Enjoy It While You’re Young

Dear Middle-Aged Man. I’ll enjoy this for as long as I live.

I was running the trails of Deep Run Park this afternoon as I passed a middle-aged man walking his dog. He had some gray in his beard, but I consider 60 to still be middle-aged. If you live to be 100, 60 is closer to the middle than the end.

This man smiles at me & says,

Enjoy it while you’re young because your knees won’t be able to handle it when you get old.

Dear Middle-Aged Man,

Your smile tells me that you didn’t mean anything by it. You were just being friendly… making conversation. Perhaps you were trying to give me a heads up for what’s to come.

While I do appreciate your kindness, as well as your concern for my running future, I say to you:

Sir, as long as I’m able to stand on these two feet, and use them to propel myself forward, I’ll enjoy this for as long as I live.

I can only hope one day you come to the same realization.

Running Wild,

Running Form Drills: Headlamp at Night

A quick & simple running form check using a headlamp at night. Check to see if you’re keeping your head still throughout your running stride.

I discovered a creative running form drill while running tonight. If you love running at night, this quick & easy running drill is right up your alley.

Proper running form

Good running form means maintaining a good center of gravity. Your head, shoulders, hips & ankles should all be in alignment. Your head should also remain relatively still throughout your running stride. A smooth runner’s head doesn’t bounce up & down.

Here’s a quick way to check if you’re keeping your head still.

Check your running form at night

  1. Grab your headlamp
  2. Adjust it about midway (midway between pointing straight down at the ground & straight out in front of you)
  3. Turn it on a steady, narrow, white light
  4. While you run, pay attention to the light

While you run, your light will naturally move. Even with proper running form, your light will sway to the left & right. It will swing smoothly if you’re running smoothly.

If it’s bouncing up & down, or appears jittery, you’re probably bouncing your head too much.

Let the light be your guide.

Disclaimer: I am not a running coach or certified coach of any kind. I do, however, run… a lot.

8 reasons why I love winter running

A list of reasons why I love winter running. Includes steaming heads, wood-burning fireplaces and more.

It’s simple. I love winter running. Here is a list of reasons why I love running in cold weather.

  1. icicle eyelashes
  2. breathing cold air into my warm body
  3. exhaling warm air and seeing my breath
  4. snow sticking to my shirt
  5. I don’t have to worry as much about hydration, so i can focus more on running free
  6. the smell of a wood-burning fireplace
  7. when I’m finished, my head is steaming
  8. hot soup at aid stations

Running through my old stomping grounds

Thank you, Spencer’s Park, for all the great childhood memories.

As I headed out for a quick 20-minute run this morning, I ducked into Spencer’s Park in Rancocas Woods. It’s located a quarter-mile from the house I grew up in. As I entered the park, I was instantly reminded of many childhood memories.

Spencer’s Park – or simply “Spencers”, as we called it – was where I…

  • hit my first ground-ruled double in tee-ball
  • got yelled at (a lot) by my football coaches
  • bought many a sno cone at the snack shack (and conveniently forgot to pay for many more)
  • busted my thumb misjudging a fly ball
  • threw my first curveball, buckled the knees of an unfortunate, young batter and recorded my first strikeout
  • played homerun derby with my childhood buddies
  • played my first doubleheader… and my first tripleheader
  • umpired my first game behind the plate

Thanks, Spencers, for reminding me of my awesome childhood.

2010 Richmond Marathon – MTT Volunteer Report

My Richmond Marathon volunteer experience was different from previous years. I got the same sense of satisfaction for helping the runners, but this year I gained a new perspective on what running is really about.

Spending a few hours with 3 amazing coaches from the Marathon Training Team will do that.

While an injured hamstring prevented me from running the 2010 Richmond Marathon, my love for the sport could not keep me on the sideline.

I’ve been a course marshall the past 2 years. Today’s marathon, however, was much more exciting than standing on a street corner, telling 10,000 runners to go exactly where they already knew they had to go. Since I missed out on the Marathon Training Team (MTT) fun all summer, this was my last chance to see what all the hype was about. I was assigned to drive 3 amazing MTT coaches all over the course to meet up with runners — Vicki, Donnie & Q.

Marathon Training Team coaches are da bomb

When I arrived at mile 5 to meet the coaches, I instantly knew I was in the right place. 25 yellow shirts, a tall green hat, a few pairs of striped socks & a viking helmet. Yup. These were the guys I was looking for.

  • Donnie has been involved in with the Marathon Training Team for 8 years, but this was his first as a coach
  • Vicki has been a coach for about 5 years
  • Q has been there since the beginning. He has also been seen dressed in drag. The guy is just in-it-to-win-it, and that’s all there is to it.

The epitome of running

Fun. The MTT coaches have figured it out. These guys love running, and their joyful energy is contagious. They were all over the course, at every turn, beside every MTT runner. Crazy shirts, hats & socks. Smiling at every runner, until the last one crossed the finish line.

The journey. Running is about the journey towards a goal. A personal goal. A life change. A complete 180°. Or maybe just a new hobby. Whatever the journey is… it’s yours. Own it. Be proud of it.

Friendship. Most people see running as an individual sport, but running is meant to be shared. Although I didn’t have a chance to share it with the Marathon Training Team this year, I witnessed it first hand in the 3 hours I was out there. It’s magical. And not in a Disney World kind of way. In a goosebumps, happy tears, genuinely joyful kind of way.

Energy. Rejuvenated.

Typically, when I volunteer for a race, it’s all about the runners. While my reason for volunteering still had the runner’s best interests at heart, this experience was an exciting one for me.

My energy & excitement for running has been rejuvenated. Dealing with a nagging injury for 5 months had a negative effect on me.

Being out there today helped me forget about 5 crappy months of no running, and once again look to the future – a future full of fun, friendship & incredible journeys.

It’s not until you share your running with others that you truly experience what the sport has to offer.

TV-free treadmill running

A treadmill run with no TV. Just some great music, singing & jammin’ out. It always makes for a great morning.

As I ran on the treadmill for my morning workout, I found myself increasingly annoyed at the TV that was attached to it. Sure, I didn’t like the fact that it blocked my view of myself in the mirror (You caught me. I like to look at myself in the mirror, somewhat frequently.). But here’s what I found more annoying…

There was nothing good on.

I’m not talking about good sitcoms, good reality TV (does that even exist?), or good morning shows. I just mean nothing good.

There were dysfunctional relationships between NFL coaches, quarterbacks & players, which I translate as “a bunch of adults making millions of dollars acting like immature babies.” Two Nascar drivers coming to blows on the racetrack. And The Today Show had on (what seems like a daily requirement) some murder mystery still left unsolved.

Basically, just a bunch of crap. Crap that, on this particular day, I refused to let ruin my morning.

So I turned off the TV, cranked up my iPod, cracked up a smile that would rival that of a kid getting her picture taken with Mickey Mouse, and started singing jammin’. I created a great start to my day, and you know, I think the morning enjoyed itself too 🙂

It’s OK to walk

My 30-minute walk today was rather enlightening. It helped me realize how walking can play an important role in my training… even for ultramarathon training.

When I ran my first marathon, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to walk. And so I ran the entire way. Sometimes, very slowly, but I ran. I finished in 4 hours, 19 minutes… and my body hated me.

With my recent hamstring injury, I’ve thought a great deal about how I’ve been treating my body these past few years. I must admit, I haven’t been very nice to it.

Since running still appears to be more than my hamstring can handle, I decided to go for a 30-minute walk. 15 minutes forwards and 15 backwards. I covered a little over 2 miles.

Most ultrarunners would argue that a 30-minute walk does little, if anything, for ultramarathon training. Here’s where I disagree.

Walking is great training

Just because we’re used to running everywhere, doesn’t mean that walking loses its value as far as being a worthwhile exercise technique. 30-minutes of walking per day can keep a person healthy for decades.

Walking can be strenuous without being stressful

You can raise your heart rate, burn calories & keep your heart happy, all without putting stress on your body. While it’s true that running provides a greater heart benefit & burns more calories, you can’t deny that its exponentially more stressful on your body.

Where does walking fit into your training?

Here’s an idea: Once or twice a month, instead of going on a long run (20+ miles), go for a 3-hour walk instead.

  • You’ll be on your feet about the same amount of time
  • Your heart will get a workout, while your legs get a rest
  • It’ll feel unbelievably refreshing
  • Walk forwards & backwards, alternating every 10 minutes or so. Keep it interesting… and work both the front & back of your legs.
  • Bring a friend. Enjoy the conversation. No need to worry about pace.
  • Bring a couple 3lbs dumbbells if you want to work your upper body
  • Just take a deep breath and enjoy it. Remember that rest & recovery are just as important as your actual training.

Bill Bowerman Quotes in “Without Limits”

The most comprehensive collection of Bill Bowerman quotes from the movie “Without Limits.” Includes Bowerman’s speech at Pre’s funeral.

Bowerman was the track coach at the University of Oregon for 24 seasons, during which he coached running legend Steve Prefontaine. Bowerman quotes on running, war and the Olympics, relationships, resistance to change, limits and many more.

The most comprehensive collection of Bill Bowerman quotes from the movie “Without Limits.” Also includes Bill Bowerman’s speech in the movie (at Steve Prefontaine’s funeral). Bowerman was the track coach at the University of Oregon for 24 seasons, during which he coached running legend Steve Prefontaine.

Jump to:  Bowerman’s speech/eulogy  •  Citius. Altius. Fortius.  •  The meaning of running  •  War & Olympics speech  •  Bill & Barbara  •  Meeting at 7:27  •  Resistance to change  •  Asking permission  •  Human body’s limits

You might also enjoy my collection of Steve Prefontaine quotes from “Without Limits.”

Citius. Altius. Fortius. (Faster. Higher. Stronger.)

“Citius. Altius. Fortius. It means Faster. Higher. Stronger. It’s been the motto for the Olympics for the last 2500 years. But it doesn’t mean faster, higher and stronger than who you are competing against. Just Faster. Higher. Stronger.

One runner brought this home to me. From the beginning, I tried to change him. And from the beginning, he tried not to change. That was our relationship, and even that never changed. He couldn’t stand a crowd. Always wanted to race out front, from the start, like he was trying to get away from something. Just where and when this compulsion came from, no one can say for sure so like Plato and his tale of the world’s creation, I will not say absolutely. This is the truth. But I will say, it is a likely story.”
– Bill Bowerman

Bill Bowerman’s war & Olympics speech

“This killing of Israel athletes is an act of war. And if there’s one place that war doesn’t belong, it’s here. 1200 years. From 776 B.C. to 393 A.D., your fellow Olympians laid down their arms to take part in these games. They understood there was more honor in out running a man than in killing him. I hope the competition will resume, and if it does, you must not think that running… or throwing… or jumping… is frivelous. The games were once your fellow Olympians answer to war – competition, not conquest. Now, they must be your answer.
– Bill Bowerman

Bowerman’s speech on the meaning of running

“Men of Oregon, I invite you to become students of your events. Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: life.”
– Bill Bowerman

Bowerman calls a meeting at 7:27

“7:27 provokes the question, ‘Why 7:27?’ and everybody gets here at 7:27 to find out why.”
– Bill Bowerman

Bowerman on relationships

Steve Prefontaine: I’d like to ask you something.
Bill Bowerman: OK.
Pre: It’s personal.
Bill: Sit down.
Pre: How do you and Barbara–uh–how do you and Barbara–I mean, uh, you uh, you pretty much believe in the same things?
Bill: Pre, I have no idea. The woman’s a complete mystery to me.
Pre: Well, how do you get along so well?
Bill: I don’t have to know what she believes in. I believe in her.

Bill Bowerman’s speech at Prefontaine’s funeral

You can read the full eulogy here (includes Frank Shorter). Below is Bowerman’s speech.

“All of my life – man and boy – I’ve operated under the assumption that the main idea in running was to win the damn race. Actually, when I became a coach I tried to teach people how to do that. I tried to teach Pre how to do that. I tried like Hell to teach Pre to do that… and Pre taught me – taught me I was wrong.

Pre, you see, was troubled by knowing that a mediocre effort could win a race, and a magnificent effort can lose one. Winning a race wouldn’t necessarily demand that he give it everything he had from start to finish. He never ran any other way. I tried to get him to. God knows I tried.

But Pre was stubborn. He insisted on holding himself to a higher standard than victory.

A race is a work of art. That’s what he said. That’s what he believed. And he was out to make it one every step of the way.

Of course, he wanted to win. Those who saw him compete and those who competed against him were never in any doubt about how much he wanted to win. But how he won mattered to him more.

Pre thought I was a hard case. But he finally got it through my head that the real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test the limits of the human heart. And that he did. Nobody did it more often. Nobody did it better.

[And we stopped the clock at 12 minutes and 36 seconds – a world record time – with which Steve Prefontaine would have been well satisfied.]”

Bowerman on asking permission

“It’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.”
– Bill Bowerman

Bill Bowerman on resistance to change

Bill Bowerman: Pretentious little rube, isn’t he?
Steve Prefontaine: Ya fuck. I can’t believe you would sit back there, not say anything, and then be that dismissive about this.
Bill: I’ve been battling those freeloaders all your life and then so, Pre, and guess what? You and the AAU have a lot in common.
Pre: Bullshit. In what way?
Bill: Resistance to change. They don’t want to stop shitting on you any more than you want to change the way you run, because it hurts to change, doesn’t it, Pre?
Pre: I wouldn’t know.
Bill: Doesn’t it hurt to change?

Bowerman on the human body’s limits

Bill Bowerman: You know the greatest race I ever saw you run? Munich. I was never prouder of anything than the effort you made that day. You couldn’t have done more than you did.
Steve Prefontaine: Bil–
Bill: Rube. You won the trials in 13:22, five seconds faster than Viren at Munich. That would’ve beaten him by 30 yards. It’s hard to believe you never even thought about it.
Pre: OK. So, um, if I had gone out faster, I wouldn’t have gotten boxed. Then I might have–
Bill: Then blame me.
Pre: Do you blame yourself?
Bill: That’s a constant, Pre. At your level of competition anyone can win on any given day, and not necessarily the best man. Losing a race isn’t your problem, Pre. Front running isn’t your problem.
Pre: OK. So what’s my problem, Bill.
Bill: Vanity.
Pre: Vanity?
Bill: Your insistance that you have no talent is the ultimate vanity. If you have no talent, you have no limits. It’s all an act of will, right Pre?
Pre: I couldn’t do what I thought I could. Can we just leave it at that?
Bill: I got news for you. All the will and hard work in the world isn’t going to get one person in a million to run a 3:54 mile. That takes talent. And talent in a runner is tied to very specific physical attributes. Your heart can probably pump more blood than anyone else’s on this planet, and that’s the fuel for your talent. Your bones in your feet – it’d take a sledgehammer to hurt them. And that’s the foundation of your talent. So your talent, Pre, is not some disembodied act of will, it’s literally in your bones, so it’s got its limits. Be thankful for your limits, Pre, they’re about as limitless as they get in this life. Goodnight.
Pre: Just a minute… Bill, just a fucking minute. Do you… Do you really believe you know everything there is to know about me? Does it ever occur to you that I might know something about myself that you don’t? You vain, inflexible, son-of-a-bitch. You don’t know me any better than you know yourself. And you’re never going to change you, Bill.

Bowerman on competing against one’s self

“Now to explore the limits of the one competitor above everyone else you’ve always loved to face: Steve Prefontaine.”
– Bill Bowerman