Monday @ Libertyville
The sun was shining, the temps were in the low 70s, and the Distance Crew definitely seized the opportunity. While the performances were strong today, what impressed me most was the community of support you all created for the day: Emily's enthusiasm when she stepped in to fill Aubrianna's 4X800 spot; Jenna's encouragement of Angie's time goal in the 3200; everyone's frenzied cheering for Karen in the open 100; Illyana's willingness to step up to run the 4X400 for Steff. I know that doesn't cover it all, but I want you to know that I am proud of the culture that you are all contributing to. Current psychology research shows that the people you surround yourself with have a tremendous influence on your own success. If we can continue to foster this positive vibe, we will continue to improve individually and collectively. Want to read more about how to elevate your team support? Check out this Forbes article.
As for the actual races, there were several that stood out today. Both our 4X800s were strong, but there were several PRs for the day. In our first relay, Natalie had a nice breakthrough, running an impressive LPR of 3:03 (91/92). She looked even the whole way, and her splits support the anecdote. More importantly, Natalie had a confidence I have not seen before, and I'm proud of her for taking the risk to push herself! She handed off to Carmen who ran an equally strong race. Anyone who saw her was impressed; she had her focused "Carm" face for the whole 800 meters, and her form was on fire. She ran a new PR of 2:55 (I'm pretty sure this is lifetime) with an aggressive first lap of 83 and closing in 92. That first lap is important--it shows Carmen's confidence in her fitness. Based on recent workouts, I know she will be able to bring that second lap into the 80s, which will help our relay become more competitive. In the meantime, great work, Carm! Our second relay had a PRfest, which was fun to watch! It started with Delilah running an aggressive 3:08. She got out hard in 88 and closed in 1:40. I love her first-lap confidence, and I know that she is going to keep bringing that second lap down, so she can dip under 3:00--a great goal for her to work toward. Elyssa could not help but be energized by watching Delilah's race. Her first lap was a solid 92, and her fitness showed with her second lap of 97. She finished with a match to her LPR of 3:09. After Saturday's ladder, I'm confident that Elyssa can cash in on her new speed and couple it with her strength to also bet 3:00. Ixa was our third leg, and her from looked strong throughout her race. Her first lap was a speedy 1:41, and she closed in 1:53, to finish in 3:34, only two seconds off her LPR. She handed off to Jenni, who ran an LPR by one second: 3:30. Her first lap looked incredible in 97. If she keeps working hard (which she always does), she will be able to get that second lap (1:53) closer to the first and drop more overall time. Overall, our two relays left me inspired to watch our two-milers!
Mary and Angie represented us well in the 3200 meter run. Mary asked about a goal time before her race, and I said I thought she was in shape to break 14. She made that hypothesis a reality by running a focused, even race. Every lap, her form looked great, and she smashed my expectations by finishing in 13:47, despite the warmer weather. Her mile splits were 6:44 and 7:03, and she closed in a 98 for her last lap. More impressively, she took on the challenge of an open 200 (32) and came back in the 4X400 with a split of 79. While the 3200 is not her normal race, her hard work today will pay off later; she got a blend of strength and speed today that will help her finish the 800 and mile more effectively in later races. I'm really proud of her effort and mindset today--she has definitely grown over the years as a racer, and it showed today for sure. Angie had the same mindset in her race. She got out aggressively, and came through her first mile in 7:21; she closed in 8:03. Her finish time of 15:24 was close to my pre-race suggestion. More importantly, her race was a tribute to her grit. Despite her knee acting up, Angie kept pushing herself to stay ahead of a Libertyville racer who made several attempts to make up the gap between them. Angie used our feedback to keep pulling ahead. Overall, these two racers really made me proud today!
Due to some changes, our only 800 racer was Jenna, but she took on the challenge without complaint. Our bees circled the track to help Jenna out during her race. She got out in a strong 92 and finished with a new LPR of 3:17. I know that Jenna will continue to improve as we move through the season--have you heard her thoughts of the day? That mindset cannot help but offer up growth all season. :)
Our milers gave us a strong finish to the distance races of the day. What I appreciated was the dynamic of each of our racers: Karen did a great job of leading our pack; Steff and Jayla pushed each other throughout; Bianca led our second pack; Nataly kept moving up throughout the race; Blanca took great risks. Overall, it amounted to a season PR for Steff, and three huge lifetime PRs. First, Bianca dropped some significant time to earn a new LPR of 8:01. Way to go, Bianca! Nataly was next, finishing with a strong kick to earn a huge LPR of 8:29. Blanca made the biggest gains, dropping her LPR to 9:11. All three of these women allowed their fitness to shine and overcame pre-race nerves to do so. Way to go, women--I'm proud of you!
We only had two distance 4X400s today, and the times were solid. Shout out to Kaila for the fastest split of the day--a zesty 74!
Overall, we had a great day. I need you all to build on our success by identifying and celebrating your strengths. What are you good at so far? Are you positive before your race? Do you do a great job of lifting your teammates? Do you have a great first lap? Are you good at passing people mid-race? Do you have a killer kick? Once you have decided on your strength, then be honest and think about your weak spot. Once you have figured it out, let's talk and make a plan to work on it.
A quick shout out to you all for your flexibility this week. The weather (sleet and hail on mid-week, a cancelled meet on Friday, sunny but cold on Saturday) has been very Illinois-y, but you have all been champs about working through it. Let's keep that mindset of seizing great weather opportunities when we can, and being smart when spring looks more like winter.
On that note, there is a VERY good chance that our meet will be moved to Tuesday. Please prepare for practice AND a meet for Monday: bring clothes for both just in case. I look forward to seeing you race, no matter which day it is! :)