Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Long Due update!
The world of blogging is trying to prevent me from making this post, but I vow it will be done!! (I wrote this post several days ago, on my iPad, but have not found a single place to get wireless internet here in Brazil, so I decided to re-type it at the business center computer so it can finally come out! With less than a paragraph to go, the computer froze and I lost my draft...so, please appreciate what I am about to say (again!) ;) I think every runner at my level expects to compete at a higher level in an Olympic year. Why? Because you HAVE to, if you want to make the team. You have to plan on warking harder, being more dedicated...thus, attaining a higher level of fitness, and running faster from the very beginning of the season, all the way to the final finish line. It is both a curse and a blessing to have such high expectations for myself. I truly beleive that I have put in the work, and I am ready to rock. But, until my first race, I had no way of knowing where I was at. Finally that opportunity arrived to ´test the waters,´so to speak, and get a true gauge on my fitness. I recently ran my first two races of the 2012 ourdoor season, and have good things to report! The first race was the Grand Blue Mile, on Tuesday night. It is a road mile in downtown Des Moines that basically kicks off the Drake Relays week of festivities. We had an unually small field of just four elite female competitors. With so few athletes in the race, it seemed no one wanted the disadvantage of leading so we got off to a slow start. I focused on staying smooth and relaxed until somebody decided to make a break for it. We went through the first half in 2:32, fairly pedestrian-paced for everyone in the race. We picked it up a little bit through the half-way poit, and then significantly busted it open with a quarter to go. As the finish line approached, it was Sara Hall and I battling for the win (Sara is the reigning national champion in the road mile, I took second to her last year). We were truly neck-and-neck with a block to go, my peripheral vision at one point told me I got her, and the next: she bursted through the tape just inches before me (Results listed us both at 4:45). As much as it is a heart-breaker to take such a close second place, I was still quite pleased with the fact that we closed our second half in 2:13, and I felt pretty darn good doing it. The race gave me confidence in my closing speed and ability to run a tactical race. However, it didn´t tell me much about my true potential thus far. I was immediately excited to get another chance on the 1500m on the track in a few days. Finally Saturday rolled around, and coditions were taking a turn for the better! (Frday produced some serious winds and storms, Saturday was just a bit cold and windy). Before I can describe the race, I must say it is always such a joy for me to return to the Drake Relays. The officials working there are the best in the world, as far as I am concerned. They are kind, courteous, and always thank us for coming to the Relays. Thank YOU for putting on such a classy meet! The fans are equally supportive and awesome as well. As the announcer Mike Jay was introducing the athletes in my race, it was amost comical to hear my long and heartfelt into that turned out to be equally as long as Jenny Simpson´s (who just so happens to be the 2011 world champ in the 1500m, and a native Iowan). That just goes to show they truly appreciate every athlete, and treat us all like World Champs on our come turf. Incredible. So the race itself went a little something like this: Jenny got out well on the tail of her own rabbit, I was following Heidi Dahl, the leader of the chase pack. It immediately became apparent that this would be a race for second...I rode right along, the pace felt comfortable, but quick. I had trouble hearing most of our lap splits, but was mentally in it for the race, and it seemed to by quite quickly!! (odd, for an 800m runner to say a 1500m went by fast) Before I knew it, we had a lap to go, and people were starting to make their final moves. I managed to slip through a little gap to start trying to form my own gap between myself and the race behind me. By 100m to go, Maggie Infield (who has been patiently waiting to make her move in the back of our chase pack), was coming on well, and together we started to chase down Jenny on the home stretch. In the end, I was third behind Jenny and Maggie, but we managed to get within a second of the world champ. I turned around to check the clock, anticipating to see something around 4:17 or so, because it felt so comfortable to me. I was shocked when I saw I ran 4:13.89! That is just a second off my PR from last July (not bad to be running near-PR pace in spring, and feel relaxed doing it!). Later I found out I had closed my final 300m in 47 seconds, which again gave me some happy thoughts about my ability to finish with a kick! It seems to me that was one ingredient I felt like I could not harness last year: the kick. So, having something to work with was a nice start! All in all, I had so much fun, was thankful for my loyal family and husband who came as fans to one or both competitions, and I was excited to get down to business in my next two races, 800m competitions in Brazil. One of which is already said and done, the other one will be happening tonight. I´ll update when I get home! Here´s to dreaming and beleiveing that all things are possible (especially in an Olympic year! ;)