I’m the last person on Earth who should be starting a runners’ blog. That’s why I’m doing it.
Most mainstream media blogs are run by people who, hopefully, are experts on the topic. This will be quite the opposite.
I spent the last two years smoking and drinking, staying up late and eating awful food in Beijing. (Did you know McDonald’s has 24-hour delivery for about a dollar in China? Or that on several horrifying occasions I ordered it three times in two days?)
I worked there at a newspaper called China Daily after 33 years in the Pacific Northwest.
China was food for the soul. It was poison for the body.
Moving there was a humongous challenge. Moving back to Portland is the opposite - it’s my favorite city in the world. I know the language, I love the food, and the people are, for whatever reason, my kind of people.
The only drawback is that I thrive on humongous challenges. Repatriation is a real problem, and I’m worried about it. I lived 700-and-some-odd days accomplishing difficult things, and I want a new impossibility in my life.
Boredom frightens me.
The spine of this blog is that I’m going to try to run a marathon. (Even writing that scares me, so we’re off to a good start.) I’m not going to try to run a marathon this year. I might not even try next year. I imagine I’ll start with a 5K, work my way up, and go from there. I don’t have a schedule. That’s the whole point.
Here’s the plan, which I’m positive will change.
I’m going to the doctor, get a physical, and find how out how badly I’ve damaged myself.
I’m going work up a realistic schedule that brings me from one lap around the track to 26.2 miles around a city.
I want to talk about equipment, routines, stretching, music and the incorporation of beer into my regimen. I want you to tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing right.
Maybe we can set up a social run here and there, discuss your own training and talk about things going on in the running community in general. I honestly have no idea what shape this will take.
I don’t really care how long it takes. I don’t care if I lose weight. I don’t care if I ever complete even five miles, or if I pull some muscles, or if I ultimately end up embarrassing myself.
I just care about the idea of this being fun for you, me and anybody else who’s interested. I love the idea of creating a community of people who succeed and fail at the most basic of physical activities.
Becoming a runner requires two things. The first is a desire to do so, which I, and lots of other people, possess. The second is serious self-discipline, which lots of people - but maybe not me - possess.
We’ll see. That’s the point.
This blog is not for people who win marathons. It’s for people who see value in challenging themselves, and want to do so through running.
In practice, I hate running. It hurts and I get bored. When I’m a regular at the gym, I lift weights or elliptical or ride those stupid bikes where you basically lean back like you’re in a recliner.
Part of the point of this, I hope, is going to be about overcoming obstacles. For instance, my shift at KATU begins at 6 a.m. I’ve worked nights for the last 13 years. I’ve stayed awake until 6 a.m. more than I’ve woken up at 6 a.m. Setting an alarm for 4:45 a.m. every day seemed impossible to me six weeks ago.
But you know what? I’m excited about that. Once you’ve overcome things that challenge who you think you are, you want more of those things in your life. That’s why I’m also going to write about evolving from a person who was scared out of his mind to move China to somebody who cried - a lot - when he left.
A few rules.
- Make fun of me for being in terrible shape or ignorant or self-indulgent. Please. I kind of thrive on that, and I think it’ll be good to remember that, even on your own crappiest day of running, you’ve probably got one person beat.
- Don’t make fun of anybody else. Running regularly is hard as hell. I don’t suffer fools in most other aspects of my life, but on this blog, ask the dumbest of questions and allow others the freedom to do so. I plan to. On the flip side, be aware that comments here will be strictly regulated. I plan to keep this a congenial place. No pointless bickering, no politics, no personal attacks on other commenters.
- Help make this about more than me and my idiotic and probably impossible quest to run a marathon. Let me re-emphasize: I care WAY more about fostering a community of runners than I do about bragging that I finally ran a 5K, 10K or a half-marathon. I see my own role in this as the guinea pig, the asker of questions and the provider of interesting news and notes in the running world. If my running career ends in nine days, the blog will live on.
- I’ll probably post a picture of my cat sometimes.
Feel free to reach out to me. I’m on Twitter at
or email me at