The Olympic Trials

Yesterday the 2016 Olympic Trials for the marathon happened. Wow.

I’ve thought about the commitment it takes to support a person running a marathon before. You have to get up early, you wait around for about 4 hours, and for what? To cheer your head off for about 5 seconds and maybe hand your friend a Gu or water bottle? Oh yeah, and for that thing called friendship or love or loyalty.

I was also bolstered by these AMAZING friends who gave up their Saturdays (valuable time to all of us grad students) to come support me in the Silver Comet Marathon. When you have friends like these, you feel like you can do anything.
Case in point: these amazing friends. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Your 5 seconds of cheering is a shot of pure energy to that runner’s legs. And not just in those 5 seconds. I am constantly fueled during a marathon knowing I will see my parents or my friends at a certain mile, and then after, having seen them. Even while training, I picture seeing them at that mile and/or the finish line, and I have the energy to go further and faster.

I will forever think that your “job” is harder. I would rather run for 4 hours than wait around for 4 hours.

That said…. for the Olympic Trials….. I would watch that ALL day.

As it happened, I got to run while watching. It was a cold day, so it was a treadmill day. As I hopped on the treadmill and started to get my long run “zone out” on, I spied some running happening on one of the gym tvs.

So while elite runners were knocking out sub 5:00 minute miles, I was rocking a steady sub 9:00. In less time than it took me to log 16 miles, the top male finishers were doing 26.2. It took the top women finishers slightly longer to finish 26.2 than it took me to do 16….. but that’s a whole additional 10 miles! Plus that little .2 that every marathoner knows can be the make it or break it moment.

But you know what? I never felt bad about myself or my pace. Instead, I felt inspired. Extra energy flowed into my veins when I saw those runners out on the course, pulling away from the pack, crossing the finish line. I was there, running, and they were there, running. We were doing what we love, pushing ourselves and our limits. And that’s the beautiful thing about running. It’s a competitive sport, but your main competitor is yourself. We can all share in this sport. In a small small SMALL way, I’m like those elite women: I am a runner.

Congratulations to the men and women who will be representing the U.S. at Rio!

1. Galen Rupp, 2:11:12
2. Meb Keflezighi, 2:12:20
3. Jared Ward, 2:13:00

1. Amy Cragg, 2:28:20
2. Desiree Linden, 2:28:54
3. Shalane Flanagan, 2:29:19

For some highlights, check out this and this.

I am so inspired by Meb, who is 40 years old and will be the oldest Olympic marathon competitor. He went in 2012, but said he wanted to go again so that his daughter (who was age 2 at the time), could have a memory of this time. As he neared the finish line, he bore an American flag, and after crossing, he was swarmed by his family and praised God for his performance.

People said he couldn’t do it because of his age. But he did it anyway. People said Kara Goucher couldn’t do it because she was coming back from a series of injuries. But she did it anyway.

Running is so much more than something you do with your legs. You do it with your mind, with your will, with your spirit. While one placed and one didn’t, Meb and Kara embody that spirit and stand as role models for all who come in their steps.


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