By Emma and Florrie Schaumloffel, and Amelia Smith
So ends the first week of Cross Country. For better or for worse, Mascenic’s cross team is back at it. Our first practice commenced at 10 AM, August 16 when returnees went out and completed a time trial on our home course. At 2p.m. all the newbies joined for an easy run. Later in the week, the team completed two other workouts, hills and a negative split. Each time we started off pumped for our workout, energized and excited, until we’re hit with the 80°F – 96% humidity weather, and all of a sudden all our motivation evaporated. Nevertheless, we pushed through, sweaty and sunburnt, to the end. We also threw in some long runs this week. Those were relaxed, slower paced, and more enjoyable. There was a lot of talking happening during these runs, catching up with friends you didn’t see during the summer. There were also a bunch of random conversations, like how to get to the grocery store, or what’s the right way to spell “gray”. G-R-E-Y is the right answer… In the end, I think we all appreciated being back at it, running with the team and pursuing the Mascenic way.
Week Two kicked off with a workout. The Mascenic Cross Country team pounded out a series of 300’s in the high school parking lot. We would rather not have used the parking lot, but at the time, our newly surfaced, old school dirt track was not in a state in which we could run on it. Sometimes we’ll shift to running them on the course, but with the way the grass has been growing, parts of the course were reaching hay field status.
The weather was great, not too hot, and not too cold, but only for Monday. After that the weather became absurd, reaching into the nineties, not including the humidity, leading to all of our long runs ending at a swimmable body of water.
Thursday brought us to Hinsdale for a “scrimmage”. It was a two lap, two mile run around their campus in what the heat index said was at least 99℉. We set up the team to run as a group for the first half, letting the team loose for the second half. Performance was decent, but the heat did its damage. Running in t-shirts instead of the usual tank tops didn’t help either. We didn’t have much fun running, even less than usual, but the bus ride home was enjoyable.
Not sure when, but sometime on our ride back, the girls team found themselves playing a dangerous game. The Russian Roulette of candy, Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans. There was a lot of gagging and a lot of laughing, and it was real fun.
After working hard in the hot weather, Friday brought an “easy” day, and more swimming, drawing week two to a close.
Monday September 30th marked the start of Week three. It was still hot, not as bad as the week before, but still really hot. Cross Country 800’s on the first day were pretty rough. Some people did really well, but the heat took out a lot of us.
To recover from that we went out for a long run, 70 minutes. School started Tuesday, so almost all of our conversations were filled with the goings of the day, what classes we had, which teacher we liked, that sort of stuff. There was A LOT of complaining, (especially on my part), because no one really wants to be in school.
Wednesday we had another workout. Something our coach liked to call “over the top hills”. It was basically a workout to practice not only running up the hill, but waiting to recover until you’re going down, when you have gravity on your side.
Following up hills was our semi-annual Hillbilly Relay. Our Mascenic team came prepared. Decked out in their weirdest team uniforms, they and their partner raced against other two person teams alternating laps for a total of four laps. Corn in hand, it was team Saltine Crackers that first crossed the line. Nine other teams finished the race before the Chile Peppas, our first fully female team, finished.
Friday was a bit of an easy run workout combination. 20 minutes of easy running, a series of 30 seconds up tempo; 30 seconds recovery; and then another 20 minutes of easy running. It wasn’t anything too hard or strenuous, more of a chill day after the relay.
After the long weekend, the Mascenic team picked up on Tuesday for our first “official” meet of the season. During the meet, we saw group running again, with our top 6 runners holding steady with each other, and runners 7 and 8 following closely behind for the first lap of the race. Despite the limited shade and the long weekend, Mascenic worked hard, placing second at the meet on both the boys and girls side.
On Wednesday, we saw the Mascenic team complete their long run for the week. Although we didn’t add any time on from the previous week, groups of runners completed runs anywhere from 60-75 minutes. We had decent conditions for the run, although the sun was a bit warm, and many of us took to the roads around town during our run. After our run, we followed up with our regular: strides, yoga walks, and jump rope, to finish our training for the day.
On Thursday, we did the Sub T workout on the Greenville Rail Trail. The Sub T workout comes from the cross country team of NAU. We were given the choice to run between 3 or 4 miles up-tempo and would end up doing 5 ½ miles in total. It was raining hard in the beginning, but as the workout came to an end, the rain stopped. Over all the team eased through this workout as best we could, trying to run smooth and without struggle.
To end the week, the Mascenic team did the Grinder. It is a 1.3 mile hill and we get timed to see how fast we can get up it. In an effort to get a t-shirt, girls try to run up the hill in less than 10 minutes, while boys try to run it in less than 8. With the excessive amount of rain throughout the summer and fall, the Grinder didn’t have great footings, but we worked up it nonetheless. After everyone finished and times were recorded, we saw one athlete get up under the given time and everyone else showing improvement. Considering we had back to back workout days, we all seemed to be handling the workload, making for a great end to the week.