I ran at the Drake Relays yesterday in the 4×8 and it was amazing! The whole experience was incredible, with so much competition between so many talented athletes all weekend. Thursday afternoon my friend ran the 3000m and ran a great race, despite what she thinks. I am so proud of her! Friday was another intense day, with people from my school running in several more events. That night, we also got to watch the women’s 1500 with world-class athletes including Jenny Simpson, Morgan Uceny, Shannon Rowbury, Sheila Reid, and the 16-year-old Mary Cain. I want to be like them! Jenny Simpson won in 4:03, and broke the Drake record. If only I could be that fast and make it look so effortless! Mary Cain got 6th in a time of 4:10.7. She’s as old as I am and she runs over a minute faster than I do! I don’t even think I could keep up with her for 200m without falling behind!
The women’s 1500 at the bell lap – Simpson is leading, followed by Reid, Grace, Rowbury, Anderson, and Cain.
After Simpson won, she got to do a victory lap. We were sitting in the first row so I got to go up and high-five her! My friend who qualified in the 1500 wanted her autograph but was too shy to go ask for it. I offered to, so I GOT TO TALK TO JENNY SIMPSON!!!!! SO EXCITING!!!!!!!! Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Can you sign this please?
Other people: Can you sign this?
Simpson (to me): Can I use your pen?
Me: Go ahead!
Simpson (after signing more autographs): Is this somebody’s pen?
Me: It’s mine!
So basically it was a good start and we’re probably gonna be best friends sometime. A girl can wish can’t she??
Saturday morning was our 4×8. I was kinda disappointed that we had to run early Saturday so we couldn’t just get it over with sooner and we had to wake up early, but hey, I can’t complain, I just thankful that we got to go and run! Plus, the weather was gorgeous and it couldn’t have been any better. It was the nicest meet we’ve had all season. It wasn’t too hot or too cold, and there was hardly any wind.
We warmed up a bit, did our dynamic stretching, ran a few strides. My coach wanted us to get in some longer buildups and strides (like 200m) but we couldn’t find room. Looking back, I wonder if it would have helped to do longer buildups instead of just doing more 50m ones. They took us out to the track and wait for it to be our turn to run. Just standing out there on the edge of the blue oval got my adrenaline pumping and the butterflies in my stomach again. I’d been nervous all morning and had hardly been able to eat, and it only got worse as the time for us to run got nearer. Finally, we were told to line up and take our sweats off. Since we’d qualified in the 16th out of 16, we were in the very outside lane of the second waterfall. They ran all of us together in one heat. The gun went off. Our first leg girl is our fastest 800m runner, so she got to the front of the pack and took a decent lead. She ran a 2:20 split; not a 2:17 like she’d wanted, but still good enough to start us in first place. As she came down the last stretch, I was so nervous. I knew I wasn’t as fast as the other second leg girls and that many of them would pass me. But I kept my head up and kept the lead for the first 300 meters. After that, several girls caught up and began passing me one by one. I did my best to keep up, but I couldn’t compete. I held on for as long as I could and I’m happy that I didn’t let myself get too discouraged about getting passed. But as I finished the last 100 meters, where I would normally kick it in and speed up, all I was worried about was finding my 3rd place girl. The girls running ahead of me were all spread out across the track, and I didn’t know where to go. And good hand-offs are so important! When I successfully handed off my baton our third leg girl, I was disappointed in myself. I thought I had run slowly since I didn’t feel like collapsing at the end. I cheered on our 3rd leg girl, who ran a season PR by 7 seconds and an all-time PR by one second in 2:23. Our last girl ran in 2:32, which wasn’t her best. She felt so bad about it at the end and we tried to cheer her up. It could’ve happened to any of us. I still felt bad about my race, but when I went to talk to my coach, she said I’d run a 2:28!! A PR!!! It was only a second faster than I’d run last Thursday, but it was much better than I’d thought I ran! I’d had no reason to be upset with myself after all! Our team took 13th out of 16 in a time of 9:45. We can only hope to keep improving through the last few weeks of the season!