The Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic was today in Birmingham. Grace was initially only going to run the 800 but she talked to Coach Bell and really wanted to run the 1600 as well. She didn't do as well as she wanted to do in either the 1600 or 800 at her last meet and she really wanted to PR. She felt good about this meet.
She was seated 4th in the 4th heat. The gun went off and she had a great start. Normally she hesitates and then gets stuck behind the pack and can't get around them but there was no hesitation this time. She was behind a pack of girls but she easily and quickly made her way around them and put herself in 2nd place. She looked great! She looked fast and was keeping that same pace. The lead girl was a good 100 meters out in front for the first couple of laps and then she started slowing on the 3rd lap. Grace and two other girls were gaining on her and as they came around the turn, I'm not sure what happened except that the lead girl slowed so much that she was immediately right in front of the other 3 and she fell. Grace was right behind her and tripped over her and went down as well landing on both knees. The other two girls stumbled but were able to recover and not fall. My heart sank and I immediately jumped up out of my seat. Grace looked dazed and confused as if she had no idea what happened or what she was supposed to do but she got back up and started running again. But at this point so many had passed them and she was never able to fully recover. She finished with a time of 6:19:97 and 14th out of 25 girls.
Coach Bell gave her a big hug when she came off the track and told her that she looked awesome up until the fall. He told her that it was her best start ever and that she was on pace for a 5:45 mile which would have killed her PR and qualified her for the state meet. Her PR for the 1600 is a 5:59 and that was from the outdoor season last year. Her indoor PR this season is a 6:03.
As soon as it was over, I went to her to make sure she was okay. Her knees were red and scraped and hurting and she was upset that it happened especially since she was having as good a race as she was. But she handled the whole thing like a champ and I was just so proud of her. I was proud of her strong start and how well she was running. I was proud of her for getting up and finishing that race even though she was hurting and probably didn't feel like it.
She planned on still running the 800 but after icing her knees and walking around, she realized how badly they were hurting. She and Coach Bell decided she should not run the 800 so she wouldn't injure herself any more.
This was definitely not the way she planned for this meet to go. She still has the Last Chance Invitational in two weeks to try it again.