When Things Get Off Track, Take a New Road

Thursday 31st July 2014

Hey everyone! Checking in with a recap of the last couple of outdoor races and have some exciting news about my schedule for the rest of the year…….
At the end of June I placed second for the second straight year in the USA 10,000m national championship. It was a very close finish and a fun race. I was pleased to finish the second 5k of the race in what started out as my 5k PR at the beginning of the season. My overall time of 32:03 was a time that felt like an all out effort last year, but this year felt tactical. Thus, there were many signs of improvement. Kim Conley ran a brilliant race and just edged me in the final straightaway.
After that, I headed to Europe for races in Glasgow and Monaco. Both races were good experiences, but for the most part ended in disappointment. How, might you ask, could I go from finishing a close second in the US Championships to returning home from Europe very upset and frustrated? The answer is actually quite simple- head over to Europe and compete against the 15 best women in the world in the 1500m, then the next week go and race the 15 best women in the 5000m! One of my greatest strengths has always been that I’m a tough competitor, so I certainly loved and accepted the challenge. On the other hand, I’m only 22 years old, in my first year as a professional athlete, and still learning. Although Glasgow ended in a big 3 second PB of 4:07.70, I did finish in last place which is certainly not where I want to be, even in a shorter distance event. In Monaco, we realized that my big PR is more likely to come in a race that goes out evenly at perhaps a 15 min to 15:10 pace and I can kick, rather than one where I go out in 14:30 pace and try to hold on. One day I will be better prepared for this physically, but at the moment I’m simply getting my butt kicked by some much more experienced athletes.

After returning to the USA, my coaches, agent and I deliberated on the best plan for the second half of the season. In one scenario I could go back to Europe and race on the track with women that are much better than me. On one hand this would be really good for me as I need to continue working on being a fighter no matter what the circumstances. It’s good to see the world’s best and experience the struggle in order to eventually progress to the top. However, in looking at what will set me up to be the best competitor I can be in 2015 and 2016, we have decided that I will remain here in the US and switch over to some road races.

I am very excited about the new plan because it will allow me to step away from a focus on track times and have an opportunity see what I can do in this different type of race. I know that I’m in the best shape of my life; it is just a matter of getting into the right races and executing a good race plan. So far on my schedule I am confirmed for the Beach to Beacon 10k, Falmouth 7 miler and the US 5k Championships. As a young athlete, I’m refocusing and remembering that I have years and years ahead of me in the sport. I’m learning to be patient, to take things as they come and most importantly to be resilient. No matter what happens in these next few races or any races in the future for that matter, you won’t see me giving up…Getting knocked down only means getting up even quicker.

As I move over to the roads, I’m very excited to meet and interact with a different part of the running community. As much as I am honored and love to compete along the best in the world on the track in Europe, I am equally looking forward to a change of environment where I am competing alongside people who are also the best in the world in another sense. Those who are truly the best at their day jobs, which aren’t running; those people who come out to the races with a passion and cause, those running for charities, those running a race for the first time, the moms and dads racing for their families, etc….Everyone at road races always has a unique story and I’m looking forward to seeing these stories up close on the race course. It is these runners who simply run for the love of the sport that really inspire me and I know inspire so many others. I hope that my performances these next couple of races could also be an inspiration to everyone out there as I continue along my journey! Happy running and see you on the roads!!!

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