November 12, 2012

State! Followed by my return to training

This blog post is long overdue. I had started a post prior to State, but got too busy to finish it. As you can see from this title- MY TEAM WENT TO STATE!!!!!

My ex husband was an athletic director. He was not the most supportive person, and once he gave me a "lesson" about how "not everyone gets to go to State; it's a very, very difficult thing." He's one of those people that steps on others to boost himself up. And that was years ago, but that little "lesson" has stuck in my brain all this time. When I took on my XC team this year, as a first-timer XC Coach, I knew State would be a total pipe dream, especially after we did that first 5K time trial. It wasn't until the County Meet (last regular season meet) that I had a glimmer of hope.

I made some coaching friends this season, a very special one being Coach Y. He's probably a billion years old, but has a phenomenal resume, his own running AND coaching. His words were like gospel to me throughout the season. Side note to say that my team is small. 10 girls and only 6 boys. And hindsight is 20/20, but the kids raced their hardest every.single.week. (This is something I plan to change next year. Coaching fail.) Before Sectionals, Coach Y sent me an email explaining to me that many teams in our section had not been racing their fastest kids each week. Meaning that I likely had false hope of placing high due to everyone else's sandbagging. (Actually that's not sandbagging, just smart coaching! Coaching fail on my part.) So, what would we do but go out and run our best?

At Sectionals, my girls had a huge team blunder. I swear, these kids are so much like me, it's scary. The ENTIRE girls team got lost on the course during their warm up. Yep, almost missed the start. They ended up sprinting back and didn't have time to regroup before the start. My top girls didn't get to change their shoes, either. Haha, like I said, a bunch of mini-mes. All but my top runner had EXCELLENT races. I think the faster you are, the harder it is to regroup when something doesn't "go right", but who knows, I could be wrong about that. We also had our first little girl fight out there on the course. The final place that I stood on the course, was at about 2.7. One of our opponents kept trying to nudge my girl off the course! And I finally screamed. Hahaha, I yelled, "you're going to be reported, BC!" And Coach Y? Well, he got it all on video. And we turned her in. And she got DQed. And I don't even feel bad about it because WE GOT THIRD IN THE SECTION!!!!! My girls earned their ticket to State!

My boys were pretty bummed. We knew going in that it would be a battle. My 3rd guy had been very sick in the previous week, hardly run at all. My 4th guy was still struggling with knee pain that I mentioned in a previous post. Basically, these kids had had a long, hard season. They were tired. BUT, still fought a good fight. My top two guys qualified as individuals. One of them ran barefoot nearly the whole way! His shoe came off in the first half mile; so he threw the other one off and ran barefoot! Still ran in the 18s!!!!!

The week after Sectionals, I kind of lived on a high. I pretty much told everyone on earth about our upcoming trip to State, but I was SO busy. It's hard to coordinate an overnight trip for teens. Hahah. I pulled it off and we left Friday morning for the 6 hour drive up. The kids ran very well Saturday, but it definitely wasn't our goal race. Our goal race had passed, and I wanted the kids to just enjoy the experience and be proud of everything they'd accomplished. My top 3 girls still ran PRs. I think the adrenaline and competitiveness of the event helped with that. We had a great time- looked around the Indian Mounds, ate a bunch of pasta, and I pretty much let them stay up as late as they wanted. I mean, we were playing that Dance Wi thing, very harmless.

The girls placed last, but I haven't told them yet. It's not important. It was such a pipe dream to even get to State- only 16 teams... I am still proud, proud, proud. And now it's over.

I thought I would be elated for the season to end. I've been so overworked and tired- since June 1. I have not had a *real* break in coaching kids since February! So, I got my break, my time to reclaim my life. I get to train for real now; no more excuses or interruptions. But, I'm sad. It's impossible to put into words the way I feel about those teens. I've been a racing slump of my own for the past, well, near YEAR,  but this brings a great deal of satisfaction to me. Watching them grow and improve has been a true blessing, not just from a coach's standpoint, but watching kids in general. They've kept me young, made me laugh, helped me keep life in perspective.

And now it's time to move on and up. I've grounded all the kids for at least a week, but given them the option of taking up to 3 weeks off. They definitely need a break- mentally and physically. Some of them will be back for track, but a lot of them play other sports. They also want to do a half marathon. And no, I did not try to talk them into this. I actually worry that they aren't experienced enough to handle the mileage. As promised, however, I am making a few of them beginner half marathon plans to follow for the months between XC and track. See, what I mean? These kids are mini-mes. Hahah!

I'm finally getting back to training again, and I also feel that fire in the belly. I have a few things I'm going to work out, mostly nutrition stuff. Yesterday, I paced the 3:30 group at Pensacola. It was a really hot and humid day. I felt fine until Mile 16, then a bit nauseous. A lot of the group slowed; so I told our other pacer to go ahead, and I would try to pull the ladies to a 3:35 BQ. Well, come Mile 22, I was projectile vomiting. It's kind of like the Britney Spear's song, "Oops, I did it again." There is definitely something wrong with my gut. I mean, I still finished the race in 3:3X, but STILL! I puked after the race, too, couldn't even make it to the trashcan. Here I am in a tutu with the sponsor store jersey on, puking the massage line! Then, I got out of line and puked in the grass on the way to get a drink. And as if that wasn't enough, I had to pull over on the interstate on the way home to puke on the side of the road. Needless to say, when I got home, I was spent.

I will take it easy a few days, then get back on that training horse again. My cycle will look similar to last time, which I think is great. Josh Cox, one of my favorite elites, once said that you should stick with similar training methods for more than one cycle, because sometimes your body has to adjust before it has the breakthrough. Sounds good to me! I felt a lot of success with my training, and I'm hoping to log a few more miles, but keep similar speed sessions. We'll see if coach allows it. Hahha. Prior to Woodlands Marathon (my spring goal race), I have a few half marathons on the radar. It's a distance I don't run very often, mostly because we don't have many around here. Who wants to race a half when it's a bazillion degrees?

And that's a wrap! If you hung with this post to the end- THANK YOU! Hahaa. 


  1. Congrats on an awesome season coach!! You and your athletes have much to be proud of and I am sure they will be a group you always remember (and that they will always remember you as well). I am excited to see you get back to training and racing too. There are big things ahead for you I know it! Hugs!

  2. Congratulations to you and your team. I know I've said it before but those girls are so lucky to have you. It's great to see you get such satisfaction out of this.

  3. Insert obligatory "are you pregnant" question here. ;)

    CONGRATULATIONS to you and your team on State! You guys worked so hard this season. You absolutely deserved to be there. So glad the kids got to experience it.

    Way to go on pacing! I can't believe you projectile vomited and kept a 3:35 pace. I think vomiting is my breaking point. Well, I haven't done it yet but I think that's my white flag of surrender. I hate puking!

    And yes, I would love to plan a meet up race!! Yesyesyes!

  4. Congrats on an awesome season! Your excitment is clearly visible and I'm positive your impact is one of the reasons your children did so well :)

    Projectile vomiting is not good. Nutrition woes suck. Hope you get yours figured out soon!

  5. What a tale! The girls getting lost, the video camera catching that girl in the act, the kid running barefoot, I just love this!! And I'm thrilled that you found a coaching friend/mentor, you really needed that, the way it was so Boys Club as you described, really glad you found someone to bond with.

    So glad you found your own fire again as well. As for the puking, I wonder if that was an electrolyte thing: hot, humid days mean more sweat which means more of a need for electrolytes. Just a thought. Been reading about this stuff, my next post is about potassium.

    Lastly, you look adorable in the photo. :)

  6. What did you call this post? State and a return to training... Well I like the part about the State, and how well your kids ran to get there. Now that bit about "you" getting back to training sounded more like, lets run a marathon for fun and use that as a base to start training again...

    I Like it!

  7. Congrats to you and your runners on a great season! I'd love to coach XC! Maybe someday. ;)

    Hmmm,vomit and running don't seem like the best combo. Well, vomit is pretty much absolutely awful whenever. Hope you're all recovered!

  8. Now I get to be proud of YOU!!

    The mark of a good coach is one who takes a careful re-eval of their season and thinks how to make things better for the good of the athletes. You nail that category. May many more coaches follow in your footsteps.

    And who else could run a 3:30 marathon while projectile vomiting in a tutu? Gotta be some kind of a record! But yes, troubleshoot the nutrition:)

    Onward and looking forward to how you do this next cycle. Josh Cox is not only cute, but a wise dude:)

  9. Wow, Congrats on an amazing season! I know I say this often to you but...I don't know how you do it! I cant even imagine a girl trying to nudge another girl off the course...wth! Weird!

  10. Pipe dreams happen, Baby!! Isn't it nice to be the leader when they do? :)

    Great job this season! You have given a ton of yourself and earned this moment of glory- reaching state with a rookie team. For what it's worth, I would have had no idea about how often to have an XC team race full-on hard either. Glad you have a mentor there!

    About the Tutu pacing. Darn! At least you looked cute puking..(lame attempt at humor there.) It will be fun to see you race some half marathons!