Mother Nature allowed us to race on Tuesday after two weeks of weather weirdness. That is not to say that the weather was perfect. While it was better than the last two Tuesdays, it was also hot, and a tad moreso than when Stevenson hit the line after us. To be close to your Lake Zurich time (a day with near perfect racing temps) shows consistency and focus.
I felt better about our energy at the start of the race. We looked focused and determined. When I darted across the street to see our progress by the duck pond, I have to admit that I was disappointed with the body language I saw. When we raced Lake Zurich, I saw a spark in everyone's eyes, not to mention tall posture and aggressive turns. To be fair, you guys didn't look bad...you just did not have the same zestiness that I was hoping for. Thankfully, by the last 800, we bounced back a bit, and the final 400 looked solid.
There were definitely some stand outs today. First of all, shout out to Marleth for running her first race. She ran a solid time for her first race ever, and I was proud of her for keeping a positive mindset and for challenging herself. :) We also had two lifetime PRs in this race: Belen and Mia. After the race, Belen and I had a great talk, where she explained that she wanted to redeem herself after feeling disappointed about her performance at Grant. She did that for sure, looking assertive for the whole race, and closing with a fantastic kick. Congrats on dropping 13 seconds for a new LPR! Mia keeps destroying her previous bests, seemingly every meet! She did a great job of working with her teammates today and attacking late in the race. I loved watching her work in the final mile. She dropped a whopping 29 seconds for a new LPR. I am confident that she will hit the 25s in the next race and not look back! Awesome work, freshie! :) We also had three SPRs: Bianca, Melanie, and Karen. Bianca looked stronger in this race, her second of the season. She dropped nearly a minute from Grant, relying on her experience and starting to feel her fitness return. Proud of her grit in this race--she looked great! Mel also looked much improved over Grant, dropping 19 seconds over Saturday. Like Bianca, she was more focused today, putting into action what she promised to the team post-race on Saturday. Nice work, Mel! Finally, Karen told me she didn't know what to think about her race, but she dropped 15 seconds from a week ago, despite the warmer conditions. I think Karen is ready for a big drop--each race she looks more and more fit, and her confidence is growing, too! Nice work, Karen!
There were several of you who looked consistent compared to LZ: Delilah, Riley, Maya, Marisa, Audrey, Jenna, Julien, and Illyana were all within 20 seconds of their performances against LZ. "Sticking" like that is important--it shows that your mindset is staying strong, and it proves that you are ready for a big performance given improved conditions. Nice work, peeps!
As far as kicks go, Jenna had the kick of the day. Not only did she gear up at the 400, but her final straightaway was as Coach Franklin put it, "The fastest I've ever seen her move!" It was fun to watch, and I want to see that from all of you. When it comes to that last stretch, please remember that you do NOT need to save anything for that moment. Your training and pride will allow you to take care of business in that final drive. Let's make that our hallmark this year--aggressiveness!
One final thought about this race, which I already mentioned in person: despite having a smaller team this year, we are stronger than ever. I want that reflected in our performances in the team points, too. So I am issuing a challenge to you all--who will be the one to step up to fix the gap after Marisa? Who will step up to drive our JV scorers? Those improvements will require second-half strength, and our Saturday workout will push you to believe what I already know--that you are READY for a breakthrough. I cannot wait to see it happen!