Lance Smith is a marathon runner who lives in Harlem.
He also used to be my neighbor. For seven plus years we lived in the same building. I could probably count on my fingers how many times I saw Lance in long pants or something other than running shorts. LOL.
Rain, snow, 90 degree heat or 20 degree cold, I saw Lance coming in from or going out to a run.
I found his blog,Â Harlem 26.2 when I was searching for something about Harlem on the web and became an avid reader. The 26.2 refers to the length of a marathon. His blog chronicled his marathon running and training for one full year (March 26, 2007 – March 26, 2008).
The sub-heading for the blog is: The Chronicles of a Black Man Running Through Harlem in Pursuit of Rebuilding His Business, A Sub 3:00 Marathon, and A Wife – All Through the Lens of Running.
The blog is a really interesting, informative and humorous read about running, running history (including black runners), life and love. He reviewed running sneakers, work out gear, discusses health issues, Harlem, and politics.
One day after I learned of the blog I told Lance that I had found it. We had the first of what would always be funny and interesting conversations. He asked how much I had read and if I knew any of the people he mentioned. Some of them I did, some of them I didn’t. We chuckled about his dating stories with women in the building and I tired to get him to name names (he didn’t).
In his first blog posting titled Ready, Set, Go!, he says:
White men can’t jump and Black men can’t run? The New York Road Runners membership is 40,000+ and probably 0.5% African American. Well this Black man can run and does run, straight out of Harlem, and in lieu of a runner’s log I thought Iâ€™d blog, should be more fun.
In his last blog posting titled Thanks for Reading Harlem 26.2 — Goodby, Lance says:
I am a runner. All runners are people of devotion, commitment, and perseverance – and it is that ethic in me – that motivated me to blog on my reflections and thoughts, through the lens of running, for a full year. Today closes the loop on a full year and nearly 400 blog entries. I never wanted to “play it safe”, never cared about being politically correct, did not mind offending anyone, did not spell and grammar check, I just wanted to publish streams of thought – consistently and supported with a myriad of reference sources and documentation, and be authentic to who I am. If I never annoyed or provoked you to think I’m an idiot, I failed. Likewise if I never was able to get you to consider despite all my rough edges and flaws, I’m a decent person at the end of the day – I failed once more. Visceral responses either way are all good with me – I never wanted to be boring – I hoped to be a momentary diversion in the course of your day – a voice saying something you’re not likely to hear elsewhere. I wanted this blog to be of interest and accessible to the non-runner.
He also goes on to say:
This blog was about entries like this, Eve Pell and Susan Graham-Gray. If you did not catch this blog, click those links – and experience Eve Pell’s words & Susan Graham-Gray’s spirit. Despite how you see me rip on the Black Marathoners, Eve Pell & Susan Graham-Gray is what this blog was really all about. Eve Pell actually contacted me and thanked me, as did many of the hundreds of people I spoke of (to my surprise). On a ridiculous note the Katie Holmes NYC Marathon Conspiracy entry got picked up by some of the biggest celebrity blog sites in the U.S., went world-wide, and I had people in Russia for example asking me for interviews on it – that one entry has gotten over half a million hits to date. I actually had established sports writers contact me on my blog about Lance Armstrong and told me I was spot on accurate in my comments (I said what they could not).
I became an avid reader of the blog to see if I could get some tips on the discipline that athletes have. I usually catch the marathon on TV and am always amazed at the stories. When I learned that the runners actually ran down 5th Avenue (around the corner) I actually went out and tried to see the runners live a couple of times. (This year’s marathon is this Sunday, click here for more info.)
While Lance no longer blogs about his running on Harlem 26.2, the blog is a wealth of information for anyone interested in running, exercise and weight loss, exercise gear and running tips. Below are links to a couple of the blog postings.
- Best Running Shoe “Primer” Ever Written
- Running To Create a Spark & Build The Brain
- Running into Social Networks for Marathoners: Sweat365 & Athlinks
- The Perfect Sports – Running Bra
- Sports Bras Revisted & Updated: You Decide Your Best For Running
- Running to Burn Fat
- The 50 Best Running Shop Stores In America
- The Latest Running Gizmo: miCoach – Check It!
- Being a Visible Runner
- Aqua Running
- To Stretch Or Not To Stretch Before A Run?
- Running to Pump Blood (Year Round!)
- Running into the Mormons – in Harlem
- Oh Snap! – Rockin’ The Speedsuit !
- Reflexology & Running
- Running With A Proper Shoe Lace!
- My Running Supplemental Secrets – Shared