If there is one great thing about running that we can all agree on, it’s that there are absolutely no politics involved. Running is an activity where conservatives and liberals can share the pains and joys of the sport. We can look beyond our differences and focus on our true passion. There’s no need to look for middle grounds or bipartisan agreements.
The picture above is from the 2012 women’s 5000 meter race. There are about seven countries running in the race, that’s seven different cultures. These countries were able to put aside the hatred that may have existed to chase after one goal, gold. Everyone is understanding of the determination and struggle it takes to get to the Olympic level. If everyone from the picture has one thing in common, it’s that they all sacrificed money, time and effort to get to where they are. Similarly, runners of all levels are nothing short of appreciative of the unity that running may bring. You would often hear stories of how a runner was able to help out his/her opponent during a big race. Unlike any other sports, running produces people who are kindhearted , openminded and supportive.
There’s something about running that brings a group of people close together. When you think of yourself in a room with random people you don’t know, you often find that it is more challenging to socialize than being in a room with people who share the same interests as you. If you’ve ever ran in a race you know what I mean. It doesn’t take a whole lot for a runner to reach out and start talking to another runner. As runners we have this deep interest for networking and gaining more insight. This is why we buy books, attend seminars, go on group runs and write blogs. As a result of our desire to make more friends and learn more about the sport, we find ourselves unintentionally fueling our passion for what we have grown to love and adore deeply.
To me there’s nothing that gets me wanting to run than seeing others running. Whether it’s seeing road runners or marathoners, I always envy them in that moment when all I could do is watch. Three of my favorite ultra marathoners are Scott Jurek, Anton Krupicka and last but not least Michael Arnstein.
This is Michael Arnstein. I like him for different reasons, one being he’s a fruity runner. He eats nothing but fruits and vegetables. As crazy as that may sound, the results he’s gotten from his diet are remarkable. He dropped his marathon time by 15 minutes and also PRed in many of his races. He also takes initiative to spread the good word about fruitarianism. Every year he hosts the Woodstock fruit festival. Woodstock is basically a camp for people of all ages. There are fun things such as an UNLIMITED supply of only fruits and vegetables. You can also participate in cycling, different fitness classes and an endurance run at the end of the week. If he’s performing at a high level in his late 30s, there is no questioning if his diet is effective.
Some may know the man on the right, Christopher Mcdougall, author of the book Born to run. On the left is Scott Jurek. He set the record for Badwater untramarathon and a 24 hour race. He’s attitude towards running is what sets him apart from other runner. He is one to branch out and learn about other runners and ethnicities. In fact he is currently in Ethiopia and has been to Mexico where the Tarahumara Indains live. Besides being an outstanding runner Scott has written a New York Times best seller, Eat and Run. His book is inclusive of his experiences as an ultra runner and some of his top notch cooking receipts.
Anton looks like the portrayal of Jesus when he runs. Not many excuses cross his mind on those dreary afternoons. Aside from being a two time Leadville 100 mile champ, Anton has the life many people envy. He endorses many of New Balance’s minimalist shoes and Ultimate Direction’s hydration pacs. Everyday he wakes up and runs the mountains in the back yard of his Boulder, Colorado home. I am easily motivated by these three men’s passion for taking the sport to an entirely different level. This all goes to say women are respected just as much as the guys are in the ultra distances, in fact there are countless races where they have finished hours in front of some of the most respected runners.
Who or what motivates you? Lastly, Why do you run?
My runs consist of three things, up hills, down hills and flat areas. My mindset for each type of terrain is totally different, yet it is the same. Lets start with the flat terrain. Whether it’s in the beginning of my run or the ending the flat parts of the course are the least of my worries. It’s the time where my legs are on auto pilot. I am able to enjoy the scenery and focus on pushing myself so that I am simply not slacking off. This is currently how my life is now. I have little to no worries about what is to come and what I had overcame. I can practically enjoy life knowing that it won’t last forever but while I am on earth I should enjoy and savor what I am blessed with.
Sooner or later we will all run up against the hills. Some may be short and others could last miles. Regardless my heart will pump and my hopes are to run each hill as fast as I can. Pain is inevitable but how you choose to handle the pain is up to you. I use my mind to help me get thought the hills, considering that is the most powerful tool a runner can possess. As I run up a hill I ask myself two questions, how badly do I want to get to the top of the hill? I also ask, how much time do I want to spend going up the hill? These questions help me come to the same conclusion every time. The hill is a long and dreadful part. I want to finish the hill quickly because the longer I spend on the hill the longer I have to live through the suffering. I also tell myself the pain is temporary and once I reach the top I can gain the confidence and endurance to carry me through my workout. One of the reasons the title of the blog is king of the hills is because the purpose is to empower and inspire new and old runners to reach new heights. This goes to say the hills are time in life where I can acknowledge I am in various obstacles. However those obstacles are only temporary, they can help shape who I will become based on how I choose to deal with them is up to me.
Last but not least are the down hills. I have yet to meet a runner who says they dread down hills. Despite how relaxing and easy down hills might be, you can not reach them until you have passed rough patches of up hills. There’s no need to say my sentiments toward downhills, why? Because I feel the same way you do about them. I enjoy the ride and will surely coast my way down to the flat surface. At the same time I will be sure to recognize a down hill was just completed and I might face an up hill later on. Regardless, I will be sure to keep a smile on my face and to know that whatever hurdle I am facing can only make me stronger and smarter.
There’s a change in mindset that happens between the age of five and twenty five. You go from loving a run to making it a chore. Now you might argue, Ebenezer I am a runner and I love to run. Yes, I know but that wasn’t always the case. When all of us were reintroduced to running after our childhood days we learned that there is a pleasure in running and there’s more to it than heavy breathing and leg pain.
The last thing a child will procrastinate is to go out and run until they can’t no more, whereas we would once find excuses to not go on our run. This raises the question, why do we view running as a chore rather than a reward? It is because we chose to see it that way. This is similar to the concept of happiness, you chose to be happy. Anybody could give you all the things you could ever want but it is up to you to rejoice for what you have and not what you want. Not everyone has the same opportunity to run like you do. We should stop perceiving running as a burdensome task, rather we should see it for what it is. A sport that can bring health, clarity of mind and happiness.
So next time we run lets wipe the unpleasant look off our faces and replace it with a grin like no other. Be like the child you see running around at the park for hours with a smile. This mindset will develop your passion and love for the activity and it will help you to teach others why running is more than just a sport, it is a way of life.
Are there day when you’re able to run but simply chose not to run? Will this mentality change from now on?