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.