Well it has been a long time since I even thought about blogging. I went through my blogs from 2009 and it was shocking to say the least how much has changed in my life. It was bewildering to think that when I started that blog I was married, nowhere near an athlete, completely happy living in La Grande and no idea of what was about to change in my life. Three years later I am divorced, 7 time All-American, National Champion and 2 time National Champion runner-up, living in Portland. Things are different and I decided to do a blog on the last few years to update people that may be interested. It has been a whirlwind ride and not limited in drama or unexpected turns; I created a good ride for myself as I always do. So much has been learned and I don’t look over my shoulder without a big sigh of relief things are going in the direction they are now. So where to start? I decided to do recap of my life after leaving Denver because it seems as though my most pivotal moments have been since I decided to try something completely new and move to a city I had no connections in, Portland, Oregon.
In 2005 I made one of the hardest decisions in my life, leaving a person I loved dearly and starting a life that included following dreams of my own. I had spent a year in a really rough spot romantically and geographically due to being 1,000 miles from home, living in Golden, CO. I left Golden with tools that brought me exactly where I needed to be, for that, I will be eternally grateful for those people in my life. When I arrived in Portland I literally didn’t have a place to live and I crashed on a friend’s couch for a month until I figured out what I would do. I found an apartment in Vancouver, WA that was much cheaper than any place near my massage school….for a reason I might add.
After only a few short weeks, or perhaps a month I met Nathan Coffey. I can remember seeing him a couple of times at the 24 hour fitness I went to before I moved to Vancouver. He finally approached me after one of my workouts and tried talking to me while I was intently working out. He clearly did not know me. I finally took out ONE headphone and asked him, “What was that?” He said, “You missed a spot.” Thinking he was referencing my obnoxious tan line I said, “Oh I’m a cyclist….” To this day we haven’t decided what he was referencing because it wasn’t about my tan line, as he was an elite cyclist and knew that tan line. We started dating that October and by February we were living together. On June 30, 2005 I found I was pregnant moments before we were planning on going for a nice long ride in the mountains. Our worlds were changed in an instant and so were all of our life goals. I know now that I didn’t have to change my goals, dreams or aspirations, but perhaps just modify them. We ended up taking a long road that didn’t always involve the smartest decisions, but we’re where we are now and it is turning out just fine.
Moments after he was born.
After Eliott was born in February of 2007 we moved back to La Grande to be close to family and raise him in a more rural area. We bought a house, got a dog and started living “the” life. Funny somehow we lost each other in it all and our path started forking and we each chose our own bumpy road. After three years in La Grande Nathan and I separated and he moved back to Portland while Eliott and I stayed in La Grande. One of the roads I went down in La Grande was going back to school and as a result when he left for Portland I had obligations in La Grande that required I stay there for at least two more years. After returning back to school I was told that due to my athleticism I should contact the cross country/track and field coach, Ben Welch. So I did and it was an adventure I never expected to go on that would fulfill so much in my life. I was always an athlete or active but this love of running was something I can’t even begin to explain. It’s a true relationship with ups and downs and Ben Welch introduced it with confidence and hope for a great future.
First cross race 2009.
Stepping on the starting line of my first cross race I had no idea what was in front of me. I treated it like any other race I had watched or been a part of on the bike. With no experience as a runner I started my first season with a 17:58 5k and felt very proud of that accomplishment. I was laying the foundation for great things to come and building relationships with teammates and people that would forever change me. Here are the stats of my first season at Eastern Oregon University:
NNU 4k: 14:39 (3rd)
Pre-Conference 5k: 17:58 (2nd)
Willamette 5k: 17:58 (16th)
Conference 5k: 18:00 (2nd)
Nationals 5k: 18:27 (12th)
Indoor Track and Field
University of Idaho 3k: 10:32 (2nd)
Outdoor Track and Field
Home Meet 3k: 10:30 (3rd)
SF State Invitational 10k: 37:28 (6th)
WAOR 5k: 17:47 (4th)
Oregon Relays 10k: 36:04 (6th)
Conference 5k: 2nd can’t find time
Nationals 10k: 36:44 (6th)
So for the first year of running, being a two time All-American was a huge success. The next year was probably the hardest year of my life considering I was trying to figure out my personal life, school, being a single mom, and running. I struggled quite often and I’m sure there were plenty of skeptics out there making harsh judgments of my life. I feel like I took everything in stride and did the things I could with what I had. I spend most of my summer working and training with Doug Benson and making huge investments into my life of running, but always feeling like I was falling short somewhere. Turns out that was a legitimate feeling and after a year of battling anemia, weight loss and fatigue I found out that I had Celiac Disease. By definition: A disease in which chronic failure to digest food is triggered by hypersensitivity of the small intestine to gluten. I began to switch my diet and get I.V. iron infusions and the next season brought forward great rewards. That year of my life I was lucky to have someone like Doug in my life because as hard as those months were on both my marriage and my relationship with him I grew so much from the battles we all faced together. My son was by my side the entire time and formed an intense bond to Doug as someone he could rely on and that is something beyond valuable for Eliott. No one would ever love Eliott like his Dad does but Doug was a figure in Eliott’s life that kept his eyes shining bright despite what was going on with his mama and daddy.
So what did my 2009-2010 cross country and track and field seasons look like? Well here are the stats!
NNU 4k: 13:58 (1st)
Pre-Conference 5k: 19:01 (1st)
Willamette 5k: 17:37 (4th)
C of I 5k: 17:38 (1st)
Conference 5k: 18:34 (1st)
Nationals 5k: 17:46 (2nd)
Indoor Track and Field
BSU 3k: 10:11 (1st)
Nationals 3k Prelims: 10:17 (4th)
Nationals 3k Final: 9:55 (1st)
Outdoor Track and Field
Willamette 10k: 35:07 (1st)
Oregon Relays 5k: 17:00
Conference 5K: 17:00 (2nd)
Nationals 10K: 35:02 (2nd)
Nationals 5k prelims: 17:21 (3rd)
Nationals 5k finals: 17:14 (4th)
2011 3000 meter NAIA Indoor National Champion
My real challenges came with running the following year, which was this past year. I had one of the best summers of training, getting my running mileage up to mid-70s which was great for me as a Celiac. However, my body really didn’t respond well come fall. I was out my most eagerly awaited season for 6 weeks with a hip injury I couldn’t get on top of. I was a favorite going into Cross Country Nationals and I simply didn’t have what it took to fulfill my goal of winning Cross Nats. Here’s an article that was published right before Nationals: http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/nov/19/long-road-to-favorite-status-at--naia-nationals/. With an injury that left me on the bike for the majority of my season it just didn’t turn out well for me. Here are the stats:
NNU 4k: 14:59 (3rd)
Willamette 5k: 17:42 (5th)
Conference 5k: 18:?? (1st)
Beaver Classic 6k: 21:29 (3rd)
Nationals 5k: 17:42 (3rd)
Indoor Track and Field
UW 3k: 10:07
Nationals 3k: 10:05 (4th)
Ending my collegiate running at Eastern Oregon was a very difficult decision but after a hard year training alone and watching my results plummet, I knew it was time to leave. I have spent the later winter months until now changing my training drastically and focusing on the goals I’ve always wanted to attain and now more than ever they are within reach. With much contemplation and consideration I felt it was in my best interest to finish my under grad and look into a master’s program that would allow me to finish out my eligibility in the NAIA. I competed out of uniform this spring on my own a few times and I will continue to do so in cross and indoor this coming year. Spring of next year I will be in uniform at Concordia University Portland and I am freaking excited!! Randy Dalzell has been incredibly helpful in developing me as the athlete I’ve always wanted to be. This year I have taken 16 seconds off of my 1500 meter time, 3 seconds off of my 800, 3 seconds off of my 3k, 20 seconds off of my 5k and 23 seconds off my two mile!! It’s so exciting to see goals that weren’t ever reachable being reached.
Here are the stats from my out of uniform season:
Oregon Relays: 17:25 (ouch!)
Pacific: 4:43 for 1500 meter
Miler’s club: 4:43 for 1500 meter
Portland Track Festival: 16:40 for 5k
I raced very little this season and focused on some development I didn’t have before now. The road will continue and I can’t wait to approach my next season in Uniform with an outstanding team!
Outside of running being a huge part of my life, I have been overwhelmed with adoration for the little person on this journey with me. My son has been the most resilient, witty and remarkable person to have around. Through many battles, because there have been battles, he has always just stayed vibrant and ready to take it on with me. He is five years old now and he has just grow so much and always kept me on my toes. I love living in Portland, working as a massage therapist, barista at Starbucks, but most of all being a mom to this special person. He is what keeps me grounded and remembering at all times what really matters….and guess what? He is what matters at the end of every single one of my days. Sir Eliott, El-Roy, El Man, Monster Man, Boozers, etc…..you little man are the light in my world.
Always there with Mama.
Eliott being himself.
Telling us how we should have raced.