We absolutely love featuring guest blogs written by our RADrabbitPROs and this is especially true for our newest blog written by our newest PRO Rachel Sorna. She gets it, she gets us, and it warmed our hearts. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
“Good things come to those who wait.”
The following are snippets from actual email correspondence I had with the recruiting coordinator at a professional running group the summer after my senior year.
Recruiter: “Hello my name is _____ and I am the recruiting coordinator at _____. We have a professional running group here called _____. We are interested in talking with you about running post collegiately.”
Recruiter: “…our club provides room, board, physio, domestic travel, and we have no shoe sponsor so our athletes are encouraged/allowed to secure any sponsorship they can!”
*I expressed to them that, while I was absolutely flattered, it was very important to me that I be able to get a job in engineering and begin my career while still training*
Recruiter: “My offer for you would be to consider putting ‘work life’ on hold for what sounds like 16 months to concentrate on making the Olympic team (June, 2016).”
My first reaction to the professional running offer above over was, naturally, to be pretty excited. When someone mentions you and the Olympics in the same sentence, it’s hard not to get excited. That anyone thought enough of my accomplishments to think me worthy of such an opportunity was absolutely flattering. Even though I was already set to complete my masters of mechanical engineering that fall at Cornell, there was still a part of me that gave the offer a fair amount of consideration.
But over the next few days, as the initial giddiness of feeling wanted and important and validated finally wore off, I was left with an oddly bitter taste in my mouth.
Although their offer came with a lot of cool and exciting things, it also came with a condition: no engineering. If I choose to join their group and chase my dream of being an elite distance runner, I would have to give up my dream of beginning to build my engineering career. The fact that they nonchalantly asked me to put something I had been working towards for four long years on hold, something that was, in many ways, just as time sensitive as a professional running career, just didn’t sit well with me.
I know it wasn’t intentional on their behalf, and perhaps I was just taking things a bit too personally, but I felt a little disrespected by their offer. I had been performing at a high level in both my athletic and academic pursuits for two years. The first season I became an All-American was the first semester I made Dean’s List, and those two things proceeded to coincide each of my remaining three semesters. I had shown that I could handle both, shown that doing both concurrently had, in many ways, helped me develop the organization and discipline and determination needed to excel in both.
Being told that I couldn’t pursue both, that they didn’t believe I could successfully pursue both, was frustrating, demoralizing, and ultimately pretty devastating.
And for that reason, I did not accept their offer. To do so would be to settle for something less than I believed myself capable of, and that’s something I just couldn’t do.
Flash forward two years.
There I am living my life – waking up at 6 to train and then working my 9 – 5 as an engineer – when a woman contacts me out of the blue. She tells me she saw that I came in 12th and ran 1:16:51 at my debut half marathon at the USATF Half Marathon Championships, and that she’s interested in talking with me about about a sponsorship with rabbit, a running apparel company she co-founded. Slightly apprehensive but still intrigued, I responded that I would love to learn more about the opportunity.
And that’s when everything changed.
The following are paraphrased snippets from the first phone conversation I had with Jill Deering, co-founder of rabbit along with Monica DeVreese:
*after sharing with her some of my PR’s and accomplishments*
Jill: “You ran that well while studying engineering at Cornell ? That’s awesome!”
*after telling her I work full-time as an engineer at a technical consulting firm*
Jill: “I love that you have a full-time job. I think it’s important to have that balance. A bunch of our current athletes work full-time too”
Jill: “You’re exactly the type of person we want on our team; someone who isn’t afraid to dream big”
My initial reaction to rabbit’s offer was the same as before, extreme excitement. But, unlike before where there was an underlying tone of control and restriction and a lack of respect or appreciation that caused things to go sour, my giddiness never wore off.
She got it. She understood. And that meant that rabbit got it, that rabbit understood.
They supported me and things I wanted to do in my life. They saw my ambitious pursuits as something that would benefit my life and my training, not something that would retract from it. They made me feel wanted and important and validated, just the way I was.
When I walked away from that professional running offer the summer after my senior year, I knew it my heart that it wasn’t the end.
I had faith that things would work out, that another opportunity would present itself if I could just be patient and stay the course.
I trusted that somewhere, some organization would see what I was trying to do in my life and would understand and respect and appreciate it.
That organization is rabbit.
I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me, or more excited for what is to come.
My official rabbit uniform and gear is currently in transit somewhere across the country.
When it gets here, you’ll know.
- Rachel Sorna, RADrabbitPRO
We’ve all been there. You’ve just finished your long run, the effect of your last Gu ended 2 playlists ago, you don’t have time for a real meal because you might certainly lose your job if you don’t get to work stat, and so you go trolling around the pantry in hopes of finding some bar type thing to hold you over until you can resolve the current crisis. You fumble past the rice cakes, take a left turn at the canned pinto beans, pause too long at the bag of M&Ms, and finally finally you feel that rectangular bar shape. You grab the bar and jet out the door. You have been momentarily saved from hunger and you are very relieved!!!... But, alas that relief is short-lived. As you ravenously tear open the package and bite into the bar, you are devastated at the taste! It’s another generic fruit/nut/chocolate/protein bar with little flavor, a boatload of sugar, and other ingredients that you cannot pronounce.
Well, if you are tired of buying over-priced, unremarkable, extra-sweet energy bars, join the club. Here’s a recipe that will save you tons of dough, is shamelessly easy to make, is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, and can be modified in an infinite number of ways to make it just how you like it. We suggest you whip up a batch (makes about a dozen), bag them up individually, and then all week long you will have no excuses for going hungry after a long run. Enjoy.
For this batch, we added chopped almonds and chia seeds. Boom.
We are proud and honored to share some insight into training after injury from our very own RADrabbitPRO Brock Moreaux. It is an honor to help Brock continue his recovery and see him tear up some races later this fall. Enjoy this blog written by Brock himself.
This photo was taken milliseconds before my season ending ankle injury at the Oxy Invite this past May in Los Angeles. In a race where I was sure to check another big accomplishment of breaking 9 min for the 3k Steeplechase off my running list, it all ended quickly with one hard roll of the ankle. Any, and every, runner will tell you that injuries are a huge part of the sport. And now it is my turn to work through injury, learn the life lessons that can be realized only through struggle, and return to the track stronger than before.
Fortunately, it was during this time of struggle, that I first became in contact with rabbit. Although I have never been one to lack motivation in my running career, rabbit has been a HUGE motivation to shake off the runner injury blues, and get back to the grind. It is always amazing to me just how much fitness a runner can lose in such a short period of time. Consistently training for 10 months straight, and then taking 10 days off for an injury, and you are, all of a sudden, back at square 1. However, it is also amazing to me how quickly you can bounce back from that loss of fitness! A great reminder of this to me was my 4:05 PR road mile at the State Street Mile after just 2.5 weeks back training from my ankle injury. My training and recovery from my injury on May 7 to now has consisted of:
I sometimes prefer to express my feelings with pictures rather than words, so here is a great picture to portray my last few months of training since injury :)
The recovery is always a struggle. But when you are injured you learn to never take for granted a day that you are able to get your runs in, which is what I am reminded of every day. Since my injury, I have had a slow buildup back with weekly mileage of:
Week 1: 13
Week 2: 43
Week 3: 44
Week 4: 49
Week 5: 51
Week 6: 59
Week 7: 64
Week 8: 70
I will continue to build up this mileage slowly to the 90-100s to prepare for my half-marathon debut at the Chevron Houston Half in January. I do not have a schedule set in stone right now, but I do plan on racing at least once a month to keep those competitive juices flowing! Until them, the grind continues!
Thank you to my coach and all of my family, friends, supporters, and sponsors! I look forward to continuing to share my running success with you!
- Brock Moreaux
We are so proud of our RADrabbitPRO, Seth Totten on his recent 4th place overall finish (yes, that's right, 4th in the entire world!) and 1st American finisher at the Duathlon World Championships in Aviles, Spain. We are so inspired by Seth's dedication, grit and determination and thought all of you rabbits would enjoy hearing his story on fulfilling his dreams. Thank you Seth for giving us a peak into the life of a RADrabbitPRO!
My journey to Duathlon Worlds in Aviles, Spain began on my bathroom floor. I was scheduled to race at the ITU Continental Cup in Richmond, Virginia five weeks before DU Worlds, when the night before traveling I was overcome by a violent case of food poisoning. Training had been going really well and I was fortunate to have travel and a home stay taken care of for Richmond. I cried as I vomited feeling like weeks of work were literally being flushed away.
DU Worlds had been something I wanted to do, but I was unable to get help to travel so I had all but dismissed the race. A couple days after the miserable night on the bathroom floor, as I lay on the couch feeling weak and sorry for myself, my dad approached me and asked simply, “Could you compete for a podium place at Worlds?” I thought I could, but I was doubtful, tentative, and discouraged that I was not able to find travel arrangements. “Your Mother and I want to fly you to Spain and watch you give everything you have to try and chase a World Championship”. The confidence in my Dad’s voice inspired me with a belief I did not yet have. With only a month to go before the race, airline tickets, airbnbs and fitness were all frantically procured, and before I knew it I was wheeling my bike into the International Terminal at LAX.
I have always dreamed of racing at a World Championship. On quiet afternoon runs and rides I often dreamed what it would feel like to cross the finishing line and be crowned a World Champ. These dreams were more than about just winning as a competitor; I thrive at big races, in front of big crowds, against big names. As I stood on the start-line and listened to them call out competitors from all over the world-- Spain, Japan, Great Britain, France and then, Seth Totten representing the United States of America, I was filled with joy at just having the opportunity to be there fulfilling a dream before the race even started.
As soon as the gun went off the race plan became clear: full-gas. The 10K run course was very narrow and twisty, constantly forcing you to stop, push your way around a corner, and sprint back up to pace. This is a very difficult way to run a flat-out 10K, and with a couple of guys set on blasting the 10K, the front of the group quickly dwindled down. Going into the last lap of the first run I was the last guy of a 14 man pack to scrap into the front pack , even though I ran a 30:42.
Every Tuesday night back home I go out for, what the local cycling community has dubbed, the “Tuesday night Worlds”. We race out and back to a pepper tree as fast as our legs will carry us, pretending we are racing for a World Championship. The weeks before the race I went out every Tuesday and rode on the front for harder and longer then I ever have, preparing for the actual World Championships. With three laps to go in the Du World Championships, I unleashed weeks of Tuesday night ride’s work onto this international field, right at a key technical part of the course. The transition area featured a series of technical corners, and for the first couple of laps I had touched my brakes to make the corners; this time, however, I didn’t touch my brakes and just made the final corner, missing the steal barrier by inches. As soon as I was out of transition I pushed on the pedals with everything I had. I was determined to split the 14 man pack. My legs screamed but the crowd the screamed louder! After 5-6 of the most painful minutes I have experienced, the front group was split to only 5 of us.
Coming off the bike, I was spent and my immediate thought was that 5th place would be a fantastic result. In almost the same thought, years of memories came flooding over me. Memories of gut wrenching track sessions; hours and hours cycling in the mountains; all the runs I had not wanted to do, but did in the cold, in the heat, hungry and tired. I thought of all the coaches and teammates that had built me up over the years. I thought of the generosity of my local athletic community. And I thought of making my parents and girlfriend Lauren proud for believing in me even more then I believed in myself. With those thoughts I set off after the 4 guys in front of me. I squeezed all I had left out of my legs over the next 16 minutes and crossed the finish line, smiling ear-to-ear in fourth place. Fourth place finishes can haunt people. There is no medal for 4th, no podium place, nothing- it has been called the “toughest position”. However, when I crossed the finish line at the Duathlon World Championships, in fourth, I may have been the happiest fourth place finisher in the history of fourth places.
If you would like to watch the full race coverage, it can be seen here. The men's starts at about 3:00 and Seth is introduced at 3:05.
Red, white and run.
Last weekend we were honored to share our little paradise Santa Barbara, CA with some rad runners for the HOKA ONE ONE State Street Mile.
If you missed our post on our newest RADrabbit, 6 year old Reed Kotalik, you can read all about it here. Reed doesn't let cerebral palsy slow him down and that was evident as he blazed down State Street with a 7:06 minute mile.
We also had two of our RADrabbitPROs come out and support the event, Brock Moreaux and Curly Guillen. Both guys ran road mile PRs. Brock ran 4:05 and Curly ran 4:09. Also, did we mention that Curly is the World's Fastest DJ.
Our badass co-founder, Jill Deering, toe'd the line in the women's elite mile and ran a smoking road PR in 4:41.
Also, if you missed the news, the World Record for the fastest dog mile was broken. A five-year-old Weimaraner, Kaydom, and his 39-year-old owner, Brian Duff, won the race in a blistering 4:13! You can read more details here.
In other results from last weekend, RADrabbitPRO Seth Totten ran/bike/ran to a 4th place overall finish at the ITU World Duathlon Champs in Avila, Spain. Seth was also the first American. Dude is a stud!
RADrabbitPRO Lauren Capone raced her first Ironman as a PRO and finished 5th overall at the Ironman 70.3 Raleigh. Watch out tri-world!
Our rabbits are off to a great start this summer! We can't wait to see all of you Runners And Dreamers go big the rest of this year!
Ready? Let's run.
Santa Barbara, California – June, 2016
rabbit is hosting Reed Kotalik in Santa Barbara, CA this weekend for the annual HOKA ONE ONE State Street Mile, which is held Sunday, June 5th. Reed is a 6 year old from The Woodlands, Texas. In November of 2014, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
During the same month that Reed was diagnosed, he asked his mom to sign him up for a local road race and he took to the line with hundreds of others. He surprised his family when he placed 3rd. Since then, Reed has stepped up to 19 National podiums, 5 of those were for Gold Medals. Reed is currently focused on quadruple qualifying for the Junior Olympics as he aims for more gold.
One thing that new changes, is Reed’s determination to get up and get going! Many of the athletes who stand at a start line of a black oval, trail, or road race with Reed have no idea that he has cerebral palsy. In 2016, Reed decided to use his national platforms to bring awareness and raise monies for deserving causes: Head for the Cure (Brain Cancer), CASA (Foster Children), Make Lemon Aide for Cerebral Palsy, and The Will Herndon Fun for Juvenile Batten.
rabbit Co-Founder Jill Deering says, “we are thrilled to have Reed be a part of this epic weekend of fast running in Santa Barbara, CA. Reed is such a special and determined child and we are so excited to see him fly down State Street. When rabbit was introduced to Reed we were immediately inspired by his story and wanted to do something special for Reed and invite him to our community so we could share his story around this special event.”
Reed’s PR in the mile is a blazing 6:07. We can’t wait to see how he performs on our very own State Street.
To learn more about Reed and his passion for running and helping others, visit Running with Reed on Facebook.
Also, Runners World wrote an inspiring article on Reed in March of 2016. You can read more here.