Showing 26 posts tagged eurotrip2014

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.


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!


This is not to say that success is assured, Bennet continually warned us. Always proceed with little steps, he advised. Never forget you are dealing with human nature. Always remember we want the easy way out. We want something for nothing. We blame others when things go wrong. We deny that we have control over our minds and bodies.

-Dr. George Sheehan

at this point in the season, i want everything to be easy. it’s okay if the work is hard. it’s supposed to be.

My body was not cooperating, so no racing tonight. I’ll have my first crack in Linz on Monday. Taking control!!

People on trains

Lots of training around in the past few days. From London to Brussels I was in one of those rows where the two sides face each other. The setup makes for great people watching.

My partner on this journey was most distinguished by his technology. His MacBook was pasted with 15, maybe 20 different stickers. Phrases like “why aren’t you raving,” and glowing cartoon characters.  His other device was sparse and immaculate. It looked like a keyboard, at least that shape. And it plugged into the computer. But I did not recognize any of the buttons. When I passed his screen coming back from the bathroom, he was doing some kind of music synthesis.

Now I imagine him some kind of underground DJ. He pulls out an e-cigarette (I thought it was a pen at first!), and I’m more convinced.  Inconspicuous train-rider by day, heading up the Brussels club scene by night.  

What do I look like? Sneakers and jeans. An eye mask and neck pillow. Drinking a big bottle of water and munching on celery. Mmm, no wonder he didn’t invite me to the party. 

The conquering of fear produced exhilaration. The contrast between the previous apprehension and the present relief and feeling of security promotes a self-confidence that is the very father and mother of courage.

passage from David and Goliath by Gladwell 

Life lesson number a million from running … asking for what you want.

At my current level in international competition, there is a constant push and pull with meets. A race will have 8-15 open spots, with the top athletes around the world jockeying for entrance. I have to keep reminding agents, meet directors, coaches, that I want to run, that I’m ready and will be competitive. But each time there is hesitation from someone, or I sit on a waiting list, or should be more persistent, it is a little scarier to continue.

What if I mess up? What if i’m not actually ready? When I should be most vocal, my own best advocate, a part of me wants to just hide. I think of the fables about grit and persistence that we all hear, and I get a bit worried - where is my “Little Engine that Could”? my Edison trying 10,000 times for light?

And yes, running is a great analogy here. The start of a run is as simple as opening the door and moving. Before long, you’re on a roll.

I can use humor with agents, ask for help from coaches, and the worst case scenario? It’s never as bad as the fear.