From Grad Student to Haute Volee

No More Homework, No More Books

It was incredibly difficult to come back from Des Moines and immediately start my summer classes.  After being part of the USA championships and talking with some amazing people, I was set on joining the New Jersey/New York Track Club and representing Oiselle!  So showing up to class at 8am the day after I returned when I knew I wasn’t going to be a teacher for a few years and my new “career path” was getting under way was the furthest thing from what I wanted to do.  But now five weeks of daily six hour classes later, I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Three more days until I’m done with grad school, and then I can fully turn my attention running.  I absolutely love teaching, but I have my whole life after my running career to spend in classrooms.

I’m having a lot of trouble putting the feeling into words, but what keeps coming to mind are memories of being a little kid knowing that a family vacation was only a short time away.  I remember feeling like I was going to burst with excitement and  lose my mind growing impatient with the anticipation of the greatest thing ever!  That’s the best description I’ve got for how I have been feeling the past couple of weeks.

So while my classmates have been spending every spare second they have redoing their resumes and cover letters for the zillionth time and stressing about whether they have gotten any interviews or not, I have been trying to hide my excitement (at least a little so I’m not putting it in their faces) for what lies ahead of me.  Sometimes when I listen to the job hunt conversations it’s completely overwhelming and totally freaks me out for the unknown, future day that I will become a part of that world.  But most of the time I am able to smile to myself and enjoy that fact that that day is unknown.  Don’t get me wrong, my classmates are all amazing teachers and I know they will do incredible things in whatever schools they end up in, but not many people are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to put that off and become a professional athlete. 

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Joining the Flock

Last summer my friends, Heather Stephens and Rebekah MacKay, and I had the opportunity to go to the USA Olympic Trials in Eugene as graduation gifts, and Rebekah was already connected to Oiselle through her sister, Sarah Robinson (@oiselle_mac).  The Oiselle team welcomed us for the week of the meet and I fell in love.  Other than a complete fascination with all of Rebekah’s Oiselle running apparel, this was my first introduction to Oiselle.  I couldn’t believe that a group of women who were so involved in the sport and genuinely invested in supporting women who run existed, and I felt so honored to be a part of it, even if it was just for a week at the time. 

After the trials, my obsession with Oiselle grew and I started following not only @oiselle on Twitter, but also @oiselle_sally, @oisell_mac, @oiselle_team, @drlesko, @fastk8, and @laurenfleshman.  I checked out what was new on the website constantly and followed the blog.  The feminine, fierce, sisterhood mentality of the entire company was something that I knew I wanted to be represented by and represent in my own running.  They summed it up perfectly in a blog post a couple weeks ago in the Oiselle Manifesto.

So when I had a meeting to discuss joining the Haute Volee team, I stared at my watch while pacing around my hotel room until it was time to go.  Nervous, anxious, excited…all of the above (except “excited” doesn’t seem to do it justice).  With each new thing they talked to me about, I sat on the edge of my seat making a conscious effort to stop myself from interrupting to say “YES! YES! YES!”

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I got to try on my uniform for the first time.  Honestly, I was home alone and danced around the house with it on for a bit.  It made me feel professional (the uniform, not the dancing).  I immediately could not wait to compete in it. 

Rewind to the trials.  The three of us sat in the stands in awe of the entire event.  The crowds of people that came out in support of track and field were insane.  The energy in the stadium was palpable.  I was overcome with so much respect and appreciation for the sport that I had been participating in for the last 8 years, and I didn’t even know before that moment that it was possible to love it more.  All I knew was that I wanted to be on the track.  I wanted to be at that level, and I was (am) willing to work as hard as I possibly could to get there.  When I think about training with NJNYTC, and representing Oiselle as a bird on the Haute Volee team, I know I’m on my way.

Eager to Start

I’m jumping right into it.  I’ve never done a road race in the middle of my base building (and the pretty early stages of it) and I’ve never raced a road mile at all.  The very same day of my last grad school class that’ll change.  I’ve definitely been a little anxious waiting for it, and a little nervous too, but mostly just excited.  At the risk of sounding cheesy, the butterflies in my stomach and the grin I can’t wipe off my face are really from knowing that I’m starting my post-collegiate career.  Better yet, I’m starting it with the support of so many amazing people.  I’m overwhelmed by the support that has been shown in the very short time since Oiselle made their announcement.  Thank you so much for pumping me, getting me ready to go, and for making women’s running such an awesome thing!  I’m honestly not sure what to expect in this race, but I know I’m strong, I know I love racing, and I’m very excited to see what I’ve got.