Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Base Training Camp and Olympic-Sized Dreams

Short of moving somewhere with altitude and an official olympic training center, I feel like I've hit the motherload in terms of places to run.  I arrived in Santa Cruz, California on June 24th for a seven-week stint.  I am the Academic Dean of a summer program for gifted children.  It is an awesome program, and this is my seventh year working for it.  Last summer, I had the opportunity to get transformed to our Santa Cruz site, and loved it so much that I requested to stay at this site.
I have to admit, things are going really well here.  The kids arrived on Sunday, and we have been very busy with classes ranging from engineering to writing to game theory to philosophy.  I've been really pleased with my staff and team, and while things are crazy busy, I also feel really fulfilled with my work.  It can feel stressful at times, but I also find myself so energized from it all.
And it doesn't hurt that Santa Cruz is absolutely gorgeous.  I feel bad saying this, since the rest of the country is burning up, but it is nice and cool here.  It has been in the 50s in the morning, with some fog, and then the fog burns off and the weather is beautiful.  And the view doesn't hurt either.  There are some amazing trails right on campus (we are operating out of UCSC and I am living on campus too), literally, right in my back yard.  I feel incredibly fortunate, because it seems like I moved into the sea-level equivalent of Mammoth Lakes (which houses one of the power-house running training camps).  Additionally, the gym facilities on campus are pretty good.  On Thursday I got into the outdoor pool for a nice 2000 meter swim.  While there is still that black line at the bottom, it is a lot more fun to swim in an outdoor pool.  I also even got a tan while swimming - I guess the sun reflected a lot.  But I was really loving it.
And I am getting in some good base miles.  While I didn't start official training until Monday, it has been great to just get in some good runs.  So maybe I have pretended that this is training camp for me.  After all, the kids are at camp for the summer - why shouldn't I?
I've also taken a lot of inspiration from the Olympic Trials as well.  I was so happy for Dathan Ritzenheim and Amy Hastings, who had both came in 4th at the Marathon Trials in January, that they finally punched their tickets to London.  They went back to the drawing board, trained and adjusted for 5 months, and then finally earned their Olympic status.  Talk about a dream come true.
Right before I left for California, I read Dara Torres’ book.  While I am a new swimmer and other than Michael Phelps, it is fun to read about a sport and hear someone describe the training.  Her story is really inspiring – she’s gone to 5 Olympic Games and earned 12 medals.  I was sad to hear that she didn’t qualify for London, but you can still take a lot from her.  She has made multiple comebacks, proving that despite aging, you can still compete with the best.

While I am just watching London from afar, I think we can all have Olympic sized dreams.  I am hoping for my own form of redepmption – particularly with my dissertation proposal.  I am currently back at the drawing board – doing some research and brainstorming.  I have no medal or ticket to ABD (all but dissertation status), but it is in the future, and like it must’ve been for Dathan and Amy, redemption will be so sweet.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear things are going well out there. You are a firecracker. Oh, the dissertation... it will get done and it will be awesome. I get a free autographed copy of your first book!