Do What You Love and Do it with Passion
By: Warren Brown
It seems like every time I read an issue of a running magazine, I run across one of those inspiration articles talking about runners who have a great passion for running. As I began running in Jr. High and all the way through my time at The University of Texas at Tyler, running had always just been part of something that I just did because I was good at it, something that gave me a sense of purpose in life; a group that I belong to outside the classroom. What helped me excel despite this lack of passion was that I am and always have been fiercely competitive. This mindset has allowed me to have moderate success in my 12 year running career. Thankfully most of that time was spent with good health.
I moved to Austin this past June, and was immediately wowed by how great Austin is for training and how much this community embraces the running culture! Whether we are running on Town Lake, Greenbelt, Zilker Park, or just around downtown, I have had nothing but positive vibes running here. Unfortunately, my ability to utilize the routes were suspended two weeks into my relocation. I suffered a severe foot injury that has halted my training, ending my hopes of earning the qualifying mark for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.
The first week off I wasn’t overly concerned. I took it as an opportunity to explore the hill country on my bike and escape the hot summer by aqua jogging in Barton Springs. One week turned into two and two quickly became a month, with little to mention in the way of improvement. What I once saw merely as a task for the day began to leave a gaping hole inside of me. But surely if you don’t love something, it won’t affect you that profoundly, right? Well, after five months of being unable to run, I can definitively say that not running has been one of the roughest things I’ve faced. It has changed my perspective, it has caused me to realize how important running really is. Watching the crew this fall blast through rigorous workouts, while listening to Steve and Jeff coach my teammates has been hard, but inspiring at the same time. Maybe most importantly, it has made me hungry to get back into training. Everyone out there early each morning is making sacrifices to represent Austin and each other with the highest level of excellence they have to offer.
I made a commitment when I moved to Austin. I decided to make running a priority. After finishing graduate school I heeded the words of my friends and confidants and agreed to take my running as far as my body will allow. I declined a good job at one of the larger banks in Tyler to make the move, thankfully the good folks at Rogue Running hired me on to work at the new Cedar Park store. The new job has been a great pleasure! I have met numerous runners of a wide range of abilities and backgrounds. They may not all run as fast as my teammates or I, but they have a genuine love for running that has truly left a profound impression on me. They don’t require sub 30 minute 10Ks or qualifying for championship races to keep them motivated; they run because they love it. It is a contagious environment to be around. It has replenished my desire and will to remain diligent and focused on sticking with my cross training and rehabilitation. Five months of not being able to run forces you to step back and look at your life so you can realize what is important to you and why. For me, that reason is because of those I represent and because of all those who have invested their time, effort, and encouragement to me along the way. I have been given a gift and I have FINALLY begun to embrace it as I should have long ago. I’m ready to start training again and get back to doing what I have at last realized that I love.