2019 Race Recap

This has been a crazy busy year! I think I have raced more than ever before, definitely more than any time in the last decade. I’ve tackled four 50km races (only finishing three), three 20Ks, two 12Ks, and one 10K. These races have been some of the most fun as well as most challenging moments of my year. This one post can’t do them all justice, but I will try and summarize the highlights that I have been wanting to share.

US 50km Nationals – 26 January, Santee, CA – 5:00:04

This was my second time ever doing a 50k, two years after my first attempt. Training had been rough with rehabbing my hamstring injury, but I still managed to get in a lot of volume and I was overall pleased with my preparations. My husband and my 11-month-old daughter got to travel with me, and it was so fun having them there to support me! I had a great start to the race, but I really struggled in the second half. It was frustrating because I had done several 40-42 km training walks that had gone so much better and I still don’t entirely understand what went wrong during the race. But I did finish second and ended up on the podium, I was pretty excited because I did not expect to be there!

Celebrating with Mirabelle and Lydia McGranahan

Pan Am Race Walk Cup – 21 April, Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico – 4:41:12

My effort in Santee qualified me for my first international team in 9 years! I was so excited to be racing for my country again. The whole trip was so fun, it was like a vacation leaving all of my kids for the first time, and I got to have my coach there for my race. The weather was not ideal, quite hot on a course without shade, but I managed to better my time from Santee by almost 20 minutes, finishing 6th overall! I was thrilled with that performance, and I know I gave it everything I had during that race.

With my teammates Lydia McGranahan and Katie Burnett after finishing at the Pan Am Cup

National Invitational 50,000m Race Walk Championships – 13 July, San Diego, CA – DNF

This was an amazing race! 50km on a track, fantastic weather, the perfect chance to qualify for the world championships. That was my goal. I needed to better my time in Mexico by just over 11 minutes, totally doable now that I had gotten in some solid weeks of training, was injury-free, and didn’t have to battle the heat that we had in Mexico. But sadly it didn’t happen. I started the race feeling so good, but I hadn’t had enough to eat before or during the race and I ran out of fuel. My blood sugar dropped and I got shaky and lightheaded. I was just slightly off-pace at 36 km but I was getting slower instead of faster and my coach pulled me out of the race to save me for the Pan Am Games that was coming up in just four weeks. The only finisher that night, Katie Burnett, qualified for world champs by a number of seconds, it was so exciting to watch!

On the start line in San Diego, photo credit to Marc Mundell

Pan Am Games – 11 August, Lima, Peru – 4:50:31

It was a rough few weeks between San Diego and Lima. I went out to Des Moines and raced a 10k at the US Outdoor Nationals at the end of July to get myself back in the game, it went okay but not as well as I would have liked. I struggled mentally and physically to get myself ready to race in Lima. My hamstrings were acting up again and I had a glute injury to add to it, training was going poorly, and I felt far from ready to handle the stress of a 50k. Once I got there though I was so glad that I had made the trip, being part of the games team was an unbelievable experience. The race was a struggle for me, my mind and body did not cooperate, and my success was making it to the finish line. I learned a lot through this experience and it is growing me into a stronger person and a stronger athlete.

Pan Am Games, photo credit to Robyn Stevens

Around Taihu International Race Walking Challenge – 20-22 October, Suzhou, China – 1:43:35 20 km – 1:05:25 12+ km – 1:01:52 12 km

This was my third race of the year where I was dealing with an injury just weeks before. This time it was a glute strain, not the hamstrings, that caused me to miss a week of training less than a month out. I felt very unprepared to race, but my coach told me I could go and just have fun, and it seemed like a good way to mentally get back into racing again. It was a competition like no other, three races in three days. None of them turned out amazing, but given my preparation going in I felt like it was a decent result. But for the most part it got me out racing, and more importantly enjoying racing, after a rough few months. I got to meet a lot of great athletes, and despite feeling so unworthy of being there it turned out to be a really fun trip.

With my teammates Katie Burnett (USA) and Christina Papadopoulou (GRC) in China after the last day of racing

Thank you all for making this last year possible. I have had unbelievable support along the way and I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have had and the people I have gotten to share them with. I am looking forward to my 2020 season, so far training is going well and I am excited for what God has planned for me for this next year!

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