@Bartlett "Flyin' Hawk" Invite: After a solid week of workouts, including an impressive hill workout at Wadsworth and an equally good PPM at our course, I was hoping that we would break our historical struggle with racing this weekend. It seems that this week has been our "crux" over the years: last year, many blamed our poor races on the cold; the year before, we struggled with injuries; and the year before that? Homecoming Week is just too tiring. But as I warmed up with the Frosh/Soph squad yesterday, I felt optimistic. When we arrived at the hilly section, we all agreed that it felt like nothing compared to Wadsworth. And when the gun sounded, the group looked confident. At the 800, we seemed to be ok; it wasn't a great start, but our leaders were in a decent position to run well, and our other packs were finding each other. In the hilly section, we looked strong; each bee worked the uphills and downhills with confidence. It seemed that we lost steam in the back section, which was devoid of fans, and heading into the second loop, we lost all focus. By the second hill section, we did not look as confident, and by the finish, our kicks were non-existent. All finish times were slower than at Warren, which is not surprising since Bartlett's course is a true 3.0 miles. But the times were significantly slower, which shows that we also had a mental lapse today. But the Frosh/Soph team did not let their races go to waste; they quickly dispensed advice to the upcoming racers, and vowed to disperse to the empty spots on the course to cheer.
The Varsity race offered the same story: a decent start, a mental lapse at the start of the second loop, and missing kicks. Admittedly, Joseline did set a lifetime PR in this race: 20:52. She dropped significant time from this season, and just edged out her lifetime PR of 20:53 from Sterling last year. That being said, this group (as we discussed) needs to bounce back from this race by displaying mental toughness on our course Monday.
The Open Race offered some more success: Maira and Lindsay seemed determined to break our "bling-jinx" of the day. Both started strong in 10th place at the 800 mark, and raced with courage the whole way. What had been missing from most of our previous racers--confidence and determination--was all over their faces whenever I saw them. Both moved up during their races, and they ended up 6th and 8th respectively in order to earn medallions. They also each set lifetime PRs for the race: Maira shaved :33 seconds from her previous best, and Lindsay dropped :14. The other lifetime PR setter of the day was Josefina in that same race. She too looked confident each time I saw her, and she finished with a great kick. That confidence paid off in a new lifetime PR of 27:57, dropping :51 from her previous best! Also, congrats to the Open Crew--although not everyone was happy with their races, you guys placed 5th as a team. Nice work! :)
In reviewing our results, it is interesting to note that the four PRs from the day were ALL from women who did not race at Warren. This leads me to believe that many of you are simply struggling with mid-season fatigue...the tiredness that comes with the accumulation of racing, homework, and a long Homecoming Week. And let's be honest...while it would be AMAZING to set a PR every single race, it is not likely for it to happen. While it is so much fun to have a weekend like we did at Warren, we must learn from our successes AND our struggles. This meet shows that we need to work on the mental-toughness required to work through fatigue...to work through the crux. I believe that you all have the strength and integrity to do so! So let's get some rest and come back ready to protect our house on Monday. Look at your splits below, bee honest about mile two, and set some goals for Monday! Click here to look at your splits (specifically mile two) and set some goals for Monday.
Monday @Adler Park with Libertyville and Grant: After a great outing on Saturday, I was worried that we would not be able to keep the momentum heading into our triangular at the challenging Libertyville course. Unfortunately, my worries came true for some of the team. If you look at our results grid for the season, there was not a SINGLE PR...season or lifetime on this course (September 16th race):
So what do we do with that information? Learn and reload. So here are the key lessons I gleaned from this race: 1). We need to work on hills 2). We need to work on kicks 3). We need to work on mental toughness.
The good news is that when I threw a workout at you (Wednesday's Darwin Run/Time Trial), you ALL rose to the occasion...perhaps not for the full workout, but you each found some strength that day. I know we will be stronger due to this outing. And count on a focus on those three lessons in upcoming workouts.
Saturday @ Warren Invite: Well, it seems as though many of you learned from Monday and Wednesday...and in spectacular fashion! If you look at the results chart above, you can see the results from this race are awash in yellow and red. That is because EVERYONE ran either a season or lifetime PR. **Note--the official results from Wauconda's F/S race are still not revised from the 1:00 error...so all of those results should have 1:00 added back. Let's celebrate each race:
Frosh/Soph Race: Although missing a few key runners due to illness and injury, this group looked ready to race at the starting line. At the crack of the gun, our group got out hard and had to deal with a giant Evanston team to their right. They handled the crowds well and were in great position at the 1,000 meter mark. At the mile, Mary was our leader, followed by Karli and then Jocelyn. Monica and Iris were working in tandem, as were Nala and Ashley. Kealy, Jacqueline, Daysha, and Alicia were all within steps of each other. I went to the "hill" to watch everyone's efforts for this section of the course; I am pleased to report that every one of our women handled the hill with great form and mental toughness. Many of our F/S runners gained an advantage at this point of the race. We do need to work on downhill running, however. I watched too many of you lean back and put on the brakes as you descended, failing to utilize another passing opportunity. On the final loop, Mary was in great position: she moved up continually during the race to end up in 8th place and to earn a medal. She also ran a lifetime PR of 20:15, a :46 second PR! Karli ran an OUTSTANDING race; not only did she look determined the entire way, she also worked to pass throughout the race. She finished 47th overall and ran a LIFETIME PR of 21:50...a drop of 1:07. Jocelyn was our third finisher for the day; she ran a LIFETIME PR of 24:06...a drop of :44! She continues to make dramatic improvements each week. Monica finished close behind Jocelyn. As our 4th finisher, she too ran a LIFETIME PR of 24:19, dropping :42 from her previous best. She looks so much stronger than last season--a testament to her summer efforts! Iris was our 5th Bee; her race was strong throughout, although she definitely needs to work on her kicks. Her finish time of 25:00 was a :32 for another LIFETIME PR. Jacqueline, although nervous about some leg issues from the week, also ran a LIFETIME PR of 25:38, dropping an impressive 1:04! Nala's race really stood out today. Not only did she break out of her comfort zone, she also looked impressive on all the hills. She ran a LIFETIME PR of 25:48...dropping an impressive 2:33. This meet is definitely a turning point for her...she has figured out how to race! Way to go! :) Ashley was not far behind her, running a season PR of 26:18, dropping 1:10 from her season best and inching closer to her lifetime PR. Daysha was our next finisher, running a LIFETIME PR of 26:54(her first time under 27), shedding 1:56 from her previous best. She, too, is figuring out how to race! :) Kealy finished in 27:53, dropping 1:02 from her previous best! Another substantial drop in time :) Alicia was our final finisher. While her kick certainly does not need any assistance, she needs to work on her second mile so she can continue to drop time. That being said, she dropped 2:27 from her time at Libertyville, finishing in a solid time of 28:15. Our F/S squad finished in 13th place out of 16 teams. I know this squad will continue to make dramatic improvements! Nice work to all of our young Bees. :)
Varsity Race: Our Varsity was missing a few members due to the ACT today, but they stepped up to fill the gaps. At the gun, I was impressed by our aggressive start; I was equally impressed when I got my first glimpse of our team coming off the trail. Kimmy was in a great position with Ally and Ana in tow. Alexis was only seconds behind, working through the crowd to find her teammates, and she was closely followed by Asia. Halie was only seconds behind Asia. Our team got out hard and was in the front third of the race, ready to do battle where they belonged! After the mile, Kimmy and Ally were still working in tandem, with Ana only steps behind. Alexis was looking strong, as were Asia and Halie. The mile splits show that we have been holding back a bit in practice, but I'm sure that they were an "Aha" moment for all. The good news is that while mile two was slower than I would like, none of you slowed down as much as usual...we are making strides in this section of the race. I was really happy to watch the work each of these women did in the final loop of the race: Kimmy moved up into the teens, Ally woke up to make up some places, and Ana nearly regained her position with Ally. Alexis and Asia both moved up in the race, and Halie dropped her 3rd mile time significantly. The area we MUST make a priority is kicks. My husband was positioned in the final stretch; he reports the following: Kimmy was outkicked by two runners in the final steps of the race; Ally got passed by two people in the final 50 meters, and was nearly caught by Ana; Alexis let Asia and one other pass her in the final 50 meters, and Halie did not catch a single person in the final stretch. If we are to be competitive at the end of the season, we MUST adopt a philosophy of toughness in the final steps...that small mental lapse can make the difference in determining a Sectional berth...or even a State berth. I am proud to announce, however, that ALL SIX of these women ran either a season or lifetime PR! Kimmy ran 19:09, a lifetime PR by :44; she also earned a medal by finishing in 20th place. Ally ran a lifetime PR of 19:52, dropping :48 and also earning a medal in 44th place. Ana had a nice comeback at the end to finish in a lifetime PR of 19:54, dropping :58 and earning our final medal in 45th place. Asia was our 4th finisher with an outstanding finish. Her final time was 20:44; she dropped 1:11 to earn that lifetime PR. Alexis, despite a calf issue, ran a season best of 20:45 to round out our top five. Our 1-5 split was 1:36. Halie, our sixth finisher, also earned a LIFETIME PR of 21:18...a drop of 1:06! So five lifetimes and one season PR added up to a 10th place finish for the day...not a bad outing at all!
Open Race: Our Open runners anxiously watched as their teammates came back with news of great times and great races. They used that information to fuel their own outstanding races. Our pack got out strong at the gun, and was in great position coming out of the woods. After the mile, Karolina and Tori looked strong...only strides apart, with Peyton following closely behind. Lydia and Jazzman worked well together for the second mile, while Olivia and Violette followed closely behind. Syra had a nice first mile. Tiara found a good pack to pace with, and ran a lifetime best in the first mile of the race! :) Tiffany and Sabrina also competed well with the racers around them. Karolina finished first for us for the day in 30th place with a lifetime PR of 22:03, dropping :34 for the year! Not only did she look confident throughout, she also ran a very consistent race and earned a ribbon for her efforts. Tori, despite a calf strain, looked strong throughout her race; she finished 2nd for us in 22:12, dropping :29 from her previous best and earning a ribbon. Peyton, still working through a nagging hip/groin issue, ran an outsanding race, finishing in 22:16, dropping a ridiculous 2:02 from her best and also earning a ribbon. Jazzman has made incredible strides this season. She looked focused and strong throughout her race, dropping :29 from her previous best to finish in 22:19. What an improvement over last season! Lydia was not far behind, finishing in 23:21, also a lifetime PR. She, too, is figuring out how to run through pain; she dropped 1:22 from her previous best! Olivia was our 6th finisher, running a season PR of 23:39, a drop of 1:14 from her best. :) Violette rounded out our seven, finishing in 25:09, and looking great doing so! She dropped 1:47 to get to her lifetime PR. Syra was not far behind, running 26:42 to run a HUGE lifetime PR. She shed 1:36 to get to this time, and looked confident doing so! Tiara had the most dramatic race of the day. Not only did she run a lifetime PR for her first mile, she ran her first race under 30 minutes, finishing in a lifetime PR of 29:24! Way to go! :) Tiffany looked much stronger than Monday, dropping 7 seconds from her previous best to finish in 30:09. Finally, Sabrina raced hard today, running much more consistently to finish in 33:47, a 2:40 drop from her season best, and moving her closer to her lifetime PR. Overall, the Open Women looked great, finishing in 8th place out of 13 teams.
Saturday @ Wauconda Invite: In the early hours of Friday morning, Violette asked her teammates to close their eyes and trust her. She helped them paint a picture of what could happen on Saturday...she helped them envision the perfect race. And at the conclusion of her thought of the day, she said, "Open your eyes." On Saturday, the Bees' eyes were OPEN and ready to race.
For the second year in a row, Wauconda's course was altered due to construction. This year, the course was shortened from 3.1 to something under 3.0 (depending on the coach I spoke with, the course is anywhere from 2.8-2.9). To be honest, I don't much care. I know the times are a wee bit fast, but what was most important was the way the Bees RACED. Our Frosh/Soph team set the tone for the day: Mary got out hard, followed closely by Madi, Rachel and Karli in a tight pack. Jocelyn had a nice start, but I think she will race better if she decides to race with that pack, rather than roughing it alone. Monica and Iris worked together, while Jacqueline, Ashley and Nala came through the mile in close proximity. After the mile, Kealy worked up to this group and raced much more strongly. When I saw everyone with about 400 meters to go, I was blown away by how much work everyone had done in the woods. My only complaint was that this group needs to work on stronger kicks. I'm guessing the kicks were a bit weak because EVERY SINGLE BEE in this race ran a season PR, and nearly everyone ran a lifetime PR. Mary was our first finisher in 33rd place for a medal; she dropped 1:17 off her best time to earn a lifetime PR of 20:01. Madi had a great race, dropping a 2:11 from her best, to finish in 21:15 (also a lifetime PR). Karli was not to be outdone; she shed 2:25 off her season best to finish in a lifetime best of 21:57 (over 2:00 faster than her best last fall). What a great race! Rachel made her racing debut with a speedy time of 22:37, besting any of her PPM workouts this season! Jocelyn seemed to start to figure out real racing; she dropped 1:48 from her season best to finish with a solid time of 23:50...another lifetime PR. All of Monica's summer miles clearly paid off: she looked strong the whole way and finished in 24:01...2:38 faster than her previous best! Iris's dedication this summer also showed: she dropped 2:07 off her season best to run a lifetime PR of 24:32! Jacqueline, who was nervous about a nagging injury at the start of the race, ran a ridiculously fast time of 25:42, dropping 6:47 from her 3 mile best; she truly learned how to race today! Ashley looked more like herself, especially in the last mile of the race today; she ran a season PR of 26:41, dropping 4:19 from her season best! Nala also looked much healthier, finishing in a lifetime best of 27:54. Kealy also bounced back from an illness earlier in the week, running a lifetime best of 27:52! Overall, I couldn't be more proud of this group. There were many breakthroughs today, and I know they will continue to work together as a team to keep dropping time.
After watching the F/S race, our Varsity crew knew they had to make some adjustments. In the huddle, we discussed getting out strong before finding a race groove. Our seven followed the plan and found each other quickly in the large field. By the 800 mark, I was thrilled to see Kimmy, Alexis, Ally and Ana running in a solid pack of four. They looked strong and determined to work together. Halie was quickly followed by Lindsay and Joseline working in tandem to reach their teammate. We were in great position heading into the woods, and my adrenaline was pumping as I ran across the course to catch another glimpse as these women began their second loop. What I found there made my heart sing: Kimmy had moved up several positions; Ally was digging in to catch her; Ana and Alexis were working to get the pack back together; Lindsay was having the race of a lifetime; Joseline was battling to move up in the race, and Halie was looking strong in pursuit of Joseline. At that point, it appeared as though we were beating Warren...a team that qualified for State last year (full disclosure: they did graduate two top runners, and according to their coach, were running without two injured athletes today, but I was pleased that we were competing with a team that we would have never considered a possibility in the past). As our Varsity Bees worked the final loop, Kimmy moved up into the medalist position of 39, beating four of Lake Forest's runners (something she was unable to do in head-to-head competition on Monday). She looked aggressive, confident and hungry every time I saw her, which explains her LIFETIME PR of 19:55. Ally was our second runner on the day, finishing ahead of one of Lake Forest's girls (again...an achievement we were not able to reach on Monday), running a season PR of 20:40, only a second away from her lifetime PR! Ally looked effortless throughout the race--a sign that her fitness is finally back! Ana was our third runner for the day in a speedy 20:55, despite a bloody shoe (not the only one for the day). Alexis was only seconds behind in 20:58, a season PR; more important than her time, though, was Alexis's demeanor throughout the race: she looked confident and was continually working to repack with her teammates. Joseline moved up considerably during the race to finish 5th for us in 21:23, a season PR of :46. After the race, she said, "I know I moved up, but I'm not happy." That kind of honest assessment is going to help us get stronger every week! Lindsay was our 6th finisher in an outstanding comeback after a rough week of workouts; she ran a LIFETIME PR of 21:41! Throughout the race, she had that same look of confidence as her teammates. It was great to see her race so strong! Finally, despite a rough week of workouts, Halie finished with a solid time of 22:24, matching her effort on Monday for a tied season best. Despite her aching legs, she finished strong to round out our team effort for the day: we finished just three points behind Warren for a 12th place finish out of 24 teams. We beat Grant (who ran several of their top girls in the F/S race) and were close to Mundelein (who also ran several girls down). Overall, it was a very nice step in the right direction for the season. We have not looked this competitive in some time; I still have goosebumps! Let's keep this moment tucked away as a positive, but let's not be satisfied!
Not to be outdone by the Varsity group, the Open Women got things done in their race, too. Normally Wauconda does not score the Open Race, but there were team scores posted online when I arrived home. We placed 4th out of 17 teams, beating Warren, Lakes and Barrington, to name a few. What a great achievement! Most coaches agree that a program is truly strong when the depth of the team goes beyond seven runners; this showing in the Open Race confirms what I have suspected of the 2013 ZBXC Team--we are going to be amazing this season! In the huddle, Kimmy and others shared tips about the course: bee sure to take the turns wide; don't be afraid to go out strong; stay off the line and pass in the woods. All of that advice paid off. Maira got out strong and was sitting in 15th place at the 800. A pack of Karolina, Tori, Jazzman, Peyton, Asia and Cora looked strong as well. A few seconds back, another pack was forming: Lydia, Violette, Syra and Oliva were working to get together. Sabrina was working hard to pass a girl from Lakes, and Sabina was close to catching them. Heading into the second loop, some of the packs thinned, but I could see that each runner was trying to regroup. Asia looked impressively strong after a more conservative start, and Violette looked rejuvenated as she pumped her arms after I yelled, "Paint your picture!" At the final 400 mark, I was impressed by strong moves from EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU. There were some HUGE PRs in this race! Maira was our first finisher in 20th place with a LIFETIME PR of 21:56! What a gutsy race! Asia was right behind Maira, also in 21:56, shaving 1:23 from her best to run a LIFETIME PR; she seemed to grow stronger as the miles clicked by! In third for the Bees was Karolina in a LIFETIME best of 22:38, despite having an "issue" that Lindsay could definitely understand. :) She looked strong throughout the race and finished with a determined kick. Tori, despite aggravating her achilles/calf, ran a LIFETIME PR of 22:42, 1:18 faster than her race on Monday. Jazzman had a tremendous breakthrough today. On Monday, she matched her lifetime best of 24:24; at Wauconda, she dropped 1:36! I can tell that she is on a mission this season! Cora was not far behind her in 23:48, a season PR and a strong effort despite the uneven conditions and a less-than-cooperative hip. As she moved to her kick, I saw her make some great form adjustments, something she normally does not do! Peyton, despite reduced mileage all week because of a groin/hip pull, ran a season PR of 24:17. Prior to the race, I asked how her hip was feeling after the warm up and dynamic; she looked me straight in the eye and replied, "I am going to race!" I love that assertiveness! Lydia found out her truth today, finishing in 24:43, a LIFETIME PR of 1:57! I can't wait to see her race again! Olivia was close behind Lydia in 24:54, a big season PR! Violette had an amazing breakthrough today, too. She ran 26:56, dropping 3:43 from her previous season best. After her race, she was feeling dizzy and had a bad headache. She said, "Maybe I did too much today. I was so pumped as people kept yelling, 'Paint your picture, Violette!'" I quickly responded that there is never "too much." Real racing hurts. But the great news is that it also produces amazing results! Before this race, she was sitting in her comfort zone; today, she broke through! Syra also had a nice breakthrough, running a season PR of 28:18 and looking more like the Syra we all know: pulling teammates along and racing hard throughout. Josefina ran through a nasty cramp in order to run a season PR of 28:48, a 1:20 drop from Monday! She looked great as she worked through the last 300 meters of the race! Tiffany was not far behind, running a big season PR of 30:11, shaving 2:20 from her previous race! Sabrina ran a far more consistent race today, battling with a girl from Lakes in several sections of the course. She shaved a whopping 5:33 from her Monday time, to finish in 36:28. And Sabina? After some help from Warren and Colgate, she nearly caught the Lakes girl and Sabrina, finishing in 37:37 for a ridiculous drop of 8:45 from her Monday race. Overall, I was pleased to see teamwork, mental toughness and pride in this race. Way to go, ladies! Let's get ready for our triangular at Adler Park against Libertyville and Grant on Monday!
Monday @ Shiloh Woods vs. Lakes, Lake Forest & Stevenson: Mother Nature is back on that crazy stuff again--one day we get the pleasure of running in mild weather, and the next we face a heat swing. The good news is that ALL WEATHER IS ZB WEATHER. :) You ladies proved it today. I did not see any theatrics in the race or at the conclusion. You showed up to race, executed our strategy, and exited the finish area on your feet. Thank you for competing in this manner; it's a ZB tradition, and I'm glad you all understand that no one joins cross country to be pampered.
On to some other good news: according to my calculations, the following bees ran season PRs today!
Jocelyne dropped 1:15
Ana dropped 1:11 and moved up on the Top Ten Board
Alexis dropped :41
Monica dropped :06
Syra dropped 1:10
Tiffany dropped :51
Mary dropped :26 and secured a spot on the Top Ten Board
Lindsay dropped 1:08
Kimmy dropped :36 (and a second over her fastest on our course)
Iris dropped 1:18
Joseline dropped 1:02
Tori dropped :13
Lydia dropped :24
Madi dropped :17
Halie dropped :28 Yeah, you read that right...15 season PRs on our course today...despite the heat. And the only reason we don't have more PRs is that this was the first 3-mile race for many of you! While we did not beat Lake Forest or Lakes, we did beat Stevenson...a team we struggled to defeat all last season.
On a separate note, thank you for being amazing about setting up our course and helping out in general. Your positive attitude made everything go smoothly! :) I CAN'T WAIT to see you all race on Saturday! :)
Friday, September 6th @ Deerfield Triangular:
On Friday, our women who were spectators on Tuesday got the opportunity to race at Deerfield's flat course. Our two mile group was first, and although the times were not blazing, there were definitely some highlights. Nala, Josefina, Alicia, Daysha, Sabina, Jacqueline, Tiara and Kealy all completed their very first cross country race of their lives! Coming out of the woods, I saw many runners working with teammates, a trend I hope to see continue. At the conclusion of the race, Daysha told me, "I know I can do better next time." I agree! Getting that first race under your belt is the key. I know this group will improve on Monday.
Our three mile group was ready to rock after cheering on the boys. I was able to catch this group as they came by the mile marker. Tori and Karli were working in tandem with a nice mile split, closely followed by Jazzman and Madi. Not far behind was a nice pack of Jocelyne, Iris, Lydia, Syra and Monica. Tiffany, my brave newbee who stepped up to race 3 miles, was not far behind. After the second loop, the Kiesels showed signs that their illness from earlier in the week was taking its toll; despite illness, Karli ran a lifetime PR for 3 miles. Way to go! Jazzman and Madi looked strong and worked well together through the last steps of the race, finishing 1-2 for us respectively. Jazzman ran a LIFETIME PR by nearly 40 seconds. Those summer miles are talking! The other pack spread out during this loop, and will need to work on sticking stronger when we race on Monday. Monica was not far off her lifetime PR at this distance; her hard work this summer is paying off! Overall, there were solid times from this group. Now that the racing rust is gone, I anticipate some great times at our home course on Monday!
I was very pleased with both sets of racers at this meet. I know it can be scary to race for the first time, and all the newcomers handled the stress well. We had no finish line dramatics that often plague other teams...I'm glad that we have a group of strong-minded runners on this team! I can't wait to see you all race at our house :)
Tuesday, September 3rd @Lake County Invite--Waukegan Sports Park:
After a great summer of training, I was more than anxious to finally see some bees race. :) As we walked the course, I soon realized that the times would not be super-fast, due to the conditions. The majority of the course was uneven, rutted and root-filled. Along the way, Alexis kept comparing different sections to other places we have run: Beulah, Wadsworth and a very dry and dusty Sterling were all brought up. We discussed our strategy for dealing with the course, and then headed off for a warm up. Varsity seemed to have a good start, and I darted across the course to catch them at the mile mark. The first mile is the only relatively flat portion of the course, and I was pleased with the one-mile split times. We almost had a pack of four (Ana, Kimmy, Alexis and Ally), but I could tell that the next section would split them up. Sure enough, the next time I saw our group, we were strung out a bit, with the exception of Kimmy and Ana working in tandem. As a group, we fell off pace way too much in this section. In the final mile, each of the girls woke up again, but pacing will continue to be a focus in workouts. Kimmy ended up being our first finisher for the day, closely followed by Ana and Ally. Considering Alexis was our #4 for the day; considering her foot bruise, I was surprised by how well she endured the very uneven footing throughout this crazy course. Asia, one of our surprises of the summer, ran a strong race for us as #5 (although she saved a bit much for her kick, but we will forgive her as this was her first XC race). Halie was close behind in #6, and Cora rounded out our seven. There are several take aways from this race:
1. Although our team place does not show it (13th, just like last year) we were over a minute faster in our 1-7 average over last year's performance, which is a huge improvement!
2. We are much closer to pack racing than we were last year (1-5 split was 42 seconds...vs. 2:06 last year; 1-7 split was 1:52 vs. 2:57 last year). This must continue to be an intentional focus at practice.
3. While we still have a lot of work to do to reach our goals, I feel like we are moving in the right direction!
Waukegan offered a co-ed open race today; six of our women toed the line with the express goal of beating some boys. This time, I watched the first portion of the race a bit more closely, opting to catch our bees at the 800 mark. Mary and Maira both had very strong starts, while Joseline, Karolina, Lindsay and Peyton worked in a pack with more conservative starts. All six women had good splits at the mile (all sub-7) and looked strong. Before the 2-mile mark, Mary was in 3rd place overall, with good momentum to catch the #2 girl. Joseline was looking aggressive, moving up to work with Maira. In the final mile, Mary was within striking distance of the first girl and looked poised to make a move. With about 600 to go, she was only 5 seconds off the leader; according to Coach Shorey, the girl pulled away with a strong kick (Mary--you now have homework!). Mary finished in a speedy 21:44, and bested all of our Varsity runners' times. Her race was a good lesson in breaking that girl-racing-mentality. Up until this point, Mary has not beaten the top Varsity girls in time trials. Without having that reference in the Open Race, she ran free and raced the other girls rather than her teammates...and what a great race it was! :) Our seniors helped round out our team score: Joseline had a nice finish, running a very even race (although admittedly without a finishing kick); Maira bounced back for a stronger last mile, almost catching back up to Joseline; Peyton and Karolina battled each other and definitely woke up for the last mile; Lindsay had a great last mile, really using the downhills to gain some momentum on her fellow seniors. Overall, we ended up 3rd out of 6 teams for the day. I can't wait to see the rest of our team race at Deerfield Friday!
Click here for Varsity and Open Splits!
Click here for full race results.