This morning, for the first time in a long time, I had trouble finishing my breakfast. Although I had already started to see the writing on the wall, it still hurt to sit down and meet and finally face reality. I have so much respect for Keith and Kevin Hanson, for my teammates, and for all that represents the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. They respect my dedication, my passion for the sport, and the ways in which I’ve grown for the better over the past year and a half here in Michigan. But among all the positive, one fact remains: my running did not progress. My times did not get faster. And at the end of the day, a professional group rightfully demands professional/elite times and performances, as well as steady progress. That didn’t happen, and thus, it’s time for me to start a new chapter in my life.
I move forward with absolutely, positively no regrets. I had the opportunity to pursue a dream– I ran with some amazingly talented women, including an Olympian (Des- if I end up in Vegas, I’m putting my money on you for a medal in London!), who showed me what hard work was in the form of 100+ mile weeks, in the midst helped me wake up to recognize the huge importance of fueling your body properly, and most importantly, within that whole process, helped me discover and define myself beyond running.
The past year and a half has been a roller coaster of highs and lows, but just as at the end of the day I realize I’m truly not quite at the elite level required to be a part of this group, I also realize that my whole world is not going to come crashing down–because I am no longer simply defined by the splits on my stop watch. Running will always be a part of me, and I am by no means giving up on pursuing my post-collegiate running career. But I now look forward to meeting more people, discovering other ways I can make a difference in this world, and continuing to inch my way closer to the balance that’s proven vital to the long-term success of the elites in this great sport.
I want to thank everyone I’ve met here in Michigan – so many people have influenced my life in both big ways and small, and I am so grateful to have been a part of such a wonderful group of people (many like family!). I have also enjoyed disproving (okay, defending) many people’s stereotypical negative thoughts on the Detroit area. It’s been a great place to live, work, and run.
I plan on heading to Eugene to watch the 10K of the U.S. Olympic Trials (after making it to Houston, did you really expect anything less from me? ), going on a much-needed vacation with my amazing 91 year old Grandma and my entire Mom’s side of the family to beautiful San Diego, and taking that time to think where I want to head from here. I’ll move to wherever I so choose in mid to late July.
I will gladly take any advice/suggestions on new areas of the country to move to and discover. I’d love to find a place with great running trails, a community of runners, ample grad school/job opportunities, and apartments that allow dogs . I know I’ll need a coach to keep me under wraps, too. And I also know figuring all this out will be quite a process, but part of being here has helped me come to better grips with the phrase, “good things take time.” I’m 23, I’ve made mistakes, and I know there’s plenty more in store for me. But at least, through my experience here in Michigan especially, I have been reminded life’s a journey, and you’ve just plain gotta do your best to enjoy the ride.
Thanks so much for your support. And while I may not update this blog as frequently as I used to, there is never a shortage of life updates via 140 characters over on Twitter. I will of course still be @knightrunner22 — lover of quotes, Disney, Wisconsin sports, and all things distance running & track and field.
I’m smiling because it happened. Here’s to beginning a brand new chapter…