I’m Back!

Hi everyone! It’s been far too long since I’ve posted, but I’m back and ready to get back at it. I’ve been crazy busy lately and in addition to neglecting my blog I haven’t made time for reading a lot of the many other blogs I enjoy. Time to fix that!

Aside from being busy I’ve been a bit off my running game lately, which I think in turn knocked me a bit off my writing game too. I even skipped a race last weekend because I knew I wasn’t in shape to race it and didn’t want to be embarrassed by my time. Not super proud of that, but what can you do?!

Now I’m looking to turn things around. I’ve got my sights set on the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler as a goal race now in hopes to get things going by then. I downgraded from the half marathon to the 8k for Shamrock so I can really race that weekend instead of trudge myself through a half marathon I’m not ready for. I’ve done that before – it’s not fun! It will be a blast however to cheer on my teammates doing the half and the full that weekend.

Despite being in a running funk it has been a pretty good month. To keep this blog post from going on for too long, here are some of the highlights of what I’ve been up to:

  • Cross training and core work – and lots of it.
  • I made it 21 days plus without a soda. I’m back to drinking it now, but not as often!
  • I’ve been reading a lot more. I set a goal of getting through a book a month this year, but already cranked through three of them in January. Reviews to come.
  • So much wedding stuff! The wedding isn’t until October, but my fiancé and I have been on a roll getting things done like the wedding website, save the dates and more. Expect another post on this too!
  • Took an RRCA Running Coach Certification Course – yes, you’ll hear more about this one too.
  • Family fun! I spent a weekend down in Florida visiting my grandparents. I also got to hang out with my Mom for a weekend while my Dad enjoyed some warm weather on a golf trip to Florida.

RRCAbook

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Happy New Year!

And just like that… it’s 2014! Hope everyone had a great holiday season and a fun New Year’s eve. This is going to be a great year for my family with my brother’s wedding in August and mine in October. With a handful of other fun events on the calendar and some great races planned for the year, it certainly looks like it’ll be a busy one.

With everything going on, I know that staying stress-free, or at least as stress-free as possible will be important, so I tried to focus my New Year’s Resolutions for this year around things that help me de-stress.

  • Read more. I always say I wish I had more time to read, yet I’m able to find plenty of time at night to check on social media, so it’s really just about setting priorities. My goal is to read a book a month in 2014.bookcase
  • Socialize more (group workouts). When it comes to working out I work harder and have more fun with group workouts, so I want to try to fit more of that in during 2014.

    Post-workout Group Photo from November Project DC Facebook page

    Post-workout Group Photo from November Project DC Facebook page

  • Get Speedy. I love running fast, so this year is all about shorter races and working on my speed, which I need to keep reminding myself of when I get the itch to sign up for another marathon!fmtrack

What are your resolutions for this year?

Book Review: PRE The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine

I cannot believe I have never read this book. If you’re a runner or a competitor, you will love it.

Tom Jordan tells the story of Pre’s life from his beginnings in Coos Bay, a mill town on the coast of Oregon through his brilliant, but short career. As a runner, I’ve always known who Pre was and obviously heard the stories about how great he was and how his life was tragically cut short in a car accident. I honestly didn’t know much more than that though and loved every page of this book.

Jordan details Pre’s career from high school through college at the University of Oregon to the Olympics, running overseas and his run-ins with the AAU. He talks about his training, his interaction with teammates and others, and his races. There are brief blurbs throughout from people whose lives Pre touched that give you a fuller picture of who Pre was. His work ethic, drive and intensity were unbelievable and unmatched. What really stood out for me was his connection to “his people” in Oregon.

A few of my favorite excerpts:

Bill Dellinger, University of Oregon assistant cross country and track coach at that time, remembers his first glimpse of Pre at that meet. ‘I was standing on a hill. I had my binoculars, and I was probably a good half-mile or 700 yards away from the start. And I saw this guy that had the start position, but it was the look in his eyes, from a half-mile distance, the intensity in his face as the gun went off. I thought That’s got to be Pre.'”

Training was not always all that much fun, as Pre himself admitted. ‘It really gets grim until the competition begins,’ he once said. ‘You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.'”

‘It seemed,’ said Rick Riley, ‘that those of us running in the meet were only minor performers and that any minute the Star would appear and the crowds would roar to life, athlete and spectator giving and taking whatever it I that each needs and wants. I stood there on the track near the finish but he did not appear. The magic was gone forever.'”

Seriously, read this book – you won’t regret it.

PRE

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift.” -PRE

Book Review: Once A Runner

Once A Runner is written by John L. Parker and was originally published in 1978. Just about every running website or magazine has this book listed as a must-read if you’re a runner, but somehow I’d never gotten around to it until recently. A quote from Runner’s World on the back cover reads, “The best piece of running fiction around. Beg, borrow, or buy a copy, and you’ll never need another motivator.”

Once A Runner

Once A Runner

The story follows collegiate runner Quenton Cassidy as him and his teammates train for cross country, indoor track and the spring track season. It shows the devotion and effort it takes to be a competitive runner, and I think anyone who played sports in high school or college can relate to what it takes – particularly in individual sports.

Cassidy dislikes the cross country races and specializes in the mile. The story turns when he brings a petition from the student athletes complaining about athletic dress code and conduct issues that results in his suspension from the track team. It continues to follow Cassidy as he drops out of school and pursues Olympic goals with an unbelievably strong commitment to training.

I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to get into this book. The beginning came off as dated, (probably because I didn’t live in this era) and I didn’t really see how it related to running. Eventually I would see the tie in though, and as it focused more on Cassidy’s dogged pursuit to get faster climaxing in a one mile race against the fastest miler in the world, I was completely entranced. I couldn’t put it down and could not believe how motivating a fictional book could be.

One of my favorite parts of the book was during an interval workout Cassidy completed that perfectly sums up why runners (at least for me) keep going and keep training no matter how hard it is when they’re working towards a goal. I love this quote:

…just as each repetition made the next seem more and more impossible, he knew that without question he would do it. There was no refuge in injury, his body could not be injured in this way. There was no refuge in mercy, there was nothing to forgive and no one to issue dispensation. And at last he saw: there was no refuge in cowardice, because he was not afraid. There was no alternative, it just had to be done.”

If you like running and are looking for a quick read, this book is interesting, relatable and very motivating. Give it a read.