This summer I had the shortest outdoor track and field season ever. Only two meets total, the Ontario Championships and the NCCWMA Championships. I was most excited about the NCCWMA meet since the Ontario championships was really just a warm up. It was a break through weekend and it’s going to be hard to explain in words how it happened.
The 1500m race was scheduled to go at 1:15, but there was a slight delay and at big meets this is quite normal. I warmed up but was definitely not feeling great. I told my coach after the race, my legs didn’t feel fast. I’ve been about 4 weeks behind training this summer and although my workouts feel great, my nerves were starting to get to me for the races. We took to the start line and with a ready, set – the gun didn’t go off. We had to stand up and then lightning struck; literally. We had to hustle into the arena to wait for the weather to pass. For some this caused more stress, but for me it was exactly the time out I needed to refocus my race. I looked again at my race plan and just made the decision to run my time, and forget about the medals.
We went back to the track and finally started the race. Again the bloody clock was not in sync and thankfully I have lots of practice with this (lol) and I just relaxed and ran my splits perfectly. With 300m left to go, I heard the counter say 4:00 min. I knew, no matter what I was going to get my sub 5 min 1500m, by how much was going to be determined. Jen St. Jean from New York is one of my heroes! I have raced with her several times in the last three years. She was out in front and I just had to keep her in my sights.
Jen St. Jean is a super special woman. A fierce competitor on the track, but an angel of kindness off. I crossed the finish line and the clock read 5:16, I was devastated. A personal worst??? what?? The entire heat was confused, nothing was making sense. Thankfully these meets have back up timers. It was quickly corrected and I saw my time show up on the big ass clock and it read 4:59.70. All I remember is there was a lot of jumping and hugging, I was ecstatic. My coach asked for a sub 5 and a medal and I got both.
Next up was my 800m race on Sunday. I had a day of rest and I spent most of the day focusing on the goal. I wanted to go sub 2:30, specifically 2:27. I had locked this number in my head for over a week. Considering my training, it wasn’t an absolute that I would be able to get this. I had to run smart and hard. With my coaches plan drilled in my brain I focused on the splits. I realized the night before, if I accomplished my goal, I would not only PB and take a Longboat record but I would also grab the CMA meet record that was set back in 2002. I had to take the race 200m at a time and not think about the 800m as one big race.
With one gun shot, the race started and I took off, taking the lead right away. I didn’t want anyone near me for this race. I was committed to running this 800m solo and that’s exactly what I did. I hit my 400m split in 1:11 and I knew I had the goal. 800m is a tricky race because you have to go out so hot on the first lap and then you will have some slow down around 600m in. With a 1:11 split, I just had to hold on to the pace for as long as possible. My mind was determined to get 2:27 and there was no other option. I crossed the finish line, looked up to the clock and there it was, 2:27.80. I did it!
The weekend was a major breakthrough weekend for me, especially with all that’s happened. My coach had the harder job this summer, getting me up to speed with creative workouts to focus on my weaknesses. He never doubted me, he would never do that, but we both had some question marks about IF my pb’s would come in only my second track meet of the season. I had a moment like this in Boston, where my training suggested I wasn’t going to do my goal time, but my mind said differently. This weekend, I was reminded how important it is to focus your mind and see your goal. Since the last indoor track meet in March, my mind was obsessed with only two things. A sub 5 min 1500m and a sub 2:30 800m. Even as I trotted through the trails, it’s all I could think about. Coach Timo tells me at least twice a week, I just need to focus and he has never been wrong yet.
NEXT up? 2018 goals. My coach, believe it or not has already sent me a list of goals to think about for 2018. Training starts in just a few weeks. This is why I LOVE track, you run you best races ever, and you only need a week to recover!
Thanks to all the volunteers and organizes for an amazing NCCWMA track meet. I found out this morning we won the bid to host it again in 2019! So if you haven’t thought about track yet, then starting thinking about it and come join us in 2019.