ADIDAS Challenge

Another hot morning in NC with a race start temperature of 88º. We were stood at the start line with the blazing sun on our faces, going over the race rules and making sure feet were behind the line. There were 327 Invitational Girls stood waiting for the gun. I know this course quite well and have a love, hate relationship with it.  I know I have to run out really fast otherwise I get pushed around and elbowed. I enjoy being in the wooded part of the race but hate the two very long hills we have to climb – especially to the finish line.

Last year our team came in 2nd place overall. However, this year we were missing a couple of runners due to other conflicts.

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Waiting at the start line

 

The gun went off and I went out fast and was pleased to be in the top 40 pack. We ran down the wide open field and started to narrow off as we entered the woods, it was nice to feel the temperature suddenly drop a few degree’s and be away from the cheering crowds.

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I was comfortable with my pace and was happy with my first mile, my teammates were behind me pushing me on to lead them.  As we approached the long hill for the first time I set my sights on passing a few girls, the cheers from our team on the side lines pushed me on and up the hill.  Just before the 3 mile marker by two team mates were up and close behind me as the three of pushed ourselves up the hill again to the finish line.  I was annoyed with myself to be short of under 21 by 9 seconds.

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Finish

I crossed the finish line in 21:09 an improvement from last years ADIDAS race time of 21:20 on the same course but not the time I wanted.

We will be running this course again at Regionals so watch this space!

O

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Jungle Run

 

On Saturday night I ran my first and last Jungle Run: the original night time race.

It was an exhilarating experience especially because the first Jungle Run I came to was in 9th grade and I was injured so I could only cheer on my team and didn’t experience the race first-hand.

The race started off fast it was 8.45pm and pitch black, the course was lite in various areas by the tall, loud generated lighting.  There were lots of tight corners causing the influx of runners to bunch up and slow down the pack. Eventually the race spread out after the first mile and I was able to pack up with three other girls from my team (this turned out to be a very crucial move for our team to win the Invite race).

The second mile we spread out a little and began to pick other runners off- we started the race being around runners number 40 or so, and by mile 2 my Mum had shouted out 27, 28, 29 so we knew if wem-1 kept picking of the girls in front we would have a chance to medal.

On the last mile we could hear our team cheering for us through the trees, unable to see them as it was so dark. We hit the track and I could see the clock out of the corner of my eye and was happy to see 20 something, I sprinted round and took 12th place and a medal.  As a team we were so proud to win The Girls Invitational, plus 3 of us medaled. We had one JV girl and boy to medal, plus one of our varsity boys came in first place for the boys invitational.

The team left on the bus around 10.30pm and I stayed to the end of the awards so that I could pick up the well deserved hardware for our team.

A great first and last Jungle Race!

O

 

Not exactly the best first race

The day started out hot and humid ( 89º) already not ideal for the first short watermelon race of the season.

The course we were running was a 3k- not quite 2 miles. None of us had run it before. After completing my pre-race captain duties, our girls team warmed up and stretched out, getting ready for the line.

Then before I knew it the race had begun on the count of “Runners on your mark, set, go!”, we started out fast on a short strip of grass before heading onto a rough large rock narrow pathway, we settled in as we encountered the concrete walking path and could see the iron bridge in the distance which singled the first hill.

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I could feel the stiffness in my thighs as I climbed the hill which was pretty steep. As we headed up into the lollipop forest path I tripped on a root and fell, getting right back up quickly not pausing to check my knees, I ran faster to catch up with my running buddy.

During the second part of the short race I dodged pot holes and the mysterious tall grass which was hiding large rocks.  We ran downhill on the second half of the race allowing me to pass a few girls down the hill. We ran back up the hill for the last .25 of the race.

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I improved my time by about 20 seconds going back up the hill and looping around. Back across the gravel and heading to the shoot I came in 2nd for my school. I stopped at the finish line and helped my friend who was having an asthma attack and was a little panicked.

What came after the tough race was anything but fun- One of our fastest runners and captain of the boys team had managed to slice his leg on a wooden post that was hidden from his sight, he was in a tight pack during the race. Subsequently we had to have an ambulance arrive at the course and he was taken to E.R.

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Great sense of humor!

He needed 12 stitches and will not be running for the next 10 days. I feel for him and hope he has a speedy recovery.

O

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 😉). 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!

O

 

 

Sunday morning Flapjacks

We don’t often find Flapjacks here in NC, so it’s always nice when my Mum makes them. They are lovely and sweet and kind of healthy with the oats thrown in. Thought I would share the recipe – very quick and easy.

  • 4oz light brown sugar
  • 6oz butter
  • 1 dessertspoon of golden syrup
  • 6oz gluten free quaker oats (the healthy part)

In a saucepan melt the sugar, butter and golden syrup together. Turn off the heat and stir in the oats. Pour the mixture into a 8inch square 1.5inch deep tin.  Cook for 35 – 40 mins at gas 2 or 300°f in the middle of the oven until golden brown. Cool in tin for 10 mins then cut into squares.

Enjoy.

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Battle of the Blues

I spent a warm, sunny afternoon sitting track side at the William Morris Stadium at Duke watching the Battle of the Blues. I was sat next to Sydnei Murphy’s parents who must have been very proud when Sydnei set a new school record for Duke in the long jump.

Duke Track and Field were up against UNC and Michigan State. I especially enjoyed watching the women’s track events and was very happy when the women’s 400M took first place with a new school record of 52:91 – Go Duke!

Duke women took first place overall with 75 points, Michigan 2nd with 62 points and UNC with 59 points.  Duke men came in second place with 54 points, UNC with 45 points and Michigan men came in first with a mighty 101 points.

A fun afternoon.

xoxo

O

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Ahoy! I’m off to sea.

Late last summer I applied for a volunteer position for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. They were looking for volunteers to work on board the sailing boat ‘Silurian’, which sails from the Isle of Mull off the Scottish coast to monitor the whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Outer Hebrides.

Fast forward to October and  I was nominated through a teacher at school for the Governors School program. I knew this was a great opportunity and privilege but spent the remaining part of my day at school thinking about how I would work in my cross country running over the summer and building our team if I was away at Governors School for 5 -6 weeks of the summer, plus I was still holding out to hear from the Hebridean Trust.

When I got home from school that evening I was extremely excited to receive an acceptance email into the teen volunteer program and immediately knew I wanted to have the opportunity to volunteer in the area of marine biology over Governors School.

I will be heading to the Isle of Mull in July. During our 8 days at sea we will conduct monitoring via visual sightings and acoustic surveillance around the Hebridean Islands. As a volunteer I will be living and working onboard the sailing boat for the duration of the volunteer period. With a team of 8-10 other high school students and 2 members of the Whale and Dolphin Trust we will work, cook, clean and monitor the ocean – I am looking forward to the whole experience. This will be my first time at sea!

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The Sailing boat Silurian.

One of my main concerns when I applied for the opportunity was ‘what would I eat’! I emailed the coordinator and explained that I had Celiac Disease and they were very helpful and knowledgable about my situation.  They will be able to provide the sailing boat with non gluten food items, and I will be careful during the week when we are in the galley cooking and eating together. I am looking forward to seeing what gluten free goodies the UK has to offer.

I am so looking forward to this once in a lifetime opportunity!

I will be able to share my story in August with you.

xoxo

O

 

 

Park Run – J’s 50th

It was a very cold morning for a park run. Those of us that turned out to run were well wrapped up and in high spirits.  We all ran a slow pace in the very cold air.  Congratulations to J who ran his 50th park run and his first with his baby daughter.  I am hoping to run my 10th park run in the next couple of weeks and of course will be excited to receive my ’10 runs’ t.shirt.