Payton's First XC Meet, and My Next 16 Miles

Today was Payton's first cross country meet. Up until this point she has only run the school time trials and has done quite well if I do say so myself. (see here and here)

Today's meet was a Stage Race with many schools and many races. Payton was excited and really looking forward to it until we pulled up and she saw how many people were there. She immediately started to stress out about the vast number of kids running.

I talked her down a bit and explained that she didn't have to worry about anything except doing her best and that she would be just fine. She started to settle down a bit more when she saw some of her teammates.

She was running the 8:45 JV race. The coach gave her a choice last week to run either JV or Varsity and she chose JV...... because..... she said she wanted a medal :) What a choice to be able to make as a freshman huh? (proud father moment here)

She went and stood in the dreaded line (we all know what line I am talking about - they have them at every race.... and they always stink) As she stood there I walked over to check up on her.
She was starting to feel the stress a little bit again and actually started to tear up a bit. We once again worked through it and she made it through the line.

She then put her spikes on for her very first real run. She was commenting how she was going to get them dirty in the very first race she wore them in as the course had a few muddy spots.

The time came for her stage and she lined up with two boys from her school, and one other girl from her school. That plus quite a few from many other schools. This was only a two mile race so I explained that she didn't need to hold back as much as she would in a typical 5k Cross Country Race. Time went quickly and then came the gun and they were off.

Two of her coaches and I started walking towards the 1 mile marker so we could see how she and her teammate were doing. There were two very fast girls we missed in her stage race, but it didn't take long before we saw Payton running in the 4th (we thought 2nd) place position (girls), with a first mile split of 6:37. I was thrilled and she was looking really good.

The coaches and I jogged back over to see the girls finish and got there about the time the first boys were crossing the finish line. We were watching closely and we watched the time. There is the first girl, the second, the third...... and then there was Payton.... right where we expected her as far as time.

Payton crossed the finish line strong in 4th place overall (girls) and first place for her team in this stage race. Her time for the two miles was 13:12 with a second mile split of 6:35 - very consistent. The first 5 finishers of each stage race received a medal - she is very proud of hers :)

***Update: Just got the e-mail, her placing in her stage race helped her JV team get 2nd place out of the almost 40 teams that competed.

Now that we have talked about the exciting part I will catch you up a bit on my marathon training.

This past week has been good, putting in 10, 5, 8, 5, and 8 so far this week. Last Sunday I did my long run of 10 miles, and then later that evening put in another 5 miles with Payton so I skipped my 5 mile run on Monday morning. I put in an easy 8 miler on Tuesday, an easy 5 miler on Thursday, and then my 8 mile marathon race pace on Friday morning. I wanted to train for a race pace of 8:45, but my body is much more comfortable and more in the groove at an 8:20/8:30 pace so that is where I am letting it go.

Tomorrow morning I have my first 16 miler on the schedule. I know there will be a lot of new distances from this point out and I am both excited and apprehensive about these new distances. I am not, however, excited about getting up at 5:20 on a Sunday morning, but to finish in time for church I must do what I must do.

I have my mp3 player loaded (Sunday morning radio is useless) and will be heading out the door sometime around 5:30. I have not yet decided what route I will take, but am leaning towards the same route I ran for the 14 mile run two weeks ago and changing up the end enough to add a couple miles.

Wish me luck and I will check back in on the other side of 16!