Hoka Middle Distance Classic Recap
Where do I start? With the people who've asked why am I still doing this? With my 5 year old self sleeping in a homeless shelter? With the day I realized I actually might like this running thing? Or just where it all happened?
Let's just get the ball rolling. When I think back to my first ever 800 meter race at the Stanford Invitational in 2004, I never could have imagined my running career getting this far. That first race, I didn't know what I was doing, it was the 4x800 meter relay, and I just ran how my coach told me to. When he told me I ran 2:19, I didn't know what that meant, but I was happy. It took me the whole season to fall in love with the 800 and to see that running was actually okay.
In 2007 I ran 2:05.65 and hit the 2008 Olympic Trials B standard. My dream started then, and it has grown like a wild fire ever since. When 2008 rolled around, I was 19 years old, a college freshman, and missed going to the Olympic Trials by 1 spot. Did it hurt, yes. I was determined to train hard and try again in the next four years. Hiccup after hiccup, struggle after struggle, and with some sprinkled success, I found myself taking my 2012 season completely off. It was the first time since 2004 that I had missed a competition season. If you want to know that whole story I wrote a blog about it back in 2012.
Nothing comes easy in this world, and I have learned that from having to grow up fast. So I stuck my nose back in it, moved back home in the summer of 2012, and entrusted my high school coach to guide me just as he did in high school. It wasn't easy, it was hard, every step, every workout, every injury, but I am so blessed to have a coach, a family, and many supporters who believe in me. What has driven me? Honestly everyone has. All four of my brothers, my coach & his family, my grandparents, aunts, cousins, my mom & dad, my sponsors and all my supporters.
So when I stepped on that line May 20th at the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic, I was running for me. There have been very few races where I have stepped on the line and thought, "This is yours," and Friday was one of those days. Very few butterflies found their way to my stomach, and while Beyoncé's "Don't Hurt Yourself" played during my warmup, I found myself riding a wave of confidence. I towed the line with 12 other women and owe them all for my race.
The gun went off, and BAM, I let my body do what it does best. Just run. For the first time in ages I had to use the whole back stretch to cut in. If you know anything about the 800, you know the break to get into position is crucial. I didn't hear my 200m split, I didn't hear or see my 400m split, all I knew was that I was calm, in the place I wanted to be and ready to make a move when needed. The move didn't happen as I would of liked, but I rode the train of two others straight to the line.
"If I just ran 2:03 low I'm about to be pissed." Haha my inner thoughts after a race are sometimes hilarious. I looked at the screen and still didn't know what I had run. "Was that a 2:02.3 or a 2:03.3?" I honestly had no clue. As I walked off to grab my stuff, my friends said great job and all I could muster was thank you's and do you know what I ran? Lots of them said, no and some of them said "I think 2:03 low.." I picked up my phone to see text messages, tweets, and a spew of love pouring in. First thing I saw was Oiselle's tweet. 2:02.39!!!! OMG OMG OMG! DID I JUST RUN THAT! Yup I did and I hit the Olympic Trials A standard. First person to call was my coach. I was in shock, I was happy, and I just ran 2:02.
I have come full circle. I'm not that little five year old girl in the homeless shelter. I'm not that heart broken 19 year old sitting one spot out of it, and I'm not struggling through two jobs to make my dream possible. I've worked hard, I've given it my all, and it's all paying off. Has it sunk in fully? Nope! Will it ever, yes, one day it will sink in. May that day be tomorrow, next week, or when I step on the line July 1st, my dreams of making the Olympic trials has come true. Next step, continuing to enjoy the process.