Over the years, I have dabbled in all kinds of fitness endeavors ranging from Figure Skating to P90X, Downhill Skiing to Hot Yoga.
“Dabbled” is perhaps the wrong word as all those activities require countless hours of repetition to gain even a baseline of mastery. I jumped many Toe Loops that ended up with my butt on the ice. I performed many trembling reps with Tony Horton barking in my ear. I had to learn to carve my edges on Cleveland’s ice covered ski hills. And I have bended my body in inhumane ways.
I get as much thrill from the act of learning these sports than the actual execution. Which is good, because I have many more hours ahead of me before I can call myself proficient in any of them. (Anyone who has seen me at the ice rink can attest to this… I currently have the skill level of a below average eight-year-old.)
Interestingly, though, I always find myself returning to my first athletic love, the simple sport of running. I, like pretty much every other human being, figured out how to do this running thing around the age of 2. So the lure is certainly not learning. But there is repetition. Miles after miles after miles of putting one foot in front of the other. Incremental gains coming from constant repetition.
Perhaps my “dabbling” sports and the sport of running are not that different all.
My Running reading list for 2015, interestingly, contained several re-reads. And, interestingly, I gained new insight with the second reading. Once again, incremental gains from repetition.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – A quintessential running story. It will make you want to jump off your treadmill, chuck your overpriced running shoes and sprint barefooted through the forest.
Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzi Favor-Hamilton – My only new read on the list. When I first heard her story, I was completely baffled how Suzi went from Olympic athlete to Las Vegas Queen of the Night. After reading her memoir, it made surprising sense.
Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr and Ray Moss – My go-to training plan. I have tried them all but always come back to this one. It sounds too good to be true: run faster on just three training days per week. But it isn’t. In fact, both my Boston Marathon qualifiers came from RLRF.
Once a Runner – The other quintessential running story. “You don’t become a runner by winning a morning workout. The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many day, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.”
How does this worker-bee/soccer-mom/rickety-runner find time to read 50 books a year? This is my secret.