It’s February! And that means…it’s (Marathon) Olympic Trials month! Oiselle is so proud to support 24 marathon OTQ’ers – they are a bunch of rad women. We’re going to take this month to introduce a little bit about each of them so you know best how to cheer them on and make them laugh. You can find them listed under 2020 Olympic Trials Qualifiers in the Marathon.

Ok we are one week out and it’s time to introduce all of our marathoners!

Yep, we have a rocket scientist representing in Atlanta! Kelsey Hodges is an aeronautical engineer in Huntsville, AL. Kelsey has one pet: her sourdough starter which recently yielded a perfect-looking loaf. Kelsey has this great process goal for Atlanta: “Definitely need a process goal on a course like this one! My goal is to respect the people coming to spectate by being present enough to appreciate and soak in the support while I'm out there, and by showing them a competitive effort that I'm proud of.” If you want to get Kelsey a gift, look no further than apples and cheese; she has “very strong feelings about raccoons (bad), hand hygiene (good), and cheese on apples (very good).” Let’s go, Kelsey!

Paula Pridgen presents herself like a ray of sunshine, and probably not coincidentally, has a golden retriever named Sunshine. Paula ran the OTQ time in 4 races (2 in 2018, and 2 in 2019)! She endorses sports massages, pancakes, tacos, and would love to travel to Hogwarts. Paula’s goal is to “have a solid race and be competitive” ...if you want to hype her up on the course, yell “I Love It!” --her favorite pump up jam.

Teal Burrell (named for the duck, not the color!) has such a great story of persistence, from her marathon debut of 4:07 to her OTQ of 2:39 - her secret is to set small goals between the big goals. We try to not be biased, but you have to admit that Teal’s Burrell’s daughter is the definition of sweet pea. Teal’s race goal? “To give everything I've got on the day.” Her pump up is the classic: LOSE YOURSELF. You can’t beat that! Teal knows where every summer Olympics was held, so feel free to quiz her.

We’re going to talk about our three Raleigh Distance Project superstars together, because that team is so tight! Shari Eberhard, Kimberly Maloney, and Kate Sanborn train together in Raleigh, NC, with a rad community-minded group of athletes. Shari has 2 dogs and has a goal to place in the top 100. She also knows the difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon so hit her up if you need some education. Shari also recommends the new Oiselle Volée App - we endorse!

Kate has thought a lot about the Trials, and her approach: “is never strictly to run a specific time or place in a certain place, it is to perform and enjoy how I am feeling on that particular day. Going into the Trials, I do not want to ruin such an invaluable experience by being upset that I didn't place Top 50/30/20, rather I want to live in the race moment and enjoy every mile while giving all that my body can give that day. It may seem like a pretty low bar to say that I don't want to DNF or not finish last, but to me it's about finishing and learning a lot from this experience since this is only my second marathon. I want to see how many people I can high-five and enjoy this opportunity. (Note: I am not saying I am jogging this. I am giving my best effort but racing to me should also be enjoyed).” Kate’s favorite way to waste time on the internet is cat videos, so feel free to send her some to cut the taper tantrums!

12 days until race day and time to celebrate some more fasties!

It has been great to watch Austinite Cate Barrett share her journey to her OTQ and now the Trials race, with all of the bumps in the road and victories. Cate has a unique voice; her goals for the Trials have evolved: “Honestly I have struggled with coming up with a goal, since I am not trying to make the team... what does it matter where I finish? But I know having a race day plan that I execute—if I succeed—will make me proud of my performance. I’ll make my plan with my coach a couple weeks out based on how my last few workouts go. Also, now that we are getting close, I am finally getting excited to race such a deep field of women. 500+ qualifiers show me that this is a movement. And I’m inspired by the Volée who have supported me so far and will be there, in person, cheering. So the second part of my goal would be to channel community." We’ll be sending all the community love back to you, Cate! And channeling your cat, Cortado :)

You will recognize rockstar and Indianapolisite (did we just make that up?) Anna Weber from the 2016 Trials. Anna is deeply invested in the run community, coaches athletes, and heads up a running camp called “Banna Camp” with HV Becki Spellman! Anna put down the most pithy one-sentence description of the internet: “The best place to find friends and enemies.” Anna’s goal for Atlanta is: “to soak in every moment and learn from my 2016 mistakes to have a better race in 2020!” We can’t wait to cheer you on, Anna!

14 days until race day!! Let's keep the party going!

Littlewinger Carrie Mack had quite the 2019. After missing the OTQ by 11 seconds at the Chicago marathon in 2018, Carrie put together a tremendous year and crushed the A standard, running 2:36:34 at Twin Cities. Two weeks later she freakishly caught her toe doing a simple drill and broke it. She has been cross-training like a fiend and will have been back running for a good 8 weeks at the Trials. What a rockstar. Carrie’s goals in ATL: “Be present and supportive of my teammates. Make the most of the day I'm given. Finish with a full heart and a healthy toe.” Oh and she has a useless fact for Sally - humans and bananas share about 50 percent of the same DNA.

Becki Spellman ran in Oiselle at the 2012 Marathon Trials, before kids. And in 2016, after twins. And she is prepping for her 4th marathon Olympic Trials (she qualified in ‘08 as well)! We love Becki not only for her athletic prowess (she’s an amazing athlete), but for her remarkable team and community building. Becki started coaching athletes in 2007, and has been building her coaching chops since. She and fellow-HV Anna Weber started a run camp in 2018, and Becki goes out of her way to connect with the run community locally and everywhere she travels. If we could clone Becki, we would. Becki is on the comeback trail from a pesky achilles injury, and we’re excited to cheer her on in Atlanta.

Jocelyn Todd is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, focusing her research on cartilage mechanics in the hip. [Insert your favorite runner cartilage joke here.] Jocelyn lives in Utah, so she’s had to deal with quite a bit of ice this winter. She also has a 7’ banana tree that doesn’t love the ice either. Jocelyn is excited to learn as much as she can about the Trials this go round, and soak in the experience. Can’t wait to give Jocelyn a fist pump every lap!

16 days until race day and time to celebrate some more fasties!

Philly-based middle school history teacher Siobhan O’Connor is looking to outrun her bib number and “run a beautiful race” in Atlanta. Siobhan is an evening runner (a minority in our Haute Volée!). But she gets in other training as well by coaching cross country in the fall, fitness in the winter, and Girls on the Run in the Spring. Siobhan (in case you’re wondering, pronounced Shi-vahn) also credits Jay Dicharry and his most recent book Running Rewired for contributing to her strength and health. Oh, and popcorn is her favorite food. We get you, Siobhan! With butter!

New York Distance Project member Meg Foster is our sole Masters competitor this time around (42 years) - and she just keeps getting faster with age! Meg’s job might make some of you swoon: Artist and Associate Prof of Printmaking at Rhode Island School of Design. Yes, she is a printmaking specialist. Meg teaches M-W and has a more flexible schedule Thurs-Sun. Meg’s goal for the Trials: “I want my race to be competitive, strong and most of all FUN! A celebration on the run.”

Jen Bigham was one of Oiselle’s earliest elites; we nicknamed her “Blue Ribbon Bigham” because she won pretty much every race she entered, including 3 5k’s in one week! The marathon played tricks on her for more than 7 years, but everything finally came together last year when she won the Eugene Marathon in 2:41. Jen has 3 kids (ages 3, 6, and 9), and presents the funny, good, and bad on her Insta-stories. Jen’s goal for Atlanta: “to rock all the smiles and positivity during this race.” Go, Blue Ribbon!

You all know rockstar Allie Kieffer. You can read more about her Trials prep here; we all know Allie has big goals for the Trials and we can’t wait to cheer her on as she tackles those hills! Let’s go, Allie!

19 Days Until Race Day - Jo, Lyndy, and Theresa (our Portlanders)!

Jo Butler recently moved from Miami to Portland, OR. Major move! And she and her husband are loving it. Jo has a catahoula/boxer dog, and knows lots of dog details, like “onions are bad for dogs, but carrots and broccoli are great snacks.” Jo has run 6 marathons, and has process goals for ATL: “I want to be strong and confident! The big goal is to learn from this experience so in 2024 I am up with the lead pack!” We love your moxie, Jo! We hear Jo is good at cheesy dad jokes, so hit her up for some entertainment.

Lyndy Davis has been a cherished Oiselle teammate since 2015. Since her 2016 LA Olympic trials race, Lyndy brought her marathon PR down to 2:39, had a baby, set a pulling stroller half marathon Guinness record, and contributed greatly with her own post-partum story. Lyndy is approaching Atlanta “excited to stand on the starling with the best in the USA! My goal to complete the race and stay connected to a pack.”

Our 3rd Portlander, Theresa Hailey, is known for her mad dancing skills and infectious laugh. For her day job, she’s a production engineer for Boeing, so she incorporates flexibility into her training. She has a snuggly cat named Peppermint, and is feeling very positive heading into the Trials. “I feel a huge PR coming, but because of the course, I'm focused on training more for effort than time. My goal is to place in the top 50 and run a negative split race!”

22 Days Until Race Day - Sabrina, Caitlin, and Jessa!

Californian Sabrina Lopez has run 4 marathons, and qualified for the Trials with her twin sister at CIM in 2017. She has one cat and listens to Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen” for her pump-up jam. Sabrina has shared her powerful running story on her blog and in her local run community; she is a force for positivity! Sabrina’s goal for the Atlanta is to “feel positive, smooth, and strong.”

Caitlin (née Comfort) Kowalke is one of Oiselle’s earliest HV. She represented at the 2016 marathon Olympic Trials, placing 26th overall on that hot LA day. Since 2016, Caitlin got married, had a baby, and got back to running over the cold Wisconsin winter. Caitlin would love to travel to Narnia if she could, and her goal for Atlanta is to get to the start line healthy and run a smart, gritty race.

Marathoner and ultra-marathoner Jessa Victor is coached by Caitlin (above!). Love those team connections. Jessa is an attorney in Wisconsin, and has a 4-yr old husky/Doberman mix named Dane. Jessa’s goal for the Trials: “I want to finish feeling like I could not have given an ounce more. There is no more satisfying and fulfilling feeling than knowing you truly left it all out on the course.” And a weird quirk Jessa picked up from her parents? “Never wasting food, even if its moldy, in which case you just cut the mold off [insert food item here] and deem the remaining portion edible.”

24 Days Until Race Day - The Three Andreas

First up, our newest addition to the Haute Volée, 37 yo Michigander Andrea Pomeranski! Andrea just qualified on the “last chance” OTQ day at the Phoenix RocknRoll marathon. She was an Olympic Trials qualifier 10 years ago but wasn’t able to race, is mom to 3 kids, and has run 7 marathons. She was also the American junior record holder in steeplechase back in 2001! A.P.’s goal for the trails: “I just want to relax, enjoy and savor this incredible experience, and run my heart out.” Andrea knows which celebrities have made a guest appearance on Sesame Street, so quiz her! [Ed. Note: my fave all-time was John Denver.]

Next, meet our Oregon Andrea, Andrea Imhof. Andrea is a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon, where her research focuses on early language development in children. Her running group meets at 4:45am twice/ week to work out! She and her husband are getting a puppy next week (7-week old golden retriever); apparently she wanted to add a little extra challenge to her marathon prep. Andrea Imhof’s Trials goal: “I am SO thrilled to participate in the Trials, and my main goal is to show up on the starting line healthy, fit and ready to put my best foot forward. This course is REALLY hilly, so I'm hesitant to put a time goal out there -- my main goal is truly soak in the experience and feel like I left my best effort out there on the course.”  

And finally, our 3rd Andrea, Andrea Toppin, hails from Minnesota where she is full time Doctor of Chiropractic student, scheduled to graduate this December! She is full of useful facts, such as: your body contains about 100,000 miles of blood cells. (!!) Andrea T. has big Trials goals: “In an ideal world, I would love to finish in the Top 50! At the end of the day if I do my absolute best, that is all I can ask for. Coming off this fall my training for the Olympic Trials has been anything but perfect. So my ultimate goal is to take on the hills of Atlanta with confidence, composure, and faith that I do in fact belong. If I’m going down...I’m going down swinging!” Oh, and if you want to annoy her, give her a stringy banana: “When peeling and eating a banana, I get extremely snobby about accidentally eating those banana strings. I can't stand them and their texture! I'll eat the banana for sure but not the strings that come off of it.”

We’ll be cheering hard for our 3 Andreas!

Hannah Calvert
Tagged: haute volee team