Running, my full time job

About five months ago you could have asked me if I enjoyed running, and I would have answered with a fully confident, “Of course I love running, it’s hard but I still manage to run almost everyday and train hard.” My sentiments towards the sport and the athletes who take on running full time remain unchanged. I still have runners I look up to at every level, whether that be my teammates or elite Marathoners. However throughout these past five months I’ve learned a little about the sport and a whole lot about my training . You see I am naturally driven by my current state of mind, like most people are. This simply means the work that gets done is heavily determined by how I “feel” right now. The days I “feel” lazy I become unproductive in my studies or work.

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Similar to how I chose to become indolent in my work when I wasn’t having the most ideal day, my work wasn’t getting done and nor was I running . This all was put into perspective over the summer when I worked at a day camp, with little 8 and 9 year olds. I worked 6-7 hours a day. Not long, I know but I arrived home everyday after work “feeling” drained. Alongside my work I had a running schedule I had to follow. So now you see the only three things I had to get done within a 24 hour span was sleep, work and running. Two of which I was checking of my to-do list, daily. However when it came to my running I only completed 60% of what I was suppose to be doing, the rest of the time I was too busy “feeling” tired, so I would sleep. Fast forward to when school started, I began running with a team. Joining a team wasn’t a time for me to use how I “felt” to drive my actions. I had to abide by the rules. I came to practice and ran, even it was at 6am. It didn’t matter if I slept at 1am the night before, I still had to do what was expected and I did. Regardless if it were work or school, I made sure to finish my tasks in fear of making a bad grade, having an unhappy boss or a coach who is displeased with my performance.

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Even though I once viewed my daily routine of practice, school, work, and practice again as a chore it has only taught me one thing. My feelings will never produce results. It’s always up to my actions and hard work to produce the results I am looking for. The PRs a runner dreams about will remain a dream until he/she learns the work that goes into making what others are out hustling and bustling to make their reality. After all, the difference between a person who runs high millage and one who runs only on good days is that the first dreams about the day he/she will get faster while the latter just waits for the time to come. Now when I or any other runner out there has a day(s) where their body is telling them, “Wouldn’t rest be more favorable?”, you be sure to reply with action that reflects your true purpose and drive.

The politics of running!

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.

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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 ┬ápeople who are kindhearted , openminded and supportive.

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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.

My sport is your sport’s punishment!

As you read this look for the deeper meaning. It’s jammed packed with my love ­čÖé

Dear distance running,

There’s something I should get off my chest. No, I’m not quitting on you. I am deeply in love with you. I know I don’t always show it but it’s the truth. We have our ups and downs but we still manage to get through our day without complaining about how much time we might have spent together. I’m not a very sentimental guy and I might not always show how I feel. Well, maybe on those long and rainy days when my face should speak for itself. I hate to say it but I dread being with you when it’s not bright and warm outside.ImageNow lets be real, I am not willing to step a foot out the door. Despite being unreasonable you are loving and make my heart beat, literally. I have never encountered anything that could raise my rate as high as you do while keeping our relationship intact. All my friends have never been jealous of us. Oh, its not because of your looks or personality, they view being with you as a punishment. They see none of the pleasure I get from being with you. If only it weren’t cheating for you to show them a taste of your rejuvenating, heart pumping and pleasing character. When I was once asked how it’s like being with you I thought for a while before I could answer. I said, “At the end of the day I could do one of three things, question if I was the best partner I could be, make excuses on how I could have been a better lover or just lay there on the floor and know I gave it my all.” I personally choose the last one.

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When the day comes to an end it is not a matter of how we spent our time together or what we did on our journey. All that matters is that I gave you all I had and knowing that is what will make me stronger and a more committed lover.

Warm wishes,

Ebenezer

Race day adrenaline!

A Half Marathon, Marathon, 10k or 5k all have different meanings to every runner. I see race day as a runner’s payday. It is a day where one can prove to others and themselves that the countless miles, hours and pain have paid off. Whether the pay is a PR or finishing a new distance, we can all agree that it is a priceless feeling to notice your PR on the race clock.

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Before the finish line celebrations or the victory lap, you have to first start your race and prepare the night before.  The picture above is ten minutes before the start of my first half marathon.

Every runner goes to bed with the plan of getting as much sleep as possible for the big day. However 99.9% of runners spend more time tossing and turning rather than experiencing the much needed REM sleep. The biggest challenge of all being to take your mind off of what is to come but we all know that is not the simplest thing to do. So we all lay there thinking “What if…” questioning the millions of things that could happen during the race. Sooner or later the night passes and we have to wake up go to the race.

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You then arrive at your event and seeing there are thousands of people there for the same reason gets your blood pumping. Butterflies and adrenaline are┬ásimultaneously kicking in, you then approach the start line. BooM! The race has started! As you mentally plan out how you will accomplish the goals you have set you are cheered on by hundreds of spectators that help carry you through the ups and downs. Before you know it, you are staring up at the clock in awe of the countless of miles that led you to where you are in that point in time. You then have a flashback of all the pain you overcame and you say to yourself, “This is why I run!”

Tell me, What goes on in your mind during a race?

How I run?

From what I’ve learned there are two types of runners. One type I like to call externally driven, another is, you guessed it internally driven. Lets start with the external runner. The typical external runner listens to music while they run, uses modernized technology to keep track of miles and calories. These variables help build up the adrenaline that make the miles go by relatively quickly. So generally I mentally picture this

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You can see that the music in the man’s ears is what’s keeping the agony at a tolerable level and the man behind appears to be checking his watch.

Now while music and high tech gadgets motivate while providing you the information you need to know about your run, they take away from the true experience. Now you might be questioning and saying, the running experience isn’t the most pleasant, its full of heavy breathing , and leg pain. Exactly! The true essence of the sport is inclusive of over coming all of those obstacles. Music is not suppose to repress the pain you are facing, your mind should be doing that. By learning to overcome the pain and block it out you can not only become a better runner but you can also discover the great mental strength that you have. I read a funny quote that said, “Long distance running is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” This idea brings me to the second type of runner, the internally driven. In short, this runner runs with just the essentials. To me the essentials are shoes, a shirt(during the winter) and shorts. When talking about running with just “The essentials” I am basically saying run with the things that you consider necessities (e.g. water, hat), so these are the things that allow you to experience everything that comes with running. Now this time I would picture exactly this

Anton_krupickaThis man is Anton Krupicka, he is one of my favorite ultra marathoners, which I will talk about soon.

An internal runner experiences the trail, road or pavement that he/she is running on. They will evolve to overcome the pain, which will later help them in many parts of their life, whether it’s having a clear though process or being efficient at school/work. Now let me remind you that this is a lot more challenging than it sounds. However, if one is willing to try out this technique they will reap what they have sowed. So Enjoy your runs! Feel free to try it out for yourselves and I look forward to hearing from you.

I personally consider myself a internal runner. Tell me ,what type of runner you are and why?