Friday, December 13, 2013

Club XC '13


Tomorrow I will run my second race as a Brooks Beast.  Our distance women’s crew is putting together a team for the club cross country championships in Bend, Oregon.   Although this race isn’t a huge deal in the elite running world in terms of money or prestige, it is so much fun to get to compete on a team.  Since graduating from college, the only times I have gotten to run for other people as been representing the U.S. or last year with Team USA Minnesota at club xc nationals.  There is something about competing for a team that can bring out the best in people, especially if they care for one another.  I am still getting to know my teammates (Angela Bizzari, Jessica Tebo, Deb Maier, and Brie Felnagle), but they are all awesome women, and I want to make them proud.

The course is a tough one – we are just about always going uphill or downhill on the course, and I was winded just doing the pre-meet.  But I do well with tough conditions and courses, so I’m excited!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Flotrack Videos of BBTC


When I visited the Brooks Beast Track Club in Mid-September, my visit coincided with Flotrack coming to do some filming of the team.  It was a glamorous experience having Ryan Fenton and a couple film guys follow the team around for three days, catching everything on camera.  Suddenly making a pot of coffee seemed a lot more important than usual because it was ON FILM.  As only a potential Beast, I was not the focus of the event, but I still felt pretty dang cool.  And of course, the Flotrack team did a wonderful job with the end product.  The videos capture our team’s goofiness, our inclusiveness, our competitiveness, and our hard work. 

Here they are!

Intro:


Team Profile:

 
Workout:

 
 
Also a cool interview with my coach, Danny Mackey:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Formerly banned..

Sorry everyone! I meant to say formerly banned. Different, but maybe an issue?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Elite Athlete Summit, Miami, FL


This past weekend I flew to Miami to take part in the Elite Athlete Summit.  I had no idea what the weekend would be like, as I had little information going in.  When I confirmed by attendance in early September, I imagined I would be getting information about how to access resources now available to me based on the USATF tier system, going on training runs with top American distance runners, and enjoying some time in the sun.

The trip turned out to be more stressful than I thought.  First of all, I had to fly out of Seattle two days after moving there.  Second, it takes a looonnng time to fly from Seattle to Miami.  Granted I lost three hours, but I left Seattle at 6:00 am, and arrived in Miami and 6:00 pm.  Add in a baby throwing up on me and a night-time treadmill work out after traveling all day.  I was wreck.  Third, I was the only distance runner at the meeting, so I did all my running alone, mostly in the dark along a busy road that was not quite a highway.  Finally, we had meetings all day long, so when I had a tidbit of free time I was either running or trying to get a quick recovery nap to help with the three hour time loss, so I had little time to enjoy the vacation.

At the same time the trip was an amazing experience.  I got to meet a lot of the world’s top athletes including Sanya Richards-Ross, DeeDee Trotter, Queen Harrison, and Jessica Beard.  I also got connected with many former athletes who are now part of the Athletes Advisory committee.  I was picked up at the airport by Aretha Thurmond, four-time American Olympian in the Discus, and I got to meet Jon Drummond, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Anne Gaffigan, former American record holder in the steeplechase.  The hotel we stayed in was glamorous (pics below)  The food we ate was delicious (my first time at Benihana and Fogo de Chao).  And our location on Miami South Beach was enchanting (for swimming, not running).  We got to hear from USATF CEO Max Siegal and President Stephanie Hightower, and we got to give them our feedback.

The weekend was different than what I expected.  As usual, I questioned some of USATF’s decisions.  The weekend seemed a bit over the top compared to the other ways I could use support for my running. But overall, I am grateful for the opportunity, and I believe I have a better picture of what life is like at the next level of track.


Pretty fancy, eh?


The lobby.

Cross Country Moving


On Sunday, October 13th, my dad picked me up in Otter Tail, Minnesota to begin our cross country journey to Seattle.  I had spent the last couple days in Minnesota celebrating the wedding of Gabe Anderson, my University of Minnesota and Team USA Minnesota teammate, and Justin Grunewald, also a former gopher runner.  The wedding was awesome. Everyone was delighted to see a couple who has gone through a lot together be in such a solid spot on their wedding day. Many of my best friends were there, as well as friends who I greatly respect but don't get to see very often.  The best part of the weekend was dancing from first to last song on a full dance floor, and then hearing everyone chant for more.  I had a hard time leaving from such a fun day, but I was thankful to be part of it.


My dad was kind enough to accompany me on my move.  We made the drive with my '99 Camry, packed to the brim.  The poor guy didn’t have enough space to push the seat back to fit his long legs, but he didn’t complain. The first night we spent in Miles City Montana, where I did some scary running on a dark highway in the rain.  The second day we made it to somewhere in Eastern Washington, after a day filled with scenic views from mountain tops.  I was astounded by the beauty of nature we saw passing through the Idaho panhandle, especially the Cote de’ Alene Lake. 


I’m rooming with John Holton, recent University of Minnesota graduate and stand-out 400m runner for the gophers.  He is also a recent replant in Seattle, so we can be overwhelmed together by the dense city.  Thankfully for me, he has already looked at a couple places in Seattle; so on the day I got into Seattle, we looked at the basement unit of a duplex and signed the lease. 

I’m excited to explore my new home and get to know my new teammates!


                         Mike Cheever - what a guy!  We found the Fremont Troll in Seattle.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sarah's Styles

I have long admired the styles of fashionista Sarah Barker, wife of Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker. So, I was very flattered to be put on her MNstyle blog.  Check it out!

http://mnstyle.blogspot.com/2013/10/brooks-beast.html

Friday, October 4, 2013

Brooks Beast!!!


Please excuse my long absence from my blog.  I have been pursuing the next stage of my running career and now I have exciting news:

I am moving to Seattle in a week to join the Brooks Beasts team!

This is a big change for me.  I grew up in Minneapolis, I attended the University of Minnesota, and I have run with Team USA Minnesota for the past two and a half years.  My parents, grandparents, and numerous friends and support systems are in Minneapolis.  I love everything about then Twin Cities, but I think this is a perfect opportunity to do something new, take a risk, and try to become the best athlete I can be.

I have been trying to leave Minnesota for a while.  When I was looking at colleges, my parents told me I had to leave the state.  My mom ran at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, the town she grew up in.  While she had a positive experience at the school, my Dad grew a lot from leaving home (also Brookings), and going to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  I agreed with their logic, and visited colleges around the nation, but my best official visit, by far, was with the University of Minnesota Track and Field team.  So there you go.  When I graduated from college, I had been mentally and physically sick for the last two years of college.  When I decided I wanted to try to continue to run competitively, Team USA Minnesota took a big chance on me by letting me on the team when no one else would have wanted me.  I am so thankful for my time on my team.  I have been able to develop as an athlete along with my wonderful teammates.  I will miss everyone very much.

The Brooks Beast team has a lot to offer.   I had the opportunity to visit the team for a few days in mid-September, and enjoyed meeting all my future teammates.  The team is hope to a very talented group of women: Katie Mackey, Brie Felnagle, Lindsey Allen, Jessica Tebo, Deborah Maier, Phoebe Wright, and Erica Moore.  I can’t wait to get my butt kicked in practice.  Danny Mackey, the coach, has coaching the team as his full-time job, which is a rare for professional teams.  As a result, we are able to meet six times a week, and Danny is present to oversee everything from track work-outs to weight-lifting.  Brooks is investing a large amount into the team from a large travel budget to a winter training trip and summer racing trip, medical support, and nutritional help. Plus the winter won’t be nearly as bad!
                                                                          New Teammates

I am busy packing, but I will continue to update about my new situation!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dylan's Summer Adventure

Email from my brother, Dylan, who spent the summer biking from Minneapolis to Boston.  He is going to start a Match tutoring position at a charter school in September.

Hey everybody, I finally am at a computer where I can send a longer update. The iPhones have befuddled me, making me even more hesitant to join the future of efficient gadgetry.

But anyway. I'm now at Kristen's cabin in New Hampshire right on Lake Winnapesaukee which is gorgeous. The cabin was built in the 1800's and not too much has been added since the 1960s. The doors creak, the floor squeaks, and the walls have no insulation. I'm sleeping in the bedroom that shares a wall with the toilet, so I get to here all the delicious sounds of the digestive system very clearly in the morning. But it's actually fantastic. Kristen's family (grandmother, two uncles, aunt, mother, father, and sister) are so nice, and like to play nerdy board games and hearts, so it's a perfect place to relax.

And we even managed to get here without grave consequences! We've biked over 2500 miles in the past 39 days. On days we are biking the full day we average about 80 miles per day, but there have been plenty of short days when we reach a city or other destination. 

Aaron and I started out in St. Paul after donating his van to a vocational school, with our friend Aurora, camping in St. Croix falls, then in a churchyard in Hinckley, and at a Carleton friend's farmhouse in Carlton, MN. We spent a couple days at a friend's mother's home in Duluth for a couple of nights where we swapped out Aurora for Kristen, and moved on through Wisconsin.

Aaron had met a Carleton alum from '87 who we stayed with in Washburn WI, who had biked pretty much the same route, 25 years earlier. Also, he had a bike full of 15 bikes and fixed up Kristen's bike, which would have undoubtedly exploded, disintegrated, or completely dismantled itself before Canada unless he overhauled it and saved the journey. 

So we continued on to the land of the "Yooper" with stable bikes but minds still as unstable as ever. We landed near Ironwood (I think the town was Wakefield) where they celebrated the last day of dependence (July 3rd) with fireworks and such, and then carried onward through mosquito infested campsites until we got to Marquette, where we stayed with somebody we met online through a website, "warm showers" (it's like couch surfing for bikers). So we stayed with and NMU student minoring in Mushroom Management, and then went looking for a campsite near Munising.  But it didn't exist and the Park Ranger recommended we head to the nearest site "only 17 miles away" (it was getting dark at this point). So we made the trip altering decision to knock on a random person's door.

Of course we sent the cute, innocent, and clean(ish) Kristen to the door, hoping they wouldn't be able to see Aaron's and my grungy clothes or scruffy chins. Apparently the couple didn't, because they offered up their empty lot next door for us to pitch our tent, and brought out wine coolers shortly after (along with kayak rides the next morning complete with a waffle breakfast).

The rest of Michigan was great, Pictured Rocks was gorgeous and  both the Superior and lake Michigan Shores were nice and cool. We were given a new, bigger pot in Rudyard to match our ever growing appetite. 

At Sault St Marie we crossed into Canada, and knocked on another door, where we received the spare bedroom and egg breakfast in the morning. That was just about the only highlight between the border and Ottawa, because we had to take Trans Canadian Highway 17 all the way which consisted of hundreds of miles, hundreds of semi trucks and only a 1 foot wide shoulder to escape from them all. To say the least, Ottawa seemed like a glistening utopia when we arrived.

Although we didn't have a place to stay. We had emailed eight people through warm showers but no replies, so we started calling phone numbers listed on the site at about 3 in the afternoon. Somehow, we reached a blessed soul who said we could come use his backyard for the night. And we couldn't have planned it any better (maybe that's why we didn't plan any of the trip). Richard was a solar engineer who had developed (and driven) a solar powered car to race in Australia. He had a garage full of circus style bikes (one double  decker bike, one that looked like a motorcycle, one that he hauled an organ piano around on, and many more). He even let us each ride one to breakfast the next morning where we tried poutine (gravy and cheese covered french fries) for the first time. 

Montreal was a more low key stop, we stayed with another warm showers host who let us know it was the biking capital of North America, so we spent our time biking up the mountain, along the canal, and anywhere else. We also met up with another guy touring solo from Vermont to quebec city and then back down to Maine (possibly even more confused and lost than we were). So we rode with him to Quebec.

We stayed with a couple who showed us around the city our first night, and then let us know they would be leaving the next evening so, obviously, they just gave us the key to their apartment and let us stay there a second night. They didn't even rescind the key after Kristen flooded the bathroom and the entire downstairs apartment at 1am the night before they left. Our host just laughed at us.

On the way to Acadia we found two places to stay by people walking up to us in convenience stores and asking us if we needed to crash somewhere. We must have looked pretty pathetic at this point. So we stayed with a Canadian platinum record winning drummer from a band Silence Noir, and another guy who lived on an island in the middle of moose lake (he also had shore side property where we stayed).

Acadia was beautiful but touristy. We saw tide pools, "thunder hole" and a sea anemone cave. We ate lobster flavored chips and ran into the owners of the campsite we had stayed in the previous evening (they let us stay there for free because another group of campers said we could stay on their site in a tent with a TV and cots). 

We worked our way down the coast of main, waking up to see a sunset over the ocean, and seeing more Carleton friends' parents. and finally made it here to the cabin.

And that's just the short version.

Well, I'll talk to you all soon, I'm having a grand adventure out here,

Dylan

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Belgium Sight-Seeing

Once I was able to get over to Belgium, the timing between races was such that I could be more of tourist.  I took day trips to Bruges, Mechelen, and Antwerp, and I spend a weekend in Brussels.
 
Bruges
 
Shops and housing in main square.
 
Bruges is a port city with lots of picturesque waterways.  The city is also considered to be very romantic, but, walking around alone, I wasn't feeling it.
 
Madonna and Child was sculpted by Michelangelo, and is unusual because it is thought to be the only sculpture to have left Italy within his lifetime.  Michelangelo sculptures are still rarely seen outside of Italy, so it was quite a treat.
 
Mechelen
 
Opsinjoorke is Mechlen's mascot.  He is carried in the city's annual religious procession.  He symbolizes drunkards and womanizers, and is punished by being tossed by a sheet into the air.
 
Apparently at some point all the major cities in Belgium created a sculpture of a local hero.  Mechelen was the only city to pick a woman.  I'm not sure who she is, but I like it.
 
Antwerp
 
Antwerp has been decorated with the title of most beautiful train station.
 
Graffiti art.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Last Meet of 2013 Track Season

A week after the Monaco meet, on July 27th, I ran my last track meet of the season in Ninove, Belgium.  I was frustrated with my running coming out of Monaco, and my workouts leading up to Ninove did not make me feel any more confident.  Unsurprisingly, the meet did not go well. I felt strong at 9:40 pace the first three laps, took the lead the forth lap and picked up the pace, then died the last three laps to run 9:50.  Now I know it is great that I can now hit 9:50 feeling like my limbs are made of cement, but I was disappointed to end my season so far away from how I was running earlier this year. 

                                                              Lots of women in the race.

                                                          I was leading.  For a little bit....

At least I got to catch up with steepler Lennie Waitte, meet Beverly Ramos, chat with Aisha Praught, Stephanie Garcia, and Chontelle Groenwold, 800m specialist Chanelle Price, and fellow Brooks runners Matt Elliott and Jake Riley.  And, of course, the great AIA group.  Katie Porada, Illinois speedster, ran a 1500m PR in4:18.  I always have fun talking with such strong, badass athletes, especially in the relaxed European track setting.

 

We also got the pleasure of a beautiful Belgium evening, and I was lucky to receive wonderful hospitality from the meet.  I found my way on-time to Ninove with New Balance Pacers' athlete Frank DeVar and his coach, Dustin. But once we reached the train station, we were not entirely sure how to get to the track. Thankfully, we were able to jump into the rotation of meet officials picking up the athletes at the train station. As the meet was wrapping up, the three of us realized we didn't exactly know how we were getting back to the station.  I went to ask a small group of women working at the meet if they knew about rides going to the train station.  Without a second of hesitation, one of the women rounded us up, got into her car, drove us to a farther train station so we didn't have to transfer, and then walked us through the train station to get to the right platform.  I could not believe her kindness, and I hope I am able to adopt at least a portion her generosity in the future.

 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grandpa Herb


This past spring my paternal grandpa, Herb, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.  Like many pancreatic cancers, his had spread widely without any symptoms.  No one thought anything was wrong until his skin turned yellow.  We were told he would die within the next few months to a year.  His health is holding up well so far, but he has had to make funeral arrangements, cremation plans, and prepare for my grandma’s future as a widow.

      My paternal grandparents are two of the coolest people I know.  Not just cool for people I know over 50, but seriously awesome.  For example, when they retired about twelve years ago, they didn’t choose to continue living in small-town Brookings, South Dakota, nor did they follow the trend of many retirees of moving to Arizona or Florida.  I’m sure they would have been happy following either of those paths, but they chose their own by moving to a condo in downtown Minneapolis.  They wanted to be able to experience all the cultural opportunities of a big city – the international foods, orchestra, plays, jazz festivals, arts shows, and any other happenings.“Your grandparents retired to downtown Minneapolis?” my friends will ask in disbelief.  “Yeah,” I say smiling with pride, “They are such hipsters.”

    My grandparents taught me many things, but one of the most ingrained lessons I learned was to try new things, especially to try new food, travel to new places, read new books, and explore new ideas.  My grandparents were the first people to bring me to Chino Latino, the edgy bar and restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis.  I remember feeling so mature as I sipped my pineapple drink, served in an actual pineapple, sitting among the flickering candlelight.  My brother and I were the youngest people in the restaurant, and my grandparents by far the oldest, but they wanted in on the latest cuisine trend and were kind enough to share the experience with their grandchildren.

As a political science professor, and eventually the Dean of Arts & Science, at South Dakota State University, my grandpa believed in teaching his students how to think, not what to think. He was also active in politics, working with George McGovern, serving as the state and county Democratic Party Chairperson, and running two successful gubernatorial campaigns.

My grandparents are great role models to me for loving others and honoring them.  In the 1970’s, my grandparentsgood friends Kent and Jim came out to their friends as a gay couple.  While many of their friends turned their backs on Kent and Jim, Grandpa and Grandma continued to value their friendship, and have continued to visit them yearly to this day. It would be easy for my grandparents to get stuck in the social norms of when they grew up, but they seem unfazed by anything.  Gay men walking around Loring Park in speedos for the gay pride parade? Let’s go.  Granddaughter just got a big tattoo of a tree on her back? Okay.  Republican convention held in downtown? At least it’s interesting.







Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dream Come True

                     Beautiful stadium with view of Mediterranean Sea and Monaco cliffs.

I had a blast running at Monaco. The stadium was filled, the music was blaring, and the weather was beautiful. Boys and girls were lined up along the railing reaching, begging, pleading for an autograph or a high-five from us steeple women as we did strides and drills before the race.  I never would have imagined getting to compete in front of thousands of people with some of the best athletes in the world. It was a dream come true.

                                                                The stands are full!!

                      Fireworks at the end of the meet.  They know how to keep people happy. 

I was at a really good place mentally.  I was ready to enjoy the experience, and my body felt ready to go.  I was ready to be ecstatic about going to Worlds, but i was also just as ready for Shalaya to get the standard.  Unfortunately, my body didn't feel great d it ing the race, and I ran 9:49.  And, Shalaya ran a tough race and got the 'A' standard, so she will go to worlds.

I am frustrated because I haven't come close to running my PR again this year.  I felt so good running that Payton Jordan race, I know I have that race again in me, and faster ones, but it hasn't clicked again yet this season.  I'm also disappointed I have gotten to run so few track races this year.  I was hoping to get some more PRs in other events. My 3k flat PR is only 10 seconds faster than my steeple PR for crying out loud.  But I'm being reminded by all the wise people in my life that is has been a long year, I've made great strides in cross country, and it is so cool that 9:49 is a disappointing race for me now. I've had to learn many things the hard way this track season without an agent, so I will learn the ropes that much better next year.

I'm trying to decide the rest of my schedule. I'll run either the 1500m or steeple at Ninove, and probably take a break from there.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Monacooooo

Hello all,

I'm writing from the fabulous Fairmont Hotel, getting pumped for my first Diamond League meet in Monaco. I have heard Diamond League meets take care of the athletes, and so far this rings very true.  I was picked up from the airport, driven to a fancy hotel that overlooks the sea, and, most importantly, given vouchers for my next five meals.

The traveling today was tough. The passengers of the Brussels flight headed to Nice were put on our airplane only to sit on the runway for an hour, circle Brussels for the next hour because of a computer glitch, land, sit on e plane for another half an hour, only to start the process over again on another plane. As people who know me well can attest, I get pretty grumpy when I am hungry. I hadn't packed my usual bag of snacks for the flight, since it had appeared the airline was strict about the weight of luggage.  When we got on the second flight, I thought for sure they would give us a free lunch, since we had already taken one plane ride that ended up a fake-out. Bu, no.  Instead Brussels Airlines decided to make a pretty penny off their disgruntled passengers.  By the time the food cart got to me, the only food left was a Euro version of Ramen noodles in a plastic cup, a food I haven't seen consumed since it was the cool thing to bring for lunch in fifth grade.  So, I ended up paying 4 euros for my weeks worth of sodium, and my appetite was only slightly sated.

But I am here now. I did a shake out at th track, and it was as beautiful as the pictures my dad sent me  as soon as we found out I had made it into the meet.  Thankfully, I felt good during the warm-up, and am hoping for a positive race tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Belgian Good Times

 
Okay, my last blog post was not very optimistic.  While a couple big things haven’t gone well, many more experiences have been great.  I am so lucky to be able to run, to get to run as a profession, and especially to compete in Europe as part of my season.  Here are a few of the awesome experiences I have had: getting a buddy past from my cousin Troy to fly to Europe, flying first class between New York and Brussels, drinking a mimosa while watching the office on the flight, hanging out with Heather Kampf and Elizabeth Yetzer in Leuven, two of my good friends and fellow Minnesota alumni, having time to read, knowing my way around Leuven from last year, drinking Campari and orange juice while having dinner with Hassan Mead, meeting fellow American steeplechaser Joanna Murphy and hearing about her experience working in the running shoe industry, eating dinner nightly with the Athletes in Action group, meeting other American professional runner like Matt Elliot and Chanelle Price, visiting the Leuven art museum, finding the Leuven city garden, running with American steeplers Aisha Praught and Stephanie Garcia, eating Speculos (mashed cookie spread), discussing funding opportunities outside of shoe companies with David Jankowski, running in the Leuven forest, finding sausage at the Leuven farmer’s market, and eating Belgium pastries. 
 
                                                        Me, Elizabeth, Heather
 
                                              Joanna Murphy, Katie Porath, Me, Elizabeth Yetzer

                                                               AIA Group

                                                  People in Europe actually like to watch Track...

                                                    Leuven City Hostel

                                             Not a lot of space in the hostel rooms.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rough Start to European Trip


My European trip has not gone as well as I had hoped, thus far, for two big reasons:

1.       Getting my Russian visa

2.       My first race at Huesden

Passport

                I finished 4th at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  Nicole Bush, who won, has the IAAF World ‘A’ standard, so she automatically will get to compete at worlds.  Ashley Higginson has the IAFF World ‘B’ standard, so as the first ‘B’ standard in the top three, she automatically gets to go.  However, Shalaya Kipp also has the ‘B’ standard, so she does not automatically get to go.  If either Shalaya or Ashley hit the ‘A’ standard both of them get to go.  However, if neither of them hit the ‘A’ standard by July 20th, I would get to go, since I am the next in line with an ‘A’ standard. 

                Since I have a chance of going, I went through processing at the Championships.  I had done as much preparation as USATF had asked me to do, by filling out information on-line and bringing pictures of myself.  I was told that in order to get my Russian visa, I would have to go to a Russian embassy in the United States, give money to an express courier to do it, or have USATF do it, which they told me, would be the fastest option.  I was told I would get my passport back on July 1st, or as close to then as possible.  I was disappointed because I was supposed to run a 3k in Cork, Ireland on July 2nd and would have to cancel that race in order to get my passport, but I agreed to give USATF my passport.  As I went through processing, they looked my name up to see if I a ‘letter of invitation from Russia,’ but I did not.  I told them I didn’t know how I was supposed to have gotten one, but I didn’t get an answer. 

                A couple days after the championship, I got an e-mail from USATF saying I wouldn’t get my passport until between July 12th and 15th.  The e-mail said they had expected this delay for people who hadn’t gotten their letters of invitation.  Again, I was frustrated because I had to cancel more races and my hostel reservations.  My questions were, “if USATF knew there was going to be an extra delay, why didn’t they tell me?” and “How was I supposed to get a letter of invitation; I never got any information on it?” But I did not get a response. 

                Long story short, I was able to get my passport earlier than expected, on July 9th, and I flew to Brussels the next day.  When I was talking to an agent yesterday at the track, I learned: 1) many athletes had just flown over to Europe and were getting their visas from the Russian embassies here, and 2) USATF sent out information on how to get letters of invitations only to agents, who were told to distribute them to athletes.  Sooooooo, I not only was not given all my options about how to get a visa, I was not given any information on how to get a letter of invitation because I don’t have an agent, even though USATF had all the athletes’ e-mail addresses, and I was coming into my event with the fastest time run so far this season.  Hopefully I will have an agent by next track season, but I don’t think athletes who don’t have agents shouldn’t be left out of vital information.

Huesden

                I was excited to race the 1500m at Huesden because I hadn’t gotten a chance to race the event so far this year, and I think I am capable of a PR.  Also, Huesden brings in a deep and talented pool of athletes, so I knew I would have some people to chase. 

The day started off a little messy. Many of the American athletes had gotten a bus to bring them from Lueven to Huesden, and all my Athletes and Action friends were on the bus, but I did not get a response back from the bus organizer about getting a ride.  David Jankowski, an American runner who did not race, had figured out the train schedule to get to the race, so I followed him to the station.  We got on the first train and rode about 45 minutes, but found out that although this train usually stops at the place we needed to transfer, it did not on that particular train.  We got redirected on how to get to Huesden, and we had to backtrack a bit, but we made it.  I quickly had to change into my uniform before warming up.  Happily, I was in the same race as my American roommate, Elizabeth Yetzer and University of Illinois runner, Katie Porath, so we got to explore the city together on our warm-up.

Once it was time to race, we got on the track, lined up, and were off.  I was the second person to the inside.  The first woman did not get out particularly well, and I was stuck close to the back of the pack in the first 100m.  Someone went to the outside of the pack, and a small space opened out in front of me.  I started to move into it, but another woman cut me off.  I should have slammed on the brakes harder, but she should have been disqualified for cutting me off.  I tripped on her spikes and fell flat on my face.  We were just past the 100m mark, so the race was not recalled.  It took me a second to figure out what happened, but I got up and kept going.  I had a fine effort, but never really caught up to the pack, and I don’t ever want to know my time.

I came away from the race with track burn on my knees, a ripped spike, and a couple deep cuts from the woman’s spikes.  I also came away with the lesson that if someone cuts me off, I can’t continue my regular stride, it is better to brake than waste a whole race.  I enjoy only having to race as often as I want to, but I have to make sure all those races count.

 

Gay Pride Parade 2013


          The 2013 Gay Pride Parade in Minneapolis was similar to previous years I have attended with gay and lesbian bands marching, people in quirky customs, and liberal politicians all making their way down Nicollet Avenue.  Minnesota companies who celebrate their GLBT employees set up booths and hand out freebies.  Men walked around in speedos.  However, this year offered a new set of venders – wedding planning services for gay couples since same-sex couples will be able to marry starting August 1st.

I was very much affected by the environment of joy following political and social victories.  In November, Minnesota voters said, “No” to a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.  In May, the Minnesota senate and house passed legislation which legalizes same-sex marriage.  I know this is not the end of fighting homophobia, and that marriage is not the end-all be-all for many gay and lesbian couples, but I think it is an important step. 

Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe was the Grand Marshall of the parade after being very vocal in the past year about supporting gay rights.  He quit writing his column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press after they decided to support the Constitutional Amendment.

                I remember doing my first report on same-sex marriage during eighth grade.  I wrote about the struggles in Hawaii and Vermont to legalize gay and lesbian marriage, and how those had backfired into the Defense of Marriage act.  George W. Bush was elected during that year, and it seemed state after state was changing its constitution to make same-sex marriage nearly impossible.  I remember thinking I would be an old woman before any American gay or lesbian couples were married.

                But it happened! I could not stop tearing up during the parade.  The crowd was cheering on the people in the parade, and the people in the parade were having so much fun.  Couples held hands, kissed, and pushed their babies in strollers.  My cousin walked in the parade with his gay fraternity, and walked around with my friend and my mother.

Ariella and I
 
 
                                                                                  Mommmm

Sunday, June 30, 2013

US Track and Field Championships


So, the US Track and Field Championships did not go as well as planned.  I came in with the fastest time run so far in the year, since Emma Coburn didn’t compete due to injury, but I got 4th in the final. 

I felt strong and relaxed in the prelims, but it was hard running at the hottest and most humid time of day (3:00 in the afternoon).  As I have said several times in my blog, I have struggled with the long, grey winter and spring in Minnesota. This time, moving to hot weather did not help, because it was a harsh transition.  Usually I would have had the chance to run in humid, hot weather, but I really didn’t get the opportunity before going down to Des Moines this year.  But thanks to ice tubs, massage therapists, and our awesome chiropractor, Travis McCathie, I felt ready to go for finals.
                                                          Prelims

The day of the final I was so nervous.  I had so many supporters come to watch – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, parents’ friends, college teammates, Team USA MN Teammates, my college coach, etc.  I felt so loved, but was scared to disappoint.  My plan was to stay relaxed the first three or four laps and then make a move with whoever went.  I did a good job of staying near the front of the pack without straining, and when Nicole Bush made a move after a few laps, I did my best to follow.  I was able to drop some competitors eventually, but Ashley Higginson passed me with about 2 laps to go.  I gave everything I had the last lap, but I was passed on the last water barrier by Shalaya Kipp.  I felt like I hit a cement wall at that point, and did not have anything else to give.  I struggled to the finish line and felt as though I was going to faint. 

                                                                         Finals

The final had also been at the hottest time of day (4:20), and while this gave something for all of us women to lament about together, I think USATF could have arranged a more conducive schedule for the steeplechasers.  Hello, this is a really hard event?!?  Two races in three days on a 100 degree track with high humidity; are you trying to kill us?  I never thought I would say this, but after the weekend, I am ready to go back to Eugene for every championship.

Anyways, I still have a very small chance of getting to go to Worlds since I have the ‘A’ standard, and Ashley and Shalaya have only the ‘B’ so far.  They have until July 20th to chance the ‘A’ standard, and if one of them gets it, both go.  They are both very capable of running the ‘A’ standard, so I’m sure they will get it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pop


                I am so relieved! I have some pop back in my legs.  The last month has been a long one full of unsatisfactory workouts, gloomy skies, and difficult family news (yes, more).  After taking a couple weeks to elliptical, my body had a hard time running fast again.  I knew if I went into Outdoor Track Nationals feeling like I was, I wouldn’t have a chance of making finals.  I tried everything to turn things around: ice baths, supplements, tanning, acupuncture for my energy system, stopping weightlifting, naps, buying a sun lamp, tea, running in nature, massage, and the old soccer trick of hanging out with my legs propped up against the wall to get blood moving.  I’m not sure what worked, but I am feeling ready to go again.  This day next week I will be running prelims!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Steeple Advice


A few people have asked me about advice for the steeplechase.   I have no sports science or much of a coaching background, but here are the three things I think are unique and important to the steeplechase:

1.       Muscle.

 

Strength is an essential part of distance running, but I think it is especially important for steepling (This is not a word according to Microsoft Word, but let's make it one).  Some distance runners seem to float through their races without large muscles.  But with the steeple, I think a couple of good weightlifting sessions a week is necessary for reaching full capability on the track.  Yes, you are doing far more running than jumping, but those last couple of laps are going to be really hard if you don’t have strong enough muscles to get you efficiently over the barriers. 

 

I believe part of the reason I was able to have such a large PR earlier this spring is I put more of a focus on weightlifting, especially during the fall and winter.  I did a lot more Olympic lifts than I ever have before.  Not necessarily with a huge load, but enough to fatigue me.

 

2.       Technique.

 

Most of us distance runners are not known for our technical skills.  Otherwise, I think we would have been more likely to play team sports…the kind of sports people like to watch, and the ones where you get a break every once in a while.  The first time I went over a hurdle I looked like a chicken whose head had just been chopped off.  With lots more practice, I eventually became a decent hurdler, but I am still far from mastering the movement.  When I talked about really wanting to work on my hurdling technique a couple years ago, I was discouraged by a couple people, since improving my technique may only make a small difference in my time.  But I think the potential for even a little bit of gain is worth it.  This year I was able to get some individual help from former University of Minnesota teammates who had sprint hurdled, and I think the advice has helped a lot.

 

3.       Eating. 

 

Weight.  Calories.  Body fat percentage.  These are difficult issues to think about and discuss in relation to distance running.  Yes, having a low fat percentage will make you faster – to a point.  And that point is very difficult to determine.  You may cross the line and not feel the repercussions for a few months or even a couple years, but if you are too lean for too long, your body will break down.  

 

In the steeplechase, I think it is particularly important to stay on the healthy side of that line.  The pounding of hurdling, especially from the water pit, can make an athlete more likely to get injury.  This issue is exacerbated if the athlete is not eating enough.  The Americans I know who have had the longest and most successful steeplechasing careers are usually very fit, light and athletic, but also healthy looking.  The bottom line is your body has to be healthy enough to be able to take the impact of hurdling 28 times each race and often countless times in practice.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Scratch #2


I’m scratching for the second week in a row from a track race.  I was so excited to steeple at the Grand Prix in New York City.  It would have been my first Diamond League race, and I was looking forward for an opportunity to run a steeplechase before U.S. Outdoors, just to make sure my first race wasn’t a fluke.  But my ankle was still bugging me at the beginning of the week, so I decided not to run on an ankle that was less than 100%.  Thankfully, with lots of help from chiropractors and physical therapists, my ankle is feeling better mid-week.  I’m trying to figure out when I can get in a race before Outdoors.
At least I got some sweet furniture while hitting up garage sales this past weekend.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Late Scratch


I’m supposed to be in Los Angeles today for the Oxy High Performance Meet, but instead I’m stuck at home.  It was the smart thing to do – let a little injury heal before it gets any worse, but I want to race.  I’m hoping I’ll be ready to go for New York next weekend, especially since it would be my first Diamond League race, but I know the Outdoor Championships are what truly matter, so I have to continue to think long term.

Tonight should be fun anyways.  I’m planning to watch some Oxy action on FloTrack Live with my dad on his birthday.   

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nicollet Mall Speed


As expected, the TC 1 mile was a lot of fun.  The night before the race, the Fazzio’s (Charlie is the TCM Head of the Board of Directors) had all the elite athletes over to their beautiful Lake Calhoun house for dinner.  It was entertaining to meet other runners and catch up with others.  The day of the mile, the elite athletes gathered again for a technical meeting and press conference.  I got to be part of the women’s panel for the conference, which was an honor, but also made me nervous.

The race itself was also as expected.  I knew going into the race I should be able to run a strong 1200m with the leaders, but would probably be left behind the last 400m, when everyone else would be able to switch into another gear.  I’ve been doing a lot of strength and long interval workouts so far this year, with only one speed workout.  From that one speed workout, I knew I do not have the speed endurance I have had in other season.  The race went exactly as I thought.  I lined up next to my teammate Heather Kampf, who was the defending champion.  I stayed even with her for the first 3/4, feeling good, and even pushing the pace a couple times.  But as soon as we passed the 1200m mark, game over.  I managed to hold off my roommate, Elizabeth Yetzer, who had a great race.

Next up, 1500m at Oxy!  Hoping the mile served as a good prep.

 

USA 1 Mile Road Championships                     

 

 

                       Female Awards List

 

=============================================================================

      FEMALE  OVERALL

=============================================================================

 

    1    27 Sarah Brown              Atlanta        GEO  26   F    4:33.3

    2     4 Nicole Sifuentes         Plymouth       MIC  26   F    4:33.4

    3     1 Heather Kampf            Minneapolis    MN   26   F    4:34.1

    4     5 Gen Lacaze               Gainesville    FLO  23   F    4:35.0

    5     6 Phoebe Wright            Knoxville      TEN  24   F    4:36.7

    6    11 Kellyn Johnson           Flagstaff      ARI  26   F    4:37.5

    7     8 Jamie Cheever            Minneapolis    MN   26   F    4:39.7

    8    13 Elizabeth Yetzer         Lakeville      MN   25   F    4:40.7

    9    36 Hannah Wanjiru           Coon Rapids    MN   25   F    4:47.8

   10    10 Ashley Miller            Lincoln        NEB  24   F    4:48.2

   11    14 Clerc Simpson            Maple Grove    MN   26   F    4:49.4

   12     9 Meghan Peyton            Richfield      MN   27   F    4:52.8

   13    37 Laura Paulsen            Minneapolis    MN   24   F    5:05.7

   14    25 Andrea Rediger           Plymouth       MN   24   F    5:15.6

 

                    USA 1 Mile Road Championships                     

 

 

                        Men's Awards List                    

 

=============================================================================

      MALE  OVERALL

=============================================================================

 

    1    51 Nick Willis              Ann Arbor      MIC  30   M    3:56.1

    2    57 Garrett Heath            Winona         MN   29   M    3:57.1

    3    62 MacKlin Chaffee          Boulder        COL  26   M    3:58.1

    4    52 William Leer             Wayzata        MN   28   M    3:58.5

    5    60 Craig Huffer             Boston         MAS  23   M    3:59.4

    6    50 Craig Miller             Colorado Sprin COL  25   M    3:59.7

    7    98 Duncan Phillips          Johnson City   TEN  23   M    4:04.2

    8    58 Scott Smith              Flagstaff      ARI  26   M    4:05.9

    9    54 Boaz Lalang              Tucson         ARI  24   M    4:06.2

   10    56 Jonathan Peterson        Roseville      MN   24   M    4:08.6

   11    90 Nahom Mesfin             Flagstaff      AZ   23   M    4:08.8

   12    61 MacK McLain              Golden         COL  24   M    4:09.6

   13    80 Elly Sang                Coon Rapids    MN   22   M    4:16.9

   14    97 Jordan Carlson           Inver Grove Ht MN   23   M    4:19.5