So this past Sunday, I’m running down a familiar stretch of road, finishing mile 8 of 14 on the road I grew up on in Hunterdon County, NJ…and about a 1/2 mile up I see a familiar stride coming my way…it’s one of those very distinct strides….one of those where it looks almost effortless for the person…..one that some of us might love to hate…while others of us can only appreciate….and sure enough, within a brief minute or two, my sister passes me going the other direction with a smile and wave….
Another quarter mile, and I see another familiar gait…this one also coming my direction, and moving at an impressive rate…this one’s a reminder that just when you think you’re pretty good (at my age..haha)…there’s always room to improve as the friendly face (probably about 15-20 years older than me) passes me wearing his Boston Marathon jacket with a friendly hello. Just one week ago, I had the humbling pleasure to run with this gentleman, a 9x Boston Qualifier, sporting a sub 2:50:00 personal record in last year’s event….that’s faster then 6:30 / mile for 26.2 miles! Wow! He’s an impressive runner, and we’ve already made some tentative plans to do some long training runs together…it’s always good to have someone who’s “been there” push you!
And yet another quarter mile in….I come up on my wife, finishing her first distance run of the season…a 6 miler….and with all of this happening one right after the other, all on the same stretch of “homeland”….I started thinking……”man, I better be out here or my family / community is going to leave me in the dust”….and so goes the launch into my day dream of how one is a product of those they associate with…those they care about….the community that surrounds them….their environment…..go figure, my brother (not exactly a slacker on the endurance front as he gets ready to tackle his first Ironman!) began his blog last night on a similar topic (follow him at http://mikeeisenhart.blogspot.com/)…but mine has a different twist…so read on to see what kept my mind wandering for the next 6 miles.
I started thinking about this whole endurance training & running thing I’m doing…and in a way started laughing. You see, although I never considered myself a runner, my Dad was training for and completing marathons while my Mom was lugging me around for 9 months…I’ve always wanted to do a marathon….chalk it up to a 30 year old still looking up to his father (he’s a pretty impressive dude). But maybe because my parents shared in endurance training for 9 months (aka pregnancy and dealing with a husband “in training” for my Mom, and marathons for my Dad), “marathoning” is something I was “born to do”….or at least over the years….something my environment has conditioned me to place value on.
Actually, corny side story….my parents have this joke that my first words were going to be “Shoe-Goo” instead of “goo-goo”, in reference to the glue (called goo) that held the soles of old shoes together…(before the days of “GU” endurance gels)…a pretty bad joke….but not as bad as my Dad’s training partner naming his son (born around the same time as me) “Miles”……like the name…get it “Miles” for a runner…..ughh…thank fully my parents humor has evolved after raising 6 of us!
Anyway, back to being a product of of my environment….can it really be true? Well consider this, of the 9 colleagues I work regularly, in the last few years this group has completed:
- 7 Marathons
- 18 Half Marathons
- 3 Sprint Triathlons
- 1 Olympic Distance Triathlon
- 1 Half-Ironman Triathlon
- 1 Ultramarathon (50 miles)
- Countless 5k’s & other various distances
And with 3 half marathoners, 2 marathoners, 1 Ultramarathoner in training, and 1 Ironman in Training…..it’s a pretty motivating group (and sometimes a little tough to keep up with:)….and oh yeah…only 1 of us was really ever an endurance athlete pre-college!
So if I take myself as a case study….seems like my environment and those that make up it have had a pretty big impact on ensuring I’m LIVE. I’m sure we can all think about examples where our environment has impacted our life. Make sure you ask my colleague Nick Pfaff (follow him at http://corewrestling.com) about how his environment & social circle has helped guide him to healthier eating….
But be careful…..your environment can work to your detriment too….did you know that according to Harvard Medical School, a person’s chance of becoming obese increases 57 percent if a friend becomes obese, 40 percent if a sibling becomes obese, and 37 percent if a spouse becomes obese? The impact of one’s environment can be frightfully powerful!
So take a hard look at your environment, what are the things around you that support your goals and efforts, and what are bringing you down? Choose your friends wisely, surround yourself with like-minded people…and maybe a few you aspire to be like…you’ll be surprised how quickly they can make you feel (a)LIVE!