What a weird period of weather. From heat-induced ROYOs the week before, to the threat of storms this week, we have been tested to stay on course. After being cancelled on Tuesday (which, I still argue was for the best...it would have been difficult to make it to the course due to the traffic and street closures created by the president flying in and out of Waukegan).
Our race against Lake Forest was tricky. The weather was significantly warmer than the day before (Blanca summed up the loss of those great conditions with "... the weather really played us..."), and we raced during the warmest part of the evening. That being said, many of you stepped up to the challenge. Unfortunately, I was not able to watch as much of the race as normally would; that should be fixed for our next meet vs. Lake Zurich. Here's what I did see:
1. GREAT first miles: Katelin, Karen, Illyana, Lesly, and Mia. You guys got out hard, and the splits show it. These bees definitely took risks in the first mile; that mindset is going to pay off. By going out hard, that stimulus is now in their systems. Their bodies are adapting to that work as we speak. Now the next time they get out at that pace, they will be able to "stick" for longer. Many of you had solid first miles, but I need you to reflect on your workout on Saturday. Your first mile in your race should be faster than the dessert mile; you can handle it, so trust your fitness!
2. Mile two grit: Kelsey, Audrey, Maya, Marisa, and Jenna either "stuck" or got faster in the second mile. This stat is particularly important--it means that when the adrenaline wore off and the fatigue set in, they pushed through the discomfort despite the heat. That kind of grit is what we need in order to make our goals come to fruition. If your second mile split was not what you hoped for, then that needs to be your focus on Tuesday. We specifically did work in the Twilight Loop on Saturday for this reason. You all SLAYED that workout! You OWN the second mile of the course. Remember that when you pass that corner on Tuesday. And as for Kelsey, Maya, Marisa, and Jenna? You four need to lean in even more--make that second mile the centerpiece of your races. :)
3. Fantastic kicks: Riley, Ashley, Jenni, Illyana, Karen. I'm know that there were more, but these are the five that stood out to me. Each of these women used the course to their advantage; they surged at the 400, and used the final turn and downhill to kick hard to the finish. I know that the last stretch is tough--the sun is in your eyes, and the finish line does not come fast enough. But these women? They looked fantastic coming into the finish. If the 400s from Saturday's workout taught you anything, they should have taught you that YOU HAVE SPEED, even when you are tired. Let's make the list of great kicks include every single one of you on Tuesday!
Overall, Lake Forest beat our varsity and JV squads. I need you to study the results for me--check out the pics below. You can see that LF beat varsity by 10 points. In our new format, time is everything. Since we cannot race for place head-to-head, finish times dictate the place order. Remember, I said that our first five people and LF's first five count for the score. You can see that LF's depth after their third runner is what did us in. Do you see all those LF runners who ran between 21:43 and 22:39? That strength is what made it impossible for us to win. Their depth in the 22s and 23s allowed them to sweep us in JV (their score of 15 is perfect, and the fact that we had a 50 shows that they went 1-7 before one of us finished). This kind of depth is what we should be moving towards. I know that we have a team that is capable, but we need to step up in the time trial format. You all looked sharp and competitive at Deerfield when we were racing head-to-head. I need that same intensity at Tuesday meets. If there is something I can do to help--whether it is a certain workout or race order--please let me know. In the meantime, study the results from Tuesday, and be ready to run in cooler weather this week. Let's seize the opportunity!
Lastly, I need you to know just how impressed I am by the work you ALL put in on Saturday. The sprints were fantastic. I was thankful to see you rise to the competitive challenge. Even though there were only two, they gave you the chance to do two things: tap into your max speed and develop that competitive drive. Both of these skills are needed to make you a well-rounded racer. The fact that there were so many races that Franklin had to call ties shows that you were fighting through the finish line. That mindset will help shave seconds off your times. When we moved to the 800s, most did not hit the target times. I honestly have not figured out what happened at that point in the workout. Were you still a bit gassed from the sprints? Were you not attacking as aggressively as needed? Was the loop a tad long? The second 800 was better, and most of you got faster or stayed consistent, which is good. That part of the workout demanded focus and consistency--both of which I saw. The 400s were definitely impressive. The fact that you were able to hit the last one faster than the second, while going uphill, shows that you were mentally strong despite being tired. And then the dessert? Honestly, I did not know what to think at first because you all looked shocked and a little deflated as we walked to the starting line. By the time you lined up, though, you all looked ready. Coming off the volleyball courts, you took the turn aggressively and pushed to the finish. The times were impressive. They show that you are stronger than you have been giving yourselves credit for so far. When you hit the 2-mile mark, remember how hard you worked on Saturday. Remember how tired you were when we lined up for the mile. Remember how you pushed through that fatigue...how you demanded more of yourself...how you finished with pride. Make that last mile a message. :) I cannot wait to see you race!