Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Road Races Galore!!!! (a 7 month blog in one!)

    You just never know what will happen from one day to the next.  Each day, week, and month can be perfectly planned, ...but for me, being flexible with plans has been the theme of this year. Actually.... when I really think about it, flexibility has been the theme of my whole life??!
 To anyone that knows me, it may seem as if  I have lived out of bags, cars, airports and different homes since birth. And seeing I lived in about 8 different places before the age of 17, that is pretty much the truth. I start to lose count after college, so we won't even go there!!
This year being no different than usual, has included changes in my running, professional and personal life. The last 7 months have been a whirlwind of activity with moving back to Charlotte from AZ,  starting to work with Mark Hadley as my coach and attempting new distances in the sport.... among some other unforeseen events!  But no matter how much instability and craziness is going on in my life or the circumstances surrounding it, I know that the Lord  is always there and He has never changed. His promises never change and His plan never changes. His ways may not makes sense all the time, and none of us can understand it all, but I cling to this verses every time I'm tempted to think otherwise.

Numbers 23:19 (New International Version)

"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? "


With that said, I thought I'd give a little tidbit of whats been on my plate the last 7 months, knowing the whole time that God's promises never fail.

One week after making the USATF National Steeple Chase finals in Eugene Oregon last June, I thought it was time to take a break from a long track season that had been mixed with a bunch of road races ranging in a variety of distances.  Although I had a good race in the first 3k Steeplechase race and was happy to make the finals, my second Steeple race in Eugene did not go as we all planned.  My lack of experience in High School, College and Post College was really coming out in the event.  I was not satisfied AT ALL with my 13th place finish. What went wrong? and what do I do now? were the questions that immediately flooded my brain.
 Seeing that racing in Europe was not a viable option for me, the next logical step was to take some down time, get ready for some fall road races, and then reevaluate the whole Steeple endeavor ....and the whole running endeavor for that matter!  The day after the finals, I was physically beat up with aches and pains from doing 2 Steeples within 2 days. Mentally however, I felt something stir up that I was not expecting. It was the same feeling I had my senior year at Penn State when our #2 Nationally ranked Soccer team lost in the 2nd Round of playoffs in a total fluke of a game.  My season dramatically got cut short that year, and I had lots of negative energy to contend with!!  So in an effort to keep my body moving before summer soccer, I decided to try out for the spring track team as a senior at Penn State. I didn't know I would still be competing in the sport 7 years later!!

So just like at PSU, after the Steeplechase finals, I was hungry for more competition and wanted to keep going.  I found the opportunity to run in the all-famous Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA quite appealing and also a chance to win some $.  Less than a week after Track Nationals, I decided last minute to accept the invite and go. What I didn't know is that that particular race would lead to another.... and to another.... and to another.  7 months and 17 "unplanned" races later, I find myself still running and racing, traveling all over the country!  It's been quite a fall/winter and thankfully the month of February has included a small break from training with no races.
 Now, in an effort to get ready for the New York city Half Marathon in March and Track Season 2012, I look back and do not regret putting my body on the line these past 7 months. Taking one day at a time, one race at a time and trusting that God is in control is the only way that works for me.   I've learned so much more about this sport and have been humbled and blessed to meet such amazing people and go to such cool places. But most of all, I have learned that my biggest support and closest relationships are right here in Charlotte. Where they have been since my junior year in college.  A handful of families, mentors and very close friends that show more LOVE and KINDNESS than I ever knew existed. And it is these people that spur me on to keep going at the ripe age of 29:)

Here are a few highlights of most of the races starting with the most recent, all the way back to Peachtree in July.

15k Boilermaker Video: "God created me....."

Janurary 15th, 2012: Naples Half Marathon, Naples Florida: 
I'm really glad I signed up for this race! After I had made the decision to forgo running in the Olympic Marathon Trials, I knew that running another half would be a chance to maintain my fitness and a chance to lower my time.  I want my debut in the marathon to be a special race where I am ready and prepared. This seemed like it was the next best thing I could do to get ready for that scenario someday!

Time: 1:13:10
Place: First

First Race of 2012!!

Janurary 1st, 2012- Emerald Nuts Midnight 4 mile Run, NYC: What a fun trip to NYC!! It doesn't get much more exciting then racing at midnight in Central Park on New Years Eve!!  This was my first shorter race in awhile and it was good mentally to get in a win after making my final decision to not compete in the Marathon Olympic Trials.  It was not as cold as I thought it would be at midnight, and the competition was good.

Time: 21:05
Place: First
Emerald Nuts 4 mile results

Emerald Nuts article/press release 

Dec. 10th- Kiawah Island Half-Marathon, Kiawah Island, S.C.:
My second half marathon.  The main goal for this one was to come away with some money and beat my last time.  Missions accomplished!

Time:  1: 13:52
Place:  2nd Overall
           1st American

  kiawah results

  Facebook Link

Me and my biggest helper in Charlotte; the infamous
 Jim Reavis!!

The look of being finished!!

November 24th- 4.78 Mile Thanksgiving Day Manchester Road Race, Manchester, CT.:  

What an unbelievable scene in Manchester. The crowd support was absolutely amazing and the costumes could not be beat!!!
The last time I ran this race, my time was 26:52, so I was happy with the improvement, but I was upset with myself for letting the girl right behind lean me out to come in fifth. We got the same time, but she definitely got the better spot and deservedly  so!

Time: 25:27(4.78 miles)
Place:   6th Overall
            3rd American

November 5th- Rock n Roll Half Marathon, Savannah, GA: 
My first half marathon!!!  Even though This was supposed to be like a workout, I was definitely concerned about being in a race that was much longer than I'm used to.  I clung to Philippians 4:6-7 the day before and felt really peaceful the day of. So much so that after a few miles, I felt good and decided to speed up realizing that if I kept pace, I would qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials by breaking 1:15.   I remember thinking what a different type of pain it is to run a half-marathon than a much faster 2 or 3 mile race.  The burning lactic acid in the legs and arms may not have been there, but the overall ache in my whole body sure was!! 

Place: 2nd Overall
           1st American

October 15th- Run for Hospice 5k, Rochester, NY:  
-Went from sunny and hot 90 degree weather in Boston to rainy, 30 degree weather in Rochester all in less than a week! This was a nice way to earn some $ on my way to Penn State, and was another chance to get my legs turning over pretty fast.

Place: First Overall
Run For Hospice Results

October 10th- USA Women's 10k National Championships, Boston, Mass.:  
 Unseasonably hot!!!  Still trying to get used to these longer distances and not quite prepared to run at noon in such heat, but did the best I could for the energy I had that day! The time was not stellar by any means, but achieved my goal of coming in top 10.
Time: 34:25
Place: 8th American
           9th overall

  Thats a lot of women!!

September 24th- Miles for Meso 5k, Alton Illinois:
  This really was a great race for a great cause and the directors did a fantastic job of bringing in Elites for the first time!Less than a week after the 5k championships, I knew this one would be a challenge not only because of the type of course it was, but also, I had had a lot of moving around and travel time preceding it!  I was super hungry for a win and some $ though and felt that God had placed the following verse in my head and in my heart.  I did end up barely winning with a late kick that took everything I had and realized after that the date of this race was 9/24....just like the verse:)

1 Cor. 9:24-  "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize.  Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games, goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

Obviously, Paul is talking about the Christian life as an endurance event here, but it is still a cool verse for athletes to ponder

Time: 16:16
Place: First Overall

Miles for Meso Article

September 18th- USA 5k National Championships,  Providence, RI: What a beautiful day in R.I.! A perfect temperature and great scene for a National Championship.  16:05 was a big improvement from my 16:28 from last year at this race, but the competition was a lot stronger, as my place was 5th last year.

Time: 16:05
Place: 6th Overall

5k National Champ. Video Interview

August 7th- High Street One Mile Race, Newburyport Mass.:  
Pretty Rainy, but fun atmosphere and good crowd support for such a small race!

Time: 4:49
Place: First Overall

High Street Mile Article

July 9th- 15k Boilermaker: 
 Another mind boggling scene of runners! This one was hot and hilly like Peachtree. I was tired, sore and weak going into it, but clung to Joshua 1:9 to help me mentally stay strong! Was happy to run  a P.R. in my second 15k and did better than I thought I would coming off of the last 3 races.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Time 51:49
Place-5th overall
          2nd American

July 4th- Peachtree Road Race 10k , Atlanta, GA-
Over 60,000 runners!!
A hot and hilly one I thought, but maybe I was just tired from Track Nationals the week before. The picture below shows I was glad to be done with it!

Time: 34:14
12th Overall
3rd American

Man!! what a scene!!

Why do I run again?????