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Motivation

Category Archives: Motivation

Racing the Gremlin

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Runners should listen to – and then ignore – the voice inside their head. Ever hear a little voice in your head? Be honest. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Well, it might mean you’re crazy depending on what the little voice is telling you. I’m talking about that little voice that whispers what it thinks you should be doing. Sometimes the voice is called your conscience, when it thinks what you’re doing isn’t right. But there’s another voice that many of us hear. I know I do, or at least I used to. This is the voice of the Gremlin….

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Of Penguins and Prefontaine

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The measure of a true runner has little to do with speed. Steve Prefontaine, arguably the heart and spirit of American distance running, once said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” At first glance, that may not seem like a Penguin point of view. But it is. This summer at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on the very track where “Pre” established his dominance over his opponents and his demons, I saw that same spirit overcome some of the least suspecting runners. We had come to the University of Oregon for the first annual…

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Keeping Up with the Jonesy

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We can’t all be world record holders, but we can certainly think like one. One of the fringe benefits of writing this column is that I get to meet so many great people. Some are ordinary people who are changing their lives, or the lives of those they care about, through running. Some are among the sport’s true elites. Of this latter category, one runner I’ve met stands out: Steve Jones. Jonesy – as he is known by many – was the marathon and half-marathon world record holder during the mid-1980s, and he’s still the British marathon record holder. Even…

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I am NOT a Jogger

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I may waddle when I run, but I’m running all the same. The late Dr. George Sheehan, beloved “Runner’s World” columnist and arguably the first running boom’s premier philosopher, once wrote that the difference between a runner and a jogger was a signature on a race application. (For the youngsters out there, there was a time before online registration when you actually filled out a paper application, signed it, attached a check, and mailed it in. Quaint, I know.) As succinct as Dr. Sheehan’s definition was, it made the point. If you were motivated enough to train for and participate…

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Gold Medal Moments

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You don’t have to be an elite athlete to understand the Olympic spirit. Have I ever mentioned that I have the greatest job in the world? It’s true. I get to participate in the best races around the globe and meet running royalty from the past and present. There are times I look around and have to pinch myself and think: Yes, I am part of a seminar panel that includes the likes of Bill Rodgers, Steve Scott, Deena Kastor, and Khalid Khannouchi. I can hardly believe a back-of-the-packer like me could share a stage with such talent. Of all…

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Finding Your Reason to Run

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There are hundreds of reasons to start running. The litany is familiar to all of us. Running promotes better health, a stronger heart, a more finely-honed physique… Those who have been runners most of their lives may not know exactly why they started. It just seems that running has been a part of who they are for as long as they can remember. For those who come to running later in life, the reasons for running are not always as lofty as health and fitness. Some of us started running because nothing else eased the pain of living. Some of…

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Giving and Getting

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Before there were “The Penguin Chronicles” a friend and I, Lee Alsbrook, wrote a column called “The Recess Bell” for a local newspaper. This is one of those early columns. December has always been a strange time of year for me. In addition to the holidays, my birthday is in December and so this month has become a watershed in my year and in my life. This was the month that society granted me important permissions. In December I became old enough to drive, old enough to get married, old enough to vote, and old enough to drink. I also…

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Faith Hope and Charities

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Running for something other than yourself is the greatest gift of our sport. In the fall of 1966, a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Over the next couple of years, her family and friends watched helplessly as both the disease and its treatment took a toll on her body. The outcome was never in doubt. It wasn’t a matter of if she would lose her battle with Hodgkin’s; it was simply a matter of when. And in the spring of 1970, the battle was over. Thinking about my friend’s death nearly 40 years later still…

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Embrace Your Local Penguin

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Sometimes it isn’t the miles but the people who make the run. Of all the changes that running has brought to my life, maybe the most important one is my awareness of my need for people. Having spent most of my first 40 years as a musician, I became accustomed to spending hours alone in a practice room. The practice room became a sanctuary, a safe haven from the pressures of work and relationships and family. I thought running would be the same. I thought that I could simply replace the time alone in the practice room with time alone…

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