Sunday, May 27, 2012

Facilitating Sexual Violence Support Group

In February I started volunteering as a facilitator for a psychoeducational support group for victims/survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones.  The group is run through Ramsey County Sexual Offense Services, and is one useful tool, among many, that can help victims find support and understanding of their victimization.  Once victims and secondary victims have been interviewed by a staff member of Ramsey County SOS, they can come whenever they want to the weekly meetings. 

The people who come to group are amazing.  They have heart-breaking stories to tell of rape, childhood sexual abuse, gang rape, incest, attacks by strangers, and acquaintance/date/spousal sexual abuse.  They may not have told anyone else in their lives about what happened, but they come and share their stories, their support, their emotions, and their insights to others.  Even though the group is confidential, it takes so much courage for them to come to group and to listen and share.  The members who have told people in authority about their victimization have many times come away feeling blamed, betrayed, and not believed.  I am so thankful Ramsey County SOS has created a safe space where survivors can speak in a safe environment.

Every time I go, I am astounded by how brave the members are.  At the same time I am in awe of their courageousness, I am also overcome by how much pain there is in the world.  How can a parent do something like that to their child?  A friend to their friend?  A partner to their partner?  Even a stranger to another stranger?  I get angry hearing their stories; I get depressed.  Yet, I do walk away from every session leaving those negative emotions in the room because I am even more overcome by the beauty of the human spirit.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

PR and Breaking the "Curse"

I did it!  On Friday evening, I ran a 9:52 steeple to hit the Olympic Trials “A” standard and qualify for the Olympic Trials in June.  In 2008, I was the second person out of the trials, so I am very excited to have set a PR by 10 second and guaranteed my spot at the trials. Furthermore, I have finally broken my “curse” of always having my first steeple race of the season be my fastest.  Ever since I started running the steeple my sophomore year of college, I have never been able to improve on my first steeple time for various reasons including getting sick, getting burned out, and falling at prelims at the USA National Track Championships last year.  Until now.

Coming into this track season, I predicted that I should be able to run about 9:51 with a solid effort.  My first effort, at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University, did not feel good from the first lap, and I struggled to run a 10:02.  Coming into this meet, I was nervous my legs would feel the same way they had in the first race.  I was doubting my abilities and my fitness.  Although I used some time each day to meditate and visualize myself running a strong race, I still had a lot of negative self-talk and images coming into my head.  Yet, when the gun went off, I felt so much better than I predicted.  I hung out in in second or third place for a conservative first 2 and a half laps.  I wanted to wait another lap before making a move, but I felt too comfortable, so I went for it.  I ran on my own for the rest of the race, and it felt good the whole way!  My Edinburgh roommate, Bethany Nickless was second in the race, and ran a PR of 10:59.
Teammate Gabe Anderson looked swift in her track opener of the season, winning her 1500m heat in 4:06.  Unfortunately, training partner Carrie Tollefson had her spike stepped on during the second lap of the 5k.  She wasn’t able to get the spike back on, and had to drop out of the race.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Payton Jordan Invite - A Not Good Enough PR

                Urg. I had a great opportunity to run fast at Payton Jordan meet at Stanford.  Perfect weather.  Fast people to run with.  A long taper.  My dad, uncle, cousin, coach, and teammates cheering me on.  But, for some reason, I did not feel well from the gun.  Although I was able to hit the pace I wanted for the first 4.5 laps, my legs were heavy.  I fell off a lot the next two laps, and ended up tying my personal record of 10:02.  I am currently 25th on the steeplechase list for Olympic Trials, and 24 athletes are accepted.  I went into the race believing I could run in the low 9:50’s, so I was not happy with the result. 

                I am going to race on May 19th, at the Oxy High Performance Meet.  Once again, it should be a great opportunity, and I hope I can race up to my expectations this time.