Sunday, April 15, 2012


It’s been about 24 hours since I stepped foot on the track to run a race that has been embarked in my mind for months.  In a few words…things didn’t go as planned. 

Thoughts have been haunting my brain, feelings have been sifting in and out of my body, and I think I have finally wrapped my head around what exactly happened. 

Here was the scenario.  Yesterday was a brilliant and beautiful Saturday with temperatures in the 60’s.  Perfect weather for a track meet, and even more perfect for my debut.  The track was buzzing, the stands were filled and athletes were perfecting their pre-race/jump/throw routines. 

Me?  I did my warm-up…the same warm-up I do with Jesse every time we workout.  I felt ready to run because I knew my track sessions were good and my base was solid.  However, there was one tiny detail that was missing…my mental game.  

There I was, a 37-year old woman amidst over thirty college-age students and one thought kept going through my mind…”What am I doing here?”  I know this question shouldn’t have entered my mind because physically, I was there.  I was ready to run the time I set out to do.  I knew it, and Jesse knew it.   But mentally, something happened. 

We lined up and the gun went off.  I was seeded 8th in the first of three heats.  My strategy was to hang back in the first quarter or two and let the other girls so some of the work.  I also wanted to go out in 76-77 pace.  With racing, you never know what can happen and we went out at an extremely slow pace of 82 for the first quarter.  The pace picked up through next quarter and I can’t quite remember our 800 split, but all I do remember was something went wrong, mentally.  I ran about another 100 meters and quietly stepped off the track. 

As I said before, a thousand thoughts and feelings went through my mind as I exited the race.  Everything went quiet for a few seconds until I came to grips and understood what I just did, and even more importantly, why?

My first thought was that I disappointed myself, Jesse {since he has put so much time in with me}, and my family because they were all there for support. 

But then, after talking with my college coach {Mark Will-Weber}, he helped me put it all into perspective.  In so many words, Mark told me that I put high expectations on myself, and to be able to just step onto a track after a 15+ year hiatus is tough.  No matter how good a runner is, or how good of shape they’re in, it’s most likely that anyone would need a few track races to get accustomed to running that way. 

Jesse felt that the slow start was a serious mind {you know what} and said that when races begin that way, it’s hard to come back.  {I’m just glad he wasn’t disappointed in me}. 

My dad {who was my high school coach} told me that the road races are waiting for me.  

My husband…he gave me serious props for having the guts to get out there like I did, and told me he loved me anyway.

And my mom {God love her} is always my biggest fan...no matter what.

So after a sleepless night of rehashing yesterday’s events in my mind, I have come to realize one thing.  I will not give up.  One race won’t make or break who I am as a runner, as a person, mom, or wife.  I am not a quitter, I am a fighter, and I will continue to make great strides in my running regimen. 

Today I am taking a day off from running to enjoy my family.  Tomorrow is a new day and my running horizon is bright.  I can promise myself that. 

On a positive note…yesterday’s meet was a chance for Moravian College alumni to come back and mingle.  We had an alumni mile, an alumni relay, and a kids’ race too.  Once my race was over, I had a nice time seeing old friends and catching up.  Here’s a sneak peak…

Scot Dapp, Moravian's former football coach and currently the Athletic Director, has always been a follower of track & field and a friend of mine.

An old teammate and fellow national champion and Hall of Fame member, Greg O'Neil.  Tough as nails...that guy!

Another former teammate, Christina Zarnas Donahue.

Old family friend and former teammate in both high school and college, Bob Thear, running the alumni mile.  Love the smile on his face!

Overall, I had a great day.  It feels so good to be a part of the college, and the running program, that had a huge part in making me who I am today.  

Make it a great Sunday!



  1. Wonderful post Tracy- what we talked Friday is so true, and you put it well. While running is a major factor of how we perceive ourselves, its just a small piece of something much greater to those that love us! Don't be too down on yourself, better (running) days ahead!

  2. So much of racing is the mental game. Don't let it get you down - you have come back fantastically!!!!

    And in the "it's a small world after all" game - my kids swim with the Donahue's kids!

    1. Thanks! I'm moving forward and looking ahead to the next one...Christina is great!