Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fear Of the Unknown

Instead of editing the previous post, here's a brand new post, just for you!

Today's latest Fred's Team honor roll member:


bringing the Fred's Team total to


We are almost at my new official goal of $4500, and just a little further away from my idealistic goal of $5000. Won't you help me raise money for Fred's Team by making a donation to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital on my behalf? Click here for more information -- that link takes you right to my Fred's Team homepage, where you can make a secure, online donation and learn about Fred's Team, the Aubrey Fund, and MSKCC.

You can also learn about Fred Lebow by listening to Episode 115 of Phedippidations, the running podcast started by goofy little podcaster Steve "Runner," and my constant companion on long runs. I am not sure if a certain blogger is mentioned in the podcast itself (I'm saving it for tomorrow's long run) but this blog, and the link to the Fred's Team site, is in the show notes. GO FRED'S TEAM!!!

So, a little steno practice avoidance whilst I talk for a couple of minutes about, well, myself.

I've been thinking again about the parallels (can't tell you how many times I typed that word, trying to remember -- 1 "L" then 2 "L"s? Two, then one?) between steno practice and running. In May, I was having trouble getting through a steno speed -- I tested every day for 2 weeks straight with no success. I had a breakthrough about steno speed once we began Team training, and that is that steno speed is like running speed -- you need to push in order to improve, but you can't push it too hard or you will hurt yourself. You will get faster when you're ready to get faster (click here for a link to the complete post.) I mention this because this past Tuesday, when we did our speed workout at the Riverbank track, I broke an 8-minute mile not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. Now, for some of you out there, a 7-minute mile is a leisurely stroll, but for me, that's like the friggin' WIND, baby. Of course, I couldn't hold that pace for much longer than a mile, but it really boosted my confidence. I was thinking about the running-steno connection during this workout and how cool it would be if getting fast in one makes you get fast in the other. Why not? I had set a loose goal to pass my 140 speed test by the end of the trimester, so I could start the new school term in the 160-180 class.

Well, guess what I did on Wednesday? The second to last day of the trimester?

You may all worship me. Well, maybe not. Just send candy. Or donate to Fred's Team. Or donate candy to Fred's Team. I like licorice allsorts (sorry, but I do.)

So yeah, I start both the new school term and the "crunch" time of marathon training at new levels. Both will demand a lot of hard work and a lot more of a time commitment, and reaching these new levels makes the goals for both a more tangible reality -- for steno, finishing school and actually putting this training to use; and for running, my marathon time goal. I know I have it in me to do the work, but I do have some fear of the "unknown" -- what happens to you when you reach a new level. Fear may be the wrong word. Trepidation? Shpilkes? I guess just knowing what it's going to take to keep moving along the path towards the finish line of both goals is a little daunting right now.

I re-read the post I wrote in May about running my own race, and it does help, remembering where you were physically and mentally, as compared to where you are now. We were talking about that in school the last couple of days -- remembering back to when testing at 50 wpm was terrifying, and now 100 wpm sounds slow. It does help to hold onto that when you start a new speed. I need to do the same thing with my running -- remember what it was like not too long ago, when I was first coming back from foot surgery and couldn't do 20 minutes without stopping, or even when I first began running 4, 5 years ago and the idea of even running outside, let alone for more than 20 minutes, was inconceivable.

I recently read in Psychology Today a story about the benefits of exercise, and they profiled a woman who said, and I quote: "I love the challenge of powering uphill -- beating the beast; it's almost more fun than going downhill." I tend to dread our hill workouts, but love them once we begin, because being able to power up that friggin' hill so many times while pushing the speed, well, there's nothing you can't do after that (except walk, maybe!) Instead of dreading the work that will go into reaching the next level of whatever I want to achieve, I am trying to learn to embrace it as a challenge, and enjoy the journey as much as the reward of reaching the destination.

L'Shana Tovah, good Yom Tov, and a happy and healthy New Year. May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year. Much joy and naches to you and yours.


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