Our positive running story this time is on Ed Glauser, an evolving trail runner who lives with his wife Ann in Athens, Georgia. Ed has a clinical practice in Athens, GA as well as a multi-state telemental health practice as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Ed reached out to me about becoming a client at the end of 2019, and it has been an absolute joy to work with him to spark his love of running, where he thought he may never be able to run again. His attitude to setbacks and challenges has been exemplary, and it has been so much fun to watch him progress through the process. We recently asked if we could interview Ed for our positive running story series, and here is the result of our interview:
Can you share your brief running history to date?
When I was approaching 40, I trained enough to run a half marathon in Augusta, Georgia and then had to give up running due to chronic back pain. I never thought I would run again due to back issues. Last year my 25 year old son asked me to be a pacer for him in his anticipation of running the Leadville 100. I was 55 at the time, and had put on considerable weight, and had no desire or interest to run again. However, when I considered that my son believed in me and my potential to be an asset to him as a pacer, I jumped at the chance to run with him. Right then, I made a commitment to change my life. I started the Keto Diet, consulted various healthcare providers, and began to enter 5K to 10 mile trail runs, even competing in a night trail run which was the most exhilarating athletic experience of my life. Along the way, I have had a few injuries but adjusted my running accordingly, taking medically supervised breaks before resuming running. When my last 10 mile trail race was cancelled due to COVID – 19, I decided to run it by myself. I even got on the back of my truck bed at the end of the almost 11 mile run simulating being on the podium to accept my first place finish!
(You)Terry Chiplin have been absolutely key to my ability to transcend self-limiting beliefs about running again. I absolutely love trail running with a brand new community of trail runners.
What are the three top things you enjoy about running at present, and why?
I love trail running since I feel so connected and rejuvenated being in nature. Nature grounds me and provides me with a spiritual experience that has totally reshaped the core of my being in feeling younger, more confident and more successful in my career.
You haven’t been running long, however you have already run 2 or 3 trail races. What have you enjoyed most about the racing scene you have experienced so far?
I love the race scene since it gives me a new community of fellow runners where there is a kinship and mutual love of running trails. The comradery amongst the runners, supporters, race organizers, and vendors at each race conveys such a healthy, happy and connected experience for me. Running trails provides me with a natural high and feeling of accomplishment. Once we are on the other side of the pandemic, I will be entering trail races for many decades to come.
You reached out to me in November 2019 to help you prepare to be a pacer for your son at the Leadville 100 in 2020. You said you were scared to death of what your son might do. Now you have had a chance to dip your toes into some trail running, do you still feel the same way?
I once held a self-limiting preconceived perception that running ultramarathons was an exercise in self-torture. I thought that my adult son was getting involved in an experience that could be seriously detrimental to his health. Despite my doubts I started training rigorously to make sure I was in a better position to successfully participate in such a daunting endeavour. Now that I have dipped my toes into trail running, I see the opposite. If you train well for increasingly longer races, it gives you confidence and a level of ruggedness that you feel you can absolutely surpass obstacles you thought would derail your ability to run in longer trail runs. Now, I am thirsty for running in longer races, but doing it in a titrated and intelligent way.
You are currently part of a test group who are part way through completing our Runners Mindset program. What have you enjoyed so far about the program, and how has it helped your running mindset?
The Runners Mindset program has already been a consummate success for me. I am incrementally planting seeds each day for a garden of positive beliefs, practices, and way of life that both guides and transcends running. I am sure this twenty-one day program with its instructional videos, guided imagery exercises and workbook/journal, will be a narrative for going above, beyond, and around any challenges that may try to impede my trail running trajectory. I am confident it will make me stronger and more resilient as a runner and as a person.
You shared that you now see your future, and semi-retirement, in a very different light since you started running. What changes has running brought to your life, and how does your future look now?
I think this is the best question to possibly ask me. I had no idea, even a year ago, that running would make me feel so much younger and stronger. Running has infused excitement, adventure and joy into my life. I think about how much fun I will have as I semi-retire from a 30 year career, and invest in a new career that I hope will continue another 30 years. My wife and I both feel that our best years are ahead of us, as we are planning for new adventures in the last phase of this life together. My running experience has so strongly influenced the way my wife and I will enjoy our lives together, and hopefully be great role models for our adult children and our grandkids. Lastly, as we are all navigating a very different life during an epic pandemic, running has given me a much stronger ability to successfully cope with so many of the unknowns with COVID – 19, and to live my life more deeply and resiliently in the present moment.
What wisdoms would you share with a younger version of yourself about being a male runner?
I would tell the younger version of myself, that age and health is a state of mind. If you take ownership of your mindset, you can reach states of health, happiness and wellbeing that feel even more satiating as you get older. As a result, when I thought I could no longer run as I got older due to back pain, I was buying into a false and self-limiting perception that began to dictate a future of decline.
What advice would you have for someone with no running background that feels ill equipped to start this running adventure?
As a licensed psychotherapist, I advise my clients to begin the day with some kind of self-healing ritual to set the tone and build momentum for the day. For example, someone who wants to start running, but may think it is way too much of a symbolic mountain to climb, would do well to start spending 15-20 minutes pairing a morning wellness ritual with something very pleasant right after getting out of bed. My morning ritual is making a cup of coffee, sitting on my recliner where I can see the sunrise, and practicing meditation, prayer and yoga. I also intersperse various physical therapy exercises to tune up for the day. Once I have this synergistic morning ritual underway, I approach my running with more ease and excitement. I found listening to your “Runners Mindset: Keeping an Open Mind” daily exercise about giving 1% more to one aspect of running that then translates to giving 1% more in other areas of your life very helpful. I chose to give 1% more mindful attention to a deeper and more restorative breath that opened up more possibilities for a more successful running experience. I have found incremental changes are easier to execute, maintain and build upon, that feed my motivation to run. So, start out each morning with a very pleasant pivot upon rising, and then the conditions are ripe for things to start blossoming in your life, day by day, moment by moment, No question or reservation, “you can do it!”
If we could share one (running) message on your behalf to the World, what would it say?
Train well and use top notch resources including people to find a healing and healthy path to a better running future. Once you set your mind to doing something worthwhile, like running, find ways to deeply enjoy it each day. This enjoyment will fuel your way to becoming a more self-actualized person so you can be an asset in your own unique way to the world.
What is the #1 obstacle for you to overcome with making running a consistent part of your life, now and in the future?
The #1 obstacle that I have to take a fresh approach to every morning is varying degrees of pain. When I awake in the morning, my body feels like I am an older version of myself, and my old self tries to make premature decisions about giving up my running because of my pain. Once I get up, have some coffee, meditate, do my back excercises, practice yoga and pray, I am feeling younger. Once I have at least a 20 minute run, I feel fantastic and a renewed sense of exhilaration.
Why is running so important during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There is nothing like running to help me feel on top of things, and that I can meet challenges that come my way. We are all going through varying degrees of collective trauma with the pandemic. Cutting edge research in trauma recovery shows that one of the best ways to calm the mind in dealing with something traumatic or stressful is to get your body moving. I have found that the biggest bang for me to alleviate symptoms of stress and trauma, is to run. I would highly recommend “The Body Keeps the Score,” by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., which is one of the most touted books on trauma recovery that emphasizes physical exercise and other somatic practices to calm the mind and heal from trauma.
What resources besides activacuity and coaching would you suggest others look into to bolster their mind for a more successful running experience as well as a more fulfilling life?
The audiobook “Strength in the Storm,” by Ecknath Easwaren and narrated by Paul Bazely on audible. This 50 minute audiobook offers a single pointed focus for living more deeply in the present moment. The recommendation to have a healing mantra, affirmation, prayer or image can help runners reach a new level of running performance in the face of obstacles or adversities.
“Peace is Every Step, ” by Thich Nhat Hanh is a short book on mindfulness, and provides the most penetrating understanding of mindfulness I have ever read. I have a breathing meditation I use by the same author when I am running to feel centered during moments of running. The sequence of the breathing meditation is as follows…”In, Out, Deep, Slow, Calm, Ease, Smile, Release, Present Moment, Only Moment.”
“The Biology of Belief,” by Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., and “”Molecules of Emotion,” by Candace Pert, Ph.D provide cutting edge research related to psychoneuroimmunology and neural plasticity to enhance a positive mindset that can be applied to more successful running.
“The Body Keeps the Score,” by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., is a highly touted book on trauma recovery. This book emphasizes physical exercise and other somatic practices to calm the mind and heal from trauma.
Can you share one thing that is unique about Ed that no one would know by looking at you?
I have very eclectic and integrated spiritual practices that allow me to be a better version of myself. This helps me contribute more to the health and well being of others which is what makes me truly happy.
What are your goals for 2020 and beyond?
My goals for 2020 and beyond are to get even smarter as a runner, with fewer injuries so I am more adept at running a variety of distances and terrain. I plan to enter more trail races as the pandemic eventually passes, and be that pacer for my adult son whenever he asks. I want running and hiking trails to always be a part of my life. As the younger generation of my family grows older, I hope to encourage them to enter races with me. Sharing something so exhilarating with the people I love is the best.
Ed Glauser was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and has spent his entire adult life in Athens, Georgia. He has a clinical practice in Athens, GA as well as a multi-state telemental health practice as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Ed will be retiring in the next year as a School Counselor after 30 years of service to children and adolescents. He is evolving into a 56 year old passionate trail runner who is developing his six acre property as a trail running habitat, and also enjoys gardening, yoga, meditative walks and hiking with his wife, Ann. Ed and Ann have four adult children, six grandchildren, and a growing cadre of dogs within the Glauser clan. Ed and Ann’s next chapter will lead them to part-time residence in Asheville, NC. His psychotherapy practice can be found at http://www.mindbodymedicinenetwork.com/index.html
Ed, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us, and we look forward to many years of running ahead for you! I know that your love of nature, your connection with all things spiritual, and your awakened belief in your body’s abilities to be able to run, will keep you active for many years to come. The trails are your home….
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