Bethany Neeley New Balance Nationals Blog!
Eastern (Greentown) Junior Bethany Neeley competed in this past weekend’s New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was kind enough to share her experience with the IR community through a weekend long blog. In this blog, readers will get to see what it’s like to compete at a meet of this caliber. The National meet is not just a race…but truly and “experience”. Enjoy and feel free to leave any questions or comments below!
Neeley (L) and Terre Haute South’s Jackson Bertoli (R)
Thursday- Coach Goodspeed, his two daughters, and myself departed Greentown about 8 A.M. this morning. It’s currently 3:51 P.M. and we have about four hours to go. I thought the car ride to New Balance Indoor Nats was terrible, but surprisingly this one hasn’t been bad. It’s such a beautiful view of the mountains. We stopped about an hour ago at the University of Charleston’s red track to get my run in for the day. The Ben Davis bus showed up there about ten minutes after us, so I was fortunate enough to have Jackson Bertoli (Terre Haute South) run with me. To be honest, I felt really bad on the run. I think the temperature and just sitting in the car all day has taken a little toll on my legs, but I was lucky enough to start feeling better as the run went on. The best part about it all is that I don’t race until Saturday, so I’m staying pretty patient right now. 49 hours until race time should definitely help my legs recover. I had my mind set on running the 2,000m steeplechase out here, but the day after state, I decided I wanted one last shot at running under 4:50. I believe I’m definitely capable of it, so I just have to go out there and perform well. My ultimate goal is to be #2 All-Time in state history, which will take better than 4:49.03 for the 1600. The weirdest thing about this weekend is that this is my first race ever without Brittany here with me, but I know she’ll be watching it live. I told her before I left that I hope I don’t get home sick before my race. She thought I was kidding, but I wasn’t. Best of luck to her as she plays in the Indiana basketball class all-star game tomorrow at New Castle High School! Best of luck to all the Indiana runners competing this weekend, especially the two other distance girls, Ashley Erba & Colleen Weatherford!
We ended up getting to the track around 8:10 P.M., right when Ashley’s race went off. Ashley looked great out there and ended up with the 7th best time ever run by a high school girl in the United States. Within the first ten minutes of being at the track, I had already saw Ashley, the Avon girls, and the Carroll boys. It’s awesome to see so many Indiana runners out here! We ended up checking into the hotel around 10 and I did a very short shakeout run. Best part is I have my own hotel room!
Friday- It’s about 9 A.M. and Coach and I are on our way to Duke University. I’ve already got my run in for the day and ate breakfast. We stayed in an hotel in High Point, NC, and man, this place is like the furniture place of the World. Outside my hotel window is the “International Home Furnishing Center”. It literally looks like an airport with different gates to drop furniture off at. I’m not exaggerating when I say I saw over 15 furniture stores on my short shakeout. My legs are feeling better than yesterday, but still not great . They should be good to go tomorrow! We have a busy day ahead with college visits and hopefully making it to the track to see some of the Indiana relays compete and Matt Grider race.
What a busy day. In the course of 7 hours, I have been to Duke University in Durham, NC, back to the meet in Greensburo, and to Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC. It’s been a busy day, but luckily I haven’t have to walk too much. We are on our way back to our hotel right now for a pasta dinner and then just chillin in the hotel the rest of the night. Race day is coming up so fast that I haven’t even had time to think much about my race, which is probably a good thing. My favorite part about nationals is racing in whatever you want. I’m choosing to run in a saucony singlet, but most importantly I get to race in earrings and a light pink breast cancer awareness ribbon for Kyle DuVall’s mom, who lost her battle with breast cancer in February. I’m enjoying the little vacation and just going to try to enjoy my race tomorrow. After a state championship, this is just icing on the cake.
Saturday- RACE DAY! Not what I was expecting at all, but how can I be disappointed? I’m a state champion and I’m blessed that I was even able to compete today. Truly blessed. I did a very short shakeout this morning, and still wasn’t feeling 100% in my legs, but I tried not to think about that. I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Colleen Weatherford before her race. What an awesome competitor I’ve had the privilege to compete against the last few years and will still have the privilege to race next season. Colleen didn’t have the race she was hoping for either, but she definitely has a bright future ahead of her. Jackson Bertoli warmed up with me and I wasn’t feeling too bad. This may sound weird, but I truly don’t know how my legs really feel until I put my spikes on for my final strides. It’s either that “floating feeling” or some tightness. I would say I was in the middle of that today. They were running behind schedule, so we had to sit in the tent for about 15 minutes before our race.
I got out well from the start I would say. We came through the 409 meter mark in about 75. It was a slow race from the beginning and I could just tell I wasn’t going to have that pop that I had at the state meet. It’s so crazy how much different your legs can feel for different races. I went through the 809 mark in 2:30. With it being so slow, I should’ve easily been able to get into that other gear like I did at the state meet, but for some reason I could’t. The last 800 is always my strongest part of the mile. I think I passed one girl the 3rd lap and then 2 or 3 girls the final straightaway. I’m very happy to know that I will always have that kick. I ended up finishing 4th in 5:02 something for the full mile, 5:00 for the 1600. To say that’s my slowest mile I’ve raced all year is a blessing. I know any other girl would’ve loved to have the experience to race at New Balance, so I’m really trying not to complain. I think the best way to describe my race is: Even the best fall down sometimes. Everyone has bad races and I would consider that my first bad mile of the year. As Brit says, “Beth never has bad races”, so she could have jinxed me. It’s how I respond to this that really matters, and I know this will just make me stronger. I head straight to Culver Distance Camp tomorrow to spend four days with my bestfriends, boyfriend, mentors, and many other runners in the state, while learning more about this amazing sport everyday. What can get better than that? I wanna thank Coach Goodspeed for coming out here with me and IndianaRunner for allowing me to blog this very long journal. My apologies. Most importantly, thank you God for allowing me to experience this today and blessing me with these kinds of talents. I have to remember God always has a plan. One last shootout to my teammates for training with me this season and to Brit and my grandpa for being the two biggest fans I could ever ask for. I couldn’t have done it without you.
-Remember who you run for. (RWYRF)