Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

Ahh, only a few more hours of the year left, why not join the rest of the blog world and throw down a last blast of 2010 and a few goals/resolutions for the new year?

The highs of 2010 included:

-Skiing and snowboarding multiple times with friends and family. Such a fun time. I loved exploring new territory and skills with my husband. Who can forget runs spent exploring the trees?

-Running the Boulder Backroads spring half marathon with my friend Chelsea. It was cold and kinda rainy, but I couldn't have done it without her.

-Speaking of running, coaching with my team, and making new running friends. They are all amazing. I love them all. They have brought new joy to my running.

-Spring in Colorado. I seriously loved every single minute of it. As school wound down, I enjoyed running more and waking up early to walk the dog and enjoy all the plants, birds, wildlife coming into it's own.

-Italy trip 2010. So, so much fun. A dream come true, with my amazing husband. The best travel companion ever. There was even some time for running in Rome, and Tuscany

See more Italy photos here!

-Summer 2010. Running with friends, exploring new trails, exploring coffee places with friends and the husband, ending the summer with a 10 minute PR at the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon.

-Fall. Finding a great coach, training hard, leaves changing, fun classes with great friends (seriously awesome). A great trip to Crested Butte, where we killed a fall Grog.

-Winter. An awesome holiday season with my wonderful family!

Hello 2011.

1) Recognize the things I do well vs. constantly worrying about the things I need to work on. AKA, give myself a little credit. Lucky readers might get to see me practice this here. Get ready for some bragging!

2) Spend more time with the dog. Take her on longer walks and cuddle her more.

3) Work on being more trusting. With myself and with others (easier said than done, but I am working on this)

4) Maintain the budget my husband and I have set out.

5) Plan to take a couple trips within the state of Colorado

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Once a Runner"

I just finished reading the novel "Once a Runner," by John L. Parker. This book was first published in 1978 and reissued in 1990.

It is the story of Quenton Cassidy, a miler at the fictional Southestern University, in Florida. It is based in the late 1960's, early 1970's.
Without posting too many spoilers, the basic story is that Cassidy gets into some trouble at his school, and gets kicked out. He takes the opportunity to focus explicitly on his training, and is trained by another runner who is an Olympic gold medalist. Cassidy realizes his potential in a showdown with the world record holder and goes on to recognize his potential, but also must come to a point where he must put parts of the past behind him.

So what did I think of the story? Well. On the cover of my book, 'Runner's World Magazine' is quoted as saying it is the "Best novel about running ever written."

To be fair, I don't think there actually are that many novels about running that have been written, so I can't exactly tell what the competition is.

However, the book was so...male. I think it nailed that aspect. I thought it probably accurately portrayed the experience of what many guy runners feel and think and experience when they are in college. As a girl runner, who ran in college--the way I viewed training, team, my coaches, my goals was just really different and I don't think I'm that different from the norm (probably a little, but not completely off the mark!)
I have heard that this book is iconic amongst college cross-country teams. That teams will pass one sacred book out to their freshman members and they all read it and then sign it as they pass it along. The teams all relate to that experience of reading the book, and the story itself. Guess what, I have heard this from GUY teams!

I wonder how girl college teams would react to the book?

I wondered how this book was relatable to me (or other girl runners) because it was set in a time when women were still viewed as sex objects, Cassidy's girl friend does not understand his passion for running at all, AND girl's sports basically did not exist. Quick history lesson: the first woman's NCAA championship in cross-country was not until...wait for it...1982--Women's basketball was also that same year. I found some parts relatable, but it was difficult because the story was about a guy's experience.

Can a story be relatable simply because the character runs and I run? I've certainly related to other characters who were different from me and not noticed the stark differences..I wondered why I would notice them now?

Anyways. If you have read the book, what did YOU think?
Did you like it?
Was it "The best novel about running" you have ever read?
If you are a girl runner, did you find it relatable to your experiences?

6 miles in a snowstorm

Today I ran 6 miles in the first real snow of the season. As I looked outside and made the decision about whether or not to run, I knew I had to get the run done in order to get my total mileage in, but more importantly, I wanted to.

As I trudged out into the snow, started thinking about the second key to mastery in George Leonard's book. It's practice. Leonard points out that many times we use the word 'practice' as a verb. We practice an instrument, or practice a skill like running. We do it to improve ourselves or obtain a goal. If you want to run faster, well you are going to have to practice!

But when you think about 'practice' in terms of mastery, Leonard suggests it is useful to think of it as a noun. It's something you have or you are. I love this conceptualization: "...the word is akin to the Chinese word tao and the Japanese word do, both of which mean, literally road or path. Practice is path upon you travel" (pg.74).

Practice is something that is integral to your life, and you do it for it's own sake, not in order to gain something else. You may gather rewards along this path, and that is fine, but that is not the reason why you are on this journey.

Another secret Leonard tells us:"the people who are masters don't devote themselves to their particular skill just to get better at it. The truth is, they love to practice--and because of this they do get better" (pg. 75).

So, back to snow running. As I was running along, I saw a lady drive past me, and I literally saw her crane her head and laugh! I'm going to assume she didn't get it why I was out there, in the cold running along my path and that she was definitely NOT joining the practice of running (at least in the snow!)

Sometimes, people ask "How can your run so much? It's boring." "How did you get out there and run. In the snow like that!?" Usually my answer is "I just like it," or "I'm just used to it..." Not the best answer to help explain.

The truth is, running is my practice. It's integral to my life and a big part of who I am. I actually love the journey that is running. Sometimes it has up's and down's, and sometimes I am out alone in a snowstorm but that is part of the path. Practicing regularly at running has been there for me so long, it's a part of me--a reliable part that I know really well.

It probably wouldn't have hurt me to skip the run and stay warm inside today, but I think I would have missed the daily journey.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Technical difficulties!

Do you ever have a run where you feel okay but all your techie gear is just getting in your way?
Yesterday was that day! I felt awesome, I'm finally starting to feel like I'm getting some spring back in my step after two long weeks off of downtime, but it also felt like every five feet some gadget was messing up. These things are supposed to make running easier or more enjoyable not annoying!

First, Dupree kept insisting I wanted to run a 3 mile run. No, I wanted to do an open-ended mileage run, thank you. We finally settled on doing a 45:45 timed run. I don't know how we came to this compromise but we did. Throughout the run, Dupree also kept suggesting that I wanted to train with my virtual partner. I didn't. By the end of the run I was convinced that I still needed to consult my instruction booklet to get a better leash on Dupree.

Then, my earphones kept popping out of my ears. First one, then the other. These are new Skull Candy Smokin' buds. They got great reviews on this very issue. What gives, buds, what gives? I finally had to lace the cords up through my sports bra to keep them from pulling out of my ears. This happened on a neighborhood street outside a house. It was quite a show.

And finally, my shoe kept coming untied. This is a regular occurrence, it doesn't even bother me anymore, but I thought I'd mention it on the list of technical difficulties. If the truth is told, it never bothered me, but it has been the source of conversation amongst coaches, parents and teammates as to how it could be that my shoe could come untied so frequently. I've even been accused of tying it purposefully so that it would come UNTIED...who does that?

Anyways, about 2.5 miles into the run things seemed to have ironed themselves out and like I said I felt great. There is something to be said for running a little later in the day when the sun is setting. You start to feel fast and it's easy to lose yourself in the moment and just enjoy the run and how it feels to be running that course at that moment. Ended up running 5.71 miles in about 41 min. Not too shabby :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bobolink run

Bobolink by snowgirl25 at Garmin Connect - Details

A great run in Boulder. It's not difficult and you can always get in a nice approximately 7 miles here. It's pretty and just a nice run!

Meet Dupree

Dupree is my new Garmin Forerunner 405 that I got for Christmas. Anyone reading this should probably know a few things about me.
1) I've worn the same running watch since college. The trusty black Baby G. It's simple, no bells and whistles...and the truth is, all I know how to use on it are the start/stop, the reset, the light and the "menu" buttons. I don't do laps. At all. I never reset it for daylight savings...I'm super simple.

2) I've run the gauntlet of timing devices. I had a Garmin forerunner 305. It was a giant computer that I hated. I ended up losing it along with a beloved ASU backpack I got at Cross-Country Nationals...I'm still pouting over the loss :(. Last year I started out using the Nike + with the little foot pod thinger. It worked out well until Nike changed their system and the pod stopped synching with my phone and I lost my mojo. I also have a Polar heart rate monitor. I can't explain it, but I never got into training with a HRM.

3) With each and every one of these devices, I tend to "race" myself all the time with them. I generally push myself to see how fast I can do my miles and then it ends up skewing my true times. I can only guess it's my obsessive competitive nature coming out. Call me immature or whatever, but it can actually interfere with the enjoyable nature of running to constantly be checking mile splits. It has made me debate getting a new on for more.

So anyways, a major problem I've been having this past racing season is being able to simply tell splits. When working with my coach, and analyzing races, I'll give feedback like, "Well, at mile 1 it felt like I was about at the right pace..." That's not really specific or helpful to training, but at the same time I was resisting wanting a Garmin--which simply takes mile splits for you b/c it might mess with that feeling of freedom..what a quandry.

Well. I finally broke and got the silly Forerunner 405 with HRM on sale at Boulder Running Company. I have to say I am seriously enjoying it so far...and yes, I've named it Dupree. No reason other than I like the name and I think if it has a name it will help me keep using it.

Here's what I love so far:
1) Mile splits. Love...also a big fan of how easy it was for me to find and set up this function.
2) The little ANT stick that wirelessly pulls my data from the watch to my computer and then it analyzes pretty much everything from pace per mile to elevation gain online. It's an awesome training log. Then I can easily send the data to my coach.

What I have had trouble with:
1) I had a little trouble setting up the website
2) The touch sensitive bezel is actually touch will switch modes..and I haven't remembered how to get it to lock yet.

The racing is back. I can tell I'm checking mile splits and times much more than I ever do with Baby G. I'm trying to be aware of this because it makes the runs less enjoyable and it also doesn't give an accurate portrayal of where I'm really at. Not to mention that if I push it hard all the time, I'll burn myself right out. Right now, I'm just being aware of my urge to race and also showing some discipline and these next runs, going out, looking at the watch first mile and not the rest of the time. We'll see how that goes.

My Story

I've always been an active person. I started running competitively in high school and I ran cross country and track and field at in college. It was fun and challenging, both physically and mentally. When I finished my time in college, I never really stopped running. I just kept running for fun, logging miles and training on my own. I signed up for some fun races, just to see how I would do, and I ran almost as fast as I had in college.

The years have passed and now I am 31 years old and about to earn my master's degree in sport and performance psychology. I work with athletes to help them achieve their best performances and get the most enjoyment from their sport. I live in Colorado, and last year I ran a half marathon for fun. I ran a 1:27 off 6 weeks of training. It motivated me to start really training again to see where I was at. It's been a fun time for me, to explore some goals and see where I can go!
So, that's the "Miles" part of this blog.

The "Mastery" part is in reference to George Leonard's book by the same title. Mastery is about the process of attaining excellence as well as a deeper sense of satisfaction in our daily lives as well as our activities or sport. I love that this book has ideas of being diligent with the process of mastery, the process is actually a series of plateaus with small breakthroughs (and thus you must enjoy the plateau!), and being fully in the moment. These are just a few of the many ideas contained in this small book. It is a guide for how I *try* to go about my training and racing, but it's not always easy! I have a support team of family, my coach, my own sport psychologist and some close friends and training buddies who help me work towards the path of mastery.

I'm starting this blog to detail my miles and training, as well as my path to mastery, and I don't know, I'll leave it open for some other options too.