This relay with my ed school people is gonna kick my ass. I’m not a sprinter.
That’s what I tweeted after the first practice with my relay team five weeks ago. I don’t have even a fraction of the speed of some other really fast Mexicans like Leonel Manzano and Ana Guevara. The other women on my team, Ashley and Tanya easily outran me. And of course I was slower than Marc, the one guy on our team. I didn’t feel too good about my chances of running a relay and not making a fool of myself.
Still, I didn’t back out. I liked my speed workouts on the track. At the practices, we did a mix of workouts: sprints of varying distances with recovery jogs or walks; hills; running the stadium stairs; and practiced passing the baton. We even got some unsolicited advice from a man training at professional level on how the “pros” pass the baton.
As I tried my best to become speedier, I also got to know my team, T-MAC. They reminded me of what it was like to be a first or second year in the program and prepare for exams. They were also pretty cool and I’m glad I got to know them. The race was definitely a good way to build community within the program.
The relay was held this afternoon at UCLA’s Drake Stadium track. When I arrived after work, a bunch of HEOC folks were already out to watch the competition between T-MAC (in purple t-shirts) and the Bees Knees (in yellow, of course).
The race was fun and challenging. The lineup:
Our first two runners would be slower than their first two. We knew this going in to the race. Marc reminded me before we started that we’d behind when Tanya passed off the baton and my job was to catch Dayna. Ashely and Tanya gave it their all. Tanya is slower than Gina, but she kept pace with her so we didn’t lose ground there. Still, we were behind and once Tanya passed the baton to me I had a lot of ground to make up. I tried to catch Dayna, but never did. I did close the substantial gap and was a few steps behind her when I passed off the baton to Marc. The last leg between Marc and Chris was the closest. They were pretty well matched in speed, but Marc couldn’t make up Chris’ small lead. Bees Knees won by a couple of seconds making for a pretty exciting finish.
I was a little bummed about the loss and that I couldn’t catch Dayna. From the photo timestamps, she had about a 17 second lead. I know I could have started faster and pushed harder. I’m more bummed that we didn’t time our splits. I’m pretty sure we all ran faster than we did in practice.
After the race, we were awarded silver beads. The Bees Knees got gold. Then we went off to enjoy a free happy hour and greasy bar food in Westwood. Fun times.
I’m still no sprinter, but at least I didn’t make a fool of myself out there. Now, back to long and easy runs with occasional speed work at the track.