Qualified

‘The third time was truly a charm this past weekend. It only took me a few years, but the fitness was finally exploited and something amazing happened. To be honest I should have done this a long time ago.I was able to get into Minneapolis, and hitch a ride with Megan and Jared before bad weather struck and basically cancelled a handful of flights coming into Minnesota. We got into Duluth late in the afternoon, and slugged out a good hour of running in the ”frigid” Minnesota temps. By frigid I mean 50 degrees and foggy. Anything is sub zero for me when compared to the Texas humidity and oven-like temps.

The day before the race was filled with lazy world cup watching, snacking all day, and just trying not to get to amped for the race. I was in bed by 8:45 since we had a 4 A.M. wake up call. As to be expected, I slept like crap and woke up multiple times during the night, until I finally awoke at 2:30 A.M. and never went back to sleep.

The half marathoners boarded the bus at 4:45 A.M. for the ~13 mile bus ride to the start. The bus ride was basically me eating a PowerBar, listening to Bassnectar, drinking a coffee, and going over the course in my head. I had already run the course two years in a row and remembered to take it one mile at a time. Last year was a disaster around mile 10/11, and I was praying that I wouldn’t suffer the same fate.

Warm up commenced within 5-10 minutes after getting off the bus. Blowing my ear drums out to music and jogging at 10 minute pace is the perfect warm up. Not even 45 minutes later, we were putting our bags in the van and heading to the line. The suck fest (or so I thought) was about to commence.

Gun goes off, and about 20-25 guys bunch up at the front. I was sitting off the right about 10 guys back. I hit my watch at 4:58. It wasn’t how I anticipated the first mile to be, but I wasn’t complaining. I figured the race would bust wide open over the next mile. But as the next 3 or so miles went by, the pack just thinned out, and we maintained 445’s-452’s. I felt pretty good sitting behind the leaders. Cole Atkins from Zap and Ricky Flynn from GTC Elite pretty much ruled the first 5 miles.

As we came up to the edge of the trees and into the city, I pulled up even with them, and really couldn’t imagine I would be in the front with these guys leading. I thought to myself, “well lar-tee-dar look at this. Some scrub (me) is leading the race. Looks like I”m not a scrub anymore.” Or something to that effect. Next thing I knew, the eventual winner took off like a bat out of hell to do the ole kenyan surge, gap, and maintain.

Mile 7 I had a small bad patch, took some water and recovered a tad. I slapped myself in the face a few times (literally), and got back into the game. I took it one mile at a time until I got to 10, and then I reiterated to myself that there’s only a 5K left, and you can do anything in a 5k.

Mile 11 came and went, and then as I got to mile 12, I knew something special was about to happen. As long as I didn’t blow up over the last mile I was about to do something that took years in the making.

The up and down hill came as we crossed I-35 after mile twelve, and then the tightness began. Right under the thigh, right where it hurt. I came up with .12 left, rounded the corner, and headed for home. As I was coming into the finish line I heard this voice yelling my name. Looked up in the stands, and my friend Kelly was up there pumping her fists. I threw my fists in the air and crossed the line.

I completely broke down. It took so long to do this. So many years, and so many frustrations. But I’m finally right where I need to be. I qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials in Feb. of 2016.

A lot changed on the course out there. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I want to give some serious props to my coach Derick Williamson. He”s stuck by me for years knowing the potential I have, and given me the tools/knowledge to do some great things. Patience and persistence.. it will always pay big dividends.

Big ups to my friends, family, and everyone that”s been there and supported me.

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