I have spent most of this afternoon and evening deep in thought: after a solid week of practice, and an even more solid start to the season, why did I feel so crabby about the results from the JT Invite today? I have come to the conclusion that it's because of today's tone.
We intentionally ran a challenging, hilly workout on Tuesday in order to help arm you against Grant's course. We worked on negative splits on Thursday to encourage you to believe in the second half of your race. We backed off on the mileage on Wednesday and Friday in order to let you get your legs back for race day. We enjoyed a visit from Lorie Reid, talked about being strong, had not one but TWO people share "bee inspired" ideas on race day. And I invited you to take a RISK through the blog. And with all of that armor, I imagined that you would rise to the challenge of the day.
In the Frosh/Soph race, the performances were solid. Most of you had times that were within 60 seconds of your season bests. More importantly, as you exited the chute, you immediately shared tips for the next racers: you wanted them to succeed where you had struggled. As a group, however, you did not have the same spark as in the race at Warren. The Varsity race, the outcome was the same: no one looked particularly sharp, and the performances were much slower than I anticipated. The Open women looked slightly more aggressive, but only Iman was able to earn a LPR for the day.
So where do we go from here? It's easy to ride the bus home from a meet like the Warren Invite--the performances were stellar, mood was euphoric, and the team was bonding. But as I said on the bus after Grant, real character is shown when you DON'T PR. My hope is that you will embrace the following:
1. I know that racing is difficult, but we need to work on our internal and external dialogues. If a negative thought pops into your head, you need to admit it is there, then take a deep breath and remind yourself, "I am stronger than that thought." And if it won't go away, then come talk to me or ONE teammate. You cannot allow that thought to win, and you cannot allow it to poison the team. Negative comments on the bus, on the warm up, or on the line do nothing to help the team. Let's commit to keeping our mindsets positive! (By the way, this is a good way to live life in general ;))
2. I do not expect you to be perfect, but I do expect you to give maximum effort at practice and meets for your teammates. We are in this together, so let's promise that we are going to empty the tank for each other. #irunforthem #beelinked
3. The way to build confidence in any endeavor is to celebrate the great and acknowledge the stuff that needs work. In the positives and negatives, I need you to be honest.
I look forward to some positive, selfless, honest racing on Monday! :)