This past week, the Oiselle family was privileged to be a part of Kate Grace’s 2013 National Championships run. And man our wings are tired!! We are so proud of Kate’s accomplishments and feel incredibly thankful to be a part of her support team.
Kate had a wonderful year. After starting serious training in August of 2012, Kate put in a solid fall of work that included her road 5K debut in Austin, TX (winner in 16:36), some epic modeling, and a New Year’s Day dip in Lake Washington to help celebrate Lauren Fleshman joining the birdfamily. Kate then went on to place 2nd at her indoor 3k debut in 8:55, blaze to 3rd in the mile at the Millrose Games in 4:28, and win the USA road mile championships in Des Moines in April.
Kate’s outdoor USA season culminated with her smart and tough performances in Des Moines. The 800m is run in 3 rounds (prelim, semi, and final), which were scheduled for Thurs, Fri, and Sun. To get out of the first round, Kate needed to be in the top 2 or the next 6 fastest overall times. Kate was in the first heat of the prelim, so there was extra pressure to secure one of those top 2 auto spots….which she did comfortably, cruising to 2nd behind Chanelle Price in 2:02.14.
The K8 cheer squad had managed to get seats in the first 2 rows just beyond the finish line—right by the one-turn stagger starts. Kate was in lane 7 or 8 in each of her races, which meant that we could literally almost reach out and touch her as she was starting each of her races. It was all we could do to keep quiet, with hearts beating out of our chests and near vomiting episodes by @boblesko.
The next day, Kate was in the first of 2 heats (lane 7). To qualify for the Sunday final, Kate had to place in the top 4…no time qualifiers. Talk about tactical!!! Because Alysia #flyingflower Montano was in her heat, the race for 2-4 was going to be hot. Kate again ran super smart, and got 3rd in 2:00.96 (PR) in a near blanket finish with Ajee Wilson, Amy Weissenbach, and Maggie Vessey. When her name flashed up in 3rd we erupted with a crazy tearful roar. Making the USA women’s 800m final is no joke. Read more semi-final behind the scenes action in JJ's blog post.
After a “rest day” which included some @fastK8 laundry and our Oiselle #fowlplay party (that’s another blog!), we headed to the track on Sunday. We knew that 1) Kate already had achieved huge improvements over last season and 2) Kate was aiming for more. When the 800m ladies walked out and Kate’s name was announced, we all got chills. The race went out as expected, with Alysia driving from the front and everyone else bunched in the chase pack. Kate ran a tactically smart race, following Brenda in the 3rd 200m. As they rounded the final turn, everyone all-out, the ladies were flying. As Alysia was fighting off B-Mart’s hard charge, Kate drove for home, finishing just a small margin off Ajee Wilson’s 3rd place.
PR. 2:00.10. 4th place: supposedly the “worst spot”. Top 3 made the Moscow World Champs Team in August. We knew our fierce competitor Kate was mad and sad, but all we felt was pride and love. Kate Grace: fourth in the USA!!! What a difference a year makes! Last year, Kate did not make it out of her 800m Oly Trial Heat, and did not make the final in the 1500m (which were still amazing performances).
After some celebration and Oiselleteam bonding that evening, Kate headed back to NJNYTC with her great teammates and Coach Gags. So what’s next? FastK8 is the official alternate for Worlds, which means she registered and will race in the unfortunate circumstance of one of the top 3 (Alysia, Brenda, or Ajee) being unable to compete. In the mean time, she is headed off to Europe for her first overseas pro circuit! Kate’s race schedule is not finalized yet, but she will likely be based out of Lignano, Italy and will race some 800’s, 1500’s, and maybe a 1K and/or 3K, with the goal of racing in those fast rabbited European conditions and chasing some PR’s. We will keep you updated as we find out race details so we can continue to cheer her on from the States!
Huge congratulations to Kate on her stellar year so far…we are immeasurably proud of you and excited for all of the great times to come. #birdlove