Becki Spellman: 4-time Marathon Olympic Trials Qualifier
We are so thrilled for Becki and her FOURTH Marathon Olympic Trials qualifier, and honored that Becki will be representing Oiselle for the third time at the Trials. We loved cheering for her in 2012 when Oiselle was just a newbie presence in the elite arena, and are excited that Becki will be one of our team mentors and role models for the rocking Oiselle crew in Atlanta in 2020. Becki is the definition of persistence, patience, team dedication, and positivity, as you will see below! We love you, Becki!
Last fall, I set my sights on qualifying for my fourth Olympic Trials Marathon. Training was going well, and then, I was hurt. A stress reaction in my foot led me to write “How To Be A Comeback Queen” back in October. I chose to reassess my goals and make some changes. I used the elliptical through my injury and worked out a core/plyo routine to use through the spring. I set new goals! Instead of “break 2:45 and qualify to the trials” I decided to throw out the limits and see what I was capable of between then and April. What was the worst thing that could happen? Would I end up injured? With a fresh sense of what I was trying to accomplish, I found myself pushing to see what I could get from a workout instead of hoping the workout would give me what I needed. I started thinking of my ability as a limit I wanted to find, not one that had already been reached. I began to love running more and felt the passion I had missed. Training was more fun than it had been in years, and so were races. I ran two solid races prior to Eugene, learned from them, and took those lessons with me. I honed my race week nutrition to help my stomach better handle travel, racing and nerves, cutting out fiber, and doing a mindless activity like a puzzle proved to work well at in D.C. Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon where I ran 1:17:05. So I used the same tactics in Eugene.
On the starting line of the Eugene Marathon I knew that in the past 16 weeks I had run 1381 miles, completed the fastest tempos, and some of my strongest speed work in nearly 10 years. I had done core/plyos at least 4 days a week. I felt ready to see what I could do. My goals were a new PR and an Olympic Trials “A” standard of under 2:37. The gun went off and I found myself at the front of the women’s race with one other woman. After the climb to mile 5 I knew 5:58’s was too fast on this day. I almost lost it, watching my goals slip made my heart race, and then just like I had rehearsed so many times in practice, I found myself choosing a different path. “New goal”, I told myself, “see what you are capable of...on this course...today”.
Happy tears at mile 25.
I settled in right under 6:10 pace and worked with a guy (Colton) to get through some miles. Around mile 18 I had a cramp in my ribs and started to worry. It was getting hard. I reminded myself “no regrets, stay in the mile you are running”. At mile 20 I knew I had a decent cushion. I needed to stay calm to run a solid time and hit the qualifier. I saw my best friend for the fourth time at mile 25 and cue the happy tears! Talk about #getugly umm, yeah! I told myself “6 more minutes of pain to be a four-time Oly Trials Qualifier”. After an eternity of wondering “where the expletive is Hayward Field” we popped off the bike path and could see Hayward Field. My teammates screaming for me, I felt overwhelmed with joy. I kicked as hard as I could for the half lap in Hayward, crossed the finish at 2:41:49, and threw up on the sacred track.
Throwing up followed by celebrating with teammates and friends.
I couldn’t believe it was done. I felt shock “did it really happen?”. Every time I qualified for the trials, it’s been a different experience. The first was absolutely thrilling, disbelief, and elation. The second I was sad; the race had blown up and I suffered and did not appreciate the accomplishment as I wish I had. The third was a near miss turned fairytale. The fourth, I decided I wouldn’t let pass me by, I soaked it in felt gratitude for a body that was healthy, a race that had gone well, and an team of people that poured love my way. I am thrilled to have the qualifying standard for Atlanta, and excited to see what I am capable of between now and February 29th, 2020.