Friday, April 29, 2011

Throwback Training Tunes vol. 10 - U2, Rush, Foo Fighters

Continuing the construction of a ‘Running Tunes’ playlist featuring at least one song from each of the last 20 years of the 20th century.  Today’s additions to the playlist include songs from 1985, 1987, and 1997.  I’ve got several others currently being ‘auditioned’ on my training runs, but I’m always looking for more suggestions, so don’t be shy about passing them along in the comments.

Here’s the list as of the last update (click on song titles for links to videos):

’Slide’ – Flesh for Lulu (1989)

And for today’s additions:
 ’Bad(Live)’ from Wide Awake in America – U2 (1985)  This song, or more accurately this version of this song, is one of my all-time favorite songs.  Not just for running, but for any reason.  I literally wore this tape out when I originally bought it based just on listening to this one song.  This is a staple of most any running playlist I make, and usually is the first song I listen to since it has a nice slow build which goes nicely with the start of a run as my body decides which parts are going to mock me over the next several miles.  I’m not that crazy about the studio version of this song from the Unforgettable Fire album, but this live version has an energy and emotion that somehow never gets old for me.  There are days when the intro and first few verses still give me the chills, after hundreds of listenings.  U2 at their finest.

’Time Stand Still’ – Rush (1987) Rush is a highly underrated band in the grand scheme of things.  Geddy Lee has an unusual voice, and there are lots of people who really don’t like their music, and probably even more that have never heard of them.  I wasn’t a big fan of theirs back when they were big, but I’ve grown to appreciate their music and their influence on others bands more as time has passed.  This is a great song for running, with some pretty poignant lyrics that are more meaningful to me now than they ever could have been back in the late 80s.  “Summer’s going fast, nights growing colder.  Children growing up, old friends growing older.  Freeze this moment a little bit longer.  Make each sensation a little bit stronger”.  I can certainly relate to that sentiment. 

‘Everlong’ – Foo Fighters (1997) Can’t have a training playlist without some Foo.  This isn’t my favorite Foo Fighters song (that would be DOA for those keeping score at home), but it is a great song for some energy while working out.  I’m partial to the studio version as a running song, but I really like the acoustic version of this as well that has appeared on a couple of Foo Fighters albums.  This is one of my favorite bands, so I have to resist the urge to add more and more of their songs.  This song will definitely get you fired up, and I never seem to get tired of it regardless of how many times I hear it.  Pointless trivia – lead singer Dave Grohl attended and dropped-out of the same high school that my wife attended.  To my knowledge she was not to blame.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Addicted to Foo

There’s a certain special, specific disappointment that comes with buying an album that you really want/hope/need to be good, and finding that it just doesn’t live up to your expectations.  It’s a whole different kind of buyer’s remorse, since musical tastes vary so widely, and are uniquely personal.  The disappointment can linger for months or years until the next album is released.

Conversely, there is a special kind of happiness that comes from listening to a new album and finding that it exceeds your expectations from the very first note.  When the second listening is even better than the first, and songs get stuck in your brain to the point that you can’t wait to listen again, and again, and again.

Since buying the new Foo Fighters album ‘Wasting Light’ on iTunes, I’ve been nothing but happy when my iPod is pumping the music into my ears while I lay down the training miles.  This whole album just works for me on several different levels, and it’s been years since I’ve been so happy with an album purchase.
Since I really only listen to my iPod at the gym or while running, I’m usually not only deciding if I like a song, but also if it works as a ‘running song’.  Pretty subjective, but you just know a ‘running song’ when you hear one.  This thing is full of great running songs, but the one that keeps getting played every time out is ‘These Days’.  HIGHLY recommended as an addition to your running playlist.  I can listen to it over and over again kind of like ‘Everlong’.  I liked it the first time I heard it, but starting with the second listen this song has woven itself into my brain.  Slow intro (single guitar, single voice) until the drums kick in around the 40 second mark (a little like the intro of 'The Pretender' for the Foo fans out there) ... great lyrics, great chorus .... ear joy ..... take a listen ....

If loving Foo is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Love Track. Tracky, track, track.

One of the dozens* of upsides to visiting my wife’s family in Northern VA is the chance to do a track workout at my old high school.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, trying to run on a track in Cary is about as easy as trying to drop in on the President for an impromptu visit in the Oval Office.  There is apparently no more valuable resource in the state of North Carolina than a running track.  If the attack dogs don’t get you, the snipers will.

I had no idea how much I enjoyed speedwork on the track until I gave it a shot training for my last marathon.  Maybe I like it so much because I can’t really do it on a regular basis.  My running forbidden-fruit.

Hit the track Tuesday for some half-mile repeats and generally my wonky legs held up well.  1.5 years after purchase I finally looked at the Garmin manual, and actually used the interval training mode, which worked great.  Pacing is not a strength of mine overall, but my paces were surprisingly consistent for the half-miles.  The quarter-mile recoveries were progressively slower, which was part of the plan.  Here’s the data:
Pleased with that performance based on where I am in my training cycle.  I’ve got a lot of endurance to recapture after my injury downtime, but I’m feeling good overall.  Just gotta stay healthy.

*in case they are reading this

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Largeness of Memories

"Time and memory are true artists; they remold reality nearer to the heart's desire."
- John Dewey

Many years ago, in my early teens, I started running for exercise.  Not in pursuit of any racing goals, but rather to perform better on the soccer fields.  Many of these runs were around a lake near my house.  At the end of a lap around the lake I was usually wiped out.  I recall the first time I finished two laps around the lake, and felt like I had circled the globe.  I never pushed beyond two laps, but the accomplishment remained happily filed away in my long-run memories.

We’re  currently in Northern Virginia visiting my wife’s parents while my kids are on spring break.  They live just a few miles from that lake where my love of running started to take shape.  Faced with a 7-mile run this morning, I decided to head back to the lake.  Based on my memories, I assumed the lake path had to be around 2.5 miles, so I figured I was looking at 3 laps.  Once I got underway, the memories came back.  The canopy of trees is much thicker, and many of the houses, like many of my body parts, have not aged particularly well.  However, the path is vividly familiar and felt good under my feet.  My mind wandered as the Foo Fighters growled in my ears, and before I knew it I was finishing the first lap.  I glanced at my Garmin to see how the stats were looking, and didn’t make it past the distance number.  1.46 miles.  Huh?

How could the path that seemed so daunting when I was young and ‘fit’ only be 1.46 miles long?  5 laps of the lake later I finished up my 7-mile run.  I felt a little sad that circling the lake twice so many years ago, which had seemed so Herculean at the time, was actually less than a 5k.  Time and memory had built that youthful run to a glorious length in my mind, and a cold, windy unremarkable training run had muddied that memory with the cruel yardstick of reality.

Not too long ago my mind would have rapidly extrapolated this experience and began to challenge the largeness of many other memories from my younger years.  The vastness of the Grand Canyon and the Badlands, the majesty of the Grand Tetons, the glory of goals scored long ago, the seemingly endless fights to land countless ‘lunker’ fish.  Time, however, has also taught me to value and enjoy these memories rather than question and diminish them.  Just let them be, and draw on them fondly.

I will not reshape the past when there is nothing to be gained.  I will grip furiously to the largeness of my memories.  I will allow the perception of how things were be the unwavering reality of how things are, and how they should be.  I will conspire freely with time to shape great into greater.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Return of Throwback Training Tunes

Also know by the working title …. Throwback Training Tunes 2: Electric Boogaloo
Last year I launched an ambitious plan for building a new running-playlist when my assorted collections of songs on my iPod had gotten a little stale.  The plan was to build a collection of at least one song from each year for 1980 – 1999.  Sadly, I failed to complete the task.  My own version of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony …. If Shubert had lazily taken a collection of already-finished music, assembled a mixture of musicians, and had them play the songs for him in any sequence, at any time, and in any place he wanted.  Yeah …. so  …. not like the Unfinished Symphony …. at all.

This time I’m looking for help from all my blogging friends.  Especially those with fond memories of Members Only, and Swatches, and Trapper-Keepers, and acid-wash jeans …. You get the idea.  I’m looking to you SUAR, BDD, Emz, Chris K., Kovas, Candice, Slomohusky.  You’ve all given great feedback when I had this rolling before, and I’d love some suggestions.

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the Throwback Training Tunes project …

“I think it’s time for a bit of running-song archaeology, but not just some random search for long-lost running songs. Rather, I’m going to challenge myself a bit and try to come up with an honest-to-goodness running song from each of the last 20 years of the 20th century. I figure this will give me a reason to dig back through the mound of old CDs that I haven’t listened to in years to see if I can find some forgotten tunes that still have some mileage in them. Also hope it may introduce some of you to some songs you may have never heard, or may have forgotten about.

My criteria for a good running song is entirely subjective, so attempting to describe it is fairly futile. It’s one of those things where you listen to it a couple times, and you just know it needs to join the playlist. I’ll test-drive anything I post about with at least two runs, and even try to link to a video or audio clip of the song. If nothing else the videos should be good for a laugh. Remember, this was the days when the music was the sell, and the artist wasn’t always meant to be seen. Very different than today’s music world. I’ll also try to share some memories or factoids regarding the tunes if there are any to be had.”

Originally I had a rule that none of the songs could already be on an existing playlist, but I’m throwing that rule out.  Anything goes.  Additionally, since I got some great comments with additional suggestions for songs, I’m looking for input from the blogging world.  Send me your suggestions and I’ll give them a listen.  Ideally I need ideas for the ‘missing’ years, but I’m open to anything from 1980 – 1999.  What makes your ears happy while your feet are screaming?  What fuels your run?

Here is what the list looked like after the last update:
’Ceremony’ - New Order (1981) – New Order is a very black or white group with most people. They either like them or have no interest in them. I fall into the ‘like them’ camp, but I find my feelings about their individual songs are somewhat black or white. I either really like a song, or just don’t care for it. Not much gray area. This is one of their top 5 for me, and until I started putting this list together I never realized or considered what a great running song this is for me. The first song on any of my playlists is a critical position for me. It needs to have a good intro, a nice gradual build, and ideally be something that matches the general mood as the sun is just starting to rise. Gets the brain working, the blood pumping, and sets the tone for the miles ahead. I had never found a first-song that could match the live version of Bad by U2 from the Wide Awake in America Album, which I never seem to get tired of despite having listened to it enough that it is tattoed on my eardrums. I think I may have finally found a worthy foe with this one. The history of this song is pretty interesting, and a bit tragic, with the end of Joy Division and the start of New Order, but it’s one of the first songs from New Order, and arguably one of their best. There are several versions of this song available, some by other artists (Joy Division, Radiohead, etc.), and a few different versions by New Order. I’d recommend the version from the New Order – Singles album.

’Don’t Change’ – INXS (1982) – I’m a big INXS fan, and have had lots of their songs in and out of playlist rotation while running over the years. Since I’m such a fan, I had to work very hard to separate putting them on my iPod because I like them versus having them there because I consider them good ‘running songs’. In a nice bit of serendipity, it turns out that probably my favorite INXS song of them all also turns out to be a great running song on its own merit. I’ve listened to this song on every run since I started this exercise, and still like it as much as the first time. Definitely gets the blood pumping.

’Heartbreak Beat’ – Psychedelic Furs (1987) – Most well known for ‘Pretty In Pink’, the Furs actually have a lot of good songs out there, and I’d highly recommend their greatest hits album.  This song has a great chorus, and an interesting mix of instruments, and is good for a pick-me-up during a long training run.

‘Rain in the Summertime’ – The Alarm (1987) – Really like the Alarm, a great band from Wales that was unfortunate enough to continually get crushed under the weight of U2.  They’ve got a number of good running songs, and the live versions of their songs (especially from the ‘Electric Folklore’ album) are packed with energy both from the band and the audience.  This link is for the studio version of ‘Rain in the Summertime’, one of their bigger hits.  Major bonus points for the abundance of hair in the video.  These guys had to keep touring to cover their hairspray bills.

‘Mandinka’ – Sinead O’Connor (1987) – Unfortunately Sinead O’Conner didn’t do a lot during her career to make people like her as a person.  Controversial and unapologetic, but she was definitely talented.  This is the first song of hers I ever heard, and I still like it as much today as I did 20+ years ago.  Great beat, great chorus, excellent song for running.  She had considerably less concern with haircare products than the boys from The Alarm.

‘Crash’ – The Primitives (1988) – This song had a bit of a resurgence when it was remixed for the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack, but I much prefer the original version from ’88.  The newer version is heavily overproduced, and loses some of the basic appeal of the original.  Unfortunately none of their other songs seemed to live up to the promise of ‘Crash’, but this song still rocks.

‘Don’t Look Back’ – Fine Young Cannibals (1988) – Not really sure what it is about this song, and didn’t have high hopes for this being good for running, but for some odd reason it really works for me.  Fair to say the lead singer for FYC has an unusual voice, but this is a good song with a good beat and chorus.  Not one of my strongest recommendations on a relative basis, but I’ve listened to it on several runs, and it hasn’t gotten tired yet.

’Always Saturday’ – Guadalcanal Diary (1989) – I have to laugh at the irony of songs like this one.  When alternative music was moving more and more into the mainstream in the late 80s, bands like Guadalcanal Diary would put out albums of their normal disenfranchised music, but they would typically include one pop-ish tune in the hopes of it becoming popular, so they could then wallow in the irony of one of their songs going mainstream, and put out a smarmy, sarcastic video where they basically mocked anyone that would like the song.  The irony is that 20+ years later, the only songs of theirs that are worth listening to, and are even remembered, are usually the pop songs that they included due to their disdain for mainstream music listeners.  Whatever the motivation behind the song, this one is a nice diversion during a run.  Kinda laid-back, with lyrics that make you think of lazy weekends.  Craptastic and bizarre video as well, which doesn’t do the song any favors with first-time listeners.

Slide – Flesh for Lulu (1989) – This was a favorite band during the college years, that had two great albums (‘Long Live the New Flesh’ & ‘Plastic Fantastic’), and then faded away.  Saw these guys in concert at a small club in D.C. and it was probably the best live show I’ve ever seen. This is a GREAT song for getting you pumped up during a run.  I like a lot of their songs, but this is definitely the best of the bunch for a running playlist.  This one appears to be fairly hard to find, but I would HIGHLY recommend it. Couldn’t find a video for this one, but while looking for a video discovered that this was on the soundtrack for the movie ‘Uncle Buck’ with John Candy.  Not an association I would have come up with in a million years.

Head Like a Hole - Nine Inch Nails (1989) – Angry, angry song, from an angry, angry band … but sometimes you need a little angry. Never really been a bit fan of NIN, but this song gets the blood pumping. Similar effect during a run as the handful of Eminem songs that seem to pop up on many of the running playlists that folks post.

Forgotten Years – Midnight Oil (1989) – These guys made a living off of being political and preachy with their music, and I like several  of their songs, but I found the ultra-political angle a little tiring after a while. This song is from the ‘Blue Sky Mining’ album, which I recall really liking during college.  This song is a little preachy as well, but it’s a positive message and is set to some really good music.  Strong chorus that’s really helpful when the legs are getting a bit weary.  And who doesn’t love any song from a giant bald man?

Stone Cold Yesterday – The Connells (1990) – This may be the band that I’ve seen in concert more times than any other.  LOVED this band during college.  Interestingly, interesting to me anyhow, these guys are from right here in Raleigh, and the lead singer worked in the UNC music department for a while.  I think they may still be making music, but the band lineup has changed several times, so I don’t really know what they would sound like today.  This is the title track from the ‘Stone Cold Yesterday’ album, which has a great guitar-driven sound and a strong chorus.  This one seems hard to find as well, which is a shame.  I’d highly recommend checking out any of their first 5 albums, especially ‘Fun & Games’.

Rush - Big Audio Dynamite II (1990) – How to describe this song? The more I listen to it, it’s kind of a cross between the Clash and an alternative incarnation of the Black Eyed Peas.  I know, that’s a hard picture to paint in your mind.  You’ve probably heard this song at some point in time, and may not realize it.  Just a fun, quirky song with lots of changes in beat and pacing that takes your mind off the running at hand for a while.

Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J (1990) - I actually bought this cassette when it came out in ’90, and listened to it in my big yellow Sports Walkman while jogging back in the day. Pulled this down off of iTunes and give it a try on a couple runs, and found that it still holds up pretty well. Brings back good memories for me, so that’s always a plus, but memories aside it has a good fired-up factor which is helpful on a tough run. Definitely worth a listen. Hope you like it.

Three Strange Days – School of Fish (1991) – This song was a happy rediscovery for me. Brings back some good college roadtrip memories. The driving guitar and drums that kick in soon after the intro definitely kick up the energy while banging out the miles. A bit of ear-GU, if you will. Great song from an OK album, but really the only album they put out that held any interest for me. Every once in a while this song gets some random airplay, so you may have heard it before.

Enter Sandman – Metallica (1991) – The popularity of this song marked a sad era for many a headbanger. This song, and the black album, took Metallica into the mainstream, and suddenly everyone knew who they were. My college roommate was a big Metallica fan, so I had heard songs from Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, etc. more than I would have ever wanted long before the Black album arrived. Most of their stuff was way too headbanger for me, unless I was having one of those days that needed a soundtrack of anger. The black album was metal for the masses, and it definitely found an audience. Enter Sandman has a great combo of guitar and drums that works great for a training run. So far it’s a welcome addition to the playlist, but I’ve heard this song so many times I think I may get tired of it pretty quickly. Time will tell.
Rearviewmirror – Pearl Jam (1993) – I was a big fan of Pearl Jam back when they were hugely popular, but by their 4th album I found that most of their stuff had gone in a different direction than the sound I really liked. They have quite a few songs that make for good running music, but this song has a combination of sound and lyrics that really bring a wave of energy. “I gather speed, from you f-ing with me” …. Gotta love that lyric. Note of caution – running in full grunge apparel, although stylish and rebellious, is not recommended.

A Murder of One - Counting Crows (1993) – The Crows’ first album was a thing of beauty from beginning to end, and this song is a GREAT running song from the second the drums and guitars kick in after a brief intro. Amazing that such a strong debut album could be followed up by so many craptacular efforts. Tried to see these guys in concert in Florida right after this album came out, but Adam Duritz was so stoned that they couldn’t even manage to go on stage. I suppose that’s considered cool if you’re a rock star, but not so cool for those who were foolish enough to buy tickets. 
Looking Through Patient Eyes - PM Dawn (1993) – I’m guessing you didn’t see this one coming. Stumbled across this disc while digging through the old collection, and threw this song on the iPod with no real expectations, other than remembering I liked it when it originally came out. Surprisingly, I find it works for me as a running song. Mellows out the middle miles of a run nicely with a smooth sound. Not really sure what ever became of these guys, but this disc was pretty big back in the day.
She – Green Day (1994) – A song that got greatly overshadowed by the other hugely-successful and ultimately overplayed songs from the Dookie album. Starts out with a nice quiet buildup to the typical Green Day energy you would expect. Kind of a short song, but still good for passing the time while training.
Machinehead – Bush (1994) – One of several very popular songs from Bush’s most popular album, Sixteen Stone. The intro to this song is one of those sports-arena staples that you’ll hear during timeouts or breaks in the action. The driving beat in this one is great for a pick-me-up during a run. Not really sure exactly what the lyrics are supposed to mean … but sometimes it's less about the lyrics and more about the energy.

I’ve got some Van Halen, U2, Foo Fighters, Rush, and Beastie Boys currently getting a test-drive in the iPod.  What else should I add?  Bring the noise.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happiness Is ....

A warm puppy (for those who remember Peanuts) ...
New running shoes (since new legs apparently still aren't an option) ...
A little bit of both ...
Life is good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Training Update and Tempo 10k

Two more weeks of training in the books (technically in the spreadsheet) and things are progressing nicely.  I hit all my goals for running and lifting, and have not picked up any new ailments to add to the sad, long list.  My right Achilles is still giving me some attitude, but nothing that concerns me.  Otherwise my legs don’t feel a day over 80.

Totals for weeks 5 & 6:

Running (Goal – follow the training plan, or else!)

Week 5:  Plan (5 runs, 17 miles total)   …   Actual (5 runs, 19.45 miles total)
Week6:  Plan (5 runs, 18 miles total)   …..    Actual (5 runs, 21.21 miles total)

Lifting – Upper Body (Goal – 3 days a week)

Week 5:  4 days
Week 6:  3 day

Lifting – Legs (Goal – 1 day a week)

Week 5:  1 day
Week 6:  1 day

Abs/Core (Goal – 3 days a week)

Week 5:  3 days
Week 6:  3 days

I’m officially giving myself a gold star for the last two weeks.  Maybe I can print this out and talk my wife into hanging it on the refrigerator.  Enough with the kids’ report cards and art projects.  Haven’t they gotten jobs yet?

I will readily admit I’m fighting the urge to add more miles to the long runs.  This mileage-buildup plan is ultra-conservative, and I miss the double-digit mileage runs.  However, I recognize that my legs are composed of a mix of eggshells, fine china, and balsa wood, so I follow the plan.  However, within the constraints of the allowed distance, I needed to add a little speed work to see how my fitness is progressing, and test the ghosts of injuries past.  Headed out on Sunday morning, for the start of training week 7, with a plan of running a tempo 10k, looking for an average pace better than 8:00/mile, and looking for progressively faster negative splits for each mile.  Controlling my pace is not a strength of mine, so this would be an interesting test.

Net result – much goodness.  Overall average pace for the 6.22 miles was 7:49/mile.  Splits for the full miles:
The run felt pretty great.  The pace was surprisingly easy throughout, and I had plenty of gas left at the end.  My right Achilles was a little tight at the beginning, but loosened up well.  My right knee felt a little tight from the injury in my last marathon, so I may need to up the leg lifting to twice a week to see if that helps.  I suspect it’s mostly in my head, but I don’t want to deal with that injury and the cho-pat strap again.  Overall I’m happy with my training progress so far.  There’s still the small matter of keeping that pace going for 20 more miles, but I’m convinced that will come.  Plenty of time, and plenty of will.

Noticed that my shins were getting sore after running in one pair of my Gel Nimbus, so I added up the mileage and had crossed 340 miles, which is about as far as I can stretch a pair before my legs go Mel Gibson on me.  I’m not exactly the lightest runner in the world, and my shoes pay the price.  Ordered a new pair of Gel Nimbus and I’m eagerly awaiting their arrival.  I like the Pearl Izumis so much I thought about ordering another pair of them instead, but I need some more long runs in the PIs before I’m completely sold.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"My Run" - My Thoughts

Met up with an old work friend and his wife last night for dinner and to watch the one-night event screening of the movie ‘My Run’.  For those not familiar with the story, it focuses on Terry Hitchcock who loses his wife to breast cancer, raises his 3 kids as a single father, and decides to run from St. Paul to Atlanta just prior to the Atlanta Olympic games to raise awareness of the issues that single parents face.  To accomplish this he sets out to run 75 marathons on 75 consecutive days covering 2,000+ miles.  An ambitious plan to say the least, but even more ambitious considering he is over 50, out-of-shape, has high blood pressure, and is not a runner.
This was a very emotional, remarkable film.  Although the marathon of marathons is the central point of the story, I wouldn’t call this a ‘running movie’.  I’ve watched ‘Running the Sahara’ and ‘Spirit of the Marathon’, which are definitely running movies and left me feeling inspired to get out and keep training and running.  This movie is definitely inspirational, but not about running – more about life.  The running is shown for what it is – a way to create a platform for Terry to get his message out about single parent families.  He says several times during the movie and the Q&A afterwards that there was nothing fun about the running.  He wasn’t properly trained and he makes no pretense otherwise.  The run takes a massive toll on him physically, nearly killing him and leaving his body broken in several places.  They don’t glamorize the mega-marathon, and that’s not the intent.  This movie is about setting a goal, sometimes one that folks would call ‘crazy’, and giving every ounce of what you have to achieve it.  This man pushed himself to a place that few would even consider going, achieved his goal, spread the message he wanted to teach, and recaptured a bit of his life and his relationship with his family along the way.

The movie itself is extremely well done, and very compelling.  There are touching points throughout, both in terms of crushing sorrow and uplifting human connection.   The first 10-15 minutes are heart-wrenching.  Since most of the movies I see are ones to which I take my kids, the first part of the movie that deals with the loss of his wife reminded me a little of the opening sequence from Pixar’s ‘Up’.  By no means do I mean to trivialize the loss his family endured by trying to equate it with a cartoon, but the emotion it invokes is very similar.  When Terry’s wife passes away, there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater, mine included.  However, it is that sorrow, and the manner in which it is conveyed, that makes the rest of the movie so inspiring.

Just as impressive as what Terry accomplishes is the dedication that his oldest son shows by staying with him throughout the entire run, through difficulties both physical and emotional.  I don’t think there are many 20-year-olds that would have done what he did.  Heroes  aren’t always those most visible.

I would highly recommend seeing this movie if the chance presents itself.  You certainly don’t need to be a runner to be touched by this story.  We’ve all been touched by cancer, dealt with tremendous loss, felt helpless or hopeless at some point, and this is a story that shows how one man worked through all these things to do something extraordinary in the spirit of helping others.  Hopefully it inspires others to find their own personal marathon.