Reporting to you from central Florida tonight. Just taking a little time out tonight to chill out, relax and prepare for our weekend of 6 games ahead. We've been on the road 7 days now and while I love softball season and get excited for every game we play, 7 days on the road (which will eventually be 10 days) is not easy. It takes us all away from routines, normal sleep patterns (not to mention our own beds), and does take its toll on the body. Cold weather schools definitely have it tough as many of us have to open up our first 20+ games on the road. We are in the airport every weekend (an experience that is on my top 5 all time worst things to do) flying to some warm climate when really there are not many warm climates anywhere and we end up freezing most places we go anyhow. We've even had some chilly days in Florida from time to time, although this year we've been to Florida twice already and the weather has been warm enough so that we aren't quadruple layered up…well I am, but I'm nuts. For some reason I am always, always, always cold. Last weekend was a tough one for us up in Athens, GA in the results column. We had some really positive things go down but it just didn't show up favorably in the results column. Playing nationally ranked opponents, including host UGA twice and UAB, will do that to you. Strength of schedule is pretty important to me although I will give some merit to my critics (you know who you are) that a balanced schedule can be as beneficial. I have taken that into consideration for next season actually but of course we will still see the likes of Tennessee, USF, San Diego State and some other high caliber opponents. It's really tough to strategically schedule in softball because you don't often know who is going to which tournaments, which teams will pull out and subsequently be replaced with, you never know who will be a strong team in any given year, etc. I am more than 1/2 way done with my 2015 schedule (and have been done with it since before Christmas) which is crazy. I'm just waiting on Big East to come out with our conference schedule and I need to schedule our local midweek games and we'll be locked in for 2015. My softball life is so very structured. For someone who enjoys spontaneity, I am like a dichotomy. I have actually become a little less spontaneous as I age. But I still do like random trips and visits and stuff like that. Well, I expect big things from our team this weekend. It's starting to be crunch time and we need to begin to pick up steam so we can lift the confidence going into conference play. This weekend will be a great start…
So I've been on the road in a different city over the course of the last 4 weeks but it hasn't put too much of a damper on my training. I actually had a stretch where I was killing workouts…no coincidence that it was a week and a half where we had no traveling or games. I had time to be at home and run on my own turf with my team without waking up at ridiculous hours to get workouts in. My last two tempo's have not been up to par in my book and again, no coincidence that both workouts came just before and well into a road trip. So many people say that running relieves stress…and it does for sure, however when I carry stress into a workout it affects the outcome tremendously. Tremendously. When you are trying to run at optimal levels under a ton of stress (at least for me), it slows me down as evidenced by my last two tempo's. Tony wanted me to run today's 5 mile tempo at a 6:40 pace. He thinks I can race a half marathon at that pace. I think that is a little ambitious right now but he knows better than me. So I set out at what I thought was a conservative pace this morning (6:51) and by mile 3 I was toast. It probably didn't help that I was battling wind and rain but at some point those "excuses" aren't good enough anymore. I ended up finishing the run averaging 6:58 but the thing that pissed me off most was that I ran my last two miles slower than my first two. That is the exact opposite of what I am trying to do. But I went out thinking I was being conservative. I really need to keep it above 7's on the first mile of a tempo so I can finish strong. Lesson learned. The positive was that after the 5 mile tempo, I had a 4 minute recovery jog and then had to do a mile in the 6:30 range. Tony said this would be a good workout for the kick at the end of a marathon. Who has a kick at the end of a marathon, btw? Ha. I will! I wondered how that would be after quasi-bombing the tempo…I ended up running pretty well and pretty even and actually felt ok. I ran it in 6:34 which is not quite 6:30 but is in the range I'd say. I was happy with it. Plus tempo's are really hard to do solo. Got another long run in (again, on the road and in a completely different climate) on Monday. The weather was sunny, 75 and relatively humid but I still ran a solid pace. Kept it just under 8 minutes with my last 3 miles being my fastest. I actually had to work hard to keep a steady pace for the last 8 miles because I didn't realize just how windy it was. When I turned around and realized it was whipping (later found out it was 19mph winds), I thought to myself "geeze…no wonder it felt so easy on the way out!!" Of course I lost track of where I was on the trail and ended up running an extra few miles (the 18 miler turned into the 20+ miler). I essentially walked/jogged 4 miles trying to figure out where the heck I was. I could smell my skin baking in the sun. No joke. I hadn't put sunscreen on because it runs into my eyes and stings the heck out of them. Anyhow, I was happy with the quality of the long run and with 6.5 weeks out until Boston, I feel like things are rolling along. I'm not going to be breaking any world records in this one, but I do hope to execute properly. That's my goal. Execute a race plan properly. The best thing about this training cycle is that other than a few niggles, I have been pretty healthy. KNOCK.ON.WOOD.
Got to see Tim a few days ago, which is actually what prompted the headline of my blog post tonight. I'm kind of a loner in the world. I am not the most social thing going and most nights would prefer to just chill out alone, go to bed early and focus on my running and coaching. At times I kind of feel like I am missing out but when I think about hanging out in groups of people doing social things, I realize I would just rather not. With that all being said and while I don't have many people in my life, I have a select few people that just have a special place in my heart. I speak to a few of them often, a few rarely and a few next to never but they never leave my mind and never leave my heart. I'd go out on a limb to say I probably still love some of them in a capacity I can't quite explain and don't really understand. I guess not all feelings can be explained, much to the chagrin of my anal desire to understand everything completely. "Why?" is my favorite question in the world.
These people to me are those that get me and that can just pick up where we left off…a sort of timeless comfort level that transcends anything. I probably have about 4-5 people in my life in this capacity. All in different parts of the country. Tim is one of them. The day I left Florida for good goes down in my books as one of the hardest days of my life. He is and will always be one of my dearest friends. The dynamic I have with these people in my life is typically centered around the fact that they get me, make me laugh, are highly intelligent, and have qualities that I admire (smart, funny, witty, successful, do something uniquely well and care about me on a pretty deep level which in turn is reciprocated). Ironically most of these folks are loner types like me. Hmmm.
I'm pretty tired. I have a 5:00am wake up call tomorrow so I can get a light 6-mile recovery run, some core, some pushups and of course breakfast in before games. This girl doesn't miss a meal. Time to hit the hay.
|This stands true for so many things in my life….|