Monday, February 3, 2014

"We talkin' about practice!"

Thank you to for all of the kind and thoughtful comments from my last post.  I think a lot of times we don't share personal information for fear of rejection, or public humiliation.  But everyone couldn't have been more supportive, and I really appreciate the outpouring of warmth and consideration.

My YakTrax, I bought them last year and a great tool for snow/ice covered roads
I wouldn't say this has been a tough Winter, not yet anyway - but I'm really ready for Spring.  Fortunately, I've been able to get most of my long runs completed outdoors, even yesterday when the ground was covered with ice in Lee's Summit, MO.  I just threw on my YakTrax and off I went!  But the cold, and sometimes hazardous conditions this year haven't been the only challenge.  I haven't had a race since the Richmond Marathon on November 16.  And my next race isn't until March 1st in Little Rock.  That 3-1/2 month stretch is one of my longest gaps ever.  Which has often made me ask myself lately ... "Do I really enjoy training with no racing?"  To which I reply, "Well ... of course I do!"

So many times I hear runners say, "Man, I don't wanna do this long run today", or "I can't imagine getting through this speed session on these legs", or "I'll just be so glad when this marathon training is over".  I've probably even murmured these words a couple times or two.  Of course we're all going to be tired or lacking motivation from time to time.  On some days, I literally can't imagine making it through the first mile.  But somehow, almost always, by  mile two or three, I'm loosening up and starting to get a little bounce in my step.  And once again, I'm enjoying "practicing" my sport.

Not wanting to practice, of course, goes way beyond running.  I was a three sport athlete in high school, and played baseball in college.  Regardless of the sport (football, basketball, or baseball), I can remember guys standing around whining about having to stay for practice after school.  Man ... I freaking loved it!  You had to kick me out of the gym.  In fact after baseball practice, I would often go home and practice pitching against an old shed behind our house for hours.  For the kids who had parents that "made" them play sports, I completely understand not wanting to be out there.  But for all the rest of us, I could just never understand why these guys didn't love this stuff.

The love of "practicing" my sport obviously is partly driven by wanting to improve.   It's a desire to repeat the drills over and over, that make me stronger and faster.  It's studying running techniques and training methods to hopefully sharpen a certain area.  And it's tracking the progress and constantly comparing myself against myself to measure the growth.  I'm kinda nerdy and obsessed with it. But it also just comes from a genuine love of running.  Out of all the things out there, I choose this activity to fill up a large portion of my free time.  So why would I complain about it?   Complain ... heck, I can't get enough.  I sometimes think, "Wow, I could really improve if I didn't have to work!"  I could just spend all day trying to improve as a runner.  But then we'd be much  poorer - and I guess there'd be no money for races.

NBA great, Allen Iverson, once famously went off in an interview about missing a few of the team's practices.  He kept repeating, "Practice?!?!?! We talkin' about practice???"  He was trying to make the point that the games are what really matters.  Of course, everyone loves game day, or in our case, race day.  But loving "practice"  has just always been a natural extension of my love for the sport, and hopefully keeps me interested, focused, and with a passion to improve.  It's a daily escape from everything, almost like a celebration of good health.  And even if there weren't any games ... or races ... I'd still probably be out there putting one foot in front of the other ... just practicing.

Oh by the way, I finally got a Facebook page for my blog.  I'm not sure why, because until this weekend I wasn't on Facebook at all.  So I really only have a vague idea of how Facebook works, and really no idea what I'm supposed to do with a page for my blog.  But it might come in handy at some point I suppose.  Michael said to ask everyone to "like" my page, which I think just means you stop by and hit the "like" button ... other than that, I'm not really sure of the significance.   Any, the pace can be found here ...

Thanks and have a great week!
... be great today!


  1. "On some days, I literally can't imagine making it through the first mile. But somehow, almost always, by mile two or three, I'm loosening up and starting to get a little bounce in my step."

    It's fantastic to learn that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Even more to learn that a talented, experienced runner can sometimes feel it.

  2. I like training even more than racing. I'm not all that competitive a person with others, but I love nailing a workout that I used to struggle with. I use races as the goal for my training, but of think I'm a little excited to have no races on my February schedule (of course, I've got a marathon March 2, so there's that)

  3. I love training much more than racing so I'd be happy if I could never enter a race again. I wouldn't stop 'practising'.

  4. I have great training partners, so often my "training" is really just being outside having fun with friends. Much faster friends, typically, so I'm still getting my butt kicked while I'm playing. I definitely dread some training runs, more because of the pressure I feel to hit the goals but overall it's not the training it's the getting up to train that's my issue.

    As for the commentary and support on your backstory post, I definitely think that while the internet has its issues and dangers, the connection it allows among people is pretty awesome too. When I posted about my whole tooth saga, the comments on my blog and facebook made me feel so much less alone and self-conscious. You find out all over again that whatever you're going through, someone else probably has too and has survived it.

  5. Confession: I like easy running more than "practice". Now, I like races (even the bad ones - yesterday was actually a little fun!), and I know without the practice the races will suck, but still - I'd rather run easy by the river than hit the track any day!

  6. Since I started trail running I CAN'T WAIT for my long training runs, whereas before I used to dread them. I'm liking the look of those YakTrax (and I'm thankful I live in a place that's warm enough that I'll never need them.)

  7. I really need to borrow your outlook on practicing. . and your yaktrax!


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