2016 Running goal: Accomplished (with tunes)

Back at the beginning of the year, I decided to set a goal to run 1,000 miles this year. At under 20 miles a week, that may not be really ambitious to some people, but you need to understand a few things about me and running.

For most of my life, I've played sprint sports, like baseball and tennis and racquetball. I'm not a power hitter, so the most I ever really had to run in baseball was 180 feet (home plate to first base to second base). A tennis court is about 39 feet from one corner of the baseline to the opposite corner at the net. Racquetball is played in a 20-by-40-foot room, and since the ball bounces off the wall, you never have to run the full diagonal.

Before I signed up for that half-marathon last year, I'd only run longer than a 5K (about 3.1 miles) a handful of times. I also turned 40 this year, and I promise I am not getting faster and more agile as I get older; nor are my knees turning back the clock.

Until I was 38, I had maybe run a 20-mile week once, ever.

So that's me and running.

Why set the goal? Well, I wanted a reason to keep running. I think it's now ingrained in me enough that I'll keep doing it as long as my body allows, but I could have easily stopped after that half marathon last year. I can't say I enjoyed much of that training at all.

My goal-crossing run Monday was different, though. Instead of holding on to some 3-hour podcast so that I'd have something to listen to, I put my trust in iTunes to shuffle my way through 11.3 miles. I may have danced a little bit. It was cold and raining, but I smiled a lot. I made sure to run by some of my favorite downtown spots, like the fountain in Forsyth Park, the armillary in Troup Square and Monterey Square.

I stopped off where my wife was working to give her a kiss.

I also wanted to see if I could set a realistic goal for a whole year. It took me 354 days to get there. It's a leap year, so that's just about 97% of the year it took me to get to 100% of my goal. I'm going to say that was exactly the right number of miles to shoot for, if you're me.

I tweaked a calf during a race earlier this year, and it's been bothering me for a while. It flared up around mile eight, but I wasn't going to let it stop me from getting to where I wanted to be. I'm sure it'll bother me for a good while, so I might be looking at bicycles and elliptical machines for a couple of weeks to get it some rest.

I'll share with you some tunes from my run, because who doesn't love a little music in their life?

1. Jane's Addiction's cover of The Grateful Dead's "Ripple" — this one got me out the door and down to the pavement.

2. Asylum Street Spankers, "Monkey Rag" — I might have been dancing up Habersham Street. OK, I totally was. Bonus, this animation is adorable.

3. Bruce Springsteen, "Thunder Road" — This came on about halfway. If you thought you saw some crazy dude grinning and saying good morning while running down West Bay Street, this was in my ears.

4. Edesio Alejandro, "El Sopon de Yuya" — Yeah, so I was doing the rumba (badly) in the bike lane. So?

5. Gooselove & Antara, "Change With Me" — You know how some artists are formative in your life for the eight months you really needed them and then they disappear, only to show up in your earholes 15 years later?

6. Willie Nile, "History 101" — This is the song that was playing when I hit my thousand-mile mark.

Honorable Mention: Ellis Hooks, "Uncomplicated" — This came on as I turned toward home. It's one of my faves, but I can't find a video, so here's an excerpt at Shazam.

OK...it's almost 2017. What are you up to for the year?

Josh: The Podcast, Episode 30: Running, voting and rambling

From The New York Times, September 25, 1972.

Well, it's that time. Saturday is race day, Tuesday is Election Day and, well, I feel like rambling.

Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. Thompson
Rock 'n' Roll Race Series
Last year's race diary
AP: Good riddance, Campaign 2016, you put the "ugh" in ugly
• Thanks, Mitch, for pointing me to RealTrueNews

Georgia Elections Fraud hotline: 877-725-9797
Tim Ferriss with DHH — they discuss "highlight reel" around 2:25:00
Duncan Trussell with Catherine Powers
Joe Rogan with Christine Hassler
• Wim Hof talking with Joe Rogan and Lewis Howes
1972 election
1984 election

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Libsyn (RSS)

See more episodes on the podcasts page.

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Running 2016: Halfway home

A 2-fer on Saturday took me halfway to my 2016 running goal. 500 miles down, 500 miles to go.

The calendar said I was 13 days ahead of schedule — we were 170 days into the year with 196 left. Yeah, I know. I picked a leap year. If I reach my goal on Dec. 31, we'll put an asterisk on it.

It's not a given, obviously, that I'll get there. We hit triple digits on Friday for the first time, and it's only June. That means we've got probably another 10-12 weeks of weather that will stay too hot for me to run more than 18-20 miles a week without really feeling it. I still need to put an injury buffer in, just in case. I need to figure in time for a vacation (even though I'll probably get a couple of runs in during it).

Me on Runkeeper »

But I feel good, generally. I started running only in the past few years, and distances only in the past 13 months. It's very much a meditation for me now. It used to take me 75-80 minutes to get into a meditative rhythm. Now I can slide in after a few minutes. It's stress relief, it's escape, and it gives me a good time to just think.

Anyway, here's an old favorite. Enjoy.

Know when to reevaluate your goals (running update)

I thought I'd do something a little different here and move the post to early in the week, since the podcast posts at the end of the week. I'm not really sure if I can keep up a new publishing schedule like this, but there's only one way to find out, right? If need be, I'll just go back to Thursdays.

Anyway, onward.

Some of you might be aware that I set a goal to run 1,000 miles this year.

It's been almost 11 months since I started training for a half marathon, which I ran last November.

I went into that training with no time expectations, and by the time I got through the summer heat and really settled in, I decided I'd set a goal of 10-minute, 40-second miles (which from now on I'll format like 10:40 so as to not only sound like I know what I'm talking about, but save some space). I was right around that (a little behind — I finished in 2:21:12, which is a total of eight seconds behind over the course of 13.1 miles, if my math is correct).

I've kept running, which, I understand, is unusual for someone *cough cough* my age who only just started running. And like I said, I set a goal of 1,000 miles for the year.

I'm going to keep that goal, knowing that, as it gets warmer, I'm going to taper some miles. Sure, I'm still putting in some miles while it's 85 and humid, but given how early in the year the heat's hit, I expect we'll see some 100-plus weeks.

I'm also going to have a couple of weeks when I know I'm going to not run or maybe just get out for a few miles once or twice. My typical week consists of three, maybe four runs for a total of between 22 and 27 miles. This week will be more like 5 or 6 runs at a total of around 20 miles. Those weeks we have friends coming into town, we'll wind up walking 25-30 miles, and I won't run at all. I'll be out of town on vacation for a week and a half, and I'll run sporadically and enjoy myself instead.

That said, if you watch the progress on the right side of the website, you'll see I'm averaging more than the 2.75 miles a day I need to reach 1,000 on the year. I'm also well over the 85 miles per month, so I'm giving myself some breathing room.

All this time, I've been maintaining my goal of running at 10:40 a mile, and I realized on a run Monday that I need to stop that. I need to give myself the opportunity to fail as the weather gets less runner-friendly. I've been setting PRs almost every week at one or more of some of my more common distances (2, 7 and 12 miles).

I'm moving my goal up to 10:00, and I'll revisit that in September. That'll also make the math easier for me along the way (I have Runkeeper tell me where I am every quarter mile — just time and distance — and I calculate where I am compared to my goal to keep myself focused a little bit).

This is a good reminder to reevaluate your other goals, too. If you're knocking your goals out of the park, maybe it's time to set more difficult goals. And...go!


Running goal 2016: 1,000 miles

It's a new year, and we're looking ahead to a new challenge. Miss J and I started the year with a walk/run of the Color Vibe 5K, which was a lot of fun, and then I took a much-needed week off from running and the gym. Believe me, it wasn't easy.

Fun morning at #colorvibe5k #savannah

A photo posted by Josh Shear (@joshuanshear) on

But I got back at it pretty quickly; as soon as that week off was over looked like I was wearing a waist cincher corset, I went out for four miles and thought about a new goal. We're going to shoot for 1,000 miles this year.

With a week off, that means I can average 20 miles a week and still get another week off, or I can average 25 miles a week for 40 weeks and not force myself if it gets really hot (and if this winter has been an indication, we could be in for a hot, humid summer). Teach your toddler how to ride a 3 wheeled scooter to go workout with you.

At any rate, there's a widget on the site (on the right side if you're looking on a desktop or tablet) with a marker. I'm using Runkeeper to track mileage and time, and I won't count anything I do on a treadmill. And if, like it did last week, Runkeeper goes wacky and thinks I did a three-minute mile, I'll try to map it out and round down.

What are your goals for the year?

Running diary, Nov. 16, 2015: A new week

Well, a week after I ran my first half marathon, I kept going. I took Sunday off, and Monday, I hopped on a treadmill for 10 minutes or so before hitting the weights, and then the rest of the week I hit it reasonably hard.

My lovely wife J signed us up for the Color Vibe to kick off 2016, and since she's not been training at all, I gave her an interval schedule that keeps her at distance for the seven weeks leading up. Her first week was a minute running, a minute walking, and the route is right about 3.5 miles.

Tuesday, I ran to the gym to lift and back (about 2.5 miles each way). Wednesday, I ran with her. Thursday, I ran four and change, and Friday was going to be a rest day but I was in a bad mood and decided to train with J again to get in some sweat and keep the endorphins flowing. Saturday, I went out for 11 miles.

I'll be back at it this week at least a few times; it's nice to be back in the gym, and 2.5 miles is a great warm-up before the workout and a nice way to keep everything warm after. My birthday is Friday, and I'll try to get a long one in that day and maybe give myself the weekend off.

First half marathon diary: The race has been run!

Happy Monday!

Saturday was race day. Before then...

Oh boy. It's really real now. #rocknroll #savannah #halfmarathon #running

A photo posted by Josh Shear (@joshuanshear) on


It was fun, and that's about what I have to say about that. The video has a lot more in it. Some notes:

Time. I trained for 2:20 and came in at 2:21:12, in the top 4,000 of about 25,000 registered. So, right where I expected.

My friend Kelle, on the left there, ran 15 half marathons in 2015 to recover from an injured foot. More accurately, she got her boot off in February and finished her 15 by the first week in November, so basically eight months of running races. Photo by her hubs, Glenn.

My friend Kelle, on the left there, ran 15 half marathons in 2015 to recover from an injured foot. More accurately, she got her boot off in February and finished her 15 by the first week in November, so basically eight months of running races. Photo by her hubs, Glenn.

Weather. When I finished it was about 75 degrees with humidity hovering around 90%. It was hazy through most of the course. Apparently this was hotter than they expected — they wound up shutting this down early. In race PRSpeak, that's what they mean when they say they "diverted runners along the course." That is, they diverted them to the finish early. I really didn't think it was so bad out; I'd been training in 90-plus percent humidity all summer with another 20 or more degrees on the thermometer.

Water issues. The water stop at the halfway point (in the half) stalled me for a full 45 seconds. There were lots of cups out, but no water in them. By the time I got to the water station around 9.5 miles, they were out of water, and were handing out ice cubes. I wound up carrying a paper cup full of ice in one hand and a handful of loose cubes in the other hand for a good half mile. I guess if there's a next time, I'll carry my own water, much as I hate how that feels on my shoulder.

Overall experience. I had fun. For as challenging as the training was, and as challenging as it was running in a crowd the whole way, it was a fun race. I'm not sure I'd want to travel for a race unless I really knew what I was doing in the location. Maybe I'll make this one an every year or every other year event.


» A runner died during the half. He was 35. The family didn't want his name out there, and we don't know any of the circumstances surrounding his death. I saw three people in ambulances between miles 11 and 12 and another five runners down along the route, so I suppose it shouldn't be too much of a surprise we lost someone.

» UPDATE: A second runner died after getting home.

» You may have already seen this floating around Facebook, but one of Savannah-Chatham's finest helped a runner across the finish after he fell a couple hundred yards shy of the finish line. An EMT cycled behind them and helped him immediately after he made it across.

What's next for my running. While, like I said, I found running with the crowd difficult, I did enjoy the distance, so I'll keep a few long runs a month in my repertoire. I'll likely set a goal for 2016, like 1,000 miles, or something along those lines.

What's next for the running diary. It will go on hiatus until there's something new to say, so probably for the rest of the year — but it'll be back when I'm ready to log some miles again.

Sweaty Josh picture of the week (I'm the one in red crossing the finish line):


First half marathon training diary, the last few steps

These are the last few steps of my final training run before race day Saturday. Couple of slow 4-milers this week (lots of traffic, actually, so fast four milers, with lots of 30-second breaks), and now we just have to not get hit by a car for 40 hours or so and we'll be ready to roll! Thanks for being here with me the last five months. More after the race! Full journey here.

First half marathon training diary, Week 22

Happy Monday!

Hooray for taper week. Really. I needed the break. We're now under a week until race day. We'll have a couple of jaunts of four or so miles and then...well, it'll be here. We have a nice relaxing day with friends on Friday, and we'll line up with the 2:20 folks as the sun is coming up on Saturday, and off we go for a couple of hours.

I haven't decided exactly which I'll listen to during (and yeah, I realize there will be plenty of music on the route), but I have a few Joe Rogan podcasts lined up. Maybe I'll save the one with the iceman, Wim Hof.

We'll see you on the other side. Good luck to all y'all who are running alongside us.


Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule


Miles logged last week: 18.57
Time logged last week: 3:08:45
Weeks until race: 1
Weight: 146

This post is brought to you by Shroom Tech Sport, my pre-workout of choice. No caffeine, no shakes, no weird warm feeling coming over you. Just some extra drive to get you through.

Sweaty Josh picture of the week


First half marathon training diary, Week 21

Happy Monday!

It was a physically taxing week, getting the rest of the furniture into the new place and such, but still managed to keep race pace for a 13-miler on Saturday, and really wasn't quite four minutes slower for the week over last week. I do need to clean up my diet for taper week and race week, but that'll be easy enough now that we're in the new place and not driving back and forth at least once a day, trying to squeeze in meals (and sleep) where I can.

I made the final long run before race day as close to race day as possible, sending a backpack to work with my wife, getting up at are-you-kidding-me o'clock, riding my bike to where we'll park our bikes, walking to the start line, and getting started, well, about 15 minutes before race time. I didn't run the course, but I did get distance and time.


Me on Runkeeper
More running diary
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah
Training schedule


Miles logged last week: 26.41
Time logged last week: 4:28:22
Weeks until race: 2
Weight: 149

This post is brought to you by Shroom Tech Sport, my pre-workout of choice. No caffeine, no shakes, no weird warm feeling coming over you. Just some extra drive to get you through.

Sweaty Josh picture of the week

Had a chilly morning this week, we did!