Non-runners seem to be fascinated by our dedication to running. For us, it’s not that big a deal but I guess many non-runners just don’t have anything physical in their lives that approximates the time and energy we devote to running. Just the other day, some non-runner (yes, I know a few) asked me how often I run. I should have some trite answer ready, but instead simply replied, “Every day.”
“Every day? Even during the summer? I can’t even walk to the mailbox in the summer. You’re an addict.”
Excuse me? A what?
I’ve heard this before and every time I do, I bristle in the same way when someone asks me if I’ve ever “jogged” a marathon. (Unfortunately, I have jogged the last five miles of several marathons, but that’s a different story.)
Anyway, I’m not a jogger and I’m definitely not an addict.
With all due apologies to what is politically correct, I equate addiction with being compulsively sick to a variety of evils such as booze, gambling, drugs, eating, etc.
Maybe it’s just semantics, but running—even running every single day–isn’t an addiction. It’s habitual, just like brushing my teeth. And, it’s a good habit.
Running is pleasurable, healthy and a way to get in touch with my world every morning. For me, it’s not an obsession; it’s a joyful way to start each and every day. (It’s much more enjoyable than brushing my teeth.)
The reality is I don’t run every single day. When I’m home in the ATX, I’m out the door every morning just before the sun rises. But I travel a lot and often have very early-morning flights. I need a rest day anyway so blowing off a run on a travel day isn’t anything to get worried about. When I get wherever I’m going, there’s usually time to get a late-afternoon run in but I rarely bother with a perfunctory run on some hotel treadmill.
I’m a morning runner and if I don’t run early, I almost never run. A run at any other time of the day feels weird and awkward. If I was a true addict, I’d go day or night just to go.
Running is the highlight of my day. It’s the one concrete achievement I can point to every day, regardless of what I’ve accomplished (or failed at). It’s something I refuse to compromise.
- Conley Sports—which owns and manages the Livestrong Austin Marathon—has awarded a $5000 college scholarship to Austin HS senior Zach Fielder. Fielder, the captain of the Austin HS team who earned All-State academic honors in cross-country, has a 3.94 GPA and has been accepted into the engineering program at the University of Santa Clara. John Conley surprised Fielder with the award on Tuesday right after track practice in front of his entire team. “It’s important to our organization to constantly look for new ways to give back to the community,” said Conley of the new scholarships. “Zach’s demonstrated commitment not only to his personal academic and athletic goals, but also to helping others.” Conley will also award another $5000 scholarship next week to a local high school female runner.
- The Williamson County Parks and Rec Department may be having second thoughts about its plan to “improve” and close parts of the Brushy Creek Trail. At least the WilCo Parks and Rec has delayed the trail closure (laying concrete on a half mile of the trail) until it has time to hear from concerned runners and walkers who oppose the plan. The project is still expected to go through and begin this summer, but the runners and walkers are hoping to put together enough good arguments to prevent the one section from being concrete’ed.
- Several of our top runners were in action last weekend all over the country, trying to snare Olympic Trials qualifiers or get ready for the Olympic Trials in late June. Scott MacPherson doubled last weekend with mixed results. ScottyMac won the Olympic Development Steeple at the Penn Relays, but in a relatively slow 8:52.01. Then, two nights later in Guadaloupe, he finished ninth in a faster steeple, but in a slower time of 9:07. (He needs to run at least 8:45 to get a “B” qualifier for the Trials.)
- But the biggest splash at Penn was made by Leo Manzano who ran a punishing a 3:54.9 mile in the Distance Medley to run down Bernard Lagat (3:57.2) which earned the former Texas star USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week. Said Leo the Lion: “Any time you run against Bernard Lagat, I had to focus on myself and bring my ‘A’ game.” Leo is now training at an altitude camp in Utah.
- While Penn was going in Philadelphia, the big West Coast meet was in Northern California for the Payton Jordan Invitational. The most startling race of the evening was turned in by former Austin resident Lopez Lomong (who nows lives mostly in Portland). In just his second 5000 meters, Lomong turned in an amazing time of 13:11.63. What was especially amazing about that 5000 was that Lopez miscounted the laps (or simply got lost) and stopped briefly a lap early and then had to restart. Lomong will now have to decide between the 5000 and 1500 in the Trials. The 5000 finals on June 28 is just 2 ½ hours after the first round of the 1500 meters, making a double highly unlikely.
- Other Austinites at Payton Jordan, included Treniere Moser who ran 4:09.35 in the 1500 meters (she already has a Trials qualifier). Kara June ran 10:10 in the steeple which gets her into the Trials on the “B” standard. Dacia Perkins ran 16:13 in the 5000 (well off the “B” qualifier of 15:50), while Betzy Jimenez dropped out of the 5000. Jimenez, the former UT star, will double at a local meet on May 25th in 1600 and a few hours later run the 3200. But her last real shot at making the Trials qualifier will be June 9th in Portland. Finally, in the 10,000 at Payton Jordan, former Arkansas star Megan Flowers Skeels of Ft. Worth (and Team Mizuno) ran 34:48 (“B” qualifier is 34:00).
- At the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in Florida last weekend, Kelly Williamson had her winning streak stopped at two. But the 35-year-old Austinite still finished fifth in the Olympic Distance race (short for her) in 2:00:13 and her run split of 34:26 was a PR and the fastest woman’s time of the day. All told, Kelly has won three of her first five races of the year, including the 3M Half. She’ll be back in action this weekend in another Olympic Distance race in Knoxville. BTW: Brian Wade of Cedar Park nailed a 2:04:38 at St. Anthony’s.
- There were some timing difficulties last Sunday the 30th Annual Schlotzsky’s Bun Run (too late for my story), but the 10-K was won by Brent Stein in 36:52 with Dave Bartelli second in 37:31 and Sean Lilley third in 38:51. Lilley was also the first masters runner. The women’s division was won by Sarah Campbell in 42:50, followed by Erin Ruyle in 43:27 and Cindy Connolly in 43:47. Connolly was the first masters runner.
- In the Bun Run 5-K, Tia Kool was the women’s winner in 17:46 with the Mighty Mite—13-year-old Madison Boreman—coming in second in 17:56 and Sarah Mark was third in 19:52. Susan Winnette was fifth in 20:53 and the first masters runner. David Fuentes was the overall winner of the Bun Run for the second year in a row in 14:53 with Bernard Manirakiza second in 15:29 and Derick Williamson (Mr. Kelly Williamson) third in 15:44. First masters runner of the morning was Sebastian Villalva in 10th in 17:36.
- At the Texas Round-Up 5-K on Saturday, Warren Brown won it in 15:19 with Robert Smith second in 16:35 and Raul Garcia third in 16:40. Hannah Steffen was the women’s winner in 17:21 with Livestrong Austin Marathon champ Shannon Bixler second in 18:12 and Jennifer Fisher third in 18:44. Fisher was also the first masters woman and Lou Kokernak took masters honor among the men in 18:48.
- Big news on the 40 Acres. The UT women’s track team has taken the No. 1 ranking for the first time five years. UT and Clemson are separated by less than a point in the rankings. Both the men and women are in action next weekend in the Big 12 Outdoor Champs in Manhattan, Kansas. The following weekend (May 24-26) The NCAA West Regionals will be held at UT.
- That Stonehedge-like rock configuration at The Rock trailhead on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail is really called the Johnson Creek Trailhead. Not sure what it represents (if anything), but it’s a cool design and it will be officially welcome as the trailhead this Saturday morning around 9 a.m. at the Trailhead. There will be drinks (sorry, just water and Gatorade) and giveaways from Jack & Adams, Rogue and Camp Gladiator. Also, the drawings for the new (and much needed) bathrooms in the Austin HS parking lot will be unveiled Saturday morning.
- What I’m listening to this morning: “Workin’ Together,” by Ike and Tina Turner. This album contains the classic “Proud Mary” which was, of course, written by John Fogerty, but reinvented by Ike and Tina Turner’s (OK, Tina’s) live version.
Have any juicy news for me? (It doesn’t have to be entirely true.) If you have something, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org