Earning My Ticket to Rome

from Maria on Facebook

The past month has been a very busy and very productive one! I am a little behind on my blog so here’s an update:

This past weekend fresh off tying my 20k American Record in Japan just two weeks ago it was time to earn my ticket to Rome for the World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome, Italy. Two 20ks two weeks apart is in no way ideal. But luckily I have a very smart Coach, Tim Seaman, who wrote out several (ok upwards of 6!) racing plans for the second 20k. Not knowing how my legs would have recovered, not to mention my body still feeling jet lagged and exhausted from academic obligations, we had the let’s try and see and re-evaluate approach. I knew after talking to Cameron Haught that I would have someone to go out with and give the 10k American Record a shot. I also knew I had to actually complete the entire 20k for not only the record to count but for me to earn my ticket to Rome. The race went out into a brutal head wind that would only get stronger. I was fortunate to be able to walk with, and then be shielded behind, a fantastic pack of men comprised of Cameron Haught, Emmanuel Corvera, and John Cody Risch. Literally at one point in the race I apologized for not doing any work and drafting and they told be to enjoy the ride. I am very thankful to have had their help out there, you guys were amazing!

8k in I felt my stomach and had to fight one more 2k splitting 44:09 for the 10k and breaking the previous record by 8 seconds. As happy as I was I knew I still had to finish another 10k. Had my stomach felt good I might have tried to hang on as long as possible to the guys but it wasn’t in the cards that day. I strolled my last 10k in 50:37 good enough for a first female finish and a ticket to Rome for Team Championships!!!!

A LOT of people were out there cheering that day as well as many more back home who got me to this point. A huge thank you to everyone of you and sorry if I miss tagging you in this post! Thank you my best grad student buddy Veronika and her husband Lainey for clearing their schedules that weekend to hang out with us and cheer me on at the race. Glad that we got to see your new place and looking forward to being guests in your guest room one day! Huge thank you to Tish Johnson Hanna for putting on an amazing race; from the moment I landed at the airport everything was smooth because of all her hard work behind the scenes to have prepared and planned out all logistical issues. The only thing that could have made it better was no wind and that is not in the power of any race director, thanks again Tish! Thank you Dr. Duggan at Duke Chiropractic who treated me right before my flight. And thank you to Logan University Chiropractic for getting the flight out of my legs. Thank you Tish again for arranging that treatment! Thank you to Christina DeRosa for helping me with my taper/recovery last workout before the race! Thank you SEGVT for you help in crucial workouts and all the positivity! Thank you to my coach Tim who despite having a canceled flight flew to a different city and drove in. That’s dedication! Thank you to my amazing husband and water boy Joey for taking care of everything and being there to enjoy the moment and some fun with our friends. Thank you to all the officials without you we have no races and no records!

Thank you Walk USA and Long Island Track and Field it’s always an honor to represent you and all the athletes back home!

Thank you to Woman’s Sports Foundation, USATF Foundation and Picky Bars for funding and fueling that made the training to prepare for and the travel to this competition possible.

Congrats to my sister Katie who totally rocked her first 20k ever. Excited to see what the future holds for you especially with proper training!

Congrats to all the other athletes that also qualified to represent Team USA we have a very strong and young squad headed over to Rome. Congrats to the athletes who had huge break through performances and despite the conditions PB’d!

Lastly, I am extremely honored that USATF named me as Athlete of the Week!

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