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!

I Did It Again! Another 20-Miler.

Today I am announcing that I am officially ready for the NYC Marathon.

The race is in three weeks.

This morning I did my last long (long, long) run. I banged out another 20-miler.

Two weeks ago I did my first 20-miler. I wanted one more under my belt before race day.

It’s now under my belt.

***

The best part is that I feel great and felt great throughout the run.

I was a little concerned about this one.

I have been busy really 24/7. The demands on my time from so many different areas have been legion. I have always kept myself busy, but the demands right now have been relentless. I headed into the weekend exhausted. I woke up yesterday still exhausted. I didn’t know if I could pull off a 20-miler today.

But I did… and I was even much fast than two weeks ago.

To boot:

On October 2, I ran 20 miles in 3:43:12. That was 11:09 mile pace.

Today I did the 20 in 3:31:23. That was 10:34 mile pace.

Yeah baby! I KILLED IT!

On October 2, I ran only two of the miles in under 10-minute mile pace.

Today, I ran seven of them that fast.

My fastest mile on October 2 was 9:58.

Today it was 9:17.

My slowest mile on October 2 was 13:03

Today it was 12:32.

I had ten miles on October 2 that were over 11:00 mile pace.

Today I had only seven.

***

As I have recovered from Achilles surgery, I never lost the hope and belief that I would run well and far again, but as I struggled and toiled in my recovery and training, many doubts came deep inside my head.

These last few weeks have shattered those doubts.

I’m not fast like I once was.

But I am strong again.

I feel ten years younger.

I feel great.

***

The marathon is in three weeks.

I cannot wait!

23,753

Twenty three thousand, seven hundred fifty three.

That’s the number, for all intents and purposes, give or take a few…

23,753.

It seems kind of silly.

But that’s what it is.

***

Continue reading “23,753”

30-Mile Week

The 2021 NYC Marathon is 17 weeks, plus one day away.

This week, two weeks before my real “training” begins (aren’t we, as runners, always in training?), I took a GIANT leap forward.

Continue reading “30-Mile Week”

My Appearance on KSJE Discussing “Scattering The Ashes”

I am so please that so many people are loving my novel Scattering the Ashes. If you have not read it, I highly recommend that you do.

I was recently interviewed on KSJE’s “Wrire-On Four Corners” program.

You can listen to that interview here: Write-On Four Corners- June 2, 2021: Paul Semendinger, Scattering the Ashes

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”

The Narratives We Live By…

I learned something about myself the last few weeks.  Something good.  Or, I think it’s good.  And I think it is something that we can all learn from and should always remember. 

This is a story about me, but it’s really about everyone.  As always, I hope the deeper message is one that resonates with all because I think there is a deeper message here.  The message is one I am going to try to remember the next time I think all is lost (proverbially, or in reality). 

The message is one of narratives – things we believe.  Things we think we know.  Stories we tell ourselves.  Deep truths about ourselves that we assume are true. 

We spend a lot of time convincing ourselves (knowingly or unknowingly) about all sorts of things.

And sometimes we’re not telling ourselves the truth.

Even if we think we are. 

Continue reading “The Narratives We Live By…”