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The Bullhorn, Issue #019 -- Monthly Motivator for October 2007
October 15, 2007

Just the right push to succeed!

Breaking Down the Marathon Myths

Few marathons get the press that the recent 2007 Chicago Marathon just received. For those that didn’t read the dozens of editorials out there…here are the highlights:

  • More than 45,000 runners signed up to run the marathon with approximately 35,000 showing up on race day to actually run.
  • The temperature at race time was in the upper 80s (F) and felt like 90+ F with the heat index.
  • There were over 300 people that received medical treatment for heat-related injuries (less than 1% of the runners).
  • There was one fatality of a runner in his mid thirties with a known heart condition.
  • The race directors stopped the race at the 4-hour point after many aid stations ran out of water.

Those are the facts. The talk show hosts, radio shock jocks, and other media folks had a field day and turned the race into a headliner worthy of a slow news day. Most of these editorials would lead the listeners to believe that running 26.2 miles is crazy…insane…suicidal. I mean, look at what happened to the original marathon runner - Poor Phidippides died after his 26-mile trek from Marathon to Athens. But don’t mourn Phidippides anymore than you would Humpty’s all folklore, my friends!

The fact of the matter is that running a marathon is usually a culmination of many, many months (if not years) of training and preparation. And statistics of long distance runners show that the benefits of health and longevity far outweigh the negatives of a few short-term aches and pains. Hundreds of thousands of runners run marathons every year, and for many it solidifies their confidence and serves as a pinnacle achievement in attaining their fitness and weight loss goals.

It sickened me to hear so much negative commentary about the Chicago Marathon this past week, that I felt obligated to offer you the brighter side. Running a marathon has so many more positive life-altering impacts than it does negative. Few fitness achievements culminate with the kind of feeling you’ll get from completing a marathon. So to those that may have been deterred by the media marathon-know-nothings last week, I offer you…

The Top 10 Things That Do It for Marathoners:

10. Having a bowl of ice cream and knowing that you’ll burn it off (& then some) with tomorrow morning’s run.
9. Running on a moonlit path and hearing nothing but your breathing as the rest of the world seems to be sleeping in.
8. A well-earned shower and a great night’s sleep after a nice long workout.
7. Going to an early morning staff meeting and knowing that you’ve already conquered the day.
6. Watching the doctor take your pulse for a third time as he finally asks, “Are you a runner?”
5. Wearing your favorite high school t-shirt (to spouse’s chagrin ;-) because it still fits.
4. Walking up the stairs without getting winded.
3. Not only being able to keep up with the kids…but actually beating them once in awhile, too ;-).
2. Getting carded at bars.

And the number one thing that does it for Marathoners:
1. The look on a co-workers face when you say, “26.2 miles” ;-).

If any of this entices you, check out the First Marathon page to see how to start your training plan and schedule. It’s not only doable, but it may be a huge difference-maker in your life!!

The Original Bullhorn

This past weekend, I was with my Cross Country (XC) team at one of our weekend meets. While there, I ran into a friend and fellow XC runner from high school who is now also a fellow XC coach. We had fun catching up as we fondly reminisced about the diabolical and stern coach of our youth: Mr. Sharp.

Mr. Sharp would encourage by levels of facial scowls and his words were usually shouted rather than spoken. Race days were a treat compared to practice. And Monday’s practice after a bad weekend performance often produced tears (and a return of our lunch!). Mr. Sharp operated our 60+ runner team like a drill sergeant runs a platoon. But there were those moments…the pat on the back and “Good race today, Mike”…or just a simple smile in the finish line chute after you gave the race of your life. These simple gestures motivated us for months if not years to come. And it was these gestures and these moments that were the topics of our “glory days” conversation as we stood on the same hallowed XC course that we used to run just a few decades ago. But our stroll down memory lane was abruptly interrupted, as our runners emerged from the woods and we each loudly shouted “pump your arms”…”get up there with the pack”…”get up that hill”…and other words of encouragement. We looked at each other and laughed as if to say I guess all of Mr. Sharp’s methods weren’t so bad.

We all need loving and nurturing people in our life. These can be our parents, a spouse, teachers, mentors, and friends. It’s these people and their kindness that become our foundation in life. But we also need the type of people that tell us like it is, whether we want to hear it or not. They tell us to get off our butt and just do it. They tell us to be the best that we can be. They don’t overly celebrate our victories, and they describe success as a journey more than a destination. Their words can burn in our ears, but the actions they inspire can provide a jolt of motivation that propel us for many years to come.

If you’re stuck in a lull in your fitness routine, look outside your circle of comfort to a walking club, a gym trainer, a martial arts sensei, or a running coach. You may just find the motivator that you need to help you on your way.

Exercise of the Month:

Even the Good Lord took a day off after a week of hard work. And while he did create the universe, we should still try to follow suit and take a day off here and there during our hectic lives. Most fitness plans fail because we exercise to the point of exhaustion and leave little time for our bodies to rest and recuperate. This can lead to mental and physical fatigue which will burn us out. Exercise and fitness can not be crammed…we need to stress our bodies & then rest them in order to truly reap the benefits of fitness. Most athletic injuries are due to over-training (i.e. no rest). Taking a day off may seem like a rather lame ‘Exercise of the Month’, but it’s a necessary one if you want to keep your fitness routine going for years to come. Sweat dreams!

New Pages!!

Every month, The Fitness Motivator adds new pages and helpful resources to assist you in meeting your fitness goals. Some of these pages came about from YOUR ideas (thank you!), while others are based on personal lessons-learned. If you haven’t been on the site in awhile, here are just a few of the pages added since the last newsletter:

ProForm Exercise Bike Reviews:
Product reviews on some of the more popular home exercise bikes on the market.
Cross Training
Caught in the same dull routine? Mix it up a bit with cross training!
Garmin Forerunner Product Review (Updated Prices!)
The features are going up & prices are going down on this great GPS gadget. Check it out!

Sound Off!

If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.

Keep up the great work & stay focused on your goals. Best of luck!

Encouragement to Succeed!

P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!

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