A Brief Background

I was born and spent my early childhood across the street from a couple, namely the Lombardi’s. Jim Lombardi, now 77 — and still running ultra-marathons, frequently — has been running for over 65 years (this is the number that he gave last night at dinner). A few years ago, while I was studying Computer Science as an undergraduate, I helped Jim create a website for tracking and more importantly, sharing, his running trainings, recovery tips, etc. You should check out his site, here.

Earlier this year — I think in April — Jim had a question about why he was seeing weird activity on Google Analytics about his site. It was during this chat that I mentioned that I started running a bit and he invited me to “the run group”.

The Run Group

The group has been meeting off-and-on for many years — something like 20 years was mentioned. There is a list of about 20 members, ranging in age from 12 to 77. About 8 of the members consistently showed up for the group runs. If I remember correctly, the first run peaked attendance at about 12 runners. In addition to the members, we had members' visiting family from Amsterdam as guest runners.

The group is informal and extremely inviting. Some people in the group have been running in events for decades, while others have yet to run their first event. Everyone in the group has a common joy for running and a majority of the members consistently run.

If I had just a few points to share that I learned from the group, they would be “just keep running”, “if you are hurt, rest. To avoid longer-term injuries” and “share the joy of running”.

Last night, we had the inaugural, now quarterly, run group dinner at one of my favorite local places, namely Manninos Italian Garden. At the dinner, we each talked about our highlights from 2019 and goals and events for 2020. Jim found an 8-person, 100-mile relay that we are going to try to run in June.

2019 Highlights

  • First and foremost, consistency.

    I’ve struggled with consistent physical activity, be it running or biking for a few years, for a few years. There were only two summers in college where I biked consistently, in preparation for a two-day, 150-mile event. As for running, I would run between 3 and 6 miles, 2-3 times per year.

    Prior to the run group starting this year, I was not consistently training, so I have a lot of room for further improvement in 2020.

  • 330 total tracked miles running year-to-date, with the rest of December left to still run.

    (I didn’t track many of the early run-group runs because I didn’t have a watch until May). Looking back at 2018 on Strava, I tracked only 2.7 miles and 0 in 2017. A goal that I established near the end of this year was 300 total miles. Now, my goal is 350 miles.

  • First event. Presque Isle half-marathon in November with Mariah and Meghan

A Few Motivating Factors

  • Most importantly, the run group. We met consistently on Monday and Wednesday for months.

  • My wife. She is always active and eating healthy. Without her being healthy, I would not be as motivated to do so.

  • My friends on Strava across the state and US.

  • I bought a Garmin watch for tracking. Shout-out to my friend Jose who talked me into buying it.

    This motivated me a two primary reasons. One, because it was expensive and I didn’t want to buy something expensive and then not use it what it is best at doing, namely tracking. Two, it gave me data points that I could use to improve upon.

2020 Goals

  • Run in two half-marathon events. We may run a couple non-event half-marathons, also.
  • Run our first full marathon event. Right now, I think we are going to try the Pittsburgh marathon.