Reflecting on the 5k Championships and looking forward
On the heels of my race at Falmouth this past August, Kevin Selby from Flotrack came to Davis to talk with me about the progress I have made in my running career over the past couple of years. At some point during the interview he asked me point blank if I hesitate in races rather than thrusting myself into certain competitive situations. My immediate response was that I don’t. I think of myself as someone that takes risks and likes to lay it on the line. But as the days passed after he left and I spent some time reflecting on the interview, his question started nagging at me. I couldn’t figure out why he would even ask that question without some underlying reasoning. I may think I lay it out there every time, but perhaps he has seen something that I don’t? I realize that sometimes athletes perceive themselves in a certain light, and a coach may have to challenge them to expand their horizons to make them better athletes. So, back in August, weeks before there was any indication of who would or would not be running at the US 5k road championships, I decided that I had to run to win, simply to prove to myself that I don’t hesitate in races or think “maybe I shouldn’t be up there,” as Kevin put it.
Two weeks have elapsed since the 5k championships and I’m still not sure I can fully answer Kevin’s question. Did I run to win like I intended? In the moment, I thought so. The race strung out very early, with Julie Culley (the eventual winner) running up front, me giving chase, and a pack hot on my heels. From as early as a half mile into the race we were all already in our finish order. I made a push half way through the race to close the gap, but I was never able to catch Julie. In the aftermath, I wondered if perhaps I did hesitate early on and I should have closed the gap immediately or gone with Julie. On the whole though, I feel good about the effort I gave. I’m happy with runner-up finish, but also find that it has left me hungry to achieve more.
Luckily, “more” is right around the corner in the form of the US 10k Road Championships (Tufts Heath Plan 10k for Women) in Boston on October 10th. I am very excited about returning to Boston and running this race again. Tufts puts on a great event in a city that I have come to like a great deal in trips there. Last year I finished 6th overall and was fortunate to be selected to represent the US at the Chiba Ekiden relay in Japan. It was very exciting time for me; I felt like I was finally doing what I had dreamed of when I graduated college and chose to pursue a career in running. I associate Boston and the Tufts 10k with that big step forward and I’m hoping that my experience this year can represent continued growth.
I love to train hard and compete all out, but perhaps the answer to Kevin’s question is one that will always remain somewhat elusive, since I also continually seek a higher and more desirable level on which to achieve. For now, I look forward to one final race on the roads as fall arrives in New England. I can’t wait for noon on Columbus Day at the Boston Commons!