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).