(Article written by Kevin Everett)
Running is painfully difficult in a race with competitors that push the boundaries of human propulsion. I feel fortunate to be racing with some of the best runners on the planet, albeit, I am surely not one of them. I am a pro triathlete with a strong swim a good bike and a weak run. This combination puts me in some exciting situations starting the run portion of triathlons. Unfortunately, the runners of this sport have a way of making me feel the pain as they stride off towards high finishes. I am the pony, racing the proven-breeds at the Kentucky Derby.
It is ironic how my season ended with a 6.5k, 40k, 10k duathlon after the swim was canceled at Treasure Island's Triathlon because of an oil spill. I had worked unusually hard on my swimming, and was poised to cause some suffering for those not adapted to moving fast in cold water. It was disappointing to miss an opportunity I was well prepared for. It did, however, spotlight what I was ill prepared for….16.5k of fast running. I knew that my running needed some work; this race threw some salt in the wounds.
It is perhaps more ironic that I bought Runners World magazine at the airport in route to this race in San Francisco (I was already planning to focus on improving my run in the off-season.) The magazine devoted a lot of pages to John L. Parker, author of 'Once a Runner'. I devoured the excerpt from his new book, 'Again to Carthage ', a continuation of 'Once a Runner'. The article mentioned that 'Once a Runner' was very hard to find…going for $300 on e-bay. After my race I was talking to my hosts about the motivating article and the book. Guess what!? He had two copies, lucky day!
I love the book and relate to it in many ways, I could tell like stories of my swimming days at Oakland University. Look for 'Once a Swimmer' at the stores soon…therein lies part of my problem. I have not morphed into a runner yet. At least, I have not put in the work to be an elite runner.
I am proud of my progress, starting triathlon along with biking and running four years ago, learning as I go. Running has been a struggle. My first few years were plagued with injuries and my training was less than optimized.
After four years of consistent running, slowly, methodically improving…I think that I am primed to make the journey necessary to be an elite runner. To feel, and to know, at my core, what it means to be a 'runner'.
I am still working out the details on how I will make this journey but being physically and mentally prepared will take me a long ways. For me the journey will be satisfying and a test of character. This off-season I will spend much of my time and energy focusing on enhancing my running ability. It is important to note that this journey began 4 years ago and will continue for years to follow. This off-season, however, will be an important chapter; I see it as a turning point.
I have to smile at the perfect timing for me to discover such a motivating book. It speaks to the sacrifice, the determination, the grit, the pain, the power, the love…that it takes to be a fast runner. "The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many days, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials" excerpt from 'Once a Runner'. There are no short-cuts.
Oddly enough, I finished reading this book at a remote cabin (much of the protagonist's training takes place at a remote cabin) over the Thanksgiving weekend. I had this urge, maybe a need to lace up and get out into the wild. Being in New Meadows, ID, I was in a beautiful spot; the cabin nestled right on the line where the forest and mountain begins. We were nestled high up on the hill over looking the large valley below. Behind us, the wilderness beckoned. I wanted to explore, to be free, to run wild. I was an already motivated runner that had just finished reading a running book that would get your grandma off the couch. With eye's wide open, pulse rate elevated, and lungs ready to expand, I grabbed my dog and ran into the wild.
-Kevin's background may be in swimming but just like his education he is an extremely well rounded and accomplished athlete in many different arenas. Once graduating college he took an extended break from the hard pace of competitive swimming to paddle kayaks, ski, mountain bike, and with left over time, even play water polo. The competitive spirits of athletes are difficult to hold at bay for long and in the spring of 2003 he returned to intense training with the focus on triathlons, and has enjoyed a more enriching life ever since. Kevin exploits his natural talents as a swimmer, yet is equally at home on the bike and his feet, having placed 1st in his age group at the Wildflower Olympic distance triathlon, and 13th in his first Pro triathlon.
(Team Tamarack Racing excerpt)
© 2007-2008 Paul Lundgren of F2R - Manufacturer of Triathlon Wetsuits.
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