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.

The Road to Texas

February 16, 2021. 6:45am. Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, California.

A real, live, in-person track meet has felt unfathomable during these Dark Ages of racing. But thanks to Trials of Miles and Citius Mag, Holly and Lizzy have landed the cherished opportunity to run a real, live track meet at the end of the month: an elite invitational in Austin called the Texas Qualifier.

The next two weeks, their training will be laser-focused to prepare for this special chance to PR in the developmental heat of the 5000m in Austin. Today featured a set of 800s at race pace or faster. Holly and Lizzy were joined by Tasia, who was running her first workout after a long bout of injury. In typical Tuesday morning fashion, a slew of speedy friends populated the track for various workouts to help create an electric atmosphere at sunrise.

11 days until the Texas Qualifier.

Selections from Moab

January 30-February 2, 2021. Moab, Utah.

The San Francisco girls found more than just ultra marathons during their long weekend Utah: Other highlights included post-race celebrations and unplanned treacherous drives that led to spontaneous workouts.

Jenny en route to a second place finish in the Arches Ultra 50-miler.
Holly congratulates Jenny at the finish line.
Anna runs afternoon hill sprints on Long Canyon Road.