Before the race:
Hotel check out was 11 am, so after breakfast Cam and I walked over to the track. We spent the day lying in the middle of the Dempsey watching the races. I started my warm up an hour before the race. I think this was the first time I got in all of the drills and didn’t feel rushed or limited by time. The warm up went really well, I felt good and more dynamic in my drills than ever before. Tanya Zeferjahn didn’t show up, but Lauren Johnson did. She had already raced the 800 though, so I wasn’t expecting stiff competition from her. There was also a girl wearing the professional brooks gear. To be honest, I wasn’t very nervous, going in I was extremely confident that I’d run fast.
During the race:
Got off the line great (I have a tendency to double step, which slows me down) and tucked in behind Shalane and Lisa. I knew I had to be 1-2 seconds behind them per lap, so the pacing was pretty easy at first. I went through the 800 at 2:27 and the mile at 4:57, right on pace. Going through the mile I was surprised by how much it burned. Before the race I truly thought 4:57 pace would be easy, but midway through it was already hurting. It seemed like the next time I looked up Lisa was gone, by the time I got to the straight away she was already turning left. I didn’t feel anyone close behind me and let myself slow down after the mile. With one lap to go the clock ticked 8:31, and thinking it was a 400 meter track I thought I had no shot at making the US Indoor T&F Championships. Finished in 9:28 for 2nd place (9:27 was the qualifying standard).
After the race:
My immediate reaction was frustration, annoyance, disappointment. I thought 9:28 would be a breeze, and it wasn’t – it hurt. After thinking about it for a couple days I am still upset, but it wasn’t a total loss. It takes time to get used to racing track and I haven’t done that much in the past. So being healthy and able to run is a huge plus. Also, it was a 3 second PR. Going into the race I had 2 goals: qualify for the US Indoor Championships and run fast so the first 2 miles at US XC feels easy. I was 1 second off qualifying for the US Indoor Championships, but I still accomplished the 2nd goal, unless someone takes it out crazy fast. I’m glad I felt the burn of track again, and I’m sure that will make it easier for next time.
“If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”
– “If” by Rudyard Kipling