Must have been the Vaseline!

By: Carmen Troncoso

Having taken a much longer than expected hiatus from writing my blog, I have decided that my ONLY “New Year’s resolution” is to write one every month no matter what.

I started this blog a little before the end of the year, and if I wanted to bore you with details, I will probably find a way to break it into 5 blogs, but let’s not do that just yet…bore you.

5 weekends, 5 awesome destinations to train, race and bonus:  a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland as a USA XC coach.

First stop is Bend, Oregon…back on December 13th.

The temperatures had been pretty cold in that area, and the Mountain pass from Portland to Bend was “iffy”, but we lucked out and the weather turned out beautiful.

Race day we woke up to a very cold windy day, and one hard XC course to contend with. Oh and a little bit of altitude, which I totally neglected to add into the mix. What can I say? When you get out to XC races and you see hundreds other crazy runners thinking the same thing WHAT WAS I THINKING?!, but at same time are deciding on what length of spikes they should wear, how many layers should they wear, and how would they approach the course – you feel a little bit less crazy and part of that universe.

For me XC has always been about having fun and pushing the limits of my comfort zone, WAY OUT THERE. Listening to the breathing of the person next to you, running stride by stride with someone you totally respect, but also want to “crush” that day, yes crush! And as soon as you finish you shake her hand or hug her because you both were in this one together for those 20 mins. (ok 20+ mins.).

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.18.20 AM

To run like a kid again, to re-define the limits of your “comfort zone”, it really doesn’t get any better than that for me.

Next stop is La Paz, Baja California, Mexico.
What can I say, a picture is better than a thousand words…

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Ricardo and I spent the Holidays in Heaven. It was the perfect weather, for 10 days of running.

We felt like professional runners, we slept 10 hours every night, ate well, did all our workouts including weights, core, stretching, drank enormous amounts of coffee and gelato. And spent time with family.
Life doesn’t get any better than that!

We followed that with a stop over in Mexico City (and Queretaro).

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.28.47 AMIf you have ever wanted to go to Mexico City and don’t know when, the Holidays are the best time. You only have 15 million people to deal with (as opposed to the usual 30 million).

Is not as bad is it sounds, on the contrary, it is quite relaxing, there is very little traffic, museums and parks are manageable, and the weather is quite comfortable.

Here we tried some new foods. Again, a picture…..

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Grasshoppers, I reluctantly tried them. Believe me cheese or salsa don’t camouflage the little legs, but they are not bad.

Life doesn’t get better than that?…not this time, it does get much better.

Back to Austin for two days, unpack, do laundry, pack again…

Next stop Edinburgh, Scotland.

I got the privilege of taking a group of young athletes to a XC race in Edinburgh. It was a last minute invitation for me, but one that I couldn’t refuse.

I have been in this sport for over 30 years and maybe this is what it is all about.

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I don’t want to get cheese here but I have to say that when I’m asked why I still run, the last 5 weeks sum it up.

I get to visit with old friends, I get to visit family, I get to run in fantastic places, I get to travel with other runners, I get to talk to younger runners and maybe just give them a little nugget of wisdom that will help them in their careers, and lastly, I get to test the limits of my comfort zone and get a glimpse of ….


Well, going back to a nugget of wisdom, I usually rub Vaseline in the bottom of my spikes, especially when there is a lot of wet grass.

At the race in Edinburgh the grass was wet, and it was extremely muddy (would have loved to run there), so I suggested to the runners that they do that. They had never heard of it, but decided to give it a try. The junior girls were the first ones to get to the runner’s tent, so they were busy applying the Vaseline to their spikes, then the senior men and women decided that it wouldn’t hurt to do it.

After the main races, they had an invitational race where the likes of Bekele and Kiprop, were the ones to beat. And American, Garrett Heath was in that race. Not a nobody by track standards, but didn’t carry the weight of the other big names.

Fast forward to the finish line and Garrett takes the lead with 250 meters. to go and wins, take a look.

Surprising everybody and himself, his comment to me with a big smile was, MUST HAVE BEEN THE VASELINE!


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