305 Random Running Thoughts (44 – 52)

After a minor Random Running Thought (RRT) hiatus, let’s get back to it…

44. You may have heard this before, but a great way to get better as a runner, faster and more endurance, is to hit the weight room.

45.  Compound lifts like squats, deadlifts and lunges provide fantastic leg work for runners.  But upper-body lifts will give you muscular balance, improve your posture and work your core – all integral for runners looking to their improve form and, thus, time.

46. Anybody run with the Brickell running group in downtown Miami?  Thinking about giving it/them a try this week.  Thoughts, opinions?

47.  I’ve started lifting more often and running a little less often (2-3 times a week).

48.  Haven’t noticed any regression in my cardiovascular endurance, or in simple english, I still feel like I’m in good shape.

49.  I’m noticing the sapodilla fruit trees are starting to be full of fruit again!  See my September post about Miami fruits/sapodilla: Miami Sidewalk Fruit

50. Approximate number of degrees warmer it is right now than I’d like it to be.

51.  OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but please Miami, please.  Can’t we have one week of winter-like weather?  Just one?

52.  The number of one of the greatest football players I’ve ever had to the pleasure to watch, Ray Lewis (@RayLewis), a Miami guy who’s hanging it up after this playoff run – which will, as of right now, last one game longer at least!

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis: the football Godfather


Are You Trying to “Figure Out” Running?

My advice?  Don’t.

Study it, sure.  Give it gallons of your sweat and some of your blood and tears, too.  Spend money on it.  Daydream about it.

But save yourself some time and energy by not trying to “figure out” running.  As if there’s a formula.  As if it can be controlled or mastered.

I found that running became easier, almost instantly, when I realized that so much of it was out of my immediate control.

It was a weight off my mind to realize and accept that, after six months of everyday running, I could have days when I felt like I had started all over again.  When, after a year of training, a half mile jog exhausted me.  When my feet started to hurt the minute I set out for a 45-minute run.  When I had to take a nap after warming up because my body just wasn’t feeling it that day.

Put another way, sometimes there’s just no rhyme nor reason to why you might have a disastrous running day or the best of your life.  It’s like trying to figure out why the back of your neck itched or why you felt the need to stretch just then.

Some things just aren’t made for solving.

When I learned that, and even more so when I accepted it, running became so much less confounding, less frustrating and less stressful.  I think part of the beauty of running, part of the reason it’s an art to some, is that you’ll have some of your best running moments when you’re least expecting them.  And, likewise, some of your worst moments when you’re least expecting them.  That’s why running never gets stale, why it never gets easy, only less hard.

So if you get outside today, whether it’s your first day running or you’re a marathoner, and you feel out-of-whack, or you try and can’t make it out the driveway, or you run 12 miles when you only intended five… don’t try to figure it out.  Just try again tomorrow =)

-Ben (@BenMarkus1985)




Exercise helps … everything

Do you ever ask yourself questions like:

‘How have I been productive today?’

‘How have I advanced my career today?’

‘Am I working as hard as others are?’

I know that I do, and pretty often.  It’s human nature to question and compare yourself, to others and to an ideal.  Living in a city like Miami probably doesn’t help either – the hustle and bustle, the displays of wealth and, sometimes, arrogance.

I ask myself these questions often, and while much of the time I can answer them with an honest satisfaction, more often than I’d like I can’t.  Sometimes I feel unmotivated and unproductive, and often I question where my career is going, if I’m working toward my future goals. (What were those, again?…)  I don’t want to make this a psychological discussion, but I’m fairly certain most people have these questions about themselves, and yet it’s still tough to not feel like you’re the only one struggling with these issues.

To all of us who question ourselves, I’d like to share the one drug that, time and time again, has helped me feel better about all of it:


I know that sounds zen-Buddhisty or cliche or like a load of steaming dog crap, but it’s true.  For me it’s been true.

Exercise has become the pillar, the backbone of my life in many ways.  I look at it this way:

  • I can’t always feel good about the money I’m making, especially when I’m not making any.
  • I can’t always feel good about my career path when I’m not sure it’s the right one.
  • I can’t always feel good about my love life when I’m not in love.


  • I can always go for a walk or a run and feel good during (most of the time) or after (always).
  • I can always lift weights and feel stronger, more energetic and, in general, better after.
  • I can always trust that a reasonable amount of exercise is always good for my mind and body.

Maybe more than anything, fitness helps me keep the bigger picture in mind.  In life, what is more important than mental and physical health?  What is more important than guarding your mind and body from disease, cancer, depression?  What is more important than aging slowly and naturally?

If you’ve got substantial answers to these questions, please let me know because I don’t.

Exercise so wholly puts my mind at ease because it provides me answers – direction – in a damn confusing life.  It’s the one unwavering path I feel like I can follow with complete and utter trust at this time.  Exercise allows me to feel productive, accomplished and successful.

I didn’t intend this to come off as any kind of a sermon but rather a quick story of my experience.  If you’ve got any questions, or even just want to talk about any of this, shoot me an email: markusben@gmail.com


Have a great weekend, a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Ben (@BenMarkus1985)


Run Miami’s NFL Power Rankings – Week 10

1. New England Patriots (5-3)

Most dynamic offense in the league – maybe the history of the game – and they just brought in a highly talented corner, Aqib Talib.  You don’t need an elite defense when you can put up 45 on anyone.

2. San Fransisco 49ers (6-2)

World-class talent on both sides of the ball, with the ability to stop every team in the league save one.  Still don’t trust Alex Smith to lead a Drive if needed.

3. Chicago Bears (7-1)

The talking heads on TV need to quit bashing Chicago’s offense.  They have two legitimate freaks on offense; how many other teams can say that?

4. Denver Broncos (5-3)

I’ll take Peyton Manning.  You can have anyone else — ever.

5. Houston Texans (7-1)

Efficient killers.  But take away Arian, and they’re in trouble.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

Outside of Peyton (OK and Brady), I’d take Big Ben over anyone right now.  Lots of weapons + Dick LeBeau = Playoffs.

7. Atlanta Falcons (8-0)

Could you imagine this offense with a running back that could actually move?  Yikes.  Remains to be seen if Ryan can succeed under pressure deep in playoffs.

8. New York Football Giants (6-3)

Talents at the right spots: QB, front four, WR, coach. Championship pedigree.

9. Green Bay Packers (6-3)

Even depleted at key positions, the Pack can put up 38 on you.  And you’re never out of it with A-Rog at the helm.

10. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

Their game plan looks a lot like a Chinese menu: Rice, Rice and more Rice.  Too much talent to not win 10+ games, but too little talent to win it all.

11. Tampa Bay Bucaneers (4-4)

Freeman is playing like we’ve been expecting him to the last couple of years, and they have dangerous weapons elsewhere.  Can this defense keep good teams out of the endzone?

12. Seattle Seahawks (5-4)

Strong defense, stronger home-field advantage.  Rookie Wilson has impressed.

13. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

Freeney is getting healthy (scary) and Luck is getting better each week (scarier).  Not a fun team to play in Indy.

14. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

One cornerback and one receiver away from being a really good team, but those are two big pieces.  Soft second-half schedule.

15. Minnesota Vikings (5-4)

A healthy Percy Harvin jumps the Vikes over Indy and Miami, but a gimpy Percy means bad news.  Consistency from Ponder would mean the world to this team.

16. San Diego Super Chargers (4-4)

Really quite mediocre.  But at least they have a defense, unlike…

17. New Orleans Saints (3-5)

Despite the crummy defense, Drew Brees always gives his team a chance to win, unlike…

18. Dallas Cowboys (3-5)

Sure, they have talent, but do they have heart, do they have determination, do they have the will to succeed!?!???  Well, no.

19. Detroit Tigers Lions (4-4)

Joique Bell, ladies and gentlemen, Joique Bell.  Taco’s shitty cousin.

20. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5)

Just enough talent, grit and determination to lose more than they win.

21. Washington Redskins (3-6)

RGIII and VI looks great, but his team’s defense does not.  Meanwhile, Mike Shanahan, there is now a product on the market called “sunscreen.”

22. New York Jets (3-5)

On their way to a good house cleaning in the offseason, and I couldn’t be happier.  Biased? Me!?!

23. St. Louis Rams (3-5)

Just a few light years away from being a good team.  Seriously though, they need to invest in linemen of both sides, and they’ll be better instantly.

24. Oakland Raiders (3-5)

The Miami Dolphins have traded Matt Moore to the Oakland Raiders for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 1st-round picks and three bags of Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips.

25. Carolina Panthers (2-6)

When does Ryan Kalil have to publicly apologize and/or commit hara-kiri for his Super Bowl promise?

26. Arizona Cardinals (4-5)

Is there any doubt that Larry Fitzgerald is simultaneously catching footballs and throwing darts at a Ken Whisenhunt-face dartboard as I write this?

27. Tennessee Titans (3-6)

Third in the rankings for Nashville’s Finest behind Gregg Allman and Pancake Pantry.

28. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)

When your games are readily compared to public executions, you have a problem.

29. Buffalo Bills (3-5)

Even Chris Berman has given up on them.  Meanwhile my fantasy over-draft of the year, good guy Fred Jackson, would look nice in aqua and orange.  Weather’s warm down here, Fred!

30. Cleveland Browns (2-7)

I can picture it now: The London Browns!  Nice ring to it.

31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7)

Just finished reading Michael Holly’s War Room which, among other things, is about Scott Pioli’s move to KC and his changing the culture there, improving the team and adding some much-needed stability to the franchise.  Turns out the book’s a novel.

32. Los Angeles Jacksonville Jaguars

Bring in Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden, pay them BIG bucks, and let them do EVERYTHING.  This is the only way, Jacksonville.  The only way.


For more NFL, football and sports thoughts, follow me on Twitter @BenMarkus1985