Tag: Lisa Koll
I just returned home from my second hard session with my new training group. I got killed in the workout. I am exhausted, sore, and full of hope. Earlier this week I joined my new group. I am honored and excited to have been welcomed by Jerry Schumacher to join his group of the OTC Elite. I feel so lucky to be able to train under an incredible coach and along side two of the best female runners the US has ever produced.
My decision to leave the Oregon Project was a very difficult one and a decision that I gave endless thought and consideration. I have had my best years under Alberto Salazar and after 7 years together he certainly knows me better as an athlete than anyone besides my husband. I have blossomed under him, going from an often injured nobody to a World Championship bronze medalist and Major Marathon podium finisher. To say that Alberto has helped me find myself and my career would be a massive understatement. He has forever changed my life and I feel eternal gratitude toward him.
But sometimes a situation that was perfect for you at one point in the past, is no longer the best fit for you in the present. In the past year I have realized that I need people to train with to help keep me accountable. Unfortunately my former teammate was injured quite a bit this past year, so I spent much of my time training alone or with my husband. While this worked (I did set a PR in the marathon) When I looked at myself in the mirror I knew that I could be doing more and pushing myself harder. This is where being in a group setting is necessary. If I know that Shalane Flanagan and Lisa Ulh (formerly Koll) are waiting for me to run at 8:30 in the morning, I’m going to get up and meet them because I don’t want to let them down. Instead of slogging along at a pace slower than I should be running, I’m going to run with the group and not want to hold them back.
In the end I have to hold myself accountable. It is my career and my responsibility to do what I need to do to be the best I can be. I had to make a change if I really wanted to reach the goals I had set for myself. I had to get out of my comfort zone and get into a situation that was going to really push me.
I can’t tell you how welcoming Shalane and Lisa have been to me. Instead of feeling territorial or worried that I would disrupt their great dynamic, they have supported and encouraged me. It is like being in this sisterhood where you are dedicated to getting the best out of each other. I am convinced that this is the best situation I could be in and I feel so blessed to have a great coach, group, and two women to work with me. After my first hard session with them Wednesday, where I cut out of the workout literally miles before they did, they sent me encouraging and supportive texts. It feels good to be in this group, and I believe that we are going to help each other get to special places.
Change is hard. It has been emotional, scary, and I’ve certainly had my doubts. But sometimes a reality check in the mirror tells you exactly what you already know. Sometimes you have to shake things up to get to where you want to be. I feel really lucky to have found such an amazing group of people to chase my dreams with.
Yesterday I was officially named to the U.S. Marathon Team that will compete at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in South Korea in late August and early September. I am proud and excited to have this next opportunity to represent my country at the highest level of international competition.
I know this news came as a surprise to some people, because I hadn’t said anything publically about running another marathon before the Olympic Trials next January. In fact, I still might not. It all depends on what happens in Eugene next month. I will compete in the 10,000m at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. If I’m able to qualify for the World Championships in that event, I’ll run it, and skip the marathon, passing my marathon slot to current alternate Zoila Gomez. If I don’t qualify, I’ll go ahead and run the marathon.
Making the worlds team in the 10K won’t be easy. To do it, I’ll have to finish top three in a field that will include (assuming everyone is healthy) my training partner Amy Yoder Begley, Molly Huddle, Lisa Koll, Jen Rhines, and Shalane Flanagan. If I’m at my best, I think I can do it (after all, I do have a World Championships medal in this event!), but I will have to be at my best.
The marathon will pose an interesting challenge if I run it. Late August in Korea is hot, so I will have to prepare specifically for those conditions. Also, I’ll be running three marathons in just ten months in that scenario, so I’ll need to be extra careful about doing all the little things needed to prevent injuries and avoid burnout when logging heavy mileage for months on end.
The challenge has already begun, because in my current training I need to build speed to run a great 10K next month and at the same time retain my strength and endurance in case I run the marathon after all. So I’m keeping my mileage up around 100 miles per week while also flogging myself at the track. I put on my spikes for a workout for the first time in two years last week, and I had a blast.
I love racing on the track, and I’m really looking forward to taking my best shot at qualifying for worlds in the 10K next month—and bringing home another medal in that event in August. But I feel very fortunate to know I won’t have to miss out on the World Championships completely even if I do come up short in the 10K. If I run the marathon in Korea, I will fully embrace the challenge and race to win.
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!