A Spearminty Update: Back on the Track, a Sponsorship, and Gate!

Besides all the other cool stuff, I’ve been cat snuggling.

Hello all! Spearmint here and I thought I would post a little update since it has been a while since I’ve written anything other than a training log. Don’t think I haven’t been lurking, reading all the posts and comments for the past few months though!

Anyway, I think we left off at Mountain Running World Champs last September, where Team USA women brought home bronze! It was awesome! Well, the medal part was awesome more so than the running up a mountain part. Afterwards, since I was suffering from a severe case of mountain and hill burnout, I headed to the track in December and that is what I can honestly call F – U – N.

Before we get to what I’m doing now, let me back up a little. For the past couple of years I have been trying really hard to balance an eight-to-five job with running and accounting classes. Add in D.C. traffic and I was pretty much over that grind, and bummed out about having to train all by myself, only seeing my coach for workouts.

When a job opened up in my field at George Mason University, where I train and where my coach coaches, I applied right away! Thankfully, I got the job! And even better, I lucked out with a boss who loves George Mason Athletics and lets me schedule my hours around the track team’s 3:15 practice time. Now I am able to be a volunteer assistant coach for track and XC and train with the team every day! I love it so much!

On the track in my new Saucony kicks during daylight hours!

My happiness with the new schedule has definitely made a huge difference in my training. My workout paces have gotten faster, and so far this season, I’ve lowered my PRs in the 1000 and 3000. On top of all that, I recently became a Saucony athlete and couldn’t be more excited to represent them this year.

Looking ahead, my goal race for this season is a 10k on the track at the Stanford Invite on March 31, with some tune-up races in between. Which brings me back to right now. Tune-ups like a little 15k I ran over the weekend, called the USATF 15k Championship, which was held at the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Florida.

I didn’t take Gate too seriously because it’s just a stepping stone on the way to Stanford, so my goal was to get in a hard effort and some race experience. The weather in Jacksonville on race morning was sunny and warm, which I love, so the day was off to a good start! I warmed up with Pesto and it was great to have someone to chat and laugh with rather than getting too serious and focused on my nerves. Once we warmed up, we were led to the start line and it was go time!

A large pack of us came through the first mile in 5:19 and at some point during the second mile, a couple of different packs formed. I was aiming to run 5:30’s and there didn’t seem to be anyone running that pace, but I felt fine so I was happy to plug along by myself.

About three miles into the race I spotted a woman pretty far ahead of me and I decided to try to catch her by the 10k mark. I sometimes make the mistake of burning through my energy trying to catch people too quickly, so I wanted to be smart about it this time.

I caught up to her around the sixth mile. I was so focused on passing her that I didn’t follow the cones on the course and ran straight instead of taking a left turn. Thankfully, the woman I passed was kind enough to yell out “LEFT!!” and I turned around and got back on the course.

All of the Saltines at the USATF 15K Championships in Jacksonville, FL. From left, Rue, Pesto, me, and Paprika.

The rest of the race flew by and I really enjoyed myself aside from the last one and a half miles that included a bridge with a long, grinding, windy, incline. Many people had warned me about the bridge before the race but I assumed they were just being dramatic and pretty much forgot about it until I got to it. It was definitely as hard as everyone said it was! The wind was brutal and the climb seemed to last forever, but once I got to the top, the race was basically over and downhill. I was extremely thankful for that!

I finished 12th in 52:07 (5:35 pace) and I’m really pleased with it! Gate was an awesome experience. But I’d have to say that my favorite parts were meeting the Saltines, Pesto, Paprika, and Rue! And eating alligator at the after party. It was better than chicken FYI.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. How about you? What are you training for?

I'm an aspiring elite runner from the DC/Northern VA area. I love road racing and am currently training for a half marathon in April. I write about attempting to balance a career with running and enjoying the process of training and improving!

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  1. How cool that you changed jobs and it was so good for your running! Congrats on the sponsorship and the awesome finish at Gate River. Cannot wait to find out what you’ll do next.