When the gun goes off, the work is done, the taper is over, and the only thing that stands between you and your goals is your mind and the decisions you make along the way. Sometimes things out of your control will happen, but as is the way with life. It is important to remember that there will always be other opportunities, other challenges, other successes, but also other let downs. When I began 2018 hoping to change my narrative post CIM, I was met with an even bigger obstacle. There was heartache in the pain of uncertainty but bravery in racing when I felt the most vulnerable. I fought my way back to the start line, making the final decision to go ahead and race at the beginning of May. It wasn't easy, it wasn't a PR, but I am so proud of where I ended up.
Being part of a team. It’s the one consistent element I have had in my life since the age of 4. Whether I was on the soccer field or racing through a cross country course, having a team around me has always made life a little better. From Jr. Striders to Apex High, to NC State, Oiselle, & the Raleigh Distance Project, support has always been a game changer. Support that I think American distance running needs more of. Luckily, Oiselle agrees and the two teams I love are joining forces. Meet the Home Squad: RDP+Oiselle.
For the first 4 months of this year I was just going through the motions. Following my training, going to the gym, meeting with my strength coach, and getting PT. I was maintaining everything but it all felt stagnant. In February we tried to dive back into normal training and my body couldn't handle it. I couldn't even make easy runs feel easy. For a while I was just desperately looking for answers which affected me mentally. I went to a doctor who made me feel like everything was in my head. In moments of weakness I believed him and felt like this was it. Maybe this is just where I am now. But, between my functional medicine doctor and my primary care doctor we finally figured it out. I used Jasyoga's Work-IN to stay centered and now here I am. With 3 weeks to go to Grandmas, I know I can do this.
In the last few years I have been struggling to see the potential that I know is within me. I’ve shared my experiences and worked at being better for myself. I’ve expressed my vulnerability and laid it all out. Through it all I have always tried to spin each situation in a positive light. To label it as a learning experience, proclaiming to bounce back in an epic fashion. But what do you do when you don’t bounce back? When you’ve taken the steps to become better and it falls short? When you think you are being your best self but you're feeling worse than you ever have? You put away your pride and reach out for help. (Read the rest on the Oiselle Blog - this is a post from March)
Everybody has a story. It's just up to you how you tell it. I've had my fare share of disappointments in my running career but I haven't let those times define me, I've chosen to help them shape me. Lets just say my stubbornness has forced me to learn the hard way many times. But now I am on a mission to let go of some of the control, have faith in the process, learn to relax, work hard but recover better, and love who I am and what I have got. I read an article by Allie Kiefer a week or so ago and it resonated with me. I've obsessed over food, feeling bad about the fact that I am not as skinny as most runners. I've felt what she felt and it's kept me from reaching my potential. But that stops now. 2018 is my year to shine. Starting with the events of the last month and my plans for the next year, this is #MyProlouge.
Last year in Indy I had some fueling issues. No stomach problems or cramping but I had trouble getting the UCAN out of the bottle I was using. I used new bottles I hadn't practiced with and also had trouble practicing the full plan in practice. Through the entire training cycle I was also not enjoying taking in so much liquid so this year I started getting creative! I came up with some new and different ways to take in UCAN. Read on for this years fueling strategy, some recipes, and a UCAN Cyber Week Deal!
You can't move forward if you live in the past but you also can't move forward if you don't allow past failures to make you better. I can say through this year, and through the things I have learned this year that patience will get you further than any instantaneous success will ever get you. I wish I had known what I know now in my college years of running but I can't go back. I can only remember what things I did wrong and do the opposite. Yet, I am a chronic go hard or go home style runner. It's a blessing when it comes to getting out the door, but in training it can be a curse. I have been much better about getting enough sleep and relaxation. I have also been much better about running easy in between workouts. But on workout days I tend to push the pace. Luckily, I am thankful to have the resources around me to remind me to be intentional. My biggest resource for reinforcing the fine line between hard work and over work: InsideTracker. I got in and tested with the Ultimate Package and this is how I benefited.
The minutes ticked by but the darkness still remained. An eerie stillness captivated my thoughts as I looked out at the road before me. I wait for the clock to turn over to 5:00AM signalling the start of the run. It was now or never. I slowly ease into the pace, matching my breath with my stride, and I go. For 2 years this was my life, alone, in the darkness, motivated by thoughts of what would come. Then one day I found someone willing to occasionally sacrifice sleep to join me at an hour when we outnumber cars on the road. Over time it went from just the 2 of us, to 3 or 4. I had to do what I had to do, so no matter who could join I was out there. On the days when I ran alone I was just thankful to have them at all. This was what it means to be a team. We did what we had to do and that was that. And as this group grew, and our runs became more regular, I had bigger thoughts. We need a team here. Through the last several years, the Raleigh running community has been a support system to me. It's kept me going. Raleigh has something real and we see that each year as the Sir Walter Miler gets bigger and bigger. As our group runs became more frequent so did our desire to make something of ourselves. So we did it. And that was how it all began...The Raleigh Distance Project.
In writing this post I had a hard time starting. Putting the words down on paper felt awkward and scary. I felt like a fraud. But when I found the courage to post about it a month ago, the response from women dealing with the same thing was bigger than I had expected. Seeing how that post impacted others made me realize that I needed to put myself out there. Hypothalamic Secondary Amenorrhea is more common than most think and that is likely because it is either not discussed or is misunderstood. Runners are wired to think that more is better, but in reality, balance is what runners really need. So here it is, this is my story.
With the start of 2017, came the start of much more. I had come to the decision to do something bold. Something I was scared to do. I was worried what people would think. I was worried about how my coworkers would feel. I had feelings of insecurity not knowing if I was making the right decision putting running higher on my list. I felt impulsive and reluctant to change but I had this feeling in my heart that I had to do it. I had to give myself a chance to succeed. But making big decisions don't come easy. They test you. They through everything at you to see how you will respond and I'm finally here to say that I've made it.