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Coach Danny Dreyer

Today 80,000 Americans are waiting for organs.

16 people will die today because the organs they need are not available.

Only one-third of potential donors actually donate.

Communication with family members is key to solving the organ crisis.


Thank you!

Learning to Run

I thought I knew how to run. Running is simply a matter of propelling my body forward quickly, resulting in a red, sweaty face with a pained expression and severe shortness of breath.

So it’s no surprise that running is not my favorite exercise. Like Val Kilmer in Real Genius, my motto has been “I only run when chased.

But my current level of fitness is enough to convince me that I need to reevaluate my prejudices, and open myself to new possibilities. Everything I have tried so far has not produced the results I want. So when I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the Providian Relay training program, I accepted, but not without a lot of trepidation.

On Tuesday I met with my coach, Danny Dreyer, and I was immediately impressed. Far from a demanding, drill sergeant type, his relaxed, caring attitude reassured me.

Danny has developed an approach to running which he calls ChiRunning. He instructed me that, with proper posture, I could harness the force of gravity to propel myself forward, allowing me to run with smoothness and ease.

At first try it feels like learning to drive, having to pay attention to everything at once: Where are my feet hitting? What are my arms doing? Is my stride too long? Am I leaning at the waist? Am I relaxed?!?

But even with my first, imperfect attempt, I can feel a difference. And I think, “Maybe I can do this.

I am soon joined out on the track by a small group of Danny’s students, people of varying degrees of experience and fitness, but all at levels beyond my own. Despite this, I feel warm acceptance from the group, and they are very supportive of my first efforts.

As we work together and observe each other, I get an even deeper sense of how this approach works; how it looks and feels when done properly: fluid and beautiful, like flying across the ground.

Danny also teaches us some warm-ups, which aren’t stretches, rather motions to relax and lubricate the joints. They may look a little funny (including one that is suspiciously like belly dancing) but they gently prepare the body for what’s to come. (Danny says the warm-ups are also great to use on long airplane flights, another plus!)

At the end of the lesson, Danny’s advice is reasonable: Listen to your body—run when it wants to run, walk until it wants to run again, stop when it’s had enough.

I was back out on the track again yesterday, this time alone. As usual, my mind was helpful and encouraging: “You look ridiculous,” it said. “People will laugh at you. You don’t belong on a track. You’re no athlete. Who do you think you’re kidding?” I remembered my days in high school physical education, painfully lagging behind the pack around the track. I wished I had someone with me to lend me some courage.

Underneath, I also felt true excitement as I put on my running clothes and slipped into my shoes. There is something about standing up to my own fear that energizes me. I am doing something different, breaking a pattern, making a change.

Whatever results from this, it won’t be the same old thing. I’m getting a second chance to learn how to run. And this time, I’m going to do what it takes to fly.

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