(South Region Top 10)
Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
This weekend has been awesome in my opinion! This past Saturday, November 26th, was the FootLocker South Region Cross Country Meet. The meet is held at McAlpine Park and has multiple races for everyone throughout the day. I was running in the girls seeded (championship) race, where the top ten runners qualify for the national championship race to be held in San Diego in 2 weeks. To say I was excited for this race was an understatement, I was pumped!
When I got to McAlpine race morning, I loved walking around and seeing all the great runners from all across the 14 states in this region. I did a nice warm-up run and prayed while I psyched myself up for the race. Then I did some drills and sprints to get the ole engine rolling. When it was race time I went and got in my spot on the starting line that my Mom had saved for me, and mentally got ready for the start of the race. I had a plan going into the race that I wanted to try and hit. I was prepared for a quick start but wasn’t prepared for exactly how fast it really would be.
Everyone was on the starting line (all 200+ of us) waiting for the gun to go off. I knew I needed to be ready to go fast to get up towards the front so I don’t have to spend energy weaving around people late in the race. When the gun went off everyone took off at seemingly full speed for the first quarter mile. I was able to get to the front of the pack as we ran down the opening half mile straightaway. We went through the 1k point in 3:14-3:15, a full 5 seconds faster than I planned and most of that in the first quarter mile. Despite the speed, there was a huge group as we weaved through the forest. After so fast a start I could feel the lactic acid building up in my legs, but I knew this was a race not a biology lesson. So I continued to be the one to push the pace up front as we went by the 1 mile and 2k points because I knew I was strong enough to hold on in the last mile even if I wouldn’t necessarily get the win.
As we came to the hill at about a mile and half, there was a pack of about 11 or 12 of us. Seeing as how there are only 10 spots that make the finals each of us attacked the hill. I powered up the steep hill and flew on the downhill, we all did. Coming off the hill I was in about 6th place. My body kept going as we rounded the lake, knowing that it wanted to slow down but shouldn’t. I was passed once going around the lake as the field started to stretch out. As we passed the 2 mile point I was in 7th place. As we enter the back section of the course we passed pockets of people cheering like crazy. Just before we reached the 4k point Sammy George (another NC runner) zoomed past me and caught and passed the girl (Bridget) just in front of me as well. I knew I was in 8th place and that I needed to really start pushing it and not let anyone else pass me and to not let Bridget get any further ahead of me. As we got to the last 800 meters of the race I heard people yelling for the runners behind me, encouraging them to catch me. I never looked back so I had no clue how many there were or how close but I did know I really wanted a spot on the South Region team for the nationals. So I started to really focus and push as I returned back to the lake for the final 600 meters. As I turned onto the lake all I could hear were cheers and people telling me that the girls behind me were trying to gain on me. I sped up some more, and my arms started feeling like lead, but the only think I could think of was “you can’t get passed now, you got to make it to San Diego!”. As I made the final turn and started down the last 200 meter straightaway, the noise was deafening and I kicked it in to the finish line in 8th place.
When I crossed the line I was so tired but I couldn’t have been happier, I had made it on to nationals! The top ten girls were then escorted to a tent where we were given some water and had some forms to fill out for Nationals, had our pictures taken and did a few interviews. Man it was truly amazing and I was so happy! The top ten girls were all awesome and can’t wait to go to San Diego and run with them. Go Team South!!!