Roger Bannister, the first person to run a four-minute mile, passed away last week. Pioneering athletes are rare, but Roger’s purpose was was greater than his record. He wanted to set a mark for other athletes to push beyond, not for self-glory. As Malcolm Gladwell writes in this New Yorker article, "The four-minute barrier had daunted runners for generations, but Bannister intended to break through it so that others might follow. And they did.”

That's me (long hair, no beard). In 2009, I shot a lacrosse ball 111 MPH. Suddenly, I was catapulted into new sponsorship realms. I matched my record in 2010, and was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. Unlike Bannister, I was 24, deeply insecure about my place among my peers, and wanted to hang onto the "Fastest Shot Title" in perpetuity. Getting beat would be too big of a shot to my ego. 

By 1964, a high schooler broke Bannister's record set 10 years earlier, and over the ensuing decades, many others ran a sub four-minute mile. By the 1980s, a sub four-minute pace was considered standard for elite middle distance runners.
And yes -- 3 years after I set our sport's record, the 111 MPH mark was tied by my then-foe, Kyle Hartzell, and then again by world-class defender, Michael Manley. In 2014, young gun Mike Sawyer set a new Guinness Record, hitting 114 MPH. One year later, a former college player hit 116 MPH, and today's fastest shot sits at 119 MPH -- hailing all the way from Libertyville, Illinois.  

As 9-time olympic champion swimmer Mark Spitz once said, "life is true to form, records are meant to be broken."

It's taken me some time to realize the impact we all have on the athletes that come after us, and the inspiration we derive from those that came before. We carry a baton for a while and then pass it onto the next guy/girl, hoping they go faster than we ever could. Now is the time to push lacrosse even further, one stick and one MPH at a time. I think Bannister would agree.

Yours in the journey, 

My favorite runners

Middle-distance running isn't part of my weekly training regimen, although on occasion, I like to get outside and run 3 to 4 miles for active recovery. Running at a mild pace can be meditative, and a nice opportunity to explore nature. Full disclosure: New Balance is a sponsor or mine. That said, we choose to partner with brands who fit us best. These 2018 Fresh Foam Lazr's are my running shoes of choice.

Test your shot

What's your fastest shot? I hosted Steve Nash on my Suiting Up Podcast, and he told me that in order to achieve greatness, you have to be intentional about your goals, then get outside and test for improvement. If you want to shoot harder, pitch faster, or kick with more speed, you should keep track of your maximum output. We use these radar guns at The Rabil Tour.

I cut my hair

Yep. I had really long hair in 2009. I've since cut it back. My favorite barber shop is right here in Brooklyn -- called the Fellow Barber (they're also in Manhattan and SF). When my hair was long, I let it fly. Today, I style it, and prefer this strong pomade for a soft, clean finish.

International Women's Day: This past Thursday was #IWD, and we wanted to extend our gratitude and appreciation to all the powerful, innovative, and resilient women who continue to inspire us to grow professionally and personally. Our amazing winter intern, Jess Valvano, is heading back to Dartmouth for her Spring trimester. We'll miss her great work and office vibes.
Forward Paul's Pulse
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