2024 outdoor season: part one recap

‘Just keep swimming, just keeping swimming’

I can’t believe we’re almost at the end of another month. Didn’t May just arrive? Time seems to be flying by this season – it could be the busyness of life, the pressure of the quickly approaching Olympic trials or some combination of the two.

The first track races of the season definitely did not go to plan, but what would be the fun in knocking it out of the park in the first few trips out? 😉 Here are “brief” recaps of each 5,000m attempt.

April 26 – Payton Jordan

We went in with a plan to stay controlled and “comfortable” through 2k and then progress as the race went on. The group made a surge at 1600m, but I held back to stick with the plan and honestly, I was a bit hesitant to start progressing that early. Fortunately, a second chase back formed that I could work with to stay focused and engaged.

I am happy with the 3rd km and thought that my 4th k was decent until I saw the km splits (3:10, 3:08, 3:10, 3:15, 3:06). We wanted to really focus on staying tough, digging deep and building through that penultimate km and it felt like I was (I took a few quick steps to get around people and picked up cadence, worked through the field, stayed engaged) but turns out I fell off a bit. The 4th km felt the hardest, but my perception is that I kept driving forward and I was surprised by my strength in the last km. This was the first track 5k I’ve done that I felt like I had another gear. Instead of hanging on from the third k, I felt somewhat in control in the latter part of the race and was able to close decently.

According to my training, 3:08/km should have been easy breezy. But the track is tough, and I need to get used to having constant feedback on pace without it impacting my race. The goal for this season opener was to not think about or pay much attention to pace and instead tune into my body and go by feel. I did that and it’s one of the best 5,000s I’ve felt heading in mentally, which is a win, especially when the race didn’t start until 9:07pm. There’s a ton of time to think, ruminate and doubt myself!

My final time was 15:52.31 and I was 20 seconds faster than last year at this meet.

May 11 – Sound Running Track Fest

Another solid race effort in LA, another 15:50 (15:50.42 to be exact). I was not jazzed about the time, but really happy and proud of how I raced. I stuck with the group through 3,900m and then the wheels fell off. I stuck with the front pack for as long as I could but when the group put in another surge, I just physically could not respond. I was willing my legs to go faster, and they felt like lead blocks. Since the pace setter was a slow through 3,000m, when I slowed down, instead of running 75”, 76” for 400m, it was 77”, 78”, 79”! There goes 10+ seconds. I went into this race with a good mindset and feeling confident, I just haven’t able to put together a solid full race effort yet.

May 17 – LA Distance Classic

We got word that I was accepted into this meet a week and half before race day. It was exciting to be given the opportunity to race in another strong field but also a bit stressful logistically, booking flights and accommodations and figuring out transit routes with little lead time. Booking things late also made everything even more expensive … But I was in, and we were going to make the most of this experience! But as soon as I landed in LAX the day prior to the race, I was immediately home sick for some reason and wanted to turn the plane around and head back to Victoria. Alas, I made this commitment and needed to follow through. I had already made it this far! I took solace in knowing that I had the full next day to get my head right.

Surprise! I didn’t sleep much that night and I woke up on race day feeling groggy and unmotivated – not exactly how you want to feel while mere hours away from taking another crack at a fast 5,000m! Fortunately, I have experience in dealing with unideal mental states before races and had cues at the ready as well as have amazing support in Hilary and Cody. By the time I needed to start warm up, I was 100% committed to racing without fear and simply trying. Today I was going to be curious, take risks and see what happened.

The splits are pretty telling – 3:04, 3:06, 3:08, 3:10, 3:21(OUCH. I went out hard and blew up.) But they don’t tell the entire story.

I felt smooth and calm through 3k. The discomfort started at seven laps to go but I still felt in control. I was hurting through 4k and by a mile left I was writhing in pain to get to that finish line and honestly was a bit uncertain I’d get there (and with an 85″ penultimate lap, it took awhile!!!). But somehow, I still managed to run under 16 minutes and snag another 15:52.96. All 5ks are painful but this one takes the cake! However, it showed me I can grit it out no matter how much lactic acid fills my body and nearly renders me to a crawl.

I’ve had some intrusive thoughts like, was it foolish to go straight to the front? Should I have put myself behind people who have run even paces? What if I’d opened in 3:08 instead? As if I spent all that money to run another 15:5X time. But upon reflection, I’m proud that I went for it, I stuck my nose in it and hung on as long as I could. There are zero doubts if I could have gone faster because I know I left everything I had on the track. I made it deeper into the race this time before tying up. I ran without fear and truly tested my limits!

Looking ahead

Overall, this isn’t where I wanted or expected to be three races in following all the work we’ve put in and that elicits frustration. But I’ve been in the sport long enough now to know that it takes me awhile to absorb the work and have it shine through on race day.

Some days I wonder what the heck I’m doing and question the sacrifices or things put on hold. But it doesn’t take me long to circle back to the fact that we’re still building towards a breakthrough, and I must be patient! I must be where my feet are and stay the course.

I have a couple weeks of training back in Victoria before a few more races leading into Olympic Trials at the end of June. Time to keep building on race fitness and sharpness, time to conquer the 5k!!



Leave a Reply

Why “Oats & Grit,” you may ask?

Oats and Grit are two fundamental ingredients that fuel endurance athletes in high performance sport.

This platform is a safe space where athletes can read about topics relevant to chasing dreams, overcoming adversity, calling on resilience and pushing their limits. 

Sign up to receive weekly tasteful newsletters to read about all things athlete, agriculture and Authentically CommuniKate.

[ctct form="339" show_title="false"]