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.

The Rundown on The Run

I need to coach more. 
I mean straight up coach. So, for the rest of January I am going to do just that. Fundamentals! 5 guys on the floor. Don’t get caught watching the paint dry! Wait. That’s not right. That’s from the movie Hoosiers. Let me start over.

I need to start coaching Runners again on here. Me. You. And to begin this stretch of Coaching we will start with the all important…Recovery Run. 

You may know it as…a Run. 

It’s basically every single run you do that’s NOT a speed workout or a Long Run. It’s what you do when you leave work to run in the park.  Or wake up to run before school. It’s just that run you do because it’s nice out and you’re a badass. And it’s also the run you do because it’s not nice out and you’re a badass.

It’s. Just. A. Run. 

A Recovery Run.

So, what does that mean? It means the run has a purpose. It’s called a Recovery Run because that is one of the main purposes of the run – to RECOVER. And you accomplish that purpose by understanding how to run a Recovery Run. 

Most people run their (Recovery) runs the wrong way. They get all excited to go for a run. (Which is great) They put their headphones on. (Which is fine) The bass kicks in and off they go…way too fast.(Which is the wrong way to start a run)

Blame your playlist. 

What a Runner should do is start easy. Start relaxed. Let the body adjust. Because the body has no idea what you are doing. Are you running to catch the bus? Running to the bathroom? You have to give your body a chance to get going…to warm up. Because you were not running. And now you are.

You don’t need to start fast because you shouldn’t start fast. As you naturally adapt to the effort of running – as you mentally and physically warm up – you will naturally pick up the pace. And if you run the Recovery Run the right way you will end with your best running.You will end feeling like you could have gone longer and faster. That’s how you should end a Recovery Run. 

OK. This all works best if you go for a run now. Yes. Like right now.

Next time I will talk about how to get over yourself so you can get through the first run. 

Dear Doubt

Dear Doubt,

I’m going to kick your ass today. 

I want you to know that.

And I want you to know that ahead of time. 

Because I want you to be ready. 

So please plan on bringing everything you got.

Bring the hurt. 

Bring the shortness of breath.

Bring the dead legs.

Bring your hills and your cracked sidewalks and your roots and rocks littering the trail.

Bring it all. 

I may not have been ready for you before. 

But I’m ready now. 

I know you. 

I know all your games and tricks.

You’ll try to tell me I’m too hungry to run. 

Or maybe you’ll tell me I’m too full from eating so close to the run.

You’ll tell me I’m not good enough. 

You’ll tell me that I’m never going to get better.

You’ll remind me it’s raining and cold.

Or is it hot and humid?

Keep talking.

It doesn’t matter. 

So go on and tell me that running is punishment.

Just let me tell you something.

I’m not running to punish myself.

I’m running to punish you. 

Cheers,

Runner

Hurts So Good. 

I only had a few goals.

One of them was to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

I was good. 

Maybe, I thought, even Olympic Trials qualifier good.

I was not Olympic good. 

I may have thought I was at one point.

But I wasn’t.

I eventually understood that.

When you do some strides with a 3:50 miler you can’t help but understand. 

I was okay with it. 

Because I knew that if I really busted my ass I could qualify for the US Olympic Trials in the 1500m. 

I could line up next to the best milers of this great country…and belong.

I could race knowing I earned my bib and my spot on the starting line. 

That was one of my mountaintops. 

I spent years and years trying to climb there.

I was close.

I could feel it.

The day the accepted entries came out I scrolled down the list. 

I had run 3:43.93.

I read the final time listed.

I read the final name. 

That’s not my time.

That’s not my name.

There would be no bib for me.

I hadn’t earned a spot on the line. 

I was only 24 years old. 

I knew I would run faster. 

I knew there would be another Trials.

I knew I would make it next time…four years later.

It’s funny. You don’t know you’ve just run the fastest you will ever run when you run the fastest you have ever run. 

You just think “I can be faster”. But I never did run faster.

And I didn’t make it next time. 

When the 1500m field gets called to the line at Trials, I see me there lining up alongside them.

But I’m really just up in the stands. 

A fan.

A runner.

I may not be on the line, but my heart still races every time I hear the gun.

The Olympic Trials is my favorite meet. 

Because it hurts a little every time I watch.

And I’m proud of myself that it does.

The Most Elite Version of Yourself

 

Elite is not a time on a clock.

It’s what happens during that time on the clock.

Elite is not a medal.

It’s what you did to earn that medal.

Elite is not a distance.

It’s about running the distance.

Elite is not a finish line.

It’s a starting line.

Elite is not a pace.

It’s an effort.

Elite is not perfect form.

It’s keeping your form.

Elite is not a headline.

It’s the story.

Elite is not elitist.

It just means being the most elite version of yourself. 

Heath

 

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It matters.

That’s what I knew every day when I woke up.

It matters.

All of it.

Everything.

When I walked into the classroom and when I went to practice I knew it.

Mr. Heath made sure of that.

Because it mattered to him.

The challenge was if we could care as much about it as he did.

If we could do that, well, that is how one team wins 21 Meet of Champions titles.

 

He never treated Cross Country or Track & Field as peripheral sports.

To him they were the only sports.

That was super important to a 14 year old deciding what sport to commit to.

That mentality brought so many great runners into the program.

They didn’t even know they were runners!

But they wanted to be a part of something special.

 

Mr. Heath and I  didn’t coach the same way.

In fact, we were incredibly different when it came to coaching.

So, we argued.

But, we also laughed.

We laughed more than we argued.

We had fun working so hard.

The bar kept getting raised.

I’ll put those last 4 years we had together at CBA up against anyone’s best 4.

The greatest part was that it got harder and harder to get better and better.

And that made only made it more fun for us.

 

He didn’t need to do any more in the sport.

His place on the mountaintop was earned years ago.

You could add up the MOC titles of every other coach in NJ and put them in a corner and that pile would be smaller than his.

He kept coaching though.

Because it mattered.

And if something matters to you then dammit do it as best as you can.

That’s something I remember when I think about Mr. Heath.

 

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