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!
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) 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 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.
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