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Views On Running

 

A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.


- Steve Prefontaine -

When you see runners in town is easy to distinguish beginners from veterans. The ones panting are beginners; the ones with quiet, measured breathing are the veterans. Their hearts, lost in thought, slowly tick away time. When we pass each other on the road, we listen to the rhythm of each other's breathing, and sense the way the other person is ticking away the moments.


- Haruki Murakami -

That’s what running does to lives. It's not just exercise. It's not just achievement. It's a daily discipline that has nothing to do with speed, weight, social status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, where you live, what car you drive, or whether anyone anywhere loves you. It's about the slow and painful process of being the best you can be. That's why the first step out the door is always so hard. That's when we choose between settling for average and being a superhero version of ourselves.


- Martin Dugard -
To Be a Runner

Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.


- Steve Prefontaine -

It is not always a race for the medals, sometimes it’s a struggle just to get to the finish line, and sometimes it’s a challenge just to get to the starting line. That is what I mean by 'running to win,' doing the best you are capable of doing under the circumstances.


- Meb Keflezighi -
(2012 U.S. Olympic Marathoner)

The last time I ran a full marathon it was awful. I've run a lot of races, but never one that ended up so badly. There are three reasons I failed. Not enough training. Not enough training. And not enough training. That's it in a word. Without knowing it, I'd developed a sort of arrogant attitude, convinced that just a fair-to-middling amount of training was enough for me to do a good job. It's pretty thin, the wall separating healthy confidence and unhealthy pride. As I ran this race I felt I never, ever wanted to go through that again. Right then and there I decided that before my next marathon I was going to go back to the basics, start from scratch, and do the very best I could. Train meticulously and rediscover what I was physically capable of. Nobody's going to win all the time. On the highway of life you can't always be in the fast lane. Still, I certainly don't want to keep making the same mistakes over and over. Best to learn from my mistakes and put that lesson into practice the next time around.


- Haruki Murakami -

Too many people have refused to begin running or have quickly dropped out of running programs because they 'have no talent for it.' Ridiculous. Talent has nothing to do with it. The only thing that matters is mental discipline.


- Amby Burfoot -

I've never been more motivated to reach my goals in training and other aspects of my life than I am right now. Running has taught me to be patient, to trust the process, that anything worth doing is worth training for and doing well. It has made me a better wife, co-worker, friend, nurse, sister, daughter, and person in general. I have more self-confidence, drive, and compassion for others than I've ever known. My life is infinitely better since I started on this journey, and I don't see it coming to an end anytime soon. I'm proof that the hardest decision to make is the decision to try and to believe in yourself and your own unique abilities.


- Andi Ball -

In reality, a world-record winner receives exactly the same reward as every finisher - the satisfying sense of having succeeded against the odds, the knowledge of having proved inner strength, and the closure of having completed a quest. The individual nature of running makes the fulfillment it gives profoundly personal. The great thing about gaining self-esteem from finishing a marathon is that every runner knows it's not just vanity or self-importance - they really did it, the hard way, and they have the medal to prove it.


- Kathrine Switzer -

What is it like when a day of running ends and I come down out of the mountains? Though my thighs are not always able to lift the foot high enough, I am strong. With my limbs caked with mud and my clothes soaked with sweat, I am clean. Though fatigue pulses through every nerve, I am well rested. With my skin torn from brambles and poking Balsam fir, I am whole. I've been around for 46 years, but the mountains and I are eternal. We will visit together as often as I can manage. And one peaceful day, I will return home forever.


- Damon Douglas -

Runners are different. We put our bodies through the wringer every day. Snow storms and lightning don’t send us hiding inside. There’s nothing unusual about coming home covered in mud or drenched in sweat from head to toe. We come home, exhausted and hungry. The cycle never ends, but for some reason we love it. People tell us we’re crazy. Well, you know what? I think I am crazy. And I love it.


- Unknown -

Rarely are we ever satisfied with our performances. Even after our best races we might be content for a moment, but it is in our nature to constantly over-analyze and re-evaluate, finding seconds on the course, flaws in our race plans, what ifs… should haves… and could haves. Are we ever satisfied? There is a competitive mentality that keeps us coming back for more, day after day, race after race, and year after year - but at the end of the day only a small select few might actually walk away content. If we will all eventually walk away disappointed, then what is the point? Why do we step out the door each day? If only one person can be the best, are the rest of us essentially failing? I certainly don’t have the answers, but today I’ll walk out the door with my Burns tied tight and hopes of setting the world on fire firmly engrained in my mind. Odds are I’ll never wear an Olympic medal around my neck, but maybe…just maybe, I will. With that in mind I’ll take off down the road and put in the days work. If we don’t try we’ll never know. At least I can find out how good I can be. I can have an answer at the end of the days, and have a hell of a good time with the process.


- Desiree Davila -

This is not about instant gratification. You have to work hard for it, sweat for it, give up sleeping in on Sunday mornings.


- Lauren Fessenden -

Relish the bad training runs. Without them it's difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones.


- Pat Teske -

If you race hard, it's going to hurt. It's going to be tough.

Runners relish the toughness. Often when we race, more than hitting a time or achieving a place, we most want to prove that we can overcome difficulty and pain. We want to demonstrate that we're made of the right stuff, we have true grit, we die hard - we are, indeed, tough.


- Steve Magness -
Running Times Magazine (May 2013)

In the marathon, there are two ways to win. There's the easy way if all you care about is winning. You hang back and risk nothing. Then kick and try to nip the leaders at the end. Or you can push, challenge the others, make it an exciting race, risking everything. Maybe you lose, but as for me, I'd rather run a gutsy race, pushing all the way and lose, then run a conservative, easy race only for a win.


- Alberto Salazar -

You're running on guts. On fumes. Your muscles twitch. You throw up. You're delirious. But you keep running because there's no way out of this hell you're in, because there's no way you're not crossing the finish line. It's a misery that non-runners don't understand.


- Martine Costello -

Some think guts is sprinting at the end of a race. But guts is what got you there to begin with. Guts start back in the hills with 6 miles to go and you're thinking of how you can get out of this race without anyone noticing. Guts begin when you still have forty minutes of torture left and you're already hurting more than you ever remember.


- George Sheehan -

No matter how old I get, the race remains one of life's most rewarding experiences. My times become slower and slower, but the experience of the race is unchanged: each race a drama, each race a challenge, each race stretching me in one way or another, and each race telling me more about myself and others.


- George Sheehan -

To say that all runners are alike or have an addictive, Type-A personality is like saying everyone who lives in Chicago has blonde hair and blue eyes… Today's runner is old, young, mom-on-the-go, ex-jock on a mid-life athletic rebound, hard-bodied, pear-shaped, highly competitive, or one who considers 'running' 26.2 miles as climbing his or her own Everest, even if takes five or six hours. What all runners have in common is a deep, atavistic love of forward motion. We're rapt pupils of basic algebra whose sole curriculum revolves around calculating distance, rate, and time. We’re constantly traveling from point A to point B, unless we’re obsessively committed to running in place on a treadmill, or going in geometric circles around the track. At big-city runapolooza events, we tentatively find our tiny, personal space amid the collective herd, while waiting anxiously for that exhilarating moment of pure energy release. Although we stand united at the starting line, once the race begins we run alone. When describing the meaning of existentialism, the poet Delmore Schwartz wrote, 'It means that no one else can take a bath for you.' It's the same with being a runner. Running means that no one else can do it for you.


- Bill Katovsky -
1,001 Pearls of Runners' Wisdom

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