Thankfully, I have made my decision. All of the coaches, team members and communities associated with these teams were very welcoming and helpful. I was able to explore three new cities and meet some exceptional runners along the way. I knew this decision was not going to be an easy one, and I had to remind myself, in the words of a good friend Jeff Caron, "There is no bad decision you can make." It's so true, no matter what, I'll be on a team surrounded by support in my efforts for training of the Olympic trials and beyond. All there was to do now was find somewhere I can be HAPPY living and training...
This is my new home:
Team USA Minnesota
in Minneapolis, Minnesota!
I quickly fell in love with all of the beautiful lakes and running paths. A 32 mile continuous biking and running path encircles the Minneapolis area! I was drawn to the definite downtown that is edgy and diverse, but not too big and crowded. I will get the best of both worlds, some quiet, open, and suburban areas directly adjacent to the lively, urban downtown.
I will begin working with a new coach named Dennis Barker. He has done a fantastic job as the head coach of Team USA Minnesota for a number of years and has had successful runners in races from the 800m all the way to the marathon distances. He bases much of his work on heart rate and effort and does considerable science-based research to back up his training technique. Another huge factor in my decision to come here is his passion for endlessly learning about new physiological and nutritional concepts that can give his athletes that extra edge.
I also met some AMAZING people while I was there, who were so welcoming to me. All of the team members (about 10 or 11 total) were friendly and excited about my interest in the team. Not only the direct members, but also the community. The husbands of runners, the chiropractor, the sponsoring organizations of the team, the team board members and even some of the Minneapolis locals exuded excitement for me and for the running!
Pictured: My new coach Dennis Barker and some of my new teammates Jon Peterson, Meghan Peyton, and Eric Finan at the Minneapolis Torchlight 5K on July 24th during my recruit visit!
In the end, I found that a team which will provide me a stipend to cover some living expenses while allowing me to continue working in the sciences. It is the balance I was looking for. I will have a supportive coach and team atmosphere while I will still be able to have an independent work/school life. For me, this is the best fit.
So What's next?
1. Continue to increase my milage and stay healthy so that I get get back into racing!
2. Twin Cities 10 Miles on October 5th in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Pittsburgh 10 Miler on
3. Finish up Physical Biochemistry and two upper division biology classes
4. Move back to Santa Clara, California and wait out the FREEZING COLD winters in Minnesota
5. Move to Minnesota in March.
I have a few other races planned through early spring 2015, but it is way more fun to reveal them as I go. I am excited for what the future holds... except maybe the negative temperature winter days in Minnesota... Its going to take some getting used to.