Thursday, October 11, 2012

Posted on JULY 22nd, 2012

Eliminating the good, to shoot for the Great!!!!( July 22nd, 2012)

I made a "big" decision about a month and a half ago.  A decision that in the grand scheme of things and in life, may not be that big of a deal.  But for me, at that time of my life, deserved some thought:) I know we all make these decisions at some part of our lives. you know....the kind that leave you a little double minded and crazy in the process.  But I guess the important thing is to believe that once you make the choice, it was the best choice to make, ....and looking back is not an option!!!
This past fall, winter, and part of the spring had been a new adventure for me in the running world.  Everything was happening so quickly and unexpectedly too. It was fun, new and exciting to hit up road races of every caliber and distance. I absolutely treasured new distances on the road, meeting great people at the races and getting to see some of the most interesting parts of our country.  September through January saw lots of 5ks and 10ks, a couple USATF national Road championships and even my first half -marathon.
March and April continued to challenge me with bigger and better things.  The NYC Half Marathon and the Cherry Blossom ten mile were probably the most prestigious of the bunch. I still can't get over how awesome the race directors and organizers took care of the Elite Athletes!
With all this going on, I knew in the back of my mind that track season and the Olympic Trials was approaching quickly and May would be here before you know it. It came so quickly in fact, that at one point I had no idea where I would be racing or what event I would be racing in!  But after a series of circumstances, and a very tough debut 10k track race at Stanford in May, we thought the 3k Steeple was still the best shot for me to place high at the Olympic Trials.  I already had set a good standard from last year, and  figured I could devote about 6 weeks to specifically train for the event and be ready at the Olympic Trials to compete well.  But as I started to really engage into the training and be prepared for my 2nd track race of the season, something really hit me??
First and probably most important, was that I realized I don't really like track all that much.  Yes, is a sport, and anyone who knows me, knows that I love competing in all sports!! But overall, sitting all day in a hotel across the country waiting to compete in a ten to 15 minute race, was just not all that appealing to me anymore. Sure, I had had some good experiences with it over the years, and I am grateful that I was able to take it up so late in life. But due to the high costs of all the traveling, and the little to no experience I had in high school or college, I did not feel it was a path that I wanted to continue to take for much longer.
I had always felt way more excitement and vigor when thinking about experiencing different venues and courses in the Road Race scene. Track had been kind of an after thought all year and I really had not been looking forward to it as much as some of these other endeavors.
Secondly, to be completely humble and honest about the whole situation, I had proved to be "good" at track and the 3k Steeplechase over the last 2 years, but not "GREAT." (relatively speaking anyway)  It is one thing to come in top 10 or top 15 at Nationals, which I had done in 2010 and 2011, but it is a whole other thing to be top 2 or 3,.. and I just wasn't there. Qualifying for the Olympic Trials is a lot different than qualifying for the Olympics where you have to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd to even have a chance to contend.  Maybe if I had devoted more time to technical work going over the barriers, ....maybe if I hadn't shattered  my ankle and quit running for 2 years, maybe if I did the Steeple in college, maybe if I ran in college instead of playing soccer???  Blahh blahhh blahhh....the list went on. Playing the "what if" game can only take you so far.  I decided to look where I was at right then and there.
And where was I??
Since my comeback from ankle surgery in 2010, my times had improved on the track and roads in a variety of distances.
But this past 2011/2012 year was different. I was kind of turning a corner in some distances on the road and I felt blessed to be a part of Team Alchemy and Newton running, (which happens to be a company that produces shoes for road races, not track:)
So the question arose??  Can I continue to devote everything I have to being really great at the steeplechase, (a 2 mile event with barriers and water pits).. while at the same time try to be really great on the roads and the longer distances? Maybe I could, but it didn't mean I should!! I finally felt ready to focus on one thing.
In the past, I probably would have sucked it up, did what I could and said Yes!! "sign me up. I will do it all!!"  That's what people expected and that's what some elite runners do.   And of course, The question from others and myself, "why would you choose NOT to go to the Olympic Trials??!!", loomed in my head for a bit.  But life is too short to always try to please other people and I am not afraid to say where my biggest strengths are and are not.  I don't want to be "good" at a lot of things when I might have the potential to be "great" at one.  So ....I prayed to God, I discussed it with my coaches and mentors, and I made a decision.  I eventually chose not enter the 2012 Olympic Track trials and in the beginning of June I committed to running in my debut  marathon in Chicago on October 7th this coming fall. Seeing I normally don't know where I'll be from one week to the next, never mind 5 months down the road, this was a pretty big commitment!
In order to be as best prepared as possible for this race, I knew I had to hit up some key road races to tune up. The last month has seen me competing in the USA Half marathon Championships in Duluth, Minnesota, a fantastic experience in which I came in 9th place in 1:13:43 ( The 15k Boilermaker in Uttica NY where I finished 10th overall, and 3rd American, not spectacular, but not bad coming off some pretty hefty Marathon training.( and most recent, the Beat the Heat 5k in Winston Salem NC where I won finishing in 16:22.

Eliminating the "good," to ALLOW for the "great" may have meant no more track and no more 3k Steeplechase, but it does not mean I won't use every opportunity and every shorter distance race to get me better for the longer.
I'm not sure how "great" I can be at the longer stuff anyways and you can never predict times, places or results to an exact measure, but as usual, I'm sticking to the motto that I have had since middle school. In this new phase of training, I will do everything I can in the natural, but only God can do the Superl!!

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