The Finishing Kick with Mel Lawrence

Sept. 24, 2008

The 2008 cross country season has finally started!! With the Dawgs starting the season off with a dominating performance at the Sundodger Invitational last weekend and 3rd-place national and regional rankings in the preseason polls, this looks to be an exciting season for the Husky women.

Even though school is just starting the team has been in Seattle training since the end of August. With a solid block of summer training the women came in looking amazing and everyone is training really well. My summer training was all about getting healthy. Having had a stress fracture last spring, I focused on slowly increasing my miles and getting back into workouts and drills. Before school started we went to team camp at Camp Casey and Fort Flagler for a week. Preseason camp is a great place to catch up on the summer, get to know the freshmen, and set the tone for the upcoming season.

When we got back from camp, Sundodger was right around the corner. We started doing little workouts on our own before we came back to Seattle, but we didn't do, what I would consider, one of our hardest workouts until about a week and a half out from our first race: five minute repeats in Lincoln Park. This workout might be my least favorite workout that we do throughout the year, but I feel that it tests your fitness better than any workout we do and is a workout that is an amazing confidence booster. It prepares us very well for the race and the races ahead. There is a loop set up that runs part of the course and we usually do this 3-4 times running pretty hard for five watches; it's all on feel and pace. Throughout the five minutes of running Coach Metcalf will whistle out when we are halfway done, and there are 1500m and 1600m cones to let us know how far we are getting. Besides this specific workout we make sure we get our long runs in on Sunday, distance runs throughout the week, and one or two workouts in the five days leading up to Sundodger.

For me the race went very well and I surprised myself greatly. I hadn't raced in nine months and starting with the long distance of a 6k made me slightly nervous. I had no idea what do expect of myself and just wanted to go out and run faster than last year. I was running with teammate Kailey Campbell for a little over half of the race, which was very helpful. Upon getting to a thousand meters left I opened my stride and increased my pace getting ready for the finish. When I was crossing the finish line and saw my time was 20:23 I was in shock. The race had gone much better than I thought.

Although it is still very early in the season, and November 24 is still a few months away, the team looked amazing this past weekend and you can tell we are ready to have a great season. With our performance at Sundodger it doesn't surprise me that we are ranked as high as we are. Our next meet will be on October 4th in Auburn, Alabama and it will be great to see what we can do together as a team.

Go Huskies!

- Mel Lawrence

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