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It’s hard to explain exactly what Stillwater means, but heading to Oklahoma State two weeks ago felt like a pilgrimage of sorts — at least to an early 30s-ish running nerd who remembers huddling around a laptop with my college cross country team to watch the Cowboys win NCAA XC team titles in 2009, 2010 and 2012. I’m an East Coast girl who had barely heard of OK State before German Fernandez went there, and iconically won the 2009 national title in the 1500m as a true freshman with sunglasses on. You kinda had to be there.
Anyway, I was in Stillwater over Halloween weekend to broadcast the Big 12 XC Championships as an analyst along with my play-by-play partner Lincoln Rose, who was nice enough to not only do the full course walk (or at least 1.96 miles of it), but humored me by taking photos on the course for my instagram. Really, what more can you ask for? The races were on Friday, Oct. 29, but our broadcast aired on Saturday morning, by which time we were actually already back in Austin, Texas. Weird! You might still be able to figure out how to watch it if you have an account with Big 12 Now on ESPN+. (Maybe this link will work for you?!)
The Cowboys and Cowgirls swept the team titles in very close battles with Iowa State, while the Cyclones’ Wesley Kiptoo cemented his status as an NCAA favorite with a dominant win over OK State’s Isai Rodriguez, and West Virginia’s Ceili McCabe continued her breakout year with an exciting kick finish over three-time champion Cailie Logue of Iowa State and hometown favorite Taylor Roe of OK State. After three years covering Big 12 track and cross country, I’m having a hard time not being a homer and rooting for these folks to do well at nationals next week!
We didn’t go to Eskimo Joe’s (there was a 90-minute wait) but we did go to Hideaway Pizza (it was fine) and I did order a Starbucks grande cold brew coffee for delivery to the studio underneath the football stadium from Uber Eats, which feels slightly ridiculous now but was the only correct option in the moment.
I did have a very different idea of what this newsletter might be at some point this summer, an entire lifetime and marathon cycle ago, so I’m sorry if you feel tricked into signing up for this! I kept telling myself I would write an updated newsletter, and then I got a bunch of actual freelance assignments that pay actual money, in addition to balancing my regular job and marathon training and having some semblance of a life “in our unprecedented times”! I have written a couple drafts attempting to recap the Boston Marathon, which all feel a little embarrassing and corny, but I did pay something like $80 for a bunch of race photos of myself trying not to cry or puke in the last 10K, so I should at least write a couple instagram posts or a blog or something.
Here’s everything (I think) that I wrote this summer for the Olympics and Paralympics and into the fall:
Starting Line 1928, Fast Women. A volunteer-run oral history project and podcast series chronicling the lives of female distance running pioneers. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing women on this project and I’m happy to share it with y’all. Listen to the episodes wherever you get your podcasts from and follow us on instagram here.
How Olympian Quanera Hayes Has Kept the Faith This Year, Women’s Running
What Distance Runners Can Learn from Elite Sprinters, Women’s Running
I have a few more stories coming up that I’m excited about and I will try to write more frequently again! Cheers.