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New Balance Zante Review

by Austin “The Bus” Bussing

There certainly is a whole bunch of hype surrounding the New Balance Zante. It took home Competitor Magazine’s 2015 Road Shoe of the Year, and it seems like you can’t flip through any fitness-oriented magazine without being assaulted by full page ads for the Zante and/or it’s stockier Fresh Foam cousin, the Boracay. Is the hype well-deserved? Once the catchy ad campaigns have run their course and the limelight has dimmed, what are we left with?

The answer, unequivocally, is a darn good shoe. It’s fast, comfortable, smooth, sleek, and sexy. How’s that for effusive hype? Before I lay it on too thick, let’s cut through some of the purple prose and talk about the specifics of the shoe.

Similar to the adidas Boston Boost, the beauty of this shoe is in its versatility. With an aggressive toe spring, a sock-like upper, and a generous slab of Fresh Foam cushioning underfoot, the Zante is built for speed AND comfort. It has a smooth, consistent feel from the initial footstrike through the toe-off, thanks to the one-piece midsole and its geometrically-inspired design (more on this later).  These features, combined with the shoe’s 6 millimeter drop (heel-to-toe differential) place the Zante within the “natural running” footwear paradigm, making it a good option for the runner who is looking to go a bit more minimal without taking the plunge straight into Vibram Five-Finger territory.

The Zante’s upper is arguably its most divisive quality. Some runners will revel in the sock-like upper, while others will bemoan the lack of support provided by the seamless, stretchy toe-box. It would seem that the New Balance designers, in their attempt to achieve a sock-like feel, completely eliminated anything that might make the upper “shoe-like.” While the midfoot portion of the upper hugs your arch (perhaps too tightly for runners with wider feet) the toe-box really opens up. This design feature is in line with the fashionable school of thought dictating ample room for toe-splay upon impact with the ground, but it may leave some runners wishing for a bit more support.

One slightly geeky factor that contributes to the Zante’s notably smooth ride is its aforementioned geometrically-inspired design- primarily the use of the hexagonal shape and concave/convex support structure throughout the midsole. The portion of the midsole that runs beneath your foot’s inside arch and back through the heel is comprised of convex hexagons, which provide subtle support and, dare I say, stability, for the impact portion of your gait phase. The entire lateral side of the midsole, as well as the forefoot portion of the medial side, is comprised of concave hexagons, which compress a bit under pressure, and thus provide a soft transition through the toe-off phase.

The Zante’s aggressive toe-spring, and the fact that it is quite light (6.5 ounces for women, 7.5 ounces for men), make it a great shoe for uptempo running. While some runners may find it a little soft for a true racing flat, most would probably agree that it is light and responsive enough for a tempo/longer threshold workout shoe. The shoe is also endowed with just enough Fresh Foam cushioning to make it serviceable as an everyday trainer for the runner who prefers a lighter training shoe (think Saucony Kinvara, Brooks Launch 2, etc.). For New Balance, the shoe fills a void between the Fresh Foam 980 (or newly-updated Boracay) and the 1400, with the cushioning and minimal drop of the 980/Boracay (Boracay is a 4 millimeter drop, Zante is a 6 millimeter drop) in combination with the lightweight and responsive nature of the 1400. Retailing at $100, the Zante is also very reasonably priced, considering the quality of the product.

In short, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante is a lightweight training/road racing shoe with comfortable cushioning, a smooth and responsive ride, and a sock-like upper. Runners with a wider foot, or who prefer a more supportive upper, may be advised to look elsewhere, as the shoe does run a bit narrow through the midfoot, and the upper leaves some support to be desired in the forefoot. Paradoxically, the things that make this shoe wrong for some runners are the same attributes that make it so very right for others. The tight-fitting midfoot does a good job of locking in the arch, and also helps to accentuate the arch support underfoot, while the stretchy upper in the toe box allows substantial room for toe-splay. The Zante is not necessarily built for every foot out there, but I think it can be a good fit for many runners. It’s certainly worth coming to try the shoe on at Rogue Running!

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Specs:

Weight: 6.5 ounces (Women); 7.5 ounces (Men)

Drop: 6 mm

Price: $100

Glide Boost Review

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by Austin “The Bus” Bussing

Welcome to the first installment of the Rogue Athletic Club product review! This will be a bi-weekly post featuring descriptions and reviews of products used by our stellar athletes here at Rogue AC. The first product to be reviewed here is the adidas Supernova Glide Boost 7 shoe. Many runners here at Rogue (myself included) have come to love this shoe for its durability and reliability on everyday training runs.

Before diving into the touchy-feely, subjective and equivocal drivel that comprises most shoe reviews (and will certainly play a significant role in this one as well), let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about the specs for the Supernova Glide Boost. Here’s what we know:

Weight: 11.3 ounces (Men’s Size 9); 9.2 ounces (Women’s Size 7)

“Drop” (heel-to-toe differential): 10 millimeters

Midsole cushioning composition: 55% Boost, 45% EVA foam

Want a better look?  Check out the MEN’S SHOE HERE and the WOMEN’S SHOE HERE.

In light of these numbers, let’s start our discussion with a blatant declaration of what the Glide Boost is NOT. Weighing in at a hefty 11.3 ounces, this shoe is not a lightweight trainer. It is not nearly as light or sleek or sexy or fast as the beautiful Boston Boost. If you’re looking for a good lightweight shoe to crush a Town Lake tempo or some quick intervals on the track… this is not your shoe. It feels a bit heavy and clunky, and the numbers above bear that out.

Those things being said, this review was never intended to be an all-out roast of the Glide Boost. As most good runners and coaches will tell you, the amount of time spent scalding dogs on Town Lake or tearing up the Austin High Track is relatively miniscule compared to the time spent knocking out the long, easy miles that comprise the bulk of your training load. Who’s gonna be with you every step of the way on those long runs, medium distance runs, and easy days? The Supernova Glide Boost 7- that’s who. This is not the glamour shoe; it’s the workhorse shoe. The great Arthur Lydiard once said, “Miles make champions.” Well, the Glide Boost will reliably get you through the miles that will make you a champion. So basically the Glide Boost will make you a champion, guaranteed.*

*Not an actual guarantee.

All joking aside, I stand 100% behind this shoe as an effective tool to help grind through the high-volume demands of a marathon build-up or a long track season. Its considerable heft is not all negative – that bulk goes a long way towards protecting your feet and keeping your legs feeling fresh (following the same basic logic as the “More Cushion for the Pushin’” theorem). Despite the 11.3 ounce weigh-in, the Boost in the midsole gives this shoe the responsive feel you’ve come to expect from adidas. The outsole, with its vertically segmented forefoot, provides just the right mix of flexibility and rigidity. Another “techy” feature that actually lends some real functionality to the Glide Boost is the “Torsion System” – essentially a plastic ‘bridge’ piece through the midfoot portion of the outsole that connects the heel with the forefoot. This little guy helps facilitate a smooth transition from your midfoot stance phase through the toe-off, so that you can really GLIDE through your run. Of course, the Continental Rubber tread provides excellent grip on any surface to prevent too much gliding/sliding.

Let’s talk uppers! While adidas has been known to make some pretty narrow-fitting shoes, the Glide Boost is a bit of an exception. The upper feels very roomy, and while the sock-like construction of the midfoot/tongue provides a supportive fit, it will not feel too restrictive or tight on most feet. The women’s version of this shoe features a techfit upper meant to stretch and adapt to all foot shapes. This is especially helpful in the toebox, as it can help alleviate the all-too-common problems that arise from cramming your toes in a shoe that is too narrow. This comfortable, stretchy upper is very accommodating to your forefoot, allowing your toes to splay apart on the impact of each step – without hindrances from needless, oppressive overlays.

In short, the adidas Supernova Glide Boost 7 is a great shoe for all levels of runners looking to put in some long mileage on the roads (or around Town Lake). It will not blow you away with the fast, versatile feel of the Boston Boost, but when it comes to easy days and long runs, this shoe gets the job done. In many ways, I believe this shoe is the unsung hero of the adidas running line – the hardscrabble grinder that shies away from the glitz and glam of the limelight. While you’re out there crushing it on the track or in a road race, the Glide Boost will be sitting humbly at home on your bedroom floor with a contented grin, knowing that the incendiary speed you’re displaying is made possible by the day-to-day dependability and consistency that only it could provide.

The Glide Boost retails for $130. Come by Rogue Running at 410 Pressler Street to try a pair on for yourself!

A Rocky Road

Leslie at Georgia

Leslie at Georgia

I wish I could start off by saying that my transition from college track to Olympic Development training has been smooth and easy… but that would be a boldfaced lie. I can honestly say that my first 7 months in Austin have had more failures than successes, more struggles than victories, and more hardships than cheer. But then again, which Olympic athlete has ever made it to the finish line, looked back and said, “Wow, that was easy!” Very few, if any.

All that being said, I truly cherish the opportunity to be a member of the Rogue AC team, and I value each and every relationship I have made. I have learned, in a very humbling way, what it truly takes to become an elite athlete and how the definition of ‘elite’ has changed over time. I have recognized the magnitude of mental toughness and inner confidence that athletes must own in order to make it to the next level. I have realized that self-discipline, personal sacrifice, and consistency are vital, and that stepping out of your comfort zone to reach places you’ve never been is a must. I have identified that a successful athlete will listen to their body, not their pride, and they will understand how to work smarter, not necessarily harder. Lastly, I have observed the unspoken trust that champions possess in their coach and teammates, and the ongoing communication kept between the group. Needless to say, becoming an Olympic-caliber athlete is no simple task.

Although I have yet to attain my performance goals and still have a long way to go, the insight that I’ve gained from being a part of such an elite group has really opened my eyes to where I need to go from here. You know what they say… “You must reach the bottom to make it to the top.” And luckily, I now understand the attributes I must improve on to only go up from here.

by Leslie Boozer

And Sometimes You Don’t Want to Run Indoor

A lot has transpired since I joined Rogue AC – JT gracefully made his way back into the racing scene, Carl’s hair reached/possibly surpassed Steve’s hair length, Sarah finally got to go to altitude to train, I think I avoided several broken ankles through physical therapy with SPI, and many people had very incredible performances. Alli got her Olympic marathon qualifier and Kristen’s ran an impressive USA Indoor nationals 2 mile, just to name a couple.

In an effort to avoid too dull of a blog, I’ll try and err on the side of brevity. For anyone who does not know me, cross country is not particularly “my thing”. I have an abundance of respect for the athletes who thrive in the hills, mud, and grass I just prefer a flatter more predictable route. But, since leaving college I’ve really worked on embracing cross country a bit more (which is easier to do when you only have to commit yourself to 2 races for the year). So I strapped on my adidas spikes in December and I was fortunate enough to have them run my feet all the way to Scotland (people should really invest in a pair of adizero spikes, they’re exceptionally good at turning people international) and that was pretty neat. I’d never been outside the continental US so needless to say it was a pretty incredible experience, despite being someone who is not necessarily pro-elements (wind, ice, rain, hills, creeks running through the course, etc.). 

Such an amazing opportunity did come at a bit of a price: extending my cross season well beyond what it normally is. I love running, I really do, but sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I just want to take a break, and sometimes I don’t want to run indoor and I kind of think that’s ok. My dad once told me to choose my battles, which is an incredibly difficult piece of advice to follow for me in particular (I’m sure Mark Feigen could easily validate that for you). But I realized that I want to be able to show the hard work Steve, Ruth, Anthony, and SPI put into me, through my performances. I’d also really like to be able to give a nice big thank you to Adidas, and my parents of course, for their support via some low numbers on the track, that’s why I decided to skip over indoors and focus on outdoors. 

So that’s kind of what I’ve been doing the past couple of months – not running indoor. I decided it was a good time to get some solid training in, and Steve saw it as a prime opportunity to have me run some of my least favorite workouts and that’s where I am now, running workouts and excited for outdoor.

Mental Preparation

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It’s been a minute since I have given an update on how awesome life here in Austin is. I will go ahead and say that I am living the dream, baby! High-fives are greatly accepted. I am continuing to pursue my medical profession by working with the great Dr. Ted Spears along with the wonderful physical therapists at Sports Performance International. I have learned a surmountable amount of information on patient care, and the ever-enjoyable phone calls with insurance companies.

Tying into my medical career, I continue to train full-time with Rogue Athletic Club, and training has never been better since the move to Austin, Texas. Last year was a constant struggle with the early morning routines of hard workouts, lack of coffee, and mediocre race results; not to mention my season ending injury in May. Subsequent to our winter break, my training has turned completely around. This didn’t happen by what Steve calls “magic.” I credit the accountability of my training partners JT, Buss, Devin, Gowell, and Hick, mostly. Sure I have become a lot more disciplined by going into the weight room, doing speed development, drills, strides, nutrition, you name it, on my own accord, but it was because of my training partners that I developed the discipline. The group’s moral and comradery has never been better. It feels like family.

As aforementioned, training is going quite well. However, I do still have an occasional sub-par workout performance. I’d like to address the importance of keeping one’s composure of a perceptible “unacceptable” workout or race performance. Pheobe Wright’s article addressing this issue was spot on, and I wanted to articulate how I deal with “a bad day at the office.”

First off, realizing that you aren’t the exclusive athlete dealing with post-race or post-workout depression is a crucial step to getting over the issue. The sooner you get over it, the better. Why linger on something that isn’t a definitive test of your fitness? There are only two races to be ready for –the 2015 USA Championships and the 2016 Olympic Trials.   We all have an occasional mediocre, or just a piss-poor, race or workout. One thing I have come to realize is that one event does not define you as an athlete, or a person. It is how you subsequently assess the situation and what you do to prepare for the next race or workout, and how quickly you put it behind you. The mental struggle usually begins even before the gun goes off or before your coach says, “go” on your first interval. Mental preparedness is THE most important step to having a good session or race, but all athletes are head cases, and we occasionally fall short to mentally prepare, or just have negative thoughts. Yes, it’s going to hurt, A LOT, but that is the unwritten contract that every distance runner signs.

Steve reminds me to look at all the positives in my current training block. One negative experience does not make the holistic training block negative. There are unarguably more positives then there are negatives when comparing to a single workout or race. Again, it DOES NOT DEFINE YOU! Not only listening to your philosophical coach is valuable, but also being vulnerable to suggestion from your training partners is essential to one’s success to getting over the workout or race. Grab a beer, joke about how terrible it went, and have some more beer. Any IPA will do.

Accept that there are going to be obstacles thrown into your training. Reach out to the community around you, and most of all…continue to have fun with what you are doing. Til next time my friends.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a clinical psychologist.

Matt Cleaver is a member of Rogue Athletic Club, where he steeples, runs, eats, sleeps, prepares, repeats daily.   Sponsored by adidas and Rogue Running.

Churn by Chris Gowell

DSC07293It has been several months since my last dialogue. So much water under the bridge, so many more spike marks etched into my skin. In short, broke the Welsh national indoor record with a 3.57.2, ran the first sub 4 minute mile on Welsh soil in 20 years, raced some in Europe, and came 10th in the commonwealth games in what was the most magnificent experience of my life in front of some 50,000 people.

My wife Juliane and I travelled to Amsterdam, Istanbul, Dubai, Nepal, and then back to the USA to initiate training after a long and well-earned break.  Nepal was a blast. It reinitiated my love for running, it brought on a sense of primal instinct that awakens my passion for running. The day I have reached my full potential on the track, you’ll see me atop a mountain, in the woods or galloping a coastal path somewhere for miles and miles. Maybe I’ll challenge Paul Terranova someday?!

Running, I realize, has become method of mental stability, an avenue to birth a better day. Running is one of the only things in life I can truly control, I own it, It’s all me and no one else. Not many 800 meter/milers yearn for long reflective runs, but it is during such a time and places that life occurs: Motion and nature harmoniously coinciding. Memories and ambitions present themselves all at once, nothing makes sense but it’s as clear as day. Admittedly, this is a strange attitude as ‘professional’ track athlete, but I find it a useful way to enjoy running, be thankful for its gift while it lasts, meet good people on the way and take nothing for granted.nepal

Perhaps more relevant, I had a below par indoor racing season, however, training has been very deliberate this year and the outdoor season is bound to produce some head turning performances. I have been at Rogue since Jaunuary 2011, it’s hard to believe that all these years have passed, yet they are still standing by me along with a great support system. I have been monumentally fortunate in my time as an athlete and I will keep plugging away to produce the results I know are possible.

I was once told by a teacher in high school that ‘sport is a great leveler’. That statement will always be with me because it is through sport that all people are equal, particularly in running. That is what makes the running community so unique and special, whether it’s Rogue running or the Lliswerry Runners in Newport, South Wales: A runner is a runner at whatever standard, we all churn, we all work to a particular standard and a true runner knows what I mean in the 3rd paragraph.

I’m constantly reminded of this when I see droves of Rogue runners knocking out their long run and all returning with a smile their face, always checking in and asking how things are going. It is to all these supporters I owe so much to.

Here’s to keeping on churning

Cheers,

Gowell

Tracktown

by Becca Friday

Becca 3

Kristen trying to distract attention away from her mismatched socks

This past summer I skipped the Austin heat and had the opportunity to reconnect, run, and work stride-by-stride with my old teammate, Alexi Pappas, in Eugene, Oregon.

My senior year at UO, Alexi transferred from Dartmouth College to finish up her 5th year of eligibility while starting grad school. Alexi brought just the right kind of energy the women’s team needed.  She seemed to be the missing link that unified our team and allowed us to believe in our bold dreams.  She’d come storming into the Bowerman Building wide eyed, ready to take on whatever challenge was set up for practice that day.  She always seems to be carrying several bags and backpacks stuffed with goodies from whatever local grocery, several workout outfits, and actually I just really have no idea what she was always carrying around… Anyways, Alexi’s unapologetic, aggressive “WE-CAN-DO-IT” attitude spread like wildfire. Her athletic talent and dedication to running is equally matched to her relationship with creative writing and filmmaking.

When Alexi wasn’t working out her first year at UO (2012/2013) she could be spotted around town at varies coffee shops or posted up in the living room of our crappy college house off campus.  Head phones on, huddled over her lap top with a sea of peppers and notes, Alexi was hard at work crafting the screen play for her second feature film, Tracktown. After a year plus of writing, re-writing, and re-writing, Alexi and co-director Jeremy Teicher had created a complex, quirky world of the elite runner and Eugene local, Plum Marigold.  Alexi and Jeremy had asked me to play the role of Plum’s training partner and best friend, Whitney.  I believe in Alexi and Jeremy’s authentic vision for their art and admire their passion and relentless determination to complete their vision.  I said yes to the role having zero experience in front of the camera and no idea what I was getting into.  In May we spent a weekend filming the first scene at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward field, and completed the production late in August.

TRACKTOWN, the movie: A film about running to and running from.  Filmed on location in Eugene, OR.  Currently in post-production. The new independent film set in Eugene, OR.  Written & directed by Jeremy Teicher and Alexi Pappas.  Produced by Jay Smith and Laura Wagner.

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“When running for a movie, between takes, we do like this, see.” -Alexi Pappas

WHO is in Tracktown???

  • Andy Buckley, who played CEO David Wallace of Dunder Mifflin in “The Office,” plays Pappas’ father. Rachel Dratch of Saturday Night Live plays Pappas’ mother.
  • Olympian Nick Symmonds
  • Renee Baillie – Elite runner in Bend, OR
  • Recharge Recovery Sport lounge specialist
  • Kimber Mattox – Elite Runner and 2014 Warrior Dash World Champion

Also, Nick Symmonds announces the Launch of Run Gum™
 The track and field star introduces his new performance enhancing gum, the smarter caffeine kick for athletes.

 

My current Austin Hot spots for training and adventure:

-Rogue Running Store Downtown

-Sports Performance Physical Therapy…back-popping-toe-bench-pressing stuff

-Blenders and Bowls acai cafe DT

-Public library (you might also run into local street corner celebrity or Austin Bussing)

-Hycalon Coffee DT

-Boggy Creek Farm local veggies and produce!

-Fulmore middle school coaching with Marathon High.

-Biking around town lake sat morning making sure Marathon High the kids aren’t running all the way to the airport…

-Thrift-store sifting with Mary Goldkamp. Searching for the perfect rug that ties the room together.

-Yoga! Pure Austin gym, Wanderlust yoga studio

-Whole Foods (it’s so Damn convienent…)

Becca 2

“You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!” -Davy Crockett

Favorite Austin location:

-My new front porch playing with the neighborhood pit-bull

All Roads Lead to Rogue: a Love Story

by Cate Westenhover

Cate 3

Just under a year ago, in the throes of procrastination at the end of my last semester of grad school, I set up a profile on the online dating site OK Cupid. I got extremely lucky and the first guy I met ended up becoming my fiancé. In three weeks, Jake and I are getting married. I think it’s an incredibly romantic story even if my brother describes us meeting online and starting a serious relationship two weeks later as me “ordering a boyfriend off Amazon.”  Believe me, John; if I were capable of that, I’d have done it much sooner.

As much as OK Cupid played a role in Jake and me finding each other, we have Rogue, and our whole great pursuit of running, to thank as well. Sit yourselves down, and get ready to hear our cheesy but true story.

I’ve run almost my whole life – since I was 8 years old, running next to my mom because she said it was the PE Credit for my home schooling. I’d always hoped to fall in love with a guy who ran – how could anyone understand me if he didn’t get why I ran? But somehow it hadn’t happened, all through college, and after graduation I settled with the idea that I might have to date outside the running circles.

I joined OK Cupid to meet some diverse people, but when I saw on Jake’s profile that his ideal girl would “be able to run 5-10 miles at 7:30 pace,” I thought maybe I wouldn’t have to branch out too much. As dorky as that criteria is for a potential girlfriend, I didn’t mind it when it was applied to me.

In Jake’s first message to me on OK Cupid he casually dropped that he had run in college, but he now trained with a marathon group at Rogue. When we became friends on Facebook, I saw we had 12 mutual friends already. This was before I had started working at Rogue downtown or joined Rogue AC, but I had worked at Rogue the summer before so I knew a few great Rogues. All of this really mitigated the potentially creepy factor of our online meeting and first real-life meeting.

As the months passed, Jake and I kept realizing all the connections we’ve had through running even before we met. Of course there’s the shared understanding of what it is to be a runner and live the running lifestyle, but in addition to that we’ve been on adjacent roads for a while now. It was only a matter of time…

We both ran for our college teams (Jake at TCU, me at Baylor), and since we were in the same conference we had been at several of the same cross country and track races over the last few years. I had no idea who he was, but Jake claims to have recognized me at races as “that fast girl from Baylor.” What’s weirder is that we were at one of the same races before Jake had even moved to Texas. In 2008, both of our teams were at the Paul Short Invite a thousand miles from here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

It blows my mind that we were in the same place at the same time, again and again. There was Lehigh, the Baylor Twilight Invite, the TCU Invite, Big 12s, Regionals, the Austin Turkey Trot last fall, and then the Rogue connection last summer. There was the 7 at 7 social run which we both attended but on varying weeks, there was my boss who was one of Jake’s running buddies, there was the pub run downtown last summer that I went to but Jake skipped out on…We’re almost kind of mad that no one in Rogue tried to match-make us earlier.

Cate 2The couple that takes selfies on a run together stays together.

However, left to our own devices, our paths did cross eventually, and here we are today. Through training and working at Rogue, I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with Jake in our day-to-day busy lives. Last winter I got to see Jake finish his Saturday long runs back at the store when I was working. I got to train next to him this summer, hopping in his marathon group for base training. Now we get to see each other coming and going from practice. I get to see him sweating during the core class that goes on during my Monday night shift. My coworkers have started to joke that he’s at Rogue so often that he should start working there too.

The point is, we owe Rogue a lot of thanks for fostering our relationship and helping it grow. Our story is full of Rogue. And what’s cooler is that this fall, things are going full circle. In December, Jake and I plan to travel with our respective teams to compete in the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships. This year the race is on my birthday (holla! Turning 25), and it’s at Lehigh University, on the same course where Jake and I both stood together, unknowingly, over six years ago.

I’m glad the paths have finally synced up.

Bye Bye Benny

by Andrew Benford

Setting: New River Running Camp somewhere in the mountains of southern West Virginia…Summer of 2002.

I’m climbing…and climbing…and climbing…My 14 year old mind is too inexperienced and soft to fully comprehend this type of pain.  Does it ever get any easier?  Why does it keep getting steeper?  What’s this awful burning deep in my stomach mean? Am I going to die?  I can’t hold it any longer – up come the Fruit Loops from earlier this morning.  Should’ve listened to that damn nutrition lecture…  

Doubled over, staring at a pile of my own vomit on the trail, I pathetically glance up at my counselor like a sick puppy and whimper, “What do I do now?”

“What do you mean what do you do now?  You get your ass to the top of this mountain!”  

I stare at him for a moment in disbelief, wipe the puke from my face, and #JFR the last half-mile as fast as I can to the top of the mountain. 

I made the trip back to Richmond, VA this past weekend to compete in the Monument Avenue 10K.  Believe it or not, the counselor from that story, Jon Lauder, and his wife Dana were my gracious hosts for the weekend (thanks guys!). He gives me shit about that day on the mountain all the time and takes credit for any running accomplishment I’ve ever had. Touché.

This was a pretty special weekend for a number of reasons.  I attended school at the University of Richmond, so it was a bit of a homecoming for me.  It would also be my first race in exactly one year, as my 2013 season began and ended at last year’s Texas Relays.  Lastly, this race served as the Collegiate Running Association‘s first national championship event.  This is significant because for the first time, both collegiate and professional athletes would both be competing for prize money.  In order to be eligible to accept the prize money, all you have to do is sign up to be a CRA member on the website (for free!) and be enrolled in at least one college level course. Pretty cool stuff.

Not only did the race attract UNC-Greensboro’s Paul Chelimo, the 2-time NCAA Runner-up in the 5K, but also several talented professional athletes, who are in the process of continuing their education.  The field included Kellyn (Johnson) Taylor of Northern Arizona EliteTyler McCandless of Newton Running, Ashley Higginson and Nicol Traynor of NJ/NY Track ClubCole Atkins of Zap Fitness, and Ester Erb ofNYAC.

 Andrew 2

As I stood on the starting line along with 40,000 other people in a city that I love, I tried to feed off this buzz of energy. Steve always tells us that he wants us to have amazing and memorable Starting Line Experiences, and this was definitely one of them.  Chelimo decided he wasn’t going to mess around and took the race out in about 4:30 for the opening mile.  I gave my best effort of “letting the field go” and staying within myself, but maybe got a little too caught up in the “buzz” and came through in a fairly brisk 4:42.  I would pay for this over the last 5K, but did I my best to hang tough.  I ended up crossing the line in 30:54, which was good for 5th place overall.  This was definitely a positive start for me, and the whole experience was incredible.

Despite the rainy weather, the weekend was a huge success and it didn’t stop the Richmond community from coming out and supporting the race participants with just as much energy and enthusiasm as any other year.  Coming off this weekend has me even more pumped for our Marathon High kids, as they will get to experience something similar this weekend at the Capitol 10K in Austin.

Andrew 3

In other news, life has been anything but uneventful for me over the past couple of months.  I’ve quit my job and have decided to move to Flagstaff, Arizona.  I suppose a bit of background and explanation on what led to this decision is in order…

If you have some time, check out this video of Steve talking about being a Rebel and what he believes that should look like…

He says some pretty cool stuff and quotes some amazing people, but I think this one by Ralph Waldo Emerson about 7:30 into the video resonates with me the most: “Do not go where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Back in January, Steve required all of his athletes to write out our purpose.  Not just our running purpose, but more importantly our life purpose, and how running connects with this.  To give you some context, I was coming off 2 foot surgeries and had been out of the sport for 9 months, so I took this exercise pretty seriously.  This has been one of the most important, enlightening, and motivating things that I’ve ever done.  I now know exactly what I want and why I want it.  In order to wholly fulfill my purpose, live my dream rather than chase it, and continue creating my path, it has become clear to me that running the trails and mountains are an essential part of my being.  It’s where I find my inner calm and peace, and it transcends everything else that I do on this earth.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure this out, but it hit me like a ton of bricks.  When I saw it on paper, in my own words, I knew immediately what I had to do.

So on to Flagstaff I will go to train like an animal in the mountains…where I belong.  My 2014 race schedule reflects this desire, as I do not plan to step foot on the track.  I will shift my focus to primarily mountain and trail races, including the Mount Washington Road Race, the U.S. Mountain Running Championships at the Loon Mountain Race, and the Pikes Peak Ascent.  I’m looking forward to embracing this change of scenery, and when I return to the track in 2015, I know that my mountain and trail training will have only served me well.

This blog does not afford me the space to adequately express my gratitude to everyone that has positively impacted me and played an integral role in my development during my time in Austin.  I’ve worked with countless individuals that have gone above and beyond to help and support me in so many ways and I am incredibly thankful for that.  These selfless acts of genuine love and kindness are rare and should never be taken for granted.  I want to personally thank Steve Sisson and Ruth England; Dr. Spears, Pieter Kroon and the entire staff at Sports Performance International; Doug Consiglio, Lenora Goessling, and all those in the Rogue community that have supported and helped make Rogue AC and Marathon High possible.

Andrew 4One of the first…

Lastly, I want to thank my teammates and friends.  You have all motivated and inspired me on a daily basis to keep plugging away and I will miss training with you.  But, hey, let’s look at the bright side – You all now have a place to stay when you want to come train at 7000 ft. J

I’ll leave you with this quote from the British climber, George Mallory, when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest…

“Because it’s there.”

Farewell for now Austin…

-Benny

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by Cate Westenhover

158 people move to Austin every day, and the Austin natives are getting scarcer. I’m one of them – I was lucky enough to grow up here, and five years away at college was all I needed to absolutely confirm that I belong here.

I was the black sheep of the family for leaving at all, although I barely did. It was assumed I would follow my parents and older siblings in attending UT Austin.

Cate 1Sic ‘Em

Steve Sisson, our coach at Rogue now, was the coach at UT during my senior year of high school. Steve hosted me for a visit; I met the team, and sat in his office underneath his Pre poster while we talked training. He had dinner at my house with my parents. My dream of being a longhorn seemed close.

But rebel child that I was, I ended up accepting a last-minute scholarship to run track at Baylor, 90 miles up the road. Between academic and athletic aid, Baylor was cheaper, and I followed the money. Turning down the opportunity to compete for UT was difficult, and telling Steve on the phone that I’d accepted another offer was even harder.

Baylor treated me well, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it was the place for me.

Cate 2No mercy for Jacob’s alma mater 

But I could never quite get Austin out of my head. There were the summers spent at home, running countless laps of Town Lake, when UT seemed so close.  Also, since Baylor and UT were both in the Big 12, we raced each other a lot. Steve always cheered for me, even when we hadn’t talked for months. He never held it against me that I went to Baylor.

After five and a half years and two degrees at Baylor, I was done with school but not with running. I knew I wanted to be part of a post-collegiate group, but I’d missed my last year of competing at Baylor thanks to an injury, and my prospects of joining a team seemed bleak. Like any wanderlust-filled college grad I’d schemed about moving to Colorado or Arizona to make my living in the mountains. I’d never considered joining Rogue AC even though it was right under my nose; joining the hometown team and staying in Austin seemed too easy.

I moved back home after graduation in December, unsure of the future and a little demoralized. While I scoped out the vague future, I took a job at Rogue Running, the retail side of Rogue. I’d worked there the summer before, and I was impressed with their authenticity and dedication to Austin’s running community through the hundreds of runners they coach each year. It was easy to see that this was where I wanted to work, being around people who shared my passion. After a couple weeks, it became clear that this was where I should run, too.

Steve was kind enough to bring me on the Rogue AC team as out of shape as I was, and I started workouts with the team in February.  I think what made me feel really welcome at Rogue though was when Steve told me “I’m only sorry I didn’t get to coach you during college too.”

I found a home, and it was here all along. Rogue IS Austin, and I’m so proud to be part of an organization that supports Austin’s runners so deeply. It’s an honor to rep Rogue on the retail floor and now on the race course.

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