Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Let's Share: Jake's Story

Okay, so this isn't a story in the way others have done a story, but it provides a view into another runner's head and that is what I'm after.  Today, I've got you a story from my cousin, Jake.  I noticed after reading some of his facebook posts that he was a runner and a fast one at that.  He uses a app or other program similiar to to track his runs and his times and distances always blow me away.  Anyway, he is a fantastic father of two (right, Jake?) and a stupendous person on top of that.  I haven't seen him in years so I can't tell you much more than that.  I do know that he is married to a lovely lady who made me a fabulous apron once upon a time, and it's still my favorite one.  
I wanted Jake's story because I haven't shared much from the guys' standpoint and I didn't want to appear biased.  So here is what Jake decided to share with us.

I just returned from a short 2 mile run which included a loop through a golf course overlooking Bountiful Utah in my Vibram Five Finger shoes. I had hoped to find the Bonneville Shoreline trail and intended to run what I estimated to be three miles of trail and end with a view of Salt Lake City from above the capital building. No such luck; what looked like a trailhead on Google Maps was actually a dirt road blocked off with a chain-link fence and about a dozen no trespassing signs. Still, my run included four things which have very recently helped me get back into running.
  1. My iPod, complete with the priesthood session of LDS General Conference. This is the first time I've listened to General Conference while running, but I generally run with some sort of lecture from iTunesU (most recently, a lecture series on Literary Criticism delivered at Yale), some podcast, some audiobook, or some inspirational speech. I'll still rock out on a run occasionally, but very often I find something that engages my mind and makes me think will carry me much further. It's meditative. I get so focused mentally on what I'm listening to that I almost forget I'm running (in a good way). It's also synergistic, if you'll pardon the buzz word: my running helps me achieve greater mental focus and I feel more engaged in whatever I'm listening to. Aside from the stuff you'll find on the iTunes Store, I recommend checking out the massive catalogue of free audiobooks at, the archive at, and TextCast--a nifty app for Mac users that will convert RSS feeds or any other text into mp3 audio.
  2. The Nike+ app. Any old pedometer would do the trick I suppose, but this app gives me a place to record and review my runs. It also means I can get spontaneous and take the road less traveled and still have some idea of how far I've gone. Sometimes that really does makes all the difference; long-distance running can get monotonous unless you're free to explore.
  3. Beautiful scenery. Some of the first runs that got me back into running were through miles and miles of orchards while visiting family in northern California. It was beautiful, and something about the optical patterns made by the trees--at once organic and artificial--was mesmerizing. Also very zen. I love running through farm fields and mountain trails best, but my scenery doesn't have to be natural to be enjoyable. Since I've started working in down town SLC, I've enjoyed a loop through Temple Square, around the Capital building, and through the old avenues in between. All I really need is some sort of aesthetic payoff at least half-way through my run.
  4. My Five Finger shoes. This was actually a huge part of my getting back into running. I was surprised by how liberating they actually felt-my old New Balance running shoes felt clunky and awkward after I started running in the toe shoes. My calves were toast after my first few runs (toe shoes make it more natural to land mid-foot, causing your calves and ankles to flex while dispersing the impact of each step more evenly throughout your body) but it brought back the child-like exhilaration of running barefoot without exposing my feet to sharp rocks etc. I'd recommend them without hesitation.
Blogs like Anna's, support systems, inspirational quotes, mantras, and images, goals: all of these things can be extremely important. I'm sure I haven't tapped their full motivational potential, but what has most motivated me as of late has been simply finding practical ways to make each running experience more pleasurable.

These are the shoes that Jake is talking about.
I never thought to use my iPod to listen to something like conference when I run.  Brilliant idea, Jake!  I also like his running routes.  I am a big promoter of finding and regularly running inspiring running routes and that is exactly what Jake does.  I need to get myself down to Salt Lake sometime and run around Temple Square and the other aesthetically pleasing sites there.  His Five Finger shoes intrigue me as well. I saw them when I purchased my last pair of running shoes, but they looked too weird for me.  But after reading what Jake has to say about them, I'm tempted to give them a try. 

The message that I think Jake is sharing with us is you have to find things to include in your run to make in a good experience.  I completely agree and I agree even more when you're just starting out or getting back into running.  It takes a while for the sport to be pleasing in of itself, and so using different things like an iPod, interesting and bucolic running routes and cool new shoes, help in making each run more enjoyable.  Making running enjoyable will keep you at it.  Wonderful message, Jake!
Thanks for sharing!!

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