Honorary Oscar Week Post – My Favorite Running Movies

If there is one thing that has been as big a part of my life as running, it is the movies. In fact, one of my earliest memories is waiting in line to see E.T. in the summer of 1982. I don’t remember more than waiting in the line and the fact that I had Hot Tamales as my candy; however, my mother kept a journal for me when I was a child and she detailed my reaction to my first movie in that journal. That night, when my mom was helping me say my bedtime prayers, I apparently prayed for E.T. not once, but twice and made sure to ask God that E.T. was able to make it home safely. Apparently, Steven Spielberg’s little movie about an accidentally left behind alien that is befriended by a young boy had quite the effect on me. I have been hooked on the movies ever since.

In honor of this week being Oscar week, I am submitting my top 5 list of, what I feel, are the best running movies of all time. I welcome any comments regarding films that you feel I have overlooked.

5.) Chariots of Fire (1981) – Won Best Picture

The story of two sprinters training for and competing in the 1924 Olympics. The two sprinters were considered the front runners for the 100 meter race, however, when one of the qualifying races is scheduled on a Sunday, one of the young men (a devout Christian) refuses to race on Sunday. The Olympic committee tries to pressure the young man into competing but his position on the matter cannot not be changed. Another Olympic runner is so impressed by the young man’s courage that he offers him his slot in the 400 meter race that will not be held on Sunday. Both runners go on to win the gold medal in their respective races.


4.) Spirit of the Marathon (2007)

The story of three amateur runners and two elite runners as they prepare for the Chicago Marathon. The documentary took four years to complete and is widely considered one of the only films that has ever captured what it feels like to prepare and ultimately run 26.2 miles.

spirit of

 3.) Running Brave (1983)

The story of Billy Mills, an American Indian, that came out of nowhere to win the gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Mills defeated world record holder Ron Clarke in the race. His winning time of 28:24 was a personal record by more than 50 seconds and a new Olympic record. He was the first American to win the gold medal in 10,000 meters and no American has won gold in the 10,000 meters since.


  2.) Without Limits (1998)

The life story of distance running legend Steve Prefontaine. Enough said. I’m pretty sure nearly every runner I know is familiar with Steve Prefontaine and his story. If you are not familiar, go find yourself a copy of this movie as soon as you are done reading this post.


 1.) Fire On The Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story (1995)

I find this documentary about Steve Prefontaine superior to Without Limits largely due to the interviews with Steve’s contemporaries and the live footage of many of Pre’s races, including his 1972 Olympic race. I’ve lost count of how many times I have watched this film. I watch it the night before many of my races. I find it impossible not to be inspired by Pre’s story.



Don’t Let Your Fresh Start Be A False Start

As the month of February comes to and end, I can see the crowds at the gym in the morning getting thinner and thinner. The new faces that flooded in during the month of January are vanishing and the crowd has almost dwindled to the usual suspects that I see day in and day out year round.


How many times have you made the New Years resolution to lose weight and get fit? How many times have you failed to achieve that resolution? If you are like me, the answer is more than I care to admit. It just doesn’t happen on New Years either; at many moments during the year for one reason or another you feel a rush of motivation that says to you, tomorrow I am going to start my new diet and I will be on the way to a healthier me. Then tomorrow comes and you never start. I could fill a whole post with the excuses that I have come up with but I will spare you that; you know what your excuses are. Having lived through this cycle of false starts many times in my life, I wanted to create a list of tips that I have learned during my false starts at a healthier life. Hopefully they can help you as you begin your journey toward a healthier life.

1.) Whatever You Do, Don’t Call Your Fresh Start A Diet

For me, the word diet implies that this fresh start is only temporary. It is a something that you will do until you achieve your fitness or weight loss goal and then you can go back to your old ways. I could tell you about a number of “diets” that I have been on and I never succeeded in losing the pounds that I wanted to and I definitely did not keep any of the pounds I lost off. It was not until I was told to use the term “lifestyle change” that I was able to lose and keep the weight off. The term “lifestyle change” helped me prepare my mind for the challenge ahead. If I was truly changing my lifestyle, there would be no going back to my old eating habits. The change was a permanent decision to better my life through fitness and a healthy diet.

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Weekly Accountability Report 2/21/2013 – Down Another 6.2 Pounds!!!!

Weekly weigh ins like the one I had this Thursday make all the early mornings dragging my butt out bed to the gym and skipping out on a lot of the foods I like worth it. The picture below conveys perfectly how I felt when I weighed in this week. I hadn’t had any setbacks in my training and was hopeful the consistency would lead to another week with a three pound weight loss. As I stepped on the scale, I closed my eyes (yes, I am that neurotic). When I opened my eyes the number staring back at me from the scale said 207.8, a 6.2 pound weight loss since last week! That number makes my total weight loss since January 1st 30 pounds! I Immediately felt like shouting “Holy S@%&” or “I’m a bad man!” as Muhammad Ali did when he first won the heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston, however, since I was in a crowded gym, I refrained and simply cracked a smile. Hubris and bravado have never really been my style.


I’m hoping to keep the positive momentum going into next week and am praying that I avoid hitting a plateau before I hit my goal of getting under 200 pounds.

Finally, let it be written that my work catered pizza to our office on Friday afternoon and  I withstood the temptation and ate leftovers. That’s right! LEFTOVERS INSTEAD OF PIZZA!  Sometimes discipline really sucks. I’m not gonna lie, I may have snuck into a conference room and shed a tear or two. 🙂

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