I know we didn't race this week, but I wanted to take a moment to remind you of/share a few things:
You all worked SO well together in the Darwin Run on Tuesday. Each line was supportive, and each of you did a great job with passing. Nice work!
Thursday's tempo was ridiculously awesome. It represents one of the things I love about this sport: that if you are patient, your fitness will come, and you will be able to do things you didn't think possible at the start of the season! For those of you who are new, I hope that you can think back to August and remember what you felt like just running that backyard loop on an easy day. For those of you who are veterans, I want you to think of our first tempo this summer at Shiloh. Do you remember how hard that was compared to this one? On Thursday, not a single one of you looked like you were pressing hard, yet SO many of you ran times that were speedy! Everyone's growth was simply impressive, but special shout out to Aniya for earning a new PR for 3 miles! I need you ALL to OWN this workout. This fitness is real! Embrace it!
Saturday. Whew! Last week, Cici said that she thought we did harder workouts last year. I beg to differ...I think she is just more fit now, so the workouts seem easier. Regardless, I was waiting until Saturday to really hit you all. I wanted you to be fully recovered from the racing last week, and I wanted you to have the focus that only a Saturday can provide. I threw a HARD task at you, with an "off" distance on grass, shorter rest, and speedy time goals. The consistency I witnessed on Saturday was so impressive. It showed that you were willing to lock into each interval. It showed that you were willing to lean on your teammates. It showed that you were able to push through discomfort. And it showed that you are ready to race hard!
Ok, I'm backtracking a day, but stay with me. On Thursday night, I felt spent both physically and emotionally. The lockdown was stressful for everyone, I had some challenging issues to deal with at school, and I got some terrible news from my mom; she found out that she has breast cancer. Here's the good news: She has been diligent about getting screened, so she caught it early; it is small and treatable; and she has confidence in her doctor. But getting news like that is difficult nonetheless, and when she told me, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. I decided that I was going to spend Friday with her after morning practice. Going for a run by moonlight and then watching everyone run and laugh and frolic through the emerging fog lifted my spirits; running and being around the team has always had that effect on me. I knew that I needed more of that kind of goodness in my life to help me be in the right place to help keep my mom's spirits up. So after practice, I headed to the city to watch Riley Franz, class of 2023, race for her new team--St. Louis University. The race was at Loyola's home course, a golf course right on Lake Michigan. The morning was beautiful, and watching Riley run filled my bucket! She started out as SLU's 9th runner in the first of three loops. In the second, she made some big moves, picking off competitors and finding her teammates further up in the race. By the last loop, she showed how all her hard work from the summer was paying off! She had moved up to the 4th spot on her team and had passed dozens of sleepy runners. You can check out all of the results here (scroll down to the Gold Race!); keep in mind that her time is for 6K, her first time racing at that distance. Her race epitomized being second half strong! I spent the rest of the day doing things that would help my mental and physical health: an appointment with my chiropractor do get my leg and achilles feeling better; an appointment with my computer to catch up on grading; an appointment with my dog to walk and think. I share all of this with you because I was not doing a great job of finding balance in the last few weeks. It is so important to make sure that you are taking care of school, team, home, friends, and other important aspects of your life. When you feel like the balance is out of whack, you have to take a moment to get it right!
Last, but not least, I saw this video yesterday, and I thought it was really interesting. Cara Morey is a coach the head women's ice hockey coach at Princeton. For this speech, her purpose is to show how learning how to manage struggle is such an important skill. Check it out here, and pay particular attention to the story about the Emperor Moth, and let me know what you think!
Get ready to race this week! Tuesday--Big Bertha! Friday--fewer hills, but a few cool racing features.