I started and finished my outdoor track season this year with a road mile. My first and second *ever* road miles, in fact. On April 26 I ran at the U.S. Road Mile Champs in Des Moines, IA and finished 6th in 4:38 against a great field, and on September 8 I ran 4:22 at the 5th Avenue Mile in New York City and finished 3rd against an arguably much more competitive field.
But it’s difficult to boil my season down to those 16 seconds—it wasn’t always a linear trajectory upwards, and it came with a steep learning curve and some significant bumps along the way.
I came into this year with a few major goals:
- Stay healthy. With the years I have had riddled with injuries in the past, I knew this could be a tough ask unless we were really vigilant.
- Qualify for USAs and have a good experience at the meet. “Good” could mean a lot of things, but for me that meant putting myself in a position to be as successful as possible. It was my secret hope to make a final, too.
- Gain experience in professional fields. Pro racing is that much more competitive than the collegiate level. Athletes are that much more motivated and fit in comparison- for many of these athletes their livelihoods depend on racing well.
- Though I don’t like to boil seasons down to strictly time goals, I really wanted to break 4:10 in the 1500m, and 2:03 in the 800m.
So how did I do?
My first track race of the season was the Payton Jordan Invitational at my alma mater, Stanford. Being in such a familiar spot, I was so motivated to do well. I stuck my nose right in it and was in the hunt to win until about 100 meters to go, where my legs came out from under me. But I still ran one of the fastest times I ever had, and ultimately set the stage for being brave and getting after it in a star-studded field. All you can ever do is give yourself a chance and hope your fitness and belief carries you to the finish line.