runfreeforever

Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Drake Relays Recap

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!!!!!!!! ūüôā Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Can you sign this please?

Simpson: Sure!

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!

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Take the Burn

http://www.dashingdiva.net/2012/04/100-leg-workout-nike.html

I love feeling sore. During track and cross country season, I feel like I’m not working hard enough if nothing is hurting every day. I feel like being sore is my body telling me that I did work hard and that I’m getting stronger. I¬†enjoy that pain the next day, like a reward, an affirmation of how hard I worked the day before. When I do ab workouts, I feel like I didn’t do enough reps if they’re not sore the next day. If I do a bunch of squats and my butt’s not sore the next day, I think that I didn’t do enough. If I don’t have some kind of pain somewhere after a really intense workout or a hard race, I feel like I didn’t work hard enough and go all out. But I hate when it hurts in the moment. I hate staying strong through whatever I’m doing, when my legs burn, when it’s too hot or too cold outside, when I’m shaking while trying to do some new exercise. But at the same time, I know that if I back off and I don’t take the burn today, I’m going to regret it tomorrow when I’m not sore. It’s the opposite of what you’d expect. But it’s so true.

So take the burn. Don’t give up today. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow when you’re sore and you know that you’ve pushed yourself. You’ll thank yourself a month or a year from now when you’re so much stronger than you are today. It’ll be worth it, I promise!

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YES.

Our meet didn’t get cancelled Thursday night like we were afraid it would have! It was cold, windy, and rainy, but we still kicked some butt! We got 1st place in the 4×8 even though we weren’t expecting it at all! We weren’t supposed to win, but our first girl got out fast and got us an amazing start.¬†She ran a 2:19! She’s so fast! I ran the second leg, and our hand-off was pretty hideous. We definitely need to work on that! I ended up running a 2:29 though! That’s a second off my PR!!:) I finally broke 2:30!!!:) Our third and fourth runners ran a 2:30 and 2:29, and we finished in 9:50.32! We’d dropped over 2 seconds from Tuesday and we are now qualified to run at the meet this upcoming week! They take the top 16 qualifiers in the 4×800, and our time barely got us into that 16th spot – only 0.19 seconds ahead of the 17th team! Our times were so close together, that had every teeny-tiny step made that whole world of a difference between who gets to go to the meet and who’s staying home.

All Wednesday night and all day Thursday, I was so nervous, so determined to win Thursday night. I wanted it so badly. I knew that I’d have to give it my all and that we only had one last chance to show what we’ve got. Thursday came around and the weather was unfavorable. But it didn’t matter. We’d just have to go out there and prove ourselves anyways.

That night, we went through our routine warmup. We did our buildups. We had our relay team spike circle and told each other that we were amazing, that we were strong, that we had to stay focused and we had to win if we wanted to qualify for the meet this week. Then the gun went off. And I screamed my lungs out, cheering for our other three girls. And when it was my turn, I ran my legs off. And all I could think was “I have to go, I have to go, gosh dang it, this is it, I gotta go, this is what I’ve wanted so badly for so long, I gotta go! No regrets, no regrets, no regrets!!” And I finished and handed off the baton and stumbled around with jello legs and kept on cheering. And we finished in first. And then all night I watched the state results online and hoped and prayed that we would make it. And we did! And I learned that if you really want something that badly, no amount of wind and rain and cold weather can stop you from taking it, if you’re willing to run your butt off no matter how much it hurts!

So want it. Then go get it. Because you can.

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If only…

If only….

If only I would have run .62 seconds faster. If only I would have someone to run against, someone to push me other than my own willpower. If only I would have stayed focused. If only I would have realized how much I would regret not running faster, not pushing myself as much as I know I could’ve. If only we could qualify! If only wishing and wanting and hoping and praying would help!

My 4×8 team ran a 9:52.65 at Tuesday’s meet. We are .61 seconds away from qualifying for the Drake Relays. We’re seventeenth place and they only take the top 16!¬†I know that I could’ve¬†and should’ve¬†run faster, and now I’m just beating myself up for it. I know I shouldn’t be. But I want to qualify SO badly that I can’t stop thinking about it and regretting it. I ran a 2:32. I’ve run a 2:30 before! I should’ve¬†been able to do it again! I should’ve¬†kicked it in sooner, rather than¬†just at the very end. And there’s a pretty good chance that our meet is going to be cancelled today for the weather, and today is the last day to qualify. If we weren’t so so¬†close to qualifying, I wouldn’t feel so bad about it. It’s the fact that¬†we’re so close yet so very far away that gets to me. It’s that tiny¬†deep down regret for not¬†running two more fast steps.¬†My best friend is qualified to run the 3000m. I’m hoping I’ll be able to go watch her run, but it’s not at all the same as being able to run myself.

I don’t think I could find the words to¬†express¬†how badly I want this. I would do just about anything for this, if we could qualify. Plus our fastest 800m runner is graduating this year, so we won’t have her to run with us next year and our chances of qualifying are much lower. This is a once in a lifetime experience!

But I guess that even if our meet tonight isn’t cancelled, there’s no promises that we will be able to pull a faster time, especially with this crappy rainy weather. I guess it would just make me feel better if I could take out all my frustration on the track, if I could just get one more chance.

Dear God, let us qualify!

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4x400m inspiration

I love the 4x4m relay. It is definitely one of my favorites both to watch and to run. At track meets, it’s always the last event, so everyone on every team always crowds the track, cheering. It’s one of the most intense, competitive, high energy races of the night. And a few days ago as I was watching the olympic 4×4 from this summer, I¬†was so inspired. Just look at those girls’ abs. I want that! They’re so strong, so fit, so fast. And I know I’m not fat or out of shape or anything like that, but I certainly don’t look like they do and I most certainly can’t run like they do!

I’m running the 4×8 and the 4×4 at my meet today. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to pull out any crazy 46-second splits for my 400, but even under a 66 will make me happy! And my 4×8 team is currently ranked 19th in the state, and we need to be in the top 16 to qualify for the statewide meet next week. I want it so badly! Today and thursday are my team’s last chances. We need to drop at least 10 seconds from our time to qualify. That’s gonna be tough. But we’re tough. We can do it if we really push ourselves. If only we could¬†be like those Olympic athletes who make it look so effortless!

I’ll keep you posted (pun intended ūüôā ) on how tonight’s meet turns out!! ūüôā

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IT

I know it’s all over the¬†news. Probably every other runner-blogger and non-runner-blogger is talking about it. You know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t live in a hole, you’ve probably heard way more about it and seen more gruesome photos than you’d care to see. And for that reason, I don’t care to post any more. It makes¬†me feel sick, seeing the tragedy that shook so many people’s lives. I can’t begin to imagine what that bomber was thinking, but I’d almost want to say that if only they would try to run 26.2 miles, maybe they could find a better way to take out their anger through their running. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of the three people whose lives were taken, as well as those of the 176+ others who were injured.

But then, being a runner myself and aspiring to run Boston sometime in my life, the events of yesterday afternoon make you rethink. I know it’s unreasonable and unhealthy to live your life in fear that you’re gonna be next, but the bombing yesterday really struck home for myself and for runners worldwide. As part of the running community, we share a certain connection through our shared love of running. We understand the pain that we all have to go through, we give advice to each other, we encourage each other, we inspire each other. And sometimes, alone with nothing but our pounding feet on the pavement, the sound of our breath, and the beating of our hearts, we almost feel invincible.

And then our façade is ripped away.

We can’t run from everything. You can¬†train as much as you want, you can run hundreds, or even thousands of miles, but you still can’t run away from danger if the time comes.

And that’s a scary thought.

But what can we do? We can keep running. We can be¬†there for those affected by the bombings yesterday. We can pray for them. Runners are known to be¬†generous, to run to raise money to help other people. And that’s what we’ll keep doing to help our fellow runners and the spectators hurt yesterday. It would be foolish to not be more cautious, in light of yesterday, but we will keep running. Boston will continue to be¬†the famously prestigious race that it is. I’m not taking it¬†off of¬†my bucket list just because of what happened this year. I’m still going to run part of my friend’s marathon with her this saturday. I can’t and won’t let¬†some terrorist change the way I live my life and my dreams.¬†Runners are not invincible, but we are strong. And we will continue to be strong for everyone¬†affected yesterday.

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I almost won…

I had one of the best track meets ever yesterday!!:) I took the ACT in the morning then had to rush to get over to the meet in time for my first race. Thankfully, it was at home so it wasn’t too far away. Since so many girls on my team were busy with the ACT and a music contest yesterday, my coach had a hard time filling up the lineup for the meet. So my best friend and I decided to help him out. Even though both of us are distance runners, we volunteered to run the 4x200m relay and the 4x100m relay!! It was so much fun to do something new like that!

Last year at a JV meet, two of my distance friends and I wanted to run a 4×100 but couldn’t find a fourth girl to run it with us. We were all surprised that our coaches agreed to it, but they let us run the relay with three girls from my school and a girl from a different school! I don’t think they counted it officially, but it was super fun and we didn’t even get last place!! At some meets they have a throwers 4x100m relay, so why can’t they have a distance relay like that too?!

But back to my recap on yesterday’s meet, I got there just in time to briefly learn how to use blocks, jog a few laps, and do a few high knees, butt-kicks, etc. to warm up for the 4×200. Despite botching my start from the blocks (it’s a lot harder than you’d expect!), I ran the first leg in a splendid time of 29-some seconds. Not bad for a distance runner’s first 200 ever! And I don’t even think I went as fast as I could; I ran it more like a buildup or a stride. It was super fun though!!!:) My coach was pretty impressed with the way we distance girls ran and he said he might even put us in another JV 4×2 again sometime! I’m so excited!!:)

I ran the 1500m race a few hours after my 4×2. I’ve never run a 1500 before in a meet. I think my previous fastest 1500 was in a time trial at the end of the cross country season, with a 5:30-something. I ran the JV 1500, and from looking at seed times and from advice from my coach, I got my sights set on two girls that I needed to keep up with. Their seed times were in the 5:25ish range, and I was just hoping to be somewhere close behind them. I made small talk with the girl next to me when we were lining up before we started, and told her about how nervous I was about my first 15 and how I didn’t think I was gonna do very well….but then when the gun went off and I led the race for the first 3 laps, I felt bad about telling her that I doubted myself. True, I had no idea how to pace myself. But I had quite a bit of a lead for the majority of the race. But I couldn’t do it. I don’t have that internal motivation to run fast when there’s no one ahead of me to try to catch up to. I didn’t pick up my pace at the end like I should have, or like I know that I could’ve. I was so close to winning a race by a lot, but in the last 150 meters, a girl caught up and passed me at the last second. If only almost was good enough! If only almost let me win that race! I could’ve had it! I know that I had it in me. But no. I still finished in 5:18, which is a PR and not bad for my first time, not really knowing how to pace myself. I almost felt like I was jogging or at least striding the middle, and I had too much left when I crossed the finish line. Oh well! Next time will hopefully be better, especially if I have someone to push me! I listened to this song by Bowling for Soup this morning and thought of my race and how close I was to winning. If they had a verse talking about how “I almost won but I guess that doesn’t cut it,” it would describe my life perfectly!

My best friend, however, ran the varsity 1500 and broke 5 minutes for the first time!!!! I’m so proud of her:)

The 4×100 was right after our 1500s, so I didn’t even have time to get tape to mark my steps after watching and cheering for our two varsity 1500 girls. I jogged over to the start for my third leg of the 4×1, got some brief instruction on where to get the baton (I was so confused), and the race took off. We came in last place, but that’s okay because it was fun!!:) I think the other teams should’ve been jealous that they didn’t get to have a distance 4×1 or 4×2 team like we did!

To celebrate post-meet, I went to Panera with my boyfriend and my best friend and got one of these delicious cinnamon crunch bagels! I love my carbs! Delicious:)

My next meet is on Tuesday. I’ve gotten a new PR at every meet so far this season, and hopefully I can keep it up!!:)

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the unfortunate reality of a student athlete

It’s crazy how quickly the school year flies by. My school uses a trimester schedule, so we’re almost to our midterms! And I’m scared. I guess I’m a relatively good student. I’m taking three AP classes and advanced math. But it gets hard to fit in time to study for all my classes, and to find time to get extra help from my teachers when I have track practice every day after school. I got a D on my last AP Chemistry test!!!!!:) And that was good for me! I was happy that I got over 50%! What is this life coming to?!?

And as a result, you also might want to know that I, being probably the most popular girl at school and having so many friends and being ever so cool (that was all a lie), spent this past lovely Friday night watching YouTube videos about AP Chemistry. Exciting, right?? I mean, who could resist the beckoning of all the AP Chemistry teachers in the world, just begging you to watch them lecture about acids and bases and titrations and redox reactions and electrolysis and molarity and molality and resonance structures and activation energy and precipitation and solubility and I think you’re probably bored with my recounting of AP chemistry.

Whenever I’m in season (August through October for cross country, then February through May for track) it gets so hard to try to stay on top of all the things I need to get done at home and school and everywhere else and still manage to maintain some sanity. Meets always take so long and it’s too hard to concentrate on any homework at all by the time I get home and I’m so tired. So that crosses out one or two days per week to do homework and piles on more for the rest of my days. Add church, piano lessons, vocal lessons, FCA, volunteering at the animal shelter, Best Buddies, and all the other various activities I do, and I have pretty much no time left for anything. It’s crazy.

I don’t think that teachers at school realize how hard it is to be a crazy busy high school student and how hard it is to fit everything in. And I gotta admit that sometimes I don’t prioritize like I should. I would much rather spend my time running and looking up track stats and rankings than doing my homework. I’d much rather go to track practice than spend any more time with my AP chemistry teacher. I think that student-athletes are choosing the “athlete” part over the “student” part more often than we should be. How do you fix that? I couldn’t tell you. I know that I can’t realistically count on getting a scholarship in college for running. I don’t even know if I’m going to run in college. I can count on getting academic scholarships for college more realistically, though. Running is a huge part of my life, and it probably will continue to be such an important part of me, but it’s likely not going to be my career no matter how much I love it. For all those other student-athletes out there, I know that you love your sport. You’re passionate about it. You’d rather be doing it than doing anything else. But is it really what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life? What if you get hurt and can’t do it anymore? Then what will you do? Education is more reliable and more important, whether any of us like it or not.

What an unfortunate realization.

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Inspiration from Dr. Seuss

Feeling down? Need some inspiration? It’s surprising how much advice Dr. Seuss can give!!

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Run With No Regrets (attempt #3)

I have no idea what is wrong with wordpress, but this is the third time that I have written a blog along these lines. The previous two posted as blank posts with nothing but some tags and a title. And then since I still haven’t been able to say what I wanted to say, I’ve gotta rewrite it YET AGAIN. UGHH!!! I am so frustrated with wordpress! If wordpress had a face, I’d like to punch it. If it was a small animal I’d have it get eaten by a shark. Or a starving lion. Does anyone else have this problem???? This is ridiculous!!!!!!

Sorry. Anyways.

This past week we finally had our first and second outdoor track meets on Thursday and Saturday! And I set new PR’s at both of them!! ūüôā Getting a PR is the best part of running in my mind. I mean it’s always nice to place well, but I am always the most satisfied and excited about my races when I get a PR and beat my old times!

On Thursday I ran the 4x800m relay and the 800m stretch of the distance medley (two 200m legs, a 400, and an 800). I ran the first leg of the 4×800 in 2:32, so I got a PR by three seconds from our indoor meet. There were only two races between the 800 and the distance medley, so I had very little time to recover. I let myself think negatively rather than positively, and I let myself lose sight of my goals. I ended up running the second 800 in an awful time of 2:40-something, and I was very unhappy with it. I know that I didn’t try my hardest and I could’ve and should’ve been able to run it so much faster.

On Saturday, I ran the 4×8 again. I ran it in 2:35, which was slower than I had hoped for but not unbearable. It was really windy coming down the front straightaway which made it especially hard when I was trying to finish strong. My second event was the 800m run, over two hours later. I love having plenty of time to relax and recover so I’m not rushed between events. If only that happened every time!! I kept my thoughts positive and I stayed motivated between events. I was mentally prepared to give it everything in that second 800. I started in one of the outside lanes, which is good so I didn’t get boxed in at the start. I felt good and strong throughout the entire race. Even in the middle to end, when I usually start thinking that I want to give up, all I could think was “No regrets. Have no regrets. Stay tall. I am strong. I can do this. No regrets. No regrets. No regrets.” I finished in 8th place, and without even knowing my time I could tell that I had given it my all and that I’d had an amazing race. I ran a 2:30! I got a new PR by two more seconds!! I only hope that I can keep up this progress and keep getting more PR’s!! ūüôā

I just gotta stay positive. I can’t start doubting myself. I can’t give up before I’ve even started. I can’t let myself settle for less than what I’m really capable of. I need to stay strong, tall, relaxed, and fast. I can do it. I know that I can. I need to run without regrets!

run with no regrets

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