Dreams DO come true: A race to the Olympic Trials!!!

HS sam
Throwback to the HS days when I thought running 5.5 miles was hard…

I remember a particular run in high school when I first realized that the 2016 Olympic Trials was going to be about 1.5 years after my college graduation. At the time, I dreaded running 5.5 miles but I also remember setting a goal that day to be on the line of the Olympic Trials Marathon.  Now fast forward to December 14, 2014 when I broke out my first training journal on a flight to Phoenix.  I was reading through some pages when I got to the goal setting section and knew that it was time to write down my goal of wanting to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.  (See pic below 🙂 )  Yes, I originally wanted to reach the goal by running a half marathon but moral of the story is, this is the first time in a very, very long time that I actually accomplished a running goal I verbalized and put down on paper.  In college, I wanted to be an All-American so bad.  I told my family, coaches and teammates and then proceeded to work my butt off. Being an All-American just wasn’t in the cards for me and even though I was extremely disappointed, I left college hungry and excited for a new challenge.

IMG_20151211_194448~2
Goal on L is from 12/2014 and goal on R is post-marathon #1

I’ve already blogged about my first marathon (https://runhappyrunfierce.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/life-changes-and-the-marathon-1-mile-debut/) and we all know how that story ends.  So in May, I got back to work with one goal and one race in my mind…running sub-2:43 at the California International Marathon.  CIM was the perfect race to direct my goals towards for a few reasons…first off, it is a net downhill course, secondly, it fell at the perfect time following our collegiate cross country and recruiting season and before my grad school finals (yuck!) and it was in California (who doesn’t want a vacation?!)  All of my training focused on that one race and with a crazy recruiting and cross country season, time and training flew by.

I flew out of Sacramento on Thursday afternoon so that I could have a few days to adjust to the 3 hour time change and to get in the racing mindset since it had been such a long time since my last race.  I enjoyed everything Sacramento has to offer, the food was unbelievable and running along the Great American River Trail was fantastic.  The nerves would come and go over the few days leading up to the race but it was great to have my coach, friend and boyfriend out in Sacramento as my support crew 🙂  Leading up to the race on Sunday, I was confident but was still a bit nervous because there are so many things that could go wrong in a 26.2 mile race.

The race on Sunday awesome…painful but awesome.  My first marathon was a blur but many people have told me that the marathon is a race of the last 10K and boy did I experience that on Sunday.  Through 20 miles, I was feeling great.   Everything was perfect…the energy was great, the pacer did a fantastic job getting the women out in qualifying position and fueling/grabbing my water bottles really wasn’t so hard.  I was knocking off splits consistently around 6:09 and then dropped below 6:00/mile  around mile 14.  My big mistake that I am grateful I made was getting a bit too ambitious between miles 14 and 18.  I was feeling great so I picked it up a bit and hit 3 or 4 miles between 5:55-5:58….all three of those miles came back to haunt me in the last 10K of the race.  I was still running sub-6:15’s in the last 6 miles, but my goal was to be able to RACE the last 10k and instead, I was just trying to SURVIVE.  The great thing is, I get another shot to not make that mistake in just about 9 weeks 🙂  My official gun time was 2:41.10 which is a bit off of my goal (my minimal goal was to get the B standard but really I wanted to go sub-2:40) but at the end of the day, the main goal was accomplished and I am given another shot to crack 2:40!!!  The support and encouragement has been overwhelming the past few days.

The emotions after Sunday’s race are finally starting to settle down and it is beginning to set in that in 9 very short weeks, I will be toeing the line of the US Olympic Marathon Trials in LA!!  Holy cow that sounds so awesome to finally be able to say out loud (or in this case, type in my blog).  

CIM Awards

What’s next???  Recovery and school work…finals are next week and I’ve been a bit of a procrastinator. I owe thank you’s to a lot of people…my parents who have always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.  All of my coaches…from Mr. B in high school who helped me fall in love with the sport, the 3 college coaches I had and Tony (my current coach).  UT XC helped me through the past few months of training more than they know…from Linh forcing me out on a Monday afternoon double to a group a women cranking out a progressive run on the tow path.  And last but not least…everyone who made CIM possible (especially the Elite Coordinator, Danielle)!!

Also, a huge thanks to RunnersWorld for another great article!
http://www.runnersworld.com/elite-runners/misdirected-marathoner-gets-redemption-with-olympic-trials-qualifier

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