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Houston Marathon- January (So Much in 1 Month)

January 31, 2020

If God puts a Goliath in front of you, He must believe there’s a David inside of you! I did not beat my Goliath the way I wanted to but I did gain the David inside of me because of this journey. Though just a running goal, it gave me clarity to each day.

It has taken me a little while to process my journey to Olympic qualify and this last race in Houston. I have been sad, down and angry at times. I question how I could have let CIM (the race right before my last attempt at Houston) get away from me by missing the trials by 28 seconds. Such a long race and to miss it by 28 seconds is nothing, but everything!!  The marathon is a beast of a race but that is why I love it. There are so many ways 26.2 miles can slip away from you. It tests your limits, mentally and physically. I will admit, there were times I felt amazing but there were many times I wanted to give up. Racing is terrifying because of the unknown. All the “perfect” training that goes into the marathon can take a turn for the worse come race day if one thing goes wrong (in Houston’s race… the wind mentally and physically for me). I am not as mentally strong as many of the amazing ladies that I have met along my journey, but I have learned so much about myself and have grown to be a person that I thought I was incapable of becoming.  I have had so many ups and downs, but the good has by far out weighed the negative. I love running and to be honest, it feels so good to run this fast.

Along this road, I have met amazing people; we trained together, we fought together and we have helped one another out. Few qualified but most didn’t. I am coming around to being ok with being among those that did not qualify… I went out for that last shot in Houston knowing it would be a difficult race on tired legs. After a hard, fast and pushing to my limits marathon at CIM, I had to get right back into training for Houston. It was a more emotional and draining training cycle but I did not want to look back and wonder “What If”.  So I knew I needed to give it one more shot before the trials in February.

I was reading the book Mind Gym (the book is excellent by the way) throughout my training; my husband brought up a good point… all the sports they talk about in that book can’t even compare to running a marathon. With all sports, you have to get “in the zone” and stay “in the zone” while you are performing. Most sports, you are able to take a mental break throughout the game/match, but with the marathon, you have to stay in that mental state for the entire race and try not to spiral down into the negative state; which would take you out of “the zone”. Well… welcome to Houston for me. I woke up “In the Zone”. I had really good sleep for a night before a race. But then… opening up the hotel room door to winds. I fell out of the zone and let the negative thoughts seep in before the race even started. Everyone who knows me, knows I hate to run in the wind. It is a weak spot in me when it comes to racing. The entire weekend in Houston, it was calm, humid weather, with rain showers off and on. Of course on Sunday morning, it was windy. It was cold as well but I didn’t mind the cold. The forecast was saying it was going to be between 13-16 mph winds. It sucked. I knew what I had to do. I began to think of all the positive things around me and I thought of my family and everyone who believed in me.  The other racers were in the same boat as me and we all had this fight together.

The race started at 7:01. We started off in a big pack of about 100+ ladies. Our pacer leading the Olympic hopefuls along the road. We stayed tight together fighting against the wind. The nervous energy all around; drinks and gu’s being shared amongst everyone.  At about mile 11, they had an announcer, music and a pretty big crowd. As we were approaching in our pack, he announced, “Here comes the Boston hopeful qualifiers”. We all gave a little laugh. I wish that was the time we had to hit to qualify for the Olympic Trials. And I say this not to make fun… regardless of your pace in the marathon, there is nothing easy about it when you are pushing your limits. Anyway… By mile 13, ladies started dropping their pace and couldn’t hold on. You hate when it gets to that point because you are always hoping you are not next. We had 3 pretty good falls at different times in this marathon. I do contribute that to the windier conditions. We all ran so close together, that there were quit a few times I was stepped on from behind or accidently kicked or vice versa. Every time someone went down, at least 3 or 4 more would go down with her. They would always pop back up and continue. Not knowing the outcome of their race but hoping the best for them. So many encouraging words would be said amongst our group throughout the race and everyone generally was hoping the best for everyone. I love this sport! I had a friend out there with me. She was shooting for the same time. At about mile 15, she started to drop. I was so sad for her but yet as I ran past her, she yelled keep going, you are looking strong! She is so amazing and had to drop out of the race due to hamstring issues. Ayisha is such a fighter and one of the most positive people you will ever meet. (Ayisha is on the left; Mariah is the top right; we met in Chicago and kept in touch throughout the training cycle to Houston and the bottom right is Joy. We became friends on Facebook because we have the same coach. We met up at the race… she qualified for the trials but is hoping to run for Ireland.)

Well… Sadly, It was not my day, either. I just did not have the fight in me this time and I realized it at mile 18.  My legs were tired. I was also all over the place for the 1st 17 miles with my mile splits. (We were with the pacer… lots had to do with wind but other factors as well.)

Mile 1: 6:30   Mile 2: 6:19   Mile 3: 6:09   Mile 4: 6:13   Mile 5: 6:19   Mile 6: 6:12    Mile 7: 6:16   Mile 8: 6:20   Mile 9: 6:18   Mile 10: 6:13   Mile 11: 6:09    Mile 12: 6:16.     Mile 13: 6:21.     Mile 14: 6:11

Mile 15: 6:19   Mile 16: 6:16    Mile 17: 6:10     Mile 18: 6:27    Mile 19: 6:35   Mile 20: 6:39    Mile 21: 6:45    Mile 22: 6:49   Mile 23: 6:52    Mile 24: 7:03   Mile 25: 6:59     Mile 26: 6:40    Mile 26.4: 2:12

26.4: 2:49:41. Pace 6:26 per mile

As the pack pulled away at mile 18, I tried to keep them in sight just in case I had a miraculous burst of energy. I kept pushing hard and by mile 21ish, I decided to not push so hard and to slow down to be able to enjoy the rest of the run. I did not want to finish this last qualifier hating the marathon. I finished, finally. I was so sad the last few miles but so happy that I have been given this opportunity to be able to do this. We have traveled to so many places (with Corom and sometimes my girls), met so many people, seen and experienced things that few can say they have experienced…because of running. I would be lying if I said I have no regrets, but I can honestly say that I tried! And I am no where near to being done.

I am signed up for a race in Greece in April, and then one in Montana in June and will do another in October… but right now, I just want to take a week or 2 and clear my head. It’s been quite the journey with a continuous 7-8 months of hard and intense training and racing. Chicago Marathon was the 1st weekend in October (2:50), then CIM the 1st weekend in December (2:45:28; 6:19 pace) and Houston January 19th (2:49:41; 6:26 pace). My legs are shot and my feet hurt!

So many thoughts have ran through my head these past 2 weeks. Now what? Where do I go from here? But as I just mentioned, I have 3 races lined up and I will break that 2:45 time just to show to myself that I can do it. I don’t know how to thank everyone for being so kind and for the encouraging words. I don’t think people realize how much they have helped me along this journey of mine. Everyone has helped me push beyond what I’d be capable of doing on my own. The days I didn’t believe in myself and wanted to give up, are the days I had the most support and encouraging words. I have a hard time believing in myself and many times I relied on everybody else to get me through. My heart is full to all of you. Thank you!


As I mentioned in my last post… we started off the year with the annual “Polar Plunge” in our city. I did go off on a 8 mile run before everyone met up, but my oldest and I did not jump in. 😂

Corom and his friends are always pranking each other on their birthdays. It is so annoying and hilarious all at the same time. It was Mike’s bday this month and Jeff, Travis and Corom decided to brick off Mike’s front door.

Our dog Boaz fell out of the truck and got a pretty good gash on his leg. Mike came over with all his doctor stuff. Corom, Jeff, Mike and the girls cleaned him out, numbed him and stapled the wound.

I did a podcast a week before my race: I had no clue what I was doing and what to say. Oh well… it was fun talking to Matt on Ramblingrunner.

Corom does a T.V. show for the high school every Wednesday called Corom’s Corner. The 1st Wednesday of this month he talked about change and New Year’s resolutions. He shaved half of his beard and head for the show. The 1st 2 min of the show only showed his unshaven side. He gives his spill on change, New Year’s resolutions and what not. Then the HS crew goes to a 2 min clip on a studio C skit. When the camera is back on Corom it is zoomed in on the shaved side of his face. It was pretty funny and disturbing.

I wanted him to come home right after Corom’s Corner was over to shave the rest of his face and hair before he visited other schools. He didn’t have time to come home and had to run up to one of the elementary schools. He soon found out that that day, the elementary school was celebrating halfway through the school year day. The ladies in the office thought he did that on purpose for their school. They loved it and took him around to show the classes. My oldest is in Jr. High. She actually cried that morning and begged him not to come to her school like that. Her words, “Dad, please don’t come to my school until you fix your hair and beard! My friends already think you are weird!” The sad thing is, even with tears coming down, we both laughed. Yeah… we are not the most sympathetic parents.

Our travel to Houston- Jan 16-19:

Sarah (my mother in law) and I arrived in Houston on Thursday evening (close to 5 p.m.) after 3 delays. Our 1st flight left at 5 a.m., we had a layover in Denver… which was only supposed to be 2 hours but ended up being 6 hours. It was a long day. But we did meet great people at the airport. It made the time go by fast.

Expo, movies, sleep, running and food… what more could you ask for! At the expo, I met Matt (he had me on his podcast), and talked with Jared ward for a little bit. Ok… so I’ve met Jared a few times. He lives in the city next to mine. He has talked to my distance runners a few years back. I didn’t think he would know who I was, but as there was a line of people wanting to take a picture with him, he saw me, stepped out of line, gave me a hug and talked for a short little bit. I felt like I was cool and important. 😂

We did stay with a family friend, She took us around to see the Houston flood marks. Unbelievable!! Jody showed us neighborhoods that were completely under water. It was hard to imagine. We went out to lunch and we ran into 6 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I love running into missionaries. One of the elders was actually a kid I coached for a season. it was fun to see him.


Coaching Indoor Track:

Cross Country season ended the 1st week in December and indoor track started 2 weeks after that. 😂 I really enjoy coaching indoor… it is more laidback and enjoyable.

Corom is now coaching for the high school he works at and where I coach at. We have pole vaulting in our school district (about time). He pole vaulted at a college for a couple of years. We have had a few indoor meets. I love coaching and I love it even more when my own girls come hang out at the indoor track with the high school kids.


Home Life:

Skiing/snowboarding at a school near our home:

Basketball (my kids, HS and college): My 3 younger girls are playing basketball. It is fun to watch… controlled chaos. We Lao had the opportunity to go to the men’s BYU basketball and we try to go to the HS games when we can.

Church activities, Science projects, Star awards & assemblies, 100 days at school, saving owls and more!

From → Running

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