Sunday, February 3, 2013

Properly Humbled...

Guess what tomorrow morning is Bastards? That's right..7AM SHARP is my 10TH YEAR at Mt. Wilson Trail Training, as well as my 7th on the Committee. Remember that we are trying to get the LARGEST TEAM photo at 7:20am, and then step off on to practice by 7:30am. BE ON TIME, IN UNIFORM, and READY TO HIT IT at Kersting Ct. in Sierra Madre. Get excited...we have 17 weeks to knock it out of the park! RSVP in comments...

As we gathered at Kersting Court for the first of 17 sessions, I was so pleased to see many friends I rarely see any longer.  It struck me just how much I've missed this training and hanging out with my friends while we run.  

In Eric's opening speech yesterday morning, he had all veteran racers raise their hands.  Since I ran it in 2009 with a 1:51:14, I raised my hand with the rest.  He then outlined the three ability training groups and how to decide which group you belonged in.  Everything going in through my filtered hearing told me I belonged in the intermediate group for switchback repeats, even though I was under my coach's specific direction to follow the beginner program. 

Unfortunately, I am not short on pride sometimes and attaining the Arrogant Bastards has certainly given it room to dance.  At least until last week when Eric told me my last race was too old to qualify me as a veteran racer and that I needed to start in the beginner group.  I put up such a fuss with him that he said FINE, if I could run all three Baldwin repeats under 6:00 each, I could advance to the intermediate group.  

I measured the distance (.6 miles w/approx 300 ft gain) and figured it was well within my ability, but at the same time, Coach wouldn't have set easy time hacks, so I really wasn't positive how it would turn out. BTW, I put a lot of weight in to wearing team colors and traditionally prefer to run incognito when I don't trust my performance to be sufficient to properly represent my team. Yeah, no doubt that perspective stems from my personal head trash.  Right or wrong, I wasn't comfortable representing the ABTR yesterday, so I ran in an old MWTR shirt.

With Carrie, Rochelle, Joanne and Susan close by, we took off on our first climb.  The first half was old home week and cake... until we hit Alegria and I started to really feel the gain increase.  By the time I touched the wall on Carter, I was spent but figured round two would be stronger.  Ha!  That last kick from Alegria to Carter kicked my butt worse each time and by the third round I understood what Coach had been trying to tell me earlier that week.  

RESULTS:  6:40, 6:45, 6:52 and those times took all my effort to achieve, even with the sanction to walk back down the hill for full recovery between efforts.  So, I'm appropriately humbled, staying put in my assigned group, and grateful for a coach whose wisdom is driven by empirical data and not emotion.   Side note to my friend who had the generosity of spirit to say "well at least you stayed under 7:00"... my apologies for being a jerk. 

As for running in my team jersey, that perspective has also undergone a shift.  Now I embrace the fact that it's important to always train in that shirt so that aspiring runners can see what the entry level runner looks like on the team, especially if she's also in the beginner group. 

Each and every one of these Arrogant Bastards are leading by their examples, how can I do any less?

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