Jesselyn Bries 2016 Foot Locker Journal

    

(Photo by Clark Kranz)

    At Footlocker West Regionals, with about 1200 meters to go, the announcer said "Jesselyn Bries is currently in 11th place". I told myself I wasn't going to finish one spot off from qualifying so I found a little more energy and passed the girl in tenth place, finishing ninth and qualifying for my first ever high school national championships. Footlocker flew me down to San Diego the following Thursday. We were then bused to the beautiful Hotel del Coronado, received our keys, and met our roommates. We received our gear later that afternoon and the backpacks were overflowing with New Balance gear. That night I met up with the West girls and ate dinner with the Footlocker crew and New Balance athletes. Brenda Martinez, Cory Mcgee, Meb, and Molly Huddle were there; just to name a few. I never thought I would be in the same room as Olympians and professional athletes. It was magical to say the least.

                                        (Photo by Clark Kranz)

    The next day was full of activity, starting with the course preview. We practiced our introductions and run outs which made me excited for race day. After we returned to the hotel and had lunch, the West girls and I spent some time on the beach, which were only steps away from the hotel. That night at the pasta party, Footlocker skyped Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn, my running heroes, and they gave us some pre-race advice. Coming away from that pasta dinner, I remember Jenny Simpson saying that one race doesn't define your high school career and this would stick with me throughout the weekend. Hearing advice from these two amazing runners made the whole experience even more unique and unforgettable.

             (Photo by Clark Kranz)

     The day of the race, we boarded the buses on time. (The West coaches really wanted to win the bus trophy for being on time) All forty girls were sporting the bright pink New Balance sweats and a uniform specific to each region. For the introductions, I ran out individually and followed the white stars on the grass to the West starting box. Before the gun went off the West girls, now my friends, wished each other good luck. I felt nothing but excitement for what was to come. The weather was perfect with cloud coverage and a slight mist. During the race, I tried to move up but my legs just wouldn't have it. The course at Balboa Park was one of the most difficult courses I've run. It was constantly rolling and impossible to settle into a pace. Even though I wasn't excited with my placement or time, I have learned from this experience and will continue to learn as I go into track season and my upcoming senior year. I have learned that "one race does not define my running career" and of course I wish I had done better but instead of being disappointed, I am going to use this as motivation to fine-tune my training and work hard to improve and reach my goals. Overall, this Footlocker Cross Country National Championship was an unforgettable and unique experience where I was able to get to know and befriend fellow competitors. I hope to return next year and see my hard work pay off.

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