Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Practice Makes Permanent

My favorite coach in high school, my cross county coach, was also my choir teacher. This may seem insignificant to some people, but lets just say the two things I did MOST while I was in high school were 1. Run & 2. Sing. I was part of every special choir, select choir, musical (you're looking at Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz mind you :), and even regional choir. I actually "competed" in singing. If you didn't think there was such a thing - well let me be the first to tell you - there is. Think Glee - just without the extreme dance numbers and celebrity type songs!! For regional chorus, the goal was always to try and become "first chair," also known as, the best of all those who tried out. You would walk into a room with your songs prepared, judges were sitting there with their back to you, and they would give you ONE note from a pitch pipe. This was your cue, you started and sang acapella (meaning without any accompaniment or background music). You were graded on pitch, tone, accurateness of length of each note, breath control, everything.

My choir director / cross country coach and I spent a LOT of time together (heck, I even dated his son for a few years!). He knew me very well and would practice with me for days on end before a big meet or the regional choir tryouts. I would mess up, it was "do it again" not in a scolding way, but just in a "let's get it right!" kind of way!!

When people would say the old adage "well, you know - practice makes perfect!" he would say, actually, "practice makes permanent." Unless you are going to practice to perfection, you might as well not do it.

I've always thought of that saying and how it applies to different areas of my life. It seems to me, if you are going to just do something to say you did it, well, that's fine and all, but I really want every time to be the very best it can be. Some days, I'm running on six hours of sleep, in some random city for work, with none of my usual workout equipment or routines and the best I can do might be get in a good 40 minute run. Other times, I will find a YMCA, map quest to it by foot, run to it in the middle of the night and swim by myself for 4000 yards. It just depends, I give it the best I can on that day.

It's the days that build into weeks, the weeks that build into months and the months of consistent effort that make us the athletes we are on race day.

This weekend, I'm very excited I get to practice "racing" It's time to practice the nutrition plan, practice pacing, practice heart rates and practice a positive mental attitude NO MATTER WHAT. If I could do only one thing perfect - it would be that last thing. I want to practice that to the utmost of my ability. If I can get that ONE thing right.. well, the rest will just take care of itself. I know how to race, I've been racing most of my life. The mind is a terrible thing to waste (on negative thoughts).

Or as the commercials used to say "This is your mind"
now "This is your mind on negative thinking" (or I guess they said drugs, but close)!

I wish those racing in Ironman Wisconsin (Charisa, my friend Jerry & everyone else) the very best of luck. To those of you racing alongside me in Rev 3 - Beth, Rich, Steve, David, Jim & anyone I might have missed - Have a Day out there as my good friend Lauren told me in Hawaii... have a day!!

Be safe & please say a prayer for those racing that the wind will be at their back, and that we will all finish some perfect practice this weekend. I leave you with this thought -

’sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you are behind. the race is long, and in the end, it is only with yourself.’

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