We knew it would be hot, and Mother Nature did not disappoint. Our Frosh/Soph women enjoyed the coolest weather of the day, and they did not waste this opportunity on the newly reconfigured Warren course; FIVE of the six racers earned new LPRs, and the sixth ran a heck of a gritty race. Maya was our leader, and she went out much faster than at Lakewood on Tuesday. That being said, she was still able to make her last mile her fastest, and by my count, she caught at least 25 runners between her first mile and the finish. That kind of mental grit is what racing is all about! Her tenacity earned her a new LPR of 21:37--great effort, Maya! ANgie was our second bee. She went out aggressively, but her middle mile dropped off a bit too much. She refocused for her last mile and had an outstanding kick, earning her a new LPR by 23 seconds. Great job! Sarah M. had the most impressive breakthrough out of this group. As our third bee, she ran an impressive first mile and very even splits throughout the race. She dropped a whopping 1:43 today in order to earn a new LPR! So proud of you, Sarah! Delilah was not far behind her, breaking into the 27s today, also. While her splits were a bit more uneven, she was able to drop 1:10 for a new LPR! Great effort! Elyssa ran an outstanding first mile today and had an inspired kick. She dropped another 8 seconds after an impressive effort on Tuesday to earn another LPR today. Klyde was our final bee. Although her ankle is still not 100% after Tuesday's sprain, she gritted out the race to run with her girls--her mindset will help her get back to her previous performances shortly, I know! Overall, I am incredibly impressed by this group. Let's keep learning and improving as a unit! :)
Our Varsity has been reeling from a nasty respiratory bug and injury this week, and I knew that we would not be at 100% today; I was anxious to see what we could do despite these obstacles. Kelsey was our first bee with a slightly more reserved start compared to Tuesday. She ran a very even race, with her first and last splits matching, which earned her an impressive LPR of 19:03. Her focus during the second mile allowed her to move up considerably in the race; at the 1000 mark, she was in the upper 30s, and she finished in 15th. These numbers are important--Kelsey is simply slowing down LESS (her second mile was only 9 seconds slower than her first and third) than the people around her because she is laser- focused in the middle, difficult section of the race. Her finish is an important lesson, too. While I did not get to see it, I heard that she was caught by a pack in the final stretch. In the stadium, the turf quieted her competitors' footfalls, and the roar of the crowd would make it difficult to detect them anyway; herein lies the lesson: the kick should happen no matter what. It should not be dependent upon catching someone or holding someone off. At the Sectional, the final stretch is usually lined with people at least 3-4 deep, and it is impossible to hear warnings of approaching runners. The kick needs to be automatic! This is a lesson that EVERYONE should absorb! The other important lesson is that even, aggressive racing results in fast times and medals. Congrats to Kelsey on earning a medal for her 15th place finish on a challenging day in a challenging field! Our second bee was Julia, coming back from the nasty plague. While she was definitely still feeling the effects of her illness, her second and third miles were nearly identical. If we can start lowering those two, she will be running the times that we both know she is capable of. It was good to see her back racing, and she worked hard to ignore her lingering illness. As our third bee, Taylor had an outstanding breakthrough today. After an inspiring speech on the bus, she practiced what she preached on the course. Not only did she run a 39 second season PR, but she just looked gutsy the whole way. Her splits were more even today, and I know that she will continue dropping time. She worked extremely well with an improving Cynthia who looked strong in her second race back after a calf tweak. Watching these two work together was outstanding. If they can start pulling on Julia, we will be back to a stronger pack! Steff looked the strongest she has all week after catching the worst of the plague. While I know she is not where she wants to be yet, her first mile indicates she is getting healthier; I know the other two miles will come back when she is able to actually process oxygen normally. Janelle tenaciously finished as our 6th bee today, despite a nagging leg injury. Her first mile shows where her heart and mindset are at. If you did not see her race, then you missed a great opportunity to see what the mind can do. I know that when we get her feeling better, she will make our whole squad stronger. In the meantime, she needs to keep the positive mindset that got her this far, and she needs help from her fellow bees during this process! Vic rounded out our varsity 7, finishing despite briefly passing out at the 400 mark (she too has been a victim of this respiratory bug). When she came to, she said that two workers were trying to get her off the course, but she insisted on finishing. When she is healthy again, this tenacious mindset will help her make our team as strong as we know it can be. Our first mission needs to be health. Our second mission continues to be mid-race aggressiveness. Let's go!
Our JV women dealt with the hottest weather of the day. By race time, it was 88 with a "real feel" of 91. Considering it was in the 60s for most of the week, this dramatic temperature spike was difficult to adjust to. That being said, this gutsy group was outraged to hear that the race officials--after sending two kids to the ER via ambulance--decided to shorten the JV races to 2 miles. While other runners cheered, our women asked if they could just run the third mile anyway. I think you women know me well enough to know how much your reaction and mindset mean to me. You truly get our purpose: to grind through whatever conditions are sent our way. And grind they did! Our first bee was Diana. In her post-plague-come-back, she looked aggressive and feisty. Her first mile was great considering the conditions, and I look forward to seeing her get stronger as she regains her health. Carmen was only 10 seconds behind Di; she looked more like her summer and Oshkosh self today. Not only did she have a great first mile, but she also had a fabulous kick--great work today! Naya was our third bee for the day. Her immediate reaction to the "2-mile" announcement was "All out! Two miles all out!" She did not disappoint, running a gutsy first mile and finishing with an impressive kick. Kate, in her best first mile to date, looked outstanding in this race. Every race she figures out something new about her abilities, and I cannot wait to see what she does at JT this coming Saturday! Daz was not far behind Kate, running an outstanding first mile and gritting through her knee pain in the second. Her kick was outstanding, and her positive mindset was evident with every step--nice work! Alexia was our next bee. Despite ongoing shin pain, Alexia ran an impressive race today. After the mile, I gave her the option to pull out, but she reset and kept grinding. When I saw her again, she was working to pass sleeping competitors. Her kick was the best of this group; she started opening up before the 400 mark, and looked outstanding on that long stretch into the stadium. Excellent work, Lex! Our final bee for the day was Addy, looking strong after a knee issue. Despite the heat, her time was significantly faster than Tuesday, and I can't wait to see her run a full 3 at JT. Overall, this group's mindset was outstanding--not only did they welcome the challenge of the heat, but they also handled the curveball of the distance change with grace and grit. If you learn nothing else from this race, learn that adjusting to new situations is a really important trait in a great runner (and human!)
Overall, I was impressed with the character of this team today. I saw you look out for each other post-race with water and shade and ice. I watched you cheer on your teammates with gusto. We are starting to really come together as a true family; when you can call each other sisters in running, you earn a new purpose in your racing. You no longer give in to fatigue or pain so easily because you are running for something bigger than just yourself. Let's continue the work of finding the greatness in one another this week. Is anyone able to host a pasta party this Friday? This is another chance to come together!
One last note--even if you were obsessive about rehydrating on Saturday, you are probably still a bit off-kilter. Make it a priority to work on re-balancing your body this week. On Monday, please make your water bottle your best friend. Consider a Gatorade or other sports drink--you need to get electrolytes back in your system! Also focus on fruits and veggies--their micronutrients will help your body replenish what you lost and mitigate the swelling that comes with tough race conditions. You also need to get some sleep to help your body recover. We are lucky in that we have a bye-week within our conference: no weekday racing this week. Let's use that opportunity to focus on a great workout on Tuesday on our course and on continuing to nurture our health with great hydration, wise nutrition choices, and smart bed times.
Have you checked out www.athletic.net yet? It is a great tool! You can see your progress this season as well as that of your teammates. Check it out!
We had a bittersweet day today. While we had many successes (SEVEN Lifetime PRs and one Season PR), we also had too many women out sick and hurt. We raced first, and our small group looked good at the start. Kelsey got out hard--much faster than she has started all season. Her gutsy first mile (6:08) will definitely help in the long term, but cost her in the final mile. That being said, she still ran a solid race and looked very competitive against LZ's top girls. Maya was our second bee for the day. She looked a bit too conservative in the first and second miles, but woke up to work hard in the final mile, her fastest of the day. Taylor was our third finisher, and she continues to improve each week. Her race was gutsy, and she earned a new season PR by 4 seconds. Cynthia was back in racing action; while her time was not where she wanted it to be, it was certainly great to see her back in the race. She worked hard to knock off some rust, and I know her effort today will help her with Warren on Saturday. Carmen also returned to racing today, rounding out our top 5. She had a great kick, and like Cynthia, needed to kick off some racing rust. I look forward to seeing an even stronger race on Saturday from her!
Our LPR list begins with our sixth runner, Angie. not only did she drop 22 seconds overall, but she also had an outstanding kick from the 300 mark. Nice work! Alexia and Kate were our next bees. They worked in tandem for the entire race, pushing each other to greatness. Kate's efforts to stay with Lex helped her earn an 8 second LPR, and Lex's efforts to stay with Kate helped her work through an ongoing injury. Aja was not far behind with a whopping 1:05 drop to earn a new LPR of 28:04! She looked like a different woman compared to her first time on this course only a two weeks ago. She also finished with a more confident kick. Great work! Delilah also earned an LPR--hers was by six seconds. She, too, had an outstanding kick from the road--great job! Elyssa dropped even more time (an impressive 46 seconds) to earn a new LPR. She keeps improving each meet, and I can't wait to see what she can do on Warren's speedy course. Klyde was our next finisher, and surely had the grittiest race of the day. After falling in the woods and spraining her ankle, Klyde finished thanks to her tenacity. While she was not happy with her swollen ankle or her time, her grit is to be commended. Addy, Crizaber, Karen, and Sarah M. all struggled with some tweaks today, but I know that they will come back stronger in the next race. Lindsey had two PRs in one race today. She ran an impressive first mile and PR of 9:41, and finished with an overall LPR by dropping an astounding 2:21! I am so impressed by her progress! Ashley, not to be outdone, also dropped an incredible 1:44 in order to earn her own new LPR.
Overall, this group worked hard, but we were unable to beat LZ or Waukegan due to extensive sickness an injury. We need to work hard to get healthy. Wash your hands. Don't share water bottles. Eat right. Respect your bed time. You can do it!
Although it has been several months since the heavy rains flooded sections of Lake County, Warren's course has still not fully recovered. As a result, we received a free chance to race at home on Tuesday. (Don't worry--they have figured out a solution for the Blue Devil Invite next Saturday; the course is flatter and ends in the football stadium). Going into this race, we had beaten Warren at Deerfield (although I suspect they were not at full strength), and we had lost to Libertyville at Lake County and the Rebel Invite; Libertyville's #1 runner won both of these competitive races with ease, so I knew that we would have a challenge on our home course.
Our mission was simple: run the first mile for the team; use the four "go zones" in the second mile to help work on our splits; and focus on being competitive in the last mile.
Here's what I saw:
Our first mile was solid. We got out well across the board! Our top runners ran solid splits in the mid 6s to 7s. Realistically, Janelle, Cynthia, Vic, Steff, Di, and Taylor can and should go out sub-7. Let's make this a goal for our Tuesday meet. Our next group--Naya, Sarah, Klyde, Crizaber, Kate, and Alexia were all in the 8s for the first mile. Nearly everyone in this group ran a PR, and it is in part due to their aggressive starts. Addy, Sarah M., Delilah, Noel, and Elyssa all had aggressive starts as well which resulted in LPRs for all of these young runners! Finally, Aja, Charmaine, Karen, Lindsey, and Ashley all got out much faster than in the past, resulting in some dramatic time drops for new LPRs.
We had several bees who either went negative for mile two (Kelsey), or did not drop off more than 20 seconds (Vic, Cynthia, Taylor, Alexia). It MUST be our goal to make this list grow in the next race. Please look at the split sheet below to see how you did split-wise. Slowing down more than 20 seconds during mile two signals a need for more focus during this segment of the race. This is the toughest part of the race: your legs are tired, the finish is not yet in sight, and your mind is screaming to your body to slow down. You must decide that you are going to override your brain. There are many techniques we have discussed to work through this struggle: think of a song lyric that is up tempo, use pre-determined "go zones" to pick up your pace, count your steps, focus on a person to catch, focus on a person that you will dedicate that mile to, think about your goal and acknowledge that the temporary pain is worthwhile to reach that goal. I challenge you to try one or more of these during mile two on Tuesday.
I have mixed feelings about our final mile, and specifically our final 500 meters. Yes, most of you brought your split back down for the final mile, but please know that it is not a true mile (it's actually .98). I stood near the "Sectional Loop" and watched you all enter that section and finish your races. Far too many of you missed the small downhill opportunity that leads into the 400 mark. At this point, many Warren and Libertyville girls were using that section to their advantage and making moves on us ON OUR HOME COURSE. Again, this is an area that we need to learn from and improve upon. When we are back at our course, we need to own that section. In the meantime, I need you to think about how we end our runs--we either do a workout where the last interval is supposed to be the fastest, or we do strides on the track. Both of these are meant to remind you that you can run fast when you are tired. You need to start believing that and putting it into your races, too! Again, make this a focus on Tuesday!
Yes, we have work to do, but we also have many successes to celebrate from this race. First, we had SEVENTEEN LPRs and TWO SPRs. That means nineteen out of the twenty-six racers made a huge improvement--that is outstanding! Checkout the split sheet below to see how awesome your teammates are and to see your own splits. Second, Addy, Sarah M., and Delilah all broke 30 minutes for the first time. That is an awesome breakthrough! And finally, Kelsey ran an outstanding race by running negative splits each mile, and earning the #2 spot on our all-time Top Ten Board for our course. This did not just "happen." Kelsey had a race plan, and she followed it; the plan did NOT involve times. Instead, she focused on running with Libertyville's top runner and using the "go zones" during mile two. The result was a speedy time and a great finish. Don't forget about my story about Kristen Whiteside--hard work over time pays off. Don't limit yourself goal-wise, and don't assume that big races like Kelsey's are just "easy for other people." Every great race and every success story is the result of mental toughness, dedication, and focus. Every single one of you is capable of those three traits. So let's go! :)
This is a busy week with two races and two morning practices. You MUST commit to getting rest so that we can be successful. Tuesday we are at Lakewood (our second shot at this course) against a strong Lake Zurich team and a feisty Waukegan team. Let's not underestimate either team, and let's use our knowledge of the course to improve our racing skills. Wednesday is an early release day at school, so we are going to run in the morning so that you can all go home at 12:40. Sleep is key here! Coaches will provide breakfast Wednesday. We will push our workout to Thursday this week, and conclude our training with morning practice on Friday morning. Saturday is at Warren's updated course at the O'Plaine Campus, which should be fast. Frosh/Soph races at 9:00 (3 team trophies and 1-10 medals); Varsity at 10:20 (5 team trophies, 1-10 individual trophies, and 11-30 medals); JV/Open at 11:40 (3 team trophies and 1-10 medals). Please let your fans know that there are NO dogs allowed at the course. This year's race t-shirt is sky blue and costs $15.
F/S and JV Women: It's Wisconsin, so GPS watches were not allowed. And it's Wisconsin, so they combined F/S and JV into one race...a 2.5 mile race. When we came up to practice on the course, you all had the chance to hear my views on 2.5. Since we would not be able to earn any 3-mile PRs today, we focused on race tactics. Most women discussed keeping up with a specific teammate, passing a certain number of people, or keeping a consistent pace. When the gun sounded, I knew that this group was ready to go. Although this group is young, each runner has made great progress in the past two weeks. I ran up to the 1.5 mile marker (this course is frustrating in that it is not coaching or spectator friendly) to see where where our bees were at in relation to the competition. Taylor was our first runner in the race, and she came through the 1.5 looking confident. She immediately worked to pass more people as I encouraged her on. Angie had an outstanding race today as our second finisher. She ran a consistent race and she had an outstanding kick. Naya was our third bee; while she didn't look quite as crisp as she did at Lakewood, she still battled through the hills and showed that classic Naya focus. Sarah D., Daz, and Klyde fed off each other throughout the race and finished within seconds of each other. This kind of teamwork is what I am looking for--never settling to simply run with a teammate and instead challenging each other to improve. Crizaber ran a very consistent race and looked strong as she finished 7th for our team. Alexia was our 8th bee. Her last half mile was outstanding and bodes well for our race at home on Tuesday. Kate had a huge day as our 9th bee. Not only did she significantly improve her pace over Wednesday, she also had a great finish; her time indicates that she will do well on our flat course! Noel was our 10th bee for the day; like Alexia, her last half mile was impressive! Aja, Elyssa, and Delilah worked as another great pack, helping each other improve over Lake County. They finished within seconds of each other and seem to be learning a lot. Addy and Sarah M. worked well in tandem. They finished within steps of each other and looked impressive in their kicks. Charmaine, Karen, and Lindsey worked together for big portions of the race until Charmaine and Karen pulled away in the last half mile. Ashley rounded out our team for the day, running a much improved pace over Lake County. This part of our pack is making big strides!
For our home meet, I need this group to focus on the following:
1. Starting strong--the first mile is flat and has long straightaways. Use them to help you keep an even, aggressive pace.
2. Focus in the woods. Use the marks to do a fartlek during mile 2 in order to stay awake.
3. Finish strong. I want to see amazing kicks for the last 400.
Varsity Women: Just like the Frosh/Soph and JV women, this group's mission was to focus on racing tactics. After a strong start, I headed to the 1.5 mark again to check our progress. Kelsey was our first bee, and she was sitting in 28-29th place. She looked great coming down the gradual hill and was actively passing runners as she flew by me. By the time she popped out of the woods, she had moved up to the high teens, running an outstanding last half mile split of 2:57; overall, her splits were very even. She finished in 17th overall and earned her first high school race hardware--way to go! Julia was our second bee in this race. At the 1.5 mark, she looked focused; unfortunately, her 2 mile split was too much of a drop from her first. This will definitely be a focus area for Tuesday, and I know that she will step up to defend our home course. Maya had another great outing as a varsity runner--this time as our third finisher. She ran a pretty even race and looked excellent as she finished. I continue to be impressed by her poise during difficult sections of the race. As I predicted during our summer hill work, she handled this hilly course like a champ! Despite an irritated calf muscle, Janelle was our fourth finisher. At the 1.5 mark, she was pushing to work up to Maya, and she was focused on fixing her form. While her last 800 was strong, her middle mile is definitely the area to be improved. Just like her sister, I know that she will work on this section at Shiloh on Tuesday. We have worked hard in that section all summer, so I know her confidence will be high! In a much stronger race than Lake County, Vic rounded out our scoring 5. Her pace was much more consistent, and her finish was strong. I am hoping that she will take some risks on our home course on Tuesday; she needs to remember that she is Oshkosh strong and capable of so much more! This race proves her strength! Cynthia was not far behind Vic, finishing as our 6th runner. It was good to see her back in racing form. Her start was strong, as was her finish; that middle mile needs more focus. She can work on it with the twins on Tuesday. Steff was not far behind Cynthia. While she did not look 100%, she definitely looked stronger than Lake County. Her last 800 was strong. If she can work with Cynthia to move up to Vic in the second mile, she can run more like the real Steff! Di was our final runner in this race. Like many of her teammates, her first mile and last half were right on target. If she can keep working on the second mile, she will be more competitive for her team.
Overall, this group looked better than Lake County, but I am not satisfied yet. In order to prepare for our home meet, I need these eight women to do the following:
1. Count your summer miles and reflect on the total. This number is who you are: a dedicated, hard working runner who made a big investment this summer. That base matters.
2. On the starting line, remember that your summer running number wasn't just for yourself--it was for your team. Dedicate your first mile to your team.
3. Once you hit the mile mark, pick one person to dedicate that mile to. Every "go" zone, push for a 30 count for that person.
4. Once you hit the 2-mile mark, think about yourself. Remember all the hard work you put in, and let yourself shine in that last mile. Feed off the energy of the crowd and your team. And for the last 400, kick like mad.
A few pro-tips for everyone:
1. Check out athletic.net to track your progress this season and to see how you stack up within our team and against other schools.
2. Let's keep working on 8 hours of sleep this week. Homecoming or not, we need to keep working on recovery.
3. As the temps get cooler, remember that you can wear a base layer under your uniform. It should be solid black.
4. Let's help get the school pumped for Homecoming Week. Dress up and bee part of the celebration! Come to room 152 at 7:45 to get a team pic each day of Spirit Week.
I cannot wait to watch everyone race at home for our own homecoming! How bad do you want it?
Varsity Girls: We were allowed to run up to ten women in this race, but we ran the eight who were ready to take on this challenge. (Side note to Cynthia--I know your heart and mind were ready, but it was the right choice to give your leg another few days to rest). On the starting line, I knew that the warmer temps and humidity would play a factor in the race since we have been so spoiled all summer with easy weather, with the exception of the long run last week. Our plan to start conservatively and then work later was born out of that concern. After a fine start, I worked my way over to the 800+ mark to check our progress. Our pack had not formed as I had hoped. Kelsey was our first bee through the mile and looked strong and focused. Julia was not far behind, but unfortunately, was not able to match Kelsey's moves during the second mile. Janelle and Maya worked hard in third and fourth, while Steff, Di, Vic, and Tay were a bit further back. The mile markers were not accurate, so I'm not going to talk about specific splits. The trend I noticed was a lack of focus in the second mile from our veterans; Kelsey and Maya made big gains in the second mile, however. Kelsey moved up nearly 20 spots during this stretch of the race, and Maya caught many, including Janelle. Their focus during this stretch of the race resulted in lifetime PRs for each freshie. Kelsey broke 20 for the first time; she was also the first freshman to finish the race--great work! Maya's only other official 3 mile race was Bee Linked back in July; she bested that effort by nearly three minutes...amazing! My hope for this group is that we can work on the following goals in the upcoming meets:
1. Improving our 1-5 and 1-7 split. We are stronger when we pack together.
2. Mental grit in mile two. We were great at this during the summer, so I know we can get it to happen in races.
3. Race for each other. Staying accountable to teammates will improve individual and team performances.
Open Girls: This group had the advantage of slightly cooler temps as the sun began to set. They also had the chance to compete in a coed race--a great opportunity to beat a boy! Our pack looked good at the start, and I was happy to see our bees looking strong at the 800 mark. Starting the second loop, Naya looked determined to catch people, and at the kick, she had a laser focus. She was our first finisher for the day. Klyde, Alexia, and Angie worked together to help each other. Angie had one of the best kicks of the day! Daz, in her season debut, was not far behind with Sarah; they both had solid performances on the day. Noel and Crizaber were next for our team, with Gen only shortly behind them. I know that when her back feels better, she will move up to help our pack. Addy looked much stronger than her Deerfield performance. She was followed by Delilah, who had an outstanding kick. Aja was not far behind, who finished her first race as a ZB! Sarah and Elyssa finished strong, followed by Lindsey and Karen working in tandem. Ashley was our final bee for the day, finishing her first 3-mile race ever!
Overall, I know this young group will continue to improve as they gain fitness and confidence. Their performances were a great starting point--now we can just work on getting more competitive. My challenge to this group is as follows:
1. Work on a positive mindset before and during the race. You have all improved so much in this area already, but staying positive when the going gets tough will help improve each runner's time.
2. Work on passing people in the second half of the race. It will help you to avoid slowing down when you are tired.
Unlike most years in the past, this Deerfield Triangular was marked by cool breezes and easy skies, making conditions for our first meet of the year more than cooperative. I am happy to report that our team seized this great opportunity and earned some impressive performances.
2-Mile: Only one of our competitors in this race has any high school XC racing experience, so I was elated to watch them warm up, ask questions, and compete. As we warmed up and discussed the course, I could feel the nervousness in the group; once the gun sounded, however, I knew that they would be ok. The group had a great start, listening to my advice to start conservatively and then work to catch other runners. Maya was our first through the mile with an impressive split of 6:49. Sarah "Blue" D. wasn't far behind, working hard to run a lifetime PR in the 2-mile. In her XC debut, Crizaber looked outstanding as our third runner for the day, running a smart second half of her race. Noel also looked strong as our fourth runner, finishing with a great kick. Kate rounded out our scoring five with a strong kick as well. Despite some arch issues, Jayla looked focused throughout her race and finished strong. Elyssa ran an outstanding first mile, and finished by closing hard on Jayla in the final loop. Delilah ran a strong first mile as well and showcased an outstanding kick to the finish. Karen looked outstanding in the last loop, catching several runners before the kick. Freshie Sarah courageously tackled this race after only a few days of practice, and looked great doing so! Lindsey, after a strong start, finished with a nice kick. Ashley courageously finished her first race with the help of her teammates. I am proud to report that this very young and inexperienced group embraced a ZB racing tradition: not a single runner dropped to the ground or acted dramatic at the finish line. Each woman gave her all, and then walked out of the chute with her head held high. This is the kind of strength I expect from every race; we are NOT drama queens--we are runners! Overall, there were A LOT of lessons learned in this race. During Saturday's workout, I could see the growth already! My biggest goal for this group is to start working on more even splits. Many of you had over a minute drop between the first and second mile, with the exception of Maya. Take note of her finish place--her ability to run only 14 seconds slower in her second mile illustrates her fitness as well as her mental strength; those two assets translate into a great time and finish! We will work on pacing, and you will only get stronger as we continue training. I know that this young group will be ready for their first 3-mile race on Wednesday, and I cannot wait to see it!
3-Mile: Although we were not at full-strength due to the twins' absence for their brother's wedding, we still looked great as a team. Twelve women toed the line for us in this race, and I could feel the nervous anticipation of the gun; once it sounded, I was really proud that our team followed our race plan: start at PPM pace and then race the second and third miles. Kelsey, Steff, and Cynthia looked great running three-across during the first part of the race. Kelsey emerged as our leader, running negative splits in order to chase down several Deerfield and Warren runners. She took 3rd overall after a gritty race, running 6:47, 6:48, and 6:35. Like Maya in the 2-mile, even and negative splits are the way to a more competitive race! I'm really proud of Kelsey's second-half mindset; she kept working to pass people when she was the most tired, and she was rewarded with a 6:35 split and a lifetime PR! Cynthia ran pretty even splits, but her middle mile (7:17) is where Kelsey pulled away. She was able to bring it back down to a 7:14, but I know that these times will continue to fall. That being said, Cynthia also ran a lifetime PR of 21:27--nice work! Steff was clearly still feeling the long run during this race, while she went out in a nice time of 6:50 with her pack, her middle and last miles-- 7:58 and 7:52--is uncharacteristic of her training this summer. I know she was disappointed by her time, but she earned a new lifetime PR by 7 seconds; even with a sub-par performance, she easily bested her best sophomore performance. I know that she will look fresher for our meet on Wednesday--she already looked much stronger during Saturday's workout. Vic was our next finisher, running a solid race, especially in the latter stages. Her splits were all in the sevens, with her second being the slowest. Watching the race, her second mile looked fast, as she was consistently passing people. She moved up significantly within our team, and helped rally her teammates. Her final time was a lifetime PR by over a minute (1:14) and significantly faster than her Bee Linked performance this summer. I know that she will continue to improve as she gains more experience. Taylor rounded out our scoring five with a great season PR of 23:12. She looked positive the whole race, working well with Diana to catch Warren and Deerfield. That middle split of 8:15 was her only weak spot, but I know that she will work on it, as evidenced by her strong work on Saturday in both segments of the workout. Diana ran with Taylor for most of the race, starting with a very strong 7:12--an impressive open that will eventually become part of what she does without the second mile dip. She smashed her Bee Linked performance and set a new lifetime PR of 23:23--over a 2 minute drop from her sophomore year. If these two keep working together, I cannot wait to see what they can do to help our Varsity squad! Carmen rounded out our Varsity Seven for the day, running a season PR of 24:21. She looked focused the entire way, especially during her sprinter kick! Like her teammates, she needs to work on her focus during the second mile (8:38) in order to drop her time to earn a new lifetime.
Angie and Naya worked together during the middle of the race, working to pass Deerfield runners. Angie's improvements since last year are a testament to hard work and dedication. During track season, she learned how to race and improved her fitness. Her finish time of 25:48 smashes her freshman PR by over 5 minutes and her Bee Linked effort by almost 3 minutes. Her kick was outstanding, and I cannot wait to see where she goes this season! Naya did not let Angie go, finishing only a second behind her. Naya is starting to look sharp again, and I am excited to see how much she improves in the next race; attacking that second mile will make huge difference and get her back in the neighborhood of her LPR. Klyde ran her first ever XC race and looked positive the whole way. Her fitness is improving, as proven by her solid last mile split. Like Naya, if she can tackle that middle mile with more focus, she will see huge drops. Alexia looked sharp in her first XC race since her surgery. Like her teammates, her middle split is hurting her overall time. Her experience will help her focus on that weak spot, and I anticipate a stronger middle mile at Lake County. That being said, her time was outstanding for her first XC race back, and I cannot wait to see where she goes this season! In the absence of the twins, her leadership today was invaluable; with so many newbees, her veteran experience helped make the meet go smoothly. Adellie was our final bee in the 3-mile race. In her ZBXC debut, she ran a lifetime PR despite a missed turn on the course and a resulting back track. Thankfully, Lake County is a well-marked course, so I look forward to getting good data split-wise for her on Wednesday! As is, her middle mile looks to be the trouble spot for her, and it will be the focus for Wednesday.
Overall, this group created an outstanding starting point for this season. We lost to a very deep and experienced Deerfield team, but we bested Warren by two points, thanks to Kelsey's strong performance up front and the grit of our other runners. Cynthia, Vic, and Taylor all beat their matching runner from Warren, and Diana "pushed" up Warren's score by beating Warren's scoring #5. That kind of teamwork is what it will take for us to do great things later in the season. On Saturday, I already saw efforts to continue improve; not only did our teamwork look amazing, but the mental grit in the second half of the workout was impressive. Everyone hit or beat their targets and looked sharp doing so. Nice work, women!
For this week, please remember my advice about sleep. You no longer have the summer luxury of an afternoon nap to supplement your recovery; you must commit to a habit of going to sleep at the same time each night to help boost your immune system and aid your recovery as we head into a week with two significant races. I'm going to be preaching about sleep all season, but it is a hidden commitment; you have to make the smart decision when no one is looking. #beelinked
I am proud of this very young team, and I cannot wait to see what we can do this season!