Cailie's Last Blog #12 Thank You!!!!

Cailie Logue is a homegrown girl she arguably is Kansas best female distance runner and continues to add to her resume. While in high school Cailie was a 9X Kansas state champion on the track (4x 3200m, 3x 1600m, 2x 800m) and a 4X Kansas state cross country champion. Now at Iowa State, she has earned All American honors and like the rest of us is coming to terms and learning to deal with the "new normal" that we now face.Cailie has graciously decided to help us out this year without a season and take a dive into the writing world. We thank Cailie from the bottom of our heart for taking the time from her training and studies to fit this into her busy schedule and do this for us.


Blog 12-Thank You!!!

The experiences running provided in my life continued past high school. Running has allowed me the opportunity to receive an education at a four-year university, it has given me the experience of running on great teams, and the opportunity to build and develop my own skills. The friends, the experiences, the competition, the highs, and the lows are unmatched, living life as a collegiate runner.

This week I eased my way back into training for cross country. All of my runs were easy runs between 30 and 70 minutes and I started back to in-home gym twice a week.

A picture of my recruiting trip to Iowa State. The girls on the team took us to the apple orchard to spend the day together.


As a college athlete, our team has competed everywhere from Stanford, CA to Boston, MA. The coolest experiences are the ones I've had with teammates. Recruiting, long runs, "girls nights," and team camp (which usually takes place right in Ames, IA). When I'm on a peaceful and isolated dirt road with teammates on a Saturday morning, there is no place I would rather be.

I made a bucket list my senior year of high school. Part of that bucket list was to be on a Big 12 championship team, go to another country, and become a cross country All-American. I put them in chronological order, or so I thought. I thought traveling would be something I did on my own after college, (which is still hopefully in the plans...I'm holding you to that backpacking in Europe trip, Karly Ackley.)

However, in the middle of a busy finals week, a few weeks after cross country my freshman year, I got a call from my coach. We knew that there was a Junior cross meet that I might be eligible for, but we really thought there were a few other freshmen who were eligible for the spot first and it was unlikely I would receive a call. When my coach called she said, "You've got to get a passport ASAP!" to go compete on the Edinburgh Classic USA team. At this point I had already taken some time off from running, and scheduled an appointment for the next week to have my wisdom teeth surgically removed. When I finally got back to running after all that, I wasn't exactly in "fighting shape", and then shortly after I strained something in my knee, and leading up to the race, I was cross training on the elliptical rather than running. However, there was no one else to go on the team at this point, and we were confident I would be fine to run on the small strain during the race.

Flying overseas and arriving in Edinburgh was exhausting, and the time change on top of that made everyone really tired. I remember rooming with Kelsey Chmiel, who I already knew from Nike camp, and we hung out with the other girls on the team as we explored.

During the trip, the girls and I wandered the winding cobbled streets finding an old castle to explore, The Elephant House, considered "the birth place of Harry Potter," where J.K. Rowling wrote part of the Harry Potter series, and even a cold, sandy beach.



The few girls on the U.S. team with a few of the runners from the Europe team after the race.


The course we ran on was muddy and hilly, and even had a little river crossing mid race. I loved it! It was also a tough course, and between all the time off and the elliptical, I really struggled more than I had hoped. After the race, I was really disappointed. I had the goal to help the team and score, and that day I was our sixth runner. I remember the USA team as a whole was a little disappointed. We finished third of the three international teams at the competition, one of our bright spots, however, was that Kelsey Chmiel, individually won the junior girls race. I will always remember Des Linden talking to us that day after the race. Her race hadn't gone exactly how she had hoped either, but she was wise and experienced and told us all without any sense of panic in her voice, that this was just part of the sport. After that meet, I made another small vow to myself, that I would do everything I could to score a point for the United States at some point. I wouldn't give up on that goal.

After that race, the team stayed up really late, some of the athletes climbed a mountain as we walked the streets of a foreign country at midnight and played cards into the early morning hours. Even though my race wasn't what I dreamed, the experience was much more memorable, exciting, and rewarding.

The summer after my freshman year in college, I was still eligible to compete in the U20 meets, and after running a qualifying round in Indiana, my teammate Amanda and I took the long 14-hour flight to stay in Finland for 14 days and compete at the IAAF U20 World Championships.

In Finland, it was bright most of the day and so even at midnight the sun would be shinning. The food there consisted of a lot of bread, and of course while in Finland we had to find some coffee and a sauna to try.

We competed in the 3k and the 5k, this type of international track racing was nothing like I had experienced before. The 5000 pace was far above my PR. The leaders ran in the 15:20's, and the pace was uneven, making the race seem very difficult. The races were tough, but they were experiences I would learn from. I was able to finish 8th in the 5000m, scoring 1 point for the USA track team, and I felt like I had sort of redeemed myself after my last experience representing the U.S. in Scotland. After the race, the 5k and 3k girls went to the stadium to support our teammates each day, but we were also on a break from training ourselves, so we walked through markets in Finland to buy new breads and sweets, swam in the lake behind the small village we lived in, and climbed a ropes course. Once again, I remember this experience most for all of the friends and connections made here, and when I talked to our women's distance coach for the meet, Amy Yoder Begley, about her experience running as a professional this is what she really remembered most too.



A picture of athletes from many countries coming together to celebrate after the conclusion of the meet.


After the 5000m I was able to meet Paula Radcliffe, former British long-distance runner and three-time winner of the London and New York marathon. She represented Great Britain at the Olympics for four consecutive games (1996-2008).


This experience allowed us to interact with not only people from all over the United States, but also from individuals from all over the world. We traded pins and uniforms. There were many languages, countries, and various types of athletes represented. It was the most diverse place I have ever been, yet amidst all that diversity, all of those people were there with the same goal.

Another running-related experience I had that summer was being a camp counselor. When I was younger I had the opportunity to go to several church camps and running camps, and I thought it would be an enriching leadership experience to be a camp counselor. When I was competing at NXN as a junior in high school, one of my Heartland teammates was Grace Ping, and while I was there we all had the opportunity to meet her family who came out to watch her at the meet. The spring of my college freshman year the Ping family reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in being a counselor at Project Gold Running Camp. The camp was held in Winona, MN, a really hidden beautiful place with lots of lakes and mountains surrounding a tiny college campus. It was a very educational camp, Tom "Tinman" Schwartz coach of Tinman Elite spoke often, as well as Garrett Heath alumni to the high school coach of the program there. Middle schoolers and high schoolers gathered to learn and get better-I was learning too. We ate from Shalane Flannagan's "Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow" book nearly every day, we learned lots of new strength drills, core, and stretches, and we learned about all the "little things" like rest and intensity of training. Coach Schwartz TRIED to fix my form and gave us lots of advice about sound training. Here I reconnected with two of the girls I had run with in the past Bethany and Megan Hasz as they were counselors there too. We reflected on and shared our collegiate experiences with the younger athletes at camp. We had a lot of fun too-we had scavenger hunts, beach volley ball tournaments, a karaoke night, and a dance. I wasn't involved in the dance, just the chaperone, who conveniently sat by the cupcakes.

There are many more collegiate stories and experiences I could write about, and while I find storytelling fun and entertaining, there's a time to stop. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to tell some of my stories.

While this could be a natural place to say "goodbye," in the spirit of the traditional"Midwest-goodbye" (you know, where you stand up and say, "well...I guess I better be going now..." but in actuality, the conversation continues for about 20 more minutes, before the last parting sentiments are expressed), I have a few more thoughts to share.

Out of all of these colleges experiences and opportunities, the one aspect of being a collegiate athlete that tops them all is the relationships formed through running. If I tried to tell you about all of the people who have impacted me in my experiences, I would need 12 more blogs just to mention their names and then people would still be left out.

       



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While the races, times, and lessons from these opportunities stick with me, what brings the biggest smile to my face is the people: having post run brunches, reconnecting with old friends, seeing my dad and grandpa's faces beam with pride, goofing around in our freshman college dorm room, running with the veteran runners on my first college workout, doing pre-race hair braiding, singing during post-long run van ride jam sessions, making pizza with my roomies, talking with teammates on runs, getting post-race hugs, learning from my coaches, and having countless other chances to build relationships. These aspects aren't easily quantified, but they are one of the very best parts of being a runner.

This reflection has also helped me as I go forward, hoping to compete during my senior collegiate cross country seasonduring the COVID19 pandemic. I go forward with intention, having thought on some of the best lessons, experiences, and relationships this sport has given me. Many of our meets this cross country season are scheduled to be in the Midwest, with Big 12's and Regionals at Rim Rock Farm and nationals at Oklahoma State. After that, I have two indoor and outdoor track and field seasons left as an Iowa State Cyclone. My goals are to cut down my 10k time as my coach and I have discussed that being my area of specialty going forward, but of course I'd love a 5k PR too. I have goals to break 9:00 in the 3000m indoors and run in the low 15:30's in a 5k. I have never been to an outdoor track and field nationals, and it is my goal to race at one before I graduate. I have high hopes for our team as well; Big 12 championships and national qualifying teams are Iowa State tradition. Right now, my goals post collegiately are not losing touch with the sport I love and giving back in any way I can. I am still dreaming about seeing that track in Portland (see Blog 11), breaking 4:40 in the mile, and returning to the Olympic Trials myself one day.


Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog. While I hope it helped with your quarantine boredom or gave you a tidbit of information you found helpful or interesting, it was fun for me to write too. During this quarantine with a break from competition, I sat on my front porch writing these blogs often with a large smile spread across my face, as I was reminiscing and feeling grateful.

Without the people, these experiences all lose their shine. When I went to nationals in cross country my junior year, my teammates, people from my hometown, and others wrote me letters of encouragement to read on the plane. I still think about their words from time to time. One of my teammates wrote me and encouraged me by saying, "Remember why you do this." Another said, "Run with a little piece of everyone that loves you and you will be unstoppable."

Running is so much more than your times and places, it's the memories, life lessons, and relationships you will never forget too. I'm proud to be from the state of Kansas. I love the experiences that helped make me, in the words of my Iowa native teammate Gwynne Wright, a "country tough" Kansas girl (who moved to Iowa, which also has its fair share of tough and friendly people).

Thanks to all the people who have encouraged me. You are part of my "why." This blogging process has helped me remember all the people who have influenced me along the way, and I will carry that with me into my senior season this fall.