Tag Archives: cross country

A Road Trip 

Haven’t been anywhere in over a year…but we went to Florida Friday and Saturday as chaperones to a high school cross country meet. 

As you may know, parts of Florida were hit by a massive hurricane this weekend. (Please keep all of the folks affected in your thoughts and prayers). We went to Tallahassee which was not effected by the hurricane. 

Tallahassee itself isn’t particularly scenic, nor was the drive down there.. mostly cotton fields for scenery 

We kept ourselves entertained by playing a highly intellectual game that our 3 girl passengers called Fudoodle: every time you see a yellow vehicle you hit the roof of the car and say fudoodle. School buses and machinery don’t count.

I was the reigning champion, mainly because I kept playing after everyone else had quit.

We drove straight to the course so that we could meet up with the rest of the team to do a preview. The meet was the Florida State invitational race. I believe that it is Florida State Univ s  home course. Most of the Florida teams use it as their state course preview. But there were other out of state teams there too.

We let the girls out of the car, then we ran the course 2 times. And I have got to say, this was the most spectacular cross country course I’ve ever seen.  If God created a cross country course, this what it would look like.  

I am certain that this course was built from the ground up specifically for cross country. Everything single aspect of this race/course was perfect. Even down to fabulous port o pots. Clean, clean, clean, and running water next to them so you could wash your hands! 

Spectators weren’t allowed near the finish chutes. So there was a mobile jumbo-tron that allowed us to watch our finishers.

The course itself was perfection. The surface was gravel/hard sand on places, low grass/dirt in other. Almost the entire course was in the shade of beautiful Spanish moss draped live oaks. The track was so wide, you could literally drive 2 Mac trucks down it. Even the one hill was very thoughtfully designed. It was tiered. So after a bit of ascent, there was a small depression/plateau which you can use as a spring up to the next ascent. Turn the corner, and a beautiful point 2 mile downhill (but not too steep) finish. 

The weather on race down was almost perfect. And it was our coolest race all season so far. Around 70 degrees and very low humidity and a nice breeze.

On a personal note, out daughter did well. She had a massive stress fracture and missed almost the entire season last year. This year she has been working her way back, while trying to improve her form to avoid another stress fracture. She still hasn’t beat her last year’s one race PR, but every race she is dropping 30 seconds. 

Hopefully she can keep improving!

Advertisements

A Fantastic Day in Rome (Georgia)

We spent half of yesterday in beautiful Rome, Georgia at our girl’s first cross country meet of the season. Since she only raced once last year before missing her season to a severe stress fracture, this was going to be her 2nd ever meet! All of us were excited, but nervous about the possibility of more injury.

It turned out to be a spectacular day for everyone….our daughter, us, our teams!

First Race

The first race of the day was an open race. My husband and I decided to run it. My husband had a blood sugar dip right before the start, so I lined up by myself. There were middle schoolers as well as post high school runners. I noticed our mechanic’s son near me. He is one of the fastest runners in Atlanta, and an xc coach. He had his team there for the meet, and decided to run. When the gun went off, it seemed like the whole field of runners except me was sprinting. I noticed I was one of the oldest runners, and just prayed not to finish last!

The course was beautiful and rolling. But I went slower than I’d hoped. I felt ashamed of how slowly I was going. Especially with our whole team plus parents there! After passing by the 2 mile mark, I saw our teams lined up on one  side of the course, many parents lined up on the other. Oh crap. They were cheering so loudly, and I felt so embarrassed of my slowness that I didn’t even look up as I approached them. As I neared them, it occurred to me that no one knew how slowly i was running; they were just happy to see me running. I looked up and waved and smiled! The girls had made up a cheer/chant/dance. It was so cute and It made me so happy! 

Today a few of them recreated the cheer at my house and allowed me to film it. I have already watched/shared SOO many times! 

Here you go:

Second Race

Girls varsity. 2 great things about this race: our daughter hit her goal, and so did her best running buddy!

Our daughter’s goal was to finish the race, and finish pain free! Her time wasn’t great, but she finished! And without pain!! There will be a second Race this season!

At least as exciting is the fact that our girl’s bff (the one I wrote about 2 posts ago), PR’d by 20 seconds! I couldn’t be more proud if she were my own!! She changed her strategy, and went out faster than normal. It worked! And the icing on this one is that she was able to beat her arch rival for the very first time! 

Third Race

Boy’s varsity. Our fastest boy is only a sophomore. He had an outstanding freshman year. He looked awesome yesterday, and won the entire race! 15:59. It was thrilling to watch how much he won by. 

Fourth Race

JV girls and boys combined.  This was a crowded race. It took a long time for the racers to space out. 

It also took a while for the race to finish. While we watched the last runners finish, we heard a loud cheer go up as the last runner and his bike escort appeared. As he ran by, I saw that he was a Downes Syndrome young man.
Oh my goodness…how inspiring. Sappy to say, but I shed a tear on that one.

What an amazing sport and an awesome day!

Here is a pic of the the parents/family supporters…lots of us!

A Moment of Pride for a Child Who Isn’t Even Mine!

We’ve know M since she and my daughter have been toddlers. M is a twin, and we all used to play together in our neighborhood pool.  The girls would all take turns jumping off the side of the pool into my arms when they were very young. When they were a bit older, they’d all take turns having me throw them up into the air and then splash into the pool. 

Now, the girls are in high school and M and my daughter run cross country. They are good friends, which makes me very happy since M is such a kind hearted, generous, hard working girl. 

It has been amazing to watch M grow and improve as a runner. When she first started running as a freshman, nobody noticed this shy, quiet, self conscious girl. But every race that fall, she got better and faster until by the end of the season, she was the number 2 girl. 

Last season, she became #1 in the time trial…an internal race held at the beginning of the season for positioning. 

She had an amazing season last year, and became one of the fastest girls in the county. Our county is the largest school district in the state, so this is big! Her track season was awesome too.  We drove to track meets just to watch her.  

And now cross country season has started again. At the start of each athlectic season, the county newspaper ranks the top 6 athletes in each sport. It’s called the Super 6. And our girl M made super 6!!! I’m so  proud of this young lady…almost like she was mine! Proud, and in awe. 

Can’t wait to see what she does this season!

Race Report – A Timed Ultra Marathon

Well, you already know the end of this story.  I ended up surprising myself and running 50 miles in my first ultra marathon.  My goal was to run 50k (or 31 miles), so it was a real shocker to end up doing 50 miles!!

It was an absolutely awesome experience, and I will definitely do it again.  Especially this one.  It was 15 minutes from my house!!

 

fb_img_1457891550515.jpg

The trail.  It was close to parking, so we could all set up our own stations right out the back of our cars

First, a bit of the particulars:  The 12 hour event was held in a park that had a .75 mile hard packed sand track loop.  To make each lap a full mile, there was a .25 out/back trip to a bridge added on.  There were 54 participants who ran the gamut in age (20-69) and fitness levels.  30 of the participants were female (two of whom were 67 years old and one who was 68!!!).  The one mile laps were counted by volunteers, who tracked a set number of runners all 12 hours long!

 

wp-1458135312898.jpeg

The ‘to the bridge’ portion of the loop

 

Let me tell you, this was one of the most inspirational events I’ve ever witnessed/participated in.  (Boston Marathon being the other one).  This was not like a regular race.  While regular races really are fun, they are competitive (which don’t get me wrong, I like!) vs. cooperative.  Everyone at this event was so supportive of everyone else.  In the course of the twelve hours, we all got to know/run with many of the other runners.  These are people who  never would have met each other in our everyday lives. And here we were, running with and encouraging each other for hours!! As you can image, we’re all now best friends forever on Facebook!

 

Since the event was in “our territory”, 10 of the runners were from the same run group. Many of us already knew each other. And the ones who didn’t know each other at the start did by the end! Also, since we were so close to home, many more runners from our run group stopped by to cheer or run with us!

image

Steve and I ran the event, and ran together for the first 28 miles.  My best running friend Maria (in the tigger capris) showed up to run a bit with us!

image

Runners and supporters from our run group!

All that support made this event super!
As I already said, my goal was initially to do 31 miles. But, once I reached that goal, I felt like I could keep going. My next goal was 40 miles.

A friend showed up at mile 38 and told me I was doing 50. Another one of the runners started saying that too. I wasn’t interested, but kept on running. By mile 43, I agreed to 50!  And by the time I committed, I just barely had enough time to finish.  I completed 50 with 8 minutes to spare!

My friend ran with me….or i should say ran/walked all 12 of those last miles! She was my cheerleader and encourager. Without her, it truly wouldn’t have happened!

image
There is so much more I have to say about this race. But I think I’ll save it for another post. In parting, I want to say, that when it was over, I took a shower.
image

Changing the Title to: Close Encounters with 2 Olympic Runners

As you may know, we are huge high school cross country fans.  Our son ran, and now our daughter is running.  We avidly follow the speediest runners in our state.  And we have even gone to watch races in the gap years when neither child was racing.  For instance last year (our son had graduated, but  our daughter hadn’t entered high school), my husband and I ran a local race.  We knew I had placed in my age group, but decided to skip the awards ceremony so that we could get to the nearby cross country races.  Believe it or not, FRANK SHORTER was giving out the age group awards at the ceremony that we had skipped!!

We continue our fandom even after  cross country season ends. Around Thanksgiving, there is a regional race open to all.  The speediest high school runners from all over the Southeast attend. The Footlocker SE Regionals are held in Charlotte, NC.  Each year, we follow the results of the regionals through twitter feeds, live updates, and Facebook posts.

There are 3 other regional races held in other parts of the country.  The top ten finishers of each regional race then participate in the Foot Locker National race held in Balboa Park in San Diego, CA.   Each year we watch the live feed of this race over the internet.

When our boy ran, we mostly followed the boys.  Now that our girl runs, we mostly follow  the girls.  This year, there have been several speedy girls in the state of Georgia  that we have enjoyed watching.  We were thrilled to learn that THREE Georgia girls made the top ten at the SE regional!  This is unheard of!  Three girls from Georgia going to San Diego!!

The Footlocker National race was held this weekend.  We were able to watch it over the internet, and were once again inspired to watch these high school athletes compete at such an intense level.  The girls winner finished with a time of 17:09…on a HILLY course! The Georgia girls did well too.  15th, 19th and 39th. I get nervous and inspired and happy every time I watch the Footlocker races!

Several years ago we were able to attend and race in the SE Regionals! When our son was a senior, we took him to Charlotte.

IMG216-001

2012 SE Footlocker Regionals (can’t believe he allowed me to take his pic!)

Before the high school athletes race, there is a race open to any non-high schooler.  My husband and I signed up for it.  Talk about NERVOUS!  But the race was awesome!  For the most part, the runners were  former high school or college runners.  It was a very fast field, with very few females.  Normally I put myself toward the front of a race.  Not here!  I looked around and felt slow even before the race started.  I backed up and made a joke with the middle aged woman next to me about letting faster looking young men get to the front of the start line.  She laughed but didn’t say much.

The race itself was tougher than I’d expected.  Running cross country is harder than running on pavement.  Some of the terrain felt like sand, and it was hard to get a good foothold.  The fans were very supportive though.  High school girls that I didn’t know yelled encouragement to me as I passed…”Go MOM!”.  At the time, my finish time disappointed me.  During that Fall, I had finished several races in the 22s.  This one was 23:40.  (In retrospect, I’m perfectly happy with this time).

Next up was  our son’s race.  While we were waiting for his race to start, I stopped by the awards table to see if they had any results.  Amazingly, I had earned an award!! Twenty three women raced in the entire Master’s category.  The top 20 finishers received awards.  The top ten were gold medal winners.  The next ten received silver medals.  I finished 9th!! A Gold Medal!

img_20151213_201740.jpg

My favorite medal EVER!

 

The top lady in the category finished 6 full minutes faster than me.  Yes, a woman over forty finishing with something starting with a 17!! Amazing.  I later googled her name.  Zola Pieterse.  Maiden name BUDD.  Yes, she ran for the UK in the Olympics in the 80s!  She is the one who had a collision with Mary Decker on the track that caused Mary Decker to not finish.  WOW!!  I wonder if that was the middle aged lady that I had been joking with at the start.  She must have thought I was an idiot!

Our son ran, and did fine.  His finish time also started with a 17.  He was just barely faster than Zola!  He wasn’t pleased with his time though.  (They never are). One of the boys from our high school finished second!  He had been the fastest boy in Georgia for the past three years.  So with his second place finish, he earned a gold medal (I like to joke that Josh and I were the only 2 from our high school with the gold medals), and a spot in the Footlocker Nationals!

Today I am trying a link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.   See rules here. Thank you ladies!

WeeklyWrap

 

 

 

 

Two 5ks and an A Half Ironman Triathlon

Wow!  I had an awesome weekend!  2 5ks, a half Ironman Triathlon,  and a visit with my sweet in-laws!

My first 5k was on Saturday on the cross country course that my daughter was going to be racing on later.  Super muddy, and super slow time for me.  I hope the 2 were related! On a funny note, I noticed my racing nemesis (who is really a good friend) way behind me.  I thought to myself HA – FINALLY, I’ll get to beat her!  But at the moment she saw me and yelled out my name, I knew I had a target on my back! And yep, she got me coming up a hill turning into the finish straight away.  Her son saw, and was laughing as she passed me! (In a good way).

(one of the girls from our team) Look how muddy the race was!

(one of the girls from our team) Look how muddy the race was!

My second 5k was on Sunday morning.  And I ran it as a bandit. Here’s the story:

I had been chatting with a friend last week who told me that she was training to run a 5k in under 30 minutes.  She told me which race she was going to try for it, and I – without thinking – told her what an awful finish that race had.  I could see immediately that I’d unintentionally scared the crap out of her.  Then I felt really bad.  So to try to make up for being such a butt-head, I offered to pace her.

Cheering on a friend at the end of a 5k (I'm to the left of the cones next to shirtless guy who is one of the HS XC coaches)

Pacing a friend at the end of a 5k (I’m to the left of the cones next to shirtless guy who is one of the HS XC coaches)

She didn’t quite make her goal because the finish (a full, steep, uphill mile) really is awful.  But we had fun.  Plus it was a local race, so I got to see and chat with tons of friends.  And yes, my racing nemesis was there too! I think she won the Masters! (at age 53!!)

And then it was on to the Ironman Half Triathlon in Augusta, GA.  And no, I didn’t participate.  My sister and another friend were competing, so I decided to combine a cheer trip with a quick visit with my in-laws who live nearby.

I am super impressed with both of these ladies for completing this race!  The total distance was 70.3 miles.  1.2 mile swim (1.9k), 56 mile bike (90k), and 13.1 run (21.09k).  And my sister did it in less than 6 hours!!  How awesome is that!

My sister in the run portion

My sister in the run portion

My brother in law and I were spectating next to a couple whose son and daughter were racing.  The parents were SO excited when they spotted their kids – running together!

Their mom waving to Bobby and Amy - brother and sister

Their mom waving to Bobby and Amy – brother and sister

And I saw this funny sign

A funny sign

A funny sign

Today I am trying a link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.   See rules here. Thank you ladies!

WeeklyWrap

So, overall a pretty awesome weekend.

How was your weekend? Did you do any races?

A Day Well Spent

Well, another weekend, another cross country race!  This weekend, our school was the host.  That meant that all parents were encouraged to volunteer.  There is actually a lot of work and coordination that goes into the organization of a cross country race…from marking the course before the race, to manning the parking lot and collecting parking fees, to coordinating the porta-potties, to arranging for timing, to removing the timing chips at the end of the race.  And I could go on.

Since both my husband and I run, we were selected to be sweepers.

Sweepers

Sweepers

What an AWESOME job!! It was our responsibility to pick up the last runner in each race and escort (or trail) and encourage them to the finish.  There were a total of 8 races, so the sweeper crew took turns.  I wound up sweeping 4 times (jumping in after the first mile in most of the races).

This job is awesome for several reasons:

A) You get to meet some really great kids.  I got to meet 4 kids this time.  I chatted with each one, got to know their names, and a bit about them.  All were new (VERY NEW) to running.  None had ever run 3.1 miles before.  And each one was DETERMINED to finish the race even though they were going to be last by a substantial margin.  Very Admirable.

Cross Country Race Sweeper

Cross Country Race Sweeper

B) As a parent spectating at a cross country race, you normally only get to see portions of the course.  As a sweeper, you get to see and know the whole course!

C) Spectator support.  Everyone was so supportive of the last runners.  Over and over parents and kids yelled out encouragement and compliments as we passed.  Some even yelled out encouragement to me, which was pretty super!

Overall, we spent more than 6 hours at the races, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent our day!  And the funny thing was, our girl didn’t even run this race (due to some calf pain).

Trying a link up again.  Thank you ladies! Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life! Please check out their blogs and link ups!