Lessons Learned in 2014…A Recap of This Year’s Adventure Part 2

So, a lot of people have asked what got me started in obstacle racing and trail running this year. It goes back to that bittersweet feeling after the last track race of the season. Getting a little better every year isn’t enough when everyone else is getting better too, which means training has to be well planned, intentional, and consistent. The rewards of training often don’t come without a little risk. Sometimes that reward is worth the risk, and other times it isn’t. But this was the perfect time to try new things and take a few risks. Over the past year, I had planned to test my feet at trail racing, and had been reading a little abTracktown Filmout obstacle racing too. My mom gets the credit for my first trail race. I told her she could pick my next race. So she booked me a flight to Salt Lake City for Xterra Trail Run Nationals. As for obstacle racing, Julia Webb gets the credit for getting me to my first race. During our acting debut for Tracktown: The Movie, Julia told us about the Warrior Dash World Championship and the qualifying race in Portland. Basically, it sounded fun, so I signed up. After placing second at Xterra Trail Run Nationals and winning my heat of the Warrior Dash in Portland, I wanted to see what I could do at the World Championships for these events. I loved the new challenges and the little unexpected rewards we got along the way when doing both obstacle and trail races.

After finishing the Warrior Dash World Championship, I was sore in all sorts of new places and covered in bruises, which, oddly enough, made me feel like more of an athlete rather than just a runner. It reminded me of my soccer and basketball days (see full WD race recap here). On the other hand, in the Xterra World Championship (race recap here), where I expected the race to be purely running, I walked and fell far more than I ever had in any kind of race before….at one point falling completely off the trail. Needless to say, I felt like much less of an athlete after that. After I found out falling was just part of the fun for a lot of other runners that day too, I felt a little better about myself. But overall, two World Championships later, I learned a lot.

You can read my Xterra WC race recap here, but there are a few specific things I hope to take from that race into 2015. First, there’s no place I’d rather be training than in Eugene with my awesome group of 010240b8f8f38fe24748785ab9b975a004d21f3da0friends and teammates. Second, in the words of Michael Jordan, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So even if it’s a shot in the dark, I’ll take it. The worst that will happen is, I miss. And finally, when everything feels like an uphill struggle, think of the view from the top. I’m excited to see what adventures are in store for 2015.

More details to come on my plans for 2015. What did you learn in 2014 that you plan to carry with you into 2015?

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Lessons Learned in 2014…A Recap of This Year’s Adventure Part 1

XterraThanks to some amazing people  and great opportunities, 2014 has been an adventure that I’m excited to continue into 2015. The highlights of the year have come in the last several months, with wins at the Warrior Dash and Xterra Trail Run World Championships. But so much of what has made this year great started in the Spring. So I thought I’d kick off my blog and 2015 with a recap of 2014.

Bittersweet is the best way to describe my track season. Despite a six second PR (9:51.29) in the steeple, I didn’t make the finals at the USATF Championships. PRs are always great because it means you ran faster than you have EVER run. So always take time to recognize and enjoy the hard work that you put into training when you accomplish something your body has never done before. But for me, not making the finals felt like that race when someone you usually finish ahead of beats you. This helped me realize I needed to make a fitness jump and get comfortable with being uncomfortable if I wanted to compete at the highest level.

Photo credit: Tracktown Photo

Photo credit: Tracktown Photo

Later that weekend, I had the pleasure of watching my good friend Alexi Pappas run really well and have what she would call a “brave” performance. Amidst her great year of racing on the track and roads, Alexi always showed the same excitement for everything her friends and teammates were doing as she did for her own racing. Her unique ability to make people feel like they are part of her journey and inspire others, helps the rest of us appreciate the incredible group of friends, teammates, and community we have around us. Competing really isn’t all about hitting a time or finishing in a certain place, a lot of it is about taking risks, testing yourself, and seeing what you can do. It’s not about what other people expect, it’s about what you believe. It’s not about what might happen if you go out too hard and have to crawl over the last barrier, it’s about the possibility that you can find something in yourself that you have never found before.

As an athlete, you quickly learn that Summer is the time when lots of athletes make changesTRE Logo. With so many friends moving on to try new things and different locations, it’s always hard not to wonder if we should be doing the same. Eugene is a unique town with a dynamic community, but can be a place that you either grow out of or you grow into, depending on many factors. I have definitely grown into Eugene and I think there’s a wonderful community of people who have done the same. I feel lucky to be part of a team full of wonderful people and to have the opportunity to do all the things I love: training, competing, coaching, and teaching.

I am a pretty lucky lady, with lots of people in my life who do amazing things. Whether it’s in grad school, teaching, research, community involvement, or artistic endeavors, it’s been inspiring over the last year to see the hard work and dedication of these people. Every time I’m busy and tired, I think of the endless hard work these people put into the many things they’re involved in, while also balancing their own training. Their passion for what they do is contagious. Whenever there’s a question in my head about why I’m putting so much time, energy, and resources into being a professional athlete, I quickly remember I do it because: I LOVE IT. I love competing and seeing what my body can do, and those are the only reasons I need. I hope I can continue to cultivate these passions in myself and help spread that contagious excitement for track, trail, and obstacle racing.

More to come on lessons learned in 2014, but what inspiring people do you have in your life? And how do you plan to inspire others this year?