Running…

In keeping with tradition, or rather, attempting to start a tradition since this is only my second post, this entry is dedicated to a friend, Chris.  Many came to mind when I began this post; my brother Curtis, my brother-in-law Jeremy, my friends Kyle and Ryan, my dad, my wife, and even my dog, Basher.  You may be thinking a few things at this point; “Why the need to dedicate a blog post?” or “That’s an interesting list of people…I bet they’re awesome people if they’re mentioned in Collin’s blog.”  First, they are all awesome people.  Second, that would be a good question, regarding the dedication, but I would then go on to say, “What’s really the point of Collin’s blog in the first place?”   In the famous words of Derek Zoolander, let me answer your question with a question:  What are you doing here?  Get a life…jk.

I have been running consistently for 4 – 4 1/2 years now.  I grew up with a dad who was a “runner,” or at least that was his excuse to work on a tan and wear short, hot pink shorts.  While I haven’t committed myself to any flashy shorts, I guess you could say running was in my genes.  I really got in to the sport when I signed-up for a half-marathon as a Senior in college.  Much of my inspiration came from one of my best friends, Kyle, who ran CC and track.  Following his encouragement, I signed-up for the half-marathon which took place on the same day I graduated from college.  Good idea or bad idea?  I’ll let you be the judge.  Since then, I’ve completed a handful of half-marathons and even one full marathon.  I hope to complete more before my time on earth is done.

I enjoy running.  I enjoy the exercise.  I enjoy the challenge.  I enjoy the individual aspect of running, you don’t have to be on a team to do it.  I like the fact that running doesn’t discriminate; all shapes and sizes can run.  I enjoy the benefits of running; healthy blood pressure, low cholesterol, and the satisfaction Dunkin Donuts can bring after a run on the Monon.  Running has it’s downsides as well, though.  It’s time consuming; it sometimes causes aches and pains; it’s tiring; it’s monotonous; it can be lonely.

Just recently some of these “downsides” were starting to take a toll on me.  I was beginning to feel a little burn-out with this whole “running” thing.  I completed a half-marathon in January and have been training for another half in May.  I’m not sure if it was the Midwest Winter weather or just the exhaustion, but I was becoming disenchanted with the sport.  That was until I stopped by Chris’ office this past Tuesday.  It was shortly after 1:00 PM and Chris had just returned from his lunch break, where he had completed a 5-mile run.  He may or may not be a self-proclaimed “runner” by this point, I’m not sure.  I do know that he has just recently picked-up running, though, and was pretty jazzed to discuss the run.  Seeing the excitement in Chris’s face and hearing it in his voice was a great reminder of the power of running, and the sense of accomplishment it bestows upon those of us who complete a 1-, 3-, 5-, or 26.2-mile run.

As I got up this morning at 5 AM to prepare for my 10-mile run, I was reminded of Chris, and the excitement and energy of our discussion just a few days earlier.  I thought to myself, “Collin, no one’s forcing you to go on this run, but God gave you two legs, and a heart that still beats, so why not?  You’re not terrible at this, and you know the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after the run will far outweigh the information derived from fifteen episodes of SportsCenter.”  And with that, I was off…

If you are a runner or someone thinking about picking it up, and you need some inspiration, here are a few reading recommendations.  First, the book “Once A Runner” by John L. Parker, Jr. is an amazing, fictional book about running.  It’s an easy read, but also an exciting one.  It follows somewhat of a Steve Prefontaine-esque collegiate runner and his determination to break the 4-minute mile.  It’s a lot of fun to read, and also very inspiring.  Runner’s World, in their December ’09 edition, rated it as the #1 book about running.  If you’re in need of something a little more tangible, real, I would recommend Dean Karnazes‘ “Ultra Marathon Man.”  This guy is downright amazing.  This is an autobiography focusing on Dean’s start to endurance racing and concluding with a 200-mile race he completed in the fall of 2000.  Since then he has completed distances greater than that; he’s a freak of nature.  Granted,  not everyone is cut out for the type of racing he’s into, I get that.  However, there is a lot to take away from his book, even if you’re just a casual runner/jogger.  It really forces you to think about and challenge your own limitations, physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.

You may not be a runner, and it’s OK if you’re not.  We all find enjoyment in different activities, hobbies, etc.  Whatever “running” is for you, though, I encourage you to grab it by the horns and get all that you can out of it.  Make it fun, and know that obstacles are inevitable, but perseverance always pays.  I’m not sure when this post turned in to a motivational speech.  It certainly wasn’t my intention, but hey, it is what it is.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

CT

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Posted in Running... | 4 Comments

Take One…

Before I start this trainwreck, I’m dedicating this blog post to Dan Wagoner, a friend of mine.  Not too long ago he referenced me in a blog post, and I told him if I ever created a blog, the first post would be in his honor.  In an attempt to be an honorable man, Dan, this Bud’s..ugh…blog’s for you.

I’m attempting to start a blog, though I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it’s just a vehicle for self-expression. I’ve often stuck my nose up at blogs, thinking “People have too much time on their hands” or “Do they really think others care about what they have to say?” I’ve come to realize that if it’s a form of self-expression, or it serves a legitimate or practical purpose, then right on! Who am I to judge?

This first post is sure to be worthwhile (not), but I promise I’ll attempt to make these posts worth your reading pleasure.  I’m a bit overwhelmed with the options on WordPress, like what themes, fonts, etc, to use.  There’s a theme titled “Banana Smoothie.”  I certainly enjoy a banana smoothie from time-to-time but probably won’t be choosing that as my theme.

Two thoughts I’ll end with, both relating to a live football (soccer for you Yankees) match on GolTv; Getafe hosting Real Madrid.  First, Cristiano Ronaldo just scored off a free kick.  Now this isn’t necessarily a surprise considering he’s easily one of the top 5 footballers in the world, maybe even as high as #2 behind Argentina’s Lionel Messi.  Seeing goals from Ronaldo excite me for the upcoming World Cup.  I’ve come to really love football over the years, not just for the athleticism and competitiveness, but also for what it represents for so many people around the world.  I don’t think it’s something that many of us in the United States can quite grasp.  Football is much more culturally embedded than most sports here, despite the deep love and passion we have for Peyton Manning, Wheaties, and using vacation days for March Madness.  I read a book a few years ago by Franklin Foer, “How Soccer Explains the World.”  This is a very good and quick read.  If I remember correctly, Foer spent a few years traveling the world researching and gaining an understanding of football’s role in many countries.  It’s more than just a sport or entertainment for many.  It’s tied to heritage, pride, government, religions, etc.  It’s truly fascinating.  The sentiments I feel about the World Cup are similar to the ones I feel during the Olympics.  It’s great to see competition on a global stage.  And with the World Cup, there’s not necessarily a clear-cut, guaranteed dominator, unlike the US Men’s Basketball team.  Well, at least prior to 2004 (bronze medal, what?).  Yeah, Brazil is always going to be great.  After all, they invented ‘Joga Bonita.’  Countries like Spain, Italy, Argentina, England, and Germany are always going to be dominant forces as well.  But, you never know when a country like Greece or, dare I say, the US will make a run for the title.  After all, the US did beat Spain in the Confederations Cup last summer.  Oh yeah, Spain were ranked #1 in the world at the time.  It’s March Madness on a global scale.

(Real Madrid is up 3-0 with less than 23 minutes off the clock – ridiculous)

My second thought is related to the sponsorships displayed on football team’s jerseys.  Getafe’s kits specifically caught my eye as the logo on their jersey is Burger King.  How lame?  Real Madrid‘s jersey displays the ‘bwin’ logo.  Manchester United, arguably one of the best clubs in the world, don the AIG logo on their jersey.  I guess AIG could be worse than Burger King given their recent financial woes, but it doesn’t have the same appeal, or lack thereof.  I wonder if we’ll ever see that type of advertising creep into sports here in the US?  Granted, there are no commercials or timeouts during the two 45-minute halves in football.  To be honest I’m surprised we haven’t seen logos or sponsors used on jerseys in the NFL, MBL, or NBA.

(Cristiano Ronaldo just scored and now they’re up 4-0.  He could have killed the goalkeeper with the speed on the ball…seriously).

Perhaps the day will come when my son or daughter is playing point guard for Duke or forward for UNC while also serving as a walking billboard for Panda Express.  If only I could be so lucky…

Posted in First Thoughts... | 6 Comments