Regionals! I’ll jump right in. We left school at 12:45 and got to the sports complex around 1:30. My race wasn’t until 7, so-lucky me- I got to sit around for five hours.
Everybody’s events were before my race, so some highlights from my team include:
- my friend won the girls’ mile in 4:56! and another friend ran her season best time
- our boys’ 4×8 unexpectedly qualified for states by finishing second after being seeded something like tenth
- another friend ran a season best time in the 1000
- our lone regional-qualifying freshman toughed it out and raced the 500 while nauseous/sick
There were 22 people seeded in my race; I was the first seed in the slower section. But the rules stated that if 20 or fewer people checked in, they’d combine the heats. Exactly 20 people checked in, so we thought there would be one heat. That would have been great for me because I’d have girls ahead of me, but as we walked to the starting line, the race official went, “There’s too many of you for one heat. We’re sticking with two.”
After we found out I was the first seed in the slow section, my coach told me that my super-duper-complicated race strategy was to “go for it.” As in, literally go crazy the first mile. He wanted me to aim for the state auto (which was 11:13 and, oh, only 23 seconds faster than my PR…)
(This is when I tell you I miraculously got the state auto time, right? Spoiler alert: Nope. Not even close. But I’m not unhappy at all about that because I knew I wouldn’t get it anyway.)
My personal strategy would’ve been to go out around 5:45 for the first mile because that’s 11:30 pace. But no.
Coach: “Just go for it. Go out in 5:30 or 5:35.”
Coach: “Yeah! 5:35 or faster, that sounds good.
Coach: “Have fun with it! See what you can do.”
So, being a dutiful runner student and against my better judgment, I went to the front after 400 meters and went through the mile in 5:35… (fun fact: it was faster than the fast heat’s mile split would end up being!)
I was ridiculously relaxed through the first mile; my arms were low, I had my game face on, I could see and hear everything, and I felt good.
The second mile was hell. I felt the effects of that 5:35 hit me immediately after I passed with eight laps to go, and I knew that I was in for a rough time.
To make matters worse, I had to lead for the entirety of the race, which was both physically exhausting and mentally ridiculously difficult. I. Hate. Leading. It’s so much easier when you can just latch on to the person in front of you and coast off of them until outkicking them at the line!
Too bad I was the person that this happened to…
The bell lap sounded and I tried, tried, tried to kick, but with no one in front of me I had zero incentive. I focused on my turnover and powered down the backstretch. I rounded the final curve and….heard a girl come up beside me.
After leading for fourteen laps, I had simultaneous thoughts of “This is so unfair” and “Oh hell no!” I sped up and gave it everything I had; we were neck and neck all the way down the home stretch.
I ended up losing by three hundredths of a second, but that’s okay. I had PRed by 8 seconds and finished in 11:28!! (I only missed the state auto by 15 seconds….hahaha)
My second mile had been a 5:53. Lesson learned: I can’t go out 10 seconds faster than goal pace……