Free

Are you free?…what is free?

Free (n,adj): not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.

Yes, there’s this type of free. It’s a healthy kind of free when you’re not attached to someone’s will 100% of the time. We all have free will. We’re given the options to live however we wish and to bear the consequences of our actions. Free will is probably the greatest and worst gifts in life. Let me explain. On one hand you’re given the chance to do whatever you dream and there’s no boundaries to how wild your dreams can be too. The world is your painting before you waiting to take on all shades of color. Now the downside…isn’t too much of a downside because you can try to cheat the system. Being realistic! You may not become president one day, however you can make waves of inspiration in other forms – perhaps not the form you expected.

Free (v): release from captivity, confinement, or slavery.

I think both definitions of free are important. But aren’t verbs more fun? Of course.

Now if you’ve ever worked a retail job – you know of how 99.9% the shifts pan out. Often times it’s a wrestling match with your inner self to force yourself out the door and to the punch in clock. It takes lots of mind trickery to convince yourself it’s worth it and that it matters in the end. Hey it pays the bills, doesn’t it? Lots of days I come home feeling brain fried, but not from “working” – from the mental strain of being present. How do you escape those tireless negative thoughts? I run. It’s so simple to the point where just the idea of it boils my blood like a chicken noodle.

To escape the complexities and demands of the world is something we must all put time aside to do. It creates breathing room between what you love and what is necessary. That buffer is SO healthy. It allows you can keep your sanity in check when you think you’re losing all your marbles. Running to me is a relationship with mind, body, and soul. It sounds ridiculously cornish but bear with me. You must balance the three equally. Don’t pay into treating your body like king because your mind will take a toll and you honestly might be running for the wrong reasons. Running to keep physically fit, yes that’s fine. Running for fun and the love of movement, that’s my line of thinking. When you lose sight of the reasons you set out to do something you love –  it becomes a chore. It’s a sad happening. It makes me unhappy just thinking about it. There have been times when I get out the door and the entire run from start to finish is a unfortunate grind. Thankfully there are little things called rest days to revamp your attitude and body.

Inspiration from Anna Frost:

A little update here. After my CT scan, the doctor’s first found my ankles to be asymmetrical. I thought my Aryan heritage meant I was scot free from imperfections?! Actually, it was a doctor’s miscalculation because there was more radiation circulating in my left leg. After all this I saw another podiatrist yet again. In true 30 second commercial fashion, he said I have plantar fasciitis. THAT’S IT?! GOOD OL’ PF! Man, had someone only told me earlier there would be no reason to dance through the medical field’s flaming hoops. I’ve been doing more stretches, foot massages, icing than normal to nurse this poor puppy back to full strength. For those who don’t know what plantar fasciitis is – it’s a tearing ligament that runs from your heel to the ball of the foot. I have tearing in the heel area.

The good news is it’s getting better. Funny story I want to share. The other night I was icing normally with a cold pack underneath my heel. I got wrapped up in whatever I was watching on my computer, and got some freeze burn from prolonged icing. Bad I know, but it’s a distracting pain from the real problem. Sham wow!

In running news, yesterday I ran on the gym’s dreadmill and got such a high…higher than a kite! It face lifted my mood more than spinning on the stationary bike ever could.

More to come peeps. I’m not prepped enough to run the Boston’s Prep race on sunday, but there’s no stopping a train.

Runners that inspire me

I thought of making a list of runners who inspire me to run and to continue pounding ground. These aren’t in any particular order of importance – all equal playing field!

1. Kilian Jornet

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Who is he: Kilian is currently the best endurance runner of this generation. Let me tell you why. I recently read his biography, Run or Die, which is worth a read if you’re only mildly interested in running. Kilian recently ran Matterhorn in 2 hours and 52 minutes and Mont Blanc just under 5 hours – both world records. If you look at the results of the international races skyrunning races in the past 8 years, he has won the majority of them. The man is a 120 lb spanish beast! A little side note, skyrunning is running 2,000 meters above sea level, where is the air you ask? There is none! That’s what makes his mountaineer accomplishments and ultra race wins all the more impressive. I’m not giving him nearly enough credit, but Kilian is a running legend. Did I mention he is sponsored by Salomon? Yeah they’re cool!

Please indulge yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRl0PjiPnyM

Why he inspires me: Kilian has harbored a love of the mountains and being outside since he was a wee tot. I have a similar spiritual connection to being active outside and using the world as my infinite playground. I can relate to Kilian’s long admiration for the outdoors. His running philosophy has pushed me to reinvent myself as a runner. I originally exclusively loved running roads, straight aways, urban places, mostly ordinary running routes. But, after witnessing videos of Kilian’s races and long wilderness runs – I’ve found reasons to tear up the trails for once and be competitive about it. Just because you’re running on rocks, roots, and kissing tree branches doesn’t mean you can’t go FAST!

2. Anton Krupicka

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Who is he: JESUS! No unfortunately he isn’t a running Jesus, although that would be strangely appropriate wouldn’t it? Tony is a well known American ultra runner. He has won the famous Leadville 100 twice, the Miwok 100k, the Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler, and several more. Get this, Tony ran his first marathon when he was twelve. You can conclude he never stopped running since he was hooked. He lives in Boulder, CO where he trains on the never ending Rocky mountain trails. What is astounding is that he trains himself, no strings attached. If I were to compare him to another runner, I’d say Kilian Jornet because they are equally attached to mountain running, however they’re polar opposites in terms of training work ethic and personality. Tony is the most laid back runner you’ll come across who actually win races. He is also a minimalist runner, no shirt and zero drop New Balance shoes!

Check out him cutting shoes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3lhdeLrjZs

Why he inspires me: Tony’s running philosophy is what you call all-natural and hippie-like. For God’s sake, the guy doesn’t even stretch! And not because he’s against it…it’s because he’s lazy. What is that?! It’s too funny. When it comes to training mileage for the week, he has discarded the idea of reaching mileage goals. Usually runners are so anal about mileage and pace that we begin to foam at the mouth because it’s important right? Tony doesn’t care. He likes the idea of tracking his altitude gain only. And pace? Doesn’t exist to him, just get the job done. To the top of the mountain then get to the next summit. This way of thinking is so against the grain that it gets me excited at just the thought. Tony has taught me to ignore the pace on long runs, no matter how eager beaver I am to run 6:15 pace. He put the enjoyment back into running when you’re too focused on numbers and splits.

3. Corey Hahnl

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Who is he: What you say?! Just a guy who likes to run and run competitively at college level cross country and track. Now this isn’t just any guy. Corey has been running since freshmen year of high school. He was number 1 on my high school cross country team, and he ran the mile and 4×800 like a pro. It’s hard being number one and he can attest to that.

Why he inspires me: I met Corey senior year of high school when I decided to join the cross country team. At the time, watching him run was unreal for me, the rookie, because he was blazing fast. I’ll never forget how he influenced our team to run more, upwards to 10 miles plus, which is unheard of for an up and coming like myself. Our coach would scold Corey for “making” the team run more than they should. Although, he was evidence that mileage and hard work…well, works! He’ll shrug off this compliment, but I’ll say it anyway. There are elements that encouraged me to continue running, however, I like to think he inspired me the most to hone my running skill and pursue improvement. I know I know touchy feely! But he’s my bro and favorite dude to run with.

4. Ethan Newberry

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Who is he: The Ginger Runner! Ethan is a running ultra enthusiast, gear junkie, and youtuber. What’s cool is he is a ginger and he has a soul! Make no mistake, Ethan is one funny dude. He is best known for his gear/shoe reviews on youtube where he discusses running stuffs.

Why he inspires me: Ethan isn’t afraid of experimenting with new brands. There are a lot of brand biased runners out there that are married to their favorite model of shoe they swap out every six months, which is fine. However, what if there’s something out there that’s better for you? You’ll never know what’s good until you start trying different running brands. Ethan has also been on the ultra marathon scene since last year. It’s inspiring to watch an average dude do some incredible things on the trails. It gives the message, “Hey I’m not a drop dead amazing running, but I can finish a 62 mile race!” I’d love to run with this guy in the future.

Here’s his youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGingerRunner

There’s my list folks! Thanks for reading. Just a short update on the running. I ran the treadmill today with no pain after my two week break, which felt Soooo good. Despite my hatred for running stationary, I have to say treadmills are easier on the body and in my case is a good thing. I’m still going ahead with receiving some physical therapy in the coming weeks so this pain goes away and stays away for good.