Practice was not held on Monday, as there was no school. (yay)
Tuesday was what Mascenic XC would call a “Beaver Day”. A “Beaver Day” is a rainy, wet, depressing long or easy run day that we set aside to run to and run through what we call the “Beaver Pond”. The pond is waist high or a little more, filled with murky brown water resting on the muddy benthic zone you have to wade through to get to the other side. Unfortunately the pond has become a part of land we can no longer traverse, so as a substitute many sought out other nasty bodies of water. Some went to the bridge whose water is deeper though not less murky, and for the experience, jumped in with their shoes on (like idiots). Others chose to seek out those coffee colored puddles that littered the housing development. Following the soggy run were strides, yoga walks, and jump roping, all of which were very soggy.
The year’s first Grinder workout took place on Wednesday. The hill is 1.3 miles long, all of which you run up as fast as you can. There is a challenge associated with the workout, that when completed yields a T-Shirt. The challenge is that the workout is to be completed in 8 minutes for the boys, and 10 minutes for the girls. One boy, Drew, successfully completed the challenge, not for the first time, whilst another, Ryan, found himself six seconds shy of his goal. Four girls completed the challenge, one, Skye, for the second time. Girls Emma, Erin, and Kaitlyn, completed it for the first time and received their new shirts.
Thursday’s downhill practice was uneventful as one might expect, and I would say that the most interesting things that happened included: 1. Smith rode the golf cart over 2. We played with the elementary school tetherball, and 3. We almost ran over some small middle school children (who should have moved out of the way when they saw a huge group of high schoolers). Other than that we had 10 or less downhills to practice leaning forward and running fast.
On Friday, it was hot and humid and we had the 3 on 3 off workout. It is an up-tempo workout where you run hard for three minutes and then take a three minute recovery at a pace that gives sufficient rest. We repeatedly do this until we are done with two loops of our course, which is the distance of a 5k race if you go the right way. Unfortunately the entirety of our sophomore class failed to do so, boys and girls alike.(fools) After the workout, we did D-Flex stretches and a 20 minute cool down.
After Friday’s practice, many of our team members found themselves on the road, embarking on a 3 hour long journey up to the White Mountains where they would find their campsite occupied by another group. Once the unintended occupants recognized their mistake (site #4 in Sugarloaf 1 campground not Sugarloaf @ campground), a fire was made and with it a masterpiece, the smaffle. The smaffle is a frozen waffle, inside of which there is chocolate and marshmallows, that has been skewered and roasted over an open flame in a way not dissimilar to a smore. Absolutely delicious and ridiculously unhealthy, it was an amazing way to end the night.
After we woke the next morning, and ate our kale, egg, and sweet potato scramble, we scrambled up Sugarloaf Mountain both Middle and North. We enjoyed the views before retreating back to our sites for lunch. After lunch we met up with the Monadnock Cross Country team for a good bit of cliff jumping at Upper Ammonoosuc Falls. Some daring folks jumped right off the rock ledges into the icy water below, whilst others took a bit of convincing.
The next day brought chocolate chip pancakes and good vibes as we packed up to leave. On our way home we stopped at Franconia Falls for a run, swim, run adventure. The trail was 3 miles long, and ended at a spot in the river that had been carved out by the current into a natural waterslide. For an impulsive (or foolish) few it was no question to simply throw themselves into the half pipe and get whisked away into the water below. Hoping rock to rock, the group of camper/hiker/runners made their way up the river a couple hundred yards to where they once again found themselves jumping off cliffs into the icy, crystal like water below. I would argue that as a whole, the camping trip was great fun.
There was no practice on Monday. However, the team decided under the guidance of our coach to meet on the Greenville rail trail to do a Sub-T workout. It follows a 2.75 mile segment of path from Adams Hill Road to Pratt Pond two gates down. The first mile we take it easy as our warm up. We talk and joke and run with the team before we run our 3-4 mile segment(depending on how much you hate yourself).
The fog descended on Tuesday, stealing twenty minutes away from our supposed long run. The run, now 60 minutes, was limited to the trail system in the woods that, though extensive, had become rather uninteresting with constant use.
Wednesday brought to us the hills that have many names. Some people call them sprinter hills but other names include, Access Road Hills, Over-The-Top Hills, Up-And-Over Hills, and one poor fool calls them Stallone Hills. Their reasoning behind this is that Sylvester Stallone starred in the 1987 film titled Over the Top. Either way, the set up is a short(ish) hill immediately followed by 100m of race pace effort before recovery. This was completed in a ladder fashion, starting with 5 reps, then a break, then 4 reps, then a break, so on and so forth. (Boring, I know)
Thursday was preparing for our homecoming meet. It started with the usual anxiety-inducing, long-winded, Smith speech, with heavy emphasis on bringing our uniforms(looking at you Jake) We did a 20 minute warm up, and four starts, one significantly longer than the others. A twenty minute cooldown followed, as practice came to an end.
Friday came, and with it 9 teams prepared to run the course of our Homecoming meet. A rainbow of color littered our start line when the girls race began at 4 o’clock sharp. Three Mascenic alums, Jethro, Connor, and Victoria, situated on top of the dugout with a camera, commentated the races. The girls raced first, and with 31 points Hopkinton came in first, with us following close behind with 36 points. As soon as the girls race finished, the horn was blown, and boys began to run. The Trinity boys came in first with 48 points and Mascenic boys came in second with 55. Mascenic runner Drew came in first overall.(yay). The most important part of this whole thing, however, was the tiny pumpkins gifted to us from the lovely O’Shea parents. It made the whole thing worth it.
Next week, the Newfound Invitational and of course, Manch.