· The Team: It’s pretty rare to have a distance training group where everyone is down-to-earth, free of drama, healthy eaters, and bring a positive presence to work-outs. I’ve been so lucky in my professional career, in that I’ve had two situations where this is the case: Team USA Minnesota, and now Brooks Beast Track Club.
· The Coach: Danny. I was worried about his age (he’s much younger than most of the professional coaches) and he’s married to Katie (which could potentially make team dynamics weird), but he is the best. He knows his training theory and kinesiology, and he is constantly reading anything he can get his hands on to learn more. Anything he is not an expert in, he asks for help with from his friends and experts in the field. Danny wants to be there for everything we do so he can observe, correct, and get feedback from us. He explains his reasoning behind everything he assigns to us, and if we forget, he tells us again. I appreciate that Danny is open to answering questions from his athletes. On top of everything, he is super fun to hang out with.
· The Weather: Sure, it can rain, and freezing rain during a work-out isn’t ideal, but Seattleites were going nuts when it got down to 30 degrees before I left for Minneapolis over the holidays. One woman I met told me she had the warmest winter jacket ever, and I was like, “umm, I have a Patagonia down jacket that goes down to mid-shin and has a hood. And I left it in Minnesota because it doesn’t get cold here (I know people from Alaska are thinking about their triple down jackets that encapsulate their whole bodies).” After running through snow storms in high school and especially college, I think 30 degrees as a low is pretty darn tropical. I can handle the rain over crazy Minnesota winters any day.
· Brooks Headquarters: I didn’t realize what an asset it would be to live by the headquarters. I really enjoy knowing the people we work with at the corporate office, being able to give feedback about product, and getting free lunch when we run from the office. Anyone who know me, knows I am especially pumped about the free lunches.
· Roommate: When decided to move out to Seattle to join the team, everyone had either found housing already or had a significant other they were moving with. I thought I would have to take a gamble with Craig’s List, but John Holton, who ran the 400m at Minnesota, ended up moving out here a few weeks before I did, and needed a roommate. He is a cool guy, understands crazy runners, and makes some delicious deserts.
· Music: Seattle has a long history of developing prominent artists. Ray Charles’ early career developed here, Jimi Hendrix was born here, and Seattle is home to grunge and some it’s most famous musicians: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. Most recently, Seattle has been the residence of talented hip-hop artists Grieves and Macklemore. I can’t wait to explore more.
· Biking: I imagined metropolitan areas of the Northwest as utopias for biking as transportation. Not the case in Seattle. Since the city is so dense, hilly, and has a complicated road infrastructure from being build next to water, there are some places where there is no shoulder. Biking to and from my house is scary because I have to go through a couple busy intersections with no shoulder. On my way home, I’m always pedaling as fast as I can up the hill, but I’m still usually holding up traffic for a couple minutes.
· UW Facilites: I was probably spoiled by being able to easily access the University of Minnesota indoor and outdoor track with my Team USA Minnesota teammates, but it was an awesome situation for everyone. My teammates and I got to use the space and keep up with the University of Minnesota athletes, while they got to see what life was like for us as professional athletes. Unfortunately, that same relationship is not in place here, so we aren’t able to use the facilities. Bummer.
· Volunteering: I love that so many Seattelites are excited about volunteering, but I haven’t been able to start working with a sexual violence center yet. I’ve loved staying connected to social work and social justice through volunteering while being a professional athlete, but I am having a hard time getting plugged in here.
· It’s just not home: I miss my friends, family, and pug!