1,000 Miles!

2016 was a long time ago.

I was still in my forties, barely, by most measures, but I was still there.  I turned 48 that year.
2016 was the last year that I was able to accumulate 1,000 running miles in a calendar year.  In the immediate years before 2016, I started breaking down, started having multiple running injuries. 

But, still I ran.  On and on.  As I always hope to.

After reaching 1,000 miles in 2016, I was unable to make that mark again.  I pushed my body as best I could.  I still worked out every day, or almost every day, but I couldn’t maintain high mileage weeks or months.  

And, in January 2020, almost two years ago now, I went under the knife to repair the tears in my right Achilles tendon.  (The tears in my tendon had led to the tears in my eyes as I pushed and tried to struggle through an injury that just wasn’t going to heal on its own.)

I have chronicled the surgery and its aftermath on these pages time and again.  

The surgery went well.  The physical therapy went well.  And I found myself getting stronger and stronger, day by day, week by week, and month by month.

Well, today I reached a milestone.  A big milestone.  Huge, if you ask me.

Today, after I ran a nice solid (and somewhat fast for me) seven-miler (57:44), I once again reached the thousand-mile mark.  2021 has been a success.  It’s been a great success.  Huge, if you ask me.
It’s funny, I never had any doubt that I’d eventually get back and be the runner I used to be.  I’m not there yet.  I’m older and slower.  I might never be as fast as I used to be again.  (And that’s okay.)  But I still want to be the guy that can run and run and run some more.

I want to be the guy that can reach 1,000 miles (and more) year after year after year.  

I don’t ever want to stop.

I believe that in life we have to find ways, many ways, to push ourselves.  We have to always strive to be more than we were and better than we are.  

I took a big step back today.

I rejoined the thousand-mile club.

It’s great.  And I feel great.

I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings.
***
(I’ll be working on a running book in 2022 that will be a completely original, motivational, and fun.  Stay tuned!)

My 2021 New York City Marathon

NOTE – This article can also be found at Start Spreading the News.

***

Let me begin by saying that New York City, all five boroughs, are amazing, awesome, inspirational, supportive, and, just plain wonderfully great. I love all of it. Every person, every borough, every street… All of it.

New York is the greatest city in the world.

It just is.

***

Continue reading “My 2021 New York City Marathon”

A Host of Numbers With One Week To Go…

In one week, exactly, from right now (as I write this), I’ll be on the streets of New York City running my favorite marathon, the one race that I often feel defines who I am. Somehow, a long time ago, I realized that the New York City Marathon is part of me, part of who I am at my core.

I cannot wait for next week to arrive, to be there, on the streets of New York, running, struggling, laughing, pushing, persevering, high-fiving, and probably even crying, as I push over the greatest 26.2 miles there are.

I love the noise, the crowds, the energy, the passion, the people, the police and firefighters. I love the volunteers. I love the Gatorade. The love the quiet of thousands of steps and the noise of the bands and sirens and cheers.

I love all of it.

My heart is racing just thinking of next week.

I love preaching at the religious services tent before the race, inspiring others. I love the smiles and the hugs and the “best wishes.”

I love Sinatra’s “New York, New York…”

I love it all.

***

I just finished what will be my last hard miles outside in advance of the marathon. I did four miles in 35:20. My last mile (yes, it was mostly downhill) was a blistering fast 8:06.

As I looked at these numbers I thought to so many other numbers that helped define my training and quest to get back to the streets of the greatest city in the world.

Here are some of the numbers:

662 – That’s how many days it has been since my Achilles Surgery on January 8, 2020

318.27 – The miles I have run the last 12 weeks since ramping up my training.

26.52 – My average weekly mileage the last 12 weeks.

2 – Number of 40+ mile weeks in my training

2 – Number of 20-mile runs I did this training cycle

843.57 – The number of miles I have run in 2021

30 – The amount of pounds I have lost since December 26, 2020

21 – The number of previous marathons I have run

7 – The number of NYC Marathons I have run

2002- The year I ran my first marathon (NYC in 4:20:47)

3:25:16 – My fastest marathon (Chicago, 2006)

4:47:47 – My slowest marathon (NYC 2018, Hey, I was injured…)

12 – The number of years since I last broke 4-hours in the marathon (yikes, I used to be fast)

13 – The number of years it’ll be after this year. (I’m stronger than I’ve been in more than a decade, maybe ever, but I’m not 4-hour marathon fast…yet!)

4:26:00 (approx.) – The average time I have run for my last seven marathons (dating back to 2011)

4:30:00 – The slowest I want my 2021 NYC Marathon to be

4:20:00 – The fastest I think I can be next week if everything goes right

10:18 – That’s the mile pace I’ll have to keep to reach a 4:30:00 marathon. I think I can do this.

5 – The number of boroughs in NYC. I love them all.

1,000,000 – The number of miles and marathons I plan to run before I tire of this crazy sport

1,000,000,000 – The amount of consecutive hours I’ll be smiling after I finish the race.

371 – The number of days until the 2022 NYC Marathon!!!

Thanks to my many readers and friends for all the inspiration and positivity you’ve shared with me. Your good words and optimism help me to keep moving forward. I hope I’ve inspired you back in some ways as well.

Never quit.

Never stop trying to be your best.

“It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

Absolutely!

If I Can, So Can You!

I was never a gifted athlete.

I was often picked last for the sports teams on the playgrounds and even in gym class.

I never played varsity baseball (my favorite sport.)

I got cut from the freshman soccer team.

The only skill I really have is the ability to focus on a task, stay committed, and get the job done.

Continue reading “If I Can, So Can You!”

Marathon Training Update, 2021

It will be three years since my last marathon when I step up to the (crowded) start in Staten Island for the 50th running of the New York City Marathon in November.

Three years and an Achilles surgery.

This will be, for me, Marathon Number 22 in all. It’ll be my eighth New York.

I love New York. And I love this race.

Continue reading “Marathon Training Update, 2021”

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 33) – Last Article In Series

Today is January 8, 2021.

Exactly one year ago today, I walked into the surgery center to meet Dr. Braver for him to perform surgery on my right Achilles tendon. As I walked in, I said to the receptionist at the counter, “I am here to begin my training for the 2020 New York City Marathon.” She smiled and said, “You must be Mr. Semendinger.”

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 33) – Last Article In Series”

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 31) – NYC Marathon Day

It’s been over a month since my last update here…

My running hasn’t been great, but it hasn’t been bad either. I’ve been running about three days a week, usually about 3 miles at a time. It’s basically been a succession of 11-mile weeks. This approach has made sense because I just need to get strong.

About two weeks ago, though, I decided to ramp it up a bit. I want to start building miles and becoming a stronger runner. (I need to do that. “Want” makes it seem like a choice. It isn’t a choice.)

Two weeks ago, I did five miles. That was my longest run in a while.

Last week I did six.

Today is NYC Marathon Day.

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 31) – NYC Marathon Day”

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 29) – Continued Progress

Well, I needed that.

It’s good to be back. Again.

After my five consecutive days of three-mile runs, two weeks ago, the next week, I set out to do four consecutive days of four-mile runs.

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 29) – Continued Progress”

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 28): Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back!

Whew.

I did it.

It wasn’t easy, but it was easier than I thought it would be.

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 28): Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back!”