The other question hanging out there for the last month or so is why I enjoy training more than racing. I think I could develop quite a lecture for this subject. And the fact is it didn't use to be that way.
Back when I was somewhat fast the only reason I trained at all was so I wouldn't completely embarrass myself when I raced. When I started running under the guidance of Tom Dowling and he had to reign in my desire to race and do speed work. He also had to gently remind me as I progressed to not "race" in my workouts.
I found this problematic when I lived in Phoenix and ran under with coach Fred Moore, another Lydiard disciple like Dowling. I was training my ass off but I kept falling apart in the last two miles of every 10K. The problem was the bi-weekly tempo and interval sessions with Fred and his group were killing me. It took about a year before Tom advised in a phone conversation to stop racing the workouts. Fred had been saying essentially the same thing but I wasn't listening. For some reason that phone call hit me between the eyes.
I also took some advice from Fred to read "The Tao of Pooh." I was thunderstruck by the simple message the book offered which I took as, go with the flow, don't push, let the race come to you. The first 10K after reading the book I was in so-so shape yet ran a PR.
But I digress from the original intent of the question as to why I'd rather train than race. First of all, races are a major pain in the ass. I began to find in the 1990's that races cost too much, they are poorly organized, the courses are not accurate, and I really don't like getting up at 6 a.m. to toe the line at 7:30 or 8 in the morning. I'm a night person.
I will say that the Fort Myers Track Club does the exact opposite of what I described above. The cost is reasonable, races are well organized with quick results, and accurate courses. But we only have two night races a year.
It's also difficult getting worked up to run a 22 minute 5K. I'm not trying to be a snob but if I am going to "Thrust against pain contemptuously" as the great coach Percy Cerutty advised, then I at least want to run under 21 minutes. It's hard to race and run times that you know are slower than you are capable of running. I may be 54 but I'm not ready to concede to anyone that I can't run 6:45 pace for a 5K.
On the other hand training is great because there simply isn't any pressure. I run how I feel. If I feel like doing a tempo run then I do it. And the best part of training are those days when everything clicks. You feel 10 years younger, 20 pounds lighter, your legs are light and it's magic because I feel like I'm flying across the asphalt. You finish the run with a glow and a state of satisfied exhaustion that people pay good money for when it comes to illegal drugs.
The only training run that I dread is the long run and its two-fold. I miss running in a group like I did back in Kansas City which helps take away the monotony and with the onset of summer weather, the humidity is a killer. I'm going to start getting up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday's to join the Mike Pemberton's long run group. I tried it this Saturday hoping to catch the 6 a.m. group leaving Starbuck's but much to my surprise I was all by my lonesome. The parking lot was full of cars belonging to 5:30 runners. The early Saturday runs are a sacrifice I'm willing to make in order to not completely fall apart when I run my first marathon in seven years this October.
In closing I offer this bit of simple advice, don't grind. If you can run, just enjoy it. This attitude adjustment kept me from giving up the sport that I truly love.