Tag Archives: Track & field

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. 

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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.

 

There Is No Finish Line 

I‘ve read the book. I’ve watched the movies and documentary. I know how all his races ended. I know how many records he broke. I know how many times he took the lead in Munich in ’72. I know how long that last straightaway was. I know what race he ran and what time the clock said on May 29, 1975 when he brought his People to their feet one last time at Hayward.

I know where it happened. I’ve been to the Rock.

I also know that every time we dig deeper Pre keeps running.

I know that when we rise and stamp our feet and cheer for each other Pre runs harder.

I know that when we believe in ourselves and our fellow runners Pre smiles.

I know that as long as we refuse to give anything less than our best –

and make it a pure guts race –

and make our efforts works of art-

and barrel around corners with our eyes ablaze and our heads cocked to the side always looking ahead –

Pre will live on through us.

Pre inspired us and paced us and cut the wind and took the lead for us.

He did it better than anyone before him and anyone since.

Now, it’s our turn.

Stop Pre?

Only if you can Stop Us.

Between The Lines

(I originally posted this on Instagram before the 2014 NYC Marathon. I thought it might be a good idea to repost it now. Good luck to every runner racing this Spring. Enjoy the journey between the lines.)
*******************************
 It’s not going to be perfect. And it’s best to come to terms with that now.
You are going to go out too slow or too fast or fall asleep in the middle or come up short or have too much at the end. You may cramp because you drank too little and you may cramp because you drank too much. You may be sick and feel like crap. You may be healthy and feel like crap.
It’s not going to be perfect.
You have weaknesses. You screw up and make mistakes. You have doubts. You get scared.
Because you’re not perfect either.
But you’re not doing this because you thought you were perfect. You are doing this because you know you are getting Stronger. Because you are learning every day about yourself. And you Believe you can do this. And because being Scared is OK. Being scared reminds you that you are Alive. And sometimes you need to be reminded.
And you should celebrate that you are not perfect. That means you Always have something you can work on, Challenge yourself on. You know what you can be is Better.
You know what you can be is your Best.
You just can’t be perfect.
So this mile, this run, this marathon, this journey between these start and  finish lines can be Life Changing. It can be Inspiring. It can be a Triumph.
It can be so many amazing things.
It just can’t be perfect.
It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be Extraordinary.
And neither do you.

Half is Greater Than the Whole

It was definitely not my longest. 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.

It was my most important run.

February 4th. 1993. I was a junior in HS. It was a 1/2 mile run from my front door. That’s it. My most important run was only 800 meters long.

5 months earlier I had started my XC season with the fastest time by a NJ runner at the opening meet & that was soon followed by an invitation to the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC. I thought I may actually be a runner.

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. September would be lost.

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. Well, that explained the pain. And it would explain the knee high plaster cast I was put in.

It had been 5 months of knowing that every time I put my right foot on the ground it would hurt. It got to the point where I would flinch BEFORE I put my foot down. I anticipated the pain. Every. Other. Step.

The cast came off in late January.

I put on the shoes again – the shorts & the team jacket. I even put the team winter hat on. I didn’t need to. But I did it anyway. I wanted to feel like I was on the team. I wanted to feel like I had a purpose again.

Would it hurt?

I knew that I was going to start & finish this run at the same place. I knew I wouldn’t be gone long. I also knew I wouldn’t be the same when I got back.

I took a deep breath.

I know it now. I’m a runner.
You took it away. I want it back. Please. Give me this. Please.

I started down my front lawn.

It was the only run my Mom ever took a picture of. 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.

None of them as special as this mile though.

And it was only half of one.