Scott Stevens and Changes in Running

By Beau Seegmiller

Scott Stevens started running of his own free will and choice in 1998. For better or worse his first experience with running was of the “forced” variety in the military. In his own words, “It was not really out of enjoyment.” In 1998, however, he began running two to three miles at a time to get in shape. Since those early solo miles Scott has witnessed and experienced many changes in running.

In that first year of running he got talked into joining a team in the Sawtooth Relay. “That was back when it was a twelve man team, Stanley to Boise.” Still very new to running, Scott did not do anything different in his training, like hills, to prepare for the distance and elevation. Needless to say, he discovered a few things about running in that race, one of which are the dangers of cotton underwear. The chafing is still quite memorable today as he recalls needing to just push through the pain for two miles in his second leg until things went numb. In spite of all this, Scott fell in love with running.

While he has had times since then when he has not been particularly inspired to run, he has discovered that if he puts a race out there, he will keep pretty motivated. Scott has completed three marathons and a lot of half marathons and 10ks. He is even considering getting into the ultra distance race scene with a 50k this year. Half marathons are his favorite. “You don’t get too beat up on the half.” In addition to racing and conditioning, Scott has also come to value “that quiet time to yourself to think about things” when on a run.

Running across the years since 1998, Scott has seen some changes. “Running has gotten a lot more popular.” The size of the running community here in the Boise area has grown quite a bit. “Back in 1998, you literally had maybe a handful of races all year long. There just were not that many to choose from. Now there are races every month of the year.”

For Scott personally he has grown to include more trail running and to run socially. He found that the scenic atmosphere running on a trail is very enjoyable. “I used to do all of my running alone. Then I joined the BAR in 2012.” Even then, it wasn’t until Monica Runningwolf took over the leadership of the BAR that the increased events and activities drew him into the social aspects of running.

“Most of my running years, I have been just a lone runner.” So, whenever he raced, there was never anybody really there at the end, specifically cheering him on. “Well, once I was a member of the BAR, you have this group of people. And they are waiting for you.” He recalls one time, in particular, when he was coming around a corner in Anne Morrison Park approaching the finish. “And totally unexpected, there was this huge group of people, ‘Scott!!’ Now I couldn’t do anything but smile and run faster.” Scott says that experiences similar to that one have happened a number of times due to the friendships and community he has found in the BAR.

I am sure there are more changes to come in running in the future, but Scott has been part of some pretty wonderful ones here in the Boise area!

The Awesome on the Other Side of the Uncomfortable

By Beau Seegmiller

It is raining outside. The cold, wet weather on the other side of my window reminds me of a drive less than two months ago late on a Friday night to get to Pettit Lake campground in the Sawtooth Mountains. I had spent the day teaching followed by coaching my middle school cross country team. I was tired and it was raining with a forecast for snow. I was traveling to complete the Alice-Toxaway Loop run the next morning. This spectacular 18.6 mile loop through some of the most stunning scenery in Idaho presented some significant challenges. The trails, far from smooth, are rocky and ascend to 9,000 feet over Snowyside pass. Snow would not prove helpful. I was uncomfortable with what the weather presented.

I do not think it an overstatement to say that we do not like to feel uncomfortable. Most of the technological developments over the last two centuries have focused on maximizing comfort while eliminating discomfort. This natural development is understandable since discomfort and pain usually indicate some very real problems that can even be life-threatening. Ironically, I have discovered that there are certain discomforts, uncomfortable moments, that are actually wondrous passageways to awe-inspiring moments that cannot be realized or experienced otherwise.

It was in a coaching seminar that I learned about the clear relationship between feeling uncomfortable and athletic performance from Joe Vigil, the famed Adams State Cross Country coach. Vigil said that most people live in a comfort zone. They seek out a state of always being comfortable and satisfied. They do not take risks. They also fail to stand out in the pursuits or tasks in which they engage.

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Pyramid of Performance – Joe Vigil

He continued by describing the next level up the pyramid of performance. This group of people are willing to make commitments. They have aims and objectives for which they are willing to get occasionally uncomfortable in order to achieve.

The next level involves high performers who are more willing to take risks and get uncomfortable in order to reach their goals. Vigil stated that this group approach being uncomfortable more often than they are comfortable.

The top level performers, the peak on this pyramid, are constantly pushing the envelope beyond being uncomfortable. In Vigil’s words they actually become comfortable being uncomfortable.

The olympic cyclist, Kristin Armstrong reflects Vigil’s words when she said, “I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because it isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.”

 

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Morning sun on the Alice-Toxaway Loop

I drove on in the rain that night, eventually arriving to the campground where my lovely girlfriend, Sara, had a warm meal ready for me, the tent set up, and my down sleeping bag laid out. I slept very comfortably that night and woke up to cool, clear weather. The foreboding forecast of snow never materialized and I ran along streams and lakes in the brilliant morning sun. The light in the mountain air lit up the stunning granite peaks. As I breathed in the clean, crisp air, I reflected on how ideal the conditions were for such a run. My run that day proved to be a profound experience of awe and replenishment that sustained me for weeks. In the end, for this weekend, the only discomfort I experienced had been in the anticipations of a worried mind.

Looking out the window at the rain still falling, I know that with the turning of the seasons uncomfortable weather will be inevitable and unavoidable. The question in my mind is where will I be on the performance pyramid. Can I become more comfortable with being uncomfortable? Will I be able to discover the awesome on the other side?    

See you out on a run!

Zen Running

by Todd Mahoney

Some of my earliest childhood memories involve (seemingly) endless waiting at finish lines at various running events.  So boring when you’re 7.

My dad was a running fanatic, he joined “the cult” shortly after getting out of the Marine Corps. Growing up, I remember stacks of running magazines and the endless fascination with shoes.  From 1979-1987 he ran this crazy race every year called The Race to Robie Creek – his favorite.  Occasionally we would have tailgate picnics on Shaw mtn road while we waited on Dad to finish a training run. We (my mom, younger sister and I) all thought he was certifiably nuts.  I tried some running in middle school but I found going in circles around a track uninspiring.

Karate was my thing.

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Todd running the 2017 Race to Robie Creek.

From age 10 to 18 I would get sweaty and bruised every week in a karate gi. Because of that,  I developed a healthy interest in some of the eastern philosophies our Sensei incorporated in our class.  It helped me pin down this connection between my physical self and nature I’ve felt. I’ve always found being in the great outdoors a spiritual connection – part of my youth was spent growing up in the Ketchum/ Sun Valley area.  My version of “church” involves mountains, trails, rivers and pine trees. 

Fast forward to 2014.  After a year of suffering through the run-three-miles-nonstop obstacle, I had just completed my first “race” – the FitOne 5k.  It was fun. I was hooked.  As I was recovering (you would think I just ran 12 miles!) I came across this group of runners hanging out under this canopy with “The Boise Area Runners” logo on it.  One of them introduced herself to me and we chatted briefly.  She handed me a card and told me about their group runs.  From day one I found this group to be welcoming and friendly.  They are a valuable resource of running knowledge and encouragement.  It’s nice to have people you can share your victories and failures with over a beer. People who “get it”. Over the years some of the faces have changed but the vibe is always the same. 

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Todd and Andre after the Turkey Day Run.

Every runner has their reasons for lacing up and heading out.  I actually don’t do it for fitness, though it is a nice side effect.  I’m not into medals and the only person I compete with is myself.  I run for this zen like experience I get out on the trails with the critters and trees.  Sometimes I might catch a glimpse of the ghost of my younger self when I’m running up Rocky Canyon.  I love that I have a great location and a  great group of people to do this with.  

Cheers!

~Todd