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.