Thursday, January 19, 2017

Together We Can

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that together we can overcome great obstacles.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Dad

Known to many as Reverend McLaurin, Pastor, or just Preacher and “Deady” to me as a small child, Dad to me as an adult, and Papa to my own kids—my dad, Horace Lee McLaurin passed away today, January 11, 2017.
My dad and I were very different people. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye on things, but it was from my dad that I learned you could disagree and still respect an individual. My dad was a United Methodist Minister. Yes, I was a “PK” (Preacher’s Kid). We moved about every 4 to 5 years whenever my dad was assigned a new church charge. Life was an adventure moving from church to church. It was hard sometimes being a PK. Your mom singing in the choir and your dad in the pulpit. Imagine your 7- or 8-year-old sitting on the front pew by himself trying to behave. It only took one Sunday at Mt. Hermon United Methodist Church, in Graham, NC (probably around 1972) for Dad to tell me (from the pulpit) to sit up and behave. I sat pretty still after that Sunday.
While of course my dad preached about Christian beliefs and the Christian faith, he also instilled in me the respect of other religions. I never heard my dad once speak ill of someone else’s faith. Now if someone tried to tell him his beliefs were wrong, then he’d get fired up. But if you respected his beliefs, then he respected yours.
I’ve struggled with organized religion the past several years. Often what I hear sitting in the pew is not what I learned from my dad. As an adult, I’ve struggled hearing from the pulpit how “these people” are wrong, “those people” are wrong. Not talking about obvious “bad” people doing horrible things, I’m talking about different cultures, and people of different beliefs.  I mentioned this to a minister at a church I use to attend and his response was “An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy.” Was I an idiot for respecting the religious beliefs of others? Being accepting of people of other faiths?
The focus of my dad’s ministry was compassion, empathy, support, giving hope, and being there in times of need. His focus was not on pointing out differences, but supporting, encouraging, and being there for the people of our faith and to those wanting to know about our faith. My dad was big on visitations. He visited the mourning, the sick and the shut-ins on a weekly basis. I can’t tell you how many of my childhood vacations were either cut short or my dad had to leave early because one of the congregation was sick or had died. My dad had to be there and we understood. I think that’s why I love coaching so much. I’m able to apply what I learned growing up and watching my dad to what I do with my runners—be there, listen, provide guidance and advice.

The hymn, “Joy to the World” pretty much sums up my dad’s religious views. In fact, growing up as a kid, I remember every summer, he’d have the congregation sing the traditional Christmas hymn. He would tell them that we should be joyous year-round, not just in December. What he was conveying didn’t truly sink in until many years later after I was an adult. Sometimes I’ll find myself humming “Joy to the World” during a long run. I usually don’t realize it until I’m about halfway through the song. Just happens. In fact some of my closest moments with God are while out on a long run. There have been numerous meaningful conversations.
RunnerDude’s Fitness is in existence in large part due to my dad. He provided funds that were instrumental in helping initially start my business and for that I’m forever grateful. He didn’t really understand what I was doing, but he believed in me. “Belief” is a powerful tool. That’s why it’s a part of the RunnerDude mantra— “Trust in your Training. Believe in yourself. Conquer your goals.” I’ve tried to carry on Dad’s belief in me with my own kids. Sometimes, I may not understand what or why they are doing something or going in a certain direction, but I try to let them know that I believe in them and will support them in their ventures.
My book Full-Body Fitness for Runners was a labor of love for me, but it was my dad who said I’d write a book way before I ever thought I would. I don’t think he thought it would be a fitness book, but he believed in me as a writer and so I believed in me as a writer.
I know my dad really didn’t understand me, but I know he loved and believed in me. That’s really all it takes.
My family and I are eternally grateful to the Craven County Hospice in New Bern, NC. My dad’s nurse Diane Brideson and the nursing assistants, Denise Jones and Pat were absolutely amazing. My dad was in a lot of pain towards the end of his illness and these ladies made him feel loved, cared for, and as comfortable as possible. They also helped keep his dignity intact. They were loving, caring, respectful all the while doing all the tasks that needed to be done. One of my favorite memories of the past few weeks was when during a bed bath my dad started belting out the hymn "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder." My dad had a good voice but he never liked to sing in front of others and yet there he was belting out this hymn he loved. Better yet, the nurses aides Denise and Pat, joined in and the trio filled the house with music. That was a pretty amazing moment that I will always cherish. Dad had been working with these ladies and the nurse, Diane, a few weeks before I met them. I met them for the first time, a few days after Christmas. In that short while they became family. 
I am also forever grateful to my 21-year-old daughter Rayna who has been with me in New Bern helping care for my dad for about two weeks. Her love, compassion, and take-action care for Papa during his last days was truly amazing. I could not have made it without her these past few weeks. She and my brother, Tim were with Papa when he passed and I know it was a huge comfort for him being with both of them as he left this world.
My 25-year-old son Duncan kept the studio running in my absence and it was a huge relief knowing it was in his hands. I see a lot of Papa in Duncan. He's an old soul with a big heart.
My 16-year-old daughter Ellery helped my wife Mitzi keep the home front going. Love them so much.
And also a huge thanks to my brother, Tim. Together we made a great team working side-by-side these last couple weeks with dad.
As you move on in your daily lives take “Belief” with you. Belief in yourself as well as your friends and loved ones can change your life and the lives of those around you.
Thank you, Papa.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Congrats to the RunnerDude RunSelfie Winner-Vernette Roberson

Congrats to the #32 RunSelfie entry into the RunnerDude #RunSelfie Contest!
66 runners participated and when I entered 66 into the RandomNumberGenerator it shot out #32 which happens to be Vernette B Roberson! WeeDoggie! Congrats! Great way to start 2017! I'll have your $50 Omega Sports Gift Card ready for you next week when I return from being out of town.
Happy New Year Triad Runners!
To check out all the #RunSelfie entries click here.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Be a Run Mentor

One of the things I love most about running is its inclusive nature. Running truly is one of the very few sports that accepts all ability levels, all ages, male and female. I realized this back in 1984 while attending my very first 10K. Actually it was my very first race period. I was a freshman in college. I had been doing a little running and saw an ad for the Great Raleigh Road Race. I was a student at NC State at the time and thought, hmmm,  I'll give this a try.

Not knowing what to expect at all, I showed up. I think I ran that 10K in 1:06:00. I really didn't know if that was good or bad. I really didn't care. I ran hard and had a great time. I remember sitting there in the downtown square afterward watching the age group awards being given out. I looked at all the runners in the square and I realized, these people are just like me. I must be a runner. It was the first time I really realized that I run, therefore, I am a runner. It opened an entirely new world up to me.

Never having been a team sports kind of kid, I never was very athletic growing up. I played a year or two of little league baseball and football, but it just wasn't for me. That day in 1984, I discovered running was for me. Been at it ever since....over 30 years.

As a running coach, one of the things I love the most is helping new runners. Whether its brand new runners, just leaning the basics or a new race trainer. I love the excitement they bring. They are usually hesitant and a bit fearful of failing or not being as good as the other runners or even worse not being accepted by the other runners. This usually comes with lack of confidence in their abilities. But soon they realize that running isn't about keeping up with others, it's about challenging yourself.

Occasionally, when away at a race or some other running event and I'll hear an "experienced" runner talk about newer, slower, or less experienced runners in a negative manner. I really don't understand these runners. I reason it as possibly a lack of confidence in their own running, so they bash the slower runner. Truly sad, but like I said it's a rare occasion. I guess in every bushel you'll have a bad apple.

I asked my running friend, Bart Yasso of Runner's World his take on the inclusiveness of running and he told me,

"Thad, as runners, we each have a duty to accept the role as mentor to a new runner or someone who doesn't think he or she can walk around the block, let alone finish a 5K. We are runners! So let's spread the message. The acceptance of all abilities is what differentiates running from every other sport."

I totally agree, Bart! I've seen so many lives enriched even turned completely around for the better by simply taking that leap of faith into running. When I hear someone talk about a slower or less experienced runner in a negative light, I usually reply back with, "You're talking to the wrong person. I ran my first mile (40lbs overweight) in 18 minutes wearing long plaid pants and a pair of wallabees." 😊 (True story.)

We all start somewhere. Whether we want to be really fast or just enjoy the journey is entirely up to the runner, but in either case we're still all runners.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

No More Shoe Woes-The Mizuno Wave Rider 20

If you've been following me on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter then you're probably aware that I've been struggling with finding a long run shoe. My favorite Hoka Huaka was discontinued and the suggested replacement just did not work for me.

So, I decided to go back to another maximalist shoe that I had previously worn the Altra Paradigm. I had worn several pair of the 1.0 and 1.5 version, but the new 2.0 version was revamped and in doing so, the shoe was created smaller. The 9.5 that I had always worn was now too small. My toes were actually hitting the end of the shoe. I returned them for a 1/2 size larger thinking maybe the 10 would fit like the old 9.5, but alas, the 10 was larger than the old 9.5 and my foot slid around. ARRGH!

Desperate, I tried several other shoes, the Sketchers Go Run, the Hoka Vanquish and Clayton, and Asics 33-M, and one of the Adidas Boosts. None worked for my feet. Now don't get me wrong, all of these shoes work for other runners, I just have particular feet. With all the miles I put in with my job, I have issues with Morton's neuroma, dropped metatarsals, Achilles issues, etc. So finding a shoe that works with my feet and will accommodate my custom orthodic is problematic.

When a shoe company decides to do a major overhaul on a shoe or discontinue it all together, it's quite traumatic for me. Oh by the way, the company that makes my favorite short run shoe (the Pearl Izumi Road N3) is stopping making running shoes all together! What's up with that?!

The other day John Dewey, from the Fleet Feet store here in Greensboro, NC dropped by with a pair of the new Mizuno Wave Rider 20 shoe for me to test out. I was excited. Could this be the shoe? I was a little skeptical because I haven't worn anything but a maximalist shoe for long runs for quite a while, but with none of the previously mentioned shoes working for me, I was more than willing to give them a test run.

Last year I ran 4 marathons and the beginning of this year I started with my first 50K with very minor foot issue...because my Hoka Huakas were working fine, but then when I wore out my last pair, my shoe woes began. I'm currently training for the Richmond Marathon. We have about 15+ runners going to Richmond to run the full and the half. So, I was really excited to be able to run with my runners. But, due to my shoe and foot woes, I've gotten way behind in my marathon training. Last Sunday, however was a glimmer of hope.

On Saturday, I tested the Wave Rider 20 on a short run without my orthodics. They felt really good during that run. But it's the long run that's the real test. I have several shoes for which I can get in a good 8-10 miles before my feet start giving me problems, but after that, my feet begin to break down. My fore foot has so little natural padding, that I need a shoe that had good fore foot cushioning. My sports med doc told me he's never seeen a foot with so little natural padding. And for some other foot issues, I need to wear my custom orthotics on the longer runs. So, the trick is finding a shoe with good forefoot cushioning that then will also accommodate my orthodic and not be too tight.

On Sunday, I tested the Mizuno Wave Rider 20s on a long run. I ran 17 miles with the orthodics in place and the shoes felt really good. Another good sign was that after the run, I wasn't doing the old-man shuffle like after many of my recent runs. Just the opposite happened. My feet felt pretty good. And other than just a little stiffness from the miles, I felt great.

The version 20 is actually revised version of the 19 and in this case (finally) the revision is good. Mizuno has included an entirely new Wave plate technology for a softer, smoother ride with an even more responsive feel. And I have to say that my run lived up to the hype. This is a more traditional shoe with a 12mm heel-to-toe drop. I usually wear a lower drop to account for the extra thickness my orthodic adds, but with this shoe, it seemed to work well. I've decided, that for me, the lower drop was contributing to my Achilles issues. Keep in mind that this is my experience. Lower drop shoes work great for many runners. I just have picky feet. The Wave Rider 20 isn't your lightest trainer, but at 9.6oz, for the responsiveness they were providing, they felt pretty light. I was really pleased because many of the maximalist shoes I've been wearing felt heavy and clunky. Never thought I'd go back to a more traditional shoe for my long run, but hey, never say never.

If you're in Greensboro, be sure to head over to Fleet Feet on Lawndale and test out a pair! Tell them RunnerDude sent you!

Spring Race Training Meeting!

Hard to Believe, But Training for Spring Half and Full Marathons is Just Around the Corner!

Training for spring races starts at RunnerDude's Fitness as early as November for some of the early spring marathons! Whether you definitely have a 5K, 10K, 10Miler, Half or Full Marathon selelcted for the spring or you're just contemplating the possibility of racing in the spring, come to our free info session to learn more about the RunnerDude's Fitness Race Training Program. 

No obligation to register. However, there will be special savings for those who do register for race training during the meeting on Nov. 6th.

What: RunnerDude's Fitness Spring Race Training Info Meeting
When: Sunday, November 6th
Time: 6:30-7:30pm
Location: 2309 W. Cone Blvd. Ste. 120 (Directions)
Cost: Free!

No need to RSVP, but if you'd like to let us know you're coming, click here.

Note: No obligation to register for training at the meeting, but those that do will recieve a special savings of $25 off Full, $15 off Half and $10 off 5K/10K/10-Mile Training.