Despite the grumblings from some of the veterans about today’s course, John Stark is a pretty good place for us. It is a very low-key meet, allowing us to run a relaxed stress-free race and work on aspects of racing, like pack-running, that we may otherwise not get to practice. We also came away with an individual win and a team win today, not too shabby for a 5 team Division Two meet!
The girls were first to race as usual, with the same instructions as the previous two meets - “work as a team!” They are learning to see each other as teammates and sources of inspiration on the course rather than as competitors, and each race it has gotten better! This week we had a pack of 8 for the first mile or so, until it was whittled down to the more usual pack of 5...except who was that new face in the pack...Tristan! Tristan is back! Our #2 (-ish, tied with Lauren really for that distinction) returning runner was sidelined with a stress fracture in the spring, and has been working on getting back into shape. Today she took a great step forward, running as our #3 girl until the final quarter mile. Sneaking by her just at the end was Kaitlyn, who ran an inspirational race as she was dropped by the MV pack early due to sore calves, but never surrendered and worked her way steadily back through the runners to finish as our #3 girl again and 6th over-all. As someone who has been around running a long time, sometime I forget that not everyone has learned the basic rules, such as “don’t eat foods right before running a race if you haven’t tried doing it before!” Noelle did enjoy her apple while she ate it (thanks for bringing them Mrs. Perron!), but probably not so much later. Like Kaitlyn, however, she hung tough and once again finished as our 5th runner, and 10th overall. Meanwhile, up front, Kristie and Lauren played the role of hunters as they stalked and passed every girl in front of them (except the one who was three minutes up). Coming onto the track they had one left, but did Lauren have enough left? What a silly question. With Kristie going ahead on lead-out (I just finished watching a three week stage race in Spain, this is a cycling term that seemed to suit the situation and actually played out correctly, although the lead-out is not usually the winner) Lauren dug deep and out kicked the girl from Sanborn to place 3rd overall, with Kristie 2nd. Team wise, with 6 runners in the top 11 (Emma was our 6th), MV cruised to an easy win, 24 points to the runner-up score of 66. A good race, but still lots of work to do!
For the boys, initially we were just lucky to have everyone there. Due to the busing issue we had to roll out ASAP, DO NOT WAIT FOR ANYONE! And Connor was missing. But Connor found us, thanks to his Mom, hero of the day, when she drove him to John Stark. The idea of the day was to have the boys attempt a similar packing strategy as the girls, although with their times being so spread out it posed a challenge. Apparently it is a challenge we need to work on as immediately it was every boy for himself. Up front David cruised along easily in a pack of three runners, eventually distancing himself on a hill (good move, David!) to take his second win of the year. Behind David, Matt reestablished in his usual spot on the team, and did an admirable job of fending off a cramp (did you also eat an apple, Matt?). Dylan, sporting his new haircut, was third, and then the wait was on for the final two scorers. They have been shuffling around a bit lately, which is nice as it indicates depth. 4th turned out to be Ryan, and 5th was Taylor...wait...where did Taylor go? No, 5th today was Matt L., in a great race in possibly the only PR of the day. So where was Taylor? Mitchell, Lucas, and Dade thought there was no one else behind them...until Taylor came cruising by. Apparently 3.1 miles wasn’t enough, so Taylor tacked on another mile-plus, racing the whole way. Not sure if he actually ran the entire loop alone, with no one in sight, wondering “am I the only person left on earth?”, or if he took a shortcut back, but he certainly kept running the entire time. Nice workout, Taylor! Even with Taylor’s wrong turn, the boys managed a strong showing of 2nd out of the 5 teams represented.
Great work everyone!