January 10, 2010

Step by Deliberate Step

Today I happened upon a few minutes that stood still.  It was during the final miles of 18.5 mile run.  Above Newport Beach's back bay, along the green belt, I glanced ahead and a tiny sliver of white caught my eye.  I slowed to get a better view.  Gently, in the distance, the figure began to take shape, sending clues through its slow, deliberate movements.  Alone amid a background of green leaves and a silent wind, a great White Heron stood before me. How close can I get?  I slowed to a walk.  Then slowed some more.

One hundred feet, fifty feet, twenty five. I inched closer. Fifteen feet! He turned to walk, cautiously, step by deliberate step, away from me. When I looked at his feet, then my own, I realized that we were walking in sync. We continued this slow waltz for less than a minute, and as I ambled along, I couldn't help but wonder how many more times I could lift my knee before this master would simply lift his wings and disappear into the sun.

Lift he did, and as I made my way through the last few miles, my pace quickly followed.

January 8, 2010

2010 – The Road Ahead

Wow, it’s here, the new year.  Just like that, I lift my head again and look forward to new opportunities.  What does the new year hold for me?  Better yet, what will I grasp from the new year?  Will there be goals for me?  Will I lift the bar higher for myself?

I’ve been a big believer in committing to specific events as way to draw a hard line for myself -- to set daily, weekly even monthly training goals.  With Western States 100 on the calendar now, I’m in the process of  formulating my plan, and I expect there will be a few changes in store for my training and racing compared to the last couple of years.

I’ll lay some of those out here in this blog over the next few weeks.  In the mean time, I'm learning that being   motivated to run 365 days of the year is not realistic, nor necessary.  Running takes a lot of work, especially in the winter, at night, alone, in a hurry, when I’m beat down, from work or other things in life. To plan, train and then run through the season, including 50 and 100 mile events, I've learned I have to pick my battles, and carefully focus my energies toward specific events and periods.  I believe now, more than ever, that the more focused and tactical I am about directing my energies, the better I do as a runner.  Running 80 to 90 weeks is doable, but should be done for the right reasons, at the right time, with the event in mind.  Hill training, speed work, long runs, weight training, heat training, stretching, diet, good sleep and rest are all factors that will play a part on my path in 2010.

Capturing all these factors in my plan will be a balancing act, but it is my desire.  Whether I succeed on this path I cannot guarantee.  What I can guarantee, though, is that my success will come down really to one thing, the same thing that binds all of us to our goals and ambitions: Motivation.