Saturday @ JT Invite--AKA My New Favorite Meet
We had a bye week for Conference racing, so we were able to get some serious work in during the week. I was impressed by your focus during the cut down on Monday, and I was equally thrilled by the grit in the 90-90 workout the following day. It was fun to watch you all push to reach the same goal for each interval. Although the middle of the week was difficult due to illness, injury, and otherwise, Saturday was simply rejuvenating.
Although we only had three fresh/sophs on the line for the first, race, they ran like an army of twenty. Delilah go out hard and was sitting in 50th place after the first loop. Driving up the hill for the second time, she looked so strong! She kept that momentum for the entire second loop, and she moved up at least ten places, catching sleeping runners at every turn. Her finish was the best part of her race, though. She took my advice to heart, shifting gears on each of the last turns, and then simply flying down the home stretch. It was awesome to watch and capped off a tremendous effort all race. Bianca had her best race of the season by far. She went out sub-9 for the first time, and she looked open and strong the whole way. She kept all of her splits sub-10 by being aggressive on turns and focusing on passing throughout the go-zones. Her finish was also flawless; she caught people on each stretch, and she looked unstoppable. Her gritty effort earned her a new LPR by 22 seconds--outstanding work, Bianca! Ixa was our other F/S racer, and her race was just as remarkable. Not only did she do a fabulous job of driving up the hill, but she also looked aggressive in all the go-zones. Like her teammates, her kick was incredible! In the final stretch, she caught sleeping racers, and she earned herself a 9 second LPR. The energy from this race was infectious, and it spilled into all of our other races of the day.
We did not run our normal line up for Varsity today, but the grit was definitely evident. Karen was our first runner, and I think not having anyone to key off of helped her feel more limitless. This was her first race where she didn't touch the 8s for any split; that kind of consistent pacing matters. Not only does it show a more focused mindset, but it also earned her a new LPR by 19 seconds! More importantly, I never saw Karen let down in this race; she kept passing and working the hill aggressively. Congrats on an impressive break through! Remember this race! Kaila, although a bit nervous about it, ran Varsity for the first time today. I knew she was ready, and her race proved it. She looked confident and strong every time I saw her, and she looked impressive on the hill all three times. What impressed me most was that she did not mention her knee post-race; my hope is that this race will serve as a turning point for her mindset-wise. I know she is ready to race faster, and her 10 second SPR shows it. Proud of your gutsiness today, Kaila! In a great breakthrough race, Diana was our third bee for the day. Plagued with sickness and some knee issues earlier in the season, Di finally looked like the Di of the summer. She got out hard and kept all three of her splits sub-8, running a very even race. This race shows that she is ready to get out more aggressively and show off her fitness. Post-race, she told me she felt fast, and she certainly looked it. Like Karen, she looked engaged for the whole race, constantly passing and kicking aggressively. Marisa, sporting new spikes, was our fourth bee today in her second Varsity race. She started strong with Carmen and Di, using her teammates to help her push. She looked incredible on the hills, and I was impressed by her passing on the top part of the course. Her middle mile was uncharacteristically uneven for her (7:42, 8:36, 7:53). If she can focus on that section for our next race, I know she can earn herself a new PR. That being said, I was really pleased with her race today, and I look forward to seeing her continue to improve and challenge herself. Carmen, despite nursing her sore foot this week, opted to take on the challenge of Grant's course, and I'm so glad she did. Although the course took a few swings at her ankles today, she still ran a gritty race, looking strong in the first half and finishing with a great kick. More importantly, her gutsiness of taking on the race shows her mindset continues to improve as the season continues on. She is ready for a breakthrough race! Speaking of grit, our final racer had the option to run fresh/soph or varsity, and she courageously accepted the challenge of the tougher race. Jenna's choice represents our focus for this week: risk. Although our brains want to protect us and keep us conservative when it comes from racing. we must constantly challenge ourselves to move beyond our comfort zones. Jenna's choice represents just that--she moved byond her comfort zone and said, let me step up and help myself and my team. Her risk helped her get her time closer to her PR after a bit of an off race at Warren. I know that this moment will definitely help her improve in future races, and it certainly embodied that #62 mindset we are striving for. Overall, this group looked sharp, gritty, and fun to watch!
Our final race of the day was just as thrilling because there were so many breakthroughs. Crizaber led the charge, looking simply amazing. Not only did she look strong and tall, she shattered her previous LPR by 44 seconds. That kind of drop happens a lot as a first year runner, but on year 3, it is hard to do. Crizaber created this drop by choosing several actions: she got out more aggressively than usual; she passed like crazy in the second loop; and she maintained her form when she was tired. I was so excited to watch her annihilate sleepy runners in the final kick because she deserves to feel that breakthrough. She has remained dedicated through crabby arches and funky knees for several seasons; her tenacity is finally paying off, and I am so thankful to witness it. I know she will hit the 24s in no time. Congrats an an impressive race, Crizaber! :) Angie was only seconds behind, and she looked great, too. She had an aggressive first mile and last mile. Her key to hitting her sub 25 goal is focusing on that middle mile. She did an awesome job of passing throughout the race, but mile two needs to feel like a fartlek in our next race. That being said, Angie had an inspiring kick; it looked like her speediness in the 800 during track season! Her great race earned her a 13 second SPR and moved her one step closer to her bigger goal. Proud of you, Angie! Jayla, like Crizaber, looked so strong today. Not only did her form look tall and strong, but she was also a passing machine! Her splits were very even, which shows that her fitness is really kicking in. Now she needs to challenge herself to get out a bit harder in the next race so that she can keep peeling off time. That being said, her performance today is to be commended; not only did she earn a new LPR by 11 seconds, she also had one of the best kicks of the day, using each turn to find a new gear. Congrats on a great race, Jayla! :) Elyssa ran a gutsy race today, despite some hip and quad pain. Her first mile was awesome; she was packed with Crizaber and Jayla in order to feel that power. Her middle mile shows that her blood donation is still affecting her a bit, but that is going to keep improving each week. (Quick PSA--while donating blood is a selfless and thoughtful act, it is NOT a good idea in the middle of the season. See me for more information if you have questions!). I could see that Elyssa was experiencing some pain during the final mile, but she gritted through it and brought her split back down significantly. I continue to be impressed by her grittiness this summer and season. Despite dealing with an irritated quad, she has improved tremendously over last year. She certainly gets how to race and stay engaged for all three miles, and this race proves it. Proud of you, Elyssa! Loula was our next bee, and I cannot say enough about her race. Although she was experiencing some pre-race doubts, her race was the perfect example of how running is so important in life. Let me explain: life is going to smack each of us around at different times. Sometimes it will crush us through loss or disappointment. Other times, it will pile so many stressors up at once that we feel like we cannot move forward. And still other times, we will doubt our abilities and worth. But running...running helps us gain the strength and perspective to weather these tough patches. Running reminds us that pain is temporary. Running shows us that we are stronger than we think. Running proves to us that we can tackle any problem one step at a time. Loula's race embodied all of these lessons. At the starting line, she was unfocused, doubtful, and ready to quit. Once the gun sounded, she put one foot in front of the other and let herself shine. Her form looked the best it has all season. Her racing was top-notch as she caught girls who were sleeping. ANd the result? All of her splits were sub-10, and she earned a new SPR by a whopping 1:54. What a testament to hard work and faith! I am so proud of her progress this season, and her willingness to trust her own strength. Props to you, Loula! Your race was simply inspiring! Our final racer also earned a huge new LPR today. Nataly has been battling through sore shins, but you wouldn't know it during this race. She kept all of her splits sub-12 by working with a girl from Elk Grove to stay focused in the middle of the race. The best part of her race was her kick, however. Not only did she pick it up on each of the final turns, but her final stretch was inspirational. Watching all of you lend your energy to her in that last section certainly boosted her to a great final kick. She finished with a new LPR by 1:380--congrats on a great race, Nataly! I know you will break 30 if you keep pushing yourself like this!
Overall, I was simply glowing on the ride home. You all turned a rough week into a great day of racing, and I thank you for that mental boost. Not only did you look out for each other, but you also raced with the spirit of 62. I am so proud to be your coach, and I cannot wait to see what you can accomplish in the coming weeks. Keep impressing yourselves and each other. This week, I invite you to consider what other limits you can tear down. Are you limiting your recovery by not getting enough sleep? Are you limiting your first mile by self doubt? Are you limiting your fuel by skipping breakfast or not eating enough vegetables and fruits? Are you limiting your energy by stressing out about things beyond your control? PIck one limit and attack it this week. Need help? Let me know what I can do to guide you. Need accountability? Tell a teammate about your goal, then check in each day on your progress. Let's attack this week with renewed focus and energy!