May 14, 2013

My Championships Experience - Women's Outdoor Track and Field Edition

My Championship Experience is a diary blog written by Summit League student-athletes detailing their experiences at each of the 19 Championships. 

Oakland senior Brittni Hutton writes about her experience at the 2013 Summit League Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships: 

Wednesday May 8, 2013
YES! The day we leave for The Summit League championships was here. Unfortunately, the night before we left, and into that morning I was feeling a bit under the weather –a sore throat, minor headache, and achy body. I was telling myself the whole time, “I am going to be okay, I am healthy, I will be alright. Stay positive!” (A positive attitude always has your back) Despite feeling sick,  the night before we left wasn’t all bad though. Our teammate, Cady Pozolo made these beautiful images of every senior’s name consisting of images taken at a track. My name was made out of some pretty legit running items, but my favorite letter in my name was the second “I” in Brittni. Cady took a picture of lane one on the track – it made me feel awesome. 

An hour and a half before our departure to Ball State (the track where The Summit League Championships were being held) I went and saw the physician to see if I had strep or the flu, luckily I didn’t, I just caught a virus! This is only half of what happened that morning - my very loving, but very crazy mother, was calling my family doctor and calling me like a mad-woman to see if there was possibly a way to get me to my doctor then drive me to Ball State. Unsure of what I should do, ten minutes before I decided to board the bus or have my mom drive me, my family doctor called me and prescribed to me over the phone what I should do. Thankfully, he called because I was able to leave with my team and not have to drive with my mom. On the bus, I drank my body weight in fluids. However, the bus driver had a strict rule about using the bathroom on the bus – Emergencies only. I’m not going to describe to you every detail about how I felt, but I could not wait another second for a rest stop after driving for three hours to use the restroom.  By the time we arrived at the track I was starting to come around. We were all dying to stretch our legs out! (I already felt cramped up from not getting a shakeout in that morning.) Low and behold, a huge thunder and lightning storm hit; and delayed our workout even longer.  Everyone had already warmed up, which meant on top of being sweaty from the bus ride, we were now sweaty and smelly from running! So, for our protection we all had to sit on our hot, smelly, and stinky bus for a little over an hour.  Don’t get me wrong, I know safety is the number one priority it was just really hot, sticky and smelly!

The storm finally passed and we were all relieved to be able to finish our workouts. I felt pretty good running my race pace splits and being on a track. Ball State has a really nice facility, and I can already feel the track’s speed and strength. This championship will be phenomenal – I’m really excited to see what’s going to happen, who’s going to overcome and who will be victorious.

Thursday May 9, 2013
Pre-Meet Day. There are no sidewalks near our hotel. My teammate and I became very friendly with cars this morning during our run. Once we reached a country road, our run wasn’t too bad. We couldn’t find any soft ground to run on, but it was still a nice and relaxing run. Later, our two men's distance runners raced in the 10,000 meters. They did well, finishing in seventh and eighth place. Our freshman (Michael Cox) even qualified for Junior Nationals. (Great Job, Michael!) There was even a slight delay due to the weather, luckily it didn’t last long or else the 10k would have raced the next day.

Friday May 10, 2013
Race day - 3k Steeplechase. Ran a nice shakeout this morning. Weather was cloudy, but warm with a little bit of wind. Today was about racing the clock and trying to qualify for regionals in the steeplechase. Coach Rice and I believe that 10:42 might get me in for Regionals, but I wanted to run in the 10:30 range to be in a solid spot. The race went well, but I didn’t end up running the time I needed too. I kept my legs going the best I could and held third place overall with a time of 10:45. I’m not upset with my performance, but realistically, I’m training for a completely different race. Ever since I qualified in the 10k for regionals my workouts are focused on the 10k. Both ladies who came in first and second did a great job, though. I am truly happy to have the competition I have in this league. Another great performance of the day was our freshman, Gino (Vitella), who placed fourth in shot put and qualified for Junior Nationals as well! (Great job, Gino!)

Saturday May 11, 2013
Race day - 5k.  Ate a nice and hearty breakfast this morning - gluten free toast with almond butter and jam on top with a Luna Macadamia Nut Bar on the side. I also ate half of a banana with almond butter. After breakfast I filled two small buckets of ice and took a cool ice bath for about 10 – 12 minutes. Getting out that extra bit of lactic acid would be helpful later in the day. The weather turned out to be a little chilly, but it was nice for us distance runners. Not too hot or too cold. I would have liked to have run below 16:30 which is 79 – 80 seconds per lap in the 5k, but realistically you just have to go with the flow in the 5k. I got out hard and wanted someone else to take the lead with me in a 79 – 80, but no one was biting, so I held off and sat in second. When it came time to make my move, my legs had felt the race, but I believe my mind had gotten the best of me more than anything. Out of all my races in my college career, when it came to The Summit League Championships I put a lot of pressure on myself. It’s like I want everyone to know, “Brittni Hutton is here and she wants to race! She wants to win!” And I do, but it’s the little things like putting too much pressure on yourself and stress on top of that that really gets at you. That’s always been one of the harder things for me to control - the anxiety and stress I put on myself to race well at conference - but anywhere else I don’t feel or think of those things at a high level.  I ended up coming in third for the 5k as well, with a time of 16:59 flat. I’m not going to sugar coat it, I know I’m faster and better than a 16:59 5k runner, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I am stronger than that. Talk about the wrong time and place to have an off race, but here’s the thing, I’m not training for a 5k – my focus is the 10k.

This day was also full of two other great successes – my teammate and roommate, Bre (Breanna Peabody), came in second in the 400-meter hurdles. She also qualified in the 400-meter hurdles for regionals too! Our third freshman to do exceptionally well today was Jeff (Aririguzo) – he came in second place for both the 100 and 200 meter dashes.

Sunday May 12, 2013
There are other things that I could discuss about this championship that I let get to me, but in all honestly, those little things are not important. Although, I will mention one thing - for any team out there dealing with issues involving teammates, it’s not worth it. Let the past go and try to create something good with the time you have. Everything happens for a reason, embrace who you are with and create a bond with your team and coaches. Track can sometimes be an individual sport, but in the end who are you surrounded by at the end of the day? Your teammates and coaches, accept them for who they are, and make it worth your while. Lastly, my coach and I had a really nice talk today about The Summit League Championships. Coach Rice is a mentor and leader and always knows what to say. I am a very lucky athlete because even in high school my head coach, Brian Salyers always coached with the same dignity. For this, I am immensely grateful. These are two coaches that love this sport entirely and who inspire their athletes to appreciate it as much as they do. Coach Rice along with our assistant coaches and athletic staff has gone above and beyond their duties to help every athlete grow to their full potential. I am so thankful to have started and finished my career.  It was difficult to say goodbye to some of the most knowledgeable coaches I have come to know through my career, but Oakland is moving toward a greater future. It’s a bittersweet goodbye, but I would never trade any of my experiences for anything in the world. I love running and I love that I was able to compete with some of this sports greatest athletes in The Summit League.  


Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows the Baseball Championship, May 23-25, the final Summit League Championship of the 2012-13 season.

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