Bridget Blake - Foot Locker Wrap Up
Bridget Blake - Foot Locker Wrap Up
Before sharing about my trip to San Diego, I have a short story!
Now, have you ever had a bad day, seen your dog laying out in the sun and wished you could be that dog? But I’m sure you’ve also gotten out of bed excited for the day and happy you weren’t that dog.
Many dogs seem to have the easy life, however my point in this story is that dogs don’t have the highs and lows in life we all very well experience. As silly as it may sound this is one of the many simple things my coach has taught me. My cross country season definitely had many of both, but I can honestly say conquering all the lows of the beginning were worth the ending high. So I would like to especially thank my Coach, family, friends and teammates for their unending support this season. Most importantly I would thank God for giving me the strength to do all things through Him and for blessing me with such great people !
Now on to all the excitement!!
My journey to San Diego started early Thursday morning with a flight to the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport where I connected with 3 of my other South girls and other finalists. From there we flew to San Diego and after about 7 hours of total air time we had arrived!!
Happy to be off the planes at last, the anxiety continued to grow until we finally got to the beautiful Del Coronado. As soon as you check in they handed us each a duffel bag full of all kinds of gear and shoes. It's basically an early Christmas!!
Carmen, Maggie, Millie and I decided to walk to Panera just 0.3 miles from the hotel (Good thing for Iphones!) and feed our empty stomachs. Eventually all the South girls met up and together we spent our free time catching up before our afternoon group run with all the other finalists.
We had a group message leading up to the trip which also helped us all get to know each other. We even made our own TEAM SOUTH shirts, which everyone wanted. ;) THANKS GRACE!
Our afternoon group run leaves straight from the Del as we run along a bike path running parallel to the ocean. It was super nice to get to meet more people from the different regions while all running together. We didn’t have much time after our run before getting ready for our regional team meetings and dinner.
After dinner in the hall we had a team activity of "Minute to Win It!"
It was a heated rivalry between the South boys and I as everyone took their turn to complete their challenge. After the activity we all returned to our rooms. Each South girl is roomed with a girl from the Northeast so we can meet more of the finalists!
The next morning, Friday morning, everyone had a yummy breakfast before loading up the buses to go to the course! After a group walk through I was honored to run the course with the amazingly talented Lauren Fleshman!!
It’s quite comical how normal it seems to be to just hang out with all these extremely talented, elite runners. We returned to the hotel for a scrumptious lunch at the Del. After lunch we had free time until dinner and the celebrity panel.
Again all us South girls got together and spent some good quality time with each other. We made frequent trips to the game room where they had bottles of Gatorade and snacks for us the whole time we were there. Dinner again was great!!
The celebrity panel was so inspiring and motivating as the nerves and excitement began to set in. After the panel it was early to bed for everyone!
The long anticipated day had finally arrived and I found myself awake before my alarm clock went off. I packed my bag, enjoyed a light breakfast, and took a nice walk down to the beach with Grace and Soph.
By 7:30 we were all locked and loaded on the buses and off to the races! From the moment you step off the bus people are taking pictures which makes you feel like a total superstar.
I was able to meet up with my dad and 3 uncles who also made the trip to Cali to support me before getting into race mode!
My Coach helped me get through my warm up before it was time to get in line for intros.
I told myself to stay calm and relaxed so once I toed the line I was geared up and ready to go with FAITH written on one hand and FEAR crossed out on the other.
I stuck to the game plan and tried to move throughout the race even when I felt I couldn't, focusing on my key word “Strong” (Advice Lauren gave us the night before). It was one tough race, but an absolutely amazing feeling to be surrounded with the nations best.
Coming across the finish line I knew it was going to be close, but what an overwhelming, exciting feeling it was to know I had achieved my goal of becoming All-American.
Not only that, but we had 5 South girls All-American with Caroline just behind in 16th place!
Again this is where my story of the dog and highs and lows come in.
No matter the day, good or bad, you can’t ever give up.
The rest of the day consisted of many adventures; lunch with the family, trips to the beach and candy shop and freedom to do and feast on whatever we wanted!
After our fancy multi course meal and the banquet, everyone went to the dance.
Once the dance ended many of us hit the beach and hot tub. You figured we would take advantage of our comfy beds, however most of us didn’t even sleep! It wasn’t until even 3:20 am that Sophie, Carmen and I headed back to our rooms to reluctantly pack.
At 4 am buses were loaded and off we went. The friendships I have made will last a lifetime along with the many memories and moments shared. Thank you Foot Locker and everyone involved for making this the best experience of my life!!