Raptor runners improve again at rainy, muddy Diablo Trail Challenge!

Post date: Nov 21, 2012 7:11:23 AM

November 7, 2010

I know we actually have a race results page but the running of our kids (and parents) has gotten so spectacular that it keeps warranting front page treatment.

Today a select group of Raptors traveled to Walnut Creek for the year's second iteration of the Diablo Trail Challenge. We thought this one might be interesting since many of the same people ran this same course in the spring. How would times improve with all the training and racing that has been done since? Well, the only time difference I know as of now is Nikhil's. Are you ready for this? Nikhil took over eight minutes off his time from the spring race. As I told him, that means he basically beat his "old self" by a mile! Incredible. And to boot, the conditions today were awful. Rainy, windy, muddy. . .about the worst they could be, while the spring race was run in delightful weather. He also finished a spectacular seventh overall in a big field.

Nikhil finishes seventh overall!

Nikhil's progress this year has been remarkable. He simply goes faster and faster in every race. He also had a good year in middle school cross country, running for Albany Middle School. He managed to run in almost all the meets without significant injury, which is huge. If his results were not exactly as he hoped it's because he is a distance runner and 1.25 miles (the middle school XC race distance) is not distance. Let's try this: AMS puts Nikhil in varsity, the distance at the Kennedy Grove finals goes from one punky loop to three. Where is Nikhil then? Holding a trophy!

So, while Nikhil was making many, many adults reexamine their running careers by beating them, what were Max and Annabel doing? Rubbing it in ever worse (if possible) by finishing third and fourth overall! That's right! Just in case anyone thought their spectacular finish at Rocky Ridge was some kind of one-time fluke, they each finished one place higher this time! They both took away three medals! Max for third place overall, first in his age group and the finisher's medal. Annabel got first woman, first in her age group and the finisher's medal. Nikhil, not to be outdone, took second in his age group. . . first place in his group was the race winner! So, the Raptors place three kids in the top ten!

And they are still cute!

Stop right here!

I think it's time that I give us all a reality check.. I mean the coach should occasionally put things into perspective, right?

Okay. . .THIS IS NOT NORMAL! I've coached hundreds of kids. Some do well, some less well. Most make progress and improve. But they do not go out and beat all the adults! They don't PR by wild, insane amounts. Pre-teen girls don't finish first woman without some kind of head start (like in Dipsea). Ditto pre-teen boys finishing on the PODIUM! People, these are serious races featuring tough mountainous trails that attract the nuttiest, most dedicated of runners. Runners who are getting stomped by your kids!

And, speaking of kids, where are all the other kids that should be racing our gang for age group honors? If one attends any average pavement 5K, fun run, etc. etc. there are tons of kids there, right? Why not at these races? The only logical answer I can come up with is that parents think these races are too tough for kids. The hills and rough terrain would be too discouraging!

I ended up walking back to the high school parking lot today. The rain had stopped, the scenery was great and I needed the exercise. So I thought as I walked. And, factoring in all I mentioned above I realized that it was time to say this: the three kids who ran today are gifted runners. And, for all my gushing, that is not a term I toss around carelessly. But it is the case. Any coach I know would be thrilled to have any one of these three to work with. And we have them right here in our club and a whole bunch more just a step or two behind them!

So, fine, they are good. What does that mean? Well, it means I'm going to begin paying more attention! If there is a "care and feeding of elite runners" book, I'll find it! We need to be aware of the potential for injury and most importantly avoid over-racing them (hard, cuz they are fun to watch!), over- training them and over-stressing them. If it doesn't stay fresh and fun, theirs and not "ours" they will all drift away and find something else more fun to do. . . it happens all the time.

But, no problem! We are all incredibly well-adjusted adults, great parents and smart kids so we will do it all correctly and this club will thrive!

Oh yeah! Talk about overshadowed! Our poor parent runners just can't get a break no matter how well they run. Kim and Marina both came through with medals today, on a morning when the average "sane" (boring) grownup wouldn't even get out of bed! You guys are "Raptor tough!"

The whole crew! Awesome, folks!