September 13th marks exactly one month since I moved into college. I didn’t exactly mean to wait a whole month before writing one of these (sorry, Coach Cox) but it at least gives me a good time frame to reflect on so far.
So, what have I been getting up to for a whole month?
If I’ve learned one thing so far in college, it’s that being a D1 athlete means being very, VERY busy. Four weeks in, I feel like I’ve finally gotten somewhat of a handle on things (until the next disaster, at least) – but for the first few weeks in particular, I was SWAMPED. Sure, people tell you all the time how much free time you’ll have in college, but throw in a median 3 hours at practice, early morning doubles, 3 meals a day, and the expected (bit impossible) 3 to 1 ratio of hours spent studying outside of class to hours spent in class – not to mention things to keep you sane like skyping your parents and trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep – and you’ll quickly realize that there’s simply not enough time in a day to do everything that you should and/or want to be doing.
I’ve wisened up a bit since week one, fortunately – although I wish I had heeded some of the upperclassmen’s warnings that it’s actually impossible to do all of the readings before tears were shed. As with any adjustment period, you eventually start getting the hang of it, and I’m happy to say that it’s starting to click (knock on wood).
Of course, I’m mostly just writing this to justify taking so long to get this entry done, but that’s neither here nor there. What is here is the craziest month of training I’ve had in my life – and one of the most fun.
To, start, the team is great. It’s such an honor to be running with a group of such hard-working, smart, and welcoming ladies. From the senior stand-outs to thriving walk-ons and everyone else who’s made this team their home, the Bucknell Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field programs boast a great team atmosphere that I’m pumped to be a part of. Even though the track kids won’t start competing until mid-December, everyone takes Coach Donner’s commitment to a “one umbrella” team seriously, and it’s great to feel the full support of not just the xc girls, but the sprinters, jumpers, throwers, middies and the guys’ teams too. The tri-force of cross country, track and field really make up a family at Bucknell, and coming off of a high school team where I was very, very close to my teammates and coaches, I could not be happier with that.
Training is also very different compared to how it was in high school, but not because of any crazy new-age college training techniques you’ve never heard of. Really, it’s just different because college training is kicking my butt. Two-a-days, consecutive 6 am practices, and workout-long run hybrids have all become familiar – and that’s from week one. Week 2 I hit my highest ever mileage, and on week 3 I paled a little when Coach expressed his excitement to get to the “hard workouts” after we have a couple of meets under our belts. I don’t know what we’ve been doing if they’re not hard workouts, but I’m equal parts eager and preemptively tired for the months to come.
I may be teetering a bit on the edge of over-training and I wouldn’t say I’m feeling my best right now – adjustment to college training will do that to you more times than not, I’m told – but I’m still loving it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in Kansas anymore and that can be overwhelming at times. Figuring out a new environment, altered diet, new coaching, a new distance, new friends, and new responsibilities is a lot to handle, and I’ve had my fair share of minor setbacks already. My average pace on my first 6k was just a few short seconds faster than my tempo miles from the Tuesday before, I’ve fallen scary behind in my running logs, and I’m nervous to see whether I’ll be able to make the coveted “jump” in performance people are supposed to make their freshman year of college.
But I’m glad to be where I am, and know that the only way to go from here is up. I have the privilege of being part of recruiting class full of talented ladies who will push me to be my best for years to come. I get to run with decorated college runners who would be intimidating to stick with if they weren’t so nice. I’m having a blast with people who I know will be lifelong friends. I feel like a kid in a candy store with all of the resources I have to aid my training, from cold tubs to compression boots. Overall, I can’t wait to see how the rest of the cross country season goes and keep working hard towards my goals, however far away they may seem at this point.
I’m missing everyone in New Hampshire a bunch but I’m looking forward to following along as the season starts ramping up for you all. Good luck in the coming weeks and enjoy this part of the season. After all, it gives you a chance to work hard and have a blast with your teammates and competitors while the championship season is still far off on the horizon!
Until the next time,
P.S: I’ll be in NH this Saturday because it’s my only chance to come home before Thanksgiving, so hopefully I’ll see some of you!