Art Loeb, Brevard – the definition of strength

This week I am at camp and not just any camp, the type of camp that leaves you sore and blistered daily- whilst at the same time craving more challenges and laughs along the way!

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Day 1 – Guion Farms

This picture is of my team on a run at Guion Farms, Brevard, NC on Monday- even though we looked exhausted, the run had been a self esteem booster as we were the first girls back, all while staying together as a team! It gave us confidence for the jam packed week ahead.

Tuesday was mildly easier as we ran to the lake and went swimming (we had something to look forward too šŸ˜‰). All of us girls were able to pack together, finish, and splash together which is so important for a team!

Today however was the ultimate test of our team bond and our individual strength, as we prepared to run the hardest and most anticipated course of our weeks camp. We were up before the sun to get the bus to Art Loeb.

Individually I had attempted the course last year and did not make the half way cut off time – so you know, I was fired up with determination this year.

Art Loeb is one of the most difficult trails in NC and part of it consists of a 4 mile up hill and a ~3.7 steep downhill trail run – it has a total elevation of 6,000ft. The course itself is daunting and many people are not able to make the difficult course all the way up.

Starting as a pack my team was ready to ‘kill the hill(s)’ and was able to get out fast. Along the way one of our runners dropped off and one continued a few seconds ahead, my group of 3 stayed together. Closer to the half way point we were breathing hard and crying out from the pain in our legs and the voice inside our heads telling us to quit. For me it was like my muscles were screaming for me to stop and walk. As we quickly neared the cut off time we sprinted to the area and heard a voice with the words “congrats guys you made it”. It was an achievement all by itself and we were now able to shake off the time pressure on the trail. We still had one more uphill and then it was a fast downhill. Nearing to the end: 7.7 miles, we stayed together and caught up to the other teammate who was a few seconds ahead. She cried out when she saw us knowing that we too had made it.

In reflection, the mental state is as important (if not more) than the physical state of the body. To be able to push oneself when the rest of your body is telling you NO is the definition of strength.

It was a run I’ll never forget even when the blisters heal- I would not have done it without my team of strong girls!

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Long distance running camp – here we come!

Just a quick blog entry. A group of us from our HS cross country team met up this morning to car pool up to Brevard. We will be spending the week at a long distance running camp. We have all been so excited for this trip, it’s going to be a great week as we run the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains and build strength and team spirit!

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My running family!

Cross Country Summer Practice: A Week in Review!

IMG_4622.PNGLast week’s practice was full of variety in workouts and runs which was exciting and new. On Monday we had another round of sweaty circuits with obstacles of abs, with stretchy bands. Between each obstacle we were asked to sprint about 25m. Tuesday and Wednesday called for a long run around the Duke area and a nice conversational pace. I was absent Thursday due to a college interview but made it back for practice the next day on Friday to end the week. Friday consisted of freezy pops and potato sack races to reward the team for the long week we had endured.

Challenger Circuit Track day!

Today is Tuesday and in Cross Country terms that means a Track workout! But to my surprise we had a circuit laid out for us consisting of 4 elements, and 50m sprints in between each exercise.

  1. We started at the line and sprinted to the first set of cones where we did 15 lunge jumps.
  2. We then sprinted to the next set of cones where we completed 15 shoulder pulls with stretchy bands.
  3. After the shoulder pulls we sprinted to the next area for our sit-ups with 10 pound weights, these were pretty awful as they combined yesterdays hard-core ab workout.
  4. The final destination was quad bridges and as each runner went through the group cycles the mats we were laying on became very soaked with sweat- not ideal, and ew!

It was a very fun and productive second day of practice and everyone was rooting for each other; I can’t wait until practice day 3.

 

 

Mandatory parent meeting

This evening was the DSA XC’s mandatory parent meeting- in it we spoke about the goals of XC season, uniforms, gear, what to bring to practice etc. At the end of the meeting parents signed up for volunteer opportunities, chatted to the coaches and student reps. As a team captain I introduced myself to runners and parents, helped parents with uniform advice and answered general questions about the team and Brevard Distance Runners Camp, of which I will dedicate a separate blog post to nearer the time.

Start of XC season with a meeting!

Today was our XC interest meeting- and theĀ first meeting concerning the start of the 2017 cross country season. It was so busy with new and returning runners. The freshman were very vocal with lots of of questions. As co-captain I got to talk about the upcoming season and share my past experiences with those that wanted to listen. Many people attended which hopefully means we will have plenty of runners for this season!!

Annual Angels Among Us 5k

It was the morning of my annualĀ Angels Among Us 5k and the air was unusually warm, making me excited for a fun 5k. The turn out was huge and there were plenty of blowup kids activities and balloons to go around! After finding our friends I walked and began to line up and hear the sirens of the police for the race. At the line I spoke to many people around me as we all prepared ourselves for the uphill battle. Upon the words- “START” hundreds of people including myself ran through the start line and the race had begun.

The first mile was scenic and rather painless, as I ran up and down the hills along the Sarah P. Gardens and down towards the Duke Chapel. Coming back from the loop around the chapel meant I was halfway home, and began to feel the restriction of the GoPro strap I had wrapped around my chest, limiting my breathing and provoking my asthma.

The last mile and a half, was enjoyable when I forgot the wrath of the GoPro. Reflecting in the last mile made me feel empowered and ready to finish all at once. There is a hill right before the finish line, which I was able to increase my speed on and sprint to the finish, collecting my yellow participation ribbon and a cup of coffee- whew!

Turns out even though I ran the race for enjoyment and not necessarily for time, I still placed second in my age group. Ā I raised $1,100 this year to support the Duke Brain Tumor Center which I think brings my total over the years to more than $15,000. I really appreciate the generosity of all my supporters, that donate to me annually from all across the world (Shoutout to Moldova)!

Not a bad way to start the day.

At DUKE there is HOPE.