The Positive Split — Issue 30

“She actually eats on Friday so that way she can race on Saturday.”

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A prerace meal in production

I was shocked by the matter-of-fact delivery of this disturbing statement. A girl on our team had massively disordered eating and teammates understood.

I’d asked why it seemed like this girl could barely keep up on workout days but then went ahead of the pack on Race Day. Or at least recently. She’d been injured last season. And she’d go on to be injured again. …


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“How should I run?”

“Where should I start?”

“What’s the secret to sticking with it?”

As a new year arrives the same question comes pouring in again: “How do I run?”

THIS will be the year that new runners solve the puzzle, turn that stubborn page and discover the secret path to the “Runner’s High.”

But people never want to hear the simple truth: run slower.

I get it, being told to go slower feels pedantic.
It sounds exclusive.

As if jogging was like operating a forklift: a dangerous activity reserved for those with training.

How greedy!

Those of us…


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Could an older runner’s words save a younger athlete from his harshest impulses?

Is it possible to convey the sensations that lead to success instead of frustration when the nuances often feel so slight? I have never explicitly intended for my writing to aid others along their athletics journey, but I welcome the suggestion that I may have.

I recently received a stellar compliment,

“Your stuff has helped me focus and be more calm in my running goals.”

Hearing this from a young runner means a great deal because it indicates that my work could possibly help him avoid some of the heartaches I put myself through.

The reality is, if you give…


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Standing at the bottom, staring up toward the top, I focus my glance back downward, aware that peering at the peak is too much to take on just yet.

Shuffling forward, toes hopping lightly in this moment before launch, I attempt to channel levity, to harness a second of springiness before I pop-off.

One final hop, and then, without a reason left to delay, my hand swipes down tapping my watch and,

“Beep!”

I’m off.

Exploding uphill, with no one to witness, each hand hurl is an act of hope, each knee drive an insistence of ability. …


The more I write the more I think I should know how to write, but I don’t.

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The analytical mind in me demands there be a process for all this amateur effort. Insists that all these hours should amount to something more than another cold start, starting from the beginning, staring at a blank page. What I’ve realized recently, coming off of the longest piece I’ve ever completed, is that my intent is always to balance the tension between two dueling impulses: to say something real, and to not be boring.

The impulse to speak is assumed. Many of us…


By Peter Bromka & Esther Atkins

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The start

Imagine, the sun rises on race day in early 2024 as 1,000 of America’s best Marathoners approach the starting line of the Olympic Trials Marathon, the greatest American marathon held once every four years. The top three finishers in each race qualify for the Paris Olympics.

As tens of thousands of fans follow the race intently they’re focused on the spectacle of competition between American’s best professional and amateur runners.

A version of this vision almost took place in Atlanta last February when 511 women and 261 men lined up to race for the chance to run in Tokyo, but…


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Photo by Jody Bailey

A dream doesn’t make a sound when it dies. With no reason to exclaim, the aspiration simply slips away with a sickening silence.

January 19th, 2020

Exhausted and stunned, I stumble forward reluctantly.

Dehydrated and sore from having just battled 26.2 miles of windswept streets, I pause in panic, fearful of moving forward because once I leave this chute it’s over. Accepting a finisher’s medal will mean this dream is done.

Salt covered and in a daze, I stare out in search of support, but all I find are the faces of fans pressed up against the fence of the 2020 Houston Marathon…


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“Let’s cut the BS, I’m not going to the gym. So what would you have me do?” I attempted to be honest in opening a conversation with my friend Scott who specializes in strength training.

We were coworkers and friends, and he’d been nagging me to get more serious. It was 2013 and I’d come to a few of his group training sessions but hadn’t committed to a plan. I’d enjoyed them sure, but sort of saw it as an aside.

I’d attended each class with a runner’s arrogance. I’d enjoyed some squats, pushups, and overhead presses, but chuckled during…


“Ouch! Damnit. Shit. My leg hurts!” I complain to myself as a junior in college, walking to class, passing through the historic stone arch by the university steps. It’s then I realize that in order to move straight forward I’m forced to lean a bit left.

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Screenshot from a diagnostic video taken to document my hitching stride

That’s how far my hips are out of line.

Frustrated and in pain, with a major cross country meet looming this weekend, I decide to skip class. Making my way through the picturesque campus fall foliage, I’m pissed. I head to the training room in desperate search of a solution. …


The fact that Tommy “Rivs” Puzey doesn’t belong is why people love him.

He’s a bearded, tatted, muscular man, who dares to lead at elite races around the world, which seems audacious and presumptuous, and is extremely entertaining. He might not fit the typical image of a pro runner, but he’s not gonna let it hold him back.

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You can buy a Team Rivs hat to support Tommy here

Not all heroes wear capes, in Tommy’s case he dons a trucker hat, black apparel, and a flowing beard. …

Peter Bromka

2:19 Marathoner. Writer about running.

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