Looking Pretty.

Those SLV (San Luis Valley) winds just picked up as the group huddled about the starting line.  Clouds threatened to roll in, gloaming about Cole Park.  Zoila Gomez transfers with her bike about 20 meters ahead of us with her stopwatch lifted in the air; the winds calmed as if taking notice to her current stance. 

"Set, GO!" she shouts back to us while simultaneously dodging human traffic and taking forth ahead on her bike.  Three of us immediately chase her down knowing that an all out sprint was not on the agenda for this one kilometer (km) time trial.  "So remember", she insisted, "look pretty on the last 100 meters". Look pretty?  Most of us amateur runners see the glorious race photos where it seems we have contorted our faces to match with the pain we were experiencing at the moment. 

 Preparing for the time trial with active drills during the warmup session.  Photo credit to Jeff Owsley.

Preparing for the time trial with active drills during the warmup session.  Photo credit to Jeff Owsley.

"You don't want to leave it all out there" as she continues into the delicate issue of the progression of any athlete: amateur passionate runner, weight loss focused, goal oriented galore of the individual.  To the heart of the matter she digs deeper into her running experiences, going all out is not something you can accomplish each day.  It is a rarity at most with what you experience at the height of your training or during an important competition. 

Goals, for Zoila, are the main focus.  Take into account of the one kilometer time trial she had us test ourselves on: pink marker flags were placed at the 400 meter, and 800 meter distances.  The goal from her to us was to visualize the small goals before recognizing our possible finish times for the entire one km. 

As a six time national champion for Adams State, a fourth place finisher in the 2008 Olympic marathon trials, and having multiple appearances in World Championships, goals for Zoila were quite the perspective since 1997 when she first took on the sport.  "I break the marathon down into 5ks (5 km intervals).  After my first 5k, I would check my watch and start for the next 5k".  Compile this goal structure all together and she has approximately 8.439 times a 5k to reach the big goal of the marathon. 

Monotonous this may sound to an individual who doesn't have interest to fit a marathon training plan into their everyday lives, this type of structure plays a great role into our lifestyles.  For example, Hallie Owsley, a multiple subject school teacher in Alamosa set a goal this summer to finish a distance of a 5 km.  She struggled for years since graduate school to start an active lifestyle again due reoccurring injuries and amount of recovery she had to take in between sessions of running.  Gradually she increased the distance during the summer.  Hallie also explained that learning from the various topics (drills/strength, goal setting skills, etc.) taught by the hosts in the Running Clinics, she was able to complete not only her original goal but to have it done multiple times throughout each week!  "It really helped when Alicia (Nelson) and Carmille (Garcia) paced me throughout the entire loop through Cole Park.  This helped me have confidence to finish the distance" Hallie said with a big smile.

Developing goal structure is huge for an individual as the host for the previous Running Clinic, Coach Larry Zaragosa explained throughout his talk on goal setting and management for adjusting those goals when necessary: "When coaching my athletes, I want them to develop their own goals, as an individual and as a team.  They are directed by their motivation...I love to see that internal drive within my athletes."

 Alamosa High School men's team head out for a run out on the dirt mountain roads.  Photo credit to Larry Zaragoza.

Alamosa High School men's team head out for a run out on the dirt mountain roads.  Photo credit to Larry Zaragoza.

Whether you're competing at the Olympic level or developing confidence to finish a simple distance; whether you're out trying to finish the longest homework assignment ever or figuring out how to balance the family and business life...just know that small goals are just as important to building up to your bigger goals and also, don't forget to enjoy the moment when you accomplish those building blocks.  Happy Goal Setting!     

Be sure to join Fit Discover's last Running Clinic next Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. along with the rest of the Weekends on the Rio events! 

This coming Sunday in Cole Park is the last of the Sundays at Six concert series with Dana Louise & the Glorious Birds, a folk inspired band based out of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Also, with weather permitting there will be the last pump track and yoga classes. 

On September 25th, the annual Harvest Soiree Festival put on by the SLV Local Food Coalition will showcase local food, local art, and local music from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  A new event is now added to kick off the festival, the Farm to Table 5k Walk/Run where participants start off with a potato seed and they get "planted" and "watered" along the way.  They then "harvest" a fully grown potato just before the end and enjoy homemade potato salad after the race!  Register and view more info under the RACES tab!!    


Article and slideshow photos by Carmille Garcia.