Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend of Running and Philosophizing

Philosophizing, is that even a real word???

/checks middle school dictionary
//discovers it is a real word, even with a "z" in it.

This weekend I was lucky enough to participate in a 12 km trail race up at Devils Thumb Ranch up in the mountains.  It was a really difficult race, as it was all on narrow or wet or rocky trails, it started at 8600 ft, eventually climbing up to 9000 feet, and the competition was pretty stiff.  The results are not posted online, but according to my Garmin watch, I ran the 7.6 mile course in one hour and thirty seven seconds, for a nice even pace of 8 min/mile.

Beth and I nordic ski pretty regularly at DTR, so I was knew what the trails and what the steepness would be.  The race started out pretty flat, but then was going to climb two monster hills.  One hill I have skied a number of times, and I knew it was moderately tough, and the other hill was an unknown to me.  This presented a little bit of a conundrum during the race.  I didn't know how hard to push myself on the opening fields, as I didn't want to burn myself out for the two hills at the end.  I ended up not really pushing it until 3-4 km into the race.  The race turned onto a flatter trail that was after a short little steep climb.  By then, the all the racers had really thinned out, and I just felt it was time to get going and start reeling in racers before the big hills.  I might not pass them, but I felt I needed to be close to them at the start of the hills to be able to make my move going up the hill.

So, my plan of saving for the hills was somewhat thwarted, as the first hill was bypassed, and the second hill was not as brutal as I thought.  That meant I had tons of energy for the killer downhill off the unknown hill, and it was a BLAST!  Right at the start of the downhill, I passed two people, then I was behind a guy in red, and I just couldn't get around him.  It was a narrow, rocky, tree-y trail, and we were just bombing down it.  It was more of a free-fall than a run, and it was so exhilarating.  We were leaping off rocks, flying over streams, dodging a horse in the trail (yeah, there was horse and cowboy in the middle of the trail).  I felt like I was 15 years younger, when I used to run off the mountains in NH as fast as I could.  We ran at this breakneck pace for at least two kilometers, then it opened up into the meadows again.  We were about 3 km from the finish, so I just took off as hard as I could.  I had one mini-hill to lose red guy, then tried to chase down gray guy.  Those last two kilometers, I was redlining it, and when I finally finished, I was 100% spent.  All I remember is slowly falling to my knees, then rolling over onto my back, then Chloe launching herself up onto my stomach.  It was a tough race, but it was more fun than tough, which is how races should be.  Huge shout out to Igor and the crew at DTR, the put on great races no matter what season it is.

So, where is the "philosophizing" you might be asking?  It hit me during the race, that I, as well as others, are too caught up in results of racing.  Sure, it is great that James Kadolph ran a 16:05 at Liberty Bell, or that the Sierra 8th gr. girls went undefeated in 2011, or that the CHS boys 4 x 800 team was State Champs this spring.  I do not want to take anything from those accomplishments.  However, when I was trying to strategize during the race, when I was tapping before the race, when I was flying down that hill at the end of the race, I realized it didn't matter what place I got, all that mattered was that I was having fun and I was pushing myself to get better.

Sometimes websites and coaches and parents and athletes can get too caught up in "What was your time, what was your place?" instead of worrying about "How did you race?"  Bode Miller once said (and I am paraphrasing) that it didn't matter whether he got a medal or not, what mattered was how he raced.  He likened a ski race to a work of art, and I really can see where he is coming from now.  I might not have won the race this weekend, but I was really psyched with how I raced, with how I fought, with how I prepared.  And I think we need a lot more of that in running.  We need more of focusing on the total picture, not just the end result.


/commence hammering me with "you hypocrite" comments. :)

The snow-capped mountains are much more impressive than my struggling form. 

Chloe with her hot cocoa,  a veteran of the race watching circuit.

The best support team anyone could have!

Slavins Invite Pics

Here are some pics from the Slavins Race on Friday afternoon.

Jess in the water, Char above the water.

Mariah and Kat splashing through the gulch.

Emilie leading Ashley through the water hazard.

Sierra Boys - 3rd place overall

Sierra Girls - Undefeated 2011 season

Lots of trophies, lots of ribbons, even more smiles.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More MS XC Bragging

Today we took the athletes to the Slavins XC meet up at Harvard Gulch GC today. It was a HUGE meet, with over 850 athletes running. Without a week of disciplined practice, the boys got an astounding third overall, and the girls came in first! One of the boys mentioned it today, but our 8th grade girls won every race they competed in. They went 6-0 in dual meets, then won their district championship, then won this prestigious invitational meet against schools from all over the city! I think that is a feat that has never been accomplished, and most certainly will never be duplicated. Just amazing, this class of female, and male runners, they are just amazing. We certainly will miss them next year.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Middle School XC Champs Results

8th grade girls repeated as division champs again this year, as well as the 8th grade boys.  Winning the DougCo division title two years in a row is a very impressive feat, so huge congratulations are due to those  guys and girls.

The 7th grade girls came in 3rd, the 7th grade boys came in 4th, which was a great showing out of nine teams participating.

Overall the Sierra Eagles came in third, which we are very proud of.  It was a great year, and it bodes well for running at Sierra and at Chaparral.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Jenny Barringer Simpson World Champion

This is a great video of JBS winning the 1500 m gold in the world championships the other day.  People are commenting on her shock and disbelief after she wins, but what I notice is her calmness and composure the entire race.  There is a fall, right in front of her, she avoids it without breaking stride.  And during her delayed slingshot, there is not tightening up, no tenseness, just smooth striding it out home.  What an awesome race, yeah Jenny!