As some of us begin summer training for the marathon, it’s easy to get caught up in the end result and forget to enjoy the training. Yes, with out the training we would not be able to run the race, but to truly enjoy the race, one must enjoy the training. What good is it hating the shape your life takes on for 4 months prior to race day?

I’m reading Racing to Win by Joe Gibbs, a book I probably would have never have thought to pick up and buy. It’s cover, sitting on my bookshelf, has been staring at me for years. [If you are from the DC Area you know this man and know him well, he is the former coach of the Washington Redskins] The book, like a lot of things in my life, has a unique and rather random story.

One morning while enjoying coffee with my mom at Starbucks, a man pulled up and parked his black Cadillac on the curb in front of the coffee shop. Being as that I’m a stickler, my instant reaction, was to think who does this person think he is? Park in a parking spot, buddy! It was THE coach of the Washington Redskins!? Well then, feel free to park illegally in front of the coffee shop, my dear coach. My mom, who is a HUGE football fan, was beside herself. The whole time he was in Starbucks she debated what she was going to say to him upon his return to his car.

When he popped his head of the door, she yelled over to him, “Welcome home, Coach.” [It was right about the time that he had returned to coach the Skins for a second time] He graciously came over to her, said thanks, then told her he would send her an autographed copy of his book! You can imagine that her reaction to seeing him and speaking with him was much like my reaction the first time I met Meb. Imagine any middle school girl being approached by Edward Cullen and you know what I’m talking about.

He kept his promise and sent her the book, I snagged it, and it’s been on my shelf ever since. For some reason I do not know, I decided to pick it up the other day and start reading it.

I love the book for many reason, but most of all because it completely relates to my life at this present moment. I found one of the paragraphs when he was talking about the journey one takes to the top in Pro-Football and NASCAR, to be particularly fitting for those training for a marathon.

I thought you might enjoy it as much as I did. That it might help you to remember its about the journey — the friends you make along the way, the races you PR at and those you don’t, the vomit inducing track workouts, and the 5 am long run wake up calls, the endless amount of stomach churning gels, the black toe nails, the elation after going farther or faster than you have ever gone before – its all about what we runners call the training.

Basking in the warm glow of the NASCAR championship, I recalled an incident that took place on the football field, after the Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. As I walked out onto the field after the hoopla had died down a bit, I saw Redskins defensive end Charles Mann staring dreamily around the stadium. Charles looked at me and with awe in his eyes said “You know, Coach, the fun thing is getting here.”

Charles was right. The taste of victory is sweet, the trophy is awe-inspiring, and the financial reward is real. But the thrill of the journey — the anticipation, pain, work, frustration, practice, struggle, shoestring wins, gut-wrenching losses, leaving the stadium with your head down, the grit and the grind — that’s the truly rewarding aspect of winning a championship.

While you may never technically speaking win a race, every marathon completed is a WIN in my book.

Remember to enjoy the journey.

Comments

  1. again…..love this. I am not a "reader" but I went and bought your Bart Yasso book after that post and LOVED IT! Looks like I'll be heading off to the store again today.

    Thanks!

  2. misszippy says:

    SO true. I just had about a 7-week break between races and it was so nice just to train. If it weren't for the love of long runs with friends while getting ready for marathons, I probably wouldn't run marathons.

    Love your Joe Gibbs story!

  3. love your posts, as usual! thanks for being an inspiration

  4. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing that!

  5. The Samsons says:

    LOVE that quote! Great post to start off the summer :)

  6. I hope I can run through that pic in October.

  7. Rebecca Samson says:

    I like the new layout! I actually am kind of craving an early wakeup and a nice long run. Guess I'll have to wait a bit 😉

I love a good comment!

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