Another Treat for the Road (McDonald’s)

It happened! My 31 year old self hit a new PR. I’m reaping the benefits of being a woman in her peak still able to train and race at a high level. I experienced a “mega” drop in the 1500m from 4:31.56 to 4:31.12. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t pull off any faster than 72 second 400s from start to finish (no joke- splits 54.0, 72.1, 72.9, 72.0) I timed it perfectly though, completely hitting the wall with about 15m to go. Realistically I couldn’t ask for much better with limited experience racing middle distance, not to mention coming off of a massive setback of some major downtime in winter during a long illness that began in early fall.

How it happened? Old lady strength and mom power. Considering my fastest mile since last August has been 5:17 in practice, I am pumped! I do admit it wasn’t some magical result, as I have been on a roll getting in some PR worthy workouts in; but nothing past 600m in a row at the mile pace. The bonus was coming back to pace the 5000m an hour later- making it thru the mile in 5:06 and stopping 1 meter later unable to continue unlike Alexi Pappas who went on to run the next 2.1 miles solo finishing in 15:53. This “performance” became my 2nd fastest mile of the year and hurt pretty badly. Post race meeting Alexi was refreshing. I could now follow her without out being a stalker – prob one of the nicest humans I’ve ever met and it felt great to know my 4 of 12.5 laps meant something to someone of a much higher caliber!


With horrible hair; Alexi and I celebrating friendship and awesomeness post 1500/5000 at Willamette

But back to the point – I ran a PR! So boom shakalaka!! I am going to brag about it, not because I think 4:31 is ultra fast, but because anytime you conquer a personal barrier it feels so good ! I realize I would have placed a distant last at the Oxy High Performance Invite with that time, and the weather was over 100 degrees there. But for dirt slow Julia Webb with zero mile performances under 5:00s in college, this is news worthy. I am also confident that any running moms I see hanging around the park I could probably lap in this distance, possibly twice. So thank you coach Jon Marcus and husband Alan for supporting me in my passion of running fast on the track!

So what about McDonald’s – how is that have to do with my PR? Looking back at 5 of the last 6 times I ate there, it had been within 6 hours pre/post PR (or high level performance worthy of a PR) all from 2013-14.

Here’s the timeline:
6/9/13 Portland Track Festival (steeple PR)- 9:55.36 McDonald’s for dinner 2 hours later

6/19/13 USATF Championships (steeplechase prelims) – 10:11.42 No PR but made it to finals in 95 degree heat after spending at least 2 hours of the day hooked up to a breast pump or baby (so glad those days are behind me). For all unexperienced with the art of breastfeeding- it does not help hydration but apparently- McDonald’s for breakfast with high sodium content may have contributed to balancing electrolytes.

6/22/13 USATF Champs (steeplechase finals) – 10:09.00 Again I improved 5 places from prelims thanks to- McDonald’s for breakfast again (it was the only place really close to the hotel!)

6/15/13 Portland Roughrider Twilight – (1500m) – 4:31.56 I had not had the pre-race McDonald’s magic, but somehow ended up starving driving past the golden arches of North Portland before I rolled through for some post PR dinner.

5/18/14 Willamette West Coast Invite (1500m) – 4:31.12 I had zero thoughts of McDonald’s on my mind post race and definitely far from craving it, but it was late and the sign “open 24 hours” flashed on the highway under that catchy logo. I realized if I didn’t stop now, I’d have to wait for another hour and a Powerbar wasn’t gonna cut it. It was then, that I made the revelation that this horrible processed food was all linked to my track running success.

And that’s all just from memory. I do believe I had another Egg McMuffin with extra ketchup packets thrown in there while traveling some other non-race day, but that’s about it for consumption the past 2 years. I can totally be a food snob, but I can also have some room for being flexible. Before I go any further on this topic – you HAVE to see Jim Gaffigan’s clip on McDonald’s – he sums it up quite nicely on American’s and our love/hate for McDonalds.


We all know its bad for you. We’re all like “THAT’s DISGUSTING!” turning to order – I’ll have a Big Mac, a large fry and a 2 gallon drum of diet coke”

Oh I didn’t know I was better than you”

No one admits to going to McDonald’s. And its true. I live within a quarter mile of one, and every time I turn into my subdivision I am paranoid that the people in cars around me are like “Looks like she’s headed to McDonald’s again”.

Last summer pre USA finals I had just finished my shake out run conveniently at McDonald’s. As I was walking back to the hotel with my breakfast value meal, I passed Andrew Wheating and Jordan Hasay on their morning shake out runs. I had never talked to either at this point in my life and was saying positive affirmations “you are a winner”, “you are more awesome than before” to remove any self doubts of embarrassment.

I once dated a guy in college who boasted his last time eating anything fast food had been in 6th grade. I have standards but I can also have a side of me that knows when to lighten up and just go with the flow.

This past week as I drove home in the darkness I was all flow as I was shoveling in my chicken salad w my hands (sorry I didn’t quite get wild and crazy with a Big Mac) and instead of dipping my fries in ketchup – I opted to go the no mess route and suck down a packet for every 10 fries. “Classy” As Alan would say. We definitely grew up with extreme differences in the etiquette category. Yet this was one occasion- driving solo in a dark car at 11pm, where the lack of etiquette skills came in handy. Thank you dad for your influence (although I’ve never seen him stoop that level).

I will continue to admit I’m part of the billions served and accept them as they are. Even when Alan observes that his pee smells like a cheeseburgers post consumption and there are articles like “15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone you Love Near a McDonald’s”. I may as well keep them in mind next time I’m aiming for a PR because you go with what works. Some how it just does. If you are one of those people who brag  “I would never go into McDonald’s”, Well in the words of Jim Gaffigan, “McDonald’s wouldn’t want you because you’re a (insert light profanity).”


Happy driving thru!



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