This morning was my first day back at running. I have been struggling with a cold since regionals. Hoping my sinuses will be clear enough for me to race well at States on Saturday. I came down with a cold the same time last year! As a team we have worked so hard this season to get to where we are. The Vicks steamer is my new BFF!
Saturday called for blue skies and 60 degree weather- great conditions for racing. The girls 2A Mid-East Regional meet took place on a tough course at Wake-Med Soccer, the course is more commonly known as the ‘Adidas’ course to XC runners and is a grueling 5K starting at a downhill following with rolling hills until the first mile. The second mile contains the infamous 1000m gradual uphill and a slight downhill before going into more gentle hills. The third and final mile concludes with the 1000m hill a second time into the finish.
The girls team and I were confident that we could capture the regional title despite our loses in the County Invite and our Conference meet title. The virtual meet for our Mideast region on Milesplit predicted our team would come in 2nd to Carrboro. However, before the race we were nervous but prepared, we toed the line excited and with the image of standing together holding the winning plaque in our minds.
My first mile was fast as expected (6:02) but I knew I could hold on. The only thing I admire about the WakeMed course is the silence it bestows when most of the race is back in the woods.
The second mile was really tough but I kept my breathing composed and the objective (to win!) in my mind. I ran alone for about 3 miles of the race until my teammate caught up and ran beside me to finish. As I neared the finish I saw a girl not 5 feet in front of me that I knew- if I sprinted really hard – I could pass her. I did pass her in the end and was VERY happy with my finish. I ran a new PR of 20:18 and was exhausted by the finish.
My teammate calculated the girls team scores and had concluded that we had won, and once the girls team discussed how our races went and who was ahead/behind who we also figured out that we should have won. As we sat down for awards we learned we had run new PR’s as the times and places were announced (6 out of the 7 varsity girls ran sub 21!). And sure enough the girls team had won!!! The DSA boys team had also won with one of our boys surprisingly winning the race!
We packed up and headed home with our hardware and a bus full of happy runners and coaches!
As the DSA team wrap up All Conference and the regular season. The varsity top 10 girls and boys only have a couple of weeks left of our early morning runs through downtown Durham. I love running downtown in the morning, the streets are generally quiet and we get to see the sunrise over the Bull City landscape – going to miss these guys next year! GO DSA!
Today was our Mid-State All Conference at our home course along with Senior night. The conditions were perfect today and our team was excited to be celebrating our seniors after the meet and everyone was quite relaxed pre-race.
I had a great race and a new PR of 20:20 dropping almost 13 seconds from last weeks PR on our home course (20:31) which has always been slow for me. My previous best course time was 21:34 from last years All Conference race and so I was very excited to have dropped 1:34. I came in 4th overall and was happy to be the 2nd DSA girl back, our fast freshman came in 1st and 2 Carrboro girls followed behind her . I was really happy with the outcome, and I really enjoyed my race! Our girls team came 2nd overall for All Conference and our boys won which was great. As a team we won the Sportsmanship award for both girls and boys, so that was nice and pretty much sums us up as a team. It’s been a great season for our team and hopefully will continue next Saturday at regionals and moving forward to States.
I was so pleased to be an All Conference winner for the 3rd consecutive year.
Senior night was a lot fun; we had dinner prepared for us my some great parents- gluten free options galore with the tacos and chicken fillings. We listened to speeches, retold stories of our four years running together, watched the slide show of hundreds of photos which parents had taken over the years, and gave out various gifts. It was a great end to our regular season and my senior year running at DSA.
We are looking forward to regionals next Saturday and as a girls team are up to the challenge of chasing the few points that we are behind on the virtual meets set by NC Milesplit.
Another hot morning in NC with a race start temperature of 88º. We were stood at the start line with the blazing sun on our faces, going over the race rules and making sure feet were behind the line. There were 327 Invitational Girls stood waiting for the gun. I know this course quite well and have a love, hate relationship with it. I know I have to run out really fast otherwise I get pushed around and elbowed. I enjoy being in the wooded part of the race but hate the two very long hills we have to climb – especially to the finish line.
Last year our team came in 2nd place overall. However, this year we were missing a couple of runners due to other conflicts.
The gun went off and I went out fast and was pleased to be in the top 40 pack. We ran down the wide open field and started to narrow off as we entered the woods, it was nice to feel the temperature suddenly drop a few degree’s and be away from the cheering crowds.
I was comfortable with my pace and was happy with my first mile, my teammates were behind me pushing me on to lead them. As we approached the long hill for the first time I set my sights on passing a few girls, the cheers from our team on the side lines pushed me on and up the hill. Just before the 3 mile marker by two team mates were up and close behind me as the three of pushed ourselves up the hill again to the finish line. I was annoyed with myself to be short of under 21 by 9 seconds.
I crossed the finish line in 21:09 an improvement from last years ADIDAS race time of 21:20 on the same course but not the time I wanted.
We will be running this course again at Regionals so watch this space!
On Saturday night I ran my first and last Jungle Run: the original night time race.
It was an exhilarating experience especially because the first Jungle Run I came to was in 9th grade and I was injured so I could only cheer on my team and didn’t experience the race first-hand.
The race started off fast it was 8.45pm and pitch black, the course was lite in various areas by the tall, loud generated lighting. There were lots of tight corners causing the influx of runners to bunch up and slow down the pack. Eventually the race spread out after the first mile and I was able to pack up with three other girls from my team (this turned out to be a very crucial move for our team to win the Invite race).
The second mile we spread out a little and began to pick other runners off- we started the race being around runners number 40 or so, and by mile 2 my Mum had shouted out 27, 28, 29 so we knew if we kept picking of the girls in front we would have a chance to medal.
On the last mile we could hear our team cheering for us through the trees, unable to see them as it was so dark. We hit the track and I could see the clock out of the corner of my eye and was happy to see 20 something, I sprinted round and took 12th place and a medal. As a team we were so proud to win The Girls Invitational, plus 3 of us medaled. We had one JV girl and boy to medal, plus one of our varsity boys came in first place for the boys invitational.
Just a few medals and plaques
Picking up the girls team plaque
The team left on the bus around 10.30pm and I stayed to the end of the awards so that I could pick up the well deserved hardware for our team.
The day started out hot and humid ( 89º) already not ideal for the first short watermelon race of the season.
The course we were running was a 3k- not quite 2 miles. None of us had run it before. After completing my pre-race captain duties, our girls team warmed up and stretched out, getting ready for the line.
Then before I knew it the race had begun on the count of “Runners on your mark, set, go!”, we started out fast on a short strip of grass before heading onto a rough large rock narrow pathway, we settled in as we encountered the concrete walking path and could see the iron bridge in the distance which singled the first hill.
I could feel the stiffness in my thighs as I climbed the hill which was pretty steep. As we headed up into the lollipop forest path I tripped on a root and fell, getting right back up quickly not pausing to check my knees, I ran faster to catch up with my running buddy.
During the second part of the short race I dodged pot holes and the mysterious tall grass which was hiding large rocks. We ran downhill on the second half of the race allowing me to pass a few girls down the hill. We ran back up the hill for the last .25 of the race.
I improved my time by about 20 seconds going back up the hill and looping around. Back across the gravel and heading to the shoot I came in 2nd for my school. I stopped at the finish line and helped my friend who was having an asthma attack and was a little panicked.
What came after the tough race was anything but fun- One of our fastest runners and captain of the boys team had managed to slice his leg on a wooden post that was hidden from his sight, he was in a tight pack during the race. Subsequently we had to have an ambulance arrive at the course and he was taken to E.R.
He needed 12 stitches and will not be running for the next 10 days. I feel for him and hope he has a speedy recovery.
At the beginning of each cross country season, as a team we go and paint under the East Campus Duke bridge. We have spent many runs during the summer sprinting past the free expression tunnel, it was fun to paint our school team name on it during our team activity Friday morning. We have such a great team this year and I am excited to see what we can achieve. Let’s RUN DSA!
This week I am at camp and not just any camp, the type of camp that leaves you sore and blistered daily- whilst at the same time craving more challenges and laughs along the way!
This picture is of my team on a run at Guion Farms, Brevard, NC on Monday- even though we looked exhausted, the run had been a self esteem booster as we were the first girls back, all while staying together as a team! It gave us confidence for the jam packed week ahead.
Tuesday was mildly easier as we ran to the lake and went swimming (we had something to look forward too 😉). All of us girls were able to pack together, finish, and splash together which is so important for a team!
Today however was the ultimate test of our team bond and our individual strength, as we prepared to run the hardest and most anticipated course of our weeks camp. We were up before the sun to get the bus to Art Loeb.
Individually I had attempted the course last year and did not make the half way cut off time – so you know, I was fired up with determination this year.
Art Loeb is one of the most difficult trails in NC and part of it consists of a 4 mile up hill and a ~3.7 steep downhill trail run – it has a total elevation of 6,000ft. The course itself is daunting and many people are not able to make the difficult course all the way up.
Starting as a pack my team was ready to ‘kill the hill(s)’ and was able to get out fast. Along the way one of our runners dropped off and one continued a few seconds ahead, my group of 3 stayed together. Closer to the half way point we were breathing hard and crying out from the pain in our legs and the voice inside our heads telling us to quit. For me it was like my muscles were screaming for me to stop and walk. As we quickly neared the cut off time we sprinted to the area and heard a voice with the words “congrats guys you made it”. It was an achievement all by itself and we were now able to shake off the time pressure on the trail. We still had one more uphill and then it was a fast downhill. Nearing to the end: 7.7 miles, we stayed together and caught up to the other teammate who was a few seconds ahead. She cried out when she saw us knowing that we too had made it.
In reflection, the mental state is as important (if not more) than the physical state of the body. To be able to push oneself when the rest of your body is telling you NO is the definition of strength.
It was a run I’ll never forget even when the blisters heal- I would not have done it without my team of strong girls!
Just a quick blog entry. A group of us from our HS cross country team met up this morning to car pool up to Brevard. We will be spending the week at a long distance running camp. We have all been so excited for this trip, it’s going to be a great week as we run the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains and build strength and team spirit!