Happy Friday, friends! I’m nearing the end of my break week from running. The past few days have been kind of weird because I haven’t really had class since my finance midterm on Wednesday afternoon. Coupled with no practice, my schedule seems empty! I’ve been reading, playing piano, and just generally wasting time. I thought I’d use this time to (finally) update you on regionals and the end of the cross country season.
I’m embarrassed/sorry/frustrated to be writing another Debbie-Downer post, but such is life. In short, regionals didn’t go well, and I’m relieved to finally be on a running break.
TL;DR: NCAA Southeast Regional 6k, 22:50, 127th place (YIKES)
In the week leading up to regionals, I tried as hard as I could to help my body recover from whatever the heck is wrong with it. I chose all the shortest mileage options, cross trained on Wednesday, and slept as much as I could. Total mileage for the week was roughly 29. (M6, T8, W3+30minXT, Th4, F8)
Did it work?
I thought it did.
Honestly, I was really excited going into regionals! As a team, we worked on having a positive mentality throughout the week, and it seemed like things were coming together a bit. Tuesday was the last workout before the race, and 3×500, 10 min brisk, 5×300 didn’t kill me off. I didn’t feel great, but compared to the previous weeks, I was satisfied.
I aqua jogged on Wednesday morning and ran 3 miles in the afternoon. We left on Thursday morning and took the vans up to Charlottesville. I’ve been experiencing a lot of motion sickness recently, so van rides haven’t been super fun. I mostly slept on the way up so as to not die. Once we arrived, we did our pre-meet at the course (4 miles, drills, strides, rope stretch). It was rainy and cold, but we were optimistic and excited!
After the pre-meet, we went to Bodo’s Bagels for lunch and then chilled in the hotel until dinner. We went to Whole Foods, had our team meeting, used the NormaTec boots, and I read a book before going to bed at 10 pm. I felt a bit sick that night, but nothing like conferences.
Based on how I had run at Penn State earlier in the season, my “reach” goal was All-Region (top 25), and I knew I could at least place in the top 50. However, based on how I felt throughout the past month, I kept this goal as a possibility but decided to be flexible if I didn’t feel well and just try to have fun.
We woke up at 6:30 on Friday morning, ran a 10-minute shakeout, rope stretched, and ate breakfast.
We put on the flash tats, got ready to go, and arrived at the course around 9 am. It was 40 degrees and windy but sunny! After checking in, we warmed up for a little over two miles, did drills, screwed longer spikes into our spikes, and headed to the line. Our team box was right next to my friend from high school’s team box, and it was amazing to see her! She and her team have been killing it this year.
The gun went off at 10:30, and hundreds of women stampeded down the straightaway. We hit the hills, which were muddy and treacherous, and tackled some rolling hills leading into 2k. This was my fourth time running this course, and I’ve actually grown to enjoy it.
Hundreds of spectators lined the course at 2k (and again at 3k because it comes through the same spot), and we got a boost from their energy and enthusiasm. Our team had driven up that morning to come watch the race since regionals is only two hours from campus. It was amazing to see them!
I felt marginally okay through 2k (although it felt like I was going a lot faster than I actually was). My freshman teammate and I worked together through 3k, but the now-familiar feeling of “what the hell is wrong with my body/why won’t it respond” kicked in at 2 miles. Coincidentally in time for the massive rolling hills to start 😉
I immediately started losing places. The awful part was, I was really positive at the base of each hill! I approached each one thinking, “Ok, this is going to hurt, time to rally, you’ve got this“, but my body just didn’t match my mind. At least I didn’t walk.
After losing probably about 30 places in the span of 2 minutes, I hit the 5k mark at like 19 minutes. Not ideal. Rallied over the last downhill and the beginning of the steepest uphill, but that lactic, tunnel-y feeling took over halfway up the steep hill. Finally got to the finishing straightaway, and by that point, my body was just done. I think approximately 20 more women passed me in the last quarter mile. My eyes wouldn’t stay open and I started weaving and I hate that I was that melodramatic/stupid-looking/slow-moving stereotypical female runner, but it wasn’t mental.
But yay! I finished! Finally crossed that dang line in 22:50 in 127th place (I would find out later). Struggled through a 12-minute cool down to finish out the cross country season. Exactly zero people on my team had a good race, and we finished 17th, which we are all embarrassed of and confused about because the team literally won the region three years ago, but it’s time to move forward 🙂
Even though I’m embarrassed and frustrated about how the second half of the season went, there were many opportunities for growth and positivity that came out of Friday.
For example, my high school teammate had an awesome race and almost got All-Region!! And her team ran strong.
I’m almost a week into my break week and don’t miss training yet. The only activity I’ve done this week has been two yoga classes and one strength routine, but who’s counting 😉 Funnily enough, my finance professor was the yoga instructor on Tuesday! I’m enjoying eating all the foods and doing little movement, but I don’t completely feel like myself. Got tested for mono- don’t have it- and a plethora of other things, so we shall see. I’m looking forward to a slow comeback.
The next post will be more reflections, goals for track, fun life updates, etc. that I’m too lazy to write about right now 🙂