Pan Am Cup Trials Race Recap and Reflection


Quite simply today did not go as hoped but it wasn’t even that it wasn’t my day. I went out with TEAMmate Natos as planned and the goal was to go out in 1:31:00 pace.

Walking 1st half of the race with TEAMmate Natos

Walking 1st half of the race with TEAMmate Natos photocredit:

We pushed a little early and came through 5k in 22:30…the problem is I knew I was working and by 7.5k I was working way harder than I should have because my left glute was starting to get snagged. Mid race there is not really much that can be done when a muscles starts locking up and so I pressed on. We were slowing and it was time for Natos to take off around 10k and hunt down 5th place for a shot at the Pan Am Cup (PAC) team. I knew very well what happens when I train and race solo, I am slowww.  After about a lap of holding the pace I fell off 20sec for a single 1.25k loop. I was shocked how much I slowed and looking at my Heartrate (HR) monitor confirmed this slow pace as my HR dropped 5beats which was a lot. Now it was a battle of survival and I just kept telling myself to push on. I was really struggling to get my glute firing well and this resulted in a major loss of hip propulsion forward. I was literally muscling through it and overcompensating with my hammy, hip flexor, QL and even arms. Needless to say it felt ugly and looked ugly especially my last 5k. I crossed the line in a sobering 1:33:27 (unofficial lap recording hand time).

Crossing the finishline

Crossing the finishline photocredit:

This was at least 3min off the ideal pace I had hoped for. I was disappointed but not upset. I gave what I could and today it just wasn’t happening. Had I had someone to race with the whole race sure I would have easily been 30-60sec faster but still not what I wanted. Sometimes we knock it out of the park and exceed our wildest expectations and other times we don’t.


I haven’t had to reflect on a “negative” race outcome in a while and so that in itself sucked. I began to come to terms with it half way on our drive home. Today I was just a good American race walker not a real international competitor. My time was good enough for first place by well over a minute and still a top 20 ever performance from an American, internationally I’m probably somewhere between 50-75 in the world right now. But you know what that’s ok because the real important races are later this summer and by then I’ll be even stronger and faster…whether racing in a pack or pushing solo. I will continue to stick to the plan and have nothing but utmost faith in the training that my Coach, Tim Seaman, designs. It has worked well before and I will continue to develop and excel under his guidance. Workouts have been consistent and faster than the past now with Joey there to help pace me. The training is there and I will continue to keep putting money in the bank! 4 years ago I was ecstatic to achieve an Olympic B standard for the first time ever in 1:36:30 at this same race, now I’m bummed I was only 3min under that which would have clenched a then Olympic A standard (current standards are 1:36). That’s progress for sure, and even when race results don’t entirely show it that progress comes in slow and steady from the consistent day in and day out training. I couldn’t have said it better myself as post race I read what SEGVT Coach Schaub tweeted:

Screen shot 2015-04-13 at 3.12.54 PM

Those words definitely resonated within me, today more than ever.

What’s next!

Ok so looking forward and moving on I qualified for the PAC in Arica, Chile this May 9-10th. Which is really great because it’s another race opportunity and hopefully one with competitors to help push me to a fast time (conditions permitting). It also serves the purpose as a dress rehearsal to Pan Am Games which will be held later this summer in Toronto, Canada (Team to be decided at USA outdoors based on top two athletes that finish sub 1:42).  What’s even better about this meet is that my sister Katie also qualified as a junior again in the 10k! Last year traveling and competing together in China for the World Cup was beyond amazing! There is only one small down side…my Ph.D. graduation ceremony is that Friday May 8th.

Once again for the third time I must decide if I walk at graduation or walk competing for Team USA at an international competition. I had sworn over and over that I would actually go to this graduation, after all I did spend the better part of 6yrs earning it and it wasn’t just getting my diploma, I got to be hooded too. But as history as shown I am a competitor that thrives on challenges and walking across a stage to signify the completion of journey just couldn’t contend against the journey of traveling and competing for Team USA.

Defense day complete with family, friends and a cake! Sept 26th will forever be my true graduation!

Defense day complete with family, friends and a cake! Sept 26th will forever be my true graduation!


I had started to turn on the idea of walking at graduation in Jan when Tim and I discussed my up coming competition season and PAC was the ideal race for this point in my season, regardless of financial costs and logistics. Not to mention USATF funds our travel when we represent Team USA and navigates the logistics of all of it too. And so once again I am happy to announce I will be representing the USA internationally, and along side my sister!

Couldn’t possibly forget to say:

While PAC trials was not my ideal race it was for so many others on my TEAM and my club. We have 6 TEAMmates that qualified for PAC: Nick Christie, Alex Chavez, myself, Miranda Melvile, Katie Burnett, and Molly Josephs (Molly made her first 20k team!) and representing Team Canada is Rachel Seaman…way to go Tim 7 athletes! Of TEAM athletes, 5 had PR’s: Nick, Alex, Nirvana (represents Mexico internationally), and Molly in the 20k and Rachel in the 10k setting a new Canadian record!

Walk USA girls headed to Chile!

Walk USA girls headed to Chile!

From Walk USA 4 of us qualified for PAC: Katie Michta, Katharine Newhoff, and Cameron Haught in the junior 10k and myself in 20k. Walk USA also had 5 junior athletes PR: Katie, Katharine, Lauren, Jainee and Cameron. Special shoutout to Lauren and Jainee as this was their debut at the 10k distance, lots more great things to come in the future from this group of juniors! Congrats to all other athletes who PR’d and/or made the PAC team!

Last but not least: Thank You!
As Tim said, it’s takes a village and so many have been involved in helping me prepare for this race and my continuing journey to make the 2016 Olympic Team. Thank you to my beyond amazing husband Joey Coffey for training along side me for hard workouts and long walks even on the holidays. Thank you to my family, this includes ALL the Michta’s and Coffey’s. You guys have been so incredible in your support. Thanks Mom and Coffey Mom and Dad for driving down to Jersey to be there live cheering, it means so much!  Thank you Dad for all your behind the scenes work to resurrect this website and helping keep it running smooth! Thank you Katie Rose for being such an inspiration as you overcome training adversity and hiccups.

Change of scenery for post race morning workout in the pool with my Mom

Change of scenery for post race morning workout in the pool with my Mom

Thanks Mom for making our workouts at your gym a priority so that we could get the max out of our cross training!Thank you Gram and Pop for always feeding me well (perhaps a little too well) when I come to visit, and Pop for volunteering to get me to a local track to train before learning just what workout I had… 55laps worth to be exact, next time we’ll bring you a seat cushion! Thank you Coach Tim for my well crafted workouts. Thank you to my SEGVT family for helping push me in workouts, cheering along as I go by and always sending me good vibes and luck. Inspiration is a two way street and whether you know it or not so many of you have inspired me and fueled me in my races. Thank you to my trainer Court Felton for making me strong beyond my previous comprehension in the weight room. It has definitely translated into success. Can’t wait until this glute is firing on all cylinders! Thank you to Dr Duggan and Amico at Duke Chiropractic, you guys keep my legs fresh and recharged ready to take on the demands of training week after week. A huge thank you to TEAMmate Natos for helping me in the race. 6th place is rough, but you finished the race clean without DQ or a barrage of paddles from the judges…your time will come, hopefully sooner than later you’ll kill it in a big PR, I promise! Thank you to all those who have helped my TEAMmates specifically Tish Hannah! For sure “together everyone achieves more!”


TEAM Family Photo Photocredit: Jeff Salvage


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