Running After the Finish Line

I hit my $500 goal for the 2018 Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Together we raised $500 for Students Run Philly Style.

  • To think that me running in 8℉ weather did this.
  • Or running in rain.
  • That tripping and falling the woods and staring up at the trees then laying on my back in the cold somehow mattered.
  • Starting to run back in the summer of 2016 mattered at all, nearly two years later.

It’s sad that after-school programs are getting axed, and funding for schools drying up, and that we need to resort to running 10 miles in Philadelphia (or run 200+ miles across Haiti) for good things to happen in this world, but that’s the way it is.

Can it change? Well, it changes every time someone pulls out their card and donates money to these things. It’s not perfect, but it works, and we’ll keep doing it.

 

Building For What’s Next

Most nights I fall asleep thinking about running. Since I started in July of 2016, it’s been something I’ve been trying to incorporate more of into my life. I bought a bigger bag so I could carry running gear while traveling. I’ve gone to bed earlier so I can rest my body and not get injured. I’ve done my best to run 3-4 times a week, weight train, and keep a regular stretching routine. I turn 42 this year, and I just want to run more.

Speed has never been my thing. For me, it’s always been about distance. Back in my biking days, I rode across most of NJ and PA (in sections). I’ve biked the NYC Century a few times, each time tapping out at the “just” the 70 mile mark. I like this distance thing.

But “The Speed Project” intrigues me. I love the idea of a team making their way from LA to Las Vegas. I love the relay aspect. The camaraderie. The adventure.

Well, The Speed Project happened this past weekend, and a french team won it in 35 hours, 49 minutes. I caught myself spending a bit too much time scrolling through the hashtag and keeping up, probably the first time I really did that. It wasn’t about “who won” at all. I just wanted the scenery, the grit, the pain. It’s like life, but the stakes are a bit lower.

Finished running @thespeedproject with @am.pm.rc Absolutely EPIC #thespeedproject

A post shared by Nicholas Hawker (@nicholas_hawker) on

Running is a micro-life. It’s a challenge each day, and most every day I’ve shown up. I’ve had bad-eating days, or days I don’t stretch enough, but when I take those first few steps of a run, I’m starting over. The work I’ve put in since July of 2016 got me here, but I still need to put in the work.

I don’t know – there’s just something about miles of road ahead, and that’s why I set off for some long straight roads this past weekend. The photos I took didn’t do it any justice, but it was a nice five mile run, out and back and it felt great.

Sure, maybe someday I can be fast enough to run with a Speed Project team, but for now I had this. No RV, no team, just me, putting in the work, being patient with myself, and building for whatever is next.

Let’s Raise Money for Students Run Philly Style

I’m running the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia this May, and I’m looking for your help in raising $500 for Students Run Philly Style, an organization that mentors kids with running.

Kids these days are doing incredible things, like winning gold medals, making rad things, and talking with more sense than most of our elected clowns in office.

So hey, I’ll run 10 miles in May, and you chip in a few bucks to help make a kid’s life better, deal?

I started running in July of 2016, after a few years off the bike and feeling sorry for myself. I fired up one of those Couch to 5K apps and got my ass moving, and holy shit, I run now, and I love it. It taught me a good lesson: do something with consistency, and in time you’ll see results. I’m not talking just about the 40lbs I lost, or that I can run 20 miles a week, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment, and helped me get through a pretty serious funk.

So if running can do that for little old me, imagine what it could do for a some rad kid in Philadelphia? Your support buys shoes and pays for entry fees for races. You’re gonna help some kid feel like a million bucks! Donate here!

Glowing After Weary Travels

My flight was delayed, and two babies screamed pretty much the entire duration like it was their jobs (which, as a friend mentioned, is sort of their actual job). We hit a good amount of turbulence which made me think the baby screaming wasn’t actually that bad. You know, compared to us falling out of the sky and plummeting to our demise.

A number of people nearby kept trading glances at the parents of the screaming children. Mind you, this was a three-hour flight. If a few hours of baby screaming is the worst thing to happen to you all day, on a budget-class flight, be thankful.

As I wrote about before, sometimes we have to sit through things to arrive at better things.

I’ve had to run every other day for nearly two years before I could casually head out for a seven mile run with no great pain or discomfort.

To completely avoid screaming babies, scary turbulence, and a snowy 30-minute delay, I would have to cancel all my plans and just stay indoors. But I would have missed sitting on a dock, or running along a waterway, or having a good conversation with an old friend.

All those things are glowing, but they’re never automatic. They don’t come easy, as is the case with most things worth experiencing.

Bags

When I hit the road back in 2010 on my bike I used a Chrome messenger bag. Eventually, I switched to a Chrome Yalta, and that was my go-to bag for many years. I’ve got a Goruk GR1 which I really don’t use enough, but it’s a great bag for day trips or hikes in the woods.

Then I started running in 2016, and could finally run longer distances, so when I traveled I wanted to be able to run once I got to my destination. Packing extra shoes, shirts, shorts, and jackets… running gear takes up some serious space.

I purchased a Patagonia 60L Black Hole Duffel Bag in February of 2017, so almost a year now. It’s big enough for an extra pair of shoes, running gear, regular clothes, and a small Timbuk 2 laptop sling (I usually check this duffel when flying, or throw in the cargo hold of the bus, then keep the laptop bag with me). In between buses and trains I can throw it over my shoulder with the hand straps, and if going extra distances I break out the straps and carry it on my back.

The Glow

I love long, drawn-out songs for the glow.

One of my favorites is Cult of Luna’s ‘Echoes.’ It’s from the 2004 album ‘Salvation,’ and is one of four songs longer than 10 minutes on the record.

God, this sounds like a fucking “album review,” but hear me out.

This isn’t a quick and easy song to digest. You have to sit down and take it in, in much the same way you don’t just sit down with ‘The Big Lebowski’ and skip ahead to your favorite scenes.

Back to ‘Echoes.’ The “pay off” doesn’t come until the 5:30 mark. You sit there, be patient, and when it hits, oh wow, does it hit.

Now, since this isn’t an “album review,” let me explain how this fits in other parts of my life as of late.

Getting up at 7 am to meet some other people on a cold, rainy Sunday morning doesn’t sound delightful. Then running five miles with wet, muddy feet? Why do that?

After all that trouble, the wait, the grind, I get that payoff. It’s something I’ve been feeling since I started running back in 2016. It’s the tunnel vision, the focus, like a secret you have that you can’t explain to anyone.

The glow.