all posts tagged 'running'

The Brutal Wonders of a Late-Summer Run

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For cradle Catholics like me, death is forever a part of how you see the world: how you pray, how you celebrate, how you tell stories and create art. But that doesn’t make your awareness of your inevitable death any easier. The thought of not being with my wife and my daughters, of never seeing my family again—these thoughts overtake me with an ambiguous frisson, something like the rush of ecstatic exhaustion I feel somewhere near the top of the hill.

I won’t run forever. But running feels like a practice inherited from some ancient tradition, something primal and odd. I run in the heat to run into the summer, to keep the heat going as the evening light begins to dim.

Ugh, I really need to stop reading powerful essays about running.

Eventually, one of them will make me pick up a new pair of shoes and get in a couple laps around the block.

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What Courtney Dauwalter Learned in the Pain Cave

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In 2020, when Hicks set the fastest known supported women’s time in a roughly 90-mile challenge called Nolan’s 14, which involves hiking and running 14 14,000-foot mountains, Dauwalter paced her through the night, telling jokes and stories to make the time pass. Around midnight, she asked Hicks if she wanted a bite of pizza and pulled out a slice wrapped in tinfoil from her pack.

The legend of Courtney continues to grow. If you are unfamiliar with the accomplishments of this Minnesota native, go look them up.

Just reading this article makes me want to dust off my running shoes and get a hundred miler under my belt.

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Molly Seidel Still Struggles

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Seidel went to Eugene in late June, during the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships, for what is known as team processing, an administrative session to prepare athletes for international competition. They fill out paperwork and get sized for uniforms. And, new in 2021, athletes undergo a mental health screening.

Seidel answered the questions on the screener honestly—and her responses raised red flags. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) doctors, who administer the screening, referred her for treatment.

A USOPC spokesperson wrote in an email to Runner’s World that the test screens for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and sleep disorders, among other things. The results athletes provide are then flagged for follow up by a USOPC licensed mental health provider. From there, the athletes are connected to mental health resources.

“The screenings are not intended to screen athletes out of competition or off Team USA, but are a part of a broad approach to intervene and provide support to athletes who struggle with mental health, so they are able to achieve their goals,” the spokesperson wrote.

Seidel said she was connected with a new team of specialists, many in Salt Lake City. “USOPC set up everything for me and they’re continuing treatment for me,” she said. “Honestly it was so much easier being able to have them take the reins on it. And feel very much like, ‘Okay, they’re going to help me out on this.’”

I recall sitting with my therapist for the first time during my big depressive episode in 2021. I hadn’t said a word yet, and I started welling up almost immediately.

“I have no idea why I’m crying,” I said to her. I hadn’t even explained why I was there.

“It’s probably because you are feeling relief,” she said.

She was completely right. I hadn’t really appreciated the need to unload your trauma and to allow someone to help you unpack and sort through your anxieties.

I’d still say that 99% of the tears I’ve shed in the past three years came after being vulnerable and letting others help me.

I felt those same tears well up when reading this piece about Molly Siedel, particularly the section in the pull quote above.

Say what you will about our Olympic committee: this policy is a walk off home run. Kudos to them for offering help, and mega kudos to Molly for being strong enough to take it.

I’ve had the fortune of getting to hang around several Olympians, and hearing them share stories of the pressures they face is incredible. I’m glad they have an opportunity to get relief when they need it.

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Inside the Pain Cave With Ultrarunning GOAT Courtney Dauwalter

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When she feels as if she is running on shards of glass, when her legs feel like they are about to split open, when she thinks she can’t possibly run one more mile, Courtney Dauwalter starts visualizing the pain cave. It’s a place she constructs in her mind with elaborate detail. She conjures every crevice of the cave’s architecture: a large space with different tunnels inside. The cavernous paths in her mind can be wide or narrow, depending on the length and duration of the race. But with Courtney, they’re usually impossibly long.

Dauwalter, 37, is considered the world’s best female ultramarathon runner. She might just be the greatest ultrarunner of all time, period. She races astonishing distances of 100- and 200-plus miles, even once attempting a 486-mile course. She is often on her feet for a mind-bending 24 or 48 straight hours, in the harshest environments imaginable, from steep terrain and high elevation to extreme weather.

Each race, she intends to go into the pain cave. She almost craves it. She warns herself, standing at the start line right before the gun goes off, that she is about to embark on another uncomfortable journey to the cave. “It’s not always going to feel great,” she tells herself. “But that’s going to make us better. We’re going to get better from visiting it.”

I got to meet Courtney while recording an episode of C Tolle Run, and I can confirm that she is incredibly nice and wonderful to be around.

Her attitude here towards approaching uncomfortable situations is the one I want to have when I grow up.

This whole article is insanely inspiring. Courtney serves as one of those people who seem to understand how to live your best life: push yourself to do your best, explore the world around you, appreciate every little thing, and use all your tools to help you get better (even tools like negative thoughts and pain).

There is nothing quite like running super long distances, and reading this article makes me think I need to set myself up with another challenge.

(Not running-related, though. I think I’ve gone as far as I can realistically go with that sport. Tomorrow morning, I’m gonna pick up my bike and start building there.)

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Eliud Kipchoge: Inside the camp, and the minds, of the greatest marathon runner of all time

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In his 2006 essay, ‘Roger Federer as Religious Experience’, the late, great American writer David Foster Wallace wrote that “beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty”.

“It might be called kinetic beauty,” he added. “Its power and appeal are universal.”

Watch Kipchoge run, and you’ll see his point. It’s difficult to find a sportsperson so impossibly suited to his craft, as if his entire reason for being is to coast over the ground at 4:40 per mile, a pace that for most would feel like a sprint.

But when Kipchoge does it, his head has virtually no vertical motion, his face so relaxed that he looks bored. His arms hang loose, swinging casually, his fingers in a gentle tuck, as if holding an invisible stick. His feet don’t so much hit the ground as stroke it, his toes pushing off the road with the elegant, balletic grace of a dancer.

Kipchoge is to marathon running as Jordan is to basketball, Williams is to tennis, and Gretzky is to hockey: an absolute monster, unquestioned in their supremacy.

Have you ever run a mile in four minutes and forty seconds? How about 26.2 of them back to back?

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To Run My Best Marathon at Age 44, I Had to Outrun My Past

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Can I go faster in my next marathon? I don't know, but I'll certainly try. All three of my kids, though, are realistic about what it means to try to get faster as the body gets weaker every day. They are excited about what they'll feel like at 18 or 28. They're climbing up the mountain as I'm walking down.

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The Tortuous History of the Treadmill

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Inventor William Cubitt subscribed to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. His “Tread-Wheel,” which was described in the 1822 edition of Rules for the Government of Gaols, Houses of Correction, and Penitentiaries, was presented as a way for prisoners to put in an honest day’s labor. Prisoners used treadmills in groups, with up to two dozen convicts working a single machine, usually grinding grain or pumping water, sometimes for as long as eight hours at a stretch. They’d do so “by means of steps … the gang of prisoners ascend[ing] at one end … their combined weight acting upon every successive stepping board, precisely as a stream upon the float-boards of a water wheel.”

Given a treadmill workout and nothing, I sadly choose nothing all too often.

However, it is fantastic that we have the option, and I’m glad the technology is evolving to make treadmill runs feel more like “real” runs.

I do wish, however, I had one of those treadmill desks. I could see myself easily getting 30,000 steps a day if I had one of those bad boys.

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