EDITORS NOTE: The New Balance Indoor Nationals is the end of season high school meet in New York at the Armory-New Balance Center. They have now added a "Junior High Mile" for boys and girls. Lily Mourer and Bryce Reeburgh. Lily and Bryce shared their experience with us.
Photos by Blaker Mourer
How did you qualify or get selected for the JH Mile?
Lily: I qualified for the junior high mile at the Colorado School of Mines indoor meet in Golden, Colorado with a time of 5:38. I was excited because I met my goal for that meet! And made it to NBNI with 7 seconds to spare.
Bryce: At the Colorado state indoor meet at the Air Force Academy I took third and made my fastest PR yet with a time of 5:19. My coach sent in the information and I was only hoping that they would take the altitude difference in my time (the qualifying time was 5:15). They took a 15 second buffer time because of the altitude and I was seeded with a time of 5:04. I was accepted into the race the next night, right after an extremely hard indoor training session at School of Mines.
Was this your first time competing in a national meet?
Lily: No, My first time competing in a national meet was at the USATF Junior Olympic outdoor track nationals in Kansas. I tried to go to nationals for cross country before Kansas but I was too slow to qualify. I only qualified for regionals in cross country because regionals were in Colorado and they let everyone go! I've grown a lot as a runner since I started a year and a half ago. I have only been in 2 now 3 national meets outdoor track in Kansas in the 3000 m, cross country in Florida, and NBIN. In Florida I got 37 place with a time of 14:54 4k XC and that was in December, 2017 I am proud of how far I have come.
Bryce: No, I have actually competed in two national cross country championship events with USATF. First, in 2016 in Hoover, Alabama, and the second time was in 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. Both required me to be in the top 25 at the regional meet, which was held first in Colorado Springs, and then in El Paso, Texas. Both of those qualifying races had required me to take a position in the top 25 at the state meets which were held first in Colorado Springs, and then in Parker.
How were your nerves on race day? What were you thinking about when you stepped up to the line?
Lily: My nerves at the race were terrible! I felt sick and nervous. My legs felt heavy and I was halfway asleep (we had to arrive at the track at 5:30 am Denver time-also daylight savings started that morning so it felt like 4:30 am). But when I started running that all changed and I felt great! When I stepped on the start line I started thinking about my fitness and what my coach, Andrew Simmons, and dad, Blake Mourer, told me: to “trust your fitness” and “no gaps.” Then my mind turned to how far I’d come in a year and a half. Overall a terrifying and amazing experience!
Bryce: I wasn't actually too nervous about my race on race day. Most of my nerves came during the weeks building up to the race. From the two week mark onward, I was constantly stressing about what I was eating, how I was performing at practice, what my times needed to be, and other pre-race measures. I was still kind of nervous leading up to the race, but when they handed me my sticker with my hip number on it, I calmed me down a bit and my nerves almost went away. I think that it was because at the School of Mines in Golden, where I live, they do the exact same thing before their indoor meets and it calmed me down to the point where when I stepped up to the line, I thought of it just like a regular meet at CSM and the only thing that I was thinking was to just go up there and do it.
Did your race go as planned? Was there anything you could have done better?
Lily: I think it did, I’m proud of my race but still would change some things like: I should have kicked a little sooner with two laps to go because I feel my strongest aspect in running is my kick and if I would have kicked a little sooner it would of charged my result and if I kept up with the girl who broke away and ended up winning my heat.
Bryce: I thought that my race went way better than I would have ever hoped it could and I honestly didn't think that there were very many things I could have done to improve except for run faster. One thing I could improve upon, however, was the fact that during the 3rd or 4th lap, I got so boxed in that I actually had to slow down in order to pass the person in front of me. I think that just being more aware and looking for advantages that had to do with my position on the track.
How did you prepare yourself for this day?
Lily: I prepared myself by training with the high school runners on my team, eating healthy, and not letting the nerves get to me before race day. Mentally I started preparing myself for the moment I qualified because I really wanted to do well, and running makes me happy!
Bryce: I prepared for race day by doing all of the normal things that you would think to do the week leading up to a race. Eating healthy, tapering back on practice intensity, and lots of spaghetti the night before! I think most of my preparations came mentally. I would stand at the start line on our little gravel track where we practice, and envision being at the armory lining up for the biggest race of my life right before we would start a set at practice. I did this so much that by the time race day had come, and we were actually lining up, it felt like I had already been there and stood on that line ready to go.
Describe the overall experience?
Lily: The overall experience was absolutely amazing, the Armory had an amazing vibe and everyone seemed so happy. The backpacks New Balance provided all the qualifiers were very cool, and New York was so fun to race in! New Balance Indoor Nationals is the best race I’ve ever been to. I loved it so much and hope to be seeing that track next year.
Bryce: Overall, the experience for me was something I'll never forget. It was just so cool to be in such a big city and such an amazing place knowing that the only reason you are there is because of the biggest race of your entire life. Especially since I was there with my coach and teammate who I have practiced with almost every day for the past year and a half. It also just made me feel like I had worked hard to be there, especially since it was one of the biggest races in the country and there is still talk of it. It was just something that I felt I belonged at and had worked to get there.
How has this race inspired you for the outdoor season?
Lily: My New Balance nationals experience gave me the confidence I needed to train and give the outdoor season all I have! Running at New Balance nationals also showed me how much I really love running and how much harder I need to work to get where I want to be. I have big plans for USATF outdoor.
Bryce: This outdoor track season I pan to go to the USATF Outdoor National Championships in North Carolina. The instant this race ended, I already had the next big race on my mind. I aspire to break the 5-minute barrier on the outdoor track, and train as hard as I can to make this possible and to compete in any track meet I can until then. Even the really basic and small school track meets where nobody goes below six minutes.
If you watched any of the high school races which were your favorites?
Lily: It’s hard to choose from all the high school races since they were all so fun to watch. The ones I liked the most were probably the relays and 2 milers, but all of them were so amazing. I wish I could have stayed longer to watch every single race.
Bryce: We only really stuck around the meet for the high school mile and high school two mile championships. I personally liked the two mile races because I found it amazing that the competitors could run two miles at 4:30 pace. I also saw a meet record broken with an astonishing 4:14 for the mile, which I thought was amazing.
Who was your favorite high school athlete in the meet?
Lily: That’s a hard question. My mind keeps changing. Every single one of those high school runners worked so hard to get here and had such an amazing race, but if I had to pick I think it would be Katelyn Tuohy. She’s such an amazing runner and really has the heart for it. When you look at her run it looks so peaceful and she has an amazing stride-- she’s over all amazing!
Bryce: We didn't really stick around for much after my race, and I didn't get to meet any high school athletes, but I admired those who did the 1 mile because I think that is a path that I want to take. I see them as pretty big role models and something that I think is definitely possible for me in the future.