Tag Archives: health

When a Half is Greater than Hole

It was not my longest run.

Not even close to my fastest.

I didn’t hear any cheering

or have any great epiphanies.

I remember being scared.

But I was excited too.

Scared it was going to hurt.

Excited that it might not.

February 4th.

I was a junior in HS.

I ran a 1/2 mile from my front door.

That’s it.

My most important run

was only 800 meters long.

Five months earlier, in September,

I opened my XC season with the

fastest time at the meet by a NJ runner.

That was followed by an invitation

to the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC.

Then my foot started to hurt.

Then it hurt worse.

Taping it alone, icing it alone,

screaming at it alone, throwing things

around my room alone – it only hurt more.

October. Misdiagnosed – again & again.

Told to take a few days off.

Told to run on it again.

Told it would get better. It didn’t.

November. I got mono.

I got over the mono.

My foot still hurt.

December. The bone scan said 4 cracks in the foot.

Explains the pain. Explains why I couldn’t run through it.

And it explains the knee high plaster cast I was put in.

For five months I knew that every time

I put my right foot on the ground it

would hurt. I would flinch even before

I put my foot down.

Every. Other. Step.

I anticipated the pain.

The cast came off in late January.

I put on my running shoes again.

I even wore the team jacket.

I wanted to feel like I had a purpose again.

I wasn’t afraid of hurting.

I was just afraid of still being hurt.

Please.

Please don’t hurt.

I knew that I was going to start & finish

this run at the same place.

I knew I wouldn’t be gone long.

And I knew one way or another

I wouldn’t be the same when I got back.

I want to run again.

Please. Give me this.

I started down my front lawn.

It was the only time my Mom

took a picture of a run.

I didn’t even know it existed

until she showed it to me after

graduation 15 months later.

Hundreds & hundreds of miles later.

Miles without a flinch.

State Championship miles.

All American miles.

So many miles.

But none of the miles that followed

were as special to me as this.

And it was only half of one.

Every Day Is Today

I miss teaching.
Especially on days like today.

But, if I was… this what I would say:

You don’t remember. That’s okay. You were a baby. Maybe you were not even born yet. It doesn’t matter.

I’m not going to tell you stories about the day. You’ll get those from someone else, and from TV, the radio and the newspapers. You don’t listen to the radio, do you?  You should. And you should read newspapers too.

Anyway…

I just want you to walk a little softer today. Can you do that? And talk a little more. Especially to people you don’t normally talk to. Today isn’t a normal day after all.

And look both ways. People will come at you from the left and the right. Offer them a smile. It helps sometimes and if it doesn’t help… you will be smiling and that’s a good thing. We need more smiling today.

Less shouting please. No shouting actually. Open a few more doors. Don’t honk your horn either. Yield. Slow down for that yellow light today. Listen to some music.

Give out some hugs. Remember, you may even get one back when you do. That’s a pretty good deal.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Some words are more than just words. Love is one of those words.

I know you don’t remember that day 16 years ago. But you can remember that some people will never forget.

Today is September 11th for you and I and everyone else. But for some people yesterday was September 11 and tomorrow will be September 11th all over again. Every day is 9/11 for some people.

Remember that.

Thanks for listening.

The rest of class is yours.

When the Result is More Than the Results

This is the picture. This one. It’s not the picture of Eliud Kipchoge crossing the finish line. It’s not the picture of the clock stopped at 2 hours and 25 seconds.

Even though that run was the single greatest effort I have ever witnessed…it will be this picture of the Pacers running and dancing down the homestretch to join Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese at the finish line that will forever remind me why I run.

And it will be the Pacers being the first to cross the starting line and never the finish line that will remind me why I coach.

It will be the Pacers, instead of recovering and preparing for their next shift, leaving the cover of their tent to line the fence and cheer as loudly as they could that will remind me why I am a fan.

It will be the the Pacers telling the Breaking2 team that even though their duties were done they would get back on the track if any of the runners needed them and that they would run until they couldn’t run anymore that will remind me why I love this damn sport so very much.

None of these Pacers will be listed in the results. But the result of Breaking2 was impossible without them.

So, this is the one. This picture here represents what Breaking2 meant to me.Because it is a picture of celebration. Not one based on nationality, tribe, or training group. Not a celebration of a result or a time on a clock.

This is a celebration of what happens when we are selfless instead of selfish. This picture celebrates competing with each other instead of against each other and it celebrates the risking of great failure instead of the rewarding of easy success.

This picture represents why we run. Because not only are we all meant to be runners…we are all meant to be Pacers.

A Little epic

My run today stunk. I was tired when I started, and once my body warmed up and adjusted to the run… well, I was warmed up, adjusted and still tired. Sure, by the end, I was happy I’d run. But I was most happy to just be done with the run.

Sometimes a run is just going to suck. For me, that sometimes was today. I know that I wasn’t running a marathon. I wasn’t pushing myself to the brink like the Eliud Kipchoge, Lelia Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese of Breaking2 will.  The run today wasn’t even the run I wanted to do. It was just the run I could do. But believe me when I tell you that today’s effort seemed epic to me.

I could have cut the run short. I could have skipped it completely. But I didn’t. I did the run and I had to break through some barriers along the way. To me, that’s what makes a run epic. Every run is a barrier broken. That invisible starting line we cross with our first stride every day? It’s a barrier.  Somedays it’s a pretty easy one to run through. Other days, that first stride is the most difficult of the entire run.

We need to remember that not all barriers are sky high. The most difficult barriers don’t have to involve racetracks in Italy and EPIC moon shot attempts at crazy times over grueling distances. Some barriers are way…down…low. Right at the start. And if you don’t look out, it’s the little barriers that trip you up.

So maybe the run I got through today – a run that started and ended crappy – doesn’t deserve to be called EPIC in all caps. But that doesn’t really matter to me. Because all caps or not, EPIC means the same thing as epic. And that’s what brings us all together as runners.

You. Me. And yes, Eliud, Lelisa and Zerseney in Italy pushing themselves to make history by Breaking2.

We are all meant to be runners.

Epic ones.

Growing Up. Not Growing Old.

Last week I hit the jackpot. I got to spend some time with some young adults. Strike that. I’d rather not use that word “adults” here. I was lucky to spend some time with kids. And these were no ordinary kids. You know what? Strike that word “ordinary” too. I don’t believe there is any such thing as an ordinary kid. I was lucky enough to spend time with some extraordinary kids.

These kids have dedicated a part of their lives to entertain, inspire and motivate other kids. Some of them sing. Some of them dance. Some of them run, play football, soccer, gymnastics and any number of other sports. Some of them open up cool things up and show you what’s inside. They make others smile, get moving, get out. And so many kids today need something or someone in their lives that makes them happy. These kids are that something, that someone.

They came out to the Michael Johnson Track here at Nike’s WHQ. It was raining. It’s always raining here. They were all jet lagged. And they were hungry. Kids are always hungry. They were tired. Tours and walking and listening and more walking will eventually even tire a kid out. But here they were at the track being introduced to a Coach that wanted them to run.

And you know happened? Did they complain or make excuses? Did they ask for shortcuts or whine? Did they say they couldn’t or wouldn’t do it? Nope. They’re kids. So they said “let’s roll”. And when I said in return “get ready to race the Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Centrowitz” did they back down? Nope.

They formed a relay, lined up, ran their hearts out, cheered for each other & took him down. These kids reminded me that all that is great, brave, honorable and pure about us lives within our youth. And we all have those younger versions of ourselves alive within us still. We just need to smile, get moving, get out. We just need to be on more relays together, run our hearts out, cheer for each other, and we too can do impossible things.

We can grow up and not grow old.

When the victorious tribe left the Michael Johnson Track it was still raining and the clouds still blanketed the sky. But I swear the day seemed brighter…and so did the future.

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.

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.