Today marks the first day of summer training for the Cobras Cross Country Teams. While not everyone on the team will try to run nine hundred miles (most will run between 500-840 miles), it has always been my trademark to get in at least a thousand miles over the course of summer training. Why not do it again? Do to the reconfiguration of NCAA Division II fall seasons, dates of pre-season and first day of competition have been pushed backed. So there is no need to run a thousand miles before returning for a very short pre-season. My coveted thousand mile mark will however come within a week and half of training with the team.

I wanted to blog about our cross country team because most of the time people do not understand why anyone would choose to run for a sport and many think that it is not that demanding. I’m here to shed some light on this great sport of ours; running cross country is hard! From the start of summer training to the end of the season, it will add up to thirty grueling weeks of training and racing. For the most part we are training for two meets; conference championship and regionals. The meets prior to the championship section are practices for getting a solid race strategy down and to shave off as many seconds from our personal bests as we can. We are the only team on campus that does not have to qualify for the conference championship and regionals. But, in the same context we are the only sport where there are no breaks, small intermissions, halftimes, or sideline conversations with our coach. When the gun goes off we have one shot to prove ourselves and that is it. There is no second chance!

Sometimes there are more bad races than good ones and with running your heart will be broken more times than a significant other could possibly break it. As runners we experience more than our fair share of joy and pain; which often happens at the same time. While it may look easy to those that are watching, being a competitive runner hurts. Running fast is not an easy task and we put our bodies and souls on the line (literally) race after race and mile after mile.

For the 2010 season we have the bar set pretty high. The men’s team will push to be towards the top half as a team and the women’s team will be looking to chase down a top five showing at conference and a top ten showing at regionals as a team. For the first time ever (I surely think so) there will be four women on the team that should be able to run under 21 minutes for a 5K and with that we could have a new team average record! Personally, I’m looking for redemption. I was unable to compete this past season due to injuries and other factors but that is all in the past. I have been fortunate enough to have two very strong back to back seasons as a running Cobra, but I am not satisfied. My goal is to qualify for NCAA Division II Cross Country Nationals, trust me it is easier said than done.

Now for the third time I am on my quest after that golden ticket to nationals. It will not be easy, but I feel that this is my year to do it and well it is my last opportunity. Not to mention Dr. Wyatt, our president, thinks that not only will I qualify for nationals but I will also win nationals. I’m glad he has that confidence in me because I surely don’t, but I take on the challenge anyways. By the way, in order to qualify for nationals you have to place in the top five at regionals and there will be about 154 other runners on the line with you. And another side note the winning time at nationals last year was 20:22 ( 5:28 per mile pace for a 6k!).

I invite you to follow our team as I blog about logging the miles through the summer and the highs and lows of the cross country season ahead. And if you ever want to test your endurance come out for a run with us, we promise to take it easy on you! Thanks for reading and always run happy.

The running enthusiast,

Kendyl Seawright