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!