Congratulations to Midori Sperandeo

Midori Sperandeo first wrote to me during her pregnancy. She was having difficulty conceiving, then found that she was holding a baby girl with an omphalocele, (a midline defect in which bowel, liver, and possibly other organs form outside of the abdomen in a sac due to a defect in the muscle of the abdominal wall). She lost her baby, which was devastating to her, but she wrote and said that she was going to try to qualify for the 2004 trials before trying again to conceive. She asked for some advise on races. She was leaning towards Vegas and Austin. Ultimately, she decided upon Vegas. Well, not only did she qualify for her second Olympic Marathon trial, she did it in record time, taking a full 8 minutes off her previous best. In the process, she won the Las Vegas Marathon, in 2:41.49. It was not her first win (she won Avenue of the Giants in a previous year), but was perhaps her biggest. She suspected that she could run somewhere between a 2:39 to 2:43 in Vegas, based on her training. As she says in a mail interview, " long hard runs just went so great during this training cycle... I was able to do things I've never been able to do before."

Still, her training was not without obstacles. "I got sick THREE times, hurt my foot and then I slipped on our driveway while dragging the garbage can and landed on my tailbone." Still the optimist, she says next, "In retrospect though, I think these problems helped me not burn myself out too soon... so I guess they were blessings in disguise.

She says that she will try to conceive again, maybe within the next six months if possible. She is 35 years old, and realizes that her window of competitiveness is small. Still, she realizes that many women have set pr's in their late 30s, especially after having a child, and she is not willing to give up chances of motherhood for running. She is a very brave and positive person, and seems unwilling to dwell on the negative things which come her way.

Midori is also a news reporter, anchorperson and film star. Her biographical film, Hapa, is a first person documentary of the experience of being Japanese American. It explores self-discovery, bi-racial identity, and offers perspective on being Hapa, a Hawaian phrase hapa haole, meaning "half white/foreigner." Her husband, Leonard, is a world class masters runner, having recently turned 40.

We will be keeping track of her, and her progress. Again, congratulations to Midori, and best wishes.