Column: Training, love and little shin splint demons

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Dec. 8, 2010

I understand competitive cyclists about as well as I understand marathoners.

Not at all. And I’m married to a marathoner.

“I’m going on a 10-mile run in the cold and it might rain!,” my wife will yell happily to me as she leaves the front door.

“OK, have fun, crazy,” I’ll shout back. “I love you.” (It’s always best to say “I love you” after calling your significant other crazy. Even if he or she agrees with you and uses the term, as well).

She’ll then come back an hour and a half later, face aglow with running happiness, while I’ve been either reading, watching TV – or best yet – fast asleep, face aglow with being warm and stationary happiness.

Now, that’s a marriage.

Unfortunately, there are some who believe that sharing a life together should mean sharing each other’s hobbies, as well. These well-intentioned souls sometimes will ask whether I ever go running with my wife.

And even though I know it makes me look like a terrible, unsupportive husband, I tell these people the truth: No. I married my wife because I love her, not her crazy hobby.

I just can’t get into running, especially the training aspect of it. It is boring, sometimes painful and there is no tangible goal associated with it – if I could score points while running, maybe I would enjoy it. As it is, it’s like playing basketball with no ball and no opponent. And the goals are little shin splint demons that attack when you least expect it.

Competitive cycling is similarly foreign to me.

Again, the training is boring, sometimes painful and there is no tangible goal associated with it. Races, I can get behind. There’s someone to beat. You might get a trophy for doing well. Training, nuh uh.

Unfortunately, training is necessary to become good at the races, as St. Charles resident Ed Tiles is well aware of.

Ed is a 62-year-old competitive cyclist who is joining the Kane County Chronicle as a blogger. You can read his blog, High VELOcity, at

Ed’s blog will focus on his training as he gets ready for the National Senior Olympics, which will be held in Houston between June 18 and June 21, 2011. A few times a week, he will share his thoughts on how he’s going about training and where he thinks his fitness is at as he prepares for Houston.

In his first blog entry, which was posted on Tuesday, he writes about his wife, who – even though she thinks his hobby borders on sickness (I bet she said “I love you” afterward) – provided him with a cycling coach for Christmas.

I don’t understand Ed, but I do understand his wife. I understand that it’s important not to question your significant other’s marathon or competitive cycling training, but to simply embrace the person’s passion and to help in whatever way possible that doesn’t actually entail joining in the activity.

I’ll read Ed’s blog as he trains toward his goal. Who knows? Maybe I’ll gain some insights along the way. But that doesn’t mean I plan on following his lead anytime soon.

No, I think I’ll leave training for races to the crazies among us.

(I love you, wife.)

Joe Grace is the editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at or call him at 630-845-5368.


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