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?