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sara hall


How Ryan and I Support Each Other’s Goals

February 6, 2017

Ryan and I are in our eleventh year as professional runners, a journey we have been on together from day one. It all started back when we were finishing our senior year at Stanford University. I had just placed 2nd in the NCAA’s 5,000-meter race, and he had sprinted to a narrow victory in the same event. Although our original plan was to follow the same pattern and return the following year for a fifth year of eligibility, in the span of a few weeks we got engaged, signed contracts with ASICS, and headed off to Europe for a summer of racing, all the while planning a wedding that would take place in three months. When we made the decision to “go pro” we decided we wanted to do it together and have been ever since. In the process I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to support your loved ones as they strive to achieve their health and fitness goals. Below are a few of the ways I’ve helped Ryan through the years. I hope my experiences can help you help your significant other make positive changes in their life as well.

How to Be a Supportive Partner

Be a positive distraction.
Supporting Ryan’s running career has always been easy for me; the impulse to help flows out of my love for him and my genuine excitement to see him compete to the best of his ability. When we were in college, that support role meant encouraging him when he was struggling with injuries, poor racing performance, and eventually depression. We both had very successful running careers leading into Stanford, so I kept reminding him that greatness was within him, despite the current circumstances and we relied heavily on our faith in God. When you’re in the midst of an injury or failure, it’s hard to see situations clearly, so having a loved one to offer a clearer perspective is key. I also found that helping Ryan get out and do fun things unrelated to running was therapeutic.

Encourage healthy choices.
Oftentimes, supporting Ryan meant helping him make good choices—especially with food. He put on the classic “freshman 15” at Stanford, which was definitely hampering his performances. I knew a little more about nutrition than he did at the time, so although we had our moments of being kids and pigging out on junk food, we tried to support each other in making better choices and not tempting each other with treats. This is something that we still do to this day. There is a time and place for indulging together, but you can literally fuel a loved one’s goals by making healthy food for them and keeping them accountable to their nutrition plan.

Make sacrifices.
Once out of Stanford—and a bit more knowledgeable about what he needed to do to perform well—Ryan’s professional running career took off. Just a little over a year in Ryan set a new U.S. record in the half marathon and, in his marathon debut, became the fastest American-born marathoner in history. It was an exhilarating time for both of us! My performances were not quite at the same level at the time, but rather than feeling competitive or jealous, I felt the same thrill of his victories since I had invested in the process as a member of his “team.” Making sacrifices—like handling the bills while Ryan took a much-needed nap or training at altitude at a time I would have rather been sprinting on a track at sea level—for his career was not always easy when I knew my own competitions were approaching, but I was excited to see him living his dream and running with the best runners in the world.

Act like a coach.
During this time, one of my favorite ways to support Ryan was riding alongside him in the car during his long runs, blasting music and stopping to give him sport drinks every three miles. After these long runs, I would also rush to make him lunch so that he could eat within the 30-minute refueling window that experts say is key to promoting better recovery.

Expect the same in return.
Despite Ryan’s career being more successful, our relationship during this time was not completely one-sided, which is really important. Once his target race was over and he took a break from training he would head to the Olympic Training Center to help me get ready for the track season. Giving back to your loved one after your goal is met is a great way to thank them for all the love and support they poured into your process. One of the greatest ways Ryan has continued to support me in my career is to act as a sounding board to help me process my training and racing. I love to constantly analyze what I’m doing to maximize my potential and Ryan never grows tired of discussing what workouts or races I should go after and how I can continue to improve.

Stay flexible.
Supporting Ryan looks different now that he’s taken a step back from professional racing, but he continues to set goals for himself athletically. For instance, he recently ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days as part of the World Marathon Challenge. I wasn’t able to be with him during the race, but I made sure to cheer him on from afar. Although it’s hard to believe he’ll be able to top that incredible accomplishment (seriously, 183 miles in seven days? Wow.), I can’t wait to see what other epic adventures the future brings. I’m confident we’ll continue to tackle them side by side.


Running + Faith

December 20, 2016

By, Sara Hall

One of the themes Ryan and I hear most in messages from other runners, and especially recently, is ‘how does your faith in Christ affect your running?”  As much as we would love to respond to each individually, our life is rather limiting and I thought a blog would be a good opportunity to address the topic. I by no means have this all figured out so please do not see me as being up on a soapbox, but I do love to share the things I have learned so we can learn from each other.

** Warning: This blog is long and there are no fun pictures, so I won’t be offended if you don’t read on! **

My faith in God began at a young age, but just as with any relationship with a person it has grown and evolved in depth.  Thus, how it has affected my approach to running has also evolved.  As a high schooler first entering the sport I had a deep desire to use my running to bring God pleasure, but I didn’t always know how to do that.  I knew part of it had to do with my heart, how I was holding running. It also had to do with who received the credit, or “glory”, for whatever success came.

But 16 years of walking this out with God, through the ups and downs of my career, has evolved my perspective on what it means to follow Christ while having running be such a large part of my life.  I have by no means arrived when it comes to this subject and likely 16 more years from now I will look back on this time with different perspectives, but this is where I am at personally in my journey so far and I hope that God will highlight to you the things that resonate with your spirit!

** Before I go any further, let’s start with the basics: God designed all of us to be his children and live in an intimate relationship with Him, but when the first humans chose to sin and it entered the world, we lost that perfect connection with Him.  So he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life on earth and be the perfect sacrifice for all past and future sins to make things right again between humanity and God.  He showed us how to live a perfect life, which is only possible through His spirit that he left here to help us when we choose to put our faith in Him. Trusting in Jesus means believing He is God, He lived and died and paid the price for all of our sins, and giving him your life. That’s where following Him begins, by speaking to him and listening to His voice, reading the words he speaks in the Bible and following the way he lived, and worshipping Him with your whole life. He made us all unique, with different gifts and passions, including athletics, and He delights so much in seeing us live these out, and ultimately he wants all these things to lead us back to connection with Him.  He wants to live with us forever in Heaven, starting right now on Earth, and through him is the only way to live the life that your heart longs for because He created your heart that way!

Where is your treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21

I absolutely believe that God doesn’t want all of us to just sit around and sing songs to him all day, that part of our worship can be going after things, to have goals and ambitions and pursue things that he puts in our hearts at the highest level.  However, how you hold these in your heart makes all the difference in whether that goal is an idol (something you worship and bow down to), or whether refuse to worship anything but God.  Everything else will fail you at some point, but God is the only prize worth living for that will never fail you.

A good heart check for me came when my pastor Kris Valloton said “an idol is anything that you have to check at the door before following what God tells you to do”.  Following Jesus means giving him all of us, and if He tells us to lay something down for a season of life it can be hard but it is for our best.  I look back on times where I have done this well and many times where I have not.  One that stands out in my mind is my senior year of high school. I felt He was calling me to go on a missions trip to Holland the summer before my senior year, and while there I didn’t get in the preparation I really needed to do for the season and had a very rough start to that year. But I refused to take down the picture of my goals on my wall- becoming the first CA runner to win 4 state cross country titles and to win the Footlocker National Championship.  It looked very unlikely as I was losing my dual races, and lost almost every important race leading up to it, but in the end I did win these two races, the biggest races of the year.  I’m not saying that God helped me win, but I do think He used it to create a milestone in my life of putting him first above everything else.  That doesn’t mean you will have running success as a result, and my career is a great example of that as I have probably failed more than I have succeeded, but having Jesus as our greatest treasure is the only way to experience the satisfying, fulfilling, “abundant life” here on earth (John 10:10).

Working hard, but not Striving

 I’m one of those over-achiever, more-is-better personalities.  I feel my early success in running came not because I was especially talented but because I have always been willing to outwork everyone else.  I would run to practice, do practice, and run home and do hill sprints on the way home, and this is in middle school, a time where most kids just hid in the bushes and picked blackberries during practice.  Needless to say, in my walk with Christ I have always loved to “do things for God”, things that Jesus did and that are good for us.  A lot of Christianity focuses on this, doing good works, but really it reinforces a culture where we are performing for love rather than doing them because of love.  I had to learn how to operate out of rest- that no matter if I never did anything for God the rest of my life, He would still love me the same.  And there is a fine line between working hard and striving.  Striving is where you are trying to force something, instead of working hard with God’s grace enabling you for the task.  There are many moments in my career where I tried to force things in my own effort and got run down, burned out, and the results were the opposite of what I wanted.  It can look the same externally, as obviously to be good at running you have to work hard, but it is really more of an internal state- one of peace, versus one of insecurity and anxiety.  Jesus said his “yoke is easy and burden is light” (Matthew 11:30) (a yoke is the heavy apparatus on the neck of oxen use to plow). So I remind myself sometimes when running feels like a burden, “oops sorry Jesus, I picked up the wrong yoke! Yours is easy. Here you go, you can have this burden and I’ll take the easy one!”

What bears fruit?

Matthew 7:19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

I want my life to be like a healthy tree, with different “branches” representing different aspects and all holding good, ripe fruit. “Bearing fruit” in the Bible represents a sign of health, having impact, and being a blessing to others.  Good fruit comes naturally from a tree being healthy, it doesn’t have to force the fruit to produce, it is a byproduct of life flowing to those branches. Running is one branch of my life, and I want it to always bear fruit, to be something that impacts the world around me in a positive way. God didn’t intend for it just to be something for my own enjoyment and satisfaction.  Creating goals just to have something to chase is empty- it will be like chasing the wind, always needing something else to chase to feel a sense of significance. But when you know that what you are doing is bearing fruit, having impact, and blessing people around you you can go through hard seasons where parts of the branch get pruned off, knowing that it is all part of staying healthy and producing bigger fruit and bigger impact. Often when I am debating whether to keep something in my life, I think about the fruit it is bearing, the positive impact it is having (or lack thereof).  The minute I feel my running is no longer bearing fruit in my own life and the lives of others is the minute it’s time to focus that time and energy on something else.

How do you define success?

Determining the fruit your running is producing is in part possible by defining “what is success?”  When I first started running I pretty much only experienced winning.  My first year in high school I won the League, Section, and State Championships in cross country and won both the 1600 and 3200 in the track State Championships (for all division in all of California).  Without realizing it I had created a very narrow window of success for myself- anything outside of winning was failure. As I continued in college and professionally often coaches would communicate what that window of “success” was, whether a time or place in a certain range was or making a certain team. But over the years, God has showed me that this is not the mindset he intended me to have and though those goals can be helpful objectives, success is faithfulness.  If I take the amount of talent and desire he gives me and work hard and hold it rightly in my heart all the while and then go out and compete to the best of my ability, that is success, no matter what the results sheet says.  In our sport results are so easily quantified and compared, and one of the biggest traps we can fall into is measuring our achievements by comparing ourselves to others.  Don’t get me wrong- I want to make Olympic teams and run records and all that is very quantifiable.  But at the end of the day, whether or not I was successful is less about those results to me as whether I was faithful in the process.  I think of the repercussions, like the doping epidemic, which would be impacted if we adopted Jesus’ view of success.

Who are you running for?

 As I mentioned early on in my high school career I experienced blissfully easy success, but in doing so created some very high expectations for myself, both from myself and others. Those expectations have been something that now, nearly 20 years later, have become a norm in my life, but the inevitable pressure they come with was not always easy to handle. I was already aware of others’ expectations but that pressure felt amplified when somehow one day I stumbled upon some newly formed website message boards where I was surprised to find that I was being picked apart by anonymous people.  All of a sudden I felt afraid that if I failed, I was going to be criticized by these anonymous hordes of people that in my naïve youth seemed to matter so much to me, along with my hometown and the many others I had already been aware of.  It is a natural thing to want to be liked by others, especially as an insecure high schooler, so as I entered races in the back of my mind I was thinking of the criticism I’d receive if I didn’t win.

Whereas competitions used to be a fun, exciting opportunity to win, at times that felt overshadowed by the fear I’d lose and be criticized.  In the years following, God has taught me so much in this area and restored that joy of competing.  The first step was to cut off being exposed to that criticism as much as possible- not reading articles about myself or negative websites all together.  But some things you can’t just cut off, like a coach or person you don’t want to let down who places expectations on you, so avoiding things is only a small part of the remedy.  Getting to the root of this in me took experiencing God’s fully unconditional love, really understanding that he can’t love me any more or any less by how I perform, and His opinion is what matters.  At the end of the day and after the race looking to him for affirmation and feedback.

One of my favorite quotes is by my pastor Bill Johnson, “If you don’t eat from the praises of man, you won’t die by their criticisms”.  I realized that I had become addicted to others praises- I had been getting them since I first started running and had made a steady diet out of them. But if others’ praises carry weight in your life, so will others’ criticisms.  I don’t think I’ve met anyone who does this better than my husband and I am forever grateful in learning from his example in this! Also, my pastor Bill, who gives the analogy that when you receive the praise (for example after a good race), accept it graciously like a rose.  At the end of the day, when you are on your own, offer all the roses in a bouquet up to God and say, “All these belong to you, you deserve all the glory, it is only by your grace that I am even in the position to be doing this and perform well today”.  I love that image and have made a practice of it in my own career.


Giving the bouquet of roses up to God as a symbol of any glory you receive really belonging to Him is the perfect example of one of the most important aspects of living like Jesus: humility.  Pride is a funny thing because it can be so subtle, and one way I have seen it creep into my life is in the area of self-promotion.  My pastor Eric made an astute observation that Jesus never promoted himself.  His life had the greatest impact on world history by far of anyone who has ever lived, and yet he did nothing to pump himself up and garner popularity. He actually said things he knew would offend people and make him less popular.  He was confident, he knew who he was, but he was not prideful.  The need to promote oneself comes out of insecurity really.  For example, one are I feel the temptation to promote myself is social media.

“Building my brand” (I really dislike that term) is often considered part of my job description as a professional athlete, but long ago I stopped feeling comfortable putting out anything I didn’t genuinely feel inspired to share. Even still I ask myself at times as I create a post,“why am I wanting to post this? Is it really because I want the response of others?” Do I get the urge at times to brag about a workout I just crushed on social media or some other achievement, absolutely, but God convicts me that this boils down to pride.  I have thus tried to really reign in any form of self-promotion in my life, whether on social media or interviews or elsewhere.  I trust God to bring opportunities and financial provision my way without me trying to strive to make them happen by “marketing myself”.

Everyone is different in their convictions on how they use social media so I don’t judge anyone on this, but I know for myself, it crosses the line when at the heart of my motivation it is really a need for affirmation from others.  It also doesn’t mean you never share about the successes (as well as failures) as you go along your journey. It just goes back to what is your heart intention in it and who are you running/living for? I love and appreciate so much the people who have followed my running journey and cheer me on, but even if that crowd shrunk to zero I hope that I would have the same zeal to do this sport unto God alone, for His audience only.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

As you can tell, I could probably talk about this forever as it is one of my life’s passions, but I’ll end it there. I would absolutely love to hear from you on how your life with Christ has affected the way you pursue running!

May God bless you richly and meet you wherever you are on this journey!



How to Conquer Your Race Day Nerves

October 24, 2016

Let’s be honest, there are moments before races (or any big event) when our nerves get the better of us. We start having thoughts like, “I wouldn’t be that sad if I twisted my ankle right now, and couldn’t run.” Of course, once we finish, these thoughts seem ridiculous. Why would we look for an excuse to not do the very thing we spent months training for?

Pressure can stem from several factors. Sometimes, the more we put into something and prepare, the more we have on the line when it’s time to perform. It’s also easy to second guess whether we prepared enough, and whether we “have what it takes” for race day.

During these times, I like to look back at my Fitbit data, so I can see all the hard workouts I’ve put in. It helps me relive my excitement, and gives me the confidence to know I am ready.

Another big factor contributing to race-related nerves can be the fear of failure. Rather than seeing the race as an opportunity to do something great (and even have fun!), sometimes it’s seen as a chance to fail. Perhaps you fear you might let someone down if you race poorly. Or maybe your performance dictates your entire identity, and you think that if you fail, that means you are a failure as person. (Which is just not true.)

The best way to free yourself of fear is to see yourself rooted in something other than what you do. For me, that is my faith. I’ve probably failed more times than I’ve succeeded in my career, and now I feel free to take big risks because I’ve separated “what I do” from “who I am.”

Regardless of why I feel race jitters, when they set in, I try to shift my perspective to one of positive excitement. Here’s a good example of it: I once heard a sports psychologist give the analogy of a man who was going for a dog-sled ride. When he approached the sled dogs with the musher, the dogs started going crazy, tugging at their chains. They all wanted to be the ones picked to pull the sled that day, to do what they were trained to do. The dogs weren’t fearing how painful or tiring their run would be, and instead were eager to feel the joy of going all out.

That is how we all should be: excited for the opportunity to do what we love, and have prepared for. Since I often run with my Siberian huskies, I’m constantly reminded of this perspective.

With my goal race—the TCS New York City Marathon—fast approaching, I know that when I land in NYC my heart will start beating faster in anticipation. But I’ll remind myself of the joy I feel when running and racing, and how wonderful it will feel to fly across the finish line.


Expectations, Spring racing & family life 9 months in

August 1, 2016

By, Sara Hall

“I didn’t come out here to run 2:30” I told Ryan as we were talking through different race plans in the last few days before London Marathon. I had decided that after the Marathon Trials I wanted the chance to see what I could do after having such a good buildup (in weather cooler than 90 degrees).  I didn’t feel the need to prove anything to myself or anyone else, it was more to see the fulfillment of my labors and for the pure joy of getting to go the distance and take on the challenge.  London was a race I had witnessed Ryan come alive running twice, and I was excited to experience it myself.

Despite setting a new PR and achieving some personal breakthroughs in maintaining (close to) my pace the 2nd half entirely alone, I couldn’t help but be disappointed as I ran the exact time to the second (2:30:05) that I said would define an unfruitful trip. I chose to focus on the positives and choose gratefulness, and when I look back on the race is something I have to still consciously do.  But it sparked something in me when I realized my unmet expectations had stolen the joy I had gone there to experience.

Fast forward less than 4 weeks later, and I lined up in Occidental to try a 5k track race since the Olympic Trials were 5 weeks away and there wasn’t time to delay.  It was my first 5k in 3 years and I expected it to be embarassing, suffering lactic leg lock as I fought around the oval.  Instead I gained speed and momentum as the race progressed and ended up finishing strong and just shy of the Olympic A Standard.  Once again, my expectations had been wrong, but this time for better! Afterwards I wondered if I hadn’t anticipated being so underprepared but instead expected it to be easy and go well, if I could have dipped under that standard.  It was the opposite of London, but both left me wondering whether having performance expectations was even a good thing to begin with.

As with most things, I often find parallels with what I experience running and with the rest of my life, including my family.  Thus far our adjustment as a family and has far exceeded my expectations.  The challenges I anticipated have not been an issue. But it has not been easy- just less challenging and in different ways.

As you prepare to adopt, you hear a lot about “attachment” being difficult,  “acting out”, “shutting down” and other behavioral issues that often come from kids in hard places and I expected all of them. I expected it to take a while for my kids to be naturally affectionate- instead I got a child that literally attaches herself to me like a koala and prefers to be kissing (or, I kid you not, sucking on my face) as much as possible. This is a good thing, though sometimes I lose sight of that in the moment!)  In this ease of transition, a different challenge has emerged- because my kids have defied the odds thus far and taken everything in stride and openly loved us from day one, I now too often forget where they have come from.  I forget that these are not children who have been with me since inception and have grown up in suburban America and know how to do everything and all the social cues that we take for granted. If I’m not careful, that joy of how well we have adapted as a family can get stolen by new expectations just as it did in London.

Let’s take the issues of towels.  If my daughter sees a dog hair floating along our hardwood floors (we have huskies, y’all, enough said) she will use no fewer than 8 paper towels to pick it up. Conservation for the environment is not even a remote concept.  They also insist on bringing their face towels into the kitchen to be used there. And no matter how I try to protest or show them the towel holders on the kitchen island are their designated place the face/kitchen towels must always reside is on top of the gas stove.  This is a small and silly example of how when I lose perspective, my expectations change, and that can lead to frustration/disappointment.

Aside from the daily mistakes as they navigate this alien planet and all that comes with figuring out how to parent all these age groups simultaneously, I’ve accepted that having 4 kids period is not easy, which is a good perspective to keep (ever wonder why pre-race workouts always feel the worse? It’s because you expect them to feel easy).  Not easy, but worth it.  One of my daughters I swear has a constant IV of espresso into her veins and two are requiring huge efforts to get caught up academically, and many of my runs I’m thinking through how to get them to a place of thriving independently one day.  But the fact that these are my only problems is a testament to God’s abundant grace, and when I lose perspective I have to remind myself to take a moment to thank Him that these are the hardest moments!  These are the best-case-scenario challenges.

So what is the solution, is it possible to stop having expectations altogether?  I’m pretty sure that is impossible, our brains are
naturally hard-wired to make them. Plus I believe we should be living with hope and expectancy of good things, that is a life of faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1) I always want to have faith and hope, not settling for less of myself but being content with where things are at and not letting disappointment steal my joy. I want to be prepared for things to be hard and not always perfect, at the same time I don’t want that expectation to negatively shape my environment.

I don’t know (and if any of you do please chime in!) but I think the key in how to live in this tension is to step back, get perspective back and keep a heart of gratitude.  When a race doesn’t go the way I planned or my child is helping “organize” by stacking everything in a giant tower or hiding it in drawers, I take a step back and realize that running 2:30 was still a PR, and that my daughter’s willingness to show love by helping out is a major gift in itself.  Life will never look exactly as you expect it to, but through the twists and turns there is an invitation to let go of control and rigid expectations and stay open to finding the “gold” in every outcome.  A flexible heart can stay hopeful and full of faith, rather than tainted by past disappointments, and with it we can maneuver unmet expectations while still keeping our joy.


(**I am too lazy to imbed pictures. For related pictures, see my Instagram page @SaraHall3 🙂 )

RACE UPDATE: This blog was started a while ago and with most non-urgent things these days was shoved to the back burner of my life!  Since then, I ran the 5k at the US Olympic Trials and placed 14th in the final, which was not the supernatural race I was hoping for, but not a failure considering I could count the number of track races I’ve run the last 3 years on one hand.  I have turned my attention back to my true love, the roads, and am gearing up to run the TCS New York City Marathon for the first time! I have spectated this race for the last 10 years straight and felt absolutely wired by the electric atmosphere in the city and magical finish line in Central Park. It is a race I’ve always wanted to run but wanted to be ready for, and excited that this is the year to take on this epic challenge!


olympics Races

Olympic Marathon Trials

March 18, 2016

The Olympic Marathon Trials happened on February 13th.  I did not make the team, and far from it- it was the first race I’ve ever had to DNF in, something I had hoped I’d never have to do.  When I toed the line in LA on a blazing hot day, I had incredible peace and expectation filling my heart.  I knew I had done all I could do before getting to the line, and I felt so grateful for how well my training had gone.  It was my best marathon buildup yet, and I felt prepared (even for the heat), FullSizeRender (2)hopeful, and excited.  I executed the plan I had committed to, but after halfway the lead pack pulled further and further away and I struggled to keep my composure.  Eventually my muscles started cramping much like they did at the LA marathon a year before, and though they were not the culprit that kept me from staying in contention, they further hindered me until they were so strong they stopped me in my tracks.  Around mile 17.5 after being jolted into stopping by a strong cramp, I knew in that moment the right thing to do was to step off the course.

As I sat on the curb trying to figure out what to do next, I felt frustrated and confused, but rather than having excuses for myself, I just wished I were better.  I was clearly not nearly as strong as I needed to be for everything that race involved, so far from how prepared I thought I was.  My race plan had not been a “hail Mary” approach, I had believed I belonged there and was capable of seeing the race to the end.  The team that made it to Rio was without a doubt the strongest, and I felt humbled by the race and by those that executed so well on such a challenging day.

I will never forget seeing my kids out on the course at mile 8.5, their excited faces in their matching t-shirts cheering wildly FullSizeRender (1)literally made me cry.  Fortunately we were running easy enough at that point that I couldn’t help but wave and blow them a kiss (the next loop, not so much!).  As tough as the conditions were, I will never forget how truly incredible the crowd was and created such an inspiring stage, and that along with seeing my kids further motivated me to want to deliver on that day.  When I saw my kids after the race, I couldn’t help but feel ashamed- of all the races for them to be at it had to be the first one I dropped out of.  But I will never forget the way that they embraced me with their love. Later in the night, when my five year old saw the tears I was trying to hide in the restaurant she said “don’t worry Mommy, when we get home we can go to the circle one (track) and I’ll help you run faster!”.  My 9 year old assured me she would teach me how to run better.  Each one came up to me individually to offer encouragement and help. It was not the fairytale ending of us booking tickets to Rio, but I felt us come together as a family in a deeper way, we became more of a team.

In some ways, it has been easier to get over than I expected, especially considering how strongly I believed the result would be different. I think it’s because I really have no regrets, and regrets are really what will keep you up at night. Not only did I pour my heart out in training, but I loved almost every minute of the journey to that line. I felt so alive and so “me” in the training.  Paces that used to be challenging to hold for six miles I can now hold for 15, week after week. A look at my Instagram feed might leave someone wondering if I even run anymore, but it is quite the opposite, my training is going the best it ever has and I am enjoying it more than I ever have before. I just don’t talk about it that much, mostly because I try to avoid self-promotion.  This training buildup felt like such a sacred process, pouring myself out with joy and thankfulness to God, celebrating the victories with just Him and maybe one orIMG_0079 two other people. It gave Ryan and me such a fun project to work on together, and lots of quality time to replace the hours we are used to spending together running. Fortunately the end result didn’t change anything about this.

Two days after the race, ignoring my aching legs, we took on Disneyland.  It began with a parenting fail, starting out on Pirates of the Caribbean (darkness, guns, skeletons, not quite the mellow family ride we remembered) but we had a blast and our kids once again proved that they could take on even the most “over-stimulating” experiences like champs.  Life went on, and it was still beautiful and challenging and rich.  I felt a shift when we got home, a resiliency to believe and hope again, one step at a time.  By inviting my kids into this process, I get to teach them to not let failure discourage them from believing again, and to determine for themselves how to measure success.  For me, that is being faithful with what God has given me towards the things He puts on my heart.  I can be successful no matter how fit my competitors are or no matter what crazy weather is going on or what injury or setbacks I experience- success is being faithful.  At the moment that looks like preparing the best I can for the races ahead- first up, the World Half Marathon Championships in two weeks! I’m not taking for granted any opportunity to

represent the USA, and I’m already starting to sharpen my track spikes as I eye the Olympic Track Trials in July. New season, new goals, but the same passion.


P.S. In other news, our family reached the 6 month mark of being together! This was a huge milestone for me as in our first home study with the girls home I asked our social worker, “Things have been really good and surprisingly easy, do you think this is just the ‘honeymoon period’?” and she said “Well, they seem pretty adjusted, but I’d say if you make it to 6 months without any real issues you’re probably home free”.  So I’ve had it in my mind and counting down the days ’til this moment. Not to say we

have not had our challenges, and there are many more to come, but we are so thankful for God’s abundant grace for the transition.  We celebrated together with toasts, cake and sharing stories of our favorite moments of the last 6 months! So much more I could say about this journey but tried to keep this one strictly to running, so to be continued….