Know thyself

The following is just some ruminations and odd references to things that have been rolling around my head this week as I’ve been gearing up for marathon training. I’m sorry for the misquotes and misattributions that remain. But these are things I’ve picked up in my reading and listening to music. They just might “strike a chord” with you.

“Do you wanna BE somebody!?!” is the question Scott Jurek’s pacer asked him when he was down on the asphalt during an ultra-marathon.

“Know thyself,” is inscribed at the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Noakes says, “Learn your strengths and weaknesses in training.” Me? I love monster distances. I am patient, persistent, and tough. And weaknesses? I will push myself up to and over the brink of injury. I over think and obsess. I am “intellectually over excitable.” Physically, since high school, I’ve had a twingy left Achilles tendon (from track) and a hernia from (over)training to bench press 200lbs. What can I say… for a while I wanted to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. But that wasn’t in the cards.

“Be you. Be what you’re like. Be like yourself.” – Whistling in the Dark, They Might Be Giants (Flood)

On a recent long run I was thinking about Jurek and that I wanted to run like him. That led me to morph “Moves like Jagger” into “Runs like Jurek.” So, I run like Jurek, singing out loud on the long runs, finding my granny gear on the way up hills. Only slower and not as fast. I run like Emil Zatopek, marching in place in front of the microwave. (Keep those knees up!) Only not in combat boots. I run like Pre, imagining a plumb line from my shoulders, through my hips, to my heels. Hips cocked forward. Only not as fearless. I run like Caballo Blanco, (even), easy, light, smooth, fast. Only in mass-marketed shoes. “Even” is my addition, since my right side is stronger, and I’ve been trying to even out for a couple of years now. I don’t even dream that I run like Arnulfo.

All of this thinking about who I run LIKE made me want to run like ME… since, as Kurt Cobain said, “Trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” And “It’s you vs. you,” which (I guess) is a fitness proverb. And there’s the song Proud, with the hook “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”

And that got me thinking that I was training for a marathon. And in my training, I was never going to run 26.2 miles. I’m thinking about a 23 miler, but nothing longer than that. So, in my training, I’m running LIKE I will run in the marathon. And on race day I am hoping to run farther and faster than I have ever run before.

What did you learn about you today?

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One Response to Know thyself

  1. Tad says:

    I have discovered that the best treatment for a sports hernia that’s bugging you on one side, is to pick up a sports hernia on the other side. Then you hardly ever notice the first one.

    The crazy thing about marathon training is if you do it “right,” on race day you run farther AND faster than anything you’ve done leading up to it. I guess if you think about it that’s how you “practice” other sports too. Soccer practice is broken up into different skills drills, then maybe you put it together for a scrimmage at the end of practice – but even the scrimmage isn’t game length or necessarily game intensity.

    Breaking a hard task into manageable subparts – the key to successful preparation.

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