by Kara Goucher | Feb 04, 2011 |
I’m back in San Diego. We (Adam, Colt, Adam’s mom and I) flew in yesterday. Tomorrow I will compete in the USA Cross Country Championships. I’m looking forward to doing my first cross country race since 2007—but I’m not looking forward to getting my butt kicked!
Even if I were trying to peak for tomorrow’s race, it would be a tough one to win. The defending champion, Shalane Flanagan, is racing and she is very fit. We train in close proximity in Portland so I know. Shalane’s new training partner Lisa Koll is also racing. She’s extremely fit as well, and crazy talented. And then there’s Molly Huddle, who broke Shalane’s American record for 5000 meters last year.
It would be awesome to win against such a strong field, but my chances are slim. While my speed has been coming around in recent weeks, it’s still not back where it was before my pregnancy. And I’m not exactly tapering for this race. I ran 120 miles last week and am running 110 miles this week. I’d be lying if I told you my legs felt fresh! Boston is my goal, and the USA Cross Country Championships are just a steppingstone along the way.
Still, I love to compete and I will do my best. I’m also excited to line up with some of the amazing new American talents that came along in the short time I was away. Lisa Koll was still in college when I was last competing seriously and Molly Huddle, who’s only 25, hadn’t broken through yet. These are women I’m going to have to be able to beat eventually to achieve some of my important goals, so it’s not too soon to get some experience competing against them.
As for my training itself, it’s going well. Absorbing 120-mile weeks is not quite as easy as I had hoped it would be at this point, but I’m surviving, and it gives me a lot of confidence to know that I’ve already logged as many training miles as I did before my last Boston Marathon, and I still have more than two months to prepare. I’m really amazed by how much work my body can handle and I know it’s going to pay off.
After this race I’m looking forward to not traveling for a little while and just grinding through my toughest weeks of training in Portland. Adam continues to do most of my runs with me, pushing Colt in a baby jogger in the afternoon runs. Colt seems to enjoy it as much as we do, and he has no idea it’s not normal!