“Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” just like grape. Understand?” –Mr. Miyagi, The Karate Kid.
While it would be ridiculous to say that “running four minute mile, guess so,” is in any way responsible for the pain in my left knee, I thought this quote feels right for my situation. I am in no way squished like a grape (yet), and though this quest may ultimately end up squishing me like a vat of grapes and turning me into wine, I am more excited than ever before to try it. The only problem is, my left knee really hurts. I can’t really walk up a flight of stairs without it hurting. I have to step up with my right foot and bring my left foot up to the same step instead of just walking normally. I will definitely need to call an orthopedist and have it checked out to see if there is something actually wrong or if it’s just aches and pains from growing older and suddenly doing a whole bunch of running.
I got my copy of Daniels’ Running Formula last week and started reading it in advance of my meeting with the potential trainer/coach. I don’t know much about Jack Daniels the track coach, other than he was incredibly successful and has boiled running success down to a science. The book is pretty intense and possibly a little intimidating. I haven’t even gotten to the chapter that actually tells you how to train for a fast mile because I’m still reading and re-reading the early chapters that walk the reader through the science of running, such as the breathing to steps ratio. As I go farther into my training, I’m sure I’ll write more about the “science stuff,” but so far the part of the book that has stuck with me most are the four ingredients he discusses that every successful runner needs:
1. Inherent Ability: I don’t have this. I was always a decent athlete, but I’ve never really been what anyone would consider a runner. At this point, any running skill I acquire will be learned.
2. Intrinsic Motivation (“the desire a person has within to achieve success in running”): I have this.
Daniels splits runners into three groups: Those with great ability and high motivation, those with outstanding ability but little or no motivation, and those with little ability and high intrinsic motivation.
Obviously, I fall into the third group. Daniels wrote that “As for those runners who fit into group three (lacking ability but high in motivation), I’ll take a team of these any day.” I want to do this, even though I know how unlikely it is. I am extremely motivated and I know that motivation will not be a roadblock. If my body can hold up, if my knees don’t give out, I think I can make a run at this (no pun intended).
3. Opportunity: This one is a toss-up.
As he discusses in the book, opportunity ranges from how the weather affects training to the facilities available. The weather sucks for about half the year where I live and winter basically starts now, but I have a gym in which I can train during the winter. The gym is by no means ideal, but it provides a place to run, either around a track or on a treadmill. Time, however, is a different story. I have a full-time job and three kids, so it’s not as if I have hours a day during which to train. The only real and meaningful way to add more time to my day is to wake up around 5 am and get two hours of training in before having to get my kids up and ready for school. I am not a morning person, so this would be tough. The only time I ever have for myself, or to spend with my wife, is after the kids go to bed. If we’re LUCKY, they’re all in bed and quiet by 8:30, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time. I do my writing after they go to sleep and sometimes, if my wife isn’t working and I’m not writing, we get to watch a little TV.
4. Direction: I don’t have this (yet).
“The ingredient of direction refers to a coach or teacher or training plan to follow, and I tend to list direction as the last and possibly least important of the four ingredients of success.” Coach Daniels has obviously forgotten more about running than I’ll ever know, but I will respectfully disagree with this. I think, for me, direction will be incredibly important because I need someone to literally tell me what to do. There’s so little chance of me achieving this goal as it is, but there’s no way I can do it on my own. I need a coach. On that note, it is after Thanksgiving so I reached out to the potential coach again today. I hope to hear back soon and to meet with him sometime this week.
I’m going to have to try to run again tomorrow, despite the knee pain. Hopefully it won’t be too bad and I’ll be able to get in a good 20 minutes.