Sunday, May 30, 2010

Week in Review

57 miles
15k on the track
27 points scored by Tanya and me
6th place team
6 AFDs

Wow, I didn't realize my mileage for the week was so low until I just added it up. Guess that's what happens when you only run 20 minutes one day and five miles another. Oh well. Obviously mileage wasn't the goal of the week; performance was, and for the most part I came through when it counted. I would've liked to place top 5 in the 5k and I may or may not be reliving the final 400 meters of the 10k on continuous repeat in my mind, but I realize objectively that I did everything I could and ran my heart out. Can't ask for much more than that.

Also, I just wanted to take a quick second to say thank you again to everyone who supported me this weekend, whether that meant attending my races or sending me a congratulatory text or something in between. This weekend's success was made possible by people who believed in me even when I wasn't 100% sold on believing in myself, and I appreciate that more than you all know. Thanks for everything you do.

Post-Nationals Recovery

AM: 5-5.5 miles

Last night was a late one due to the meet, and this morning was an early one due to taking my parents to the airport. As a result of that (and probably, you know, the 15k worth of racing I completed within the past 48 hours), I was tired and heavy-legged on my short recovery run late this morning. I could tell Jordan wanted to put in a medium loop, but by the time we ran up Kings toward Selwyn I knew I was toasted. Instead, we looped back down Westfield to the bike path and trotted home at a leisurely clip. I plan on nothing else for the rest of the day except perhaps some time at the pool and a glass of wine or two. Time to relax and enjoy some much-needed recovery for the next few days.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

5k Results

6th place and 16:35 for All-American and a PR. Tanya 2nd in 16:20. With our powers combined, Queens women placed 6th overall as a team! Results

D2 Nationals 5k Race Recap

AM: 3 miles
PM: 2 miles w/u + strides
5k race @16:35; 6th place
2.5 mile c/d
Total: 7.5-8 miles

After yesterday's weather fiasco and endless delays, I was feeling pretty recovered from the 10k and antsy to get back on the track tonight. That's not to say I actually was recovered--I knew that no matter how fervently I tried to convince myself otherwise, racing only 48 hours after a physically and mentally draining 10k would prove difficult. But I was looking forward to the challenge nonetheless. Fortunately the day passed quickly and before I knew it, it was time to head to the track.

The first event for Queens athletes was the men's 1500m final. After failing to qualify for the finals indoors, Simon redeemed himself by diving for the line and securing a 6th place (and All-American) finish. Next up for us was the women's 800, which was changed to a two-section final after last night's weather. Maraya was in the first heat after entering the meet with the 17th fastest time. She, too, made Queens proud by running a season best (2:10-high) and finishing 12th, five spots above her seed. Tanya and I cheered her down the homestretch before heading up the hill to check in and begin our warmup. Deja vu in the form of a cemetery loop, only with more lighthearted banter and fewer nerves than two nights prior. My legs felt light and surprisingly fresh, although I had no idea how they would respond once I stepped onto the track. For all I knew, I'd already run the power right out of them with my intense (if less than successful) kick at the end of Thursday night's race. I would find out soon enough.

At 8:45 our group of 19 filed down onto the track. Ten of the 19 had also competed in the 10k, and one of the remaining girls had just run the 1500m final a few hours prior. Only a few of the athletes were fresh coming into the race--including defending outdoor and indoor champ Neely Spence from Shippensburg. We all toed the line on the backstretch, waited for the starter's commands, and then were off into the night.

Predictably, the first lap started as a crawl. A crowded, fiesty, jostling crawl. Remembering how I'd gotten boxed in at Penn, I swung around the first turn wide and was actually leading the darn thing down the home stretch before others picked up the pace. Still, our first lap was a pedestrian 83, and for a brief moment I wondered if this would be reminiscent of the 2.5 mile jog followed by a half mile sprint we contested at indoor nationals. I didn't have to wonder for long, as Spence quickly took up the front and increased the pace. I saw later that we split 78, 77, 77 to come through the mile in 5:15. This was quick for me (possibly a mile PR?) and considerably faster than I expected--I honestly hadn't planned on running sub-PR pace in this championship race--but as I was already off the lead group I couldn't give any thought to slowing down. Simply put, this felt hard from second lap, and after a mile I digested the sobering realization that it certainly wasn't going to get any easier. There would be no planning or strategizing or settling in like during the 10k. From this point on it would be me running as hard as I could and trying to catch as many people as possible without blowing up and royally embarrassing myself.

Honestly, much of the rest of the race is a blur, albeit a painful one. I think I remember passing through two miles in 10:35, probably around tenth place. I was well off the real race that was unfolding between Neely and Tanya, but I could tell that some of the girls in front of me were going to pay the price for going out too hard. I may not have been able to pick it up, but as long as I didn't fall off the pace I knew I would catch people. Sure enough, with two laps to go I was somewhere around eighth and still gaining, although I felt like I was about to die. After the race Jenna and Simmons would comment about how strong my kick was, but all I know is I kept telling myself that I was not going to get walked down before the finish like I did in the 10k. I finished utterly exhausted in sixth place and rather unexpectedly set a PR in the process. Admittedly, my previous PR of 16:44 wasn't that impressive, but as I've said before I never expect to run "fast" during a championship race--particularly this championship race when I had just raced a 10k 48 hours prior.

After the race Tanya and I took a few of the other girls--Neely, Sarah and Brenae--on a pitch dark cemetery cooldown. Along the way we noticed that the group of eight who finished as All-Americans tonight was virtually identical to the list that finished All-American indoors except for maybe one. At least we're consistent, I suppose. I know Tanya was disappointed about getting second (she was 16:20 to Neely's 16:14), but you can't argue that she had a phenomenal meet. Both of us were pretty pleased with how things turned out--especially when we found out that our combined 27 points had placed us sixth as a team! Turns out that's the highest NCAA finish of any Queens sports team in Queens history. Though both of us would be lying to say the team competition had been on our mind going into the meet, the result certainly ended up being the icing on the cake. Our last NCAA competition as Queens runners went about as well as we could've hoped. Thanks again to everyone who supported me this weekend, whether it was in person or through email or on Facebook. It truly meant a lot, and made me really appreciate having the meet right here in Charlotte. It's been quite a season, and I'm so grateful to have had you all along for the ride.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

AM: 20 mins. (2.5 miles)
PM: Rain...thunder...lightning

Wow, what a stressful day. Tonight was supposed to be our 5k prelim, but Mother Nature had other plans. Despite a morning and early afternoon of sunny skies, by 5pm the clouds had begun to gather. By 5:30 the rain was steadily falling and we heard the first whispers of a rain delay. Actually, the rain in itself isn't necessarily a huge deal, but lightning is an entirely different story. If meet officials see lightning, they must halt the meet for 30 lightning-free minutes before resuming. At 5:45 the first lightning was spotted and thus the first delay began. We had just arrived to JCSU from our hotel in Uptown, only to receive word that our scheduled 7:50pm race would not begin until at least 8:50. We returned to the hotel to wait. And we waited. And waited. The rain eventually abated, but the lightning just would not quit. Every 20 minutes or so we would receive updates of more delays. Finally, around 9pm, it seemed as though the weather would break. So again we piled into the van and again departed for JCSU...only to get the call halfway there that--you guessed it--proceedings were halted once again. We elected to continue to the gym and wait it out, but things weren't looking good. Just as we reached the gym the rain began falling again, this time in earnest. It seemed as though the meet officials were faced with three options: 1. Continue to delay until midnight or later and wait out the rain; 2. Cancel for the evening, then run prelims on Saturday morning and finals on Saturday night; or 3. Cancel for the evening, omit the prelims yet to be run, and run everything as finals on Saturday night. Just past 10pm, we got word that the committee had chosen door #3. Tanya and I were fine with this prospect, as it would give us an additional day of rest before the 5k, but it certainly did make for a crazy day (not to mention probably my lowest mileage day in months). It would've been great to get the word earlier in the evening so that I could've enjoyed some of life's simple pleasures like, you know, eating dinner; but overall I have few complaints about how this turned out. Now it's time to get my game face on for tomorrow night's 5k finals.

NCAA Nationals 10k: Tanya 1st, Meagan 3rd!


Article and sweet photo

Detailed recap to follow. It's late and I've got to rest up for the 5k prelim tomorrow!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

NCAA National 10k Recap

AM: 3 miles
PM: 2 mile w/u + strides

10k race @34:50
1 mile c/d
Total: 9 mile

10k start line

We headed over to the track at 6:30, just in time to catch the opening rounds of the steeple. Temperatures were above 85 degrees but it felt surprisingly nice in the shade due to the low humidity--44% according to I knew the heat would take its toll on some of the distance runners, just as surely as I knew I wouldn't be one of them. I've lived in this type of climate my whole life, and I planned on using that to my advantage during the later stages of the race.

Around 8pm, Tanya and I ventured across the railroad tracks for our familiar warmup loop around the cemetery. The same loop as always, but of course the mood was completely different. It was almost surreal, warming up in the same place we've been dozens of times before, only this time with so much more on our minds. We were jolted back to reality on our return toward the stadium. About 100 yards from the tracks w
e heard the whistle of an approaching train; sure enough, the lights began flashing and the protective arms lowered. We were too far away to beat it, so we jogged slowly up to the crossing and waited for it to pass. Except that then it stopped. Like, came to a complete stop right on the tracks. For as many times as we've joked about getting stuck on the other side of the tracks during our warmup, we never expected it to happen tonight. After a few moments of hesitation we both scrambled up the side of the train, gingerly stepped across an empty boxcar and hopped to safety on the other side. If that doesn't get your adrenaline pumping, I don't know what will!

Ten minutes later it was go time. We filed down to the track with the other competitors and did some final pre-race strides. I was delighted to spot some familiar faces in the stands just before the start, including Caitlin and the CRC crew, Tyler and Denise, and Run For Your Life owner Tim Rhodes. (After the race I would learn that there were many other friends there too, and instead of forge
tting to name them all, I will simply say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who came!) Tanya also had some pint-sized fans, as most of her class from this spring's Girls on the Run session came to cheer. I would discover over the next 34 minutes that the single best part of hosting the meet in our hometown was receiving such an overwhelming show of support from friends and teammates.

Pre-race strides

At 8:40 sharp we were off. I don't remember much about the first mile except that it felt quick: 5:28. Though I could only speculate about the pace of the race, I didn't suspect we would run faster than 34:30 given the heat. 5:28 was a bit fast. At this point I had a choice; I could surge to catch up with the leaders--Slippery Rock's Jen Harpp had taken a commanding solo lead, followed closely by a chase pack of Tanya and Sarah Porter and a few others--or I could bide my time in the second chase group and hope they came back to me. It was a crucial decision, and one I had to make quickly. I stayed put.

The lead pack midway through the race

The second mile slowed a bit, and I heard the announcer say 5:34. At this point Harpp had been caught, but my group was still a solid 10-15 meters back from the leaders. I began to notice them coming a bit closer, almost imperceptibly at first. Jordan noticed it too, and I heard him yell from his spot on the backstretch to be patient and let them come back within the next few laps. We passed through 5k shortly thereafter, although I never saw or heard a split. (Tanya told me later that she heard her 5k split as 17:29, which meant mine was probably around 17:34-35). For the rest of the race I would neither see nor hear another mention of spllits, nor would I concern myself with it. I was here to race, not to set a PR.

Sure enough, within the next few laps
the remainder of our chase group absorbed the lead pack. Now the group of contenders included Tanya, Sarah Porter, myself, Western State's Laura Kleppin, Missouri Southern's Kimi Shank and Dani Dell'Orco from Truman State. As far as we were concerned, no one else was still in the race. Surprisingly the next two miles were the most comfortable of the race for me as I settled in with the group. With six laps to go Tanya put in a surge, and none of us were ready to respond. I stayed tucked in to the group and let her go. I knew I couldn't wait until the last lap to kick, but I also knew I wasn't ready to drop the hammer just yet. Patience.

With two laps to go, our group was starting to string out just a bit. I sensed my chance approaching. At the 700 meter mark I heard Jordan yell at me to relax and go. I went. I thought about all the 12x800 workouts, all the hammers, all the miles that had prepared me for this point, and I trusted that my strength would see me through to the finish. If I could hold on, I would help earn Queens a 1-2 finish. At the sound of the bell, I looked up in surprise to see that Tanya was not too far in front of me. The lead she'd built over the previous mile was slowly eroding, and for the first time in the race I thought she might
be fallible. I dropped my head and dug deeper. The backstretch came and went.

The final hundred meters of the race I h
ave since replayed in my head at least a dozen times. I remember rounding the final curve, looking up to see Tanya ahead of me while simultaneously swinging wide to pass a lapped runner. I never in a million years expected to feel Sarah Porter also swinging wide, somehow emerging from nowhere to pass me on the outside. I had thought the rest of the group was history, and it caught me totally by surprise. I had no response. Should I have snuck a look over my shoulder a few meters earlier to make sure I was clear? Probably so, but at the time I was so intent on the finish and on trying to catch Tanya that it literally never crossed my mind to turn around. Instead, I crossed the line in 34:50--a second behind Sarah and about three behind Tanya. I had run my last 800 in 2:33 with my last 400 in 73 and it still wasn't enough.

hough I may not have enabled the Queens sweep, I suppose finishing with one National Champ and one All-American isn't half bad either. On paper, Sarah and Tanya have run 60 and 90 seconds faster than me respectively, so I consider competing with them as well as I did to be an accomplishment in itself. And they deserve all the credit in the world for making moves when I didn't, or couldn't, thus securing their finishes in the top spots. All in all, I feel like we put on a really fun and exciting race for the home crowd, which makes the outcome all the more rewarding.

Myself, Tanya and Sarah Porter

I'll close this recap by sharing a text message that my former coach Jeff "G-Unit" Gaudette sent me in November 2008, after I'd just committed to quitting my job and running at Queens. He said: "I believe you can be a national champion in the 10k!" I remember literally laughing out loud while reading it, as the idea was about as incredulous as anything I could imagine at the time. A year ago I was two spots out of qualifying for this race, and tonight I wanted to make sure I did not waste this opportunity. I did not win that national championship tonight, but I did compete my heart out and come closer than almost anyone else out there.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


AM: ~6.5 miles + strides

Guess I better fill this in before I forget what I actually did. As I recall, we met at McAlpine this morning with the teams from Grand Valley State and Southern Indiana--both of their coaches are friends with Coach Simmons--and had a group run of sorts. This evening was the pre-meet banquet at the Charlotte Convention Center. Pics to follow if I ever have a chance to upload them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Easy Mileage

AM: 48 mins. (6.5 miles)
PM: 3.5 miles

Nothing to see here. Just easy mileage. Of note, the heat sheets are up for this weekend. Looks like Tanya and I are both in the first section of the 5000 on Friday. Traditionally this is a disadvantage, but with so many people pulling the 10/5 double I think (hope) neither heat will be too quick. Top four from each heat advance, then the next four fastest on time. Obviously we don't want to leave anything to chance, so Tanya and I are aiming to snag two of those top four spots.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nationals Pre-Race Workout

AM: 3 miles
PM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: mile @10k pace, 800m faster, 2x400 faster (all w/full recovery)
Actual: 5:26, 2:36, 70, 69
2 mile c/d
Total: 7-7.5 miles

Tonight was Tanya's and my final pre-race workout before Nationals. It almost felt surreal to stand on the track where we've been dozens of times before, feeling the familiarity yet knowing that in a few days the energy there would be unlike anything we've previously experienced.

The workout itself was uneventful. Neither of us felt spectacular, but I rarely do on pre-race workouts. I'd almost be more alarmed if I felt good than if I felt the way I did tonight. Not tired, really, but not exactly fresh either. I should also note that we traded our flats for spikes after the mile. Unlike the last time I attempted the switch, my calves seemed thoroughly unbothered, which was a relief. I will definitely wear flats for the 10k and probably even for the 5k prelims, but if/when the finals come around I'm definitely spiking up.

Three more days.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week in Review

70 miles
25 mins. pool
6 AFDs
14 cookies from Great Harvest
4 days until Nationals

At long last, the countdown to Nationals is almost over. In some ways this season passed in the blink of an eye, but in hindsight the amount of work I've put into the past few months has been staggering. I nailed some crazy workouts and far exceeded my own expectations--my recent 12x800 and 25x300 workouts stand out most in my mind, as well as my 17-mile long run earlier this month--and I've also royally bombed some that should've been freebies (4xmile, anyone?). All things considered, I can say without question that I don't think I could've done anything more to prepare for next week than what I've done this spring. The work is behind me, and now I just need to rest up and prepare for a weekend of racing like I've never experienced before. Let's do this.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

AM: 75 mins. (10 miles)
15 mins. core

Jordan and I met Jenna and the rest of the Queens national qualifiers, along with Pezz and her friend Amanda, at Boyce for a nice run this morning. With no good reason to push the pace, we kept things very relaxed. Tanya and I have our final pre-race workout tomorrow night so we want to be fresh for that. Fortunately it doesn't appear as though my legs are experiencing any soreness from yesterday, but I wouldn't rule out DOMS setting in later today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Great Harvest Bread Co. 5k

2.5 mile w/u + strides
Target: 5k race "uptempo"
Actual: 17:37 (5:45, 5:40, 6:12 for 1.1)
2.5 mile c/d
Total: 8 miles

I woke up surprisingly easily at 5:30 this morning--possibly because I was already awakened at 4:30 by Weezy and again at 5:00 by Jordan--and hurriedly dressed for the morning's race. A quick glance at the weather forecast showed that the thunderstorms should hold off until at least 9am, which
would be plenty of time for us to clear out after the 7:30 race. Yes, the race started at 7:30. Yes, that's waaaay too early to contemplate running fast under any other circumstances. I was hoping the race atmosphere would kick up enough adrenaline to get my tired old legs moving at go time.

Tanya, running under the assumed name Sheepers McSheep, arrived at the apartment at 6:00 sharp. She and I would be carpooling together, while Jordan opted to drive separately since I had to hustle to work post-race. Tanya and I hit the road and were at the race location just past 6:30--plenty of time to grab our chips, take in a leisurely warmup and stand in line for the bathroom (note to self: the Starbucks line is not always quicker than the port-a-pottie line). At 10 minutes until race time I approached the starting line and found Caitlin. (Tanya, who did her uptempo yesterday, would just be running "for fun," i.e. for the free bread.) We did our final strides, reaffirmed our 5:50 plan and waited for the starting countdown. I may or may not have also slapped Caitlin across the face in an attempt to fire her up for the race. You'll have to ask her if it worked or not.

Start of the GHB 5k. Jordan is out front to the left of the frame, while
Caitlin and I are far right.

A few seconds later the race began, and immediately Caitlin and I were almost run over by some dude who probably went out in 5:20 and then finished in 19 minutes. I swear, it happens every time. At any rate, after the first hundred meters we were able to hone in on our pace--sort of. The first mile was very rolling, and it seemed like Caitlin pulled away from me a bit on each uphill, only to come back to me on the downhills. We played this yo-yo game for at least half a mile before Caitlin began to pull away more definitively. She was probably 5-7 seconds ahead of me at the first mile marker, but after seeing my 5:45 split I didn't want to push the pace any further. This was supposed to be an uptempo effort for me, not an all-out race, and I didn't want it to turn into that. Consequently, I ran most of the next mile by myself, with Caitlin firmly planted about 20 meters ahead of me. She wasn't really picking up any more ground, but I wasn't exactly reeling her in either. Plus, the mostly downhill nature of the second mile meant I still split 5:40, which was plenty fast for what I was trying to accomplish. At this point I figured I was a lock for second place.

Me running solo up the final (I think) hill on the course

And then came the third mile. After the race I kept hearing people complain that this mile was all uphill, but seeing as we were retracing our steps from the beginning of the race this simply can't be true. I thought the first mile was rolling throughout, which means the last mile must've had an equal amount of downhills and uphills. That said, it sure seemed to be the toughest section of the course. About a quarter mile in, I began to notice Caitlin coming back slightly. At 2.5 I pulled up alongside her and we exchanged encouraging words. I still felt quite comfortable maintaining pace on the final uphill section, and with a few minutes to go I knew I would be able to finish strong. I broke the tape in 17:37, with Caitlin to follow about 10 seconds back. I learned in the finish chute that Jordan had won as well, holding off Caitlin's roommate John for the victory. Fellow blogger and CRC member Paul Mainwaring snagged third, and Sheepers McSheep pulled off a sheep world record by taking the 25-29 age group.

L to R: Jordan, Paul, John, Caitlin, me, Danielle. Top 3 CRC finishers
with our loot: aprons, chefs hats, loaves of bread and lots of cookies!

In reflecting on the run, I'm extremely pleased with how comfortable I felt. Both the level of difficulty of the course and the sky-high humidity suggested that I would've run much slower than this for an uptempo effort. Instead I was able to keep both my legs and my breathing relaxed and run even splits throughout. With all this in mind, the race definitely served as a last-minute confidence booster heading into next week.

And yes, I ate a lot of bread.

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Recovery

Friday, 5/21
AM: 8.5 miles
PM: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with Caitlin

Thursday, 5/20
AM: 4 miles
Dr. Duffy
PM: 8 miles

I'm surprisingly not sore from Wednesday's unusually speedy (for me) workout, though I have to admit my legs feel a bit drained. It didn't take much convincing for me to scrap my planned Friday double and meet Caitlin for a movie instead (in subtitles, no less--how smart are we?!). After the movie we talked strategy for tomorrow's Great Harvest Bread Co. 5k down in Ballantyne, as we plan to run it together. I'm using the race as my "3 mile uptempo" workout and, more importantly, a chance to score double points--double points, people!--for the RFYL Grand Prix series. And let's be honest, the free Great Harvest bread samples afterward don't exactly hurt either. We agreed that, given the rumored toughness of the course (supposedly lots of hills and turns), we would start at a conservative 5:50 pace and then see how things felt from there. I don't need to hit any specific pace for my uptempo and will be fine with anything ranging from 17:30 to 18:30 for tomorrow's effort. If the predicted thunderstorms hold off, it should be a fun way to start the weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


AM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 25x300m w/1 min. rest; hammer #15, 20, 25
Actual: #1-14: 55s; #15: 52; #16-19: 54, 55, 54, 54; #20: 52; #21-24: 53, 54, 53, 53; #25: 50
1 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles
PM: 25 mins. pool

I came into this workout knowing that it would be my last hard track session before Nationals. Although short intervals are not typically my forte, I really wanted to nail this. I wouldn't have Tanya to help me with pacing (she worked out last night, but I couldn't due to my summer class starting), but Maraya was planning to do 12x300 at the same time. Her workout would be much faster than mine (she was shooting for 50-52s, while I was hoping to hit 55s), but I knew it would help just to have someone else to start with.

From the first interval, this felt hard. Have I mentioned I'm no good at short distances? I kept reminding myself that it usually takes a while for me to find my groove in this type of workout, so I tried to push all the negative thoughts out of my head. Still, I was a bit discouraged for the first five or ten. It didn't help that the rest felt incredibly short; we barely had enough time to jog the remaining 100 meters and catch a few quick breaths before taking off again. (Of course, the positive side is that this makes the workout go by fairly quickly, but who's thinking of positives in the heat of the moment??)

So there I was, feeling crappy, when all of the sudden something strange happened: halfway through the workout, I began to feel better. Like, a lot better. Like a completely different person than the one who started 12 intervals earlier. Instead of being cautious and hesitant, I found myself relaxing and opening up my stride from the gun. I also noticed that my breathing in between intervals was much calmer than at the beginning as well. Sure enough, as my body began to come around, my times began to drop slightly. With five laps to go, I was ready to really start pushing. I hammered #20 in 52, then came back in 53. This confused Coach Simmons, who was running himself ragged trying to time four different workouts at once. Our mini-convo as I jogged down the backstretch went like this:

SS: Okay, five to go!
MN: Um, no, I only have four.
SS: Really? You were supposed to hammer 20, not 21.
MN: I did. I ran 52 on #20.
SS: But you just came back in 53. That's pretty legit. You sure there's only four left?
MN: Absolutely, positively sure.

I finished the final few intervals strong, running close to all out on the last one but still staying controlled. Mechanically I felt more efficient than I have in a long time (which isn't saying a whole lot, since I have the worst form in the entire world). Both Simmons and Jenna commented on how far I've come physiologically in the past few months, which was pretty cool to hear. All in all, for a workout that started with me feeling so poorly, this turned into one of my most solid runs in the past few weeks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Early Week Recovery

Tuesday, 5/18
AM: 59 mins. (8 miles)
PM: 3 miles

Monday, 5/17
AM: 4.5 miles
PM: 5.5 miles

Lots of easy, slow running to start out the week. On Monday I accompanied Jordan on a work field trip to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. We were hoping to get in our afternoon run at a new venue, but it was absolutely pouring cats and dogs at our desired go time. We made a game time decision to drive back to Charlotte in hopes that the weather would abate by our return. (This also meant we would be starting our run well after 8pm, but I suppose this can't hurt since all my Nationals races take place at or near my normal bedtime.) Our strategy paid off, and we were able to get in a short Freedom Park loop sans rain. Tuesday was more wogging, only this time at McAlpine with Jenna and Maraya. I've got one final big workout tomorrow, so I took today extra easy in preparation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week in Review

74 miles
4 AFDs
18 hours with Coach G-Unit
599 pages of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
11 days until Nationals

Well, the countdown has commenced. We are t-minus 11 days until the NCAA Division II National Meet kicks off here in Charlotte, and I have to admit I'm pretty excited. Both of my workouts this week gave me a much-needed boost of confidence; now all that's left is putting on the finishing touches and then recovering like crazy until the races. Next weekend could turn into one of the longest and most exhausting weekends of my life, but I've got nothing to lose and no excuses for not putting everything out there.

Speaking of putting it all out there, I'll give credit where credit is due: props to Mike Decoste for rising to the occasion and shattering my 5k PR on Sunday. He better live it up for the next few weeks, because I'm already eyeing a few post-Nationals 5ks on the track where I can redeem myself. Until then, he's got my number.

Return of Coach G-Unit

AM: 59 mins. (8 miles)
PM: Wii tennis

After a fun night out with friends, we were all dragging a bit this morning. ("We," of course, includes me and Jordan and also our special houseguest Jeffrey.) But none of us wanted to deal with the already warm temperatures any longer than necessary, so we departed for Boyce in time to meet the usual suspects for an easy recovery run. Of course, this run was extra special because Jeff was tagging along. My last run with him was over a year ago, which has been far too long. Together with Tanya, Sean, Jess and Jordan, we spent an hour on the trails swapping stories and catching up on life. Definitely a great way to close out the week.

Oh, and in the evening Jordan and I played Wii tennis with Caitlin. I'd hardly call if a workout, except for the fact that I'm quite confident my right arm and shoulder will be rendered virtually immobile come tomorrow morning. I have yet to learn the art of finesse.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nationals Dress Rehearsal

PM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 3 miles uptempo, then 3xmile "faster" w/4 mins. rest
Actual: 17:30 (5:55, 5:49, 5:46), 5:27, 5:26, 5:23
1 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

At long last, our Friday predator run turned Saturday predator run turned Saturday "modified workout" had arrived. To be honest, I've felt so fatigued the past few days that I wouldn't have even attempted this before Saturday night anyway. Fortunately Tanya felt the same, so I agreed to meet her and Sean at JCSU at 6:30pm. We'd debated doing this at McAlpine instead but in the end opted for the consistency and rhythm of the oval.

After a relatively busy Saturday that included working a booth at a RFYL-sponsored race in the morning, hitting up the TrySports anniversary party for a free lunch, feverishly working my way through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and hanging out with Jenna in the afternoon, I left the house for JCSU just past 6pm. I had added incentive to run fast and get this over with, as I'd just found out that my friend and former coach Jeffrey "G-Unit" Gaudette would be rolling into town just past 9pm. However, my plan was almost foiled when I arrived at the track and discovered that all the entrances and parking lots were locked. Fortunately Tanya and Sean had encountered this setback before and knew a super secret entrance, so we were able to carry on as planned. The sounds of not-so-distant thunder rumbled through the sky on our warmup, and I silently hoped that we'd be able to finish before the storm rolled in. Running in the rain can be fun, but trying to tempo on a slick track is never ideal. For the time being it seemed as though we might dodge the storm, but we would be left to deal with a thick blanket of humidity instead. This, of course, is also never ideal, but I suspect Nationals will be much the same. Guess we might as well get used to it now.

Tanya and I planned to run the uptempo section around 5:50 pace, alternating the lead (and, consequently, most of the work) every 800 meters. I realized midway through the first mile that this was going to be a very boring 17 minutes. I also realized how much of a difference there was between leading and following, both mentally and physically. The sections where I tucked in behind Tanya felt relaxed and controlled; when in front, I spent most of my energy stressing about whether I was running too fast or too slow or too hard or not hard enough. Taken as a whole, the uptempo section felt tough but definitely manageable, and neither of us were laboring too much at the end. After a four minute break, we jumped into the mile repeats with the goal of running near our respective 10k paces. On paper this looked easy, but with semi-fatigued legs and the sweltering air it proved harder than we'd expected. That said, I felt much stronger than on the botched mile repeats last Thursday, and my legs were much fresher at the end than after Tuesday's massive 800 session. That's pretty much best case scenario given the weather and the intensity of the entire week.

Afterward, Tanya and I agreed that if the humidity ends up being this high at Nationals, there will be quite a few girls who struggle to keep pace. We think/hope that the first 5k won't have to go out much faster than what we ran tonight if this is the case. And we definitely want to work together to use this to our advantage, just like tonight. Overall I'd say this workout gave us an idea of what to expect in a few weeks. More importantly, it gave us the confidence to respond accordingly. Game on.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Friday, May 14
AM: 45 mins. (6 miles)
PM: 3 miles
1 mile jogging the curves, striding the straights
2 mile c/d
Total: 6 miles

Thursday, May 13
AM: 5.5 miles
PM: 4.5-5 miles

Wednesday, May 12
AM: 5.5 miles
15 mins. core
PM: 3 miles

There's really no need to post a separate entry for each of these days when I'm just going to be saying the same things: "Legs tired, felt crappy, ran slow." Seriously, that sums it up. Tuesday's workout, while probably the best of my entire life, clearly took a lot out of me for the remainder of the week. Fortunately Simmons realized this was the case and voluntarily moved our scheduled Friday predator run to Saturday, plus tweaked it a little bit to make things easier on me and Tanya.

Much more interesting than my boring few days of running is the epic 5k duel that is brewing between myself and Mike Decoste, Brown '04. Check out his blog and Jordan's explanation for all the relevant details. Suffice it to say, come Sunday Mike will either possess a faster 2010 5k time than me, or incur a stress fracture, or both. This is the stuff legends are made of.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Post-Bedtime Workout

AM: 3 miles
PM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 12x800 w/2:30 rest faster than last time; hammer #9 and #12
Actual: 2:35, 2:35, 2:34, 2:34, 2:34, 2:33, 2:35, 2:34, 2:30, 2:33, 2:33, 2:30
(Average: 2:33.3)
1 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

For a workout that was almost over before it started, this ended up turning into arguably my best track session of the year. I say it almost didn't happen because when we arrived at JCSU around 7:30pm, we discovered that a youth track meet was in full swing. It's not uncommon for the Charlotte Flights youth track program to be practicing while we're there, but seeing an official meet taking place was new for us. We had no choice but to start jogging our warmup and hope that things would be drawing to a close by the time we got back.

Unfortunately, the meet was still in action when we returned, but not for long. We had just enough time to witness the hard fought and highly entertaining 4x100m relays before people started clearing out. At this point it was almost 8:30, and the JCSU coach had already informed us that the lights would be shut off shortly. We knew we were running on borrowed time before the entire track would be shrouded in darkness. With little incentive to dilly dally, we got started right away.

For better or worse, I've come to believe that you can usually tell how a workout will go within the first few intervals. If you're feeling great, chances are the rest of the workout will be solid. If you're already struggling to hit goal pace, well, then it's probably going to be a long night. (Want a great example of the latter? How about last Thursday.) Much to my relief, I ascertained almost immediately that tonight would be indicative of the first scenario. I hit 2:35 out of the gate feeling very comfortable and relaxed, only a stride or two behind Tanya (and Jenna, who was running 400s on the first lap of our 800s). Last time I did this workout I started at 2:38s before settling in at 2:36, but tonight I would not run slower than the opening 2:35. I was also able to gauge the improvement in this workout based on my proximity to Tanya; last time we did 800s I was almost 10 seconds behind her for the entire first half of the workout, but tonight I would stay within a few meters of her the whole time (except when she hammered a blistering 2:20 on her final interval, but I'm getting ahead of myself).

Halfway through the sixth interval, the track suddenly went dark. Only the uptown Charlotte skyline and a well-lit billboard kept the lane markers marginally visible. I've gotta be honest, it was pretty badass (and probably dangerous, knowing my propensity for clumsiness). Fortunately everyone stayed bipedal and in one piece for the rest of the workout, which I suppose is a success in itself. At any rate, shortly after the lights went out I began to feel the early pace take its toll. Our first hammer was slated for #9, and I honestly doubted I could run faster than the pace I was already hitting. Jenna gamely agreed to jump in for my second lap instead of the first, so I tried to stick with her to the finish. It paid off and I ran 2:30, but it would be an outright lie to say I wasn't completely gassed afterward. This is where staying mentally tough became absolutely crucial, and I willed myself to take things one interval at a time until the finish. Sean came in and paced Tanya for her sick final interval, while Jenna jumped in with me again and I just tried to hang on. It wasn't pretty, but I finished just about as fast as I could've hoped for. We cooled down and departed the track just after 10, which everyone knows is dangerously close to my bedtime. Obviously this is later than I would've liked to be out there, but I'll take it given the positive end result.

More than anything, I was stoked to have such a good workout after my lackluster effort on Thursday. Last time I averaged high 2:36s for what was, at the time, my best track workout ever. I remember thinking then about how hard I pushed at the end and how I couldn't fathom running the workout any faster. After tonight I feel the same way. But seeing the improvement from then to now, who's to say that I won't be able to average 2:30 or faster a year from now or even a month from now? One of the biggest hurdles to my success is limiting myself to what I think I can and can't do, being intimidated by workout times and race goals. Nights like this, when I surprise the hell out of myself, give me hope that I might become halfway decent at this whole running thing after all.

Monday, May 10, 2010


AM: 4 miles
PM: 58 mins. (8 miles) + 4x150m strides

The cooler weather means the Queens team decided to practice at 5pm today, so Jordan and I met them at Boyce for a nice romp. I was feeling unexpectedly frisky for a Monday late afternoon--so much so that I extended my planned six miles to eight after Jenna said she was going a bit farther. I even added on an extended set of strides with Tanya; again, something I don't do often (definitely not often enough). Hopefully I can maintain this spring in my step until tomorrow night, because we have a massive 12x800 workout on tap.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Week in Review

73 miles
20 mins. pool
4.0 GPA
4 AFDs

Although this week was as busy and chaotic and jam-packed as the weeks when I'm traveling and racing, I thoroughly enjoyed my graduation and all the surrounding festivities. It was great to visit with the Nedlo parentals, if for only a short time, and I'm excited to see them again in a few weekends when they swing back to the Queen City for D2 Nationals. I ate more meals out this week and probably consumed more "bad" foods than I have in all of 2010 combined, and I have to say that it felt awesome. As far as running goes, I struggled to get back on track after last weekend's disappointing effort at Stanford, but I'm very pleased with my weekend long run and eager to put in some quality training next week.

One more thing to mention is that we had our iron tested on Wednesday and just received the results. I was stoked to see my number at 44, which is a continuation of the steady improvement I've seen since I began supplementing last summer. (My baseline was 18, then 26, then 36 and now 44.) I'm almost to my self-imposed goal of 50 and I hope that this increase will continue to allow me to train harder and see improvements in my overall level of energy.

Finally, a quick shout-out to Simon and Maraya, both of whom posted provisionally qualifying marks for Nationals this weekend. Simon is definitely high enough on the list to get in (currently ranked 7th in the 1500 with his time of 3:48.4), and Maraya is likely to make the cut in the 800 (13th on the list with 2:12.3) unless a handful of girls put in a late game surge at some last chance meets this weekend. Adding them to those of us who have already qualified automatically (myself, Tanya and Mike), it looks like Queens is shaping up to have a formidable presence at the meet later this month.

Beautiful Sunday

5.5 miles
15 mins. core

First things first: today was absolutely beautiful. For some reason the temps dropped dramatically overnight, which meant the mercury was barely topping 50 when we drove Uptown to meet my parents for a farewell breakfast. A light breeze and abundant sunshine evoked a feeling of autumn, not summer, which I can't say I mind after a week of sweltering heat and humidity. Of course, I would've given a large sum of money for the conditions to have been like this on my long run yesterday, but I suppose we can't have everything.

After breakfast with my parents and a trip to the airport, Jordan and I returned home with a day full of nothing ahead of us. We moseyed out for a run just past 11am, content to keep the pace relaxed and the distance brief. Tradition dictates that Sunday is the designated long run day, but every once in a while it feels pretty darn nice to have it out of the way by 9am on Saturday morning. Nothing ahead on the afternoon agenda but the New York Times, some coffee and perhaps a nap. Perfection.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Super Duper Extra Long Run

2 hours 2 mins.
~17.25 miles

Saturday promised to be everything I could hope for in a weekend: brunch at Flying Biscuit, a relaxing afternoon with Jordan and my parents and a graduation party with all my OCOMM cohorts in the evening. Unfortunately there was a teeny tiny detail standing in the way of all that: my long run. Not just any long run, but a super duper extra long run. I'd have to consult the blog archives to say for sure, but I'm pretty sure I haven't run 17 miles in close to two years. I know for a fact that my longest run since last summer has been 13. Not only did Simmons prescribe this ambitious distance, but he also wanted the last three miles to be "uptempo." For me, I was pretty sure "uptempo" would mean "not passing out."

Fortunately, I had some reinforcements. Perhaps feeling guilty about skipping my graduation last night, Jordan offered to forego his scheduled speed developm
ent session and instead wake up early and accompany me on my run. I'd also enlisted Pezz to join us for the second half, and scheduling our 8am meetup at Old Bell ensured that I would hold myself accountable for a 7am start time. So despite getting less than six hour of sleep, Jordan and I were up and at 'em just after 6am. It's mornings like this that make me (and all my sane friends) question why I do this silly running thing in the first place, but there was little time for contemplation as we dressed quietly in the dark and headed out the door.

Once we arrived at McAlpine, the first half of the run passed without incident. It was quiet on the trail and still relatively cool, as the sun wouldn't start peeking out over the horizon until almost 8. Jordan and I took an unfamiliar (for me) route, opting to cross over the bridge at the .5 mile marker of t
he Footlocker course and continue on the bike path. (I believe it runs parallel to Independence?) The only thing of note during this section was my unsettled stomach. Perhaps a dinner of wine and spinach dip wasn't the best prerun meal after all. We made a quick detour on the way back to Old Bell and then I was good to go.

Although I was happy to pick up Pezz, the next four miles after meeting up with her were my worst of the morning. The heat and humidity were rising along with the sun, and I started to question my heavy legs and the reality of actually making the full 17 miles. Despite my hesitation, the pace naturally began to drop a bit, and by the time we reached the Footlocker course again we were clicking off sub-7's. I found my second wind somewhere around 13 miles and for the first time started to believe I could finish the run faster than I'd started. With 2.5 to go it was now or never, and I made a conscious effort to pick up the pace. Jordan and Pezz were great, offering encouragement and feedback the entire time, and though my breathing grew ragged I could feel my confidence coming back. After a disastrous workout on Thursday I needed some absolution, and this was whe
re it would happen. I closed out the final 2.5 with splits of 6:38, 6:14, 3:00 and felt strong doing it.

I wouldn't have made it through the program without the lovely,
the sassy, the exquisite Dr. Kim Gregory!

With this albatross out of the way, the rest of the day was as fun and relaxing as I'd hoped. The highlight was definitely watching a group of grown adults, including but not limited to one of my professors and the mother of the party's hostess, throwing down a mean game of flip cup in the garage of our swanky Southpark party house. I knew there was a reason why I liked these people so much.

All spiffed up with my fellow OCOMMers

Friday, May 7, 2010

Skirts! Graduation! Craziness!

AM: 59 mins. (8 miles)
PM: Graduation

A couple things of note for today: Tanya and I wore skirts on our run, and I graduated. Why skirts, you ask? I say ask not why, but why not. I'm expecting a call from Brooks any day now to model in their next catalog. Will keep you posted.

My parents arrived on a jet plane near 2 in the PM, so Jordan and I picked them up and grabbed a quick lunch before the graduation festivities began. The ceremony was held on the front lawn of Queens at 7pm, and it was a tasteful--if exceedingly warm--affair. (I should point out for those of you who don't know that I'm technically not graduating until the end of the summer, as I have one final course to complete, but I sure pulled one over on the Queens faculty and staff tonight.) Once the ceremony and my profuse sweating concluded, I met a bunch of my cohorts at Dilworth Neighborhood Grill for laughter and spinach dip. It was a late night and a fun one to spend with friends and family.

Jenny, me, Michael and Christopher. We are now masters of stuff!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mile Repeat Disaster

AM: 3 miles
PM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 4xmile w/4 mins. rest
Actual: 5:21, 5:19, fail, 5:19
2 mile c/d
Total: 8.5 miles

Ugh. I just didn't have it tonight. Maybe it was a combination of working all morning and cleaning the apartment all afternoon, or the fact that we didn't leave for JCSU until 7pm, or the lingering heat and humidity. Maybe I'm still not quite recovered from Stanford despite having raced a full five days ago. Or maybe it was just an off day with no underlying cause or meaning. Whatever the case, I felt terrible from the start on this one. I'd hoped to run 5:15s or faster--I mean seriously, it's four minutes rest--but in actuality I struggled to run 5:20s on the first two and then called it quits on the third after one disastrous lap. I jogged around for a bit and was able to step back in on the final interval, but all in all I still ran slower than I did for six intervals on the trail in the middle of the day a few weeks ago. Not what I was hoping for. Making things better yet worse at the same time, it seemed as though everyone else--Tanya, Pezz, Jenna, Futsum and Mike--were having absolutely stellar efforts. I, on the other hand, could not have been more relieved to finish up. Hopefully I can recover tomorrow because I've got a monster long run on Saturday. With my parents in town and graduation festivities all evening, an early bedtime and staying off the feet is not looking too likely, but I suppose one can hope.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Wednesday, 5/5
AM: 58 mins. (8 miles)
PM: 3 miles

Tuesday, 5/4
AM: 5.5 miles
PM: 20 mins. pool
15 mins. core
3 miles

I can already hear Jordan telling me that lumping two days into one post is cheating, and I respect his opinion on that. But it's been a busy week and I'm trying to get the apartment all nice and spiffed up before the parentals arrive for my graduation, so cut me some slack. Besides, there's not much to report. I've felt slow and sluggish this entire week, no doubt due to a combination of the race, the weekend travel and the swamplike humidity that we're experiencing in lovely Charlotte right now. Wednesday was honestly the first time since Stanford that I've felt like myself. I've got a big mile repeat session on tap tomorrow night so hopefully the recovery trend will continue.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rainy MFPL

AM: 59 mins. (8.5 miles)
PM: 3 miles

Back to Charlotte, back to hot and humid weather. I wouldn't mind hopping the next flight back to Cali, but alas, I suppose I better get used to it. I'd planned to run with Pezz at McAlpine after a work meeting this morning, which naturally meant that it was pouring rain at go time. Instead I opted to go home, wait for the downpour to abate, and hit up a MFPL with Jordan. My legs felt absolutely trashed--and my calves are still wretchedly sore--and it seemed like we were crawling on this run. Instead, I was surprised to discover that we finished the loop in under an hour, more than a minute faster than I've ever run it before. Who would've thought.

That said, I'm going to need a few more days to grow accustomed to this weather and let the leggies recover before I attempt anything hard. Saturday's race took a little bit more after me than I thought.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week in Review

65 miles
25 laps at Stanford
4 airports
7 AFDs

Since the race I've had a chance to put things in perspective and I feel much better. In hindsight, it might have been a bit unrealistic to expect another large jump in performance after an already large jump just a month ago. I think sometimes I get so caught up in the mindset of always wanting to improve and to see instantaneous results that I forget how far I've come in such a short time. As Jordan pointed out, this year I'm running the 10k faster than the pace I could run for an open 5k last year. And all this after an autumn where I didn't run at all and a winter where I was sidelined with shin splints for almost a month. Who knows how much faster I can be running this time next year if I can manage to stay healthy--and patient--between now and then?

I also had a good chat with Simmons after the race. (Well, he chatted and I just sat there willing myself not to cry. Same thing.) Essentially he said it was okay for me to have a pity party for the rest of the night or even the rest of the weekend, but after that it was up to me to decide what I wanted to do with my hurt feelings. Well, I've decided to challenge myself to use this as motivation. Outdoor nationals is just over a month away, and there's no reason I can't toe the line as strong and fit as anyone out there. I'm going to take a few days to rest and recover, and then I'm going to train as hard as I can between now and the end of May. Let's do this.

Attack of the Killer Gnats

AM: 58 mins.
8 miles
PM: Travel

Today is a new day. When I woke up I resolved to shut down my pity party and change my attitude for the rest of the trip. A bad race is simply that, a bad race. Life goes on.

Though Sunday is traditionally a long run day, Coach Simmons wanted us to keep this jaunt extremely easy and short. Recovery was more important than gaining fitness from a longer run, and we needed to get showered and packed up in order to head to the airport on time. We set out for the same place we did our Sunday run last time we were here, a dirt trail in the marshlands just off the bay. Tanya and I had liked it because it was completely flat and simple to navigate, so we brought Pezz and Sean along with us this time.

Today we found the trail to be just as agreeable as last time, save for one minor difference: gnats. Lots of them. Tons of them. A veritable swarm of them. The first mile of our run we felt like we were in the midst of some sort of plague. Fortunately I wore sunglasses, which kept them out of my eyes, but my nose and mouth and ears were fair game. Every time I wiped my brow I murdered an entire extended family of the little pests. We were thisclose to turning around and abandoning our effort--with absolutely no Plan B in mind--but we passed a woman walking with her husband who noticed our choking and gasping and assured us that things got better "just around the corner." Clearly we have different conceptions of distance because it was at least another half mile until the little bastards relented. This was hands down one of the grossest running experiences of my life--and the worst part was, we knew they would be waiting for us in the same spot on our return trip. My legs felt pretty crappy on the run, but that paled in comparison to the Hitchcock-ian terror that we had to endure. Needless to say, we all took extra long showers after this one.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Payton Jordan Invitational 10k

AM: 3 miles
PM: 2 mile w/u + strides
10k race @34:38 (17:10, 17:28 5k splits)
2 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

I went out hard from the gun. Maybe a little too hard, but I wanted to try to latch onto a group if at all possible. I went through the first mile in 5:22 and was just off the back of a group of half a dozen. I kept telling myself they would relax and come back to me before the end of the second mile, but they never did. At the time I thought it was because they were speeding up, but in reality I was probably slowing down. There was no one for me to run with at this point except for a girl from Adams State who had gone out at about the same pace. I fell in with her during the second mile and would end up running with her for the rest of the race. Needless to say, we were at the back.

I was lapped by Molly Huddle just before 5k, which I passed through in 17:10. To be honest, this was slightly slower than I'd planned to come through in, but I felt terrible. I thought I'd feel very relaxed at this point, like last time, but I was anything but. This was when I realized without a doubt that I would not hit my goal for the race. It was also the first time--but certainly not the last--I considered dropping out. I would toy with that notion for the majority of the next two miles, contemplating creative ways to make it look as though I were injured or something rather than just giving up. (In case you were wondering, I'd all but decided to go with staggering around for a few seconds, then passing out on the infield). In the end, I chose to finish for one reason and one reason only, and that is because I knew I would never hear the end of it from Jordan if I dropped. There was no personal pride involved in my decision at all, just self-preservation.

With eight laps to go, I knew I'd slowed down enough that I would not PR. This thought was absolutely incredulous to me. In all the scenarios I'd run through my mind prior to the race, it had honestly never occurred to me that I might actually run slower than last time. At this point I just wanted to get the rest of the stupid race over with. There were no competitive instincts, no tactics like the last time I'd run, just a sense of grim resignation.

Tanya lapped me with a few laps to go, herself en route to a huge PR. Her finishing time of 33:09 would end up being less than four seconds off of the D2 all-time national record. It was a tremendous achievement. As for myself, I shuffled home--still within a second of the Adams girl, as I'd been for the entire race--in 34:38, exactly one second slower than the last time. I'd positive split the race like it was my job, and finished last save for one Auburn girl who was even off the back of us from the beginning. It was not my finest hour.

Nor was the temper tantrum I threw afterward. I was sullen during the cooldown, indifferent when Chris Solinsky set the American record in the 10k, and less than cordial when texting with Jordan and Jenna. At one point I decided I wanted to walk the two miles from the track to motel, so I set off into the night by myself. I made it about halfway when Tanya's parents rolled up and forced me to get in their van, but I wasn't happy about it. I've since had time to reflect and appraise the race more judiciously, but at the time I was angry and embarrassed. This was not the plan. This wasn't even worth coming all the way out here for, to be honest. Five weeks ago I was absolutely elated to run this time. Tonight I expected more from myself.


Yup, you're reading that correctly. I ran virtually the exact same time I ran five weeks ago. The irony is, last time I was beside myself with excitement and today I'm just frustrated and disappointed.

I'll recap the race in all its gory details when I get home. Or not. To be determined.