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Emma Bates On Taking Lessons From A Hard 2020, Running 2:25:40 At The Marathon Project

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“You have a lot of failures but that’s the point of running and learning from these failures, gaining a lot of insight from them and growing from them. Then, they don’t turn into failures anymore. They turn into life lessons and something to be gained from. Everything is something to learn from. Every race is that. Every workout is that. This year has been obviously very strange. Sometimes just getting out the door has been something that you have to feel accomplished for keeping motivated, chipping away at your goals and dreams.”

Emma Bates just ran 2:25:40 to just miss her personal best of 2:25:27 with her fourth-place finish at The Marathon Project. In this episode, she’ll give us her assessment of the performance given some of the challenges that she’s faced this year, how she’s been able to pull through some of the tough times brought on by the pandemic and some of her plans and ideas for 2021. Track? Trails? All of the above?

Come of The Marathon Project and Olympic Trials insights but stay for her impression of Nick Willis toward the end of the show.

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Photos by Kevin Morris.

the citius mag podcast emma bates after the marathon project

SHOW NOTES AND QUOTES

The Marathon Project

– “Going into the race I was definitely shooting for 2:23. I was going out with that pace group for 2:23. I think that was definitely in my wheelhouse. On a great day, I could have even gone under 2:23 but just with everything that happened I have to be happy with a near PR. I’m just frustrated because it was such a fast course and so many people ran really well. It’s hard not to be able to grasp that opportunity when it’s given to you like that because this may not happen to you again in a long time. It was perfect conditions, no wind and super flat so it’s just frustrating. I think 2:22 is definitely in sight for 2021, if not beyond. Definitely not going to throw in the towel. It was a hard day but I learned a lot about myself and about what I can overcome and get through mentally and physically.”

– “I’m definitely excited about my future as a marathoner specifically.”

– “This was the first time I felt really, really shitty and still ran well. That gives me a boost into each and every marathon after this.”

Looking back at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

– “It was the whole race that I wasn’t running my own race. Going into it, I was like, ‘I’m just going to go into it, not worry about what anybody else is doing. Then I got into it and typically a women’s marathon, especially a championship race, is very strung out. This one was completely the opposite. The men’s race ran completely strung out but the women were so packed up. I started freaking out. I get really claustrophobic when I’m running around a lot of people too. I didn’t know what to do. People weren’t really pulling ahead. I was kind of keying off Des (Linden) because she’s been there and she’s made teams. She wasn’t going. I got so swept up with what everybody else was doing. I felt amazing. I was probably the fittest I had ever been going into that race. I definitely should have made the move much sooner if not from the beginning but it was windy and hilly. I just overthought everything. Once the move was made with Ali, Molly and Sally, I just didn’t have that gear. I’m much more of a metronomic, rhythm runner. I like to go hard from the beginning and maintain. I’m not really good at that space change and the championship racing style. I was hoping that it wasn’t going to be run like a track championship race. I was hoping that it would be a true marathon but it didn’t end up being that way. That’s the most frustrating part about it – not doing what I said I was going to do.”

Lessons from 2020

– “You have a lot of failures but that’s the point of running and learning from these failures, gaining a lot of insight from them and growing from them. Then, they don’t turn into failures anymore. They turn into life lessons and something to be gained from. Everything is something to learn from. Every race is that. Every workout is that. This year has been obviously very strange. Sometimes just getting out the door has been something that you have to feel accomplished for keeping motivated, chipping away at your goals and dreams.”

Sharing the Struggles

– “I’ve always felt weird about sharing my insecurities and issues that I’ve been going through because I know that everyone is going through something so I didn’t feel that I should share that because what makes me so special? Why should people care about what I’m going through when I know they’re going through something as well. I’ve definitely struggled with sharing that part of me. I’m still in a weird place where I don’t know how to navigate it. I try to reach out to people that I feel the same connection with and I know they’re going through something too. I see if I can kind of help them. That back and forth is something that can’t be replaced…I’m still figuring it out. I’m going to start going to therapy and I haven’t delved into that. I’ve had close friends to talk things through but it’s also nice to have that unbiased person to go to so I definitely want to start doing that. I think everybody should even if you’re not going through something. Just talking to somebody really does help.”

Looking Forward to 2021

“I definitely don’t have the greatest relationship with the track. I left the track in a very bad place so I want to regain some of the friendship with the track again. I’ve been doing some workouts and dabbling in that over the summer. When I wasn’t racing in 2020, it was testing the waters and seeing what I could do. I had some pretty good workouts in the 10K over the summer. There might be another presence for me on the track in 2021. It probably won’t be anything shorter than a 10K. That seems like a sprint for me. I’m going to do my best. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to make a team or anything like that but finding the love in running in a bunch of circles again would definitely be welcomed.”

The Olympic Aspirations Going Forward

“It was definitely devastating not making that team. That was a really hard one to swallow. But, I love running so much and I found such a new sense of enjoyment in that so it wasn’t the end of the world in not making that team. I have found so much support from everybody. That has made all the difference in the past year and my running career in general. It doesn’t matter how well I do in a race or it doesn’t matter what race I do, people are still going to be excited for me and proud of me. That’s something that’s really special and I don’t want to diminish that by wanting to make teams. It’s not the next four years or 2024. It’s more like ‘What’s the next race?’ and being excited about that, really soaking in the process of just being able to run with people again, do workouts, push myself and to see what I can do.”


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