Top 10 Reasons why a first time marathon should not be THAT difficult

I was once told that a marathon would be one of the hardest things I would ever do. I had to laugh a bit because I thought it wouldn't be extremely difficult for me.

That comment rings true for many because the lack of proper preparation makes it difficult. Most people I spoke with that have run at least one marathon admitted they didn't prepare properly.

I had a great experience running the Stockholm marathon in 2006. It wasn't easy but I have had more difficult athletic moments in my life. The toughest thing for me was being VERY TIRED in the last 1/3 of the race. It went well because I prepared thoroughly.

a) I started training 6 months before the race
b) When I was not feeling well, I did not train
c) I ran at MY pace and NOT for a great time

I was fortunate because a multiple marathoner I respect told me about Jeff's advice, especially for first time marathoners like me was invaluable. He focuses on how NOT to get injured. In addition, he advises f
irst timers to run a full marathon in practice so they know they can do it. Also, he encourages walk breaks during the marathon.

Last year, a friend and excellent runner ran the 2007 Stockholm marathon. I warned him to take it easy especially since it was going to be very hot and he was a first timer. He didn't listen and almost quit the race. I ran the last 10k with him and made sure he finished. He ran in under 4 hours but it was very difficult. Had he just paced himself, his time would have been the same and it would have been enjoyable.

If you want to run a marathon, I encourage you to take the challenge. It is a wonderful feeling crossing that finish line.

Happy Gswede Sunday!


The Top 10 Reasons why a first time marathon should not be THAT Difficult

10) Many with no sports or athletic background do it

9) Most people are relatively healthy

8) Do not train if you are injured or sick

7) Running at a good pace or your pace is crucial

6) Train properly by putting in quality running time

5) Run a full marathon before the actual race

4) Walk breaks is a must during the race

3) Start training at least 6 months in advance

2) Wear good shoes

1) Oprah Winfrey has done a marathon in 4 hours and 29 minutes!

Gambia, Africa - Maybe some future marathoners in this group I photographed!

Prostate Cancer - Early detection is crucial

I lost an uncle in 2006 to prostate cancer. Early detection might have saved his life.

A good friend in his late 40's wrote the email below. He was very proactive because both his father and grandfather had the disease so he knew his chances were high. Fortunately, he is healthy today.

Make sure to get your PSA test on a regular basis. It is a simple process.

Happy Gswede Sunday!
I don't know if GP shared with you that I recently had surgery to remove my prostate. Both my father and grandfather had prostate cancer and unfortunately the genes were passed my way as well. I was very proactive at staying on top of this (PSA tests and exams from the time I turned 40) which led to my early detection.

Early detection is the best way to overcome the disease and it is as treatable as skin cancer when found and addressed early. I only share this to say that if you haven't been tested, make sure you ask your doctor to do so. Prostate cancer is very prevalent among African American males. I just had my first PSA test post surgery and everything looks great. All I can say is, God is great all the time.....:--)

My brothers, be safe and take care and one more thing, it is a blessing to have both of you as true friends! Peace!
Take a Swing this Father's Day - learn more by clicking on link below

Leisure Time - Do you get enough?

After a much needed and intense 90 minute sports massage last month, a question came to my mind.

Why don't more people take advantage of LEISURE time?

There are many reasons why but one of the biggest is the Rush,Rush world we live in. Another is putting others first and YOU second.

When you hear the word LEISURE, what do you think of?

A long walk? Bath? Sauna? Massage? Running? Those things definitely qualify but what people fail to realize is that leisure can be anything that you enjoy or are passionate about.

What about calling friends that you don't often see?

Playing with your kids? The best leisure!

Working out?

Gardening? Painting?

Raising money for those less fortunate? Volunteering?

Taking a language class? A dance class?

A bike ride?

Writing a letter? Reading a book?

Hiking? Golfing?

Singing in a choir?

Leisure possibilities are endless and most of us know what we like. For some, making the time is a challenge but the effort should always be made.

Many use the people (spouse, family member) or time excuse for not getting leisure time. They only need to be a little stronger or bolder. "Things to do" or "unhappy people" will always try to stop you but who ultimately gets hurt as the years fly by?

A good friend loves the outdoors (boats, running, hiking) yet hardly gets to do any of his joys because his spouse doesn't share his passion. So he suffers. Why not do some of his leisure activities without her? Having opposite tastes is difficult in a relationship but is no reason to give up what you like.

I'm not saying that you should leisure every day of the week or neglect your family for leisure. That would be irresponsible. Making time for your pleasures can take as little as a few minutes a day or extra time at night/on the weekend.

Below you will find part of an insightful interview from the New York Times. (see link for full article) It will open your eyes if you have a quest for gaining some leisure time.

Q. How do you define leisure?
A. Believe it or not, the field of leisure studies is a big area of academic study. Leisure has many different definitions — some involving time, some relating to an activity being done, some relating to state of mind. Personally, I am most at leisure when I feel free, present and integrated. I like this definition for myself because it allows me to experience leisure at any moment, even in just a few minutes. Leisure can happen when we are in various states: artistic or creative, physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, learning new things, volunteering, active, passive, or as a spectator or participant. One can be emotionally connected and engaged or not. And we can even have leisure at work and be more productive, healthy and creative.
If you care about your well-being, your family's happiness and achieving a balanced life, finding time for LEISURE is essential.

My life wouldn't be as fulfilled if I couldn't do my leisure activities.

It is part of my daily routine.

Is it for you?

Happy Gswede Sunday!
LEISURE time in its finest form - My wife enjoying the beach and a book on a lovely summer day in the south of Sweden

Predictable Misery

I had to laugh a few weeks ago in Stockholm when a friend labeled some Swedes in our presence with the category of "Predictable Misery". I never heard a group described quite that way!

This man happens to be Swedish although he doesn't live in Sweden. We were at a party of mostly affluent Swedes when he made the comment.

He categorized "Predictable Misery" this way:

a) Those that only talk about their summer homes, boats, kids,etc.........nothing of substance.

b) He has tried to hire Swedes for his foreign company. Even though in his eyes they were not happy and wanted to make more money, they would rather be miserable in the life that they consistently complained about.

c) Being afraid of the obstacles, challenges and excitement of living outside of Sweden.

The safety net of social welfare in Sweden is appealing so maybe a more compelling and interesting life abroad is not worth the risk?

To be fair, there might be a little envy in his heart because:

1) He gets less vacation than the average Swede (5-6 weeks).

2) He has to perform in his job or he could be fired. In Sweden, it is very difficult to lose your job.

3) His wife desires to move back to Sweden.

"Predictable Misery" affects many people around the world not just in Sweden. I asked a good friend in New York City what he thought about the term. His answer put things in perspective.

He said, "So many people aren't POSITIVE about life".

What a shame.

Happy Gswede Sunday.
I didn't see any "Predictable Misery" when I worked in Belgrade, Serbia for 2 months in 2005. A shot from my private party.