Wise Words from Ellen Watters

This was written by Ellen Watters, a talented young cyclists who was just starting her Pro Career… the year after writing this she was hit and killed by an inattentive driver… PLEASE be careful out there… “That is my plan. I love what I did in 2015, and only once this next year is done can I say that I love what I did, but up to that point I’m going to try my damnedest to love every moment and experience and opportunity and book and movie and person that I meet. And if not at the time, but when I reflect on it 5 minutes later, to see how interesting someone is in their own way, how I can corner better in a crit course, or which doughnut was more delicious! Take the time to breath it all in and learn.If you read this and see me, remind me to write in my journal. Remind me to blog more often (even if it’s about that delicious doughnut). Remind me to smile and embrace. Remind me that hugs are friends. Remind me to tell you about that time (and when you say this you have to think up a time that we had!).Let’s be epic this time! Maybe not more epic than we have been, but epic for what will come our way.And so my friends, I hope you do what you need to for a happy, healthy, wholesome life each and every day because if you do that, I am pretty sure others will benefit too🙂


Follow your compass

As a coach, goals are my stock-in-trade, so I pay close attention when I see people posting goals in social media. Goal setting is one of the murkiest undertakings athletes take part in every season and particularly every New Year.

Consider “compass” and “GPS” goals. Compass goals are those big directional goals that identify where you are going in the long term, just like a compass points you in the direction to travel, compass goals point you in the direction in which to put your effort and passion. Your compass goals should be enduring, year to year and season to season.  Your GPS Goals add time, distance, and speed to your compass goal. If your compass goal points the direction, your GPS goals says how far, and how fast you will travel this year or season.

Embracing the compass goals in life is likely the most critical factor for success in any undertaking. Your compass can be your guide in turbulent times, it can be a strong force in helping you stay the course and never truly be in darkness.

Your GPS goals help you get your arms around your compass goals, they put dimensions to your dreams and identify the time and space you will dedicated to your goals in each season.

Try to really make them YOUR goals. It is very easy for athletes to get caught up in what they see posted or hear at the gym and let that influence their goals. The goals you pick will be your companion for the year/season so be sure they are goals you want to hang out with for a long time. Fight FOMO (Fear of missing out) by being true to yourself.

Be suspicious of quantity related goals. Sure, they are easy to measure, and they look darn impressive on a year end Strava report but are they really moving you in your compass direction? Maybe consider goals that reflect not only quantity but quality, not just quality of the training but quality of the fun!

Think in terms of both “process goals” and “outcome goals”. Set goals that drive you to particular outcomes such as a personal best time but add to that goals for the process to get there, such as taking a rest day each week and a rest week each month.

Break your goals down so you have accomplishments along the way to your major goals, each one will lift your motivation and keep you on track.

Goals can really help move you forward as an athlete or in any area of your life. But they can also be shackles that take the fun and spontaneity out of life. It is critical to balance those two extremes. The deepest success comes when you truly understand your compass and learn to read it well. Then you can follow the GPS, but not fear the occasional deviation to enrich life. A good read of your compass will get you right back on track after you enjoyed a little side trail.

On the Run (As published in the Telegraph Journal Nov 10, 2021)

Jean-Marie Breau

There is certainly a nip in the air but fall running doesn’t get any better than the last few weeks. Despite Covid we had some great racing this week. Let’s start in Halifax with the Bluenose Marathon. The men’s winner was Dennis Mbelenzi of Halifax in an incredible 2:29:12. How fast is that? That is a 3:33/km pace for 42.2 kilometers, his pace would have made him 5th place in the 10-km and the winner of the half marathon. That is crazy fast. Second place went to Mark Brown of Porters Lake in 2:44:01 and third to Bradley Fiander of Waverly in 2:48:28. The women were led by Quinlin Hickey of Toronto in 3:02:48 followed by Michelle Brady of Guelph in 3:15:59 and breaking up the Ontario sweep was hometown runner Kristy Moore in 3:17:51.

The half marathon went to Melissa Hardy of Antigonish for the women in 1:21:26 ahead of Jessica Needham of Halifax (1:23:59) and Stephanie Seaward of Dartmouth (1:28:41). The men’s race was won by Alex Zheng of Halifax in 1:15:01 with Mathias Mueller of Lower Sackville in second with a 1:18:30 and Michael Peterson of Charlottetown third in 1:19:13. The 10-km winners were Rowan Doherty of Bedford in 33:02 for the men and Catherine Thompson of Halifax in 35:30 for the women (5th overall).  Mustafa Eisa Izzeldin of Halifax was the men’s 5-km winner in 15:50 and Abby Lewis of Beaver Bank was top women and third overall in 16:00.

In Tracadie it was the 409th running of the Demi-marathon de l’Acadie and it was a very special one as Jean-Marie Breau completed his 400th running of the monthly event. In the in-person version of the event, the women were led by Nathalie Teriault-Roy of Beresford in 1:46:10 followed by Louise Thibodeau of Beresford in 1:47:27 and Silvia Antuna of Tracadie in 1:57:15. In the men’s event it was Timmy Basque of Shippagan continuing his winning ways in 1:20:43 ahead of Alex Cowan of Tracadie (1:22:53) and Guillaume Blanchard of Caraquet (1:29:58). The virtual men’s winner was Jeff Queen of Saint John in 1:20:14 and the women’s winner was Nathalie Boivin of Bathurst in 1:43:42.

At the Canicross race in Moncton it was Charles Fullerton and Casey taking the won in the 4.6-km event in 15:57 while the Bikejor (Dog and bicycle rider) Lisa McParland and Odin led the way at the 4.6-km distance in 9:07. The sprint races (1.6-km) had Sarah Waford and Loki out front in 5:07 for Canicross and Yves Boudreau and Odin in 3:16 for the Bikejor.

This week our Person on the Run goes to Jean-Marie Breau, not only for his superhuman feat of 400 half marathons but for his amazing leadership as the President of the Demi-marathon de l’Acadie. Since the nineties he has worked tirelessly to grow this unique event to be another New Brunswick cultural landmark. Felicitations Jean-Marie.

Well, that wraps it up for another season of On the Run, a strange one indeed but a true testament to the dedication and resilience of our running community. Congratulations to everyone who kept lacing them up through these challenging times.

On the Run (As Published in the Telegraph Journal Oct 27, 2021)

Dr Peter Jolly work on bridge over Taylor Brook

It is amazing how resilient the sports community has been through the Covid restrictions. Race Directors and participants deserve much credit for staying true to the Public Health guidelines while still finding ways for healthy physical activity to continue.

This past weekend it was another busy one in Miramichi with the Norm Brown Cross Country 5-km. The women’s leader and leader overall was Miramichi’s own Paula Keating in 20:14 followed by Kelsey Tucker of Fredericton in 24:00 and Kari Parsons of Saint John in 24:01. For the men, it was Gary Kenny (Tracadie) in top spots with a 21:08 just seconds ahead of Ralph Williston (Miramichi) in 21:23. Third place went to Raymond Cassie (Cap Lumiere) in 22:14.

In Quispamsis, the KV Road Runners hosted a new concept with a QR Code Run. Participants could run any time on Sunday by scanning a series of QR Codes with their phones over a 10-km course. Their times were automatically uploaded into the race results. This was a great way to avoid contact and keep social distancing while still having a race. The men were led by Brent Marr in 51:32 followed by Kevin Smith in 55:00 and Ross Campbell in 56:11. For the women Claire Driscoll topped the podium in 59:19, while Kari Parsons took second place (up a spot from her third the day before in Miramichi) in 1:00:13 and Gina Grant was third in 1:04:49.

Canicross races at the Res

If you were near Little River Reservoir in Saint John on Saturday, you certainly heard some barking. The PCDR Canicross Classic featured dogs and their human partners in Bikejoring (Dog pulling bike) and Canicross (Dog pulling human) racing. In the 3.1-km Bikejor it was Sarah Peel and Loki out front in 5:44 ahead of Yves Boudreau and Odin (6:30) and Krista Koval and Higgins (6:43). In the Canicross 3.1-km Sarah Peel teamed up with Chester this time for the win in 11:07. Second place went to Lisa McParland and Odin in 11:43 while third place went to Vicky Lamontagne in 12:21.

This weekend in Quispamsis it’s the Run for Renee Halloween edition. This is always a great event and throw some great costumes into the mix and you know you will have a great day. Get all the details at https://events.runnb.ca/event/october-run-for-renee-5k/468724/

Trail running and Mountain biking have seen unprecedented growth during the Covid pandemic. Races have been selling out and weekly trail runs have been setting records. None of this can happen without an infrastructure of trails being developed and maintained. By far most of these trails have been developed and maintained by volunteers. There is a saying that the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit. Back in 2019 Peter Jolly had the insight to see the trails behind RNS were getting more and more used. At the then age of 81 Peter instigated for, designed, and helped build two beautiful bridges to make a safe crossing of Taylors Brook for hikers and trail runners for years to come. For his selfless dedication to this project Peter Jolly is this week’s Person on the Run.

Run like Kipchoge (A Tale of Running Tribes)

Recently I had the opportunity to watch Kipchoge: The Last Milestone. My background in Sports Science had me fascinated with the amazing technology and science that went into breaking the 2-hour marathon. Everything including the shoes, the aerodynamics of the pacers, the degree of turns, the camber of the road, the fuel consumed, the pacing strategy, every detailed was studied and managed in minute detail as required for such a feat.

However, what really struck me was not what the technology added, but what the technology was added to in Kipchoge. Kipchoge was the product of a running culture that made it possible for such an amazing athlete to get to a point he could do something no one had done before.

Throughout my sports science education I read and studied and maybe even idolized Per-Olof Astrand, a Swedish Exercise Physiologist, one of the founding fathers of exercise physiology actually. He wrote one of the enduring books on the topic “The Textbook of Work Physiology”, a signed copy of which is one of my prized possessions to this day.

As luck would have it, in Graduate School I had the chance to go to one of his lectures (where I got my book signed) and spent a few days brushing up on my physiology so I would be able to follow him in his lecture. At this point he was very late in his career but still very active and constantly learning. I arrived in the auditorium very excited to fill my brain with the latest technology information and physiology theories. The lights went down, and the screen lit up and there he was, the guru of exercise physiology. But what’s with that slide, it’s just an African plain, and then some villages and schools with a bunch of kids running. The slides kept coming, with more groups of runners, playing the sport of running. Sure, he made a few passing references to VO2Max, and blood lactate, genetics, altitude training and all that, but by far his focus was on the people. He had been studying how they interact, how running fits into their society, how their fellow runners are an extension of their family, their tribe.

Flash forward to Kipchoge, many of the people around him talked about the technology, but Kipchoge talked about the people, his running partners, his family. Some of most impactful footing for me was him at training camps in Africa, out for a long run with his training tribe, chatting and joking and running slowly and steadily. Or at camp with a wide variety of runners going through their strength and stretch workouts. His whole look and demeanor said this is where I belong, this is my happy place, this is my tribe.

The accomplishment of the 2-hour marathon could never had happened without that influence of runner-to-runner relationship that Kipchoge enjoyed, embraced, and expanded. We can learn so much from that experience. With few exceptions, Kipchoge’s comments were about the collaboration with other runners more than the competition. Of course, in the end it is a race and he can be as competitive as anyone obviously, but he seems to compartmentalize it, somehow separating the life of running from the sport of running.

Running clubs are the tribes we develop in our own towns, they are a way to connect and to learn with, from and about each other through running. How a Club embraces each other says as much if not more about the Club than race results. It says we are a tribe; we value each other and we will achieve most by achieving together.

Embrace your Club, be a force to welcome others into the Club, work at making running accessible to everyone, create a tribe that will make all things possible because in the end, that is always what makes things possible, like a 2-hour Marathon!

On the Run (As published in the Telegraph Journal Oct 20, 2021)

Jeff Queen finishing the PEI Marathon

Covid continues to wreak havoc with the race schedule, but a few races continue to make it work within the Public Health rules, keeping everyone safe either virtually or with strict application of rules.

This week in Miramichi it was the Oct 5-km and right at the top was hometown legend Paula Keating, winning for the women and overall, in a fast 18:33. Second place for women also was a Miramichi runner, Madalyn MacKinnon in 21:16 and third to Fredericton’s Kelsey Tucker in 21:49. For the men, the hometowns were spread out, but the times were very close. Gary Kenny (Tracadie) took top spot in 20:00 followed by Raymond Caissie (Cap Lumiere) in 2021 and Ralph Williston (Miramichi) in 20:35.

The big news this weekend was the running of the PEI Marathon in-person. Despite a somewhat blustery day spirits were high, and a new marathon record was set by Dennis Mbelenzi of Halifax at 2:30:23. Second went to Jeff Ratushny of Conquerall Mills in 2:51:42 and blocking a Nova Scotia sweep in third place was Saint John runner Jeff Queen with a personal best time of 2:53:35. For the women it was Rachel Barich of Charlottetown taking homecourt advantage with a quick 2:56:55 followed by Maura Wieczorek of Halifax in 3:03:26 and Jocelyn Peterson of Charlottetown in 3:05:16.

In the half marathon Jennifer Orr of Stanley Bridge was the top woman in 1:28:42 ahead of a fast-charging Erin Porter (Halifax) in 1:29:26. Third place went to Stratford’s Kristy Newson in 1:32:53. The men saw Stephane Piccinin out front in 1:13:40 followed by Michel-Lucien Bergeron of Stanley Bridge in 1:17:21 and Samuel Poirier of Moncton in 1:19:54. The half-marathon walk went to Hongmei Liu of Charlottetown in 2:32:20 for women and James Boswall of Frenchfort took the men’s event in 2:47:19.

In the 10-km run, Danny Jardine of Moncton had a very fast personal best time of 37:09 to take top spot ahead of Rock Francouer (Moncton) in 39:05 and Isaac Neily (Fairview) in 39:45. For the women, it was an all Nova Scotia podium with Danielle Carter of Dartmouth at the top in 40:43 followed by Christy Pound (Halifax) in 40:51 and Christine Richardson (Pictou) in 42:28. The 10-km walk went to April Nicholson of Montague in 1:20:27 for the women and David Lambert of Calgary for the men in 1:29:16.

In the 5-km run it was a Charlottetown sweep for the men Alex Rogers first (18:00), Aivar Koppel second (18:52) and Jonah Bowie third (19:34).  For the women Jane Bruce (Stratford) was first in 22:42, Sarah Moore (Halifax) second in 22:56 and Sam Wittig (Charlottetown) third in 23:58.

Thirty-two teams entered the marathon relay and it was a very tight finish with Worst Pace Scenario first in 3:33:21, We’ve Got the Runs second in 3:35:55 and Island EMS third in 3:35:58 for an exciting finish to the 8 leg relay.

This week our Person on the Run is not only a great athlete but also an excellent coach. Jeff Queen of Saint John was a fantastic role model with a PB in the PEI Marathon and 5 runners from his club, the Rockwood Road Warriors did the same. That’s representin’

On the Run (As published in the Telegraph Journal Oct 13, 2021)

It is difficult to know where to start, maybe Dickens said it best “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Covid-19 and the new Circuit Breaker strategy has for all intents and purposes shut down racing in New Brunswick with many cancelations being posted. However, at the same time some New Brunswick athletes have made some amazing accomplishments in virtual events and events outside of the province. Let’s start with the cancelations, the Hopewell Rocks Multi-Terrain Race this past weekend was canceled, the Rompin’ Rockwood and the Fall Classic schedule for this coming weekend are both canceled, and Legs for Literacy scheduled for October 24 is also canceled, all due to the Circuit Breaker orders. Of course, it is the right thing to do, but very disappointing for athletes. As of this writing, the PEI marathon scheduled for Oct 15-17 is still a go but with many restrictions to keep it safe.

On the other side of the coin, the Boston Marathon went this past Monday in person as well as in a virtual format. Virtual results are a bit hard to track but 3 New Brunswick runners did manage to do the live event. Because of the new rolling start method at Boston, all times are chip time (we typically post the Gun times).  Warren Gerow finished in 4:17:01 (could not confirm Warren’s hometown), Marcie Holland of Saint John ran a 3:28:52 and Joe Culligan of Quispamsis finished in 3:28:40. That is dedication to get to Boston, they will be able to say they were there the only time it was run in the fall.

Another place New Brunswick athletes were making a big mark was in Bromont Quebec at the Bromont Trail Ultra. This is a tough race, 100 miles (160-km) with 6,981 meters of elevation, on trails, much in the dark, yet two of our athletes made the top 10. Tim McDonough of Saint John gave a Master Class on how to pace an Ultra run and finished in 23:24:05 for third overall and first in his age division, just minutes out of second place. Derek Lounder of Moncton was 10th overall and 4th in his age division in 26:18:23. Truly amazing results in one of the toughest runs in Eastern Canada.

At the Valley Harvest Marathon in Nova Scotia, Christian Essiambre was top New Brunswick in the full marathon in 3:20:45, Jessica Hawkes of Moncton was top NB runner in the 50-km Ultra in 4:47:30, Doug Doucette of Moncton was top NB runner in the half marathon in 1:44:30 and Eric Arsenault of Saint John was top in the 10-km with a 45:21.

For our Person on the Run this week we go back to the Boston Marathon, this time the virtual version. Runners in Saint John and around the province will know Brenda Guitard as a great athlete and coach of many Boston finishers. This year she completed her 10th consecutive Boston Marathon (virtual) and 15th overall. A great accomplishment in these very challenging times, congratulations Brenda.

On the Run (As published in the Telegraph Journal Oct 6, 2021)

Beth Sears at the Mactaquac Trail Race

It was a great fall weekend for racing and New Brunswick athletes made great use of it. The Trail Runners enjoyed a great day of racing at the Mactaquac Trail Race. In the 10-km event for men Cliff Worden-Rogers of Fredericton led the way in 51:27 followed by Fredericton’s Nikolay Ryabkov in 53:13 and stopping a Fredericton sweep was a fast charging Glenn Trites of Rothesay just 3 seconds behind in 53:16. In the women’s race it was another pair of Frederictonians leading the way with Brigitte L-Heureux in 1:00:42 and Susan Dean in 1:02:49. Paige Cummings of Saint John was the spoiler on this one in 1:03:23. The 20-km event for women went to Tanya Johnson of Fredericton (2:08:07) ahead of Michelle Decoursey of Fredericton (2:10:11) and Felice Kamminga of Rothesay (2:23:24). For the men Evan Arsenault of Quispamsis was on top in 1:38:40 followed by Ryan O’Shea of New Maryland (1:45:46) and Marcus Rogers of Saint John (1:48:29).

Still on the trails but this time on Mountain Bikes it was the daunting Tour of Elgin. This race has some challenging sections and is not for the faint of heart. In the big event, the Elgin 120, the men’s title went to Tim Shea in 6:07:20 followed by Andre Landry in 6:15:39 and Lorenzo Caterini in 6:22:22. The women were led by Amy Murphy in 8:20:05 followed by Annik Belanger in 8:27:22. In the Elgin 80 for women Carolyn Benvie was top rider in 5:53:20 ahead of Grace Simms (5:54:06) and Josee Gallant (6:12:07). The men saw Noah Lydon out in front in 4:05:41 followed by Bruce Roberts in 4:30:52 and Martin Pelletier in 4:40:11. The Elgin 40 had a very tight finish with Zephyr Tomlin (2:04:29) Colby Sirois (2:04:30) and Terry Tomlin (2:04:33) in almost a dead heat for the men. The women were a bit more spread out with Jennifer Baudoux leading the way in 2:40:24 ahead of Laurence Olivia Arseneau in 2:47:48 and Noemie Godin in 2:55:09.  Finally, in the Elgin 20 for women it was Alicia Kane in first at 1:57:20 followed by France Gauthier (2:20:10) and Emily Mitton (3:35:03).  The men had Xavier Vautour leading the way in 1:39:06 followed closely by Joel Jordan in 1:39:55 and in third place was Jeremy Boucher in 1:42:15. A great day of tough racing, kudos to all.

The Demi Marathon de l’Acadie decided to be Covid cautious and went with a virtual run only. In the men’s event Gary Kenny of Tracadie had the fastest time in 1:31:35 ahead of Jonathan Legault of Dieppe (1:38:56) and Livain Michaud of Gatineau (1:41:40). The women once again had the battle of the Nathalie’s as Nathalie Boivin of Bathurst was first with 1:42:36 and Nathalie Theriault-Roy of Beresford was second in 1:46:17. Third place went to Marcelle Breau of Tracadie in 1:49:30.

This week our Person on the Run is a real inspiration. Beth Sears of Quispamsis has run races around the world and despite personal health challenges and Covid restrictions this grandmother keeps finding more ways to get her running fix. This weekend she was the only over 60 runner to complete the grueling Mactaquac Trail Run 20-km. Nothing holds her back, great work Beth.

Gotta run

Daryl Steeves

Weekly Running Columnist



On the Run (as published in the Telegraph Journal Sept 22, 2021)

It seems like Covid is never going away but runners are endurance athletes, and they just keep going and going. It has been impressive how races have continued to happen and how understanding participants have been with following the Public Health guidelines for racing. Kudos to all involved.

Brian Richard our Person on the Run

A new event on the calendar this year was the College Hill Challenge in Fredericton and if you have spent any time on UNB Campus you know “the hill”.  In the 5-km event for men it was Ian Verschoor of Berwick in top spot in 16:59 ahead of hometown boys Michael Colford (17:11) and Rob Jackson (19:47). For the women mom Connie (24:14) and daughter Lily Coffin (28:35) of Saint John took first and third spots, separated by Fredericton’s Kaitlyn Gillis in 26:05.  The mile race for women was an all Fredericton affair with Nicole Trites in first spot with a 6:38 just ahead of Samantha Norris in 6:39 and Gabby Kozak in 6:43 making for some exciting racing. The men put on an equally good show with David Brown of Island View clocking a 5:42 ahead of a three-way photo finish at 5:48 including Vardaan Malhotra of Fredericton, Cam Harris of Quispamsis and Isaac Cull of Yarmouth. An exciting day of racing on the hill.

In Miramichi it was the September 5-km both in person and virtually that brought out some fast performances. At the in-person event Dean Strowbridge of Willow Grove continued his winning ways with a very fast 16:26 followed by Todd Power of Salisbury in 18:04 and Noah McKinnon of Miramichi in 18:55. The women actual took the overall second and third spots with a couple of great performances. Leading the way was Meghan Duffy of Miramichi in 17:55 just ahead of fellow Miramichier Paul Keating in 18:03. Three of the top five overall finishers were over 50 years of age. In the virtual event the women saw Fredericton’s Kelsey Tucker lead the way in 20:40 followed by Elizabeth Morrison of Sackville (22:19) and Krystal Corcoran of Miramichi (23:33).  The men’s event went to Timmy Basque of Shippagan in 17:10 followed by Gary Kenny of Tracadie (19:53) and Bruce Clark of Houlton (20:03). In the virtual race, two of the overall top five finishers were over 60 years of age. Running really is a sport for all ages.

This weekend we have the Rotary Mile in Sackville just ahead of the Fall Fair Parade. A great opportunity to run through the main streets of Sackville with no traffic. Get the details and register at https://events.runnb.ca/event/the-rotary-mile/472084/  

In the Miramichi it’s the Cross Country 5-km, check it out at https://events.runnb.ca/event/miramichi-cross-country-5km/471529/

The Miramichi River Runners (MRR) season wraps up this week with the Cross-Country race. All through Covid, MRR has been hosting safe in-person runs and virtual runs at least once a month. A huge effort behind the scenes by the very humble Brian Richard and his team.  Brian has given and continues to give so much to running over the years. We are proud to have him as this week’s Person on the Run. Thanks for all you do Brian.

Gotta run

Daryl Steeves

Weekly Running Columnist



Beyond the PB…

Athletes are tremendously invested in sport and the entire community that is built around it.  We have had highs and lows with our sporting friends and thrived on the adrenaline of achievement. We checked off Personal Bests (PBs) with a big smile.

Eventually though the time for PBs ends, we stretch it for a while with new PBs based on age group, or particular race, or distance, or while wearing a hat or not :-), whatever we can do to find that high of accomplishment.

Many athletes have had to come to terms with the physical losses of age or disability. For me it happened very early so I have had a long time to ponder it.  At 25, fresh out of Graduate School with a Master’s in Physical Education and a professional coaching job, I woke up one morning to legs the shape of stove pipes and burning up with fever. After weeks in hospital I was diagnosed with acute Psoriatic Arthritis.  The prognosis was grime, I would never run again and would likely only work another 10 years is what I was told. Long story short, with some amazing healthcare and very supportive family I was able to continue an active life, albeit, with many limitations, and I worked until a normal retirement.  Along the way, heart disease, diabetes, esophagus issues, joint replacement, fusions etc. all stole a bit more functionality and eventually some complications of my Arthritis medications woke up latent Primary Progress Multiple Sclerosis, stealing a little more. But I have been fortunate and great care has kept me moving, so what!?

There is life beyond the PBs.  There is the shear joy of movement. As I’m writing this I am overlooking the circular driveway of my apartment building and all the motivation I ever need is right there.  Every day I see people doing their laps. Some are using walkers or canes, some are in small groups, others alone, some even in their 90s but every single one looks happy.  There is often laughter, the occasional stop to chat with someone learning out their balcony. They have a collective wisdom that is critical for athletes to learn.

Truth be told, it is very hard to deal with the loss of function. I find myself wanting to explain why I’m so slow when I show up at a race or running group.  I find myself wanting to explain why I need help getting something off the higher shelf at a store. I want to explain why I have to have poles if I hike or try a bit of trail running. Why, why, why does that explanation need to happen? I think it is because as athletes we have so much of ourselves locked up in our bodies and being our “best” that we need to have an explanation why we are not our “best” like we were before. But let’s look beyond the PBs.

Beyond the PBs there is still life, beyond physical activity even there is still life. It is critical that we never forget that and that we work hard to foster other things in our lives. We need to have broad horizons and interests if we are to cope with the changes of age or disability. That is not giving up, that is being wise. Keep moving with all your heart and soul, like the great lap walkers outside my window, but also develop interests that will fill the rest of the day.

Recently I had a chat with an elite athlete who was contemplating this very thing, beyond the PBs. His body was giving signs and his Doctor confirmed that the world of PBs was coming to an end and it was time to deal with that. His response impressed me so much, he was taking one last kick at the can and then backing off so he would be able to keep the joyful part of running beyond the pursuit of PBs.

Beyond the PBs is where some new adventures begin. I have become a baker and love the whole process of creating bread that not only is great food, but that can be a feast for the senses with the smells, textures, shaping and all that fun stuff. I think I have a greater appreciation for physical activity than ever and I take great joy in my own humble movement and in supporting athletes in reaching their PBs.  This essay is not an indictment of PBs, quite the contrary.  Personal Bests are how we learn about ourselves and how we appreciate the limits we discover, and how we ponder those limits for cracks we can take advantage of for one more PB.  When the time comes to not pursue PBs it is not giving up, it is transitioning. Moving to a new level of understanding ourselves, our bodies, our mortality and the world around us. Beyond the PB there is a new story to be written. So enjoy the PBs but don’t be saddened when they fade, enjoy the metamorphosis and begin the next stage.