Tuesday @ Mundelein with Warren:
We were lucky to have a beautiful evening of racing on Tuesday. The weather was mild, the competition was great, and our distance crew was ready to race! Due to Lake County falling on a Thursday, I scheduled our Varsity runners to get some speed, so most were racing under their normal events. We had two 4X800s with one PR in each. Delilah continues to perfect her kick, shaving off another second to earn a new LPR of 3:07. Katherine looked smooth and confident for her whole race, earning a new LPR of 3:14. There were a few other bees whose times did not reflect their grit during the relay. Steff and Karen were both fighting off illness and still ran strong for their relay, and Cookie ran through her leg injury for her team. Overall, these relays looked strong.
Our Varsity 4X800 line up ran some speed in the 4X100 and 4X200 and looked impressive getting that turnover! More importantly, I appreciate that Mary, Carmen, Natalie, Angie, and Kaila were so open to giving the sprint relays a try. Nice work, women! Kaila, Carmenita, and Mary shared the same mindset in the open 100 (no blocks required). Again, getting in that speed matters for some sharper 800 races at Lake County, Conference, and Sectionals.
Our open 800 crew looked awesome today because they worked as a pack to improve. Elyssa was our first finisher, looking much stronger than in past weeks. She ran an even race (92/94) to finish in 3:06. She pulled Jayla to a nice time of 3:07, looking the healthiest she has been since indoor. Jenna, Karen, and Emily were only steps behind in 3:09. Jenna's PR is huge; not only did she drop 8 seconds over her previous PR, but she also looked strong in the final stretch. So proud of your continued effort, Jenna! Emily's PR required a 12 second drop--yowza! Clearly we have the few little injuries that were creeping up in check, and Emily seized that opportunity to race hard. Overall, this was just a fun race to watch from start to finish--nice work, bees!
The mile crew did not want to be outdone by the 800 crew, so they ALL ran PRs. Talk about fun to watch! Vic was our first finisher in an "under" race for her. We wanted to work on her racing tactics, and it definitely worked. She battled a girl from Mundelein throughout in order to earn a new LPR of 6:11. Congrats! Aubrianna was our next finisher. She dropped 6 seconds to set a new LPR of 7:16. She had a great kick, and she was a beacon for our other bees. We had a great pack that worked together to earn new PRs. Ashley was the leader, and her new PR of 7:41 was a huge drop! Her previous best in a track race was well over 8. Awesome work, Ash! Jenni, who broke 8 last week, decided to PR again, earning a new LPR of 7:44. Her kick was amazing, and she helped pull Bianca and Ixa to huge PRs, too. Bianca was so close to breaking 8 at Libertyville (8:01), and she overcame her sore Achilles and knee to drop a whopping 15 seconds to earn her new LPR of 7:46. Not only did her form look great, but she also finished with a strong kick. Awesome work, Bianca! Ixa had a HUGE race too, dropping TWENTY-SIX seconds to break 8 and earn a new LPR of 7:47. When we talked about it the day before, she said she knew she would be able to break 8, and her confidence showed for all four laps. Nataly J. went out more aggressively than ever before, pulling off that impressive pack in front of her. She was so close to breaking 8 (8:03), and we all know she will do it soon! Illyana was our final bee in the race. She did drop 10 seconds to earn a new LPR of 8:30. More importantly, she was able to pinpoint what she needs to work on in order to keep dropping time. I am proud of her honesty! Overall, this mile group made my night--not only did they all seize the opportunity that the mild conditions provided, but they worked together to make each other shine. Awesome work, bees!
Finally, we had two 4X400 relays with some speedy times. Mary looked strong with what must be a PR of 72. Natalie continues to improve her speed, running a speedy 77. Kaila rounded out her day of speed by dropping a sweet 75. And Carmenita rounded out the essay with a solid 79, keeping the whole relay sub-80. The good news is that all this speed will help the relay get even speedier in the 4X800. Our other relay looked strong, too! Vic took the line shortly after racing the mile to pop a 79--nice, gritty effort! Delilah looked so strong in the home stretch, earning a zippy 82. Di looked strong despite getting over being sick, earning an 89. And finally, Blanca looked awesome as the anchor, working hard to earn a 93.
Overall, I like how this group is growing together and showing outstanding sportsmanship. Mundelein was the only team with 3200 runners, but our team was out there cheering them on. That spirit is why distance running is such a beautiful sport: you can cheer for others while working on your own goals. That positivity is contagious, and it can only help our performance. Nice work, bees! Quick note: you all know by now, but we lost the Tremper meet. I am working hard to rectify that for next year. In the meantime, we will make the most out of JV Conference (Thursday, 5/2) and Antioch F/S (Monday, 5/6).
Thursday @ Lake County Invite--Lake Zurich:
After a weird start to the day (never have I ever experienced a school year with THIS many unexpected days off) that included a chemical spill that closed school for the day, our bees found a way to step up. Thankfully, the weather held on Thursday to provide our racers with a great opportunity. All four of our 4X800 looked sharp at the same time which helped us run our fastest time of the year: 11:33. It started with a nice breakthrough for Mary, who got out hard in 79 and closed in 84 to earn an SPR of 2:44. Her race looked much more like what she is capable of, and I know that she will be ready to be even more aggressive at Conference. She looked great on Tuesday, she had a fab workout on Saturday; she is ready to drop more time! She handed off to Natalie, who dropped another second for a new LPR of 2:55. Her form looked fab, and she ran evenly: 86/89. I know that she has more speed in her, and look forward to her dropping more time next week! Carmen was our third leg, getting out strong in 81! Her second lap (specifically, the last 150) will be stronger next week (especially after seeing her slay the workout on Saturday). In the meantime, she looked awesome today, returning to her Carm-faced self, and only one tick away from her LPR. Anie was our anchor, getting out equally strong (80) and closing well. Her split of 2:57 was her best in a relay and close to her open best. I know that she will continue to improve in this event, and I'm impressed by her poise in her first outdoor Varsity invite. Overall, our team PR was by 19 seconds; we are out of our "stuck" mode! Nice work, women!
Both Karen and Vic were in the same heat of the 3200. Both women looked focused and loose before the race, and they got out hard at the gun. Unlike last week, there were plenty of racers who were willing to set the pace of the race. Vic got out hard and ran really even splits: 88, 96, 99, 1:41 (6:24) 1:40, 1:43, 1:44, 1:38 (6:45). This smoother race allowed for a new LPR of 13:09. More importantly, Vic's time was created by simply racing. Last year at this time, she was running in the 14s repeatedly and never looked looked responsive to other racers or cheering. This year is a different year! She used her teammates as a guide, and she definitely used the competition to keep her focused. Proud of this great race! Speaking of proud, before the race, I asked Karen how she was feeling. She told me that she did not feel better than Tuesday, but she wanted to give racing a go. That takes guts to commit to a race, knowing that illness would likely interfere with PR goals. She wisely told me that she could still work on other goals like passing and form. She put these ideas to work in her race, working up to another athlete and passing with authority! Although her finish time does not reflect her grittiness, anyone who witnessed her race knows that Karen was awake and working beyond her comfort zone. Proud of your tenacity, Karen!
The open 800 gave Steff a chance to work on form and turnover. Not only did she look strong, but she dropped a season PR of 3:03. I know she wishes it was faster, but I need her to know the calming force she provided Natalie by simply running hard. Proud of you, Steff! Natalie doubled up in a Varsity invite for the first time. Although she was not happy with her time outcome, she was quick to learn from her mistakes, and I know she will continue to improve this season!
Our milers looked impressive tonight--each earning PRs. Mary got out hard, pulling through the open lap in 84. At the half, she was in good shape to break 6. Her third lap is definitely where she needs to continue to improve (97), but I was pleased with her engagement at this point in the race. Her final lap of 93 was better, but I know she has more speed in her. That being said, she earned a nice SPR of 6:07; I know that she has more in the tank, especially after the 400 cut down from Saturday. Jayla, after a prolonged illness, was ready to revise her PR in the mile. She got out very aggressively in 89 and was not far off her 800 PR at the half: 3:08. Like most people, her third lap was her slowest (1:48), and she brought down her last lap slightly (1:46). That all added up to a big LPR of 6:42, a 10 second drop! She looked much smoother than in Tuesday's race, so I am confident that she has finally overcome the virus that kept her down for so long. More importantly, she capitalized upon her Varsity opportunity. Proud of you, Jayla!
Finally, I need to give a shout out to Carmen for stepping up to race the 4X400 after one of the sprinters was unable to get to the meet. Not only did she run a nice leg (78), she gave three other bees the chance to race the relay! Nice leadership, Carmenita!
A quick note about Saturday. You all looked FIERCE in this workout. Not only did you embrace the cut-down, but you all looked SMOOTH! You are fit, and our last few meets should be a celebration of that fitness. Let's smash some more PRs!