Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Heartbreaker at the Tape

Lily had her first cross-country meet of the season.
Lily is the lead runner for her team, and it's a new experience for her.  I can tell she's feeling a little pressure to lead and encourage and perform, but it's great for her to have that chance.

This opening shot proved prophetic.  See the runners on the outsides of this picture?
Lead runner for Shepherd on the left, lead runner for Poston on the right.

They begged to come, then couldn't care less about the race.  Kids.

The course is two laps around the school's fields.  Lap one:
After the race, Lily complained that no matter how much she slowed down, this girl refused to take the lead.
 There she is again, just drafting off Lily.

She looked great through the whole race--calm and paced.

Second lap:
Still in the lead, but still with a shadow on her tail.

Coming into the final stretch, she had the race in hand.
The crowd was shouting, and with all the noise, Lily could no longer hear her shadow breathing down her neck.
She finished the race at a personal best--12:19 for a 1.9-mile course. She pulled into the chute, and at the last second--the final stride, practically a photo finish--Lily lost the race.

I was heartbroken for her.

It's a lot of pressure to be the team's leader, and I can only imagine it's worse when you lose--and lose like that at the very last breath.

Lily is only in eighth grade, and she has many years of cross-country meets ahead of her. As sad and disappointing and hard as it was, Lily learned a lot from the loss.  She learned how hard it is to lead for the entire race.  She learned that if someone won't let you drop back, then it's okay to slow to a walk and let them lead for a while. She learned that you ALWAYS have to know where your closest competitor is, even if you think you've got it.  She learned to fight to the finish, even when you're in first place. She learned what it feels like to be in first place--and to lose.

Most importantly, she learned that there's always another race.  And that girl will never beat her like that again. 

Where was Lily this past weekend?  On the track, with her personal coach (her dad), practicing and learning and listening.  Her second meet is today, against the best team in the city.  Her hopes are low, but I think she's learned that it's better to come from behind and steal a race. 

Good luck, Lil!


  1. Miss Determination will have I good race, I am sure. Let us know and give our love to Lily.

  2. I remember that feeling of being beat at the last minute. It's not a fun feeling, but it definitely motivates you. I noticed that I usually learned more from those tough losses than the times that I won. I think it's awesome though that she is already recognizing that in order to succeed you need to work hard!

  3. Wow, what a great life lesson and well told.


  4. I had something very similar happen to me. We ran on the track, (880) so they started us at the staggered positions. I was on the far outside lane, so I appeared to be "in front" of the rest of the runners at the start of the race. So I couldn't see the runners behind me, so I couldn't pace myself. I ran all out, and lead by about 1/4 a lap the first lap, and most of the way through the second. But at the end, I was so tired that I didn't have the kick to keep up with those other runners who had been purposefully letting me lead. I ended up one of the last runners in. But it was my first race, so it taught me a valuable lesson!

  5. I love that she's a fighter, and that after everything, she is still willing to be taught. That's the mark of a champion.