Monday @ Warren with Mundelein:
I was looking forward to this race for a number of reasons: I knew that you ALL liked the course, that there would be great competition, and that we would have an opportunity for comparison from the invite earlier in the season. I also felt that we had a good plan going into the meet, and we seemed ready to race.
We had TEN PRs for the day: Kimmy in 19:05, Mary in 19:47 (first time in the nineteens!), Maira Gonzalez 20:44 (first time in the twenties!), Madi in 21:10 (first time in the twenty-ones), Lindsay in 21:14, Aurianna in 24:24 (first race, finally!), Violette in 24:55 (first time in the twenty-fours!), Jacqueline in 25:12, Josefina in 26:40 (first time in the twenty-sixes!), and Tiara in 28:14 (first time in the twenty-eights). That's a pretty impressive list! What I liked most was that I saw some great racing going on. Lots of working with teammates and working to pass other teams. We still need to work on kicks (I feel like a broken record on this point). And although Mundelein nipped us by one point, I was still happy with the day.
Saturday @ Sterling: After a chocolate-covered pretzel fueled drive to the course, this group seemed ready to race on Friday. Goofy, goofy, goofy as we ran the course and discussed strategy. For our evening meeting, there was more of the same...light-hearted conversations peppered with bouts of crazy laughter. I felt that the team was in a good place mentally--happy and relaxed for racing.
Although we lost out on premium parking for the spirit bus, our spirits were buoyed by a great design for the Sterling t-shirts. :) I already told you this in person, but I was concerned by the energy of our group (or lack thereof) as we talked in our pre-race huddle and did the breakdown. The start looked good, and I raced down to the bottom of the hill to await our bees as they emerged from the woods. Kimmy and Ally were in good position at this point, somewhere in the low 30s. The rest of our pack was still working to find one another. The first mile proved to have solid times, and everyone looked good heading into the woods. After the second mile, I was concerned about the demeanor of most of you; I didn't see the intensity that you all exhibited at Warren just days earlier. Coming out of the final loop, I was also worried about our lack of kicks going into the chute. My final analysis is this: we ran alright, but we left some opportunities on the course, especially after the epic Pes-Os workout on Wednesday.
The ladies in the Open Race agreed that they needed more intensity in their races. At this point, the course was pretty beat up in the park loop, but was still looking good everywhere else. Joseline had an amazing start in the teens, while Lindsay was near fortieth. Madi and Halie were not far off Lindsay, so I was pleased heading into the woods. Joseline grew into the race, moving up to 12th place and looking great doing so! Lindsay moved closer to 30th, while Madi and Halie faded slightly. At the finish, the kicks were not as crisp as I would have hoped. That being said, Joseline brought home a new lifetime PR of 20:47, and a medal for 14th place. Nice work! Lindsay had to deal with the same disappointment as Kimmy, missing a medal by one place.
@ Wheeling Invite: While the top 11 were at Sterling, our F/S and Open women ran at the very weird Wheeling Invite. The course was short, but the times were long...most likely due to the spongy nature of the course. I'm hoping that the meet will return to Wheeling's true home course for next fall. Competition-wise, this is a great meet! All the girls I spoke with said that they felt like they truly raced, but the times did not match the effort. Despite the conditions, we did have two PRs for the day: Tiara in 27:45 (first time in the twenty-sevens), and Kealy in 27:10. Great job, ladies! :) The places looked good, and Cora looked to be competitive with her finish in the Open race.
On a related note, Shorey reportedly mastered the breakdown! Bravo!