Saturday, December 14, 2013

Graduation & Getting into the Holiday Spirit

Yesterday definitely got me into the holiday spirit as I received a thoughtful Christmas gift from one of my returning athletes. It was also bitter sweet because I also received the nicest card from my two athletes graduating this semester. 
So thoughtful!
I had the pleasure of coaching two great international athletes in their final semester at The University of North Texas. Matt was an exceptional leader on our Men's team and finished his collegiate eligibility with his best individual and team season of cross country at North Texas.  He earned 2nd Team All-Conference USA Honors (11th) and had his highest finish at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships with a 36th place finish (31:32, 10k). 
Carly also closed out her collegiate eligibility with her best individual and team cross country season at North Texas. She was a positive force on our young Women's team and was a member of the 3rd place Team at Conference USA and scored (top 5 runner on the team) for the first time at a championship event in her collegiate career as our 5th runner at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships where she helped the Women's Team to their highest team finish in the past 10 years. 
Track & Field Graduates: Matt, Kendria, Carly (& myself)

Matt & Carly with other student-athlete graduates and AD Rick Villarreal

Carly & Matt's Commemorative Plaques
It was such an honor to have Matt & Carly not only accept me as their new coach in their final semester, but also to have their support as leaders on our teams. I will forever be grateful for their hard work and dedication they gave this season and for contributing to the foundation of the distance program we are building at North Texas. So thank you Matt & Carly and I can't wait to hear about your future success. 

As I continue to "get into the holiday spirit" I thought it would be fun to do my first Jingle Bell/Holiday race. I had a great time this morning at the Shamrock Jingle Bell Run hosted to benefit The St. Patrick's School in Dallas. 
My festive socks! (I also wore some jingle bells on my race bib!)
There were so many young athletes at the race all dressed up for the holiday season and many enjoyed their turn to scream...I mean "sing".. Christmas carols into the microphone that blasted out of the speakers. It was such a fun race environment. I was hoping to run under 17:30 and had a good start to my goal with a 5:21 1st mile (that mile went downhill, uphill and then flat the 2nd half) when the 2nd Mile started creeping downhill and then had some big down hills I knew the 3rd mile might be a bit tough. I clocked a 5:24 on my Garmin for mile 2, but 10:57 through the 2 mile race mark and by then we had started to climb. Then we climbed and climbed. The whole last mile was uphill. I felt great and caught the last runner that was within reach (the other 3 young men had taken off from the gun and stayed as a pack but not within reach to catch). Since I felt great and thought I was progressing through I didn't check my Garmin until it beeped for the 3rd mile. I saw 6:23 and my brain was so confused. By then I heard the announcer and sprinted hard up the last hill to the finish for a 17:56 finishing time (1st Woman and 4th Overall). Although I wanted to run faster I am quite please with my effort. I'm just now getting started on my own training and building my mileage from the ridiculously low weeks I maintained during the cross country season. I'm excited for the month of racing I planned for myself and a gift card to Luke's Locker as well as my fasted 5k since I moved to Denton is definitely an okay way to start!


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