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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lesson Learned...Never Give Up!

On October 18th I stood on the starting line of the Columbus Marathon, my legs and mind strong and ready to compete.  I knew today would be my day. My teammate Kelsi agreed as she text on her drive down, to tell Ellie and I she had saw a shooting star, and knew it was going to be an amazing day. As we lined up with a few last moments of nervousness the song "Thunderstruck" played, and Nicole Camp excitedly ran up to me and confirmed it was going to be my day.  She reminded me of my senior year at the University of Akron at the MAC meet when Toledo (the team Nicole ran for) pulled up blazing this song.  They were feeling what would prove to be over confident their ability to win the meet.  Only to be handed their asses by us in a score of 41 to 64. I smiled and reminded myself to be smart. That day, things took a turn for the worse around 19 miles, and I made a decision to have no regrets, and I pressed as hard as I could, running 2:44:44.  I had up 1:44 seconds short of the Olympic Trials standard. See my Columbus Marathon recap here.  I could have just as easily relented in the final miles and run 30 seconds slower. I had no idea just how valuable being relentless would turn out to be.

Pushing for the finish line at Columbus

My heart felt broken, and despite my current lack of an OTQ I couldn't shake the feeling that I would be on the starting line in February.

On December 6th I held my breath, and hoped with all my heart that Sarah Robinson (an incredible woman who works for Oiselle, and has always been a huge supporter of mine) would snag the OTQ.  I received a text telling me she had made it running 2:42:36.  My eyes welled with tears of joy for her.  My tears would later turn to ones of envy.  In those moments I knew I had to take another shot at the trials standard.  I bought my plane ticket to Jacksonville the following day, and confirmed I would be racing on January 3rd.  I started mentally preparing to run 5:42 pace for the half marathon, until I could physically no longer run it, or until I crossed the finish line in Jacksonville.  Make it or die trying would be the moto I would remind myself of day in day out.  I couldn't handle wondering what if any longer. The battle lines were drawn.

2008 Austin Marathon my first marathon, and OTQ 

December 10th we took a trip to Westernport Maryland to visit my family.  We were staying with my grandma, and cell service was spotty at best.  I received some texts saying that IAAF had changed their Olympic qualifying standard to 2:45 and there was rumor that USATF may follow suit. I held back from letting myself get my hopes up. Later that evening I would whisper to Ryan the rumor, and I said "you know what that would mean?" he tentatively confirmed he understood.  He also didn't want me to get my hopes up, for fear of watching me struggle more wishing I had the Trials standard.

Nolan loved playing on the rocks.

Corra cuddling with Mamaw

Friday the 11th I went out and did a 10 mile tempo run, when I returned, I was talking to my grandma. I saw my phone light up out of the corner of my eye, and went to pick it up. As I looked at my phone, a familiar wave of emotion washed over me. One from the past. The same paralyzing feeling I had when I would watch my little brother, Seth, race. People around would often offer me help.  I knew I would be fine as soon as he finished. The color would come back to my face, and my legs would regain strength.  For whatever reason my heart held his goals very close. Seth hasn't run competitively since he graduated High School, and he is now getting ready to start on his Doctorate degree next year.  I assumed the next time I would feel this way would be when my kids are chasing down their goals.  When I will be the terribly embarrassing mother they wish I wasn't.  Yet here I was, standing in my grandmas kitchen, the walls closing in, my chest heaving, my knees weakening to the point I feared I would fall.  I was standing trackside cheering for my brother, all over again.  I couldn't hold back the sobs.  USATF had adopted the new standard, and through the pixilated backlight of an iPhone I had just become a three time Olympic Trials qualifier.  My grandma looked terrified, as I struggled to speak. I repeated "it's good, it's good".  When I finally could, I explained myself, and grandma hugged me and said she was proud. I called Nicole still tentative to believe what I was reading, and unable to look anything up online.  She confirmed that all of her calls were in fact to congratulate me! I felt altogether full of disbelief. The luckiest girl in the world had struck gold again. My heart hurt for all of the women just on the other side of 2:45, and my face beamed with excitement that I would be lining up next to 4 other CED members (Beth, Jess, Kelsi, and Ellie), as well as former Clevlanders Nicole, Kaitlin, Heidi, and my mom crush, Sarah in Los Angeles.  My dreams were back on track. I wrote in my Grandma's Marathon Race Recap that I wanted a fairytale ending to my last year and a half.  Well I guess fairytales all have struggle, a battle or two, and a plot twist. Turns out mine is was no different.

How my heart felt in my Grandma's kitchen

While I am still reeling with excitement and disbelief, it is time to lace up and train for a marathon (can you even believe this?)!  I have a lot of work to do, but to answer one of the questions a number of people have asked, I am not too far out of things.  I have been running 60-70 miles a week, with 2 workouts, and a long run around 15-16 miles.  So I have a solid base. I am excited to embrace the pain, and fatigue en route to the start line I have dreamed about for nearly 4 years.  I can not wait to enjoy every step in L.A.  When it gets tough out there I will remember what an amazing decision it was to push hard at Columbus, despite knowing things weren't going to plan.  Lesson learned, NEVER GIVE UP!  I am beyond excited for this opportunity!

The start of the 2008 Olympic Trials. I am bib #61

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