“I’ve been in love with America my whole life.” These were the words of Knox Robinson as we took time to talk about running, America, and his insights into the movements happening around the nation. When you listen to Knox, you get lost in his words and realize that you probably don’t spend enough time being alone with your own thoughts. This episode will have you contemplating and pondering – and probably looking at running in way you never have. Tune in.
“Hide and Write and Study and Think”
Knox has always been interested in written word and running, but it wasn’t until later that he realized how closely related writing and running are. He says he was a writer and reader since childhood, “with the eyes of a runner.” “Running is a metaphor for life,” he says, and the way he treats running and writing, it’s easy to see how that is true for him.
Early on during the pandemic, Knox traveled to Mexico with his partner where he was able to view the unfolding of the events from a distance. One of his mantras, first written by Langston Hughes, influenced him to use this time to contemplate, to write, and to be “[out of] the crosshairs in the US during this time.”
His gut instinct was right as the pandemic turned out to be a catalyst for other events in the US that turned very political.
To Achieve or To Be
A lesson to be learned from Knox’s experience, and one that is often applied to running, is the idea of mindfulness. It’s also defined as being present or in the moment. As someone who loves image and text, and values deep thought, he has come to the crossroads of what social media does and is. There can be authenticity on social media, but at the same time, it is good to get away from it all from time to time.
This reminds me of running by feel. It is okay to have numerical goals that we pursue, but running without the watch may be the ultimate goal. We all have 101 reasons why we run or why we started running, and that is perfectly good. However, if we want to run for life, we may have to alter or pivot our reasons we run from time to time. Maybe even, return to the reasons we began running.
For Knox, a light bulb switched on when he had his son. Looking at his child and seeing his unwavering and relentless efforts to simply be was inspiring. “It shook me to my core,” he says, “When did I have such a drive and will to bring all my faculties not just to achieve, but to be. Kids aren’t achieving a goal when they are born, they are just expanding into life.”
Can using all of your efforts to simply be a runner be more rewarding than working to achieve a PR? It’s probably a good question to ask ourselves.
Twice as Good
It would be a mistake not to discuss Knox’s take on being black in America. Rightly so, Knox doesn’t believe he needs to put all his efforts into being twice as good, like generations before him felt they had to be, just to prove who he or his race is. The best thing he believes he can do is to be true to the values he has.
“Whether it’s on a social media platform or a coaching opportunity, the important thing is to be honest and to be oneself. If I can just stand up and speak declaratively about how I perceive things, whether that is a way a workout should be run or the political conditions in America, then all my efforts might go to engineering that clarity.”
Knox leaves us with this beautiful takeaway about where and how we can exert ourselves. Whether it is in standing up for our values, working to be the best runner we can be, or learning from and sharing with others, working to become something (collectively and individually) rather than just achieving something should create the best outcomes.
Going Long: An Interview with Knox Robinson
New York Times: How I Fell in Love with Running
Wired: Alberto Salazar, World Records, and Athletics’ Greatest ‘Hug’
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Thank you to my wonderful sponsor Tracksmith, Athletic Greens, and Heal House for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.
Tracksmith is a Boston based running clothing company that truly cares about the quality and care of their running clothes. Running can be a demanding lifestyle for our clothes, they definitely go through the wear and tear to where we may be purchasing new clothes constantly. Tracksmith designers truly work with the finest materials and think of you as a runner in mind with spots for your keys, phone, and fuel. Also, go here to check out their 100 days of Summer email campaign where they talk about anything and everything running.
You can get $15 off your purchase of $75 or more, click here and enter code FORREAL15.
Athletic Greens is a simple and easy way to get 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients. Just to help my immune system be stronger and greater! It is so simple to do and it taste good as well. I used this for my prenatal and I am still using it while breastfeeding.
Now you can get up to a YEAR supply of Vitamin D3 and K2 for free with your first purchase of Athletic Greens through my podcast. Visit here to learn more!
The Black Owned Business I wanted to feature on today’s episode is brought to you by Knox Robinson. It is called Heal House, a yoga studio, wellness space, and cozy cafe in Brooklyn. Founded in 2018 by Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle their main goal was to aspire to create a safe space where healing is accessible, inclusive, and community oriented. They strongly believe that wellness does not have to look or feel one certain way; that you can be a multifaceted person and still be committed to your personal evolution. This is a space where you can come as you are with no judgement, and feel free to just be.
There are plenty of virtual classes you can take of yoga, meditation, tele therapy, womb wellness, personal healing, doula support, and so much more. They can be taken as group classes or individual/private sessions. Check them out here and let’s give them the support they deserve.
Episode 200 GIVEAWAY of $1200 worth of prizes
- $100 to Tracksmith
- A pair of shoes of your choice from Altra
- Unboxing experience from Athletic Greens
- Ultimate test from Inside Tracker
- Essential Nutrition bundle from Generation UCAN
Available for TWO people. US only. Go here to enter!
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Thank you to Knox, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.