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Training

Go Fast, Take Chances: Tenacious 10 Recap

My spring racing season has been full of near misses. In February, I set a mile goal of 5:20 and crossed the line in 5:25. In March, I set out to break 38:00 in the 10K and finished in 38:07. From there, I was determined to run sub-18:00 in the Shamrock 5K (way off at 18:30), then tried again at the Carlsbad 5000 and came painstakingly close in 18:01.

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In a knee jerk reaction, I signed up for a 5K on the track in April with the plan of clicking off perfect, even splits to reach 17:59 or better. The skies were angry that day, delivering face-pelting rain and a steady 25mph wind. I finished in 18:19, but I knew the slower time wasn’t simply because of the weather, but my defeatist attitude before the race even began. I spent the cool down with my RCTC teammates Shasta and Fionna fighting back tears, and eventually stopping to ugly-cry for a few moments. I was so frustrated and disappointed in myself. As Steve Magness put it, “When stress and fatigue are at their highest, there is no faking your way through it. No putting on a facade. You don’t have enough energy or willpower to maintain a mask of how you’d like to be perceived. It’s all raw and it’s all real.”

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Training

A Little Bit Closer: Carlsbad 5000 Recap

Early Saturday morning, the day before the Carlsbad 5000, I drifted in and out of sleep. I dreamt I was crossing the finish line over and over again and the giant digital clock would read 18:29, 18:30, 18:31. Each time I woke up I thought, phew, it was just a dream. See, I flew down to Carlsbad, California this weekend with a big goal of finishing under the 18 minute mark. Anything higher was quite literally my personal nightmare.

That day I visited the race expo with my friends Shasta and Alex to pick up our bib numbers and enjoy the city. The nerves I had felt the night before started to fade as we took pictures, lazed in the sun drinking smoothies, ran a course preview, took a dip in the hot tub back home, and later that night made a family dinner of spaghetti with red sauce and garlic bread.

Sunday morning, the day of the race, I had a very similar reoccurring dream, but that time the clock read 17:56, 17:57, 17:58 and I would squeak by the finish line just in time. Each time I would wake up and think, omg yes, I did it! then seconds later have the realization that I hadn’t actually accomplished anything and the task was still ahead.

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Training

Let the Dream Chase You

What if?

It’s the little question that has tugged at many minds including my own. What if I could be… a runner? What if I could be a good runner? What if I could be great? What if I could hold this pace for 26.2 miles? That sure is what I was asking myself last month, on what started as a not particularly special 16 mile training run. In the beginning I felt sluggish and apathetic, wanting to get it over with, until finding my groove about six miles in and finishing feeling like I had the world at my fingertips. Since when did I feel at ease running 6:30 miles over and over again?

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Training

Little Miss Careful

I don’t put a ton of stock in astrology, but the traits that describe my zodiac sign, a Virgo, are pretty spot on: practical, methodical, hardworking, careful, overly critical, and constantly worried about missing a detail that will be impossible to fix. I’d much rather do something simple and have it turn out perfectly than take a big risk and fall flat on my face. I think there’s something to be said about that approach- learning to do something correctly and well lays a foundation on which you can build greater strength/speed or learn a more complex and intricate skill. It’s why I like running so much, and classical piano and ballet.

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Training

Where Dreams are Made Of

New York City has always been a magical place to me. It all started in 1996 on a Sunday morning. My dad and eleven-year-old-me were getting ready to start our 45 minute drive into Philadelphia for church as usual, when he asked me, “Why don’t we go to New York City instead?”

We drove northeast as the sun and mist rose, the iconic skyline and Statue of Liberty popping into view, and the funneled chaos of taxi cabs, buses, commuters, and tourists swept us into the Big Apple. We made our way to Times Square, shivering in the cold as we braved the “TKTS” line for half price seats to the musical Grease!. The entire experience blew my mind, and from then on I was positive that there was no greater aspiration than being a Broadway star and no greater place in the world than New York.