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.
Down the Backstretch Interview: