Fostering Healthy Habits for Running and Life

The current political and social climate being what it is has led to more and more individuals preoccupied with family life, health, and personal achievement to the point that there seems to be very little room left for much else. Add to that the complexities involved in varying lifestyle choices and these days the average person is just concerned with trying to balance their hectic agenda with minimum intrusions and affect to their standard routine. Many people like the “idea” of fit and healthy and will often do the minimal amount to maintain somewhat of a proper diet and exercise to warrant no ER visits without many realizing that fit and healthy is so much more than food and the odd exercise session. It is a conscious decision to live in harmony with nature while maximizing the gifts (physically, spiritually, and opportunities) we have been blessed with. Things can seem even more exhausting for a runner and fit fanatic like myself, for whom constant diet and exercise is par for the course as healthy living is a prevailing occupation.

The challenge to juggle a regular daily schedule topped off with training, which is often the case for a runner, means that some area of life almost always ends up being neglected. Over the years, I’ve learnt by trial and error that finding the right balance often means the ability to compromise and sacrifice the things we want for what we need. Of course I’m a work-in-progress and learning new things everyday, but in the event you’re open and constantly striving for healthy perfection, as I am, here are a few things I’ve learnt over my running years:

  • Goals are as necessary as breathing. They provide a basis or template to guide your actions and hold you accountable, ensuring that you’re not here, on this earth, just taking up space. List them, update them, revise them and accomplish them.
  • Recognize each day as an opportunity to gain headway in your pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. First things first. Wake up with intent, put your plans before God and allow Him the space during the day to help you carry them out.
  • Determine to love yourself and treat you with the love and care you deserve or no one else will. This means making a studied effort to eat foods that contribute to your physical health and overall well-being. Particularly, snack healthy.
  • Rest well. Getting between 6-8 hours sleep at night allows you to be rested and ready to face the day. A quick power nap during the day, for those who can’t quite make the necessary 6-8 hours, works wonders to help you finish the day strong.
  • Exercise daily. A quick run or slow jog or any other type or combination of exercise (at least 30 minutes) that strays from your routine and increases your heart rate, gets your adrenaline pumping and engages your core muscles encourages good health, engages you productively, helps you sleep better, and leaves you feeling positive and empowered.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things, which has the power to draw you out of your comfort zone, shake up a boring routine, and cause you to engage and develop new skills and abilities. In fact, challenge yourself ever so often to explore your limits and boundaries in the areas of sport, exercise and adventure. This will add variety and fun to your running and/or journey and keeps life interesting.
  • Contribute to and/ or invest in what you are passionate about. Whatever form it takes, make it meaningful and beneficial to those less fortunate. There are few things more important that letting others know they matter and nothing more rewarding than being a blessing wherever you can.
  • Enjoy running or what you do. While it may be hard and challenging a lot of times, remember nothing worth having ever comes easy. Stay committed by constantly giving yourself pep talks; becoming a member of the community (eg., join a running club or group) who will provide encouragement, support and accountability; educate yourself on the sport; and sign up for some short races and fun runs. It’s like getting indoctrinated into a lifestyle and will change your life.
  • It is often said to surround yourself with yay sayers and it’s true. Giving yourself the best support network there is can help you to realize your true potential. This can take the form of people in your circle, activities, and things; for example, running gear, sneakers and running- related paraphernalia take up a huge junk of my closet space and can be seen throughout my apartment. It speaks for what I’m about and keeps me focused on what matters to me.
  • See failure, and it will come, as an opportunity to try again only with a better idea or a better plan. Don’t allow it to define who you are or what you do. Ask yourself what was the lesson learnt and go out there next time and crush it.
  • Finally, it is often said we are our worst critic; while it is necessary to hold yourself to a high standard, don’t be afraid to recognise and reward yourself when you’ve earned it. Yes there will be, try as you might not to, those berating sessions and self-recriminations but also be the one first one to clap yourself on the back, give yourself a high five, or a hug, and take the credit when it’s due. Reward yourself for your achievements and for a job well done. Be your number one fan (but don’t go crazy). Stay humble and real and above all else, like Shakespeare says, “to thine own self be true.”

In closing, I’d love to tell you that all this is easy and will just get itself done if you say it often enough but the truth, and most of us know this, is that nothing gets done without application, commitment and an overall can do attitude powered by gratitude for who you are, what you have ( ie., your abilities) and the opportunity you have to make a difference in your little corner of the map. An attitude of gratitude will go a long way in cultivating an environment of growth, success and personal excellence.

Saturday’s 12-Mile Training Run

Training runs are a necessary evil, evil because of the inflexibility associated with them. Well, you may say, isn’t it on the runner to decide if, when and where to run? And you’re right of course, it is, but is there really a choice at the point when it was already a forgone conclusion at the onset of training. See, the plan is in place so that a particular goal can be achieved, which necessitates the “evil” training run. This training run must then happen regardless of the weather, one’s feelings, and generally despite every circumstance save death and illness and even then if it’s not your own.

The New Jersey Skyline

In this vein, my training runs are in full swing and I have designated Saturdays as “evil Saturdays.” Of course I’m kidding, mostly anyway. I happen to enjoy running in nice weather and I love Saturdays so there’s not much evil there. However, when faced with unfriendly conditions things can become a bit dicey pretty quickly as was the case this past weekend.

View over the Hudson River

I got up this past Saturday morning to overcast skies and, what I felt was, perfect running conditions. Sadly, I couldn’t head right off to run as I had a volunteer gig early that morning. It took all of 10 minutes into volunteering to realize it wasn’t only overcast but windy and chilly as well. That didn’t stop droves of people from taking over the streets as usual and it didn’t stop me from running. Up till then I was undecided about where I would run, but as it happened I was on the lower west side and decided then and there that along the west side highway would make for a perfect run sans sunshine. I started off at W 30th street and soon realized that many runners had the same idea; thus, I wasn’t wanting for company only for the wind to chill. I ended up running up to Harlem and stopped beneath the George Washington Bridge around W 178th Street. A cool 10 miles or thereabout and took it about 2 miles back. One of the bad or good things about the “evil” training run is that despite the wind, and the fact that it tried its darndest to bring my pace to a crawl, which resulted in an 8:15/min/mile, I was heavily invested with sacrificing my time, effort, and sleep, therefore I was bound to prevail.

Side view of the George Washington Bridge

Nevertheless, I did better than prevail, I was able to run a negative split (a faster second half) and felt pretty good upon reaching the bridge and even stopped for a few pictures as the view over the water against the backdrop of New Jersey, the Palisades and the ominous skies was gorgeous.

I did it!

As it was, I finished in better spirits than when I started and so remain totally committed to my training runs. There is a bit of a cliché lesson here: things are definitely not always what they seem and if we but have the gumption to stick it out, we can come out better for it. And I’m not even talking my PR goal yet, we’ll get there.

Why a Charity Run is Good Running Karma

Source: yeuchaybo.com

Life can be very hectic. Often, we have so much going on making it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. We’re busy and have jobs, families, studies, exercise and various other things going on –sometimes simultaneously. Because of this mad rush of a lifestyle, many of us are left with little time for others. The concept of giving back seems more like an ideal and, though worthy enough, is not chief on our list of priorities.

We’ve all heard about “giving back to the community” and the truth is this can and does take many forms chief among them charitable donations, which is more than a feel-good sentiment. Charitable donations have the potential to make a huge difference through effecting change and having a major impact on the targeted community.

The running community has its fair share of causes to run for. For every major race from a 5K to a full marathon among others there are a variety of causes put forward for runners to partner up with. Some of these causes include research and support for many illnesses and diseases such as various forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Parkinson’s etc. In addition, there are options for causes that involve support for veterans, children education, individuals recovering from substance abuse, homelessness and many others. Many organizations work alongside race organizers to offer spots for participants who choose to fundraise as an entry means to the particular race. Runners who choose this option stand to benefit personally as well as gain the benefit for recipients of the funds they raise.

5 major benefits to running for a charitable cause include:

(1) the personal satisfaction of adding meaning to your miles and the rewarding knowledge that you are making a difference one step at a time and contributing to a cause that needs your help.

– There’s an opportunity here to choose a cause that’s close to your heart, either because someone close to you have been affected by it or for some other personal reason.

(2) the financial contribution gained for the cause chosen.

(3) raising awareness about and for the particular cause, which potentially means more exposure and thus more donors.

(4) gaining knowledge about the cause selected and an added affinity and sensitivity to issues underscored by the organization.

(5)  becoming part of a larger community and team that provides support such as training plans and fundraising instructions and tips and encouragement, team swag, and pre-race and race-day amenities.

Whether you were on the fence about it or never gave it a thought before now, I hope I’ve made a good case and gone some way in convincing you to run for a good cause this summer or for the upcoming fall season. It would actually be a nice addition to your runs this year and go a long way in completing your goals on high note of accomplishment.

runforcharity.com

Ten of my Favorite Running Routes in NYC

Source: shutterstock.com

I’m one of those runners who love discovering new routes and running different courses. As I’ve said often enough, it adds dimension, variety  and an element of adventure to my runs, which is necessary to keep me motivated and running. On the other hand, there are also times that I like the comfort and measure of safety that comes from running in a known area. I think this is one time I can actually eat my cake and have it. This doesn’t happen much outside of running, at least not in my experience, so why not take advantage is what I say.

To this end, running in this city is a lot of fun. There is so much to see: different folks to meet, places to visit, things to do and miles of uncharted running territory to discover. Mind you, uncharted, not because no one has been there, but only because it’s not commonly known and remains relatively undisturbed, though for how much longer I’m not sure. In the name of keeping it so for as long as possible, I aim to highlight the more widely used areas I run in our beautiful New York City.

1. Central Park – at the top of my list and still my favorite place to get in the zone. Aside from its refreshing natural beauty, Central Park is home to hundreds of stalwarts, as well as newbie, runners and is truly the place to inspire and motivate you in the running lifestyle.

2. Cunningham Park – closer to home, this park was first introduced to me a couple of years ago during training for my first Boston Marathon. It gives the illusion of a rural setting and provides ample opportunity for training in a more secluded and nature-friendly setting.

3. West Side Highway – an early morning or late evening treat for the eyes as either the moon sits over the Hudson River or the sun sets against the back drop of Jersey City in the distance.

4. East River Park Track – the athlete’s buzz is here offering motivation to up your running game through various speed workouts as performed by a variety of runners and competitive running groups. Show up on your own or join a group, whatever works for you.

5. Queensborough Bridge – one of the main five bridges in the city, the Queensborough Bridge brings runners and a lot of other traffic from Long Island City into Manhattan and back. Running it both ways and even catching the train on my way to Queens after the bridge run is one of my fun runs.

6. Alley Pond Park – relatively close to Cunningham Park (you can run from one to the other) and another of my favorite running places in Queens.

7. Forest Park – based in Queens, Forest Park has a lot of trails, which is a running favorite of mine. I haven’t been here all that often, which keeps it pretty interesting, but when I get the opportunity it’s always a treat to rediscover.

8. Prospect Park – much like Central Park for running, only not as famous. It’s a bit out of my way to get to on a regular basis but definitely my go-to place for running in Brooklyn and presents a course that I’m comfortable with as it’s home to the beginning miles of the Brooklyn half-marathon.

9. Inwood Hill Park – trails, hills, and ridges abound in this park, which is in upper Manhattan, and presents plenty of opportunities for scenic running with views of the surrounding Hudson River for motivation.

10. George Washington Bridge into Palisades Park – lots of room for building mileage and escaping the city. This is my favorite long run route and can incorporate a full 20 miles to and from the visitors center in Palisades Park if done in its entirety.

Needless to say there are a lot more pretty cool routes like Corona Park in Queens, the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the High Line in the city and for sure I love these too, but overall the above is my favorite of the seven years of my living and running in New York. I’m holding out for more though as I’m told there remains so much more to discover.

I’ve always maintained that New York City is a city in which there can be no middle ground when it comes to feelings. You either love it or hate it: love or hate the noise, the mess, the people, the clash of cultures, the diversity and variety in almost every human element and the effect these can have on the structure and composition of the city. If you find yourself, like I do, learning to love this place then you’ll truly appreciate how wonderful these running opportunities are in a city of this size with such a huge population. In any event, we, as runners living in this city treasure it and like to portray New York as the running capital of the world, which is not too much of a stretch when you consider that every November we run the largest marathon in the world here.

 

 

It’s July… birthday, running, racing. Where have I Been?

Me @ Central Park

Wow! Hot days and Summer are moving full steam ahead while I have been preoccupied with various non-running essentials. Sometimes life can get in the way of your plans and you literally have to fight your way out and double down on your efforts to stay on course. That has been my struggle this last month or so, but no more. I’m welcoming July with the full intent of racking up those miles and getting totally physical with my workouts. Plus, it also happens to be my birthday month, which adds a bit of extra motivation to my grand scheme of becoming the fittest version of myself.

Me and the pro’s @ nyrr mini 10K

A brief look back saw us celebrating international running day in June, people all over the world joined in and got their run on and shared about it on social media. For my part, that was one of the days I made sure to get out there and celebrate our sport with other like-minded people. It was awesome to see and be a part of a world community committed to running for every reason you could think of. Then there was the mini 10K, the only women’s race in the city, certainly the first of its kind in the world, where we show a lot of woman power and even international presence. About 8,500 of us ran this year and though that was a slightly lower number than last year, it was a totally well-executed run by NYRR. Surprisingly, I had my best 10K time in a few years. I never run particularly well in the heat so it did kick my butt in the latter miles, but somehow I was able to do it in a time in which I was satisfied, 46:31, and made me 198th overall, which  means there are some really fast runners in this city.

Yep, I soul cycle.

Not much happened after that as I got bogged down with work and had to slow down, not stop, my plans. I’ve been spending most of my running time in the gym, splitting between runs on the treadmill, body pump classes, spin classes, strength training and doing core work. Therefore, it hasn’t been all bad just less running. Like I said, I plan on upping my mileage this month and hope to do a bit more running outside, either early in the mornings or late in the evenings on account of the heat. This is also the month I plan on starting cross fit training. Happy Birthday to me!

Reviewing Ragnar Cape Cod: 200 miles in 24:11:56

Team ‘Merica

Last weekend I journeyed to The Cape for some Ragnar fun and found my inner wild and then some. Typically, these events take some planning and organizing and I’m grateful that our team had an amazing organizer for had it been left to me, I would have been too stressed with the logistics to run. As it is, our guy didn’t run but only because he was recovering from an injury. Thankfully, all I had to do was pitch in, show up, run and have fun; pretty easy stuff really and totally done.

A group of eleven of us split into two vans and left the city early Friday morning. Our intention was to make it to Nantasket Beach, where the race began, in time to check-in, grab a snack and get a few photos in before start time at 2pm. We did too, with just a few minutes to spare, and after an orientation video and a few pics, our first guy headed out amidst much fanfare for a short but fast 4.9 miles. We divided into two groups, whereby the first van held all the runners running the first leg, which was five of us, while van two held the second group. From then on we paced ourselves from point to point, to simultaneously meeting our runner while dropping off the next one as part of the relay. Van 2 went ahead to meet up at the first change-over for leg 2, and I suspected,  to get some food in.

I was next up and we were just able to make the change. Since this was my first time running this type of event, I had little idea what to expect and was pretty anxious and uncertain while running. Turned out it was much ado about nothing as save for my underlying anxiety, it was pretty routine running, just in uncharted territory, which made for an interesting run. I had a couple early kills (passing other runners) and made my 6.4 miles in about 46 minutes. Not bad for a rookie!

My most anxious moment came when it was my turn to run at 2am. Though we got decked out in lights, reflector vests and head lamps, I couldn’t help but be nervous about running under darkness. I will probably never forget it. There’s nothing quite like being able to hear yourself think. What started out as cold, about 40℉ soon warmed up as I concentrated on staying the course and not getting lost. It helped that I passed a few runners along the way and even got passed by one speedster, that way I was sure I was in the right track. Of course there were markers but the dead of night can play crazy tricks with you given that they’re not manned and there’s no one at all to question or to give directions. It’s not hard to figure that your senses would be hyper-alert as a result.

It’s crazy though, running in the dark: the utter stillness of the night, the darkness covers you like a blanket, the air smells sharp and crisp and one could be forgiven for thinking it all a dream. However the constant whisk of the wind as I sped on by was evidence enough that it was real alright. I recall peering into the darkness attempting to sift some shape out of well..nothing..but knowing that just beyond there was something, something worth seeing, but that darn it, I couldn’t make out a thing. Only the occasional bobbing headlight or flash of light from a fellow runner, or what I hoped was a runner, kept me from total isolation. In fact, that might have been among my fastest 4.7 miles, which ended on a high note.

I was up again at 7am for a double stretch of 11.9 miles total. Not my idea of a perfect run coming from what amounted to a few hours dozing in the van, but the idea was floated and I succumbed to treating it as a medium-long run of sorts. Not my smartest move without sleep and food (breakfast), so while the first half of the run was good, the second half was tough and not helped by the last two hilly miles. However, I survived, earned my bragging rights and wrapped up my mileage with around twenty-two miles.

For the rest of the race, I was cheerleader, supporter and even went back for a run with another team member to encourage one of our runners and help bring her home on a tough leg.

We wrapped up our two hundred miles around 2:25pm on Saturday in Provincetown and everyone was definitely happy to be finished and we’re ready for beers as we moved to meet our final leg runner, who had a really tough last leg of 9 miles. He killed it at a 6:25 p/min pace and was pretty much cooked at that point. We all celebrated with a run up the last stretch and headed into the Ragnar finish area for food, drinks and medals and spent a couple of hours doing photos and recon – talking about highs and lows as we ate.

It was the coolest thing to be a part of that running extravaganza and get to see all the teams that had finished – others were still running – and to swap stories and grab some swag. Eventually, we made it out of there and headed to crash for the night, at a local airbnb which consisted of more beers and wine and pizza and wings and showers and some pictionary and ultimately a movie. For my part, movie aside, my lights were out at 10:30pm; it had been a while since I had slept that early.

We were up at 6:30am next morning to showers for mother’s day and to cold pizza for a pre breakfast. True teamwork spirit in effect, we were out of there and in the car wash by 8am and heading back to New York soon after we stopped and grabbed some breakfast at a local breakfast shop; 200 miles accounted for.

Official Finish Photo
Team ‘Mercia

Downtime Running in my Shoes

It’s not very often that I get to run just because – with no marathon on the horizon. You heard right! No deadlines, no training, no Saturday long runs, or crunch-time cross training, or speed and tempo runs. Things are just happening on a slightly ad-hoc basis, though runs and workouts are pretty consistent across the average week.

Gotta say, it feels different, and strange, and good, and uncertain, all at the same time. Earlier in the year, I had plans for a repeat summer marathon in San Francisco, but things have changed and I’m planning a few fun/adventure runs with the possibility of a longer run at the end of summer now. One of the things I prize about myself is my ability to be flexible as circumstances change and/or different opportunities present themselves; so while I’m holding fast to my larger goals, I’m open to changing things up a bit in favor of unavoidable circumstances, adventure, opportunity variety and so on. The situation, as is life, remains fluid and since I’m a keep-your-overnight-bag-packed kinda girl, I’m pretty much stuck in a rut proof. But for now, I’m cool with chilling and not having to sweat the details and complexities that come with the long run.

Meanwhile, there are lots of running and running-related things keeping me busy and I’m reveling in it. I have a few running events lined up, cross-fit training on the horizon, swimming in the summer and then there’s my regular workouts and fit classes at the gym. Next stop – Ragnar, Cape Cod. It’s happening this weekend. Stay tuned to hear all about how it went down next week!

Running into Adventure this Summer with Obstacle Racing

Source: cloudlineapparel.com

Time goes on and so must we. A truer saying does not exist. It’s May-day – my way of ushering in the first day of May – and we’re one giant step closer to Summer. Oh the running possibilities that this awakens in my adventure-craving soul.

In the wake of both the Boston and London Marathons, many of us may feel a sort of push to run – to up our game or even to switch things up and say, maybe, compete? Maybe it’s neither of those but surely in the wake of such Kenyan greatness,  and for sure they dominated prized placings in both races, some of us have figured to find our own little niche to excel in and maybe even have some fun with. If so, I think you’re on the right track; for what’s running if you can’t enjoy some of it at the very least? Despite what non-runners may think, we’re not crazy, running can be fun!

Source: theclymb.com

Summer presents some fun opportunities for runners. While there aren’t much in the way of long-distance races, such as the marathon or other ultra running events, in the hot months ahead, in these United States, there are a variety of running events tailored to the fun-loving adventurer in each of us. Whether you decide to trek cross-country or stay local there are lots of running choices. Some popular ones that feature across the country at various and different times include: Ragnar Relay Races, Obstacle Races, which includes Mud Runs such as Reebok Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac,Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Savage Race, The Color Run, Foam Fest, Night Runs, and some even include biking. There are many others that are spin-offs and/or localized versions of these races.

Whichever or whatever you decide, even if you choose to sit these out – truly your loss – you should endeavor to get outside. Go walking, hiking, camping, swimming, riding, surfing, learn a local sport – take up soccer or baseball. On the other hand, should you choose the fun way out, make sure to bring your A game ( best effort) and best attitude to make sure you have the best experience and maybe fall in love and develop a life-long habit along the way?

As an aside, note that while adventure/ obstacle races are not endurance races, they are challenging and are strength and skill-based and requires participants to be fit and have some knowledge of extreme sports and training in some of the activities involved. Thank goodness that they’re pretty short on average or you team up and assign legs, though that in no way detracts from the skill element. They require determination, commitment – both financial and physical, and your spirit of competition and fun of course. Also, be ready to travel and overnight over a couple of days sometimes. My recommendation? Get busy, tag a team and get to planning. One last note, these races are extra fun with friends or team-mates. So team up, Summer is about to happen for you!

Taper Week Madness

@ Palisades Park Police PostHard to believe a year has gone by already and I’m heading to Boston again. After living (and running) through what was a much-anticipated race-turn-nightmare last year, I just didn’t think that I’d be going back so soon; I mean, how could I have known that my chance at redemption would be this quick? I couldn’t. Exactly six days to d-day and the 2017 Boston Marathon, and I can’t believe I’m here – doing this to myself once again – getting butterflies and all excited and sh**! During my two-week taper countdown, I’ve been trying my darnedest to slow down my mind along with training and while I’ve been successful with the latter, I’m finding it a bit more challenging to put my mind to rest. Nevertheless, forging ahead while assessing what I’ve accomplished and what’s left, I remain the eternal optimist and feel that I’m in a good place now after my last long run a week ago.

Along the course

Last Saturday I took off to New Jersey Palisades Park for my last long run. While I got off to a late start, it proved early enough to make it all the way from the George Washington bridge (178th Street Manhattan) to Palisades Police Post, 10 miles in. The entire run was 20 miles, my longest for the training season since last October, and a good one; away from everyone and everything I was able to lose myself in nature and just be.

Spring-time

Since escape is rare and I don’t often get the opportunity, I enjoyed it for the treat it was. I’ve run this course for three consecutive years, around this time of year and continue to find it a challenge as it rolls along the Hudson River.

View over the Hudson

I took it easy on the hills, kept a more or less steady 8 min/mile pace and even slowed down for a couple of pics. What can I say, sometimes a picture is really worth a thousand words.

Over the Hudson

I’ve run enough marathons to know that I shouldn’t be worried yet there’s this nagging bit of anxiety that I didn’t do enough. Needless to say, the time for debating – what if – is long gone, the race is on, pun intended. Being an optimist has its advantages, which leaves me pretty confident I’ll be fine, last year’s mishap notwithstanding. This is the time, I’m told, to exude confidence, optimism and hope, so here I am cultivating an environment of positivity, looking forward to a final taper week of minimal running, some core and cross training and focusing on storing up my carbs, hydration and getting some major snooze time in. I’m Boston bound, ready or not. Strike that..I’m ready and Boston bound in four days!

Running Inspiration: Ed Whitlock

Ed Whitlock @ the 2016 Toronto Marathon (competitor.com)

Inspiration abounds, you have only to look around.

There is nothing more disappointing or wasted than an unfulfilled dream or unrealized goal. Now imagine going through life not once allowing yourself the chance to see where “it” could have taken you; by “it” I mean that dream or goal that started as a little seed, planted by some per chance wind somewhere in the deep recesses of your psyche. I have a theory that many of us will never achieve our full or real potential, that fear and/or the lack of motivation and inspiration will be the chief deterrents to our success and happiness. However, that is another issue. Here we’ll focus on how, despite that theory, there are those who will go on to inspire, motivate and encourage others to greatness, even in spite of themselves, as was the case with Ed Whitlock, an older Canadian long distance runner and Master, who died in March.

The running world has indeed lost a great soldier and runner in Ed. Without much fanfare but with a lot of heart, he set about running, on and off over his lifetime, a simple life as he termed it – and incurred a host of records to his name and the history books in his latter years and leading up to his death. Over a course of about twenty years from ages 65 to 85 he acquired single-age world records for the 5K, half marathon, and marathon. What is particularly fascinating about Ed is that he never employed any expensive, extensive or intricate system or even had a secret to his success, he simply had a passion for running, was good at it, and had the ability. As far as he was concerned, he just ran and would argue against being called an inspiration by those of us who revered him. Simplicity and humility more than any specific training regimen seemed to be Ed’s modus operandi. I would argue that his investments, unlike so many current-day runners, never graduated to high-tech or inventive methods to improve efficiency or performance but stayed modest and relatively unchanged over the years. Old sneakers, a relatively normal diet, the average shorts and tank in good weather, slightly more for the colder temps, and a body fully engaged in continuous running motion at a steady pace were in essence his tools of trade. He went on to die of prostate cancer at the age of 86, a few months after running a sub 4:00 marathon time.

It would be a mistake if we did not take a step back and see what we can learn from Ed’s life and running ethic. If we want to honor his memory, we would do well to adopt at the very least his modesty and passion for what he believed in, his ability to defy convention and worldly standards. Ed proved once and for all that the only limits that exist are the ones we place on ourselves; that while we operate within the confines of life, we are solely responsible for our choices, attitudes and perspective. Ed chose to live his life each day limitless, ran when he could, as well as he could, where he could and he did it as long as he could. He did it his way.

Ed Whitlock @ Rotterdam Marathon
(globalnews.ca.com) The Canadian Press

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