Since life doesn't stop running for me, why should I stop running for life. Running, more running, and even more running with a bit of something called life thrown in. I love to run & everything track. I'm a middle distance runner turned hurdler who craves a bit of speed every so often. I finally found my way back competing in 2007 after being on a 7 year hiatus.
Surprises in my experience are either really really good or really really suck. The former is always welcome. My last case of surprise came at first as not so welcomed but ended up turning to splendid.
After a pretty rough week of an emotional roller coaster from the Boston dealings, a fellow teammate/friend and I decided to have a Friday girls night in, wallowing in cupcakes, banana bread and beer. Then randomly at 930p my text message goes off, I ignored since we were mid chat. About 30 min later checked my phone to see what the text was, it was from my coach. This was the dialog
Coach: Penn Relay 4x400
Me: Um do you need me? Hadn't planned on running it
End text convo.
Yes I was surprised, then got a little excited, then a little annoyed (because it was last minute) then a excited again (because I thought wow my coach has faith that I can hang with the uber fast girls) then annoyed again (because it changed my racing plans from doing an open meet and racing hurdles).
The next couple days were on the verge of frustration. How was I getting to Philly? When was I going to be able to race hurdles again? Then finding out there were 2 teams and I was on the "B" Team. Though not an ounce of offense to the other relay mates on that team, I didn't want to forgo an open race to race a relay with the slower of the teams. I know that sounds rude and selfish but in my defense I only have so many opportunities to race hurdles. I eventually snapped out of my grumbling because I know that Penn Relays is supposed to be fun. I had even tried to scheme racing the relay on Friday then sauntering to NJ on Saturday to fulfill my original race plans (last min squashed those plans when I realized it wouldn't have been in my best interest to do that).
Pouty mood still a little in effect I hopped on the afternoon bus to Philadelphia, thankfully I had one of my prior training mates and good friend there to disperse my not so pleasantness. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and perfect running weather. We got in a little after 2p, she was set to run in the 4x100 at 5:20p and then both of us in the 4x4 at 7pm, her on the "A" team, me on the "B". After we got to Franklin Field we found our coach to get passes and run down on relays. At that point the first team was down a leg, coach shuffled 1 of the other girls off the second team on to the first, I was lead leg of the second team. Not going to lie I kinda sulked over that for a second because I had hoped that I might be moved up, but I accepted his decision. A little bit afterward he pulled me aside and asked what I thought I could run (since I haven't run an open 400 outdoors yet). I told him wholeheartedly believed I could run a sub 60. He said it was between me and another girl as to who he wanted to put on the A team because we were about the same time wise and he wanted to run the fastest team possible for that team. As much as I wanted to scream pick me put me on that team, I told him my peace of confidence in myself and said that it was his choice and whatever he thought was the right choice I would accept it and run as fast as I could on whichever team I was on. I was very proud of my non meltdown and acceptance during that conversation.
Then around 5pm when my coach came by with our relay bibs, he handed them to me said "A" 3rd leg. Say what?! Woah, wasn't expecting that. I looked at him and said "Really, are you sure?", with my heart and stomach doing back flips from the excitement/over joy and then nerves because I knew a lot was riding on my performance now. He nodded and said yes. Surprise. Yes another surprise indeed.
At 6pm I set forth on my warmup, then at 20 min til we made our way to the paddock area. Apparently that was late and we were rushed in as they had last called our event. Oops! There were supposed to be 6 teams in the Women's Olympic Development 4x400, to our surprise (yep surprises all around this meet) there was only 1 other team in the holding cube with us, other than the 2nd team. Huh interesting. With the team in there (a team not so known to be sprinters), there really was very little way the "A" Team couldn't win (minus a DQ). We kept waiting to see if the crazy even super faster teams were going to join us in the paddock but it never happened. Then it was go time. Our first girl got out blazing, then 2nd leg, then I lined up to grab the baton for the 3rd leg. I have only once ran at Penn, it was 6 years ago and it was in a 4x100, I knew the track was weird but I didn't really know how weird until I stepped on to run a 400. I got out was running completely by myself, no one was ahead, and the next girl was about 6-10 seconds behind me. I don't really remember much of my leg other than thinking I was at the 200m mark and telling myself to turnover when I was actually at the 270m (weird track). Then passed the baton to the anchor girl and wobbled towards my other teammates on the infield. After our anchor girl finished they ushered us quickly over to the podium stand, gave us each the infamous gold Penn Relays watch the winners are presented with, then had our picture taken. It was all kind of surreal. I never in my years thought I'd have a Penn watch, granted it was by fluke, but still hours before I wasn't on that team. I ended up running a 60 flat which wasn't my goal but still a PB for me and I walked away from a winners stand. I'm not sure what the other girl that was in the toss up cusp ran, I believe it was about the same as me, I can only hope that I ran well enough that my coach's decision was made valid. In the end it turned to be a great surprise and one I won't likely forget.