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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Running is Empowerment, Ownership and Control; don’t hate, Run.

Source: blogdoctoroz.com

Source: blogdoctoroz.com

Someone once asked me if there was anything that couldn’t be cured by running..my answer – of course no! LOL. I mean you have to believe in something right? After God that is. While it seems the world’s all upside down these days and people are all torn up about this and that and a lot of politics are involved, I try to keep it simple. It’s not that the politics of Washington and the issues affecting this great country doesn’t affect me, it sure does. However, through running I’ve discovered the power of compartmentalizing. Since then, there’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place.

You live and learn is truer than you think. You live long enough, you learn well enough that life is not so much a sprint as it is a marathon – in which case it’s all about the strategy (how well you run) to get to the finish line. Know that as with any endurance event, there will be uncertainties and/or unknown elements and even disappointments from time to time. But just as we never throw in the trowel and quit before we reach the finish line, so too we must face life head-on determined to persevere and not just finish, but do so well.

Forgive me while I don’t indulge in all the whining and bitching (excuse my candor) about life and politics and our undetermined future. The recent political upheaval notwithstanding, I’ve embraced running as the friend it is – to empower me; to give me the sense of purpose and freedom that is so indelible to my nature. On my runs I can think, breathe, process and compartmentalize. I have perspective and faith that things are not going to get the better of me.

Running allows me to own my problems..the issues I face and the responsibility I have to forge a path forward, finish line in focus. It is through running that I can regain control of my sense of self and purpose and so use it to inform and empower others to own and control their destiny as well. One step at a time, we have the power, the right, and the freedom in these United States and beyond to overcome whatever challenges that threaten our right to live, love, let our voices be heard and even run freely. We must not take it lightly nor should we let anyone or group de legitimize our right to do so.

Stay Inspired and Running this Winter

Source: Rush University Medica Center

Source: Rush University Medical Center

Winter has to be the hardest time to stay committed to a running plan. I mean, there are so many challenges facing the inspired-new-year-goal-oriented person. There are those brutally cold and snowy days: days when all you wish for are PJs all-day long. Then there is the issue of shorter days: less daylight hours means less time to run especially if you’re going solo. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s still the issue of getting all cloak and dagger like and layering up, which is such a bother really. Add to that much more extreme weather and/or a fluctuating weather pattern, which is uncertain at best, and your chances of catching the flu or a virus become highly probable. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

There isn’t much more one can do but stay focused and committed. Sure there are a lot of hurdles weather-wise and many personal and physical adjustments to consider but this is one instance where the grass is really greener on the other side. During this time, more than anything, a runner needs to embrace his or her strengths and be flexible with the intent of adapting: time, effort, pace etc., to remaining on point for the duration. It can only help that lacing up and getting out is hell on the dreaded winter blues and puts runner’s joy on a whole new level.

As is often said, this too shall pass. Below is a video clip I discovered on YouTube by “Just Another Runner”  that explains why running is my happy place and may help to keep you inspired. Take a look.

Run Encouraged

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Source: anchoredfaith.com

“Encouragement is the fuel on which hope runs.”
-Zig Ziglar
I bet it’s getting harder to see the goal, bet a hundred reasons are turning up why today is not a good day, maybe it’s all you can do sometimes to get out of bed these days. If only I were a betting kind of girl.
We don’t have to search very far to find a thousand reasons everyday why we should give up; forget running, forget this cold, forget goals. Afterall, there’s always tomorrow – tomorrow when it’s not so cold and I’m not so tired and pissed off and busy, maybe then the sun’ll shine and I’ll feel motivated. Then, I’ll work extra hard, I’ll make up, I’ll double down, I’ll recommit.. tomorrow.
How well I know, seeing as I’ve been there all too often this season. Like most runners do, I know how feelings of discouragement, failure, disappointment, weakness, incompetence, dejection, not-being-good-enough, can’t-measure-up, not-having-what-it-takes, low self-confidence and a host of other negative emotions, how they can play havoc with your self-esteem and plans. If you ever thought that you are the only one, I beg to differ and welcome you to the club of misfit runners, the imperfect and always striving to be better, work-in-progress that we all are. It is a condition that we suffer from called being human. Frankly, you don’t get through life without having been subject to it at some point or another, and what better time to fall victim to its charms than winter.
Some call it winter blues, maybe an extreme case in some instances, but true blue, down and dirty feelings of just chucking it all to hell for the day, the week, the season or even forever. Thing is, if you really stop and think about it you’d recognize it for what it is and you’d be better for putting it right where it belongs – under your feet. Yes, you’d strap on those running shoes anyway and hit the road, if only for the mere reason of silencing the voices in your head. Later on with a clearer head, divested of all dastardly thoughts as running is wont to do, you can better appreciate how therapeutic the use of negative emotions can be. But then that’s partly why we run, to be free of the natural worries that we encounter and to be able to embrace the person we are in the present while giving what we have to give in the moment we can. And if for some reason there’s nothing to give in that moment or that day, please know that it’s ok. You are entitled to throw a winter pity party, at most once, then you pull yourself up and high-tail it out of there. Just like the Spring will come, it too shall pass. There is a lot to look forward to, lots of running to get done and lots of medals to be won. It really is all a matter of perspective. Run encouraged.

How to Run things this Season

Source: active.com

Source: active.com

“I succeed on my own personal motivation, determination and commitment. My mindset is: if I’m not out there training, someone else is.” – Lynn Jennings

Thursday gone was not the typical running day; rather it was windy, cold and dank, with the promise of temperatures getting progressively colder within the next few weeks. This is not strange at all but merely the signs of Autumn falling behind and Winter fast approaching; which then begs the question, If this is what it looks and feels like now, what will we do when Winter gets here? Since this is no simple question, it follows that the answer is not simple at all but should be more of a determined, precise and focused response to a challenge faced by many runners who live in seasonal climates, particularly that of Winter. A double challenge exists for those of us who, not only dislike the cold, but have Spring races lined up and must thus spend our Winter months in training.

Between the holiday festivities and the cold weather, I’d wager that training for a marathon or any other endurance-type race in not high up there on anyone’s wish list, mine least of all. But I’ve figured for some time now that being a runner  means one rarely gets vacation or even have off days. We are more likely to get a rest day in-between training, but really if one is in this thing competitively – even competing with oneself – then it’s pretty much open season on running. The truth is, after a while, it becomes a way of life and is no more scheduled than eating is; however, if you’re in that place where it’s still a bit of a chore then of course around this time it becomes the proverbial millstone. And ouch, that’s darn heavy. But, lucky you and me, we are not alone. Running, while often done solo, is at base a community sport and so wherever you may find yourself this holiday season, I urge you to link up with the local running community. This may take the form of a running meet up, running group, running club, a couple running buddies or a friend – those willing to share their run, experience or just company with you – will make all the difference to your cold, wet and even icy runs.

The more structure you add to your training is the more likelihood you have of it being a success. All this means is that you should add a training plan to your schedule, holidays included. This plan should be a guide to keep you focused and engaged taking into account the necessary rest days and dutifully rewarding you for your hard work. It helps if you either do this with a group or person for motivation and accountability and stick to a regular schedule as much as possible. For sure, we can’t always be certain how things will pan out especially with the weather; snowstorms, road blockages, black ice, loss of power, any number of things could and may go wrong. While we can’t control any of these, we are certainly resourceful and determined and so it’s useful to add a plan B to your training schedule as well as to ensure maximum leverage of this training period. The gym: cross training, spin or cycling or a conditioning or aerobic class and/or the treadmill or indoor track are good just-in-case options, at-home: You Tube workout video, jump rope, Pilates, yoga or even just hooking up with a friend for a jog around the block, park or a local school track if it’s crazy out.

You will find that, as it becomes more routine than novelty, those runs will inspire more challenge and greater effort. Aside from the bonus of staying fit and looking fabulous through Christmas and into the New Year, there will be no guilty pleasures, for everything you eat is well deserved and thus tastes twice as good. You may even find that you’re actually looking forward to getting out, nothing like the fresh, cold air and a training run to work up an appetite and leave you invigorated and ready to run the world.

Marathon Training, Fundraising & Just Because

 

TCSNYCMarathon_r31

Approximately sixteen weeks to Chicago and eighteen weeks to The New York City Marathon. I mean WOW! Where did the time go? Am I alone in thinking that we’re not the only ones running here, that so is time! That being said, technically, I should to be in marathon training mode, which means I’m suppose to be running practically everyday working on mileage, speed, strength and endurance. In reality, I figure to take the next couple weeks to myself and run for sheer enjoyment – just because it’s Summer, it’s hot, it’s pretty and because there’s the inescapable fact looming that I’m about to embark on some crazy running; two challenging marathons in two successive months.

Rest assured, I’m not crazy, people do this all the time – not really. Not ordinary people anyhow, but then you’ve probably already figured out that normal does not describe me. Not to worry, it’s not my first time, only the second..wink..and I’ve already figured my strategy is more mental than physical. See, I’m training for a marathon so I’ll just keep running..joke..but really, it’s just a shift in focus after the first run as the next is within two weeks. This is ideal as it works to keep the momentum going. With enough sleep, training and cross-training, the right diet and proper hydration, I should be fine. In fact, I predict they’ll be runs of a lifetime, providing I stay injury-free. My past record notwithstanding, I aim to stay positive; run a few races between now and then and try to maintain top form. With God on my side, I can’t lose now, can I.

team-UNICEF-banner

On another related note, I haven’t been all-ensconed in fundraising efforts for my project – Team UNICEF re the NYC Marathon – as I should be. I’ll have to be a bit more brazen in my approach if I am to reach the $3500 goal that is allotted me. While I’d love to raise more, it being for such a great cause and all, I’ll settle for being within target range for now. If you’re reading this, please feel obligated to help a runner and sister out; plus you’ll earn bragging rights for a good cause and get your name on my running-T on marathon day. I also have a few cool T-Shirts for very generous donors and a couple pom poms for you if you go the extra mile and show up to cheer me on race day. It rarely gets better than this but I’m sure you deserve it!

 

Running for causes aside, I really treasure each opportunity I get to make a difference while running. Being a force for change is something we can all benefit from; hence why I think I take running and training so seriously leaving very little time to enjoy the sport. So excuse me while I fix that before doubling down for some record running in the coming months.

Be a trooper and support my cause here:   https://www.crowdrise.com/unicefnyc2015/fundraiser/loricaldon

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Let running ‘Greats’ inspire your run

Camille Herron,  Guinness World Record, 2012 Women's Route 66 MarathonEvery child needs a hero, one who can either fly, is super fast, super strong or has some eye-boggling gift that defies human ability.  As  we grow older, that hero takes on different qualities and / or definition and plays a different, but no less important role in our aspirations and dreams. Who doesn’t love a good hero? Someone who does what we dream of, only better.  For runners, it’s no different. We derive inspiration from many of either our fellow greats or those who’ve gone before us and put their indelible stamp on running history.

Some of the greatest runners have used the running platform to raise awareness for causes, to speak out against various ills in society or to garner support for a personal dream or idea that has impacted the world.  Still, there are those who inspire us because of their determination and drive to overcome their physical, mental or psychological limitations.

Here are a few who inspire me.

83-year-old, Bob Dolphin and Lenore Dolphin are running proof that age is just a number. They are race directors of the Yakima River Canyon Marathon; Bob has completed more than 500 marathons while Lenore volunteers at most of these events.

Six year old, Keelan Glass, is a world record holder. With a time of 2:46:31, she is the youngest half-marathoner in the world.

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon in 1967. Amidst much controversy she finished and later went on to win the NYC marathon.

American Sprinter Allyson Felix, an Olympic gold and silver medalist, she fights against the physical inactivity epidemic.

Paula Radcliffe, world record holder for women’s marathon and mother, she has run while pregnant -training for the 2012 London marathon, and as a new mother.

Jason Smyth, a Paralympic runner, who was likened to Usain Bolt in the 2012 games. He is visually impaired with 10 percent vision because of an hereditary, degenerative eye condition and the fastest disabled runner of all-time.

There are many others such as Usain Bolt, Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Meb Keflegizhi among others who carry the running torch that advances the sport of running and inspire us to dream big, to never give up and to set our sights on making a difference doing what we love one step at a time. However, whomever and wherever they are, because of them the world is a better place and we salute them as we aspire to become an inspiration ourselves.

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