Tag Archives: NRC

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.

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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

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 Truth Will Let You Run Free

What’s the secret? How do you get better at running? How do you run faster? Run stronger? You really want to know?Love. 

That’s the secret. 

Love it. 

I know. It’s probably cooler to say it’s about guts and more hard core to say it’s about tolerating pain or running X amount of miles. 

I don’t care. 

It’s love. You wanted the answer. I just gave it. 

You want to be great…at anything…then be ready to fall in love with it. 

You can’t be truly brave without love. 

You can’t tolerate pain for the right reasons without it. 

You can’t sacrifice yourself without love. 

You can’t be willing to do more and take on more and hurt more and believe more and be more…without it. 

It’s probably cooler to say something else here. 

I know it sounds soft. Cheesy too. 

But when you love something you tell the truth about it. 

That’s cool enough for me. 

Better than Fastest

I know I will never run a faster 1500m. I know I will never set a new PB in the Mile.But that doesn’t mean I can’t run a better one.

I know I can run a smarter first lap. I know I can run a more relaxed second lap. I know I can be more focused on the third lap. I know I can handle without complaint the battery acid pouring into my legs as I run down the backstretch on the final lap. I know I can look up and ahead on that final straightaway when all I want to do is look down. I know I can charge all the way through that damn line…and lean. Always lean. 

I won’t be the fastest I’ve ever been.

But there is the chance I can be my best – better than my fastest.

And that’s what keeps bringing me back to the starting line. 

Measure success as many ways as you can.