It’s great to be back down the mountain, I can finally feel the oxygen flowing in my lungs. We came back from Mammoth Wednesday morning finishing or last few days of training camp with a final long run at Big Smokey as well as a killer mile repeat workout at 7,500 feet. I was in a lot of pain Wednesday, so I decided to listen to my body and take the day off. The next few days leading up to the race, my shin felt better but I definitely felt heavy with all the extra oxygen. Being home is relaxing, I took a few days to myself and even came to visit my mom and younger sister in Newport after Saturday’s race. I’ve been feeling sluggish and it definitely showed in my race.

I came into the race feeling extremely confident aside from the slight slugged feeling, but I assumed it was the nerves taking over. Unfortunately, my body held true to my first race hiccup and I ran far from an impressive first race back. It could be a mixture of things, but my best conclusion is that I was just not focused; I didn’t feel competitive until less than a mile to go. That is the hardest part about getting back into racing-you can’t stop to reset or gather your focus. I feel that was exactly something I needed, but unfortunately, that is not how a race is run. That is why my coach and I made the decision to race me earlier than my projected opener-allow me to get the feel for racing again and learn from the experience. 

I am happy to say I did not let this race get to me. Yes, it was probably my worst race in years, but I got the job done and I felt as though I could run another race (which in most cases is a bad thing, but for this one a major confidence booster). My main focus right now is trusting the process and keeping my confidence as well as positivity. Of course, I would have loved my fitness to show yesterday, but I would rather be ready late October than mid-September. I’m hoping our next few workouts will fine tune me and I will go up to Washington not only stronger, but also more focused and ready to be competitive.

Coming out of the race, I now know what I need to improve on. I need to remain calm, I forgot how long a 5k is and did not follow my usual racing strategy; I tried going out hard and getting in the front rather than sitting in a good position and picking off runners. I also need to break the race up into better sections that fit my racing strategy. Finally, I need to work on staying focused and use the techniques I use during workouts to keep me feeling competitive. By working on these few improvements, I know I will be set to go in our upcoming 6k.

As a team, I am proud of my girls-especially our freshman, Taylor Taite (pictured above to the right), who ended up leading our team with a 10th place finish! I can say, after an exhausting 3-weeks of altitude training, our young team is ready to take on any team in the nation! Now, the most important thing is to recover and get into a nice routine with school before heading up to Washington in two short weeks. I am looking forward to this upcoming quarter as well as the rest of the season with my team!

Just Keep Running. XOXO

Ashlee Powers