Location: Palo Alto, CA
Thought about not posting this, but I’m going to do my best to keep it real. I’d rather write about good days, but there’s going to be some ugly ones, too. Simply put, this race was ROUGH. Probably one of the worst races of my life. After it was over, I found myself questioning what went wrong, searching for reasons that it went SO poorly. The truth is, there’s so many reasons that a race goes well or doesn’t. I prepared the best that I could, and it was a bad day. It’s sometimes tough to pinpoint exactly what happened, as it’s usually a combination of things. The most important part of dealing is accepting a bad race for what it is, and nothing more. I can’t change that it happened, but I can control how I react to it. Looking forward to more racing and challenges ahead.
US 15k Championships
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Last year this was the first race I had to cancel ever due to injury, so getting to go back this year was a reminder of how thankful I am to get to do this–travel, race, get after my goals!
I knew I wanted to put myself in the position to place well in the top 10, but I learned this fall that going out too hard could be disastrous. Once I start dying, I REALLY die. My goal pace was around 5:30, and as per usual, I was out a little quick for the first two miles. After that, I really settled into a groove with a group of about 5 women. Top three was already out of sight and 4/5 was also pretty unreachable in terms of what I thought I could do for pace. I noticed that my splits were slower than I wanted, but eventually I decided to quick checking my watch and focus on racing the group around me. I thought about calming my breathing, staying steady, and making the pace feel as easy as I could by not making any big moves and keeping my eyes ahead. By doing this, I was able to slowly reel in one woman who had a big lead on our pack, and right after I passed her, my roommate for the weekend, Rosa, passed me. That was probably the best thing for me, because I just went with her for the final 5k and focused on staying with her.
Since I’ve raced here before two years ago, I knew that the course was fairly flat until the last two miles… where you meet the GREEN MONSTER (gigantic bridge that brings you to a very dark place late in the race). It’s a LONG uphill over the bridge, and then you fly downhill for the final mile. You’d think that would be nice, but you can JUST SEE TOO MUCH. It seemed to stretch on forever, and I was very thankful to reach the last straightaway. I had a solid last mile but Rosa had gapped me quite a bit on the uphill. Good thing I was focused on catching her, because turns out three women finished within 7 seconds behind me! (PS. This was Rosa’s longest race AND longest run to date and she BOSSED OUT.)
At the end of the day, 7th place and a 48 second PR was alright with me! Now I’m looking forward to getting after the spring season with a mix of track and road races. My next challenge is the steeple at Stanford Invite on March 30th. I haven’t steepled since the Olympic Trials, so I’m pumped to get back at it!
USATF Indoor Championships 3k
Location: Albuquerque, NM
My goal going into this race was to be competitive and try to beat someone. My indoor “season” was basically one race before this and I’ve never run at altitude in my life. My expectations of crushing a fast time/high finish were low, but that doesn’t mean I was going to give any less than 100% of what I had.
Start Line: I haven’t run on a banked track since 2012. Am I going to fall sideways into Katie Mackey?! Frick!
Lap 1: Don’t go out too hard, put yourself in the back third of the race. EFF. WHY AM I IN FOURTH.
Lap 4: Is there anyone behind me? *Glance over shoulder* Nope, just me.
Laps 5-9: Stay calm, hang with it. This isn’t so bad.
Laps 10-14: Why. Is. This. My. Life.
Lap 12: You’re going to get last. But make it the best freaking last place you can.
Lap 15: COME ON, ALREADY. (Deathly 41 on Lap 14 to equally deathly 33 on Lap 15)
Finish line: Breath–gone. Goal–achieved! 7th place isn’t glamorous, but I’m feeling like a racer again and I can’t wait until the next one!
Up next: US 15k Championships in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 10th.
Husky Classic 5k
Location: Seattle, WA
My A goal was to run under 15:50, and I really thought I was capable to do this. My B goal was to run under 15:55 to qualify for the US Indoor Championships. Was bummed to narrowly miss these goals, but still not a complete disaster. I know that progress takes time (sometimes a lot more than I’m willing to admit), and 15:58 is still my second best track 5k and only 7 seconds slower than last year. I know I’m on the right trajectory, I feel good, I’m healthy, and things are looking up from here!
UPDATE: I refreshed USATF one final time before I went to bed Saturday night, and saw that my time was accepted! Looking forward to racing the 3k at my first US Indoor Champs in Albuquerque!
Bison Open Mile
Location: Fargo, ND
After Houston, my right calf was so tight that I basically could not run for 10 days. I learned last year that hobbling through something that painful doesn’t end well (plus my body really gave me no choice), so I took a week and a half of miserable aqua jogging, a few days of Alter G, and then was able to get back at it. With a shortened training block between Houston and the Husky Classic 5k, along with the drop in distance, I really wanted to spike up and get in a hard effort by myself. Although it was 5 seconds off my PR from last year, it was good for me to feel the race burn so next week’s pace won’t be such a shock.
Houston Half Marathon
Place: 20th, 8th American
Location: Houston, TX
This is the strongest I’ve felt in the last year. The 2017 season was a rough one, and I’ve struggled to find my way in races since my stress fracture. I’ve consistently gone out at PR pace in every race this fall, only to die a miserable death and run way below what I felt I was capable of. This race was different, because I set a reasonable goal and stuck to it. Reasonable doesn’t mean easy; I was focused on optimal for the day in order to have a positive result and move forward from there. My goal was to break 1:14 and feel good, and I came pretty dang close. I feel confident that the Olympic Trials Standard (1:13) is within reach, whenever my next half may be! Happy to not feel like the world is ending, and I’d say it’s a positive start to what’s going to be a great 2018!