Friday, August 29, 2008

Fly Dutch, Fly!

I am tired.
Races'll do that.
I feel good.
Satisfactory races will do that to you too.

Vanderbilt is Hope XC's only 2008 home cross country race. It is also one of the slowest courses we run. Slower times may come off of other courses, but it mostly just feels slow. Well, not the whole thing- more miles 2 and 3 (probably 2, 3 & 4 for the guys). Mile 1 speeds by. We took the race out rather conservatively this year. I was towards the back of the pack, but I ran through mile 1 at 6:15. The front of the pack was probably in the low 6's. The first mile at Vanderbilt is all either flat or downhill. I felt successful today because I "moved" for majority of the race. It is easy, especially in the middle half of the race, to just settle into a position and stay there. There are some races when your goal for the middle half of the race is to just stay where you are, but that was not today's purpose for me. In a field of only 4 teams, none of them as good as Hope's-- I should be passing people... and so I did. And as a result I ran one of my fastest first races, if not thee fastest first race for me, ever. [possibly sub21]
This was especially surprising for me because I have a fairly negative stigma with this course. We ran this year's time trial, along with a couple workouts, on our course so far this season. None of these runs have been kind to me. The ground is especially hard and uneven-- for almost the entire race. My hips and hamstrings don't react positively. Yet, today, whether it was adrenaline, a mind game, or simply a blessing- the pain was minimal and I was only "stuck" twice. Both of these times a teammate was there to pull me through.
With a small field, our course was more a sea of orange than anything else. There was always a teammate near by to encourage or be encouraged by. This made the typically "slow" course seem much faster. As an added bonus Hope claimed 13 of the top 15 places. Obviously we won the meet. We scored 20 points [15 is the perfect score]. I am excited to see where we go from here. We have a lot of young girls and a lot of growing potential from everyone. The first week of school is a time of adjustment, and not typically included in your recipe for PRs (although Jackie B. never got this memo and PRed by a second today! woo!)

Our next race is in Oberlin, OH and near my hometown Amherst, OH. Sadly, most friends I have in Amherst are graduated and thus, in different places. However, I am hoping a few friends still at home will be able to stop back to see the race :) I think it'll give me a new sort of motivation.

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