Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's a Small Group of People...

The professional and semipro runners in this world are more connected than athletes of most if not all other sports. For example, Jenny Simpson won the 1500m at the world championships this week. That is a huge accomplishment. No one from the US has done that since 1983. We have had a number of medals in other events, but this one is gold. She has raced to the highest level from the American system of training. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. Why does this mean something to me specifically? In 2008 between her winning NCAAs and USATFs I did a long run around the Boulder reservoir at the same time she did a 16-17 mile long run. One of the best in the world running out there alone at 7 am on a Sunday on the same dirt roads that I was running.

That is just one more aspect of running that is awesome to me. We build people up in our minds to be superhuman, yet they are all just humans, like you and I. It has taken me several interactions with "superhumans" to really understand they are no better than I. To be running the same distance and pace and course for a long run as Jenny Simpson or Nate Jenkins gives me a huge amount of confidence that I will be able to do the workouts they do and run the times they do.

On a separate note, grad school fulfilled this for my academic mental aspect. Stumping one of the leaders in the field is extremely satisfying. I talk about potential and possibilities and when one of the top ten in the world does not know the answer, I know we have so much left to learn about even something as strait forward as heat treating steel. Perhaps I will be the one to push the boundary?


  1. You need to put a spoiler warning on your blog when you post results! I hadn't checked to see who had won the 1500m yet :-P

    I'm amazed by all the running you do. Since I entered the workforce I've had a hard time keeping up with half of the mileage you put in. Keep up the good work! I look forward to hearing about your successes when you get to be as fast as Nate (guys who are *only* as fast as Jenny don't seem to get a lot of attention)

  2. Thanks Lane. I do have a few things going for me that guys like you might not have yet, but you will if you really want it. 1. My last semester of grad school in the fall of 2009 I had no classes just research and it was the most flexible schedule I ever had and coming back from Pakistan I was mentally hardened put together I was able to throw up huge mileage. The first time you try to do big mileage it is the hardest. I was basically in the perfect position to do it the first time so it is easier now. 2. You're getting married! That's awesome and I am totally excited for you! Unfortunately, I am single and I am missing out on the relationship aspect of life now. The positive side of that means I have lots of time to go running instead of spend on a significant other. 3. I certainly didn't get here over night. My first 100 mile week was in August of 2008, the summer after my senior year of college. My first 70 mile week was March of 2006. That was five and a half years ago. Plus with all the mileage my quality has suffered a little. In other words it takes a long time, and you have to make the time every day, which might mean moving closer to work so that you have a shorter commute, and your relationship status will certainly affect it. All of the people I train with now wake up at 5AM daily to train and they still don't put up the mileage I do. Point being, I want to run at the trials and I'll do just about whatever it takes to get there at the expense of some or many other aspects of my life.

  3. A lack of self-discipline and hunger in pursuing goals has been holding me back. I used to have no problem running 80-85 miles per week but I'm less hungry now without the structure of a competition season and a group of teammates that I want to beat. I think I'll have to put a goal race on the calendar to beat that, but I'm not 100% confident it will work...

    Achieving the level of success that you are looking at certainly requires the dedication you show and I admire that. After a concert given by a famous violinist, a fan rushed up to him and said "I would give my whole life to play as beautifully as you do". "I did," he replied.


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