MileSplit Journal: Angel Piccirillo, Homer Center - Entry #15 - 6/28


Milesplit.US XC and T&F Journals: Angel Piccirillo, Homer Center PA (SR)

Angel Piccirillo enters her senior season as one of the top distance runners in Pennsylvania, as well as the U.S. Bursting on the scene as a sophomore - Piccirillo won her first of two indoor state mile titles, first of two outdoor 1600 meter titles and first of two Penn Relays COA titles. Adding to her junior hardware, she won her first state cross country title and qualified for Foot Locker Nationals. And she also received an invitation to the adidas Dream Mile in New York last June. A voracious lasagna connoisseur, Piccirillo can be found the night before any race at a local authentic Italian eatery, matching anyone in the place, bite-for-bite. Follow Angel for the next few months as she journals about her final season of cross country.
 

Cross Country: 
Entry #1 9/16  |  Entry #2 9/22  |  Entry #3 10/6  |  Entry #4 10/18 (college choice)  |  Entry #5 11/2  |  Entry #6 11/15  | Entry #7 12/7 | Entry #8 |

Indoor:
Entry #9 | Entry #10 (pre-states) | Entry #11 (post-states, pre-NBIN) |

Outdoor:
Entry #12
| Entry #13 (Penn Relays/Baldwin Inv) | Entry #14 (PIAA State Champs) | Entry #15 (adidas Dream Mile)

 

 

Angel Piccirillo

(Sr., Homer Center HS, PA)

 

 

 

Journal Entry #15 (June 28, 2012 - Final)

 

Hey guys!

Tricked ya, I kind of made my journal after states sound like my last one but this is really my last one, I promise!

But I couldn’t finish the season without talking about how my Dream Mile experience was and what it was like officially finishing my season. So after the high of states had worn off and I realized my regular season was over, I knew my work wasn’t done. Even though all my friends had finished I knew I still had the biggest race of the season, and it was an especially important one to me. After last year, going to dream mile unprepared and getting last for the first and only time of my high school career, going back this year I had unfinished business and some serious redemption to take care of. This year I had accomplished much of what I had wanted to do and had nabbed a lot of accolades that I had been hunting down, but this was one of the things on my list of goals that I couldn’t cross off.

    I spent the week after states just keeping up with my miles; I had a few mini workouts, just a few 400’s here and there to stay sharp and swimming. Then it was time to graduate, this was a stressful day in itself. It didn’t help that I had to run at 5:45 in the morning during that week because we were going on a class trip that day, which means we were going to be gone from 7am -8pm. I wasn’t exactly pleased about this but I knew it had to be done.

    So the day after graduation, Coach G and I were headed to the airport around 6:30 am for our flight. I had forgotten about flying out to New York so I was really excited. I honestly love everything about flying, the airport, getting there; I don’t even mind waiting around the airport for flights I just love it! Contrary to my coach who very much dislikes flying (I’m pretty sure he’s afraid). So after a 50 minute flight, we were in NYC and then headed to The Grand Hyatt once again, courtesy of a car sent by Adidas. I was one of the first ones to get in and the rest of the night was pretty relaxed. My roommate, Haley Pierce just like last year, wasn’t going to be getting in until later the next day and a lot of the girls were trickling in that night and the next day. Cami actually didn’t come in until the night before the race because she had graduation the day before! That night, we also got all our gear.

    When we arrived we were given a backpack full and I mean legitimately FULL of clothes. Including another drawstring inside with our uniforms and warm ups. We got just a bunch of shirts, tank tops, headbands, socks, pants, shorts, and also shoes, and spikes. It was so crazy how much they gave us and all the girls were so excited. The uniforms were also really cool; I think everyone was really excited to race, and that all our hard work had paid off.

    The following day we had a logistics meeting, and we met Jim Ryun. He was there last year so I had heard his story before but it never ceases to amaze me how he did what he did when he did it. He is a great inspiration and a great person, and his wife is the nicest ever too! The two of them care so much about the athletes and the meet itself. After our meeting, we were going to the track, Icahn Stadium to get a feel for it and prepare for the next day. I had been there before and so had a lot of the other girls, but I still loved going there, mostly to see the pros. That’s one of the coolest parts of this meet, they have us high school athletes running and warming up right next to the professionals. I got pictures with Bernard Lagat and Sonya Richards-Ross!! But the most exciting was seeing Allyson Felix!! She is my all-time favorite and I hadn’t realized she would be there. But of course as luck would have it, when I was about 4 ft from her in the warm up area, my phone was dead and literally all my coaches’ phones were dead. The one time we needed a phone; there wasn’t a phone in sight to get a picture with. I couldn’t believe I was so close; it was such a rookie mistake.

    Anyway, back to it, we saw the track, did our warm ups and then it was time to go back to the hotel. Last year, getting on and off the buses was the only real big drama. Considering there were races to come, and sleeping and eating to do, when people wanted to go somewhere they wanted to go there now! Fortunately, one bus came but another was only about 30 seconds behind. This made everyone feel a little silly for fighting to pile on the first one.

    That night I went out to eat and the plan was to get lasagna, obviously. But when we got to the Italian restaurant we had been sent to, and assured there would be lasagna, there wasn’t! I kept my cool but at first I was very taken aback, after asking the waiter about it, he told us there was a baked ziti very similar to lasagna so that’s what I got instead. I wasn’t sure about this but I really had no choice. The food ended up being amazing and well worth the slight change in the usual plan.

    Then it was race day! I hadn’t felt the nerves I usually do going into this race but I was starting to feel it now. I had told myself that I was going to have fun on this trip. I wasn’t going to be wired out on nerves and tense, so I couldn’t enjoy the experience. I knew this was my last high school track and field experience and I was going to make the most of it. There weren’t going to be opportunities like this in college so it was definitely bittersweet. But going into the race, Coach G just kept reminding me that I could do this. I had the fastest time going in and I belonged there. He had literally been telling me this for weeks leading up to this race, since states ended. I had been hearing him but I was starting to realize I hadn’t been listening. When race day came, I felt like I completely didn’t belong. I felt like I had no business being there. It was so intimidating when you saw the girls on the start list, I swear that every single girl was US #1 in some event so unlike most races most of us are used to, there weren’t just 1 or 2 girls you really had to worry about being in the mix, and every single girl had the opportunity to win. I really hadn’t raced any of those girls going into this race, so that was another uncertainty. Going into the race I knew I wanted to be right on the rabbit, to try and keep the pace honest and bust out a fast time. There were a lot of things I had been thinking before this race but I can look back now and I realize I was scared to execute them. I was on the line thinking I didn’t belong in this race, which was the opposite of the truth and what I should have been thinking. I have never felt that way before a race so it was kind of a surprise. We went through the half split a little slower than we wanted and I regret not getting right, right up on the rabbits shoulder. Then I was leading the third lap. I was trying to get us closer to the pace we were supposed to be at. When Cami came around and passed me about the beginning of the 4th lap. I really just let her go, as if this was what was supposed to happen. When she passed me I seemed to feel more comfortable as if this is what should be happening and now everything was fine. Then I got passed by one other girl, Alli Cash. I thought I was losing it and leading that third lap was about to bite me. Going down the back stretch the last time I heard my coach yelling to not give up and keep fighting. I think he was thinking the same thing I was thinking, I was out of it, giving up, or dead. But I wasn’t, mentally I had just checked out. When we were going around the last bend going into the last home stretch it’s like I was surprised I was where I was. There was no reason I should have been surprised that I was in 3rd and not farther back. Then with about 50m left all I was thinking was, “Angel what are you doing?? Why are you in 3rd right now? They are literally less than a half second in front of you, you better not get 3rd!” so I found another gear to get 2nd only a few tenths of a second outside of first.

    Right after the race I was already frustrated so by the time I got to my coach I knew what I had done wrong and that was all the time I needed to process what had happened. It was just a really weird feeling, because I was tired - don’t get me wrong but I hadn’t been aggressive. I didn’t finish that race feeling like I attacked the track and had really wanted the win. I should have been MUCH more aggressive and really prepared myself to be in the lead and be there in the end. This was a great preview of what college will be like, and if nothing else I learned so much from this race. But when I got interviewed on the way off the track and while I was talking to my coach before anyone saw the official results, not only was I upset that I felt like I had let the win slip away (and by no means am I saying if I had been more aggressive I would have won that race because Cami did amazing and more than earned that and I was soooo happy for her!) I also thought I was just over 4:40. I knew Cami had gone under but I didn’t know if I was close to being under as well.

    If nothing else in that race, I wanted that time and I wanted to go under 4:40. After a cool down with just about every dream mile girl, I saw my parents and they didn’t understand why I was disappointed and they told me I had gone under 4:40. I was really excited and surprised because in my FLoTrack interview he wasn’t sure and he knew it was close and in my PennTrack interview no one was really sure if I had squeaked under the time or not. So when my parents confirmed that I had just made it under and so did the Alli I was blown. I couldn’t believe we had just been in a high school race where the third place girl broke 4:40 in the full mile which hasn’t been done in years. That’s insane and I think Adidas was really pleased with how that turned out. This was very clearly one of the most premiere mile fields ever assembled and I was feeling fortunate, thankful and blessed just to be included.

    But after my race was over, we watched some professional races (and I saw Allyson run!! ) but the craziest might have been the boys high school dream 100. All day they had been having trouble with the starting gun. It was a weird noise to start, and it was malfunctioning all day. Everyone can guess that this was going to catch up with somebody and it did. They had a bad fire first in the boys’ race, no one was charged with the false start and no one was disqualified. That was a lucky break, but then it happened again. One of the big favorites in the race and a part of one of the highly anticipated showdowns had false started! The people in the crowd were floored and we couldn’t believe that he had just been disqualified, and wouldn’t be racing. It was insane and my heart really went out to him, I couldn’t imagine how he felt coming the whole way out here to compete in the most premiere event for high school athletes, and then there’s a bad gun.

    But after I watched a few more races, including the boys mile it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for the banquet. I was so excited for this unlike the other banquets we’ve had and being a senior the 101 banquets I had been going to all week leading up to this. Our after race dinner, where they presented the awards and we watched the race video was at Dave and Buster’s! It was such a different idea and I think everyone loved it; something different than the usual uptight banquet style meals. After we played games and ate our dinner, I spent some time around the city and with my coaches and called it a night. We had to fly out early in the morning and I was pretty tired. The next morning we flew home, and the next day Coach G was actually flying out to Florida! His family left for vacation while we were in New York and he had to go meet them in Florida, to enjoy his favorite place on Earth, Disney (he HATES Disney).

    I just started running again after my 2 weeks off and things are getting back on track. I was so excited for my future teammate, Kelsey Margey who won NB Nationals representing Nova well! And I will be watching for Sheila in her Olympic Trials, anxiously awaiting the good news! I can’t believe this is it, high school is over, and Homer Center is no longer my school. I don’t think it really has set in that it’s over; honestly I was half waiting for Coach G to tell me when to start running. Then I realized I was no longer under Coach G’s command, but Coach Gina instead.

    I did this once before but once again, I just want to thank everyone for EVERYTHING. I could not have done anything I have without the support of the fellow athletes and fans. Thank you to Coach Mookie, Mr. Rodkey, and especially Coach G for always being there for me. Through thick and thin you guys were there and you have molded me into the person and athlete I am today and I thank you for that. I also thank God because through him all things are possible. One of my fondest memories of the calm before the storm and what I will always remember is the prayer Coach G would say before every single one of my races all throughout my high school career.  I would say this whole high school career started on a prayer so it’s only fitting it would end with one.

    “Dear God, we thank you for the gifts you have given us as athletes. We ask that you let us compete to the best of our abilities and keep us free from injury. Amen.”


 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #14 (June 7, 2012)

 

 

Hey everyoneee!

 

This is probably going to be one of my last journals and I can’t believe I survived the year. It has been a long year with many ups and downs. As sad as it is to say good bye, it’s time and there are bigger and better things ahead. This journal will be talking about my final outdoor state championships, which was a weird thing to comprehend.

 

So, we went to the district meet full of anxiety. We were right on the bubble to qualify for the 4x4,  I wasn’t too nervous about my individual events but I wanted to run a decent 1600m working on my splits. I ran a 4:48 which I wasn’t too disappointed with. I wasn’t too worried about my other events, I just wanted to qualify but really focus on the 4x4. I ran the 4x800 as well, and we knew that would be a long shot to qualify for states but I wanted it really bad for one of my teammates, Maggie McLoughlin. She has been there for me through everything and sometimes I think she works harder than I do. She is literally the heart and soul of our team and fortunately she was still able to travel with us because she warmed up with me all day, and helped calm my nerves at states. Another states hopeful we had was Jessica Galasso, she went last year to throw shot and was hoping to make it back this year. To her surprise, she actually took home the district title and punched her ticket to states. I couldn’t have been happier for her and there isn’t anyone who deserved it more. She has been with me to some of the biggest races I’ve run, when I’m my most nervous she can calm me down and bring me back. 

 

After my individual events were done it was time for 4x4, and that day if something was going to go wrong for our team it did. We had tears, “injuries”, and most of all nerves. There were two seniors on our team, me included, a sophomore, and a freshman. We ran, most of us running faster than we have before, but when I got the stick we were about 60 or 70 meters behind first. I’m usually used to being a bit behind at least someone when I get the baton but this was a lot. When I came around the turn to the back stretch and I really saw what I was in store for, I worried. I figured we were going to qualify because I wasn’t going to let anyone pass me, for my girls, but I know we all wanted the win. Coming down the last stretch, I was making up the gap but I could see the line coming up faster and faster. I could see that I was running out of time but I was so close. It ended up being about .1 or .2 seconds between us and first which was hard. If I had had 5 more meters it may have been a different story. We ended up running a good time, but we had horrible handoffs which was good and bad. It meant there was some easy time that we knew we could trim down but also if we didn’t get these handoffs right, that we have been working on all season, we were toast.

 

Now it was time to prepare for states. Considering there wasn’t a whole lot of time in between districts and states we didn’t do much in the way of a big workout but we did some hills, 400’s and training runs to prepare. I was anxious to leave and go for one of my major major goals this season, 2 state championships at outdoor states, the meet records, and a championship in the 800 which I have never been able to take home. I also wanted our 4x4 to make it to finals, as much as I wanted everything else. It would have made an awesome day to be able to medal in three events, but it just didn’t happen. We left Thursday for the track at Ship, around 8:00 am, after chalking coach G’s car and the van (this also marks my last, and most successful, trip in the van). We got to the track and did some warm-up laps, handoffs and striders. We also met up with Big Choc who was down on the track at the finish line and he was getting us pumped up about the big job we had tomorrow. Thursday night is when we traveled to Hershey to Fenecci’s, one of my all-time favorite restaurants, and also where I am awarded a certificate for finishing their lasagna. Once again, with ease, I was able to finish the lasagna, no problem and got my certificate. These certificates usually mean good things for me the following day seeing as I have won state championships the day after I eat there!  We also went to an arcade that we went to last year as well, go karted and played games for a while to relieve the stress. If nothing else, we make sure the state qualifiers have a good time.

 

The next day it was prelims day and I wasn’t too worried about my individual events. I mean, you still get nervous getting on the starting line at Shippensburg, even if it’s not finals. I just wanted to place 4t h in both my events. There was absolutely no reason for me to place any higher and expend more energy. By doing so, I ran some of the slowest times I have run since prelims last year, and even though I knew mentally I wasn’t really into these races, I still didn’t feel like I thought I should feel. It was making me a little more anxious about the next day; I didn’t feel as comfortable as I wanted during prelims so I was afraid I wouldn’t run well the next day. Truthfully, it was probably because I wasn’t able to run the way I wanted to, making me feel uncomfortable and not as smooth as I usually feel. Those races are always so weird and completely different than any other race you’ll run. Then it was time for the 4x4, and this wasn’t the case. Before this race the deal was that when I got the baton and after my coaches had crunched the numbers, they would let me know if we had a shot at finals. If so, I was going to give it everything I had to try and get us to qualify. Coach G tore himself up making this decision, and I knew it wasn’t one that he took lightly. I hadn’t made it any easier because I really wanted to run this race. I love 4x4 and I love running on relays. If it were up to him, I’m sure he would have just told the girls to enjoy their trip to states and have a one of our alternates run it. But when he knew what I wanted, because of everything I’ve done and what we’ve been through, he felt he owed me this chance. I knew it was a long shot, and I couldn’t let a negative result affect my races the following day but if I wanted to give it a shot I could. Some fast times had been run in the heats before us and knowing Swenson was in our heat, winning was pretty much out of the picture. So we were going to need a fast time to make it to finals.  I went around the first bend, in a decent position, but not sure if the coaches would yell to me to back off or to go for it. When I got to the backstretch, I didn’t hear anything so I was going for it. By the time I was half way down the back I heard Coach G and Mookie yelling for me to go for it. Coach G was telling me I had to catch the girl right in front of me. Then when I was coming down the homestretch, there was another girl not too far in front of me at this point. It seemed like I was gaining and making up ground on her, but there just wasn’t enough space. Also, before our 1st and 2nd handoff, it was wild because Swenson dropped the stick! We couldn’t believe what was happening and what happened next was even crazier. They had to be last when they finally did pick the stick back up because at this point no one had really made space. But their girl completely brought them back in the race. They were back in first before the 2nd leg was over and to see someone eat up a deficit like that was incredible. We, unfortunately, weren’t as lucky. Ending up about .5 seconds out of finals was hard but the girls took it well. I think because they knew it was a long shot, and we had given it what we could. I know they were excited to watch me the next day and be able to cheer me on but also they didn’t want to be too down about it to not mess up my mindset going into the next day. I didn’t have my fastest split that day, but only one of our girls was able to PR split wise in that relay and in that case we just needed a different day. Our handoffs still weren’t perfect and in a case like this, those need to be spot on.  

 

That night we went to a restaurant we stop at quite frequently as well, but usually two nights before I have a race. We aren’t usually there the night before a race of mine so I’ve never had their lasagna before. 

 

Now it was the big day. I was ready to have a good day and I wanted it. We headed to the track in time to see the girls 4x8 and the 3200m. I was excited to see Tori run in the AAA race and Meredith in the AA race. They both had amazing races and I was so proud. But before long I was getting ready for the 1600m. I was so nervous and really excited. I was seeded 6th in both the 800 and 1600 which I was hoping was a good sign. I had warmed up all day, drank water all day, and it was time for my final state championship. I wanted to open up in 70 and get through the first 800 in 2:20. I opened up in 68 and I was excited. I have gotten through the first 2 laps before on my splits so I was excited but it didn’t mean anything to me yet. I wanted to lead the whole time and that’s what I did. I went through the 800 in 2:20 so I knew at least the set up part was done. I was getting ready for the hardest part of the race.  This is when I would have to really get after the time if I wanted it. When I went through the 1200 in 3:30-3:31 and this is what got me excited. I had never gone through the third lap on my splits so I knew I was there. Kennedy was there as well and I was impressed. She had a really good race, but I knew if I went the last lap it would be just me. So I went for it. The last lap I had the biggest final lap I’ve had. Closing in 66 and ended up running 4:39! When I saw the clock coming down the last stretch I couldn’t believe that that was the time I was running. I was so excited to be running under 4:40. I didn’t think that was possible for me in high school, but it happened. I finished and I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t realize how hot it was when I was running but by the time the race was over, my feet were burning from how hot the track was. I went right to the sprinkler as some of the girls congratulated me and I congratulated them. Right off the track, I saw Mrs. Malone who was sooo sweet and also my coach, Mr. U. and they were both sooo excited and happy for me. I was anxious to get off the track and get prepared for the race I had next, which was in about an hour. 

 

At this point I had gotten everything I wanted so the 800m was gravy. I did want that 10th state championship though, and Coach G being an 800m runner in high school, I definitely did want to win that one for him. I would have my work cut out for me but I was up for it. I talked to a few reporters but I could just feel my coaches staring at me from off the infield as I was roasting in the sun. Finally, I was able to escape to the shade but not before I got a handful of hugs from my amazed teammates and coaches. But I got to the shade and we had to take refuge for the short amount of time before the 800 in the Penn Hills tent which was right near the athlete entry. Then the chiropractor that came with us, who is also a good friend and has been watching me run for a while now, worked out my calves and hamstrings. This made me feel so much better and I don’t think that 800 would have been as successful as it was without her there. Thanks, Doc! After that, my legs felt pretty loose and I was nervous but ready. Coincidentally, 2 of the 4 future 2012 800m champs were in that tent, Myself and Wil Bailey. There was a slight moment in that race where I was worried about my ability. I let fear creep into my mind just because I had run such a fast 1600 less than an hour before. But I had to remember everything I wanted and everything that would come with a good run and win in this event. The record wasn’t on my mind at this point but I just barely squeaked under it, and I would take that. Everyone was so happy for me, the support I got there was unreal. This was by FAR not only the most successful but also the most memorable states of my career. I didn’t mention it earlier but I actually got a standing ovation in the 1600, a standing ovation! When I went back and watched video and when I was told in my interview my mind was blown. The fact that that many people were there supporting me only makes it that much harder to leave, but also that much easier knowing that I did what I needed to do in high school. It seemed like a nice send off and a great way to finish the regular season. Being on top of the podium after the 800 was something new to me because I had never won it at a state championship meet before.  To get the 10th state championship, in that race, in that kind of time, and a pr and state meet record, I couldn’t have asked for better. 

 

Now we get to the hardest part, which I was not ready for. Someone should have told me that saying goodbye to my coaches would be as hard as it was. I hadn’t really realized that this was the last until I was putting my shoes on after the 800 and changing out of my spikes. To think that this would be the last time I was on the infield of Shippensburg for the state track and field meet which I have attended all 4 years of my high school career hit me like a ton of bricks. I instantly wanted to stay there forever, walking off that field meant one step closer to graduation, and a bigger, harder, and a very unfamiliar world. I couldn’t believe this was it, then I got to my coaches. I walked off the infield and hugged my teammates and everything was fine. Then I get to my first coach, Mookie. I always hug him first and emotionally I’m usually pretty good, not this time. I just started to lose it, after this I knew I was done. I went on to Mr. Rodkey and things only got worse. It was slowly getting harder and harder to keep the tears back, then Coach G. By this point I was shaking and a scene had been made. I don’t think any of us realized how hard it would hit us because we decided to do these congratulatory/goodbye hugs right at the athlete entry. So to anyone who saw me, I am usually not like that I promise! And my coaches aren’t usually crying either (If I’m going down, you guys are going down with me ) I said goodbye to Mr. U (I should mention he was interesting fact free this trip, unlike Penn Relays when he was over 100 facts before we were even in our hotel rooms on Wednesday) and one of our teachers/coaches that couldn’t come called and I’m sure all he heard was crying. He was sad he had to miss and couldn’t have been more excited for me.  There was another round of hugs from my teammates, Dr. Hoover, the coaches, and the local newspaper reporter and photographer couldn’t even keep dry eyes. One of the girls who was there, Breanna Rossi, has been with me through all the years and has been on every relay team we have taken to states and been to states with me all 4 years. But the thrower we brought, Jessica, had one of the coolest stories of the trip. She was throwing unfortunately at the exact same time I was running so she missed the 1600 (although she was able to see the 800). When she was in the circle throwing, she heard the crowd going crazy and get extra loud. She knew it was me, and she knew I had done it. Just for both of us to be doing our thing at the same time, and hearing the crowd and just knowing I had done what I wanted to do helped her do what she needed to do and she finished very respectably. It was a really emotional moment and the climax to amazing chapter to my life. I know I still have Dream Mile, but this was the end to my career running for Homer-Center. Never putting that jersey on again is going to be bittersweet for sure. As much as I hate that thing, what it represents will always be a part of me. I can’t go back in time, so I can only look ahead at what is in store. I am looking forward to the Dream Mile this weekend, and leaving the day after graduation is also insane. I can’t believe that high school is over, and it’s time to move on already. It seems like just yesterday I was running the 400 for the first time, and in the blink of an eye it’s already time to start into a whole new world. 

 

I would just like to thank everyone that has supported me through the years. I couldn’t do ANYTHING I do without what I have received over the past 5 years. I won’t be too too far away for school and I know there will be people still following me throughout the future, no matter if I’m on this side of that state or the other. We have the best athletes and fans around. PA don’t play. It’s as simple as that.

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #13 (May 14, 2012)

 

 

 

This is going to be my post-Penn Relays journal. For the first time (maybe this is why I didn’t have the race I wanted) we made it to Philadelphia without a problem. We left Homer City about 9:30 and made it to Philly in no time at all (Coach G was driving). Well, scratch that. There was a bit of a delay, thanks to Coach G. But we did make it to our hotel in the Historic District. And one of the most important parts of the trip was, of course, my lasagna! We were invited to have Carlino’s Market lasagna (my #1 AT favorite!) at Don Rich’s house, which was amazing as usual! And really really good banana pudding, homemade! It was a great dinner, one of the best pre-race dinners ever, but then I knew I had some serious work to do the next day. 

 

When I woke up on Thursday, I had a shake out of about 10 minutes and then had breakfast.  Around 2 we ate lunch at one of the best restaurants we found along the way, Popi’s.  It has really good authentic Italian food, and I got gnocchi.   From there we headed over to Franklin Field and watched some races before I ran. I have to say watching the College Girls Championship of America DMR right before my race was one of the coolest races I’ve ever seen.  I was soo happy to see Villanova take that win because I know how bad they all wanted it, especially for Sheila.  To see Villanova and Tennessee really going at it in that DMR was so crazy! They both had amazing races and I knew almost all the girls on both teams. To watch a race like that, and the top 2 teams were 2 of my final 3 schools was awesome. The crowd was so into that race which I think made it that much more special.

 

But after that race it was almost time for my race. I was warming up with one of my old high school teammates who was competing for IUP in the college girl’s steeplechase, Alyssa. It was so nerve wracking warming up before this race. Once I had finished warming up, I went back to the bleachers where my coaches and my best friend, Jesska were, and they were about to send me off.  

Saying good bye before this race is always the hardest. When I start the year, I’m already thinking about this in the back of my mind, so to know this was my last chance to run here in high school and really do something special was intimidating. The last two years my teammate, Megan, has traveled with us. She graduated last year, and wasn’t able to come with us this year because of class but when we prayed before the race I called her so she could wish me good luck and be a part of it for the last time. I knew she was watching back home and we were both bummed she couldn’t come.  I couldn’t help getting a little misty eyed, and the nerves don’t help, when I leave my coaches for the last time and have to go to the paddock. So I go down, and we are shuffled into one of the more tense environments I’ve been in through my career. I mean every race has their own holding area for runners right before the race, but this one seems to be especially bad. You’re pretty relieved to actually be on the track after creeping closer and closer to the track. Right before our race, the high school girl’s DMR went off and Tatnall had an amazing run , with Haley Pierce anchoring with a 4:42 mile. It was cool to hear the crowd and see some fast runs from track level which is a pretty special point of view. Then it was time for us to go off. We started the race and I was feeling pretty good,  I knew I would be near the front at the beginning and if I wasn’t leading that’s where I wanted to be. I wanted to go out in about 70 and then open in a 2:20, and see where we could go from there. I was hoping that a little bit of a quick open would maybe take out some of the really strong kickers behind me in Ajee Wilson and Mary Cain. We came through the 800 in about 2:25, and I was not happy. At this point I was frustrated in this and when I had talked to my coach before this about race strategy, we knew anything slower than 2:22 wouldn’t end well, and he was right. The only option I had at this point was to try to go for the 3rd lap and see if I could get any space. It was pretty much too late at this point and Mary came up on my outside shoulder with about 500 to go. I tried to run her off but right about when we got to the bell, she finally passed me and took off. She ended up closing in 62 second 400 which is amazing. There’s nothing I can even say about the last lap, I knew I wasn’t going to have a 62 to close. Mary is an AMAZING runner and she’s running so well so I’m really happy for her, she deserved it. I just hope I get a chance to race her again, because I know it will be an exciting race. 

 

After the race I was pretty upset but my coach didn’t let me be too hard on myself. I was just happy to have had the opportunity I had and do what I’ve done there. I may not have had the race I wanted at that time but I’ve definitely had some serious luck there, one not so great race doesn’t erase how fortunate I was.  All in all it was a great experience and I learned from it. But I did see the HSG 3k as well and Sophie Chase did amazing too! But I was so happy that Tori and I were both able to represent PA well, with two 2nd’s! And a big shout out to my friend, Larisa Debich for her win in the pole vault!

 

The following week I had an invitational at Baldwin. This is an amazing meet that draws around 170 team and 1,900 athletes from the western PA area. This time I wasn’t going to let myself be disappointed again. I knew what I wanted to do and what I could do. All week I had really been looking forward to this meet and running a fast time for the first time outdoors. I did not want this to be another invitational where I just go out, open up slow, and run a 4:52-3 and I’m unhappy. I could still remember how I felt after that Penn Relays race and I didn’t want that to happen again.  This was also a track I had never been to before so to have a special invitational mile, on a brand new track to me was rare and made it even better. We had great weather and it was around 70 degrees when we were lined up for the McKinney Mile. I was also racing Margo (Malone) which was exciting because I hadn’t raced her or seen her since indoor. She’s so sweet so it’s always nice to come out her way! Also a future teammate of mine was at Baldwin too, Caitlin Bungo! This mile was really different and much better. I wanted to open up in 2:20 and I did, the hard way, 66 then 74. I knew I had opened up hard but I couldn’t help being happy hearing that 2:20 and knowing I had set up this race and now I had to finish. That whole 3rd lap I was really fighting to stay on pace. My coach had said, if I can get through the first 3 laps the crowd will get you through the last one. That was really true because there were so many people cheering us on that last lap, there was even a group of Baldwin kids cheering us all on through the whole race and throughout the day which was soo awesome. I ended up with a PR of a few tenths of a seconds which I was happy about, but I can’t lie- I was a little disappointed I wasn’t able to go under 4:44, I was .08 seconds over! After my mile I was still on the infield for the boys McKinney Mile which was just as exciting, if not more, than ours. The boys were battling the whole way to the line, but Wil Bailey from Penn Hills was able to nab the win, and you could tell both guys were giving everything, it was so awesome! The crowd was really into their race, too, which didn’t hurt!

 

The next race I had was the 800. I had no idea what to expect in this race because I hadn’t run a competitive 800 in a while.  My PR was from exactly 2 years ago, at the West Central Coaches meet so I wanted to erase that and start over. I wanted to open in 64 and that’s what I did. Another good split that was motivating. That second lap was all just fight and down the last stretch I could see the clock counting up 2:05, 2:06, 2:07, 2:08…. I was keeping my fingers crossed that I was able to go under 2:10 because I have been looking to do that for a while in the open 8. I later found out my official time, 2:09.82, just squeaked by!

 

The last race I had was our 4x4. We ended up being in the 2 heat of 3 for the 4x4 which we were a little bit disappointed about but we knew we had to make the best of it. We won our heat and actually ended up 4th overall! After the race, one of the officials told me that 3 of them had gotten a watch on my split, 56.0! The fastest I’ve ever split on the 4x4. This same thing happened 2 years ago at WCC, this time of year is when I’m usually able to get a really good day together. I was fortunate enough to get the MVP of the meet on the girls’ side which was so nice! And our team got 2nd, for AA schools, which was really unexpected!

 

Overall it was an interesting past few weeks! I’m sorry this took forever/is so long. I have districts this week and hopefully I’ll have some good things to report after that race as well. I’ll be running the 16, 8, 4x4 and most likely the 4x8.  Good luck to everyone at Districts this week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #12 (March 26, 2012)

 


Hey everyone,

Sorry this has taken me so long; things have been a little crazy lately!

    Two weekends ago I was competing at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at the Armory in New York City.  Going into this meet, I can’t lie, I was really excited! I had major nerves though. I felt like I was ready and my race at states had been good preparation for this race, but regardless, this was my last chance to do well at indoor nationals and I felt even more pressure because going in I was one of the top seeds. I had a legitimate chance to do better at nationals than I ever have before. This was also the first time I was going to be at the Armory this year, the first and last. I love the Armory so I was really excited to go back. I haven’t been to New York since Foot Locker Regionals, so I was looking forward to the trip.

    Going into Nationals I was just doing a few 5 or 6 mile runs and some 400’s close to race pace. The week before Nationals was the official start of the outdoor season, I was really happy to have everyone back. I couldn’t really do the stuff they were doing because I was tapering and they were just starting.

    We left for New York around 10-10:30 on Friday. My race wasn’t until Sunday but I really wanted to see the 5k on Friday night so we had to leave pretty early. I knew I didn’t want to be rushed either so I was really excited to be leaving. We got there without a problem (!) and checked into our hotel around 5:00pm.  This left enough time to go out to eat and head over to the Armory. We ended up having even more time than we thought because I was told that the meet was over an hour behind schedule! I felt so bad for the 5k girls because this threw off their warm-ups, and eating! This was nice for me though because I was able to catch up with a lot of my Northeast girls before they had to race.  I was able to spend some time talking and catching up with Tori Gerlach and her mom which I was hoping I would be able to do!  I know if I had been in their shoes (or spikes ) I probably would have been freaking out because of how nervous I was. On Friday, I was already wishing I was just racing already to get it over with. Just being at the Armory at an event like that is an amazing feeling; it has to be one of the most unique environments. Just thinking about all the talent that is there is amazing.  I was really proud of all my girls that were in the 5k! Erin (Finn) had an amazing race and there were 5+ Foot Locker girls there that I knew so I was happy to see them racing again.

    On Saturday, we headed back to the Armory to watch some more races. I wanted to spend as much time there as possible because it was my last time. We don’t get many opportunities like this one in high school so I was really trying to enjoy it before I had to get down to the business of my own race. After we watched some races, we went out to eat, so I could get my lasagna. We went to Laterna , which we have never been to before so I was a little nervous but I was hopeful. We got there, ate our food and it was good! I don’t think it will crack the top 8 but it was still good. I went back to the hotel, and tried to get to bed as soon as possible. Tomorrow was the day and I wanted as much sleep as possible. I never have a problem sleeping but that night I felt like I just had a shot of caffeine. I was feeling anxious and jittery and I was having a really hard time falling asleep. This never happens to me so I was a little concerned and I wasn’t sure what to do. After what felt like 2 hours, but was probably really only 20 minutes, I was asleep and feeling more relaxed.

    I woke up the next morning and I felt a lot better. I had gotten enough sleep and I was ready to go. I had a 10 minute shake out run around 10 which was a little more than 3 hours before my race was scheduled to start. When I was jogging I felt good, I was still nervous though but excited. It seemed like this season had just begun but it was already time for the last race of my high school indoor career.  After my jog I had breakfast at the hotel and it was nice to head towards the Armory. (Before we got there Coach G had to get gas near the hotel and it was $4.15/gallon! I couldn’t believe it!) We got to the Armory and the place was already full of excitement and success. It was nice out that day so I was able to do my jogging outside and then inside just before my race started. Before my race I was really nervous but as I was warming up Caitlin Bungo (my future Villanova teammate!) wished me good luck and said she and her family were staying just to see me run before they headed home. I had so much support going into this race and so many people behind me.

    This was one of the weirdest races I have ever run, making it an excellent learning experience. When we opened up, our splits were a little slower than I had wanted which was unexpected. I had opened up faster two weeks prior at states so I was expecting our splits to be similar. When I tried to push the pace, I now realize that I hadn’t picked up for long enough. We didn’t sustain the increased tempo which was why I wasn’t hearing the numbers I wanted to. Then at the end, I just didn’t have the kick I wanted. I definitely have to give it to Hannah; she had an amazing race and ran a fantastic time. It was really nice to finally meet her and to have this opportunity. After the race I was able to finally catch up with a few of the girls that I hadn’t seen in a while which was also nice.

    Going into nationals I wanted to PR and of course you always go into a race hoping to win. I ended up not having it that day but hopefully another day will be different story. I can’t be too disappointed with another All-American this year and the highest place I’ve ever got at nationals. I am hoping that the times I ran this season and my performances can be a good indicator of a good outdoor season.  I just want to give a BIG congratulations to ALL of the newly crowned National Champions. That is truly an outstanding feat and something to be very proud of. It just shows that hard work really does pay off, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that these meets and opportunities make it all worth it.

    The outdoor season is underway and I’ve already had two workouts that have gone pretty well. First I did a 300’s and 600’s workout. I ran 2x600 first at about 18 second hundreds, 1:12 for the quarter. Then we did 8x300, trying to hit around 50 or under. I felt good and was happy to finally be doing workouts again. A little later in the week we did a hill workout. I did 12 hills; we use a hill on the back side of our cross country course. I have done this workout before in cross country season so I was familiar with it. I don’t think my times were exactly where I wanted them to be, especially relatively speaking compared to how I had run them before but I know I got some good work in and it will pay off. We have another dual meet coming up this week at home then our first invitational this weekend at Altoona. Hopefully this good weather keeps up.  Good luck to everyone competing in the upcoming weeks! Believe it or not, with this indoor season ending, the countdown to The Penn Relays has begun! We will soon be under 30 days!! Time is flying!

 

 

 

Journal Entry #11 (March 6, 2012)

 


Hello everyone!

This week I’ll be talking about states, and a few of the things I’m doing now in preparation for nationals!

    So when I left off I was planning to eat at Luigi’s, eating my pre-race lasagna and heading out to Penn State early Saturday morning. I had to leave right around 6:30 in the morning and we got there right around 8. Usually Coach G can get us where we need to go in a “timely manner” but because of the weather we were delayed a bit. I slept for most of the way but when I woke up and we were closer to State College, it was a complete white out! There were accidents on the road and people were driving with their four-ways on. It was definitely a hazardous drive but I was excited when we finally arrived. This was really my first big meet of the season and my first time in an atmosphere like that this year.  I was nervous but, at least when I first arrived, I was just excited.

Walking into that arena, with probably half the fans that would end up cheering there that day, and about half the athletes too, was really cool. We did some jogging on the track and I was feeling really good. I didn’t even realize that it had been resurfaced so that was a pleasant surprise for sure. After they kicked any athletes off the track that weren’t competing it was time to get started. Now I was feeling the nerves. As the time of my race got closer and closer I was getting more and more nervous but also more excited. I knew that this was going to be my last chance to get my name in the record books for the state of PA, at least for the indoor season, and also my last chance to win indoor state championships. Before I knew it, we were being corralled in the area beside the final straightaway anxiously awaiting our time on the track. I was getting focused and imagining myself doing what I needed to do today. When my coach and I spoke about this race we knew that the key would be to push laps 5 and 6. That’s what will make or break my time and any chance I have at breaking the state record. This record was especially significant to me because it was held by Frances Koons, a Villanova alum and also a member of the Villanova family that is still very close to Coach Gina. She was one of the first to know of my commitment to Villanova and I knew she would be cheering me on despite the fact that it was her record I had my sights set on.

We got lined up, the gun went off and the race was underway. I felt good to start and as the race progressed I only felt better. I went through the first 400 in about 69, the half mile coming in at about 2:23. I had set my splits up for a 2:24 half mile so I when I heard that number I was feeling good and starting to feel more confident. That had been the thing I was most nervous about; setting up this race would be the difference between a good day and a bad day. After the half mile, I had come to the hardest part of the race, laps 5 and 6. I had to dig to get these laps to where they needed to be time wise. At this point my coach knew I was setting myself to get a good time and the announcer knew it too! I could hear a few things he said, especially when he said I was on record pace, I was realizing this is real and the time to go was now. The last two laps of this race have to be one of the fondest memories I will take with me when I leave high school. That was a once in a lifetime experience and I honestly would not exchange it for anything in the world. To hear the crowd getting as excited as I was about what I was doing, made all the work I have done up to this point pay off. I have never heard a crowd that loud for me before and it was an unreal experience. Words cannot describe the feeling of coming down that last stretch and not even being able to hear myself breath, not only because they were cheering me on to win but because they were cheering me on to a state title, record and a US #1 time. I wish I could thank everyone who was in that building cheering all the athletes on that day. I would say that for me, they definitely made the difference between a decent time and the time that I actually ran. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience running my last indoor state mile. When I had finally finished and I saw my time I almost didn’t believe it. Once we were off the track, and I saw my coach I think he was more excited than I was! More tired too! Then I saw my other coach, my parents and one of the younger runners that came with us to watch and they were really excited for me too! My mom couldn’t wait to tell me that I had broken the All-Time PA record along with the state record, because it was already on PennTrack.

    After talking to them I had to refocus myself and remember I still had a very competitive race ahead of me. I would say that the 3000 was one of the most stacked races of the day. There were 4 current state champions, which to me meant at least 3 other girls who dislike losing as much as I do and we would be pushing each other to a fast time. So getting ready for this race I was nervous but also excited! Two of the girls running the 3000 that day were on my FL Northeast team, Tori Gerlach and Meredith Speakman, who I hadn’t seen since we left San Diego! It was so nice to get to talk to them again and catch up.  Meredith and I even have the same spikes! It seemed like it took forever to actually get on the line and get started.  You could feel how nervous everyone was and how anxious we were to get going. I really like running the 3000 at states so I was nervous but also excited to have the opportunity to win another state championship. During the race, we went out at a good pace and I was hitting the splits my coach wanted me too. After a few laps, probably around lap 5 and 6 we started to fall off and we were leaving the splits we were running originally. I wasn’t 100% sure it was Coach G yelling and I also can’t say I was anxious to move and I was more content staying where I was. I realize now I should have just moved when I thought I heard him and I wouldn’t have had to run such fast splits at the end of the race and instead make them more consistent. That was a major mistake and I had too much when I finally did make my move, with about 5 or 6 laps to go.  We were not set up to run near the record at the beginning of the race but by the end I was only 5 seconds away from breaking it which was really frustrating. I would have loved to break two records that day but it just didn’t happen. I was glad to have a PR in the event though.  I really like the 3000 and this was the last time I’ll run the 3000 in high school.

Overall, I can’t be disappointed with the day. There was a little more that I wanted to do but I probably had one of the best meets of my life so it was a good day. I’m looking forward to Nationals this coming weekend, where I’ll be running the mile. There will be some amazing competition there, and the Sunday following the state meet I was no longer US #1 because of the Brooks PR meet. The only positive I could take from that was that it took a meet that stacked to run a faster time. It’s so weird that I will never have an indoor state championship again but it went well so I don’t want to be too upset.

    Good luck to everyone running at nationals this weekend, High School and College! There will be a lot of fast running this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #10 (February 23, 2012)

 


Hello everyone,

I wasn’t able to write a journal after last weekend at Lehigh (Feb 11) but I can include some of that in this journal as well.

I have been doing one workout a week for the past few weeks so before Lehigh I had a workout on the track. I did a ladder workout, 200, 300, 400, 500 then back down 500, 400, 300, 200. I was a little anxious about this workout because I knew I would be running some fast splits but I also thought that doing the four different distances would make it more interesting and go faster. It ended up feeling that way and it went fairly fast. I was trying to run the 200 right around 30, 31 I was trying to run 17’s for the 300, 18’s for the 400 and 19 or 20 second hundreds for the 500. I felt pretty good doing this workout and I hit the splits that I was aiming for. My workouts have been going well right now which has been a good sign and hopefully a good sign for Lehigh and Tri-states. For the rest of the week I was just doing some average runs, nothing crazy. We had to leave for Lehigh on Friday because it is about a 5 hour drive for us and we didn’t have school on Friday anyway so it was easy. If you saw us at the meet you might have been surprised to see that we had a small group of competitors. This week we brought three of my friends on the team; a thrower, a high jumper, and a long jumper. They had heard about me going to this meet and were anxious to join us. It definitely made the trip more interesting.

    The night before the meet we ate at Sal’s (we ate there again after the meet; it’s one of our favorite restaurants on the road). We went there last year when I competed at the Track Carnival and we fell in love with the food and the atmosphere. I wasn’t able to get lasagna there last year because it wasn’t on the menu, this year they had either added lasagna to the menu or brought it back, either way I was very excited! It was so good! I think it will be cracking the top 5 of best lasagnas.


In my opinion the best Lasagnas around!
    
•    Carlino’s Market-  Ardmore, near Philadelphia, the night before Penn Relays 2011
   

•    Fenicci’s of Hershey- In Hershey, night before cross country states 2010-2011 (I have earned two certificates for finishing a large plate of lasagna)
    
•    Carini’s- In Bloomsburg, when we are heading to New York, usually the Armory
•    Sal’s- In Bethlehem, near our hotel before Lehigh, before the Track Carnival
    
•    Buca di Beppo-  In Allentown, on the way home from Paul Short
    
•    Luigi’s- A local restaurant that is awesome! I’ll be headed there the night before States this weekend!
    
•    La Terrazza- The night before Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego
    
•    Carrabba’s- We’ve been to a few, but after New Balance Outdoor Nationals 
    
•   Donatello’s- A local restaurant, before local races

 


I had a decent day at Lehigh, I can’t say that I was happy with it but I couldn’t complain too much because of the track. I ran a pretty slow mile time which made it hard to refocus for my other races. I was really disappointed I wasn’t able to run faster, the mile has been kind of frustrating for me but I got over most of that this past weekend. I was also able to run the 800 with Ceaira Brown and Emma Keenan. That was the most competitive 800 I have raced in a very long time, maybe even since my 10th grade indoor states. To race number one in the state in the 800 and 400 in one race was pretty cool. I wish we had been on a different track doing that race but it was still a good experience. My teammates didn’t have the best days either but there were positive things we could all take from that day. Also if at any time if you were at that meet and you heard someone say the word “nothing” in probably the most annoying voice in the world, it was my high jumper! She was obsessed with saying that to anyone she could find and she was cracking us all up!

    This past weekend I was at Edinboro. Before this meet I had a fartlek workout. I was on for 5 min, off for 3, on for 3, off for 3, and on for 1, off for 5. I was expecting to do the same thing again but my coach than had me do 3 on, 3 off x3. I was not happy to hear that because the 3 on was the hardest one for me. I was trying to keep somewhat of an idea the distance I would have to run for each time. For the 1 min hard at the end of my first interval I was happy to be able to run about a 69, my coach just happened to “forget” to yell stop after a minute and figured it would be ok for me to run an extra 9 seconds to finish the lap, I didn’t even notice until I finished it. This was a good workout for me mentally and obviously physically. I was able to work on keeping my head on and focused for a straight 3 minutes on the track and run fast. I was able to get over the obstacle of completing a workout that I didn’t want to do and I’m not the strongest at but was able to finish and finish successfully.  I went out to Edinboro anxious to run fast and get  a nice tune-up before states. I was also anxious to get back on a track I was comfortable with.  I was not happy with the track and my performance at Lehigh and so I was looking for a little redemption and a confidence boost before states. I went to Edinboro planning on running two events, like I would be at states just to get used to the break and the preparation time. I have been used to running 3 and 4 events at meets more recently, but this time I was only running two. I was really happy that I was able to take advantage of time on the track and get that experience that I think I am benefiting from now. If my coach and I had been less aggressive at the beginning of my season (halfway through the real indoor season), with many of the other strong competitors in the northeast having 2, 3, 4 meets under their belts I think that I might be facing more of a struggle going into the state meet. I have had good races and bad races in this season, got the kinks worked out and I am looking forward to my last indoor state meet to do some of the things I want to do. I was happy with my mile time for this past weekend and I was happy with my 3000 time. I also got a lot of support when I was out there for the last time, a lot of people wishing me good luck and talking about my commitment to Villanova and the things in store for me in the future. I loved going to Edinboro and I was glad I ran at that track this year. The meets were great and the other runners and fans were so supportive. I am hoping for even faster times this weekend on the fast track at Penn State against the best runners in the state. There are some really great runners in both of these events so I’m sure they will be something to watch.

Good luck to everyone this weekend!! I also want to congratulate Caitlin Bungo on signing with Villanova, very exciting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #9 (February 9, 2012)

 


Hello Everyone!

    Sorry it’s been a while since my last journal, up until the past two weekends I haven’t done any racing so not too much to report. Since my season has begun, my coach and I have done our best to not waste the time we do get on the track. We’ve been making every lap count as valuable work considering our relatively late start.

    Last week leading into Edinboro, my first race, I was definitely nervous. There were girls all over this part of the country running very fast already, competing against each other at the Armory and prestigious events were under way. I couldn’t help but feel a bit on the outside looking in. My coach and I had decided at the beginning of this season that I wasn’t going to do the traveling like I did last year because of the strain it put on my body and the stress it caused because of the school work that I would be missing. I know it was the right decision for me, but now it’s hard to not be a little bit sad even though I know it’s the right thing for me to do. So I have been working hard getting good workouts in to make myself ready when I do eventually line up with some of the best girls around. Before my first race at Edinboro, I did a mile repeat workout. I have learned that tempo runs never seem to work out well for me, something mentally just doesn’t click with me when it comes to tempo runs, but if I am on the track doing mile repeats with maybe 10 second rest I can do just fine. I did 3xmile repeats, my first and second were both 5:48 and my last was around 5:32. I was happy I was able to hit my splits, come back faster, and for most of the time I was feeling pretty good. I was hoping this would be an indication of good things to come.

    I had never been to this track before so I was a little bit nervous about it but excited to get to run somewhere new. I knew I was going to have a big day ahead of me and I had to be mentally and physically prepared. I got to the track and I really liked it. The atmosphere was great and I was just happy to be competing once again. I ran the mile first which didn’t go how I wanted it to at all. I was happy that I was able to win but my time was not what I had hoped to run or what I had expected. I realize that I am probably rusty and have to once again get used to the distance and get used to running fast. Next was the 400, the event I was least nervous about. The shorter races don’t seem to make me as nervous because I knew I was running it to get some extra work in, and it’s short enough that mentally there isn’t much to think about except running fast. Most of my races anymore there is just too much time to think while you are running, but in less than a minute there aren’t too many discouraging thoughts that can go through your head. I liked talking to some of the girls before that race because I have never met most of them before. We don’t cross paths often so it was cool to race against some new faces. I was really in the 400 I was just trying to race; I wasn’t expecting a time or place, just to race and I figured the rest would come. After the 400, I ran the 800 and the 3000.  The 800 didn’t go how I had planned or wanted but I still got a decent time so I was happy.  In the 3000 I tried to stay relaxed for the first half of the race and then about 6 or 7 laps into the 12+ lap race I took the lead and tried to push as much as I could. My time was alright but I was really just trying to get some more work in and using the 3000 for some work. It was nice seeing Margo and some of the other girls I raced during cross country.

    After that meet I had a long run Sunday and a workout the following Tuesday. For anyone who saw me run, you’ll be glad to know that I got a quick lap counting workout on Monday. I have been so happy about the weather we’ve been having and Tuesday was no different. This was planned to be a 400 interval workout, which in most cases I’m not all that worried about. I was still a little nervous but not too bad. Until my coach told me instead of 12x400 all in 72-74 I was going to try and hit 70. I was hoping that running consistently at this pace would help me improve my mile time and performance. It didn’t exactly go as planned and I ended up running my first 400 in about 67, needless to say the rest were between 71-75. My legs just couldn’t seem to recover after running that first one too fast. I was just glad to survive that workout and be able to go back to Edinboro to run some faster times.


Photos by Phil Grove

    Before this meet, my coach asked me if I wanted to do all 4 events or do the 3000 or the 800. I decided it was an opportunity to get some more good work and that I should take advantage of it. So I was nervous again but excited to be racing again. I ran the mile, ran about the same time as last time, which was really discouraging. I haven’t been able to throw a good mile time together yet this year. This has been hard to deal with but I’m still working on it and trying to keep my head in it. After the mile I had the 400, once again I had one of the slowest seed times in the fast heat. The same thing happened to me last time. I didn’t really mind it, it just means I have a bad lane for the first half of the race until we can break. This makes me nervous but also excited to have the opportunity to run a fast time. I ended up winning my race and getting a new indoor PR of 58.3. It felt good to run a fast 400. Right after the boys 400 I had the 800. The 800 always feels difficult because I’ve burned some endurance out of my legs from the mile, and my fast twitch muscles feel torched after the 400. Considering I need both of these for the 800, it takes a lot of mental focus. I was really excited to run a 2:14, my 800 doesn’t always come together with a good time so to run a PA #2 was a promising sign. My last event of the day was the 3000. I was feeling pretty tired at this point and not looking forward to almost 2 more miles of racing. Seeing this my coach asked me if I wanted to run splits or sit back for the first half of the race and see what I could do the second half. I decided that I wanted to see what I had left so I went for it. It was challenging racing the 3000 because we are all on different laps and throughout my race I had to weave in and out of the other girls running. It was probably more work but it kept it interesting and kept me focused. I was really excited when I was able to run a 10:06 after the long day. It was only a few seconds off my best 3000 time that I ran last year at states. I have never really focused on the 3000 so to run a decent time that was PA #1 was really cool. It’s never been my favorite event but it’s really the only higher distance event I like.  After this I have to start deciding what events I plan on doing at states and nationals. Also one of my best friends and a thrower on my team went to the meet with me to throw shot put. She ended up placing ninth for her first meet and she was pretty excited.

    I’m looking forward to competing at Lehigh this coming weekend to run against some more new faces and maybe some new PR’s. I plan on running the mile, 800, and 3000. I know that there are going to be some good girls there to run with and although it’s nowhere near my favorite track, the competition makes up for it. Hopefully I have good things to report following this meet.

    Also just this past Tuesday, February 7th, there was a big girls’ basketball game at my school to decide the Conference title, and I was presented with my Gatorade award right before the game started. I was really excited and everyone was so supportive, and the girls won to top it off!!

    Good luck to everyone competing at Millrose this coming weekend, there are going to be some amazing races happening at the Armory this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #8 (December 28, 2011)

 

 

 

I apologize for taking so long to write this journal, things have been really crazy here, but this is very important to me so I wrote as soon as possible. First of all Merry Christmas to everyone, and Happy New Year! 

 

My last journal was about northeast regionals. Following regionals I didn’t do too many workouts. I did a little bit of track work but other than that, just keeping my legs fresh and ready to go. I also did some swimming in that time to keep my lungs fresh and ready to go. Before I knew it, it was time for us to fly out of Pittsburgh! My flight was at about 6AM. The airport is about an hour and a half away so we just stayed at a hotel near the airport, so we could wake up as late as possible and get going. I was so excited that night to be leaving the next morning! I flew from Pittsburgh to Chicago, then from there to San Diego.  I left Pittsburgh alone, and then from there I met a bunch of other runners in Chicago, including Futsum Zeinasellassie which was really cool because he was talking to some of the guys about Nike Nationals! From Chicago we all got to San Diego at about 11 am.  We met up with a bunch of other Foot Locker runners and headed to the Hotel Del Coronado.  It was as beautiful as I remembered! The bus ride over from the airport, when we went over the bridge to the island was as awesome as last year! When we got there, we were one of the first buses of runners to arrive but there were still some runners there already, including Tori Gerlach and her mom. I was really excited to see them and Meredith Speakman was also in San Diego with me so having three Pennsylvania girls was extra cool. After everyone arrived and we were given a backpack filled with amazing clothes, flats, and spikes, Tori, Meredith, and I went to grab some lunch about 5 minutes away from the hotel. The weather was beautiful and we were all looking forward to what was coming next. Once we finished lunch, we went on our group run, then ate dinner. The group run has to be one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. It’s such a small part, and it’s even optional, but I love it. It’s one of the coolest things to be able to look in front of you, behind you, to the right and left of you and see literally the best 80 high school runners in the country. We all earned our spots here, and had to work our butts off all season but now we knew it was paying off. It’s a cool way to feel like we are all there together and shows how similar we all are.  All of our meals were buffet style and there was a huge variety of great food!  All the runners, following dinner, did a scavenger hunt. It was a great ice breaker and got us all laughing and joking together. A lot of our girls were really tired by the end of the scavenger hunt, because it was close to 11pm at home for us and we had been traveling all day. 

 

The next day was the day before the race. I don’t think anyone was feeling the nerves before we got to the course. When we got there they were still painting the ground with the stars, the announcers were testing out the sound system and it was starting to look like I remembered. We practiced our run out, which is one of the really unique cool parts of the whole experience. That’s the only cross country race I’ve ever been in where they announce every single runner and tell everyone about them. You can really tell that Foot Locker cares about the runners they invite there. We all jogged the course together and then I ran it with my coach. It was just how we remembered it and we had planned for me to go out nice and conservatively. Last year I made the mistake of going out near the front and that did not end well for me, so this year I was hoping to go out around 5:40ish and see if I could work my way back up. I was counting on people doing what I did last year, going out way too hard and this is one of those courses that will make you pay for it if you go out too hard. I felt comfortable with the course and my plan for the following day. So everyone saw the course and we were loaded back on the bus and headed back to the hotel for lunch. It was another beautiful meal, in a different beautiful room. There was a magician and artists doing caricatures (see the athlete cam done by Tori and I) http://www.milesplit.com/meets/95603/videos?id=20888 we got some interviews, pictures, and then we had a lot of free time before our nice dinner. A lot of girls just did their own thing; I mostly hung out in my room and chilled. I was still a little tired and even though I would have loved to explore the beach and the island, using my better judgment, I decided to relax instead.  A lot of the northeast girls finished getting ready together which was nice, then we went down to eat. We didn’t have to wait long before we were able to enjoy another fantastic meal. But just trying to hold with tradition, my parents (as discretely as possible) snuck some lasagna in for me! We remembered last year that, yes they had wonderful pasta, but no lasagna. I was glad to eat a Foot Locker cookie though, which were so adorable! We had our meal, and they also had a panel of athletes who are past or present Olympians, NCAA champions, record holders and Olympic hopefuls that all started in our shoes. We were assured that we were taking the first step to becoming just like them;  I’m sure that’s what we were all dreaming of. It couldn’t have been more inspirational and kind of them to take time out of their busy schedules, especially with this being an Olympic year, to share their past trials and tribulations, successes and everything in between. This panel included some of the following professional athletes: Jen Rhines, Bobby Curtis, Jorge Torres, Adam Goucher, Suzy Favor Hamilton (left in photo), Adam Goucher, Carrie Tollefson, among others. It was especially cool for me to meet Carrie Tollefson and Jen Rhines because they both ran for Villanova!! I was so excited to get to talk to them for even a little while because they were both so amazing and made sure I knew I had chosen the right school. After that, we headed to bed as quickly as possible to get as much sleep as possible because for tomorrow we were going to need it.

 

The next day we woke up bright and early, were served a huge amazing breakfast and it was time to go to the course. I did do a shake out run for 10 minutes before we ate but that was nothing major and just to get the blood flowing early. On the bus ride to the course it was not at all like the other rides we had taken. You could tell everyone just sort of knew it was time to get serious, and there were the nerves. When we got to the course, there were already plenty of people there and the announcers had started showing clips of what we had done the day before and some interviews that had been taken. Everyone was really just trying to focus on their strategy and race plan. We warmed up and then were lined up to be announced right before the race. I was really excited and nervous at this point to get going and start the race, and before we knew it it had started. I did go out nice and easy like I wanted to but I had underestimated the pace they would go out in. Don’t get me wrong, I was expecting them to go out fast but I wasn’t expecting them to go out as fast as they did. It ended up just being too much for me to make up in the end. I had gone there with some different goals in mind but the big one was I wanted more than anything to be All-American. I just squeezed in All-American by getting 13th, which I can’t say I was completely satisfied with, but no one close to me would let me be disappointed. One of the really cool things about this race was that my future Villanova coach, Gina Procaccio was there! It was awesome to see her and talk to her a little bit about my race and she got a chance to meet my coach face to face and hear some of the things I have been doing. I also saw the Tennessee assistant coach, Mary Jayne; she was so nice. Following our race was the boys’ race which was absolutely incredible! It had to be one of the greatest races I had ever seen, to see Edward and Futsum completely battling together and answering every move the other one tried to throw was amazing. After all the awards had been given and everyone had cooled down, we went back to the hotel to eat primarily, get cleaned up, do interviews, eat ice cream and hang out. We all got to see the beach and spend some time together.  While getting ready for the Saturday night banquet, of course everything did not go off without a hitch. I was trying to zip my dress and the zipper got caught in the fabric! All 3 of my roommates pulled and tugged at it and they couldn’t even get it to budge! Of course I’m freaking out because this is one of the nicer dinners of the trip and I don’t have a spare outfit. But luckily Abbey Leonardi, who was one of my roommates, had tweezers and after probably a half hour of working on it the zipper came loose! Needless to say the lining of the zipper was pretty much shredded, but a larger crisis was averted.The dinner that night was so great too, everyone got their awards and the winners gave their speeches. Molly did such an amazing job in her race as well, you could tell she was so grateful just to be there considering this is her first national XC race! Edward’s speech was great too, and he invited Futsum on stage to say a few words as well. I was so proud of the two champions and what they had done.

 

After dinner we had the dance which was what everyone was looking forward to of course! Following that, a lot of flights were leaving pretty early in the morning and this was the end of just about everyone’s season so most of the runners stayed up for most of the night, exploring the beach, hotel and just hanging out. I ended up getting about an hour or two of sleep before I almost missed my bus to the airport! I had set my alarm for the wrong time so it didn’t go off! One of the Foot Locker regional coordinators had to come to my room, thank gosh I had packed up the night before and just had to brush my teeth and go! It was sad seeing everyone going to their flights and knowing we wouldn’t be all together the next day in sunny San Diego. When I got home everyone was so happy for me and a lot of them had even watched the race. They couldn’t have been more proud even though they knew I wasn’t as happy as I could have been. I was looking very forward to having two weeks off, despite the fact that some of my Northeast teammates had indoor races the following weekend (congrats to Alexis Panisse and Edward Cheserek for qualifying for Millrose!). 

 

Overall the experience was priceless. The experiences, people and things I could to do are invaluable and I will never forget them. I wish I could go back to Foot Locker every year, but unfortunately this was my last chance. I know there are hopefully bigger and better things in the future, but right now I’m missing the sunshine! Congrats to Tori, Meredith, Dustin, Ann Herman, and all of the other National finalists. For a lot of us this was our last high school cross country season and it’s definitely bittersweet, but it’s time to move on I guess. I have just started running again to begin my training for indoor, and I’m sure many others have as well, so good luck to everyone this indoor season!

 

 

 

Journal Entry #7 (December 7, 2011)

 

Hey Everyone!!

    The past few weeks I have been doing some good workouts, resting up and getting ready for Regionals. I’ll talk a little bit about the training I did leading into Foot Locker Regionals and what I plan to do going into Foot Locker Nationals!

    Before Regionals I did about 3 workouts before we backed off and got ready to go.  Two weeks before Regionals, Monday, I did mile repeats. Mile repeats have never really been my strength so going into a workout like this I am especially nervous. My coach had planned this workout differently than I usually do but I did my first mile repeat in about 5:36. I usually start out about 5:50-5:55 and the last mile I try to go faster. This time I opened up faster, and tried to hang with it for the last two. I did three mile repeats. My last two were around 5:55. I wasn’t exactly happy with how I did; I’m usually not after a workout like this. I am sure it’s a mental thing, just something about mile repeats get in my head. My coach wouldn’t let me get too upset about it, because it served a purpose. I have to make sure I see that there is always a purpose served and that I am getting something out of it. Then on Thursday I had a workout that usually goes better for me. I was doing a hill workout on one of the hills on our course that was one the closest things we had to compare to cardiac. I did 12 repeats and it was about a 1:10 minute hill (unless you’re like Coach G who is running more like 1:25  ), with about a 3:00 minute rest. It was a challenging workout for sure but definitely a good one. It was hard but good preparation for the future races. The following week, I did one more workout before I left for Regionals, early that week. I was doing 400’s but because I had a big race later that week it was a little bit of a different workout. It was also pretty challenging. The workout was 12x400 in 72-75 second intervals with 60 second rest.  It was another difficult workout but beneficial.  I love (more like prefer) track workouts so anytime I get a chance to get back on the track I am very grateful.

    So Wednesday after school, Coach G, Jessica (my best friend) and I headed to Long Island to spend Thanksgiving and get a two day look at the course. We got there without a problem; mostly because we took Coach G’s car, if you ask me. Then on Thursday we spent some time in Manhattan.  We had originally planned to take the train in from Long Island to Manhattan at 10 so we could see 2 hours of the parade which we thought would be more than sufficient. But of course, we get to the station probably 5- 10 minutes early and by the time we get our tickets and make our way to the platform, literally as we are stepping off the elevator to go down one flight of stairs, we hear them announcing that the train is there, and also leaving. We run down the stairs as quickly as possible but we aren’t quick enough so we are forced to wait an hour for the next one. This means we would only see 1 hour of the parade which was a little disappointing.  But we got to see Santa, Kermit and Snoopy so it was alright.

    After the parade, we headed straight to the course to get a first look so on Friday I could relax, and not be stressed about concentrating on strategy. This was Thanksgiving day and Coach G was trying his best to make a meal come together but obviously it wasn’t meant to be. We drove all over Long Island for I would say like at least an hour looking for ANYWHERE to eat. At this point, nothing was open! It was horrible. By this time we are all exhausted and starving, it’s going on 10pm and at this point we decide it’s time to throw in the towel. We end up eating dinner at our hotel, not exactly ideal by any means. I joked all weekend with Coach G that this trip was a bust food wise, we couldn’t get this food thing right for some reason on this weekend.

    On Friday, we went back out to the course.  I got to jog it again, socialize a little and then it was time for dinner. We were once again forced to search high and low for somewhere that had lasagna. Apparently I am one of the few people who is particularly fond of lasagna because we called at least 3 different restaurants and not one even had lasagna on their menu! I was starting to lose it thinking that I wouldn’t be able to get lasagna anywhere, but eventually we found a restaurant with lasagna on the menu and made reservations right away. The restaurant we went to was Verace Restaurant; it was pretty good and had lasagna so I couldn’t be too hard on it. I don’t think it makes it on the list though, unfortunately.  Once we were finished with dinner and went back to the hotel it was time for some sleep because I definitely had an early one in the morning. I’m sure I was driving Jessica insane between my nerves and sass, but she’s the reason I stay sane and calm.

    Saturday morning, it’s the day of the race and I have everything planned down to my headband. I have been really looking forward to this race and I wanted to be as prepared and calm as possible (I also love being able to wear colors other than black and white which is the reason for my pink and purple outfit). I did a shake out for about 10 min at 7am, my least favorite part of the day by far! Following that, we packed up the car and were going to grab some breakfast at Panera Bread and then head to the course. I get to Panera and I was looking forward to getting a bagel and oatmeal because that’s usually what I get before a race (unless I’m at a hotel with a waffle maker)! But we get to Panera and it had never occurred to me that they don’t sell oatmeal. This was not part of the plan and it got me a bit worried.  Coach G assured me we would find oatmeal somewhere so after I ate my cinnamon crunch bagel (my favorite!) we were on the hunt for oatmeal. At this point nothing should surprise me, but I don’t think I would have ever imagined myself eating at McDonald’s the morning of a race, but there I was. The only place that we could find that had oatmeal was McDonald’s. As reluctant as I was, it was something I was familiar with and I was set on having oatmeal.  The McDonald’s wasn’t far at all from the course so we got my oatmeal and scooted down because by now it was just about the time we wanted to be at the course, around 9am.

Once we got to the course, I did my warm-ups and tried to keep my nerves in check. It was cool seeing all the FL finalists from last year again, considering I only really see them once or twice a year. The most surprising of these was Aisling Cuffe! I had no idea she was planning on attending but I was so glad to see her! She gave me a quick good luck but then left me to focus on what I had to do but nevertheless I was excited to see her again! Before I knew it, it was time for the race to begin and I was on the line. I prayed with Coach G, Jessica and my sport’s chiropractor (Dr. Hoover also has helped me with some of my nutritional changes and anything else I need and it was so great to have her there to support me.)  While I was trying to find a spot on the line to do some striders and get ready to race, I saw Abbey Leonardi. It seemed a spot beside her was as good a spot as any and I was glad to be able to say a quick hello before the race. While we were waiting for the announcer to end the time for striders and run outs I was getting really nervous and I was regretting leaving my water at our chairs. Trying not to be too much of a pest, I asked Abbey if she wouldn’t mind giving me a little bit of her water. She was really sweet and let me have as much as I needed, thank goodness!

The race began and we all had our sights set on the top 10 spots. I tried my best to execute my race plan to the best of my ability and it worked out. I had wanted to go out with a conservative first mile, around 5:45 probably putting me 15th-20th at the beginning which was not a worry of mine. From there, I had to keep my eyes set on the leaders and keep moving up. I had caught up around Cardiac then I was left just to cover any moves that were made. We were pushing up Cardiac and I was glad when it was finally over. Then Abbey and I were pretty much battling it out for the last mile. We exchanged the lead plenty of times. There wasn’t a definitive move until about 60 meters to go. I am so glad we were able to push each other and get a really good race out of it. I had been trying to imagine myself back in that white tent all weekend which had to be one of the best feelings ever. You’re so exhausted but you know that everything you worked for paid off and a major season goal has been reached.

As I was waiting to get my picture taken there’s another surprise, Emily Lipari! I was sooo excited to see her there, and be able to talk to her again. I haven’t seen her in person since I committed  to Villanova and the fact that she was able to be there and cheer me on was so awesome! We were even able to cool down together so it was a good ending to a really good day for me.  Finally, after awards were done and all the appropriate paperwork had been filled out, we were homeward bound with a 7 hour car ride ahead of us. All and all there were some ups and downs on this trip which is like any other that we take but it, usually ends up going alright.  We have learned, if nothing else, to manage.  When I got home, a lot of my friends seemed really happy and excited for me. I love pillow pets so my parents even got me a new pillow pet for California, a dolphin named Caroline! (I took my giraffe Leroy to Regionals and my moose Bruce to states!)

Leading up to nationals, my hips were feeling a little sore so we were making sure everything there was ok but everything feels ready to go now and I’m really excited. One of the workouts I did leading up to this was a ladder workout that went 200, 300, 400, 500, 500, 400, 300, 200. There was about 1:10 rest in between each and it was to refine the speed I know I’m going to need on Saturday! It was a good workout and I felt pretty strong throughout so hopefully that’s a good sign. I’m really just hoping to make the most of this trip and it’s weird that I’m looking forward to this experience for the last time! To be a returner on top of that almost seems unreal. I have to thank God, my family, my coach and my friends for really giving me everything they could this season. I couldn’t have made it through without them; I realize how fortunate I am. Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to make them proud one more time this cross country season. Also a quick thank you to Foot Locker and all they do to make this possible for all the athletes in attendance. Congratulations to all the NXN participants and champions, and good luck to everyone this weekend at Foot Locker!

 

 

 

Journal Entry #6 (November 15, 2011)

 

 


Hey everyone!!

    I hope that everyone has had a successful championship season and is looking forward to either getting a start on the indoor season or possibly a national event!

    Last week I had my last cross country state meet ever! I can’t believe that it has already come and gone and it seems kind of hard to believe I will never wear a Homer-Center jersey to a cross country meet again. So with that being said, I knew I had to go into this meet with a feeling of no fear and no worries and hopefully I would be able to leave with no regrets. I have been looking forward to the state meet all season; I’d have to say it’s one of my favorites. I love that all of the girls from all over the state that I don’t really get a chance to see come together for the same race at the same place and we can all support each other. It’s a good chance to catch up and reconnect; especially because sometimes it can feel like I’m a little disconnected from the rest of the running community coming from the middle of nowhere. So all week I have been looking forward to this race and this course.

    Coach G, Heather (she got 7th at Districts to qualify for states!) and I left Homer on Thursday after school and were Hershey bound by about 3:15pm. I had to get some quick calculus help and of course we had to chalk Coach G’s car (it has taken us long enough, but I think we have finally once and for all confirmed the risk of traveling in the van is way too high) before we left.  After we were on the road for a while we came up on Carlisle, where we stopped at an old favorite restaurant and actually it is the one we made it to when our van broke down on the way to The Penn Relays! It’s a small restaurant but the food is so good. It’s called Marcello’s but I can’t say they will be making the list for the best lasagna because I actually didn’t get lasagna. It was two nights before my race, not the night before so it just didn’t feel right. After we ate and left, we traveled the rest of the way to our hotel and got there around 9ish.

    The next morning I slept a little later than Coach G and Heather but we all were up around 9am the next morning and were getting some breakfast before we headed to the course. When we got there around noon I was actually really excited to set up the tent, check out the clothes, feel the course and of course see everyone that I hadn’t seen for awhile. I was excited to see that the color PIAA had chosen for the official clothing was purple, which is my favorite!

After we got all of our stuff, we headed to our box and began the course. I don’t know how much anyone can really like this course because it is challenging and there are definitely some inconvenient parts but I can’t really say I hate it. I have had some races there where I felt very strong and I feel that’s the kind of course that could go really well or really badly depending on the day and how you feel. I was feeling optimistic because I was afraid the course would be in a lot worse condition than it turned out to be. I was feeling pretty good as well, so I was hoping to feel the same on race day. After we had gotten a good look at the course, we found Don Rich and were able to talk to him for a bit. Last year and this past year we have done the exact same thing the day before states, on and off the course, so I’m pretty sure we have the right routine by now.

Once we were done discussing the course, the race, and plans for what was to come it was time for lunch and we were headed to Houlihan’s. I got fettuccini alfredo with chicken because it still wasn’t time for lasagna. Then, we went back to the hotel and relaxed until dinner. I was most looking forward to this meal because it was time for Fenicci’s for their famous lasagna! This is definitely one of the highlights of this trip, and I wasn’t planning on dropping the ball this year. I was determined not to leave that restaurant without a certificate in my hand. So I ordered my lasagna and….finished it without a problem. I was hoping this was a sign of what may come tomorrow; I mean if my lasagna eating had gone this well the race had to go just as well, right?  After dinner we went back to the hotel, and tried to get to bed ASAP because we knew we had an early one the next day.

Coach G had planned a shake-out at 6:30 the following morning to give our legs a chance to really wake up. After the shake-out run, we ate breakfast, and were headed to the course once again. When we got there the course still didn’t look as bad as it could have. We were worried about frost which usually effects how firm the course is in the morning. The ground still felt good so things seemed to be working out just fine. While we were under the tent my other two coaches, Coach Rodkey and Coach Mookie showed up to surprise me there!  They don’t really get to see me race in cross country because they both coach football which takes up a good bit of their time and energy so when they can come watch it’s always nice and having them there for States was especially nice.  I really appreciate everything they’ve done for me and what I hope they will continue to do for the remainder of my career at Homer because I don’t know what I would do without them.

We did all our warm-ups and stretches, a last minute bathroom trip almost making us late to the line (feeling rushed and nervous is not unusual) and then it was time to go. I was really feeling the nerves at this point and I admit I was surprised at how nervous I was and how it hit me all at once. Coach G was praying with both of us and it really sunk in that this was my last chance ever to do something I was really proud of here. I wanted to leave here with no regrets and not look back thinking I didn’t do something I wanted to do. I was filled with nerves on the line, but I couldn’t let them take over when the gun went off because too fast of a start would surely be the end of me on this course; this isn’t one where you can get away with that.

Next thing I knew the gun was shot and we were off. It’s always an awesome feeling running that opening stretch of the state meet with almost 300 other girls to your right or left and so many fans screaming you can’t hear any of them. For my first mile I went a little faster than I wanted to, probably just because of nerves and excitement but we were at around 5:35 which doesn’t seem too bad but on a course like that could be problematic; but I tried to shut it out of my mind and keep moving forward. There was no time to be thinking about that because I still had a lot of work to do. My coach and I had discussed that for this race I really wanted to just keep pushing and really racing to the next part of the course, then attacking it.

After the first mile I raced to the Aloha Hills, after that I raced to the gravel path and up the grass hill, down the steep downhill, to Poop-Out, then down the finishing stretch. That was another incredible feeling. Coming up to Poop-Out you are so exhausted and you’re just ready to be done but there are fans all along up and down that hill and then down the entire finish.  Going into states I usually just try to think, ok if I can just make it to the bottom of that hill, between the fans and adrenaline, I’ll make it to the finish. So after the race, and as I was crossing the line I could see the clock and I knew it was going to be close to the course record. I was really excited because that had been my goal going into this meet, I had also wanted to go under 18:30 and I knew I was close to that too. Once we got the official results we found that I had run 18:31, only 2 seconds over that goal but I had broken the record which I was happy about. I was very relieved but also somewhat sad after that race because now it was really over, there wasn’t next year to do better or try again. After I did some interviews,  I was congratulated by my parents, coaches, and my boyfriend, who had come up with my parents as a surprise (but I was on to them all along!).

Then it was time for the AAA girls race. I was really looking forward to watching this race and I had been for some time now. I knew it was going to be a loaded race and that really anything could go, anyone could win on any given day. Coach G is always telling me about what happens to him while he is trying to watch my races and the things that he has to go through, claiming he runs more than I do in the race, just to watch me and get to the places he wants to get too. I have never believed these claims and have never really had the chance to be with him when he is seriously watching a race, on a course that takes a little bit of work to get around. So I told him I was going to watch the AAA race with him just to see. IT WAS AWESOME! I realized I have never really had to work to watch a cross country race, I’m usually either forced to just watch the finish or I am jogging while the other races were going on, or I just don’t know where to go. Being with Coach G, and following the AAA race was so funny and unexpected. I really have to give all those coaches and spectators that are practically running the course with us cheering for everyone credit, it may not seem like it makes a difference but it really does and I think we all really appreciate it! After the AAA race was over I did a little more cool down and we had some time before awards. As I was talking to my coaches, Sara Sargent’s grandma came over, congratulated me, and led me to the Pennsbury tent because I was anxious to congratulate them on their repeat victory! Once I had talked to them, it was just about time for awards and almost time to leave Hershey Parkview Course, for the last time. I knew my cross country season wasn’t over but it was still kind of sad to know I wouldn’t be racing there again.

It was also nice to have the course record for a whole hour. Congrats to Meghan McGovern and Hannah Grossman for going 18:28 and 18:30, respectively, in the AAA race.

I apologize for making this so long! But I just want to also thank all my family, friends, and coaches for coming out to support me at our basket raffle. I can only thank God that I am so fortunate to have as much support as I do. I am really looking forward to Foot Locker Northeast which is less than 2 weeks away! I can’t believe it’s almost time to head back out to Sunken Meadow Park, definitely starting to feel the nerves. Good Luck to everyone at their state and regional meets!

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #5 (November 2, 2011)


Hello everyone!

    I hope everyone is feeling good going into the championship season. Congrats to all of the District champions and state qualifiers!  I would think at this time I would have little to report because training for me is pretty minimal. Just keeping the legs as fresh as possible and staying loose, but it hasn’t been that average. Last Thursday, I woke up for school like I would any other day. About 20 minutes later I feel a pinch in the back of my neck. Not really thinking anything of it, I continue getting ready and leave for school. But as the day goes on I can feel my neck getting sorer. I notice about first period that it hurts a little to turn to the left side.

Still not thinking much of it I continue on with my day. By the time I get to my gym class, about 4th period right before lunch I can just feel my neck going to the side little by little. Before I know it, it won’t straighten! I couldn’t believe my luck, the fact that I had districts in about 2 days and my crooked neck was in significant pain! I couldn’t run that day obviously so I went to get it worked on by the sports chiropractor that I go to, Dr.Hoover. She told me I was the third person she had seen that day that had had a crooked neck. I would say her working on my neck was probably one of the most painful things that has happened to me in a long time. I was told to drink as much water as possible to loosen it up and keep Biofreeze on hand for the next few days. Of course I also had senior night on Friday. So I walked out across the football field with my parents with a crooked neck. I was concerned because my neck was still sore as of Friday and I knew I had Districts the next day. Somewhat luckily and kind of not, I found out Friday that our District meet was to be postponed until Monday because of the freak snow storm. Technically I guess this isn’t even allowed because it’s really only 4-5 days before the state meet when you are really supposed to have a whole week at the least. District 6 usually has the meet on the last day possible, before all the scores have to be turned in. From what I heard we had to have some kind of permission wavier to have our meet as late as we did. This did end up being good for my neck though (and I really wanted to go to the Chris Brown concert on Saturday night and because Districts was moved I was able to go!) but it wasn’t very beneficial to my race plan. I have almost been counting on a PR at Districts since the beginning of the season. I knew that Districts is the probably the fastest course that I race all year, and it is at the best time in the season to PR. With Districts and states being so close together, I couldn’t run the race I wanted to. I was planning on going for the record which is my PR from earlier in the season. The worst part was that by the time Monday came around the course was in perfect condition to run fast. One of the few times this season when a course is in good condition and I have to keep in perspective what I want to do. My coach and I agreed that I didn’t want to possibly compromise my states performance for a good District race. I am really looking forward to this state meet, seeing everyone and racing at Hershey for the last time! It has gone by so fast, but it’s time for my last cross country state race, ever (we got paperwork to order our cap and gowns at school yesterday, so crazy)!


Good luck to every at their state races this weekend, especially my fellow Pennsylvania runners.  Let’s make it a good one!
 

Also congrats to the Villanova men and women for taking home the Big East Titles! Oh, and I almost forgot, Happy Halloween everyone!!

*Angel*

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #4 (October 18, 2011) - College Choice



So I have finally finished my last visit and it’s decision time but I will talk about what happened at my last visit before I get into that…

    For my final visit, I was headed to Knoxville, Tennessee. I was so excited for this visit because there were definitely some big things on the agenda. I didn’t have a race that weekend (thankfully because I was coming down with some kind of throat soreness and head congestion, resulting in fatigue, not ideal conditions for anything but I was so glad I didn’t have to race feeling how I did) so I was able to fly out fairly early and get a good start to things. I had Saturday of from practice since it was my travel day and I had to head down to the airport at about 7 in the morning to make my flight. There is no direct flight to Knoxville from Pittsburgh so I had a little more traveling to do than I had to any of my other visits which was fine with me. I went through the airport without a problem and was in Knoxville before I knew it. When I arrived in the Knoxville airport it was really cool because just about everyone that I saw was in Tennessee orange, because it was game day. I was already getting excited for the game we were headed to that night.  Tennessee was playing Georgia that week so it turned out to be a really good game but before that, I met Coach Reeves and Coach Clark at the airport and we were headed back to campus. When I arrived at campus I was able to meet Chanelle Price which I was really excited about! She was my host for the weekend. I got to see a dorm but I stayed in her apartment with her off campus. It was so nice and I knew she had put a lot of time in it so I really appreciated her letting me stay there. I also met the other recruit that was there with me, Hannah Brown. She was so nice and we’ve never really talked at the races we’ve both been at before but I loved meeting her here! After we dropped all our stuff off, we were all headed to the game together. The hosts, Hannah and I really got to take part in some cool experiences while we were there. We stood on the field before the game started, then we were in the stand section, and for the end of the game we sat with the other recruits from the other sports, about 3 rows up from the end zone, which was so cool! After the game, we grabbed some ice cream and headed back to bed because of an early run in the morning.

    The next morning, everyone had a long run and we went out to the trails. They were so pretty and nice to run on. A lot of the girls had never been to the trails that we went to which was also really fun. It was a new experience for everyone! The run went well, we were fortunate enough to have perfect weather. After we finished our run we headed to the square which was a place more in town that had a bunch of really good places to eat! We all got lunch together then Coach Reeves took Hannah and me to see one of the trails they do a lot of their training on. It was a good trail for tempo’s and some quicker stuff, in a safe neighborhood. On the way home from the trail, we were headed to the lady Vols volleyball game! I was so excited to watch them play Ole Miss and the Vols eventually won that game! After the volleyball game came the Tennessee men and women’s track and field banquet. It was so inspiring to see those girls and hear their accomplishments (not to mention the food was pretty good too!).  I was happy to see Chanelle getting a lot of awards, representing Pennsylvania! Once the banquet was finished, they showed us one of the houses that a few girls share together which was so awesome! I loved all their decorations and the way they had it set up! It was actually really nice too and reasonably priced! Now I had seen just about any option of living you could have, I think that was really important to see and make sure I understood. When that was all done, we were all pretty beat so it was time for bed again before another early rise, and long day.    

    The next day was all about academics. We were also shown the weight room the men’s’ teams use and it was really cool, the lady Vols track and field team is one of, if not the only team allowed in there so that was a definite perk! Once we had gone through our day of academic meetings and tours, it was already time for me leave! I couldn’t believe how fast the trip had gone, but more importantly I couldn’t believe I was already expected to make a decision.

     Going into this experience I knew how hard it was going to be to decide, but I didn’t realize it would be this hard! It took SO much thinking, talking, and prayer! But I finally was able to come to a decision. I just really want to thank all the coaches that have done so much for me, all the girls for being so welcoming and doing such a good job making me feel at home, and finally my friends and family who are always supporting me! I could not have made this decision without my parents,  Coach G, and Ms. Buffone (my school guidance counselor, who also played volleyball in college) I love all of them so much and I couldn’t ask for a better support system but I have finally decided…to verbally commit to Villanova, continuing my career as a Wildcat! I am really happy with this decision and I look forward to cheering for my future teammates this season!

    Yesterday was also an especially long day for me because I had to call a number of coaches to let them know what I decided and what my plans were but before that I had to do an interesting workout that my coach wanted to try that I have never done before. For my workout, I ran a 2 mile warm up to start then we were up at the track for some 400’s. I was originally told I would be doing 12 400’s under 80 sec pace, with very short rest which I knew would be difficult but manageable. After I had gotten through all 12 without a fight, coach G suggested I “Try” 4 more because he “Knew I could handle it”. So for the day I ended up doing 16 400’s at about 75 second pace, with a 2 mile cool down to finish it off. Now that I’m done I think it was a good workout especially because I have been having some troubles recently just from stress, and fatigue from my sickness, so getting in a good hard workout with some good results was nice!  It was funny because the day before I had actually literally just about run into a runner from a college about 7 miles from Homer City, IUP, and we were able to run together for about half of my long run until I had to turn back for home, but it was really awesome I wasn’t alone. So I have had a pretty interesting few runs, and it’s been a pretty quick few days!

Good luck in the Post season, everyone!


 

 

 

Journal Entry #3 (October 6, 2011)


    Hey everyone! Sorry I didn’t get a journal out last week, I got swamped with school work. Having two visits back to back weekends, and missing back to back Mondays was hard. I’ve gotten all my work caught up so I will try to give everyone a run-down of the past few weeks.

    I had a pretty typical training week after Georgetown. I took the Monday I came home after traveling off of running because there was really no time, but was back to my normal schedule on Tuesday. I had workouts on Tuesday and Thursday and an easier day on Wednesday and a really easy day on Friday before my local race. I went to Donatello’s the night before this race and got some really good lasagna so I was set! The next morning we went to the course and I was not looking forward to this one. It was very cold in the morning and the course was really swampy! Everything went alright there, I didn't run the time I wanted to at all but I was glad I got to see another difficult course and get some more good preparation. After I was done with that race I had to get in the car and head to the airport. I was flying to Philly to visit Villanova at about 3 so we were in a bit of a rush because it takes about two hours to get there.

    I wasn’t very happy about my race but I was very happy to be able to visit Villanova. This is the visit I have had planned for the longest so it almost felt weird for it to actually be the date. I got to the airport without a problem and got there in plenty of time to get on my plane. I did run into a bit of a snag after security at the airport. After I walked through the scanners and was on my way to my terminal, I realized I couldn’t find my ticket. I must have left it in one of the bins that are put through the scanners. I was a little nervous but I was hoping it could be an easy fix and the people I have encountered working at the airports have always been really kind so I wasn’t too worried about it. I just gave my parents a quick call to make sure I could just get another one printed at the terminal itself. They didn’t think it would be a problem and it wasn’t. I got on my flight and was on my way to Philadelphia. When I arrived in Philly, Coach Gina Procaccio had told me that Amanda Marino would be picking me up at the airport. She is the graduate assistant so it was really awesome to meet her and get to talk to her about Villanova and her decision. She had a really interesting point of view because she had run at Villanova but was also coaching there now. You could tell she really loved the school, coach, and team!

    Once we got through the airport and found her car we headed to the school. It wasn’t a long drive from the airport but when we got there, the other recruits from that weekend were already there. Along with myself, Sam Nadal and Kelsey Margey were also visiting Villanova that weekend. That evening we went out to eat. I got lasagna of course, I had to check out how the lasagna is out in Philly and it was great! That night we hung out with most of the girls’ team and it was really cool. I think that is the most exciting part of these visits, meeting the teams and seeing what it will really be like for me in just one short year! The next morning, we were headed on a long run on one of the trails they run on the weekends. The trails were really beautiful and it was nice to get a change of scenery. Kelsey and I ran with Emily Lipari for our entire run (my host) and Sam ran with Sheila Reid. It was a good time to talk to the girls and see how they really feel.  After our run we ate, got cleaned up, and headed to the King of Prussia Mall. I was the only recruit who went to the mall because Sam and Kelsey had major homework to do.  It was such a huge mall, this was the first time I had ever been there and I couldn’t believe how many stores were there. That evening, the entire girls’ team went to Coach Gina’s new house for a ziti party. It was a nice way to see how the girls and coach interact in a different light.  The ziti was amazing! We also watched some videos of the girls’ past season, race video and pictures that the assistant coach had made. We even got to watch some old race videos of Coach Gina, and they were really cool! That night we hung out with the team again and with our hosts, Emily Lipari, Nicky Akande, and Mary Bohi. They were awesome and really did a great job showing us around the campus and answering all our questions.  It was nice to spend time with them and the other girls. The next morning, Monday, I was able to go to an anatomy class with Emily and Mary. Following the class, I had my meeting with Coach Gina. It was a time to get all my questions answered which was good. The girls had practice right after my meeting. I was getting ready to leave for the airport when they were starting practice. Just like that, my visit was over and I was headed home. I finished the trip off perfectly because I flew home on an international flight! It was a huge US Airways plane flying out of the international terminal of the Philadelphia airport. This was the biggest plane I had ever been on and it was awesome.

    After that I got back to school and went about a normal week. It was a little more stressful than usual because I had missed two Mondays in a row. I had research papers, projects, and AP calculus tests. I was feeling pretty beat, which is why I couldn’t get a journal written.  I did have a race on the weekend and it was only an hour away, in Pittsburgh, which was easy on our budget. It does seem though that Coach G and I can’t catch a break. We were back to our old tricks this weekend with the school van. Against his better judgment Coach G decided to drive the school van to this race, it’s only an hour or so away, what’s the worst that could happen? In his defense, if he takes his own car he will not get reimbursed for the gas so it really only makes sense to take the van but anymore I don’t think he will think twice about not taking his own car. We had to make a quick stop at his brother’s house to pick up Coach G’s wallet that he had left at his brother’s wedding the weekend before. It was practically on the way, but when we pulled in to the housing development we heard a noise from under the van. We didn’t think anything of it until we drove a little farther and heard the same noise only louder and worse. Coach G pulled over and lo and behold we found that the muffler was now dragging on the road! Luckily Coach G’s dad is a mechanic and owns a shop in Plum, about a 45 minute drive. In the state of the van we are lucky we made it. It wasn’t a minute too soon when we finally arrived at Gentile Trucking, my new favorite car shop! Coach G’s brother and father both work there and got us back on the road without too much delay. We owe them for their quick work on short notice.

Photo by Bob Piccirillo       


      I had really wanted to get out to Paul Short Invitational this weekend but considering I would have needed to miss even more school to go was just about out of the question, let alone the expense. With that being said, I want to say congrats to Julie Macedo on winning the high school girls race! But I definitely had my work cut out for me in Pittsburgh. I was finally going to get the opportunity to race Margo Malone and her sisters. We almost never get to race, even though we are so close. I was really happy I got to see her and we could push each other to a good race and time. They invited me to run their cool-down with them, which was also really cool because they were really nice. The conditions were pretty horrible though. It was probably the worst cross country race I’ve ever been in. It was sloppy and the mud was very slippery, but I was so happy to race in what I’ve kind of adopted as my hometown. The support was awesome and everyone there couldn’t have been nicer to me! It was great to get to talk to the people who have been behind me for so long but I don’t get to see as much as I would like. I loved meeting everyone and I can‘t thank them enough for their support!  I was hoping for a faster time going into this race but when I saw the conditions I knew that that wasn’t going to happen. It was also hard to believe this was my last high school cross country invitational, so hard to believe!

    Overall this was a good two weeks for me, and I only have one college visit left. I will be heading to Knoxville, Tennessee this Saturday. I am not racing this weekend, and we have a half day Thursday, and no school Friday and Monday. I can’t wait for a long weekend, with no pressure! Good luck to everyone racing or visiting this weekend, everyone keep up the good work!

*Angel*

 

 

 

Journal Entry #2 (September 22, 2011)

 

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a good week of training and racing. This was a particularly exciting weekend for me personally. I had my second race of my senior year at a course that I have never raced at before and from there I had my first college visit.

    So my training was fairly typical this week. I had a workout Monday, a fartlek on a section of our cross course on school grounds. I am not the biggest fan of fartleks so I wasn’t too happy about that workout but it went well. Then on Tuesday I had a bit of a recovery day. Wednesday we were having a home meet but I didn’t compete because I am racing on the weekends, racing during the week as well would be too much. So before the race I had to do somewhat of a tempo run. There is one run we do sometimes that is a pretty hilly 5 mile loop and I was trying to hit about 6 min miles, I was right in that range so I was happy. It was difficult for sure though! Then Thursday I ran an easy run and on Friday just short 3 miles just to keep my legs in running mode. I was going to leave on Friday morning for my race.  I was racing in the Harry Groves Invitational at Penn State. I had never raced there before so I was really looking forward to it.  This was nice because I was able to go out to eat with my friends the night before which I almost never get to do! I had my lasagna of course, but it wasn’t anything special. It was just from a local restaurant, Gianelli’s, I enjoyed it but it wouldn’t make the top 8.


Photo by Bob Piccirillo

    On Saturday morning I woke up and planned to leave around 6. We wanted to get to the course early enough to see it, and watch the college race. Georgetown was racing that morning as well, which is where I was visiting after so I was excited to see them run. The team won, led by one of the hosts of the recruits this weekend, a freshman, Hannah Neczypor! I was really happy for her because we had raced a little bit in high school so it was cool to watch her race again. Then it was time for my race. Going into this race my coach and I had discussed the same kind of strategy as last weekend. Go out with a more conservative first mile, 5:40-5:45 and be behind the leaders, but this time I wasn’t waiting until the second mile to move. I felt really good for the first mile so when we were beginning the second mile I was ready to move and keep pushing the pace.  Everything was fairly downhill or flat leading up to the two mile so that wasn’t a problem but I knew from previewing the course there was going to be a nasty incline at the end. There was also a shorter steeper hill right at the beginning of the third mile. So my plan was to use the flats and downhills as much as I possibly could before I got hit with some of the hills at the end. I felt really good going into the long incline at the end which was good. I was really just focusing on trying to get my knees up and push it to the top because after that there was only about 300-400m until it was over. It was nice having the gator leading the race as well; it gave me some motivation and something else to focus on. Also I have developed somewhat of a bad reputation when it comes to finding my way around cross country courses. I wouldn’t call that a strength of mine. When I finally got up that last climb and was coming back down that backside of that hill for the finish and I saw that clocking around 17:28 I got really excited (It was actually 17:36)! I couldn’t believe that I was about to PR this early in the season and big! My coach and I were very excited about that time, and where I am at right now. In the end it was a really fun meet and I couldn’t have been happier with my time. My parents were also excited to tell me that it was US #1, at least when it was entered, which was really cool!

    After my race I was lucky enough to ride the bus home with the Georgetown team! That was an interesting experience I think for all of us. The girls were so nice and they really made me feel welcome. Then about 4 hours later we arrive at Georgetown University. They had to pick up the other recruit from the station when we got back, Haley Pierce. I wasn’t sure if anyone else was going to be there that weekend so I was happy to hear she would be there too! It was a really fun weekend and I got to see a lot and learn a lot more about Georgetown and how they do things.  My favorite part would have to be just getting to watch a practice with all the girls. That probably sounds lame but I was so excited to be able to go to a practice with other girls who want the same things I do. The attitude seemed like, take care of business first, and then when that’s done we can hang out and have fun, but get what you need to get done first. I really liked that. I also really liked hanging out with the team. They did a great job showing us around and they were really “real”. There weren’t all the bells and whistles that some people might expect on an official visit, but they made a point to show us what would really happen if we came there. It was also a good opportunity to get to know Coach Miltenberg. He has great energy and he really knows how to get you pumped up about what they are doing out there and what they can do! But the trip would not have been complete without time on a plane. I LOVE flying and airports so I was looking forward to that as well! There was still one more surprise for this visit, Margo Malone and her dad were on the same flight from D.C. to Pittsburgh as I was! She was also coming home from a college visit, what are the chances!
 
    Overall this was a great weekend! It gave me a lot to think about and I have some huge decisions to make in the near, near future. This coming weekend, I have a local race that’s pretty low-key. My coach and I just thought it would be a good course to get some work on. After that race I’ll be visiting Villanova so I am really excited about that as well! Another big weekend on the way!

Good luck to everyone this week with training, and all the races going on this weekend!

*Angel*

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #1 (September 16, 2011)



Hi everyone! I’m Angel Piccirillo and I will be writing journals just about every week throughout my cross country season and senior year! It’s time for cross country to start once again and I, along with many others, had my first race this weekend, PTXC 3!  I was excited to finally get to start my senior season. I had gone in with hopes of starting my senior year off well, and I believe I did that.

           I left Homer City at around noon on Friday along with my coach, and a freshman teammate to head for Kutztown University. Neither I nor my coach had ever been to Kutztown, and weren’t quite sure where it was, which can be a recipe for disaster. Luckily we all made it there in one piece and we were able to see the course. Now, coming into this meet we knew that the Philly area had gotten some bad rain and storms but we really had no idea until we walked that course. It was amazing how much water had collected on the course and what kind of condition it was in. I’m sure a majority of you have seen pictures or race footage but there were parts of that course under water halfway up my calf! I have never run a, as they say, “real” cross country course so I was especially excited for this race. After we walked the course I was definitely nervous. I seemed to forget how long 3.1 miles feels when you are walking it. At that point I realized, track season was officially over.  I was also glad to see Don Rich, the director of the meet and Penn Track, and his family and friends!

    After we had caught up with everyone, it was time to eat. I of course was very much looking forward to this because I haven’t had my night-before-a-race lasagna in months!  We decided to go to a restaurant near the course to make things easier before we went to the hotel because it was already getting fairly late. The restaurant, Gionatti’s, had been suggested to us, so that’s where we headed. I was also looking forward to carb-loading the night before the race. When all was said and done I had had a LOT of bread and my lasagna. As this has been a tradition for me, at the end of every journal I will discuss somewhere my lasagna experience and rank the top 5 best lasagnas I have had through our travels and throughout my seasons.

    When we returned to the hotel fairly exhausted and pretty dirty still from the messy course, we ran into a bit of a snag. It seems there had been some confusion with the hotel room reservations but with some juggling everything seemed to work out. The hotel seemed to be having some problems with rooms being ready and reservations so we weren’t the only ones with some new plans to make. Fortunately, Tom Ecker, one of  the Meet Directors, had a room that he really didn’t need and seeing our predicament was more than willing to let us have it. Thank goodness!! We really appreciated that!

    The next morning, my teammate, Heather, and I got up, dressed, had our bag breakfast (which was a really awesome arrangement) and were off to the course.  I knew going into this race, the competition was going to be pretty heavy. There were some really great teams and I would say that this was one of the most competitive races in the state this week. Getting down to it, my race started at about 10 and then Heather’s race was at 11. The race was underway without a problem and before I knew it I was coated in mud and it was over.  The Kutztown area had gotten even more rain the night before the race so the course was very muddy and very sloppy. I think anyone who  was there will agree, as much as it wasn’t a great course for breaking out the brand new trainers or spikes, it was so much fun!  Going into the race I had talked to my coach about my strategy and it was a little different then usual. My strategy was just to stay somewhat relaxed the first mile and hang. We didn’t know how everyone would go out, especially due to the conditions so I wasn’t going to take the lead or anything like that. Then move up on or closer to the leader throughout the second mile. The last mile I was just supposed to give it everything I had and see who I could catch. We were concerned I was about 2 or 3 weeks behind because I had gotten a bit of a late start due to shin problems at the end of last track season.  I would consider the preparation and training that had gone into the race on Saturday was base training. I was still fairly high miles and had done virtually no speed workouts yet. This race was supposed to just be a good gauge to me to see where I am at and what needs to be done to keep getting better and stronger. Also just to see where I am at compared to some of the best girls in the state/region at this point. My coach and I couldn’t have been happier with an 18:39 and a win. Going into this race I was just hoping to run a decent time and place among the top 5. So coming away with a  win was awesome. Also, my time was very close to what I ran at my season opener last year when I was in a very different stage in my training which was also reassuring.

    Heather ended up getting 9th place medal in the B race; this was her first cross country meet so she seemed really happy about how she did. After the races were over and we received awards we went out to eat one more time together to celebrate. It’s also almost guaranteed after a race we will be headed to Olive Garden.  I never get lasagna there, because after eating from the smaller more” mom and pop” style restaurants a big chain like that doesn’t do it for me. There was a little confusion at the restaurant also about orders and wait time but they were very considerate and everything ended up great. I had a long flat run the following Sunday which went well.

    This is a rundown of my first race of my senior year! I hope this season can be filled with many more successes and good luck to everyone with your training and racing through this week and weekend.

 




In my opinion the best Lasagnas around!
    •    Carlino’s Market-  Ardmore, near Philadelphia, the night before Penn Relays 2011
    •    Fenicci’s of Hershey- In Hershey, night before cross country states 2010-2011 (I have earned two certificates for finishing a large plate of lasagna)
    •    Carini’s- In Bloomsburg, when we are heading to New York, usually the Armory
    •    Buca di Beppo-  In Allentown, on the way home from Paul Short
    •    Luigi’s- A local restaurant that is awesome! I’ll be headed there the night before the Spiked Shoe Invitational this weekend!
    •    La Terrazza- The night before Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego
    •    Carrabba’s- We’ve been to a few, but after New Balance Nationals
    •    Donatello’s- A local restaurant, before local races

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