Tag Archives: runners

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.

Advertisements

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.

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. 

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.

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.