Molly Seidel should be in Japan for the Olympics this summer, but that’s not happening due to the global impact of COVID-19. Fortunately, the 25-year-old decorated track and field athlete from Wisconsin is used to curveballs. Sometimes they’re bad, like when an eating disorder led to osteopenia, which resulted in a hip injury that needed surgery in 2018. Sometimes they’re good, like when she decided to run a marathon for the first time – around the US Olympic Marathon Trials, in which she finished second and knocked her (now belated) ticket to Tokyo. She takes the shift just like a runner should do: at every step. ̵
Tokyo, the long way: marathon runner Molly Seidel on overcoming adversity
The 10K race used to be my main event and this type of high-intensity training kept hurting me. So [after qualifying for the Trials in the San Antonio Half Marathon]I went to the marathon with the mentality to gain experience. I used to put so much pressure on myself to run hard or be great, but this time my mindset was more, “Let’s see how it goes.” I was confident that I could handle the distance and the pace and I tried not to make the race bigger than it had to be.
When you are hurt, it is easy to define yourself by that hurt. I had this victim mentality, but now I try to look at these things as a time in my life rather than who I am. Part of it was growing up and realizing that my injuries were a direct result of my actions – like, oh, the reason my bones keep breaking is because my diet sucks and I run too many miles. When you take responsibility for your situation, it is easier to deal with it.
The long game
It was hard to get out of the momentum of trials and not know when things will open up again. I usually structure my year around certain races and training cycles. Now it’s just a matter of rolling with the beats and having lots of flexibility until we have a better idea of what our future will be. I’m still running, but I’m trying to think of this shift as an injury. I once had six months in which I couldn’t run after an operation, and I got through that. I can get through this.
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