Where's the Finish Panda


Frequently Asked Questions


My favorite part of any website is the FAQ section, so originally I was going to write this as a joke, but then I noticed I really do get frequently asked questions, so here ya go!


Q.  You run marathons?

A.  Yes.  I know I don’t look like a marathon runner.  I’m slow.


Q.  How many marathons have you run?

A.  As of September 2015, I’ve run 17.  I’m trying for all 50 States.


Q.  Which states have you run?

A.  (This is a legitimately frequently asked question – people always ask me this, and I don’t know why.  No one is ever interested in the answer, because it’s not interesting to hear a random partial list of states.)  Virginia, New York, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Oklahoma, Maryland, Florida, Vermont, Maine, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, & South Dakota.  See my Marathons page for more details and links to recaps.


Q.  Have you run the New York City Marathon?

A.  (I think this is actually the question people mean to ask instead of “what states have you run,” because New Yorkers are obsessed with the NYC Marathon.)  Yes, in 2005.  It was only ok.  My recap is here.


Q.  Are you running New York this year?

A.  No.  I’m not repeating any states until I finish the 50.  (Although recently I’ve been considering making an exception for NYC… maybe…)


Q.  Have you ever run Boston?

A.  No.  I’m not fast enough (by a long shot – at my age, I’d have to run a marathon in under 3 hours, 40 minutes, which is a per mile pace of 8:23, which is like 5 minutes per mile faster than I’m currently running).  Qualifying for Boston is a crazy pipe dream for me.  Instead, I decided to go for quantity over quality, since in this case “quality” is “a speed I probably can never attain in my lifetime.”  And I don’t want to run Boston through a charity.


Q.  Have you ever run <insert marathon here>?

A.  Probably not.  The full list of marathons I’ve completed and marathons I’m scheduled to run can be found on my Marathons page.  I’ve yet to run any international marathons, and I’m shelving that idea until I make more 50 States progress.


Q.  What’s your marathon time?

A.  My marathon PR is a crazy outlier.  It’s 4:07, set at Fresno, California, in 2010 (that’s a 9:25 minute mile average pace).  I have no idea how I ever ran that fast, because nowadays I’m finishing around 6 hours, or about a 13 to 14 minute per mile pace.  I do hope to improve my times again, but I’ve been battling recurring knee injuries and more recently plantar fasciitis & tendonitis.  A sub-4 hour marathon is on my dream list.


Q.  What’s your training program?

A.  I usually just cobble together a free training program from the internet.  For my first marathon, I followed The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett, which I highly recommend if you’re a beginner.  Recently I’ve been pretty lax in my training, but I hope to be healthy enough to follow one of Hal Higdon’s training plans next.  For more info on free training plans, visit my Training page.


Q.  Isn’t running marathons bad for you?

A.  Maybe.  But recent research indicates probably absolutely not.  But I do a lot of things that are bad for me.  So if running marathons were bad for me, I’d probably still do them.  I run for fun, and if I don’t have a goal like a marathon (or two, or 50), I tend not to exercise or run at all, which is neither fun nor healthy.  I chose my poison, and that’s marathoning.


Q.  Why are you doing this?


  • If you mean run marathons, there are a lot of reasons, but ultimately because I enjoy it in some perverse way.
  • If you mean going for the 50 States, that’s because I really enjoy visiting and running the various states, and because it’s nice to have one of those rare goals in life where even if I try my best, it’s not a sure thing (unlike a lot of things that are simply difficult, like losing weight, which is entirely possible if I tried hard enough, or simply expensive, like travelling to all the continents).
  • If you mean writing this blog, it’s because I enjoy sharing my love of running and marathoning, and I also really do hope some of my info helps you, random stranger.  Or at least helps you procrastinate whatever you’re currently procrastinating.


Q.  How long is a marathon?

A.  26.2 miles.  And yes, all marathons are the same length, and any race that isn’t 26.2 miles is not a “marathon.”  However, terrain (e.g. road, trail, hills), weather, and altitude mean all marathons are not alike.  Ultramarathons are technically any race 26.3 miles or longer, but most are 50K (31.1 miles) or 100 miles or something.


Q.  Do you make any money off this site?

A.  No.  Technically I’m an Amazon Associate, which means if you use one of my Amazon links I’ll get some pennies on your purchase (without increasing the cost to you), but I haven’t actually gotten any pennies yet.  I don’t have any sponsors, but would definitely be open to the idea!  As for now, this site definitely costs me money (and time) without any payment in return.  But just like marathoning, I still enjoy it!


Q.  How can I contact you?

A.  Use the form below (it will send a direct personal message to me, not create a public comment).  I look forward to hearing from you!


Q.  Do you really want me to contact you?

A.  Yes!  That would be amazing.  I built this site for you, stranger, so it’d be nice to know if you’re real or not.