Mind Games - What's Next for Kate Grace | Oiselle

I didn’t post entries for the final days of my trip. Things just seemed to keep messing up, and I didn’t know how to spin that for a blog without coming off as fake. But once back in the States, it felt like one of those “survived and stronger for it” situations. I learned a lot, and wrote about that in a blog for the Oiselle site. It’s also a race wrap up for the past few meets, in Belgium and Oregon. I’m in the US for four weeks (with some races, and Oiselle run camp), and hopefully will head back for the second session of Europe racing in the middle of August. 

I don’t have time for ‘good morning, good afternoon; how do you feel. ’ we’ve got a revolution on our hands.

If there’s one thing that is necessary on a racing trip, it’s a good book (a few, really, for those wifi-less stretches). Sally recommended David and Goliath a few months ago, and over the past week, I got around to reading it.

The book can get a bit predictable, Gladwell pretty much lays out his point in the introduction. But it’s not always a bad thing, to be told over and over that the little guy does win. Especially in sport, where it can sometimes seem impossible to break into the league of giants, I appreciated the reminder.

Much if what we consider valuable in our world arises out of these kind of lopsided conflicts, because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty.

 

Nighttime wanderings

I get the worst insomnia after races. The meets are normally run at night, so the late exercise alone is bad. Then, I have a cup of coffee before the warmup. Add the adrenaline from the racing experience, and it’s a losing battle. Usually, I lie in bed for four or so hours, before getting up to go on a run (or catch the start of breakfast).

The positives? I get to see a new city before anyone else. This was from my morning run along the Danube after Linz.

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Also, I knock out a few podcasts from the list.

Things I’ve learned at 3 am:

  • The history behind fire escapes (at one point, people were expected to tie a bucket to a rope and lower themselves out of the window)
  • Why movies tickets don’t change price like baseball seats (blame the movie studios !!)
  • Something about frozen orange juice concentrate (and that I have to watch Trading Places)
  • Something about religion
  • That there exists a device that can make you learn faster (sending electricity through different parts of the brain. At least in anecdotal trials, it works!)
  • That playing futbol might become more economically attractive than football in the US (longer career, smaller chance of injury … though, don’t know if I agree on fewer injuries after watching all the carnage of the World Cup).
  • People are weird about their things (even babies!)
  • We (mostly) all cheat, if given the chance. But only a little.
  • And finally, thanks to all the half-knowledge I’ve gained from listening to podcasts in a dreamy stupor, that I can count myself among a new clique… the modern jackass!

Linz photos:

Conchita Wurst (Austrian winner of the 2014 Eurovision song contest) was the pre-meet entertainment. Take that, tracktown.

Being goofy with other Americans before the race.

Our own personal polka band at dinner.

Meet photos.

I ended up not running, and instead took the reigns on documenting the race. A lot of American athletes stay in Belgium, so a meet like this can be used as an alternative to practice. It was nice to see friends, I had been solo for two days and was missing company. But we also discussed how runners should not have to go to Europe for this level of competition. It’s a fun, but low key experience, and it would not be hard to replicate in the US. Just get a Pasta Mobile!

Kortrijk, Belgium. Not the place you might pick as a tourist destination, but maybe in that sense, a more authentic experience. It still had the charm of a small European city (photos 1: towers marking the medieval city wall, and 2: a gothic church peaking out from the main square). And there have been cool modern additions (one of the new bridges seems to float over the water. everywhere there are interesting installations for public use - a pirate ship in front of city hall, a trampoline in the river-front park). An island in the river has been designated an “artists haven,” with a former textile factory converted to a creative space. On the list for next time.

I was also impressed with the number of ambitious and unique restaurants. But I have an aversion to eating alone, so didn’t get up the courage to try any!