Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Power of the Group

This week, baring a catastrophe, should be my highest mileage week ever (110 miles). So, what is a content, married, 31 year old doing pushing himself harder than ever before? Yes, some of it can be attributed to the tick tock of the biological clock I hear in my legs - but, I think the most important factor is my training group.

You might say - "I thought that distance runners are a lonely bunch - who are running away from . . . er . . . something." Not that I don't enjoy a good run by myself - but, we are humans, social creatures at heart. And we are motivated by the same things that all people are - hey, even the cockroach kicks it up a notch around other cockroaches.

The most famous post-collegiate running group in the US is Hanson's from Michigan. Brian Sell, who was not exactly a star in college, used the group training method to help put him on an Olympic team. Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Robert Cheruiyot, Haile Gebrelasse - all of them had a good nucleus of people to train alongside them - and even challenge them from time to time.

But, I don't envy them at all for what we have in Baltimore.

We train in freezing cold and in the sweltering heat;
We train in the city, in the woods, and on the track;
We feel good for each other's accomplishments, but
we warn each other, with a wink, "I'll get you next time";

We're not always the fastest - but, as Ryan says, "nobody is more awesome."
We're the adult softball team without the beer gut;
the poetry/philosophy club without the pen or paper;
the church without a god, but we do have regular services;
and when we pass around the plate for offering it comes back with blood and pain and stories;
and that is enough for me.


RM said...

Poetry, Ben, pure poetry.

alyssa said...

you guys wink at each other?

Ben said...

why do i have the feeling that one of you is going to put a link to this on some website called "". come on people - I was feeling inspired!

RM said...

I was being serious; Alyssa was not being serious.