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!
Last 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.
Thursdays in our XC team usually consist of a workout- either on the track or on hill repeats. Thursday this week was dedicated to hill repeats for varsity on the newly found hill in the center of our city. Our goal for practice was to do 8-12 of these hill repeats near the skate park. The netting laid around the skate park’s premises for the intention of grass development added to the extra ‘umpf’ to get up the hill (no grass was harmed). I can’t forget the mud that pooled just before the finish at the top. It made the last few feet slippery and unstable to lift our knees for the final push to the top. The workout was tiring alluding to success!
Looking forward to fun Friday with freezy pops and games to kick off summer running!
Tell me a little about yourself, not running related.
I’m a junior at DSA. I was born here in Durham and have lived here my whole life. My favorite subjects in school are math and science, and I hope to some day work in the medical field. Besides running, I love to play other sports, like basketball. I also really enjoy playing piano and singing in my school choir.
When did you first start running?
I first started really running in 6th grade. Through most of elementary school and all of middle school, I was a year-around swimmer, and I kept finding that my favorite practices were the ones where we were able to go for a run as part of our cross-training. Then later that year when I took gym, we had to run the mile and I ended up being pretty good at it, so I decided to try my luck with cross-country the next year. I ended up loving cross-country and track, and so I’ve stuck with it ever since.
What is your favorite running workout and your least favorite workout and why?
My favorite running workout would have to be 8×400 @1600m pace, with 60 seconds rest between each. I did this workout for the first time last year during track season, and really liked it. For me, 400s are my favorite workout distance because they are long enough that you can settle in and do some work at pace, but short enough that they don’t seem overbearing. The rest also keeps things interesting because it is relatively short. I like to do this workout (or a slightly modified version) a week or so before a big race because it’s a big confidence booster for me. On the other hand, it is my least favorite work out would probably be 5×1000 on the track. 1000s are great for your fitness, and I do them frequently, but they are just long!
Do you do any other sports other than running?
I don’t do any other sports at school, but I love just playing them for fun. I really love playing pickup basketball, and the competitive nature that surrounds other team sports like it.
How do you fuel your body the week before a race?
I usually try to keep my diet pretty regular so I don’t upset my stomach, but I do take extra care to drink lots of water and to make sure I have enough electrolytes in my diet as well. Typically, I like to have a lot of carbs two nights before a big race, and something lighter the night before. Race morning, I usually have a hearty bowl of oatmeal and a banana; sometimes if my race isn’t t until later in the morning or afternoon, I will have a protein drink as well.
Do you have a favorite person to run with?
I really like running with my varsity team at school. They’re all great guys and we have lots of laughs on runs that make them go by so much faster. I also like it when our coach runs or bikes with us because he has some great stories as well.
What’s your favorite thing about running?
I think my favorite thing about running is that races really come down to who wants it more. There’s a famous quote by one of the greatest American runners ever, Steve Prefontaine, where he says “the best pace is a suicide pace, and today seems like a good day to die.” I really like this quote because it shows how running is really just a competition of who can be the most uncomfortable for the longest. Desire to win in this sport is huge in deterring the outcome of a race, and that is just one of the many things I love about the sport.
What’s your favorite running distance?
My favorite racing distance is probably the 1600. I love the 1600 because by the time it really starts hurting it’s halfway over! There’s just enough time in the race to have a few surges and make a tactical race out of it, but it’s also long enough that it’s not a complete sprint.
Do you have a favorite running outfit? Or a lucky clothing item?
I used to always wear the same socks in race crazy socks on race day, but after a few bad races in them I realized I was just being a little superstitious. Now I like to change it up a little bit, and vary my racing outfits, especially socks, and in the rare occasion, headbands.
How do you fit running in with your school, social life and family?
It’s really tough to fit in running and school and family and everything else that goes on in a typical high-school life, but I’ve found that if I’m not running most of the other things seem to fall apart. When I’m not running, I can’t concentrate as much in school, and I’m just generally in a less optimistic mood. Because of this, I try to fit running in first. Sometimes this means waking up at the crack of dawn because I have a super busy day ahead, or just doing a short 20min run around my neighborhood at 10:30 at night. Fitting it in has been tough at times, but once I realized how important it was to my overall well-being, I try to fit it in as often as possible.
Do you have a running bucket list of places or trails you would one day like to run?
I think it would be really cool to go for a run on all seven continents, but that might be pretty tough. I also really want to run at Hayward field in Eugene, Oregon.
Would you like to run at college?
I would really love to run in college. As I’ve gotten a little bit older I’ve realized just how tough that goal is, but it’s still something I would love to do. If I decided not to run for the college I go to, I would definitely still keep running and maybe try a triathlon or two.
What does your team mean to you?
I really love my team, and the fun atmosphere that they help create. My school team is pretty big compared to other schools, but that just adds to the fun. Meets are awesome and you can really feel the support from other runners and teammates. Even during workouts, there are always teammates cheering each other on and having a good time.
Who inspires you?
My coaches and parents are probably my biggest inspirations. Hearing stories from their past about challenges they have overcome always helps encourage me to work harder. My parents have been there throughout my entire athletic career, and have always pushed me to dream big and work for those dreams. Coach Huggins has been there since the start of my running career as well, and has taught me very important lessons about running and life in general.
Thanks so much for the interview. We have a similar bucket list – I want to try and run on all seven continents as well. I will be running a 5k this summer in England and one in Scotland. My family is planning a trip to Australia and Singapore in 2018 and I have already found a 5k Park Run in my grandparents home town in Australia – just need to find something in Singapore. We can figure out Antartica together!
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.
- We started at the line and sprinted to the first set of cones where we did 15 lunge jumps.
- We then sprinted to the next set of cones where we completed 15 shoulder pulls with stretchy bands.
- 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.
- 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.
I am excited to be a co captain for my senior year with my running buddy from the last 6 years.
We are going to make a great team!
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.
Today was our XC interest meeting- and the 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!!
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.
It was the morning of my annual 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. 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.