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

The Need For Speed

Coach office hours are open & today we talk about SPEED! Hot blooded & full throttle SPEED! Legs & arms driving, lungs pulling, heart pumping SPEED!

Who should do these types of crazy runs – Track Workouts/Speed Runs? I’ll make this easy…if you are reading this…you should do Speed Runs/Track Workouts.  

No you do not need a Track do to a Track Workout or Speed Run. All you need is a workout & something inside you that’s willing take a chance on yourself. If you have these two things, well, it’s time to rock ’n roll.

Did you think there was more that was needed? Maybe some mythical kind of fitness? Maybe you believe only REAL runners can do a Track Workout? I won’t ask what you think a REAL runner is because if you think there’s such a thing that means you believe there’s such a thing as a FAKE runner too.

How can I put this delicately? That’s all total bullshit. If you run you’re a runner. And if you don’t run you’re a runner that’s not running right now. And all Runners should do Speed Runs.

You’ll probably tell me that you’re not fast enough. You are. You’re in complete & total ownership of your own speed. You have a fast pace and you have a faster pace than that fast pace. You have a fastest pace too. You can’t do that one for very long…no one can do their fastest for very long.

You also have your easy pace and a strong pace. These are all speeds that YOU own. And when you go to the track you’ll play, yes, play with these speeds of yours. 

Go ahead, you can tell me you don’t know what to do. I got that covered. 

Go somewhere you can safely run – street, backyard, sidewalk, park.

Run easy for 2 minutes. Run so easy that you feel like you could run forever. 

Then stop. Gather yourself. 

Think about the word ‘strong’. When you’re ready…run “strong” for 1 minute. Feel strong.

Stop. Gather yourself. 

Now run ‘fast’ for 30 seconds. I didn’t say ‘fastest’… just fast. 

Stop. Gather yourself. 

Run for 15 seconds…15 seconds of filthy, laugh out loud speed with a smile on your face!

Stop. 

You just did a Speed Run. Badass. 

Welcome to the Club. 

No. 

Welcome back to the Club. 

The First Run Is The Only Run

Today we’re going to talk about the First Run. This could be your first run ever. Could be your first run back.  Could be your first run since ________ (fill in blank). 

This first run is important. 

In fact, you could make a pretty good legal career defending the case for the first run being the most important run of all. 

Without it there’s no second run. No epic journey.No comebacks either. That would be a shame.If there’s one thing I love it’s a comeback.

And I’m being selfish here. I want you to get through that first run. And I want you to finish it wanting to run a again. Because I love this sport. And I want you to love this sport. Because the more people that love this sport the more there is to love about this sport. 

So…FIRST RUN…the big questions…

How long?

There’s NO minimum distance. The run you run is a run. Period. Anyone that tells you your first run has to be a certain distance to qualify as a run isn’t qualified to tell you anything about running. 

Next…how fast?

There’s NO minimum speed for a first run. If you end your run knowing you could have run longer and you could have run faster that was the right pace! 

One foot on the ground at a time and you fly a little in-between footfalls…that’s running. Anyone that tells you differently needs to go off & run by themselves for awhile. 

The ultimate goals of a first run are to end it and want to run a second run.

If that first run is from your front door to the mailbox and back guess what?

You’re a bigger badass than you were yesterday! Yesterday you didn’t do that. Yesterday you didn’t run. Today you did.

And if you like how this feels-doing something you have not done before-having something in your life that challenges you-being able to close your eyes at night and say “I am better”-you’ll probably start another run.

Maybe next time you run past the mailbox. Maybe the time after that you run somewhere you’ve never been before. 

It starts with the first run…YOUR first run.

And if today is not your first run, well, it’s still your first run since your last run.

Every Run Has A Purpose

My older brother died 10 years ago tonight. He didn’t run. He played baseball. I ran. I understood baseball. He didn’t understand running. And he’d make fun of it. That’s what older brothers do. When they care about you they make fun of you. 

And he made fun of my running endlessly. He laughed about the seeming mindlessness of it and the idiocy of doing lap after lap and mile after mile. He would say how utterly boring it was to watch Track meets. Watching dudes just run in a circle? Seriously?

But he showed up for my races. And he stood and cheered like he saw a Grand Slam every time I took a starting line. I always heard him when he came. I always knew he was there. And he always congratulated me and asked me about the other kids in the race and why I made my move when I did. Then he made fun of me. 
But I knew he was trying as hard as he could to understand. And I was running as hard as I could hoping he would. 

I’m not sure if he ever really understood why I ran – even at the end. But I know he’s still watching. And I’m still running. We’re both still trying. That’s a lesson I learned from my older brother. 

Never stop trying. 

Ever. 

I’ll be thinking of that on my run. Tonight.

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