Lessons at the Track
I watched part of a documentary last night before going to bed, on Renée Fleming, an American superstar opera singer. The documentary wasn’t the greatest since they showed her doing a lot of performances at cheesy events. Things like singing (with a mic!) at a figure skating fundraising event, or a pops concert in a park which is really not what she does most of the time. Anyway, I really admire her singing. She sings with such emotion and her voice is rich and warm even when she is singing in her highest range. What struck me the most watching her sing was how she hardly moved when she sang a phrase no matter how difficult. There was no tension in her face and none of the histrionics that you often see from other singers yet she was still extremely expressive. Her singing made me feel calm and at ease because there was no undue tension. It almost looked like the sound pouring out of her was coming from somewhere else…like a ventriloquist! Selena is always harping on me to “do less” and to “stop trying so hard”. When I manage to get out of my own way, I get glimpses of the freedom we are looking for. This morning I pictured Renée’s grounded calmness every time I took a breath and tried to refrain from going to the usual anxious tension I rely on to get through a phrase. It really worked! My mantra must be: Do less and TRUST! This of course sounds so easy but then there are about 100 other things I have to do at the same time to sing well! I think Selena’s point is that at the base of what I am doing there has to be a calm trust that all the other emotional, technical and musical elements must flow from. Cool. Now I just have to do this repeatedly so it becomes second nature…without trying to hard….sigh…
Tonight’s track workout was 3 x 600m with 400m breaks, 3 x 500m with 300m breaks and 3 x 400m with 200m breaks with 400m set breaks. My hammys were still a bit tender from the race (speaking of trying too hard) so I made sure that Jennie and I led the warm-up though the UVic trails to keep the pace easy to start. A few of RB’s fast guys showed up and we thought that was a remedy for a race in the warm-up! By the end of it my legs felt a lot better. I ran the intervals with Pierre and was careful not to push. My legs and energy felt very good but I still wanted to make it through the whole WO without dying so the pace was steady and not pushed. The 600s were 2:06, 2:04, 2:03 the 500’s 1:42, 1:42, 1:45 and the 400s 1:24, 1:21, 1:18. I felt equally strong from beginning to end and we did not walk between intervals so the rests were relatively short. I felt I could have done more so I think the pace was just right. Pierre had this amazing ability on the last 400 to find another gear and fly in the last final 100meters! I asked him how he does that. He said “I think lengthen upward and at the same time I relax, let go and without trying to go faster, I tell my body to release and it just happens”. The universe is obviously trying to tell me something!