One question every runner invariably asks is the most simple one of all: Why do I run? Especially as we look down the barrel of another long, hot, humid summer, the question of why exactly we do this day after day, month after month, year after year is certain to at least cross every runner’s mind at some point (often in the middle of a long run).
It’s a good question.
Running is never easy. (If it were, everyone would do it.) Running is often difficult, takes extraordinary effort and, at times, it can be painful. Just training though our brutal summer, is about as much fun as riding a stationary bike in a sauna. While there’s no question that a great run can be supremely satisfying, running still doesn’t have the same rush as other thrill-a-minute adrenaline sports such as skiing (snow or water), mountain biking or cliff diving.
So why then back to my original question: Why do we do run? Why do we put ourselves through it when there are so much easier ways to stay fit and connected?
Certainly, there are as many reasons as there are runners (heart health, weight loss, stress reduction, camaraderie, competitiveness, etc) but my take is the overriding reason why we run year after year is that it’s who we’ve become, it’s who we are and it’s what we do.
We’re runners. That’s our identity. It’s our essential DNA. We might be engineers, teachers, carpenters, lawyers, parents, cops, firefighters, but who we really are is what we do. We run. We race. We sweat.
We are such goal-oriented people that we must challenge ourselves. In our humdrum existence, there are other challenges we all face, but nothing as monumental as running a marathon. Just a couple of years ago, we couldn’t imagine running six miles without stopping. Now, we run 26 miles–or farther.
We’re competitive people who want to excel in everything we do. That extends to our running. We don’t have to think twice about training for months and months to set PRs, win our age groups or just finish the thing. Irony of ironies, but just as often as we succeed, we fall short. Which is fine. We learn and move on to the next challenge.
For many of us, for much of our lives, we’ve been stereotyped as introverts. Some of us still are and train by ourselves. Many other Austinites are part of training groups that gather two or three times a week as much for the social aspects of stretching and having breakfast burritos together as the actual coaching and training.
So this is who we are, this is who we want to be, this is why we run.
O Jack & Adam’s, the iconic Austin bike shop which is now on S. Lamar, is no more. Well, it is and it isn’t. The store is still there, but since J&A merged with Texas Endurance Sports in March—a six-store Texas chain—it was inevitable that J&A would also become Bike World, like the other five stores. Jack Murray, who owned J&A with two other partners, is president of retail operations for the Bike World stores and he vows that customers won’t see any drop off in terms of service or sales. (The “Adam” of J&A is Adam Reiser, but he hasn’t been part of the store for several years.)
O The Ironman Couer d’Alene has been shifted to late August, but that’s for the 2016 event. This year’s IM in Couer d’Alene is Sunday and the weather forecast couldn’t possibly be any worse. Temps are expected to reach 107 degrees on Sunday which is pure insanity for contesting an IM—even if the race will start two hours earlier than originally scheduled. Plenty of Austinites are running, including IM vets Nancy Dasso, Stephan Schwarze and Andrea Fisher.
O Closer to home and a big cooler was the Lake Pflugerville Sprint Tri last weekend. Big winners were Michael Lori, the overall winner, in 57:59 and women’s winner Natasha Van Der Merwe in 1:03:18.
O The Western States Trail 100 begins early Saturday morning in Squaw Valley, California and there are several flatlanders from these parts entered. Paul Terranova is a serious contender and so is Nicole Studer of Dallas. Other ultrafolks from around here entered include Ford Smith, Tom Orf, Jason Crockett (San Antonio),
O Last weekend the Leadville Trail Marathon was held (this is a 26.2-mile race, not to be confused with the 100-miler in August) and Erik Stanley led a bunch of Austin runners from his Trail Roots group up to Colorado. And Stanley showed them how to run by finishing fourth overall in 3:54:44. Joe Cooper finished in 5:20, Terence Murphy did it in 5:57:17, Daniel Rose (5:57:30), Brian O’Toole (6:11), Patrick Creel (6:45) and Scott Roach of Cedar Park (7:09). Top Austin-area flatlander in the half was Brooklyn Robertson of Buda in 2:56 with Gabriel Cavazos of Kyle not far behind in 3:00:58.
O The USATF Champs begin today in Eugene and there are tons of Austinites as well as UT runners competing for spots on the World Championship and Pan Am teams that will be competing this summer. Among those competing are UT athletes Morolake Akinosun (100 and 200), Courtney Okolo, Ashley Spencer and Kendall Baisden (400), Morgan Snow (100 hurdles), Ariel Jones and Melissa Gonzalez (400 hurdles), Kaitlin Petrilose and Shay Petty (pole vault), Ryan Crouser (shot and discus), Brian Peterson (discus), Reese Watson (pole vault) and Zack Bilderback (400), Ariel Jones (400 hurdles) Spencer Dunkerly-Offor (110 hurdles), Wolf Mahler (decathlon) and recently graduated Craig Lutz (10,000). Two UTSA athletes are competing: Jurmarcus Shelvin (400 hurdles) and Chris Hall (400).
O The postgrads competing in Eugene will be Trey Hardee (decathlon), Leo Manzano, Kyle Merber, Joe Stilin and Duncan Phillips (1500), Marshevet Hooker and Alexandria Anderson (100), Michelle Carter (shot), Kendra Chambers (800), Briana Nelson and Sanya Richards-Ross (400), Sarta Sutherland (1500) and Marielle Hall (5000). Rogue is sending Carl Stones, Matt Cleaver and Austin Bussing (steeple), Kristen Findley (1500) and Sarah Pease and Mary Goldkamp (steeple). Former Longhorn and current Buffalo Bill wide receiver Marquise Goodwin will be in the long jump. Former Oregon All American Parker Stinson (from Cedar Park) has qualified in the 10,000 but has scratched to concentrate on road racing this summer.
O The meet will be televised on USAFTV.com, NBC Sports Network and NBC (KXAN) on Saturday (3-5 p.m.) and Sunday (2-5).
O More Parker Stinson. He’s planning to run several of the U.S. Road Circuit races this summer, but his main goal is an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier (1:05) at the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half on October 31st.
O Will Nation, who graduated from UT in the fall, qualified for the Marathon Trials with his time of 1:04:56 at last weekend’s Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. Nation wants to get one 26-miler under his belt before running the Marathon Trials in Los Angeles in February, but don’t expect a peak effort. Instead, John Hayes, who is coaching Nation, said he just wants Nation to get a taste for the distance in a fall marathon while running a comfortable six-minute pace.
O Lorena Devlyn has a goal for this year: A marathon a month. So far, Devlyn has completed Houston, Austin, Lost Pines Trail in Smithville, Big D in Dallas, Pandora’s Box of Rox at Reveille Peak Ranch and Aspen Backcountry. Next up is Bangtail Divide in Montana, followed by the Mexico City Marathon (her hometown), Lake Georgetown Marathon, the Frankenthon, South Padre Island and Dallas. “I blame Sonya Manson for this,” said Devlyn, a court translator. “She did this a couple of years ago and put this idea in my head.”
O Congrats to Manny Tadena and his wife Laura Rodriguez-Tadena on the birth of their son Rex Emmanuel this week. Ditto to Albert and Missy Rubinsky on the birth of their daughter Adina Chaya.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Searching for a Rainbow” by the Marshall Tucker Band.
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