A PR and pre-race worry.

Happy Halloween!

I’m supposed to be packing right now, but decided I wanted to get in a quick post before leaving for state tomorrow. As I mentioned before, my whole team is going to state for cross country. We qualified last Saturday at Districts and will run this Saturday at the 1A Cross Country State Championships. Even the name of the race shows sounds important! What I didn’t mention, was how I ran this weekend. I felt like a post devoted to my teammates was better, but wanted to blow off some of my nerves and talk about my own race and goals for the end of the season.

On Saturday, I ran  a PR. A personal record not only for this season, but for like … ever. My previous time was a 19:36 from this summer, but I raced a bit faster for a 19:12. Ahhhhhh! With that time, I won the district title alongside my teammate “Kevin” and am going onto state ranked seventh. As in the number seven that comes after six, and is less than 10. Like the top sixteen at state get on the podium and I’m ranked seventh. Yeah, no pressure.

My freshman year of cross country, I  PR’d on the state course with a 20:14 and placed 10th. One of my teammates, now graduated, also placed on the podium in thirteenth. Sophomore year, I had a stress fracture and was still injured near the end of the year running a 21:22 for a solid sixty-fifth place finish. Junior year? Who knows. Saturday was a season PR of 33 seconds. For a 5K, that’s huge and I’m a bit nervous that I won’t be able to run such a good time this weekend.

Joe Newton is a legendary cross country coach who once wrote 129 “thoughts to live your life by.” My own coach often refers to them and I do my best to follow the ones I remember. Faced with such a big weekend, I remember #23. Take responsibility for everything that you do or fail to do. No matter what happens on Saturday, I’ve had a good season, my team has run a good season, and I’ve loved every minute of it all. Using writing as a way to work through my nerves has gone better than expected, actually. I have ton of support from my friends, family, teammates, teachers, coaches, and various others going into race day. I just hope I can relax, have fun, and run a race that’s sure not to disappoint anyone.

We’re leaving tomorrow afternoon and bound for Pasco, so this is the last you’ll hear from me until after the craziness of state has subsided and I’m back at home on Saturday night. I’m almost all packed and am ready to enjoy a six hour bus ride with my team when we leave tomorrow. Wish us luck!

P.S: Andrea and I decided to change things up for the last cross country practice of the season, so we wore high Nike socks. Mostly just boys and/or basketball players wear them, but I think we pulled them off pretty well! Wearing the high socks made us feel insta-cool and feel as though we had cool kid “swag.” Maybe we’re a bit weird, but oh well. That’s us runners for you! :-)

Until next time,

Gabby.

Off to state!

I hope you all had a great weekend and your that your Monday has been a great start to the new week. Before I say anything about my day today, I figured that I should share the totally awesome news from this Saturday.

We’re ALL going to state!

As in out of the 9 of us that ran at Saturday, all 9 of us are going on to race in Pasco this coming Saturday at the 1A State Championships! I am so proud of my team and so excited for this weekend. The boy’s team ended up placing 3rd and secured their passage to state, as the top 5 teams went on. They weren’t able to defend their district title, but all ran great races and I’m sure they will run even better at state.

At the starting line in our famous striped jerseys and together after the race.

As you can kind of tell, it was a wet day in western Washington. The muddy, slippery, cold, and wet conditions were no challenge for our boys though!

As for the girls, only 2 of us ran the District race. Our senior and third girl ended up with a stress fracture late last week in her ankle, and has been on crutches with running put out of the question. Despite the horrible weather and having to crutch around, she still came to support us. Once you’re apart of the team, you’re apart of our family no matter what. Luckily, Andrea and I were still able to get a picture with her after our race. Even though we were soaking, not ready for the picture, and totally exhausted … I have to say, we’re a pretty good-looking girls’ team. ;-)

Andrea ran a season PR and finished 6th, also qualifying for state. No surprise there though! She is a great runner and even greater teammate! Love that girl so much. After our race, we were able to change and keep somewhat warm and dry while watching the boys race. Being responsible, we also ran a cooldown. When we got back, instead of heading over to the awards ceremony for our race, we snacked and congratulated the boys on their race. We totally forgot all about it. Oops! By the time we got over to the awards area, our coach gave us an annoyed look and told us to grab our awards for our separate picture. The top 25 girls that advanced to state all received a medal. We did too, just … a few minutes later. :-)

Overall, Saturday was an awesome day. Despite the cold weather and slick conditions, everyone ran great races. After packing back onto the bus, we decided to finish the day off together and had a team night at our coach’s house. Pizza, pool, fantasy teams, and nostalgic junior high photos made for a good night. Anytime with my team is always a blast and I couldn’t have asked for a better end to my Saturday. We are all going to state and I’m so excited to finish out the rest of my season with some of the coolest people and runners that I know. Until we leave Thursday for Pasco, we still have a few normal practices left in the season. We might have made it to state, but putting in the hard work doesn’t end there. Individually and as a team, we still have a lot to prove.

Oh, and one more thing?

This is my friend and teammate “Kevin.”

As you can see from the State Track & Field sweatshirt, he’s kind of totally a running stud. Not to mention that he’s holding up a #1 because he is number one! “Kevin” won on Saturday with a big PR and is headed into next weekend ranked 10th in the state. With a League and District title behind him, I can’t wait to see how he’ll finish the season in his senior year. Not only is he a great runner, but an awesome teammate and friend. He works hard and gives 100% at every practice along with being supportive and positive of everyone around him. I’ve been lucky enough to run with him these past two years that he’s been on the team and don’t know what I’d do without him. As someone once told me, “Don’t worry about the little things.” Kevin and our other seniors leaving the cross country team may seem like a big change, but with state around the corner and all the good things that have come out of this year already, this seemingly big thing is small in comparison.

So with that, congratulations to our District champion, boys team overall, and of course, Andrea. :-)

State 2012, here we come. 

Until next time,

Gabby.

15 hours from now …

Hey guys!

Just wanted to write a quick post before heading to bed since Districts are in the morning! I wrote about how I was feeling at the beginning of the week about it all, but now? I’m feeling pretty … excited.

I thought I would be super nervous and stressed out, but this is part of the race strategy I’m trying for Districts. My goal is to focus on tomorrow’s race like it is any other meet and not one weighted with importance. If I start thinking about how much this meet means and how important it is that I run a good race to qualify for state, I simply won’t run well. I’ll have beaten myself mentally before I even get to the starting line. I know you’re probably thinking, “Oh, wow. She’s actually learning to relax.” and by thinking that, you’re just as surprised as I am right now! Well … saying one thing is different from actually taking the steps to make it happen, but I’m fairly relaxed and confident about running well tomorrow. With a good attitude, who know what will happen? :-)

As for my team, the two other girls and I said goodbye to our District Championship trophy the other night. Since there are only three of us and at least five are needed for a team, we don’t even get the chance to defend our title. It’s a bittersweet ending to the season seeing our trophy passed on, but I’m still proud to have been on the team that placed our team’s name onto the trophy for the first time in over fifteen years. Giving it up just adds more motivation to getting a girl’s team together next year and winning it back for my senior year. The boys’ team, on the other hand, has a good shot at defending their title and keeping it away from the previous winners that are also the same team that are threatening to take it away tomorrow. If each of our boys runs their best race tomorrow, there is no question that we have a really good chance. That’s up to them though, and knowing my boys? They’re going to give it their all. No doubt about it.

As the tradition of District races go, I like to tell my team good luck. Instead of simply going up to them with a high-five and saying “Good luck,” I make paper stars. For each of my teammates, I write a seperate note, and fold it up into a paper star. I started this tradition my freshman year of track and have done it every District race since then for all of my teammates in obth cross country and track. It’s a more personal way to say both good luck and whatever else I wanted to pass along before the big race. Some of my teammates appreciate them more than others, but either way it’s something that I like to do and has become somewhat expected of me to do. Of course when we get to state I can’t make stars again, so I’m still thinking of something creative to do! Any ideas?

15 hours from now … I’ll be walking through the finish chute of my race and cheering on my fellow teammates and competition. Hopefully with the burden of going to state off my shoulders as well. I have a new race strategy, stars to handout to my team, and plenty of dry clothes for a soaking wet meet. No matter what happens, it’s been a good season and I can say that I’m proud of my team for everything that they’ve done and continue to do. Here we go …

Until next time,

Gabby.

Down to the nitty & gritty.

Here we go …

Last Thursday, my cross country team ran at our home course for our League meet. Excuse me, the “Evergreen League Meet.” We’re getting into the more important meets that happen near the end of the season. League marks the end of the normal season and starts the time of tapering and peaking. Next Saturday is the biggest meet of the year … the “District IV Championships.” It’s the meet that determines if you move onto state. State, in my opinion, is a reward and an accomplishment for making it past districts and for being the last meet of the season. As for Districts? I consider it the most important, nerve-racking, challenging, stressful, and best race of the season. The race where you can prove yourself good enough to go onto state and race with the big kids. As the meet approaches, I’ll let you know how I feel about it. As of now I’m feeling pretty relaxed. Maybe even excited? … Weird.

As for how Thursday went … it went really well! The gal on the far left is our one senior girl. While she ran a good race, it was a bittersweet one as it was her last on our home course after running all through highschool. We still have another two weeks of season left, but I can’t imagine the team without her. A familiar face on my blog, Andrea, ran a great race as well. A medal worthy race at that.

Our boy’s team, on the other hand, is a whole other story. The three of us girls make up a pretty cool group, but the guys are awesome! Like defending League champions awesome! Each of them ran a strong race and I’m excited to see what they can do as a team at Districts. The top five teams move onto state this year. Our team last year became District champions, so I expect the desire to finish out the season strong and to defend their title will push all the boys this year to run great races next weekend. Either way, I’m proud of them for such a great season and for how close they’ve become. There’s nothing better than having a team that always gets along and includes everyone. They are the best!

 

As I mentioned before, League is the last meet for the junior high runners. Throughout the season they’ve become more outgoing, more in-shape, and a huge part of the team. Since there were more of them than those of us on the high school team, I can’t imagine what practice will be like without them. Definitely a lot more quiet and chaotic than we’ve gotten used to! Case in point … I’m going to miss them. We had a great (if not big) group this year and I’m so glad I got the chance to get to know them all. I already can’t wait for next year in hopes that most of them come out for another year of cross country!

 

My own race at League went alright. I ran a 19:45. Not great, but not bad. Again, consistent. My coach told me that he wanted me to try something different, so I changed up my race strategy a bit. Even though there was no change in my time, I felt as though I ran more relaxed, had a stronger finish, and was able to put more surges on my pace when I got tired. I plan on trying yet another strategy at Districts, so I’m crossing my fingers that I can find some racing technique that best works for me and how I run in being able to push myself. My race might’ve been different, but the support from my family was the same. Both of my parents were able to come out and cheer me on during my race. I was able to get a picture with my mom, but not with both of them. You can’t tell were related, huh? My parents are my #1 fans and support me so much in whatever I do.

 

 

Overall, League went well for our team. We had runners win the boys’ high school race, girls’ high school race, as well as the junior high girls’ race. With yet another League title and great races from our three girls, we’re off to Districts. As the season nears the end, I find myself looking back on how much we’ve been through and looking ahead to how little we have left. As I always say, I love my team. We have a great group and I’m so excited to see how we can finish the season in the next two weeks. We’re getting into the nitty and gritty of cross country races where times don’t matter anymore, and only your place does. To that I say, bring on the competition. We’re ready.

 

 

 

Until next time,

Gabby.

This weekend was Homecoming and I had the chance to go with one of my teammates and good friends. The group we went in was huge, but we ended up being with a few others from our team. At the actual dance we got a group picture, but that’s a surprise for our coach. He gave us all a talk about staying safe at the dance along with the advice of following, “What would coach do?” It was a great night and I would say that everything we did was definitely coach approved. :-)

 

 

 

Welcome back to Washington.

“I like the rain, actually.”

Well if Bill Rodgers likes the rain, then I suppose I should too. The past few days have been wet. As in non-stop, windy, pouring, sound of rain on the roof wet. Welcome back to Washington, rain. We’ve missed you. Or at least some of us have.

In honor of Columbus Day, we had no school Friday.Instead of sleeping in, I was up early baking for a cross country bake sale that we had on Saturday. I made my specialty: Molasses cookies. Also, since I was feeling extra creative, I tied ribbons around each package to incorporate our school colors. After two hours of hard work, I’m proud to say that they were one of my best batches and that they looked pretty cute, too! If any of you are interested in getting ahold of the recipe, just let me know. They are delicious!

 

 As for the rest of my day off, I spent it getting ready for all of the Homecoming festivities that start-up tomorrow. With a week before the dance, one of my very wonderful and gifted friends, did my hair on a last trial run through before the actual day of the dance. With everything coming together for next weekend, I’m even more excited to get dressed up and spend the night with such an awesome date and good friends.

Of course a day of school means no practice, right? Oh, no. It means 5 x 1000s in the rain, the day after a race, to work on lactic acid build-up in our legs. I can honestly say that the workout did what it was supposed to after returning home with squishy shoes, tired legs, and a team night ahead of me. Five pizzas, a bunch of board games, plenty of water and Powerade, a Wallace & Gromit episode, chocolate chunk brownies, long car rides out to the middles of nowhere, and nine teenage runners all combined to make a good night. I was exhausted from the workout and would rather have passed out on my couch at 8:30, but I love my team and it was a fun night.

This weekend had been just as exciting as the busy day I had Friday. A four-hour shift at our bake sale, a long run in the rain, hallway decorating with my Junior class, and plenty of downtime to just sit and relax. This coming week is sure to be crazy as it’s Homecoming week. Assemblies for court, last-minute planning for the dance, a parade in the rain, dressing up for the theme each day, and everything else building up to Friday night’s football game. Not to mention that we have our League meet this Thursday. That might be important to remember. 

Until then, I’m going to enjoy the rain in all the waterlogged and squishy shoes that it makes, calming sound on the roof, and general storm that western Washington is having right now. I think that having two months without rain has made my boot dryer lonely as I haven’t had to use it. Welcome back to long sleeves, hats, and extra clothes! I missed the rain. I like it, actually.

Do you like the rain? Any exciting plans for this week?

Until next time,

Gabby.

Hole in the Wall.

There’s no better way to express how the past few days have gone other than one word: crazy-wonderful-tiring-stressful-memorable. The hyphens make it all count as one word, right?

Race re-cap:

On Thursday, as I mentioned before, we had a local league meet. There were about five or so schools there that made for a quick meet around the two loop course. Seeing that we’ve raced there before, the course seemed just as bad as before with its wide-open paths, lack of shade, and one monster of a hill that we were lucky enough to get to run twice. It made me wish I was in Junior High again and only having to run one loop. Oh, those were the days. Personally, Idon’t feel like I ran a very good race and was dead tired from the start.  Regardless, I finished in a 20:04, just missing a sub-20 time. My other two teammates, feeling quite the same as I had, finished well to round off our three girl team we like to call the “Triple Threat”. Our boys dominated by going 1,2,5,9 in the top 10. We were all a bit sore from the day before after running sprint relays, but it was an overall good day for the team!

Saturday was a whole ‘nother story. As in an all day, 3 hour drive away, big kid meet, kind of story. By “big kid meet” I mean that there were schools from the larger classifications there. In Washington, the classifications go 1B/2B, 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A. We’re 1A. Also, since the larger schools have a greater pool of runners to choose from (that’s my guess at least!), the times are faster. Like girls running sub-17 fast. Woah. Since we chose to come to this meet in order to run with more competition, instead of putting us in the Division 2 race, we were put in The Division 1 Varsity race. Meaning that yes. Yes, I ran in a race with several of the fastest girls in all of Washington. Not to mention that one of them is ranked #1 in the nation for cross country. Safe to say I didn’t see her at all during the race! Instead, I ran a 19:50 for 36th place. Not great, but not horrible. Consistent. Take that 3A and 4A girls! For the whole team there were a few PRs, a few bad races, and a total sense of awe in how large the meet was. I’d guess there were at least 500 runners total.

*Side note: As I mentioned, we had to travel pretty far to the meet and since my grandparents live so close, they were able to come see me run for the first time. I was bummed that I could only talk to them for a few minutes (and snagged a picture along the way) since I had to go warm-up, but am so happy they were there to see me run. They are the best and I love them oh-so much. My family is so supportive of me in everything that I do, I don’t know what I’d do without them!

Since we had to endure a 3 hour bus ride there and a longer 3.5 hours back due to traffic, we did what our team does best … bond. It was just the high schoolers that went to the meet, so the ten of us had plenty of space to stretch out in on the bus. during the meet we sang along with the loud speakers, danced with other teams, saw runners we’d only ever heard about, got called out on our cool uniforms, and ultimately stuck together through the long day. The race didn’t go as expected, but because of that, I think it made us closer. We win together and lose together whether there’s thirty of us or ten. From all the crazy things that happen at meets, to long bus rides full of football stats, tying shoes, “I Never”, exchanging iPods, cuddling, and so many other things … I love my team. ♥

Total weekend re-cap:

That brings us to today. Sunday, the day of rest. We didn’t get home from the meet too late last night so I was able to relax a little bit, but ended up being so exhausted that I was in bed by 9:30. Dang internal clock forgot it was the weekend and I still woke up around 7. Oh well. My dad is on shift, so my mom and I made a date out of the beautiful day. Pshhh, who needs a boyfriend when you have your mom? Some quick errands, a walk around downtown Olympia, and an awesome lunch along the water. Perfect date and some much-needed time to relax after a stressful night and morning. Speaking of stress, people say retail therapy helps to cheer you up, right? Wrong! Okay … only a little bit.

In spite of being in such a bummed-out mood, these little guys made my day that much better. I love love love silver jewelry and have been wanting a new ring. All my rings have stories behind them and these little guys aren’t any different. Elephants symbolize good luck. Whether there’s two of them to mean good luck in love or relationships, I don’t know. I wear my rings everyday and this is a perfect reminder that things always get better. To cherish the “little things” and hope for the best. To work hard and enjoy the rewards. Maybe I’ve read into it more than just good luck, but oh well. Retail therapy ending in meaningful jewelry? Definite mood booster. If you’re not into spending money, go for a run! If it’s your rest day or you don’t run, wash a car or two. That’s what I used my evening for. Two hours later and my mom and I have glossy rims, sparkling cars … and I’ve had plenty of time to think. Perfect!

That’s all for now folks. The past four days have been busy and unforgettable in more ways than one. Part of me wishes that I could rewind and re-live the weekend, while another part of me wishes it were Monday already. Either way, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned a lot about my team and myself this weekend, which is something that I wonder what’s in store for this week … Hope you all had a good weekend and that you have a great week!

What did you do this weekend? Do you have any lucky charms or reminders?

Until next time,

Gabby.

 

Monday? Eh.

Ugh.

Happy Monday? I don’t know if it’s just because it’s the beginning of a long and busy week after a nice, relaxing weekend or what, but today has just not been my day. Not saying that it’s been horrible, but it hasn’t been very good either. Just … eh.

Usually practice cheers me up, no matter what the workout is, and I go home feeling better about my whole day. I love my team and we always have the best conversations during our warm-ups, or the crazy things that sometime happen on our runs. Today we ran was 5 x 800m, which was a hard day I expected, but overall didn’t help out my mood. I worked hard and am dead exhausted and about to fall asleep tired now, but even the endorphins couldn’t get me through the slump I was in today.

Focusing on what’s going on later this week, have two meets coming up! One smaller, local meet with a few schools on Thursday, and another called Hole in the Wall on Saturday. We’ve never been to Hole in the Wall before and it’ll be the largest meet we’ve been to (beside Seaside) with a bunch of bigger 2, 3, and 4A teams there. Looking at it with a positive attitude? I’m excited to race and hopefully can run a strong race along with the faster girls from all the bigger schools. Reality? Some of the girls there from the bigger divisions run as fast as some of our boys. As in 18 minutes fast. AH! At least I have until Saturday to mentally and physically prepare myself to be beaten horribly and want to quit cross country forever for such a big race. Wish me luck!

In other news …

  •  I have a new addiction alongside eating Fuji apples everyday. (Funny, since I’m eating one as I write this!) Flattened Banana strips from Trader Joe’s. Oh my goodness, they are so good! I’ve been eating them at lunch and even after practice. They’re carmelized strips of goodness. All the flavor of a banana, without the trouble of a peel. Wonderful.

  • I’m getting a blood test again soon! This is kinda of a big deal because about two months ago I started taking an iron supplement. My previous blood test showed levels that weren’t low enough to be classified as anemic, but lower than my doctor wanted to see. Since then, I’ve taken my iron and vitamin C, which helps with the absorption into my system, every night! The results take a few weeks to get back from the lab, but I should know by the end of the month about what’s happened over the past two. Stay tuned!

Not much else to fill in on tonight, a short post for once. Mainly just hoping that writing will help turn the day around. Overall, just feeling like I’m in a bit of a slump. There are so many things I’m waiting for, but are ones that just can’t come soon enough. Guess all I need right now is a bit of patience and to enjoy living in the moment. Ugh. I hate Mondays. Hope you have a great rest of your week!

Do you like Mondays? What are you looking forward to this week?

Until next time,

Gabby.

Needed one of these today. I have some of the best running partners in the world. Not only are they there for me on the run, but outside of that, they’ve become some of the most important people in my life. Running definitely creates a bond and memories that nothing else can. ♥