Sunday, March 09, 2008

The perspective of poker

I think probably the one thing poker has given me, other than a lot of fun, time with friends (both virtual and actual) and enough money to, say, go buy a Wii without the wife saying anything at all about it, is perspective.
Per-spec-tive, as the food critic in Ratatouille says.
It's taught me, someone who puts far too much weight into the results of something, that one moment does not make a career.
I write a mediocre story or make a mistake? I know I've done good work in the past, and I'll do it again.
I raise my voice to Jayden because he won't stop climbing on the chair even though I've told him not to about 785,386 times? I'll apologize and be a better father in a minute.
And, mostly importantly, at least lately, I have a bad run on two hours sleep at one of my favorite 5Ks of the year? My next race will surely be better.
Running is not easy for me. I've never been blessed with athletic skills. Those of you who can rifle a football 50 yards, hit a softball 500 feet and dribble a basketball between your legs while you take off from the free throw line will not relate to this post.
If you've read me before, you'll notice that my favorite sports are the kind that reward hard work, guts and a little suffering, not the ability to ballet in mid-air. I do love my raquetball and softball, but my passions are mountain climbing, biking and, most recently, running.
What that means is I train, hard, year-round, but if you're one of the silky-smooth, you'll probably eventually beat me if you put in your fair share of runs.
Still, I get after it, and because of that, I do better than most. But it's always sort of a struggle.
Lately I've done these tempo runs at four miles, and I try to maintain an 8-minute pace.
I've had a good winter season putting in miles and preparing for what I think will be my best year ever. Today, for instance, I ran 10 miles, and while I was certainly tired, I wasn't dead tired. I feel pretty good right now.
It seems to be paying off. I ran 22:50 for a winter 5K. That's a great time for this time of the year, when I'm not running serious intervals and had to dodge ice and snow and it was colder than a castle dungeon.
And yet, I can't seem to glide along during this 8-minute pace. It should be getting easier, in other words, but every time I pull into my driveway, I'm so glad it's over. I pant and wheeze and pull off my sweaty clothes and like nothing more than hopping into the shower and pouring a bowl of Golden Grahams.
How can I expect to break 48 minutes in a 10K if I can't even run faster than 8 minutes during a tempo run?
But then I tell myself that there are times when I struggle at the poker table. Times? Hell, more than half the time I'm frustrated and a little pissy after a session, even if I win a little bit.
But ultimately, every month I come out of there with a little green.
I'll never be a great player, just like I'll never be a great runner. I don't have the time to devote to either pursuits to become great.
But poker is a great reminder that my new favorite sport is indeed just one long run.


BadBlood said...

Same exact thing with weightlifting. :)

Stacie said...

You're it.

Drizztdj said...

I might be training for some of the 5K runs I'll be doing this summer with my wife.

Will be interesting to see if I can get back to 6-7 minute miles like in high school versus just showing up and running.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

It's always tougher to run by yourself too. Keep that in mind. If you can run 6 miles in like 52-55 during one of your workouts, you'll crush 48 for sure during the race. One thing to keep in mind though is that 10k is fairly short so I would definitely do some 5k's and some other shorter distance work where my main focus is speed. It also breaks up the montony of running...