By descent, I’m a Cretan – from the island of Crete. My family name is Greek (Kardamakis). We have a long history of endurance running! My running philosophy derives from the modern Greek philosopher, Nikos Kazantzakis:
“Give me a command, beloved grandfather.”
Smiling, you placed your hand upon my head. It was not a hand, it was multicoloured fire. The flame suffused my mind to the very roots.
“Reach what you can, my child.”
Your voice was grave and dark, as though issuing from the deep larynx of the earth.
It reached the roots of my mind, but my heart remained unshaken.
“Grandfather,” I called more loudly now, “give me a more difficult, more Cretan command.”
Hardly had I finished speaking when, all at once, a hissing flame cleaved the air. The indomitable ancestor with the thyme roots tangled in his locks vanished from my sight; a cry was left on Sinai’s peak, an upright cry full of command, and the air trembled:
“Reach what you cannot.”
Kazantzakis’ four words sum up my philosophy of running. You must set lofty goals to achieve lofty goals. If we only reach for what we know we can achieve, indeed, that is all we ever may reach.
In my quest to become a better runner I’ve studied the science behind what we can do to enhance our natural ability. There’s a physical and a mental side to performance. Every runner is capable of improvement, no matter what their baseline fitness level might be. I’ve been coached by an excellent online run coach who inspired me to become one myself. I am certified as an Adult Endurance Running Coach by RRCA (Road Runners Club of America).
Why do you need a running coach? Expertise. I have the training, education and experience to know what works and what doesn’t. Accountability. There is nothing like knowing that someone else will know if you hit the snooze for that 5:30am track session. Improvement. If you’re motivated to improve, but don’t know how, there are proven methods that work if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Please contact me if you’re interested in learning more!
When I was younger, I saw running as something you had to do to get into shape to play soccer. I went out for track (mile) a couple of times in high school, but injuries discouraged me and I didn’t stick with it.
I ran more and less through my 20s and 30s. I ran for fun and fitness, never with any kind of race or numbers goals. As my metabolism slowed in my early 30s, I turned to running for weight control (and fun, still). It worked! I miss those lunchtime runs in Jefferson City. After moving to Kansas City I fell off the wagon again and took another run at 200 # (close, very close). Then, I rediscovered running as I approached 40 and I’ve stuck with it ever since switching to a natural landing a couple of years ago.*
A friend talked me into doing the Kansas City Zoo run in 2010. That did it. We started running together. It was “just” a 4 mile run, but at some point he said, “you want to run faster, don’t you?” I answered honestly, and took off.
As my fitness improved, I added the half marathon and eventually the full marathon to my resume. I enjoy all distances, but the mental challenge of the marathon makes it my favorite. I’ve also run a couple of ultras. All of these are post-40 (aka “Masters”) – I wish I had started earlier!
5K: 19:59 (Run with the Birds, 11/13/11, 1st Place 40-49, 9th overall)
5m XC: 34:57 (Shoal Creek Wilderness Run, 11/03/12, 1st Place 40-49, 6th overall)
10K: 41:05 (Firecracker Run, 7/4/15, 2nd Place M40-49, 13th overall)
Half Marathon: 1:30:32 (Sedalia Half Marathon, 3/18/17, 6th overall)
Marathon: 3:09:33 (Chicago Marathon, 10/12/14, BQ, 233rd Place 40-44, 1825th overall, NEGATIVE SPLIT)
50K: 6:28:50.2 (Psycho Wyco, 2/8/14, 12th overall, in the snow! My only 50K so far).
Longest run: 35+ miles over 7 hours on the Ozark Trail while pacing the OT100, 11/2/13 – 11/3/13. This one gets a bit of an asterisk. I ran most of the first 32 miles of the 2017 AT100, then mostly hiked to mile 48 before dropping due to dehydration.
- Kansas City 2011 (3:18:29)
- Heart of America 2012 (3:22:28)
- Kansas City 2012 (3:13:55, PR, BQ, 1st place 40-44M)
- Garmin 2013 (3:11:03, PR, BQ)
- Heart of America 2013 (3:19:51, 3rd place 40-44M)
- Kansas City 2013 (3:18:01)
- Boston 2014 (3:16:28)
- Garmin 2014 (3:18:19)
- Edmonton 2014 (3:12:21, BQ)
- Chicago 2014 (3:09:33, PR, BQ)
- Boston 2015 (3:11:25, BQ)
- Heart of America 2015 (3:31:15, run as a supported training long run)
- Kansas City 2015 (3:11:05, course PR, BQ, 1st place M45-49)
- Kansas City 2016 (3:31:27)
- Boston 2017 (3:16:33, BQ)
* DISCLAIMER – Statements made on this blog about low drop shoes, forefoot/midfoot striking, barefoot running, nutrition, and anything else relating to health or wellness are based on the author’s personal experience only and are not intended as medical, legal, or spiritual advice. As far as the author is concerned, they are full of truthiness. Results may vary. Consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program. Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.