The Footlocker Cross Country Championships race was Saturday morning. I watched the coverage of the girl's 5k. It was great to see Jordyn Colter run well. I hope that whatever plagued her earlier in the season is behind her. Of course I worry, but it would be nice to see her have a long, successful and HEALTHY career.
Wow, things have changed since I ran it and not just the name! It's like watching a mini Olympics. There are interviews, events and the whole thing is filmed and broadcast live online. It makes me realize that runners are definitely under the microscope more these days. I'm glad things like LetsRun wasn't around in the '80s. I don't think I would have handled the commentary well given how sensitive I was back then. The Footlocker race seems so BIG now. When I ran and it was still the Kinney Cross Country Championships, I didn't realize what I was getting into, partly because I was the first girl from Colorado to ever qualify for the event. I knew it was a national race, but I didn't get just how good some of the other runners were. Quite a few of the girls I ran with both my junior and senior year went on to have very successful careers; some even made it to the Olympics. Suzy Favor Hamilton was one of those girls.
In my book, I mention how Suzy and I met at the Kinney regional meet and kept in touch throughout high school and after. We are still in touch today.
|Lize after winning the regional cross-country race. Suzy Favor (Hamilton) was injured that year. .|
|Jogging to the start line of Nationals|
My next attempt to run fast on the course at Balboa Park landed me in 7th place. It was an improvement, but I was slightly disappointed since I had set a course record on nearly every cross-country course, road and mountain race I had run leading into nationals and was coming off an impressive 35:15 10K a few weeks earlier. What people didn't know was that my real accomplishment that day was not running related; it was my success in avoiding any purging before the race, something I had done before winning the regional race. Though I was diagnosed with anorexia, I did have bouts of bulimia my senior year of high school and in college when I was struggling with the eating disorder. Crossing the line further back than I wanted left me with mixed emotions. Despite knowing my sport was really mountain running, I had dreams of being in the top three at the Kinney race. It just didn't happen. I didn't have the turnover and leg speed that the other girls did.
As much as I liked cross country, road racing and even the track, mountain running was more my thing. I'm not sure why mountain runners are always called crazy. Really, is running up a mountain any less sane than sprinting 400s on the track or pounding out repeat intervals on the roads? Is running on the dirt any more bizarre than spending three hours painting or practicing the piano? Crazy or not, I have always felt more at home trotting on the trails. Mostly I love hill climbs, anything with a super long grind to the top. Even though I've got that tight butt thing going on these days that limits my stride, I'm still all about the hills. In fact, now that my gait is wobbly and uneven, going up in the hills is better for me. There's less pounding on my aching body. I suppose I'm a mountain runner at heart, even when I can no longer go the distance and have slowed down tremendously.