Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

February 27, 2021. 5:50pm. Austin, Texas.

One year ago on this very weekend, Holly and Lizzy were racing in the Olympic Trials marathon. No one could have fathomed the global events that would transpire over the subsequent 12 months. Today brought them to a novel setting that used to be so familiar: A legitimate freaking track meet.

Their training build was nothing but conventional—Holly was sick with COVID-19 just 8 weeks ago, and Lizzy set a course record in an ultramarathon less than a month ago. But when Trials of Miles and Citius Mag throw a party and you’re invited, you damn well show up.

Holly and Lizzy laced up their new Nike “Dragon Ball Z” spikes (as Holly calls them) and toed the line with almost two dozen other nervous sub-elites from all over the country. Energy and gratitude were palpable in the thick Texas air. The magic of racing unfortunately wasn’t enough to overpower the unforgiving Texas heat and humidity that substantially slowed the times of virtually every racer on this evening–but Holly and Lizzy still held their own in a competitive field, running impressively close to their personal bests given the conditions.

And, of course, nothing can beat running your heart out alongside one of your closest friends.

Author’s note: I had the honor of also photographing the elite races at the Texas Qualifier, but I am not posting about that aspect of the event here, because West Coast Runner is dedicated to sub-elite athletes from California, Oregon, and Washington. You can see my favorite pictures of the rest of the meet on my Instagram page.

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