What an amazing race weekend! I apologize for this post taking so long to come to be. I’ve been dealing with some things that have made it hard for me to be excited and happy about my race, unfriendly comments from those that know little about me and my family’s story. Unfortunately I let that cloud enter my life and was in a pretty dark place to be quite honest. But now I have let it go and I am truly proud of my performance and proud of my accomplishments. I am taking a hiatus from Social Media for the summer and I think that has definitely helped me to get back to taking care of myself and to focus on what I need to focus on right now, and that is on becoming the best athlete for Latvia that I can be.
Leading up to Ottawa I had gone to Phoenix to get in some training with my friends and to run in the heat, just in case Ottawa Marathon proved to be warm. I did a few runs in tights and long sleeves under the Phoenix sun and was surprised at how horrible I didn’t feel. Ten days out I started doing the weather dance. As the predicted race day temperatures climbed from 70 degrees to 90 degrees over those 10 days, I was *maybe* panicking a bit. We felt like I was able to run 2:35 if conditions were perfect, but 2:36-2:37 was the main goal. The day before the race when there was talk of it being cancelled (!!) due to the heat, we decided to adjust and go for 2:41 after some calculations on different pace adjusters for temperature. Being a Latvian athlete, I had to run under the Olympic standard of 2:45 to make the team for Rio in the marathon. Having run 2:35 before, I knew I could do it, but the heat/humidity combo was going to throw a curve ball at me. Turns out, I run pretty well in the heat! Yay!
Leading up to race day, I hydrated like crazy using my GenUcan Berry Hydrate. I made up my mind that I would be fine and just relaxed, visualized, and focused on my race.
Race morning came and the start time temperature was 67 degrees. (My PR start temperature in Twin Cities was 32 degrees!) *But* it was cloudy and I think that helped immensely. I froze some sponges to put in my top and that helped cool me down a bit before the race. It was also windy! During training I like to call headwinds “cooling winds” to give myself a better attitude, I really hate the wind. So I tried to remain positive that the wind really was cooling me and I have run in wind every single day near the ocean in San Diego so it was fine. I honestly felt great the entire time. The second half of the race sets up a bit slower as there are some rollers, but they were a welcome addition after running flat the first 13 miles. The last 4 miles were tough, of course, but nothing I couldn’t work through. I ended up drinking all 8 of my fluid bottles for a total of 64oz, plus at each station I grabbed a cup of water to drink and one to pour on me.
I finished 6th in a IAAF Gold Label race in 2:40:32. I saw Matt and I was crying happy, relieved, tears. I had so many emotions going through me and I just felt in my heart that my Grandparents were there with me. Which got me a little choked up during the race so I had to shift my thoughts so I wouldn’t cry those last few miles. I also was able to meet my Canadian facebook friend Gary, running allows you to meet the kindest people! Since I was in the top 6, I was whisked away to doping control to have my urine tested. Luckily since I had drank a lot on the course, it didn’t take me too long to pee. When I ran the Riga Marathon and was tested I was so dehydrated and then got so sick after trying to drink a lot of fluids for the test, so this went much more smoothly. Thank goodness! However, I missed the press conference for the Olympic qualifiers, but here is the article: http://ottawacitizen.com/sports/local-sports/handful-of-athletes-qualify-for-rio-olympics-with-ottawa-marathon-performances
I was (and am!) absolutely over the moon. I had achieved the Olympic standard and hope to be on the starting line at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer as I represent my Mother Country Latvia. Nothing is for certain yet as the team will not be announced until July 1th. For now, I am thinking positive, training hard and focusing on what I need to do. I have resumed training after taking two days off after the Ottawa marathon and plan to give everything I have to be able to compete at my absolute best for Latvia and especially for my Latvian family. I honestly cannot dream of a greater honor.
Of course, it wasn’t *me* that accomplished this alone. It is definitely a group effort! Four years ago when I decided to stop teaching to focus on running and to really focus on making the Olympic Team, Matt has been nothing but supportive. Even when running met its bad patches and I just wanted to go back to teaching, he brought me down from the ledge and reminded me why I was doing all of this and helped me to stay positive and enjoy every step of the journey. I am thankful for my coach John Reich who has believed in me since we started working together in 2010. For my parents that have traveled with me to numerous races, have dealt with my 120 mile per week crankiness, and have done everything possible to stoke the fires of my dreams and goals- throughout my life. For my Phoenix training partners Brett, Alanna, JT, Ian and all of my SDP and Free Soles friends, thank you so much for helping me to prepare for Ottawa and for your encouragement. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved. My super sponsors Generation UCAN, Brooks Running, Barnana, Sole Sports, and Pantene, thank you for supporting this little Latvian girls’ dreams! Much Love.