Tag Archives: distance

I’m Not Running Races and That’s Okay

I love running.  When I first started running, I found I loved the push toward self-improvement, the camaraderie in the distance running community, and the spirit of competition.  I’ve loved all of it.  Part of me still does, but due to countless other obligations, and a few injuries, I haven’t run a race in over a year.  My disappearance from races has taught me something unexpected.  I’ve learned that I still love running, but for different reasons.

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In 2008, I began training for my first half-marathon and became focused on improving my distance, my time, and my overall conditioning.  However, in 2010 I began thinking about writing a novel and found I was “writing” in my head during my long runs.  This kept up throughout the publication of Resolve and continued as I pieced together several more books and stories.  As this process became a habit, I realized I was running for different reasons than before.  My long runs had become quiet periods of introspection and isolation.  Those miles had become a haven from the stresses of life and allowed my mind to run free, rather than milestones toward any particular goal.  My race times suffered.  My conditioning deteriorated to some extent.  And that was okay with me.

Distance running is special and it means something different to every person who falls into the lifestyle.  We learn a lot about ourselves as we push ourselves down the road.  We learn how much we can endure.  We learn how to deal with setbacks.  We learn how to keep achievements in perspective.  And sometimes we learn our reasons for running have been redefined.  But no matter the reasoning, we churn out the miles and continue to learn more about ourselves with every mile.

 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

2014

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

 

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5 Reasons Runners Are Great Characters in Fiction

As many of you know, the protagonists in my stories are often distance runners.  This isn’t by accident, but rather because running is a great activity for a fictional character for a few reasons.  Allowing a character to go on a long run can afford him or her the opportunity to think, plan, improve physically, gain perspective, or even get involved in even more trouble.  But,  distance running characters are beneficial for other reasons.  Here are five reasons I like my main characters to be able to go the distance.

1.  THEY HAVE GOALS

Distance runners are notorious goal-setters.  They are constantly trying to get past a certain mile or better their time.  They will push themselves to the brink and then pour it on a little more.  We all like to relate to characters who are looking to improve, or at least achieve a particular goal.  A distance race can be a lot like a great book.  As with running, even if the protagonist in a story comes up short it’s guaranteed something is learned from the journey.

2.  THEY ARE A BIT CRAZY

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Let’s face it – some of the best protagonists in books and film are a bit… off.  When discussing distance runners, we are dealing with people who say things that demonstrate they are quite mad.  They say things like, “It’s only a five-mile run.”  Or, “Cool!  I finally lost a toenail!” (Yes, that can really happen).  And they utilize a strange brand of logic where a cure for fatigue is to go for a run.  They may also decide a monsoon is just a great chance to try out their new waterproof running jacket.

Not to mention, I’m pretty sure distance running is one of the few endeavors in which grown men will put Band-Aids on their nipples and consider this act to be perfectly normal behavior.

3.  DISTANCE RUNNERS FALL… AND RISE AGAIN

Talk to any experienced distance runner and you will hear a story about having to overcome adversity.  Some runners took up the sport in order to overcome a personal crisis and others have had to conquer mental or physical challenges that affected his or her running.  It could be a major knee injury, a stress fracture, a something deeply personal.  Running in itself is an internal struggle that is much more than physical.  There is a depth to the undertaking, and isn’t that what we want in the characters for which we cheer?

4.  RUNNERS UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF A BATHROOM BREAK

I mean how many books or movies have a main character who goes twelve hours straight without using the facilities???  Runners know better.  They plan things out, know where the possible pit stops are located, and fuel appropriately.  Remember the show 24?  In nine seasons, I think Jack Bauer went to the restroom one time.  In fairness, he rarely ate or drank either.  While I like the Jack Bauer character, the best characters plan out their refueling and relieving ahead of time.  Sure, you can argue Bauer didn’t have a lot of time to plan before the next crisis hit.  But, come on.  It was Jack Bauer.  He had to know trouble was around the corner.

5.  RUNNERS LIKE COFFEE AND BEER

This is obviously a generalization, but one that is fairly accurate.  Most runners love to wake up with a jolt of caffeine and they certainly don’t mind a cold brew after a long run.  This is great for writing fiction (especially crime fiction) because we can all visualize a detective grabbing a third cup of coffee after a long night, or downing a beer while contemplating a case.  You can argue that coffee and beer may not be the best for a runner’s health.  You can try, but they won’t listen.  They will simply run away and chances are they are faster than you.

And don’t worry about them going for a long run after drinking a few cups of coffee.  They know exactly where all the bathrooms are located.

WANT TO ADD YOUR OWN REASONS?  COMMENT BELOW! 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

 

 

5 Great Reasons to Run a Marathon Relay

By far, my favorite distance for a race is the half-marathon (13.1 miles).  The half-marathon I’ve run the most times is the Pittsburgh Marathon, which is always held in early May.  However, from time to time – either due to injury or scheduling conflicts – I’ve been unable to train to complete the full 13.1 miles and I’ve signed up to run a marathon relay.  In my opinion, running in the relay can be just as much fun as completing a longer distance for a variety of reasons.  For most marathon relays, a team of 4 or 5 runners split up to cover the full 26.2 miles of the course with each runner having a different distance to complete.  For instance, in this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon the distance is broken up as follows:

Runner #1:  5.5 miles

Runner #2:  3.7 miles

Runner #3:  6.2 miles

Runner #4:  6.4 miles

Runner #5:  4.4 miles

skyline photoPittsburgh & Resolve – Photo Courtesy of Dave DiCello

This variety in mileage is fantastic because it allows runners with different levels of ability to participate in a major race.  Whether or not your team is racing to achieve a certain time, this way of racing can be an absolute blast for a several reasons.  I’m going to list my top 5.

  1. YOU GET TO NAME YOUR TEAM

It seems silly, but for me this may be my favorite part of the process.  You can create something meaningful, ridiculous, or maybe obscure.  This year, the team I’m running with consists of federal employees so I named the team “Right Said Fed”.  Sadly, I’m at the age where fewer and fewer people get that reference.

  1. THERE IS LESS PRESSURE (AND MORE PRESSURE)

Being responsible for only one leg of the total relay distance means you don’t feel a huge burden on your shoulders.  Your entire team is in it together and you are simply one part of the mechanism.

Of course, the downside of this is that everyone is counting on you to finish your leg.  In fact you HAVE to finish your part or your teammate will be standing and waiting for you at the relay exchange station for a very long time.  Unless of course, you have the final leg of the relay.  In which case, if you don’t cross the finish line the entire team goes in the books as having not finished the race.

Bummer.

The pressure of having to finish is actually a good thing.  We tend to press ourselves a little harder if we feel we may let somebody else down.

pressure

  1. NON-MARATHONERS AND NON-HALF MARATHONERS FEEL INCLUDED

There are plenty of people who simply cannot run 13.1 or 26.2 miles and never get to experience the feeling of being involved in a major marathon or half-marathon.  A relay gives those runners an opportunity to be part of long distance race while staying within the bounds of their current abilities.  Some marathon relays have legs shorter than 3 miles and some events also have half-marathon relays where all of the legs are shorter.

  1. YOU STILL GET THE SWAG

Each time I’ve participated in a relay I’ve still gotten a nice race T-shirt and a finisher’s medal.  And since I wasn’t dead tired from running 13.1 or 26.2 miles, I could even lift my arms to put the medal over my head when I finished my leg.

  1. EACH RUNNER WILL HAVE A DIFFERENT STORY

Maybe the first runner will be talking about having to navigate the crowd for the first 2 miles.  Perhaps the 3rd runner didn’t realize how steep that hill on mile 6 was going to be.  Possibly, the 5th runner had to hurdle two people who got their feet tangled up while going around a curve.  Every member of your team will have their own story to tell and it may seem at times that each of you ran in a completely different race.

That’s the beauty of distance running.  Every city, every race, every runner, and every mile have a unique story to tell.  In the past, I’ve compared the completing a marathon to writing a novel.  Recently, I had the honor of contributing to a collection of short stories that involved 14 different “team members” (authors) from various walks of life.

books

Now I think of a relay as an anthology.  Each contributor will have their own perspective to lend to a collection with one simple theme:

Finish.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

RESOLVE Featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It’s Pittsburgh Marathon time and since RESOLVE was set against the backdrop of that race Megan Ryan (no… not THAT Meg Ryan) of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, wrote up a nice story.

Most impressively, I somehow managed to take a photo that makes me look even meaner than the previous ones that have appeared in various publications.  It’s not intentional… REALLY!

Pittsburgh Post Gazette article

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

 

10 Movie Cops Who Could Have Been Good Runners

Two of my favorite topics are law enforcement and distance running.  So, this week let’s combine the two.  I’m going to list 10 movie cops and explain why I think they would have made good runners, and at what distance.  To conduct this study, I used a complicated algorithm that involved coffee, pistachios, and more coffee.  Here is the list in no particular order:

#10.  Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino in Heat)

Ultramarathon:  Not only was the movie itself incredibly long, but Hanna persevered in spite of taking on a competent gang of criminals and tacking relationship issues.  The final scene alone demonstrates his ability to give a race that final kick, even when handling a shotgun.  If only he could have inspired Val Kilmer to stay in shape.

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#9.  Clarice Starling (Jody Foster in Silence of the Lambs)

Nighttime 5Ks:  No night vision goggles needed here.  She simply blows away the competition.

#8.  John McClane (Bruce Willis in Die Hard films)

Tough Mudder & Spartan Race:  Broken glass?  No problem.  Fire?  Please.  Walls to climb?  Air vents to crawl through?  Ledges to leap from?  Whatever.  McClane fights through injuries like few others and still manages to toss around some witty one-liners.  The fact that Die Hard 2 was totally ridiculous and those planes could have landed at any number of D.C. / Baltimore / Richmond airports, is irrelevant.

airplane

#7.  Ed Exley (Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential)

10K:  This is one of my all-time favorite movie cops.  Constantly underrated and underestimated, he chugs along and lulls his competition to sleep until the final sprint.  Sure he’s overly-concerned with trophies and medals, but when push comes to shove… he’ll shoot you.

#6.  Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand in Fargo)

Frigid 5Ks & Turkey Trots:  Not snow, nor sleet, nor wood chippers can keep this Chief of Police from going the full distance.  An inspiration to pregnant runners everywhere, Minnesota’s Gunderson puts the “aye” in race.

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#5.  Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves in Speed)

The Mile:  One of the most obvious choices due to the movie title.  He was probably a good sprinter in his younger day, but drifted to the mile.  Fun fact:  He never takes public transportation or a shuttle to any event.  Never.

#4.  Donnie Brasco (Johnny Depp in… well, Donnie Brasco)

Half-Marathon and Marathon Relays:  Because he’s the ultimate team player.  Or is he?

#3.  William Somerset (Morgan Freeman in Seven)

Any race he wants:  The man is a phenomenon because he could narrate his own distance race and make it sound extraordinary even if he was running in dead last place while eating a donut.

#2.  Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old Men)

Half-Marathon:  He’d do the full, but he’s retiring soon.  He’s a formidable competitor in the Texas heat despite his constant disappointment with the world.  You’d be well-advised to avoid trying to strike up a conversation with him during an event.

#1.  Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner in The Untouchables)

Marathon:  This character’s lines at the end of the movie tell the story.  In court with Capone he yells, “Never stop.  Never stop fighting ‘till the fight is done.  Then at the very end of the movie he answers a reporter’s question by saying, “I think I’ll have a drink.”

Name one marathoner who hasn’t been heard saying those phrases.

Who would you add to this list?  Comment below!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

In Pittsburgh: A Race, a Roar, and a Prisoner’s Running Shoes

Between fatherhood, writing, and promoting, 2014 has been a crazy year.  I haven’t been able to dedicate nearly enough time to running over the past few months, so I was hesitant to participate in one of my usual races – The Great Race, in Pittsburgh.  The Great Race has 5K and 10K options, and I have always chosen to run in the 10K which is point-to-point, meaning you do not end up where you started.  The point-to-point course can be troublesome for logistics, but allows runners to experience the beauty of Pittsburgh while traveling 6.2 miles through the streets on a mostly downhill course.

I don’t usually write race recaps, but I’m going to do this one – but in a different manner.  Below are photos from potions of the wonderful course and a song from my iPod playlist that corresponds to that mile.  Before you ask how I managed to take photos and listen to music while running along with 10,000+ people, it’s because I decided to take my time and enjoy the event rather than focus on achieving a certain time.  It made the experience very enjoyable and made me appreciate Pittsburgh even more.

 

The Start

photo 1 (4)

With this race, there is a slight challenge with actually get to the starting line.  As has happened to me many times before, I watched competitors line up to start while I was still standing in a line to simply get to the starting area.  The standing and waiting are frustrating and it’s something I dread each year.  However, I suppose this is the price you pay to participate in 10K with this many people.  In this case, the race is worth the wait.

Playlist Song:  Long Hard Times to Come – theme music from the show Justified

 

Mile 1

photo 3 (1)

 

It’s slow going for the first mile, as everyone is bottled up for a downhill start and then a sudden uphill climb onto Forbes Ave.  Things spread out a bit as runners make their way through Squirrel Hill, but it’s still a part of the race where you can expect to see one or two people take a tumble.  The noise from the spectators is motivating for most of us.

This year I had the pleasure of seeing my wife and 3 yr old daughter standing on one of the corners.  I beamed as I prepared to hear my little girl cheer her daddy on.  As I passed by she inexplicably roared like a monster, which I chose to interpret as her version of a motivational speech.

Playlist Song:  Little Monster by Royal Blood

 

Mile 2

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Very close to the start of Mile 2, runners were cheered on by a pack of greyhounds.  That’s right – representatives from a cool organization called the Steel City Greyhounds , including some very interested dogs, were on hand.  SCG is a non-profit that promotes the adoption of retired racing greyhounds and their presence did not go unnoticed.

I did my best to ignore some of the condescending looks I got from the dogs as I meandered by.  They are beautiful dogs, but a little pompous when it comes to the subject of speed.

Near the end of Mile 2, we cruise by the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.  One of my favorite sights on the campus is the piece of art in the above photo.  I’m not sure where those people are walking, but I’m impressed by their extraordinary balance.

Throughout the race, runners pass by CMU, Pitt, Duquesne University, Carlow University, and Point Park University.  The culture of higher education in Pittsburgh is something that is often overlooked, but may be one of the reasons the city has been named one of the most literate in the country.  Ahh… college.

Playlist song:  Whiskey Hangover by Godsmack

 

Mile 3

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The 5th Avenue stretch of the race is downhill and takes runners through the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.  In addition to beautiful campus views, participants pass by fabulous museums and picturesque churches.  Since I was doing my best not to fall while running, I managed to not photograph most of that great imagery, but got a nice photo of some lady in a purple shirt.

But in the distance, you can see the gaggle of runners descending into one of my favorite sections of Pittsburgh.  When you can see how many people are in this race with you, it’s inspiring and motivating.  Hopes run high.

Playlist song:  High Hopes by Bruce Springsteen

 

Mile 4

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Toward the end of Mile 4, you hit the Boulevard of the Allies.  Things get a little tight here as guard rails and concrete barriers funnel the runners into a narrow stream of exertion.  The view of downtown is incredible and your mind starts to believe you are on the home stretch.  You aren’t.  If you studied your elevation chart, you know there is one more challenge ahead.

Playlist song:  Know Your Enemy by Rage Against the Machine

 

Mile 5

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photo 7

The Boulevard of the Allies gets a little feisty and ascends upward toward Duquesne University.  Once you get under the elevated walkway you pass by the Allegheny County Jail, which is the brick structure on the left in the photos.  Often, the prisoners stand in the windows and watch the runners pass.

As an aside:  Did you know 4 out of 5 prisoners prefer a very specific running shoe?
The Nike Free, of course.

 

Playlist song:  Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

 

Mile 6

photo 8

Into downtown Pittsburgh we go!  The road flattens out and people pick up the pace.  Here, runners take a lightning speed tour of modern Pittsburgh and any preconceived notions of the old Rust Belt city are tossed aside.  Buildings that house biotech, health care, and banking giants cast shadows over quality restaurants and coffee shops.  Now, we are really in the home stretch and headed to the intersection of the three rivers that have shaped this city.

Playlist Song:  The Last Mile by Cinderella (Don’t judge, I like my hair bands)

 

Mile 0.2

photo 9

 

Here is a fairly lousy photo of the finish line crowd at Point State Park.  The mass of people in this area makes the post-race search for food and water a little challenging, but tolerable.  The best part about this finish area is that you are a short walk away from multiple parking garages and can easily take a stroll across a bridge to get the North Shore.  Unfortunately, this year’s race was on the same day as a Steelers game, so parking and traffic were a bit of a problem.  However, the overall race experience was once again positive.

The faces of the runners in the park tell the story.  For some runners, this was their first race and they trained long and hard.  For others, it was a warm-up for a fall half-marathon or marathon.  Everyone fights their own little battle.

Playlist song:  Trenches by Pop Evil

 

For those of us who were not participating in order to achieve a specific running goal, it was a great way to appreciate a city that is just now starting to get the proper amount of attention in literature and by the movie industry.

Pittsburgh is not only a great setting for a story.  It’s a great setting for your story.

What is your ideal running city?  Why?

 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, and Measure Twice.  He is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

RESOLVE has been named a finalist for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers organization and was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
T
witter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

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An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

Measure Twice 750 x 1200 jpeg

What 80’s Music Can Teach Us About Distance Running

My iPod is about 90% filled with modern rock songs.  That means that during most of my long runs I’m plugging along to Godsmack, Digital Summer, Seether, and various other bands that create fast-paced music that keeps my adrenaline pumping.  Then there is the other 10% of my music library.

On any given run I can be charging up a hill or battling through the heat while listening to the final notes of a new release and then I’m suddenly and violently thrown into a strange land of hairspray and spandex.  The mental journey into this strange time period in which MTV showed music videos and pay phones were seen on street corners is tumultuous, unsettling, and… delightful.

But why not the 90’s?  I liked the 90’s and I liked the music at the time.  I had a Nirvana cassette (yes, cassette).  I blasted Alice In Chains out the windows of my incredibly cool 4 cylinder propelled Ford.  I bought into the 90’s – I really did.  So, why the hell is it that when I’m on a long run I’m being reminded to consume calories by Duran Duran singing Hungry Like a Wolf?

wolves

I think I have the answer.  It’s because 80’s bands can teach us everything we need to know about distance running.  Everything!  Let’s take a look at the evidence.

 

The Band: Bon Jovi

The Lesson:  Hit the street running (Runaway), watch your footing (Slippery When Wet), and realize the pain is good for you (Bad Medicine).  And you can achieve greatness anywhere – even New Jersey.

 

The Band:  Poison

The Lesson:  Give it everything you go, because it may not last long.  There will come a time when you may no longer be able to run and you’ve lost your Unskinny Bob.  Take the temporary setbacks in stride because every rose has its thorn.

rose

The Band:  Aerosmith

The Lesson:  Costume races are okay.  Sometimes Dude Looks Like a Lady.

 

The Band:  Def Leppard

The Lesson:  You can overcome pretty much anything.  If you think that hamstring is bothering you, try having your guitarist die and drummer lose an arm.  Suck it up, you’ll be fine.

 

The Band:  RATT

The Lesson: Track workouts that go Round and Round can be tiresome, but pay big dividends.

 

The Band:  Winger

The Lesson:  Sometimes you are in the right place in the right time for a fleeting moment.  Don’t get cocky.

 

The Band:  Europe

The Lesson:  Some lessons can’t be forgotten no matter how hard you try.

crying woman

The Band:  Skid Row

The Lesson:  Regardless of your age, no matter how many days you stuff yourself into a shirt and tie, and despite the fact the closest you’ve ever come to getting your mug shot taken is looking at the bulletin board at the post office, somewhere deep inside we are still a Youth Gone Wild.

child

You see?  Little did you know, these guys were actually distance running geniuses.  Big hair sporting, leather pants wearing, cocaine fueled, distance running geniuses.

So feel no shame when you are hitting Mile 9 and The Bullet Boys are keeping you company.  Take Vixen out for some interval training.  Let Cinderella take you down that Gypsy Road.  You aren’t living in the past.  You’re learning from endurance philosophers like no others.

Maybe the age of music videos and phone booths should have stuck around.  We could all use less reality TV and Clark Kent desperately needs somewhere to put on the suit.

phone booth

How does music affect your running?  Or, do you Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode shout-out)?

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

Watch for my new book, BOLT ACTION REMEDY, in 2017!

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

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Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

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Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology