Happiness Was on the Other Side of Letting Go

It was June 11th, 2016 and I was sitting at the counter of a diner across the street from my hotel in Portland, Oregon eating a stack of their famous pancakes. Later that evening I was going to be running 25 laps around a track as a last chance attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Just four years earlier I was in the exact same situation at the exact same meet and I crossed the finish line that night 8 seconds under the 2012 Olympic Trials standard. Then, I knew that just 10 days later I would be heading to Eugene, Oregon to run 10,000m at famous Hayward Field in one of the most exciting track meets in the country and I felt euphoric. I was on top of the world. Not only did I do what I set out to do, but during the weeks and days leading up to the race I somehow knew that I would run the time. I wanted nothing more in the world and I was certain that I would pull it off because I wanted it too bad not to. However, this time when I found myself in the exact same situation i…

An Exposé

This is a post that I have needed to write for a long time, but haven't had the courage to do so. Nothing should be more comfortable to you than your own skin. However, circumstances often make "yourself" the last thing you want to be. The last several years of my life have been some of the most difficult I have ever had to endure. This blog is a "running blog" and therefore exposed the toll those things were taking on my running career, but it never identified the cause. When looking back through my last several posts (I really slack on blogging, don't I?), it is easy to spot the trend of a dark and defeated tone. While the things I felt like I was suffering from had nothing to do with running, they certainly made it difficult to perform in every single area of my life, running very much included. Today seemed symbolic enough of the last few years to serve as a good catalyst to say the things that need to be said. Today I embarked on a 13 mile run up a 14,…

A Tribute to All Those Brave Enough to Start the Race

17 months. A year and a half. That is how long it has been since I have PRed in an event. Any event. Any distance (and, I have run everything from a 1,500m to a marathon). In fact, during that entire time I have actually only run slower, clocking some of my worst times in 6 or 7 years. While it may seem crazy, I have never experienced this part of our sport. Of course, I have had bad races. I have fallen short of where I wanted to be; Of where I thought I was capable of being. But, I have always had good performances sprinkled in to serve as affirmation that I was still doing the right things. That I still belonged. For the first 16 years of my running career, I got better every single year. It is easy to find the motivation to keep going when you are constantly improving. When you find yourself on the other side of success, you realize it can be a little bit uninspiring and at times, dark. The worst part is that you often can't pinpoint what the problem is. I am healthy. I am tr…

In order to find yourself, you have be willing to get out there and look.

"Going nowhere isn't about turning you back on the world; it's about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply" - Pico Iyer

A few weeks ago I competed in a 3k steeplechase in Joensuu, Finland to cap off one of the most disappointing seasons in my running career. This past season was the first season since joining this sport that I didn't run a PR in at least one event. It was the first year that I didn't "get better" in the most tangible, quantifiable way of measuring improvement. When such disappointment occurs, I always follow up with a reflection period to determine "what went wrong?" This time, that wasn't even necessary as I knew exactly what the issue was. I was spending hours each week in the weight room getting stronger, leading to the longest injury-free streak I have had in 4 or 5 years. I was doing workouts far above anything I had ever done. I was fit and ready to run fas…

The Power of the Subjunctive

I've been having a hard time, lately. There. I said it. On the internet. To the whole world. I'm tossing pride and vulnerability out the window, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with struggle. In a book I am currently reading, there is a quote that says "struggle isn't an option, it is a biological requirement." We must operate at our weakest and lowest in order to become strong enough to be our greatest. My current emotional state has nothing directly to do with running. In fact, right before slipping into this funk, I was racing and training at the best I ever had. However, as very evident in recent performances, my physical ability and drive is being greatly affected by where I currently am, mentally and emotionally. Thus begins the never-ending cycle.

I have spent a lot of time over the last few months thinking from a subjunctive point of view. "I wish my life were like this." "What would it be like if I was that kind of person?"…

You are what you influence.

"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us." 

My last several years as a "professional" athlete have left much to be desired. There have many high points in the form of experiences, race results and just gosh darn beautiful runs with gosh darn awesome people. However, there were more frustrating experiences than I could even count. From struggling to find a track to practice on for several weeks in the dead of track season, to being denied entry into specific races, to just feeling disrespected as both an individual and as a team. There were many days when myself and my teammates would vent to each other about how difficult and challenging the world of post-collegiate running can be. Guidance, resources and opportunities are very hard to find. Whether you are a NCAA champion or an average runner with some potential, you tend to finish college …

Have a Little Faith

It is easy to see a positive race experience and assume that it was due to everything going perfectly, the stars aligning in just the right way and flawless execution. If there is one thing I learned this past Sunday at the CIM Marathon, it was to never expect that. Here is my recount of the weekend, a story I think is worth telling.

The week leading into the race, I began sleeping very poorly. A combination of nervousness, anxiousness and excitement caused me to wake up every few hours with the race on my mind, sometimes even going so far as to get out of bed and do some rope stretching on the floor in the middle of the night. I have raced plenty of big races (much bigger than this one) and extreme nervousness has never really been a problem for me. In reality, there was not much riding on this race. It wasn't a major marathon and I already had my spot at the Olympic trials secured. Anything that was to happen on Sunday was just icing on the cake. For some reason, my body felt …