It’s been awhile since I wrote my last post and let me tell ya, a TON has happened. I need to start by giving my amazing parents a quick shoutout. My dad, the most amazing guy in my life, has served in the military for my whole life and he was promoted to chief!! I missed the ceremony but I couldn’t be more proud of my dad and of course my mom because it’s not easy to be a military wife. My mom has asked me every day for the past week about when I was writing my next blog soooo….here ya go mother, this one’s for you.
In mid-August the Iowa State women’s XC team arrived on campus and after spending a few hours with the team, I was reminded of why I chose to stay in Ames, IA to continue my training for now. They are an inspiring and driven group of women that are going to surprise a lot of people this fall- these women are beasts 🙂 We spent pre-season camp at the YMCA camp in Boone, Iowa where it have the women an opportunity to grow closer and create a deeper bond with each other before classes started. Having a new role in the program as an assistant coach, I am so excited to share my passion and learn so much from our awesome and energetic head coach, Andrea Grove-McDonough-aka McD.
I have been training week by week but increasing my volume. I know that I want to run a half marathon in November and ideally a spring marathon but other than that, I’m enjoying experimenting with training. I’ve had a few bumps in the road, an irritated Achilles post BIX and then on a run 4 days before the US 20K Champs, I was running with one of the new freshman and tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and bruised the underside of my kneecap. As you can tell, I am a bit clumsy or I need to limit my talking while running but gosh I never knew how painful a bruised knee cap can be even once swelling is gone. However, with the help of my chiro and graston specialist, Nathan Wheat (@doctor_wheat on Twitter), I got back on my feet just in time to leave for New Haven.
I had never been apart of an ‘elite’ field at any of the big road races so it was an honor to be part of the weekend and the elite coordinator, John Tolbert, and everyone else who made the race possible worked so hard to make the athlete accommodations amazing. It was a bit intimidating being around such high-caliber athletes and I quickly realized that I was the youngest female runner by nearly two years. I learned a lot by just observing the women race weekend and my roommate, Alvina Begay, was such a sweetheart and didn’t make me feel like a rookie :). Race day was interesting- Iowa is humid in the summer but I was not expecting warm temps and 90% humidity at race time. Talking to McD prior to the race, we both agreed that it would be best to go out extra conservative and then really race the last 4 miles. We knew that I didn’t want my core temp to spike too early because I would be on the struggle bus the entire race. I went out at the back of the elite field and still went through the mile about 15 seconds faster than I was expecting. After mile 4, I realized that I needed to forget about splits and just race because the conditions were affecting everyone. With about 3 miles to go, I was struggling but I was finally within striking distance of a few women and with 1.5 miles to go, I just put my head down and tried to find my happy place to get me to the finish. It worked and by passing those two women, I found myself on the podium in a top-10 finish of the USA 20k Championships. Even though the time was no where near what I was hoping, it was the first time in a while that I didn’t give up in the final part of a race when it got tough. I also learned that I miss having someone book all of my travel plans for me because I barely allowed myself enough time to get from New Haven post race to the airport on Hartford-especially considering Labor Day traffic. The weekend also taught me so much beyond finding my own toughness again- I learned from veteran women about what it takes to be successful and I have found some new role models. Some of these women have multiple kids at home and still find a way to kick ass while raising a family. Pretty much these women are the bomb and when I complain about being too busy, I need to think about them. The final thing I learned this weekend about myself is that I am not meant to be a city girl…New Haven is great but gosh I am more comfortable in the cornfields of Iowa or the boondocks in Wisconsin than I will ever be in a big city.
Also, I forgot to mention one of the best parts of September (besides XC season)…it’s pumpkin spice latte season coffee lovers!!