“I did it! I did it!” I screamed as I ran across the finish line of the Indianapolis Marathon. It was probably not my classiest moment but it was MY moment. I finally qualified for the Olympic Trials with a huge PR. I felt unbelievable joy but to be honest, even greater relief. After, years of dreaming and hard work, failures and success, it was only sheer faith that kept me going some days. But the stars finally aligned and the moment was everything I imagined. The rush of it all lingered for weeks.
It is a new year though and time to look ahead to new goals. In just over one year, the Olympic Trials will be here and I will have one shot to give my very best. Huge success tends to set up great expectations and there is no greater pressure than that which comes from myself. I hope to run under 2:40 this year and will aim for the A standard of 2:37. To do this will require yet another big PR.
After putting everything I thought I had into my PR in Indianapolis, there are times it seems impossible to imagine going harder. There is always the temptation to sit back and just be satisfied with what I have now. How much more can I push? What else to give up? Where to find another 11 seconds per mile?
It is easy to fumble now. If I lose focus and assume that PRs will automatically happen again, I will find myself in the back of the pack. If I take on too much, hubris will leave me on the sidelines with an injury. I have learned that everything counts. Not just miles run but stretching, rolling, weights, nutrition, body work and sleep. I know I will be ready when the time comes. Big expectations are met methodically, one day at time, bit by bit, knowing it all adds up.
To get me through the next year and meet my goals, I am depending on two people in particular. First is Coach John who I started working with in June 2013. He has patiently increased my miles and intermittently told me to run faster than I imagined I possibly could and he has been right almost every time. He suffers through my doubts while being responsive to every concern and working around my erratic shifts at the hospital. Having a coach I trust has taken a tremendous amount of anxiety out of training and infused the consistency I need to get better. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with him.
The second is Amy Cole. We are the only two on the team based in Tucson so we spend a lot of miles together. It could have been a disaster when John paired us up for training given how competitive we both are but qualifying could not have happened without her. It is such a relief to have someone out there suffering with me. We keep each other honest and motivated. There are not a lot of people out there that get my anxieties, rituals and superstitions, except for Amy because she has them, too! For Eugene, my primary goal is to support her as she trains for her qualifying race because I can’t imagine the trials without her. I have a feeling it will be a big day for her and many others on the team!