Who the heck is M.H. Alderson?

The great M.H. Alderson once said,

“If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.”

The trouble is that I don’t know who the heck M.H. Alderson is/was, so my description of him/her as a great person should probably be taken with a grain of salt.  I’ll confess that I found that quote last night in preparation for not completing my first tempo run this morning.  Now, I’m sure that there are plenty of quotes that go along with that attitude, such as:

Positive thinking will let you do anything better than negative thinking will.”

       -Zig Zigler

or this one:

A man is but the product of his thoughts.  What he thinks, he becomes.”

       – Mahatma Gahndi

So, if I thought I couldn’t make it, did I become the guy who can’t make it?  Sort of.

Planned Workout

1 mile warmup

3 miles at 7:35 minute mile pace

1 mile cool down

Actual workout

1 mile warmup

2 miles at 7:35 pace

.25 miles walk interval

.75 miles at 7:35 pace

.9 miles cool down

Location: Treadmill at 2.0 degree incline.

Now, last night I told myself that if I could make it a mile and a half before taking a walk break, then I could be pretty happy with myself.  You see, this whole workout is based on a 5K time that I achieved way back in October.

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

       – Benjamin Franklin

Screw you, Ben.  What’s your excuse for that big belly? 

Anyway, as I was saying I thought it would be nice if I could make it 1.5 miles before the walk break.  Once I finished the warm-up and started into the actual 3 mile tempo run, I began to think I could make it 2 miles.  Actually, I didn’t really think it, I knew it.  You know how you tell yourself stuff sometimes, but you don’t really believe it?  This wasn’t one of those times.  The thought briefly entered my head and I knew it was true.  When I passed the 1 mile mark, I was definately sure of it.  So, thats how far I made it.  I took a quarter mile walk break, then finished the 3 miles off at 7:35 pace. 

I’m pretty sure that if I were to do the same workout next Wednesday, I could make it the whole way.  Of course, next Wednesday, I have to do a slightly different tempo run.  It felt good to make it 2 miles at that pace.  I haven’t been able to do that since last October.  I’m not too worried about the walk break at this point.  Although two miles is a far cry from 26.2, I’m only in the first week of the training and this particular program is only to establish the baseline pacing for my 18 week marathon training anyway.  Still, I’m focusing on giving it my all.

It’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock and roll.”

     – AC/DC


  1. M.H. Alderson was my father-in-law and was known as Sodie to his family and friends. His family would, of course, say that he was a great man, though he never made any earth-shattering accomplishments. He did serve his country in WWII, earning both a purple heart and two bronze stars. After the war, he married my mother-in-law, finished college and was a small town newspaper publisher for many years. Later, he became director of public relations at Upper Iowa University and Texas Luthern College. He was active in many civic groups, including Freemasons, Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce and was known locally for his inspiring speeches. He died of cancer in 1984. As I said, he was no one “important” in the conventional sense of the word, but his family holds him dear as a very good man who lived his life for his family and community and who just so happened to coin the phase, “If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.”

  2. Everything Sandra posted is correct but I’d say stating M.H.Alderson was a great man is an understatement. You can still find many a person who can only say good things about him and I think that makes him a great man. Yes, I am biased, being one of his children! The quote was published in Readers Digest and was always a source of pride, even though he was simply stating a fact! So, good luck with the running schedule, you can do it! FYI, a grandaughter in law of his ran in the Chicago Marathon, and she had never had a passion for running, so it can be done! Good luck!

  3. As Sodie’s oldest daughter, I can say unequivocally that dad was a very great man. He loved God, his family and his country. He hated war, but fought for freedom. He was a great (not perfect, but great) example for us to follow. Hope you are doing well in your running career.

  4. I am doing a small project about M. H. Anderson (I mean turning in his name, quote, and his birth and death year). Could you tell me what year he was born in?
    Thank you dearly your father has an amazing way with words,

  5. I was Vice President for Development at Upper Iowa when Sodie, Herschell Hendrix, Gene Garbee and Cabby were the major staff. Sodie was a newpaper man all the time and I enjoyed working with him. He always had a great attitude. I can’t imagine anyone who met him and didn’t like him.

    It’s funny but I never recall meeting his wife or any family member during the 3 years I was there. I later became a university president and Hershell called me for a job. Sorry to hear about Sodie’s passing. We did visit Cabby on a trip around the US.

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