emma's spring formal
After a very windy track meet down in Pueblo where Emma ran the 3200m with no competition whatsoever and still managed to PR by over 30 sec, we quickly rushed home so that she could shower and get all ready for her church spring formal. Somehow she managed to be all ready in less than an hour. By some miracle I was able to do the updo that she wanted in 15-20 min, and I am very proud of how it turned out. She and her good friend Collin are headed to the dance together and I couldn't be happier for them. There is nothing better than going with a good friend!
Emma traveled to the University of Washington with the Kokopelli club team to run in the HS invitational. The weekend also hosted many college Div 1 schools and it was fun for her to witness what college races were like. Emma was one of two girls on her team that ran in the 3000m on Saturday evening. While we couldn't watch her run in person, we were able to watch her race via LIVE feed on RunnerSpace. This race was such an exhilarating race to watch. Emma ran in the fastest heat with two nationally ranked runners and she held her own in a tough field. One of my favorite parts was the beginning when she almost got boxed in but that fire emerged and she pushed her way to the front. She hung in the top 4 for a few laps, running faster than she is used to, but then listened to her coach who told her to slow down. She hung in 7-8th place and by the last few laps found that fire again and pushed her way to a 5th place finish in 10:06.92 (5:24 pace). WOW…go Emma! It was so fun to watch this with my parents and Andrew who chimed in on messenger!!
Emma's 17th Birthday
We celebrated Emma’s birthday as a family one week late since some of her gifts were still en route. This year she got some winter running gear from Lululemon; specifically, a nice running jacket and a new long sleeve running top. She also got the Align leggings from Lululemon that she had been eyeing in my closet. It was time for her to have her own really nice leggings. She also got a coat and a shacket from Francesca’s and a necklace from Albion that matches the one Abby and I have. Her final gift was a 5-time punch card that she can use to go climbing with her friends at the rock-climbing gym. She received lots of nice gifts that should last her through her college years. She also got a generous gift card from Buckle from her grandparents. She is officially set up with some new clothes and something fun that will help her adventurous spirit.
We are so lucky to have Emma in our family and can't believe that she is only one year away from being an official adult and leaving the nest. She is such a joy and blessing to have in our lives and we are constantly in awe of her kindness and many, many talents.
*Emma had a big friend party later in the month and had loads of fun with her friends eating snacks, playing games and closing the night with everyone singing happy birthday to her while eating an amazing chocolate cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes!
Emma's AFA indoor Track Meet
It’s officially still the off season for Emma with her running but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t working hard and pushing herself towards some amazing goals for her upcoming races. Her first indoor race of the season was at AFA where she ran the one-mile race. Her performance was phenomenal even though this race was only intended to be a kick start race to get her leg turnover figured out before the next race. She ended up placing 5th and got a PR of 5:31.77 (the top 5 were all within 3 sec of each other) even though she died a bit on the last lap and lost two places. Her upper body and arms were severely tired which meant that she will need to focus more on upper body strength throughout her upcoming HS track season. Still, she learned that she has to stay mentally strong even when her body isn’t feeling it. It was a great reminder for her as she focuses her mind on track running. At the end of the day, you only become a better runner by learning from each race.
Emma’s Advanced Jazz Band was nominated by the CMEA (Colorado Music Educators Association) as one of the top 2 best jazz bands in Colorado, along with Montrose HS. It was a huge honor to be selected. They were invited to play during the CMEA weekend at the Broadmoor and had an hour-long concert where they played seven songs. It was the best high school jazz concert I had ever been to, and this was the best I had ever heard this band play. They sounded amazing and so professional. The ballroom where they performed was so beautiful and the perfect location for a classy jazz concert. I was so moved by how amazingly talented Emma and the other musicians were in this select group.
PERSEVERANCE is the word I would use to describe Emma’s race at Garmin Running Lane XC Championships in Huntsville, Alabama. She came into the race sick. She was coughing, had a sore throat, and was very congested. It was already not an ideal situation, but she was still positive about being able to push herself despite that deficit. We picked up her race day kit (which included a cool hat, sunglasses, and backpack), bought a few fun things at the Expo, and then she did her shakeout run with some of her club-mates that were also there to run in the Gold Division. Coach Lisa was there and gave the girls a great pep talk about the course and strategy for the race. After their shakeout run, Emma and I headed back to the hotel for a relaxing day of rest and stretching. We headed out later that night to eat at an Italian restaurant called Mazzara’s to carbo load before race day. It was already slightly raining but what we weren't expecting was the overnight downpour. The course that is normally a fast course where most girls get their PRs, was a hot mess with mud and lots of water. The girls had to tape their spikes so they wouldn’t come off in the mud. And yet, she went to the starting line without one complaint. Since she was running unattached from a team or club, she just did her strides and warm up drills on her own. Never wavering. She knew what to do. She started and finished that race with her head held high. She didn’t PR, nor did she get close to what she is used to getting, but she came away with the knowledge that she can do hard things and what a character-building moment that was for her. I am prouder of her for what she did in this race than I have been for any other race she has competed in. It takes real guts to run a race like that feeling the way she did. When the race was over, we just looked at each other and smiled even though we were both covered in mud…her more than me. What a crazy experience this race was for the both of us and a memory we will never forget.
traveling and Pre-race stuff
Traveling and being able to hang out in the Centurion Lounge is pretty awesome. They still were making Thanksgiving type sides which we loved!
This race had awesome swag...especially for those running in the highest Gold Division which Emma was entered into. The backpack was especially cool and also the winter running hat!
Coach Lisa from Emma's club team was there with the Coronado boys team but she took the time to talk with Emma and some of the other club girls from Palmer HS. She gave them a great pep talk and talked about strategy and told me to grab 3/4 inch spikes which I did immediately at the Expo.
Carbo loading at Marazzas
One of my favorite all time photos of Emma running
Spruce Mountain Open Space Hike
When the weather is warm on the weekends during the winter, we try to take advantage of it by being outside doing something fun. Since it was a rather warm Sunday, we got the itch to go hiking. Abby and Madeline didn’t feel like going for a hike, so Mike and I took Emma and headed to Spruce Mountain Open Space for a jolly good time. We hit some snowy sections on the way up which wasn’t all that surprising since it was technically still the winter. We ended up hiking the big loop all the way around the plateau and back. The views were incredible, and it was so enjoyable to be hiking at a rather brisk pace. Sometimes it is fun to have an adventure with one kid at a time. We loved being with Emma and listening to her talk on our hike. She is such a great girl!
Emma's 16th birthday
We had a nice quiet birthday celebration for Emma for her 16th birthday. Her letter jacket was her main gift but there was a delay with that being finished so she opened the rest of her gifts from us. Her favorite gift that she opened was her Japanese learning books. Emma is all about learning Japanese these days. Emma loves pretty much anything about Japan, the language, the culture, and the anime. Since I was still sick Mike took care of getting a chocolate cake and he made a traditional Japanese dinner of katsu over rice with cabbage, gyoza, sushi and Ramune to drink. It was the perfect little birthday celebration for our sweet 16th year old Emma!
Nike Southwest Regionals (NXR) . Tempe, AZ
Nike Southwest Regionals (NXR) was Emma’s last race of the season, and we couldn't be prouder of how she finished her 2021 XC season. She was 47th out of 181 in the coveted championship race, 2nd for her team, and finished the race in 18:39 on a hot, dusty course after battling a week of being congested. While her time is impressive, what is even more impressive is the fact that she ran the 5K on a crappy course that ended up being longer than an official 5K (3.10 miles). Many logged it as over 3.20 miles which means that her true 5K time was about 30 seconds faster. Some overhead several of the Nike officials talking about how they really messed it up this year. Well isn't that nice...looks like we may be looking at Footlocker for next year's regional race. On a positive note, the Pine Creek girls team placed 9th out of the top 22 teams from Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. The girls decided to race as a team this year and to just have fun and that is exactly what they did. It was fun to watch them run out to the starting line as a team holding the flag with their team's name written on it. This truly was a great way to end an awesome season.
Emma'S XC Banquet
Emma’s XC coach had some amazing things to say about her season at the banquet. For good measure we recorded it so that we could remember all the nice things he said about Emma. She truly was one of the most valuable athletes on her team this season, taking the lead in 4 of the 8 races and was awarded 1st team for PPAC. However, her improvement was far beyond anyone else on the team this year and so she was awarded the Most Improved Runner for 2021. She ran sub 19:30 six times and sub 19:00 four times, including running the fastest time of the season on her team at Desert Twilight with a time of 18:08. That time put her as the #4 fastest time in PCHS girls XC history. She finished in the top 3 overall in 3 races during the season. She was 2nd at league, 3rd at regionals, and the 2nd runner on the team at state by literally a lean (.2 sec). She was an exceptional contributor to the team not just with her statistics but in how she encouraged other runners to run faster. I was later told by another mom of a JV runner that many agreed that Emma was the most positive, happy influence on the team. That is something to be extremely proud of.
Emma's Cross Country Season
AUGUST 28, 2021
CHERRY CREEK LOHMAN INVITATIONAL
CHERRY CREEK HS
5K - 20:30.20
The first meet of the season was up in Denver at Cherry Creek HS. Emma was a little nervous to run the course since it was all pavement, and she prefers to run on the dirt trail. I'm afraid she got in her head a little bit about the course but still was able to run a good race despite the weather being a little too hot and her calves being a little too tight. She wasn't too thrilled with her time as she wanted to be under 20 minutes. The first meet is not always going to be the best meet, but it is a good time to work out the kinks. Emma's motto after this race was to shake it off and move on.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021
5K - 19:17.42 (PR)
Emma went into this meet with nerves as always and a stomach that wasn't feeling quite right. At the beginning of the race, she was in the front pack with five other girls. I yelled at her to stay with the pack. I was really hoping she would be able to do it. As I waited on the trail for the girls to do their out and back, I was floored when I saw the lead bike and the first-place girl come down the trail with Emma right behind. She was in 2nd place!!! She was only a few steps in front of her teammate, but she was able to maintain her position. As she ran up the last hill, Mike was there to encourage her and to tell her how far the girl behind her was. Emma took off like a bullet, running into the track at a 5:30 pace and rounded the last corner to the finish line at a 5:05 pace. She finished the race in an all-time PR of 19:17. She was beyond excited and surprised by her performance. This was a really good meet for Emma. After this meet Emma was ranked #8 in CO for the sophomore girls.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2021
LIBERTY BELL INVITATIONAL
5K - 19:35.20
There was so much pressure going into this meet as it is the highlighted meet of the season at elevation. Liberty Bell is a fast-paced course with both pavement and trail sections. It is the one meet where the athletes usually get their elevation PRs. Emma was super nervous today and her calves were still a little tight. Her goal was to break 19 min. She was seeded to be 2nd on her team at the starting line but at the last minute one of her teammates who is a senior, decided that she was going to take the 2nd spot. Emma was so nervous that she let her. After the gun went off Emma was tripped by the girl next to her but luckily didn't fall. She ran hard and even though after she told us that all she wanted to do was stop because she was hurting so bad, she kept on running. She finished the course in 19:35 which was still faster than any of her times from last season. She ran through the finish line and saw the clock which said 22 something and was so upset. What she didn't realize was the clock was the correct time for the boy's race which was 3 minutes before the girls Sweepstakes A race. She was somewhat relieved when I told her that she ran in the 19 min range. Her sweet teammate and friend Lauren grabbed some ice for Emma's legs. There is always something to learn from each race...stand up for yourself, give it all you have even when you are not feeling 100%, and be kind to yourself when you fall short of your goal.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
QUEEN CREEK, AZ
5K - 18:08.10 (NEW ALL TIME PR)
Desert Twilight XC Festival 2021 in Arizona was a BLAST! This was the MOST exciting race I’ve ever watched Emma run. It is the most coveted race of the season because it is a place where these kids who train at elevation can PR big time. And that is exactly what happened tonight. This race which is run late at night is so unique and so fun. Emma came in 1st for her team, 27th overall in the elite Sweepstakes race (23 teams from all over the Southwest) crossed the finish line in 18:08.09 (5:50 pace) and took 1 min and 9 sec off her previous best time. I believe her girls team also came in 4th overall. I’m in constant awe at her abilities and her sportsmanship. She is humble and kind to all her teammates. My favorite part of the night was turning around at the finish and watching Peter just hug her and jump up and down with excitement. He flew in just to watch her run. It was so fun to have Peter here to witness such an exciting time in Emma’s running career.
mandatory study time
warming up before the race
OCTOBER 1, 2021
DOHERTY SPARTAN INVITATIONAL
BEAR CREEK PARK EAST
5K - 18:42.00 (NEW ELEVATION PR)
Emma had another great meet running at the Doherty Spartan Invitational. This course was new to our team, but it ran along some of the same sections as the State meet course. With a few more hilly sections, this course has been deemed as one the hardest courses of the season. After coming off an extremely successful meet in Arizona, Emma was full of positive energy. With 1K into the course she was sitting where she normally does which is right next to her teammate Madelyn. She ran in line with her until the grind up the long hilly section where she pulled away. By the time she made it to the top and started her way downhill and on the flats, she was well ahead and in 3rd place. Running a 5:15 pace on that last flat section (I only know that from zooming into her watch) she closed the gap between her and the second-place girl. She finished strong in 3rd place, only 2 seconds behind the 2nd place girl. Emma managed to pull out an elevation PR of 18:42.00 on a really tough course. The Pine Creek girls team placed 2nd at this meet. Heritage HS from Denver took 1st. Currently, Emma is ranked #9 in CO for Sophomore girls.
OCTOBER 8, 2021
PPAC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
NORTH MONUMENT VALLEY PARK
5K - 18:59.36
With three weeks in a row of racing, no one really knew how this race was going to play out. Emma seemed to be in good spirits all week and even when we were strategizing about the course, she said she wasn't all that nervous. We have been doing everything we can to keep her legs in tip top shape such as Grastron scraping, manual therapy stretching and pressure point therapy with Jenna who she and I see weekly for PT. The new thing as of late has been active release therapy (ART) with Dr. Wood. She has been able to run without super tight calves which has been awesome. He also makes sure her hips are in alignment since she tends to get out of alignment like her mom. Having done all of that, there is never any guarantees how an athletes legs are going to feel. At the beginning of the race Emma was in the same position she usually is in at the beginning of her races. She was in the front pack but never out in front. She tends to hang to the back of that fast pack and between mile 1 and 2 she usually makes her move and starts passing those in front of her. Just before mile 2 she had moved from 6th to 2nd place and held that position until the finish line where she pushed hard enough that last stretch to give herself a sub 19 minute finish time. With only 18 seconds behind her friend and club teammate Tessa, Emma finished in 18:59. It is worth noting that Emma has been consistently at least 40 seconds behind Tessa the entire season. So, this was quite a run for Emma on tired legs. The Pine Creek girls varsity team placed 1st for the fourth year in a row. The girls were quite excited by this huge accomplishment. I love this girls team so much and we will truly miss the seniors who are leaving next year as well as Alexis and Mikayla who will most likely be doing some serious biking.
OCTOBER 21, 2021
COLORADO 5A REGIONALS 5
NORTH MONUMENT VALLEY PARK
5K - 18:59.30
There was lots of excitement heading into Regionals. Emma seemed excited and a little nervous about an upset tummy she had been having all week, which made me all the more nervous as I watched her get ready to run this race. The beginning of the race was like most races she runs. She was out in the front pack but not out in front. She was sitting nicely in between four of her teammates as they pushed each other along the course. At mile one she was right where she usually is and by mile 2 I was expecting to see her further ahead but she was trailing by almost 10 seconds behind two of her teammates. I cheered her on at this point and told her to go and catch them. When she got to the top of the hill she told me that she just sprinted to catch up. By the last 800m stretch she and Maddie pushed each other to the last stretch of the race. Emma came in 3rd, only 2 seconds behind Maddie for an amazing finish to a somewhat mentally tough race. Emma ended up finishing in about the same time as last meet but was just ever so slightly faster. All the girls on the Pine Creek varsity XC team ran an amazing race and their team came in 1st for Regionals for the 4th year in a row. All 5 of their top scoring girls on the team came in the top 15, each earning an individual spot in the State meet. What an amazing accomplishment for these super talented girls!
OCTOBER 30, 2021
COLORADO 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
NORRIS PENROSE EVENTS CENTER
5K - 19:07.80
It is always exciting to make it to the State Championship race and all the more nerve racking to run this race in Colorado. Colorado has some of the best female runners in the nation. In fact, two of the high school teams that are in the 5A category are #3 and #6 in the nation (Cherry Creek and Arapahoe). That being said, the Pine Creek girls team held their own in a competitive field of runners. Emma ran this tough course in 19:07.80 which is a new state course PR for her. She cut over a minute off of her time from last year which is amazing. She tied with her teammate as they crossed the finish line as the first two girls on their team. Emma came in 27th place overall. Even though some of her teammates struggled on the course, their team was still able to take 5th place which is the best their team has ever done at a state meet. This truly was a great season for Emma and one in which she will never forget.
This month was full of school happenings both with Emma at Pine Creek HS and Madeline at Mountain View ES. At the beginning of the month Emma was inducted into the National English Honors Society. Her English teacher for the second year in a row, Mrs. Gefreh, encouraged her to apply. It was so fun watching her become part of a fun group of kids.
After a year of no indoor concerts, it was really fun to be able to watch Emma play with the orchestra for their mid-fall concert. Since both Andrew and Peter were visiting during their fall break they came and watched her perform and had so much fun seeing Mrs. Margrave after the concert.
At the end of the month Madeline's class had a Halloween party and I went in to take photos and help with the cookie decorating. It was cute seeing all of the kids dressed up in their costumes. Madeline was dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood this year. Madeline's favorite part of the day was eating her decorated sugar cookie and recording the song, "Five Little Pumpkins" on her iPad.
EMMA'S HONOR SOCIETY INDUCTION