My 15 Seconds

If you watched the US Olympic Marathon Team Trials earlier this month you surely noticed the 30-second ad from Brooks which aired a few times during the two-hour event. What may have seemed like just another shoe advertisement was actually a lot more than that. It represented the first time the Seattle-based company produced a television spot. And I was a part of it all.


Back in December, I was asked if I would be interested in being a part of the filming because they were looking for a few “runners” to give the spot a more authentic feel. The request came with only about three day’s notice and it would require two long days on set. I had an idea of what to expect since I have spent a lot of time around the television industry of late and was excited to actually take part in the project instead of watching from the sidelines.

Day one of shooting required me being on site at 4:30 am. It was well over an hour drive to the location so my day started super early. Luckily for me, they had breakfast catered and I was able to grab a breakfast burrito and coffee before heading to the makeup trailer.

I am not sure if it was a good or bad sign that it only took 30 minutes to turn me into death warmed over but I have to give credit to the makeup artists because I looked like a member of the walking dead. Since I was only an extra in the shoot, my time in the makeup chair paled in comparison to the principles of the shoot who spent upwards of four hours getting ready.

@runmeganrun and I. (photo: Brooks)

Luckily I was joined by a friendly face in Megan for the day’s work. We, along with a handful of other real actors, piled into a van and took the smallest trail of a road they could find to the top of a mountain before sunrise.

After running up the trail at least a dozen times, our group was done with its part. Back into the van and off to base camp we went where we waited until it was time to head over the second shooting location of the day.

Waiting. That would be the theme of the two days. A handful of rushed seconds of “action” would be followed by long periods of waiting for whatever was next.

Every now and then the director would call for some of the extras to come be part of the scene they were shooting but I guess I my stretching was not believable since I was only around for a couple of takes. It makes sense though, I do not really stretch before I run.

Everything shut down for lunch which was another delicious meal and then off to the final location for the day.


The production company basically shut down a residential road and it looked like World War Three had taken place. These were nice houses which people currently lived in but on this day the windows were boarded up, there was trash all over the road, and there was a car on fire.

For the final scene I traded in my zombie wardrobe for that of a survivor. Oddly, it took almost as long for makeup to turn me into a survivor as it did for them to kill me. Again, not sure what that says about my natural look.

Dozens of more “action” and “cut” calls later I was wrapped for the day. All told it was about 13 hours on set and “lucky me” I only had a two-and-a-half-hour commute back home.

For day two of filming I was able to sleep in. Call time was 5:30 a.m. and this time we were only shooting at one location.


For the most part, day two mirrored day one in that short calls for action were followed by lengthy downtime. I was a much larger part of the day’s filming during the second day. As it turned out, my role in filming was over around lunch time although I was not told I was released until around 5:30 p.m.

I am not sure I want to take up acting as a career despite having a wonderful experience.  Most of the time I was bored and I would not want to have to audition for part after part after part just in the hopes that I make the cut to be an extra with no speaking parts.

When the final product, a three-minute mini movie, was launched on the Brooks website, I was excited to see a few of my scenes had made the cut. I guess I am better at acting like a zombie than I am a runner. I guess I can eliminate being a runner from my list of career options as well.


Artfully Crafted Run

IMG_4237Not all runs are created equal. With less than a week before my fourth marathon, Monday night I decided to switch up my training and join the BlacklistLA running crew for a four-mile run through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. The theme of the night’s run was #loveisrunislove and showcased the artistic impressions of four different artists.

I had run with BlacklistLA previously and had an idea of what to expect. Every so often a group of runners will navigate the streets with different street art as stopping spots along the route. As an added bonus for this night’s run they teamed up with a local lululemon store to offer a limited edition running short to runners.

First off, the run started LATE. Like, after 10 p.m. late. Runs are always better with friends so Richard, Laurie, and myself carpooled, grabbed dinner, and did some shopping at lululemon, naturally, prior to arriving downtown.

credit: @blacklistLA

Even after all that, we were still really early but a small crowd was already starting to gather at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. By the time the run started there were at least 350 in attendance.

The run was at your own pace and with so many people it would have been difficult to really do this run at a fast pace. With that in mind, our little pack, which had been joined by Pretty and a few of her entourage, stuck together and had a good time.



My personal favorite was the work of the LA-based street artist who goes by the name wrdsmth. When approached by lululemon about the project he was excited for the opportunity to have his work featured downtown and at the chance to have so many people see it.

“I jumped at the chance because I do all of my work in the city of LA,” commented wrdsmth. “I love Los Angeles and being able to put up a work like this in downtown LA is just awesome.”


It is often said, “the best way to truly see a city is by running through it” and last night I did just that. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see downtown from a unique perspective. It was a sediment echoed by the rest of my travel party as we talked about making this run a monthly event.


The vision of Erik Valiente, BlacklistLA initially started in 2013 as a way for people to explore Los Angeles street art by riding bikes. After discovering not everyone had a bike, the mode of transportation quickly changed to running. The mission of the group is “to engage the Los Angeles community in exciting athletic events that foster movement, local discovery, cultural awareness, and civic pride.” The group meets several times per week. Visit their website at for a schedule of runs.

Last Second Applications and A Restless Night

IMG_4132It happens all the time in the movies. Hero is in line for the big promotion, already has the speech written, and then, awkwardly, the promotion goes to a colleague. Hero puts on a smile and congratulates the person on their promotion but inside feels gut punched. But that is the movies. That does not happen in real life. Or does it?

If you were on social media at all yesterday, I am sure you noticed people celebrating their inclusion on the 2016 Rock ‘n Blog team. I am happy to announce that I am one of those select few who were chosen. But there are a lot more very deserving people out there who were not celebrating and I know exactly what that feels like.

In 2014 I completed 15 Rock ‘n Roll races and was a member of the inaugural RnR Hall of Fame. When the call went out for Rock ‘n Blog applications, I submitted mine with a smile on my face. Much like our Hero, I was confident that I would be selected.

When the list of 100 Rock ‘n Blog Team members was announced, my name was not included and it stung. Make no mistake, I was happy for those who were selected, many of whom I knew personally but a part of me still felt rejected.

Flash forward to when it was time to apply for the next installment of Rock ‘n Bloggers and as you might imagine, I was gun shy. Fearing rejection a second time I waited until the last day to fill out the application. I was so hesitant that I think I only told one person I had applied.

When the announcement was made the Team would be revealed on Tuesday I found myself with mixed emotions. Several of my friends were excited to find out if they would be included and asked if I had applied but I just avoided the question figuring if I was not selected they did not have to know I applied. After a restless night’s sleep, I stalked my email ready for the waiting to finally be over.

So now it is out and I am very excited to be a part of the #RockNBlog Team. Rock ‘n Roll races hold a special place in my heart because of the friendships forged over meet ups, expos, dinners, and miles.

While I have not sat down and planned out which events I will participate in, San Diego and Las Vegas are as close to being a given as it gets. Both races are spectacular.

For those who were not included this year my best advice is to apply again next year. I know it sucks when you have the feeling of being left out but do not let that keep you from continuing to do something you enjoy. Being an ambassador, for any product, should be icing on the cake, not the reason behind why you run.

A Month of Firsts

Can you believe January is already over? It feels like just last week we were all ringing in the New Year. I am sure by now most of you have already ditched those resolutions and life is back to being…well…life. It’s okay. It happens to everyone. The good news is, you can always start over today. After all, the calendar is just an arbitrary item used to track days and I am not convinced Earth was actually created on January 1.

IMG_4058Can you believe January is already over? It feels like just last week we were all ringing in the New Year. I am sure by now most of you have already ditched those resolutions and life is back to being…well…life. It’s okay. It happens to everyone. The good news is, you can always start over today. After all, the calendar is just an arbitrary item used to track days and I am not convinced Earth was actually created on January 1.

For me, January was a month of firsts.

With Los Angeles Marathon training in full swing I logged runs on 23 of the 31 days available. With long runs of 18 (2x), 20, 22, and 16 miles it should be no surprise that I surpassed the 200-mile mark for the first time in my running career. It was not something I set out to do and until last week I did not know I was on pace to reach the milestone. Nonetheless, I feel like this was a major accomplishment and not something I truly thought I was capable of doing until last week.

IMG_4098Luck plays a large part in reaching a milestone like this. Life, illness, or injuries happen and cause the missing of a workout or two along the way. I was able to avoid all setbacks and I think part of the reason was my new approach to recovery and long runs.

In training for my first marathon I thought the idea was to run my long runs at the pace I wanted to run my marathon. While I accomplished my goal of running a sub 4:00 race, in hindsight that probably was not the best plan of attack.

In my most recent attempt at the marathon distance I did not do a training run over 14 miles (minus running the Walt Disney World Marathon). The focus was more on speed than it was on distance and while I crashed and burned on my attempt to PR that race, I was having a great race until that point.

This time around I slowed down my long runs. By a lot. Where previously I would try and clock times in the high eight-minute-per mile range I am now running 60 – 90 seconds slower. That has made all the difference in how my body feels with just 14 days until race day. How will this plan play out come race day? Who knows. One thing I do know is that I am a much smarter runner than I was in my early days of running and if nothing else, I am going into this race knowing I am capable of following a plan to help me reach my goals.

My other first? On the final run of the month, the 16-mile long run, I ran in the rain. Yes, I have been rained on a couple of times in the past but those were light, passing showers that never got me wetter than I already was from running. No, today it was El Nino time and I was soaked from mile one until the end. And it was not that bad. In fact, once I was soaked, I knew I could not get any more wet so I settled into a comfortable pace and stopped worrying about the weather. I would take a run like this over running in the heat any day of the week.

Nobody knows the actual “first” day of the year and it really does not matter because today is the first day of the rest of your life. Feel free to start anew and do something you have always wanted to do “someday.”

01 Pleasure: Awe-Some Times

On December 9th I tweeted out a link to lululemon’s #FuelHappiness campaign. The campaign is simple. “We want you to be happy. Like, I can’t-believe-this-is-my-effing-life happy!” The company’s digital marketing team replied to my tweet and next thing I knew, I had a gift at my door to help me be happy.


The care package consisted of a blank journal, a moisturizing spray, a deck of cards, and a note from the marketing team.

So today, I am embarking on a “research-based practice to make you a little more happy.”

01 Pleasure: Awe-Some Times
“Experiences of awe take your attention away from everyday issues, helping to make you feel more satisfied. Think of a time you felt like you had an experience where you felt vast, overwhelmed or your understanding of the world changed. This could be at the top of a crazy hike or after someone shared a life-altering idea. Once you pick an experience, write about it in great detail or share the experience you had with someone on in your life.”

January 2008: I had recently moved from San Diego to Louisville, Ky. As I started making friends they would always ask me, “why would you leave California to come to Kentucky?” It was a fair question. I had never been to the Bluegrass State prior to my move and I had no family there. Basically, I had no answer for this question.

Flash forward to July 11, 2009. My stepdad, who worked in the wine and spirits industry, was scheduled to take a tour of several Kentucky distilleries as part of a work trip. He arranged to fly into Louisville a couple of days early so we could spend time together.

It was the first time he and I ever really had time to chat, just the two of us. We talked about days gone by, how things were, and where things were headed. It was a great chat. One which cleared the air about some struggles earlier in life.

I had taken Monday, July 13, off of work just in case he was able to sneak me onto the tours with his coworkers. It was a beautiful day and since my stowaway tour did not materialize, I decided to walk to work and catch up on a few things.

Shortly after arriving my phone started ringing. It was a number I did not recognize so I let it go to voicemail. Then came a text, “Michael it’s Tim from Southern. Call me.”

It’s a text no one ever wants to receive.

As I rode home from the hospital, it came to me. I finally knew why I had left California for Kentucky.

It was so my stepfather and I could have one last talk. Where we could say, “I’m sorry” and “you’re forgiven.” It was then and there that I knew the answer to the question which had eluded me.

“You are where you are, because that is where you are supposed to be.”

Often in life we complain about something we feel did not go our way. But what if everything actually did go your way and you just do not know it yet?

Since that day, when I start questioning things in life, I fall back on the feeling I had that day in July and take comfort in knowing that I am where I am because this is where I am supposed to be.


Week Four: Seawheeze Training Recap

For the first time since the Seawheeze tacklebox training program began five weeks ago, last week I completed every day of the training. All of the pain in my leg has subsided and now I am really focusing on building up cardio stamina as well as trying to find some of the speed I once had. For the week I logged 17.16 miles.


IMG_1499Today was a steady-paced, 35-minute run along the Venice Beach boardwalk. While many of my friends are starting to feel the onset of summer, my runs continue to be cool with significant cloud cover. I remember training last year in Texas and the heat was becoming too much around this time.


I will say it again, runners need yoga. I cannot tell you how much better my legs feel after this light practice. There are, however, a couple of positions which are downright painful to me as a runner. The practice can be found here.


IMG_1498I had plans in the evening so for the first time in this training, I woke up early to get my run in. Since my leg is felling better I also worked in the six striders as I begin to build up some speed again. Oddly enough, waking up and running early was not as difficult as I anticipated.


I was reminded as to why I struggle to make time for the cross training day of the training program. In all honesty, this should be a very simple workout, yet it is painful and I do not enjoy much about doing the exercises. It took about an hour and included core, leg, and upper body exercises.


IMG_1496My legs were still hurting from Thursday’s workout. Today’s run of six miles is the longest of the program thus far. After using the first two miles as a warmup, I picked up the pace significantly and clocked consecutive sub-eight minute miles before using the final two miles as a cool down. The two faster-paced miles did not feel easy and I am not sure I could have maintained that pace much longer but it is all about building and this was a good place to start.


IMG_1497Again, my legs were still sore from Thursday. Have I mentioned I hate cross training? A thirty-minute light run ended the week as I put in the final three miles of Week Four.

Going In Motion

Runners are notorious for falling in love with their gear and never changing. As many of you know by now, my go-to short for running is lululemon’s Pace Breaker. But Stephanie at the Glendale store was kind enough to let me try out the company’s new In Motion Short.

IMG_1491My first impression running in the In Motion short is how much air flow there was between my legs when running and it was not because of my pace! Despite a leg opening over two inches smaller than the Pace Breaker, the In Motion created a cooler running feel by combining a brief liner, mesh crotch, and a triangle cut at the bottom of the leg. It really made the short feel lighter in weight.

IMG_1492Another area which sets this short apart is its two easy-to-reach gel pockets in the front waist band. I did not test the pocket’s functionality as I typically do not run with gels, but they seemed plenty deep and wide enough to accommodate a pack each without causing an issue. There is also a zippered compression pocket on the left hip which held my iPhone 5s with room to spare. One change I would like to see made on this pocket is the direction of the zipper. Currently, it zips from the hip backward. It makes for an awkward fit when running with wired headphones and pinches the cable.

IMG_1493In all, I liked the In Motion Short, a lot, and have zero issues running any distance in them. They function better as a running short than my beloved Pace Breakers but, they are not a short I would wear to do yoga in nor would I put them on as a casual short like I would the Pace Breaker.