In case you didn’t get that: Hello in Korean!
Track and Field is a crazy sport. In the middle of April, I would not have expected to spend the first two weekends of May racing in Jamaica and in Korea; but here I am, desperately trying to at least memorize the complicating and foreign phrases for “Hello” and “Thank you” in Korean. Learning Jamaican was much easier!
One of the things I love best about my sport is that it is ever-changing and surprises are always around the corner. Although I would prefer to have the luxury of a top track athlete who can confirm top competitions well in advance, I am in the position where each race I need to “prove” my worth for the following opportunity. For example, after racing at Stanford on April 28th, I was invited to a meet the following weekend in Kingston, Jamaica. Convinced that it was going to be a deep and quality field, my teammate Hilary Stellingwerff and I decided to accept the invitation and fly to the sprint-crazed nation to race. It turns out there is a reason why Jamaica is sprint country, and as much as the crowd support was appreciated, the race turned out to be a fartlek-style, collision-bound 1500m with a wind-up last 600m between Hilary and me. Hilary documents the race in her blog here. Needless to say, it was not the race I had anticipated…although positives can be taken from aspects of the race, the result was not what I had hoped for!
Two days after arriving home from Jamaica – and still recovering from the 20 hours of travel – my manger, the awesome Kris Mychasiw, emailed me and asked if I wanted to race in Deagu, Korea the following week. Initially I rejected the opportunity, due to obvious reasons involving significant travel and last minute training adjustments. At that point, I was set on racing at Occidental College outside LA instead on May 18th, which is set up to be an Olympic qualifying opportunity. After a bit of reflection and team strategizing with my coach and husband, I changed my mind.
Even though it is further away, I felt more optimistic about my racing in Korea than LA for a number of reasons. And, although I am not overly superstitious, I had a really great race and experience at the World University Games (FISU) in 2003 in Daegu where I narrowly missed winning the race, settling for bronze in a hot race against two girls who have since become Olympic medalists (the feature photo is taken from the FISU Opening Ceremonies – back when digital cameras were quite the novelty!). When I think Daegu, my heart gets excited. To me, Occidental is a bit of a “chasing the standard” race while Deagu is a “race to race” race. There is a subtle, but very important difference to me.
Right now, I am hoping and feeling really good about my chance to race tomorrow in Daegu, Korea, and that I will run fast enough and place high enough that I will have a much better idea of my next six weeks of competitions – which, in an ideal world will include my Olympic A standard so that I can extend my race schedule with certainty to August!
I was lucky to run into Canadian hammer thrower ace, Sultana Frizell, at the Vancouver airport. We were our travel uniforms: runners, compression socks, and sweats! Comfort trumps fashion in the middle of track season. We arrived late last night and were very happy to fall into bed after nearly 24 hours of travel. Today is an easy pre-race day with some easy running, drills and strides, and tomorrow is race day. The following day is my nice long journey back home, but hopefully my spirits will be high and my heart will be glad. I wonder where I will end up next weekend?