Kate Grace

Ever get in one of those moods where every inspirational saying, every Pinterest wall quote, seems to be speaking to you? I'm there. And aside from trolling Pinterest, I've been reading a lot of poetry. There's one from Hafiz that keeps sticking. An excerpt:

For a long time the Universe
Has been germinating in your spine

But only a saint has the talent,
The courage to slay
The past-giant, the future-anxieties.

The warrior
Wisely sits in a circle
With other men
Gathering the strength to unmask


This has been the spring of unmasking. Indoor USAs set the stage for athletes to continue finding their voices, their cause, their individuality. I look at Oiselle, and I am thrilled for the role this company has in that empowerment. Not only with elite athletes, but with all their runners: official team or not.

Back to poetics; the act of running itself is like pulling off a mask. I think of Molly Huddle and Sally Kipyego this weekend, going after it in the New York Half-Marathon. Of Caitlin Comfort breaking out in that distance. Of all the marathoners and distance runners, battling to lay bare their goals, their months (years) of preparation. That vulnerability enables incredible bonds of #runlove. It amazes and inspires me. And it requires an equally great net of support (what if you fall?). I see that support net in this company. And I have felt it for a while now, as I go through my own germination (what if I fail?).

Since starting on the professional running path, I have been a sponge to knowledge. In the past few months, it became clear that I had to take the next step. To start acting on some of those ideas, not just dreaming about them. Part of that process of discovery includes realizing things about myself - that to be happy and full, to live a life with fewer masks, I had to head back home, to the West Coast.

It's sad, because it means I left friends I love, and coaches and mentors who have given me so much. But it’s invigorating. I get the chance to work closer with Oiselle, to create the next chapter.

It’s scary, because there isn't certainty (is there ever?). But it's electrifying. I have full faith in my support network, in this company. And I am supremely confident that we will create a kick-ass story.


Quick facts - if that exposition was too confusing.

Bend, Oregon! For the next few months, I am collaborating with Little Wing. I lived with them last fall, and it has been a seamless transition, allowing me to continue with a focus on the outdoor season. The group is structured on an executive committee format, rather than a single coach. Lauren Fleshman and Bob Lesko are the main advisers for the immediate work. 

NJ*NY Track Club
By far the hardest part of the move was leaving Coach Gagliano and the team. My time with NJ*NY TC was invaluable. Gags gave me the opportunity to explore my potential after college, to grow as a person and a runner. In a year and a half running for him, I dropped my 800 PR by 4 seconds, my 1500 by 13 seconds. I am deeply grateful for the support I have had from Coach Gag and the NJ*NY TC. No set up will be able to replicate that experience, and the bonds I formed.

Season and future plans
I will be competing a full outdoor schedule in the US and Europe. In the summer and fall, I can also explore other training groups and coaches, with an 8/15 focus, and will settle on a great long-term situation.

Atsuko Tamara