Craig Howie

Ultra Marathoner and Endurance Coach

floky.com

A tribute to the Good Guys in our sport

June 9th, 2008 by Craig

prefontaine.jpg“Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative……A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”  –Steve Prefontaine

I just got off the phone with one of my best friends and training partners.  He raced in the USAT World Championships this past weekend and what he told me about the race is what inspired this post. 

The venue for the World Championships this year in Vancouver featured the best of the best in the Olympic distance of racing.  Unfortunately the weather was bad and the swim had to be cancelled.  Instead the athletes raced a 3km run in place of the swim followed by the 40k bike and the final 10k run.  My buddy is one of the best runners I have ever seen.  His strategy was simple……get in front and out of sight and stay in front. 

After the 3k run his plan was right on track.  His running prowess put him in the front and he blasted out on the bike.  For 3 laps of the 4 lap bike course his strategy was working perfectly.  He had the lead and was holding it.  On the 4th lap a train of athletes in his group caught him and went by wheel to wheel, heads on a swivel looking for the motorcycles.  My friends cycling ability is possibly even better than his running, but the train went by like he was standing still.  He could have hooked on to them, but he didn’t.  The race was not draft legal. 

On the 10k my buddy ran his heart out and closed the gap on the leaders that had passed him on the bike, but by 2k the wheels came off.  His incredible effort on the bike was taking a toll.  He held on and came in 2nd in his age group and top 10 overall.  Top 10 in the world!

A few years from now I won’t remember what place he came in, but what I will always remember is the class and dignity he raced with.  I will remember the gutsy performance he put in by pushing himself to absolutely breaking down.  He raced like Pre. 

Here’s to my friend and all of those who race to see how far they can push themselves……too see how gutsy they can be…….to create a beautiful masterpiece of art with the race…..and to race with class and dignity.

Until next time, visit the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, shop at Trisports.com using my discount code chowi-s, eat more Powerbar, and tell your endurance family you love them.

What’s your story?

June 4th, 2008 by Craig

porta-potty.jpgIn your time as an endurance athlete, have you had an experience that is uniquely unusual, funny or unbelievable?  I have had a few of these stories myself over the years.  I have been wanting to put together a compilation of stories of these experiences for years now. Here’s one of my stories…(One draw back to wearing an I-Pod while training)

My Side of the Story…

It was one of those early morning runs.  I mean early, like 4:30 am.  I headed out for my run on my normal course with my iPod blasting heavy metal in my ears, knowing that there were a few construction sites along the route with port-a-potties.  You all know how the digestive system of an endurance athlete is…volatile.  So I have to go, and go bad, but I know that there is a port-a-potty up ahead.  You know how once your body knows that a toilet is near you kind of have a timer clocking down the seconds until you can take care of business.  So I finally get there and it is locked!  Are you @#%$ kidding me!  I have to go.  I start to pound on the door dropping curse words that would make a sailor blush.  Who the hell locked the door before they left last night, don’t they know I need to use it.  So I decide I am going to break in…what else can I do?  I grab a large stick, or small branch and start to try to jimmy the door…

The Other Guy’s Side of the Story…

So I head out for my early run, I don’t normally get up this early, but I am committed to getting healthy and I know exercise is important.   I was surprised when I felt the urge to “go”.  Thank goodness there was a port-a-potty at a construction site up ahead.  I was even more pleased when I found it unlocked.  I sit down to take care of business.  Not a few seconds later I hear someone come up to the john.  Whoever it is tries to open the door and I say “Just a minute, I’ll be right out”.  This assurance doesn’t seem to make much difference.  They just continue banging on the door, ripping on the handle and cursing like a madman.  I’m now shouting…”Give me a minute damn it, I am almost done”.  By the way, I am not almost done, I am trying to finish taking care of business, practically giving myself a hernia trying to get it out.  Next thing I know I hear whoever it is breaking a tree limb and I’m thinking, this guy is going to try to kill me.  It is clearly time to get out of this port-a-potty and run as hard as I can back home, hoping that I can run faster than whoever it is.  So, I attempt to make a quick exit while pulling my pants up, hoping to not get clubbed by the branch by this crazy person.  I catch a glimpse of the crazy &$%# as I scream past him on my way to safety.  He has black tights and long sleeved shirt on with a black stocking cap on his head.  What looks like a fanny pack with a water bottle holster on it and ear phones in his ear.  He is a clearly demented person, red faced, and violent.  “It’s all yours!” I yell, and then I ran my ass off back home, now rethinking my desire to become healthy and fit.  Maybe the Stair Master is for me from now on…

Back to my side…

My attempted break in isn’t working even though the Metallica blasting in my ears is driving me on.  Suddenly the door flies open and another runner runs out like a grizzly is chasing him.  As he sprinted away I hear him yell “it’s all yours man!”

I know this is a crazy long shot, but on the off chance this poor guy is reading my blog, I just have to say I’m so sorry dude. 

Until next time, visit the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, shop at trisports.com using my discount code chowi-s, eat more powerbar, and tell your endurance family you love them.