Life of a College Runner: Coming Home

Hello dear readers! Sorry this one is a little late, but things have been pretty busy in my life the last few days. Why, you may ask? Because I’m back at Cornell!!!

Monday

3 miles, 25:12 (8:24/mile)

Three words to describe this run: long, slow, and humid. Mum and I ran the other direction, west, at the Garrison trail, which we don’t do that often. It just felt like this run took forever to get done. Also, our legs were still super sore from Saturday’s epic Mines of Spain race. No part of this run felt good, but it was probably a good thing to at least stretch our legs out a bit.

Tuesday

Morning: 3 miles, 25:22 (8:28/mile)

It was a nice easy morning with a nice breeze. I went around town backwards and finished out on the road going south, towards Highway 30. I felt much better than last night.

Night: 4 miles, 33:24 (8:21/mile)

I didn’t feel right this afternoon. I think one of the kids might have given me a cold or something. I went by myself just around town. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal tomorrow.

Wednesday

5 miles, 41:49 (8:21/mile)

It was our last Destination Wednesday run of the summer! This was a really cool idea (thanks Mum) to break the monotony of summer training and have some fun discovering new routes. Tonight, my mom thought we could go run on the trail/bike path in Ely. I was worried it would be rainy because it had poured at our house for a while, but she didn’t seem too concerned. That is, until we got there and it was pouring. It was also a nice cool 65 degrees or less, so it was kind of chilly when we started. She almost didn’t want to do it. All of a sudden, I was taken back about four or five years, and the roles were reversed; I was trying to convince my mom to run. Once we got going, it was fine. It stopped raining about a mile and a half in. Tonight was a really fun run. I’m really glad we did it.

Thursday

4 miles, 32:00 (8:00/mile)

We were back at Garrison tonight. I ran the first two with my mom, but at the halfway, she told me to go on ahead. I thought I had done something to make her mad, so I sped off, and after about a quarter of a mile, I realized I was going a good fast pace, so I decided to see how fast I could run the last 2 miles without killing myself. I ran 7:33 and 7:40, and I wasn’t even really breathing hard at the end. My mom didn’t feel great, but afterward, she said she knew exactly what she was doing, getting me to go faster.

Friday

OFF! It was move-in day!!!!!! I was so excited to be back on campus, around all my friends. I got to meet our freshmen and our new coach, Jerry Frawley. It was such an exciting day.

Saturday

6 miles, 49:47 (8:18/mile)

This was my first run back with the team, and it just felt like home. Everything feels like it did when we left it three months ago, some things are just going to be a little bit different around here. With a new coach, I could expect nothing less. He wants to make it as much like it used to be, which won’t be difficult. The team feels the same, it’s just how we run that will change slightly. First of all, the seniors get to choose the routes. Dan left behind all of his old route maps, but those will soon be all but a memory. I’m really bad at dealing with change. Things like this just make me so nostalgic for the way things used to be. I know this change in coaching staff will be good for us in the long run, and I really like the new coach, but getting used to the changes will be a little difficult for me.

The second change is, starting Monday, we will be switching to a minutes training plan instead of miles. So each day, I will be running a certain number of minutes. That might be the hardest switch for me. We will have to adjust the routes, how we do each run, and our mileage will be slightly different. According to many people, this method of training is apparently a good one. I was just so used to going out and doing 6 miles every day, or 8, or 10.

Anyway, I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself here. Today we did the old out-and-back into Lisbon route to try to keep everyone together and introduce the newbies to one of the most common routes we’ll do. I suppose those of you who have been keeping up with my blog for the past year and a half or so will be kind of familiar with some of these routes, which is actually pretty cool the more I think about it. I love that people continue to read this. I’m sorry that this is a little off-topic, but I’m really glad I decided to write this blog. I’ve loved sharing my running journey on here, both for my family and friends, and for myself.

Okay, back on topic. I started off at the back of the pack, and I ended up running the first two miles with a couple of new teammates, Annika and Emily, and I got to talk with them for a while and start to get to know them. After they turned around with the 4 and 5 milers, I caught back up with Marissa and Erin, and we ran the last 4 miles together. I’m super excited to see how this season goes. I still think it’ll be a great year, possibly my best season. I still have hope of that. When we got back to campus, we did a few strides and core.

Sunday

6 miles

Today was our time trial! Every year during preseason, we do a 2 mile time trial, to sort of judge where each of us are in terms of fitness and training. It’s a fun way to kind of start the season, shake the dust out of our racing legs, and demonstrate some team spirit by cheering for everyone. This year it’s on the second day, whereas in years past it has been sometime at the end of the first week of practice. I kind of liked this better because we were able to get it out of the way right away and move on with training. Less time to worry.

I had relatively low expectations for myself going into it. I’ve never done particularly well at this because during the summer my time is spent building up a big mileage base, with not a whole lot of focus on speed work. This time trial was the fastest I’d gone since track season. It also got moved to about 11:30 for us because of storms this morning, so it was hot and humid. Everyone was a little slower than they expected to be. I ended up finishing 4th on the team (I think my best finish) but at 13:28, slower than last year, if I remember right. So I guess it’s just my curse to do poorly at the time trail, but that’s just fine. I’m still gunning for some big PR’s this season, and I think I can get there just fine, with a large amount of hard work. I got to run with Becca, one of the freshmen, for a while during the race, which was really nice.

Then, afterward, we got to watch the men race. It was a pretty interesting race. You always like to see your teammates do well, and we had plenty of that, I think. Overall, it was a really good effort from everyone. After our cool-down, we did a new strength circuit called a RAM (Radio Active Muscles, according to Coach Jerry). We had 30 exercises that we did for a minute each. It nearly destroyed me, if I’m being honest. I did close to no strength training this summer, and strong is not one of the words that would be used to describe me. Under our new coach, our strength training is going to increase a lot, so I might turn my chicken bone arms into something a little more muscular, I don’t know.

Speaking of the new coach, I got to have an individual meeting with Coach Jerry today as well, which was nice. I felt bad because I’m not very good at opening up and explaining myself to people, who I am and all that. I’m also way better at writing my thoughts down than speaking them out loud. I should have brought notes. We talked about a lot of important things, and I know we’ve still got the whole season to talk about goals, I just felt like I didn’t really say what I wanted to say. It was just easier to have meetings with Dan because he already knew me. Now I’ve got to start all over with the whole “getting to know you” thing. But the good news is, I’ve got a pretty solid training plan for the season, going about 50–55 miles per week with up to 12 mile long runs. I’m still going to double twice a week, and I’m really glad about all of this.

So, I’m really happy to be back at Cornell, at home. This place really does feel like home a lot of the time. I know this is where I’m meant to be, at least for now. That’s all going to change in less than a year. For now, I’m going to enjoy the time with my teammates.

Thanks for reading!

— Morgan

Teacher, Runner, Reader, and Writer. Destined for great things, I think.