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Archive for September, 2009

Progress

Friday, September 18th, 2009

It’s very rewarding to see the training paying off for our student-athletes. Two of our top women posted big improvements on the 3 km uphill DP TT last weekend. One, an NCAA All American, improved by 1:10. The other, a top-15 NCAA skier, knocked 1:26 off her time from last year. Other team members improved in the 3000 running TT, 5 km uphill run, and strength tests. The secret’s out, training works.

44 km of Hell!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Cross Country season has begun at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Our student-athletes arrived on August 15 and we began our early season camp with the usual NCAA paperwork, testing, and group activities. We decided to do something a little different this year. At the end of the first week we embarked on a one-day run/hike on the 27 mile (43.4 km) Pinnell Mountain Trail.

This wilderness trail is located about 80 miles northeast of Fairbanks. I told the team that since this trail is well above treeline that we would postpone it if the weather was bad. Since my training has been a bit “moderate” in August I was praying for lightening, thunder, fog, hail, snow, or some other natural disaster to save me from my own great idea. But alas, we woke to sunny skies!  Darn, I had to go.  Just fake it, I thought, just fake it.

The vans departed at 5:57 am for the two-hour drive. Since the trail is a point-to-point we decided that our new assistant, Matt Dunlap, (aka Chewy) would go with the men in one direction while I would run with the women in the opposite direction.  With an average 8% grade on the trail, and some sections reaching 25%, this is no easy nature hike.

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Long story short, the athletes rocked it and I suffered with blisters and tired legs.  My group ran/hiked for 7:15 (total time with breaks was just under nine hours).  It was awesome, though.  Excellent training day.   -SJ