Survival Mode

Last Wednesday I traveled to California to run the 3,000m at the Brutus Hamilton meet at Cal Berkeley. It was a tough decision to come out because it meant I’d miss being at Penn Relays with the State College girls, most of which have never experienced Penn Relays before. It’s tricky because both coaching and my running are my career so I often have to make these kinds of sacrifices. Luckily the people in my closest support system are amazing and understand where I’m coming from.

A quick re-cap of both events:

The girls didn’t have the best showing at Penn but we know that they had just come off a very, very demanding racing schedule the week before as well as a pretty big health issue with one of the girls. I’m glad they pushed through it all and will now have a much better set-up in the coming weeks which is when it will really count.

My own race wasn’t so hot either. I had the intention of running really fast but it just didn’t happen. Sure, I have excuses as to why it didn’t happen but I’ll pass on sounding like a whiner. I think I prefer to focus on the positives that came out of it. The race was a great rust buster for me. I haven’t raced on the track since July so for an opener it was fine. Getting my legs moving fast in a race about a week before something longer and slower was the plan and if I happened to PR, then great. It was still my 3rd fastest 3,000 ever and my fastest outdoor 3,000 ever.

The big event will be this Saturday at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. I’ll run the Kim McDonald 10,000 there. I’m looking forward to having some good competition and cranking out a fast time.
We decided to stay out here on the west coast rather than fly all the way back east and then back again. The energy wasted on traveling was something we took into account and how it might effect the race. Next year a better plan might be to race at Penn Relays rather than staying out here for so long. As a coach I don’t enjoy missing a whole week. The teacher in me made lesson plans for the sub but it’s always harder to not be there, especially missing out on 2 meets and our senior recognition night. Again, these are some of the sacrifices I need to make.

The day after the Cal meet we explored a little on our way to Palo Alto. I thought it would be nice to check out the Golden Gate Park and go for a run there. I raced there a few years ago for the club xc championships and really liked it. It was a little different this time around. There were way more people there but then I remembered that the xc meet was in December.  But, we still enjoyed our run. Then we drove to the open ocean and quickly dipped our feet in. We watched lots of dogs running free on the beach, making us miss our Paavo and thinking of how much he’d enjoy being there.  We then saw the warning signs for the strong rip tide and figured he was safer at the Stone Valley Pet Lodge.  Next we headed to Palo Alto. We love staying here, one reason being that there’s a Whole Foods Grocery store within walking distance. We eat as healthy as we can. It can be tough on a budget but we feel that we both benefit from eating this way. I grew up on an incredibly healthy diet so it’s just a part of my lifestyle.

Sunday we headed out to Huddart Park for a medium long run of about 14.  It’s so nice there with the huge trees, Spanish moss and other pacific coast vegetation, and of course the perfectly groomed trails. I always feel like an Ewok when we go there because it looks so much like the environment they lived in.  We thought it would be cool to get to the Sky-line trail, thinking that there might be some breathtaking view up there. We followed the trail signs and sadly didn’t quite make it there before our turnaround time. We headed back and took a wrong turn, one of my nightmares. Luckily we realized what we did without going too far. I kept having visions of being lost out there with my diabetic boyfriend who only brought 2 Powergels and conveniently started to have low blood sugar. My PowerBar sponsorship comes in pretty handy in times like this and is actually one of the reasons why I persued help from the company. We ended up making it back just fine though. I admitted to him that I panicked when we were lost for those few minutes. He said he never panicked and that I needed to learn how to control those emotions in order to survive in both life and in a race. I definitely see that.

I did a light workout last night on the Stanford track. Just something to get some turnover in the legs. Now it’s just about relaxing for the next few days leading up to the race and then it’s all about survival mode.