New Year and New Team

Lewis ‘15
It feels great to be back at the ‘Bash. I was dreading it all summer with leaving friends and family and all, but once I got back I realized I missed it. I was surprised honestly, but I have a feeling this will be a great year. The Red Pack is looking strong as usual. With such a large and strong class of seniors leaving last year that included the indoor mile national champ K-Mac, I knew that it would be hard to get back to the level of team we were last year. Luckily we have a group of guys that put in HUGE amounts of mileage this summer reaching almost 100 miles a week! That takes more time and commitment than probably 99% of the world is willing to put out. Led by my fellow class-of-2015-mates (a.k.a. the Class of Destiny), there is a strong lead group with National 800m champ Jake Waterman and others right there as well. I am looking forward to seeing what this team can accomplish as the season continues and I will be here to give you a personal viewpoint of the whole thing.
With being a new year, there are a number of things that are unique to this season.
- First are the freshmen who have all promised to work hard and plan on mixing it up with the team and maybe even the top guys. I hope they continue this work ethic and continue the C.O.D example of a low quitting rate.
- Another new idea is called “Meat Mondays,” no this is not just a sausage fest at an all-male school. Instead it is when our “Team Mom” Seton Goddard grills steaks for us every Monday as well as vegetables and today he even made us a salad. He definitely gets the award for the best manager ever because the food is always great. I also wonder how the football team likes it when he grills right beside the field as they practice.
-The third unique part of this season is a new method of running. Today we tried something we never have before to try and bring the team closer as a whole while we run. We often have guys that like to run recovery runs at different paces, some think they are too slow and others think they are too fast. To prevent any more petty arguments over that we ran our easy 5 miles today as a huge Indian relay. Everyone grabbed a partner and formed a double line as we ran down the road. Whoever was in the back ran up to the front and set the pace when they reached it until the next pair took over. This way we ran as a team and the pace varied to please all. I think it was a very successful attempt and made the run more fun and less boring.

The first 8k is in 2 weeks, we’re getting hungry.

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On that Grind

Lewis ‘15
With a couple full weeks under our belts again, EVERYONE is feeling the real weight of Wabash again. First quizzes and exams have been taken and graded in some classes while others are starting to write their first big papers. It is a vicious never ending list of tasks that we all have to accomplish or at least do our best on. The stress is definitely getting to people as well. I thank running for all that it gives back to me because without it I know that I would go crazy. It is a huge stress reliever. For a set amount of time every day, I worry about only how I am running and that is it. Nothing else in the world matters during that time. I set everything aside and take a break from all the craziness. Some may say that running seems like the crazier thing out of the two but those are probably the people that have never tried it. I often find that I cannot focus at all unless I have forced my legs to carry my body for 6-12 miles. That is why I strongly encourage people to find some sort of physical exercise to do every day. It would definitely help with all the stress that Wabash is known to put on everyone, not to mention the fact that it would make people healthier and keep them from becoming obese. Any type of physical action that’ll take your mind off school will help, I’m sure of it.
This Friday will be our first 8k and first big meet. It is at Terre Haute which is also the location of Nationals this year, so we are lucky enough to get to “practice” racing there a couple of times before the big day. I’m excited to see how we stack up against the other Indiana teams. If you don’t have Friday afternoon classes then I’m sure the team would love for some support in Terre Haute. Be there as we set the tone for rest of the season which hopefully will be a good one!
WAF

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Terre Haute

Lewis ‘15
This past weekend we did not live up to the expectations or our even our own expectations. Terre Haute is a hilly course but really it is not that tough. What made us not perform to our best we can’t be sure but most likely it was mental. Such a huge part of running is mental; some would even say that 90% of it has to with what goes on in the mind. All of our bodies were ready for the physical effort that it was going to take to perform. So what happened? Well going out really fast the first mile did not play to any of our advantages but after that we should’ve been able to still run our race if we kept our heads in it. Many of us, like myself though, psyched ourselves out and at times we thought we couldn’t compete. That the first mile took too much out of us to be able to do well over the next 4 miles. This was not true, but we made ourselves believe that. I am reading a book titled Eat and Run by Scott Jurek. In it he tells about how the mind will always tell you to stop before your body needs to. In one chapter he describes a friend of his that he paced to a near victory at a 100 mile race. With roughly 300m to go the two could see the finish and he was a couple miles ahead of the nearest person but something terribly wrong happened. Scott’s friend collapsed and could no longer move. He couldn’t even stand or support his weight. Eventually Scott had to help walk him to the finish but they disqualified him and denied him the victory. He was rushed to the hospital and tests were done but other than exerting lots of energy and over the whole past day basically, nothing was wrong with him. Scott believed that it was his friend’s mind that shut him off. He saw the finish and his mind told him he was done and boom he was. The mind can overpower everything so we must always be in control of our mind and thoughts. No negativity and always staying focused and in the race. No, this is not easy and I myself have problems with this quite often but if the Redpack can accomplish this all at the same time in a race then every other team should watch out. This will be the difference maker in the end of the season and I think the rest of the guys know this as well. Hopefully this first 8k has got the jitters and bad luck out of the guys and we all start kicking more and more ass.

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Most Recent Bachelor Opinion Article

Horner ’15- As  Wabash students surrounded by testosterone-filled fellows hell-bent on making  others see their way, we are constantly assaulted by passionate pleas and  ridiculous requests for support of a movement or organization. The inherent  abundance of Type-A personalities here at Wabash ensures that we will always be  surrounded by arguments and conflict.

The most  recent example of this is an opinion article published in today’s edition of The Bachelor, our school newspaper, by  Reed Hepburn. His article can be viewed here: http://i1070.photobucket.com/albums/u483/runforever15/RHep.png
. In the article, Hepburn explains why, in his opinion, “Cross-Country is a  silly sport.” Despite the emotional strings that this article pulls for me and  other members of the running community, I’d like to apply what Wabash College  has taught me in the last year and provide a critical analysis of the logic  involved in this article.

Hepburn’s  first claim against running revolves around the supposed simplicity of the
sport, because it is a “part of most other sports.” Hepburn also claims that  “Running is a great hobby, but a sport consisting of only running is frankly too  simple and boring to rank among the likes of soccer or lacrosse.” He compares  running to ball-sports where athletes must “multi-task.”

Let’s  examine that quickly: Apparently an activity becomes a “sport” when it becomes
complex? False. I believe, and I’m sure many runners would agree, that the  beauty of running lies in its simplicity. While in other sports (and this is  not an attack on other sports, but merely a defense of cross-country) athletes  are focusing on the movement of multiple players, the ball, and their own  limbs, in running races there are few things for runner to focus on… making it all the more vital that he does not slip and maintains his pace in the face of mounting difficulty.  While other sports  are an exercise in hand-eye coordination, racing cross-country is an exercise  in mental tenacity. There is nothing to do but suffer and maintain. Come out  for a 16 mile long run or join in on a 8k or 10k race and we’ll take you to a  mental state you don’t ever want to be in, Mr. Hepburn. There is nothing quite  like it.

Hepburn  also claims that the members of his house were getting up early because they
“had to run at 6 am” and that their sleeping schedules were ruining the pledgeship of other individuals by getting to bed early. I will not even try to debate the logic of getting a decent night’s sleep (oh the horror!) and ruining their brothers’ nights (because, you know, sleeping is such a loud, raucous activity). Instead, let’s  focus on what Hepburn says next:

He writes, “athletes in other sports had to do more than just running in the morning.”
There are multiple problems with this statement: First, our “morning run  practices” that he mentions were actually morning circuit practices. We were participating in a 40-50 minute circuit of strength exercises, including lifting, core, and sprinting exercises designed to build general athletic strength.  I will grant you this though Mr. Hepburn: many times after these circuits, the masochist members of our team had to trudge through the door for a morning run.

Second, Hepburn continuously  implies that other athletes spend time in a variety of exercises, while runners  “just” run. As the last paragraph proves, we do much more than just run.  However, as an exercise I decided to count up just how much time runners spend
doing things other than running for  cross-country. Four weeks ago, before a setback due to injury, I was running 80  miles per week. I’ve now gone back and examined my training log for that week,  and it appears that I spent approximately 9 hours of that week running, and only 14 hours of that week in some  activity related to making myself a faster runner (yoga, stretching, strength  exercises, hurdle drills, core workouts, lifting, etc.)

Lest you still believe running is a  “simple” sport, may I bring a point to your attention? First, pick up a copy of  Running Times magazine on your next trip through Barnes and Noble and turn through the pages. I just picked up my most recent issue and found these topics  discussed: altitude effects, V02 testing, lactate threshold, turnover rate,  stride length, over or under pronation, positive vs. negative splitting, hill  training, interval training, static vs. dynamic stretching, etc. … sounds  “simple” right? Maybe racing is a relatively simple activity, but  training couldn’t get much more complicated.

Let’s remember that the original “sport” occurred in Greece during the PanHellenic Games with the advent of the stadion (about 190 meters) running race.  Those games became the basis for our modern Olympic Games, regarded by many as  the greatest sporting event in the world.

Basically, don’t attack running for  being a different kind of sport. Also, do your research before attacking  running’s “simplicity” because running is only simple in races.
Training is complex and complicated. I would never write an article about the  Wabash Golf team without first contacting the coach and/or players and getting  a feel for the sport or tagging along for practices and races.

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Planning for the summer…

Baker ’15 – Finals are here and it is hard to imagine that I only have a few days left of my first year of college. Since I got here I have accomplished quite a bit. I have set PRs from the 800m-8k, finished pledgeship at FIJI, and kept a good enough GPA to put on my resume. I am having trouble keeping my mind off the upcoming summer. I will have a little time at home, and then I will be back in Crawfordsville building up my bank account, my legs, and my lungs.
I have been working back up to regular training. This week for every two days I ran I took one off. The week before was every other day. I will have to be careful when I start building mileage again, but I will be able to build for a long time before cross country season. Last summer my training was very sporadic, so that will be my biggest problem to address. I know my teammates will help with this, because there will not be much else to do in Crawfordsville.
The team competed in the last meet before conference last weekend. Cole Hrusckovich hit a time in the 800m that will likely send him to nationals, which means we will have three distance individual qualifiers at the National meet. His strategy is usually to “get behind Waterman and hang on as long as [he] can” so he may be able to employ the same tactic later on. We will be returning a lot of talent on the distance side, so it seems like foundation of our team will be strong for years to come.
A couple of my high school teammates are planning on doing the Flying Pig marathon soon, and I was surprised to find out they are aiming for about the same time I ran at the Tecumseh Trail Marathon. I hope for their sake it isn’t nearly as difficult as the marathon I ran, but its 26.2 miles no matter how it is configured, so it will probably take quite a toll on them. I wish I could run it with them, but I am trying to be patient…I need to be careful so I can come back faster than ever.

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The Fastest Years of Our Life

Lewis 15’- In two weeks I will have completed the first year of my college education. It seems crazy to be able to say that, but this year has flown by so fast. I thought for sure it would take forever with the whole moving away from home thing and the intense classes, and never being able to see a girl, but I was wrong. The classes and running has kept me constantly busy so I could never think about time. I was never looking too far ahead because I had something the next day that I had to do. I think that students that don’t compete in sports would get bored a lot easier. Once their homework is done they wouldn’t have anything to do but try and pass the time. The fact that there were no girls never really got to me either. Yeah I missed them at times but without them I think I focused more on my studies and less on my looks and trying to impress people. Everything is so much more chill and relaxed with only guys. I wore whatever was easiest to put on whether it was clean or not because no one cared. Showering before classes even became too much work that I didn’t find necessary at times. But on weekends everything changes. Any recruits scared of the all guy campus should not worry. At other schools, guys often leave campus on weekends in order to find girls. Yes this occurs at Wabash but many times this is not needed because girls will leave their campuses to find Wabash guys, just one of the many benefits of being a Little Giant!
I have had a lot of fun this year, I have learned more than I ever thought I would, and I have become a much better runner and smashed all my high school times. I am looking forward to the next 3 years and seeing how much more fun I have, how much more I improve and learn. People say that these are the best years of their lives, I hope this is true. Right now I would call it the fastest years of my life because I doubt they are slowing down any time soon.

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End of the year!

Baker ’15 – My first year of college has almost concluded. I have a few more classes, two final papers to write and three finals to take, and then I’m done. I have set up my summer so I’ll be able to stay on campus and train while also picking up as much tech. knowledge as possible during my internship with IT services. This leaves me about a week and a half to pack everything up, visit everyone back home and come back to school to unpack again.
We have a pretty substantial group planning to stick around Crawfordsville. We will be able to train in a group multiple times a day, and it should allow us to pull each other to some spectacular fitness by the end of the summer. For me it is a little odd because I will be here almost the entire summer, meaning I will have been in Crawfordsville for all but a couple weeks over the last year. I do not travel home for weekend visits, so I am still sort of getting used to it. I had not planned that I will perhaps use a microwave or television this summer, along with many other things I’m sure will come up, so I am trying to string a few of those things together. I’ve never bought and cooked my own food for multiple months at a time, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I predict I will be eating a bunch of macaroni, spaghetti, and peanut butter & jelly.
While I plan and lay the foundation for cross country season next year, the team itself is gearing up for conference. Jake Waterman destroyed a field of talented runners including division 1 studs. Unfortunately, I missed the race because of a few wrong turns on the way back from FIJI formal this weekend. Jake ran 1:48 for 800m, currently leading all of division 3 by almost a second, and putting him about 2 seconds faster than the next non-senior.
Kevin McCarthy also ran well again, which seems to happen every time he steps on the track. His consistency is amazing, but I’m sure the older guys on the team who saw the building of this foundation a little more than I have are less surprised. At the meet this weekend, Kevin ran fast enough to move up to number two on the D3 1500m list, and fifth on the 3000m steeplechase list, on the same day. Our prospects look good to pick up a triple crown (XC, Indoor & Outdoor Track Champions), but only if we continue to push ourselves and do all the important things that got us here.

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