The big one goes today

Boston Marathon Finish Line

It all ends here.

The Boston Marathon is today. The conditions are ideal for a record run. Partly cloudy, low 40s. Awesome.

You can watch the race online.

The first athletes take off at 9:00 a.m. followed in waves every few minutes until 10:30, when wave 2 heads out to complete the start. Elite Women and Men cross the start at 9:32 and 10:00, respectively.

I’ve never run the Boston marathon but it does remain one of those outside goals that I haven’t quite assigned a priority. A recent injury that I haven’t taken too much time to repair limits my distance to about 10 miles. So I’ve backed down to half-marathons and trail runs of obscure distances like 9 or 14 miles, usually running miles 8 through finish with little knowledge of the whereabouts of my hamstrings. Truthfully, I’ve stayed pretty content at these distances for a couple of years now. Although I admit, it’s probably time to call the physical therapist.

Anyway, for me, there are few moments more emotional than watching first time marathoners cross the finish line. Seriously, it’s pretty incredible to be a part of a personal celebration of months of morning runs, blistered toes, chafed skin, IT band pain and time away from family.

If there’s a race in your town I highly suggest heading down to the finish to watch the magic.

It’s nice outside … forget about the gym

Quit going round in circles.

Give it a rest. Seriously.

Even in the extreme corners of the country, spring brings some of the best opportunities to be outdoors, especially for fitness reasons. (However, I must confess that my climbing session this past weekend was not too pleasant, weather wise. Multiple pitches on cold rock, up a north-facing, sunless wall, can grow old real quick.)

My buddies and I bagged the gym today for a series of stair and hill runs at a local park. Several times up and down at 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent; broad jumps up stair sections; staggered push-ups into planks on the steps; several rounds of side steps; and then a series of hill runs. It was great stuff and an outstanding way to alter the gym schedule.

For those of you hitting the gym daily, I urge you to get outside at least twice a week until the heat of summer floats in. Trail runs, of course, are the ideal outdoor running experience. But even if you do a lot of core or crossfit work in place of LSD (no, it means long slow distance), your alternatives are endless. A neighborhood playground makes an ideal outdoor gym, as any of one the implements could be used in a multitude of ways to simulate gym equipment. Use your imagination. The point is, get outdoors. Hell, push-ups and ab work can be done just about anywhere.

Anyway, get outside when you have the chance. No one needs to be on an elliptical machine anyway. Ever.