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December 28, 2014

This Is The Year I Take Chances

lauren fleshman


I’ve had a lot of time to think lately. Rather than running side by side with my Little Wing Teammates, for the final month of 2014 I’ve been sidelined with bursitis on my heel, making a slow, jiggity jaggety comeback/fallback/comeback. This sounds negative, but I’ve gotta keep it real. It has been a pretty poopy end to a challenging year in the running sector of my life.


January 2014, I started out the year as the mom of a 6 month old, barely stringing 4-5 days of running a week together, sleep deprived, and recalibrating how relationships work with a kid. On a personal level, life was pretty awesomely confusing a lot of the time, chasing a moving target with the landscape itself shifting around, making it impossible to get a firm stance to attack the world from. I was taking swings at my goals blindfolded on a wobble board on a lazy susan.

But I kept moving forward in the ways I could. I put energy into things that filled me up like friendships, the athletes I coach, my writing, my training…I withdrew from things that were confusing like my big scary goals, the long list of things I had to do to achieve them, and even Jesse sometimes.


I remember several times thinking, “This just needs time. I just need time to pass so this can get better.” Whether it was a phase Jude was going through like teething, or difficulty sorting out childcare, or a recurring injury problem, or trying to sort out new household roles, or whatever…at some point on all of these things I was basically throwing up my hands and saying “I’ll wait for time to fix this.” But as the year passed, I realized that was crap.


Time fixes nothing. Time is a facilitator but you still have to do the fixing; Dig into the difficult conversations; Look hard at yourself in the mirror and ask if you’re doing everything you can do to get healthy. If you aren’t currently living the life you want, there is no other way to get there. Time won’t make it happen. So you can either adjust the goal, or give yourself a swift kick in the ass. Those are your only two options unless you enjoy the feeling of eternal tug of war.

A new year is coming and I’m glad. There were a lot of incredible things that happened in my life in 2014, and I want to build on those. Teammates, friendships, pouring my heart into the people and things I’m passionate about. But I’m also looking forward to some positive changes in how I approach myself.


In 2015 I’m going to take chances. When challenges happen, I’m going to dig in faster. I’m not going to wait for time. I’m going to work with time. Even when there is no promise of return on investment, I’m going to invest.

In 2015 I’m going to let go of the idea of perfect preparation. When I started training for the 2015 season a few months ago, I wanted to have the perfect season. No injuries, no blocks of time lost. For once, just one, I wanted to have everything go “my way.” Well I’ve essentially missed the entire month of December so poof! Perfection gone! But the thing is, perfect preparation is a myth I created in my head. I defined it based on past experience, incomplete knowledge of other careers I admire, and sports movies. Perfect preparation doesn’t exist. Excellent adaptation does.


I’m so grateful for this community I continue to learn and gain inspiration from. In 2015 I look forward to many cowbell corners, meet ups, and shared “yeah buddy!” (and the occasional “come on really?!”) moments. Here’s my racing calendar as of now in case you want to follow along, or even come race! These things naturally fluctuate but the big races/plans that are least likely to change are in BOLD. The rest of the races are designed to support those. Here’s to a 2015 full of taking chances, working with time, and adapting to our reality in style.



Jan 2 – Feb 5th Altitude Training in the foothills of Albuquerque, NM

Feb 7th: USA XC Nationals (this is 99% not happening for me anymore due to the bursitis setback, but I’m keeping it on my calendar because it’s possible some Little Wing will race, and if so I’ll be there as coach!)

Feb 13/14 Husky Classic, indoor meet, Seattle WA

Feb 27-March 1 USA Indoor National Champs in Boston MA (this is not super likely, but I’m keeping it on the calendar just in case)

Mid/late March: A road race TBD.

April 16/17th: Mt Sac Relays. Walnut, CA or Oregon Relays in Eugene

April 19th-May 3: Sea Level training in Palo Alto, CA.

May 2nd: Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford. This is my first key track race I care a lot about. I’d like to run a 5k here faster than the World Standard of 15:20. Hoping to have a big crew out there for that one, and to cheer on lots of teammates in their races. This is a great one to come to as a fan!

May 15th ish: Oxy High Performance Meet in LA area.

May 30: Pre Classic (would like to do Pre or NY, but lots of factors determine this: which events they have, if I get in, etc)

June 10 Jude turns two!

June 13 New York Diamond League (see above)

June 13/14 Portland Track Festival: This is a local race with good conditions that is well organized that could be a great tune up for USA’s.

June 25-28 USA Championships Eugene, OR. 5k most likely.

July in Europe with Little Wing.

Late August World Champs in Beijing, or road racing circuit, depending.

September, more road racing.

Late September: Go on vacation!





Teresa | December 29, 2014 at 8:59am

Role Model

L, You are an amazing role model and inspiration - Your article appeals to me particularly as a new mom. Most powerful discussion about preparation vs. adaptation. Thank you. T

Kristjana Cook | December 29, 2014 at 10:44am

today's blog post

Lauren, I am a 40 year old stay at home mom of 3 little boys and a "recreationally competitive" runner and triathlete.... I just wanted to write to you and say that this post, as with many others in the past, has given me pause and inspiration! I've been following your career for some time now and I've loved following you as you've transitioned into balancing pro running and motherhood. I'll never be fast enough to be elite, but you and so many others spur my imagination and compel me to keep at it purely for the joy. I can't wait to keep tabs on your races this year... GO FAST! :) Sincerely, Kristjana Cook

molly | December 29, 2014 at 3:12pm


Lauren, I LOVE this. Please hold tight to Jesse and Jude. Keep talking to your hubby even when you don't feel like it. He is part of your team. You are, by far, a much more talented runner than I am but I can relate to you. Our idea of perfection and that we can plan things out and "control" them can have a way of biting us in the tail. Almost 13 years ago I gave birth the quadruplet boys and life has never been the same. When they were little I over trained and over reached to show I could handle it all. I re-grouped and spent 8 years focusing on qualifying for Boston. At the age of 45 I am finally going!! Now I have almost four teenagers, three boys on the autism spectrum and a husband of over 20 years. We have been through so much and I am so happy I held on to him in the really dark times. Just know you are such and inspiration to so many of us. I love your race plans and will follow your results. Keep writing, running, momming and being awesome!

Diane | December 29, 2014 at 4:01pm

Good luck, Lauren!

You have such a positive outlook and a sensible way of planning for 2015 - you are an inspiration to this 61-year-old Flockster! I set goals in 2014 that were not met and now have an injury (thankfully not the stress fracture it was originally thought to be). So now I will try to be more like you and aim for "perfect adaptation." Best wishes for a successful 2015, Lauren!

rob | December 29, 2014 at 9:53pm


I LOVE that you are keeping yourself accountable for your goals.

Vicki | December 30, 2014 at 4:33am

Hang in there!

Lauren, In 1996, I dragged an 8-month old to Eugene, unsure of what the hell was going to happen and wondering exactly how I was ruining my daughter's life. I got no sleep, I prayed every day on the way to the track that I would survive the workout, and many times I just missed my mom. It seemed crazy, and none of it was comfortable or "according to the plan". I trained for the 5,000 meters and I dropped out of the race at the Trials. I ran the 1500 meters in order to redeem myself and ended up making the Team. I discovered that there is no Plan, especially when you have a child :). But, your spirit will take you there - you are amazing in so many ways, and it will be exciting to watch your journey no matter where you take us. Vicki

Lisa | December 30, 2014 at 2:32pm

You are such an inspiration.

You are such an inspiration. All the best for 2015! By the way, you should BOLD "Jude turns two" because that's going to happen; it will not be postponed or canceled. ;)

Victoria Barana | December 30, 2014 at 7:00pm

The year Lauren takes chances

Just wanted to take the time to say you are such a great writer. I love the way you think things through and how you take seriously the crazy task it is to become better at what we love. I feel I have known you an old friend I cherish...and I have never even talked to you. This connected world we live in really is awesome when you think about it. Keep on taking chances, Lauren. I will be cheering for you. Love, Victoria

molly | January 2, 2015 at 6:05am

Vicki, I love the story you

Vicki, I love the story you shared. I laughed when I read "there is no plan, especially when you have a child". It really is about the process and we are never "finished", are we? Thank you for inspiring this mom who is finally realizing it truly is a day by day, seasonal process.

hayden | January 2, 2015 at 1:01pm

thank you

This was the perfect read I needed as I'm battling IT band syndrome- having dropped out at mile 10 of my very first marathon at the end of November 2014. As an avid rock climbing, I've also been battling a strained tricep which has kept me out of the climbing world for the past few months. Aqua jogging has been my only solace! Excited to see what 2015 brings, though.

Jenn | January 3, 2015 at 7:35am

A tree with strong roots can

A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can't grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon. Rootin' for ya.

Jenn | January 4, 2015 at 7:03am

As I read your piece, I

As I read your piece, I thought of this: A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can't grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon. Keep fighting the good fight, Lauren.