Last weekend, for the second year in a row, the Rock Star, her family, and I headed over to Bradenton so she could compete in the Middle School state championships. For the second year in a row, she showed how tough and special she was. The outcome may not have been what we wanted, but I know how much she worked and much she deserved it. I have learned from years in this sport that some days just aren’t your days, but I was still frustrated that she didn’t get everything she worked for.
Taking a shot
The first race on the schedule for Rock Star was the 1500. It was the race we had decided was her best shot to win. She had put up some strong times this year in her few races, and I felt she could run with anyone on the track. She was running to win and hanging tough. Coming through lap three she was still on pace to break 5 minutes. But then with about 250 meters to go she hit the rail and stumbled. It was like a slow-motion bad dream. It happened right as she was starting her finishing kick. She pulled herself together and powered through the curve, but the momentum was gone. She finished in 6th place. No PR so top 5. She has some of the most incredible mental toughness I have ever come across in a young athlete. She raced to win and came up short. There is no shame in that.
Running on Empty
The 800 was next. There was some confusion leading up to the race and Rock Star didn’t get her proper workout. I take full responsibility for that. I could tell from the start of the race that she wasn’t comfortable. She started to fade early. It was as if she couldn’t get her legs moving. She was giving the effort but wasn’t getting the response. You could see that this wasn’t going to be her day almost from the gun. It was frustrating to see, especially since I know the effort she put in training for it. She still finished in the top 10. She really is an incredible athlete. Even on her worst racing day she is still a top performer.
In just a few short months Rock Star is headed to a great high school program. I will transition from being her coach to being her biggest fan. She is a special kid and a special athlete. There are few like her on the planet. She is a smart runner and she is no doubt tougher than most. We will turn our eyes to the Junior Olympics this summer and then on to High School cross country, where she will no doubt be a giant success and I cannot wait to watch!!!!