By: Haute Volée, Becki Spellman
After the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon, I remember thinking "I’ll run fast soon"...I knew the day had gone wrong and I was pissed. I cried, sure I had run a PR, but I was ready for a bigger day. I angrily packed my bags, hung my head, and left the 2009 Twin Cities/USATF Championship race upset. I hated not showing my fitness. As years passed, I regretted not enjoying my PR.
This summer I decided to stop thinking about who I have been, and start working toward who I want to become, to let go of the things that weighed me down. I stopped worrying about if I would ever PR again, and instead began training to see what I was capable of now. As fall settled in it seemed I had finally turned the corner I had longed for, and when the Richmond 1/2 came around my fitness was there, and I was ready to tackle my goal races of the season. Nine years, two kids, and at age 35... during 11th mile of the 2018 Richmond half marathon I knew for certain was going to run my first PR since that day in 2009 at Twin Cities. Nine f**king years. It was about time! I couldn't have been more excited for California International Marathon (CIM) a few weeks later. I knew I was ready for a big day there.
Seven days out from the race I got a cold. I rested and hydrated knowing I would be fine by race day. For some reason, I wasn't worried, even with a cold I felt I could run a strong race. I toed the line feeling a little off, but still optimistic. Mile 4 came, and I knew my worst fear was going to unfold. My arms ached, my ears were pulsing, and my face was on fire despite the perfect temps. I regrouped, knowing I just needed to stay calm and see what I could do. Mile 10, I convinced myself I was going to be fine. Mile 14 I could feel my body really start to fall apart. I felt terrible and I was losing touch with even being on pace for a PR. I started to contemplate if it was worth it to end up more sick. At mile 16 I stopped knowing this was not the fitness I wanted to show, and I needed to save myself for a shot on another day without the risk of 4+ weeks off. My heart hurt. I would have been thrilled with my 25k split as a full race, only a few years ago, and though I was/am bummed not to be able to show my fitness I choose to smile in light of where I am, and who I am working to become.
Becki Finishing the RIchmond Half in 1:14:55
I came home knowing I should see a Dr. as the cold was lingering a bit long. I was sure she would tell me I had to ride it out. Much to my surprise, I found out I had pneumonia. I was shocked and abundantly glad I made a rational decision to stop when I did.
As I work to become the version of myself I dream about (in life and in PR's), I choose to find the good in CIM weekend. I got to spend time with my Volée teammates. I was able to run with some wonderful women for 16 miles. I was thrilled, and smiled until my face hurt, watching so many friends and strong women run the Olympic Trials standard! I soaked in all the good and left the bad in Sac Town.
Hopefully my next PR will come this spring.. maybe my next PR is years away, but I will embrace the growth, and be willing to fight with the devil and go down swinging. I'll continue to listen to my body and believe in this feeling that I can do more in the sport than I have.