Sunday, June 10, 2012

The last couple weeks

The last few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster. After dropping out of Peyton Jordan my head was just not working in my favor.

First up was Bolder Boulder. I've already explained how it was a dream come true just to be in the race, but sadly the race was anything but a dream. It did little to help my confidence as I ran TERRIBLE! The whole race I just kept telling myself how much I wanted this and getting to run the whole race with Magda kept me plugging along. It was pretty cool just to hang out with Magda, Deena, Janet, Adriana and Sara. They are all ladies I really admire. Deena even has an awesome Mastiff just like we do! After the race I had my awesome support system of family and friends to help remind me this one race wasn't the end of the world. They even gave me a hard time for not being able to push harder and finish in front of Magda which would have made me a LOT of money.

 First thing my kids said after the race was "Mom your hair is CRAZY! and can we take a picture with your friends now who were in the Olympics"
 Not going to lie I have never been so happy to finish a race. Getting into the stadium is something I will forever cherish
Oh yeah that space there cost me a hell of a lot of money!

After Boulder I was pretty mentally down on myself. I think there are some time for all runners when they just feel like the work just doesn't seem to be paying off the way you hope. Luckily for me I have the worlds greatest coach and support system that keep me plugging away. So just 5 days after Boulder I talked Scott into letting me do my 3 mile uptempo at one of my favorite local races, Sierra's race in Loveland. For me it is so important to remember everyone who has supported me from the start and the family and friends of Sierra are very encouraging. This was my third time racing there and I will continue to do it as long as possible. Typically I run my 3 mile uptempo at 5:30's as it's a workout that is put in between races to keep the legs moving but not pushing to hard. Having run Sierra's before I knew mile 1 would be fast as it is downhill and than the last mile and a quarter or so are uphill. Since it was only a workout I wore my garmin so I could focus on paces. Doing this showed me why I NEVER race with a garmin. I was looking at it way too much slowing down speeding up, it would make me crazy. I ended up winning the race, setting a new course record and having a great time. Even the boys raced. It was just an all around great morning.  This was the best choice I could make. It taught me that I need to stop getting so worked up before races. It taught me I need to stop worying about anything outside of myself and what my legs need to do. The result will usually be a great race.

 Beautiful morning for a race!
 That's Chase in the black doing a great job of kicking to the finish
And Tripp on the left with a giant smile coming in strong!

I wanted to take the lessons I learned from Sierra's race and carry it over to Portland which happened to be just 6 days later. In the last month I have learned a lot of lessons mentally. Going in to Portland I was scared. I'm not going to lie, after Peyton Jordan I wasn't ready to get back on the track so I did my workouts at a local park that has a dirt trail. We have everything marked out there from 400 up to a 2 mile. It is for sure slower than the track as it has some hills in it, but mentally I could take hills more than the track. Not to mention ever since the 25k champs I have had a nagging groin thing going on. So as I was heading out to race my final shot at the Olympic trials I had little confidence in my ability. My mental state was not helped when I arrived at the airport to find out the hail storm the previous night meant that our plane got downgraded. After a long wait I ended up giving my seat up to a nice grand mother who needed to get to Portland for her Granddaughters gradutaion that night. I only neededto make sure I got there sometime before my race the following day so it seemed like the right thing to do. The result was a connecting flight and arriving 6 hours later. Normally this would send me in to a freaking panic but I was reminded by Scott "what would Pooh do?" So I just rolled with it.

Once I finally made it I found out I had great roommates, Adrianna Nelson and Kelly Callway. These two ladies were a ton of fun. We just hung out the day of the race not really stressing. Portland did it's best to try and freak me out by pouring rain on and off all day.
Are you kidding me? I didn't even know it could rain like that! Luckily though Craig ordered perfect conditions for the race and by some small miracle the skies cleared as the meet started. My pre race ritual was a lot different this time. I didn't stress over eating exactly what I had at Stanford I just went with whatever was available. I even (and hold on to your chairs when you read this) did my hair and nails different! I threw the damn superstitous thoughts out of my head. I wasn't nervous or excited or dreading I was just ready to get on the track. During the warm up I felt pretty crappy even running to the bathroom to throw up. Pretty sure I just had too much coffee during the day. Like most races before I knew it the gun was going off.

The start of the race was a bit nerve racking. All of us were ready to run 32:45 so it was crowded. I found myself in lane 2 so I decided to sprint up to the front so I could at least be in the outside of lane 1. I sat just behind Kim (our amazing pacer!) and Dani from Iowa state. The next two miles flew by but again with the field being so close in ability I was getting clipped like crazy. I decided to slow up a bit to sit on the back of the pack so I could not be clipped and I could be on the inside of lane one. This seemed to be fine as miles 3 and 4 really flew by. I felt amazing! For the first time I was able to do what Scott wanted. I literally turned my engine off and was along for the ride. Sadly I was a little too zoned out. I looked up to notice that Kim was in lane 4 which could only mean one thing, we were coming on mile 4. Since I have done this before I knew this was when the pack was going to make a move. Sure enough as I glanced to the front I could see that the first 4 of about 8-9 of us were breaking away. This time I was determined to not settle. I slowly ran around the girls in front of me, but by the time I got to the front the pack of four had gotten away from us. This is when it was going to get tough. I spent the next 9 laps on my own just focusing on them. I needed to catch them and I just couldn't do it. Looking back maybe I should have made a bit of a surge to force myself, but after races there are always things you know you should have done. The next mile was ok I slowed up a bit but was still on pace, than I lost it mentally. For some reason I though I had 4 laps to go when I heard the announcer say 5. I know it is ony 400 more but it really took me out of my zone. When I finally came around with one lap to go the announcer said 31:32 she needs a 73 for the final lap. At this point I knew I couldn't do it, but I pushed as much as I could and finished with a 32:48.45.

                                                           After the race with Adrianna

Luckily this time when I crossed I pushed Eeyore out of my head! Sure I was bummed I JUST missed it and it was my last mile that cost me, but I had just run a PR! Given the month I have had and the thoughts I had pre race I was honestly excited. I mean I gave my dream one last shot. Now I really have mixed emotions. When the season started I was really against running on the track. Mostly I think it was just going to prove to myself I wasn't good enough and I didn't want to deal with the disappointment. Now I am very glad I did. I gave it a go, I put myself out there and this time it wasn't enough. Does it mean all of the work I have put in the last 6 months was for nothing? Heck no! This new speed is going to transfer over to a kick ass fall marathon. I'm excited for what the future races holds. I am coming up on my first year of training with Scott and the ADP and look how far I have come. I can't keep comparing myself to any other runners. I'm on my own path and it is unique from others. Sadly my whole motivation to push myself toward the trials was getting the awesome Elite Adidas kit. The super cute purple pants have been on my mind since January! I won't get them this year but just the motivation to get them got me to a new PR. Now what? Well I entered myself into the trials and I will just have to wait until everyone declares on June 18th to see. The chance of me making the trials aren't very good but I am going to keep my fingers crossed that maybe just maybe some other girls decided to not run.

 I do want to give it up to the crew at Portland Track Festival! This was my kind of enviroment. There was music playing as we ran which was awesome! The laid back atmosphere is much more my style! Most of all I want to give a big, huge, gigantic thank you to my awesome teammate Loren! BRC is the absolute best team to be on! Loren was out in Portland to run the steeple and helped me more than he can know. He was encouraging as he was cheering my name. I had absolutly no idea who was cheering me on as I ran around but he kept me from falling apart!

It feels a little weird to not have the Olympic Trials on my schedule. I'm actually not too sure what I will do next. It feels a tad empty. In the short term I am going to head out to MN this weekend and run the USA half champs. It will be a really great time. I truly enjoy the distance and I will get to see a lot of friends!