Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why My Story is Worth Telling

For my first real blog post, I figured it best to address the reason as to why this blog was created. You see, this wasn’t exactly my idea. I have seen many people take up blogging as a way of sharing their lives with the world; from elite runners, to cooking connoisseurs, to movie critics, everyone seems to have something they considered important to share. My question: was my story worth something? I mean, I am your average 21 year old college student: I like to be fit, I spend too much time browsing the internet, I call my mom at least once a quarter stressed out of my mind about passing my classes, and I eat cereal by the fistful. So is the only significant thing my uncanny ability to run for long periods of time without feeling the desire to slow down or stop? I know lots of people who do that. Is it that I’ve been able to turn something I did strictly because I enjoyed it into a possible career? I know quite a few awesome people who have done this too. So again I ask myself, what makes my story worth sharing? And this is what I’ve come up with:
Each of the achievements I’ve made – attending college as a 400m hurdler on the collegiate team, quitting the team to pursue school, joining and competing for the club triathlon team, trying my first marathon, and now road racing at an elite level – have been achieved by a number of people. Each of these things on its own is a huge accomplishment and is worth celebrating. My story is special because of the unexpected giant leap I made from short sprints into long distance running and in such a short amount of time. Even more, the fact that I could completely redefine what I was “good” at my age is notable.
I know what you’re thinking… “You’re 21!! You’ve got so much time to reinvent yourself and find out what you’re good at.” But think again. Even in high school, we are categorized by what we decide to focus on. I was the hurdler girl. There were the partiers, the band kids, and the scholars. Everyone had a category into which they generally continued to fit. And into college we went, mostly remaining within those lines. When I happened to decide to deviate from the hurdler identity, it was literally and physically stressful; an identity crisis. But within a year, I had found a new identity as an elite marathoner. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!? Well, its not an easy answer but one thing I do know for sure is that the road was not smooth and that contrary to how most humans see the world, things don’t fall into the categories we make. I am a prime example of leaving something at which I was good and finding something completely new at which I was even better.
Seems to me that if it's possible for me to fall into a new passion for which I have an innate knack that many people out there probably have numerous talents too. So enough of putting people into categories by their skills and capabilities, enough of making a finite judgment about someone’s potential. Even more: enough of putting YOURSELF into a finite category. Who knows what skills and passions you possess which you haven’t even discovered!? Go out and do something risky and completely new. You WILL surprise yourself.
So this is why my story is so special and totally worth sharing with the world. It is a call to action for everyone who thinks they are at a place in their life where they have to settle with their skills and potential. You can do more that you ever imagined you could. All it takes is a bit of action! For me, that action is now to pursue this silly thing we call elite running. As I look for an elite team, each of the coaches is ecstatic about how much of a clean slate I am. I am still such a rookie in this sport and getting used to calling myself a distance runner. I have so much to learn and all I have to do is continue to put one foot in front of the other and see where they take me. I hope my journey can inspire you to do the same!

P.S. I decided to enter the RUNNER’S WORLD COVER CONTEST so that I can continue to spread my awesome (new) love for this distance running thing. This is the link to my entry à , and you can vote every day for me! I would love your help (:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hello world, here's a little blip about who I am and why my blog might be interesting to follow. I have a unique story that is only beginning to unfold in the world of elite distance running. There are only good things to come. Here goes nothing:

I'm Emily Gordon, a Senior at UCLA Studying Biochemistry with a minor in Biomedical research. I will be finishing up a final quarter at UCLA this Fall 2014 before I venture off to an olympic development distance running program! After two years as a 400m hurdler on my collegiate teams, I decided I was done with the stress and struggles I was experiencing on the track. So I dove head first into my science major and fell in love with research. I have completed over a year and a half in a plant development microbiology lab and love (almost) every minute of the creative and exciting process of research. I would like to continue into biochemical food/nutrition science with a Masters or PhD program in the future. I guess I can revise my interests to include food because not only do I love the science of the macronutrients, but I also love preparing and eating them too! Anyways, I picked up triathlon as a hobby for a year as a study break before signing up for a marathon on a whim with my club teammates. I surprised myself with a 2:51.44 time at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco and decided to give road racing a go. 4 months later, I got my Olympic Trials Qualifier for the 2016 Olympics Marathon with a time of 2:39.58. I then shortly after signed onto the Saucony Hurricane Racing team! Unfortunately an injury sidelined my running, but not my drive to begin the steps in advancing my running career. I am currently searching and deciding on an olympic development program team to begin with in January 2015 in preparation for the Olympic Trials and beyond. I am excited to share my seemingly Cinderella-like story with the world and to inspire everyone to try something completely new. Who knows, you may find a new talent that you didn't know you had, or even better, a new passion. My new passion is to run run run and also do some biochemistry on the side. I am excited what the future has in store and hopefully entertain you with the bumps and bruises along the way.