From A Runner's Eye

Nov. 16, 2004

by Angela Wishaar

Friday afternoon, we go run the course in Golden Gate Park. It is a beautiful course and fun to run, especially the back part, on little winding trails. Actually, it is a lot like running in the arboretum here in Seattle. We are really focused on running an aggressive race and finishing at least third. We're definitely capable of that, but we have yet to put it all together in one race. Maybe tomorrow will be the day ...

We all wake up bright and early Saturday morning at 5:45 a.m. to go for a light jog and then eat breakfast. On the ride over to the course, we can all tell that this is going to be a different race than at Pre-Nationals. Unlike the dead-silent drive to that race, now we are all laughing, chatting and sounding really good, especially as we sing along with Wilson Philips at full volume.

We arrive at the course excited and ready to run. The gun goes off and all one hundred girls in the race sprint across the field until it quickly narrows as we go around the turn that takes us onto the horse track. As the group narrows, I end up farther back than I want to be and because the path is narrow here, I have to wait until we get on the horse track to move up.

Once on the track, there is a lot of room, so I move up past a few groups of runners. As we continue on the track, the girls start stringing out. After running the horse track, we loop back around by the start and then head off on a trail through the woods. This is my favorite part of the race. I find my teammate Laura Halverson and we run together a little behind Lindsey Egerdahl and Dallon Williams.

The trail twists through the trees and I can hear Coach Metcalf yelling encouragement at Laura and me. We turn a sharp corner and start on a long and gradual downhill. Laura and I spread out a little right here -- I can still see Lindsey ahead of me, and I think that I should try and catch her, but I don't know if I can. I also have to tell myself to relax right here and take advantage of the downhill.

When I get to the bottom of the hill, it is another sharp turn onto a really narrow path. This part is really pretty, as the trail winds through the trees and goes along a lake. A section of the path is really sandy and I almost lose my footing there. Soon I am in a little meadow, and from here it is pretty much a straight shot to the finish line. Of course, it's a straight shot up a really steep hill -- well, at least it's short.

At the top of the hill, it's about 1,000-meter run to the finish. As I crest the hill, I see the other runners as they start their kick. In front of me are three girls, one from UCLA, one from Arizona and the third from ASU. I pass the Arizona girl, then the girl from UCLA, and am closing on the ASU girl when the Arizona girl passes me back -- now that's annoying! So now I have to catch her -- again -- and the ASU girl. Well, both of us end up passing the girl from ASU, but I never do manage to catch that Arizona girl. I finish the race in 19th place, a couple places behind Lindsey and a lot more behind Dallon, who had an awesome race and finished seventh.

At the finish line, we congratulate each other, and look for the rest of our team. Laura finishes fourth for us and a little behind her is Meghan Lawrence. We walk back to our bags talking about the race and trying to figure out how we finished. A few minutes we get the results ... Stanford is first -- again -- followed by ASU, and then ... Washington! We are all really excited -- third was our goal, and we did it! Now that we know what we're capable of, we can't wait to hit the course again at the Regional meet in two weeks and go out and grab an NCAA Championships spot. Until then ...

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