Bruce, 32, competed in Olympic trials on July 2, placing 20th out of 22 runners, with only the top three heading to Rio.
“Although 20th place today was far from what I had hoped and believed in and truthfully embarrassing, I fought hard to get here,” Bruce posted after her race. “The truth is heart can only take you so far. You need the months and years of consistent training. I don’t have those yet after my kids but I plan on putting in the work. Thank you to the cheers, they wiped away my tears.”
Bruce had initially hoped to compete for a spot on the marathon team, but refocused on the 10,000m after an unexpected second child meant she was pregnant until September 2015, with little time to prepare for the marathon trials in February.
Her back-to-back pregancies – Bruce has another son, born in June 2014 – left her abdomen split, a condition called diastacis recti. Her honest, uncensored posts and photos about her abs endeared Bruce to women everywhere.
In her comeback attempt, Bruce hit the qualifying standard to compete in the Olympic trials on April 2 in the time of 32:14.42, with .58 seconds to spare.
“Headed home with a mission accomplished, a renewed sense of belief, and more determination than ever heading into this track season and summer!” she posted after her qualifying race.
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In the Olympic trials, Bruce was frustrated with her result, running the 10,000m in 34:27.48, slightly more than two minutes and 46 seconds behind the winner, Molly Huddle. But she said in a post on July 10 that she’s ready to keep pushing.
“As the trials comes to a close today and this one journey is over, I’m proud to be in this sport that requires us all to fight for a spot on the starting line,” Bruce wrote. “Let’s hope we all keep seeking greatness on non-Olympic years and don’t let one moment or lost moment define you.”