Lydens Prepares for Return to Track

Sunny weather and ’80s clothing are not the only things the Pomona-Pitzer track and field women are looking forward to this Saturday. Before bright leg warmers, side pony tails and dancing to “Jesse’s Girl,” the women tracksters are competing in the second meet of the season, taking place on the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps track at 11 a.m.  

While the All-Comers meet served as an inspiring season opener, it is time for the women to round the corner and start competing for real. Saturday’s meet is the first team-scored meet of the season. While competitors from CMS, Redlands, Whittier and Chapman will be participating in all the events, PPTF will only be scored against Redlands and Whittier. The true rival meet with CMS will take place in early April.  

Chapman is just entering the SCIAC conference and so will not be scored against other SCIAC teams this season. Even so, this does not mean that the PPTF ladies will go easy on the newcomers.

“We’ll welcome them into the league…by beating them,” Claire Brickson PO ’14 said.

Another exciting prospect of this weekend’s meet is the comeback of distance runner Anne Lydens PO ’13. Lydens has preformed outstandingly in the past, coming in second at the NCAA Division III Nationals in the 5000-meter race last spring and taking third in cross-country nationals last fall. She has been suffering from a neuroma, a tumor of nerve tissue, in her foot throughout her collegiate running career. Fortunately, Lydens’ the pain is in the past after a surgery over winter break. 

Though the weeks in bed after the surgery were rough, Lydens said, “I think what got me through recovery was knowing that at the end of it, it would be worth it, and it absolutely was. I didn’t realize what I was missing.  My foot used to hurt all the time—walking to and from classes, barefoot in my room, standing in the shower, at the end of a long day—and I no longer have that pain.”

Even though deep down she knew getting the surgery was for the best, it was sometimes hard for Lydens to stay optimistic at the start of the season. Despite this difficulty, Lydens stayed tough, powering through daily 70-minute aqua-jogging workouts in the pool.

Lydens started easing back into running about five weeks ago, faithfully following Coach Kirk Reynolds’s conservative running plan, carefully thought-out not only to allow her foot to finish healing properly, but also to prevent overuse injuries during her comeback. The plan certainly worked. Lydens was spotted Tuesday speeding through 1000m repeats on the track, brightly-colored spandex shorts flashing, without a trace of a limp. Though she feels like she is not “in the full swing of things yet,” it is not difficult to see the excitement flickering in her eyes as she finally gets ready to compete.

“The race on Saturday will be my first back, and will be a deliberately conservative 1500, but I’m looking forward to it. I really love racing,” Lydens said. 

Even running conservatively, Lydens is likely to finish at the top of the race.

In addition to Lydens, expect to see strong performances on the track from Brickson in the 5000m, Kathleen Shea PO ’12 in the 1500m, Leslie Canter PZ ’12 in the 3000m steeple chase, Dot Silverman PO ’14 in the 400m dash and Katie Barton PO ’15 in the hurdles. On the field, look for Erin Delaria PO ’15 in the pole vault and Gracie Bialecki PO ’12 in the various other jumping events. Whether you are a steadfast PPTF fan, or just curious, bring your sun hat up to the CMS track this Saturday. The ladies will run faster with some extra cheering (chirp chirp!), and it should be an exciting meet.

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