Tuesday, then Thursday @ VHAC vs. Stevenson and Lake Forest:
We tried to race on Tuesday, but Wizard of Oz-like conditions at the conclusion of the boys' race precluded us from even getting our race started. Although it seems funny to write about a race that did not happen, I have to make a quick note about our team's reaction to the postponed race: once we were all safely on the bus, and the furious rain slowed to a normal shower, you all proclaimed, "The rain is stopping! Let's race!" That kind of #raceday reaction is all I can hope for. Having that kind of hunger for racing is what has made us continue to improve all season, and is what will make us shine as championship season arrives. I could not have been prouder on our bus ride home!
When we had the chance to race on Thursday, the weather was nearly perfect: there was a slight fall chill in the air, there was hardly any wind, and the course was in perfect condition. Although we only had 11 racers on Thursday, the effort was outstanding. I asked Victoria to try to pack our top girls with her through the mile, and I asked for a second mile hammer. In the first loop, Vic and Karen worked stride for stride, while Kaila and Marisa helped each other significantly. Jenna and Delilah were an awesome tandem, too, as were Sarah and Angie, with Joceline and Loula within arm's reach. Nataly and Sirrenda were also a powerful force together. Our non-racing bees were all over the course to help people stay awake. Although my hope of having the second mile be the fastest did not come to fruition, Vic's splits were even (well, according to my watch...the splits by the managers were slightly different...could the course mile marks be mis-marked?). Almost everyone ran an LPR or SPR in this race, which says a lot about the focus of this group. This course is labelled as a true 5K; most of our racers had it mapped at 3.07-3.09. The important takeaway is that the course is long, yet our racers ran their fastest of the season. Here are the numbers:
Karen by 12 seconds
Marisa by 41 seconds
Jenna by 9 seconds
Delilah by 19 seconds
Loula by 31 seconds
Nataly by 3 seconds
Sirrenda--first race at this distance for the season! :)
Kaila by 6 seconds
Sarah by 26 seconds
This list illustrates the RESULT of teamwork. Not only did non-racers help keep each of these women focused, these racers also worked with one another to keep pushing throughout the race. I'm really proud of the effort at this race, but I would like to make a few notes for when we return for Conference. First, we must be honest about our confidence. While running PRs and breaking through boundaries help to build confidence, we must also actively work on accepting our fitness. One way to illustrate that trust is by kicking much earlier. Too many of you were caught by competitors in the final stretch because we were fooled by the course. If you wait until the final turn to kick, you have waited too long. My advice is to start shifting at that small berm, shift when you are on the crushed gravel, and find your final gear when you hit the home stretch. Let's make a commitment to that mindset as we head to Warren on Tuesday. Although I did not see it, many of you commented on Joceline's excellent kick; multiple people told me that she shifted several times, which is what you should all emulate! Special shout out to Noel for helping with finish line stickers and cards--you made my job easy!
One other reflection before I close this week's blog. I am thrilled about Saturday's effort. It was a tough workout, but you all brought the right mindset and a focused effort throughout the workout. Those of you on bike did a fabulous job of keeping one another accountable and making sure to maximize the training effect of the workout--excellent job! I am proud of the mile PRs because they reflect your growing fitness and confidence. I definitely had my eyes open as you were all working, and I am using today's effort as well as Tuesday's to finalize my list for Sterling. If making that list is your goal, then show me--from the moment you walk into the locker room, to the time we shake out--show me that you are willing to give your all to your team. Special shout out to Maya and Carmen for taking splits--I appreciate you both! You helped keep your teammates accountable to being consistent throughout the workout, and you also helped them SEE their strength. Thank you! :)
Let's have a great, focused week. Please be sure to stay on top of your learning and grades; you are a STUDENT FIRST! Be sure to use your free time wisely. Get to school early? Use that 15 minutes to get some reading or homework done. Have time during advisory? Sit down and make a plan for your homework after practice. Need help before a skills check? Make a date with a teammate to study. Just like running, you cannot expect your performance to just happen: you must make your learning a priority. In order to be a great student, you must also make nutrition and sleep a focus this week! The temperatures are supposed to climb, so keep at that water bottle, too. :)