Being a post-collegiate runner is hard. Being an elite-level, IAAF ‘A’ Standard post-collegiate runner is even harder.
In December 2017 Kelsey ran 2:34:03 for the marathon. That time did a lot of things; it guaranteed her an entry into the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials, placed her 6th at the US Marathon Championships, gave her the 14th fastest time for US women in 2017, and gave us some breathing room and an opportunity to not have to focus on the marathon for the upcoming spring season.
But…like I said, being a post-collegiate runner is hard and being one at Kelsey’s level is even harder. You need to develop (continue developing), but no one really cares about your development. They only want to see fast times and US Championship performances, etc.
And there really isn’t the support system that you had in college or high school. You don’t have a team or the same structure that you had in college. You do a lot on your own; running, training, traveling, and dreaming.
And when you do well, the cheers aren’t as loud. Sometimes you go weeks and months without anyone recognizing the work you’ve put in or the success you’ve had.
It’s tough. It’s hard. It’s lonely.
And even with all of that…Kelsey Bruce continues to fight. It’s been a great spring season for Kelsey! And maybe I (her coach) judge greatness a bit differently than she does, but after that major marathon performance in December, the goal for me as her coach was to help her get faster over some shorter distances and have fun racing on the track again.
Kelsey missed all of the 2017 spring season with a plantar fascia issue. And with that she missed a great chunk of what I believe she needs…shorter and faster races. Like Alberto said to me a few weeks ago when we were in Portland…’It’s just math. You want to run a fast marathon, you have to be faster in the half marathon. To run a faster half marathon, you have to be faster in the 10k…and on and on.’
So, that’s what the goal for spring 2018 was. Let’s try to get faster in her ‘off’ events. And let’s do it on the track!
Thankfully, Kelsey had a lot of opportunities to race this spring. And let me be clear…all of these races meant that we weren’t fully focused on training. We were using these races, most of them, as ‘workout’ efforts.
So, here is the rundown of Kelsey’s 2018 spring racing calendar…
Houston Half Marathon, January 2018
Pittsburg State 5000 meters, January 2018
Pittsburg State 3000 meters, February 2018 (PR — 9:42)
Cowtown Half Marathon, February 2018
UTA Bobby Lane 1500 meters // 5000 meters, March 2018
Stanford Invite 10,000 meters, March 2018 (PR — 33:50)
East Texas Invite 1500 meters, April 2018
Mt. Sac 10,000 meters, April 2018
Oregon State High Performance 5000 meters, April 2018 (PR — 16:25)
Silo District Half Marathon, May 2018
USATF 25k Championships, May 2018 (7th place — US Champs)
The season saw personal bests over 3000 meters, 5000 meters, and 10,000 meters…just what we wanted. Now, we get a chance to take some time off, relax, reflect, and get mentally prepared for a big late-summer, fall, and winter season!
Everything that we are doing is leading us to February 29th, 2020 and the US Olympic Marathon Trials. Sometimes, that’s hard to see as you are putting in the miles, running the hard training sessions, and going at it solo. But, let me tell you, if we are healthy on that day, those other runners better watch out.