Monday started off with hot, muggy weather that would last throughout the rest of the week. The Mascenic clan gathered at the bottom of the Nussdorfer Hill to participate in ‘The Grinder’, which consists of a continuous 1.3 mile uphill; the objective is to run up this hill as fast as you can. It’s grueling, but very brief, and yielded impressive times from practically everyone. The next day, we practiced ‘starts’ on our course, and then ran about 40 minutes easy. I’m sure most of us avoided hills as much as possible, having had our fill the day before.
Our second workout of the week ran on Wednesday on the track, and involved 500 meters run at race pace, with a 500 meter recovery. Many of our runners looked strong completing the run, despite the hot weather. It was also enjoyable to literally run laps around the Mascenic boys’ soccer team, who voiced their opposition to running as they completed their version of a “mile”.
An easier long run on Thursday led the way into our homecoming meet on Friday. With menacing rain clouds threatening overhead throughout the day, we were luckily met instead with a brief drizzle, but still had to endure the humidity. Joined only by Conant and Derryfield, the Mascenic teams were able to use our home-course knowledge to dominate the field. The girls were able to put our top 6 in the top 9, and the boys took places 1 through 6 all for themselves.
Saturday was the annual Viking 5K race, organized by the Mascenic Athletic Booster Club, which runs on pretty much the same exact course as our home meet. Many of our runners used the 5K as their weekend easy run, as well as a chance to yell “Drop the hammer!” at Smith as he barreled down the final stretch of the race, since it’s usually the other way around.
There aren’t many places in New Ipswich that are without hills – in order to even get into town, we’ve got to run down the infamous Mascenic Hill (and usually have to run back up afterwards). However, the Vikings headed down said hill to the flattest road in town that we’ve been able to find – River Road. If anybody has ever noticed that the first five letters of the alphabet are spray-painted on the road in various places, well, that’s from us. Smith has marked out half-mile checkpoints on River Road in order to give us a place to run on relatively flat ground, other than on a track. Monday’s workout was tempo 800s, where every other half-mile was run at our tempo pace in relation to our goal race pace, with a half-mile of recovery in between. The majority of us were feeling satisfied with how we handled the workout; however, all smiles had disappeared by the time we had to trudge back up Mascenic Hill.
Our middle school cross-country team held their home meet on Tuesday, so Smith sent us out for our easy run as he helped to corral the young runners. When we returned, we were able to squeeze in a few practice starts on the course before the middle school kids took over.
We had kept it easy on Tuesday partly because of the middle school race, and partly because Wednesday consisted of an extra-long run ranging from 60 to 90 minutes. Despite the slightly rainy weather, some of our big dogs were able to get in over twelve miles! Thursday was another relatively easy day, as we were heading over to the Shattuck golf course to participate in Conant’s homecoming meet on Friday. The course runs over the beautiful back nine, which our girls’ team likes to use for some awesome post-race bridge-squad pics. Our goal for this meet was to run the first couple of miles at tempo, then hammer the last mile, which went pretty well for everyone overall. Maybe the boys taking pictures with a couple of the New England Patriots cheerleaders inspired them to run well!
-Sam Bilodeau, Mascenic Cross Country