Friday, October 4, 2013


With Diamond Dallas Page
By Ross Forman

I’ve never been a fan of yoga and truly don’t understand the yoga craze; it just doesn’t do anything for me.  In fact, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get out of yoga, or how I’m supposed to feel, but yoga does absolutely nothing for me.

I’ve done yoga workouts five times, give or take, mostly the 90-minute, once-a-week session in the P90X workout.  I also once did yoga with Diamond Dallas Page, a former World Heavyweight Championship known as DDP of pro wrestling fame and fortune.  Now retired from wrestling, DDP is now a yoga master, or a yogi, though he hates when I call him that; he prefers to just be called a Fitness Guru.

Thing is, I’ve been good friends with DDP (or, BRO, as I call him) for 15-plus years.  We’ve had countless memorable moments side by side while running in World Championship Wrestling (WCW).  Times with Jay Leno, Muhammad Ali and Karl Malone to Hollywood Squares and private charter jets for cross-country flights.  So many amazing moments with DDP.

Yoga is not amazing to me – and that’s where DDP and I really differ, and have for years.

When DDP was wrestling, he was a stretch-a-holic.  He’d stretch before and after every match, probably more than any other wrestler, and that’s one of the reasons he was able to remain a main event performer and beat up his body day in and day out in incredibly physical matches at an age older than most.  I’m guessing it was DDP’s stretching/yoga that kept him in the game for so long.

I’m not really sure when DDP jumped full steam into the yoga world, probably 10 years ago, maybe more.  He’s suggested it to me countless times over the years, yet each time I politely rejected DDPYoga – his multi-DVD, at-home workout program.  (Truth be told, I laughed at DDP for his yoga, and even for suggesting it to me.)

In Omaha, home of the
College World Series
Still, other pro wrestlers also have endorsed DDPYoga as a Godsend of sorts.  Chris Jericho, Ryback, Zack Ryder and even my good friend Lodi have each endorsed DDPYoga.  I laughed at Lodi, too.  So many others from all walks of life also have praised DDPYoga, but I still was not sold.

In fact, I have talked about DDPYoga with Kevin Nash every few months and, well, let’s just say, Nash and I agree: DDPYoga is not for either of us.

But DDP got me one late-September morning at a weak moment; that’s the only thing I can say, or explain.  We were talking on the phone and he asked about my marathon running.  I have now completed 20 marathons and my 21st is Dec. 8, when I run the Honolulu Marathon.  He told me about a friend of his who has used DDPYoga to improve her marathon times – and he even showed me an email she sent him, offering her endorsement for DDPYoga, which has helped her running.  DDP even said that he was so convinced DDPYoga would help my marathon running, done in addition to my normal training, that he’d put his money where his mouth is – so, yes, we have a $1 bet on whether or not DDPYoga works for me.

As strange as this is for me to say, yes, I committed to DDP that I would do a full 13-week session of DDPYoga – the at-home, four-day-a-week workout, starting immediately.

What have I gotten myself into?  Especially since this DDPYoga journey will, at times, includes photos and video of me doing it?  And DDP will be sharing my journey with his faithful followers.

I’m staying positive about DDPYoga.  Heck, I have to – I’ve committed to it and truly want to see what about the fuss is all about.  I’m not sure if DDPYoga will help me with marathon running, or in my battle to fend off Father Time, but as DDP knows, I’ll give it my best and be completely honest in my assessment.

Namaste, which I believe is a traditional yoga term … though I have no clue what it means,


Thursday, September 19, 2013

20 Memories from 19 Marathons

By Ross Forman

I am running my 20th marathon on Sunday, Sept. 22 – the 38th annual Omaha Marathon, so here are 20 memories from the 19 marathons that I have run since first tackling the 26.2-mile demon:

1. I went to my first marathon training-program meeting during the spring of 2007 at Evanston Library, run by John Beach.  I wonder if John truly thought I’d run the Florence (Italy) Marathon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2007 – my first – and still be running marathons six years later.  I’m guessing not.

2. Seeing Coach Katie in the park near the end of the Florence Marathon was awesome.  Her smile and words of encouragement that day still shine.  I hope I’m half the coach Katie is.  She is the best … and she better have some Rice Krispie treats for me when I return from Omaha, or she’ll fall from my good graces faster than an elite runner.

3. The fan support along the course of the Chicago Marathon is incredible, the best of any marathon that I have run.  So many familiar faces at so many points along the route, and boy are those cheering fans a motivation.

4. There were a lot more hills on the course of the Nashville Marathon than I expected, but nothing compares to the Jerusalem Marathon – a course that is up and down, up and down, up and down, for all 26.2 miles.  But spending time in Jerusalem with Irit, Jennifer, Juan Valdez, and others was so much fun!

5. I enjoy listening to Edge of Glory from Lady Gaga moments before marathons start.  Wady gets a lot of credit for that, and I’ll never forget the video he produced after the 2011 training season.

6. Some people run to the port-a-potties regularly during a marathon.  Not me.  I go to the bathroom usually just once during a marathon – and it might not be in a port-a-potty.  Trees work for me.

7. Splitting away from Dell early on in the 2012 Honolulu Marathon due to his leg problem was disappointing.  Can’t wait to run with him again this December – for my 21st marathon, through the streets of Waikiki.  You too, Nick.

8. I have run the Honolulu Marathon for five consecutive years and have always said that I will jump in the ocean to celebrate minutes after crossing the Finish Line.  Never have, but that will change this December.  So excited to watch Meg & Fred cross the Finish Line in Honolulu this year.  Patty, too, among others.

9. Before registering to run the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon, I considered many other marathons which also were being held within a week or so of that spring event.  I also considered running in Seoul, Rome, Milano, Barcelona, Madrid and Jerusalem, as well as Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta.  So happy I registered for Tel Aviv.

10. I wish there was water available between miles 18-21 of the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon, especially since there seemed to be several water-stations rapidly in succession from miles 22-24.

11. I ran the Nashville Marathon with Katie and Dan, and they had matching white halter-tops with pink lettering.  Dan’s shirt said PRETTY; Katie’s said SEXY; and my traditional running shirt that day said ROSS.  So we were, Team PRETTY SEXY ROSS.

12. My favorite post-marathon meal is a steak (filet), and I won’t turn down the French fries.  Often, though, I’m not very hungry for hours after finishing.

13. My preferred carb-loading meal is pancakes, not pasta, even for dinner.  And hopefully with bananas cooked inside.

14. I had an evening flight from Chicago to Los Angeles after running the Chicago Marathon a few years ago.  My legs weren’t comfortable at all, even in first-class.

15. I read as many of the signs that onlookers have in support of runners, and give as many high-5s as possible while running.

16. At the end of every marathon, I look for a runner who has finished and walked back onto the course while wearing their Finisher’s Medal.  The first person I see like that, I make my way over to him or her, slow down and get that person’s attention.  I touch their medal, usually with my right hand, and then continue running.  Just my personal motivation.

With Kevin Nash
17. So many friends and colleagues from the world of pro wrestling have supported and encouraged my marathon journey over the years, including Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, DDP, Goldberg, Sonjay Dutt, Norman Smiley, Charles Robinson, Mike Tenay and Lodi, among others.  (Sorry DDP, I still have not incorporated yoga into my training.  And Lodi, I’ll be glad to accept your 50-pushup challenge, any day, so when will you run a marathon?)

18. I don’t like running outside in the winter, or anytime it’s cold.  I once did a 20-mile training run on the treadmill at my gym.  Talk about boring, but still better than braving the temps.

19. I have made so many friends through running, hundreds who have run thousands of miles alongside this Brooks shoes-wearing runner, and countless others who have supported, encouraged, donated or simply cheered me on this wild run.  So grateful.  The Team To End AIDS (T2) and Team In Training (TEAM) have brought so much to me, and hopefully I’ve given back equally to each.

20. One of my biggest motivation’s for my first marathon back in 2007 was a $1 time-related bet I made with Chuck.  Will admit, he won.  But I claimed that $1 on future marathons.  Wait?  I earned $1 for running 26.2 miles?!?!?!  Yeah, this is crazy!

Here’s hoping the next 20 marathons are as memorable,


Monday, August 26, 2013

20th Marathon

By Ross Forman

My first-ever marathon training run in 2007 was three miles along Chicago’s lakefront.  I finished it, but, hours later, was in the emergency room at Glenbrook Hospital, unable to put any weight on my left foot.

I had fractured my ankle and was immediately fitted for a walking boot—for at least the next four weeks.

I thought my marathon running career was over – before it even started.

But, thanks to encouragement from Coach Katie and so many others, I stayed on the path.  And I did run my first-ever marathon, as planned, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 2007, after a revised four-month training schedule, not the initially-planned six months.

I haven’t stopped running since finishing my first, the Florence (Italy) Marathon.  Consider:

·       I have run 19 marathons, which equates to 497.8 race-day miles.

·       I have run marathons in 5 countries.

·       I have run the Honolulu Marathon 5 consecutive years, and my sixth time running 26.2-miles through the streets of Waikiki and beyond will be this December.

·       I have run the Chicago Marathon 3 times, and have yet to find a race with better crowd support.

·       I have celebrated Independence Day (and Chuck’s Birthday) for the past two years on Sauvie Island, just north of Portland, Ore., running the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon.

·       Only once have I run 23 runs, and thought I might not finish the final few miles of a marathon.  That happened this past July 4, when severe cramping had me worried that I wouldn’t cross the Finish Line.

Thankfully, I finished the marathon this past July, though I dropped a few F-Bombs and other choice words and phrases along those final few miles.

I thought about hanging up my Brooks shoes after those painful, less-than-memorable final few miles in July, but ultimately I was excited to test myself in my next marathon.

Especially since it would be my 20th.

Wow, I still can’t believe I am about to run my 20th marathon.  Heck, I never thought I’d run one, let alone 20.

My 20th marathon is on Sunday, Sept. 22, when I tackle the 38th annual Omaha Marathon.

Why Omaha?
Well, I don’t really have a great reason, other than the timing is good, the bling is great, and the fact that in-uniform U.S. Marines will greet me at the Finish Line with a medal makes the event extra special, extra emotional. 

When I think of Omaha, Nebr., I immediately think of the College World Series.  That’s it, nothing else.  It’s a city of champions – of at least one champ, crowned in May or June after the NCAA Baseball season.
Rocket Men: Ross & Roger (Clemens)
I was shocked, but happy, to see my alma mater, Indiana University, swinging for NCAA glory this past season.

I remember being in Omaha years ago for IU’s softball team, which was pursuing a National Championship.  I also have been in Omaha for pro wrestling events in the past.  But, I don’t remember much about my past visits to the city.

Looking forward to making 26.2 memories – for the 20th time overall – in Omaha on Sept. 22.

See you at the Finish Line,


Saturday, July 6, 2013

19 Marathons and Counting

By Ross Forman

For the first 15 miles of the annual Foot Traffic Flat Marathon, I was cruising right along. I had a good pace, feeling strong, enjoying my music and the scenery, and talking to a few other runners, including Jennifer from Cincinnati who proudly wore her purple Team In Training shirt.

She was running for Mom and Dad, it said on the back of her tank top.

I was running for Michael Michaelevich and Brant Gniewek.

Michael died last March after running the Tel Aviv Half Marathon, which I also ran. Brant died unexpectedly this past May, and he too was a runner who was planning to run 52 races of varying distances in 2013 to honor and support 52 people affected by cancer.

I was proud to have their initials – MM and BG – written on my right forearm for my 26.2 mile run July 4 on Sauvie Island, just north of Portland, Ore.

I know Michael and Brant were watching over me.

As I approached Mile 16, my legs started cramping. First, my quads, and then my calves.  It was miserably painful, and not much seemed to help, stop, or even slow the pain.

At Mile 23, the cramping pain was so bad that I actually stood still for, oh, five or six seconds. I didn’t move because, well, I couldn’t.

I wasn’t sure at that point if I would finish.

But I know Michael and Brant were watching out for me.

Ultimately, I crossed the Finish Line and it was cool to hear the announcer say by name as I approached the end of this Independence Day run.

The race was, without question, my most emotional.  I ran for Michael and Brant, and also wore a pink wristband for my Mom, who I know was back in Chicago thinking and cheering for her marathon running son – and anxious for me to bring her my finisher’s medal, as I have for my past few marathons.

I kissed the wristband as I crossed most mile-markers along the course.

I looked at the lettering on my arm several times as my legs were yelling at me.

This race was my most challenging.

This race also was my most rewarding.

I have now run 19 marathons; that’s 497.8 race day miles, and no doubt thousands more in training.

My next confirmed marathon is the Honolulu Marathon in December, which I will be running for the sixth consecutive year.  That will be Marathon No. 20 – at least as of today it will be.

As with most other marathon addicts, we finish one race and then immediately look online for our next, even as I reflect on the intense cramping pain I endured on the streets of Sauvie Island.

Still, I soon will be online looking for another marathon to run.

My 20th marathon needs to be somewhere special.  Sure, Honolulu certainly would qualify, but I want to get back out on the course sooner than December.

That’s the insanity of marathon runners, myself included.

Happy (and pain-free) running,


Friday, June 14, 2013

Filled With Emotions For 26.2 Miles

I’m always emotional at the start of a marathon.  Am not sure if it’s the nerves, the excitement, the adrenaline, the National Anthem which often is played, or what.  I’ll admit, I often am teary-eyed in the minutes before the starting-gun goes off.

That said, as much as I’m looking forward to running the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on July 4, on Sauvie Island just north of Portland, Ore., I’m sure the emotions will be full, if not overflowing, before I take those first few strides on the 26.2-mile journey through scenic, though often remote, portions of Oregon.
With Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai

I’m dedicating this marathon to Michael Michaelevich, the Israeli military member who died in March after running the Tel Aviv Half Marathon, which I also ran.  I didn’t know Michael, nor do I know anyone in his family, including his parents (Albert and Carla), his wife/widow (Gal) or his sister (Shulamit).  I have, though, spoken by phone with his dad, whose English is limited and my Hebrew is, well, basically non-existent.  Still, I told him what I was doing to honor his son and am sure he understood.  He was happy and, in an email he wrote to me, said he was honored – and I am too, just to be able to do it.  Michael was 29.

Also when I step to the Starting Line in Oregon, I will think about Brant Gniewek, who died in late-May.  Brant was a friend who I had seen literally three days before I was writing his obituary.  Brant’s commitment to running in 2013 is showcased with a charity that he founded, 52 For 52, in which he was planning to run 52 races this year of varying lengths, each to help someone affected by cancer.  Brant died unexpectedly of a heart attack.  He was 30.
At the Dead Sea

In addition, since running the 2012 Chicago Marathon last October, I have worn a pink wristband for my Mom who I know is cheering for me in every race I run – and she loves when I come home after a race with “her medal.”  Yep, it’s become customary in recent races to give her my medal, which she always wears with pride – and it’s just as touching for me to see her with the medal around her neck.

In early-June, I was back in Tel Aviv and, naturally, running along the beach path adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea.  It’s always a fun run, a fun route, with lots of eye-candy everywhere – whether heading toward Jaffa or the opposite direction, toward the Hilton Hotel and beyond.  I’m sure the bicyclists can’t stand us runners in Tel Aviv, just as is the case in Chicago along the lakefront path.  Thankfully, if they cuss me out in Hebrew, I just smile and wave, not understanding a word of what they just said.  

In the Dead Sea
Several times I ran past the Dan Panorama Hotel, and of course thought of the countless runs back home in Chicago I’ve done with Dan Cornejo.  It also was reflective as the Dan Panorama Hotel is near the Start and Finish Lines of the Tel Aviv Marathon.  It was just a few months earlier when I crossed the Finish Line after running 13.1 miles through the streets of Tel Aviv.  It also made me sad that Michael didn’t get to cherish his medal from the Tel Aviv Half Marathon – which is part of the reason I’m running the Independence Day marathon in Oregon for a complete stranger. 

Michael, no doubt, contributed to Israel’s independence and strength through his Army service – and Israel has become one of my favorite spots in the world.

The Foot Traffic Flat Marathon will be my 19th marathon run in just under six years.  As of now, the Honolulu Marathon in December is slated to be No. 20, but who knows if I decide to add another marathon between now and the end of the year.  I’m already registered to run 26.2-miles from downtown Honolulu, out to Hawaii Kai and ultimately finishing at Kapiolani Park, steps away from the sand of Waikiki Beach – and I truly can’t wait to run in Hawaii for the sixth consecutive year with Dell, and hopefully Nick, too.

Filled with emotions, I can’t want to hit the Finish Line of the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon,


P.S. Go Blackhawks!
With Blackhawks star Patrick Kane

Saturday, April 6, 2013

In Memory of Michael

By Ross Forman

The “when” and “where” part of my next marathon were a challenge; it was tough to find the perfect race on an ideal weekend.

The “who” was relative easy.  Specifically, “for whom.”

Jump back to the 2013 Tel Aviv Marathon, which was to have been held on Friday, March 15, and was to have been my 19th marathon over the past 5 ½ years.  However, three days before the marathon, organizers postponed the event a week due to an excessive heat wave that was predicted.

The temperature was expected to soar into the 90s pretty early that Friday morning, so the decision was made to postpone the 26.2-mile marathon, yet proceed with the 13.1-mile half marathon and other shorter-distance races. More than 30,000 runners were expected to cross the Starting Line in Tel Aviv for the multiple races.

I learned of the race-day change upon landing in Newark, for a four-hour layover, before my United Airlines flight to Tel Aviv.  With the half marathon still set to proceed, I chose to continue my journey, though it briefly crossed my mind to just turn around and go home.

About 30 minutes after the half marathon started on that Friday, the temp was already 77 degrees, and the mercury quickly soared past 90.  Yeah, it was hot.

So hot, in fact, that many runners needed medical attention.  Reports said 80 runners suffered heat stroke or other ailments caused by the heat. 

Michael Michalevitch – a 29-year-old soldier, husband and father of a newborn baby – collapsed along the course.  He was taken to the hospital, and later pronounced dead.  Media reports said that Michalevitch was an officer in the Israeli military and an avid runner who was comfortable running up to 12 miles per day.

My next marathon will be for Michael.

I don’t know Michael, or his family, or even what brand of running shoes he wore.  I just want to do something to honor him.

So, after much debate, I’ve decided to return to the Pacific Northwest in July for the annual Foot Traffic Flat – an Independence Day marathon run on Sauvie Island, which is about 15 miles north of Portland, Ore.  The festive holiday event features homemade strawberry shortcake at the Finish Line, as well as ice baths.

“We aren’t going to change a whole lot with the course, since it’s always been a fun event, but we do plan a few small tweaks to the event to make it more smooth,” organizer Sean T. Rivers told me in late-March.

Sean once again has helped get me excited to run the Foot Traffic Flat for the second consecutive year – and this time it’ll be for Michael.

I truly hope that, with today’s modern technology, specifically, social media, that this blog gets to Michael’s family well before I hit the Starting Line on Sauvie Island.

After the Foot Traffic Flat, I’ll find my way to my post-marathon tradition: a yogurt shop.  I also might hit Voodoo Doughnut, which is a local legend in Portland and features such creative offerings as Bacon Maple Bar, Captain My Captain, The Loop, Grape Ape, Memphis Mafia, and even Old Dirty Bastard, among others.

I’m back on the Insanity circuit, dedicated to the daily workouts under the leadership of Shaun T because I want the Foot Traffic Flat to truly be a memorable run.

And I know it will be,


Monday, February 25, 2013

Shalom! My Return to Tel Aviv

When I think back on the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon, several memories come to mind:

* The lack of water provided by organizers between miles 18-21, and how upset I was at that fact because of how thirsty I was at that point.  I actually spotted an unusual-looking water fountain during that stretch, right along the course, but the water was hot.  That sucked!

* Starting at about Mile 22, for the next mile or two, there were several water stations.  Horrible planning!

* Meeting Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai the night before the race, as well as Zahava Roden, a fellow runner from New York City, who I again saw as she crossed the Finish Line.  I cherish the photos I have with each, and hope to see each again.

* After finishing the 26.2 miles with my still-Personal Record (PR) time, I started walking back to my hotel but then, as I looked to my left, I saw the Mediterranean Sea – with countless people lounging on the beach.  No need to walk 20 or 30 minutes to the hotel just to shower; the Mediterranean would cool me off, kinda clean me up, at least for the time being.  I lounged on the beach, jumped in the frigid water and still remember the joy of that Friday afternoon.  Pictures were plentiful that day, and my smile never disappeared.

It’s now time for the 2013 Tel Aviv Marathon, which I am running on Friday morning, March 15.  This will be my 19th marathon in about 5 ½ years.  Still amazed, still astonished, and still smiling at those numbers.
I had so much fun before, during, and after the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon – and am sure this year’s run through the streets of Tel Aviv will be just as memorable.  As long as I don’t get the triple interrogation, again, as I did entering Israel for the 2011 race.
Ironically, picking Tel Aviv as a destination marathon at the start of 2011 was not my first choice.  In fact, I’ll admit that Tel Aviv probably was No. 10 on my list of cities to run.  I quickly trimmed that list down, and before I knew it, Tel Aviv was the only city still standing.  One quick online search about Tel Aviv, and I was sold.
The fact Tel Aviv is a beach city convinced me.
I couldn’t be happier picking Tel Aviv … though I still can’t stand the sound of matkot constantly being played on the beach.  (Google “matkot,” if you’ve never heard of Israel’s unofficial national sport.)
Much the way Honolulu is my annual December marathon, and I will be running that Hawaii marathon for the sixth consecutive year at the end of 2013, Tel Aviv is one that I’m thrilled to tackle again.  The locals are exceptionally nice and welcoming, the course was memorable – mostly in a favorable way.
I just hope I can find enough pancakes.
This past December, in Honolulu, I learned that pancakes do the trick for me in those carb-loading days before hitting the Starting Line.  I don’t like pasta, though I have endured it in the past.  I would just rather carb-load with pancakes.
Hopefully I also can find a Yogurtland in Israel because, as David Munar will attest, there’s no better post-race refresher than mixing your own personal favorite treats with multiple yogurt flavors.
Here’s hoping the 2013 Tel Aviv Marathon is as memorable as the 2011 race was, though that leads to one of the biggest questions in my marathon running career:  What’s next, after Tel Aviv, because that will be my 20th – so it’s gotta be a memorable experience … suggestions?  Thanks,
With NBA legend Dennis Rodman