Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Ann Arbor Marathon and the Coolest Runner on the Course

 The Ann Arbor Marathon is this weekend, and the coolest runner on the course is named Ty and she blogs over here --->  TyRunMan (Note: The results are in, and TY finished the marathon 3rd in her age group!)
  Why is she the coolest? Because she has a dry wit, a quirky edge, so cross-fit that her downward facing dog twists into a mustard soaked pretzel, and because she donated to my RUNWELL fundraising page.

TY didn't donate for this exposure and heralding her coolness, but, if you want to donate, I will be broadcasting yours to the world (unless you prefer not to). Go over to my donor page, contribute $1, $2, $10, but for $25 or more, I will tattoo your name, product, book, blog, etc... on twitter and a blog post like this one.

As a recovering addict of many years and a believer in the power of the natural highs that running provides, Runwell is an organization whose purpose is close to my heart. The organization raises funds for addiction treatment and raises awareness of the role a running lifestyle can provide for those in recovery. CHECK OUT MY DONOR PAGE HERE


I will be sporting this shirt over two half-marathons this year


Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Blog Post: How to Take the Stress Out of Pre-Race Travel


My well of running tips seems to have run dry. Fortunately, blogger Arianna from the blog "Arianna Knows Best" agreed to have a guest post today. Check it out, and stop by her blog when you're done.

How to Take the Stress Out of Pre-Race Travel

For dedicated runners, traveling for races becomes a regular part of pursuing the sport. However, heading out all over the country in pursuit of your next big race adds an additional element to your pre-race checklist. There’s a lot more planning involved when you’re resting up for the run in a hotel room instead of in your own home. In order to perform your best and cut down on stress, consider these tips for pre-race travel:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your final destination: Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can get ruined due to poor weather, airplane delays, and other unplanned issues. If you’re running a race in another city, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to travel to that place and get settled in before the race starts. Runners don’t perform their best when they’re under a significant amount of stress or pressed for time. Ideally you’ll want to have two days to get to where you need to be. This allows you time to settle in, relax, and mentally prep before the race.

  • Plan your meals accordingly: Experienced runners know that pre-race meals are a key component to success. The foods you eat before a race require a little more thought when you don’t have your normal kitchen and pantry to rely on. Prior to your departure, do some research about restaurants in the area that might provide healthy, nutritious meals. There are numerous apps that can steer in you in the right direction when you’re looking for a meal to give you fuel for your run. I used Urbanspoon when I did the Super Sunday 5K in Philly and it worked out great! You can also rely on the hotel’s concierge for guidance, as they’ll have a good idea about the kinds of dining options that are readily available nearby.

  • Take care of arrangements at home: If you’re worried about what’s going on at home, you simply won’t be able to perform your best during the race. I was so nervous about our dog Brodie being left at home so we ended up bring him to Philly for the Super Sunday 5K. We actually used a great pet sitter to take care of him on race day! Remember to take care of all other arrangements at home before you leave. Ask a neighbor or family member to water your plants and check your mail, and also make sure that assignments that you normally handle at work will be taken care of by a colleague. When you know that these tasks are under control, you’ll be able to relax and focus fully on the race ahead.


  • Save sightseeing for after the event is over: When you travel to a new city for a race, you’ll want to check out everything that place has to offer, particularly if you’ve never been there before. However, make sure to go easy on the sightseeing until your event is done. Some runners spend the days leading up to the race dashing from place to place, and then find that their energy levels are zapped when it’s actually time to compete. Don’t make this mistake. There’s plenty of time to do partake in tourist activities once you’ve crossed the finish line. Before then, make sure to conserve your energy.


Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at !

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DIGITAL BROMANCES



Bromance. According to the Urban Dictionary, it describes the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males.

Well, I am having some digital bromantices from afar. The objects of my bromantical affection should certainly be made public. Here they are:

1. Rust Cohle – True Detective                      
He came into my life and left. 8 hours only. I miss his nihilistic quips under his breath. I miss the existential ponderings as he cut up aluminum beer cans and made little people, as if he himself were God and we just the figurines he played with. I miss him blowing smoke in my face and his swagger with a beer in his hand. Of course, his true bromance was with Marty (Woody Harrelson), and the two needed each other more than either may admit to.

2. Adam Driver - HBO’s Girls
Besides some of his weird fetishes and his Tommy Hilfiger ads, I have some Adam Driver worship. He is completely without pretense, and has a moral compass that may not always point north but it does guide him. He is one who “never says a commonplace thing” and is an example of how being sober and in recovery can actually give you an edge, rather than take it away. (disclaimer: I’m only a 4 episodes into season 3, so subject to change). And now he's in the next Star Wars.

"DAMN, that's a cold ass honkey." 

3. Adam –from the blog The Boring Runner
My bromance with Adam was smoldering for a while, but gained steam when he wore a Macklemore inspired Thrift Shop pimp hat running the New York City Marathon. We were on the same 26.2 mile stretch of road, but I was back in the pack. His blog posts are fresh and hilarious. Adam is known for rubbing peanut butter on his naked body while playing with the dog writing hilarious sentences and then putting in a strike-through to change the meaning. Check out his blog, and if you are lucky, you’ll get to see an awesome selfie like this one.


Honorable Mention:- Author Joe Hart

Joe has built a mini-dynasty of wonderfully crafted and thrilling books with his own publishing imprint, which is something I completely covet. And he has been open to my barrage of questions, which makes him good people .  Perhaps not a bromance, but I’ve taken to him like Donkey on Shrek


Ex-Bromances- Darryl Dixon – The Walking Dead 
Still kicks ass and I would hunt snakes and
raccoons with him anyday, but he seems to have lost his appeal of being eternally conflicted when his brother Merle died. (I’m a few walking dead episodes behind, so this could change.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

HELP OTHERS GET THE RUNNER'S HIGH

I have signed up for two half marathons in 2014 to raise funds for RUNWELL. I will be running the Dexter Ann Arbor Half Marathon on June 1st, and then the Run Woodstock Half Marathon on September 6th. Or, another way to think of it, I will be running a full marathon that will take me 3 months and a week to complete.


My RUNWELL Gear
Runwell is an organization whose purpose is close to my heart. The organization raises funds for addiction treatment and raises awareness of the role a running lifestyle can provide for those in recovery. CHECK OUT MY DONOR PAGE HERE

In my 21 years of my sobriety, Running has provided me with incredible natural highs, a great sense of accomplishment, and has been an essential asset to my own recovery. Keeping that to myself just doesn't seem right. Not only that, but substance abuse treatment saved my life.

If you can donate just a dollar, that would be awesome. If you can donate ten dollars, that would be awesome times ten.

If you can donate $25 dollars, and you happen to be a writer or blogger looking for promotion or traffic, here's what else I can offer.

Bloggers: donate $25 dollars and I will post your blog link to my right sidebar, say thank you in a blog post announcing your awesomeness to the world, and tweet it out for everyone to see for digital eternity.

Writers: donate $25 dollars, and I will place the cover image of your book on my right sidebar linked to your amazon page, say thank you in a blog post, and also tweet your awesomeness into the twitterverse for eternity.

Of course, you can donate anonymously, or you can donate and have me write your name on my arm with a sharpy while I run. (no joke). Shoot me a message at xmarkm(AT)gmail to let me know you contributed, and I will get any of these rolling. 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Running! Oh the Joy!

Spring!  The best time of the year to run. The world awakens from cryogenic slumber and regenerates. The grass greens, flowers bloom, the birds sing. We get a burst of new energy and optimism.

I went on a run wearing a t-shirt yesterday, first time running in less than a long sleeve shirt since November I suspect. It was wonderful.

But spring is a cruel mistress. The melting snow makes puddles that are so huge a lake forms on the sidewalk. On your approach, there is no telling how deep it is. I sing the lyrics to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and start taking long strides ready to leap over them. When you clear the puddle, you howl inside in triumph. When you miss, you splash muddy water all over your leg and feel the wetness sink into your toes. 


The air feels so fresh, except for the scent of months of dog poop that fill the air. The feces have been gathering all winter inside the snow banks, which are now melting and releasing the fumes in the air


Piles of snow banks soak up the muck of the street and turn a sludgey black.

But all of this has changed. Winter is not done, and is dumping a fresh white blanket of snow 6 inches deep. The world is beautiful again...  (please, bring back the dog poop!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

"This was super creepy! I will never run a marathon now!"


On the Lips of Children continues to get some pretty incredible feedback on Amazon, and now those who have listened to the audiobook have chimed in. Here's what they have to say:

On the Lips of Children is a very good, character driven, dark fiction/horror tale that will make anyone that has children squirm in their seat. The narration was excellent and the pacing of the story was perfect. The story itself was simple enough, but the themes and concepts went much deeper and rang with interesting social and psychological tones. Mark did a wonderful job of building up the tension and the feeling of foreboding...Sometimes you run for fun. Sometimes for the endorphins. Sometimes....for your life. And sometimes you need to stop and make a stand.
A couple readers who listened to the story seem to have been talked out of any marathon plans: 
Well I was thinking of training to run a marathon but after listening to this I might give it a miss!  I don't read a great deal of horror but I really enjoyed this. It had the right amount of spine tingling, on the edge of your seat thrills mixed in with a bit of goriness and normal or not so normal family life!  

And here's another:
 Woah! This was super creepy! I will never run a marathon now! But this was one rollercoaster of a ride that had me hiding behind my pillow at times! Super book!

Finally, Here's a comparison to Jack Ketchum that my ego will live off of for the next few weeks or so:
A genuinely creepy short horror novel. It is the story of a family going to San Diego for a marathon, and stumbling across a hidden society on an evening-before-run. It was reminiscent to me of a Jack Ketchum novel.

Do you ever listen to audiobooks? Well then, dammit, send me a message and I will gift you a coupon code for a free audio download. I have 5 codes left.

Contact me at xmarkm(AT)gmail

Friday, March 7, 2014

Once A Runner

My running these days is done just 45 to 55 minutes at a time until a body full of niggles grinds me to a stop. Still, it is of the most wondrous time of the week. The time I feel most free and shed myself of built up waste and rearrange the atoms of my brain. I sweat out resentment and anger and breath in positive spirits.

But 6 miles makes me feel a bit sad and pathetic. I remind myself that I pushed through injuries during the New York City Marathon planning to follow it with months of easy running. Now that I am here, I don't like it, since it feels by demand not choice. I feel like a runner wannabe. Like a poser. I think of changing the name of this blog. Plus, the running high usually doesn't start until 45 minutes in, barely before it's time for me to stop.

I've motivated myself many times with the mantra; "Some day you will not be able to do this. Today is not that day". The purpose being to seize and cherish the moment. But now there's a little voice in the back of my head that says 'today is that day. You were once a runner, but not anymore.'

It is other runners that pick me up. In a conversation with Runwell representative Pam Rickard I said something along the lines of, "I'm not really running, just 6 miles at a time," to which she replied, "but running 6 miles is running."
 
I love you Runwell. 

And I am a stubborn and persistent son of a bitch. Obsessive, driven. All sorts of 7 habits of highly deadly people, so I will not go gently into that good night.  It's time to sign up for a race. For one, I am going to be raising some funds for Runwell. Having an event should spark the smoldering flame inside. I can accept slowing, I can't accept stopping.

Here's four half-marathons I'm looking at in 2014, and I am going to pick two:


April 26th 
 The Trail Half Marathon - A wonderful trail, iffy weather, but good times. The hills are huge, high, steep, and intimidating, and if the uphills don't get you then the downhills will 

June 1st  
Dexter-Ann Arbor Half Marathon - My favorite half marathon with a great running crowd, a course that winds along the river, and an unforgettable climb to the finish on Main Street in Down Town Ann Arbor 

September 7th 
Run Woodstock - A 3 day festival of running sponsored by Running Fit where I have missed out on the brown acid too many times.

September 29th   
Brooksie Way Half Marathon - Never ran this one, and  need to. 

October 20th 
 Detroit Free Press Half Marathon - Biggest running event in Michigan

*Right now, Ann Arbor Dexter half marathon and Run Woodstock are tops on my list. If all goes well, I can add another fall half. In 2015 I will be back to marathoning. They shoot horses who can't run anymore, don't they? I better prove there's race in me yet.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Watching STAR WARS With Your Children

I got the coolest gift from my wife for my birthday. The complete collection of Star Wars on blu-ray. And from my daughter, I got a promise to watch at least one movie. Begrudgingly. The other child was in complete objection and said many times, "I am not watching Star Wars Daddy."

But when the blu-ray started spinning in the machine, there she was in the room (Shhhhh,,,, don't say anything)

When the title flashed on the screen and the prologue started to scroll, I got goosebumps. I was ten years old again and life was simple. But my actual ten year old kid? Well, she complained. The other one moaned. This was not going well.

 But it didn't take long. They were hooked. Both of them. Even though I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan, it was special. After watching Star Wars Episode IV (what we all know as the first one) they wanted to watch The Empire Strikes Back right away. Success.

My kids have already had plenty of Star Wars culture in their media watching cartoons like MAD TV.  When Luke was training with Yoda on his back, they were familiar with this scene.  They knew in advance Darth Vader was Luke's father, so kept asking when he would tell him.  They knew the Imperial walkers and Land Speeders from the Lego Star Wars game.  They saw a glimpse of the Millennium Falcon in the recent Lego Movie.


It was incredibly interesting watching the movies through their eyes. Watching the movies as a family was one of the joys of fatherhood.

When Vader cuts off Luke's hand, one daughter says, "Oh my gosh! He cut off his hand. What kind of father would do that? You wouldn't do that to me."


As for why Darth Vader wants Luke to join him, one daughter concluded it was because if they were together, then the mother might come back.

I did my best to explain the force, but it still remains pushing the yellow "Y" button on the xbox controller during the Star Wars lego game. 

I tried to explain the scene in Dagobah were Luke goes into the dark cave while visiting Yoda. It is just a metaphor for Luke traveling inside himself to his darkest, deepest parts, (my interpretation) and it wasn't happening for real but only inside of him. When he chops Vader down and sees his own face in the mask, he realizes he has to be careful or he will become like Vader.

"So it was a pretend Darth Vader" says the 7 year old.

"Yep, pretty much." 

The pretend Darth Vader
They are very interested in Return of the Jedi, partly because I promised they'd see Darth Vader's face. One child already drew pictures of what she thinks it will look like.

I didn't tell them that Darth gets partially redeemed at the end. Nor will I tell them there are more than three movies.When they are 18 years old, they are free to choose to expose themselves to Jar Jar Binks if they wish. 

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