About: The Runner’s Tap

This blog aspires to be an informative (while entertaining) source of information about all things dealing with running, beer, music, healthy and balanced living, fitness gear, comedy, etc. My hope is that you leave this website with one of the following experiences:

  • Learn something new.
  • Get Inspired or Motivated
  • Feel entertained, have a laugh, or just be happier than when you arrived

What 3 things do most runners love? Would I be wrong to assume it’s new running gear, tasty beer, and those sweet sounds you hear? (Sorry, had to find a way to make that last one rhyme!) Here’s a taste of what content you can expect to find on this blog.

Running

Cats & Pizza Singlet!

Reviews of running apparel, gear, gadgets. Tips for training, cross training, nutrition, recovery, running. Local and sometimes not so local races. Personal stories of my own experiences with running and my current training/racing. Advice on fitting running into a busy and hectic schedule.

Beer

Beer Station @ Lakefront Discovery Run

Reviews and recommendations of beers. Local breweries and not so local breweries. What races provide you the best “beer experience”. Milwaukee Festivals that may combine running & beer. How to maximize your Wine Wednesday experience (I know, this isn’t beer, but sometimes we need to be classy).

Music

In action at a concert

Concert recaps or stories. Album reviews. Song suggestions. What I’m into at the moment. Running playlists. My dislike of the song “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.

The TL;DR “About Me” Section

My best attempt at Robert DeNiro face

My name is Tommy. So, what credibility do I have to run a blog like this?

ON RUNNING: 2019 marks the 25th year since I got involved in running. My freshman year of high school plan was to evolve my basketball game into what Jason Williams of the Sacramento Kings would bring to the NBA. I didn’t want to copy that, so I decided to work on my pitching and hope for a successful relief pitching career with the Cubs or Brewers in the Major Leagues.

After helping the Muskego Mets to a tie for first place in Little League, I felt there was nothing left to prove in baseball. That same year, I placed 2nd in the Gym Class Mile (so prestigious), I decided that maybe distance running was the path for me.

Within 4 years I was able to accomplish a lot. Some highlights of my high school career were breaking the school records in the 1600 meters, 3200 meters, and 5K (cross country). I was a conference champion, won multiple all-state awards, and helped lead our high school cross country team to our first ever state meet appearance!

I had the privilege of running in college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. There I was able to learn from some amazing coaches and be a part of a quite a few conference and national championship teams. I learned a lot about disappointment and overcoming failure as I somehow managed to miss XC All-American twice by a total of 4 seconds, missed going to nationals in the 10K by a tenth of a second, and missing junior year due to a sinus infection that lead to having surgery. I was able to come back from that and cap off the college career with an All-American award and team National title in XC.

While in college I took a lot of classes in Marketing and Creative Writing and ended up with a minor in both. This will show my age a bit, but when I was in school the internet was still very new. (You should have seen our cable modem set up in our apartment – wires running everywhere!) So, I spent a lot of time learning web design and creating web pages. If you know me, some of you may remember The Tommy Show. Part of my reason for creating this blog is to keep my writing skills sharp.

Once I was done with college running, I planned to train for a marathon and see if I could qualify for the Olympic Trials. I did a few road races and was graciously given some gear from a Minneapolis running store. I probably made it about a month or two into it and just fell off as the joy of running wasn’t really there. Working 40 hours a week and running was an adjustment that didn’t mesh well with me. Not to mention the addition of happy hours and a growing social life!

The next 10 years or so were basically me running a few times a week during Spring and Summer but nothing that I wold consider actual training. By my 30th birthday I found myself out of shape with a weight of 190 pounds! The first half of my 30’s were spent doing various weight workout programs such as P90X, P90X 2, or some other type of workout routine with random running mixed in for fun.

It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I met up with an old college friend that I got into running seriously again. There was a group of guys who met every Monday for a 3-4 mile run and then would go out for drinks after. I started joining in and immediately found myself struggling to keep up. So, I began to train.

At first I was training for my “Monday Race”. Keeping up with the group was pretty much my weekly racing opportunity. Soon I was able to keep up. Then I started training for races but used Mondays as my tempo run. From, there it blew up to me deciding that I wanted to see how close I could get to my high school race times. And that’s where we are today.

I spent a lot of time researching message boards and blogs for other middle aged people who tried to make comebacks after a decade or so off. There wasn’t much out there. I wanted to know how long it took to get back into great shape. How long would it take to get back to the shape I was in during high school? Was that even possible at my age? One of my hopes is that I can answer a lot of these questions for other people that are trying to get back into this running thing after years off

ON BEER & MUSIC: During my time off from running, I was able to get involved in Milwaukee’s music community by getting a bartending gig at some theaters in the city. It’s now been 10 years since I started slinging drinks and it’s been an amazing ride. The 2nd job certainly makes it challenging to follow a running schedule, but I don’t have any plans of abandoning it any time soon.

Perks of the job are that I get to see a lot of great live shows. I’ve been introduced to different genres of music and bands that I otherwise never would have been exposed to. I have also got to see and meet some of my favorite bands. Some highlights are talking to Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional, Twin Forks, Further Seems Forever) and helping Kenny Vasoli get into the right venue (The Starting Line).

Another added perk is that our venues provide many local and national craft beers. Much of my work is learning what we sell so that I can effectively explain and suggest choices for you. Pretty good deal huh? I definitely enjoy trying to increase my beer knowledge and continuously trying to expand on it.

There you have it. Thank you for visiting the blog and for being a loyal reader. (Hopefully!)

Random Factual Information:

* The Runner’s Tap is based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
* Favorite Beers: New Belgium Fat Tire, Bell’s Oberon, New Glarus Spotted Cow
* Favorite Comedians: Conan O’Brien, Brian Regan, Iliza Shlesinger, Norm Macdonald
* Favorite Bands: Brian Fallon, The Gaslight Anthem, New Found Glory, Motion City Soundtrack, Jimmy Eat World (lots of Punk, Alternative, Ska)
* Favorite Races: Bastille Days 5K, Lakefront Discovery Run 15K, Any race w/Beer at the end