Greetings! I am Nick Dahl, the newest member of the Technically Running Crew, and I’m happy to say that I’ll be joining the team as a part-time blogger.
Just a little information about myself to get started: I’m a student athlete, competing for Germantown High School in Philadelphia, PA on the track and cross-country teams. In my running career so far, I’ve been in some incredible races alongside my teammates, standing toe-to-toe with future track stars across the nation. We’ve travelled across the USA to compete at some of the most prestigious events, from the Stanford Invite to New Balance Nationals and back again to Penn Relays, right here in our backyard. Over that span, I’ve amassed some significant wins, including the NB Nationals Outdoors 2-Mile Championship and the Adidas XC Challenge back in September. I run 9:11 for 2 miles, 4:16 for the 1 mile, and 1:56 for the 800.
Being a student athlete provides me with a unique angle on the world of running. I’ve come within inches of such legends as Edward Cheserek, Mo Farah, and Alan Webb (check them all out if you don’t know them, they’re amazing dudes), and I’ve gotten a front row seat to watch the development of tomorrow’s track stars. What started out as a supplementary sport that was meant to improve my soccer game has become a full-time obsession, and my life now revolves around my running shoes and heart-rate monitor.
It’s my job as an athlete to stay on top of modern running trends, and to be on the cutting edge of athletic technology. I do quarterly lactate analysis on my blood to ensure I am pursuing efficient energy systems, and I am currently training to be a nutritionist. For the last three years, I have adapted the Paleolithic Diet, or Caveman Diet as it’s more commonly known, to fit my training regimen, and I have been tracking my daily caloric intake through health applications for every meal and snack. Currently, I float around 4,000 calories a day to maintain my weight, which sounds fun until you realize it means stuffing endless Clif Bars into any pocket available, and waking up at midnight with an intense craving for everything doughy. I need to track weekly mileage to prevent any stress or compensation injuries, so I have been running with GPS watches for 11 seasons, and I log every run. Garmin, Nike, Tom-Tom, you name it, I’ve tried it out. I’ve worn every compression sock on the planet to alleviate the soreness of a Sunday morning long run, and I’ve even worn them under my suit pants to my school’s prom (just don’t tell my girlfriend). I’ve been known to stay in the same racing shorts for a whole weekend of a meet if they are lucky in the first race, and I have gone days without a shower to keep a winning streak alive. To say in the least, every element of my lifestyle is optimized for my training, and for my all out pursuit of physiological perfection.
Running is much more than a sport to me. It’s my favorite part of my identity, and it’s something I want to pursue throughout my life. I can achieve that, with proper care and maintenance of my body, and everybody else can too, which is what sets the sport apart from any other. Runners are the best community in the world, and we get each other on a deeper level. It takes a certain amount of craziness to exert yourself to your full physical capacity, and call that activity “fun”, but there’s no other way I’d rather be spending my hours and weekends. My coach always tells me before every new season that all it takes to make something great is a pair of running shoes, a quiet trail, and roughly 2,000 miles of pursuit. Whether you run for fun, run for fitness, or just run because you lack the coordination to do anything else, you’re getting out there, and that’s what really matters.
Find your reason, and run with it.