And men need to start talking about why

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Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

The two women runners were heading north, and I was running south. First light painted the scene in a beautiful predawn palette of soft pinks and blues, with the sky burning umber and the trees dripping the darkest of greens. The women’s clothing reflected the streetlights and oncoming cars in bright white lines of reflective, high-visibility sheen. As we passed, I offered my preferred minimalist interpretation of the runner wave; lifting my left hand slightly with opening fingers, palm up. They didn’t wave back. I am not surprised. They never wave back, and they never will.

We share a familiar walking and bike path along a busy main road. It’s wide, pretty well lit, and offers several miles of easy navigation. As morning runners, I’ve seen these friends running and chatting for several years. Their rule is pretty simple — they don’t wave to me. Most of the time I don’t try, but the lighting and the wonderful temperatures had me in a positive mood that morning, and I lifted my hand once more. …

At least, this is how I think I did it

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Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

I was shocked when I crossed the 10K mark. I triple checked I wasn’t making some sort of mistake. My trusted timepiece agreed with the digital clock in the street, so I embraced the truth I was moving that fast. It had been eight months since my last half marathon and now I was indulged in a fantasy about beating that race’s time by half an hour.

Let me first clarify my interpretation of speed. That race from eight months previous was my first half marathon. As a newbie running on a freezing, rain-filled mid-March morning, I managed to haul myself from start to end in 2:31.51. An average pace of 11:35 minutes spent enjoying each mile. I was pretty pleased with myself that day, for I had missed my goal time by only a pair of minutes. I felt doubly proud as the run took place in a torrential nor'easter storm that brought enough rain and wind to turn the 9,000 scheduled runners into 6,000 at the line. …

Don’t let the pandemic stop you

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Photo by Thomas Dils on Unsplash

Now is the perfect time. You’ve thought about it, you’ve wanted it, and you know you can do it. So do it. Take your body and mind to the next level, and run your first half marathon.

The fall racing schedule offers a good number of fun, unexpected options. Yes, the calendar is overflowing with postponements and cancellations, yet many race organizers are effectively responding to the crisis with creative ways to get back on the road. That’s why the timing works. There’s no pressure, and lots of good choices. And don’t forget one important fact; you don’t have to sign up for anything. I’m training for a self-created half marathon run this season. No cost. No virus worries. I’ve designed a trail run for my private race, taking advantage of a beautiful State Park near my home. The course mixes flat, open paths with narrow, hilly routes along the way. …

Three life lessons trauma taught me

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Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

Twenty five tons of tractor trailer changed everything. A split second in time when the truck’s wheels grazed the center line at the same moment my small convertible did the same. From North and South a vicious force of momentum and steel was unleashed. My body surrounded, engulfed in the fury.

In one’s life, there are crossroads. Places of profound change. Moments where the direction of everything you knew, you understood, transform. The path once yours suddenly obliterated.

For my life, for this life, it was a road accident. Small car meets large truck. …

Three Great Resources For Getting Started

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Yoga changed my life ten years ago. The transformation, of course, didn’t occur in the first class. The process of personal metamorphosis has actually taken, well, ten years. The ancient phraseology of practicing Yoga means just that; time on your mat is going to be spent practicing. I’m not certain how many years it took me to figure that gem out, but I’m a slow learner.

Like many over worked, over scheduled professionals, I viewed and approached Yoga as a physical challenge. …

How Vanity Slows Progress

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Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Trauma taught me many things. I learned about pain. I learned about resilience. I learned about healing. In retrospect, one of the most cherished places of personal enlightenment was the hospital hallway.

It was a big deal to make it to the hallway. Really big. My journey had taken me through weeks in the ICU. My recovery then allowed the hard earned step up to step down. The Step Down ward meant you could get food through something other than a tube. …

Three marathon lessons learned

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Capstone Events on Unsplash

I had never run a step beyond 20 miles. That was my limit. That was the longest of my long runs. Like many first time marathoners, I had followed a proven 18-week training formula that took me to 20 before tapering the next weeks towards race day.

I was first introduced to those miles beyond 20 on a clear November day in Richmond, Virginia. It was a straight run towards the marker banner, giving me the pleasure of seeing the 8-foot tall numeric call creep closer for several long minutes.

The wind was from the North, the direction I was headed, and most of the time the banner was wavering towards me. The oversized white number 20 only visible now and again in shifting gusts. I confess to having a private celebration at the 20 mark. I was still running. Still feeling strong. Still feeling mildly confident of becoming a marathoner in the coming hour. …

An Escape Story

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Image by wgbieber from Pixabay

When I was really bad as a kid, my parents would send me to my room. Grounded in solitary confinement was supposed to change my behavior. It never worked. It never worked because I liked it.

I liked to be alone. I still do.

As a runner, I didn’t begin the miles on my own. From the first mile, to the following walk/run/walk/run miles, I had a running buddy; my wife. Without doubt, she deserves the biggest credit for my sticking with my running commitment in my first months of running. I would certainly have returned to my books on the sofa during those painful, nascent miles as a newbie. …

Those Days I Should Have Stayed Home

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Photo by Tibor Krizsak on Unsplash

It’s 95 degrees. I’m out of water. I’m seven miles from home.

It was a bad idea; taking my mid week marathon training long run in the heat of the day. A really bad idea. Now I’m on my very dehydrated ass, using the shade of a small tree as a medical tent. Fortunately, I’m carrying my phone and can call for help. I call my wife. Help.

She calls them the “Epic Fail Runs”, and I’ve just had one. The really bad runs are never really finished, they just kind of finish you instead. You have a tendency to experience more of them as a newbie, but even well trained, high mileage runners are going to have bad days. …

Honk If You Understand

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Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash

The steel-gray ceiling falls low. The downwash comes easy. The rain is reminiscent of early Spring, ignoring the day’s calendar strike of early autumn. Steady and straight falling, the shower begins painting the pavement in a clear coat, glossy and slick. My feet fall, sounding in soft slaps, sharing a subtle quickening of pace.

My shoulders feel the first mix of rain with an already sweat-soaked shirt. Sweat and rain, then changing to rain with sweat. Soon the soaking becomes only about the rain. Pooling across my shoulders, softly draining along the downspout of my spine. …


William Hazel

Writer. Runner. Mental Wellness Advocate. Sharing mindful connections between personal narrative and professional purpose.

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