As I ran an “easy” 8 this morning around a loop at Stony Creek park, I also witnessed my teammates in their first workout of their segment prepping for the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, a little more than 10 weeks out from race day. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit strange/little bit nerdy excitement for each of them, finally officially starting up training for something all of us have been dreaming about really since we started running, and maybe if it wasn’t on our mind then, certainly since arriving to train under the Hansons in Michigan.
Having been here for almost 10 months (already!), I have seen how hard each and every one of my teammates works, day in and day out, and gotten a brand new appreciation of true long distance running. And, yes, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve gotten dropped on runs, I’ve pushed too hard, I’ve had tough workouts… but I’ve gained supportive teammates, coaches, and friends, nailed some workouts I didn’t know I could, and been inspired more than ever before. It hasn’t been the smoothest transition in the world, but let’s face it, change is never easy. A lot has indeed changed in a year’s time. But I feel alive. I get up each morning and run with a group of women who are chasing the same dream that I am. Some are closer to it than others, but it doesn’t matter. For that one hour (or so!) every morning, we get to do what makes us feel alive. It’s tough, especially with someone as impatient as myself, because with distance running, it takes time to see results. Improvement comes from the “trial of miles; miles of trials.”
Back to that word. Trials. That nerdy excitement for each of my teammates prepping for the Olympic Trials is because I have seen how hard each one of them works, and I have no doubt that at least one among us will don the red, white, and blue in London next year.
At 23, I’m the second youngest member of the team. And a ways off the average age of the female U.S. Olympic marathon Trials qualifier– 31. (did some independent research on my own, slight margin of error, but I have all the data on Excel spreadsheets- 31.2 = average age out of 187 qualifiers as of 11/1; get at me if you’d like to see any of it!)
I’ve still got so much left to learn, but I’m so grateful for all the eye-openers I’ve already had since moving here. Grateful for the opportunity to renew, reassess, and redefine what makes me feel alive. I’ve got a lot to prove in the distance running world, but I can’t think of much better of a place and program to, as the famous quote says, continue working hard day after day, like a stonecutter; “hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it splits in two, and he knows it was not that blow that did it – but all that had gone before.”
I know I have seemingly touched a lot on passion in this blog. But isn’t that what life’s truly about anyways? “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is more people who are truly alive.”
“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.”
Can’t wait to be in Houston on January 14th to watch America’s finest long distance runners battle it out for the three slots in London. Sure to be a day that evokes plenty of passion for all involved.
Racing next sometime in mid-December for a short rust-buster and then back to Disney on January 8th to defend my 2010 half marathon title! Continuing to build strength.
For more info on the Olympic Trials, visit http://www.houston2012.com.
Wishing all my Hansons-Brooks teammates…Desi, Dot, Mel, Erin, Lavenna, Mike, Luke, Sage, Drew, Paul, Robert, Tim, & Chad… the best as the Olympic Trials build-up officially heats up!
(For a video intro of all the Hansons-Brooks OTQ’s, click here! (courtesy of Sage & Vo2 Max Productions!)
Do what you love, love what you do.