To Track Town, and Beyond!

It's been a while since I've updated the blog and much has happened in the past month. The Olympic Trials came and went. It was a little bittersweet to be watching from the stands instead of competing on the track, but surrounded by friends and family, it was impossible to be bummed out. I had a blast during my 4 days in Oregon watching the Trials!

Historic Hayward Field
Taking in the Trials action with my favorite runner - little brother Brendan
Eugene was especially memorable because my former teammate and longtime friend from UCD running days, Kimmy Conley, ran the race of her life to qualify for the Olympic team in the 5k! She came from behind in the final 200 meters to catch Julia Lucas at the line, by the slimmest of margins (0.04 seconds!). Our old teammate Lorin was also at Hayward Field watching, and after years of racing with Kimmy, both of us knew to never count her out! I wish I'd placed some pre-race bets on Kimmy, because if I had, I'd be a rich woman right now ;) At any rate, I'm excited to see her race in London next week - go Kimmy and go Team USA :)

Kimmy, me, and Lorin at a UCD Track banquet in 2009
In Eugene, it was great to catch up with Lorin and Kimmy, as well as visit with my Oregon cousins. In between watching lots of track & field, attending the best bash in Eugene (Oiselle party!!), enjoying nightly beers and track friend reunions at the Wild Duck, and family bbq's, it was the a wonderful weekend in Track Town!

Checking out sweet running clothes at the Oiselle Fashion Show
Oiselle party photo booth silliness with Collier, Kate, Jamie, and Whitney
Whitney, me, and Jamie at the Wild Duck
While running over the soft woodchips of the famed Pre's Trail, I reflected on the journey I've been on for the past 2 years. The destination wasn't quite where I wanted to end up, but it's been a hell of a ride. I've improved so much in these last 24 months, yet I feel like I'm only beginning to scratch the surface of how fast I can run.  I'm still figuring things out, learning from past mistakes, discovering my talents and strengths while improving on my weaknesses. How could I stop running now?

A number of athletes have chosen to do just that, trading a track career for a 9-to-5 job. Although the Trials have come and gone, I'm not ready to hang up my spikes yet - I'm still a rookie! In terms of age and experience, I'm on the young end - I know my best years are still to come.

Not ready to retire these babies!
So where does that leave me today? Well, I'm looking ahead to 2016, setting ambitious goals for myself and dreaming big. But with those dreams also comes a dose of reality called a job. I have career aspirations that rival my running goals and I strive to make a difference in the world through my work. Recognizing that achieving success in the work arena as well as on the track is no easy feat, I'm balancing my priorities.

Thus, with the next Olympic year 4 years away, I've decided to invest significant time in my career right now. I'll work hard, bust my butt at the office, save some money, and gain valuable experience in the workplace that'll serve me well down the road. Meanwhile, running will be still be a priority - I plan to train with the same intensity and focus that I have over the past 2 years. Not quite sure yet how I'm going to juggle it all... but I've got a great support crew helping along the way :)

As of now, I've accepted a full time position at the nonprofit where I've worked part-time for the past 2 years. I'll now be working 40+ hour weeks as SNBC's Strategic Initiatives Manager, all the while logging miles before the sun rises and in the evening hours. My vacation days will be spent in airports traveling to races and my social life will be lame, but I'm ok with that. I'm excited for the challenges this new year brings! Here goes nothing!