Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spectating the Cross Country Championships with Oiselle

This past Saturday (Feb. 7), Boulder hosted the USATF Cross Country Championships at Flatirons Golf Course. The meet featured races on the high school, junior, masters, and open levels - with the top 6 finishers in the men's and women's open division making Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in China at the end of March.

Never having been to a cross country meet myself, once I heard Oiselle was fielding a team and none other than Sally Bergesen (Momma Bird herself), Kristin Metcalf (our team director), Lauren Fleshman (5k speedster, coach, Picky Bar co-founder, author, etc, etc) and other amazing birds were going to be in Boulder for it, I had to be there. 

One of our local teammates, Bret, did an awesome job organizing the day - from a group run starting at the Bobolink Trailhead ending at the golf course, to lunch at Fate Brewing after the races. As we were running along the south end of the golf course we happened to meet up with Sally, who was out for a quick run herself! We all cheered her name as she jumped right into the mix and joined us. If you were there and saw a great looking group of women running into the golf course - not wearing racing kits - that was us. 

We quickly found Kristin and a few other teammates, including a few of the ones racing. Oiselle fielded a 5 woman team including: Christine Babcock and Collier Lawrence (both with Little Wing), Arlene Espinoza, Drea McLarty, and Liz Anjos.

Pre-Race smiles: Kristin and two of my Colorado faves - Laura and Bret

Thinking we'd run about 3 miles for our "short run," I had done 4 miles earlier in the morning. I did not realize however, that we'd be sprinting from point to point along the 2K looped course to catch our teammates at different points along the 8K race. (This is purely a result of me not thinking about how it would play out. I should have known!) By the end of the day I had a solid 7 miles of running plus a good sprint workout under my belt! A good reminder that even spectating can be tough work! But entirely fun, too.

Just after the start of the Women's Open 8K

I should mention quickly that while snow has fallen around here, we've had a fairly mild start to 2015 and Saturday was our warmest day yet. Talking 70 degrees. I can't imagine many of the runners were prepared to race in that kind of heat, but watching the women and men speed around the course was nothing short of awe inspiring. Beyond Christine Babcock securing a spot for the Pan American Games with her 13th place finish, the next most inspiring finish for me was Jen Rhines, 3x Olympian, made the USA Cross Country team for the 7th time at age 40. Talk about awesome! 

For the open division, the women did 4 laps for 8K while the men finished 6 laps for 12K. Cheering crowds dashed around the course to cheer for the runners at multiple points along the way. And of course a great crowd gathered at the finish line. As it was my first cross country meet I have no reference point, but it seemed to me like the turnout was pretty great and Boulder was an excellent host.

That's Lauren Fleshman coaching Christine Babcock

Kristin and the Colorado Birds cheering for Collier Lawrence

After the men's race we headed off to Fate Brewing for a team lunch. We had definitely worked up a good appetite! All in all, it was a fantastic day and I'm so glad to be part of the awesome team here in Colorado and able to cheer on our teammates!

photo credit: Greg Metcalf

I encourage you to also check out Kristin's post on Oiselle's blog, HERE.

Have you - or would you like to - run cross country? 
(I apologize to everyone in the midwest and on the east coast who's been dealing with lots of cold and snow this winter. Wish I could share the warmth with you!)


Lisa said...

How cool that you got to watch the championships! I would have been all over that. And fun to hang out with all the Oiselle ladies, too.

I have run a bit of x-country at some local races. It's tons of fun!

Lisa said...

This looks like so much fun. I have never thought about cross country running, but this may have changed my mind. And way to go getting some mileage in!

Lisa said...

Aww, thanks for stopping by Liz! We had such a great time cheering for you and the other birds. It was great meeting you!

Lisa said...

Looks like fun, and pretty hard core!

Lisa said...

I've never thought about it for myself either, but kind of interested in trying a local race that's not too high pressure. Definitely not your average road race!