Monday, August 17, 2015

Where did summer go?

I can't believe how fast this summer has flown...I feel like June was just last month, but that was July. I can barely even remember July happening. Right after USA Championships, I left on a month European circuit of racing for the entire month of July. I had never been gone this long from home, but I needed some sort of reassurance in my fitness after getting 4th in Eugene, so I loaded up my schedule. 6 races in 4 weeks...that'll do it! I handled myself pretty well overseas...for three of the four weeks....

I started my travels off in Paris, France. I had never been here before. When we landed at the airport and got into the van with the broken air conditioning to take us to the hotel, I couldn't believe I was actually in Paris. All I really wanted out of this trip was to see the Eiffel Tower, and maybe some air conditioning. It was SO HOT. One of my favorite parts of traveling to a new place is actually the drive from the airport to the hotel. All the athletes are so tired from flying 12 hours in a plane and are usually passed out by the time we pull out from the airport. But I always make sure I force my eyes open so I can take in the new scenery. We pull up to our hotel and the Eiffel Tower casually lingers in the background just a couple hundred meters from our van. WHAT! That's it? I was expecting the sight of it to take my breath away from the grandiose image it portrays back in the US. But it sat there so casually. People walked by it on their way to work or the market, no big deal. Hell, it was a huge deal to me! I immediately dropped my bag off and went for a "jog" to snap a couple pictures of this beauty. I later revisited with my friends to take some more pics!

After the disappointment of USA's, I was on a bit of a mission in Paris. I knew it was a fast track and I knew it was expected to be wicked fast. I ran my fastest time of my career here, 1:58.68 and got 4th place. You can watch it here!
After my race, I AGAIN went to the Eiffel Tower, and drank a couple beers to celebrate cracking the 1:59 barrier. Although I was never fortunate enough to have air conditioning in my hotel room that week, I managed to visit the Eiffel Tower 3 times. 

I took off the next day to Switzerland and had 3 races back to back in this country. It is the most beautiful country I have ever been to. I visited Lausanne, Lucerne, and Bellinzona. One day, me and my friend Gabe took a boat tour in Lausanne. The views were unreal. 

My last race in Switzerland was in Bellinzona, another beautiful city. This was week 3 for me, and I had about hit my breaking point. A lot of people think that the lifestyle that I lead  is so glamorous. I do realize how lucky I am to have the opportunity to travel the world while doing something I enjoy, but the conditions in which we travel are not glamorous at all. Up to this point in the trip, I had little to no air conditioning at my hotels. It would be manageable if I was vacationing in Europe and did not have to worry about being sleep deprived or dehydrated. But I am over there to work. To get myself ready every 4 days to compete at the highest level of competition. We have very few days of fun and touring around the cities. It is airports, hotel rooms, and tracks. I was starting to get irritable and feeling sick from sweating all the time and homesick and stir crazy and all of those things at once. The day of my race in Bellinzona I had a minor freak out on skype to my Mom and told her I didn't know if I could do it any longer. The same schedule EVERY day was making me crazy. Wake up, eat, sit in the room, eat, sit in the room, practice, sit in the room, dinner, sit in the room, go to sleep. Wake up, and do it again the next day. She told me to "get myself together, Molly!" I guess that is all I needed. I ran my second fastest time ever and got 2nd place: 1:59.05.
My last two races were in London and Stockholm, Sweden. Thankfully, the weather turned from hot and humid, to cold and rainy. I never thought I would be thankful for cold weather, but I was over the sweating. We got to race in the 2012 Olympic Stadium in London which was really cool. The race went pretty well and I got 4th and ran 1:59. You can watch it here.

I was so excited to get home and see Reed and my bed and my car and my own food. It was such a surprise a week after I got home to hear the news that I would be representing Team USA in Beijing at the World Championships August 26th-29th. I traveled here to the training camp in Tokyo, Japan yesterday and it is pretty awesome. Stay tuned for some updates on my races!

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Reflection

Whoa-weee. What a crazy week in Eugene, Oregon at the USA Track and Field Championships. Last time I stepped on Hayward Field was 2012. I missed the Olympic Team by .22. Now, here I am reflecting on a World Championship team that I missed by .04. Two Team USA misses by .26 seconds total.  hmm. As my husband says, "TUUUUFF." (The drawn out "U's" are referring to the slow way in which is says "tough.") What can I really say right now? Well, I have perfect word to say but I won't repeat it on paper. So I'll just say, this really sucks!

Reed and I rented this adorable art-inspired 2-story loft in Eugene for the week, to have a little more space, and to avoid having to eat out every single meal. Sitting in a hotel room staring at the same TV, and out the same window all day for a long, stressful week can sometimes make your head want to pop off. So the loft was a great idea, and it was away from the stress of the track meet and all the noise of the stadium. Poor Reed...this is the second USA Championships he has traveled with me, and he gets to deal with my passive-extremely-aggressive personality the entire week. Three rounds of 800 meters with arguably 5 of the fastest 10 girls in the world fighting for 3 spots. Let's just say he is a saint. And I THINK he still wants to be married... HA HA JK. My legs felt miserable in the first round...which I attribute to doing next to nothing on the track for the week leading up to the meet. I was able to win my heat and move on to prelims. The next day, my legs turned around and I felt great, winning my prelims race to qualify me to finals on Sunday. Saturday we had a day off to recoup, and I took a two hour nap, did a little shake out, ate a lot, and watched episodes of "The Killing." (Our new favorite Netflix show). I did manage to get out of the house Saturday evening for dinner. We went to a beautiful winery about 20 miles from Eugene called Kings Estate. 

It ended up being a perfect distraction with Reed's family and a few family friends that made the trip to Oregon.  I may have been the only person to ever go to Kings Estate without trying a drop of their wine. 

Time flew by as I woke up in a sweat Sunday morning. I had a calmness about me that I hadn't had before. Maybe it was a confident feeling, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. Here I was on the starting line, in lane 4 for the biggest race of my season, and for the first time maybe ever, I felt ready. Ready in every since of the word. Mentally, physically, emotionally ready. My coach had given me a race plan and I had no doubt it was going to work, and for 600 meters, it was working perfectly. I was ready to go for it, and as I felt myself getting ready to make my move, I felt a total momentum switch and I realized my foot wasn't touching the ground. I had gotten caught up in someone's legs and I was about to fall. I managed to keep my balance but lost my stride pattern that I had worked so hard to maintain. In an instant, I was in the back of the pack. I didn't give up…I rallied the last hundred meters with all my strength and was .04 from getting that third spot to Beijing for the World Championships later this summer. 
You can watch it here

Not gunna lie, I felt totally robbed. I really believed it was my time to make Team USA. Don't get me wrong, Alysia, Brenda, and Ajee without a doubt deserved to be on the team, but I did too. And so did the entire field of finalists. I marched off the track in frustration, getting hounded by the US Anti-Doping Agent (my drug tester), who followed me around the next 30 minutes while I cried in my husbands arms, bawled to my agent, and called my Dad in hysterics. It feels so unfair that something I put hours, weeks, and months of work into can be taken away in one race that lasts 2 minutes. I know there is more to a season than the championships, but that's the most important one, and why do I keep failing? I started questioning myself. Was all this worth it? It took me months of mental rehabilitation after my dramatic miss of the Olympic Team in 2012 to have the courage to step on the line and put myself in the situation again. And it just happened…again. And I'm supposed to get up, wipe my tears, and do it…again? Do I have the courage to put myself out there for another chance of missing an olympic team…again? The answer, I decided, after eating chicken wings and a couple beers, was yes. Reed, my savior, always puts things into perspective for me. He reminds me that everything happens for a reason, and the best things in my life are still yet to come. If I never make an Olympic Team or a World Championship team in my career, I will always be happy in the end. I have the best husband, and the best family and friends I could ever imagine, and those things will never be lost. I always put SO much pressure on myself, I always have, which Reed says is why I have gone from a measly college soccer player to a professional track and field athlete. I have always wanted more from myself, which is why it is hard for me to feel proud of any of my accomplishments. I hope after this track and field thing is all over, I can look back and be like "hey, I'm proud of myself." Until then, I have resorted to continuing to force the limit of what is comfortable and be a fearless competitor on the track. I'm not giving up…maybe the third time will be a charm.

I am off tomorrow to Paris, France for the Diamond League race where I will run the 800 on Saturday. I have a packed schedule in Europe for the entire month of July, and will return to the US in early August. 

BLUE SKY'S for days,

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fast Track


Hello Everybody! I feel like SO much has happened in the last couple weeks since I have updated my blog, and now I don't know where to begin :)

I had literally zero time to bask in the glory of winning gold and breaking the American Record in the 4X800 relay at World Relays, because a few short days later I was on a plane. This time, right back down south to Kingston, Jamaica for the Jamaica International Athletics meeting. It was a decent race for me. I placed second and ran 2:01.06. You can watch it here:

Next, I was off to Shanghai, China for another 800. I had never been to China before so I was excited to see the culture. On Friday before the race, me and a couple girl friends took a cab to what the locals call the "Fake Market."

Here, there were hundreds of designer bags, sunglasses, clothes, and jewelry tucked away in the side streets. As to no surprise, I was in heaven. Kate Spade, Tory Burch, you name it! The race went just "ok" again, and I placed 4th and ran 2:01.3. You can watch it here:

The last couple races have been a little frustrating for me. Although I am in the best shape of my life, my race tactics and the risks I have not taken, have put me in difficult spots in racing. My goal is to take more risks in my last two races before USA Championships (June 25-28). I am racing June 4th
in a local Indianapolis road mile just for fun, then heading to Nashville, Tennessee to the Music City Distance Carnival. I think there will be a live feed with the races this year at:

I race around 7:20 PM, and I am racing the 800 meters!

In addition to all of my international track & field adventures this Spring, my sister had her baby boy!  Meet Caleb William Hass, 6 LBS 14 OZ. This completes her little family of 5 (I think, and I kinda hope not). 
It has been so wonderful to be back in the United States for a month or so before heading off to Europe after USA Championships in June. Until next time,
Molly :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's Been a While...

Hello again! Since my previous blog, "A Beautiful Oblivion," went into retirement over the past three years, I have had an incredible ride. Life as I know it since August of 2012 (in a nutshell):

1. September 2012: My sister gave birth to ANOTHER perfect human being, Tessa Mary Hass. She is a total Beckwith girl; a tom boy, a risk taker, a snuggler...

2. September 2013: GETTING MARRIED to an amazing man and changing my name to "Mrs. Molly Ludlow." Nice ring to it, eh?
3. January 2014: My contract with Saucony was renewed through 2016, and I will continue my professional track & field career with their expertise and support. I could not have asked for a better company to work for.

4. April 2014: My new hubby and I move an hour north from Bloomington to Indianapolis and purchase a high-rise condo right in the heart of downtown. We are loving this new chapter of our life together!

5. June- August 2014: My professional track season is in full swing again, as I place third in the 800 meters at the USA Championships in Sacramento, CA. I raced all summer in Europe, and came home with a personal best time in the 1500 meters of 4:07.88 as well as a Top 10 world-ranking in the 800 meters for 2014.

6. February 2015: My sister-in-law, Robin welcomes her first child and it is my THIRD time as an auntie. Welcome Samson Glenn Ludlow to the world!
Samson sporting the onesie I purchased for him on a trip this year to Australia :)

7. May 2015: My sister is due with her third baby, a boy, and I am anxiously awaiting his arrival any day now!

All these babies entering the world makes me anxious to have my own children...but my day will come. There is some track business to attend to before that chapter starts!!!

Blue Sky Days will be my new blog name, and this name has great meaning to me. Over the span of my 27 years, my family has always looked forward to those clear blue sky days in Worthington, Ohio. We didn't have the pleasure of cloudless skies very often in the midwest, but when we had them, my Dad made sure we acknowledged it. When my sister or I would come down with the flu, my Dad would say, "Go sit outside and the sun will make you better." When my Ohio Premier Club team (soccer) lost in the State Championship game, my Dad would say "It's a blue sky day...get over it." And when my Dad walked over to me after tearing my ACL for the second time, realizing my soccer career would be cut shorter than I ever dreamed, he said, "Blue sky Mol." It became a phrase that took the place of "remember how beautiful your life is," and to this day we still use it to remind ourselves how lucky we are in our lives.  What I have learned being a professional track and field athlete is how rewarding, intriquing, rare, and amazing this profession is. I have also learned that it is inconsistent, painful, disappointing, and tragic. Sometimes, those negative feelings towards the sport find themselves at the forefront, especially when I have set-backs in training, injury, or disappointing races. My husband always bring this to my attention when I come home excited about a break-through work out or race. "Last week at this time you were crying about ____." He is right! This sport has taken me through so many twists and turns the last 5 years, and my goal is to get to a place of "equilibrium." Blue sky days will remind me of this place when I start to lose my cool.

I just returned from The World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas. I competed with Team USA in the 4X800 relay and we won Gold, and broke the American Record. You can watch it here:

 It was without a doubt the most fun I have ever had. Jogging our victory lap with the American flag draped over my shoulders was an unforgettable experience. It the following moments standing on the podium singing the national anthem, I felt very special.

Currently, I am in Kingston, Jamaica racing an 800 Saturday May 9th. I leave next week for Shanghai, China (my first time ever to Asia!) for the IAAF Diamond League meeting. It should be a fast one! My race is Sunday, May 17. I hope to keep this blog updated as timely as possible throughout all of my travels this season, and my website should be up and running in the next week or so. Here, I will post my upcoming schedule, links to race videos and/or live feeds! Stay tuned! Until next time,
Blue skies from Jamaica :)