After a fall and winter bi-coastal training, I’m finally back in L.A. The idea is to put in as much time as I can with my coach and the rest of the team amid a summer of traveling and racing in preparation for nationals and the next international winter season. Upon arriving home from Colombia, I was home for a week and a half and then almost immediately bounced back to the left coast. It’s good to be home – well, my other home.
Oddly enough, this will be my first summer training with an actual sprint group. During the past three seasons, I had generally been training on my own with the guidance of my own coach; this experience of training with more than one or two other people on a regular basis is entirely new. As such, there’s a period of adjustment to go through in meshing with the rest of the bunch.
Understand that my frequent travels and training stints already have me integrated with the team and program – my team mates are awesome, and it’s just plain cool to feel the support between everyone. At the risk of using a terrible cliché, it’s becoming like a family – a masochistic family that painfully trains together. However, apparently there are some team dynamics that I’m still getting the hang of.
Now, I’ve always considered myself to have decent people skills. On the other hand, I suffer from a very serious and all-too-common affliction. There appears to be a direct line of neurons that immediately connects my brain and my mouth; subsequently, my lips move when I think and all kinds of stuff pour out. Thoughts range from intelligent to silly, cute to unsettling or even mildly offensive – and usually laced with some colorful profanity and always a smack of brash attitude. I might refer to myself as blunt; it’s not supposed to be mean, but can certainly be taken that way. In this way I have, as of yesterday, earned the nickname of “The Sugar Plum Fairy.”
I looked up the character from Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet to understand exactly to whom I was being compared. According to an online article in Dance Magazine, “If the dancer performs the role with warmth, graciousness, and elegance, the spell is cast. Sugar Plum not only welcomes Clara and her prince into the Land of the Sweets in The Nutcracker, but provides the classical high point to this favorite holiday ballet.”
Hmmm. I can be warm and gracious and elegant if I try. Mostly I’m all spice with a side of nice, and no sugar added. And if that, along with a goofy or off-color comment, can’t be a little highlight in someone’s day, then that’s just lame. I’ll fully embrace the irony here in my new title.
Every family has a gonzo grandma or loopy uncle. Oh yes, it does. Those who don’t believe this are kidding themselves. In this training environment, I’m that relative you just can’t take anywhere. So in the interest of healthy team dynamics, I accept my role as the blunt axe of friendship. Yep, it’s going to be a fun summer.