February 2016 Instructor of the Month:

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Ed has been running for years—he loves it. He's done 10ks, half marathons, full marathons, runs on the beach, on hill trails, and anywhere else that he can get that runner's high. He's been teaching ChiRunning and ChiWalking for nearly 5 years, and just became a Master Instructor. For him, there is nothing like the end of a workshop when students leave knowing they have the tools to dramatically improve their energy efficiency and to reduce, even eliminate, injuries.

Read more about Ed below, and get more info on his upcoming workshops here.

Tell us a little about you. Where you live, what your background is:
I live in the small town of Aptos near Santa Cruz on the Monterey Bay, about 80 miles south of San Francisco. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and have lived here my entire life except for a 3+ year stint in the Army and a couple of years in graduate school in Washington, D.C. I’ve got two great kids and two really fun—and funny—grandsons ages 3 and 9 months. I’m into photography, golf, and the grandkids. I’ve also been involved with a charity for about 12 years that addresses human trafficking in Cambodia and India.

How did you start running?

Well, like any good story, there was a woman involved! We’d only been out a few times when she asked (challenged?) me to join her in a bike/run (25mi/6mi) duathlon. I said “Sure!” (Ooops.) Finished last in the run and second to last in the bike, but had a great time and was hooked on running. (What? Oh…We dated for about 12 years and are still great friends.)

When and how did ChiRunning come into your life?
I was helping a friend lead Couch-to-5K style running groups out of his running store, and he carried the ChiRunning book in his store. I flipped through it and kept muttering, “That makes sense…Yep…Yep.”  So I bought the book and started adding focuses to my runs.

In what ways has ChiRunning changed your perception of and success in running?
When I started running I assumed I’d run for some years, then have to quit because of age.  I now know I can run ‘till they pack me off feet first. My success in running is more related to self confidence in that I have learned that I can go past where I would have quit before, be that hills, distance, effort, weather, times, or whatever. So now I set goals I never would have thought possible before, both as a runner and in the rest of my life.

What led you to become an Instructor?

Well, I was really enjoying those running groups I was helping with. Once I found the book, taking a workshop was the logical next step. Found Chris Griffin on the ChiRunning website and signed up. Well, Chris is a great example of what instructing is all about, so when the focuses made such a difference in my running, I thought I’d give it a try. And I love it! (Thanks, Chris!)

What do you most enjoy about instructing?

I suspect it’s what every teacher everywhere enjoys…Getting to watch a student improve. Sometimes it’s a little change and occasionally it’s life changing, but it is just wonderful to be the catalyst…To see their eyes light up, the body language changes, and they become believers. Being that catalyst is a high I don’t want to ever give up.

Advice for people new to ChiRunning?

That there is no such thing as a “Learning Curve”.  Learning takes a zig-zag, up-down, back and forth route that everyone experiences…especially when changing muscle memory, and those muscles can be stubborn! So, right from The Guru’s mouth…Gradual Progress is the way, and Persistency and Consistency are the keys.

Also, sunscreen!

What motivates you to run?
Sorry if it’s trite, but that Runner’s High is just too good a drug to quit.  But it’s occurred to me that the high is made up of more than the endorphin hit that so many talk about. It has to do with accomplishment, with being out in Nature, with being invigorated for other activities, with keeping age at bay, even with improving relationships, and with one’s outlook on life. Running is nothing short of a miracle drug.

Focus that currently dominates your running:

Might be easier if I told you the ones I’m not working on! Certainly all the amazing new material that was introduced at the Instructors’ Conference; but also…Relaxation. I don’t think the importance of relaxing can be overemphasized.

What does your average week look like, run wise?

Generally, I run three days a week:  1.) Four mile run along the bay.  2.) Four to six miles on the beach if it’s firm and flat, or on trails in the hills. Or a Speed and ChiRunning Focuses session at the track. 3.) Six to twelve miles single track in the hills. Cross train two days a week; two days rest. So:  run…cross…run…rest…cross…run…rest.

What other forms of exercise do you practice to complement ChiRunning?
Cross train on my mountain bike or in the gym. If I play golf, I walk and carry my bag. Hilly courses count double!

Ideal weather for running:

Getting caught in a rainstorm running the bluffs 75 feet above the surf on Monterey Bay.

My first race was:

San Francisco’s Bay-to-Breakers. A 7-miler across the City. Sort of like hit-and-giggle tennis, but for runners. It was an outing with friends hatched in the wee small hours in an Irish Tavern in San Francisco. 1983.

Favorite race you’ve run and why:
Well, any race you have to take a boat to get to is going to be a favorite, but this one tops my list. Santa Cruz Island 23-K Eco-Extreme Trail Race. Five Ventura County, CA sheriffs put it on to benefit five local charities. Great guys and a wonderful course. A point to point run from water’s edge to 1410’ right off the bat, then up and down the island’s spine, concluding with a gnarly descent to water’s edge. Incredible views with visibility forever on a 96 square mile island, part National Park, part Nature Conservancy. First third is trail, then all fire road. Post race picnic is ridiculous! A couple of the best wineries and breweries are there, the food is top notch (would you believe ahi tuna wraps?!…And they don’t run out?!), and cookies forever. Then another boat ride with wales and dolphin swimming along side.  Alas, their permit only allows 100 runners and the returning participants get first dibs. Worth a shot, though!

Most memorable race:
Has to be the California International Marathon in 2003. One of my very closest friends contracted leukemia, so I did the Team in Training drill. And because of the great generosity of so many of our mutual friends, we pulled in more funds than anyone else in Northern California that year. My friend was bowled over by the response. Plus I met a suburb trainer, got some good swag, and qualified for Boston…with 43 seconds to spare!!

My most difficult run ever was:
Boston 2005. I foolishly took half an orange from a little kid early in the race and got stomach cramps about midway. Bummer.

Favorite place to run:

Any place near water…The beach by my house gets flattened in the winter by the storm waves (as we speak!), and the beach becomes a smooth, flat, firm track that goes for some 14 miles. Or along the creeks in Nisene Marks State Park, and the Tahoe Flume Trail would be hard to beat.

Upcoming race/goal:
Run lots of trail halves I’ve never run before.

Run with or without phone/music:

My current favorite shoe to run in is:
Trail: Altra Lone Peak and Brooks Cascadia. Non-trail: Altra Torin.

If I didn’t run, I…
…would be grumpy and far less healthy, and would be worried about how I would maintain my mobility as I age. I’d miss out on new friends, new travel adventures, stumbling (metaphorically, I hope) onto amazing places in Nature, and, of course, that Runner’s High.

Posted in Inside Chi

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