Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning About Yourself

My days right now are a discombobulated mess: eat, train, sleep, apartment hunt, no particular order...even the "repeat."  My father and I arrived in Austin in the early evening of last Wednesday and hit the ground running, literally: 12 hours post-arrival I was on Town Lake.  After that, Costco - you can take the girl out of the north, but you can't take the Costco out of the girl - and start the search for a permanent place to live.

I am so thankful that I know the city's lay-out and how/where to train here.  Or else I think my head would have actually already spun around and popped off.

When I arrived I was tired of living out of a suitcase.  You understand, that phrase - "living out of a suitcase" - has two meanings: 1) moving quickly from one place to another, unpacking as little of the one bag you have as necessary at each stop, and 2) staying and perhaps settling into each location, but having access to a limited total number of belongings at any given stop.  I mean #1, as real living out of a suitcase and training full-time do not mesh well, because while I can - and do - live on roughly 20 pieces of clothing, the lack of basic permanency wreaks havoc on your training and sleep schedule and recovery routine.  Anyway, for a week I have been living out of a suitcase in the first sense and it really needed to end. 

Add to that the fact that I have anticipated this move for months and now that I am actually in Austin, I want the move to be over.  I've already expended a good amount of emotional energy on moving here, and in truth, the process hasn't even started, all I've done so far is leave DC.  I still have to find a place to live, get my stuff out of storage and moved into the new space, and then unpack.  When all I want to do is have the ability to come home after a workout, change into comfy clothing, make food, sit, and eat food, and maybe watch some TV with my feet up.

My Gracious Host has me covered with a roof etc. until I find a place, but that hasn't saved me from having to show up to look at apartments in spandex, heading to or from a session.  At least I'm honest about who I am and what makes me tick...

But as far as the access part of living out of a suitcase, I have found that plus-or-minus a permanent place to live, the belongings I have with me right now (the game wouldn't be fair without knowing the rules: my trainer and TV are in the back of my car and I'm counting them) would suffice just fine.  I mean, I have been doing it for two months and thus far have avoided being naked in public.  Seriously, as long as I didn't have to attend a wedding, funeral, or Capitol Hill job interview, I could dress and train indefinitely on everything in my suitcase or my bike box (and car)....

Except, I have come to realize, my blender.  I had no clue how reliant I was on my blender in DC, how integral smoothies were to my daily routine and nutrition.  So after 36 hours and several recovery-smoothie-less sessions, I broke down and went to three Goodwill's....and found nothing.  What is up Austin?!?!?  Are you all blender hoarders or something?  Twenty cracked, chipped, and moldy coffee makers at each location, but no blenders.  Pathetic.

At which point I asked my mom is she remembered where my blender was packed.  You guessed it: the back of my car.  My mom is freaking brilliant!!  And see, I told you I could live only on the things in my suitcase, bike box, and car...

Ok, so I have learned that I should not be separated from my blender and which 20 pieces of clothing complete my wardrobe.  More important are some things several of my athletes have learned about themselves.  Three of them raced the National Marathon and Half-Marathon two weekends ago, and all three PR'd in their respective distances.  PRs feel great (ok, maybe sometimes only after crossing the finish line), but they are lessons as well, about how hard we can push and just exactly what we are capable of.  There is a great passage in Once A Runner about how racing is completely objective, and since racing lacks the awarding of beauty points of any kind, a personal best race time might as well be tattooed on a runner's forehead because it is who they are.  That time determines exactly where they stand in the pecking order, from now until the day they die, and only a faster time reshuffles the order.

Well, S., P., and A. deserve some new tattoos.

S. took 6 mins off of her half-marathon PR, which she had just set in January after a few months of working with me and committing to consistencyconsistencyconsistency.

P. took 6 mins off of his marathon PR, going from sub-3 to very convincingly sub-3, and going 3 mins faster than his goal time for the race.  This despite, in his words, getting "real ugly from like 20 on."  My response: "your ugly still looks pretty good."

And A....A. took 25 - TWENTY.FIVE. - minutes off of his marathon PR, beating his goal time for the race by 8 minutes.  Simple math shows that he dropped nearly one minute PER MILE.  Just thinking about that makes my head spin.

So incredibly proud of S., P., and A., as well as the rest of my athletes who continue to train hard for their upcoming races.  The season has just begun!

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