Archive for January, 2009

Puerto Rico! Kayaking at Night in a Bioluminescent Bay

Enjoying the weekend in San Juan, Puerto Rico before our Caribbean Running Cruise. before the cruise; a vacation before our vacation. Started the morning with a nice walk to the Old Fort with Canadian friends Cathy Belic and Klari Kalkman. Spent most of the day on the beautiful beach across from our hotel, catching up with old and new friends as they arrive in PR before boarding our ship on Sunday. Lunches and dinners at our fave San Juan hangout down the street - Don Jose Hacienda. Beautiful floor to ceiling open windows where you can experience the spray of the ocean inside the restaurant when the waves crash against the rocks outside the windows. Every once in a while a waiter will toss out some pan (bread) and a fish feeding frenzy ensues below. Saturday night we kayaked in a Glow-in-the Dark Lagoon. Unbelievable. Nighttime Kayaking into the Fajardo’s Las Croabas Lagoon thru a narrow channel, a mangrove swamp – gnarly roots everywhere, iguanas sleeping in trees, warm water and only three feet deep. After about a half mile of the narrow canal we emerge into the lagoon –  a bioluminescent bay, one of only 6 or so in the world,  lit up by the tiny dino-flagellates. Incredible.

 

 

lagoon

ING Miami Marathon

Four years ago, the ING Miami Marathon was the first race to brand the hotel card keys. Brilliant!

Four years ago, the ING Miami Marathon was the first race to brand the hotel card keys. Brilliant!

ING Miami Marathon 15,000 runners in the marathon or half marathon.

ING Run for something better kids run had 4,000 youngsters.

On Saturday 1,500 runners did the 5k, which finished in Miami Beach.

 

I spent Friday and Saturday selling books and doing seminars at the expo.

Sunday I was at the finish line watching 15,000 happy runners cross the finish line.

 I met Alexis Garcia at the San Francisco Marathon 2008 we ran side by side the last 14 miles of the marathon. We slowed down to run with me.

His story is quite incredible. He left Cuba 16 years ago in Kayak.It took him 55 hours to reach the US. Today he’s a PE teacher and very active in the Miami running community. His wife Marlene did the half marathon and stepdaughter Lauren did the 5k and the kids run.

I call them my Cuban family.

Bart

Ryan Hall writes…

Hey Bart,

I hope you are doing well man. I have been wanting to email you to tell you how great your book is.  I have been laughing out loud as I read it.  It is refreshing to read after taking running so seriously for the past half year.  I am looking forward to just having fun with it like you when you ran the bare buns run or burro race.  It was the chapter on your ride across the country that really made me jealous…I just about whipped out of our hotel room in Belgium and rented a bike to ride across Europe…how sweet would that be?  Anyhow, your job seems better than mine right now but I guess the grass is always easier on the other side.  Today, I think I figured out what went wrong in my preparation for Beijing…I needed a couple good sessions of the Yasso 800s.  It is funny, I had heard about that workout before but I didn’t know it was your baby.  I seriously want to try that one out. It seems like it would be a pretty tough session.  I guess it is pretty similar to the 10 by K that I am accustomed too. I really appreciated your sharing how running helped you get out of the mess of your youth.  I kind of have a similar story.  I was definitely heading the wrong direction before I started running but I believe that God really used running to get me back on the right path. Anyhow, I here your voice every morning when I am reading the book.  
Great stuff man!
  
Ryan
__________
and a few days later when he finds out he’s in the book….
Bart,    

So I was reading your book yesterday and a huge smile broke out across my face.  Sara couldn’t help but notice from the across the room asking what I was smiling about. I didn’t tell her but the smile stayed on my face for a while.  I couldn’t believe you wrote about me in your book. When I first saw it I was curious what could possibly make me book worthy.  It was a huge honor man…it means a ton to me.  What I appreciate most about it is that it wasn’t based on my foot speed but on my heart.  Those are the compliments that mean the most to me.  In the sometimes fickle world of elite running, where they love you one day and forget about you the next it is nice to know that I have friends that care more about my heart than my speed.  
I also wanted to tell you that we are doing comrads man!  That is the only race over 26.2 that I have any desire to do.  I know your knees aren’t what they used to be but I know they have one last epic run in them. Lets plan on it!  
 
I hear you are going out to Chicago for a book signing this week.  
Have fun with that.  Take care!
 
Ryan

New Runner/Recovering Addict No Longer Contribs to Colombian Drug Cartel’s Bank Account…& Treadmill Granny

Some inspirational letters I’ve received…

 

Dear Bart, 

Sometime in July, I had the opportunity to meet you at your book signing, held at The Running Company in Columbus Circle. I told you that I was preparing for my first marathon. Up until the time I met you I only had two 1/2 marathons under my belt with a PR of 1:40, and that was leaving it all out on the road. At the NYC 1/2, I had to walk most of the last 3 miles.  I knew I had a lot of work to do. I had never ran more than 16 miles at one shot. Well, I read about half of your book (which is awesome) and it inspired and motivated me. You stated that the last 3 or so miles of a marathon were about guts. You also mentioned at the book signing that all you need is 3 key workouts in a 10 day period. I’m an Ironworker in NYC which is very physical and combined with heat it is a work-out. During the work week my running was in the heat of the day and my long runs on Sunday mornings. To make a long story longer, I crossed the finish line in 3:28:30, and I’m 47 yrs old and had to run a 3:30:59. I Did It Bart!!! I learned a lot in that race too. I’m glad I never got to the part in the book before the race, where you talk about the guy who had tried to qualify for Boston 22 times. Lol. I wil say that when I crossed the finish line, I raised my hands thanked God and yelled, “I’m going to Boston!” Then, proceeded to weep like a baby. I’m sure you know how I felt. One last thing, I am a recovering addict. Just over a year ago I was contributing to some Colombian’s bank account. Running, has become a huge part in my recovery as well as a tool in rebuilding my self-esteem. I wanted to Thank You, Bart, for all your dedication to the world of running. You are an inspiration to me and I am very glad I got to meet you. I hope I get a chance to see you again. Thank you Bart.
Sincerely, 
B

 

 

————
Bart,
I wanted to share a story about the impact your book is having on my family.  I bought a copy of your book in May at the Cleveland Marathon expo.  It was laying on my counter a couple of months ago when my 80 year old Granny was looking for something to read while my daughter was napping.  She loved it.  I called her this morning and she was little out of breath.  I asked her if everything was ok.  She replied “Yes, I only have 5 minutes left on the treadmill”  I’m not sure where she got the treadmill but I know where she got the idea to use it.
 
After missing my goal time in Cleveland I put your 800′s into my routine.  The effect has been amazing. I can’t wait for my next marathon.
 
Sincerely,
 
Doug 
————
 

MY LIFE ON THE RUN inspirational book feedback

Writing My Life On The Run was often an arduous journey…just ask my wife and cat. However, the rewards have been great and I am always happy to hear from runners and nonrunners near and far about how my story in general or something specific in the book has inspired them in some way. I’ll share a few of the letters I’ve received. You’ll see some runners have their own inspirational stories…

2009: Vegas to Iraq & Antigua to Big Sur

I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do – even when my body is whacked – being out there running, walking, helping out and volunteering at the races. Taking part, that’s what it’s all about.

 

It’s three weeks into 2009 and I’ve already been to Vegas (Fleet Feet & Running from an Angel Marathon) the first week of this new year, Green Bay Marathon kick off the next, Phoenix for Rock n Roll Arizona…and no, I didn’t go to watch the Cardinals defeat my team, the Eagles. Posts to come on all. I am now en route to Miami. Alexis Garcia and his wife Marlene offered to pick me up at the aiport in Ft. Lauderdale. Alexis is a runner I met during my comeback marathon at San Francisco last summer. If you’re at the Mimai Marathon expo this weekend, stop by my both and say hi. I will also be showing my slide show at a seminar on Saturday. 

 

Coming up next week: San Juan, Puerto Rico for a few days before the Caribbean running cruise, www.cruisetorun.com – a perfect time to escape winter. Then it’s  back-to-back trips out west: Running USA in San Diego followed by the Austin Marathon and RD conference, and a potential visit to the White House. Spring events will include the Pittsburgh Marathon kick off, Little Rock Marathon, Cooper River Bridge Run, the inaugural Illinois Marathon, Boston, Big Sur and Santa Barbara Wine Country Half. I am most excited about a July trip to Iraq, yes Iraq, where I will visit our troops at seven different bases in seven days. Stay tuned.

Green Bay Marathon Kick Off: 600 Cheeseheads/Runners Brave The Cold

During the second week of the year I was in the coldest place on the planet – Green Bay, Wisconsin. It took planes, trains and automobiles – and two days – to get there so of course I had to make a pilgrimage to Lambeau Field. Cellcom Green Bay Marathon does an event kick-off in the dead of winter that is impressively attended by the local running community, newbies and grizzled vets alike. It felt like a thousand degrees below zero the night I was there but that didn’t stop 600+ brave (crazy) souls from showing up. The program included a highlight video from last year along with an overview of the 2009 event, the 10th running. I gave a talk and answered questions. Thanks for inviting me to be the guest speaker – and yes, that is a piece of cheese I am wearing on my head -not a turban.   

Here is a link to an article in the Green Bay Press Gazette:

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20090108/GPG0101/901080583/-1/archive

 

2008: 32 Flights, 6 Countries, 22 States…

 

Happy New Year!

I apologize for being a poor bloggernaut in ‘08. I promise to catch you up-to-date in the coming months on some of my more interesting travels and races from last year. A quick tally of where I was yielded 6 countries including my first visit to Iceland where I ran the Reykjavik Marathon. I also ran the SF and Maui Marathons – a return to marathoning, kind of, after a four-year hiatus due to complications from lyme disease. 

 

The TSA folks at our local airport know me by name. I love the travel but our cat Mojave doesn’t and has taken to packing himself in my luggage. See photo. 2008 book signings, speaking gigs, race announcing, work (and vacations) brought me to more than 50 events in Canada, the Caribbean, and 22 states including numerous trips to California and Texas. It’s been great meeting other runners and hearing their stories…some of which I will share with you in future posts.

 

Mojave The Cat

 

Happy New Year ~ with a 100th Marathon, Vegas style

 

Laura's special handmade slate award from Joyce Forier

Laura's special handmade slate award from Joyce Forier

Laura and I kicked off the year with a spur of the moment trip to Las Vegas, one of our favorite places. What’s not to love? Red Rock canyon nearby, nature all around, and great food and entertainment at every turn.

Unfortunately, when my mom died late last year we were about to fly off to the Bahamas. Laura was going to run her 100th marathon in the Bahamas – either that or her 100th would have been Mobile, Alabama – not quite as memorable or exotic but when Nana passed we just put the marathon milestone on hold. Now was the time to revisit and we decided that Calico Racing’s “Running from an Angel” marathon would be the  perfect choice for Laura’s 100th. Joyce Forier, the one-woman show behind Calico Racing has created some pretty impressive events out here in the desert including night time races near Section 54 – her E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon, Half, 10K and 51K. Laura had been bragging about Joyce’ s ultras since her first one 18 months earlier. She had run two of Joyce’s 50-milers around Lake Mead near Boulder City – one during a heat wave in June, “Running with the Devil” which she wrote about inthe May/June 2008 issue of Marathon & Beyond. Six months, and three hours faster, after that “Baby Badwater” Laura ran the winter version of Devil called  ”Running from an Angel.”  However, this  time around, 26.2 miles along the hilly roads and shores of Lake Mead would be enough. Later we planned to celebrate on the strip with “Love” the Cirque du Soleilstribute to the Beatles. I decided I would run the marathon too or at least see how far I could go. Laura had no idea I had any intention of finishing the thing or even running with her. I had suceesfully gotten thru three marahtons last year after a three year hiatus due to my lyme disease related arthritis. I ran the San Francisco, Maui and Reykjavik marathons in the 4:20 to 5:20 range but perhaps Laura’s 100th was my last. The morning started off nicely and beautifully -nothing like a cool crisp winter a.m. in the desert. At the turnaround point at halfway she came thru at 2:12 and was surprised to see me just 4 minutes behind her. I was confident at the time that I would negative split and catch up to her. I did catch up to her by mile 14 but then my wheels came off for good and I had the biggest crash of my running life. She stayed with me as we hobbled in together more than three hours later for big PWs (5:46) for the both of us but no time to hang out and socialize as I promised the folks at the Vegas Fleet Feet I would stop in for a book signing. Even sitting in the car for the short five minute drive back to our hotel was torture. An our next day plan to make a two-hour pilgrimage to Badwater – a place I haven’t been to since I ran the Badwater 146 exactly 20 years ago – wasn’t going to happen either. I was toast. We did make it over the the strip for the next two days and celebrated our crazy race together with a night on the town and our new favorite Cirque show, Love. And despite my pain, I am glad I finally got to experience this beautiful run around Lake Mead. maybe next time I will bring my bike. Check out: www.calicoracing.com