2018 ZBXC Blog
Tuesday @ Shiloh Woods vs. Libertyville
The day started fantastically as all of you embraced the "many hands makes for easy lifting" mindset. You all pitched in to get the course ready to go, and we were ready for Libertyville well in advance of their tardy arrival. The weather was great for racing, and Libertyville provided us a great opportunity to be pushed. I was proud that we were putting nearly our entire team on the line; only Sirrenda (who caught the plague) and Carmen (who was resting her tweaked foot) were not able to race today. That meant that many of our newbees were racing for the first time!
At the start, we got out very well, and I could see that you guys were enjoying the lack of race over the weekend; while the Varsity boys looked a bit heavy due to racing only four days prior, you all looked fresh and ready to engage. I was really happy about our placement by the time you hit the woods, and I was overjoyed as I watched you work the duck-pond stretch and back into the twilight loop. Honestly, the last mile was my favorite part. To a woman, I watched you smile at Anderson's mark in the "sectional" loop, and then drive to catch someone. Just like at Lakewood, your kicks were OUTSTANDING. Watching you eat coming down the final hill was inspiring! Your gritty racing resulted in the following incredible stats: 19 LPRs (5 for first races) and 4 SPRs. THAT IS AWESOME. When your job is to be your best version of you, and you are able to do that as a team, it is so cool to watch! Let's crunch those numbers:
Ixa--LPR by 3:59
Jenni with an i--LPR by 1:29
Jayla--LPR by 1:50
Bianca--LPR by 3:29
Delilah--LPR by 2:15
Crizaber--LPR by :46
Loula--LPR by 3:46
Nataly--LPR by 2:18
Marisa--LPR by :32
Vic--LPR by 1:28
Ashley--LPR by 4:12!!!
Melanie--LPR by :13
Karen--LPR by :02
Jenna--LPR by 2:33
First racers with new LPRS: Michelle, Joceline, Claudia, Emily, Jodi
Sarah--SPR by 2:40
Elyssa--SPR by 2:15
Angie--SPR by 1:16
Di--SPR by :12
Kaila--SPR--first race of this season!
Other important stats--
Kelsey improved her Top Ten Board performance by 2 seconds for a new time of 19: 16. She remains #2 on The Board.
Zoe had an outstanding effort to put her #4 on The Board with a time of 20:00.
Overall, I was stoked to see your commitment to racing hard on our home course. I'm bummed we only have one home meet this season, but you truly ran the course without regrets! Special thanks to Jodi for giving up her study hall 8th period to help Anderson and I pack up the truck full of our gear. Same shout out to those of you who waited forever for Anderson and I to get back to school to unpack all of our gear: Vic, Steff, Kaila, Maya, Di, Tristan, and Jason. I really appreciate you all! :)
Saturday @ Bill Dawson Invite--Warren's Invite Course
After all the good racing recently, I simply could not wait to get to Warren. We traditionally run well at this course--it's flat and fast, and there is great competition. The course was in excellent condition, but the weather was not as mild as I was hoping. That being said, anything is better than last year's heat wave. The temperatures and humidity were certainly a factor today, but I was proud of the way you all raced.
Our squad of Delilah, Ixa, Ashley, Bianca, Jenna, and Jenni represented us in the F/S race. They were lucky to enjoy the best weather of the day. Delilah was our first bee in the race. Not only did she do a great job teaming with Jenna, our second finisher, but she also had a great finish. Jenna was our second finisher. Like Delilah, she did a nice job of working throughout the race. Both of these bees PRd on Tuesday, so it is tough to come back and do so again in the same week. Their effort is definitely what mattered today; they helped each other move up in the latter part of the race. Ashley was our 3rd bee in the race. Not only did she embrace our three go-zones (Collin was particularly impressed with her surge at the downhill just past the start), but she also worked hard in between. These efforts helped her earn a new LPR by 23 seconds. Awesome work, Ashley! Ixa was not far behind. Her form looked great, and she too utilized the go-zones. Like Ashley, she earned a new LPR--by 38 seconds. Way to go, Ixa! This is her first race sub-30, and I know she will keep slashing time. :) Bianca was our fifth bee and final scorer for the day. Although the time did not show it, she looked sharp in the go-zones. I know she can stay with Ash and Ixa, so that should definitely be her goal at Grant next week. If those three can pack it up, they will help each other race harder. Jenni was our final racer of the day. Although she was unable to earn a new LPR, she did race with grit, pushing through some significant shin pain. I know that if she continues to ice and stretch, she will be able to race with her girls at Grant! Overall, this group set an aggressive tone for the rest of the day--way to set the table, bees!
When the gun sounded, I watched our pack push to the right, following my wish that we stayed to the right of the goal posts, putting us in a good position for the first turn and avoiding the sprinkler in the field. I was pleased with the start, and turned to find a spot to catch them as they emerged from the woods. What I could not see was a girl who stuck her leg out that tripped Kelsey so bad that she was flat on the ground for a second before springing back to her feet. Even though her fall was momentary, any disruption in the giant swarm of runners at these early stages of the race (before 400 meters) creates waves. Maya was cut off briefly, then boxed in, unable to keep contact with Kelsey and Zoe. Victoria, in a selfless moment of bravery, saw that Kelsey's fall had ripped her bib (and chip sensor) from her jersey, so she turned around to retrieve it. When she turned to try to catch Kelsey, she found herself in last place. Although these events could have ruined the races of our top runners, their gritty mindsets helped them control their reactions to events that were beyond their control. The result? Kelsey finished in 6th place with a new LPR of 18:37--a 21 second drop from her Regional performance last year on Lake Forest's fast course. Not only did she earn a trophy for her effort, but she also became the fastest woman I have coached at ZB. Congrats, Kelsey! Zoe was able to run an incredible race, too. I had her at about 40th place coming out of the woods, just beyond 800 meters in the race. By the end, she had snacked repeatedly, moving up to 21st place and earning a medal as well as a new LPR of 19:34--a 21 second drop from her previous best. I was so impressed by her gear-shifting in the final 300; incredible work, Zoe! Our third bee for the day was Maya. This was an important moment for Maya; not only did she work through some mental walls during her race, but she also shared her sheer joy for her teammates on the bus ride home. This kind of selflessness is the key to great racing. When we get stuck in a negative spiral, worrying about comparing ourselves to our teammates, we create more racing obstacles. Maya is free now, and I cannot wait to see her race at Grant. Hills are Maya's jam, and her mind is ready to pop a great race! Vic, another selfless bee, ran a simply incredible race. From dead last, she worked her way back up patiently, catching our pack of Karen, Carmen, and Marisa when she emerged from the woods, and then continuously passing to end up 72nd. That means she passed 56 racers...impressive! Vic's time is impressive considering that she doubled back to get Kelsey's bib number. I cannot wait to see her race at Grant, too! The trio of Karen, Marisa, and Carmen worked together for much of the race. At times they were a bit apart, but they kept pushing each other throughout. Carmen keeps running within seconds of her LPR; I know that this summer's training will give her the confidence to break through next week, especially now that her foot is feeling better! Marisa had a heck of a race today, and her teammates were super proud of her. Not only did she make the brave choice to run with Varsity for the first time (well, in a Varsity race...she stepped up and ran with them for the first mile at Lakewood the week before), she also earned a new LPR by 6 seconds. Proud of you, Marisa! :) Karen ran a strong race for her girls today. She ran an LPR on Tuesday, so it is tough to come back and do the same only days later. That being said, I feel like she is ready for another breakthrough at Grant--she is ready!
As a team, we finished 11th out of 18. We now know that our Regional will be at Libertyville in October (and yay--the Sectional is back at Busse!). Mundelein and Warren both beat us today (Warren ran three of their Varsity girls in the F/S race), and we beat Buffalo Grove...all three teams are in our Regional. We need to start thinking about our team race if we want to advance to the Sectional team-wise. I know what we are capable of, but we need to work on our 1-7 split. That means every woman needs to do some soul-searching and think about what she can do--whether it is sleep, nutrition, or mindset--to help improve our team standings. Let's make that a focus in our upcoming races. Please let me know if you have questions or if there is something I can do to help!
These brave women definitely dealt with the worst of the heat today. Despite this fact, there were still three season PRs from this bunch: Kaila (15 second drop), Angie (10 second drop), and Di (36 second drop!). So proud of your effort, bees! Kaila was our first finisher today. She got out hard, and looked strong in the first mile. Impressively, her second and third mile splits were almost identical, showing true grit at this point in the hot race. She looked more confident in her second race of the season, and I cannot wait to see her at Grant! Di was our second bee, and she looks like she is getting back to her old self post-illness and knee issue. Every time I saw her, she passed someone; she definitely used the go-zones to her advantage. With a SPR and a new confidence, I know she will slay at Grant next week! Angie's pre-race confidence was powerful. She promised she was going to go sub-25; although she came up slightly short on this goal, the intent helped her earn an SPR. She looked strong throughout the race, and I know she can reach her goal next week. Crizaber was our next bee. Today her form looked impeccable. Not only did she look tall throughout her race, but her arm drive is definitely getting stronger. Considering the heat, her finish time was solid--not too far from her LPR at home earlier in the week. If she can keep that same strong form in the next meet, I know she can bring that LPR even lower--nice work today! Jayla was our next bee in the race; like Crizaber, she looked strong today. She also reports that her knee is feeling much better, so I anticipate that this week of training will go much more smoothly for her. Great finish today, too, Jayla! You looked great in that final stretch! Sarah was not far behind Jayla, and she definitely keyed off her teammate during the race. She did a great job in the go-zones, and I know that she will reach her time goal at Grant. Keep pushing! Elyssa was only steps behind Sarah. Considering she donated blood on Thursday, her performance today was impressive. Quick note, ladies. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever donate blood during the season. We work hard all summer and season to build blood volume. The long run plus tempo work help you grow blood so that you can deliver oxygen to your hungry muscles during your races. When you donate (although it is an incredibly altruistic and thoughtful gesture), you give away your training. Wait until the off-season, or better yet, graduation to donate. In the meantime, you can donate your time to many worthy causes! Elyssa reports that she is feeling much better already, and I know that she will bounce back this week during workouts and our invite. Loula continues to impress me. She got out faster than in any previous race--8:43. Nice work! Now she needs to continue to work on her other miles in order to continue to improve as a racer. I know she can do it! She looked great in the go-zones, and worked through some doubts mid-race. I am astounded by her growth since the beginning of the season. Proud of you, Loula! Nataly, Claudia, and Noel worked together today, with Nataly leading the way for this pack. While Nataly (shins) and Noel (knee) were working through some pain, they both did a great job of overcoming those obstacles. Their grit helped Claudia pull through to a new LPR of 38:12--a drop of 55 seconds! You are moving in the right direction, and I am proud of you! One other bee was a fighter in this race, but was unable to finish--senior and captain Steff. This was her first race back since the winter track season, and she was ready mentally and physically. The good news is that her hip felt great; the bad news is that the heat took over for her after the second mile. Steff's story is an important one. When running in the heat, your body has to manage temperature and effort. It is important to monitor your breathing as your effort level increases; it is easy to start taking shallow breaths (more in your throat than deep into the bottom of your lungs/belly). When you resort to those short, shallow breaths, your muscles and brain are deprived of the oxygen that your body needs to function properly and nasty CO2 builds up in your system. Your brain is no dummy--when this happens, your brain shuts down operations, making you feel light-headed and confused. If you ever feel this way in a race, it is important to remember that you can control your breathing: shake out your arms, lower your shoulders, and take a slow breath through your nose, feeling your belly rise; follow up by slowly exhaling through your mouth. We have practiced this a few times, but we are going to make it a practice now so that your body and mind can return to it easily when under pressure.
Today, I drove home super-happy; I hope you did, too. It is truly a joy to watch you all help each other grow, and I am certainly proud to watch each of your race. I hope you are taking the time to soak in these moments because time flies by! If you are looking to analyze your race in more detail, the timing company reported your splits for each mile. Click here to see yours as well as those from all the competitors. Check out the people around you as well as the top competitors. What trends do you notice? With this information in hand, what do you need to work on to make your dream race come true?
This week, be ready for some workout challenges. Arm yourself with plenty of sleep, lots of good fruits and veggies, and lots of water. It's going to be hot on Monday!