Friday, January 23, 2009

Unexpected Running Lessons

The Focus-N-Fly 2.0 Event at which Jack Daniels was to speak was scheduled to start at 6:30pm and, worried about traffic, I had arrived early.  Without much forethought I selected one of the metal chairs on the aisle about half way to the front.  Coaches Tom and Deena and IT guru Renga were there, chatting with the early arrivals, making us feel at ease.  Wine bar, demo computers and post-event snacks of roast beef sandwiches, olives, artichokes, prosciutto and more were ready, covered, waiting.  

I had read Jack Daniel's Daniel's Running Formula twice.  Published in 1998 and again in 2004 it is based not only on his experience as an Olympic athlete but also on his extensive research over 40 years.  His rationale  formed the basis of the program Coach Tom designed for his athletes, me included. I was eager to hear him in person.

After taking in all the extensive preparations worthy of a dignitary of the sport, I noticed, to my right and one row up, a man with short white hair sitting by himself, in a sea of empty chairs, an open notebook in his left hand, hands resting in his lap, lips moving as his eyes moved down the page.  It had to be Jack Daniels!
And he was practicing!  Material that he surely knew after over 40 years of competing or coaching others, practicing.  5:45pm turned into 6:00.  Still practicing.  6:10, practicing, practicing.  That moment impressed me, more than the speech which followed, which was entertaining beyond expectation and theory simplified. Impressed upon me that EVEN the amazingly practiced practice, practice and practice.  Thank you, Jack.

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