Wednesday, April 4, 2018

TRIED & TRUE

Yesterday, I was in the athletic trainer's room at the high school where I coach with my legs in Normatec recovery sleeves, pulsing with and then releasing pressure; a high-powered massage, if you will.  They are a new discovery for me (thank you, Eamon) and as far as I can tell a complete game changer.  As I sat there, I couldn't help but smile as I thought back to what was available to me when I started running competitively in college.  Certainly nothing like this.  As a student athlete at Colgate we were issued "greys" for practice made by Champion.  This was a couple sets of shorts, shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, all cotton.  On so many levels ...just....wow.  It hurts to even think about the chafing we must have dealt with.  We were also given two pairs of shoes per season, a pair of trainers and a pair of spikes, which we selected and ordered from a catalog.  I always went with the Saucony Grid for my training shoe, not because they were recommended to me but because I liked the way they looked.  Obvs.  Back then, there was basically one type of "bar" available made by Powerbar.  The official flavor was Malt Nut but I vaguely remember it tasting like bark and being borderline impossible to chew.  And if it was cold out, which in upstate NY it usually was, forget it.  You'd break your jaw before getting through those things.


Most of us listened to music on our Sony Walkmen and we made mixtapes for each other on our stereos with the double cassette players.  Man, those took forever.  Now, granted, we didn't know what we didn't have, so it really didn't matter at the time.  But when I think of all the new tricks and tools available to me today, things that I use daily if not multiple times a day,  I'm almost dumbfounded by how things have evolved.  Compression socks?  Yes please.  Arm warmers?  So nice to have.  Back then, you just wore that big grey sweatshirt until you warmed up and the ran with it tied around your waist.  Not awkward at all.  Foam rollers and other various recovery gadgets?  I literally never leave home without them.  Again, twenty years ago, unless there was a person involved, which in college there usually wasn't because we couldn't afford an actual massage, the only rolling we were doing was with dice, hoping and praying that our injuries would magically go away on their own.  Oh and GPS?  That wasn’t even in the picture.  If we wanted to know how far we'd run we'd have to drive the route in our car or just guess our pace and do the math.  And yet still we somehow managed to get through each day, season and year somewhat successfully with our now antiquated system.  All that said, there are a lot of things about my running routine that are still to this day tried and true.  I started doing them all those years ago and today, I'm still doing the exact same thing.  Because as we all know, if it ain't broke don't fix it.  Bottom line, I'm so grateful for all that running has done for me, regardless of how it was done.  It is fun to look back and note the changes.  But it's also cool to note how much has stayed the same, at least for me.  Turns out we masters runners might still have a few tricks up our sleeves worth asking about.  Below are just a few of mine, which I wrote down while drinking coffee in my sweatshirt.  Because some things never change.  And never will.  Thank goodness.

TOP TRIED & TRUE RUNNING TIPS


~ Even back in college, turning on my coffee pot was the first thing I did in the morning.  Nothing has changed there except that I now have a second cup post-run.  And sometimes a third.  But, I no longer have the midnight cup so that I can stay up to study.  How did I DO THAT??

~ Regardless of what my physical or mental state is, I always get a little giddy when I'm lacing up my shoes.  And this has been the case for as long as I remember.  I can be in a bad mood, tired or totally unmotivated but once my mind gets in the zone, something comes over me.  It's a gift that I get to run.  I think my mind has always known this.

~ Music always has and continues to motivate me like almost nothing else can.  Put a pump up song on and I'm ready to roll without fail.

~ For as long as I've been running, one of the first things I do before I head out is to check the weather.  Every day I'm hoping for something good (which was rare at Colgate) and then willingly, if not begrudgingly, accepting the challenge if it's looking ugly (which was often).  It helps me get my mind in the game and to prepare my body for what lays ahead.

~ For all four years of college, my pre-race breakfast was a plain bagel and banana.  Still is today.  That will never change.

~ In that same light, as far as I'm concerned, a PB & J will forever remain the meal of champions.  It really has it all; carbs, sugars, and protein.  At school we at them because they were cheap and easy to make.  Today, I eat them because they are easy to digest and the perfect meal to take with me on the go, which I frequently am.  And, of course, they are delicious, so there is that.

~ As a college athlete, I would write mantras on my arm pre-race or before hard workouts.  Things like, 'SHUT UP AND GO' or 'LET'S DO THIS'.  Even the process itself got me fired up and helped me stay motivated and focused and looking down and seeing them while running got me freshly amped or helped me find the next gear.  I still do this today, my latest being 'REALAX. BREATHE. BELIEVE'.  And the effect is exactly the same.

~ I'm a big believer in a coach.  Obviously we had one working with us at school.  But, even today, at age 43, I'm still using one.  In my opinion, having that guidance and support from an outside source while trying to reach your goals is invaluable.  Doesn't matter what kind of athlete you are, nothing motivates you like a coach can.

~ And, last but certainly not least, I still love a good champion sweatshirt.  I Just don’t run in them anymore.

Listen to this:
FOLLOW YOUR FIRE - Kodaline

3 comments:

  1. Love this. But I have seen you drink a coffee in the wee hours of the morning during RTB! PB&J has been my goto for, well forever. I love my champion sweatshirts. However I have found one even better (thicker) Arborwear double thick sweatshirts. https://www.arborwear.com/products/sweatshirts/double-thick-pullover-sweatshirt?gclid=CjwKCAjw75HWBRAwEiwAdzefxIgpBjnBfEHv8y_xTzowr3RyDUfAkrldbSOhDo385LH51N-4HvPsnRoCCigQAvD_BwE

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    1. Fair point, Scott. But, that midnight coffee was a one shot deal. At Colgate it was pretty frequent. Both the late nights and the coffee!!

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