It was refreshing to head over to a different course after three weeks at home. I love how scenic Libertyville's course is, but I also know what a challenge it poses both physically and mentally. Mother nature added a dash of heat to the mix, too; the lovely breeze we enjoyed as we got on the busses in Zion was notably absent as we warmed up at Adler. Nonetheless, I felt a good vibe as we headed to the line, and I was excited to see how our "reverse" order would go.
After the last of our bees left the line, I enjoyed watching packs forming as we caught up on the staggered start. The first mile splits look great, and I have to wonder if the marker was slightly off because the two mile splits were SLOW across the board. Some of you slowed down over two minutes (which would not be a marker issue...that would be a mindset issue). I was happy to see that mile three splits looked better, and I was proud to watch the finishes. Most notably, the duel between Ashley and Jenni in the final stretch was fantastic, especially because they ran stride for stride for quite a distance!
There were several bees who stepped up today. A question mark until the starting line due to some angry calf muscles, Marleth took on the challenge of the course with grit. She earned herself a new LPR, dropping a ridiculous 29 seconds over her race at home last week. Congrats on a fantastic performance, Marleth! Mel earned herself a new SPR by nearly a minute. She did a fantastic job pulling on her teammates and keeping a positive mindset the whole way. Mia looked fantastic, too, nearly matching her LPR despite the challenging course. This freshie keeps getting better every week, and it is fun to watch! Julien was also within a few seconds of her SPR; she has been consistent the last few weeks and is definitely ready for a breakthrough.
Overall, we had a solid day of racing. I was happy to hear Kelsey and Coach Franklin report that everyone looked focused as they passed those points in the race. The key takeaway from the splits is that we need to work on running hard when we are tired. Our Thursday workout was designed to address this problem.
Speaking of that workout...can I talk about how fun that was to watch? To see you all embrace the "surprise" time trial was a delight. Then watching you just handle the tempo work so fantastically was a bonus. The fact that SO many of you walked away from the tempo feeling fresh, proud, and ready for a racing breakthrough made me smile ear to ear. This kind of faith in your fitness is what we need for this next section of the season. Please check out your splits in the pic below. I am really proud of you all! :)
Finally, I need to take a moment to discuss our current quarantine situation. I know that our message Friday afternoon was a shock, especially after our meeting before practice. It was a shock to me, too. Of course, this is not what I wanted, especially on the heels of such a great practice on Thursday. But now that I have had a day to reflect, I need to give you all kudos. Since March, you have continued to impress me with your grit. You trained hard throughout "track" with the hopes of a season. When that did not come to fruition, you reset with purpose and hope. When we were sidelined for the first part of the summer, you put in the miles by yourselves with consistency and focus. And when we finally reunited in July, you adapted to our (forgive me for this phrase) "new normal." You didn't balk at masks or cries of "six feet!" You spread out on the trails and the paths and the sidewalks. You answered health questions dutifully each day. You adapted when we shut down because of weather. You reported possible exposures with honesty and integrity. You cared about each other and the safety of the team. You acted with more maturity than many adults in our country. Simply put: You rose to the occasion.
So while I would much rather have practice and meets as normal, I know that you will rise to this occasion, too. You know how to train with intensity on your own. You know how to overcome obstacles. You know how to persevere. We will get through this like everything else: together. So let's keep leaning on one another. Let's keep the momentum from this week. And let's bee the difference to each other! Keep checking for the workouts on Strava each day, and keep posting your results there, too. There are hive points to be had and prizes when we reunite.