A look back: this is an entry from the running log I keep on Flotrack that I wrote in November 2010 after setting a huge PR at the Regional Cross Country Meet and qualifying for nationals. Basically one of the best days I have ever had as a runner. The kind that makes you say, “it was all worth it.”
Today was Regionals, which we were lucky enough to host. We ran at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, which is where we train once or twice a week. Our team goal was to qualify for nationals by placing top two, and my goal was to win. I was the top returner from last year’s race, where I placed 10th. Winning was realistic, I felt, but certainly not a given, and not the only thing that would make me happy.
We’d prepped all season, planned all season, and the day was finally here. It was 50 degrees, perfect for running, though somewhat windy. I woke up with good feelings and good focus and knew that by just wanting to do well I could will myself to do it. Of course, running on such a familiar course helped.
We went out smooth, and I ran right on the leader’s hip. We got to 1k mark, and our assistant coach didn’t even tell us the split. Later we found out it was fast and he didn’t want to freak us out (3:09).
It was a tight pack of five girls. I was very comfortable through 2k (6:40), recognizing faces, hearing coaches’ advice as I ran by. After 3k it was kind of tunnel vision. I saw only the other runners.
I felt tired but I told myself it wouldn’t hurt any more to just stay with the pack. At 4k I heard Coach Harbour say “You look good! Any time you want to go, you can do it!” I kind of laughed at that thought; I was definitely not feeling strong enough to run away with it. Maybe I should have ? I didn’t believe at that point I could have though. Just stay.
I made it to 5k, I heard 17:15 was our split, two girls took off from the pack. They were only 1 second ahead of me at the 5k but they put quite a bit of distance on me in the span of 1000 meters. Looking back I wonder if I could have just dug a little deeper? How hard could it have been? I don’t know though, it was hard even to keep my form and my legs were buckling.
At that moment in the race, I was convinced I couldn’t have run any harder. One girl who got me in the last 50 meters; I should have beat her but 4th is good enough to get me to the NCAA meet! I ran 20:29 for 6k, a 53-second PR. That was a huge surprise. Confidence booster!
20:29, I can hardly believe it, seriously, it’s like am I the same person? I know it was only one race but but I still did it. It feels so crazy but at the same time it feels so natural. I mean, I did it with my own legs, my own body, my own mind. But that’s so FAST for me. 20:45 was All-American at Nationals last year.
The other news is that Robyn qualified too (20:45) but our team didn’t :/ It was a fast day at Cottonwood and we all set PR’s, but it wasn’t enough. I think they were mostly happy though. There were smiles and tears at the finish.