>All life’s lessons can be found in Dawson’s Creek

>I’m serious – just think it over. And don’t discount the seasons where they are at college.

In other news, I am at my 2.5 week mark for getting back into training…and I’m already at a mental wall. There is a lot for me to get done in 24 weeks, not to mention everything going on in real life and not running life. Hopefully having a break from work for the next few days will leave me recharged and ready to continue to come back hard in 2009.

Happy New Year everyone!

>Inside the mind of a genius

>I constantly get people asking me if I listen to music when I do my long runs/races, and when I say no they always want to know what I think about for all those hours. Thus, I’d like to shed some light onto what exactly are some of the things I think about when I run. Yesterday I spent about 2.5 hours at Susquehanna (NOTE – I did not see another human being this whole time, the trails are in great condition and it was awesome. Only 35 minutes away!), and here is what I thought about:
1. What are the odds of a deer running into me?
2. What are the odds of me running over a squirrel that darts out in front of me and killing it?
3. Would I hook up with Michael Phelps if I ran into him out in Baltimore? (Answer: yes, obvi. And I’d try to steal a medal.)
4. Would I hook up with Flacco if I ran into him out in Baltimore? (Answer: Probably…mostly because I would try to fix his unibrow….)
4. I am currently reading Outliers. One of the main points of the book is that people like professional athletes, or just very successful people – i.e. Bill Gates, have worked hard and have natural talent to get them to where they are now, but their success has also depended heavily on other factors. These factors are things like when they were born, where they went to college, who their mentors were, or any other lucky break they may have had. He proves that all of these factors culminate in that person having the opportunity for extensive experience and practice in their field. I’m not sure if that explanation makes sense, but basically after studying all these people, he discovered that people reach their peak abilities in whatever field after 10,000 hours of practice. He argues that more than that doesn’t really improve your abilities, but less than that can drastically hurt your performance. So I thought a lot about how long it would be until I logged 10,000 hours of running. I came up with the approximation of 35 years old. Interestingly, most female ultrarunners are about 35 at their peak. hmm.
5. I wish I didn’t fall in that stream in the first mile.
6. I wonder how long it would take people to find me here if I fell off the trail and down into the river.
7. I wish I brought a Snickers.
8. I wonder if I can make it through all of New Years in heels.
9. Do I even have flats to match my NYE dress?

>observash

>My roommates and I drank more bottles of wine this week (6) than boxes (1)….
Oh, how classy we have become.

>Add it to the list…

>In addition to my already awes list of things I am going to invent slash publish, I will add this:

A GPS that has a “please don’t take me through the projects to get me to my destination” button.

>Don’t take it forgranted

>In the spirit of Christmas (or maybe because I watched Marley & Me and am a bit weepy), this post is a bit sentimental. Today I was home for the holidays, and while the turkey was cooking I said I was going to go for a long run. Immediately, my dad chirped in and said “oh great, I’ll come with you!” My facial expressions must have divulged my initial reaction of “oh shoot, I wanted to make it a pretty hard run” and he offered that I didn’t have to go with him, or I could drop him after a bit if I needed to. Of course that wasn’t really an option, and I told him I’m happy to go with him and if I wanted to go longer afterwards I always could.

So we set out on our usual route down the bike trail. This is the first year where I have really started to notice how my own fitness has surpassed his. Don’t get me wrong – he’s still really active and in shape for a man in his mid-fifties, but when I run with him I always think it will be like when I was 10 and he was pushing me through 5k’s and 10k’s. I could feel him struggling at an 8:30 pace, so we backed it off to 9’s and I answered all his questions about my race plans and training, saying more than I probably had to so that he didn’t have to talk. We turned around and were able to pick it up a little more since we were warmed up. When we were about a mile from home, he asked me how far I was running, and I said that since we will have done about 5 miles, I’ll probably add on another 4 after. A half mile later, he told me to be safe and run smart, and that he was going to walk the rest in to the house. This caught me by surprise, as my dad is usually as competitive as I am and doesn’t cut a run short. I was pretty torn at first – walking would mean getting cold and having to warm back up for the 2nd half. However, I decided to stop and walk with him. Not only was it Christmas, but it was my dad after all. I went back to the house with him, chatting about the movie and the cats at home. When we got home, I said I’d see him in a few minutes and got back to the rest of my workout.

When I was running by myself, I realized I never want to allow myself to become so self-absorbed in my training and my race plans to skip out on that time with him. Even though the workout was not what I wanted initially, it was worth it to spend that time with my dad. Without him I probably would have never started running in the first place, and he’s certainly worth a half-mile walk back home.

>Quote of the day

>This little gem pretty much sums up my experiences of banking on Christmas Eve:

Customer speaking to me: Girl, I saw your ass and I know you get attention from black men, so let me just tell you if you ever get knocked up by a black man please bring that child to me to do its hair, because you know that white and black hair don’t mix. And girl you know that child would be cute…just something to think about.

Me: um, okay, thanks….Merry Christmas!

>If you had to clean your goldfish…

>

how would you do it? Due to a recent lack of attention to Mr. and Mrs. Sippi and their living environment, they have developed an interesting black tone to their scales (poss mold?!). They would not let us get hold of them to scrub them with a toothbrush. That was our only idea. Can you help us?

>Swagger of a college kid

>It never ceases to amaze me how slow and fat I can feel and seven days later feel awesome and fit. I love the realization that even though I feel like I haven’t put in any quality workouts in awhile, after a few hard sessions I have my legs back and I’m ready to go. This past week I ran 49 miles, spent 3.5 hours on the bike (plus 2 more spinning), and swam 9500. Granted, that includes a day off work when I was able to complete an entire triathlon as a workout, as well as a weekend training trip to Charlottesville, but my Thursday/friday were pretty light so I’m happy with the results.

Charlottesville was exactly what I needed. A quality coaching sesh laid out some plans for WS training. More importantly than planning out a few big training weekends though, was the mental checkup that it provided me. It got me thinking about what exactly I wanted out of this race and what I absolutely didn’t want involved in the preparation for racing as well as the race itself. One of the great things that came out of this is my decision to not attend the training weekend for WS over memorial day weekend. Instead, I am going to travel out to Cali the first weekend in May and run the same distances, but with Frannie and Gill instead of 700 strangers. My reasons for this are:
1. it will be less expensive and I will not have to sleep in a car and
2. I will not have to deal with a bajillion other douchebaggy ultrarunners who want to know how many miles I have run since whatever day and how many races I have run and won.
The last thing I will need a month out from this race is a million different people trying to give me advice on how to run when they hear it’s my first 100. This way, I am still just an anonymous runner when I toe the starting line in June. I have no one watching me except for myself, and I will be able to quietly prepare without having anyone freak me out with a million questions or horror stories. I’d rather have the people out West wondering who the hell I am when I’m a contender after 60 miles, than to have people anticipating a great race from me before I’ve even started 🙂

When I was down in C-ville, Francesca and Gill also showed me the trailer for a reality TV show that will feature them, “Run for your Life.” I am in the trailer – awes – and you can go here to watch it.

This week will be more of the same. Swimming this morning finally felt good again, I’m pretty pumped to be on my bike and riding well, and I’m picking my mileage back up again without problems. yay me.

>Lists

>5 things I would enjoy seeing/hearing more of in 2009:
-Reruns of Ally McBeal
-Reruns of Mad About You
-The song Betty Davis Eyes
-New seasons of Real World/Road Rules challenges
-Hot trainer at the gym

5 things I would enjoy seeing/hearing less of in 2009:
-a certain roommate
-“you need to come into work early”
-“you need to stay late at work”
-“Sorry…Dan finished your gallon of milk last night”
-Red lights on Fleet Street

Moral of this story: I really like TV. I really dislike work, stopping at red lights on my way to/from work, one roommate, and one roommate’s boyfriend.

>Getting a coach

>Last night in the car the subject of getting a coach and how beneficial it can be to your training came up in conversation. If you know me at all, you already know I am a huge proponent of hiring a coach, or at least seeking out a mentor of some sorts to help you with your training. This was my first year working with Frannie to help me improve my running. The time commitment was pretty minimal. We meet 3-6 months out from a goal race and plan out my training. She gives me 3 key workouts to do during each week, and the other ones are loosely defined to give me the ability to do what I want and keep things interesting. About once a week we touch base with a phone call or e-mails depending on how much time I have, and we go through what is working and what isn’t. She then amends my training plan according to these discussions to fine tune it for the race.

A lot of people are quick to say that with their training logs and their own knowledge of the sport they don’t need a coach. If you’re getting faster on your own what’s the point, right? Well I was getting faster on my own too. But there is something about having a coach who cares about your training when you don’t want to…who asks you the questions that you don’t think about when you’re done with a training run or a race…who believes that you can be better than you are now, and is always pushing you to the next step. Or, who is there to listen when things are frustrating because of an injury or just being super tired. I respect Frannie not only as a runner, but as a person as well, and I would put forth my best effort into any training plan she expected me to do. I never slack off on her expectations for training like I may allow myself to do with my own.

I admit that I have been lucky to find Frannie, and to have become a good friend of hers along the way. Not everyone has a coach who is so committed to them, or who would think of inviting their client to their house for a training weekend like the one I have coming up. However, not everyone may want to be that close to someone who will be putting them through some hellish workouts. You have to find the balance that works for you. All I know is that after working with Frannie for 3 months I won GEER against several women who have always beaten me considerably in the past, and 2 months after that I had an excellent race at JFK as well. I am confident that her guidance will lead me to a great race at Western States as well.

I have also recently been fortunate enough to have begun working with someone who I consider to be a coach in a different aspect of my life – diet & nutrition. Melissa Bosslet, of EB Nutrition, recently sat down with me to take a look at what I am eating now and how I can make some changes to be more beneficial for not only my overall health but also for the training I am putting in. I can honestly say in the first 3 days of changing some simple things with my diet I am already noticing some benefits, and I’m looking forward to what is to come with it. I will give it a couple weeks before I give it a complete writeup on how it’s going.