Tony's Take: The Summer Soltice Is Underway!

As my esteemed partner in crime B-Side would often say, 'Summer Track!' Yes indeed, it's that time as we meandered around the BBQ's, family reunions, post-season distance carnivals, and national championship meets that dot the chessboard. 

The second season is the time where some if not all unfinished business is dealt with. The reason being is the high school season is short. Illinois over the past several years, the athletes had to endure unseasonably cooler climes. It actually snowed throughout the Chicagoland area on April 13! And with the girls state meet coming at the latest most years in the middle of May, it's hardly any time to produce real peak performances that will stand the test of time. 

Fast forward to mid-July and all of the national club qualifying meets are in the book. My great contributors Pierre and Carson covered virtually all of the big meets during the solstice. I occasionally popped my head into the venues at Illinois Benedictine University and Joliet Stadium when I wasn't consumed with cross country. The thing that I enjoy the most is seeing the next crop of emerging talent rise to the top of the cup. We are talking about middle-school kids that are ready to shine in high school within the next several years.

-AAU Regional coverage

-Illinois and Indiana collide at the Region 7 Championships

When the kiddies aren't gladiators on the track and in the field, it is the hope they are getting in quality time for development. Since many distance runners don't participate in the circuit, they are running road races and preparing for the cross country season. Personally, I have been in this extreme hot sun several mornings a week coaching runners. Distance runners from various schools who want to get better make it a priority to put in the work each and every time. I am talking about core, long runs, tempo work, speed development, hill work, strength and conditioning, nutritional, developing the proper mindset, etc. So you thought I was just the editor for MileSplit IL huh? LOL! There is so much in my toolbox that has yet to be unleashed. You all wait until the fall season gets fully underway in September!

Lastly, there is one unique competition that I was fortunate enough to attend this summer. It's called the 10K Relay Challenge held at North Central College. It is an event that deploys two-person teams who alternate running 400m circuits for 10,000 meters. One runner will run 13 laps and the other 12 until the duration. It is much easier than it looks or sounds on paper. The thing that I enjoyed the most about the event was it was fun to see all the runners from different schools and areas fellowship under intense conditions. It is not easy doing over a dozen 400s at various paces with minimal rest. Shout to the management team and Daniel Dziubski for putting on a great event. More importantly, the event raised money for the Joe Newton Scholarship award. Here is the link for the results/meet page: MEET RESULTS I 10K page