Saturday, December 7, 2013

Think long term

While the days leading up a to big race are always so exciting, I actually also love the weeks that are furthest from races almost as much, if not more.  There is so much promise and vision during this time and so much you can do to control your own destiny.  You are pretty far removed from your upcoming goal so you are really forced to take things one workout at a time, while of course keeping your eyes on the prize.  Your energy levels remain pretty even keel from workout to workout.  High keyed emotion is removed when looking at performance goals when your goal race/races are in the distance.  

I actually just re-read that above paragraph and realize this is how I also feel about coaching my team, and in particular my pitching staff who I work closely with.  We had a tremendous fall.  I felt like I may have had the best fall of my career as a coach in terms of devising workouts that pertain to each individual pitcher and progressing each one along accordingly.  It's funny how the most unlikely sources can lead you to a place and I would like to thank Coach Tony as being a tremendous influence because I thought a lot about how he communicates to our team and what his approach is when planning.  It really inspired me this fall.  I need to tell him that someday.  I am both a coach and a coached athlete…what a great way to learn how to apply both qualities to one another.  As a coach, you learn how to take perspective into workouts and races (kind of…as many of you know, I still get in my own way sometimes with my standards and constantly feeling I fall short or that I am just plain inadequate…I can certainly become irrational at times - like on Thursday when I told Tony I was tired of being the slowest runner on CPTC…I loved that he told me to stop being dramatic…and then told me he understood because he was the same way).  As a coached athlete, you understand the process that the coach is trying to take with you…you try to learn patience…and you want to make sure you don't let your coach down.  

Coach TR and Amy at the CPTC Benefit Dinner at NYAC…He had the funniest quote the other day on my workout recap:  "IF THE KENYANS AND ETHIOPIANS ARE DOING THEIR LONG RUNS AT AN 8 MINUTE PACE, THEN WHY ARE YOU DOING IT AT A 7:50 PACE?"  HAHAHA

Right now I am preparing for a short indoor track season.  Wow.  Did I just say that?  I have never even attended an indoor track meet, let alone run in one but I am on board with Tony's philosophy that I need to improve all of the different systems - especially in the speed and short distance and xc departments - so here's the start of it.  Had my first workout at the armory and let me tell you…this track thing is no joke.  My friend Colleen had the most hilarious comment to my Facebook status the other day.  I put something along the lines that "the jury was still out on how I felt about the Armory".  She responded with "I felt like I was in a video game…and was losing"  Hahaha.  Colleen, I am still laughing.  Priceless.  That place was chaos!  And I was DYING.  5 x 1k's was the death of me last Tuesday.  

Regardless, The Armory is an amazing facility.  I have heard that several Olympic athletes train here.  That gives me goosebumps.  How awesome!

This plan will be a little de-railed when I have to start training for Boston - I have decided to run the marathon and Tony said he understood and would probably do it himself just based on last year's tragic events and stuff so I'm in.  I am not really expecting much for this race because as many of you know, I am in the middle of my softball season and will have been on the road for 8-9 weeks and working 7 days a week and everything else that is crazy with coaching at the DI level and being in season so I will train to be ready for it as best I can and see what happens.  Is anyone else on the "long run Monday" plan?  Ugh.  I actually kind of can't wait until it's over so I can truly start to focus on other things.  I thought it would be more difficult to give up the marathon…but really, I can't wait.  I'm sure as the excitement builds next year for it, I will miss that I am not a part of it but I can be a cheerleader so that's fun and productive too!  I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving and when I was done and needed zippo recovery and felt fine within 10 seconds of finishing, and had no time to recover with regards to workouts, and could continue training, etc. I thought "why do I do marathons again?"

The 5K was really fun actually.  It was a cold day and very windy.  I have run in 3 races this fall and every one of them has been run in gale force head winds of 15-20mph with gusts up to 30mph.  Just my luck!  At least I am now an experienced "wind runner".  My sister and I decide a few weeks before Thanksgiving that we'd do the Newman YMCA 5K in Seekonk, MA.  Being the ridiculous competitor that I am, I looked up the results of the previous 5 years to see what my chances were to win the thing.  The winning times ranged anywhere from 17-24 minutes so it was going to be a matter of who decided to show up.  I certainly wasn't running 17-18 minutes for a 5K coming off a marathon recovery cycle or probably ever…well, maybe in the 18's??  My PR is a 19:32.  The last few years the winner has been in the 20 minute range so that was feasible.  I wanted to go to a small town race and win!  I ended up finishing 2nd behind a former XC runner from Stonehill.  She ran an 18:51.  I was over a minute slower at 20:07.  Oh well.  

More importantly it was a pretty good race for me.  Tony told me to go out at 6:45 pace, but of course true to form I was a little faster.  According to my Garmin my splits were 6:32, 32, 34 which is super even.  The course must have been a little short though because a 20:07 has me averaging 6:28.  So either the Garmin is messed up or the course was off.  I did get 3.07 miles on the garmin and my sister got 3.12 so who knows.  I won my age division by 3.5 minutes so that's positive.  I finished 9th overall - only one woman and seven guys finished ahead of me.  Gotta love small town races.  Below is my sister and I at the starting line and then some of me at the awards ceremony!  Ok, I'm a tool….

Proud of my sister Christi.  She ran a 25:51, which is an 8:19 pace and I think that's damn good for her.  She was 6th in our age group.  That's awesome!

Next up for me is a team relay in Central Park tomorrow which should be REALLY fun.  I have never been a part of a relay team so it's cool that you are running for something other than yourself.  I am the lead off leg and doing 3.5 miles.  My team is VERY fast…we have two absolute studs on the team in Lauren C and Lauren G.  I watch in awe as those women run our workouts - they are sooooo fast.  And I mean legit fast.  I am just happy to be a part of it.  We also have Shaunessy on our team who has impressed the heck out of me with her improvement.  Lauren G will make up for my lost time in the 5-mile leg and then Lauren C will continue with the 6 mile leg.  Shaunessy will finish strong for us with the 1.7 mile leg.  I can't wait!!  I told Lauren C I was really nervous and that I didn't want to let the team down.  Her response was "OMG Amy I haven't even thought about that race.  I really don't care.  I only care that you have a bite of my tart when we are finished."  Haha.  Maybe I would have that approach if I could run sub-6 minute miles too.  But probably not.  Meanwhile I have been obsessing about it!

This will be me as they watch me come through:

I was going to run the 15K next week but after talking it over with Tony I decided not to do it.  I'm fine with that too.  Concentrating on my long term goals is way more important than a quick fix of racing a 15K in the park.  He told me that you have to make sacrifices and that the long term matters.  "Running is unforgiving" he said. He said I would have to recover the week after and that would take time away from training.   If long term is important, as well as remaining healthy, he said to take a pass on the 15K.  It is, and I will.

I will leave you with a quote that is at the core of my belief system not just of coaches and leaders but of anyone looking to do extraordinary things:


  1. another year = more races to look forward to. sometimes the best results happen when you least expect it. Btw awesome job by clinching the ladies team title @ Ekiden.