Friday, October 31, 2014

WHY COACHING IS AWESOME


As most of you know, I coach the high school school girls cross country team in Lexington, MA.  There are about 70 girls on my squad.  Each one has their own unique personality and together they make up quite an eclectic bunch.  Even on the most difficult days, I look forward to going to work.  I can be totally exhausted, stressed out, or in a terrible mood and I know it will all change the minute I join them at practice.  I basically have to put my own issues aside when I show up as each one of them needs me for one reason or another and when I am with them I do everything I can do focus on them and only them.  Just two days ago I wrote about the difficult time I was having in the parenting department.  I went to bed frustrated and annoyed.  I woke up feeling the same way, just a little less.  But, by the time I got to practice, I had different fish to fry.  My seniors are beyond and exhausted and many of them are sick due to their intense academic schedule.  One of my top runners can feel a a nagging injury in her foot every time she takes a step.  Another one of my runners is pissed at me and I have no idea why.  And the list goes on.  So, you see, there is no room for anything else during these 2 hours of practice.  My issues with my own kids have to take a back seat for a while.  And this is not a bad thing.  In fact, while I'm focusing less on Rosie and Grace and more on the team, I am constantly banking the knowledge I am gaining as it almost always applies to my personal life and I will most likely be bringing it home and applying it again.  And that is awesome.  As I write this post, I am smiling as I know that my runners are wearing their Halloween costumes to school today and at least two of them will be dressing up as bananas.  I am 100% positive that they will be laughing throughout the entire day and that they will be bringing that positive energy with them to practice.  I can not wait.  For that, and all the rest that goes along with it, the good the bad and everything in between.  GO LEX!

This past Monday w/ my captains after our 
Middlesex League meet in Woburn, MA.

TOP 10 REASONS WHY COACHING HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES IS AWESOME
1. They remind me not only why I love to run, but how important it is for running to be fun.
2. No matter what kind of mood I'm in, they can always make me laugh.
3. They're energy is boundless and contagious.  
4. They inspire me to work harder.
5. They teach me to be more patient and to slow down.
6. They prepare me for what's coming down the pipeline with my own girls (oh Lordy).
7. They push me out of my comfort zone.
8. They remind how insanely important and valuable it is to have friends
9. They always keep me guessing, not always easy to deal with, but a good challenge nonetheless.
10. They make me want to try to be a better runner/mom/person every single day.

Listen to this:
I Bet My Life - Imagine Dragons

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A LITTLE BIT OF CRAZY


As a runner I struggle all the time.  Every day I question myself in some way.  Are you good enough? Are you strong enough?  Is this what you really want?  Is it worth it?  Can you do it any differently?  Can you do it better?  Do you need a break?  Are you having fun?  The list goes on and on.  And, I suppose, in a way, the questions....having them, asking them, answering them....are what help me keep at it day in and day out.  This week I am struggling a little bit with parenting.  And I find myself asking the same exact questions.  Sure, they are more specific to my role as a mom, but the information I am seeking is very similar.  It's almost spooky.  (sorry, Halloween is on the brain).  My girls are amazing.  I love them more than anything.  They make me laugh, a lot.  They keep me guessing all the time.  And most importantly, they force me to push myself to be a better person every single day.  Sometimes, this is hard.  REALLY hard.  They continuously challenge me in these crazy 7 and 9 year old ways.  They're savvy without even realizing it.  Well, actually, my 7 year old probably does realize it.  Sometimes, I find, I don't really want to be a better person.  I really just want to sit in the corner and fume.  In a nutshell, my older daughter struggles academically but could make friends with a tree.  My younger daughter is smart as a whip but won't go anywhere without me and has a really hard time with change.  I won't go into the details here.  If you are a mom, you already know.  If you work with kids, you get it.  If you don't have kids but you've seen a mom in full deal mode, you likely understand.  If you are a kid yourself, well, you're living it.  Last night, I was trying to help my older daughter with her homework, never a good thing, and we were both almost driven to tears.  Meanwhile, my younger daughter was bouncing around the kitchen, begging for my attention which I couldn't give her because I was focusing on her sister.  My husband was out of town.  I was slowly unraveling.  We all kind of were.  We sat down to eat and my older daughter could sense that something was up with me.   Here's how our conversation played out:

Rosie: Mom, are you okay?
Me: Yea, Rosie.  Thanks for asking.
Rosie: Why aren't you talking?
Me: I just have a lot on my mind.
Grace: But you're just eating.  Isn't that all you have to think about?  (what did I tell you?)
----> No response from me here, though I might have rolled my eyes at Grace.  I could tell that Rosie wasn't ready to be done with the conversation.
Rosie: What's on your mind?
Me: To be honest, Rose. I'm just frustrated.  I want to be able to help you with your work and I can tell that it's making you upset and I don't really know what to do.  
Rosie: Me neither.
----> Insert AHA! moment when I realize that she might actually be feeling the same way I do.
Grace: Mom, if I eat half of my cucumber and half of my pepper then I've eaten one whole veg.  So, I'm good to go, right?
Me: Really, Grace?
Rosie: Mom?
Me: Yea, Rose?
Rosie: What's for dessert?

In the end, we all moved on to dessert.  We needed a shift and we were all craving something sweet.  I went out to walk the dogs in an attempt to unwind a bit.  My mind was on overdrive.  And I found myself asking - in Rosie's case - what can I do differently, how can I make learning more fun for her and less painful for both of us, how can I find the patience to help her, and in Grace's case - WTH??  Yes, these are my mom issues at the moment, and I am fully aware that they are not big ones.  It's all relative.  But, lately I've felt as though I'm kind of treading water.  I'm trying to work through it, but I'm never really making it up to the surface.  As a mom, I'm wondering if you ever really do break through.  Or maybe, we just have a lot of little mini breakthroughs but the pool is just so damn big.  In reality, it's probably not supposed to be easy.  What would be the fun in that?  Maybe the challenge is the whole point.  Much like running.  At least for me.  And as a mom, and a runner, I'm learning that a little bit of crazy is not such a bad thing.


Listen to this:
Baby Don't Lie - Gwen Stefani  

Friday, October 24, 2014

RWR: Meet Tyler (drummer, runner & cool cat)

"Today, I’m just so purely happy to be living, period.  I’m also totally ready for
the next curveball that life has in store for me.  Bring it on, world!"
~ Tyler Silva

Earlier this year, my husband began to forward me emails from one of his co-workers entitled Song pick of the week.  Naturally, my interest was piqued.  In each one he would introduce the band, often and up and comer, describe their sound, and discuss any other relevant pieces of info that he felt were worth sharing.  After receiving a couple of these gems, I asked my husband to let this guy, Tyler, know that I was really digging his picks and to please keep them coming my way.  So, Jeff relayed my message and then told him a little bit about me, my love for running and music and this blog.  Well, wouldn't you know it.  Tyler is a runner, too.  Of course he is.  Over the months, the songs kept coming and my funk band knowledge continued to rapidly expand.  Awesome.  Then, in June, Jeff send me this one:

Song pick of the week 
----> show this to your wife.  EXCELLENT music to run to.
EMEFE is from Brooklyn.  One of the only afro-beat horn bands in the world right now.  All kids in their mid-20s with unbelievable musical skills.   I haven't been able to stop listening to them.  This has been my running/ workout song of the week.  Bad ass music video too.

Well, that was it.  I needed to know more about this kid, hear what else he had to say, and then to share it with you.  Fortunately, he was fired up to oblige.  Clearly, he is a runner who rocks.  Here's his story.

RWR: TYLER SILVA

Name: Tyler Silva
Where you're from: Springfield, MA
Where you reside now: Ludlow, MA
Age: 23
Occupation: Business Analyst During the day.  Studio/Live Drummer at night.  
Blog/website: facebook.com/fatbradley  (my original funk band, Fat Bradley. AKA: my pride and joy)

RUNNING & MUSIC
What do you love most about running?  
My answer to this might be more obscure than most. I mean It’s exercise, it’s a way to kill time, it’s a way to challenge one’s self with new goals every day, and of course, there are endless therapeutic values.   My main reason however is simply…  I like to get lost!  Nothing excites me more than traveling to a new city on a vacation or for a gig with a band, not knowing what the hell is around me, and just going out to discover the world.  I’ve found some of my favorite places on Earth this way, along with some not-so-great (or safe) areas.  It’s a way for me to get in touch with not only myself, but also my surroundings.  I find that in the daily grind of work, deadlines, and responsibilities… it’s way too easy to forget about the beautiful world that surrounds us.  Being out of touch with my surroundings as a human is really a (sort-of) fear that lingers in the back of my mind.  Luckily, I’m constantly a victim of severe Wanderlust, and I love it!  Running is kind of my tool to discovery.

What do you love most about music?  
Almost everyone in the world is born with a sense of sound.  Mom’s heartbeat is where it all starts, for all of us.  The first sound that we hear is that of “life”.  As Frank Zappa said in one of his last-ever living interviews, all that music really is is the organization of sounds. I like that fact that music is a type of phenomenon that ALL people can familiarize with and interpret in their own unique way.  For us musicians, I love the fact that we are the “organizers of sound” in the world.  We are responsible for shaping and tailoring the sounds around us to interpret an idea, a belief, or how we feel on the deepest of levels.  Whether you’re a musician or just a listener, music is almost like an “ultimate network” that keeps all of us intertwined as one being.   Am I getting to “hippie” for you?

THE SIMPLE ANSWER: What I love most about music is that more than anything… its one of the few truly organic things in life that keep people truly human. It’s hard to find that kind of phenomena in today’s world of “artificial sweeteners”.


Tyler on drums

TYLER'S FAVORITES
Band (current, all time or both): 
I think its safe to say that my all-time favorite is Nine Inch Nails.  However, don’t let that be the describer of my taste.  Currently I’m obsessed with Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, LCD Soundsystem, Talking Heads, and more recently, a funk orchestra from Brooklyn called Snarky Puppy… just to name a few.

Album (current, all time or both):
My current favorite has got to be Like Clockwork, the newest release by Queens of the Stone Age.  Favorite album of all time is tied between The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails  &  Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd.


Northfield Mountain
(fun fact: this is where my XC team ran for their state meet in 2012)

Race venue: Northfield Mountain, Northfield, MA (extremely intense 5k course. see photo)
Music venue: Royale in Boston (new favorite), and The Roxy in Los Angeles
Race distance: 5k
Show you've seen live? Another honest tie between the Lights in the Sky Tour by Nine Inch Nails, and The Wall by Roger Waters
Ice cream flavor?  Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food



THIS OR THAT:
Sweet or salty?  Sweet. No, Salty… Wait, How do you classify salted pretzels?
Live or recorded? LIVE! My main musical moral is: It’s all about how a band presents themselves to other humans in a room.
Coffee or tea?  Java!
Summer or winter? Summer (minus the mosquitos)




MORE MUSIC INFO:
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? 
Definitely Rush! As a drummer, I am embarrassed to say I’ve never seen them live.  I also heard that Mastodon is kicking some serious A$$ on the road right now, Id love to see them again. 
The one and only, Freddy Mercury

Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? 
Queen, or any living form of Freddie Mercury on a stage.


Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? 
James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.  

Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? 
For some reason, when I think about this question, the first image that pops into my mind is Weezer, on a flatbed truck, performing the Blue Album in its entirety along side me.  I’ll stick to that.

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
Stutter - EMEFE
Us v. Them – LCD Soundsystem
Running – Nine Inch Nails
Bent Nails – Snarky Puppy
High Road - Mastodon

Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
Paris (Aeroplane Remix) – Friendly Fires
Deesh – Mogwai
Warm Ways – Fleetwood Mac
Out of the Black – Royal Blood
Strings and Attractors – How to Destroy Angels

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A DAY OF FIRSTS

"I stay swaggerific you don’t need to ask why"
~ Will.I.Am, 'Check It Out'


This past Monday was a day of many firsts.  Want to know what they were?  Of course you do.

It was the first day of the week.  I know, lame.  But I had to throw it in there.
It was my first run since the marathon.  An easy 4 mile cruiser.  Awesome.
It was the first time it dipped below 40℉ this fall.
It was the first time I've had a legitimate reason to sport my new Oiselle 'Off the Grid' knickers.
It was the first time I've run without tracking my pace and/or mileage since the summer.
It was the first time I've broken out in dance mid-run simply because I was so fired up to be on the road again.
It was the first time I went to Target for a shower curtain and ended up buying the majority of my groceries.  Man, they sell a LOT of stuff.
It was the first time I have stared down stared down multiple bags of candy corn (literally, like, everywhere I turned, there they were) and not purchased them.  
It was the first time I've listened to the Caribou's new album 'Our Love' from start to finish.  Just, wow.
And, last but certainly not least, it was the first time I've heard this song 'Echo' by VÉRITÉ.  Double wow.

Not a bad Monday.  Not bad at all.

Listen to this:
Echo - VÉRITÉ