Hall of Fame, Bird Camp, Race. My weekend and how it all ended.
What started as a week marked with stress and a slight mental breakdown ended in a profound way. I had planned to embark on a crazy expedition of driving from Raleigh to Blowing Rock, then back to Apex, then back to Blowing Rock, Blowing Rock to Charlotte, and then flying out to Boston and eventually back to Raleigh, all in 5 days, potentially during a hurricane, and all before a race. My problem, I have trouble saying no. Being there for the people that mean the most to me is crucially important so when I have to choose I default to finding a way to make it work on all fronts. In this particular instance I felt selfish. I had already made the commitment to my fellow birds to be at camp when I got the call. When some issues plagued me on Tuesday and I became overwhelmed with stress I realized something had to give. Driving back and forth from camp was actually insane. So I decided to stay home and wait until Saturday to leave for camp.
The call that started all this insanity came from my High School cross country coach. He called me one evening to inform me that I had been chosen to be inducted into the first inaugural class of Apex High Schools Sports Hall of Fame. An honor that I couldn't believe was happening now when I am only 26. This was something I felt I owed to the wonderful coaches and staff at apex high school and even more so, something I owed to my coach. In going I was able to connect with those people who have supported me along the way and it felt amazing to be in the company of the men and women honored that night, including my Coach, Roy Cooper. The ceremony was special and something I would have regretted missing. Luckily, I think my wonderfully gracious teammates understood.
When I finally made it to camp I jumped right in trying to catch up with everyone before my time was up. I've made it my goal to make my running story something that can be to the benefit of others, essentially make a difference in the lives of others while also continuing to absorb the inspiration that each one of us has inside. I truly believe that everyone has a story worth telling so connecting with these women was what I needed and wanted most.
I’ll admit my speech at this October’s southern bird camp was rather scatterbrained. Sorry guys not my best! But what I wanted you all to take away was this:
I've done a lot of learning and growing in these last few years. My running career has had some major bumps but I've learned that I've always grown stronger out of what feels like failure. Being brought back down to earth has grounded me in a position to always remember my roots and the people who have gotten me there (nobody does it alone). I've certainly harped on this before but my grandfathers life and legacy is one such item that reminds me of what I am doing and why. Because I love it. In running and in life it's important to find what you’re passionate about and pursue the heck out of it but above all else find your motivation to do so. A motivation that will keep you fighting when life gets hard. When that hill never ends or a workout ends in defeat, this one thing will remove all doubts. Give yourself a reason not to quit and let that reason burn inside of you when the going gets tough. For me that thing lies in the final conversation I had with my grandfather, “when I get better I'll be at your next race.” He has been there every time.
When I left bird camp I was off to Boston for the Tufts 10k doubling as the USATF 10k championships. Being a part of Oiselle has awarded me a lot but one such benefit has been having teammates from places all over the US, competing in various races all over. I was lucky enough to have Shaluinn Fullove toeing the line with me in Boston. In the days prior several other Oiselle teammates were also competing in the Chicago marathon, the TC 10-miler, and more! It was an inspiring weekend.
Overall I was happy with my race. I could feel the burning pain of my tired legs in the 2nd half of the race but I was able to push my legs through it. I remained fairly consistent despite the tiredness which was a significant improvement from my last race. Being able to push through tiredness is a value in the marathon and also a sign of fitness. I placed 20th rightfully securing my place in the top 20. I finished hard and am walking away with the confidence I needed to cap out this final month before I attempt to officially debut in the marathon.
Before leaving Boston I checked in with the amazing people behind InsideTracker. I've used InsideTracker for the past year and it has made a world of difference in how I approach each training block. Your body must be taken care of and when it speaks to you, listen! Knowing how my blood can affect my performance has changed my diet and how I train. As one of my college coaches once said “sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.” I've been checking in on my bio markers to make sure I'm not pushing my body into an over trained state, a mistake I made before my first attempted marathon.
Should all go as planned my recap on this fall’s experience with InsideTracker is about a month away so stay tuned!