My team’s annual time trial was today, but only three of our top seven girls could make it. And only two of us finished it. I tied with the other girl and we got a fantastic time- but I’m getting ahead of myself.
We got to the park at 3:30 and the girls went for a warm-up on part of the course. Then we stretched and our coach told me and the other two varsity girls, “This isn’t the Olympics. No need to go crazy hard. Maybe like 80%.” Well, that clearly wasn’t going to happen without some specific way to avoid going all out, because we’re way too competitive with each other and ourselves to do that. We decided that we would pace my friend who is almost, but not quite, varsity level.
Of course, that plan immediately fell apart. Coach blew the whistle, and the three of us took off. The course was two laps of a figure eight around the big field, past tennis courts, up an awful hill, and back on the trail. We already had a major lead over the rest of the team by the time we reached the other side of the field, so we silently just decided to continue at that pace. We finished one lap, and one of the girls dropped out because she’s been having shin issues for the past couple weeks. It was down to just two of us, so we decided mid-course that we would finish together. Yay for teamwork! We made it up the last hill (that was awful; I’d kind of forgotten how much cross country races suck) and began coming back on the trail. The boys were spread out for the last 400 or so meters cheering us on, which really helped. We got to the first few boys and I looked down at my watch: 17:36! There were less than 400 meters to go, so I felt pretty ecstatic. We got to the tennis courts and started kicking it in, but we weren’t really sprinting as we crossed the line. 18:40!! We felt really, really good about that because last year, on the same course, at the same trial, we’d both gotten around 21 minutes. So it was clear from our time that our summer training has been way better than last year.
We have our first invitational next Saturday at a 3-mile course, and last year I ran 20:32 at that invitational (it was my first real cross country race ever!!) after running 21 minutes for the time trial the week before. So if I ran 18:40 at the time trial this year, does that mean I can get low 18s at the meet next week!? Ha, wishful thinking 😉 My current PR for that course is 19:33, so I’m basically just hoping to beat that. I don’t want to set my goals too high because a) it’s the beginning of the season and b) I’ll just be disappointed with myself if I aim for, say, 18:30 and end up running 20 minutes. There are plenty of chances to lower my PR on that course this season (we literally run there at least five times), so even if I run 20 minutes next week- hey, it’s not like anybody else is in tip-top shape the first week of September either, right?
So anyway, I’m pleased with my performance at the time trial today. Because of our lack of varsity girls today, the next girl (our #8) ran around 21 minutes. Then a completely-new-to-cross-country girl ran 21:25ish and my friend that we were supposed to pace ran 21:30. Which was her goal!! Yay! Last year, she ran 24:30 at the time trial, which just goes to show how much more seriously we’ve all taken summer training this year.
Then I got home and ate three gigantic lemon scones. But what are ya gonna do? 🙂