W. CAITLIN SMITH

DOULA, PILATES, YOGA, DANCE, ART, TRAIL RUNNING

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Olympic Marathon Trials

It’s hard not to start this blog with a list of frustrations or excuses about Saturday, but this would completely overlook how far I’ve come in the past three years as a runner and a person. My goal in 2010 was to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials. There were bumps in the process, but I qualified, made it to the start line, and participated. That’s saying a lot, especially when in 2008 I could barely sign-up for low-key trail races without dying of anxiety while wearing cotton shorts and constantly questioning my abilities to be competitive.

There is no doubt that I hoped to feel better while racing the trials. I tried to hang on for all it was worth. I ignored the cramping in my legs for 18 miles, distracting myself with positive thoughts and determination. Approaching mile 16, I realized there are times where one is better off listening to their body and this was one of those times. I knew I would be disappointed, but I would also be more pissed with myself if I struggled through the pain and ended up hurt (like I had in 2010 at TRR).

In the past couple years, I would run through everything in a race regardless, but 34 miles on a hip stress fracture made me realize there are times when stopping is a better result. So, as soon as I saw my dad at mile 18, I pulled aside. There were some tears and lots of thoughts (was it the massage the night before? or all those hiccups in my training over the past few months? or the cold that just started to clear up after three weeks?). I could make myself crazy with too much thinking, so instead I decided to let it go, drink some wine, spend a wonderful time with family, and think about all I have to be grateful for. Plain and simple, I reached my goal of making it to that start line. I got to partake in something that I never expected to be a part of. I wore bun huggers for the first time (an accomplishment in itself). And, I have many more miles, ups and downs, and adventures ahead of me. So now it’s time to rest and get eager for all that’s ahead.
(Taken literally seconds before I pulled out.)

10 comments:

Sarah said...

Good job on your "glass half full" outlook, Caitlin - and a BIG congrats on making it to the starting line!

Larissa said...

Thanks for sharing Caitlin! Getting to that start line in and of itself is incredible. You are an amazing athlete and knowing when to listen to your body and make the hard decisions just shows how much more of an athlete you really are.

bjs said...

Couldn't be prouder...so glad to have experienced this with you.

E-Speed said...

girl you were rocking those huggers. and you are a phenomenal woman and athlete. this change doesn't change that at all. sending you speedy recovery vibes and a big hug! sure you will be rocking some sweet races in 2012!

Scott Dunlap said...

I still think it's really amazing. My $10 says it won't be your last Olympic Trials...

Suzanne Halekas said...

Congratulations on getting there, and being smart once you were in it! Take care of yourself and get healthy! (And you look fantastic in your bun-huggers!)

Run 100 Miles said...

Interesting perspective. I, too, am chasing a competitive vibe, only with less talent. {wink} but, what I really wanted to comment on was the creative imagery that you use as a header for your blog. Unique and nice. Now get back to training and turn mo' heads. Rock on...

adventurerun said...

Good job. DNF'ing is harder than finishing. But not that big of deal compared with the bun huggers.

Anonymous said...

'The girl in the red shorts' ---> 'The girl in the red buns'...pretty sweet transition.

Take your watch off for awhile and do what you do best, lots of rain just ahead.

Eugenia said...

awesome accomplishment!