At home, I traveled mile after mile along wide paths along the Chattahuchi River or along a lonely track that ran along the hills above it. Sometimes I came to Stone Mountain Park and ran around the mountain first, and then climbed a steep path to a bare peak. Jogging helped me keep my sanity.
Every time I tried to give all my best. I strove for complete exhaustion, otherwise I began to feel uneasy. I did not know anything about acceleration, about the anaerobic threshold, about periodic climbs with respite, or about reducing loads. In my vocabulary there were no words “rhythm regulation”. And my results spoke of this ignorance. I squeezed out everything in the first three quarters of the distance, and on the last miles I broke. I felt helpless - it was like a train of fatigue flying over me: burning muscles from lactic acid, lead legs, slow motion.
The more I ran, the more I was concerned about my performance. I began to strive to run a marathon in less than three hours. I almost reached that limit, but every time I crossed the finish line a few minutes later. I was especially disappointed with the marathon. When Pam and Brett [Angle’s wife and son. - Note ed.] came to congratulate me, I only thought that I ran it for 3:01. Three hours and one minute. Incredible. They rejoiced, and I was seething with indignation.
“The wind blew in my face,” I said. “And this huge blister on the heel ...”
Brett asked to be on my shoulders, and I picked him up, continuing to complain about various circumstances that prevented me from fulfilling the task. Brett patted my head:
- If I had not started closer to the end of the group ...
- What? I asked sternly.
- Dad, did you have fun?
- Fun? Well, yes, I had a wonderful time.
I said what he expected to hear. But I knew that it wasn’t.
I reflected on Brett's words when I was taking a shower, and even later when I could not fall asleep. Maybe I'm really doing something wrong? I ran about as if I were in charge, as if fulfilling a duty, without thoughts and desire, and certainly without fun. I ran when I was sick, and ran after injuries, as almost always happened. I ran after twelve hours of hard physical labor - repairing dents from the city. In rain and cold, in heat and in high humidity, and everything, as it were, in order to put a tick on this day.
I was horrified by the very idea that you can skip a workout. If I allow myself relief, does this mean that I am not too serious about my sobriety? Does this mean that my willpower cracked?
But this approach did not work. I needed to find pleasure and reward in the run itself. It was necessary to understand what pleasant sensations a run gives me during the run itself, and not after it. It is time to amend and develop a new plan - to listen to your body. I began to alternate light runs with difficult ones. I roughly calculated at what speed I can run a particular distance well, and kept to it. I even allowed myself a weekend. I stopped worrying about whether I would overcome the three-hour mark or not. If it works out, it will work out. I exhausted myself, trying to conquer this "height". In addition, I had other, more important concerns. On November 29, 1994, Kevin Angle, a calm and curious guy from birth, was born. Now I had two sons, a successful business, a happy wife, and more than two years of sober life.
I nevertheless overcame the three-hour barrier, although this took more than a year. In October 1995, I ran the Twin City marathon at 2:59:02, and thus passed the qualification for the hundredth Boston marathon - an event I wanted to participate in. Since then, I have overcome this barrier almost every time. I actually found the right pace - thanks to the fact that I allowed myself to relax a bit.
A few weeks after the Twin City race, I got a call from the auto auction manager from Brisbane in Australia. A massive hail hit his vast fleet of vehicles, and he wanted to hire me for repairs. At the end of November 1995, before Kevin was one year old, my team and I boarded the plane and set off for the summer.
On the spot, I immediately found a group of Alcoholics Anonymous, and also started training with runners who met daily at the sports store. Once on a store’s board I noticed an ad that said it was running 5 kilometers through the forest. It sounded tempting - the opportunity to visit nature, get an extra t-shirt in your collection, see the sights after the race and, perhaps, even see the kangaroo alive for the first time. I tore off the strip indicating how to get there, and made a note on the calendar.
On the day of the race, I got up early to get to Nanango in two hours. It seemed to me that seven in the morning was too demanding for the race “for the sake of entertainment”, but suddenly the Australians so accepted. I did not mind. Over dry meadows with low bushes, dawn dawned. I drove through the famous "kangaroo country" and carefully examined everything on both sides. Not a single animal. They are probably still sleeping.
And then I saw one - right in front of me. I applied the brake, but too late. There was a thump. Stopping, I turned on the emergency lights and went out, expecting to see the crippled marsupial. And he found a slightly dumbfounded, but in all other respects completely untouched kangaroo looking at me with reproach.
I apologized in a calm, as it seemed to me, tone and stepped towards him. He panicked, and I stepped back. Hearing the noise in the bushes, I looked around and saw about a dozen kangaroos crossing the road. In the light of the blinking headlights, they were like alien dancing disco. After watching them jump into the distance, I turned to my victim. The kangaroo has disappeared.
Gobi Desert Run 2006 year. Source: charlieengle.com
Calming down, I continued my journey through the state forest of East Nanango. Leaving the car in the parking lot, I went to the registration desk. A pretty blonde handed me the number, but she didn’t.
- T-shirts are given only to those who reach the finish line.
I walked away, chuckling to myself. "Those who reach the finish line" - as if I can not run five kilometers. I put my backpack next to a bunch of other backpacks and bags and, attaching the number to the shirt, examined the participants. They were not like the thin and sinewy runners I was used to. Some men had long hair piled in their tail, and some women had their hair cut under a hedgehog. Obviously was overweight. I heard a conversation between two guys warming up not far from me.
“It will be hot,” one said.
“I don’t even know if I’ll finish before dark.” But you can try, ”his comrade answered.
I grinned mentally. Are these two worried about running five kilometers?
“Well, did you ever run fifty-two kilometers, buddy?” - one of them turned to me.
My face turned red. Fifty-Two Kilometers? Wow. I muttered in response, made a couple of swings and walked away, as if by the way. Returning to the girl at the table, I asked her for a map of the track. She handed me the flyer. My attention was immediately riveted by the headline: "Run through the Nanango Forest 52 km." I thought that a marathon is the greatest distance. Do people really run more than 42 kilometers? And if so, why?
I figured out what options I have. I could go back to the car and drive away. No one would know. But I specially came here, almost knocking down the Australian Bambi, an innocent kangaroo, and even paid for participation in the race. I studied the map again. The track consisted of three circles with a length of approximately 17 kilometers. “Well, I wasn’t, I’ll run one lap, and this will be my training today. I won’t get a cool T-shirt, but at least there’s something to tell. ”
The loudspeaker announced that it was time to gather at the start.
Five minutes later, the whole group ran unevenly along the highway, and I, along with everyone. There was no starting shot, not even just a loud scream, but we started off. The track went along a red dirt road, and then crossed into a narrow path that climbed a hill among cirrus araucaria, covered with ribbons of gray-green moss. We crossed the crest of the hill and rushed down into the thicket of giant ferns. The singing of exotic birds, which I had never heard before, indicated that I was far from home. Then we again accelerated the run. My shirt soaked in sweat, breathing quickened. This was repeated for more than an hour: long climbs, slopes not sparing the knees, relative relaxation under the cover of broad-leaved trees, and then again running in the open.
Finally, I climbed to the top of a long hill and saw in the distance the start-finish line and the runners stretched from me to it. I almost finished the first lap. I will have breakfast under the air conditioning, while all these people will be torn in the forest. The speaker announced the names and cities from which each of the participants arrived.
- And here is Charlie Engle. Oh my God! I didn’t think that the Yankees run so fast.
Well, great. Now I represented all of America. It’s bad if I want to leave the race. Running under the banner, I stopped to eat cookies and drink water. You could relax.
I watched one runner run after another, grabbing some food, drinking and moving on. Among them was a young woman, perhaps nineteen to twenty years old, who was very limp. Trickles of blood dripped from the dirt-covered scratches on his knees. I thought that this was the end of the race for her. But she did not stop - she simply smiled and ran on. Maybe someone should stop her, remove from the race? Suddenly she raves?
- Well, run on? Someone asked next to me. It was a girl with registration.
“Take a short break,” I said, chewing on cookies.
When she looked at me with enthusiasm, I thought that I had to run a little, at least for a look. I could start the second round, then run to my car and drive away. Nothing to worry about, buddy.
Returning to the track, I waved embarrassedly at the spectators who greeted me. At the parking lot, I turned around. Ideal - no one is watching. But heading to the car, I remembered that I had left the backpack with the keys at the pile of other backpacks, which was located right at the feet of the commentators. And now what?
I could pretend that I was injured, and, limping, take a backpack, causing undeserved sympathy. One could admit that I did not count on such a distance. And you could just run on and see what happens.
Approaching the start / finish a second time, I again heard the commentator's voice:
- And here are the Yankees. Yankee is coming! Holds well. This member is serious. He may also win!
I ran past the crowd of jubilant spectators and waved at them. I ran 33 kilometers - more than I expected when I got out of the car in the morning. I was burned in the sun, my skin was covered with blisters, my throat was dry, and my body was tired. But I held on. Thirty-seven, forty-one, forty-three kilometers — for me it was a new, uncharted territory. Now, with every step, I moved away from my previous records. Yes, I was in pain, but it was not that familiar pain that begged me to stop. This pain urged me to continue.
Feel the pain, greet it, use it, overcome it.
Soon after noon, under the burning Queensland sun, I crossed the finish line. Someone threw a ribbon around my neck and patted my back. I won the race for men, running 52 kilometers in 5 hours, 3 minutes and 10 seconds on a hilly track - without much preparation. It shocked me, how shocked it was, and how good I felt after all these kilometers. I would never participate in a race if I knew his distance. “Sometimes the universe forces you to do something that you yourself never would dare,” I recalled a statement from Alcoholics Anonymous. And I asked myself the question: “How far can I run?” [...]
Two months later, I was part of the largest group of participants in the Boston marathon in history. I enjoyed every moment of this race. “Gave five” to children on the way, posed for photographs and supported the Boston tradition by kissing several joyful students at Wellesley College. Closer to the finish line, I began to look through the eyes of Pam in the crowd. I noticed her in the front rows of screaming and applauding spectators. I was touched that she was proud of me. I was the happiest person in the world - and despite my overwhelming impressions, I even managed to meet three hours. [...]
In the “Open Reading” section, we publish excerpts from books in the form in which they are provided by publishers. Minor abbreviations are indicated by dots in square brackets. The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the publisher.
First step - find out the real reason
First you need to understand why you do jogging, what it will give you. Is running a tribute to fashion or do you want to improve your health? Is it public influence or do you want to improve your inner condition?
Having determined the reason, you will immediately understand whether you need a run or not. But do not rush to make a decision until you read about the benefits of running.
Step Two - Create an Image
Having understood the real reason, create for yourself an image of that person whom you will become thanks to running. What will you look like? What will be your figure? How will you feel?
The main secret is that you should like the image. Keep this image in your head, think about how your life will be, and what emotions you will experience then. Remember this every time you have to choose to run or not to run.
How to run
Not all running is good. Since not all running is aerobic exercise.
To enjoy and recharge with positive energy, to actively lose weight, I recommend jogging. Jogging is a little faster than walking. This type of running is not for speed, but for rhythm!
The main rule is your breath. It should be the same as when walking, without shortness of breath. Stopping at any moment, you should have such a breath, as if you were not running at all, but just walking. Pay special attention to this!
If you have shortness of breath, you need to reduce the speed to that rhythm so that your breathing is calm and even.
- Keep your body and head straight, and look slightly upward.
- There is not much time to run, but it is better to do this early in the morning. At this time, the air is cleaner. It also helps to get a boost of energy for the whole day.
- Start a little bit. The main rule is that you should enjoy running. When you feel the strength in yourself, increase the distance.
- Praise yourself every time after a run!
- Do not be discouraged if for some reason you miss a workout. Keep running!
So, applying these three steps and understanding the benefits of running, I run every day and enjoy it!
And I know that you too can run and enjoy it!