The long run puts the tiger in the cat.
In my 1976 Training Diary there is a photo of Jack Nicholson from ‘One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest.’ It’s a facial shot of him trying to pull out the drinking trough and use it to smash one of the barred windows to escape. One of the other patients said: ‘Don’t be stupid, you can’t do that.’ Jack replied, ‘Yes I can, anything is possible.’ He strained his guts out working at it for a few minutes with the veins sticking out of his neck. Of course he couldn’t move the bloody thing. They all said: ‘We told you that you couldn’t do it.’ Nicholson looked at them and said: ‘At least I tried, you bastards.’ To me that summarizes what I think about life.
Well I wouldn’t exactly say I learned something new, I guess I just got a bit of a refresher on some things. On tap was my first 20 mile run of the year. I started with a group of guys, which included some old teammates of mine, and several local runners who are getting ready to run the Knoxville Marathon. After 45minutes or so myself and Anthony Famigilietti, more on Fam in a bit, decided to leave the park we were running in and head out along the river and then towards his house where we would part ways. Well at just about half way I took another tumble and banged the same knee I hurt over the summer when I fell while trotting into the woods to take a slosh. It had been pouring on us the whole run and I stepped on a handicapped ramp that was painted yellow, needless to say it was like a sheet of ice. After a few rolls on the ground I quickly popped up and took a moment to gather myself. Fam thought I should jog home but after a minute or two I was able to carry on, I had blood pouring down my knee but no real pain so I finished my the run.
So what did I learn? Well, I know it’s time to get back into camp when the deamons of society and every day normal living start to creep in. I haven’t been with my teammates or Doc since late August and from time to time the pressures of society start to sap the motivation a bit. It’s not the training that is hard, I enjoy the training, it’s the keeping your eye on the prize and staying the course that gets tough.
For those of you who don’t know who Fam is, here is some info on him. We were teammates together at Tennessee during the 1998-99 seasons. Fam was 14:00 5k out of college and All American in the Steeple Chase. Over the last 10 years he as lowered his 1500m PR to 3:35, 5k PR to 13:11, 10k PR to 27:37, and has won several national championships in the steeple chase. For anyone who caught the steeple chase semifinals during the Bejing Olympics, Fam took his heat out from the start, running a gutsy race and qualifying for the Finals. He faltered in the finals, maybe ran that semi to hard but it was what he needed to do to get thru. http://www.recklessrunning.com/
Fam has had many ups and downs in his career. I remember when he first got out of college and was broke living in this tiny little apartment next to the Henly Street bridge trying to chase his dream of making it as a professional runner. Over the last decade he has become one of the best runners in the nation and has created quite the buzz about himself with his self marketing practices which include his crazy hair cuts and facial har, his obsession with his art work, and his latest move to make a documentary called ”Run Like Hell” and creating a clothing line called Run Reckless. Fam is now a married man and has chosen to move back to Knoxville to train for the next Olympics, leaving New York City where he has spent the last few years.
It’s been a while since I have had a chance to talk with Fam so we had lots to catch up on and he had some great advice to offer. We talked training, nutrition, religion, relationships, and old friends. But what I took away the most was his advice on how I should approach my overall outlook on my own journey of becoming a professional triathlete. When it comes to racing, his advice is as follows: “When you go away to camp for weeks and months and then return home to race, don’t approach the race as if you have to do well because you have been away and sacrificed time and money. Just go and race just like you get up and train every day”. Is this what got to me during Ironman FL? “Possibly”, I thought.
“Don’t think of your financial situation as being broke” He said, “Just think of it as having no attachments to anything.” “Great advice!” I thought. “You run, you train because you love it and that is special, you are chosing this life so might as well hold nothing back.” ”Man Fam is on fire today!” I thought some more. We continued our talk as we carried on with our run eventually getting to the top of Cherokee Blvd where Fam would turn left and head home and I would turn right and run down the bike trail back to Patricks Pad. At this point in the run I was on fire, feeling great and really motivated about my future. It’s been a while since I have sat pool side and listened to one of Doc’s talks that gets us fired up to tackle the days training so it was great to get some words of wisdom to reinvorgorate my training!!
Thanks for the run Fam!!
Below are some of my favorite quotes used to inspire!!!
The nine inches right here; set it straight
and you can beat anybody in the world.”
- Sebastian Coe (said while pointing to his head)
When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn’t matter. Am I tired? That doesn’t matter, either. At this point, willpower will be no problem.