Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lauren Fleshman: Too cool for school

I imagine most fast young runners ask themselves the question: "Am I talented enough to make a career out of running?" For myself, the answer would have been a resounding "No!" (if I'd been a competitive runner in school). I started running at 23 and it took me seven years of training before I could break 18 minutes for 5k. I was born slow.

In spite of being born slow, I still love running and racing. I'm actually happy that my talent for running wasn't even borderline good enough to contemplate running professionally. The runners that do run full-time need to find that delicate balance between injury/illness and running spectacularly well. Two runners who now find themselves on the wrong side of that balance are Benita Willis and Lauren Fleshman. Benita is well known to Australians, but Lauren is not. I found out about her a few years ago when I was looking online for examples of running drills. Here's the video I found.

Lauren writes well and a recent blog post talks about her rehabilitation from persistent foot pain. She went on a road trip from Oregon to Phoenix to seek help with her injury. On the way she invited Twitter followers to comment on photos she took of the scenery. I left a comment wishing her good luck with the foot (not expecting a reply), so imagine my surprise when she did so saying "Thanks Ewen." What a thoughtful person! I hope she overcomes her injury and makes it onto the US team for the London Olympics. I'll be cheering her on.

Thanks EwenTwitter timeline on the day Lauren said "Thanks Ewen."


Blogger Jog Blog said...

Great post Ewen. I have this theory .... ie, that injury humbles us all - from the best to the most ordinary runner - and that it is when we are injured that we are all most likely to identify with each other. After all, regardless of our level of ability, we all just want to enjoy our running and run as well as we can (as defined individually by each of us), and it is the hindering of that which really gets to us when we are injured.

Hope you have a great week.

9:14 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Oh wow - I have saved Lauren's blog into my favourites. It's really interesting. She's much more impressive with her drills than us!! I also agree with Liz - Lauren certainly does sound as though she can relate to all runners. I'm especially thinking of poor CJ at the moment!

9:42 pm  
Blogger Andrew(ajh) said...

Her blog does look interesting. That trip sounded like a very powerful experience!

9:49 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I've been reading her blog for a while, real cool girl :]
Question is a thumbs up sign good or bad in Australia?

12:00 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

That depends where the thumb is up Rick ;)

Ewen great to have gotten a reply! She seems like at tip top person.

I write to all the people I respect and it seems that no matter who they are they will reply if they understand I'm not selling anything and I'm not a pervert!

I don't know how you got under Lauren's radar ;) but to your point. I too couldn't handle lining up to every race thinking if things don't go to plan it could mean the difference between such things as putting my kids in university or not!

I truely respect the guts it takes to go pro and too am relieved that I don't have the talent to have to put myself in that position.

Still we all have our pressures. I wouldn't like to be an ageing Rick with a 1:17:00 half marathon PB knowing that young guns like
me are coming after him! I'm sure he can't sleep at night! And Ryan Hall won't answer his emails either, the poor bastard ;)

2:04 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Just had a look at Lauren's drill video and frankly I'm thankful you aren't fast and we don't need to see you "opening your hips" in any karaoke drills!!!

2:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay! Lauren's pretty awesome. Class act and said "balls" on national TV after winning the 5k this past year, forever cementing her as one of my favorites. ;)

4:37 am  
Blogger Thomas said...

We once made the mistake of giving Cian a t-shirt that said "Too cool for school". He was about 5 then.

That day we had serious trouble getting him into the car for the school run. He read the slogan and decided to take it literally.

6:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was vaguely aware that Lauren had a website but for some reason I never sought it out, figuring it would simply be another of those stilted, formal affairs most pro athletes with blogs put out there. What a pleasant surprise to realize that it is exactly the opposite. Thanks for the link.

10:41 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Jog, good theory. That's why I hate getting injured... I don't like being humbled ;) You have a great week too. Watch out for oil on roundabouts.

Strewth, if we practised as much as Lauren our drills would be impressive too. The good thing about CJ being injured is she'll have time to start up her blog again ;)

Andrew, yes. But I'm not sure about that new-age stuff. Dropped that when I grew out of my tie-died T-shirts and flared jeans.

Rick, I always give myself a thumbs up, so it's a good sign.

Scott, who needs to follow SteveMartinToGo when we've got you! Ryan Hall won't answer Rick's emails because Rick is walking on water if he's run a 1:17 half. And I'm impressed your kids are smart enough to be put through uni - must get that from the wife.

AR, didn't know that. I'm even more impressed now. I'm granting her honorary Aussie status as Buster Mottram once said it takes "big balls" to run with the Africans.

Ha ha Thomas! Lucky you didn't have a "Shit Happens" bumper sticker on the car ;)

No worries SK. Her website is almost as entertaining as yours (or AR's). Hope you're back on those snow-free trails soon.

3:41 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

You were born slow and I was born...slower. However I had a moment of glory when I became part of the Navy cross team (my last 3 years in the Corp).
Glad you got the replay from Lauren.

8:16 pm  
Blogger rinusrunning said...

She gives a nice comment and the video looks out top.
And do not be lazy and pretty fast on the 5km

8:59 pm  
Blogger Robert James Reese said...

I'm also from the "born slow" camp and still haven't broken 18 minutes in the 5K. Still, I think to some extent, even us normal runners have to find that balance between injury/illness and training too hard.

12:07 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

Isn't it great to be slow so that we can pursue other careers. Interseting blog, Lauren's.

4:38 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Stefano, I'm sure you were plenty fast enough to run in that team. Bet you were all good at the creek crossings ;)

Thanks Rinus. It's always a pleasure to read your comments.

Robert, yes, very true - finding that balance is equally tricky for fast and slow runners. BTW, your recent 1:19 half is indicative of something well under 18 on a flat course.

Grellan, totally agree. I know Scott Brown is pursuing a career in stand-up comedy - tells me when he gets the wife and kids to laugh he'll take the show on the road.

9:00 pm  
Blogger Dubs said...

OK - I knew about Lauren, but not Benita. I didn't realize Lauren went to Phoenix about foot issues - I will have to check that out as my family is in Phoenix and I have foot issues - maybe there is a good doc there! I will read up on it! Thanks for introducing Benita - I will have to check into her.

OK - as far as you.. you are not SLOW.. you are not elite fast and maybe not as fast as you would like, but you are anything but slow. I coach a lot of adult runners in speed and you would run in the fast group and they would spend some of the time chasing you - don't sell yourself short in the normal non-elite world. :)

3:16 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Dubs, Lauren mentioned his name - Dr John Ball. Looks like this is his website.

You're kind for saying I'm not slow. I need to find a group like the one you coach ;)

8:22 pm  

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