A Window Into The Past

February 28, 2009

While I like to think I’m pretty spur of the moment and don’t make strict race plans for myself very often, I realized tonight that I may just be fooling myself.

Now that all of my siblings have moved out of the house to branch of their own lives or move away to college, Momma Bull clearly has a little case of empty nest syndrome. She must have been digging through some old piles of my stuff this week because she sent me an old race plan from just before a high school cross country meet. It was even written on the back of a page per day calendar so I figured out that I wrote it in 1998, when I was a Sophomore in High School. More then 10 years ago now. DAY-UM!

I was prepping for for the JV race of the South West Connecticut Conference cross country meet in Bethel, CT. Reading through the notes I made to myself brings me back instantly to that day. Coach Abraham had us focus on visualizing the race throughout the day to keep us focused. I knew the course really well and broke it down into about 200 meter sections and had specific goals for each. I can even remember sitting in the middle of my biology class that afternoon, pulling this scrap of paper out of my pocket for the hundredth time and just reading it to myself over and over again, imagining myself on the course and tearing it up.


This cartoon is extra funny to me now since when I wrote this, I was about 40 lbs lighter, you could see every one of my ribs and had tiny little stick legs. I guess that’s what happens when you are a 15 year old long distance runner


My detailed notes for visualizing the race. Please excuse my disgusting handwriting and spelling… Hey. I was only 15.

This was one of my last big races of the year so I remember planning to take it pretty aggressively and focusing more on my place than overall time to score some points for the team. Even now after reading this I can visualize the course so clearly. If I was there today, I think I could map out the course all by myself.

I really like having a solid visualization plan on race day and may have to start doing that again, 10 years later. It was helpful to have my pace grid at Hyannis, but I think (especially if I know the course pretty well) having psychological cues at each point in the race probably have a lot more value to them in terms of keeping my race on track and staying focused. I may have to even use some of the same notes I wrote to myself in 1998 at Rev 3 in a few months.



  1. you need a bigger picture of your notes – I can’t read them!

  2. All fixed. You can click through to see a bigger version of the picture. It doesn’t make my handwriting any better though. There isn’t anything I can do about that unfortunately.

  3. I might use that for my next race! 😉

  4. This is fantastic! First i love that it is on a Far Side calendar — I got one of those every year in my Christmas stocking. And second, I love that this is proof that the more we change, the more we stay the same….excellent!

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