Tag Archives: inspiration

Boston Marathon 2015, My race report

Boston 2015In 2014, I ran my first Boston Marathon.  I had a bad day, taking nearly 5 hours to finish.  It wasn’t just one thing, but a combination of things that slowed me down.  Nerves, time off for a knee injury, getting hit by a car, …  I set out to run as close to 3 hours as possible, but went into survival mode at mile 6.

As I lined up for the 2015 Boston Marathon, I was much more confident.  I had gone injury-free for a year.  My training was going well.  I had created a “NEXT-LEVEL” training program that helped many runners achieve their goals in the last 9 months.  I used a variation of that program.  I was healthy, calm, and ready to get this done.  The weather forecast was cold and wet.  That forecast was showing itself to be correct, so I knew that I should go with my B-Goal.  My A-Goal would be a personal record of around 3:11.  In the cold, wet weather I expected to struggle a bit more, so I set my sites on just BQing (qualifying for a future Boston) by finishing faster than 3:25.

I aimed to start the first mile at 7:30 and then gradually whittle that down to a 7:10 pace by the halfway point.  I did average about 7:20 for the first 3 miles, which fit the plan fairly well.  At mile 12, I was on course with a 7:10 average pace.  That, however, was when I first felt a cramp coming on.  My left hamstring twitched during one stride and I slowed just a bit.  I made a quick stop at a port-a-potty during mile 13, but I was still very close to the goal pace for the first half.

I spent the second half of the race managing the cramps.  I never went into a full cramp.  I know what it feels like when I am about to cramp.  I know how to ride that line, going as fast as I can without going into a full cramp.  I discovered a relationship between the timing of these “pre-cramp twitches” and when I took in calories.  I stopped fueling at that point and drank only water.  I took in as much water as I could without stopping.  I soon found out how much was too much.

From that point on, I used pace and water to manage my conditions to avoid cramping.  I knew that I would not get a personal record, but I was still as a good overall average.  If I allowed myself to slow down just a little each mile, I would still keep the average under the time I needed to come in under 3:25.  With each uphill, I reminded myself that it was okay to slow down.  With each downhill and flat, I reminded myself that it was safe to press the pace just a tiny bit.

By the time I reached the 25 mile marker, I knew that I could run a 9 minute mile the last 1.2 miles and still be under my goal time.  Still, I pushed as hard as I could without cramping.  Then I saw that beautiful sign: “Hereford Street.”  I was still on pace and had two turns to go.  Right on Hereford, left on Boylston, and on to the finish!

I can’t tell you that I passed anyone on that last stretch.  Maybe I did.  Maybe I didn’t.  I didn’t care.  I had just spent the last 26 miles with thousands of others runners, but I was only racing one the entire time.  The race was against my limitations.  I had pressed my limits and managed my resources to get the most out of my body.  In the race against my limitations, I won.  I finished in 3:23:39.

The Real Story

This race was not won on emotions.  This race was won by suppressing the emotions and staying focused.  In particular, I won the race against my limitations because I had stayed in tune with my body.  I ignored the crowd.  I kept a laser-sharp focus on the road 20-30 feet ahead of me.  I felt every muscle and mentally went through a checklist of every body part in an ongoing scan.  When I did get emotional, I talked myself down and re-focused on doing my best in that moment.  I did what I needed to do to get the best possible performance.

 

My story is one of overcoming obstacles, overcoming past performance, and overcoming my own fear of failure.  I did this by staying focused over the last year and staying focused during the race.  After the race, I shivered wildly.  I realized just how cold and wet I had been for the last 3 hours.  I shivered and shook all the way to Boston Common, when I could finally stand in a heated place long enough to regain control of my hands.

That is when it hit me.  I did it.  I beat Boston.  I had come back to the course that defeated me last year and I was triumphant.  I BQed at Boston.  In fact, there was now only one marathon course which I have run, but not had at least one Boston qualifying time.

As with most races, the first thing I did is set my sites on the next big goal.  I had run my first 2 marathons at Knoxville.  I have BQed on every course after that. [not always on the first try, but eventually].  I think it is time to return to the Knoxville Marathon next spring so I can reach 6 out of 6.  If I can run under 3:25, I will have qualified for Boston at least once on every marathon course I have ever run.  That sounds pretty good.  Challenge accepted.

What Did I Learn Between 2014 and 2015?

A)  As an introvert, I need a plan to deal with the noise and distractions.

Many runners are encouraged by all of the fans, signs, and noise.  I, on the other hand, am an introvert.  I had to learn to drown it all out.  If you look at my photos, I am always looking slightly down at the ground about 20-30 feet ahead of me.  I was busy tuning out of the crowd and tuning into how I was feeling.

B)  I need to run my own race.

I was well aware that the people in my corral all had about the same qualifying time as I did.  That does not, however, mean that we can expect to run the race together.  Some will go out too fast for me.  Some will be going too slow.  I take the uphills slower than most of that same group of runners.  I make up for it on the flats and downhills.  If I had tried to stay with the equally capable runners that I started with, I would have charged the hills too fast and faded early.  In fact, there were only a few instances when I stayed with a group of specific runners for more than 20 seconds.

C)  I belong here.  I can do this.  I need to remind myself of that.

You have to qualify for Boston.  Most marathon runners don’t.  Despite the fact that I had already qualified for Boston on four different marathon courses, I still had my doubts.  Last year’s struggle did a lot of damage to my self-image.  Throughout this year’s race, I had to give myself positive affirmations:

“Just because they start out fast, doesn’t mean they are faster than me.”
“This pre-cramp feeling is just a sign.  I will deal with it and keep moving at a strong pace.”
“I am still on pace for a BQ.  I have this.  Keep pressing the limit.”
“I can average a 9 minute pace this last stretch and still get a solid BQ.”
“Yes, this is a slight uphill, but the finish is just around this corner.  You can keep pressing the pace.”

D)  I can still get faster and stronger while only running 3 days per week.

I had been doing my NEXT-LEVEL” training program and it had prepared me for the challenge.  I typically run 3 days a week, ride my bike 2 or 3 days per week, swim once every other week, and do a lot of strength training.  In the year between the 2014 and 2015 Boston Marathons, I gained 10 pounds and became a stronger runner.

I praise The Lord for helping me learn these lessons and getting me through this race.

Now on to the next challenge.

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

Every Finisher’s Medal Has a Story

IMG_0734medals 2I have earned many finisher’s medals since my return to running in November of 2009.  On the right is a small photo of most of them.  Each medal has a story, a context, a tale of triumph, defeat, friends, and laughs.

Why would I only display 9 of them on my medal rack?  Because some memories/achievements are bigger than others.  These are the stories I want to remember.  These are the stories I want to tell.

From left to right…

Knoxville Marathon 2010:  The first medal represents my first marathon.  In March of 2010, I was less than well-informed about the needs of an endurance athlete.  My training was sparse.  I had no nutrition plan.  I had taken one drink of water on one training run.  That was it.  Nothing else had passed through my lips on a training run.  No calories.  One drink of water on one long run.  If you know anything about endurance nutrition and hydration, you know where this led.  I ran reasonably well until mile 17 and the bottom fell out.  My legs locked up and I could barely walk.  The skies grew dark and a cold, windy rain set in.  I walked the rest of the way.  I shivered.  I must have looked pitiful, because the medics checked on me frequently for the rest of the marathon.  I was determined that I did not need help and I would finish.  I did.  5:34:38.  Then I could barely move for a week.  Good times.  I am not a quitter.

Knoxville Marathon 2011:   The second medal happened 1 year later.  One year of studying running.  One year of reading and studying.  One year of training.  One year of learning about hydration and nutrition.  I only ran two races between my first and second marathon, but I trained.  I didn’t train every day, but I trained all year.  This time when I got to mile 17, I could feel that my body was being challenged, but I knew how to pace myself.  I paid close attention and ran as fast as I could without cramping.  I gradually slowed down, but never stopped.  3:55:59.  More than 1.5 hours faster than the first try.  Consistent studying and training pays off.

7 Bridges Marathon 2012:   In the fall of 2011, I ran my third marathon, the Seven Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga, TN.  I had done more studying and a lot more training.  I managed to shave another big chunk of time, finishing in 3:27:27.  This was great progress and I was very happy, but it was also painful.  I cramped hard in mile 26.  I was on pace to qualify for Boston until that moment.  I could see the finish line, but I could not get to it.  I had to stand and wait for my legs to calm down.  My time was 2 minutes and 27 above the Boston mark for my age group.  But this medal is from the 2012 Seven Bridges Marathon.  Why this one?  It marks my victory over two things: cramping and gluten.  I had started the 2012 Knoxville Marathon in April, but had to stop.  I had been getting weaker during my taper instead of stronger.  I tried to ignore it, but I could not.  I spent more than half of 2012 trying to figure out why I was sick.  Finally in September, I was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant.  I stopped eating wheat for 6 weeks.  Then I ran the 7 Bridges Marathon.  Even though I had been weak for 6 months, I had trained anyway.  I was hoping that the slow paces would pay off because of the big efforts that it took to fight through my weakened state.  That gamble paid off at 7 Bridges.  My slower, weaker, but valiant attempts at training during my illness led to a finish time of 3:22:44.  I had beaten gluten.  I had beaten the cramps.  I had qualified for the Boston Marathon for the first time.  This medal will always have a place on my medal rack.

Shamrock Marathon 2013:  After that, I was healthy and ready to score another big PR.  I had now studied three very different marathon training strategies.  I had even written a book about running.  I was laser-focused.  I had very consistent training with a very consistent strategy.  It paid off again.  Even though I still gradually slowed down, I did my best job of pacing ever.  I did cramp just a bit, but I was 100 yards from the finish.  I jogged it in for a 3:13:22.  My second BQ (Boston-Qualifying time).  Not only that, but I had BQed by more than 9 minutes.

Indianapolis Marathon 2013:  This one was only a PR by 37 seconds, but this is amazing in and of itself.  Why?  Because my training strategies varied greatly.  I was starting to play with speed.  I ran shorter distances and did a lot more speed-work.  I was reading and studying like always, but I was testing out my own theories about training.  I was also racing A LOT.  It was a couple of months from the marathon before I started getting a bit more focused.  I was gambling that my endurance base was maintained through out all of the different training strategies.  That gamble paid off.  Even though I did not make significant progress, I did show that I could maintain my fitness level.  This is remarkable because I was 45 years old.  At this age, we are expected to gradually become slower.  I had not slowed down.  I was 15th place overall.  Not bad.

Boston Marathon 2014:  This was one of my worst races ever.  I knew by mile 6 that I was not feeling well enough to run a good race.  I gradually slowed from under 7 minute pace down to trying to maintain a 12 minute pace. It was physically and emotionally painful.  As painful as this was, I understood that this was just a bad day.  I tried to smile and wave to the crowds a lot.  I knew my wife was waiting for me.  I knew she was worried as my splits kept showing slower times.  Every time I crossed a timing mat, I was telling her “I’m okay.  I’m still moving.”  I spent some moments of anguish in the medical tent until I recovered.  I vowed to return.  Just over one week from now, I shall.

Savannah Marathon 2013 & 2014:  I didn’t really set out to race Savannah in 2013.  It was about a month after the Indianapolis Marathon and I would not expect to PR.  I was, however, excited to run with my new wife, Muna.  We “eloped” on the way to Savannah.  We were newlyweds running together.  I paced Muna to 3:52:25, her first sub-4.  In 2014, I raced.  Even though I was doing my first triathlons that summer, I made sure to include enough specific training to prove that the performance at Boston was a fluke.  I would at least qualify for Boston again.  That is where I aimed and that is what I earned.  3:22:43.  BQ by just over a minute.  I walked away with the confidence of knowing that I know just how much effort it takes to earn the result I want.

Shrimp and Grits 5K 2015:  This is the 5K associated with the Charleston Marathon.  I ran a 19:28.  Nowhere near a PR, but that was not the goal.  I just wanted a fun run.  I usually check my pace regularly while aiming for some very specific time. Instead of aiming for a PR, I decided to race. I simply sized up the competition over the first mile and decided who I could catch by the end.  I met Tony at the start line.  He was 57 years old and in great shape.  He started out ahead of me, so I spent more than half of the race chasing after Tony.  I eventually got him in the last mile and then just held my position.  After the race I jogged down to the 14 mile marker of the marathon so I could run the rest of that race with Muna.  She was having a rough time, so my support was more important than ever.  She toughed it out and still finished with a great time considering the illness with which she was battling.  After we finished the marathon, I found out my friend Ethan had won the marathon and I had won the masters division in the 5K.  That’ll do.

These are not all my best races.  They are not all personal records.  They are, however, all significant.  Each one has a story that means something to me.  I could leave all of my medals up, but it would be very crowded.  I want to see these particular medals when I walk by… and to remember.

 “Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

.

 

“You have earned my respect, Runner.”

Which runners do I respect?  The ones that have earned it.

To the one that is running regularly for the very first time:  your kind of crazy

There may be a lot of walking, but you are out there doing what you can to improve your health and fitness.  You have earned my respect, Runner.

To the one that is just jogging to lose weight:

It is great that you want to be lighter, but you are making efforts towards running that puts you waaay ahead of the folks still on the couch.  You have earned my respect, Runner.

To the one that only runs for the social aspect:

Yes, you always run at “conversational pace” and you seem to be more happy at the beer garden after the run, but you are still out there.  You are there two or three times a week.  You have earned my respect, Runner.

To the one that runs EVERY 5K because races are fun:

Yes, you, … you 5K freak!  Even if you only run once a week, you are out there consistently.  You participate, you run, you help raise funds for charity, and you are a part of the running community.  You have earned my respect, Runner.

To the Half-Maniacs:

You know who you are.  You are the one that does as many half marathons each year as you can afford to do.  You supplement your appetite for half marathons by running more half marathons.  At whatever pace you choose, you are out there doing it.  You have earned my respect, Runner.

To the Marathoner and the Ultra-Marathoners:

People think you are nuts.  I think they are right.  I love you just the way you are.  You have earned my respect, Runner.

To the speed-demon, driven by the quest for age-group glory or more:

I get it.  You push long and hard.  Sometimes you overdo it.  So what.  You rock the world and sometimes the world rocks back.  To me it matters less that you win; it matters more that you try to improve.  You try with all of your might.   You have earned my respect, Runner.

To everyone that tries to run, for the ones in wheelchairs, the ones with guides, the ones with knee problems,… people of all shapes and size, people of all ages, genders, … anyone that runs in any way, shape or form:

 You have earned my respect, Runner.

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

________________

 

Winners and Athletes: Runners Who Inspire Me

It is an honor to be the coach of any runner. To have that position of trust is a big deal. Runners love to win. Runners want their training to lead to special moments. It is an important position and I do not take it for granted. In the case of these athletes, it is a double honor. They are winners and athletes.

Winners

Runners at the race expo for the Farragut Half Marathon were able to sign up for a chance to win a 12-Week customized training program designed by me. Melissa and Vickie 4I had intended to award this prize to just one winner, but that is not what happened.  All of the names were written on little slips of paper sitting in a big bowl.  When the time came, I turned my head away and reached in to pick the winner.  At first I had to many pieces of paper in my grasp, so I shook my hand gently until only one slip of paper remained.  It only had one name on it:  Melissa Peplow.  I knew immediately that I had given the plan away to two people.  You see, Melissa is 1/2 of a running team; two people that run as one.  Melissa and her running partner Vicky Wallace register for races separately.  They wear two bib numbers.  Still, they run as one.  Two bodies on three legs and a wheelchair.  Each runner serves the other.  Melissa is legally blind.  Sometimes she can see things clearly, but other times she can’t see much of anything.  Vickie serves as Melissa’s eyes.  Vicky suffered a stroke and presently only has control over the right side of her body.  Vicky wants to use her one good leg to be a runner.  Melissa serves Vicky by pushing the chair from behind.  Two runners working together so that each can give it their full effort.  Every time they finish a race they are winners regardless of what the final standings say.

Athletes

It should not need to be said, but I will say it anyway: theseMelissa and Vickie 3 ladies are athletes.  Not everyone believes that.  The fact that each one has some assistance from the other is enough for a few naysayers to complain.  Any true athlete, however, will recognize Vicky and Melissa as fellow athletes. They are not heroes.  They are not zeroes. They are athletes the same as you and I.  They have grit.  They have goals.   Both of them are facing huge challenges.  Both are out there training to improve their performance.  Both of them give all they have during a race.  The vast majority of runners are not racing each other as much as they are racing against themselves, trying to get better.  That is what an athlete does.

Coaching

Every athlete I coach faces challenges.  Every athlete inspires me as they find new and intersting ways to overcome those challenges.  These two are no different.  Yesterday I met with Vicky and Melissa to have our initial coaching session.  I observed their form, discussed their training habits, discussed their goals, and talked about how to move forward with developing their training plan.  That is what I do with all athletes.  I usually meet with runners one-on-one.  These ladies run as one.  I looked at their form as individuals and as a team.  I am giving them strength training to do as individuals and run training to do as a team.  That is what they need to do to improve.  That is what they want.  They are not trying to beat you in a race.  They are in a race with their limitations… and they are winning.

You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/With-a-Will-There-is-a-Way/581877085167519.

 “Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

_____________

Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

.

.

_______________________________________________________

Wise Running Shirts & More

Find yours HERE:

I love running shirt

 

Because Today is Tomorrow

wise running logo 7_25_12

I was going to start eating healthier tomorrow.  I waited so many days and it never was tomorrow until I got sick.  When I became very sick for very long, I went gluten-free and became healthy.  Unfortunately, I wasted 6 months of training as the doctors and I guessed at what might be wrong.  When I went gluten-free, I began eating simple whole foods for a long time.  I went from very sick to very healthy in a matter of weeks.

I knew that eating healthier was good for me, so why did I wait so long?  I was always planning on starting it on the same day, tomorrow.

The problem with tomorrow, is that it never arrives.  Each new day redefines tomorrow as the day after today.  Hence, all of my plans for tomorrow never seem to happen.

I planned to eat healthier and it did not happen until I was forced.

What other plans did I have for tomorrow?

  • I will lift weights for strength-training and health.  It will make me a better runner and a healthier person in general. I will definitely start tomorrow.
  • I will be more organized and get some writing done every day so I never fall behind again.  That is important for both my career and my hobby.  I will definitely start that tomorrow.
  • I will start to practice playing my bass guitar daily so that I can fill in on the worship team at church. I have a guitar.  I have the music.  I can play along with the songs on You-Tube.  All I have to do is get into the habit.  It is just that easy.  Tomorrow is a perfect day for that.

Waiting to start eating better cost me 6 months of training.  A lot of opportunity for progress was lost.  A lot of disappointment was gained.

REMEMBER THIS:

If you wait for the day when you have enough time, energy, and resources,
then you may never start.  The right time to start is now.

That being the case, I hit the gym and did some lifting that I have not done in a long time.  I also added some new lifts that will specifically make me a better runner.  It may not seem like much, but I lifted weights at the gym for an hour today.  I did it not just because it is good for me, but I did it because I said I would.

I also wrote this blog post and worked on my research project.  When I get home, I will practice on my bass guitar as I said I would

 I have decided that today is the tomorrow I was talking about.

Today IS tomorrow.  What are you supposed to be doing?

 _____________________

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!” — P. Mark Taylor

____________________

Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

Runner’s High: How, When, and Why

It is a feeling like no other.  I recall floating along a 6 mile run one time just about 30 years ago.  I don’t have a very good memory, but I remember that run vividly.  I had slipped into a zone where running was more like floating.  I ran fairly fast, but felt no effort.  I felt happy and my body felt happy.  I was as high as a kite!  I never wanted that run to end.

Although I hadn’t been smoking marijuana, the same receptor in the brain that is triggered by marijuana was, in fact, triggered during that run.  I really was high.  I was high on running! Until recently, many scientists actually believed that runner’s high was a myth, a self-fulling prophecy based on a misconception about endorphins.  Endorphins, after all, cannot actually produce the kind of high described by runners.  The scientists were right about one thing: endorphins do not cause runner’s high.  Even so, runner’s high is real.

What causes runner’s high?  A fatty acid called Anandamide.  It triggers the same receptor in the brain that marijuana/THC triggers.  Not only does anandamide make you feel high, but it also dilates your bronchial tubes and the blood vessels in your lungs.  End result: you feel great, run better, and run longer.

How do you get anandamide?  Run!  As you run more regularly and intensely, your body tends to produce more anandamide.  If you want to increase your likelihood of getting runner’s high, you run at tempo pace, just a little faster than your 10K race pace.  This pace adds just enough stress to cause the body to produce anandamide but not so much stress as to overwhelm your body.  It is the “just right” pace for a great workout and a trip to La-La-Land.  :)

You can read more at Runner’s World:

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-297–1102-0,00.html

Enjoy the run!!!

_____________

The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & e-book

Paperback Version – Amazon.com

Ebook Version – Kindle Store

.

Funny and Inspiring Running Quotes

“Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.”  — Steve Prefontaine

“Runners are the ultimate celebration people. Running is just so intense, you’re really experiencing life to the fullest.” — Bill Rodgers

“Jogging is very beneficial. It’s good for your legs and your feet. It’s also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed.”   — Charles Schulz

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”   – Frank Shorter

2 women laughingThe only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.   – Erma Bombeck

“I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.” –David Lee Roth

“So much in life seems inflexible and unchangeable, and part of the joy of  running and especially racing is the realization that improvement and progress can be achieved.”  — Nancy Anderson

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”  — Jim Ryun

“We all have those days, weeks, months – just keep running through it & you’ll come out the other side!”  — Jenn Bacile

___________
Start your own nutrition business for less than $3,000!
___________

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.”  –William James

“Build step by step. Push yourself, but not too hard. Learn. Keep it fun.”  –Matt Fitzgerald

“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy.”  – Mark Will-Weber

“We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”  –  Will Rogers

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners.  Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”   –   George Sheehan

“There are clubs you can’t belong to, neighborhoods you can’t live in, schools you can’t get into, but the roads are always open.”   – Nike

“I’ve always felt that long, slow distance produces long, slow runners.”   – Sebastian Coe

“Why aren’t you signed up for the 401K?”
“I’d never be able to run that far.”        – Dilbert

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.”   – Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister  shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)

Finland has produced so many brilliant distance runners because back home it costs $2.50 a gallon for gas.   – Esa Tikkannen, 1979

There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life.  But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint.  So, too, are you.   Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.   – George Sheehan

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.   – P.Z. Pearce

The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank.   – George Sheehan

“There ain’t no shame looking at a good runner’s back. Now, if the runner sucks, that’s something else entirely… “The Rage, Training Tips “Comeback”

“No doubt a brain and some shoes are essential for marathon success, although if it comes down to a choice, pick the shoes. More people finish marathons with no brains than with no shoes.” – Don Kardong

“There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide.” – Rolf Arands

“Most mistakes in a race are made in the first two minutes, perhaps in the very first minute.” – Jack Daniels, Exercise Physiologist and Coach

“Why aren’t you signed up for the 401K? I’d never be able to run that far.” – Scott Adams, Dilbert (4/2/01)

“If you can’t win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.” – Unknown

“Hills are speedwork in disguise.” – Frank Shorter

“Run like hell and get the agony over with.”  –  Clarence DeMar

“If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want – Why?    Because…
(a) you’ll burn all the calories you consume, (b) you deserve it, and (c) you’ll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway.”  –  Don Kardong

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue.  Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.”   –   Tim Noakes

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing.  You have to make the mind run the body.  Never let the body tell the mind what to do.  The body will always give up.  It is always tired morning, noon, and night.  But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.  When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired..You’ve got to make the mind take over and keep going.”   –   George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

“My favorite moments are when I pass someone who’s huffing and puffing and all I got are some slightly tired legs” – Troy Streacker

“Aspire to be great instead of good, aspire to be remembered instead of forgotten, aspire to accompish what others have and have not done, aspire to be yourself and nothing else for when you strive to be yourself everything is limitless because you are not holding yourself to the limits of others.” – Troy Streacker

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all  about.” – PattiSue Plummer, U.S. Olympian

“You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will…those who run but don’t race…those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through…those who got to the starting line but didn’t get to the finish line…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted.” – Joe Henderson

“The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.” – Unknown

“Today I will do what others won’t, So tomorrow I can do what others can’t”. – Unknown

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

_____________

Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & future runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

.
____________

Authority, Pressure, and the Joy of Running

Other people can cheer, encourage, teach, and admonish.  They can provide accountability – someone to report to so that you feel obligated to follow through on a plan to run something specific.   Life is a team sport, and having people like this on your team is a wonderful thing.

Ultimately, however, there is only one person that can keep you engaged, motivated and challenged in your running: you.

Only you have the power to stand up and run.  Nobody, no matter how important or how persuasive they may be, can make you get up and go run.  Only you have that power.

Many people are aware of this power and choose to exercise this authority by continuing to sit on a couch.  Some are even proud of these movements when they override the encouragement of a concerned loved one or friend.

You are different.  You have chosen to be a runner.  It defines you.  Simultaneously, you define it.  You define what it means to be a runner.  You define the standard to which you hold yourself accountable.

Sharing Your Authority

If you are smart, you share your authority with others.  You invite them to a place a accountability over you and your running by telling them what and when you will run.  You give them a lot more authority when you make an appointment to meet and run with them.  You may even place someone in authority over you, in the position of coach.  You never really give up your power completely.  You always have the choice of saying no.  Still, you create a world of positive social pressure and it helps you stay consistent.  You are smart.

Support Versus Pressure

You must be careful about this authority sharing.  There is a point where positive support steps over the line and becomes negative pressure.  If you are afraid of disappointing someone with your performance, you have crossed a dangerous line.  This can suck the joy out of your running.  If running is not a joyous thing, then you are doing it wrong.

Key Idea:  Support becomes pressure at the moment that it focuses on performance rather than effort.

If you are feeling pressure to perform at a particular level, ask yourself why.

If it is coming from yourself, then you need to decide to give yourself a break.  Refocus your attention on the level of effort that you are giving.  Set realistic goals and make allowances for weather and other things that are beyond your control.  Make your goals about giving a high level of effort rather than about specific paces, times, or places.

If the pressure to perform is coming from others, tell them about it.  Thank them for caring and ask them to refocus their energy on encouraging you in your quest to give a high level of effort rather than specific paces, times, or places.

Practicing What I Preach

Personally, this transition has been a challenge for me.  I have done a lot of hard and fast pace-oriented goals and seen a lot of disappointment, even though I was making great progress.  I was creating stress and negative feelings and it was entirely unnecessary.  Great effort should be rewarded.  Progress of any kind needs to be celebrated.  I have missed opportunities for joy.  That is a crime perpetrated against myself.

I have finally figured out how to strike a balance.  I still like to set pie-in-the-sky goals, but I realize that they will sometimes go unmet.  I have started to learn how to become satisfied with a great effort towards those goals.  I have enough stress in my life without creating more.  Running is about joy.  It also involves struggle and achievement.  The greatest achievement, however, is being proud of what you have done and who you are becoming.

In Conclusion

Running always gives more than it takes.  If you have any negative emotions towards your running, take a close look at your goals & expectations.  If you feel pressure from others, let them know.  If they love you, they will support your effort.  If you love yourself, you will reward your effort.  Together with your friends, you can return to stoking the fires of desire for running.  There is joy in running.  Let it flow!!!

“Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

____________

____________

Motivation: Getting Out of the Door

The following is an excerpt from “The Gift of Running”

_______________________

“The hardest step for a runner

is the first one out of the front door.”

Oh, how true are those words!  Even if you love running, some days are tougher than other to muster up the strength to take the first step.  Nearly without fail, you will return from your run glad that you did it.  Running gives more than it takes.  You will be more relaxed and, in the long run, you will have more energy if you run.

But how do you convince your reluctant self to get up off of the couch when you just aren’t feeling it?

Remember This:

Every day that you go out and run,
you are writing your own legend,
becoming your own superhero.
What do you want the next chapter to say?

 

Some will say, “My own legend?  Isn’t that a bit much for a runner as slow as me?”  No.  It isn’t too much.  It is not enough.  Millions of people are sitting on their couches, eating potato chips or bon-bons and wishing that they were in shape.  They remember fondly the times earlier in life when they were more fit and active.  They wish they were in better shape.

Well, guess what?  You stopped wishing and started doing something about it.  When you decide to go out and run when you just don’t feel like it, you are taking command of your own destiny.  You aren’t sitting around wishing.  You are a person of action.  Each day that you defeat that blah feeling and passive state by going out and conquering those miles, whether or not you feel like it, you are becoming your own action hero.  A real-life legend in your own time, you step out the door and defeat the enemies known as mediocrity, complacency, and passivity.

Every day that you go out and run, you are writing your own legend, becoming your own superhero.  It doesn’t matter who else pays attention or knows the legend.  This epic tale is for you.  What do you want the next chapter to say?

Now pick up your cape and boots and head for the door.  There are more fitness adventures to be had.  You are a running legend.  Go kick some butt!

 

“Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

____________

____________

More Quotes for Sports and Life

“Sculptors chisel stone away one stroke at a time to uncover their works of art. Runners chisel their limitations away one workout at a time.” — P. Mark Taylor

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity. What’s the point of being realistic?” — Will Smith

“You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.” — Steve Prefontaine

“Commitment: It is what turns a dream into reality.” — Missie Gregory

“I am afraid to fail but even more afraid of what happens when I let fear stop me from trying.”  — Angela Stolpe

“Today I choose to make healthy choices with food,  to exercise, and to be awesome.”  — Michaela Coulter Bergeson‎

“Running is not insanity.   In fact, lack of running may be the leading cause of insanity.”  — P. Mark Taylor

“The marathon is not about the race, it is about the commitment…it’s not about instant gratification, it’s about endurance. It’s not about the thrill, it’s about the passion. To run a marathon, you need to not only commit to the sport, you need to commit to yourself.” — A. L. Zimmer

“If one could run without getting tired, I don’t think one would often want to do
anything else. ”  — C.S. Lewis

“I decided to go for a little run.”  — Forrest Gump

“Life is a series of hard and easy runs.”  — Hal Higdon

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” — Steve Prefontaine

“If the ground was as dangerous as many people think it is, I’d have given up going barefoot LONG ago. Really.”  — Barefoot Michael (http://www.barefootandgrounded.com)

“We do not cease to play as we grow old, We grow old because we cease to play.” — Drew Lachey

“When you run, you log on to yourself. You flip through the pages of your being.” — Kevin Nelson

“The greatest measure of success in any endeavor is not whether you won an award, but how many others you encouraged along the way.”  — P. Mark Taylor

“The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.” –Steve Smith

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain

“Fear is what stops you… courage is what keeps you going.”  –Unknown

“The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.” –Unknown

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”  — Unknown

“You want me to do something… tell me I can’t do it.”  — Maya Angelou

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  — Wayne Gretzky

“If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying.”  — Unknown

“You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.”  — Ruth E. Renkl

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”  — Mahatma Gandhi

“Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.”  — Norman R. Augustine

“I’d rather be a failure at something I enjoy than a success at something I hate.”   — George Burns

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”  — Benjamin Franklin

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”  — Aesop

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  — Albert Einstein

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude  determines how well you do it.”  — Lou Holtz

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”  — Jim Ryan

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  — Michael Jordan

“Just do it.”™  — Nike

“In seeking happiness for others, you find it for yourself.”  — Anonymous

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”  — Anonymous

“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”  — Oprah Winfrey

“It’s never too late to become what you might have been.”  — George Elliot

“Clear your mind of can’t.”  — Samuel Johnson

 

“Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

____________

____________