We had two meets this week--a triangular make-up at Libertyville on Monday, and the NSC Conference Meet on Saturday. The theme for the week was HEAT. After freezing our butts off at Tremper on Friday, we showed up at Libertyville to compete in beautiful but hot weather. Although we have been waiting for better weather, this kind of swing (nearly 60 degrees) is difficult for the body to adjust to in such a short time. The good news is that each time we race or work hard in this weather, we become one day better at regulating our heat.
Monday @ Libertyville with Warren: This was SUPPOSED to be our outdoor debut in the first week of April, but due to a snow-covered track, the meet was rescheduled for this week. I have mixed feelings about this reschedule. Although it did give us two important opportunities--the chance to acclimate to the heat, and the chance for our JV&F/S to compete some more since they lost so many races--I was a tad bummed that we lost our "clean week" of training leading up to the NSC meet on Saturday. I will save my feminist rant for another day, but I will summarize by saying that the boys get an extra week in their season, and it is simply not equitable nor fair that they get an extra week to prepare for the IHSA Sectional and State Meets. #theyfinallyfixedxc #whenwilltheyfixtrack #titlenine #it's2018 #willoneofyoubecomealawyerandfixthisproblem?
Onto what matters--how we raced! Our 4X800 started us out right. Even though we were no match for Libertyville and Warren's squads, I was proud of the focus of our group. Angie started us out with a strong effort--her closest to where she should be in quite some time: 3:05. She handed off to Jayla who was in the right neighborhood, too, with a 3:11 split. Alexia ran very even splits to finish in 3:29. Diana brought us home with a solid 3:14. I could see that the temperatures affected this group a bit, but they did not complain at all and instead focused on hydrating for their other races.
We had a small group for the 3200: Kelsey, Vic, and Karen. Kelsey did a great job of competing smartly; she came through the mile in 5:53 (84, 87, 88, 94), and her splits were pretty even in the second half (95, 97, 97, 91). My only complaint is that her final lap (91) should be more aggressive, but I know that those 90s were due to the heat. Overall, she competed well, which is what I am looking for! Vic's time was solid--14:17. While the time was close to her PR, what was more impressive was that she raced hard. She did a fabulous job of passing other competitors, and she was tuned in for the whole race. She came through the mile at 7:04 (98, 1:47, 1:48, 1:51), and ran pretty even mile splits (mile two--7:13--1:51, 1:48, 1:49, 1:45). She, too, needs to have more faith in her kick, but I can also see how there would not be much pep in those final laps due to the heat. Karen, in her first race back since an uneven sidewalk tried to talk her out, looked to suffer most from the heat. She did work with Vic for a few laps, which was definitely a highlight of this race. As she gains more experience, I know that she will be able to better negotiate the weather. In the meantime, this was a good learning experience, and I am proud of her tenacity in the latter half of the race!
We had a few athletes in sprint events in this meet again. Maya, Cynthia, and Vic all ran in the open 100 to work on their gears. Maya won here heat (and our timers made a cute crown for her). Just like last Monday, the times do not matter so much as the experience. Running a 100 in practice is different than racing one, and the pressure of this race helped these three work on their sprints. This should translate into better kicks! :) Nice work, women!
In the 800, we had three competitors: Maya, Mary, and Crizaber. Maya had to work through the mind game that is running the 100 and coming back to an 800. Although her 800 time was solid (2:38), we both know that she let the race order get the best of her. What I love about Maya, though, is that she was honest about this problem after the fact, and I know that she will grow from it! Mary had a really strong performance, despite her sore throat (which would later be diagnosed as Strep that evening)--she busted out a 2:46, looking much stronger than at Tremper only days before. Crizaber ran a gutsy race despite her knee injury, coming home in 3:21. Her form is looking stronger, and I'm hoping that the PT she has started will help her finish the season strong and prep for XC. More importantly, she has been gritty through this whole experience, fighting through obvious pain in order to be with her teammates in practice and meets; I'm proud of your effort, Crizaber! :)
We had a strong group in open 400, too. Kelsey ran a nice 67--impressive after a strong 3200 showing. Jayla looked aggressive, too, dropping a nice 79 to add to her solid day. Diana looked a bit tight as she battled with her back issues. I'm hoping that we can get her to feel better for Conference on Saturday! Charmaine looked like the heat beat her up a bit for the day, but Ashley ran a speedy 88, one of her fastest 400s yet! Nice work!
We had a huge pack in the mile, as did Warren and Libertyville. To be honest, the start looked like an XC race, and I could do nothing but smile! Our pack navigated the crowd well, and we ended up with some solid performances. Here's the time list:
Janelle--LPR of 5:55
The times do not tell the whole story, though. I saw some great racing in this event, especially from Janelle. She pinky promised on Friday that she would "properly" break 6, and she did so with style. Not only did she run a very even race, but her kick looked magical. Julia ran a season PR. Although she was not pleased with her time, the race is in her system now, which will make her much stronger for our last races of the season. She also gritted out the finish despite the fatigue that her disease creates. Taylor broke 7 for the first time this season, and she closed her race with an impressive kick; her last lap was the second fastest of her race! Nice work, Tay! While I wish that Steff's story had a happier ending, the message is an important one. It is important to learn when you can and cannot run through pain. Of course I want you all to be mentally strong, but when your body tells you that you need to fix something, you need to listen. Steff was honest with me post-race about pulling the plug for this season. We are going to get that hip healthy so that she can have the senior year that she deserves! Angie had an impressive kick to finish her race, following Taylor's pattern of her last lap being the second fastest. Daz acted as an important leader for Alexia. She kept a great pace throughout and helped pull Alexia through a tough race. Both of these women summoned strong kicks, too. And finally, Ashley ran a solid mile with a strong kick in the final 100. Nice work, milers! :)
We had several d-crew women in the 200 today: Maya, Karen, and Cynthia. Maya bounced back from her frustrating 800 to run a really strong 200 in 28.5. Karen and Cynthia both worked on their speed to run 36.7 and 37.9 respectively. Nice work, women!
Finally, we had two 4X400 relays for the day. I could see that the heat took its toll on these runners. The times were not blazing, but Cynthia, Karen, Mary, Kelsey, Charmaine, Klyde, Julien, and Alexia all gritted out that final 400. Shout out to Charmaine for bouncing back to run a much stronger 400 here--she dropped 4 seconds from her open 400 time. Nice work!
Overall, this meet was toasty, but the work matters. We are one day better at dealing with the temperatures. More importantly, you all faced this obstacle with optimism and tenacity. Proud of you all!