Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A 9-5er, non-contender, non-finisher heading to the Olympic Trials!

noun | nine·two·fiv·er
: a person who works 9 to 5

noun | non·con·ten·der
: a person who has no chance of winning in a contest

noun | non·fin·ish·er
: a person who starts something but does not finish it

Why, yes, I'm toeing the start line at my second Olympic Trials marathon.  But, there's a catch.

If you read the headline closely enough, you'll realize that I don't plan on crossing the finish line of the (second) most important race of my life.  Gulp.

Don't worry, I've come to terms with my predicament because I still have the privilege to toe the line alongside our country's best distance runners. Numerous people have had to drop out from the race, which is especially difficult for those professional runners whose entire livelihood depends on one major marathon a year, and, every four years, a hope for an Olympic berth.  Fortunately for me, running is not my career nor does my paycheck depend on my race performance.  As a non-contender, I never had the chance to make the Olympic team, but I do have the opportunity to pursue big dreams and to push myself to new limits.  The Olympic Trials marathon allows me to toe the line and compete with so many talented women who have poured countless miles, energy and mental stamina into this one endeavor.  It's an opportunity that merely puts us all on the big stage together, so that we can achieve our dreams one mile at time, side-by-side.

Unfortunately for me, I've battled a calf strain and an achilles issue since October 9th.  In the sixteen weeks leading up to the Trials, I envisioned:

  • 12 weeks of 85+ miles per week
  • 24 unique workouts
  • Four 22+ miles long runs

Nope.  Instead, this is what happened:

  • 44 consecutive days off from late November to early January
  • 5 weeks of running, at an average of 25 miles per week
  • 3 unique workouts
  • 8 miles longest run

Spent a lot of time with needles in me
You don't need any more information to understand why I'm not finishing the race.  It's too risky; it's practically delusional. Tendon injuries are fickle and unpredictable.  They could come back at anytime, and you don't know how long they'll bug you for.  So, I'm not finishing and that's that.

But the good news? I still get to toe the start line, run side-by-side with Meagan and help her achieve her goals. Because on Saturday, Meagan's goals will become mine.  My purpose is to make her race be as great as it can possibly be.  Because I'm by her side, providing encouragement, water and Gatorade, maybe even a wind block if necessary, I will take some of her stress away.

So on Saturday, I will toe the line and then I will gracefully bow out of the race when it seems necessary.  I have the honor to run a couple of miles, while my friends and family cheer loudly not only from the sidelines in LA, but also 3000 miles away from the comfort of their own homes, watching on NBC or tracking on their phones.  In that moment, I will feel the tremendous love and support from everyone who made it possible for me be there.  I am so grateful to have such a powerful support group.

And, damn, I definitely wouldn't have been able to toe that start line without the help of so many people:
A huge thanks to all of the people above.  They helped me believe when it mattered most, when my doubts were biggest.  They inspired me to believe I would start at the Trials.

Finally, some helpful information on the Trials coverage.

How to Watch the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon on NBC

Guide to the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 4: The Comeback

26.7 miles
5 Runs
2 Days off
2 workouts (7 x 300m repeats and 2 miles tempo at 6:00 average)
2 yoga classes
3 weight lifting days
6 hours of walking

This was my fourth week back running and I hit the same total of mileage that I would have completed in one race at the Olympic trials if I hadn't gotten injured. It's okay though, because I still get to toe the starting line!

This week, I went to my first Strava Track Club workout in probably two months.  I ran solo for some 300m repeats and cheered on the ladies as they sprinted really fast around me.  I was most pleased with my tempo effort on Saturday with Jenna, where I ran 6 total miles, with 2 miles at 606 and 551 pace.   Considering that my goal is to run a lap or two with Meagan at the Trials, I'm really pleased that I can run 6:00 average pace for a couple of miles.  This means that I can still run the pace I would have liked to run, albeit for a shorter distance.