Teach Your Children Well

Anna had two of her last 4 track meets this week. A dual with Westfield and the conference invitational.

Westfield Dual: Anna figured the dual with Westfield to be challenging. They usually have a strong distance group and showed that during cross country season. The schedule for the for the meet included the 4x800 relay and the 2400 meter run. She was correct, but only to a point. The sprinter and Zionsville team dominated. The middle and long distance runners was a different story. In the 4x800, the Zionsville girls were able to maintain a solid 10 meter lead from the gun through to the final 400. For the last 1/4 it was a dogfight, with the Westfield anchor coming out on top after a fabulous kick finish. The team ran a season best 11:02, but Anna was off her PB split by a couple of seconds.

I've had to learn more about Anna's abilities. I was imposing my youth running level on her, but have realized that  a) I wasn't a competitive swimmer, b) I didn't have the competitive drive that she has, c) and for 7th and 8th graders, she is a front runner. That was very nice to learn. What I have been trying to teach her is to control her first lap, not going out so fast that she goes into oxygen debt from the start, but to still maintain a connection with the leaders. Unlike me, I want her to learn that before her track career is over.

In the 2400, Anna's competition at the lead was the same runner she was paired against in the relay. Soon into the race she heard the girls name, remembered it was the same as from the relay and started talking to her. Anna has this incredible ability (we think because of her swimmer's lungs) to hold a complete conversation no matter how fast her legs are going. She confirmed the relay connection, through a couple of grunt answers, then quit talking because "coach hates chummy running". Makes me think of trying to attract sharks.

Anna sat on the the oppositions right shoulder through the first 4 laps. At the mile she made a move and pulled to a 3 meter lead and held that lead until 150 to go. At the 150, the Westfield runner was able to pull along side then moved on for a 5 meter win. I was very impressed with Anna's finishing time of 9:27. That was 10 seconds faster than her first try at the distance and a faster pace than her PB mile. She ran the middle 4-400s in consistent 1:38s then finished strong. Very impressive for a young track runner.

Anna was very happy with her race, feeling tired and knowing that was what her legs had in her today. She continues to ask the right questions about strategy and splits. What we are finding is that she hasn't had the finishing speed so we are talking about surges and trying to take the kick out of the other lead girls, employing strategy similar to what Steve Prefontaine would have.

Conference Invitational: Originally I didn't think I would  get to go, given Will's baseball schedule, but since none of Jil's family would be able to attend, I got the nod. And oh what a lucky day!? After a week or so of nice weather, it took a turn again, blowing in from the West: literally. The clouds came in with 16-20 mph winds. This was the first middle school conference meet, and the team was hoping for a win, but would be challenged since a number of the top athletes were leaving/skipping the meet to play in soccer tourneys.

The 4x800 was different than any race thus far this year. The first leg was unusually quick, leaving the rest of the team to get back into the race. By midway through the third leg, the crew had pulled up onto the lead teams, but it just wasn't meant to be ending up third. The slowest time of the season, but given the conditions, nothing to complain about.

The 2400 had a runner Anna hadn't seen this year with a very fast seed time. Her strategy was to go out with the runners she had race the past two weeks, then start to throw surges after the 800. However, the race went out fast, taking the strategy out of the game. She worked to stay on that second group, but didn't have the gas to hold on to them. Fourth place with a near best time and top 7th grader was nothing to complain about: 9:29. Anna is still learning the race and the coach is just excited because he gets to enjoy her contributions to the team next spring.

Anna was surprised by the head coach before the meet by being awarded a leadership/contribution award. She was surprised by the recognition, but found it very sweet given the less than outstanding experience she had last year.

Next week: The final week of track season. A tri on Monday and an invitational at home on Thursday. Anna is excited for the tri, because she is scheduled to run the 4x800, 1600, and 2400.

Artist for Song Title: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

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