2013 in Review

I did this last year and I haven’t blogged in a while, so why not do it again! As I look back on 2013, I can honestly say it was probably one of the best years of my life. Sure, there were definitely some tough moments, but with all the great things that happened those have been overlooked.

JANUARY-Dave (my now fiancé…which still feels weird to say) and I went on our first date mid-December 2012 and then he proceeded to go back home to Connecticut for 3 weeks, so January was really the start of us getting to know each other as more than just friends. I spent the first week of January in Santa Barbara visiting my old stomping grounds before heading back to Azusa for the start of the new semester.

Dave and I in San Diego

Dave and I in San Diego

FEBRUARY-By February, track season was in full swing and we were traveling all over the country to indoor races. Our (Azusa Pacific University) men’s track & field team won the National Christian College Indoor Championships.

Coldest run of my life in Michigan.

Coldest run of my life in Michigan.

MARCH-Besides coaching, part of my job at Azusa Pacific is Assistant Director for an event called the Night of Champions. It’s a 1-day outreach event for about 3,000-4,000 youth in the community. It’s put on by Azusa Pacific and Fellowship of Christian Athletes and it is a great opportunity for us to share the gospel with those kids and provide them with a really fun day. Dave and I went to see Imagine Dragons in concert, which to this day, was probably the best concert I have ever been to!

1st half of the Night of Champions event.

1st half of the Night of Champions event.

APRIL-It was a busy month of track & field with the outdoor season winding up for APU. Dave and I did manage to sneak in a weekend down in San Diego where we got to spend some time with his best friend and his family and go to a Padres game.

APU Track & Field Coaching Staff at the end of the Bryan Clay Invitational.

APU Track & Field Coaching Staff at the end of the Bryan Clay Invitational.

MAY-With the end of the school brought the start of summer vacation. I continued racing on my own at some big races but the big highlight of the month was traveling to Connecticut with Dave to meet his family and also having the chance to see some of my family that lives out east as well.

Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

JUNE-My brother got married in June. It was such a great day celebrating a great couple! Dave and I also got to spend a weekend camping/hiking in Yosemite with our good friends.

Preston, Victoria, Donny, Bethany, Dave, and I on our way to Yosemite!

Preston, Victoria, Donny, Bethany, Dave, and I on our way to Yosemite!

JULY- July was a month with not much time spent in Azusa. My best friend, Victoria, got engaged! I went to Chicago for a week for a coaches education program and then went to Mammoth for a couple weeks for the Altitude Project.

Altitude Project girls on top of Devils Postpile in Mammoth.

Altitude Project girls on top of Devils Postpile in Mammoth.

AUGUST- Dave celebrated a milestone birthday, and I loved getting to throw him a surprise party. August also brought the end of summer and the start to cross country season. I spent some more time in Mammoth with the APU XC team.

Happy Birthday, Babe!!

Happy Birthday, Babe!!

SEPTEMBER- I went to a lot of APU soccer games in September. The track team went to Big Bear for a weekend for the annual retreat and the cross country team traveled to Minnesota for one of my favorite races from college, the Roy Griak Invitational.

APU Track & Field team in Big Bear.

APU Track & Field team in Big Bear.

OCTOBER- I turned 28 this October. That seems old. I got to celebrate my birthday with the whole family, which is a rare occurrence these days with all of our busy lives. Dave got us annual passes to Disneyland which have been put to very good use so far.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

NOVEMBER- November was a successful month for APU Cross Country. The women’s team won the Pac West Conference Championship for the 2nd year in a row and the men won the National Christian College Championship. I convinced Dave to run his first (and 2nd) 5k ever. We celebrated Thanksgiving down in Orange County with my family and began preparations for the Christmas season.

APU XC in Cedarville, OH for the NCCAA Championships.

APU XC in Cedarville, OH for the NCCAA Championships.

DECEMBER- So much to say about December. It’s probably my favorite month of the entire year every year. I love Christmas and everything that comes with it…the movies, the lights, the parties, the celebration of the birth of Christ. Dave and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary by re-creating our first date with our good friends Preston and Victoria…and to top it all off, we got ENGAGED!! The story and pictures from our engagement will be another post on another day, but December 20, 2013 will go down in history as one of the best days of my entire life!

We're Engaged!!

We’re Engaged!!

I am very thankful for the many opportunities I had this year and the many blessings the Lord provided me with. With 14 being my lucky number and wedding planning in the works, I have no doubt that 2014 will be a great year! I wish you all nothing but happiness and blessings as we start this new year. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Back in Action

I’m currently hanging out up in Mammoth Lakes, CA at my favorite coffee shop, Looney Bean. I’m up here with the Azusa Pacific Cross Country team as we are doing our annual preseason training camp before school and races start. I realize it has been a while since I last posted, so I thought I would catch you all up with the happenings in my life over the past 4 months.

Azusa Pacific got out of school at the beginning of May, so I have pretty much been on summer “break”. If I went into great detail about all the great things I was able to do this summer it might end up being a novel, so please enjoy the shortened bullet point version:

-At the end of May I went to Connecticut with Dave (my boyfriend) to meet his family for the first time. We also got to go to New Hampshire and Massachusetts while we were there and see some of my family as well.

IMG_2136

-Beginning of June my brother got married! It was an amazing day and I am so proud of the man he has become and am excited to see what’s in store for him and his new wife, Stephanie.

IMG_2277

-End of June I had an opportunity to use my running talents in the modeling world and shoot a Nike commercial.

-The last weekend in June, Dave and I and 2 other of our favorite couples went backpacking in Yosemite. It was my first time truly “roughing it” and I couldn’t think of better people to do it with!

IMG_2356

-The following weekend my very best friend, Victoria Martinez, got engaged and Dave and I got to be a part of it.

IMG_2397

-Mid-July I went to Chicago for a week for a coaching class and earned my Level 2 license while meeting some phenomenal people at the same time.

photo(4)

-The last week of July and first week of August were spent at the Altitude Project in Mammoth Lakes.

photo(5)photo(6)-August 16th, the team reported back to school to start preseason training. Our first race is September 7, so we are in full swing.

photo(7)

-I also got to spend a lot of time in the soccer world this summer (a major plus of dating a soccer coach) helping Dave out with camps and fundraisers. After being away from the sport for so long, I love being kind of back in the loop!

-I also took a month off (yes, 4 FULL weeks) of running this summer.  There was no injury or physical ailment that triggered this, but it was a much needed mental break. It was so nice to live life as a “normal” person for a little bit. As much as I loved it and didn’t really want to start running again, it feels really good to be getting back in the groove.

So that’s kind of my summer in a nutshell. I know I’m probably missing some awesome thing that I did, because I felt way more busy than that, but it was a great one nonetheless. I am ready for my 2nd year at Azusa Pacific to start. I absolutely love my job and couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to get to do what I love. Let the fun begin…or continue…?!

1 Comment

Filed under Life

Disappointment and Growth

This fall, two of my closest friends and I, who are all competing post-collegiately, and who were all struggling big time with the aches and pains of doing that, jokingly started our own team which then developed into having a slogan and t-shirts followed.

Team It Ain't Over

Team It Ain’t Over

IMG_5573

“The fat lady hasn’t sung yet…”

In terms of racing and results, the past 8 months have been somewhat disappointing when comparing results to last year. Now I understand that last year was a once in a lifetime type deal where pretty much every race was a new PR…but with that comes the desire and the thought to do it again! Unfortunately, that’s not really how it works and I am stuck at what I would call mediocre results this year. This past Thursday I ran at Mt. Sac (one of the biggest track meets in the country). I was hoping to run close to what I ran last year, but that didn’t happen. I ended up running about 15 seconds slower than I did last year, which seems to be the trend this year. It’s so easy for me to want to directly compare this year to last year, when in all reality that just isn’t really fair. Nothing about my life this year is the same as it was last year. I have a new job, I’m living in a new place, the demands and stresses on me (both physically and mentally) are different, the training surfaces and terrain are different. So, I have to take a new approach to how I look at results for this season. I have to be thankful that in such a time of transition, bad days are still better than what I was running in college. I have to be thankful that even though I’m not getting the outcome I want, I still have the ability to race. I’m thankful for the continual support of friends and family and people around me who have continued to encourage me in quite a discouraging time. I’m thankful for my boyfriend who is the voice of reason and common sense when I have my “life is over” mental breakdowns after frustrating performances. I’m thankful to get advice from an Olympian, who has been through the process before. “Do your best and God will make it good enough”. I’m thankful for my parents, who honestly, probably don’t care how fast I run, they just support me because it’s what I love to do.

So through all the frustrations, and crappy days, and days of wanting to give up running competitively…I will learn, I will grow, I will keep going…because ultimately at the end of the day when all is said and done, running is what I love to do.

Pomona Pitzer 1500

Pomona Pitzer 1500

Mt.Sac Steeplechase

Mt.Sac Steeplechase

 

1 Comment

Filed under Training

Night of Champions

In addition to coaching at Azusa Pacific this year, I also had the privilege  of being the Assistant Director for an event called the Night of Champions put on by Azusa Pacific and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The Night of Champions is a one-day outreach to youth. This year we had over 2,000 people in attendance. We spend the whole year planning it and I really think this year was a huge success. It’s amazing to see what can happen when you get the full support of an entire college campus. We had over 300 volunteers, from students to professors to campus safety to athletic trainers…everyone at APU is involved and is excited about their involvement and about the event. For a lot of the kids in attendance, this is really their first opportunity to hear about Christ and who he is and I cannot think of a better environment.

This year was the 29th one and the theme was “No Fear”. Our verse was Joshua 1:9, which says: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” There are 2 parts to the Night of Champions: the Outside Program and the Inside Program. For the Outside Program we fill our 2 soccer fields with giant inflatables and bounce houses and games, etc. for the kids to play on and then In N Out (who is a huge sponsor of this event) brings in their trucks and feeds everyone.

Outside Program

Outside Program

After an afternoon of fun and excitement we go over to our events center and have an evening of speakers and entertainers. This year we had Bryan Clay (Olympic Gold & Silver medalist in the Decathlon), Mallory Weggemann (Paralympic Gold medalist in Swimming), and a motivational speaker and strong man named Jon (the guy bends frying pans & breaks baseball bats…it’s pretty cool) come in and share their stories about how Christ has impacted their lives and rescued them from living a life of fear. Then we also had a Christian rap artist named RK True Soldier, who was a HUGE hit, and a band called By The Tree (which was extra cool for me because my brother got to play drums for them) lead worship.

Inside Program pics taken by my brother

Inside Program pics taken by my brother

It was an awesome day filled with lots of joy and laughter and Christ. I am so thankful for everyone who put time and effort into making this such a great day! This was my first Night of Champions and I hope that I can be involved in many more to come!

Dave and I after a LONG but fun day.

Dave and I after a LONG but fun day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

The February Curse is OVER!

The month of February has plagued me for YEARS! So many years that I just can’t even remember how many. It seems like every February, starting my freshman year of college, I could not get through February without an injury or illness or something that put a halt on my training.

Some of you may remember last year.

Well folks, I am full of smiles today because it is March 1st and I have successfully made it through February!!

The streak of the February curse is now officially over! (And to one up that, I even ran a new PR in the month of February!) While some of my male readers may have opposite feelings about this month seeing as it begins Fuzzy February and carries on into Mustache March…for the longest time I have tiptoed through it weary of every little ache or pain or sneeze or cough…but not anymore! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I can move on and look forward to February of 2014 with a new found excitement!

Image

Hopefully I will be celebrating a pain and sickness free February with some new PR’s on the track this spring! Happy trails to you!

1 Comment

Filed under Epic

Flexibility

I like routine…especially when it comes to competing. I have my way of doing things that I feel helps me compete at the highest level possible. I like to eat the same things and do the same things before each meet.(Chipotle and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and 8 solid hours of sleep the night before, writing AO1 on my hand for the race, listening to my music in a certain order while warming up, etc.) However, especially when I am traveling to a meet, I can’t always have my routine…and as an elite athlete, you have to learn how to compete well and compete hard regardless of the circumstances.

This weekend I competed in my first real indoor race ever in Grand Rapids, MI at Grand Valley State University. (I ran on a dinky indoor track for a meet in HS twice) Azusa Pacific was going out there for a meet, so I decided to compete as well. After flying all day with weather delays on Thursday we finally got to Michigan at about 10:30pm. By the time we got our bags and rental vans and got everyone loaded up it was after 11:30. The plan was to go to Steak & Shake (already not an ideal pre-meet place to eat) but they wouldn’t take our large group because they didn’t have enough help, so we ended up at Denny’s down the road. By the time we got to the hotel it was after 2am and we were leaving for the grocery store at 10am. My morning routine the day of the race is always the most important to me…it’s my time to get my mind right before a race. With my race not being until that evening, and not coming back to the hotel once we left for the track, I had a lot to pack and a lot to do…shakeout run, do my hair (maybe the most important part J), food for the whole day, coaching clothes, racing clothes…which threw a solid night’s sleep out the window. I did my best to roll with the punches and stay composed. Especially as a coach, I knew I couldn’t be complaining about how everything was going wrong. I had to encourage the athletes (and myself) that it’s still possible to race fast despite the lack of familiarity.

Once I finally got through the morning and to the facility, my stress and anxiety levels had gone down a lot. I have never really run an indoor race (other than in high school on a dinky wooden track) before and have only been to a couple to watch. The facilities at Grand Valley are top notch. My race was one of the last ones of the day, but we had athletes competing all throughout the meet, so before I could put my athlete hat on I had to put on my coaching hat. We had some solid performances throughout the meet and I think they handled the disruptions very well.

Image

Pre-race trip to Panera with the girls.

I managed to squeeze in a nap during the meet (which, as a coach, I would never do, but knowing that I needed to compete that night, I made an exception) and felt a lot better after that. Even with the nap though, being stuck indoors for most of the day was taking its toll. I knew I need to get outside and get some fresh air. So, when it was time to warm up, I bundled up and went outside to run in the cold. (News Flash: The weather in Michigan in February is VERY different than the weather in California in February.) It felt so nice to finally be outside that I didn’t even care how cold it was. I still felt like I was able to warm up and get ready for the race and I wasn’t squished on to the infield of the track like a sardine trying to get ready while avoiding running into people that were just walking around and not paying attention.

I ended up running 9:42 for 3k which is a new PR and can’t wait to race indoors again! Racing indoors is a whole new experience that I don’t know if I can explain. It feels much more intense than an outdoor race, but in an exhilarating way. Overall, I am satisfied with my race. I feel like I really pushed myself as hard as I could. I competed well and did my best to press the pace even when it got uncomfortable. A PR is always a good thing, but it left me hungry for more. It was a great indicator of where I am fitness wise and that I am on the right track, but it’s definitely no reason to settle.

Image

This race proves to me and gives me confidence that I can still run well in less-than ideal conditions. I have always said that racing is all about who can compete well at 90%. Training very rarely goes exactly how you want it to, sometimes travel mishaps happen, etc. But that goes for everyone in the race. There is a very good chance that every other person on the line with you has had some kind of set-back or mishap in their journey to that race. Knowing that gives me confidence in the training that I have been able to do and I’m not going to let a meal or a few hours less of sleep ruin my opportunity to test my physical limits.

I’m not exactly sure what is next for me. That race was pretty much the extent of my indoor season, so now I will be transitioning to outdoor season which means a steeplechase is in my near future and I cannot wait!!

1 Comment

Filed under Race Recap

Hello Track Season!

This past weekend I kicked off my 2013 track season. It was my first race since the terrible Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving when things weren’t going so well training wise. (You can refresh your memory with my “Thankful” post after the race.) Azusa Pacific hosted an indoor-outdoor meet (a.k.a. indoor track events on an outdoor track). I needed to get a workout in that day anyways, so I figured I may as well lace up the spikes and give it a go. The plan was to go out conservatively hard for the first mile of the 3k and then go for it the last 3 1/2 laps and then come back and use the 5k as a tempo run. I just kind of wanted to get a feel for where my fitness was at. I ended up running 9:58 for the 3k and 18:08 for the 5k.

While I was hoping for a slightly faster time in the 3k, I will say that I am in a much better place than I was back in November. As for the 5k, well, I made a rookie mistake in not knowing the exact race time, so at about 1:13 I realized my race was at 1:20 and not 1:40 and stepped on the line having done a few drills and strides to loosen up, but really not much. So, given that, to be able to come back and run an even paced “race” at that pace and have it feel like a workout…I am excited for what is to come this season!

Lead pack of the 3k.

Lead pack of the 3k.

Which leads me to the question…What IS to come this season? As of right now, I already have the “B” standard for the steeplechase for the USA Outdoor Track & Field National meet, which is essentially the Olympic Trials in non-Olympic years. The “A” standard is 10:00, so if I run what I ran last year or faster (which is the plan) then I will have the automatic qualifier and I will be making a trip to Des Moines, Iowa in late June.

I am excited to say that after a bit of a funk back in November, training in 2013 has been going really well for the most part. I feel like I’m finally getting back to where I was last Spring. I think the biggest factor in that is that I feel like I have finally been able to get some consistent training in. I am finally starting to re-figure out the balance between coaching and training and I am also feeling settled into life in Azusa.

I end this blog with hopes of returning to consistently writing again. I have missed sitting down and processing life through putting words on a computer screen and look forward to getting back to it. I hope the beginning of 2013 has treated you all well!

1 Comment

Filed under Race Recap