Sunny weather and ’80s clothing were not the only things the Pomona-Pitzer track-and-field women looked forward to on March 3. Before bright leg warmers, side pony tails and dancing to “Jesse’s Girl,” the women tracksters competed in their second meet of the season that took place on the CMS track.
Competing against Chapman, Whittier and Redlands for the first time this season, the Sagehens were also excited for the return of distance runner Annie Lydens PO ’13. Lydens has preformed outstandingly in the past, coming in second at the NCAA Division III Nationals in the 5K 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’ 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 before the meet speeding through 1000 meter 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 was easy to see the excitement flickering in her eyes as she finally got ready to compete again.
“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 last week.
Even running conservatively, Lydens was always likely to finish at the top of the race.
She did just that, taking second in the 1500 with a time of 4:57.53, just ahead of teammate Claire Brickson PO ’14, who finished with a time of 4:59.06. The impressive run bodes well for Lydens, who will be looking to reclaim her spot at nationals later this season.