My senior cross country season has officially come to an end. I’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings about finishing my last collegiate cross country race. I will say, this regionals race is definitely my favorite all time race. We went up to Seattle, Washington and ran on the course where I competed in my first race of the season earlier in the year; it was completely different this time. This time it was cloudy, rainy, and windy! As I mentioned in the previous post, the week before regionals I caught a viral infection that put me out of commission due to a serious asthma flare. My doctors were extremely uneasy about me competing, especially in the extreme weather conditions but knew I would not take no for an answer. My asthma was a lot better the day before the race, but it wasn’t back to normal. My athletic trainer and I made a game plan for the race just invade my conditions worsened during or after the race.

My plan was to leave it all on the course, whatever it was that was left. The race conditions, to me, were the perfect conditions; it was a pure guts race. There are a few things I wish I could have done better. I wish I went out more aggressively. I feel this season has been filled with hesitation probably because I’ve been questioning my fitness all season. It’s been extremely hard to gauge where my fitness is because I’ll kill regular runs and races, but on workout days I’m the slowest of our top 10. With this beings said, I started out pretty aggressive but was more on the conservative side. By the 3k, I started making a small move. I underestimated the impact of the weather conditions and though I was able to pass a lot of bodies, I also felt with each step forward was 1/2 a step back. In the last 2k, I saw two of my teammates relatively close ahead of me and decided to try and catch one and see if we could close the gap between us and our third teammate. I made a great move and kept getting progressively faster, but was unable to get to either of them before the finish; I finished 2 seconds behind one of them and as our 5th girl. I never knew I had that kind of kick, and that was definitely the highlight of the race. The disappointing part of the race was that I finished feeling as though I had some left in me. I was numb until it hit me at the airport. It took me a while to process all of this, but I just ended a chapter of my college career, I have one more chapter before I begin my post collegiate career.

Now, I am continuing training but backed the intensity off a bit. We do not want to rest me fully because I am still in the process of coming back. Also, my mileage building takes two times longer than most runners. This past week, I focused on catching back up with school while getting runs in daily. I am having a hard time getting over this cold, so I have not decided if I will do a turkey trot this year or just go straight into outdoor season. The goal for this upcoming season is to get my mileage up to about 70 miles a week without complications and get strong for the 10k. Who knows what this outdoor season will bring me, but I certainly do hope my base from cross country will help make this a great conclusion to my collegiate career and jump start my post collegiate. I cannot wait to get back to work and show you all what I am capable of!
Just Keep Running. XOXO

Ashlee Powers