By Amelia Smith
This week started with rainy weather, and everyone’s favorite track workout: 500s. For this workout, we run 5-8 reps at our given pace, with the speed work and recovery each being 500m. If you know anything about Mascenic, you know about our top notch running facilities. We execute all of our workouts on the very last operational dirt track in the state of New Hampshire. Thanks to the dirtly-ness of the aforementioned track, the dreary weather made it a bit soft, only further increasing the difficulty of the workout and hitting our paces. Despite complaints about the weather, some head colds going around our team (thanks Amelia) and a reluctance to start our warm up, the team looked very strong throughout the workout. Everyone was putting in great efforts, hitting their paces, and looked incredibly smooth (still don’t know what smooth is supposed to mean) while running hard. It was a fantastic day of work, which was reflected in the mud and dirt we had kicked up the back of our legs.
Tuesday was expected to be a normal, relatively uneventful day of race prep. We all went out for our 20 minute warm up, then met at the top of the access road hill, where we would be practicing downhills. The idea was fantastic, until a perfectly sunny day turned to rain. For the most part, rain has little impact on our training, we just keep going, but this couldn’t be the case. We sent out the first guinea pig (me) down the hill to practice using gravity, which she did well, until she fell and re-rolled her ankle (there’s a video). The rain had made the grass a slip n’ slide, so we relocated. This time, we sent a different member of the team to test the waters. He took off running down the hill with great speed, only to also slip and fall as well. Once again, we relocated, removing grass from the equation entirely, choosing instead a gravel hill (this one was successful). We did 3-4 hills, as Coach Becka critiqued our form and helped us better our technique, before finishing it off with a 20 minute cool down.
On Wednesday, we traveled up to the Newfound Invitational (YAY). The long bus ride was filled with excitement and dread, as we would get to race against(with) a bunch of our friends, but their course is extremely(ridiculously) hilly. This was also the race when we were debuting our new uniform shorts: the racecar shorts (and yes, we look really cool). The girls’ race started with a decent front pack and chase pack going through the first mile. As always, the mountainous incline throughout the race was a struggle, especially for myself, but it was interesting to see how everyone handled the physical and mental challenge.
Then, the boys’ race went off. Our boys showed a lot of determination throughout the race, with Dylan and Derek working together while chasing the front pack. There’s a section on the Newfound course that is quite nearly straight up, and each girls team gathered to watch the boys climb it. Some tried to run it, while others resigned themselves to using their hands to climb. As the day came to a close, everyone gathered on the infield for the awards. The girls came in first for the second year in a row, with the scoring going 3-4-7-11-15. To everyone’s surprise, including their own, the boys came in second with 88 points, despite none of them finishing top 6. The best part of the meet was getting to see our friends from Newfound and Plymouth, as we all hadn’t been together since last year, and we made sure to take some fun pictures of our group.
On Thursday, it was a long run day, and this week was 75-85 minutes. After a series of falls and rolled ankles, it was decided running on the road might be our best bet, as opposed to technical trails. Running from Mascenic, however, means one thing: you leave on a downhill and have to return on a long uphill. Normally, this uphill is bearable, but most of us were sore from our past few days of racing and training. Nonetheless, we went off campus, completing a fairly familiar loop and complaining about the hills every now and then. The weather was very nice, and finally made it feel like fall, which made the run quite enjoyable. After the run, we did our usual strides, yogawalks, and jump rope before heading off for the day.
Friday was a race prep day, this time with significantly fewer falls. As per usual, it was ridiculously boring and we did 20 minutes of warm up, then met back to do starts. We did change it up a little, doing uphill starts to simulate the starting line at Derryfield Park, instead of our normal flat starts. After completing the starts, we did a 20 minute cool down, foot walks, and then left for the day.
Saturday was the Manchester Invitational at Derryfield Park, where we’d get to race on the same course as States. The weather was 58 degrees and cloudy, almost perfect running weather. The only concern was the mud, as one of our athletes has lost her shoe into the depths of the muddy ground before. In any sense, we tied our shoes tight and got ready to race. At 11:00, we watched one of our athletes, Diana, take on the B race. She ran amazingly and put up a good fight on the finishing straight. Then, at noon, seven of us lined up on the start line for the A race. We were a little nervous, excited, dreadful, grateful, all of the emotions, but in the end we knew this was to practice racing. As per usual, the start was really crowded, the course was muddy, and the hills were hilly, but most of us decided that it was actually a pretty fun race(most of us are fools). After a decent showing, the girls ended up placing 5th overall and Kaitlin placed in the top 25, some very exciting results(I’m sure Smith will write something about it). Before the girls race even ended, the boys were off. Exactly at 12:30, the gun was fired and the boys took off racing. Stuck down on the boggiest and steepest end of the start line, our team got off to a slow start but persevered nonetheless. At a time of 18:24 we had our first boy in (Dylan C), and by 21:27 all five of them had finished putting them in 24th place. All of the boys ran really well, and put in a great effort, however Derek would (did) point out (complain) that he did not in fact do well, as he ran 15 seconds slower. But Derek is wrong because he did well. Everyone did well, and everyone had respectable races. We ended the day with our customary stop at the Hannafords in Bedford, in which each individual on the boys team purchased their own 1 liter container of chocolate milk for the ride home (I don’t understand them).