It had been 208 days since I stood behind an official starting line. My last race was May 2, 2015; a 10k at the Payton Jordan Invitational. This 10k came at a time where running was not going as well as I had hoped, and looking back on the spring, it was due to a perfect storm.
I had just come off a marathon where I hit the Olympic A standard, and although it was the hardest race I had ever done, I felt invincible heading into the spring. I jumped into track training more aggressive than I should have, and I became naïve in the belief that racing any distance less than a marathon would not hurt. I was very wrong. On top of that, I was finishing up my Master’s degree, had been house hunting, which turned into a purchase and renovation, and experimented with my running shoes. All of this turned into mental fatigue, frustration on why I could not translate my fitness into a decent race, and an eventual foot injury.
As a result, my race on May 2nd was anything but satisfying. I left California beaten mentally and physically, and I knew that a complete reset was necessary. I ended up taking almost the entire summer off from serious training, and focused on what I could alter in my training and mental status in order to move on. Fall training was going well when I dislocated my shoulder in mid-October, halting my training and causing me to postpone my first race.
So on Thanksgiving morning I stood on the start line of the Ft. Collins Turkey Trot, not entirely satisfied with where my fitness was at, but happy to be healthy and mentally ready to tackle a race with some of my teammates by my side. Lucky for everyone in Ft. Collins, we were graced with a couple inches of snow on the ground, 20 degree weather, and snow falling. As a result, we warmed up testing the roads, contemplated a treadmill workout as an alternative, and ultimately decided just to go for it. We did strides in a parking garage, shed our warm ups, and headed out to the starting line.
Due to the weather and the road conditions, I was under the assumptions that it would not be a fast start; I was wrong. The gun went off, and the athletes charged out of the starting corral like it was sunny and 65. The roads were slick, and it was hard to get any traction, making it hard to make any moves. For the most part, where people got out at, that’s where they stayed. My goals quickly changed to:
1. Don't get hurt
2. Protect my place
3. Try to move up.
I’m happy to say that I accomplished goal one and two, finishing fourth.
Post-race, I felt great aerobically, which was encouraging regarding my fitness, but the road conditions trashed the legs a little, a feeling I had missed from all my previous races in 2015. I have big gratitude to all the volunteers and organizers of the Ft. Collins Turkey Trot; that was not an easy day to be outside hosting a race, but they did a superb job. In addition, my hat is off to all the athletes who raced that day. Colorado produces some of the toughest runners in all levels. Lastly, congrats to the other Hudson Elite ladies who were out there toughing out the conditions; I am so grateful to have such a stand-up group of women to train and race with. Overall, it was refreshing to race again, and I can’t wait to do it again this coming weekend at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships with the rest of the Hudson Elite Roscetts!
Complete Results from the Ft. Collins Turkey Trot here.