We wrapped up the spring kid sports season last night with the City track finals.

C had a very good night.

She first ran in the final of the 400. Looking at the preliminary times I figured her best chance for a high placement was in the 200. She was fighting a cold and coughing/sneezing a lot, so I told her before this race that if she was struggling it was ok to back off and save some strength for the 200.

I regretted that advice when she fell into 8th place – out of eight runners – at about the 200 meter mark. But she battled back and caught the girl who passed her pretty quickly, then ran down another girl before the finish. I actually thought she was 7th at first and didn’t realize she was 6th until I saw the official results. A spot lower than where she qualified, but she also dropped almost two seconds off her best time so it was a great run.

The finals meet moves quick so she only had about 10 minutes before she started staging for the 200. I reminded her how the top five runners were all within a second in qualifying – she was fifth – and she was fully capable of catching the girls in front of her.

She’s usually a slow starter and runs people down late, but she got off to a great start and was fourth coming into the main stretch. She passed one girl and then had a very strong final 50 to finish third, just behind the second place runner. Her time was actually slower than her prelim time but jumping up to top three was awesome! Especially since this was only the second time she had run the 200 in a meet. As a bonus, she beat a girl who shares her name who had beaten her in every race they had matched up in this year.[1]

She was very happy when I caught up to her, a big smile on her face as she accepted high fives from teammates and friends. I made sure she had one more 200 in her, as she had the third leg of the medley relay.

We knew that relay would be trouble. The first two 100 legs would likely put us in a hole. And the 400 leg would be against the fastest 800/1600 runner in the state. There was just a little pressure on C to have a good run.

As expected we were in fourth – of five – teams when C got the stick. I wish I would have clocked her because she freaking blew the doors off her 200. She caught two girls before she finished the turn, passed the leader with 75 meters to go, and absolutely destroyed the last 50. When she passed it off to the anchor we had about a 30 yard lead. I’m pretty sure I lost most of my voice yelling at her during this run.

Our anchor is faster than C in the 400, and a stubborn, hyper-competitive spit-fire, as her mom calls her. She tried her hardest and held the lead for about 300 meters. But the girl chasing her had knocked five seconds off a 15-year old meet record in the 1600 earlier in the day. She’s just a freakishly good and fast runner. She caught us at the end of turn four and our anchor just didn’t have enough to chase her down. We finished second by nearly two seconds. The team that won the other heat was almost eight seconds faster than our girls, so they finished third overall.

It was a great end to C’s first year in track. I’ve mentioned this many times when sharing her cross country exploits, but she runs a little funny. Very powerful, choppy steps that aren’t terribly efficient. But they move her quickly so we haven’t messed with it. Her track coaches have worked with her a little on her form, focusing on getting her to use her arms more, saying that the legs will follow if she can learn to pump the upper body. Several people came up to me last night and said, “She was really using her arms in the relay!” So looks like she’s making progress.

I was thrilled with her finishes yesterday. I’m happy that she really enjoys track. But what I love most is what I mentioned in the footnote about the girl she beat in the 200. Any time she’s staging for a race, you see her talking to the girls next to her. Afterward I’ll ask what they were talking about and she’ll say, “Oh, we were just talking. She’s really nice.” I love how even though she’s competitive she almost always sees the good in others. There are some girls she will tell us are mean, but she stays away from them. I hope those girls she does talk to are telling their parents that C is nice, too.

And now the calendar is clear! No practices, no games. We do have kickball evaluations next week, but those are after school. No running anyone around until C starts cross country in July.

  1. I will note that C says her namesake is very nice and I like how they are always chatting and smiling before and after races.  ↩