In the next series of posts I would like to introduce you to just a few of the athletes and friends I’ve had the pleasure of training with. There are so many people who have shared their time and wisdom, and in many ways the athletes I’ve trained with have been both coaches and mentors. Within any given training session there are always these little genius bombs dropped throughout a practice. I’m sure that many these genius moments have gone right over my head, but given enough time I’ll bet those little bombs will make another appearance. With any luck I’ll be able to see them coming and the second time around and I might even throw my glove up in time to catch a few.
For the sake of interest I think I’ll hop around the training timeline in this series. There’s no particular order to the list of training partners, friends, and mentors, it’s just how the flow is flowing.
Before going into training talk, I need to add one more thing. To call these special people “training partners, coaches, or even genius bomb droppers,” just isn’t enough. They’re friends. They’re allies in the journey. They’re all just so awesome and I need to say it one more time. Thank you for being part of my life and thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Since I’m on a bit of a running kick right now, let’s start with the one and only JP, Jeff Phillips. That’s right buddy, you’re up first.
JP is a happy person to be around. He’s an agreeable dude who cares about the people around him. He also loves to work hard. The JP genius bomb is really more of an observation than a quote or some kind of life theory. I’ll start with a few stories and see where that goes.
When I think back to training with JP there were 2 specific practices that come to mind, & I’m sure coach PK & JP will remember both. The first one took place in the Fall of 2006. It was a Sunday morning, I was fresh into the NTC group and we were running the Cedar Hill Golf Course chip trail.
It’s probably around 2.5 - 3 ish miles, depending on how many shortcuts you take, and has a fair bit of up & down. Running clockwise there’s one stinker of a climb that almost always separates the pack. Our practice was 1 loop warm up, 2 x 20 minutes “tempo,” then 1 loop cool down.
Since that practice in 2006, I’ve visualized running like JP on many occasions. Watching JP running was like watching some kind of perfect stride demonstration. He seemed to just float up the hills and was able to dig the flats with gazelle-like fluidity. Running with JP was basically a crash course in running - who cares about hips and foot strike, just try to look like JP.
Needless to say, with seemingly effortless grace, JP opened a gap somewhere around 14 minutes into the second set. I can honestly say from my perspective the next 6 minutes may as well have been a race. I was doing everything I could to stick with him, and he taught me a lesson. Just look like JP and running will be so much easier.
The second epic practice was a month or two later. We were at Mount Doug and were running the death triangle of hill repeats. I don’t remember the specifics, but I think we went 5 - 6 times through the set.
We warmed up, started the main set and progressively demolished each other for the next 60 minutes. It was so much fun. At the bottom of the hill we would run past PK. I remember the grin he had as we went past. His grin portrayed the message. “Keep going guys.”
Nothing needed to be said. We were putting in the work, enjoying ourselves, and finding our own ways to keep going.
The story probably reads way less epic than it sounds in my mind, so you’ll just have to trust me. It was epic. I guess the epicness doesn’t really matter anyways. What really matters was that JP and I had a great time training together.
As far as the JP genius bomb goes, I would call it “racing with grace.” It was something you had to see and it’s something I still try to replicate.
Thanks for the lessons JP. You’re an awesome dude, a great friend, and a wicked good training partner.