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User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 22, 2017 6:46 PM (UTC)
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WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW: I don't look @headspace for advice on the runnings—the runnings generally take care of themselves and anyways it's wild not about that, transactionally speaking. Still, after using the meditation app over the past year and currently closing out a few months' streak of daily sitting in silence, I'm able to point to a handful of unlocks and insights that have come to complement this basic practice of putting one foot in front of the other. And part of, fun—if you could call it that—has been finding the unexpected, noumenal connections between the two.
That’s not to say that something subtle isn’t practical. It often is. Sometimes the app's creator and narrator Andy Puddicombe (an erstwhile Tibetan buddhist monk) will serendipitously share something that speaks specially to us as runners. Or so it would it would seem. As today—
"Let's say you experience some discomfort: a cramp in your leg. In truth, the experience is simply ‘this’—a feeling of tightness in the leg. But the mind will then create a story around that; it wants to own it in some way, even if it doesn't like it...'Oh, my leg really hurts.' So already we have a first layer of identification: it's 'my' leg. And then it might be, 'Ah, I wonder if this is gonna happen every time.' So already we're starting to disappear off into the future as we're creating another layer, assuming that because this experience is happening now *to* us an an individual it will happen *to* us as an individual again in the future.
This is how the mind continues...We have an idea in the mind that that there's a mind that's observing, then there's an object that's being observed and then there's the process of observation. In truth there's just 'this.' Those three things—they're one thing. It sounds crazy at first, but over time as we practice we see that in each moment there is just 'this.'" @andypuddicombe via @headspace
Foto by @gnp_photos, NYC Marathon Mile 9, 1044a 5 Nov 2017 #runningculture #blackrosesNYC
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 19, 2017 1:46 AM (UTC)
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In the lab today, armchair prognosticating strategery in advance of tomorrow's @nyrr cross country championships at the legendary grounds of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, a hallowed home of running culture that has been stomped on by legendary luminaries beginning in 1913, none of them more or less special than the legions of school age youths who have raced this course year after year, acolytes all falling deeper and deeper into the magic and the mysteries of running, the before and the after of it all as when you wake up one day and find yourself a harrier, that's what cross country runners are called, harriers. Currently couchbound and conspiring how to crack the curious challenges of the course, beginning with a look back to last fall when I began "trending faster” as I got my shit together in life generally, a constant work in progress laboring under the persistent prime directive that too much is never enough, starting with a lokey summer series race in the heat and humidity of early August when I struggled to average 6min miles, all through the fall I got fitter though it felt like forever, the first mile split of each race falling, 543, 532, 522 until I was running the same route a minute faster than previous clockings, ultimately netting out with a time that matched my previous best recorded over 10 years earlier on 17 Sept 06, laboring in vain to remember whatever the hell was happening when I raced 11 years ago and how did I even up there anyways. Maybe take it out more conservatively tomorrow, save something for the hills waiting in the woods on mile two. I never stopped to marvel at myself as this would contravene the very spirit of the work in which we find ourselves constantly, Archibald MacLeish has this poem in which he calls this time of year "the human season"—"the whispering year is gone: / There is more room to live now"—that's how he writes it, the second mile of the course at Van Cortlandt feels like death as that's when the hills hit you something terrible, so thankful that yes, the whispers have gone, now's the time just to feel alive, just to be living, just to be the ones we know ourselves to be, just for a mile, just for a moment.
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 12, 2017 6:20 PM (UTC)
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RUNNING NOW: "Yeah I lost 56 pounds but that's not even a big deal. I'm into running. I've found something I love and I'm sticking with it,” Hector Espinal said during a casual convo back in the summer of 2014. “It isn't about how fast you are. It's about finishing—it's about completing. You ran the NYC Marathon in what, 2:40? Let's say I do it in five hours. Does that mean I didn't run the same race?"
Last Sunday Hec and I did indeed run the same race, along with 51,995 others: the NYC Marathon.
It was his first marathon. Crossing the finish line was a milestone in Hec’s story, a narrative both personal and public—and political—a journey we started to follow in the summer of 2013 when he rocked up to us at the Mercer Street Stickball Classic to say the work we'd been doing @blackrosesNYC had inspired the young heavy hitter to begin pre dawn back and forth runs on the George Washington Bridge. Organizing and leading weekly group runs as captain of We Run Uptown, Hec and the crew were undeterred when local cops strongly suggested such street meet-ups were against the law.
Since then, by continuing to rep and revitalize what it means to run the city—not merely taking what's on offer but by contributing to the community, cheering the efforts of others from race day highs to the low moments that are necessarily a part of the life, putting the city on his back and inspiring so many of us both Uptown and down with passion and humility—Hec has added his own story to the legacy of urban running in NYC and come to represent unequivocally our moment in the apocrypha of running culture in this tiny town.
When we talk about what running means now, we're talking about Hector Espinal. And ever since last Sunday, we’re talking about a marathoner.
Foto by @bitbeefy, NYC Marathon mile 21, Harlem USA 5 Nov 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 11, 2017 5:31 PM (UTC)
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MILES AHEAD: “Miles [Davis] and I used to talk all the time and one time, we went to this Indian restaurant on 125th Street. We talked about a lot of different things and at the end of the conversation he said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ I was like, ‘About what?’ He said, ‘We’ve been sitting here for two hours. Did you listen to the music?’ As you and I both know, in a restaurant the music is in the background—but he asked what struck me about it most. I said the tablas and the sitar. He said that’s what we’re getting into next. The next album was ‘On The Corner.’ This was 1972.” —master percussionist (and man behind the classic, oft sampled “Juicy”!!) Mtume as told to Knox Robinson @thefader May/June 2005

Foto of @m_hyphen_a of BLACK ROSES NYC by @caitoppermann for @nike following a 30k point to point training session, Williamsburg to Fort Hamilton 15 July 2017 #runningculture #blackrosesNYC
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 9, 2017 2:17 PM (UTC)
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Leave It All Up To Me
by Major Jackson

All we want is to succumb to a single kiss
that will contain us like a marathon 
with no finish line, and if so, that we land 
like newspapers before sunrise, halcyon 
mornings arrived like blue martinis. I am 
learning the steps to a foreign song: her mind was torpedo, and her body was storm, a kind of Wow. All we want is a metropolis of Sundays, an empire of hand-holding and park benches? She says, “Leave it all up to me.”

congrats @letashy on your first NYCM + massive marathon PR after many months of wild waves. And s/o my mom who skipped the @blackrosesNYC cheer section to sit home with the baby so we could take a jog in the park. cc @poetmajorjackson
Foto by @notafraid2fail, NYC Marathon finish line, 238p 5 Nov 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 6, 2017 4:28 PM (UTC)
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PECULIAR MATHEMATICS: Ran my fastest NYC Marathon yesterday, a clocking good for 78th slot among the men at the largest participatory sporting event on the planet, an improvement in both time and ranking over the 100th place PR I hustled back in 2011 and the fourth fastest marathon of the 24 I’ve lined up for in the past 13 years (now totaling nine in NYC), one that felt like a savage calculus of relentless forward motion following my fastest race ever in Berlin six weeks ago.
None of that was in mind as I flowed through the boroughs on the day. Not much was in my mind at all, actually; I spent the first 16 miles watching events unfold in front and around me from “behind the eyes” as is sometimes suggested in mindfulness practice. In the marathon you have only have one or two opportunities to make a move—that’s why planning, preparation and execution are crucial: at all levels the penalty for mistakes is severe. (And here it must be said that a plans and levels can range from “break two hours” to “finish smiling”—or both!) Yesterday I did something new, coming off the Queensboro Bridge and charging up First Avenue rather than defaulting to struggle as I have in years past. In those miles I felt like I was finally running the NYC Marathon I’d envisioned since the first one 13 years ago—but if it worked out well enough, still it was not good enough.

The feeling faded. I finished.
Today I woke early, plotting how to move around a couple set pieces and unlock a few final stages of the race, reflecting on the peculiar mathematics of it all, to be enraptured by something we only have a chance to try our hand at once every 12 months. And thinking, Next year.
Next year.
NYCM17 foto by @notafraid2fail, 1229p 5 Nov 2017 #runningculture #blackrosesNYC
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 5, 2017 2:18 PM (UTC)
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NYCM 2017: Asked @abdiruns to hold my singlet “so I could get the safety pins straight” LOL. Thanks for tracking—and cheering—us! Staten Island, 903a 5 Nov 2017 #runningculture #blackrosesNYC
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 4, 2017 10:12 PM (UTC)
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ONLY ALL SMILES: "What drives the body is the mind. The moment you get upset, the whole body gets upset. The moment you feel the moment your body goes down.
The moment you smile and feel happy, the mind triggers your whole body and you'll be happy. What I'm trying to say is: Your mind triggers the body to respond in a positive way.”
HBD Maestro @kipchogeeliud—you've given us so many gifts.
cc @nikerunning @orchardstreetrunners @brooklyn_tc. Foto by @fredgoris, Loisaida 113p 4 Nov 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 3, 2017 1:36 PM (UTC)
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FAMILY FOCUS: “It's not easy to be a mom and an athlete. My husband Charles is also a runner; he sees to it that I'm fit and getting enough recovery. But I have to say, I have two kids and they really understand what running is. They give me enough time to train and rest with no disturbances—Mommy needs to run and she must have a rest. Jared and Samantha want to be the kind of kids that grow up to be people we're proud of. It's support from your family that makes you want to do something better because you have people around you to keep you moving. If you're having a rough time and training is stressful, you think you won't make it. But if you're with your family, just focus and you will.”
Talking strategy for marathons and motherhood with Mary Jepkosgei Keitany, 3x winner NYC Marathon, 3x winner London Marathon and women’s world record holder for the fastest unpaced marathon—2:17:01 set in London earlier this year. Foto by @maurten_official, NYC 1142a 2 Nov 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 3, 2017 1:31 PM (UTC)
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SLOWLY BY SLOWLY: “New York is a nice city...but it's a tough course. It's not easy; on the starting line you have to have it in your mind that you're ready.
The first half is soft but over the last half you're climbing a lot of hills. You have to remember even in the last 300m...there's a sharp hill! So you have to calculate it well and don't shoot ahead.
After the start you have to come slowly by slowly, knowing that it's after the halfway point that you have to start the race. Keep in mind to maintain the pace without rushing-rushing and you'll finish well.”
Talking strategy for marathons and motherhood with Mary Jepkosgei Keitany, 3x winner NYC Marathon, 3x winner London Marathon and women’s world record holder for the fastest unpaced marathon—2:17:01 set in London earlier this year. Foto by @maurten_official, NYC 1142a 2 Nov 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 3, 2017 1:23 PM (UTC)
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(SOMETIMES) MARATHON IS A MARATHON: “Sometimes a a race. And sometimes a marathon is a marathon: it’s not 40 kilometers; it’s 42! So you have to wait. In 2010 and 2011 I ran faster in the beginning; in 2011 two women passed me at the very end. Maybe if i didn't do it faster-faster at the beginning, then maybe I would've been able to win the race.”
Talking strategy for marathons and motherhood with Mary Jepkosgei Keitany, 3x winner NYC Marathon, 3x winner London Marathon and women’s world record holder for the fastest unpaced marathon—2:17:01 set in London earlier this year. Foto by @maurten_official, NYC 1142a 2 Nov 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 2, 2017 9:43 PM (UTC)
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GOALS BEYOND: #np "Peace One" by John McLaughlin from My Goal's Beyond (1971) // Via @incausa burning hand-pressed pure Peruvian Palo Santo incense to clear the energy field of "negative thoughtprints" via alpha and beta-amyrin triterpenes that promote steady breathing and mental acuity as well as possessing anti-inflammatory, analgesic and gastro-protective properties. // “Olympic Games Munich 1972” color screenprint by Jacob Lawrence (1971-1972), 34 3/8in x 25 3/16in, printed in Munich // Via @nikerunning factory-direct Zoom Vaporfly Elite 8808849-001 "engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes.” // #runningculture #flyknitfriday
User Image firstrun Posted: Nov 1, 2017 11:53 PM (UTC)
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PAINT IT BLACK: 8808849-001 @nikerunning Zoom Vaporfly Elite, the world’s fastest marathon shoe—“engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes” as the Swoosh likes to say—is perhaps better captured in the words of Hunter S Thomson viz “a high powered mutant never even considered for mass consumption.” Suddenly that’s changed, as a few units have washed up in Manhattan in advance of this weekend’s NYC Marathon with one crucial change: the brightly colored weaponry has been retooled to suit the runnings in the streets of the greatest city on the planet. #runningculture #flyknitfriday
User Image firstrun Posted: Oct 22, 2017 2:41 AM (UTC)
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In the winter of 1994 I was accused by (not pictured) college teammates—friends—of stealing "beer money" from a bedroom at a party. I didn't drink in those days and was already back in my dorm room at the time. The 19-year-old me was enraged; I put on my running shoes, raced back to the aftermath of the party, confronted the dudes with an onslaught of curse words and was summarily punched in my face before I got to my feet, challenged my accusers  again—and was knocked to the floor twice more...told, bizarrely, that my mother would’ve been ashamed of me. Hey: it was the 90s; as a black kid in the US I was inculcated in the merits of nonviolence via King, Mandela and Gandhi—and moreover: sadly I was convinced that "it shouldn't have been me" that saw my name in that mix.
I quit the team and never ran again after that day—not until a decade later when the experience of watching my son come into this world made me marvel at the connection between our body and our mind and the singularity of purpose that could bring.
Getting back into running opened me up somehow, working through things, and leading me to reconnect and reestablish friendships with my former teammates.
It's only been in recent years—since rediscovering the depths of a journey deeper and deeper into running—our running culture—that I've reflected on the crucial errors I made on that night all those years ago. Firstly: wildly confronting an accuser would be a mistake. Secondly: the idea that I should have been beyond suspicion as a function of education, class, friendship or even running bona fides was bourgeois, uninvestigated and problematic as it was dangerous—a reality I took pains to explain to my son last night, proud as he was for coming home sober from a party where classmates had made beer runs. And thirdly: that I would never ever again be duped or distracted or deterred from the pursuit of my passions—in this case: running.
I will never again let someone steal my joy.
#runningculture #blackrosesNYC
#tbt TO BE REAL: If I consider the challenge of what I hope to bring to our running community of now, much of that thinking comes together in this woman @shesheruns. When we met in 2012 Rasheda was already a much loved figure on the downtown NYC scene, trusted as an advisor, confidante and pace partner with almost a decade of running and five marathons under her belt. She has a great sense of humor but was also known to have zero tolerance for bullshit. So she had her ways—she still has them—and it was intimidating to think about "coaching" her. What would I have to offer her? In this running boom of ours it's fairly easy to pass yourself off as an authority to folks who are new to the life and having only been at it a year or two lack the context and experience to filter what's real from what's fake and fabricated. But with a runner like Rasheda *everything* had to be real from the very beginning: every training principle would have to have integrity, every track workout had to have clarity, every seasonal plan would need to build to something personal that would positively impact a runner of Rasheda's stature. And I would have to be real, of course; but moreover: her trust in me would be predicated on the extent to which I was able let go of whatever fears or trepidation or penchant for self-sabotage I harbored and simply let myself be the coach-person I wanted to be—I understood this very early on and I think that was the most intimidating part of the proposition. Working with Rasheda held me to that; i’m the early days as a core member @blackrosesnyc, she came out to train and race whatever the weather, putting in that work in such a way that completely validated the "idea" my partner @jessiezapo and I started with an icy track session in January 2012. In October 2013 @Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco Rasheda took it a step further and brought that idea to life, cutting two minutes from her previous best time for 26.2 miles over an insanely hilly course that would generally make the pursuit of a PR a pointless one. She thanked me at the finish, but of course: I was the thankful one. San Francisco, 306p 20 Oct 2013 #runningculture #blackrosesNYC
User Image firstrun Posted: Oct 16, 2017 3:53 PM (UTC)
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A humble note of thanks to the folks who shared research resources, experience, advice and support as @vallot and I prepared to bring our ongoing efforts at the intersection of running and meditation—movement and mindfulness—to some young men incarcerated at Rikers Island: one of the world’s largest jails, holding 10,000 people daily...85% of whom have yet to be convicted of a crime. Collaborating with Dr Brett Maricque from the Columbia University Center for Justice, we flowed through a series of movements to raise heart rates and foster a collective group energy—however fleeting—before ending with 20 minutes of sitting silent breathwork as corrections officers stood guard. “The fear, the curiosity, and the love in their eyes as they went through the program was an intensely raw and heartbreaking human encounter,” wrote @vallot about our time with young men. All too true. On my end I’m still processing the experience even as I’m ready for plans to return, thinking constantly about the possibility, the potential of just one spark of connection with young dudes who in so many ways are just like me—like us. In the days and nights since those sessions, it’s been impossible to shake the sense that it isn’t our ages or experiences that separate us from the guys who sat with us in silence in a tiny room on Rikers. The only difference is that I was free to go home to my family afterwards. And they were not. Rikers Island, 529p 11 Oct 2017
User Image firstrun Posted: Oct 9, 2017 1:07 PM (UTC)
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THE SZN: In which we spent the weekend working up to—then recovering from—a spiked up solo session in Prospect Park, 8x 1k grass loops that were literally and figuratively by turns both crucial and extraneous, glorious and hateful, interminable and an all too brief break from our regularly scheduled program of marathon madness, because love it or hate it you live it, this is “ X-C “, this is cross country season. Long Meadow, 422p 7 Oct 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Oct 5, 2017 2:56 PM (UTC)
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GOODBYE TO ALL THAT: I qualified for automatic entry to my first NYC Marathon based on a decent time I ran at the 2004 Brooklyn Half Marathon—my first race back following a decade away from the culture.
All year I was certain I would break 2h30 that November! And in what would be my first attempt at 26.2mi on the day I went through the first half in 1h15 before fading to a walk/jog just on the other side of the deathly silence on the Pulaski Bridge. (I finished.).
Thirteen years later as I finished up preparations for my 23rd marathon (Berlin, a few weeks ago) it suddenly occurred to me that—setting aside the usual litany of lamentable excuses—perhaps the biggest reason I've yet to break 2h30 in the marathon is because I've been trying to break 2h30 in the marathon.
In thinking about—and talking about—breaking 2h30 in the marathon, I made it a barrier.
And that was the end of that.
Foto by @notafraid2fail, East River Park Track, 1214p 12 Aug 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Oct 3, 2017 11:44 PM (UTC)
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OPEN: Early Sunday am a small group of Chicago’s young creatives—some of them runners, some of them not—yet!—arrived at Nike FlyHouse expecting the unexpected. We greeted them with a gentle jog followed by a few minutes of simple breathwork and mindfulness practice reset, get comfortable and create space for a fresh group dynamic getting open on ideas about creative flow, innovation, sports psychology, bodywork and progressive nutrition: unlocking the inner workings in the life of an elite distance runner and the ways in which that intersects with lifestyle of creative culture in one of America’s most vibrant, energetic cities. Thank you @nikelab @nikechicago for hosting the conversation! Wicker Park, 1005a 1 Oct 2017 #runningculture
User Image firstrun Posted: Oct 3, 2017 4:03 PM (UTC)
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"That fundamental asking 'Why?' is super important to opening up your mind to being creative." Spent a perfectly long Sunday in Chicagoland reconnecting with Dr Geng Luo—senior biomechanics researcher @nikerunning and lead scientist behind the 4% shoe developed for Breaking 2—as guests of Nike FlyHouse, building with an intimate group of the city’s young creatives—some of them runners, some of them not—yet!—chatting about the power of mindfulness and the trial-and-error process of innovation. Along with a sports psychologist, a recovery bodywork specialist and a nutritionist we unlocked the inner workings in the life of an elite distance runner.
We’re in awe of supernatural performances on race day, but what can we learn from inspirations like Eliud Kipchoge that applies to us as runners and creatives but more importantly: as people? Thank you @nikelab @nikechicago for hosting! Wicker Park, 230p 1 Oct 2017 #runningculture