On Saturday, I’ll be standing knee deep in mud at the State Meet, wringing my hands and trying to hide my own nerves, while I absorb yours and give you last minute advice. Will and I will meet you after your third strider, tell you something about going easy for the first mile, then send you back to your box. Then you’ll take off, and I can’t do anything for 20 minutes but worry. I’ll be at Mile 1 telling you to keep it tough, at Mile 2 telling you to keep it smooth and at Mile 2.8 telling you to send it. And I’ll be choked up the whole way. I’ll hold you up at the finish, even though you’ll inevitably be covered in mud, snot and spit.
I worry about you guys a lot. I worry when you cry. I worry when you come to practice and your normal sparkle seems dull. I worried the other night when we left team dinner and the roads were wet and covered in leaves and I just wanted to stand out in the road with flashers and make sure you got home okay. Will and I spent the last two weeks worried that you’d twist an ankle, get a cold, break a leg, break up with your boyfriend…
You are so tough, it scares me. Some of you hear me during the race and acknowledge it with a smile (Felicia), a nod (Laurel) or a grimace (Riley). But some of you run from somewhere else, and I don’t think there’s anything I could say or do that would snap you out of it. You chase down other teams, you chase down each other, and I’ve never seen a group “keep it tight” like you do. When there’s one MMU girl, there’s three and that’s exactly what Will and I wanted from you.
Run like hell, girls. Run like Pre. I am so proud of you.