Five rabbit athletes took to the streets of San Francisco last Sunday for the 107th annual Bay To Breakers, with the rabbitPRO Totten family taking 6th in both races, Amy Schnittger finishing in 8th, Mara Olson in 9th and Brock Moreaux in 13th. A really good day for the rabbit family in a talented international field. Below Brock shares with us his experience at the historic California road race cutting across the City by the Bay.
"If you're alive, you can't be bored in San Francisco. If you're not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life." — William Saroyan
On May 20, 2018, San Francisco brought me to life and nearly killed me in under 40 minutes. I created a bucket-list of road races that I would like to run throughout my career a few years back, and without a doubt Bay To Breakers 12k had to be at the top. The nearly 7.5-mile race starts on the east side of San Francisco, running west through the city and finishes on the Great Highway along the Pacific Coast’s Ocean Beach. Along the route you pass through downtown San Francisco, up the infamous Hayes Hill (it hurts), through many beautiful neighborhoods and weave your way into Golden Gate Park which drops you off right at the Ocean.
Unlike a typical race day, I was oddly calm before this race. I’m not sure if it was the flying tortillas that racers flail into the air while arriving at the starting line, or the trust in my preparation, but I was ready. I had good reasoning to be confident. This had been one of my best build-ups of my running career and I was running some impressive workouts thanks in large part to the guidance of my coach Terry Howell.
The race kicked off at 8am with nearly perfect race conditions and the temperatures in the mid 50s. However, with the course being a point to point race, we were given the extra challenge of having a 15-20 mph headwind the entire race. Straight from the gun, a pack was formed, and every runner had the same intention: “I am going to draft off of these guys until we reach the top of Hayes Hill.” The result turned into a lot of jockeying and surging for the first 2 miles as no athlete wanted to take the lead. One athlete would decide to take the lead and surge out in front for 20 seconds, then realize how tough it was, then fall back into the pack. This continued for the first 3k, then once we hit Hayes Hill and started to climb, I realized the pace was starting to lag so I decided to make a push. As anticipated, as soon as we reached the top of Hayes Hill, a few athletes sitting in the back surged forward to get the race rolling on the soon to come downhills.
This was probably the point in the race where I had to dig the deepest. Trying to recovery from leading the surge up Hayes Hill, it was tough for me to get the legs rolling over only 3 miles into a 7.5-mile race. At this point in the race there were 3 elite groups chasing each other; the first being a group of 8 (which included rabbitPRO Seth Totten) a second pack which surged at the top of Hayes Hill, and a third group including me about 20m behind. Now is when it felt like the race really started!
The beauty about going uphill is typically you have to come back down. Soon after the 5-mile mark, the race begins to make its push down towards the ocean. This was the point in the race where I knew it was time to MAKE myself hurt. I was able to catch a few runners within the last 2 miles and claim a top 15 spot finishing 13th Overall in 39:10.
Considering the conditions dealt to us on the day, I was pleased with my race and fight. One of my goals before every race is to push my body to its limits and embrace the struggle. Sometimes it is hard to tell yourself "Hey, you are about to hurt really badly and I am okay with that," but that is an area that I am still focusing on in my preparations and I am happy to say that I will live to fight another day!
Catch Brock at our very own rabbit5000 on June 2nd, the State Street Mile on June 3rd both in Santa Barbara and Grandma’s Half Marathon on June 16th in Duluth, Minnesota. Follow all of his training on Strava and find him on Instagram @Moreaux_brock.
With just 30 days to go, nine rabbits are in the midst of their final block of training before likely the biggest day of their year, for some even their entire lives: the Western States 100 starting on June 23rd at Squaw Valley. rabbitELITE Adam Kimble is one of those runners and he checked in recently after an unfortunate, but minor injury forced him to scratch from the last pre-WS100 race on his calendar.
Last Saturday, I woke up at 3am on race morning. I was scheduled to run the Silver State 50-miler, my final tune-up race before the big dance, Western States on June 23rd. Three days earlier I had rolled my ankle at the end of a trail run with my friends, and the swelling and pain had not yet subsided. On one hand, I really wanted to run the race. There was strong competition and I love running the trails around Peavine in Reno.
On the other hand, this was very clearly a “B” race, and the importance of the race paled in comparison to Western States. So, I was left with a tough decision. Run the race on a semi-injured ankle with the hope of having a great race, or sit this one out and keep my eyes on the June prize. I knew in my heart what the right decision was, and after speaking with some close friends, they agreed. There was no successful performance that warranted risking my health for June 23rd.
So, I got up on race morning and prepared as I typically would on race day. This time, however, I showed up at the race as a coach and spectator, rather than a runner! I was able to watch some of my Run on Dirt athletes and coaches compete in the race, and it ended up being a truly great day. It was hard to watch everyone else run on some of my favorite trails while I sat on the sidelines, but it was a great lesson for me to learn as an ultrarunner: sometimes you must make sacrifices for the races that mean the most. But in the end, the sacrifice will always be worth it.
Follow along with Adam and eight other rabbit runner's quest to tackle the world's oldest 100-mile trail race in just one month. Look for more stories from our athletes, new trail specific gear releases, live race look-ins, pictures and be sure to check out our Instagram/Twitter/Facebook feeds and our blog for all things Western States in the coming weeks.
Oklahoma City’s Red Coyote Running and Fitness has frequently been recognized as one of the top running specialty stores in the nation, offering expert advice and a carefully chosen selection of the very best gear to countless thankful runners. As of this weekend, Red Coyote will be adding custom apparel from rabbit to the long list of things that distinguish the store as one of the very best. Featuring a custom-woven jacquard that showcases the store’s fearsome coyote logo, the exclusive apparel from rabbit will launch this weekend, in conjunction with the running of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
The product represents the result of a close collaboration between the two companies, a natural evolution of the historic ties that they share. rabbit co-founder Monica DeVreese is an Oklahoma City native (and two-time high school state mile champion) who traces her lifelong love of running to her hometown. “It is so amazing to see this special, unique rabbit apparel in Red Coyote. They are universally respected in the running world and it is an honor to be working with them.”
rabbitPRO Eric Senseman finished the Lake Sonoma 50 in 4th last Saturday and in turn earned himself a ticket to the ultimate test of endurance in the ultrarunning world - the Western States 100. He now has two months to train for the biggest race of his career. Find him on the starting line at 5am on June 23rd in Squaw Valley with seven other rabbit athletes. He will wear bib #38.
"Everything except for right now is just an idea."
I recently read a quote that went something like that. It’s a pretty basic point but its implications are complex. The point implies that nothing in the future, including your hopes and dreams and aspirations, is real, or at least nothing in the future is actually real yet. Every future idea requires the passage of time and proactive action before it becomes reality. Interestingly, you have to focus on what you can do right now, in the present moment, in order to turn a future idea into a present moment, and so into reality. That’s a pretty complicated order of operations. When it comes to running ultramarathons, it’s a very important order of operations. That’s why I like the above quote: it boils down that complexity into something simple. And that distillation, too, is the key to running really far as fast as you can. Let me explain.
On the morning of Saturday, April 14th there remained exactly one way to gain entry into the 2018 Western States 100 on June 23rd. To gain entry into Western States, you had to line up at 6:30 a.m. that morning to race the Lake Sonoma 50 to try to earn a so-called golden ticket. To earn a golden ticket, you had to finish top 5, and you had to be one of the first two people to finish who didn’t already have entry into Western States and who wanted entry into the race. I wanted entry into Western States.
I’ve thought a lot about racing Western States over the past year or so. In February of last year, I raced the Black Canyon 100k in the hopes of winning a golden ticket, but I finished in 3rd and the golden ticket eluded me. Then, this February, I returned to Black Canyon for a golden ticket, but I arrived at the start line sick and I neither finished the race nor got the ticket. The idea of running Western States was beginning to feel like just that: some future thing that continued to stay in the future, that never became a present moment. After 15 months and two failed attempts, I had one last opportunity to gain entry into the big dance in June, or else the idea of lining up for Western States would remain just an idea for another year.
Then the gun went off at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 14th. The idea of getting a golden ticket suddenly became the present moment. With each second that passed, I was existing in right-now time. The miles clipped by and I found myself in fourth place, and as just the second runner in the field without entry to Western States and so in golden ticket territory. I was then racing through a moment in time that would, if I continued to run hard and hold my position as the passage of time continued, put me on the start line of the Western States 100 in June.
But, of course, I didn’t think of those complexities. I didn’t think about the golden ticket or the runners trying to chase me down. I didn’t think about the miles passed by or the miles to go. I didn’t think about the passage of time or the one race that I’ve wanted to run for so long. I didn’t think about ideas or the future.
I thought only very simply. I thought about the right now. I stayed in the present moment. I did what you have to do to turn future ideas into current reality: I took proactive action as time passed by. I did whatever I could at every moment in time to run as fast as I could to get to the finish line.
As a result, fourth place never eluded me. The golden ticket never eluded me. I remained, from the first mile to the last, in that very same position. I finished in fourth. I earned the golden ticket. So, finally, in just two months, that distant idea of running 100 miles in California in June will become reality.
Now the passage of time can’t happen quickly enough.
Photos courtesy of Squirrel’s Nut Butter
A few weekends ago rabbit crew member and rabbitELITE Robby Haas went on an epic adventure called the Speed Project entailing a 340 mile running relay and we just needed to hear the story in his own words...
As I sit and write, I ponder all of the ups and downs of the weekend that has passed. There are an infinite number of possible places to start when compiling a recap of a journey as fierce and lengthy as this one. I'll begin with the basics. Then, you, the reader, will begin to understand just how much can happen in the 45 hour journey across a barren landscape.
"All smiles - before ALL the miles"
The Speed Project, now concluding its 4th rendition on the last weekend of March in the year 2018, is a 340 mile running relay. Starting at the Santa Monica Pier of Los Angeles and concluding at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign” in Sin City, teams of roughly 6-12 members (female and male) run through the desert. The rules are basic and almost nonexistent. Your team can complete the race in whatever order, distances, pace, effort, that they desire. So long as someone is running, your team is in the race.
"A typical exchange - day one"
Now here is where it gets interesting. Every team was given a guidebook for runners and crew for the best and safest route out of LA county, behind the San Gabriels, through the unforgiving desert of Death Valley, and ultimately to the final destination of Las Vegas, Nevada. Most teams started with simple 6 mile legs (legs: divided sections of the greater relay, alternate definition: those two things on the lower body that want to die 28 hours in) As Friday progresses into night, and darkness into Saturday morning, teams start to change the game-plan and simply go by feel. While some runners struggle to complete 2-3 miles, others are still banging out 6-10 miles at a time. So, now you get the gist, the runners are holding on for dear life, the mind telling the body: “Left, right, left, right, Vegas is that way.”
“We're not in the middle of nowhere, we're right here”
PART I – Team
I was given the opportunity to be a part of this great experience with the goodr sponsored team “Ninja Kick the Damn Rabbit” It's a real thing, an actual name for a style of super cool sunglasses, I promise! Jokes aside, we were literally a team of ninjas and rabbits kicking our way across the state line of California and into Nevada. When I hopped on the RV in Santa Monica, my first concern was setting a good impression for the new folks I'd be sharing a small space with for the next 45hours and 22minutes. Quickly did I learn, I'd be sharing 340 miles of road and trail with some of the most fun, dedicated, loving, and carefree individuals I've ever met.
PART II – Heart
The nitty-gritty: We're chugging along – we have a set order – Runners #1-8 – we all know when we're up next – We're running, then sweating, then trying to keep dry inside the stank RV – we're eating, laughing, resting, trying to sleep! Run, rest, repeat. Seems simple, right? Nothing could be farther from the truth. In my head I describe the race as a combination of a road marathon, ultramarathon, and interval workout just waiting to break you down. In essence, that is what it became, as all of those elements combined to test the limits of the human heart. I'm not talking about just pumping blood to the extremities as fast and controlled as possible, I'm talking the function of the heart that keeps the soul raging with fire, and motivated to continue, through all of life's peaks and valleys. As a long-time runner who has completed a good number of road races and trail ultra-marathons, I didn't think there was much more to learn from running – I was dead wrong.
“The desert and her sand - Early Saturday AM”
PART III – Lost
There was a very specific point in the race where I was breaking, mentally and physically, and a bit of anger overcame the calm demeanor I had kept the entire journey thus far. Luckily for my kick-butt team, they didn't have to witness it first-hand. I was on one of the route's more technically challenging legs, on trail, at 5am. Sunrise wasn't until 6:30am, so for my 9.5 mile trail run, I was in the dark. Just me and my headlamp, a couple of other runners ahead, traversing a very sandy jeep road, middle of nowhere. At that time, the trail could not feel more like running through sludge, especially compared to the somewhat smooth asphalt that most of the race is run on. About halfway through this leg I descend the sand-dune of a hill I was warned about from the guidebook. “Whew, glad thats over, now to finish this thing.” Flash-foward five minutes, “I think I'm lost.” Let that sink in. Lost. Desert. Night. The race started 4am Friday and its now 5:30am Saturday. I was a bit too exhausted to panic, so I just kept moving. I took out my phone, and thanked the spirits above that google maps was loading. I noticed I was just a tad south of where the defined trail was, so I hoofed it through some sketch trail and brush and managed to find the main path, still crappy as ever. Relieved, I push on straight ahead, following a Jeep Wrangler a mile ahead, accompanying another runner. As the sand forced my feet to create a different path every few feet, I accepted my fate, my pace, and my effort. My recent departure from GPS tracking devices played a part in my positivity in the moment. I had no idea how slow I was going, and didn't need to know. Finally, when the leg was about to be over I saw a couple of my team-mates jogging up to the exchange spot and they were smiling. I was yelling at myself on the inside, but they were stoked be out here. Quickly, I understood: This was going to take a monumental effort of support from all of us to help each other out, on and off the road. As this was an example of just one leg of the relay, you can imagine the strength it took for all of my friends to get through their adventures of the weekend.
“Saturday's Landscape – asphalt for hours”
Part IV - Journey
Now that we're well into Saturday – remember the race doesn't stop overnight, most of us are trying to get real sleep, HA! What a joke that was. **Pro-tip, although a certain energy drink may give you wings (I ran 11 miles out of my mind Friday at 10pm) ...it will keep you awake until your next run at 5am Saturday. Maybe save it for daytime use only.** We're moving right along, slowing down a bit, maybe running a bit less, maybe letting others run a few miles of their portion, when needed. Carrying the team on your legs: no higher-honor. Soldiering through the desert a few miles at a time. Seeing every Joshua Tree, every cloud, every inch of road for what it is. This was no quick drive, it was a wilderness experience, with a bit of glamping, of course!
“Rhea and Andrew – in their element”
Part V - Blood
As we started to weaken, we had even come up with plans to cave in and just drive the rest of the way to Vegas. Although we all knew we were joking, part of me wanted it to be over. Then something supremely magical and out of this world happened. We, as a team, got stronger and faster, and more hungry to finish this thing on our terms. It was late Saturday, sun-setting, and we were coming up on our last big turn to join the solid tarmac of the highway that takes weary travelers into the outskirts of Las Vegas. Most importantly we were seeing other RV's, other teams, WE SMELLED BLOOD, and we wanted to sink our teeth in. There is nothing like seeing an opportunity to get a win at the end of a race. The longer the race, the more demanding it becomes, the bigger the will to win becomes. A few of us were too beat up to continue, so the pack became fewer, but we were all still supporting each other, giving 100% in whatever way we could. I, personally, had turned a new page when I realized we could pass three teams in the last 50 miles. There was no way in hell I was not going to push as hard as I could. I've had too many races where I felt I left too much in my body and not on the course. Not this time. Not with a team of crushers like this. We started trading off 1-3 mile segments, then decided on 2 mile legs when a special opportunity had arisen. We had reached the top of a hill, more of a mountain, really. It would descend for about the next 20 miles with about 10 more after to finish the dang thing. We had just passed two teams while I was trading segments of 2-miles with others for a total of 8 miles on my own in a short amount of time.
“Action Shot – Jen and Robby and hummus”
Part VI – Glory
Then – we blazed. We put on a straight-up clinic of downhill running. I'm talking Strava CR's, sub-6 minute miles for both guys and gals, 40 hours into a relay. The team we had been tailing for the last two hours, was reduced to a painful slog, and when our squad of Bri, Andrew, Brian, and myself had finished the first eight miles of that mountain descent, Team XX, was eating dust. “Whooosh” was all I could think of. “Whooosh, goodbye! Your hopes and dreams of finishing before us, forget 'em.” If I didn't mention before, there's no medal or belt-buckle for finishing this race, its all guts and glory. Bragging rights, and group hugs are all that is waiting at the “Welcome to Vegas” sign. Speaking of the finish, my boy Victor and I decided we should finish strong with one-mile repeats (1 mile on, one rest rep while the other crushes it) to bring us in the final stretch of 10 miles from suburban Vegas to the south-end of “The Strip.” It somehow worked out fantastically as we could still push for sub-6 minute pace (my best was a 5:23, mostly downhill) giving us each a solid 4x1mile workout. “How am I doing this right now? I should be asleep, sore, crying in a bed somewhere.” Instead I was out pushing for the finish line of an event I will never truly understand. I wasn't running for me anymore, that's my simple explanation.
Part VII – Welcome Home
When I handed off (the most satisfying "high-ten" of of my life) to Jen and Bri for their final stretch of 1.5 miles before joining the rest of us for our team finish, I was elated. We were actually going to finish. For most of the journey I kept saying to everyone “Eventually, we will make it to Vegas” Now, finally, it was really happening. Cue the champagne, the cameras, the instagram post to make it official. No chip timing, no finish line announcer and DJ. Like I said before, just a group chant “1, 2, 3 GOODR-DONE!” and all the gratitude in the world. There were curse-words yelled in joy, and laughter at the relief and ridiculousness of it all. We just finished our journey of 45-hours & 22-minutes, leaving a deserted land of nothing, now in a city of everything. If you want it, you can probably get it in Vegas. Time to rest, then time to play. There is a reason it ends in Vegas, and for now, thats where the rest of the journey will stay. There is so much more to say about this event, but for now I will leave you with one piece of advice: If someone asks you to go on adventure, say yes. Say yes, and push yourself to get everything out of it you possibly can.
“The goodr-done gang goes from Santa Monica to Las Vegas” (L to R: Andrew, Bri, Victor, Jen, David, Rhea, Brian, Robby, Derick – front row Hanssie, Nicole)
As it is a team event, I literally could not have made the journey without the team of runners and crew that have given me such a meaningful life experience. Big special thank you to our crew of Nicole, Derick, and David - your ability to keep us going every second of the race can not be understated. To the team of runners, you know of your own personal journey and how it fits in with mine. To Brian, Victor, Hanssie, Bri, Rhea, Andrew, and Jen, you are winners, through and through. I am inspired by the journey we took together and could not be more impressed by your professionalism (even more the necessary lack of it), attitude, and positivity. The jokes just kept coming, I haven't laughed like that in a long time. Maybe it was the relief of finishing, but I feel stronger as a human and have you all to thank. Thank you.
With one final opportunity to secure a Golden Ticket to the Western States 100 in June, rabbitPROs Ashley Nordell and Eric Senseman will line up with rabbitELITE Adam Kimble and rabbit's community manager Jeffrey Stern on Saturday in Healdsburg at the Lake Sonoma 50.
After weeks of rain, cloudy skies are expected to part ways for 70+ degree temperatures and sun shiny conditions in Northern California for this highly competitive ultramarathon. Featuring a field stacked with professional ultrarunners on both the men's and women's side, pundits are expecting a fast course and an exciting finish for the final Golden Ticket race before States.
Ashley Nordell just won the overall at the challenging Three Days of Syllamo three weeks ago and also came in 7th at the 2017 edition of Lake Sonoma. One of the most experienced ultrarunners in the field, Ashley is primed to compete for the podium in Healdsburg.
Adam Kimble has already won three races this year as well as an impressive top ten at last month's Way Too Cool. He's already registered for Western States, so he's treating Lake Sonoma as a final race tuneup in preparation for June 23rd, but don't expect him to let off the gas. Adam has the fitness and wherewithal to break seven hours and crack the top ten on Saturday.
Flagstaff based Eric Senseman hopes to join the other Coconino Cowboys in Squaw Valley this June by pulling off a top-notch performance against a world-class field at Lake Sonoma. His training has bounced back after a bout of sickness before the Black Canyon 100k and we know he'll be in contention for a top finish despite the outstanding group of runners lining up.
rabbit's own community manager Jeffrey Stern had a tough day in cold conditions at Way Too Cool last month, but is looking forward to some heat on Saturday. Just a few weeks ago he placed second to WTC winner Max King at a 36k in San Luis Obispo and his training has him peaking for Sonoma, his first attempt at the 50-mile distance.
Jessica Loomer, a BOSTONrabbit and RADrabbit is blind - but that doesn't stop her from pursuing her dreams and in 10 days she'll be running the Boston Marathon.
We sat down with her to learn a little bit more about her journey into running, what it's like to run with guides, how's she feeling for the big day and more.
1. Can you give us some background on your history as an athlete from a kid to now?
I am actually pretty new to running. As a kid, I ran track in high school and for fun in college, but it wasn’t anything serious! I did it for the cute running gear :). About 5 years ago, I lost vision due to a rare genetic eye disease called Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). I saw this awesome picture of another blind runner crossing the finish line with his guides arm in arm and from there I was inspired. So I called my local Achilles group and reached out to my local running group to ask if there was anyone willing to guide me! Amazing friendships and a whole lot of endurance is what I gained! It’s been an incredible journey from training runs to a 5k, then half-marathons and now THE BOSTON MARATHON, my third marathon.
2. Can you describe what it's like to run with a guide for 26.2 miles?
I consider myself so lucky – I always have someone to run with, we most likely will solve any problem either one of us has, learn new delicious recipes and I have this instant support who is cheering me on as we take on this marathon together. Pretty awesome, right?
3. How was your experience with Lisa Dosch at the NYC Marathon?
For the New York City Marathon, I ran with Achilles International and chose to have four guides that were completely random. We never met until the night before race day. It was crazy how instant our bond was – everyone worked together and supported each other. We were a team! Lisa, one of our amazing RADrabbits was the guide right in front of me. She helped me keep track of pace and was always calling out anything in our path – potholes, clothing, water – she helped us navigate everything and everyone. It’s a special friendship to run with someone 26.2 miles and I am thankful I met all of them.
4. Who will be your guides for Boston in 10 days?
I am lucky enough to run with two of my hometown guides! I am so excited to run this special race with them! Tracey and Laura are incredible friends that have been with me through it all – the good runs and the not so good runs! It’s a race of a lifetime that I get to share with them. I will be running with 70 other athletes in the AWD Division (Athletes with Disabilities) and I cannot wait to meet my team: Team with a VISION!
5. How has your training gone so far this year?
Tough question – training in the beginning was AWESOME. I was killing it out there and felt amazing. I dreamed of a PR at Boston…now? Well, I am working on my recovery with some hip flexor issues. I am going into this race with an insanely positive attitude and the goal is to have the time of my life. I am READY!
The 122nd Annual Boston Marathon is just 10 days away and we're so excited for Jessica and all of our BOSTONrabbit runners!
rabbitELITE Dan Nestor delivered a huge result this past weekend at "The World's Fastest 5k" the Carlsbad 5000. A resident of Boulder, Colorado, Dan has been training hard for this notoriously speedy Southern California 5k and all his hard work paid off with a 4th place finish in the elite field on Sunday.
You know those running magazines that seem to have captured perfect pictures from races? The ones that look photo shopped or staged? Well, the Carlsbad 5000 was straight out of a magazine. This 5k takes you through the beautiful town of Carlsbad along the beach and coastline of Southern California. Combine those views and a hard race, and you’ll get a whole new meaning to the word breathtaking. Carlsbad is definitely one of those races you should put on your bucket list.
When I opened my email about 2 months ago, with an elite entry status granted to this race, I was in disbelief. This race is notoriously fast, it’s called “The World’s Fastest 5k” for a reason, and the elite field is typically filled with some impressive names ranging from US Champions to Olympic Medalists. As a guy whose best finish at a U.S championship is 14th, I was in a bit of shock when I was entered into the elite field. But the shock quickly turned to excitement as the opportunity to compete on this stage does not come often, so I knew had to make the most of it.
As I arrived in the beautiful town of Carslbad, California, the nerves quickly started to take over. These nerves are quite typical for any runner. You start to doubt your fitness and what you’re capable of accomplishing. Luckily, and something I need to continue to remind myself on race day, is that those nerves dissipate immediately with the sound of the gun goes off.
This years elite field was quite competitive filled with several accomplished foreign athletes from countries such as Sweden, Denmark & Ethiopia. With a few other major races going on such as The Commonwealth Games & The World Half Marathon Champs combined with less prize money available than usual, the field was lacking in a few of the bigger names, but it was still fast. On the bright side, I knew from my workouts I was in shape and that no one in the field was going to be able to ‘run’ away with the win.
At the start of the race, an Ethiopian runner took off and immediately gapped the field. With a breeze kicking up, the rest of the field quickly grouped together in hopes of blocking the wind. I found myself leading the chase pack side by side with a Swedish athlete. We were slowly reeling in the lead, I did my best to stay relaxed and composed as the race started to heat up and I began to labor. As we came through 3k, two of the Swedish athletes put in a surge to catch the leader. Two other athletes quickly followed suit, and I found myself in sixth place losing ground quickly. This is the point in the race that is always the toughest for me, the middle.
Knowing there’s still quite a bit of racing left and having the slightest feeling of discomfort come over me, quickly led to a moment of doubt. That moment of doubt quickly turned into 50 meters of separation between myself and fifth place.
With about a mile to go, I was in no man’s land, but I could see that the gap between myself and fifth place wasn’t growing anymore, it was actually shrinking! This thankfully brought back some life and momentum into me. As I was feeling sorry for myself and thinking about how bad I felt, I was able to switch gears in my head.
I told myself, “Just catch 5th place,” as I finally caught and ran past the runner into 5th place, I could see fourth was in range. There was about 1k to go and I told myself, "Just one hard last kilometer, try to catch 4th,” and coming around the final turn, I had moved into fourth place with third place in sight. I kicked as hard as I could crossing the finish line in fourth place.
I had finished as the first American, just 3 seconds off third place, and with a 5k PR. I am very proud of this effort, as I fought through difficulties and feelings to finish hard and well. Not every race will feel great and that’s okay.
As distance runners we tend to emphasize feeling good and maintaining consistent rhythm, but in most cases races do not turn out to feel that way. The best thing to do is embrace the uncomfortable feeling and know that uncertainty in races can lead to a favorable end result if you leave it all out there.
If you are like us, you are pretty darn amazed with rabbitPRO power couple Seth and Lauren Totten. We wanted to know a little more about their daily life, including how they balance training, working, and maintaining a strong married life, and so we asked them! Hear more about how the Tottens prep for, and crush, a workout and manage to balance the rest of their busy lives in the blog:
The night before.
Seth and I tag team with dinner plans. Since I took a more full time job, he’s been helping with groceries, dinner prep, and farmer’s market hauls. We try, as best as we can, to buy all of our veggies and bread locally. We also look forward to Bread SRSLY shipments, a gluten free sourdough company that has sponsored me for 4+ years. When I get home from work, I typically prepare dinner or finish up what Seth started. His help has also allowed me to go for a double after work or, frankly, lay on the couch a few minutes before cooking. We’re a team.
Typically, a pre-workout meal includes: smashed potatoes, kale salad, gluten free or local bread, and maybe some other greens, or a small amount of fish. Sometimes Seth has started or made the kale salad on his lunch break and I might finish by setting the table, cooking whole garlics, or smashing potatoes and drizzling them with avocado oil and flaky salt to get them crispy in the oven. We eat a lot of vegetables and a whole lot of carbs. It’s fuel for what we do!
Here’s our favorite potato recipe:
- Boil the potatoes on medium heat for 22-25 minutes, so they are soft, but not bursting. Wait to fully cool. When we don’t have time, we boil in the morning and finish them later in the evening.
- Gently smash each potato in a paper napkin. Generously drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle flaky salt. Cook at 375 for 45-60 minutes. These are even delicious cold!
Seth usually gets home from his (bike) ride around 5:30pm and we eat by 6pm.
After dinner, we clean up and Seth grinds coffee for the next morning and gets it set up (coffee is a necessity for our success). I make Seth muesli every night: a combination of oats, nuts, seeds, bars, non dairy yogurt, and almond milk. Our nights usually include reading, a short show, and legs up. Lights out by usually 8-8:30pm. We are wiped by the end of the day!
5am: Seth typically wakes up 30 minutes before and starts coffee and puts toast in the toaster. We are fueled by a coffee roaster in Flagstaff, AZ, called Single Speed Coffee Roasters. Once he wakes me up, I prepare our toasts and coffees. Seth usually has almond butter toast with banana and honey. (Muesli is typically post-workout breakfast) I have toast with butter and a date or two with peanut butter.
We spend some time journaling and reading the Bible. Our faith is the most important part of us and being in the Word is important to our spiritual health, as well as the vital part of why we run. It’s the gift we believe the Lord has given us to steward.
5:30am: Stretching and preparing workout stuff. I typically make my bottle the night before with a scoop of Matcha + Lemon Skratch Labs. I guzzle it the second I finish a hard workout for instant sugars. Seth makes a bottle, sometimes with a Nuun tablet or just water. He saves sugars for his bike rides, unless he’s doing a long run.
5:50-6am: We head out the door and head to the trails or track.
6am-7am: Tempo Tuesday. Warm up 3 miles together nice and easy. Our first mile is usually 8:00-8:30. We don’t rush warm ups. We are usually sleepy and try our best to progress into running quicker on some strides before the workout. Post 3 mile run we do leg swings, walking stretches, and lots of strides. This week was my first tempo in weeks as I am adjusting to a new job. Seth is fit and ready to race soon! He raced a 5k in Sacramento on March 17. His training block consists of some track races and we both have SacTown 10 Miler on the calendar on April 8th in Sacramento, CA (where I’m from).
Seth: 10k Tempo (31:20)--- 5:02 pace
Lauren: 6 mile tempo (35:05)---5:50 pace
7am-8am: Time to tempo! Seth and I pray together and he gives me a kiss, then we are off on our own. We typically both listen to our own tunes. I like a mixture of worship music (Bethel or Lauren Daigle) with a mixture of Kygo, Lindsey Stirling or other alternative music that most people consider too slow to work out to. When I’m getting back into shape my tempos start around 5:50 pace and hopefully progress down and Seth runs 4:55-5:05 pace.
8am: Done! I usually like to get in a 3 mile cool down, so I run a little longer and Seth finishes farther up on the bike path. We might get in the last mile together if we see one another.
8:15am: Drive home. I get Seth his muesli and eat a snack (bar, dates, smoothie). I always use Vital Proteins in my smoothies. We believe in fueling with what makes us feel good and is nutritionally dense! Seth usually makes us a pour over or another pot of coffee. I rush to stretch and shower, while Seth takes more time to stretch (his desk is a long commute....to our garage). As a legal assistant, Seth works from home. I work in accounting at a property management company with a flexible start time.
9:30am: I leave for work and am typically gone between 9:30am-4:00pm or so.
Before we start the day, we feel like we’ve lived a whole day. (We kind of have) But, it’s always worth it! We cherish the time we get to be athletes. It’s something that is special to us and our marriage. We can’t wait for a spring of racing!