Ashley reborn

Below are the words of one reborn thru movement and exertion. I had the privilege last year of being one of Ashley’s xc and track coaches as well as enjoying several runs with her. Last year Ashley ran at least the last half of track season if not before, with a stress fracture in her hip and has not been able to run for more than five months. Now in her freshman year in college she expresses poetically the sensation of aliveness once again with her first run in as many months. I bow to Ashley, thank for letting me share this. Now go with ease…shewww.
-coach sheader

“What is matter? Never mind.

5 months restricted.

Nearly an eternity.

2 miles a day, 3 days a week…..3 miles a day, 3 days a week…….3 miles, 4days a week…

they are all just numbers to me.

I don’t think in numbers.

Not ones and zeros or function of trends,

But rhythms and sounds.

And today I hear the sound of freedom.

The pavement crumbles into gravel and gravel into a soft path of gold.

Rain so heavy the ground sinks with every stride.

Only a thin, shimmering blanket of autumn leaves, me, and the rain.

I’ve been waiting 5 months for this day.

The restriction for today has already been given,

but it’s another number that has been long forgotten in the motion and rhythm.

I know I should stop, I know the consequences of pushing my healing bone to it’s limits.

It would be easier to stop a freight train.

The numbers scream 2 to 3, 3 to 5, 5 to 7…..

My stomach whines in pain and my ears ache from the cold.

There is nothing to worry about in this world but to follow the path ahead.

Tunnel vision.

Dodging tree trunks,



Calves brushing by sleeping lylacs that collect the rain.

What are the numbers again? 7 to 8, 9 to 10…..

The numbers tell me I’ve gone much too far.

The deed has already been done.

Now the pain is audible.

But pain is a song of many pitches and beats that I cannot follow nor comprehend.

10 to 11,….. 11 up to 12…..

Soon the world becomes a melody, the rain, the Thud of constant foot falls, deep breathing.

Almost like the rhythm of the womb.

Which begs the question;

                               Born to Run?

                        or, Run to be reborn? “


Burn yourself completely

“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”
-Shunryu Suzuki

As the XC season unfolds from the hot days of August to the cool autumn days of championship season I thought it appropriate to share, as best as I recall, my words to our high school Cross Country Team before they flew off the starting line at the Regional Championships October 21st. A bow of thanks to those who made this request and a deeper bow to the beautiful efforts each one of you made.

“Cross Country. it does not get much more pure, more real than this. Crisp fall air, geese overhead, earth underneath, and just you, your legs, your heart. When you embrace xc running you are engaging life up close, your are participating in an activity that spans eons of time.
This is not about running to lose weight, or to lower your blood pressure, or to extend your lifespan. You are not running to live longer you are running to savor life. This event, today, is a pure expression of being alive. So today, I implore you to run with courage, with relaxed confidence. Be clever, be cunning, and DO NOT run safe. Forego comfort.
Go berserk, be reckless, Push yourself beyond the limits of safe and sensible. Look pain in the eye and ask if that is all it can deliver?
Do you think your ancestors clear back before recorded history concerned themselves with ‘safe’ when running down prey (or away from predators) to keep family, clan, or tribe alive? Where do you believe our ability as one of the best endurance animals on the planet came from? It didn’t come from sitting on our butts attached to reality shows, plugged into computers or video games, or by indulging our minds into the soap operas of TV or our own self made dramas.
Your ability comes from those ancestors. You are the effect of that cause. So today, in the minutes ahead, draw on that source of strength which arises from deeper down even than the your cells. Run not from your ego, rather instead, from your essence.”