So what does running the Olympic Standard mean anyway? Not as much as gets hyped up on some Olympic Year. Well at least not in the Women’s 10k in the US. Let me break it down for you in case you’re not a big running nerd, I mean fan:)
Every 4 years when the Olympics roll around the organizing committee sets standards pertaining to each event in track and field/ marathon. In the US, you have to run that standard in order to compete in the Olympics. However simply running the standard, like I did last Friday evening does not mean you made the Olympic Team or are automatically in the Olympics. In the US, you still have to be top 3 on the day at the Olympic Trials. So why does getting the standard carry so much weight? In just about every other distance event aside from the 10k, most races at the trials are tactical and the top 3 don’t always run under the standard. In this case having the standard is huge.
For the women’s 10k, in the last 3 Olympic Trials the top 3 have run under 32:15 to make the Olympic Team. The point of all this running jargon is that running the standard for me 2 weeks ago at Stanford doesn’t make a huge difference. Yes it’s a little less pressure on me, an affirmation of the hard work I’ve been putting in, and a confidence booster knowing I ran it off the strength workouts we’ve done and not very much specific track work. Yet let me be real.
The performance I ran at Stanford is not one that on the day would have made the Olympic Team. In order to do that in July, you’ll most likely have to be in 31:30 shape and have an arsenal of tools in your bag. That’s what we plan on working on over the next 2 months. US distance running is so deep and talented right now that its going to take one heck of a performance to make that Olympic Team. I have a spot on the line, a dream in my heart, and fire in my legs and lungs that I’m counting on to get me close.
I’ve been trying to go back to that night and relive it in order to give an accurate race recap and capture the feelings and emotions I experienced on April 1st at 9:04 p.m. I can’t. I can’t fully get my mind and body back in that place that I wanted to live completely and fully in for those 32 mins. Instead I’m going to describe my race in 25 laps or less:)
Starting line: Do I have to pee, shoot? This is amazing I can’t believe I made it here healthy.
Lap 1: wow did that gun go off quickly and I did not get off the line. (watch race replay for comic relief)
Lap 2: I’m mixed in a pack of about 8 girls and not behind my teammate who is pacing me, awesome.
Lap 3: Get up to Rochelle Steph
Lap 4: 5:10 through the mile, right on
Lap 5: Don’t look at the lap counter, it says 19 laps to go..barf!
Lap 6: Finally on the rail and in a rhythm
Lap 7: Still not on Rochelle, but you’re fine
Lap 8: 77s for days!!
Lap 9: Just burped some of my Starbucks
Lap 10: I missed this Stanford track
Lap 11: I just peed a little, awesome
Lap 12: I hope Hudson doesn’t wake up tonight
Lap 13: Stay relaxed
Lap 14: Ok, Rochelle is gone, you’re all alone. Thinking of the last 8 weeks working out solo.
Lap 15: Hey, who was that cheering my name?
Lap 16: Dang my right glute is losing steam
Lap 17: Just get to Ben, another lap
Lap 18: Keep pressing, there’s another girl right ahead
Lap 19: My feet are on fire
Lap 20: Gosh these fans are awesome
Lap 21: Come on Steph, squeeze the pace down
Lap 22: Seriously another 77
Lap 23: It’s go time
Lap 24: I’m hurting so badly
Last lap: I’m not gonna get it
200 go: just maybe…
100 to go: holy crap this hurts
Finish: I got it! WTF this is crazy! 32:14.42!!
And thats how the 10k broke down in my mind, seriously. You think some crazy things during 25 laps on the track. There are moments of doubt, fear, extreme discomfort, toughness, and one tiny speck of belief deep in your soul that you can push through all the pain and come out on the other side on top!