Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Steeple PR!!!

Geez Louise! I am ecstatic! On Sunday I ran a 22 second PR at the Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational in the steeplechase for a time of 9:29.18.  Coming into the race I felt certain my legs were PR ready, but I was not as certain about my head.  As I said in my last post, it has been a tough month.  Thankfully, I was able to let the pressure, sadness, and hurt go and instead just had fun racing. 
I knew the field was very deep and included four 2012 steeplechase Olympians (Coburn: USA, LaCaze: Australia, Ramos: Puerto Rico, Figuerca: Columbia) among other very talented women, so I knew I should not get out too fast.  Coburn took off at the gun, as I stayed in the front end of the chase pack.  My dad was giving me splits at the 200m mark on the track, so I knew I was on pace to hit low- to mid-9:40’s through the first few laps.  I could not believe how strong I was feeling at that pace, so with 3 and a half laps to go, I went to the front of the chase pack and picked it up.  Each lap I was able to close the gap a bit on Coburn until I had almost caught her the last 200m.  However, the announcer did a good job reporting my progress, and she was able to surge ahead and win.

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to chase my running dreams.  I was sick the last two years of college (depression followed by mono) and did not perform well.  After college I took a few months off of competitive training to let myself heal.  After a training road trip through Colorado and New Mexico, I fell in love with running again, and knew I wanted to see what I could do.  I contacted Dennis Barker and Pat Goodwin, the coach and the president of Team USA Minnesota.  I knew it was unlikely they would let me on the team.  I had run a 10:11 steeple in college, but that was not close to what Emily Brown, the other steepler on the team run.  Also it had been a good couple years since I had run anywhere close to that.  But they took a chance on me, and I am so grateful.  
Right now I am so joyful I have had the opportunity to run, and I am so thankful it all came together for a big PR Sunday evening.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April Winter

This has been a tough last few weeks for me in Minnesota.  The month started out well, with a week spent in San Diego, Palo Alto, and Berkeley, and a 5k PR 5000m at the Stanford Invitational (15:48).  I thought my sunny weather escape would get me through the end of winter in Minnesota, but this has not been the case.  Soon after I returned, it snowed.  Okay, fine.  Not unusual in early April, although we had all hoped March was the end of winter.  But the weather stayed cold, dark, and gloomy.  Then it snowed again and stuck around for a while.  And still no sun.  I need some Vitamin D, Mother Nature!  The month continued, and it snowed again. Still dark and gloomy though all of April!  Such a long month of bad weather.  Finally, as I’m leaving for Palo Alto and the Payton Jordan meet, we are having a beautiful, warm, spring day, and I really, really hope this California trip will be the end of the winter. 

I’m sorry to complain about the weather.  I grew up in Minneapolis, and I am used to the cold and darkness.  I understand some whining from transplanted people, but there usually seems to be no need beyond some communal grumbling from the natives.  But having it last so long seemed to be bringing everyone down.  My friends all complained about feeling fatigued, sad, and grumpy, and I completely agreed. 

On top of the weather, a couple personal incidents have left me reeling.  One of my relatives tried to end his life.   I am so thankful he was not successful, but I have a heavy heart thinking about the pain he must have been living with every day, as well as the agony his family must be going through.  Our extended family must not have enough endorphins, because a few of us, including myself, have had to take anti-depressant medication.  I cannot imagine trying to survive each day if that medication did not work.  At the same time, a relationship abruptly ended, leaving me hurt and confused.

In addition, the Boston Marathon bombings were difficult to handle.  Terrorist attacks are always scary, but this hit closer to home as a member of the running community and because I knew many people running that weekend.  Thankfully no one I knew was physically injured, although they were still mentally affected.

Although it has been a mentally hard month, my physical training has been going well, and I am so excited to compete in a deep steeplechase field at Payton Jordan.  I am feeling stronger and more fit than last year, and I think I’m ready for a big PR!

Stanford Invitational 5k Results: