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Brush Your Shoulders Off

So I don’t know if ya’ll know this about me, but I used to be kind of a big deal back in grade school and high school.  I know I’ve mentioned before that I was a member of the track team, and I was actually pretty damn good.  My running career started in the 4th grade when I joined my grade school track team.  From 4th-8th grade I excelled in events like the 100m, 200m, 400m, and 4x100m relay.  I even ran at the Penn Relays as the anchor (read fastest) member of the team for two years.  When I started 7th grade, I was somehow convinced to join the cross-country team in order to be more prepared for the spring track season.  I HATED cross-country. I liked to run fast, not for long periods of time.  Every Sunday at the meets, which were held in Fairmont Park, I would run up the first big hill and down it into the woods and once I was out of sight start to walk.  I made it through the season, but come the spring when my coach tried to put me in the 800 m, I put my foot down.  I said nuh uh, no way, no how, I’m never running anything more that a 400 and I didn’t even do that willingly.  To me the 400 m race was the most painful thing out there, a full sprint for one lap around the track.  I always got so nervous I’d throw up before it, you would think I would have purposely lost so I wouldn’t be put in it anymore.  No, I’m too competitive for that.  So I kept winning, and kept getting put in it, but my hatred of it never faded.  My 8th grade year was a repeat of the one before, cross-country in the fall followed by track in the spring, and more 400 m races.

2000 team champ plaque, 2001 3rd place plaques for triple jump and high jump

Moving on to high school, I decided to try out for the field hockey team and only run cross-country if I didn’t make it.  You bet your ass I came home from tryouts every day hoping and praying to not get cut so I wouldn’t have to join the cross-country team.  Luckily, I made the field hockey team and spent the next four falls on the field in a skirt and not in the woods in running flats.  High school brought another thing besides playing a sport in a skirt that I was unaccustomed to, indoor track.  I joined winter track my freshman year after getting cut from the basketball team (devastating at the time but now I’m glad it worked out that way) and was thrown into the world of high school running.  I still remember my first practice and our assistant coach, Sean, asking me if I could run for 25 minutes.  “Oh yeah, definitely,” I said.  Haha, wrong.  I think we got about 10-15 minutes into the run before I wanted to die.  Unfortunately for me, my coach’s saw a distance runner in me.  I was 5’8″ and skinny, about 25 lbs thinner than I currently am, and built like a distance runner.  Damn you long legs!  I held my ground though, and maintained I was a sprinter, through and through, but with high school came more competition and the 28 second 200s and 65 second 400s that were winning me championships in 7th and 8th grade were barely good enough for 4th in high school.  I did manage to drop my 200 time by about 1 second and 400 by about 5 by the end of high school, but those races were not meant for me.

various medals for triple jump, long jump, and high jump

I went through the options with my coach’s, still vehemently denying anything remotely resembling a distance run because I hated it so much and made me want to throw up and cry at the same time.  We moved towards a new path, something else a tall, skinny, relatively fast girl could be could at.  Field events.  I tackled learning them with a passion I never knew I could have for track.  I learned how to triple jump, better long jump form, and the most fun thing of all, high jump.  These three events became my forte, and before I knew it I was winning medals and championships again, with an occasional 400 m race thrown in for torture.  The best part of excelling in these events?  My daily runs never exceeded 20-25 minutes, yes it was truly the best place for me and I was happy there.

Indoor season medals for tj, lj, and hj

What is the point of this long and rambly post, you ask?  I just think it’s funny.  If you were to go back to any of my coach’s now and tell them I was willingly running 5 miles a few times a week, they would laugh in your face.  Tell them I voluntarily signed up for a half-marathon they might die of shock.  If you had told high school me this is what I’d be doing 1o years later (oh god has it really been that long?) I’d have called you a moron, flipped my hair over my shoulder, and turned on my heel and stomped away.  Funny how much things have changed, isn’t it, although I do have that same attitude.

my favorite

Anywhoooo, last night in accordance with my training plan I tackled a 5 mile tempo run and it was fabulous!  I accidentally stuffed my face full of chicken tenders and french fries at lunch, and it was still sitting heavy in my belly at 4:30 when I got to the gym so it was anyones guess how my run was going to go.  Thankfully it was delightful.  I did a mile warm-up at 10 min/mile pace, 3 miles at 8:34 pace, and a mile cool-down at 10 min pace.  The run was over before I knew it, and 8:34 for three miles actually felt comfortable.  Hooray!

Dinner was some of the tortellini I made Tuesday night, only served cold with Italian dressing instead of hot with marinara sauce.  Twas delightful.  Then I enjoyed some more Pinot on the couch watching the Yankees/Rays game (omg the suspense) and Hellcats because I’m a sucker for anything that involves any sort of tumbling.  While I was at home in sweats, Alex was at a pre-screening event in NYC for the movie The Town with Ben Affleck.  I think he liked it, his exact words were, “If you ever lived in Boston, you will love The Town.  Its like Good Will Hunting mixed with Heat.”  Alright since this is by far the longest post I’ve ever written I’m going to wrap it up.  Have a great Thursday everyone, only 1.5 more days of work for me!

10 Responses

  1. Nice tempo run! Especially after a heavy lunch- I have a hard time with that because it usually makes me sleepy…

    If you asked people when I was in high school if they ever thought I’d do a half, they’d laugh, too. I played softball, but really, the physical activity is not demanding. And no one really thought I was that athletic (even though I’d run often when I got home). Maybe I was just a late bloomer…

  2. Wow, Kelly– you’re such an athlete!!! I’m so impressed with your accomplishments!

  3. That’s awesome!

    My high school teachers (and people that I went to high school with) would never imagine that I am a runner now, but because I was sooooo lazy in hs. I didn’t do anything.

  4. Congrats on all of your accomplishments! I have such respect for you. I was never good with sports or anything in that field. So that is awesome that you won so many awards for it! 🙂

  5. Holy awards!
    I love that in cross country you would run until you were out of sight and then walk. That’s hilarious!

    I ran in a track meet once. Our school was short a person and I let myself get talked into it like a week before. It wasn’t good. I lost. Badly.

  6. Wow, that is super impressive! I wish I had excelled at any one sport in high school! I was just plain mediocre.

  7. I was the same way in high school (well except I was totally unathletic, but I did do some sprinting) and never thought I’d run distance. If you had told me I would someday sign up for a marathon I would have laughed or punched you in the face. It’s hard to say which, haha.

  8. I really liked this post. First of all, reading about sprinters and jumpers is cool, but secondly, I can totally relate to what you are saying. If my high school self could look at myself now, she’d be very, very surprised. I think in a good way? In any case, you are awesome for being able to flip over your head in the past and kick butt at running now.

  9. Wow.. you’re super impressive!! Those medals are amazing! I totally agree that if you told the high school me that I’d be running for more than 2 minutes, I would’ve laughed in your face.. in fact, if you told the college me that, I would have done the same!! We’ll have to train at some point together!!

  10. […] speed work got me thinking, and I kind of want to find out just how fast I can still run 200 m.  I’ve mentioned before, but I actually used to be a pretty good athlete back in high school, especially when it came to […]

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