The BQ(Q) Jane (50 State Canuck)

I’ve finally really started using twitter (@miloandthecalf) and have found some great runners on there, including Jane from 50 State Canuck.  Jane has not only qualified for Boston, she is also in the process of running marathons in all fifty states! Amazing. Thanks for taking the time to fill this out, Jane!

Name Jane


Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28 

Height: 5’8

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

It was at the Ottawa National Capital Marathon (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)


It’s my home town so that makes it extra special as you see tons of people you know along the route. Additionally, Ottawa is an absolutely beautiful city to run in and much of the course is along the water.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

In high school I did track – no more than 200m. I thought people who ran long distance were crazy! When I started grad school I found myself in a lab full of long distance runners who just pretty much told me I would now be running long distance – and sure enough, 2 months later I was running my first half marathon! That was 2002 – age 24. By the spring of 2006 I had run 3 half marathons and 5 marathons and in May of that year, I qualified for Boston. Note: I have never run a race distance less than a half marathon. Ever.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

I have absolutely no idea. When I look back at my “training” I don’t know how I even qualified. I had no structure, I didn’t track my mileage – I just ran.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

Again, I have absolutely no idea. The year leading up however, I ran 2 marathons and a half marathon, so I was consistently running.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?


Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

No program – I think I probably just looked at a bunch of different ones available online and just created my own based on those and what my work (and social) schedule would allow.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

I ran on my own for most of it – occasionally ran with some friends who were hoping to qualify for Boston as well.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes, but not because I wanted it to. At the time I worked part-time as a personal trainer and fitness instructor at the YMCA and taught 3-5 aerobic and strength training group classes a week and did a lot of strength training on my own because of my job.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

No – I didn’t learn the MASSIVE benefits of speed work until after I qualified for Boston!!

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

It is a very cool race but I have now run 13 marathons and 13 half marathons and know that there are TONS of really awesome races out there – that you don’t need to qualify for. When/if you make it, you’ll love it. But along the way, enjoy some of the other amazing races out there – use it as an excuse to see the world! I’m working on racing in every US state and in addition to Canadian races, I have also raced in Bermuda and Ireland. I have no favorites as each one is unique

Posted in Boston Qualifier Questionnaire | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Occasional Stoic: Self-Control and Resistance to Distractions

For Maximus:

Self-control and resistance to distractions.

Optimism in adversity – especially illness

A personality in balance: dignity and grace together

Doing your job without whining.

Other people’s certainty that what he said was what he thought, and what he did was done without malice.

Never taken aback or apprehensive. Neither rash nor hesitant – or bewildered, or at a loss. Not obsequious – but not aggressive or paranoid either.

Generosity, charity, honesty.

The sense he gave of staying on the path rather than being kept on it.

That one could ever have felt patronized by him – or in a position to patronize him

A sense of humor. 

Meditations 1:15


Maximus is Claudius Maximus, the Stoic senator. Maximus, besides being one of Marcus’s heroes, also oversaw the trial of Apuleius (he of the Golden Ass, the only surviving Roman novel) for the practice of magic.

As I’ve said repeatedly in these, there isn’t necessarily a lot of depth to many of the mediations. They, rather, rallying cries Marcus wrote to himself t encourage himself to lead a more perfect life. Kind of like the runner’s of today posting Prefointaine.

Posted in Ancient History, Stoicism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Numbers Don’t Lie: The Cold Simplicity of Running

“Ultimately, running appealed to me because its quality cannot be defined in terms of anyone’s use or place in a hierarchy or plan. Perfection is fairly and objectively defined by numbers. There are strict levels of excellence that anyone who chooses can easily recognize and aspire to, with the ultimate being a record. There are rules to the game and the number that one may achieve – whether time taken to run a certain distance, place in a race, or a record – is never open to judgment. Nor can it be snatched away, falsified, or claimed by anyone else. The test is the race, where credentials mean nothing and performances everything”

  • Bernd Heinrich, Why We Run

Bernd Heinrich

As someone who works in a world of smoke and mirrors, where interpretation and obfuscation rule, I find the know-ability of running appealing. * There are no judges to grade your performance. No scorecards and no precedents that need to be honored.

There are numbers.

The number of miles and the time it take the runner to complete them. One’s performance is measured by the clock and the distance. Success and failure are not open to interpretation. One either meets one’s goal, or one doesn’t. You can’t fool anyone, and you can’t be fooled.

Who wouldn’t be drawn to something so simple and so hard?

* For those who don’t know, I’m a lawyer.

Posted in Quoth the Runner | Leave a comment

Diet Failure: More thoughts (and a confession) on antelopes and diets

Last week, with great pomp, I declared that I was going to try to turn myself from an ox into an antelope. When I wrote that, I meant it somewhat facetiously. I know you can’t turn an ox into an antelope and I know I am never going to have the body composition of Ryan Hall.

Ryan Hall.

Me (and the Little Dude)

Me (and the Little Dude)

What I meant when wrote that I wanted to become more like the antelope was that I wished to become a bit thinner, more graceful in my run, and a lot faster. A number of people raised really excellent points about the post. Most importantly, a good friend, frequent commenter here (and BQer!) called me out for the dude privilege inherent in the post. If I were a women writing about attempting to change the nature of my physical self through dieting there would have been choruses of anorexia* but because I’m a dude, I got far more “good job, great will power”. That’s fucked up, and I should have seen it. coming

Frankly, I regret writing the post. At the time I was finishing Bernd Heinrich’s excellent Why We Run where he talks extensively about the antelope and what we can (and can’t) learn from it as runners. I had antelope on my mind and well, I let a metaphor get the better of me.

Now, to add insult to stupidity, I need to come clean about my bold declaration of reshaping my body through diet – I can’t do it. Or rather, I’m not doing it. At least not in the form of the Whole 30. After a mere six days on the diet, I caved on Sunday and ate a delicious carbohydrate and gluten filled bagel.

It was wonderful.

I’d been feeling really lethargic all week, especially on my runs. I was struggling to get through a simple five miler. On Sunday, I had a 13 mile long run planned. I was dreading it. I was worried I would be dragging ass out there for two and half hours. Or worse, that I wouldn’t finish the run at all. The whole point of the damn diet was to improve fitness and here it was, screwing with my training. So I stopped. I order the bagel, (with lox spread no less!), ate the thing, and went out on the run.

And guess what? I felt great! Sure the last mile was a bit of a slog, but nowhere near the slog it would have been if it’d continue to deprive myself of life sustaining bagels.

Some have said that I should have just hung on, that if I’d made it a couple of more days, I would have adapted and burned fat for fuel. Perhaps they’re right. Or perhaps as a wannabe endurance athlete, I just need large amounts of carbohydrates. Or perhaps I lack sufficient will power.

I don’t know.

I do know that when I told my wife I was stopping the diet she made me promise I would never do something like this again. That’s a promise I intend to keep.

So, no more diet. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my antelope metaphor. I’m still aiming to be fast, and graceful in my stride. I’m still trying to be a better runner. Restrictive dieting just isn’t the way I’m going to get there.

* In pretty much all the sports I’m interested in, anorexia is a serious problem. Many, many, distance runners, triathletes and climbers of both sexes have battled with eating disorders. It’s a serious issue I should have considered in the post.

Posted in Books, Navel Gazing | 2 Comments

Training Totals For the Week Ending August 25, 2014

Run Miles for the week: 47.8 in 7:21:33
Run Miles for the year: 720.8
Projected total miles for the year: 1110.1
Run Streak: 7
Number of runs that were one stupid mile: 0
Number of days until I beat my old run streak: 107
Prospect Park loops for the week: 7
Prospect Park loops for the year: 62
Body Weight Work: ~30:00
Average weight: 175
Total Exercise Time: ~8:00:00
Hebrew: 00:00:00
Books Finished 1 (Why We Run, Bernd Heinrich)
Total Books Read for the year 23


Notes: Tried the Whole 30 diet, felt like shit. Quit. Got razzed about it by everyone. Glad its over. Ran my highest mileage week in over a year; felt pretty good. Feeling good about my running in general right now, looking for more of the same this week.


Posted in Training Totals | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Inspiration – The Great New York 100 Mile Exposition Run

I haven’t run an ultra-marathon (yet!) but I’m fascinated by the sport. Through the years that I’ve followed it, the coverage and interest has become more focused on races in the big mountains of the American West and Europe with east coast races getting very little attention. Races like Hardrock and UTMB are incredible in their difficulty and natural beauty, but there’s something special about the urban race too. Especially the ones that take place in your own back yard — like the Great New York 100 Mile Exposition Run —  organized by Phil McCarthy and others from the local ultra running scene.

Here’s a great video about last year’s race. Someday I hope to toe that starting line.

Posted in Friday Inspiration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

On Turning an Ox Into An Antelope

I come from a long line of oxen.

My grandfather John was over six feet tall and tipped the scale at over two hundred pounds of muscle. He boxed in the Irish bars of the Bronx, then settled into a life as a car mechanic and garage owner. He was an ox — the kind of man who dug wells for recreation.

My grandfather Tom grew up as a runner for the New Haven Rail Road, chasing down workers in homes and bars and bringing them in to the job. Later, he’d help run a tobacco farm, working in the fields before and after days at a engine manufacturer.

My father is equally as stubborn and strong. He came up on his family’s farm, crouching beneath muslin, weeding broad leaf tobacco. When I was kid, weekend activities with my father would often involve moving yards of stone from one end of the yard to the other, or digging a trench to lay a drainage pipe. He found these activities relaxing. I found them interminable. My father was an unskilled hand, but he could work all day. My childhood weekends proved that. While the man spent his working life in an office, he still has the hands of a farmer.

When I was born, I was the biggest baby at Bridgeport hospital. Ten pounds, two ounces. I was eating solid food within months, and if family legend is to be believed, could put away a pound of shrimp before I was a year old. I was always big for my age. I was on the swim team throughout my youth, but it never came easy. In hindsight, football probably would have been a better sport.

All of this is to say that, by genetics, I’m built to be big and strong and pull shit all day long.

I am meant to be an ox.


But that is not who I want to be. I want to be fast and light and run all day long. I want to cover ground gracefully and efficiently. I want to out distance my predators.

I want to be an antelope.

In my physical life, I’ve always responded best to strength training, and worst to aerobic conditioning. If I look at a weight, I put on muscle. If I run fifty miles a week, I barely improve my 5k time. This is my fate. If I want to move from ox to antelope, I’ll need to get faster, through long miles and speed work. I’ll also need to get thinner. There’s just no other way.

Dream me.

For too long, I’ve let me running cover up for the fact that I’m not a particularly healthy eater. With the miles I run, I can avoid getting fat, but until I start watching what I eat, I’m never going to get thin.

So how do I go about that? Being me, I’ve taken a somewhat extreme approach and decided to do the Whole 30, eliminating from my diet refined carbs, sugar, alcohol and a whole host of other things. I started yesterday. I’ll have more to say on this diet in future posts. But for now, I want to note that I know this is unsustainable, and I know the science behind these type of low-carb no sugar diets is still evolving.

I don’t care.

I’m not doing this because I think the Whole 30 is a sustainable way to eat. I’m doing it to reset a number of bad habits I’ve formed over the years. I need to stop thinking a beer or two is an every night thing; I need to stop having a bag of chips at lunch.

I need to start from scratch and rebuild my diet in a more sustainable way — into a diet where beer and chips aren’t outlawed, but they’re not the default either.

I need to build this antelope from the ground up.

Posted in Navel Gazing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments