Last week, Lesko and I went down to L.A. to watch the Oxy High Performance meet. We had a long list of great performances, but something really special happened that night - our #steeplepeople absolutely dominated their event. It was so inspiring to watch my teammates look each other in the eyes on the start line and say “let’s do this.” They worked together. They pushed each other. They duked it out for the win in the last 50m. They congratulated one another moments after crossing the line. Mel Lawrence, Marisa Howard and Alexina Wilson went 1, 2, 3 with finishing times of 9:40.20, 9:40.40, and 9:40.90 - all going under the World Championships qualifying time of 9:42. Incredible, right? Anyway, I’ll let the ladies do the talking...
JESS: WHAT WAS IT LIKE LINING UP WITH SO MANY OF YOUR TEAMMATES?
MEL: It's always great. It's really cool when you can toe the line, look around, and see that about half the people are wearing the same kit. We don’t train together every day, but our Oiselle sisterhood vibe creates this connection that’s hard to explain/find.
MARISA: It was incredible. We are a force to be reckoned with and I can't wait to line up together again.
ALEXINA: So good! Since racing with teammates, I've had so much more confidence to stick with them. I have no doubt that it’s what helped me through the last 1000m of the race.
JESS: LAST WATER PIT. 150 METERS TO GO. ALL THREE OF YOU ARE GOING FOR THE WIN. WHAT’S GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND?
MEL: I've been working on my speed a lot this year, so going over the last water pit and dry barrier I focused solely on execution. I’m still gaining confidence when it comes to kicking. But I knew I had it in me to start rolling after the water pit.
MARISA: As I entered the final water pit and last barrier I knew there were people close, I just didn't realize how close! I gave a quick peek over my shoulder, then gave it all I had.
ALEXINA: It wasn't until the last 200m that I realized I had come up on the lead. I had bad water jumps the whole race but I knew I needed to hit that last one perfect if I wanted a shot at the win.
JESS: THOSE LAST 5O METERS WERE SO DAMN EXCITING. FROM WHERE I WAS STANDING IT LOOKED LIKE IT WAS GOING TO BE A BLANKET FINISH! WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
MEL: So cool. As it’s happening, I'm just exhausted and want to get to the finish. But the moment I crossed the line and looked around, I thought "wow, that was badass, Oiselle is kicking butt and taking names!" I wish I could have seen it from the stands!
MARISA: By the finish, we were separated by milliseconds! It was incredible.
ALEXINA: The last 50m was tough. Battling it out to the finish with Marissa and Mel was such a fun finish to the race. After I crossed the line, I felt disappointed for a brief moment for not having that extra last gear... but that feeling faded quickly. I believed in myself and I had accomplished what I had set out to do!
JESS: WHAT’S NEXT? TELL ME. TELL ME! ALSO, DO YOU HAVE A BIG GOAL FOR THE SEASON?
MEL: I just found out I’ll be racing at the Pre Classic, which I am super pumped about! This year, I want to PR and I know that I am in the shape to do so. I have some times in my mind and I just need to keep working towards them.
MARISA: I am off to Flagstaff for a bit then running a 1500m at Portland Track Festival! My big goal for this season is to make it to USA’s healthy and qualify for the final. If I can get to the start line healthy, I think that will put me in a good position to make the world team!
ALEXINA: A 1500m at the Portland Track Festival as well! Big goal: make the final at USA’s and run sub 9:35 in the steeple.
Photos by: Jess Barnard
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