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!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Running backwards in time

This morning was a time for extreme reminiscing. Having noone to run with today (my mate and his cross country kids being all on holiday), I headed off alone – no watch and just intent on seeing how far a would get in the early morning sunshine.

There were the usual shouts of ‘Gijima’ and ‘sure sure’ as taxis passed me and waved out the windows. For about an hour I did not pay any attention to anything around – I was in a kind of dream world (the best part of the run for me) where my feet just speak to the earth – both are speaking the same language and in unison we move forward. Although the ground I was running over was littered with potholes and uneven ground, I did not seem to battle at all. Things just came so natural to me.

Slowly as if something inside of me was awakening the past, I started to notice landmarks. I ran past my junior school – I ran past my high school and the track where once I ran a 10.6 for the 100, I ran past the zoo where the lions would wake me up with their roaring when I stayed over at my mates place. I ran past the bottle shop where in the old days I used to buy beer underage each Friday after school before a BBQ at my mates place. I ran past a lot of clubs and pubs (some long since shut) where I used to drink while still at school. I ran past the place where I shared my first kiss. I ran past the place where I used to hitchhike home – mad to think back then at the risks I used to take as a kid.

My mind cast back to all my old school chums and what they might be doing at this point in their lives. My mind cast back to a time when things were much simpler and though a part of me yearned for this time again, this can never be and must remain part of my past.

The future beckons and I run to it.

Running together (while concentrating on the future) – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rediscovering childhood and hidden roots

This morning I was extremely fortunate to run along some vaguely familiar routes with some extremely talented runners in my native Africa. As a slipped out on my own to rediscover areas familiar to my childhood, the sun was only just rising and getting hot, the birds were out and the land was coming to life. The beating heart of Africa was warming up and pulsing with life. The land was speaking – although I had long last heard it speak, it was great to reacquaint myself with what it was saying.

At first I laboured along in rarefied altitude air for the first couple of KMs and then something inside of me came alive again – I had felt it previously – although not for a long time. It was the feeling that I had as a child running track, where we were chased so hard by the coach and his dog that you invariably puked your guts up alongside the track at some point and your lungs were left busting and burning from the work put in. It was indeed the feeling of raw enjoyment and that animalistic instinct to push on despite hurting.

The hills melted away and soon enough I encountered other groups of runners who were also out enjoying themselves on a Sunday morning. The sheer talent of some of the runners here in South Africa is amazing – they just seem to have natural instinct and ability to harness the runner within. One happened to remark to me that I ‘was not bad for a white bloke’ – not sure how to take this, I decided it was probably meant in the best light and they really made my day by running along with me.

Two hours later I was back again - things were good, my soul was calm and inside my roots were burning. This is what I was needing – you see you can run, but you can never run from what you are and where you come from and ultimately I am an African runner. It matters not that my skin is white, what matters is what is inside and how your heart relates to the land.

Running together (while retaining your roots) – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Using techonology to build community

This evening I was able to meet up with some friends who share my passion for running. Now what would you say is unusual about that? Well many of these folks I had not met previously in the flesh – they were quite simply online chat forum buddies. Now in today’s world of technology driven interaction, one of the simple pleasures of meeting people face to face and developing a community is slowly vanishing, so it was good to meet these people outside of the world of cyber space and discover that they are very likeable and that a common interest in running has drawn us together as a community inside and outside of the world wide web.

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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The importance of good habits

Last night at my company Christmas function, I was again asked by numerous people how it was that I was able to run the distances that I do and back up day after day. It amazed me the amount of people who just said they plain could not exercise or they had no interest in exercising. For me this means then that the sad reality is that these people are not willing to invest in the most important thing in their lives – their health and their body. This is it plain and simple – there are no ifs, buts or maybes about it – these people just have no interest in cultivating the one habit that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their existence.

It is scientifically proven that if we do something continually for a period of 2 weeks then it becomes a habit. I am living proof that a healthy habit can be cultivated over a relatively short period of time. In fact so ingrained is my daily routine of exercise that I now rise before 6am each day to be out the door and moving as nature intended us to. For me it is quite simple – my overweight life is well behind me and each day I revel in how strong and fit I am compared to what I once was. Anyone who I can help as a result of sharing my story and ideas is just an absolute bonus to me and worth way more than any sum of money.

Running together (while sharing and developing positive habits) – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Staying true to your morals

Like so many around the world, I was touched by the beautiful story of ‘Born to run’ as told through the eyes of Christopher McDougall and any runner who has not read the book yet should really get a hold of a copy of the text ASAP. The part that really impressed me was that the chap who is organising the Copper Canyon Ultra each year, Caballo Blanco has also knocked back big corporate sponsor dollars in the aim of keeping the race locally focused and benefitting locals. This takes a massive amount of guts in today’s world where money is viewed so highly by so many.

Seek not to take the easy road in life, for the fruits of that path have long since been plucked by others.

Running together (while maintaining integrity) – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Running like an animal..

Friday night I was being asked one of those questions that all runners are asked by non runners – why do you do it?

I myself had been asking those sorts of questions just a few years back at 105kgs, but I was not quite as aggressive in my questioning of others as the chap on Friday was. Clearly we had differing opinions on the world and what is important and that is fine, as Gandhi said, ‘Healthy differences are often a sign of healthy progress’.

As mentioned many times on this site, the run and being out amongst nature is all about the spiritual side for me. It is a reconnection with the earth, my ancestors past and present and above all with nature. It matters not how fast or how far – what matters is that I am connecting. Something overtakes my sub conscious and I feel at one with the earth. It is not a question of having to run – that has gone long time ago with the 37Kgs – it is more about wanting to and needing to reconnect.

All of what is important to me went straight over the head of these people, and this is fine. We all have our connection some way. For some it is money, for some it is the arts, but for me it is that primitive need and want to run as one with the earth like an animal. Telling people that I am a running animal often brings looks of bemusement and sometimes laughter and other times people will proceed to tell me about how bad my running is for me and that ultimately it will lead to me not being able to walk in the future and destroying my legs. Clearly all of this is a load of rubbish, but the sad fact is that these critics will not know the joy of running with the earth and as part of the earth. They will be stuck in their rut of questioning instead of accepting that sometimes some things can’t be put in words – these things must be felt to be internalised and rationalised.

Running together (like an animal) stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller