April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
I knew I was taking a gamble when I signed up for Boston back in October. For the SF Marathon in July of last year, I had a near-perfect training schedule: only two classes during Spring Semester, and the couple months prior to the race pretty free of time constraints, as I only worked part-time. This allowed me to run a charmed* race. In the case of Boston this year, however, I was facing a tough year with 7 classes the first semester and 4 (previously intending 6) in the second.
Nevertheless, this was something I wanted to do. I did qualify, after all.
The bottom line is, I didn’t run very much to prepare. The most I did in training was maybe 50 miles in one week, compared to the two 60-mile weeks that I enjoyed during my training last Spring. I would have been less optimistic about the whole thing except for the fact that I ran a pretty good race in the NYC Half just 4 weeks before, PR-ing and just a little over a minute away from reaching NYC Qualification. I was out sick for an entire week after that, though, and my running hadn’t quite caught up.
What I mean to say is, I’m satisfied with my time, and there’s no denying that Boston is an incredible course—one that I would like to revisit after getting a little stronger through serious preparation. I love the vast downhill portions (one of the arguments against it being a world record standard course, unfortunately), and the uphills aren’t any worse than anything that San Francisco has to offer (I just need to actually train for them). The crowds were amazing also, and I was so moved and appreciative at the time that I found myself almost tearing up.
The first 5-6 miles are primarily downhill. I took it fairly easy, and saw that I was running slightly under 8:00 pace… but it wasn’t that easy, and I didn’t feel confident that I would have consistent strength throughout the whole race. By mile 8, actually, I was actually starting to huff and puff a bit (only 8 miles??), and by mile 10 I started to wonder how I would actually finish the race. The quitter within me started fantasizing about pulling over to one of the medical stations and whining about being too tired to run (so lame!) but the thought of my friends not seeing me when they were cheering for me on the course, and having to admit it on Facebook after spamming everyone’s News Feed with Pre-Boston updated (oh the horror) were sufficient to tell myself to suck it up and see how for I could get.
The downhills and the crowds saved me, though. Around mile 13, there was a delicious downward stretch, and the crowds got crazy and wonderful. Two miles later I saw my friends Eric and Kelly on the sidelines, and let me tell you, seeing familiar faces who go out specifically to cheer for you just means so much. After the half-way point, I broke up the final miles. I thought to myself, You just ran 13.1 miles, so just do it again. Only 7 miles til Mile 20, and then just 2 5-k’s left. Piece of cake. I had started fading back at mile 8, but enjoyed occasional surges of energy before feeling that weight in my chest and pain in my legs again. I allowed myself to stop and walk while drinking the Gatorade that they handed out at stations, because the goal had clearly become Survival and not Glory. I did get in a respectable sprint in at the end, though, despite feeling like absolute sh*t in the final 2-3 miles.
Then, after crossing the finish line, I found a metal structure to lean against and sobbed out a few tears from the pain I was in. (But I like to tell myself that this is all to prepare me for the pain of childbirth! Har har har har.)
But I’ve fallen in love. I can imagine what it would be like to be
as strong as stronger than I was in SF last July—tearing up the rolling hills. HILLS. Did I ever think I would start to romanticize them? I think it would be great to be a strong hill runner.
The elites had a spectacular and exciting race today. I won’t delve into details because it would be more of the same that several of the news articles I’ve read through have already recapped, but SportsScientists does, as usual, an amazing job of giving a scientific analysis to everything.
On a side note, I’m drinkingthe Gatorade Series Pro 03 Protein Recovery Shake, and I’m not sure how I like it. It’s ridiculously sweet. I feel like I’m drinking melted ice cream, which makes me feel kind of gross.
April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m so close to the end of the semester, and at the same time, there’s still enough time to make considerable improvement. I have all those times when I have given up so close to the end. I am tired of and ashamed of giving up. That means, no more failure to act or failure to think or speak because of being afraid. I need to toughen up or I will never make it anywhere.
That said, TeuxDeux, a simple and straightforward but oh-so-useful To-Do List Site create by the fantastic SwissMiss, is hopefully going to help me to work more efficiently. It is just so rewarding to create neat lists and cross off tasks that I feel more motivated to get those things done by the mere existence of the visualization of my bullet points. (And if you don’t finish a number of tasks by the end of the day they were supposed to be completely, they are automatically moved to the next day’s TeuxDeux list—like magic!)
Before I dive back in, I am really excited to only need to take two classes next semester. The prospect is delicious. That means that I can work or intern part-time. Which reminds me, I need to get my butt in gear about this summer. If I could have anything I wanted, though, I would be able to take a month off to decompress, clean the apartment so that it is finally spic and span, spend a week back home in San Francisco, and do what I please. Well, I suppose I would be happy with just two weeks 😉
April 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
I feel dangerously close to having an anxiety attack. I partly blame the macchiato I had a half hour ago. Caffeine is evil.
The cynic within me has been torturing me all week with whispers in my brain about my imminent failure and images of my classmates and teachers being disgusted with my atrocious lack of talent. I’m scared and demoralized, but I can’t let this get the best of me or I will never amount to anything and I will live a life filled with misery. There has to be a way to fight this. Maybe less thinking and more doing is the solution. Being paralyzed with fear never did anyone any good.
I knew this would be difficult. I’m better than I was back in August, and I know this for a fact. No one ever does anything perfectly, but those who we look up to are relentless in trying. I’m not doomed to fail. The fact is, progressing from where I was to something awesome requires struggle and occasional failures, but ones that encourage learning and improvement. I can’t beat myself up over it, and I can’t let myself get stuck and preoccupied over these things. I need to learn to worry less, to be more brash and fearless, yet at the same time thoughtful and analytical. What’s the worse that can happen? Being in school is the best time to fall flat on my face, and if I can’t deal with doing that while I’m here, life is going to pretty difficult from here on out. I am scared as all hell, but I need to barge through these last six weeks of the semester without any second thoughts.
If all else fails, I can always flee New York and move somewhere where no will knows about my history of little design flubs.
April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Hello, my readers. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been wishy-washy about writing entries these days because I’ve created a new blog (that’s currently empty) that I mean to be a new and improved version of this one, a clean slate of awesomeness, but I’ve been intimidated by the expectations I’ve built up for it so it has been sitting untouched while this one remains in a confused state of limbo. I just haven’t had the clearness of mind to make a decision about the fate of either one.
But is it really April already? Being sick all week is no excuse for not staying on my toes, so I’ve been doing what I can to keep on top of schoolwork and hoping that I can get well soon enough to sneak in another couple of long runs before Boston. My goals for that race have changed, given my circumstances. I ran pretty well in the New York half (1:38:13 for 7:29/mile), so maybe just trying to re-qualify for Boston for next year won’t be too terrible (I only need to run 8:23 or 8:24/mile to run a 3:40:59), and in the meantime I can just train for shorter races and try to get faster and stronger in general.
Design-wise, I’m hanging in there and doing satisfactory work (not sub-par but not stellar), but I am learning more! No pain, no gain. Many thanks to my friends and classmates for helping me brainstorm, offering encouragement, and being good examples of excellent designers.
Back to work.