~Let it go and live for today~
RunLyfe Videographer Matt McElroy went on site with NAZ Elite members Matt Llano and Eric Fernandez. Fernandez is featured in his first RunLyfe film the former Missouri High School State champion and All-American runner at the University of Arkansas.
~Let it go and live for today~
In light of Chris O'Hare's first 1500 meter race this weekend in Kingston Jamaica, we figured it was appropriate to post his OFF Track. RunLyfe got the chance to ask some not so typical questions with this Scottish legend. We bet you'll find out a few things you probably didn't know about him.
You’re too short. You’re not fast enough. You’re not flexible enough. You’ll get eaten alive.
When I was first asked to try running the Steeplechase last year, the initial reaction I got from most people was a laugh. When they realized I was completely serious, they followed up their answer of “absolutely not” with a reason as to why they thought I could not do it. What frustrated me the most was why someone other than myself was putting these limitations on me. What does me being barely 5 feet tall matter, if I can get over a barrier and clear the water pit? These external limitations being set by others, are what motivates me to keep pushing.
“Can I do the steeplechase?”
They say “No”
“Do we need a steeplechaser at this meet?”
They say “No”
“Can I jump over the water once to try it out?”
They say “No”
Then, finally, my steadfastness and unwillingness to wavier paid off. Being on a small team, we need all the bodies in races that we can get in order to score at Conference. When everyone else realized that the steeplechase was a wide-open event that most sane people were not entering, I was now given the green light to and start going over hurdles to see if it would not turn into a complete disaster like everyone was telling me. I jumped (more like flew) and the steeplechase became mine. With 2 weeks of prep work before conference, I became confident enough that I would be able to hold my own.
With Houston, TX being 90% humidity and 100% miserable, I did the 3K Steeple the day after a 10K. It was not terrible, but I became even more hungry. The Hunger to myself and the fact that I want prove that just because I’m barely pushing 5 feet tall, doesn’t mean I can’t do something I know I’m tough enough to handle.
Outdoor track ended, Cross Country season came and went, Indoor track was fun but now Outdoor was finally here and the steeple was mine to take. Each workout I did I became stronger and quicker over the barriers. Clearing hurdles and keeping an even split for each lap, I was gaining more confidence in my ability and myself everyday. After my best workout of the year, I was excited to take on the water pit. It was calling my name, telling me to take the challenge, forget about my tired legs, and leap.
Jump #1: cleared the water
Jump #2: not a smooth as the first, but I survived
Jump #3: okay
Jump#4: nearly perfect
Then came the last jump. Everything I needed to focus on to do this jump successfully was racing through my mind. I accelerated into the barrier, I jumped up, leaped, landed one foot in the water, and before I knew it I was falling forward. Like a knee jerk reaction I put my hands out in front of me to catch myself. My arms stopped, but my body kept going. I heard a crack and knew something was wrong.
As I lay on the ground, screaming, I put my hand on the shoulder and felt exactly what was wrong. Dislocated. For those of you who have not experienced the pain of a dislocated bone, I do not wish it upon any of you. While lying on the ground, screaming from the pain, I cried from frustration. Was the season over? Everything from that point until I got to the ER was blurred by the pain and my screaming for it to end.
2 morphine shots and 1 very patient doctor later, my shoulder was popped back into place. Then, the biggest question of concern came out of my mouth: “When can I run again?” The doctor who became my best friend during my morphine daze quickly became the person I wanted to punch in the face the most with my good arm. 4-6 weeks. 4-6 weeks?! I don’t even have 4-6 days. I said thank you, took my sling, my high dose pain med prescription, and walked out the door. With conference in 3 weeks I saw no other option than to get better and fast. Other people however, wanted to share their opinion: “You should never steeple again. You’re too short. You will not be ready for conference in 3 weeks.” What do I have to say to that?
2 days later I was on the elliptical with one arm
5 days later I threw off the sling and started moving with limited range of motion
6 days later and I am moving with almost full range of motion
Am I in pain? Slightly. Can I get through it? Absolutely. For every negative comment that gets made, fuel is added to the fire.
So what is the moral of this story? Why am I rambling on about an injury (or non-injury) of a moderately useless (in my mind) body part (because I only care about my legs, obviously)? Because with all of the people giving me their negative opinion about what I should or should not do, there is one person who’s opinion really matters... Mine. If you let the negativity of others control your healing and your thoughts, you will give up on your dream and start to believe what other people tell you your not capable of. You let the negativity win.
Be the positive force in your life. Be the positive force for others. We are here to motivate and inspire one another. It all starts with being able to be positive for you. Try it. Your Lyfe depends on it.
From my two good shoulders and me, go have fun and Run your own Lyfe.
Caitlin South Keen
Internalization comes naturally to runners. We experience pain, fear, and depravity, and we hold it inside in order to keep the cool face. In an attempt to not let the outside world ‘see you sweat’, runners bury deep inside themselves thoughts, emotions, concerns, and complains that haunt us like a recurring nightmare. We use pain and fear as weapons of mass destruction: our bodies become ground zero. We get caught up in the internal struggle; the outside world then seems foreign and mundane. We create an armor of self-confidence, intricately designed not to reveal our flaws. Outside forces push on us but we are not moved; the blinders come on and the miles are all that matter. We end up believing that the only path is the one laced with enemies, ready to tear us down and to take our place. Eat this, drink that, do this, say that, read this, change that – we blockout the noise. Missing the opportunities of friendship and fellowship, we become convinced others want to do us wrong. We question the sincerity of advice yet revel in the opportunity to give it. When will we realize that controversy is not synonymous with opposing views? When will we realize the success of our sport is synonymouswith the success of even our most disliked adversaries?
One of the greatest moments in my running career was the realization that there is a huge community out there who want to see you succeed. Sometimes we can get caught up in the insanely competitive aspect of our sport and forget that we all share something greater. We all share a passion to run fast, to push beyond our limits, to exceed expectations, and to enjoy the time on our feet. When it is time to race, we race, when it time to reflect, we reflect, and when it is time to be a community -- I wouldn’t want any other collection of people waiting to share in my failures and successes. Being a strong athlete does not simply mean that you do not fall. Being a strong athlete means having the strength to admit that you cannot do it alone, that you will fail, and that you can depend upon others.
Finally, to go beyond the road, the trail, or the track: to us as people. Our existence extends far beyond what we do and how fast we do it. Our beliefs, passions, and characteristics may differ but the human element transcends all these. We know the pain each other experiences – even if it is simply the discomfort of a long run, we can empathize. We may never build a relationship that will stand the test of time, or distance, but that does not mean we cannot be kind, sincere, and loving. Life is not meant to be experienced alone, or in constant scrutiny of others. We do not simply affect change within ourselves; we unknowingly affect others with every action.
Make a positive impact on someone. Spread the RunLyfe movement. Be a friend, be acompetitor, be a runner, and be happy.
Living the Lyfe.
RunLyfe's Matt McElroy went onsite with the Team Indiana Elite squad for footage of thier recent altitude training and threshold work. Coach Stephen Haas was emphasizing volume in their recent get away from Indiana to the Mountains of Arizona.
f you turn on the television, listen to the radio or ask around campus; you will probably hear what you are supposed to do this spring break. We are told to go venture to a beach party spot in order to create memories we won’t forget by living days we won’t remember. But why live this way? Is it for a chance to be on MTV? Are they searching for the greatest high, or simply a chance to escape reality?
The final straw for me was when I attempted to watch the movie Spring Breakers with some friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some James Franco. Selena Gomez stole my heart with love you like a love song, and Riff Raff is so bad that he’s good. But, after twenty minutes I had no desire to see what was in store for their wild experience. Instead, I was bound and determined to set my own memories. Interestingly enough they turned out to be completely polar opposite of what we are “supposed” to do.
I packed up my car and left the empty campus to head for home. What was usually a four hour drive took me around ten hours to complete. I wasn’t intending to make it such a trip but that was what the day turned into, sheer spontaneity. Without ever touching a major highway, phone turned off, no GPS; I made my way up to my destination. Following street signs and a compass, I vowed to myself to stop at anything that I found interesting. Three thrift stores, two local parks, one historical mile marker, and the most worthwhile of them all, a run next to this river in some town I’ve never heard of became the makings of my own journey.
Every minute of my forty-minute run was truly enlightening; the purest form of fun that I could imagine. No one was there. I had no idea where I was and for that time, I was completely off the grid. I felt as if I could run forever and I even had to come up with reasons against it (I already ran 70 minutes in the morning, I’m on a strict training schedule, injury is always looming). Still, those thoughts were so far out of my head, all I could think about was enjoying every last second of this run. After crossing creeks, climbing dirt roads, and running through a rustic old town reality started to come back to me. My obligations came rushing back, my legs started to tighten up from the 5:40 miles I was running. My clothes were ruined with mud, and I had no idea where I was. Suddenly the feeling of complete euphoria faded away: my syringe of miles, my rush of pace, my bottle of endorphins ran out and none of that mattered because I knew I could get it back. That runners high is something I look forward to, that runners high is something that will get me out the door tomorrow, and that runners high is what brings us all together.
So as the spring comes we recommend to you all a few very simple ideas. Go out and do all that you can. To us, spring break should be about a good time. A time that is spent with true friends and making memories that will last. Be spontaneous, be adventurous, and most of all have passion. We are all looking for that high; find yours in the way that you want to not the way the world expects you to.
"I came from nowhere, I mean I came from nowhere, nowhere"
"Now they mad cause I’m doin little something"
"I might go on vacation, palm trees"
A new Runlyfe exclusive film starring NAU's cross country team, Dave Mcneill and Forrest Misenti cooking a classic runners meal. A Collection of videos from RunLyfe compiled by Matt Mcelroy.
While browsing through some old Sports illustrated magazines, most of them dated from the late 1970’s to early 80’s, I didn’t know whether to feel anguish as to why did I have to grow up in decades that give runners such little attention to none at all (oh wait I forgot about Usain Bolt)…, or whether to feel a bit of jealousy; why can’t my friends and I be on the front of magazines? But there’s no room for those such thoughts. In reality even the runners in the 70’s and 80’s were fighting the same battles as we are today. I am sure they asked the same questions: Would there be more opportunities for us runners if we were viewed like other sports stars? Would we be the face of famous name brands? Would a majority of college’s best have contracts waiting for them after college?
Running broken down to its’ simplest from, forgetting the governing bodies that are over us, requires no equipment, courts or rules; even having a coach is optional. It’s simply to see who can run the fastest from point A to point B. Humans have been running ever since our existence. Our ancestors would race until the sun rose or set. This racing is what classifies us as a sport, however; running is one of the lowest sports on the spectrum right now, well below all of the “popular” sports. Giving more credit over runners to someone who merely is good at playing a game is an insult. No discredit to any other athletes because they work hard to get to their respected levels, but we runners have a lot of pride, and it’s time we stand together and be proud of what we do. It shouldn't take a massacre at Boston or a death of a young phenom to attract attention to our sport.
There is no one thing we can do, and these changes certainly won’t happen overnight. But we wouldn't have it any other way. So I ask everyone to enjoy our Run, live our Lyfes, and stand up for the RunLyfe movement.
On April 1, 2014 in Dallas, TX, one of the areas elite high school training groups took [the pool] the track to get their weekly track session in. Christian Culpepper, Tyler Forde, Grant Buley, and Zach Polley some of the group's [dive team captains] senior leaders ran a 6x600m workout at mile pace, jogged 200m followed by a 200m [stroke] sprint with 2 min recovery. Let's just say they got wett.
As a runner, I have come to terms with the sensation of pain. I have pain in my legs, my feet, and even my head after expending so much mental energy on a workout or race. As a runner, pain is inevitable. Yet, as a runner, and as a person, physical pain is something you have to grow to accept and in some cases: to love. Thinking about the pain in my legs during the last lap of my 25-lap battle around the oval is a feeling I wish gave everyone the goose bumps as it gives me. It hurts to move faster, it hurts to go around one more time, but it would hurt even more to quit. This pain is not as great is the one in our hearts when we lose something or someone we love.
On March 18th, 2014, the family, friends, coaches, and women of the SMU Mustangs Track & Field team lost someone we love with all our hearts. Hannah Moss was not only our teammate; she was our sister, our sunshine, and our joy. With this life that we are so preciously given, Hannah knew that it was not worth wasting in fear, stress, or worry. She was the most carefree girl I came to know. It was amazing how she could bring true meaning to the phrase “turn up”, wear a penguin beanie just because she could, and live her life to the fullest each and every day. For Hannah, life was an adventure and she knew there was no other way worth living. For Hannah, when things hurt the most, she laughed and lived by this each day, wearing the tattoo of “When it hurts most – laugh” on her wrist with pride.
Before Run Lyfe and before the passing of Hannah, I often found myself stressed about many things in my life. Was I doing enough to be better? Was I sleeping enough? Did I eat well enough to fuel my body? Was I pushing myself enough to reach my potential? Was I doing the right things to recover? Overall, was I really doing EVERYTHING I could to reach the next level? I stressed so much about the answers to these questions and more often than not, I had to be reminded to have fun. What the members of the Run Lyfe community, and Hannah, have taught me is that having fun and loving what you do is the entire point of the sport of track & field. In fact, it’s the entire point of running and it’s the entire point of life.
Not a day went by where Hannah was not having fun. And when things hurt the most, she laughed. She laughed because wearing a smile was the only way she knew how to go through life. She laughed because she knew everything was going to be okay. She laughed because she was having fun. I ask you all to forget about PR’s, forget about the clock, forget about the distance and try to remember what it was that first started you on your journey to be a runner. It was not to be stressed. It was not to be in pain. It was to bring you joy and to have fun with others that experience the same sensations you do when you have a great run.
For yourself, for Hannah, and for your community, enjoy this LYFE. Share your passion and love with people you never thought you would become friends with. Take this opportunity to commit to a stress free lyfe full of fun and joy, and see that you are not alone. From myself, from my teammates/sisters, and most importantly from Hannah, I would like to thank you all for making my journey through this crazy sport such a fun one. I look forward to seeing how we all grow and inspire each other for a LYFETIME to come. From my heart to yours please remember,
“When it hurts most- laugh.”
-By: Caitlin South Keen
In loving memory of Hanna Moss