Since I have alllllllll the free time on my hands, I did a lot of number crunching last week, building out fake-meets against our schools, and every way I played with the numbers, we were looking solid.
Saturday, #1 woke up and was practically giddy. She was excited to run, and looked confident. The girl is a head-case runner - seeing her confident to go into this course was great.
Spectating XC is an interesting day. The courses are short, usually 3 miles, and run so fast, that to spectate in a few places, you have to MOVE. Generally, there's a flood of spectators that flee from spot to spot throughout the course to catch their runners as they move through.
|Exactly like this....|
The Mt Sac course is pretty loopy for the first 1.5mi, so you can kind of catch the athletes in about 4 locations before they head up the second half. We knew the layout from last week, and had a pretty solid spectating strategy, so we stuck with it (if you're interested, this is the course map - we planted ourselves at the end of the airstrip, before the loop, so we saw her at the start, on the first loop go around, then ran over to switchbacks, then to the crossover, and then to the gauntlet for the finish - I swear these are all things on the course that I'm totally not making up).
Anyway. We're at our spot. The field takes off - 16 teams, 7 girls each team, plus individuals - and right away, I note that the field is tight, and FAST. It looks like our team is having some trouble sticking together in a pack, but #1 is looking good in her mid-pack position.
|source: Joe Gagnon/PrepCalTrack|
|Oh, look. She's winning!|
Then the girl that runs 7th for us ran by, and we thought we must have missed #1 in the herd.
15-20 seconds later, after everyone else has passed, is #1.
And then I hear her breathing, and it's clearly distressed. I didn't connect what happened at first, until she was running past, and The H noticed the giant scrape under her right hip.
Somewhere in the first 800, she had fallen. And my heart just sunk for her.
We went over to the switchbacks, where she'd come through after the second loop around the field, and she was at the back, but was caught up to the rest of the pack (so, in the second 800, she made up 20 seconds on the rest of the field), and came through the first mile in 6:12.
When she came by us, before heading up the switchbacks, she was crying, and limping.
Waiting for her at crossover was just THE WORST EVER. As her mom, I'm a pretty tough-love kind of parent, and generally defer to the coaching she receives from the XC team, but it was horrible, knowing how HARD running is, how hard running uphill is, and that she was doing it while crying and limping.
She came through crossover, and had passed a few runners. After crossover, we planned to wait for her at the gauntlet (the last 200m at the finish), because the rest of the course is hard to get to and then still get to the finish. It was FOR REAL the longest longest longest 1.5 miles ever for me.
|She passed that girl in blue.|
After their bib numbers were collected, her teammates took her over to the med tent to get cleaned up, where #1 found out that they had finished.... 8th overall.
She asked to stick around for the varsity boys' race a bit after hers, so we did.
It was a pretty rough day.
I'm not sure how she found it in her to finish the race, and finish it so strong. I tried to ask her why she kept running, and she just said "Because coach said to get up and go."
Maybe it's that simple.
I spent the rest of the weekend kind of coddling her, but she's been in a fair amount of pain - I don't think it's anything serious, just a lot of road rash, and bruising. Since they're not going to states, next week is an off week, anyway, so hopefully she's all healed up when they head back to school after Thanksgiving.
She's had an amazing first season. It was really exciting to be a freshman, heading to CIF finals, and a great experience for her. Just kind of a sucky way for it to end.
(PS, my number crunching was DEAD ON, and the team that ended up beating us into the finals was a dark horse that wasn't even ranked - they just had a killer day, and ran the race of their lives. Bad ass. The team we were eyeing as competition TIED with us, and on a normal day, #1 would have been the tie-breaker, and would have beat their #6 runner. Maybe I missed my calling as a XC coach?)