The Surreal 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials
Inspired, motivated, captivated, excited, proud, empathetic, and ELECTRIC are words I would use to describe how I felt experiencing the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. When I started thinking about moving to LA to hide out the NYC winter, it was the fact that the trials were being held in LA that put the plan in motion. You can't open Runner's World or Women's Running Magazine without seeing running legends like Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Meb (no last name needed, he's basically Beyonce), or Sara Hall and that's just the tip of the ice berg. It's an exciting time for the US marathon and getting to see the people I read about almost every single day in an event with such high stakes was unforgettable.
Where we were standing, we got to see the athletes zoom past us and then again when they were headed back out. We made friends with the people around us and had the perfect spectating neighbors. We got to cheer with a Mother for her daughter who was running and we got updates from the two guys behind us who were analyzing the race via live feeds. So even when we couldn't see the runners, we were in on the action. I think that was my favorite part of the race, getting to interact with the people around us.
Experiencing the trials was surreal. Of all the incredible runners, Kara Goucher was someone I was really, really excited to see. This is a woman who stuck to her guns and really acted as a trail blazer for women in the running community. I love following her on social media because she feels real and vulnerable. Sure she came in fourth place in the trials which couldn't have been easy but she has won in my book.
And that's not to discredit any of the women who ran in the trials. Watching Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg run together, strong and effortlessly is nothing short of motivating. They are proof that we are so much stronger together than we are alone. What was interesting was getting to listen to the two guys behind us talk about how Amy was struggling and Shalane was helping her through it. Then we'd see them run by and see it first hand for ourselves. Then in the end when Shalane was fighting and Amy had run on, getting to witness that, that was enough to remind me that we're capable of so much more than what we think we are. The fight Shalane put up, it was really insane. (And both Shalane and Amy are Nike athletes EMBODYING what it means to run as a team. Truly stunning.) And DESI! CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT DESI! I mean my God, what a woman! Watching her run, slowly getting more and more powerful, it is something I will keep with me for the rest of my life. Every single person out there ran with purpose. It didn't matter whether you were in the back of the pack or the front, they were all so amazing to watch.
The men were groovy too but the women, holy smokes. It was an incredible event to witness firsthand. I'm normally not someone who finds sporting events very exciting. I mean, don't get me wrong, put me in any sporting event and I'll figure out how to have a good time but I don't go to "watch the game". There's something about the marathon though. The grit, the determination, the drive, the hope and the strength, it lives in it's own world.
It was Kathrine Switzer who said it best, "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."