Learn About Beer Update: Running for Beer and Charity

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Hello, patiently loyal fans of Learn About Beer and all things Loaded Dice Network. I know it’s been a long time since there was a new episode of LAB and you’re probably wondering if there ever will be another. I am here to tell you that Learn About Beer is not dead, and that it will hopefully be returning very soon. I have been working behind-the-scenes to improve the show by re-working it into something I’ll be happier with and that you will (I think) find much more enjoyable.

In the meanwhile, today I want to talk to you about my other hobby: running. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: running + beer “does not compute.” Or maybe that LoadedDiceNetwork.com is a beautiful nerd paradise and nerds don’t run. Well, I am here to tell you that you’re wrong. Nerds do run, (Wil Wheaton does it. The Oatmeal does it.) and beer and running go together much better than you might think. Beer-and-running clubs have existed for decades and are popular all over the world. Many breweries, including New Jersey’s Flying Fish and Delaware’s Dogfish Head, sponsor annual races. In fact, beer and running go together like hops and barley!

2015 Coastal Delaware Marathon Start

The starting line for the 2015 Coastal Delaware Running Festival, my first marathon.

I Am A Runner

Two years ago, I didn’t think I could run more than a mile at a time, at most. In my youth I always considered myself more of a natural sprinter than a distance runner, and keeping going for mile after mile seemed completely impossible. I’d tried a couple of times as an adult to get into running for the health benefits, and even managed to run a very slow 5k in Morristown a couple of years earlier, but had never stuck with it for any length of time.

But in 2014, inspired by my friend Andrew’s successful journey to run in the New Jersey Marathon, I made the decision that either I was going to be a runner or I wasn’t, and I wanted to be a runner. I made a plan to run my own race the following fall, a half-marathon, laced on my shoes and started to run. To my great surprise, it turned out that I was more than capable of running for distance, I really enjoyed it, and was actually pretty good at it!

Running in the Trenton Half-Marathon, 2014

Running in Trenton, 2014

I ran several times a week. I got up early to get my run in before work. I signed up for and ran in a bunch of 5k and 10k races. I followed a training plan to get  to my first half-marathon in November 2014 in Trenton, which Andrew ran with me. I was hooked.

Last spring I ran my first full marathon in Delaware. It was grueling and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to (mostly due to an over-ambitious race plan), but I finished it. In the fall I ran the Beat the Blerch East marathon right in Morristown, which turned out to be a trail race, a completely different animal from running on the road. It’s much more difficult and I wasn’t prepared for it at all, but it turns out that trail running is another thing I really enjoy, albeit at shorter distances. Now I do that regularly too.

Running With A Purpose

On May 1st I will run my second full, road-race marathon, the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon. And this time, I’m not running it alone. Andrew is running it with me, and we’re running as part of a team to raise money for the Long Branch Concordance Family Success Center. The Concordance is a community outreach program in Long Branch, where the marathon finishes. Its mission is “to find resources for people in need, foster individual  and family development, and create partnerships for community  well-being. LBC provides services relevant to and focused on family  sustainability and economic self-sufficiency.”

(When I was a kid, once a year we would go down to Long Branch for a day at the beach. I still remember the weird noises coming out of the haunted house on the boardwalk, which burned down ages ago. And I think there was an ice cream parlor where you could go up on the roof. But I digress.)

I love running. I love the idea of doing something good for the world through my running even more. That’s where you, dear listeners of Learn About Beer and fans of the Loaded Dice Network, come in. I’m asking you to support my efforts in the New Jersey Marathon by making a small donation to the Long Branch Concordance on behalf of my team. Your donation is tax-deductible, and will do a lot of good for struggling families in the town where my next big run finishes. As Andrew put it, we are Running With A Purpose. Visit our fundraising site on CrowdRise to donate. Thank you.

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