Experience

I wish I had gotten this out sooner after my race last week, but I have had an insanely busy school/homework schedule since the day I returned. Anyway, here it is…

I’ve been struggling to come up with a word to describe how I feel about my race last week. I even almost titled this post (Insert descriptive word here).  My immediate reaction was pretty satisfied.  The USATF National Championship is definitely the highest level of competition with the biggest names of any race I’ve been in.  I came in being just off the A standard.  I was happy to be there at all and I was in it; I wasn’t dropped way off the back at any point.  Of course, my time was not very good, but we went out really slow and I came back a lot faster, just not as fast as some of those big names.  I got my first experience with post-collegiate national championships under my belt.

And then I thought about it more.  After the slow first half, I should have been able to come back faster than I have in any race before.  And while I did come back ten seconds fast than my first half in the second half, I figured out that it was the exact same pace as the second half of my previous 1500 and that one started a lot quicker.  I noticed when I talked to people after the race they weren’t sure what to say because they weren’t sure if I would be happy or not,  and it made me upset because I have had races where I was really, really upset and for good reason, but this wasn’t one of them!  But like I said, once I figured out my paces, I realized they were right to react that way.  It wasn’t all that awesome.  I’m on a different level now and I have to be ready to make moves like the ones that would have been necessary to make it to the final in my race.  I don’t think I subconsciously put myself out of it or anything, but I need to hold myself to a higher standard than “getting here” for my happiness with a race.

That being said, I’m still not upset.  I still feel the same as I explained with my initial reaction to the race.  With the week I had waiting until the last minute, continuously refreshing the entry list page, I am very happy to be here as a competitor.  It’s just an awkward feeling to come off of such a high two weeks ago in Eugene, and then be completely underwhelmed now. But now I am looking at it as great experience. Not that I ever sold myself short this year, or didn’t try, but this meet was a goal that I had for my post-collegiate self. Three months ago, when I ran at Stanford in the 5k and Mt. Sac in the 1500, the thought crossed my mind, was briefly mentioned by my coach, yeah I guess I’m kind of close to the standard. But focus was on NCAAs and my last season as a collegiate. I didn’t plan on making it. And then when I ran at Virginia, I thought sure I’ll try to bring my PR down a bit, but I hadn’t completely expected a 4:13, and getting so close to the A made me want to qualify even more. The way I see it now was that I got a taste. I got to see what it was like so that next year I can show up completely on top of my game.

Also, it was a great weekend to make my post-collegiate plans concrete, but that deserves its own post… 🙂

Hello Des Moines!

Drake and I got off on the wrong foot. The first time we met was at the 2012 NCAA outdoor championships, and it didn’t go well. It was actually one of the worst races of my career and it was pretty embarrassing and confidence shaking. I tend to judge tracks and the cities they’re in based on the race that I had. This was a lot easier to justify in cross country when the course changed depending on where we were. A track is a track. All of them are 400m flat ovals, but I do it anyway. So last night when I found out that I was accepted into the USATF national championships, I decided that Drake and I need to put our differences aside because I have some racing to do! I don’t care where the track is, I am thrilled to have made it. This year I’m stronger, more experienced, and more confident, so I’m ready to meet Drake again.

This is a little new to me, my first race out of the NCAA. I ran at USATF junior nationals as a freshman at Syracuse, but that was different. I had my whole college career ahead of me. My couches are still helping me out a lot with entering and declaring and how to get there. They will still be with me (and our freshmen who are racing in the junior national championships) at the track and I cannot say enough how much I appreciate that. I’ve been pretty anxious lately thinking about how things will change for me as a post-collegiate runner. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by people who are helping me work it out.

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My first trip to USATF nationals as a junior participant--teammates and I with Kara Goucher

More (hopefully good things!) to come from Des Moines soon!