Uncover your inner athlete!

Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be eaten.. Each morning in Africa a lion awakes - it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve.

No matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up you had better be running!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good competition in the running market

I was pleasantly surprised to see the other day that a bricks and mortar athletic shop in Sydney was selling my favourite running shoes at just a fraction more than they are available on my favourite online retailer. Now I know that we should be shopping locally, but when there is a price differential for me of over $100 between the same product in the shop and online, then I am going with the online option everyday. If however, there is only a slight difference, then I will definitely consider going and supporting the bricks and mortar option.

These previous massive differences go a long way to prove to me just how much we are being ripped off everyday (even by so-called discount retailers). We (in Australia) have been told many times that the population will not embrace online shopping, but anyone going into a physical store (especially the larger sports stores) at a busy lunchtime will find that this is completely untrue – these stores are desolate. I also read a very interesting stat the other day which pointed out that the majority of sporting goods in Australia were being purchased from online shops in 2011.

With such large price differences and the fact that I can shop online anywhere from the comfort of my own home at any time, means that in a time poor society, most stores would be on a hiding to nothing and it is pleasing to see that these stores have been thinking of some innovative ways of attracting customers back.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beating the overweight burden..

This morning I was confronted with one of the most annoying things in life. I was running through the Sydney suburbs, when I saw a young child running away from his mum. This is not unusual you may be thinking, however he was about to run directly out into the traffic and his mum, who was morbidly overweight was in no position to chase after him. Luckily for him I was able to grab him just prior to him running in to the road and being badly hurt or worse.

While there was a good positive ending to the saga, it really got me thinking some more about the amount of overweight and obese folk out there, who are not in a position to act as a positive example to their children, or to offer them all the things that parents should be able to, such as running after them in the park and such, or in the case of the lady above, being able to catch their child and prevent him being running over. This is so unfortunate as is the fact that we in the west have such a problem with people being so overweight, whereas half of the world is starving to death. This does not add up at all.

We all have the power to wipe out type 2 diabetes and rid the world of obesity by just following some very simple rules like not eating junk (or overeating), doing some form of exercise each day and giving up soft drinks and replacing with water. It really is just that simple really.

Something needs to be done about this epidemic and the sooner the better or we as a society are in serious trouble.

Running together – while beating obesity – stride for stride on a life changing ride!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turning B+ into A

A friend of mine at work was talking to me the other day about her personal training session that morning and she remarked that she felt that she was not on her ‘A game’ that day, but rather a ‘B+’, now this is surprising, since this young lady is usually very positive, upbeat and energetic. But we are all allowed some off days – we are only human after all.

This comment by my friend got me thinking about some of the world class athletes that I had studied and how they manage to get over exactly what my friend had been describing. The standout for me is Kenyan Catherine Ndereba, who has often been described as being the most successful female marathon runner ever. Ndereba was not only an ex world record holder and Gold medallist at the World Championships, but she also is the only female marathon runner to have run the most amount of marathons under 2.30. However she has often remarked that her time trial times were down when she should have been at her fittest. This she excused though by acknowledging the fact that she had been training hard and that when the time came for her to race, she would be fresh again.

Ironman legend Mark Allen was another one who had similar experiences. Allen also remarked about the fact that his time trials became harder as training intensified. Experience however taught him that he need not have worried as he came good on the day and often managed to run a 2.48 marathon off the bike in an Ironman event.

Quite simply we all have our ups and downs and we will bounce back, as I no doubt believe my friend will to. Sometimes we need to just make slight tweaks to our diet or rest patterns. This can be the magic bullet to revive. In the meantime though, any form of training is still heaps better than no training at all. Keep a positive mindset and keep believing in yourself!

Running together (while bouncing back) – stride for stride on a life changing ride!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

100 and going strong

Imagine you were in your second century of life... and still running marathons. This is true of Fauja Singh, who recently became the oldest person to complete a 42.2KM marathon in Canada. Now granted his 8 hours odd was not the fastest time in the world by a long shot, but it he completed it nonetheless.

The holder of several records for fastest nonagenarian, he also claimed eight centenarian distance records from 100 metres through to 5,000 metres during Sunday's Toronto waterfront marathon. Some had never been attempted by someone that old before.

Such was his effort that he even beat 5 other runners in the race. His next goal he says is to carry the torch for part of the London relay.

Any who says that running is bad for one, must surely be eating their words right about now. A truly amazing effort and I can only hope to be going as strongly as him at his age. He believes in strong ginger tea, being happy and remaining healthy as his keys for success.

Running together (while knocking over a century in age) – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Random kindness and building community

The end of this week I had to visit Canberra for work reasons. Thursday evening when I had concluded all that I needed to, I asked of my hotel where they would suggest I could take in a quick 10KM run or so. They looked at me bewildered, but handed over a map and instructed me to head for Black Mountain and to do a loop and the Australian National University. I ventured out in to the cooling night and the days stresses just faded as I dropped the hammer and ran quickly.

Passing by the university grounds, I was suddenly 12 years younger and playing rugby and running with my uni mates. Up ahead I saw a squad of runners heading in the same direction as I was and I pushed the pace to catch them.

‘Want to join us?’ – three simple words from one of the leaders and the invite I had been hoping for. Smiling and nodding I joined in – a few handshakes round the group and exchanges of names and I was part of a uni running group and in my element for the evening.

Now the group set a challenging pace, but there was the presence of banter (as with all groups) and the formation of new friendships. Just under an hour later, I thanked them and peeled off to retrace my steps to my hotel – mission accomplished in building community around a positive and healthy endeavour.

With all the electronic mediums that we communicate through nowadays, there seems to be less of the inclination to actually say ‘hi’ and to get to know someone on a base level. On that level and with that group, we could have been a herd of animals out running and doing exactly what nature intended us to do.

Running together – while building community – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

iPod infection

I am still amazed again at the amount of runners running in the early morning with their iPods on. This is the time of day when it is the most cool and the earth is only just starting to wake from the night before. Things are coming to life again and it is amazing the kinds of things that one sees, hears and experiences at this time of the day. Why one would want to drown out these sounds with the droning coming from a set of headphones is beyond me. Perhaps I am just one of those sad technophobes.

Running together – stride for stride on a life changing ride. – Sean Muller

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The curse of the iPod wearers

Those that know me well, know that it takes a lot to even get me mildly wound up. Life is so short that I don’t believe in harbouring resentment or hatred towards people – I generally move on though and just extradite these negative, energy sucking souls from my life!

As the saying goes – ‘There is no need to fear the angry man in sport or in life as he will generally defeat himself with time’.

What does get me extremely annoyed though is the amount of iPod wearing runners who have no regard for others who share the roads with them on a given day. I recently read of a wheelchair athlete who was battling to find money to repair her wheelchair in preparation to try and make the London paraolympics after having an iPod wearer smack into her in the City to Surf and what was worse, the cretin kept on running. I must admit that I started out running with an iPod, but have not used one (even on short runs) for a good few years now.

This morning I was out on my 35KM training run and am always alert on particular sections of the track I take as there are bikes that share this path with runners. Generally things are harmonious and nothing bad happens – cyclists ring their bells and we get out of the way. It is simple really.

That was until Mr and Ms iPod wearer – with it on full blast decide to rock the apple cart somewhat. The poor cyclist is yelling and ringing his bell to alert them, but they are oblivious – stuck somewhere in a techoclub soundtrack. Clearly having had enough, said cyclist decides to take matters into his own hands and overtake them only to be greeted with a barrage of abuse and four letter words as he almost runs them over (they were weaving all over the shop and clearly in the wrong).

This happened again with another group of people (walking 6 abreast and blocking the whole path) and a cyclist trying to get through politely at first and then losing his cool a bit. Mind you I was also greeted with a mouthful as I made my way through that group.

Now I have no objections to someone ruining their running experience through using an iPod (can’t understand why one would want to do it), but these machines also seem to take over brains and cause people to act like idiots and in a downright unsafe manner.

Put the machine away – listen to the earth around you and under you – get lost in your own thoughts – allow your head to clear as you indulge in man’s greatest freedom.

Running together (sans iPod) – Stride for stride on a life changing ride!! – Sean Muller

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The spiritual runner

Sometimes it happens an hour into the run, sometimes it happens after a shorter time than that. It is that moment that some liken to a religious experience- the moment when you feel at one with yourself and your environment and all that is around you. It is that time when (even if you are alone), you feel someone running next to you or just out of reach of you and it pushes you to go that little bit faster. Zoning out and just ‘going with things’ you find out what it is that is important to you, you examine your moral fibre – you by no means just go through the motions. You are in the good space in life and running with the earth and as part of the earth.

Some people struggle to understand how I how attain my spiritual enrichment from being out on a trail for a couple of hours, but that is just how things seem to pan out. It is there that I feel my most at home and my soul is the most at ease that it ever is.

Running together – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Always good - even when at first it may not appear so..

The best piece of advice I got from anyone was to sometimes not think so much and to rather act. This is exactly the case when it comes to my running and this morning was no exception. Anyone who was around in Sydney this morning will know that the weather gods were raining down on us and it by all accounts was a day to be spent snuggled in bed rather than out on the roads running.

I had to gee myself up to get out there and complete the 25KM that I had scheduled for the day. Once outside though it was like I had stepped into my comfort zone again – the strange world of falling water from the sky seemed to be just where I needed to be at that particular time. Very few people were out at the time (given the weather and time of day) but that did not detract in the slightest from the fun that I was having.

Sidestepping puddles and being free out in nature, I could have 10 again and running around in our yard chasing the dogs and barrelling around without a care in the world. In years I may indeed be older, but the fun factor remains the same. Happy, sad, mad or glad, I always return from a man’s greatest freedom feeling invigorated and that is why I will continue to run until they put me into the box and enter whatever is waiting in the next world.

Running together – stride for stride on a lifelong life changing ride! – Sean Muller