Friday, December 4, 2009

One Month to a New Decade

I can't believe it's already December. Actually, it is now December 4th, exactly a month from my dreaded birthday, sigh. Hopefully, I will have an announcement regarding some sort of birthday run/performance very soon (because how else would I want to spend my birthday but by running and playing music?)

Anyway, so far December has started off pretty well. On the first I was fortunate to participate in the first ever NYC "runners' tweet-up" (that I know of anyway.) I know a few twitter haters who don't see the point of it, but I have found so many like-minded, awesome people through twitter it's pretty unbelievable. To those who don't like or don't get it, the secret is that it's all about who you follow. Yes, it would be great to get thousands of followers but to have a good experience first you have to find smart people to follow so you have good quality news feed. You can also follow some good lists, that's a new way to do it.

The tweet-up was so much fun! There was such a talented group of runners at first I was intimidated by the talk of Boston qualifications, ultra-marathons, and people actually winning races (I didn't know that was possible among mortals.) However, that was easy to get past because everyone was just so gosh-darn nice and cool.

We met at Bethesda fountain. There was a brief handshake and stating of names and twitter aliases. This included pigtailsflying and nycbklyngirl who organized it, BrklnRunner, runanskyrun, SpeedySasquatch, NYCe, sclevine, MikeJOConnor, and agaliza.

As the group started off my immediate instinct was to stay with the back of the pack. I wanted to chat with BrklnRunner a bit because I enjoy her blog and she's been such a nice supporter of this blog so I was really excited to meet her in person. Then as the group started taking off I thought, what the heck, why not try to challenge myself a bit and see if I can keep up with some faster runners for awhile? I don't get this opportunity often. If/when I get tired I'll talk to the people behind me then.

To my surprise I was able to keep up the entire time. Although, what truly floored me was how easy it was! These guys were all running their fun run pace and we were chatting almost the whole time. As a result there was a real sense of ease about it. At one point, when I was in the middle, I had the feeling like I was in a moving car because I wasn't putting in the effort to run at all. I think it helped that I started off running and chatting with agaliza who was interested in playing guitar. First of all because he had the most smooth efficient running gait ever so he set a good example and second because when I was encouraging him about the guitar it got me so excited and energized I wasn't worrying about running fatigue.

As the group continued to spread out I found myself alongside pigtailsflying and NYCe and I just wanted to pinch myself. Earlier that day when I was thinking about whether to do the tweet-up for sure I was looking at their blogs, marveling how smoking fast they are and now here I was running with them.

When we reached the end of 5 miles it came out that we had run it faster than I had run my recent 5 mile race PR. Admittedly the last mile or two did not feel as easy as the first couple, but I held on and I made it to the end with the middle pack. At this point some people went back to the back pack people but I felt pretty tired so I was happy to stop running. I had been standing there for hardly a minute when runanskyrun asked me to join him on the bottom loop. The next thing I knew I was running again! He told me about how he had once run from his home in New Jersey to Yankee stadium which I thought was pretty cool. According to his Go Wagon the total distance for the run was 10.15K with time of 54:15 which is a 8:36 min/mile pace. He finished the 5 mile part a bit ahead of me so my result technically was a few seconds higher. Still, I was amazed that I had run that while talking most of the time. I was a bit disappointed with my 10K result at the Nike Human Race in comparison but I'm really looking forward to see how the Joe Kleinerman 10K goes this Sunday!

Ironically as I was traveling from the boonies of Brooklyn to Central Park I was reading Chapter 36 of Pose Method of Running: "Overcoming the Fear of Running." In it is this little gem of a paragraph:

At its core, fear is a reflection of personal uncertainty. What we do not know, or know very little about, creates an emotional void in our performance. When we try to run while dealing with uncertainty, that void quickly fills with fear...fear if running too hard, fear of not running hard enough, fear of injury, fear of success and fear of failure.

Runners habitually underperform because they fear performing better.

The chapter deals with some of the mental challenges associated with running. This is not to say running is all mental, but it definitely plays a role. The thing is I feel this sense of doubt clouding many aspects of my life. I know what I love. I have no problem doing training exercises, and spending quality time running just like I have no problem practicing singing, playing guitar and writing songs. In my heart these are the things I want to do. So, if the criteria for success is just doing what you love than I am successful. Still, I get so grouchy trying to push myself beyond my comfort zone. To get to a higher level I want other people to be able to appreciate what I am doing too. That, I struggle with that a lot. Perhaps it's my mid-western, middle class, Catholic background but it's really tough for me to be pushy. I know I need to be more assertive about setting up gigs and getting people to listen to my music but I really hate asking. I worry that people won't get it or won't like it and that I'm just not that good. I feel like the next songs I'm working on will be better so I'll wait until they are done (this goes for every song I write I always think the next one is going to be better. ) I have never found a stable career path or line of work that I can tolerate for long. It's always been about running (very recreationally) and music. I hate risking having this vision fall apart at my feet because it is what keeps me going. In short, it is fear as a reflection of complete uncertainty.

In music as with running I take it to a level I am comfortable with and luckily that level continues to rise little by little. It is a bit of a conservative approach and it works for me to some extent. Still, I would like to blast through some of my self-imposed obstacles and become the artist and runner that in my heart I know I could be. I definitely feel that stupid biological tick. I don't have forever.


PunkRockRunner said...

Running with friends is the best. I typically run with friends once a month and love it.

Enjoy your holidays.


DailyRunner said...

Thanks for the gait compliment...incidentally, it's because I started following the Pose method a few years after plantar fasciitis.

And I definitely want to get to my guitar goal, if only to learn a song, any song, before the decade is over! :-)

Lady Southpaw said...

Thanks guys!

DailyRunner, do you have any ideas about what song? Definitely find something really simple that you also like a lot... those things will help. said...

Great post! Truly, want to hang out and chat more...I adore meeting new people and you seem so lovely and interesting and sweet! Looking forward to it!

SpeedySasquatch said...

Loved the post! It was great meeting everyone! I hope we can do it again sometime soon. I wished I could've stayed longer but drum rehearsal was calling. DM me anytime. I am always game for a run! Thanks again!

Michelle said...

Hey, I was so sorry we didn't have more time to chat, but next time for sure. Or, perhaps, we can meet up and run in the park sometime? I am not as fast as you are but if you don't mind slowing down a but, I'm game. Or a bridges run!! You name it!

Your a speedy runner being able to keep up with the main pack. AWESOME!! It was definitely a fun tweet up. Everybody was so nice.

Let's meet up!!!

DailyRunner said...

First song that comes to mind is "She's Always A Woman" - Billy Joel. But I have a feeling that may not be very easy.

On a running note, are you starting to run using pose?

Uptown Girl said...

It was so nice to meet you as well! I'm glad you came out and hope to be able to chat more next time:) Good luck at the Kleinerman 10K!

Lady Southpaw said...

Thanks Everyone I look forward to the next "tweet-up!"

Daily Runner/agaliza, I think "She's Always a Woman" is doable at some point, but maybe not as the first... I had a thought about another possibility, send me an email at ladysouthpawmusic(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll send you some links.

Atrusni said...

Great post!!, it was so nice that you had the opportunity to meet with the twitter folk!, twitter its a great way to know runners!!, and its basically the only resource I have to talk about running that I have!

And you should feel proud for running!!, not anyone likes to run, and not everyone has the courage to run!!