Running for Balance

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2016 by thepurpleroo

Running means a lot of things to a lot of people.  At Grinnell, the academic workload is demanding…very demanding.  Rated as one of the most rigorous college educations in the country,  running can provide a real sense of balance.  GT (Connor Gregorich-Trevor) says it best:

Its spring, and the weather has finally gotten warm enough that you don’t have to check the forecast before you walk outside. I step into the locker room and it’s empty, everyone has either already practiced already or will be soon. I look around the locker room, at the nametags of all my friends, the mess of shoes, the cramped whiteboard full of inside jokes. I know that I could wait for twenty minutes and someone else would walk in, but I decide to go alone for once.
Its been a bad week. I feel like in a lot of ways things have slipped out of my control; things in my life are falling apart. Even running, the thing that always makes me feel better, hasn’t been helping. I’m sad and frustrated and feel like I have no way to deal with it. More than anything I just want to get away for a little while, to escape. So the first few miles are just me and the swirl of angry thoughts inside my head. I decide to run the High Speed Six route, and I hit the turn off point and go right for maybe a quarter mile.
Then I stop.
I push away all my thoughts for a minute, and for the first time that day I take a good look around myself. The sky is a brilliant blue, with only the smallest ribbons of cloud streaking across it. The gravel crunches loudly under my feet as I turn in place, but other than that the only sounds are the wind, the insects, and the occasional distant cars. The sun shines blindingly above, warming me. I feel like I’m the only person for miles, and maybe I am. Gradually, I stop thinking about the week, and start to take it all in. The fact that I am fit and alive, and I am experiencing this incredible beautiful day, and that there will never be a single day that’s exactly like this one.
I stood there on that road for almost half an hour, thinking and taking in the beauty of it all. Its probably romanticizing things, but I still feel that it was one of the most deeply spiritual experiences of my life, and that I found something inside myself that day that I had forgotten about. How grateful I am to have the friends that I do, to have the life that I have, and to have the team, who are like a family away from home. I still think about that run to this day, and it still brings me joy and motivates me every time I do.
I arrive back at the Bear after the run, covered in sweat. I’m tired and ready to shower, but happy. I don’t tell anyone about what happened on the run or why it took me so long. I go to eat dinner with the team, confident that life is good, and it’s going to get better. And it did.



Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2016 by thepurpleroo

Sophomore JOSH JENSEN, Iowa City, IA

GOALS FOR THE SEASON: Win conference as a team and do whatever I can to improve and help the team.

PARENTS NAMES: Chris and Sheral SIBLINGS:  Isaac (21), Annika (17), Mara (17)

HOMETOWN AND HS: Iowa City, IA / West High School

MAJOR: Intended: Biology and Environmental Studies Concentration

HOBBIES: Camping, slacklining, rock climbing, being outside, reading


Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2016 by thepurpleroo


GOALS FOR THE SEASON: Have races I can be proud of.

PARENTS:  Sandy and Charlie       SIBLINGS: Casey (17)

HOMETOWN / HS: Madison, WI / James Madison Memorial HS

MAJOR: Psychology and Computer Science

HOBBIES: Creative writing, programming, playing music



Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2016 by thepurpleroo

Sophomore GRAY KREWSON, Camden, DE


Dan was an outstanding HS runner who is running CC at Grinnell for the first time.  Very talented!

GOALS FOR THE SEASON: I would like to achieve as much as I am able this season.

MOM: Jan

HOMETOWN/HS: Camden, DE / Caesar Rodney HS

MAJOR: French

HOBBIES: running (of course), basketball, learning new languages, yard work, cooking


Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2016 by thepurpleroo

Sophomore NATE CRAIL, Glen Ellyn, IL

After being injured for most of last CC season, and after a strong track season,  Nate returns very fit and ready. He will be a player for the ROOS, and he always has the best “do”.

GOALS FOR THE SEASON: Contribute to the team on and off the course. Run faster and harder.

PARENTS: Rhondalyne and Jonathan  SIBLINGS: Rebekah (17)

HOMETOWN AND HS: Glen Ellyn, IL / Glenbard West HS

MAJOR: Anthropology with an environmental studies concentration

HOBBIES: Geography, architecture, reading, ham mocking, enjoying nature, steaming



Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2016 by thepurpleroo

I quit using a normal wallet a few years back when my chiropractor said it was causing problems for my back when sitting. So, I tried a new wallet that I could carry in my front pocket,  one that simply holds a few cards and cash.  My back did clear up.


While going through the wallet today to lighten the load,  I found one card that has been in there far longer than any other. Almost thirty years, in fact.  I’ve pulled it out often, to keep me on path. It’s a good reminder. I know if I can do these things, it will be a life well lived. What’s in your wallet?








Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2016 by thepurpleroo

In short, no.  I love cross country season.  Still love it every bit as much as I did in 1984, my first season as a young and scared coach who knew nothing about distance running.  In the  32 years that have followed, I learned a lot about distance running, even writing books about it.  More importantly, I have learned a lot about people, and about myself.  When I first started,  I was scared silly.  Scared I would fail, scared I would be  embarrassed, and  mostly scared that my runners would see through it all and know that I couldn’t possibly lead them. I had been a pole vaulter, after all.

I remember owning up to that lack of knowledge with the guys, telling them that I would become the fastest learner in coaching history.  I worked hard at it and learned quickly. While the focus was on the science,  I also was learning about the people who run cross country.  The Grinnell runner tends to be an overachiever (like most at Grinnell),  works hard,  and for the most part, makes the right decisions.  They too, are going through a learning experience just as I did.  My advantage is that I have had 32 years of learning here,  they only have 4.

I asked the team in the locker room the other day, “Do you ever feel a sense of poor self-esteem,  of poor self-worth?  Many raised their hands in a show of honesty. I know they do.  All of us do.  You see,  we are defined too often from the outside.  We gauge ourselves only as we compare to others,  thus we end up being defined,  rather than defining ourselves.  I know this all to well.  For years,  I chased conference championships not just because I love to win at sports,  but because those wins made me look better to others. Success made me feel better about myself.  Over time,  I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin,  not having to be defined by others.  I can tell you,  I’m a whole lot happier for that.

Today,  the goal is still to be successful,  but we do it in a healthier way.  I want runners to improve as runners, to grow as people, and to share with teammates to accompaniment of a common goal.  It’s not a whole lot more complicated than that.  I also want my runners to accept themselves for who they are,  and to be very good at being that person!  When runners care about each other,  feel good about themselves,  and work hard…..success will follow.  I’ve seen it a few times over.  It never gets old.