Friday Inspiration — The Injured Runner

I found this video of 15 hours in he life of Anton Krupicka strangely moving and inspiring in its discussion of a running struggling to find balance.

Krupicka is a talent runner and a thoughtful guy. Here, he discusses how injury has hampered his running career. I feel for him. Especially as it seems his youthful mistakes may have lead to the problems he’s having now, because believe me, if there is anything I know about its youthful mistakes.

Krupicka seems to be expanding his training horizons to include more climbing, skiing, and cycling. I hope it works for him, and I hope he can someday return to top form.

Friday Inspiration: Running in the Rain

The Brooklyn Half is tomorrow and, while I have a marathon the following week, and I’m battling a weird hamstring issue, and its going to rain, I’m still going to do it. This is year three for me and the Brooklyn Half. I can’t miss it.

Tomorrow should be warm, and wet. Kinda like it was during this Hanson Brooks Half Marathon training session. I won’t be running this fast, but I will be running.

Lets get wet tomorrow!

Friday Inspiration: Transvulcania

The international ultra running session starts in earnest this weekend with Transvulcania, run on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. There is a really great group of runners there this year (check out irunfar for interviews with Dakota Jones, Emelie Forsberg and others). I’ll never run an ultra as fast as these people (and I’ll almost surely never run anything in the Canary Islands) but it is a fun event to follow from afar.  Here’s a highlight video from last year where Luis Alberto Hernando, Kilian Jornet, and Sage Canaday duked it out for the men and Anna Frost, Maite Maiora, and Uxue Fraile  battled it out for the women’s podium.

Friday Inspiration – Getting excited for the long run

Tomorrow, I’ll do my last really long run of this training cycle — 20 miles. I’m looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to it being done. 

Whenever I want to post a video related to a long run, this Josh Cox / Ryan Hall video always comes to mind. Maybe it’s their graceful strides and the ease with which they click off sub six minute miles, or maybe its the gorgeous backdrop. Maybe its Johnny Cash. I don’t know, but there’s something about it that just get to me. Maybe it will inspire you too.

Friday Video: Sally McRae and Western States

It was 34 degrees my morning run which is way too goddamn cold for late April. Still! Summer is coming, and with it, the marquee ultra running events. I’m super excited for this year. A whole new crop of talented runners are on the rise, including the fascinating and talented Sally McRae, who placed 10th in last year’s Western States. I don’t know yet if she is planning on running it again. I hope so. I’d love to see what she can do now that she knows the course.

Here’s a really great video of McRae’s Western States quest. Enjoy!

Friday Video: The 1991 Ironman world Championships

Some dude on youtube has posted a bunch of old videos of NBC’s coverage of the Ironman world championships in Kona. Being a bit obsessive, I’ve started watching them in order during my Wednesday night treadmill tempo runs. Here’s the 1991 edition with Mark Allen, Paula Newby Fraiser and John Tesh narrating!

1991 was smack in the middle of Allen and Newby-Fraiser’s dominance of the sport, making this not much of a race by halfway through the run. Still, its fascinating to look back at the steel bikes and lack of wetsuits. So much has changed, yet the distance, and the challenge of finishing it, has stayed the same.


Friday Inspiration: Why Endurance Athletes Choose to Suffer

Like everyone in the northeast, I’m sick of this winter. I’m sick of the cold, and the ice, and the half frozen black slush. More than anything else, I’m sick of running on the treadmill. On the weekends, I generally head outside, regardless of the weather. But during the week, when I’m often running before dawn, or after dark, I tend to head to the basement treadmill. It gets dull, but it gives me loads of time to watch inspiring videos.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Ironman coverage. The Kona championships, the regional championships, inspiration videos edited together by amateurs. Basically its been just lots and lots of nights watching videos of people in spandex, suffering. Last night, I watched the end of the 2014 North American Championship.  At the end of the video, when the final runners of the day were trying to squeak in by the midnight deadline, I got goddamn emotional.  Why? Because I’m a softie? Yes. But also because these efforts touched something inside me.

Of course, the Ironman is a contrived event, as are all modern endurance events, and of course these people volunteered (and in fact paid) for this experience. But that doesn’t make the suffering any less real or the accomplishment any less meaningful.

Many have hypothesized that the rise in popularity of endurance events among the first world middle class is tied to a longing to be physically challenged in a way that the “real” world no longer presents – that in  what has become a post scarcity economy (for certain demographics), people feel the need prove themselves in a visceral, physical way. I think there’s something to that. I see it in myself, and my friends, and I saw it in the athletes in this video.

Many people (including myself) make fun of this desire to suffer for no reason.  I understand why it can seem silly. It’s certainly a luxury.* And endurance athletes definitely take themselves too seriously at times. But watch the last ten minutes of this video, and think about all that went into getting these athletes to that place, and tell me you aren’t at least a little inspired.

*An Ironman entrance fee alone will run you about $700, the gear and time can raise that price considerably.

Friday Inspiration: Scott Jurek

I just finished reading Scott Jurek’s memoir/cookbook Eat and Run.  Its surprisingly good. It reminded me that, while Jurek is pretty far out there on the spiritual end of the running, eh is thoughtful and articulate on the interplay between the science of running and the sports more spiritual dimensions.

So, in honor of the Jurker, here’s a great clip of him with Kilian Jornet. Check out the scene where Jurker hips Jornet to the Bone Games, by Rob Schultheis, an old book on the spiritual aspects of ultra-endurance sports oh and make sure to turn on the subtitles!

Friday Inspiration: Desi Linden workout

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. Desi Linden, when she was still Desi Davila, training for the 2012 Olympic trials by running 5 x 2 mile repeats at 5:15 per mile, in the winter, in Detroit. Check out her form. Its damn near perfect:

Maybe I’ll try this work out. Though for me, the pace would be about three minutes faster per mile.