I was thinking this morning. When I was a teenager, I played a ton of basketball. Aside from one year on a team, all my "training" entailed a) shooting/goofing around and b) pickup games after school and on the weekends. The games were all-out. We knew nothing was for grabs, except pride. No practices ("You talk 'bout practice?"), no formal drills.
And, when the Knicks were in the playoffs, it was so much fun. After most games, I'd impulsively go out onto the driveway and shoot and shoot and shoot, with some layups or whatever tossed in; like I'd been possessed by John Starks himself.
As a runner, when I see an exciting professional or collegiate road or track race, I get the same kinds of impulses. And when the "pickup" games come on the weekends, I want to race all-out.
So, the idea is, once a week, like around Tuesday or Wednesday, to run a hilly course. If my kid wakes me up early enough, I get out to a trail. If not, then a road course. Whatever it is, I try to make the whole run an honest, hard effort. That's it. The only display on my watch is minutes and seconds; that way I know how long 'til I have to get back and shower for work.
I want to race more so that, when I'd advised to train "at 5k effort" or "at 10k effort," I have a sense of what that is. I want my body to learn what that means. It will help give training plans and advice more context for me. Plus, I think racing much more will be fun! I want to race all kinds of distances and terrains.
I also want to see which race distances from 5k-marathon are the most enjoyable to me. I don't have a sense of that yet. Who knows maybe the variety itself will be what's enjoyable.
And, with a renewed simplicity, I hope running will become more integrated and more adaptive to my life with and in Christ.
Hills, repentance, love, and the exuberance of youth. All good things.
I want to race by feel and live by feel. I think we would all do well to live by feel, in the present. Lawyers and other professionals bill by the hour and so always feel the clock ticking and judging them with each second. I did what? It took me how long? Shall I cut my time? But them how many billable hours did I rack up today? That's it? Can I comfortably go home to my family now? Maybe I'll make them up later in the month. Maybe.
Are we better workers or better runners when we live under the clock? Won't the clock run no matter what? One of my favorite authors, Anthony Bloom, writes,
There is absolutely no need to run after time to catch it. It does not run away from us, it runs toward us. Whether you are intent on the next minute coming your way, or whether you are completely unaware of it, it will come your way. The future, whatever you do about it, will become the present, and so there is no need to try to jump out of the present into the future. We can simply wait for it to be there, and in that respect we can perfectly well be completely stable and yet move in time, because it is time that moves(*).Constant clock-checking robs us of the joys of racing, running, eating, sleeping, praying, playing, and fatherhooding.
*Beginning to Pray