For our dailymiler of the week this Friday, we’re doing something a little different. Greg S. has been featured on the blog before in a Q and A with Peter L., so instead of doing a repeat interview, I asked him to think about his favorite dailymile moments. Greg has been part of the community for just over a year now, so he sat down and chronicled his top five dailymile moments from the time he signed up until today.
Greg S.’s top moments from being a dailymiler:
One of the things that I love about dailymile is the fact that you are creating content and reaching for your fitness goals at the same time. To me, this makes running (or, even cross-training) more meaningful, as it encourages you to stay in the moment and think about what you are accomplishing with each run, what you are experiencing, what is going well and what isn’t – whether in the exercise itself or in your life in general. With that in mind, and having already shared a lot of my background in an interview with Pete Larson on the Dailymile blog, as well as in a chat on Dirt Dawg’s Running Diatribe this week.
I hope maybe this can spur your own thoughts as to what it is that keeps bringing you back to this site – or, maybe what will encourage you to visit it more.
Greg finishes a personal record for the marathon.
This is the obvious answer, but there is nothing like the outpouring of support you get when you complete and summarize your “A” race, as well as some of the milestone races leading up to it. Many of your friends here have watched your training, and no doubt some have formed their own guesses as to how you will perform, and on most weekends there are hundreds of members here eager to check in on the results their friends have posted. I know I’m often chomping at the bit to see how everyone has done. When I finish a race, my second step after getting my Blackberry from the gear check, after messaging my wife that I’m done, is to post my time and initial thoughts on dailymile. The first time I did so was after the Cleveland Marathon in 2010 (my first in over five years), and my message was simple:
“Cleveland Marathon – done. Boston qualifying – done. Personal best – done. Legs – done. Writing – done (for now – race report later).”
The outpouring of support and congratulations was amazing, and it’s something I looked back to ahead of later races for motivation. Dailymile still provides the incentive for me to push through the tough times during training to achieve moments like this.
Remembering the Joy
Early morning run that brought a rewarding sunrise.
As much as I’m driven to run by performance objectives, there are the occasional runs that really remind us of the pure joy in the act itself – the solitude, the time to reflect, or that state of total control you achieve when it’s you and the road (or the trail) and everything just seems to flow by smoothly. There are two such runs I remember this past year as particularly significant; ironically, they were both postdusk runs that were so moving as to have generated immediate blog posts, which are always great to share on dailymile. The first was at the start of summer, on my first semi-long run after the Cleveland Marathon, where the US was celebrating Memorial Day and the joy of the start of summer. Summer just feels like the start of the new adventure, and on this particular run I had explored a new route with a new, intimate neighborhood with tons of people out and about, enjoying a perfect weather day. It just seemed like the freedom we were celebrating, that many had died to protect, was laid out right in front of me that day.
Greg with his family.
The second, and probably more meaningful, was a mid-November run after a tough day – one where, as I described on my blog post for the experience, I wasn’t the best father I could have been, having gotten too short and impatient with my sons. With a lot of barriers to running (fighting a cold, kids going to bed late), I still realized I needed the run, and sharing the experience on dailymile reminded me why – it helped me remember that running refills, not depletes, energy stores. I got a lot of support from dailymile members, not only on the post here but also on the blog, so I know this experience was meaningful to many, and it made it even more valuable of a reminder for me to be able to share it.
Rebounding from a Setback
We all have setbacks. I had a few, such as losing my job last June, which of course led to a blog post and, on my last day in the office, an emotional long run and a lot of support from the dailymile community. Obviously, I’m not proposing dailymile is a source of career opportunities (though, you never know) but I know that, for myself and others, the ongoing support of this community and our running during tough times like unemployment helps make the process easier.
Maybe an experience that more of us are familiar with is recovering from injury. I strained my hamstring in mid-December and it was a helpful process to be able to share the frustration and progress here, and get both encouragement and voices of reason and experience during the recovery process. And of course, recovery culminates the best moment of all, that first run (or ride) back, and the outpouring of congratulations on a completed (hopefully) journey. I think challenging periods such as injuries are the most important time to have the support of friends on Dailymile – though one must be careful to seek out a range of inputs and not be tempted to push things too soon, too fast, as there is, admittedly, a strong bias towards encouragement here.
Being Part of the Community
Running with the Yaks, courtesy of Mark, aka FoCoRunner.
Beyond the workouts, there is a lot of satisfaction in being part of a like-minded (at least in regards to one passion) group of athletes and sharing in various activities like the #dailymission. I love the hilarities – like the lessons I learned on html, a topic I really know very little about – discussions, or, at times, vigorous debate that can occur in such posts or in the forums. In fact, I like this community so much that I even sent everyone a Christmas card. One highlight for me was receiving the honor of my own Mark Coleman-exclusive avatar, in this case portraying a yak (not a bull, for those who have asked) joining me at mile 26 of Cleveland. You can see a lot of Mark’s earlier work (his formative months, if you’d like) in a previous dailymile blog post.
I can’t count the number of times that athletes have considered new directions in their pursuits and sought the counsel or experience of their friends on dailymile. Perhaps you’re considering taking up triathlons, or shifting from cycling to running. Perhaps you are considering pursuing your first marathon, or jumping into ultras. Whatever you are thinking about doing, it is likely you can find dozens of others who have had or considered the same idea here.
Running “pre-dawn”: From Greg’s blog, Predawn Runner
My new direction was starting the Predawn Runner blog. I had a previous, professionally motivated blog, but really enjoyed writing about running the most. There is a tightly knit community of early morning runners here on Dailymile, and if I name any, I risk offending those that I forget to mention – but many of you know who you and they are – and while Brendan M referred to me as El Jefe in his interview, I’m only one voice of many. I joked during the week before the Cleveland Marathon, when I was in heavy taper mode and my wife was out of town, about the Pre-Breakfast Running Club (but somehow the conversation deteriorated to a conversation about the music of Gordon Lightfoot). And later that week, I took my blogging in a new direction in announcing the launch of Predawn Runner.The encouragement and conversation from Dailymile members has really been the bulk of the satisfaction achieved from doing the blog, and I’ve loved having it as a vehicle to learn and share more about other runners through Predawn Profiles.
Obviously, every day brings something new on dailymile, and I learn and am inspired by so many other runners – some of the more memorable posts to me are not even my own, of course. Some may not understand how you can make “friends” you have never met but, after over a year on this site, I can honestly say there are dozens of people that I know better than those I sit next to for hours on end in the office.