Today was finally race day! We spent the morning just trying to relax. We went to see Pre's Rock which is right by our hotel. It was pretty cool. After that we went to lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing until time to head to the track. While at the meet, it was still incredible to watch everyone running and to realize that UNC Asheville had an athlete in the top 24 of the country. During talks Natalie and I had we decided that it was an incredible experience to be here and to be in that elite group. This experience will no doubt help Natalie as she prepares to make the trek here again next year.
The race finally came. Natalie got out to a good start in lane eight and was in the mix through about 100 - 110 meters, after that though she just didn't have that final gear that she usually has in races but fought all the way through to finish 7th in her heat and 18th overall. Natalie, being the competitor that she is, was disappointed in how she performed but after talking to her I reminded her that last year at regional it was pretty much the same situation as this year. She was glad to be here and using it to get the experience. Now that she got the experience, she can grow from this and have the expectation of making finals next year.
The rest of the week we will get to watch some incredible events with the next two days being all finals. It should be exciting and a blast to watch. The fans here are incredible; they cheer for every event and every competitor.
Thanks everyone for reading this blog and sending your good wishes to Natalie. She has had an incredible year and will finish off an incredible career here at UNC Asheville next season. It has been a joy to watch Natalie develop during her career. She will continue to develop into an outstanding athlete with the goal of qualifying for the Olympics down the road.