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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jesse Owens and on to the Half Marathon!

Things have continued to progress over the past 3 weeks since my last post! After Chicago we had a pretty easy week of training with only one real workout, which for some reason was killer for us. I was struggling to hit 40's for 200m and just having an off week. I woke up that following Sunday with a sore throat and cold, so I took my first real day off in months. But after 3 nights of 10+ hours of sleep countless glasses of water and tissues later it was time to slip on my spikes for my final track meet of the season!

The conditions were less than ideal, but I thought I could race well so here is how it went! I got to the track early to watch Jillian, a University of Akron Zip take to the track in the 2nd heat of the women's 5k. Jill raced smart and came up about 1 second shy of a PR despite strong winds and chilly temperatures. Then after watching the CED guys race I went to the car to get warm! I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some tunes while I waited on my teammates to get Jesse Owens Stadium. About 6:30 Jess and Nicole (our cheerleader for the evening) arrived. At 7 we went for our warm up, and we were pretty giggly and chatting about the races earlier in the day. We made the decision to tuck in an wait as long as possible not to have to deal with the wind. Back at the track we did a few final preps, and headed to the line. The gun went off at 8 right on time! I let people take the race out for us and for the first 400 meters the entire field was together in 81 or so. On the 2nd lap the lead pack began to form and pull away from the field so I got around a few people and tucked in at the back of that pack. We were still pretty slow through the mile about 5:23, then for the next 3 laps through 3k we stayed slow, around 81 seconds a lap until finally Jessica took the lead with 2k to go and began to push. I followed after her and Juli Accurso of Ohio University and pushed as hard as I could. I had a good push for 2k and ended up finishing 3rd in 16:47.01. Jess won the race, and had a hell of a last 2k to do it. Something along the lines of 6:22 I believe. I was very pleased with the way I raced. I thought I did all I could have to finish well and ran a decent time. I feel like I am in better shape than 16:40's, but that is what the day yielded and I was really happy with the last 2k in 6:35 or so.

Nicole is racing at Stanford this weekend with hopes of a fast 10k and with the way I felt at 5:24 pace, I think she will race very well and come away with a new PR, and hopefully a chance to race at the USA Track and Field Champs this June! She races pretty late on Sunday, but I might have to get up and watch it, I have a feeling I wont be sleeping well knowing she is racing!

My focus now is on getting into half marathon PR shape so that I can make a run for top 10 and sub 1:15 in Duluth Minnesota in June. I had a solid workout on tuesday and just another step toward becoming the athlete I want to be. The workout was a tough one, but my coach reminded us prior to the start that if we want to reach the goals we have talked about this was the way we were going to get there. It made the workout more fun being reminded of the dreams I was chasing after!

A little picture from the race thanks to Jinger Moore, our awesome photographer!

Monday, April 8, 2013

USATF 8k Club Champs CED Style

This week Cleveland Elite Development headed to Chicago to compete not only as individuals this time, but as a team! The way the scoring worked was they simply added the times of the top 3 runners from the team and the fastest team won! Here is the way our weekend played out!

Saturday morning we all met in Cleveland to drive over together. 6 hours of laughing and staring at the highway later we were at Navy Pier picking up our bib numbers and giddy about having "Cleveland Elite Development" on our backs! We knew we would have to run fast to pull off a top 3 finish, but we were pretty confident we could do so. Brooks Hanson's always has a fast tough team, and Adidas Rouge is tough too, but we thought we should be able to mix it up with them on Sunday morning. Nicole's cousin's live 15 miles outside of the city and they generously allowed us the lower floor of their gorgeous home to stay in complete with 4 beds, 2 bathroom and a pot of coffee we were set! I haven't run a big race in 2.5 years (with the exception of the Olympic Trials in Jan 2011). So getting up and going to the start line with 45,000 other runners in the morning felt like a much missed homecoming!

We warmed up along the lake and did our final prep prior to entering the Elite Coral 15 minutes before the start at 8:30. The weather was FANTASTIC 45 degrees, sunny and a little breeze! When the gun finally went off I felt so excited to be on a big stage again and eager to test my fitness. Nicole and I were together through the mile in 5:24 then I lost her a bit, but aside from some quick turns I could see her pink singlet and spankies the entire way! The 2nd mile seemed like an eternity for some reason as I looked at my watch thinking "I must have missed the 2 mile mark" to find it had only been 3:01 since the mile. I told myself to stay tough, and it didn't matter how long it may seem, it was racing and I was fit to do it! 5:27 for the 2nd mile and feeling ok, I knew I could run a PR. Mile 3 was largely into the wind, and I was 5:43, then back under 5:40 for the 4th mile and I over heard a man announcing the females places. My goal coming into the race was to do all I could to help the team and to fight for top 10. I realized at mile 4 I was in about 10th! 5:28 to close the race in a shiny new PR of 27:41!
Jessica ran fantastic to finish 4th in 26:40, Nicole PR'ed for 6th in 27:14, I finished 9th in 27:41 and Aubrey was 30:33. Brooks Hanson's won the team title and we finished 2nd! Adidas Rouge team was 3rd. We were very excited to have our top 3 in the top 10 and to finish 2nd! I felt giddy with excitement when I realized we had all finished in the top 10 and mixed it up with some pretty solid teams!

This weekend was a great step forward for CED and each of us as athletes! Finally taking steps forward feels so good! My love for running and passion for racing is back in full force. I love my team, I am so proud of their hard work. We talked a LOT about our incredible coach, Glenn Andrews, after the race. He has helped each of us become so much stronger and thus faster, and for me in only 6 months! We are very lucky to have someone leading the way for us that is so knowledgeable and selfless! THANK YOU GLENN!!

CED will be back in action on April 19th at the Jesse Owens classic (Jessica and I) and I believe April 20th at the University of Akron (Aubrey and Heather).

Monday, April 1, 2013

All this giddy-up is making me giddy!

What a weekend! As you may have noticed I have been getting a little excited and it has been flowing into my blog posts! This weekend took my excitement to a whole new level!

First things first, last week was a down week because we had a race Friday and we will race again on Sunday April 7th. So our mileage was down to 65-70 and we had a relatively short workout on Tuesday. The real excitement of the early part of the week was hearing Barb Broad, a Cleveland Elite Development Athlete, re-cap her USA Masters Championships weekend for us. Barb started the weekend off with a National Championship win in the 60-65 age group 3000m. She followed that up with a 6:06 mile effort to bring home gold only 4 seconds away from an age group world record! Finally she closed off the weekend with a new age group American record in the 800m with a stunning time of 2:41! So needless to say we soaked up her experience on our cooldown with giggles and comments of her incredible fitness level in the face of age! I can't really explain the pride it made me feel knowing I get to share the track with her, and learn from someone as ageless as Barb. Such an inspiration!

The latter part of the week held it's own excitement when Thursday morning 4 of us ladies headed to Raleigh to chase down some times of our own! We had an uneventful trip down and lots of laughs. Once finally in Raleigh it was time for some sleep. Friday started off right with coffee and then we headed to the track to get things underway. Aubrey, our 25 year old goofball, was the first to go...knowing that she had a PR of 18:50 going in, we all were aware that would soon change! Aubrey ran a very smart race moving up the entire time to crush her PR by 30 seconds running 18:20! Now if that isn't starting off on the right foot, I am not sure what is! Then a heat with some of the ladies on the University of Akron team went off, and both Akron girls raced well and came away with a PR for Jill 17:51, and a season (including indoor) best for Marissa 18:18! Next up was Heidi, our honorary team member from just south of Canada, she is probably the mature gal of the bunch, which means she thinks before she speaks around here! lol! Heidi is a newby to the distance side of the track world and in only her 2nd 5k she ran like a veteran, slowing moving up through the other athletes and nearly pulling off a win in her heat! She managed to take 35 seconds off of her PR and run 17:18! Needless to say I was a little giddy to see so much giddy-up out there!!

We went back to the hotel and got in a nap since Nicole and I wouldn't race until 8:30 and 10:00 pm. After a nap and some food we were back at the track! I was next to toe the line. Unlike my teammates, I didn't race as smart. I thought 5:15-5:16 pace would be good for the first mile and hoped to go from there. I was a little fast though 6 laps and it came back to haunt me a bit. I was able to hold on better than I ever have in the past and pull off a PR by .26 seconds...but who is counting! 16:46.56 to finish 20th in my heat! It was another great step in the right direction. 18 seconds faster than last month! My first PR since this exact day 3 years ago!
Finally Nicole took the track. I was probably more nervous to watch her than I was for my own race, but I quickly could see she had this one under control! She clicked away 81-82 seconds a lap for all 25 laps with the exception of lap 1 and lap 25 which were 79's! 33:55!! 5 seconds from the USA B standard and over 1 minute under her previous PR!

I couldn't help but feel my heart swell with pride for this team! Things really seem to be coming along! I think I can speak for us all when I say I think this is only the beginning of the things we are capable of doing! I am pretty sure my heart swelled a little too much because the next morning I promise was one of the tougher 4 miles of my life! My rib cage and triceps were killing me, at 8:45 pace! haha! I haven't stopped thinking about how exciting all of this is! We are being careful to stay healthy, and trying to continue to improve on our fitness looking forward to the upcoming weeks!

Check out the results for the USA 8k Club Championships Sunday as we will be back in action in Chicago!