Tag Archives: marathon

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.

020

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

 

Advertisements

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

 

Ten Scary Movie Villains Who Are Great Runners (Maybe)

Races can be scary.  Some runners are scarier.

Which villains from scary or suspenseful movies are good runners?  The competitors were assessed by several factors, most of which are made-up nonsense. 

 

 1.  Michael Myers (Halloween)

A marathoner for sure.  He just keeps coming and coming and coming and insists on playing that damn piano music on his iPod.  For 30 years, Myers has dominated races in the state of Illinois where he maintains strong family ties.

 

 2.  Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th parts 1-896)

You run.  He walks.  He wins.
Guaranteed.

Also:  He excels at trail races and plays hockey in his spare time.

 

 3.  Norman Bates (Psycho)

Can compete in either the men’s or women’s division.  You don’t mind hanging out with him after a race, because he always hits the showers first.

 

5.  Jack Torrance (The Shining)

Great at picking hotels for road races.  Also excellent at maintaining a training schedule while keeping things fun – because all work and no play does in fact make Jack a dull boy.

hotel

5.  Pennywise the Clown (IT)

Because who doesn’t love a runner in a costume?

 

 6.  Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)

Understands the psychology of distance running and how to load carbs effectively. 

 

 7.  Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

Sleep is an important factor in recovery and Freddy knows a lot about the topic.  He likes to wear his lucky sweater while running, as he doesn’t mind things that are scratchy. 

sweater

 8.  David (The Lost Boys)

This was the vampire played by Kiefer Sutherland.

Pros: He demonstrated speed, agility, and a hunger for victory.  He made vampires cool before people went crazy about them two decades later.

Cons:  Only competes in night races.

 

 9.  Max Cady (Cape Fear – 1991 version)

One of my favorite De Niro roles.  The character of Max Cady cross-trained like no other (see prison exercise scene) and was a muscular triathlete type as he excelled both on land and water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 10.  John Doe (Seven)

DCF 1.0

Played by Kevin Spacey (who really is a runner), he’s probably the most disturbing of the bunch, since he’s the most realistic.  He could be the guy beside you in the starting corral.  He might be the fellow you unintentionally infuriate when you pass him on Mile 7.  Or he might be sketching out a plan for your demise in his journal right this very second.  You simply don’t know.  He may not be the fastest competitor out there, but he’s never failed to finish a race.  Also – he’s known to give gifts, but I wouldn’t open that box.

As a bonus, Morgan Freeman narrates all of his races. 

 

 Want to add to this list?  Leave a comment!

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
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

February 2016

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