Monday, June 13, 2011

The Latest Fad that is Twitter

Why? I seriously don’t understand it. As my memory serves, the things I hear or read about people’s opinions on Twitter were very negative. Generally heralded as “stupid” or “pointless”, now there has been a large turn of events. Many people are suddenly joining the microblogging social networking site, where essentially it’s a Facebook “status update” through one’s day. I still don’t understand why many people have started to join.

I guess people could be bored with Facebook. I mean, pressing the “like” button isn’t enough for you anymore? Their minds are trained to try something new, even if it’s something that they used to dislike. I find Twitter is such an example. People didn’t understand why others would mindlessly write about their lives on a site for other people to read. Now, they’re joining in that experience, mindlessly writing about their lives. Something to ponder, I suppose.I mean, it’s great that many are joining Twitter, as I am one frequent “tweeter” myself. I just don’t want it to turn into a Facebook-like thing. The cool thing about Twitter is that you can choose who you can follow. If a person follows you, you don’t necessarily have to return the favor. My only annoyance is that if friends start following each other, then what’s the point of joining Twitter? You have Facebook to communicate with your friend electronically. I feel as if Twitter has the purpose of sending out a message to reach others through your day. You get to follow your favorite celebrities or athletes and see what they’re up to, and pretty much communicate with them that way.

My only advice? Don’t follow all your friends on Twitter. Reach out and follow celebrities or things that really interest you. Something that’s worth “retweeting”.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Finding a Name that Sticks

This topic is just a filler for when I actually think of more topics to write about. Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve had a hard time finding the right name for the blog. A blog title is something that represents the topic goal you’re trying to achieve as you write, or it’s something that is truly a reflection of you and your thoughts. Honestly, I’ve a hard time trying to find a name that will really stick. Originally I wanted to start this blog to get my thoughts out about things I observed around my own community, or my own philosophical thinking. Of course, I could never stray away from the one thing I loved most, running. I thought the blog would let readers know that I do talk about different things, but I could never neglect the chance of writing about something running related.

I currently changed the name to “Stride after Stride”. That is a name I hope will stick for the time being. As an avid runner and a fan of track and field, I feel that this title will fit me well. It will include the many adventures I have from running or watching competitions and many different topics during my adventures that hopefully won’t be too running related. I don’t want my blog to focus on only one topic, I want it to vary in many different things, so I hope people who are reading will continue to visit and become interested.

Well, that’s it for now. I got to find some more topics.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Athlete in the Spotlight: Jessica McCarthy

I’ve never actually done an interview before, but I figured this might be a nice chance to write in a reporter-like style, especially on something I like. So I asked my friend Jessica McCarthy, who is an ever-growing track fan/athlete to answer some questions on her first collegiate season at the University of Maine, a Division I school.

As a preamble to the interview, Jess first started track her sophomore year of high school, and was really good, becoming a state qualifier in multiple events, and a school record holder in some of those events. With three years of indoor and two years of outdoor track seasons, she has really grown into an athlete who wants to improve her performance, and loves the competition. That’s why her talents have brought her to the University of Maine to compete.

Jess has decided generously answer many questions about her season, and her fast growth and transition from high school to college competition. I first asked her in general how her season has gone, and she responded, “Well, my preseason was tough, more intense running and training and lifting, I was always tired and sore”. That sentence alone I believe goes through many new college runners. It’s definitely hard to do the offseason workouts, and then get into the preseason workout and feel like absolute crap. Jess mentions that her indoor and outdoor seasons had its ups and downs. “Indoor was below average, I almost wish I red shirted or something. To me it was a waste of a season. I was running races I never had before, and practices were hard and demanding, I didn’t take the time to fix things, I was more or less just going through the motion of what me coach was asking me to do. As far as outdoor went I was a completely different person, I was PR’ing or coming close to PRs every race and I was placing top 5 every meet scoring points, anchoring relays and I was even going to Penn Relays until the stress fracture ended the season for me”.

It’s definitely hard to have such a crucial injury in the middle of the season, especially before one of the biggest collegiate meets of the outdoor season. It’s definitely a lesson to learn as an athlete to make sure their body is taken care of so that injuries don’t happen in the middle of the season.

There are a lot of lessons that Jess has learned through her first year, as she mentioned to me that patience is crucial in improving her athletic performance. She realizes that there are people better than her and that that can’t get her down. She can’t “bitch” about it, and move on from her mistakes or anger. That is something I absolutely agree with, and that is an important step to take when moving on to her sophomore year.

I also asked Jess about her coaches. She mentioned that there is a big difference between her high school coaches and her college coaches in terms of knowledge and intensity of workouts. She mentions one of her coaches, Dave Cusano, a fellow “track nerd,” “has completely changed my running for the better. I learned proper technique, how to lift and get strong, how to eat right, how to be a better athlete and person”. Then to describe her workouts compared to high school, it is “more intense times one million”. Jess describes the types of lifting and running workouts that involve the user of tires or cinder blocks in order to improve strength and speed. Sounds kind of old fashioned, but it probably works.

My most important question for Jess was the commitment level to the sport in college. For the people who knew me, I was committed to the sport day in and day out to improve and perform at my best. For Jess, her answer was definitely no surprise to me. She said that “Commitment is vital to be a successful sprinter in my school. We carry ourselves at a higher level than anyone else because we are at that level. You need to be 100% into this or else it’s a waste of your time… I knew I was committed before, but seeing how dedication and hard work pays off makes me even more committed and excited to see how everything turns out”.

It’s definitely a good feeling to hear that a friend of mine who has grown to become such a talented athlete learn so much about the sport and gain a respect equal to mine. It’s truly inspiring. This sport is built mainly on the social interactions people make with each other in order to learn, improve, and compete, and I’m glad to have Jess be one of my friends. On that note, Jess will close with her closing statement: “I have a year under my belt with all of the experience and I’m just anticipating getting going again, because I know what it takes now and I’m ready for it and I know I can only do better”.