This year’s trip to Spokane was my 6th time competing at Cross Country Club Nationals for the Aggies; however, this year was markedly different, with my husband and daughter traveling along as supporters. I gave birth to my daughter Madeline in early 2018, and in the subsequent months I methodically worked my way back into “fighting shape”. One day, one mile at at time. Come Fall, I debated pursuing a marathon, but being a new parent is downright HARD, and the longer grinding efforts I knew I needed to run a successful 42k weren’t materializing. So, I turned to Cross Country. Get strong, then go long became my mantra. Also, our women’s team was gaining momentum, and I wanted to be part of it; there’s something magical about the team aspect of XC, which is what hooked me on this sport in the first place. 

I’d never come away from a Cross Country season feeling fully satisfied, particularly with my performance at the Championships. By November, I found myself in surprisingly good shape, coming off of a personal best in the 5k at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot and followed a few days later with a runner-up finish at the Pacific Association XC Championships. Heading into Club Nationals, my goal was to run the race I knew I was fit to run. And I did: my race in Spokane was arguably the best Cross Country race I’ve ever run, finishing in the top 30 with over a 30 second best for the 6k distance.

If you had told me at age 21 that in 10 years I’d be running my best, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, I continued to analyze the race afterwards, wondering whether I could have got out harder, or pushed myself more in that third mile. Perhaps thoughts like these are why, over a decade later, I’m still at this running thing. Nevertheless, I am content with what I put together this season, and am taking my 26th place finish at the Championships as a sign that it is time again to pursue that daunting 26 mile distance. Many many thanks to the Aggies for keeping me going over the years, and to HOKA for their incredible support. Plow plow plow!