Friday, October 28, 2011

To Walk with Faith

Being that I am a docent for the Missing Peace exhibit on campus....I have been really blown away by the art work that is done. I haven’t written in a while, but this time around I want to post one of my favorite pieces from the exhibit and how I of course Draw it back to running.

This photo I took a quick pic from my iPhone of Adriana Varejao’s photograph. The moment of the person running in mid air barefoot captures all the beauty of the image. For one, the fact that they are running barefoot enhances the liberation felt, while also taking a look at the background being surrounded by leaves and dirt....what cross country is all about heh?

I know the artist didn't originally make this print because of cross country but with a much deeper meaning, but why can’t we take that meaning and put it forth into cross country. Its about the moment. Something I know I have to work on because I dwell too much.

But we gotta start somewhere. Walk in Faith just as the piece is entitled.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bronco Preview '11

Broncos are here to bring it in my final season!
The biggest and hardest of these steps to still learn is...taking one step at a time. Didn't have the best race out there today, but am well aware of my higher fitness level. The realization needs to be on my focus not concerned with others focus and that will be the challenge I will be taking on for the next couple weeks. Otherwise, here I am.

Surf's up.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Photo Essay

Today was one of the few days I have had off and I wanted to get outside and relax for a change. I needed a break from training and work. The mind cannot be on all the time, it needs to be free to wonder and do its thing without forced pressure. Well to be honest I had been pushing it to its limit for some time.

I drove to Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and walked. I was surprised to see how walking with my camera, I was so caught on looking around me at my environment that no other stresses came to my mind. I was in my own state of mind.

Here I have made a photo essay of my hike, what I enjoyed on my day off. This week is the first race of the season for me, and it was good to get out of zone for a bit. Which is my reminder to you guys to smell the roses once in a while.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beauty in our Surroundings

So I realize I haven't written for a while and there is no excuse for that but in the mean time....

...what I do want to say is how great my summer has been thus far. I have been up at school for the past couple weeks now and my runs have been the most beautiful runs I have ever done. Runs where we have been immersed in our surroundings from running on what feels like the top of the world, climbing mountain tops while feeling the mist of the fog, to quickly finding a shift in our trail to Eucalyptus trees camouflaging us to the rest of the world. Out there its just us; and the rythym of our strides running the hill tops of the bay.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day!

Go out and run and enjoy the day! This is what it's about.
Here is some inspiration to get you out the door.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Race Day.

The season seemed to fly by; I couldn’t believe we were at the end. Here we were at the final race of the season, the WCC meet in Oregon.  I was to run the 10k, per my request. After running it once, it of course was harder than I thought, but I knew I could do much better than I had put down. I was excited especially because it has been a while since I had raced it. 

We flew out Saturday morning, yet it didn’t quite feel like I was racing that same evening. Our flight was early, but my race wasn’t until 10:00 pm, which was different but I was excited for it because it is not that often I get to race at night. During the day, we ate lunch, and when arriving at the hotel, I relaxed napped. Then grabbed Subway again for dinner, as I had for lunch; yes that is two foot long subs for the day.

It was feeling like race day now.  Arriving at the track in Willamette, it was beautiful. The outside had some trails nearby to warm up on, with beautiful wildflowers all over. Walking in to the stadium, it covered, with the lights warming up for the upcoming races. 

Before I would warm up, there were plenty of good races; many personal best were set- always helpful in giving a peace of mind. One race specifically almost a school record was an excellent race because the risk was taken to go with the pack, which ultimately led to a huge personal best.  It was my turn to warm up. Running a few laps outside the stadium, I watched in the distance under the lights as the 5k was going off at the same time; a teammate was gunning for revenge from the past seasons and raced the clock.  Running with my iPod, in between songs, all I could hear were my steady breaths and my stride as my feet hit the ground.

Upon arriving back, I gathered my spikes and my arm warmers because it was a chilly evening in Oregon. This would be the first (and probably only time) that the race would be combined with the men. From talking with coach, we both knew they race would probably go out quick because of this. Striding across the infield was feeling more and more at ease as I warmed  up with Linkin Park playing through my headphones so I could block all else out.    

After talking with my coaches, we were called to the starting line. On your mark….the gun went off.
My race was underway with just what I, we went a little quick- I expected that and secretly wanted that. Up through the first couple miles, I was aware of splits and pace I was hitting but had decided, it would not be best to hear my splits throughout the race. I heard a lap here and there but that was it. In the distance I was looking to catch a girl that was fading. Coaches kept me focused for the long run ahead, and not settling because it easy to do in such a run.  Came through the first 5k in 18:30, funny because that was right off my first 5k of the season, in which coach had told me she thought I would run that for my first 5k of the 10k. Here I was.

I was alone now, racing myself. I was focused on the track, trying not to stray off, looking straight ahead. I heard everything that was being said to me, very aware of what others told me to stay on track. I was so focused that I find my rhyme, my mojo perhaps to say that I lost track of my lap count. With the guys racing the same race, the lap count was not for me. I ran another mile or two until…I had to ask. In which I was given two different lap numbers…yeah for the 10k. I was hurting now, but only 5 laps yet. I dug in, in which it feels like I’m pushing hard and running faster, when really that’s what keeps us on pace, we all know that feeling.

Less than a mile. On our goal sheet for the team it was written, to have nothing left. Keep pushing, I wanted to do that. I wanted to be done, where was the final lap? Here it was. I was going. I heard everything louder than ever that lap. The teammates cheering, the coaches yelling, there was nothing to do but go- lift your legs and fly with all the pain. The crossing of the finish line and suddenly the first thing, I ask as the coach come over…..”Did I get it?.....The school record?” It was close, I just missed it by 4 seconds. Ouch.

Although the cool thing was, I spoke with my other teammate who had just missed the school record as well. She said she was glad she didn’t get it because  it was so close in reach for the upcoming year and would lay off the expectations to excel intensely in that event; it game way to be more well rounded. A wise freshman.  The gateway is open for the upcoming season even wider now, knowing we could get that close.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why We Run

"He ran not for crypto-religious reasons, but to win races, to cover ground fast. Not only to be better than his fellows, but better than himself. To be faster by a tenth of a second, by an inch, by two feet or two yards than he had been the week or year before. He sought to conquer the physical limitations placed upon him by a three-dimensional world (and if Time is the fourth dimension, that too was his province). If he could conquer the weakness, the cowardice in himself, he would not worry about the rest; it would come. Training was a rite of purification; from it came speed, strength. Racing was a rite of death; from it came knowledge. Such rites demand, if they are to be meaningful at all, a certain amount of time spent precisely on the Red Line, where you can lean over the manicured putting green at the edge of the precipice and see exactly nothing."
                         Excerpt from Once A Runner

The final race of the season to put it all together is right around the corner. This is indeed why we run; why we compete. I know that I toe the line with this in mind, that I am not only racing those on the line with me, but myself as well, often the toughest opponent.

I heard someone once say, “For once I want to race what I am capable of. That is my goal.” I completely agree with that statement. It is tougher than one would imagine, yet this lies so true among us all. I think this season I haven’t quite done that, but I have come closest to this goal than ever before. I am growing toward the runner I want to become. So I lay this out in mind for the upcoming meets, and anyone out there with races in mind soon to remember this. We race to compete. 

….And well on a lighter note, cause races shouldn’t be all serious- to follow our usual rituals which for me is my favorite Gatorade, lemon lime strawberry! Being part of the meet, we share multiple roles- the athlete, the teammate, the bystander. It’s here; the little quirks that get us excited because we’re in it for the fun of the environment; the breathe of it all.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Self Respect

It was a couple days after the Boston Marathon that I noticed an interview on Runner’s World online with Desiree Davila. She mentioned someone she would love to run with would be Joan Didion, to thank her for her essay, “Self Respect.” I had never heard of this essay before and immediately googled it to read it myself. The title had already caught my interest. I read it over a couple times to take it in. Here are my thoughts on it.

It quickly led me on to realize how often most of us do not even think about self respect…more so because we have this worry of everyone else. I did not become aware of this idea of self respect in this depth as Joan Didion writes until sometime in college. I realize I am still learning because I lose that respect once in awhile. It becomes easier to look at others, rather than look at your own reflection. Put aside your reputation and what others think of you; who are you? What do we want to become?

These are questions Joan Didion asks us to reflect upon. The essay is a classic on taking in our own identity.  We are all careless from time to time, yet those of us who take the gamble of our own risks and remember that was our own gamble, are those who understand self respect. Flattering others does nothing to enhance our own being.  We easily fall into that trap, but it is significant to see that is not the way to understand our self worth. 

So what does this have to do running? Everything.
Perhaps this how Deiree defines herself worth in ways, which has allowed her to define and overtake her own expectations. Running is after all, a very mental sport; to have a grasp on yourself, allows your legs to fly much higher than we ever thought they could at times. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Everything went wrong?

Or did it...

Friday evening was a rush. I can’t say it was the way I imagined it would have happened but all the pieces appear to be falling where they need to and at the right timing too. I am finally breaking away to where I want to be running! It’s funny when we visualize a race and imagine the way we want to see it planed it out; we want it so perfectly done…yet that is hardly the case. 

Why is that? Perhaps it is because when a turn of events happens, we have the least amount of time to think about. The only option one really has is to just roll with it because well things happen and its part of racing.
It’s funny because from this all we find parts of ourselves that come through when we least expect it. That strength that is hidden; there is always more than we suspect. A friend of mine told me, “What’s the worst thing that will happen? You run slow. That’s it.” And that honestly is the worst thing that will happen, and it happens. 

Just roll with it and see how you could have more control than you anticipated.  Change up the pace. 5k at sub 18 pace is feeling more natural to my stride. How far under could I go.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who keeps you running?

Hope this sparks a little bit of inspiration on your next run, but also reminds us who keeps you running. Well for me, it was my high school cross country coach, as crazy as he may be I learned the most I could ever learn about running while running for him. It was because of him, our team took in the realization that the limits on the human body are from what most believe.
Talk about eating, sleeping, and running. That was our lives for those four years of high school and we absolutely loved it! There were absolutely no regrets about it because we were living the dream of running. Traveling and racing together; breathing in everything there was to know about the sport which became our passion solely on the dedication of our coach. He had very unique ways in drawing us in, but he taught us all we needed to know. Yet even now years later, talking with teammates we still have the urge for our high school philosophy. Running has truly taken me places I never would have known, and this is where it started.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Once A Runner

Since I just started this blog, I want to give a better understanding of it. First off, to recognize the title one should have read the famous book, Once A Runner. If you haven’t read it ….then shame on you and get a copy! Every competitive runner could relate to this book through the physical pain we suffer, to the mental uniqueness of hanging for what feels like dear life in a race. Here is quote to impart you with some thoughts of your own trials and perhaps reflect on how you hope to overtake them over your miles to go.

     "He wanted to impart some of the truths Bruce Denton had taught him, that you don’t' become a runner by winning a morning workout. The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many days, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials. How could he make them understand?"
                                                                                  - John L. Parker Jr.  

Seeing myself in the book, I decided to make it my theme. I want to write about my experiences and how running is a huge part of who I am. This is small way for me to voice to the world my passion in the sport, through my thoughts and images. So enjoy! And hopefully I could enlighten you a little with my reflections.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Finish Line

All track and cross country athletes have felt the sentiment of the finish, yet most skip over that instant of serenity. No matter what the outcome of your race, there is that moment, swift as it may be when one crosses the finish the line; we are at peace with ourselves.  Just as it came, the moment is gone and the emotion and fatigue has settled. 

As brief as it is, it is an instant where we are content with ourselves and our surroundings.  Sometimes this feeling is overlooked. For the first time, I was quite aware of it this past weekend when coming across the finish line.

I had a time in mind, in which I did hit that time, feeling content with myself and those around me. I know I had finally found that right balance with running; a struggle I have had since starting my collegiate career. There was no overwhelming weight hanging on me anymore. My passion is still there and only growing stronger, after a tug of war with the past seasons. I feel more comfortable than ever before. 

Next time you step on that line, remember to cherish that moment when you cross it, for the flash of gratitude.