LaurenNews, Travel

The last 3 weeks I have been in Charleston, SC trying hard to mentally take a break from sport and enjoy the things that I did not get to enjoy during the majority of the year. My family and college friends quickly informed me that I am not normal. When I am in Florida I am surrounded by athletes and it is normal to assess everything we are eating, discuss workouts in great detail, obsess over stupid things such race results or twitter feeds, and to go to bed before 10pm. It became very clear to me that I am weird, and that no one wants to hear about those things at home. So I was forced to stop. It is very hard to completely drop things I was so absorbed in during the last 9 months. In an effort to do this, I spent a lot of time exploring my skills in the kitchen, shopping, visiting with family, overloading on espresso at local cafes, catching up with college friends, and exercising with my mom.

On Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to run in the 35th annual Knights of Columbus Turkey Day Trot. This was my 4th year participating in the event. I really enjoy running in this race because most of my extended family either participates or comes out to cheer.  I wanted to do well, but I also was in the middle of my off-season; therefore, I did not know what to expect. The past two years I ran the first mile out with the guys and suffered so bad the last mile. I decided to focus on pacing this time and see what happened. The race actually turned out to be the most exciting race of my career-yes the turkey day run 5km. It came down to a sprint finish taking me to a place I have never been. It hurt bad. I focused on my form and pushed as hard as I could. I have never been in a situation where I had to sprint, but it was very good experience for when I get into ITU racing. I ran 16:45 and ended up winning by less than a second. I was happy to represent Mount Pleasant. Thanks to Tim Kerley for filming a video. My cousin shaved over 1 min off of his 2011 time and ran a 17:19, and his dad who races as a master broke 18min. I am so proud of them. I love watching others’ hard work pay off. This is the rewarding part of sport that keeps me hungry.

I also had the opportunity to go to the Clemson vs. Univ of South Carolina football game. A friend of the family’s has a private plane and generously offered me and a friend tickets and a flight. I invited my friend Morgan who I knew from the Clemson tri team and we headed up to Clemson around 2pm for the 7pm game. I got to catch up with so many friends from college while taking in the nostalgic surroundings. While tailgating, I ran into my friend Jen. Jen swam for Clemson and continued at UGA. While she was in medical school, she swam with my club team. I was 15yr old and she was in her mid 20’s. We reconnected and talked about issues elite female athletes face. It was really good for me to get advice from someone who understands sport at the elite level and has also known me for a while.

I have enjoyed every minute being home with family and friends. The time has gone by so fast. Thank you to everyone that has made my trip home memorable. I am taking my mom to NYC for a few days and then it is back to the grind. December 3rdstarts the beginning of 2013.

Believe that you have it, and you have it