apart, but by hanging in there and doing the right salvaging things, we resurrected what seemed like a total loss and made it a positive run. This could be in a race or "just" a training run. Many training runs I've done, I've said "What if this had been a marathon today? I'd be toast!". But, I would walk some, keep drinking and most of the time, eventually got back to running, as long as I felt like I wasn't going to hurt myself - THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER DAY! Training for 26 or 50 or 100 miles is a long road (literally) that has 4-6 months of goal-oriented runs attached to it, so that's well over 100 training runs and your body will learn something from EVERY run you do, some of it good, some not so good, but it will learn. If you work your way through the bad patches repeatedly, your body and mind will accept "Good Patch...Bad Patch...Better Than Bad Patch". You HAVE to learn to hang in there in order to learn what works for you. Then it will become habit. You may not learn it fast -three decades and I haven't completely learned that lesson yet, but I'm working on it.

A quote of Scott Jurek's that I used several blogs ago is still one of my all-time favorites - "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have". It's one of the lures of marathons and, more so, ultramarathons - how strong will I be when I face the demons? They will be there, count on it. I've finished many long runs where I could never figure out how I did it, because 2/3's through the race, I felt cooked, and the only reason I kept going was because my car wasn't parked in the middle of the woods! But, as much as logic would tell me "This is it Big Boy", my anti-logic of experience would convince me to believe my mantra of "every step is a step closer", and most of the time it was like grabbing a rope and climbing out of the abyss, and that rope was attached to the finish line. As many times as you promise yourself during the race that if somehow God allows you to finish, you're going to burn your running shoes and never run again, that promise is soon forgotten at the finish line where you alone realize how deep you really can reach down to depths you didn't know you had. And that, my friends, is why we come back for more! I love this sport!!

Ok, 3 weeks till the Mercedes Marathon. For tomorrow, we've got 15 on the schedule for the full marathoners and 7 for the half. NEXT WEEK, we return to Downtown for our final run on the Mercedes course, so put that in your calendar NOW. We're coming in for a landing now, so don't screw up. You've been training since can't cram in training in the last 3 weeks. Believe in yourself. I believe I'll see you all on the roads tomorrow - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.
- Anonymous

As we "dig" ourselves out of two inches of snow, ice, panic, and total inconvenience here in the deep South this week, one thing has definitely been confirmed. I am ready for Spring! Of course, those that know me, know that I've been ready for Spring since I turned my calendar to October. It wasn't cold back then, but it was October, and having gone through this scenario for the past 63 years, I knew what was coming, and in October, I don't like January, I just hate it. No foolin', no kidding, I'm serious. I am positively the biggest wienie when it comes to cold weather. I mean it is just plain physically uncomfortable. Walking the quarter mile from my parking space to my work clinic to me is like these films you see of sailors stranded on some ice flow with the wind screaming and icicles on their beards. Trying to get up my get-up-and-go for a run is nearly impossible. It's reminds me of those cartoons where one little gremlin is on your left shoulder saying "Don't run...your lungs (and other things) will freeze" and the little guy on your right shoulder is saying "you big wussie. Just shut up and run!". Yeah, I run most of the time when it's cold and I complain like a little girl, but I guess I do "warm up" and as long as I don't stop, I can keep the thermostat fairly level. They (there THEY are again) say there is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. Well, if I wore appropriate clothing for 15 degrees, like it was this week, I wouldn't be able to move, never mind run. I love when Runner's World says "this high-tech shirt will keep you toasty" - baloney!! The only thing keeping me toasty is a hot shower and coffee. Keeping me moving while running is three layers of everything! Well, only two layers of gloves, but of course I have those dandy little HotHands in my gloves - man, I love those. And I love warm weather.
So, despite all this whining and carrying on, what does ol' Coach Al do this weekend? Why, go to Boston of course to see Adam (grandson) and Joanie (daughter-in-law). My son is out of town on business (Barcelona is out of town, right?), but from the emails I'm getting, he seems more determined to scrounge up tickets to watch one or two Barcelona soccer games than to learn any business stuff. That's my boy!!!
Meanwhile, Boston got 16" of snow this past Wednesday of which 15" is still around. The roads are plowed because the day before the the storm, the city declares a "snow emergency", which means you DO NOT park on the city streets because the heavy duty plows are coming through like Transformers and if your car is in the way, you'll be lucky if all you get is a several hundred dollar ticket. Your car may wind up several blocks away when Iron Mike realizes he just swooped it up. Today, I have to admit I did not get out to run. I mean, it was 7 degrees with ice everywhere. It wasn't hard to roll over. Besides, Adam & I had a little Grandpa/Grandson "rock-back-to-sleep" episode at 4 this morning (which I am definitely not complaining about), so slept in I did. Doesn't look like it'll get above freezing at all until the day we leave on Tuesday. But, that's fine with me. Yes, the adapted Southern Wienie would gladly venture into the cold outreaches to see Adam enjoy his frigid hometown. We're even going sledding later - he's too young for snowball fight, but just wait!!

Tomorrow morning, I plan to get out and try a run. I'll complain about the cold and the wind and the ice, but once I get back, I'll switch from running mode to Grandpa mode and answering "dis" (Adam talk for "what's this") all day will make dealing with the cold a lot more tolerable. But really, how do folks that live up here ever train? Are they just treadmill freaks? Do they constantly overdress like I still do, or have they finally learned the twenty degree rule? Do they even care what the weather is? Oh well, questions I don't really need answers to. Next time I come back in a couple of months, I'll be looking for Mr. Daffodil rearing his yellow head and seeing if it's time to teach Adam how to burp his name - no, I guess that's still a year or two down the road. As for now, Adam is napping, so I think I'll check the weather report and whine for a while until he wakes up. Stay warm my friends.

For those training for Mercedes, it's just 4 weeks away!! Holy Crow! It's really sneaking up on us. Is it just me, or are there very little ads or commercials or newspaper stories about Mercedes this year? Seems like the fanfare is a little muted compared to previous years. Based on the training email I get, there are a lot of folks training for the half or the full, so we'll see soon. Meanwhile, the schedule calls for 20 miles tomorrow for the full and 7 for the half. Check the map at my blog site if you don't know the route ( ). I plan to do my 20 next Sunday, so if anyone wants to join me then, that will be fine, but it will be very easy.

So, from the cold north to the slowly warming south, wear warm socks, use HotHands when you need them, and I'll see you on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

Saturday, January 8, 2011


"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." - JOHN WOODEN, former Basketball Coach

As we anxiously cower in Birmingham,awaiting a snowstorm of 3-8", I wonder, should I waste my time writing a blog about an event that may not happen at all, or do I look back on previous failed predictions of doom and gloom by our weatherman "experts", and not write about it at all. I choose the latter. But, I do reserve the right to run out to grocery store immediately after posting this blog and stock up, not on the ridiculous bread & milk, but on something more beer and pretzels. For those of you not in the Birmingham area, you don't understand how the simple mention of the word "snow" paralyzes the city, so, to some, the epic pseudo-storm of tomorrow will bring on the end of the world two years early (if you believe those alien-influenced Aztecs). So, I better hurry up with this post.

I heard that quote above recently and it got me to thinking about what a good quote it was for the beginning of the year. Although my tenure is now over, I was the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Run Coach here in Birmingham for 15 years. When I joined TNT back in the mid 90's, we began with two seasons a year, offering only one full marathon. Even had a break between seasons! Over the years, it grew to three over-lapping seasons with both full and half marathons. All of our teams would meet together to begin their training runs every Sunday morning as one big, happy group, and I had to say "I hope you all looked at the schedule and know how far you're supposed to go", because literally, somedays all I would know was how far the longest group was going. I figured those going shorter would know when to stop (not always a good assumption). Between making schedules, drawing maps, putting out coolers, being motivational, answering emails, and actually trying to coach runners to go very long distances, I would sometimes almost have to kick myself when I felt like I was losing the whole focus of the program - helping those much less fortunate than myself. We're all put here for a reason and I don't want to get into a long discussion of determining if that reason is preordained or not, but the basic reason HAS to be helping each other, don't you think? It doesn't matter whether you raise money for a charity (ANY charity), give your time doing volunteer work, or just helping up someone who stumbles along the way. If we all would just lend a hand somehow, wouldn't things be a whole lot better?

This weekend, there are some Disney TNT'ers in Orlando doing their half (today) and full (tomorrow) marathons. And in just 5 short weeks, our Mercedes runners and walkers will reach the top of the training mountain and many of them are raising monies for TNT or the Bell Center For Early Intervention Programs or some other worthy charity. All of these groups began back in mid-September and most had no idea what in the world they were doing or why they were trying to become an endurance athlete to raise money. But, they came out scared and nervous, and here they are about to take their final exam. Some could just sit down and write a check to their charity, but they may have been touched by someone they know that has this disease and they want to push themselves a bit to make aware to others that this can be beaten, but in the meantime saying "I AM GOING TO DO SOMETHING THAT'S HARD, THAT'S NOTICED, AND WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE". Every wall is built with a million bricks and every one is important to the strength of the wall. Each dollar raised by itself doesn't really seem to mean a whole hill of beans, but when you put them in a big pile and come up with over a Billion dollars raised, as the L&L Society has done with Team-in-Training, then you see research facilities built, researchers hired, drugs developed, and cure rates raise from 20% to 96% as some childhood cancers have in the past 20 years. I am a runner who can help to teach other potential runners how to run. No big deal there, but when you can teach them to use their body as a vehicle to touch literally millions of others, well then, Happy New Year. Every time you enter a race that has a charity behind it, don't complain about the entry fee...just be thankful that you have the gift to get out there and pound your shoes into the road for a reason other than to see how fast or far you can go. For the past few years, the numbers for TNT and other similar charities seem to be going down. I know we used to have good programs with the Arthritis Foundation and the Diabetes Foundation here in town, but they don't seem to be active anymore. I hope all this doesn't mean that "the novelty has worn off". For the new year, why don't you add to your resolution list to be more aware of how we can use our running and walking to help others and not just ourselves. Before most of our Sunday runs, Ken and I will ask the group #1) Who did a race the day or week before (nothing like a pat-on-the-back), #2) Who's training for a specific race other than the local races (You train better when you make a commitment in front of a group), and #3) Who has a fundraiser they're raising monies for (get it out there). We like to make a big deal about all those things.

OK, I know that didn't have a whole lot of running info in it, but sometimes I sit down at my computer and my fingers just start typing. It's even scary to me! But back to running. Tomorrow, we will run from BOUTWELL AUDITORIUM and we will run on the Mercedes course. I wish I could make it so a bell would go off when you read that so you don't wind up in the wrong place. The full marathoners will do one 13 mile loop and the halfers will do 10.1 miles (see for the 10.1 course starting from the 7 mile mark). This is the 2nd of our three "on-course" training runs for Mercedes. The next one will be January 30th. As most of you know, my #1 training advice is to train consistently, but one of my top 3 Race-day tips is "Learn the course". So, what better way to learn it than to do it? It looks like this year's Storm of the Century will not hit till the afternoon, so I'll see you on the Mercedes roads in the morning - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Be Consistent With Consistency

"Don't expect a million dollar race with 10 cent training" - unknown

Hi guys - As we begin another new year, it is pouring dogs and cats here in Birmingham, spiced with lightning, thunder, and the spring-like Tornado and Flash Flood watches. Looks like my brand new Running Log will begin with a big fat zero. Oh well, good rest for the long run tomorrow. Hot coffee sure tastes better on a morning like this. Add to that an early morning English soccer game on ESPN2 and the morning paper, and 2011 is shaping up to be The Year of The Slug. Nah, that won't happen - I'm determined that this is The Year of the Semi-Comeback (can't be too committal).

I reflect back on this literally crummy year of running, thanks mainly to a couple of ankle joints that just don't want to bend forwards, backwards or sideways (which really makes trail running a blast). But, some tweaking (I word I hate, but it fits) here & there and there is improvement. Enough to make me hopeful to run a marathon soon and return to the trails on somewhat of a regular basis. As I look back, it seems unfathomable to think that running has been my constant companion for more than half my life.

In skimming my 30+ years of training logs, it's funny how I set practically all my PR's within a 3 year span in the mid-80's. Of course, I realize that I was 25 years younger then (Oh no, Say it ain't so, Joe!!), but other than THAT large elephant in the room, there was incredible consistency to my running. I used to work at Cooper Green Hospital in the Birmingham Medical Center, and EVERY lunchtime, I would head out the door and about a mile later, I would meet up with my best running buddy, Bill Tucker. Sometimes, it would be just the two of us, and sometimes we would be joined by up to 8 other guys along the route. We were the constants for many years. Each weekday, we would head out for an 8 mile run through Southside, punctuated with a balls-to-the-wall quarter mile finish that rivaled the finish of any race I ever ran. Exhausted, we would be bent over, panting, with hands-on-knees, thinking "why the heck did I do that?", while simultaneously saying "We'll do it again tomorrow". And that was EVERY day...except Thursdays, when we would do an 8 mile hill run along the side of Red Mountain that would literally wring the last bit of ever-loving starch out of our legs. The constant rising and dropping elevation would have us pushing, not wanting to show any sign of weakness to the others in our group while we plowed up and down the mountain course. Only the occasional, barely audible "crap" from one of us would indicate the screaming, burning fatigue. Rain, snow, heat, cold, didn't matter. Obviously, getting back to work on time didn't matter too much either!! Then came the weekend, when Bill & I would usually put in a 12 mile tempo run with about 10 other (much faster) runners, or head out for a 20 miler at least once a month. Looking back, it may have been a little excessive, but I loved running long distances and the PR's were there for the picking like apples from a tree. So, run we did.

The absolute key to training is consistency. If you're serious about doing a long distance event, you have to become dedicated to a training program. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. One of the things I love about marathon training (and coaching) is that this is probably the first event in terms of distance that you really have to plan for in terms of training. You can't just hop out of the sack one morning and decide to go 26.2 miles. How many macho, seemingly in-shape, near-plastered, college guys have almost met their maker due to the infamous Bar Bet "I can run that marathon tomorrow!" (Kind of a direct running parallel to the Redneck's famous last words "Here, hold my beer. Watch this!"). Your body has to undergo a physiological change so you don't crash, hit the wall, bonk, flame out, whatever you want to call it. There are multiple aspects of marathon training, but cut away the fancy Runner's World "100 tips to get you through the marathon" articles and it comes down to dedication, consistency, and discipline to a training program. I remember an article I once read where a reporter asked H. Lamar Hunt, then one of the richest men in America, how he acquired his riches. He said "First, you decide what you want. Then figure out what you're going to have to give up to get it. If you still want it, then go after it". In marathon training, it is a huge time commitment, you're constantly tired, you can't live on a diet of cinnamon rolls, hot fudge sundaes, and milk shakes, and all your non-running friends will avoid you because they are tired of listening to you talking about nothing other than running.

These days, I'm much slower, I only run 4 days a week because my wheels need the once avoided days off, and my mileage is less than half of what I used to do in my heyday. But I still love to run long distances (at least in my head), and most of the time, I show up on Sundays under the pretense that I'm somehow helping to teach you how to do this. But, you know what? I come out there for the camaraderie of all you guys and because you are my constants. If you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end. Oh, not the same numbers I had "back then", but as the country song says..."I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good as I'll ever be". Run long my friends.

As we screech into the New Year, I hope you all set your resolutions, or just plain goals, within a realistic distance. Some folks set several goals for the New Year, but I never understood this. I mean, if you have something you wish was better, why wait till January 1st to get your butt off the couch? Whether it's January 1st, or June 30th, reach for something that's just beyond that comfortable range, and be consistent with your plan. Hey, kinda like training for a long distance running event, huh?. Those of you training for Mercedes, we have...drum roll please...SIX weeks to go!! Holy Smoke!! Tomorrow, full marathoners do 15 miles and you halfers are doing 7. NEXT WEEK, we head back downtown for another 13 miler on the marathon course from Boutwell Auditorium. Had a huge crowd last time - hope so again.

By the way, for those of you looking for bigger & longer things, don't forget the Oak Mountain 50k Trail Run. Entries are available at:

Ok guys, that's it from the disappearing butt of 2010 and the emerging surprises of 2011. We have no idea what ups or downs we will have thrown at us. We can only control a handful of a million variables. If you can lace 'em up, let's go for a run and I'll be happy to see you all on the roads -AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"