Friday, July 4, 2014
It's been over a year since my last post. It's a good thing this isn't my job and I don't get paid for it. I'd be living on the mean streets of NYC if that were the case. I suppose an abbreviated update is necessary. Finished my last outdoor season with a pretty stellar PR. Became an assistant coach at a local Division 3 college, I headed up the Distance crew. Started a long distance relationship with a pretty incredible guy in Minnesota. Battled through a cross country, indoor and outdoor season with my athletes, watching and helping them break through barriers and have PR after PR. Battled through finding a balance to train myself while coaching and working to make end's meat, complete with total flops and PWs (personal worsts). Made a huge life decision to move at the end of this summer from the beloved coast I was born and raised on and my big city living, to the middle of nowhere country, MN (I might be over exaggerating the middle of nowhere part) to be with that previous mentioned incredible guy.
Now here I am, it's July 4th. After my coaching season ended in May, I decided I was going to buckle down and try to salvage the rest of my outdoor season. It hasn't exactly gone as planned, actually it's been way worse. I knew I was not in tip top shape but I didn't think I was as bad off as I really was. While I tried to maintain throughout coaching, I wasn't consistent. That was one key. I also forgot to maintain my mental game, looking back that was one of my biggest flaws. I took all the bad performances pretty hard and to heart. I had given up any and all hope to go to Club Nationals and running a decent time. While I had the standard, I couldn't afford to trip out West without monetary assistance and with team budget cuts, I was the bottom of the totem pole to receive anything.
This past Wednesday things took a change. Thankfully my range of abilities on the track (while not always top tiered) sometimes helps me in some situations, other times it can be a hindrance. This time I used it to my advantage. The only way I was going out to Seattle for Club Nats with help for funding was if I could do multiple events. Seeing as I only had the standard in 400IH, I was a bit in a bind, until I realized we didn't have someone in the steeplechase. Good thing for me both steeple and hurdles are typically under fielded with athletes so goal isn't for time rather than to finish to grab as many team points as possible (I did this a few years ago in Nebraska). That range also helped with relays. So with that my grim outlook was turned around and next week I'll be flying out to Washington to compete with my team. I have zero expectations for times in races, the goal is to finish as high in place as I can to score points and to fight through the race pain to give my all. I know no matter what I do my season won't have the outcome I wanted but hopefully these final races will bring a little bit of peace to it.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Step one laugh all day. Step 2 believe in yourself and your training. Step three PR. Rinse and repeat for the next 6 weeks until the end of the season.
Boom just like that another hurdle race down, a teeny tiny personal best achieved and goal #2 crossed off my goal board. While I admit I did have a little bit higher expectations for this race, I'm not dissatisfied. For one a PR is a PR. Two this was probably the first race, dare I say, that felt easy. Saying that a race felt easy may not be the best thing, because clearly it means I held back, but it's also not a bad thing because it means if I ran what I did and it "felt easy" it means potential to race even faster (which is actually an amazing thing).
I executed my race mostly like I wanted. The 2 biggest steps I've been working on in practice are cutting back on my studder stepping and alternating legs. I'm proud to say there was far less stammering to hurdles and I willfully switched legs when necessary (this is huge). My speed tells me I'm able to go way faster, (hence a pretty fabulous run down of a girl ahead of me after hurdle 10), now the goal is putting two and two together and turning on that next gear earlier in the race. I've got 2 more hurdle races and a handful of flat races before Club Nationals. If I'm able to keep the momentum going I think I might even surpass my own expectations. Sky's the limit, onward and upward I go.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Most of the time when I tell people I'm a runner, they ask "oh well what do you run?" (most assuming I'm going to say marathon), then I say 400 hurdles, then the next question is "What school do you run for?" then the even more perplexed look of 'Huh' when I say I'm not in school. Then the long winded explanation that I run for a club and no I don't get paid to torture myself. Then I come across the conversations with the semi-recreational runner, and next thing you know I'm telling them (strongly urging) you should join a club. I get the doubtful response of "Well I don't know, I'm not fast enough", because they know of the club or clubs I have run for boast the elite athlete, Olympians, and the such. They also have this crazy notion that I'm really fast (this is only partially true). So I'm here to give you my fairly elaborate story and bring hopefully some displacement of fears and info to those not in know.
The back story, started running in middle school eons ago, ran throughout high school, walked on the team in college my frosh year, trained that year but didn't compete (red shirted), then quit. This was 2000. Yada yada, got lazy, decided partying and being social butterfly was way more important and didn't run at all for 3 years (I'm sure most of my college friends didn't even know that I at any point of knowing me was a serious runner at any point in my life). Then had to escape that life and moved to Boston. Fast forward to April 2004, my first experience with a marathon ever, not going to lie I really had no clue what a marathon consisted of. From my colleges I was under the impression this was a day for an excuse to day drink. My bartending comrades and I set forth near the finish line to chug back way too many libations. We poked our heads outside to cheer on some of the runners passing by, then it out of no where it happened. This flush of excitement, I felt this insane connection to these people passing by, I wanted to jump over the barriers and run with them. Ignored that crazy feeling and went back in for even more margaritas and shots, then decided I had entirely too much to drink and decided to
Fast forward again to Boston Marathon April 2005. Still using the day to party hard, this time drunk me overcome with those runner emotions went into Niketown and bought a pair of sneakers and then convinced myself I was going to run the 113th Boston Marathon (113th only because 13 is my lucky #). Started making some 5K races a yearly ritual, getting faster each time too. Fast forward to July 2006, signed up for the Iron Girl 5K a few months prior forgot about it (forgot = I started dating someone) and didn't really train for it. Ran a not so shabby time and placed 3rd in my age group. It was at that point I knew I had to do something with my running, if I could run what I ran without any real training, I had some untapped potential I needed to get out. I thought ok, not my first choice but road runner I will be.
That August signed up for my 5 miler again (year #3) and decided if I was going to be a road runner I needed a pair of zippy racing flats to fit the bill. I went to Faneuil Hall to the Bill Rodgers Store (now no longer) to acquire said zippy shoes and while dude went to get my size for the flats I liked, I found myself staring at the spike wall and holding a spike. When he came out he asked if I needed a size to try on for the spikes too, I said no. Then we started to talking about my running past and my missing of the track. He tells me why don't you join a club. At this point I had no idea what club running consisted of. In my mind I thought it was like a book club, where people who like to run got together and ran. Not exactly what I was in the market for. Then he said no that's not it at all and next thing you know with my racing flats I had a business card with a list of coaches and their respective clubs.
It took a few months but eventually I finally went online and looked up each club and emailed the coaches inquiring about the clubs. This was December 2006. Only one coach actually got back to me, it was Greater Boston Track Club. Now at this point I was 6 almost 7 years out of any kind of track shape. I mean don't get me wrong I wasn't a lug, I had been running on a "regular" basis and lifting but I was in no means in any kind of great shape, especially for the track. Even with this I was welcomed aboard no questions or judgement given. The 1st year was a struggle for me as I was certainly the bottom of the chain, I was slow in comparison to the majority. Actually for the next year or so my name always graced the bottom of the performance lists. Thing is while this did bother and frustrate me to no end, my coach never ever once said hey you're the slowest person on the team you should think about quitting. Actually it was the complete opposite he encouraged me and pushed me as well as my fellow teammates who rooted me on no matter whether in my eyes was failing or succeeding. These people became my extended family, some of my greatest friends to this day. When I moved to NYC that was the thing I clung on to hard, I was afraid to leave them and join my current team. Obviously when I realized I couldn't train hard on the track alone and was going to stay in New York, I transferred over to Central Park Track Club and then found another group of amazing training mates/teammates and coach, who in the same have been my big supporters and cheer section, continuously pushing me beyond limits I thought were possible.
For anyone that doubts their "fast enough" running abilities, if my story doesn't compel you to rethink your thoughts on joining a local club team, well I don't know what else to tell you. There are so many options out there for every level, whether you want to stick to the roads, try out the track or just get faster. Don't be afraid to take a chance and check one out. If you don't know where to start, http://www.usatf.org/clubs/search/ will give a list of active clubs near you; email around, check out their websites if they have one, ask to go to a practice with them. You might find your extended family like I did, you might get to those goals you have in the back of your mind that you didn't think could be a possibly, or you could just have tons of fun with a bunch of other like minded "crazies".
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
4/29/13 (2): had a ridiculous multi course meal then this...Uh is this really happening right now?? Not a Yankees fan but this is pretty amazeballs
4/30/13: Art sculptures and spring go together like rama-lama-lama-ka-ding-a-de-ding-de-dong
5/1/13: Found while cleaning today...just in case I forgot, which I could never
5/2/13: If you need me, you can find me on the corner of Worth and Avenue of the Strongest...also it's officially 1/3 of the way through the year
5/3/13: Pretty building on the outside, not so pretty to spend a couple days inside.
5/4/13: May the 4th be with you. Ha I crack myself up
5/5/13: It sometimes astonishes me that this beauty is smack dab in the middle of this concrete jungle
Monday, May 6, 2013
Back either the end of February or maybe it was March, I came across a post from my team for someone looking for participants in their thesis study for anxiety before competition. Upon seeing this I knew I had to jump aboard. I know that part of my "bad" performances in races is because I let my head get in the way. Though not apparent to the eye because I often try to hide it, I suffer from anxiety before races, and not the good kind that every athlete should have. Usually race day it's a median level, but days before is when it kicks in overdrive to a point that it's incredibly unhelpful and not facilitating. I start to get my head wrapped around every little detail of my race, not entirely a bad thing except while doing that I forget key components to my race body and mind. I don't eat properly, forget to eat sometimes, don't hydrate, and worry myself to not sleeping. This has been a problem for some time.
I'd like to say that I've exhausted all my possibilities with helping it but I know I could do more. One of my former teammates from Boston is a sports psychologist, we chatted once or twice about it, it helped a little but I definitely could of done more follow ups. I've incorporated music into my pre race routine, this actually has insanely helped with day of competition nerves. Self motivation talk, this helps until I let a hint of doubt creep in, then I'm dunzo. So after a few emails back and forth with thesis guy about the just of his study, I thought, why not it couldn't hurt.
The basic premise of his study was having athletes use art therapy as a way to ease anxiety before competition. I would spend an hour a week, once a week for 5 weeks drawing in journal, I started
April 2nd and finished up last Tuesday (April 30). It was an out of the box experience and took me out of my comfort zone. I'm no stranger to the art world, when I was young I was very into art and drawing (I've since retired that practice) and I've been camera/photography obsessed for I can't even remember how long (still am, hence the obvious 365 project rolling throughout this blog). Though it was something that I loved to do at one point it was intimidating and slightly nerve racking at first. Eventually I settled in. We worked on ways to get my racing anxiety woes to be more controlled and put a plan of pre race action into action. Elicited drawings for me to look at and envision to evoke positive waves to ease my nerves. This helped because often times I see these things in my head but then my mind races elsewhere so it doesn't stick.
In the end I throughly enjoyed it. I'd like to think it leant at least a small helping hand to those couple early outdoor PRs (because it's the beginning of the season it's hard to say it's a definite). Either way it has help me feel more relaxed and calm. I will certainly keep it up and use it as a tool for upcoming races. I'd recommend trying it out.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
4/23/13: Freezing for practice but I guess I can let it slide to practice with this in the background
4/24/13:One singular word, so many endless connections to it
4/25/13: Diamonds are not this girl's best friend...her foam roller is...getting prepped for some Penn Relays action tomorrow
4/26/13: Turn of events moved me onto the "A" Team for the 4x4 and my team winning the infamous Penn Relays gold watch
4/27/13: Couldn't have asked for more perfect weather and an incredible day of Track and Field in Philly at an iconic meet...pure bliss
4/28/13: There is no exit that way, so either hold on for the ride, or turn around and change things
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
4/9/13: This day was all about me, so self photo made sense. Basking in this gorg day (sunblocked up of course)
4/10/13: Spring has sprung
4/11/13: I am lion hear me ROAR! (and naturally this makes sense since I am a Leo and lions are pretty badass creatures, as are leos)
4/12/13: Laugh, it's the thing that gets me through the rough times and makes the incredible times even more enjoyable. It's also the single most important quality I look for in people to stay in my life. The ability to laugh & make one laugh is priceless.
4/13/13: Running 2 back to back PRs at a meet means one must commemorate the photo of the day with a pic of the track meet, obviously.
4/14/13: Cheering on the More Fitness 1/2 Marathon with some awesomesauce peeps ...oh look there's the ever amazing Deena Kastor (and if you don't know who she is, google her) speeding by, yea that happened
Monday, April 15, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
4/7/13: Shoe obsession, who me, I don't know what ever you might be referring to... I don't know about you but I just like to get prints of things I don't like to hang in my place
Monday, April 1, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013