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!!!!!!!! 🙂 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!


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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Julie Yip-Williams

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