Club XC Nationals Race Review

Going up the hill on the first loop.

Before the race:

My day started out earlier than usual for a mid-day race. I woke up at 7 to watch a friend run in the half marathon. The course was kind of an out-and-back, so we would only be able to see the start and finish. For the hour in between I walked around with my family to various stores. I decided not to shakeout, feeling like I had already been on my legs for a while. I ate a bagel like 4 hours out, went upstairs to my room to warm up under the covers and ended up falling asleep. On the way to the race we got stuck in traffic from the marathon (some roads were closed) and my parents were really stressing me out. My mom was sighing and saying “oh shit” as I watched the predicted arrival time on the GPS to creep up minute by minute. I ended up getting to the course exactly at the time I was supposed to start my warm up. Ate a couple Powerbar Energy Blasts, then warmed up slow with Slekis and Maureen McCandles for 20 minutes. I felt rushed again when they announced last call for check-in when I was still on line for the bathroom. Didn’t get in enough strides or do my long 300 meter stride early enough (I usually try to do it about 25-30 minutes out from the race start) and forgot to eat a couple more Energy Blasts.

After each race I write down a review for my coach because he likes to see my mental outlook before, during, and after. Here it is…
At the finish.

During the race:

Got out really well. Up to at least the first mile there was a lot of jostling and everyone was moving pretty fast. I remember passing the mile marker and being shocked that we were only a mile in – I felt like I had put in a lot more effort than a mile’s worth of work. Somewhere around this area (maybe a little bit before the mile) a gap formed between the leaders (a large group still though) and the rest of the race. I had been right behind Slekis, but noticed it was separating, and was able to surge and catch the end of the lead pack. I don’t remember exactly when I felt like I finally settled in, at the latest it was at the hill. I felt great going up the hill, both times. On the first loop I almost fell on the way down though; it was steep and I probably just leaned into it a little too much. After the first loop I was somewhere between 15th and 30th. After the race my dad said I had been in 15th, but a friend said I was about 30th (they were in different places on the course, so that could be the difference). Once we got into the woods again (probably like 800 meters from the start, but on the second loop) I caught up to Katie DiCamillo and a pack of me, Katie, and 4 McMillan girls formed. So, when I caught Katie we jostled back and forth for the lead a few times, and eventually I made a surge. I knew I had to break her completely and my other conquests were still ahead of me. Once I passed Katie I probably started going a little faster, dropping the McMillan girls too. There wasn’t much distance between me and the hill by this point and I thought the race would be over at the top (my rationale was that the hill was so steep that everyone would gain great momentum and have a great finishing kick because there was only 400 meters to go, so it would be nearly impossible to pass anyone). Going up the hill I passed Pezz and another girl (I think) – this put me in 10th place. On the down hill I passed 4 girls. I ran for my life that last straight away hearing spectators yell at the people behind me “you can catch her”. Top 10 was definitely a goal of mine going into the race, as 10 people got awards later on that night. Once I broke into 10th place though I thought to myself that I wouldn’t want to be the first one on stage, so I had some extra motivation coming down that hill!

Post Race Thoughts:

I am extremely happy. I haven’t looked at the results too much, so I don’t know everyone who beat me. This probably should have been cleared up at the awards ceremony, but I wasn’t paying attention! I wanted to run a little bit faster, but it’s a PR, a legitimate course (unlike conference last year which was probably short, which is where my previous PR came from), and I was closer to the winner than I’ve probably ever been in a national championship Cross Country race. I need to get to the course earlier, be a little more organized, and do more strides. My lack of a good warm up (I didn’t do any drills) is probably why it felt so fast early on. Next time I need to position myself a little better – I saw the first move being made, but was too far back to see the second – the top 5 put a gap on the rest of the field. 6 seconds may seem like a lot of time, but if I had surged with the lead group when they dropped the rest of the pack I may have been sprinting past a couple people for fourth instead of sixth. Overall it was a great race though. I truly exceeded my expectations and hit my main objectives to get out fast, gain momentum throughout the race, and beat some professionals. 

Thank you to Michael Scott for the great pictures and for the race video:

One thought on “Club XC Nationals Race Review

  1. Great race allie! you ran really smart…especially considering how far back you were after the first loop. I'm really proud of you! can't wait to see what unfolds in the fall.

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