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  • Michelle Howell

Summer travels: USATF Champs, West Chester,& Charleston


In the past month I've been getting my money's worth out of my suitcase. It's yet to be fully emptied in the past month and as a result it's made a temporary home for itself in the middle of my living room half open with a constant rotation of my uniform, warm ups, and staple travel pullovers.

Somehow though I continually find myself under packing and then spending the time between trips ensuring I have enough running shorts to make it through my stays. I refill my spike bag with the usual suspects; go go squeeze packs (because I'm actually a 5 year old), Maurten gel 100 (because I actually love these as a pick me up before I race), and a heaping handful or two of Jimmy bars.


Traveling and being able to experience new places, even for a short period of time is one of the things I'm most grateful to be able to do and this year there's been plenty of it. This season of my life has basically revolved around suitcase with the extended track season and handful of last minute meets I've found my way into. So before I jump forward too far into my next set of travel let's recap what's been going on:


Des Moines, IA

July 22-29

USATF Outdoor Championships


USATF round two was quite the trip. From 25th last year to 12th this year, I really can't express how happy I was just to be at the meet let alone improve by that margin. My only goal going into the meet was to race well in the first round and I'm happy to say I feel like I did in fact accomplish that.


Being in the first heat for the first round ended up playing to my advantage as I was able to play the race out to my own strength of sitting and kicking the last 200. Running on the outside shoulder of one of my own running inspirations was icing on the cake. While being in heat one for the first round was an advantage it was not for the semi's as I found myself clipping the person in front of me repeatedly(sorry whoever you were) and fumbling my way into a bit of a box, unable to make the moves I wanted to within the race. The lesson? Championship style racing is a whole other animal and I'm still learning how to play to my strengths when it comes to it.


While my trip was primarily fueled by running it was also filled with ample amounts of down town in the hotel, lots of sitting in Normatec boots, and when my own racing was done plenty of spectating of the final two days of the meet. Sadly, Des Moines seems to be lacking a bit in the tourism segment apart from the statue garden downtown. They did however have a lovely coffee shop, Horizon Line, some classic DDD endorsed Ecuadorian Ceviche, Mi Patria, and a decent place for NY style bagels, 5 Borough Bagels, (bonus points for having GF ones!).










Racing photos compliments of James Neopolitan, James Kirby, and Tempo Journal


West Chester, PA

August 7-8

My first mile on the track

Watch me run here


After USA's I've been bopping around from one meet to another trying to make the most out of the remainder of this season. The Greater Philadelphia suburbs have been a recurring place of interest this season due to the large running community, proximity to DC, and sheer number of meets available. Having gone so much in the days leading up to my races and race day itself I'm now on a first name basis with the baristas at The Gryhon.


This time I returned to West Chester for the Hotel Warner West Chester Mile, my first try at the distance on an outdoor track. I left with a nice PR (my first of the season) with a 4:39.61 and feeling good about keeping a few more races on my calendar for the remainder of this very long season.


Next up: Charleston, SC

August 17

South Carolina Track Fest



Tomorrow I'll be zipping up my bag and heading to one of my favorite Southern cities for one more 800 before packing my travel bags away for a bit. 


Wish me Luck!