If you missed out on my previous blog, I am a runner, albeit a slow one.
Thus, it was fun to hang with my people Saturday morning at Centennial Park. And, like many of the runners, I actually rather enjoyed the rain. It would've been a lot better if I was running, rather than trying to tweet and write notes while the XXL drops fell, but oh well.
A lengthy chat with Rock Falls senior Paige Davis afterward revealed that Rockets coach Mark Truesdell wasn't exactly pleased with his girls' performance. By the time I chatted with him in the afternoon, he'd cooled off. After all, as he and I discussed before the meet, while conference meets are lots of fun, their importance pales in comparison to that of regionals, sectionals and, hopefully, beyond.
As we enter that crucial stretch, potential excuses for the Rock Falls girls will vanish.
Aubree Johnson, the Rockets' projected top runner in the preseason, will be back in the mix. She's been dealing with a literal pain in the butt all season, although eggheads would prefer to pronounce it piriformis syndrome. It's a neuromuscular disorder that involves her sciatic nerve and her piriformis muscle, which sits - yep - atop her bum.
Truesdell's attack plan is to run Johnson in regionals and sectionals. When it comes to state? "That's when she'll race," the Rockets' coach said.
Katie Anderson, who gutted out a 10th-place finish, won't be under the weather anymore. Well, in all likelihood she won't. Running in the rain probably didn't help, but it's nothing a couple of lozenges a day can't curb.
OK, no more whining about the new drainage ditches. The Rockets have seen the messy effect they can have. They also have the same effect on all the other runners. It puts a kink in home-course advantage, but it's nothing Rock Falls' runners can't overcome.
Speaking of overcoming, hats off to DJ Wolfram's performance in the boys race. The Richmond-Burton runner stepped in a hole during a race last Tuesday and pinched two nerves in his back.
After finishing seventh Saturday morning and helping his Rockets (yeah, the other Rockets. New rule: no more namesakes in the same conference.) repeat as BNC champs, he sat down on a manhole and tipped over to his left. His hair gathered mud as he winced and gripped his ailing back.
His chiropractor told him not to run Saturday morning. But the meet meant too much to him, pretty much disproving my theory that teams have bigger fish to fry and conference meets are for fun.
"I did whatever I could for the team. I couldn't fail them," Wolfram said afterward, long after his teammates convinced him to take his head off the mud and head back to camp.