Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Friday, December 27, 2013

Run, Robot Run - 2013 You Beautiful Mechanized System of Chaos

(Sadly the song goes Rock, Robot Rock, but I pretend they say run)

I've been tossing around ideas for a year end post. Do I go the easy route and just do a recap of events and photos? I wasn't thrilled by just have an extended post with no value added to my blog. So instead, I'm going to share with you... lessons learned from the year. Be they for your own use or just to get to know me a little better.

If you have only a minute, this is my own little way of saying carpe diem,  run and take a chance.

In the theme of run, robot run, running in its most basic sense is a simple, repetitive exercise. You could program a robot run, but that wouldn't make it a runner.

You can transform your body into the idealized well oiled machine, knocking out every work out, which is also pretty awesome...And probably what most athletes aim for, but when you look down your scope for that one goal, you lose focus on so much else.

Try to find a balance between hitting your numerical goals and also set goals for your running soul.

Looking back through the year, I don't necessarily feel like I did anything bad, but more like..
More on this in a moment
Running, when embraced, pushes you through a myriad of emotions and often brings you many opportunities to grow as person.  Run enough, and your brain slowly gets rewired.  Embrace what makes you human. Every run may not have the digits you want to see, your body may not carry you to that daily goal, but that doesn't mean the day is a loss. Did you see, I mean really see, what went on around you? Every runner going back, facing their inner adventures, running by you with a stoic face covered in sweat. Where are you running? Will you force a path to exist to get your runs in? You are amazing.

I always feel like everyone else I pass running has their proverbial shit together and silently passes judgement on my effort. Obviously the world cares that much right? After a year of meeting many runners and having candid conversations with them, you aren't alone in your crazies. Embrace them, they ultimate define how hard you are willing to work for your goals.

Are you still following me? In short, your run is part of a much bigger picture, full of an array of emotions that can scare the shit out of you...and I highly suggest you embrace it all. I find it akin to reading a book through even know you will find tragedy and pain in it, you simply don't stop in the first third of the book before life shapes the characters and turns them into elevated characters. You push through the pain, you look for the light at the end of the tunnel, you finish the story and reflect on what happened.

Such is the trial of many runs. Physically you push yourself to the limit, dancing with your body's signal for an oncoming injury. Mentally you navigate your inner maze, never knowing what minotaur is awaiting you. You may be afraid of what makes you tick, or be amazed about what makes you tick faster. But you must find out how you really work, then you can really make a difference in your run and life.

Now, I'm not saying only running does this for you. Or for someone looking to achieve this..enlightened feeling, you likely won't get this for some time. Running is hard and not everyone will enjoy it. It takes time to move over the period of pain, physical adjustment, building a base of miles, and strength. After some time, running to me stopped becoming an exercise of purely maintaining body weight and keeping my doctor happy, but an exercise of meeting my mental needs as well. Your body can go on auto pilot when you take a mental adventure into no man's land.

I belabor the lesson learned, don't be afraid to do more in all aspects of life.

I have been afraid to put myself out there to other runners, to accept that I can be accepted. I have been afraid to develop friendships and trust in them. I have been afraid to be a fuller person for my wife and child. But you know what? I can accept this has all happened, and accepting this has made me want to do more.

Just like running goals, life is hard, and you have to trust in your training (social involvement) and take chances to really push for that awesome finish. As I used to often complain about the lack of involvement, I was never making an effort to be part of some greater community. I put myself out there.. and I do feel like I have some part to play it in all.

Many of you readers I have met and shared some sort of social interaction with, and I have yet to meet one of you that I don't appreciate and think proudly of ( of you are the wurst). To you all, thank you for sharing your time, be it over a sausage, a run, or dessert, for what is more valuable than time to us runners?

Some recent life events have really pushed my emotions to some different dimension, and experiencing them has been a wonder. While they can be distracting, I try to look at them as a new tool in my running/life tool box to use. I can't wait to be a father to a second child come next Summer, there is no greater love and meaning in life than your family. Without my wife and child, I would be a very hallow man chasing meaningless addictive activities I'm sure.

I also cannot wait to see where my new found friendships take me in 2014, and who knows who else I'll meet? The best lesson I want to share, someone you learn as a child..take a chance with people, be honest, be their friend. Yes, you can get hurt or feel exposed, but you are alive and you continue. It is better to have run with a friend, than to never have run at all right? I feel very fortunate to belong to several running groups that have embraced me so far, and I hope I can make you all proud.

I hope that these.. hopes are not just some holiday mental trend that I will put away like an unlikely new years resolution, but rather moment in time where I actually grow as a person.

2013, you have shown and taught me a lot. Everything old is new, and everything new is old. The lessons aren't some revelation, but rather an experience each person needs to really find on their own, this is just my story.

and oh yea, be patient with your training, or you could get hurt multiple times like me :) Follow your training plans people!


  1. just awesome. right on the money, Declan. so glad we both took a chance and met-up for a pre-dawn rain and thunder-y run, even if it meant possibly getting struck by lightning and, eventually, your phone's untimely demise from the surprise torrential downpours. :) you're awesome. lots of love.

  2. I'm go glad we met and have become wurst friends forever.

  3. This is such a well written and thoughtful post, Declan. Good luck in 2014! Hope we can do a run if/when you come back East to visit. (Grr.. it won't log me in to comment..)

  4. Thank you Erin!!! I'm very happy we got to meet and share part of our life adventure! SJ is very lucky to have drafted you!

  5. not sure if typo or joke.. I too am go glad!
    Two gingers commented already on my blog! My blog my crash.
    Wurst friends are the best friends right?

  6. Thanks Adam! I think you should do a race in Chicago :)

  7. I would never joke!!! Actually, I only joke/tease people I actually like. So they more I tease, the more I love! <3

  8. I think this is my favorite post of yours to date. I started following your blog around April, when you were just a guy running by himself at the asscrack of dawn (or well before). So it's been really cool to watch the year unfold for you!

    You really are the wurst - I always have so much fun at our WRCE meet-ups when you're there to bombard us with sausage jokes :)

  9. Great post! Running is about so much more than numbers and it can be easy to forget that when staring down a goal. I've really enjoyed "training" with you this year haha. It's too bad you're taking spring off from marathoning (but CONGRATULATIONS!!) because it'd be fun to commiserate over speed/strength runs again!

  10. I thought I had replied to this! maybe i just did in my mind.
    Thank you :)

  11. Thanks!
    I'm sure i'll get in the rhythm of the SOS runs again pretty soon!