Monday...Nope! Tuesday @ Home vs. Stevenson and Lake Forest:
After a record seven inches of snow on Sunday, we were forced to postpone our only home meet for a day in order to let the snow finish melting. Unfortunately, Monday's weather was the best of the week, with blue skies, plenty of sun, and absolutely no wind. THe track was completely clear by race time, but the field events were still sloppy and snow-covered. The distance crew stepped up to handle the delay, enjoying a beautiful run on Monday and racing hard with PRs all over on Tuesday. We started strong with some great PRs in the 4X800. Steff earned a season PR of 3:08, while the following bees earned lifetime PRs in their relays: Vic 2:54; Natalie 3:00; Marissa 3:05; Jenni 3:24; Bianca 3:25; Ashley and Ixa 3:27; Dianna 3:31; Blanca 3:44; and Nataly 3:45. The runners who did not PR were awfully close, and everyone looked aggressive and confident getting the baton around the track.
We had three women take on the 3200, and they all earned PRs, too! Kaila was our first finisher, running an even and focused 14:23. Carmen was not far behind, earning a PR of 15:05. Di was our final runner, gritting her way to a 15:54 finish, a 6 second drop from her effort at Carthage. Overall, these three looked strong and earned some valuable strength from running an over-distance workout today.
The open 800 was speedy and just a flurry of PRs. Mary was our first finisher, earning a season PR of 2:52. Angie had a beast of a race, finally breaking the 3:00 barrier by finishing in 2:54. Karen worked on her speed with a PR of 3:00. Elyssa was only a beat behind with a PR of 3:02. Jayla, looking more healthy than she has in quite some time, ran a PR og 3:03. Angy T. ran a huge PR, finishing in 3:15. And Katherine, bouncing back from her performance in the 4X800, earned a new PR of 3:17. It was so exciting to see this group push so hard, helping one another and kicking like mad to earn all these improvements. Congrats on all the growth!
The milers did not want to be left out of the PR-fest. By this point in the evening, the temperature had dropped and the cool wind from the lake was not pleasant. This gritty group ran a cross-country style race with Varsity and JV combined to run a giant race, and that competition helped everyone. Karen was our first finisher, earning a new LPR of 6:40--great work! Jenna earned a season PR of 7:08 with a great kick. Natalie, although nervous about the longer race, looked awesome--earning a speedy 7:15. Delilah looked awesome earning a new PR of 7:20. Jenni reached her goal of breaking 8 by smashing that barrier and finishing in 7:55. It was so awesome to see everyone helping Jenni reach her goal and then celebrating the accomplishment after! Dianna was not far behind, shedding tons of time to earn a new PR of 8:10. Ixa looked incredibly strong only a few steps behind in 8:13. Her new goal is to join Jenni and go sub-8. Nataly, in a true tribute to continued hard work paying off, ran a speedy 8:16 for a new PR. Angy T. continues to improve, earning a new PR of 8:38. Illyana was only steps behind, matching her LPR of 8:40. Overall, it was exciting to watch this race because the teamwork and grit combined to create impressive results despite the cold. This race is a great example of runners controlling what they can and not worrying about the uncontrollable like the weather.
We had some speedy PRs in the 400 and 4X400 as well. Vic ran a strong 77 in the open 400, then came back with a new PR of 76 in the 4X400. Jayla finished a great day, earning a new PR of 80 in her relay, while Angie R. was only a tick behind with a PR of 81. Aubrianna is finding her speed, too, earning a PR of 82. Ashley is looking more like herself again, earning a speedy PR of 84. Bianca's speed has been steadily improving, too. She earned a new 400 PR of 91. Blanca, who was running her Paavo 400s over 2:00, ran a huge lifetime PR of 92. I am so impressed by the Distance Crew's willingness to embrace speed in the 4X400.
This meed made me proud; you all dealt with the weather like champs, and you supported one another in order to improve. You coached one another so that I could effectively manage the meet. Overall--this was a great day despite the cold. Great progress, bees! Let's keep it rolling!
Thursday @ District 117 (Antioch) Invite:
Mother Nature was still not super-cooperative on Thursday night: the evening was overcast with a chilly wind from the north. The good news was that aside from a few moments of spitting rain, we stayed dry all night, and our bees seized the opportunity to step up. Our 4X800 was up first, and this group looked solid, but a bit tentative. Here are the stats: Mullins 2:52; Morales 3:01; Luell 2:56; Rivera 3:00. The times are decent, and I know that they will drop in the coming week. After the quality ladder last Saturday, and some sharpening speed this week, I am confident that these women will be able to get out more aggressively and hold on for the second lap. The 800 is a tough race because it requires speed, strength and courage. I know we have the last two; the speed will kick in this week! The highlight of this race is that each woman kept focused and did make a dent in the gap between us and the next team. That kind of tenacity will pay off in the coming weeks; stay patient and hungry!
The 3200 was next, and I was excited to see what Karen and Vic could do. Prior to the race, we looked at the seed times and saw that there would be great competition for both women. We anticipated that the freshman from McHenry would get out hard, but when the gun sounded, no one stepped forward to lead the pack. Vic sat patiently at the front, knowing that that pace was slow, and Karen capitalized on the situation by working with the lead pack. After a lap, the Waukegan runner took off, and Vic waited patiently until I told her to go. She then worked for several laps to reel in the Waukegan girl, eventually passing her on the 7th lap. The 8th lap was ALL Vic, accelerating each 100 meters, and kicking hard in the final straight. She earned a new lifetime PR of 13:12, running perfectly even mile splits of 6:36. More importantly, she earned her first race win ever, gaining valuable confidence that will serve her well as she chases her big goal this season. She looked tuned in the whole time, and I know she can easily run faster this coming week. Karen had an awesome race, too, earning a HUGE PR of 14:11, by dropping 19 seconds from her previous best last year at the Sectional. Karen stayed focused during the entire race, running a strong 6:53 for the mile, which is not far from her PR in that race. This all shows me that Karen is ready to drop even more time. If she can work to keep every lap sub-1:50 and find two more seconds in her kick, she will easily go sub-14. Goals for this coming week! These two races left me hyped for the rest of the meet!
The open 800 did not disappoint. Kaila improved over her first race by going out with equal speed (83), but holding on to run a stronger second half. She finished with a new season PR of 2:55. More importantly, she was able to articulate her goals for improvement almost immediately after her race. Some shorter speed on Tuesday will help her feel ready for our bigger meets later in the week. I cannot wait to see her drop some more time! Natalie ran her first varsity race with courage. Although she was nervous before hand, her team and her brother were on hand to help her work through the nerves to run a new PR of 2:56, breaking through that 3-minute barrier. She looked calm and kicked hard in the second half to earn this PR. I know that she will continue to improve as the season continues, and I'm proud of her for stepping up to take on this challenge.
Our final distance race of the day was the mile. Mary was our first bee, and she got out well in 87. Her race illustrates our goal in the last few weeks: to work on slowing down LESS. If she can get that second lap in the 90s rather than the 1:40s, she will be sub-3:00 at the half, and well on her way to her mile goals. She has trained better (and longer) than any previous season. In the last few weeks, she has been able to keep up with Vic on recovery days, which shows that her fitness is there; I am confident that she will be able to have some drastic drops in the mile very soon. Last Saturday, she persevered despite a Jack-induced fall in the first 150; that kind of grit is what it will take to go sub-6. I know she can do it! :) Steff was our other racer in the mile. Her come back from a rough hip injury from last year has been much slower than she wanted, but she has displayed an amazing patience, and it is paying off. Her goal was to go sub-7 today, and she did it by 6 seconds. Her race was pretty even, and she never checked out of the race. Although I know she would like to be further along, she looks so much stronger than during XC season. I am so proud of her grit during her comeback, and I am confident that after having reached this goal, she will be hungry to improve even more.
Overall, the Antioch Invite was a great night. I enjoyed watching you all support one another, and celebrate each other's successes. I also revelled in your desire to grow, which is the whole reason we are here. Let's keep that fire for the upcoming week, and keep looking out for one another!