The potential we have inside ourselves

Another 21-mile week wraps up with 3 miles today, and then a 7-mile long run this weekend — and then we take it up a notch next week

Good morning, my running friends! ☀️ Ready to go out and get your 3-mile run today in yet? I hope your morning’s getting off to a great start wherever you are in the world and you had a great 5-mile run yesterday. (And if you went farther, let’s hear it!)

To get us started off today — especially now that we’re planning on running our own virtual race/challenge together as a group this fall! — I thought I’d share this really unusual running challenge I stumbled across, by Beau Miles, a self-described “backyard adventurer” and filmmaker who lives in Melbourne, Australia.

In this 17-minute video, he runs a full, 26.2-mile marathon over 24 hours — running a mile each hour around the roads that circle his farm — all while building a table, working in his garden, and doing other odd jobs around his house:

As we run today, there’s something I’ve been thinking about all week that I want to share with you. It popped into my head after I saw a couple of posts on social media over the past few days, reflecting a feeling in the air I know a lot of us have been feeling.

The first was by Steve Magness, a well-known athletic coach and the author of the 2014 book The Science of Running:

The next was by Peter King, a football analyst with NBC Sports:

Honestly, on one hand I get the sentiment both these guys are expressing. I’ve had plenty of my own moments of pessimism and deep, deep frustrations with the way our country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been handled. And these guys are probably just airing their frustrations, thinking out loud a little.

On the other hand... both of these guys are in leadership roles. Who knows how many people are looking to them for cues on how to perceive the world, how to feel, how to act?

When you’re in a leadership role, this kind of pessimism is a luxury you don’t get to enjoy. Because you asked to be in that role, you sought it out. Part of the job is to lift your people up, whether they’re athletes you’re coaching, or readers and viewers you’re informing.

My point in sharing this isn’t to whistle past the massive failures that have occurred in our response to the virus. Rather, I hope we see there have been inspiring moments that shouldn’t be forgotten, like our collective actions back in March, when we first became fully aware of what the virus could do:

“... if we take a step back from the panic-buying of toilet paper, the response to COVID-19 should stand as one of the most beautiful moments in our country’s long history — a moment of shared, galvanizing national spirit that has existed in perhaps only in a handful of epochal years before, like 1776, 1861, 1933, and 1941, and, in modern times, after 9/11.

We are witnessing people everywhere, acting mostly independently but all together, shutting our country down — a move that ensures millions will face a massive, incalculable economic hit — to give the weakest among us a better chance against the novel coronavirus.”

Of course, you can’t be a Pollyanna and look only at the good. That’s what a child does, not an adult.

But you also can’t look away from the good, the potential, the strength that we all have. It’s still there. It never went away. It’s just waiting to be called back into action.

And that goes for each of us on an individual level too, especially as runners. We all fall short from time to time, we disappoint ourselves. But the potential we have inside us never leaves us. It’s right there, just waiting to be called back into action.

One of my biggest heroes when I was a teenager was Bob Dylan, who himself idolized the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie. In an interview, Guthrie said these words, and it’s hard to think of a better response to the pessimism we’ve all been subjected to recently:

“I hate a song that makes you think you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. I'm out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you.”

I can’t say it any better than that. (Who could?!)

Anyway, I hope you guys go out there and have an awesome, awesome run today. Be sure to let me know how it goes!

I’ll have more for you on Sunday on the virtual running event we’ll do this fall — maybe October? Maybe November, as we’d planned? Or both?

Also, we have two new members who’ve joined us since yesterday, so please welcome them with open arms, as they’ll be joining us for this training journey too. 👍

— Terrell

A song to run to today

Gaslighter” from the album Gaslighter by The Chicks.

Want to hear all the songs from our newsletters? Our full playlist contains 7 hours, 59 minutes of music to run to.