Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This past weekend was the National Club XC Championships, a race our team has looked forward to all season. Instead of the celebration we had planned, we suffered the most significant loss. On Saturday, December 8th, while walking across the street, our teammate Lauren Woodall Roady was hit by a car and killed. She was just 27 years old and recently married.

When we gathered after hearing the news, our team was in shock. How could this happen to someone so young, so full of promise, so kind, so careful? It didn’t seem real. It cannot be rationalized.

We stayed up that night sharing all the reasons we love Lauren. There were a lot of reasons, but no one was keen to sleep. Much was said about how driven she was. Since joining our team last spring, she has annihilated all of her PRs (she was going to crush her marathon PR in January) due to her incredible work ethic. She was the most disciplined runner I've ever known. During workouts, she always set the pace a little too fast, mostly because she didn’t know her own talent and didn’t realize the paces she was running with ease were faster than the rest of us had planned on. On Saturday, in her last race, she gave her absolute all, collapsing at the line. She was an inspiration.

Off the track, she was always positive, warm, and filled with endless energy. Besides having a full schedule as a lawyer, high mileage runner, and gym rat, she found time to make delicious homemade treats: cookies, muffins, strawberry jam. (“Strawberry jam is easy to make! You just start by picking 30 pounds of fresh strawberries...”) She had motherly qualities: an eagerness to help, a kind heart, and a knack for being prepared for anything. When someone mentioned being hungry before Saturday’s race, she whipped out a loaf of bread, a packet of peanut butter, a jar of jam, and a knife from her race day bag. She was a wonderful teammate. 

The next day, our team somberly took the bus back to DC. I wouldn't wish a ten hour bus ride on anyone grieving, but I was glad to be with my teammates who knew Lauren and understood what a loss this was. 

Despite the many discussions and tributes to her life, I am still in shock and cannot believe this is real. When I think of those most affected, her parents, her new husband, I am inconsolable. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. For my own part, I feel blessed and thankful I was able to know her and run with her for those few months. She will live on in all our hearts, and remain an inspiration to us always.

Our team after Saturday's race. Lauren is furthest left.
Lauren, we love you and miss you. You will forever be our teammate and our inspiration.

Dream as big as Lauren did,

Thursday, December 6, 2012


It’s official. USATF set the time standard for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. The time I’ve openly declared I would beat so that I can run in those trials. The time I’ve been wondering about since realizing I wouldn’t make it to the last Trials. The time I promised I’d get, without knowing what it was.

There are two types of standards, the A and B. The A standard is faster and gets you an all expenses paid trip to the Trials. You are invited to run if you meet the B standard, but to get to the Olympics, you have to run the A at some point. (Likely in the Trials, because you’ll also have to come in the top 3 against the A qualifiers.) In 2008, the B standard for women was a 2:47 (the A was 2:39.) For 2012, that dropped to a 2:46 (with the A still a 2:39). Okay, that seems fair. More and more people are qualifying, let’s raise the bar slightly. However, on the men’s side, they abolished the B standard entirely, and in 2012, they only invited men with a faster, A standard time.

My fear for 2016 was that the B standard would be dropped, just like it had for the men. There was no telling what they would do, but all I could do was wait and see. I had told everyone who would listen I’d go after it, no matter what the standard was. How difficult that would be lay in the hands of USATF.

I had no clue when they would decide. Completely unexpectedly, my teammate B broke the news at practice last week that the decision had been made. 2:43. I breathed a massive sigh of relief. It could be worse! It could be so much worse. My teammates didn’t share my enthusiasm. D did some quick math and figured out that was a 6:13 pace. Yea, okay, that’s pretty freaking fast. Still, I was almost giddy. It could have been only the A standard (now a 2:37, aka 5:59 pace.) And I’ll take any extra six minutes I can get. (In other news, they gave the men back their B standard.)

Obviously, I realize cutting ten minutes off my time won’t be a piece of cake. But qualifying for the Trials was never going to be a cakewalk to begin with. Ten minutes to cut is easier than 16 (or whatever other crazy standard they could have come up with.) Best of all, now I can stop worrying about it. And just get after it.

But that’s months/years away. (Although the training for Boston begins in a few short weeks (yippee!), the qualification window doesn’t open until August.) First up for the GRC team (aka future Trials qualifiers) is the National Club Cross Country Championship in Kentucky this weekend. My love affair with running started on the cross country course in high school, and I'm excited to run my first XC race in ten years. We’ve been prepping all season and we’re ready to roll!

Clubs, clubs, clubs!
We're ready for the Club(s) in our sharp new clothes and sweet shoes.
Look out Kentucky.
(... And later: Trials, trials, trials!)

Dream big (like 2:43 big),