PERSPECTIVE

PERSPECTIVE

The season is over. I've got four weeks to see the world and get restored before we start up again with track season. The kids need a break from me, and I from them. . . . The lack of something to fill my afternoon has also made me more thoughtful. Events have precipitated this new mindfulness.

DOWN TIME

DOWN TIME

The twenty-two weeks defining the main portion of the cross country season are at an end. All that's left is the national-level racing, which begins this Saturday with the Footlocker Western Regional at Mt. SAC, the world's oldest and greatest cross country course. . . .

COUNTDOWN

COUNTDOWN

If you follow my Twitter feed (@martinjdugard), you’ll have seen a recurring photo of my office white board counting down the days to the State Meet. It's always 154 days from the first day of practice to that last Saturday in November. Right now the number is at four, which means State is getting close. 

THE LEGAL PAD

THE LEGAL PAD

As stress reducers go, you would think that something so simple as planning the day wouldn't make much difference. But there are so many mornings I wake up overwhelmed. Before my feet even hit the floor I feel the burden of juggling all the things I want to do, need to do, and would maybe like to squeeze in. Sometimes, when things are really hot, all that juggling leads to a feeling of being frantic. Rather than get the whole mental list of activities accomplished that day, I just shut down. The governor has been reached and the machine dials it all the way back.

QUARTER CENTURY

QUARTER CENTURY

When I was six I told my mother I wanted to be a writer. "Don't be silly," she told me. "Writers don't make any money."My Mom denies every saying this, but I remember the moment quite well. It was the well-intentioned advice of a mother who doesn't want her son to know poverty and rejection.

NICE RACE

NICE RACE

The first time I ever got passed by a woman was December 21, 1975. I was running the Christmas Relays, a fifty-mile team event from Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay. If you drive that highway, as I did just a couple months ago, it's one of the most scenic stretches of road in America. The pavement parallels and overlooks the Pacific Ocean in many spots. . . . All of that was lost on me back in 1975. I was running a ten-mile leg in a cold winter rain, feeling very sorry for myself and not at all enjoying the view — particularly those rolling stretches of highway that seemed to climb forever. I was fourteen. My dad was off in Vietnam.

HEY, NINETEEN

HEY, NINETEEN

There are thirty-seven days to the State Meet. Five weeks and change. Take away Sundays, which cross country's local governing body has declared "no practice" days, and we're down to thirty-three days to get better. Consider that we'll have at least two recovery days per week, and that lowers the number to twenty-three chances to improve.

SO IT GOES

SO IT GOES

I try to keep these missives non-topical in order to give them an evergreen quality. But last night's loss by the men's U.S. national soccer team to Trinidad-Tobago needs to be addressed. The immediate sense of confusion is that America will not have a team playing in the World Cup next year — not that anyone will miss them. They are three and out at best, a nice sideshow to the real competition.