Suckcess 

Go ahead and tell me how terrible you are. Tell me that you suck at running. And don’t forget to let me know that you are in such awful shape. You’ll say that it’s been so long since you were fit. You’re not even sure why you decided to show up, right?

You don’t believe you’ll be able to finish whatever it is I have planned. You’re not a runner. You suck. I know. I know all of this. 

Because you tell me. And someone else tells me the same thing about themselves…almost everyday. I hear it all the time. You’re not alone. In fact, there are more people like you than not.

And if you’re worried I won’t take you seriously when you say these things… don’t be. If you believe you suck I have no other option than to believe you. Because this, the Athlete and Coach relationship, is first and foremost a relationship built on trust. 

So, I trust you. Now you trust me.

There is no difference between you and any other runner. Because all of us runners run to get better. Sure, how we each define “better” is personal. But we all share the hope at the start of our runs that we will end it somehow better. 

Better could be faster. Stronger. Maybe longer. Could mean less stress. More joy. First run. Second Run. Next Run. Just a little better. 

So you can take me aside and repeat, again, that you suck at running. And again, I will tell you that I believe you. 

Then I will tell you what the goal of today’s run is and that you should remember it. Because it will never change. 

The goal is simply to get better. Or, if it makes more sense to you…suck less.

Now, let’s run. 

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Mo In Common Than You Think 

That’s me on the left & Mo Farah on the right. We were at an event together a few months ago. I congratulated Mo & told him his performances have been nothing short of epic.
Mo Farah was a double Gold Medal winner at each of the last two Summer Olympics. He won the 5k and 10k at the London Games AND the Rio Games. Double gold medalist. Twice. 

I watched all the races on my TV & I jumped off my couch cheering like a maniac as Mo ran those final laps. And when it was over I collapsed back onto the couch. Exhausted. 

He’s a rare athlete indeed.

But Mo & I have something in common. I’ve won some gold medals too. See them right there pinned on my shirt? They’re from the Monmouth County Championships.

I lined up for the 3200m first. I was nervous as I toed the line. That’s always a good sign. Being nervous means you care. I settled in the pack & bided my time. The goal was to make the least amount of mistakes & then kick like hell. I kicked. 1 gold medal down.

I came back in the 800m. Different kind of race. The 800m is really just a long sprint. You’re in extremis the whole time. Game-plan: hold on & outlast the other guys. I did. 2 gold medals. 

I know they weren’t won in a stadium with 80,000 people on the sport’s biggest stage. My medals were won in front of 500 people sitting restlessly in aluminum stands. But, to me, 500 people was a lot of people & County Champs was a big stage. 

The competition there was just as fierce as it was at the Olympics too. My nerves, fears, & hopes were just as legitimate as Mo’s. And at the end of those races when Mo felt like his legs were filling with concrete while he ran through quicksand with fire tearing through his lungs… well, I had those feelings too.

So, I know you don’t have to be an Olympian to feel those things. You just need to take a starting line & try to get the best version of you across the finish line. 

Yeah, Mo & I have some things in common. And if you try your best, well, you have something in common with Mo too. After it’s all said and done if there’s any difference between Mo & I when we race it’s just the times on the clock. 

Well, that & the fact that I came back again & won the 1600m. 3 Golds. 1 Meet. Sorry Mo. 3 Golds is more than 2. 

There’s always Tokyo.

Worst Runs Ever

What was my worst run ever?
I get that question all the time.
And it’s funny because the sensible companion question – what was your best run ever – doesn’t get asked very often.
Which is probably a good thing because I don’t have a single answer.
But I also don’t have an answer for the worst run ever question either.
Don’t get me wrong.
I have more than enough answers…a whole collection of worst runs.
I just don’t have ONE worst run ever.
Which means I don’t have an answer.
I’ve had runs in the sun without water and runs in the snow that ended up with me on my butt.
I’ve had runs when my ego was fit as hell but I was out of shape – those never end well.
And I’ve had runs where I didn’t believe I could do what I was so obviously already doing.
I did runs by myself when I needed to be anything but alone.
And I had runs with the group when I needed those miles all to myself.
I’ve had runs started too close to an extraordinary meal.
And I had runs not started far enough away from a very suspect meal.
Cramps. Twisted ankles. Tired. Stressed. Wrong turns.
I’ve had the halfway out and halfway home bathroom emergency…without a bathroom run.
All Worst Runs Ever.
But, I also know that I learned about myself, life, running (and even what Poison Ivy can do to your bathing suit area if you are not careful) on those terrible runs.
And if I had not started those runs I wouldn’t have learned the most important lesson of all: that I can get through them.
Every run has a purpose.
Even all those worst ones.

Meet Cancer Day

Many of us here in Beaverton, Oregon are going to get together on February 3rd. Meet Cancer Day. We’ll gather at the start of the 2.4k trail that sits peacefully across the street from campus. 
The wooded loop is named after the late Geoff Hollister. Geoff’s birthday is also February 3rd. That’s Geoff there in the picture talking to Steve Prefontaine.
The following day, February 4th, is World Cancer Day. This schedule on the calendar is entirely fitting. Geoff, Nike employee #3, passed away in 2012 after battling colon cancer. 

We’ll gather, we’ll welcome each other, and yes we will run. 

We all share that great bond with Geoff; running. It is one of the ways we know we can honor his life. It is how we can celebrate our own.

Most of us have already met cancer. The introduction could have been made through a loved one or friend. Many of us have or will meet cancer when we look in the mirror. 

Meet Cancer Day was begun in 2012 at Nike after the death of Geoff Hollister. This day is about supporting one another and reminding both our family, friends, colleagues and ourselves that we are not alone when we meet cancer. And we will not be alone when we stand up to cancer, fight cancer and yes, someday, beat cancer. 

So, this Friday morning we will gather on Hollister Trail. Running, an action married with purpose, is how we will begin Meet Cancer Day at Nike. 

We will run to celebrate Geoff, his wife Wendy and their family. We will run to celebrate those we know and those we don’t know that have been touched by cancer. We will meet cancer with each other and without fear. We will meet cancer on our terms.

And we will run right at it. Together. That’s what Geoff would have wanted us to do because that is how Geoff met cancer.

“It’s not about how long you live but how you contribute.
It’s about doing your best and doing the right thing.

It’s about recovering from your mistakes and not giving up.

It’s about the baton pass to the new generation.

It’s about the realization that you cannot go it alone…it takes a team.”

-Geoff Hollister as it reads on sign at start of Hollister Trail

Cheers,

Coach Bennett