Flying through the month of October
The month of October was a busy one for me. It started with the US 10k road championships in Boston. Last year was my first year running that race, and I absolutely loved the experience. Boston is a beautiful city, and the entire race environment has amazing energy. The night before the race there is a dinner where the elite athletes get to meet race sponsors and organizers, as well as a distinguished group of women who have run the race every year since its inception in 1977. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing their stories and gaining an appreciation of their commitment to the event. I finished third this year, and while I went in with slightly higher hopes for myself, I realize that it is progress from last year (when I finished 6th) and another step forward for me as I seek to progress in the sport.
After the weekend in Boston, I returned to Sacramento, but quickly turned around again to head to Indiana for the Pre-Nationals meet in Terre Haute. That was a good weekend, and our women’s team finished 6th overall, representing our highest finish ever in that meet. Coming off that race, they knew they would be the team to beat at conference.
The following weekend the time to prepare and head to the Pan Am Games arrived. On the Saturday I flew from Sacramento to Houston for team processing, which consisted of a brief meeting, picking up a bunch of USOC apparel for the games, having pictures taken, a great dinner and an early bedtime before heading to Guadalajara the following day. On Sunday we flew as a group of about one hundred team members, a large portion of which consisted of Track and Field athletes, but also included U.S. team members from Judo, Fencing, Weight-lifting, and Diving.
After we arrived at the athlete village we had another brief meeting with the US Olympic Committee staff, a meeting with the US Track and Field staff, and then settled into our apartments. From that point until race day the daily plan consisted of a pretty simple routine involving breakfast, training, lunch, massage/Normatec/ice bath or some other kind of therapy, laying low in the afternoon, dinner, hanging out in the athlete lounge, watching events that had gone on throughout the day on TV, and then bed. The days became predicable and somewhat uneventful, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Even though we hadn’t competed on the same team since my freshman year in HS, it was also good to catch up with fellow Montgomery alum Sara Hall, who ended up winning the 3000m steeplechase race at Pan Ams.
The 5000m race itself was tough, and I struggled mightily in last mile. Despite the fact that I entered the meet without the advantage of altitude acclimation, it still was not the way I had envisioned the end of my season. Overall, my time in Guadalajara was a great learning experience. The support from both the USOC and USA Track and Field was outstanding and extremely well organized. Putting on the US singlet is a huge honor and I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to compete in that arena.
The morning after the Pan Ams race I flew straight from Guadalajara to Riverside, CA to coach at the Big West Conference Championships. The meet capped off a great week as the UC Davis women brought home their first conference title. “Conference Champions” is a distinction we have been seeking for a number of years now, and I can’t describe how good it felt to finally watch them hold up the championship trophy.
Although I’ve promised myself that I will never complain about the amount of travel I get to do, I have to admit I felt relieved when I got home after conference knowing that it would be several weeks before I was on a plane again. I took ten days off from running, but I am very eager to get back to work. As always, I am excited about what lies ahead, for both the training and racing that will take place, but also the places that training and racing will take me over the course of the months to come.