By Caitlin Cole – @DHSCCTF
I’m pretty sure most people believe that cross-country starts in the fall. However, over the last three years, I’ve learned that it actually starts when outdoor track and field ends. For our team, we get one week off of school before we start waking up early again and pounding our feet into the pavement. We wouldn’t trade it for anything though– there’s nothing quite like going out for breakfast with your team after completing a long run by 9 a.m., covered in sweat but laughing the whole time. You just feel so accomplished.
Summer training was pretty standard this year (and it’s hard to believe it was a lot of our last summers with Dover XCTF). As per usual, we worked on putting in higher-mileage weeks with long runs and hills, just making a solid foundation for the upcoming season. And you can’t forget about the weekly grinder run on Fridays. We went to the beach to see the sunrise one morning and went for a swim in the cold water after. The team had a busy summer so we would sometimes be missing a couple runners, but we gained a couple of new underclassmen, which is good because we have seven seniors who will be moving on. All of them were, and are, so excited to get to work, and I’m very optimistic about the future of this team.
Official preseason practices began in late August, two weeks before the first day of school. Luckily, we were able to move practice times to 8 a.m. instead of the typical 3 p.m., so we could beat the heat (sort of). We had our first race on the 29th at Stratham Hill Park (not a course we typically visit), and those who are familiar with the course know it’s only a 4k, so we got to bust the rust without going all in. A few of us did not race, but it was just so much fun to be back out cheering for my teammates and the girls ended up coming in first! No matter where you finish or how your race went, the cross-country course is such a supportive environment, and that’s what I love most about the sport.
School finally started and after-school practices have resumed as normal. It’s definitely been a weird transition going from practicing first thing in the morning to after a long day of classes, but we’ll adjust soon enough. We’ve had some time off between races so the last few weeks have just been one really strong training block, and we are set to hit the ground running again (literally) this Friday, the 15th, at Portsmouth. We are all so excited for this upcoming season and to see what everyone can accomplish. I just want to be the best runner I can be and I want the same for all of my teammates.
But for now, at least, it’s time for more grueling workouts on the field, chatty long runs, procrastinating in the weight room, and complaining about how sore we are. If you want some more content make sure you follow us on Instagram at @DHSCCTF. Good luck to everyone this season– We can’t wait!