S.O.S!

Save our souls? Was I on another crashed cruise ship or lost on an island with only a volleyball for company? Sure, that would explain why I haven’t blogged in so long and seem to have fallen off the edge of the Earth, but luckily for me, that isn’t the case. I actually meant S.O.S as in Speaking Of Sushi. Sure, it may seem random, but give me some time to explain. Raw fish and rice wrapped in seaweed have more in common with a running blog than you would think. Even if the only connection is that I’m a runner and that I love sushi. Either way …

My dad and I's favorite!

My birthday is coming up in the next few weeks (a lady never shares her age!) and as my parents and I are leaving for vacation next weekend, I was surprised on Friday night witha surprise birthday dinner. I showed up with my parents at our favorite sushi restaurant only to be ushered to a large table in the back instead of our usual seats at the bar. When I saw the table, I was able to guess what was going on. My coach and his wife, along with eight of my good friends, were all there. Ah, I had no clue! Most of them had known about the dinner for the past week or two and had been able to keep it a secret from me the whole time. I was so surprised. Again, no clue whatsoever. The night was originally supposed to be my parents and I going out to dinner, but seeing as I was the only one following that plan, the night ended up with everyone having dinner then going to see The Hunger Games as we had reserved tickets. I’m not usually one for big group events since I like more one-on-one situations better, but after moving around the table a few times, I was able to talk to everyone that had come and express my amazement at their secrecy. Even though several of them do track and we had spent runs together and time at practice together everyday, none of them had let onto the plan at all. With my schedule as busy as it is, I’m not too surprised that I didn’t pick up on anything, but wow. I still can’t believe that they all pulled it off and came together to do that. Too cool. I love my family and friends. :-)

On another note, track has been off to a good start! I mentioned a little bit about our first meet, but since then we’ve had one more meet and yet another coming up this Wednesday. Only two of “my boys” were able to make it to the meet last week but, as expected, kicked some butt and found themselves to be in great shape for the beginning of the season. Of course they would never admit to that and instead say, “Oh, it went okay.” but now you really know! Our meet on Wednesday is on our home track and is a special relay meet. Instead of the individual races like usual, each race is co-ed and made up of four people. I’m running in the 4x800m, which my school has won the past two years! No pressure. I’m also running in the 4x1600m, and seeing that the group of distance runners we have is pretty good, and only one school might offer up some competition, it will be an interesting race! (I suppose now we don’t have a choice in losing to the other team as this probably counts as a little bit of smack-talk … Oh well. Bring it on!) The last race, which I might or might not be doing is the 4x400m. That one is a little bit on the line though, I’m not sure if I want to submit myself to yet another lap of horrible, non-ending, painful, sprinting. Not to complain or anything … ;-) The running events start at six p.m and usually last for an hour or two, making it so that the stadium lights will have to be turned on and the meet becomes somewhat of a twilight race. All in all, it should be a good day full of competition, defending titles, and hopefully some P.Rs (personal records).

Besides my surprise birthday dinner and running, not much else has happened in my life during my break from writing. I mentioned above about going on vacation next weekend, and to expand on that a little, my parents and I are going to Boston for a week. The plan is to spend a few days in Boston then drive and explore parts of Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, and wherever else. None of us have ever been to Boston so it will be quite the adventure! More so for me as I’ve never even been to the East Coast. I can’t wait! :-) Oh, and don’t worry, I will take plenty of pictures and be sure to brag about it in my posts when I get back. Kidding of course about the bragging part. Even though it’s my spring break, I will be sneaking down to the hotel gym to run and workout in the early hours before exploring the city. Hopefully the time change won’t mess me up too much. Other than my countdown to vacation, I am enjoying drivers’ ed and am halfway finished with the class and that much closer to getting my license. Can I get a “woohoo?” After being asked last week, I’m also going to prom next month with one of my friends, and will continue to blog as my life goes on and frusturating things arise that I feel the need to share. After such a long break from blogging, I have so many ideas I need to write about. No worries, I’ll be back soon with a Fuji in one hand, keyboard at the ready, and a mind full of running insight.

Until next time,

Gabby.

P.S: As part of my birthday suprise, my wonderful coach (and sometimes reader!) got me the best thing I could’ve ever asked for. If you’ve read my previous blog then you might already know. That’s right. I have one of my very own. My very own Camelbak water bottle.

It’s so much fun to drink from that after a whole day of using it, I counted that I filled it up six times. I love it. ♥

Advertisements

An 11 hour nap and some chicken.

What better thing to do after 6 long hours at a track meet and babysitting afterwards, than a relaxing Sunday full of good food and doing absolutely nothing. Well I don’t know about you, but that’s how I’ve  spent my Sunday, and it has been perfectly perfect. It’s weekends like these that when Monday morning rolls around I’m left questioning where my weekend went and am begging for another day to sleep in. That loss of sleep just pushes me to complete the week because as soon as I do … I get to sleep in and relish the experience of waking up after the sun rises! Ah, the joys of being a busy teenager. * WARNING: If you’ve made it this far in reading through my blog, know that I’ve had a good day. When I do … my blogs end up being super long and drawn out. Kind of like this one is! So read on … if you have time. ;-) *

So I know I mentioned how nervous I was for my track meet without some of my main supporters being there, but the meet ended up going pretty well. Not the best, but somewhere to start! Getting ready, the nerves had begun to set in, but after a phone call and “good luck” texts from the boys, I was feeling a little more relaxed and started to get more and more excited the closer we got to the meet. Stretching after we got off the bus, I ran (not literally … but almost!) into a few friends that I’ve made through previous years in track and cross country from other schools. Catching up with other distance runners is the best! Seriously, you should become friends with some. No matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen or talked to them, they’re just as friendly as when you left them! It’s great. The whole group of distance runners, most of them do cross country too, in my district are like a family. Everyone congratulates one another and even though there’s some fierce competition within the group, you don’t see it until the race starts. I go the chance to talk to most of the people from cross country that I didn’t realize I had missed so much until I got the chance to talk to them again. on Saturday and ah! I love track season. :-)

Woohoo! Washington state! :-)

After my 3200m earlier in the day (in the cold and windy, but dry conditions!) and just getting done with a stormy 1600m, I was done for the day. Luckily, the coaches hadn’t put together a 4x400m relay for the meet, so as I finished my cooldown I was able to look forward to putting on dry clothes and eating lunch. A late lunch as it was already 2:30, but a lunch at that. The day passed watching my fellow distance team mates race their 800m and watching the boys’ 3200m wondering how my boys would’ve done if they had been there. From the final times on Saturday, I’m sure they would’ve placed. Yeah. My boys are really that good. Maybe I’m being a little biased here, but I know that if they had been at the meet Saturday, that they would’ve done awesome.

Once the meet was over, we packed up the tent, and those that had been abandoned by theirr parents wRight through the heart! And looking happy about it? Crazy kid. ;-)ho had left the meet earlier *cough*  hopped back on the bus. The little over an hour bus ride went by quickly as my friends and I talked about things from brown cows making chocolate milk, how to french braid your own bangs, and even about a crush two of us have on one of the runners. He’s from a school in our district and had raced really well at the meet. As soon as I got home, I power showered, grabbed leftovers from the fridge, and ran across the street where I got babysit for a few hours. My little charge, Leland, is almost 3 and really kind of a crazy kid. I love him. He’s so much fun to hangout with! We played swords, built towers, ate cookies, watched Jeopardy (it was his choice ;-), and I was lucky enough to get the chance to change a diaper. As soon as I got home, and responded to texts from the boys asking about how the meet had gone, as well as figuring out how they did, I crashed. I seriously don’t even remember climbing into bed I was that tired.

This morning I woke up to the sounds of the coffee maker and the clock reading a much better time than 6:02 like usual. I had totaled 11 hours of sleep. Some people say too much sleep makes you tired, but oh well. 11 is a glorious number of hours no matter who you are. I personally believe, and will defend the idea, that you can never get enough sleep! I was determined to make today as lazy as possible so after a wonderful breakfast (thanks Mom!) I looked up baking recipes online and decided to work my magic. Not to mention that I had gotten a new camera as an early birthday present from my grandparents that I wanted to try out. These are the result of an hour of my hard work …

 

Mmmm, chicken. That’s what you’re thinking right? Well sorry, but no. These are Homemade Apple Turnovers, fresh out of the oven. One of them had trouble getting off the pan by itself and had to be saved my the clean-up crew known as “my mouth,” but other than that, my first time making turnover went well. As with my other baking creations, if you would like the recipe to these, just let me know! They came out super flaky and yummy. :-) A definite good way to end my busy weekend with such a lazy day and be able to enjoy the comfort of my pajamas all day. On to another hectic week full of more homework, more running (another track meet!), more driving, less sleep, but overall … another exciting week of my crazy life! As for the track meet this weekend and my thoughts on how it went? I felt strong, relaxed, and am ready to work even harder to improve. Besides training and plenty of support, I’m sure that 11 hours of sleep and maybe some chicken turnovers will help me along they way. What do you think? ;-)

Until next time,

Gabby.

Pep talk.

We’ve been working on capturing our readers’ attention when we write papers in my English class lately, so I’m going to practice some of what we’ve talked about. I’m going to use a name drop here, ready? David Frost. He’s a cool guys, right? Not saying that I think David Frost is a cool guy just because he’s British and has a cool accent or anything. Of course not. Or because he won two Emmys for a show he hosted and interviewed various people on. Never. Well, okay … those things might be part of the reason why (mainly because I like British accents :-), but he once said something that has stuck with me and I think about often. It went a little something like this …

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”

It’s simply put, but says so much. Mmm, simplicity. I love it. Because of how truly awesome I think what Mr. Frost is saying here, I have this quote on my wall and see it everyday. When I’m stressing out about school, running, friends, drama rehearsals, band, driver’s ed, family … Or when I’m stressing out about anything going on in my crazy-wacky-busy-turbulent-yet-oh-so-wonderful life, I think of this quote. Naturally, as the self-proclaimed perfectionist that I have happened to become, I strive for

This is my "nervous" face.

success in everything that I do. This is sometimes a good thing, but at the same time, can sometimes cause problems. I won’t go into detail, but will say this. If I ever have a meltdown, make sure you are as far away from me as you can get. I wouldn’t say that I’m exactly proud of the basket-case mental patient I become, and  know for certain that I’m no fun to deal with in those situations. Not to say that with all I have going on in my life right now that a meltdown is in the near future, but quite the opposite of that. For once, I’m actually relaxed and smoothly moving along through everything that’s going on my life. So far at least … I brought up this quote because Saturday is a big day for me and I need all the support and motivation I can to get through it. Not that there won’t be days that mean much more and are of actual importance compared to this weekend, but because after the events on Saturday transpire … then I’ve crossed the point of no return. The train has left the station. No water breaks allowed. The beginning of the end. However you want to put it, it’s the beginning of what will become the fastest passing two and a half months of my short life thus far. So have I dragged out the suspense enough, or did you already guess what I was going to say? Saturday is my first track meet. Sure, I’ve raced and competed in track, cross country, and road races before, but it’s always that first race of the season that gets me really anxious. I don’t know what racing shape I’m in and not sure what competition is out there for me this season. Not to mention that key parts of my support group aren’t going to be there. Some of the most important men (since most of the women are going to be there :-)  in my life are going to be gone, leaving me to stick with the team mates and friends that won’t be gone. My dad will be working and one of my team mates, who is a part of our long distance crew and is also a close friend of mine, will be visiting family in Oregon. Who I’m mainly going to miss are two of my good friends (who I often will refer to as “my boys” as they pretty much are the main boys I hangout with. ;-) that were nerdy awesome enough to make it to Knowledge Bowl state this weekend. The same day as the meet of course. I’m proud of them and excited to see how they do, but they’re also distance runners so it’s a bummer that they can’t go to our first meet. They’ve always been there with me at every meet, practice, and even road races. They’re part of my race day routine and when they’re gone Saturday, it’s going to be a little … different, to say the least. Boom. Four parts of my support system … gone. At least my other team mates, my coach, and mom will be there. I’m glad they’re going to be there, but not having my dad or the boys there is an idea that kind of makes me even more nervous …

My biggest competitor.

We had a time trial last week that made me a little more confident in how the meet is going to go, but I’m still freaking out a little bit about what shape I’m in and if my body is ready for that many tears endorphins after my races … Okay, so maybe it’s getting worse by the hour … so what? There are so many “What ifs?” going through my head and self-doubt is starting to creep in. What if I run slower than last year? What if my legs are still really tired and sore? What if some freshman creeps up from the back of the pack and beats me? What if I’m hungry or my stomach hurts? What if I can’t make it? Can I make it? What if it’s super windy or really cold and I can’t get a good enough warm-up? What if … I wasn’t nervous? When you’re nervous, all the energy you’re spending obsessing could be put forward to the task at hand. I suppose I should start that process then. The process of de-stressing and dare I say it … relaxing.  This is where David Frost’s quote might help me concentrate and focus. From what he said,  if I want success on Saturday, no matter my goals, then I should just enjoy the race and believe that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I feel like I’ve heard that before … Not to mention that my coach tells us all the time, “Just run your race. Don’t worry about anyone else.” Maybe I should listen to him … and maybe his pep talks are more than just pep talks, just like David Frost is more than just a producer.

“Relax and be confident in whatever you do and you will be successful. No ‘what ifs’ about it. “

I know someone else has said that before, probably in a more drawn out and complex way, but until I get sued for saying it … You can quote me on that. :-)

Until next time,

Gabby.

The ” i ” Word.

 The ” i ” word in this blog isn’t ice cream. That means if your sweet tooth is acting up, then sorry, this might just be the wrong blog for you. Today the focus is on the less sweet and decadent world … of injuries.

Like I was talking about in one of my last posts, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself anything close to an “expert” or even “intermediate” runner. I’ve been running for about 3 years and consider myself a rookie runner. Each day I’m out running I see or come across something new. The other day I learned the challenges that come with doing fartlek when there’s like 4 different telephone poles on the side of the road that you’re trying to keep track of. Phew! Through running, I’ve had the good fortune of only being injured twice. The first time was my own fault and I bounced back super fast, whereas the second, and my most recent injury, was one that came at a much greater cost.

Best part was the purple/yellow/green bruises. And not being able to wear normal shoes since I had a cankle!

Last track season, almost a year ago, I was at practice and doing a cooldown after a run and some strides. I thought I would show-off and jump one of the hurdles, seeing as I had done hurdles once at a meet nearly two years before, and as I thought I would safely make it over the hurdle only to enjoy an ego boost as my team mates applauded at my spectacular feat. Well, that’s what I was hoping to happen at least. Landing on my ankle and watching it swell like a balloon? Not exactly what I pictured. I should’ve at least won an Academy Award for my performance though, because as soon as I landed … BOOM! Crying while believing that I had arrived at the end of the world, the first thoughts that passed through my mind were 1) I would be out for the rest of my season, and in my dramatic state 2) that I would never run again. After a few roles of athletic tape, gallons upon gallons of ice, and a long wallow in my own self-pity … I was back up and running only three days later. I had luckily managed to only give myself a minor ankle sprain. I kept it taped and iced for the next few weeks, but was able to finish my season without any further hurdles (haha) to overcome. Since that fateful jump I’ve vowed never to attempt hurdles again … But while two of the track coaches are teachers at my school, I still am given a hard time about it. Tragic then, but I’m able to laugh at it now!

After never have sprained or broken anything before, I got off lucky from my first injury. This past fall though, I wasn’t so lucky. Over the summer, I started running two-a-days and ended up logging in about 400 some miles over a span of 3 months. On top of that, I also developed a plantar’s wart which (as they’re verypainful!) made me compensate by running on the outside of my foot. These factors combined to make running extremely painful for me, and going into the beginning of my sophomore season

I even wore my boot at Homecoming. Lucky I wore a long dress!

of cross country, I decided to get it checked out by a doctor. Originally going in to get my plantar’s warts checked out, I left the office wearing a boot with the order that I couldn’t run for at least 6 weeks. At that point, I was devestated, ruined, hopeless, and a total basket-case. The phone call to my coach was horrible, I couldn’t even talk without choking up. After all my hard work over the summer and the goals I had set for the upcoming season, I knew they were now on hold. I had been diagnosed with a stress fracture on the top of my left foot. Now that was an actual injury, nevermind tripping over a hurdle. That day at school (which I’m not sure why I decided to go) as soon as I walked into my classes, my team mates and friends were shocked. They just looked at my boot, and automatically realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to run. Practice was quiet that day too, no one offered any support. I suppose they didn’t want to say anything that would upset me. As the weeks wore away, I became more comfortable with my situation and challenged myself to overcome my injury with the hope that I might be able to race at

I became team manager at meets! Showing off my boot while the team previewed the course.

the end of the season. I cross trained everyday by working out on the bike in our weight room, swimming twice a week, going on walks when I could, and intense circuit training. I went to every meet and practice to support my team and while some days it was hard to watch them run, I found motivation in their hard work for each grueling day on the bike in the hope that I would be released. Looking back on it now, I’m amazed by how I made it through. Some days were easier than others, but I knew that there was nothing that I could do seeing that the only thing that would heal my foot was time. As districts approached, the doctor (kind of) released me. My foot wasn’t totally healed, but I decided that the fracture couldn’t get any worse and decided to run. If I hadn’t raced at districts, my team wouldn’t have beat out the 7 year reigning champs for the district title. For the first time in 15 some years, BOTH the girls and boys’ cross country teams were district champions. The girls’ team beat out second place by one point. I went on to race at state as well, even though in both races I was in intemse pain because of my foot, and as the season came to an end, could finally relax and focus only on healing. I took another 3 weeks off before being officially released to run. The first few runs were only on the grass for an alloted time, but it made me realize how much running meant to me and how my injury made me stronger both physically and mentally. I can now understand the price that getting injured has, and how if affects others besides just you. As tough as it is during, you just have to hold onto that hope that you’ll get better and never let go to that no matter what happens. If you do, there’s no way you can get better. Sometimes, you really just have to believe and ignore the negative thoughts that say you can’t do it. You CAN make it through, and when you do? You’ll realize how strong you really have become.

Going through my stress fracture was tough, and I lost a cross country season out of it. Going into my track season right now, I have bigger goals and a much more focused idea of what I want. I didn’t have a season to show what I can do, and coming out of my injury mentally stronger, this is my time to do that. So no jumping hurdles for this girl, I’m on a mission to have a kick butt season and show people what they missed. Watch out.

 

Until next time,

 Gabby.

Hall-ing it.

What’s better than racing a 5k on a nice (somewhat windy) Saturday morning in a city you love and knowing that there’s free donuts for you at the end? Well for me, nothing. Definitely since I PR’ed and Ryan Hall was there. Yes, you read that right. I got to meet THE Ryan Hall. Oh you know, the one going to the Olympics and is running the marathon? The American half marathon record holder? Yeah, that’s the one. I’m getting ahead of myself though. My day went a little something like this ..

7:00: I woke up to the ear piercingingly loud beeps of my alarm clock and walked to the kitchen only to discover that my hard workout from Friday thad taken more out of my legs than I thought. I then ate my usual race morning breakfast of oatmeal and a banana. Not to mention a spoonful of peanut butter for some extra protein. And to get my peanut butter fix for the day. Can’t live without it! ;-) About 7:30 ish my mom and I left for Olympia where the race was at in order to give me a little extra timeso that I could warm-up. Once we got near downtown, there was runners right and left getting warmed up, or for the most part, getting in their own Saturday morning runs. Olympia is a pretty runner friendly city. There’s quite a few different local running clubs (that I wish I could be apart of!). We parked and fought our way towards the pre-registered line to get my race number and shirt. By that time it was close to the start of the race and I still hadn’t had time to get in a warm-up or go to the bathroom. Like most road races, that means porta-potties. In this case, the extra porta-potties they had ordered? Yeah, they didn’t come. That means that lucky ole me got to wait in line for 15 minutes for one of the 2 (Yes, only 2!) bathrooms. Sorry, but I didn’t want my motivation to finish the race to be the fiber I had eaten this morning.

Once I was clear of the long bathroom lines and swarms of runners showing up at the last-minute to register, I took off for a warm-up around the block. This really only made me realize, “Woah. My legs are tired and it’s windy. Kinda don’t want to do this anymore.” I’m not alone in thinking this before nearly race am I? Today was a race for fun though. I signed up for it after hearing that 1) there was free donuts at the finish! Who doesn’t LOVE free donuts!? and 2) that Ryan Hall would be there. I didn’t know that my coach was going to give us a hard workout that Friday, but oh well. Just had to keep thinking about the donuts, mmm. After a lap around te block and some stretching I was ready to go. Or as ready as I would ever be.

About 9:00 we all lined up and the siren went off. Starting somewhat in the middle-front area, I got stuck behind some slower runners but was able to worm my way through them. The course looped for a few blocks around the start area down by the waterfront and proceeded onto the edge of a two-lane highway for an out and back before looping back to the finish line. As we rounded the block, I edged out to pass a few other runners. I have the fortune, or some might say misfortune, of being alone most of the time during a road race. Somewhere near the lead pack, and not quite the middle pack. I was able to pick off two or three runners before the turnaround only to find that the last mile to the finish would have me running into a headwind. Great. The clock at the 2 mile said 12:10 and I was floored. How could I be going this fast when my legs felt so tired? Could I PR today? I mean I was hauling it today if the clock was right. Or I suppose you could say hall-ing it, in today’s case. Those questions and the cheering crowd near the finish pushed me to finish strong. Rounding the last corner with about 100m to go I saw the clock strike 20:00 and pulled through in a 20:07, a PR. Ripping off the bottom of my bib and catching my breath, I was stoked. I had just beaten my 5K record by 7 seconds … after fighting a headwind and having a tough workout the day before. Not too shabby.

Grabbing some water and getting on my sweatshirt, I jumped in line to meet Ryan Hall. More and more runners were getting done so I figured I’d get in line before it started to wrap around the block. As it became my turn in line, I took the chance to get his autograph as well as snap a quick picture with him.

Olympian runner, Ryan Hall.

It was pretty windy out so don’t mind our hair. As for the slightly confused look on his face? Well I’m just going to go with the idea that he had smiled for a lot of pictures already that day. After meeting one of the best professional runners around, I was slightly awestruck, but taken out of my daze when I saw a woman standing with a donut. Meet Ryan Hall? Check. Finish the race? Check. Eat a donut? Almost. I got in line and munched on a glazed old-fashion (my favorite!) as I watched all of the other runners who were finished mill around and congratulate each other. I met up with a few local runners that I knew and swapped stories as well as checked in with my competition.

Just going into the day with the idea to meet an Olympian and get a free donut, I ended up with a new PR and a trip to Panera afterwards with my mom as well as an autograph and a free t-shirt. That’s where the motivating and inspiring part about my day ended though because as soon as I got home, I took a 2 hour nap and lazed about the house. That’s okay though, right? I mean, who wouldn’t be tired from a day full of running, runners, food … and even runners wearing food. Sounds just perfect to me. :-)

 Have any of you ever met a professional or elite runner? What’s your main motivation for signing up for a race? Until next time, Gabby.