Logging Miles - Summer Cross Country Blog - Entry Seven
Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com
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The summer cross country blog, "Logging Miles", is back for its second run on VMIKeydets.com. This year, the authors will be Leah Schubel, Will Thompson and Jenna Moye, as they detail their summer activities and training plans. The blog is scheduled to run each week, but publication dates each week may vary.

Note: There will be no blog the week of August 2. Logging Miles is currently scheduled to return August 9.

Entry Seven - Jenna Moye - July 26, 2012

I honestly cannot believe that this is my third and final blog entry for the summer. It seems like yesterday that I was trying to figure out what to write for the first one. Once again I am amazed at how quickly the summer has gone by.

This week I am helping out at the University of Florida Cross Country camp with (former VMI head) Coach Spangler and a few of his athletes. It is my first time at "the swamp" and though I can't get over how gorgeous the campus is, I do miss the trails back at home. All of this concrete is just not cuttin' it. (Plus the only hills I can find around here are the ones made by the fire ants). It has been great to log some two-a-days though, catch up with Coach Spangler and his family, and encourage high school athletes in their training.

I am officially done with my summer job so I know that the days left are winding down and fall is fast approaching. I'll be returning to school in a matter of three weeks for cadre training and pre-season week. I am excited for another season and for another chance to push forward as a team. With Kelsey and Natalie coming in and with the return of the women from last year, I am confident that we will be able to put up a fight at conference in October.

Before I sign off for the summer, I just wanted to give a few words of encouragement. One of the most important things that I've learned over the past few years is remaining strong in periods of weakness is the formula for getting through any situation. Obviously easier said than done, but whether it's from battling injury, hitting a plateau, or crashing mentally, there is a lesson to be learned as well as applied. I've had moments where I didn't have the drive to run anymore, where the easy way out looked appealing, and when I just wanted to walk off the track. I was able to overcome each one of them through the support of family, coaches, friends, and the hope found in Christ. Take each run and learn from it. Best of luck to everyone in the coming year!

Entry Six - Leah Schubel - July 19, 2012

The past few weeks have been extremely busy for me. I am now running my maximum weekly mileage and doing a workout once a week. I feel very confident in Coach Fazioli’s training program thus far. Not only is she understanding and flexible, but she analyzes my running log and asks questions to make sure that I am on track for success. I am so appreciative of her concern for each individual athlete. I have never felt as strong as I do now at this point in my past summer training programs.
My research is going strong as well. My model and the methods that we are using to conduct the study are concepts from part of a Masters program. For this reason, I am excited that I have had the opportunity to be exposed to this environment and gained such a tremendous amount of knowledge over the course of this project. As I finish my paper, my advisor and I are looking into different journals for publications and conferences where I can present my findings.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Big South Leadership Conference. All of the Big South schools sent representatives for a weekend of speakers, games, and community service. I went along with Stan Okoye, Joe Carr, Andrew Montague, and Mary Grace Lemon. It was a very unique experience to interact with student-athletes from the other schools in our conference and learn about their experiences as well as share our own. Our community service project also made a tremendous impact on the lives of a family in dire need for help both inside and outside of their home. The wife was physically handicapped due to bone cancer; the yard work alone would have taken years for the husband to complete alone. It was a very humbling experience that taught us that you do not always know the struggles that go on beyond the front doors of one’s home.

I remain optimistic going into this final year of running. My summer is proving to be a solid base of training. Weight lifting and core-focused exercises have made me much stronger, as well as a day of swimming that is the alternative that I need in giving my body a break from the daily pounding of running.  And of course, our extremely healthy diet is allowing me to reap these benefits.

Entry Five - Will Thompson - July 12, 2012

I was not recruited to run cross country at VMI, as I was a novice walk-on with a Marine Corps Scholarship and an extremely modest two years competition at my high school in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky.  As I improved under former Coaches Spangler and Sykes, I would at times take for granted the reason I was attending the Institute:  Achieving the degree imperative to my commissioning as a Marine Officer.  With my scholarship comes required summer training, last summer was a month-long introduction to the Naval and Marine Services; as from June 22 – July 1 this summer I was fortunate enough to attend the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center at Lake Tahoe, Bridgeport, Calif.

I was fed a steady diet of sensationalism and anxiety prior to making my first trip to both the Western U.S. and any type of altitude (we moved between 6500ft and 11000ft).  Two of my VMI roommates were in my platoon, which was led by a grizzled Staff Sergeant with seven combat deployments, a penchant for swearing, and one eye.  The three of us stuck together along with the other VMI cadets there, but it soon became apparent that this training was not going to be as physically demanding as we were led to believe.  Last year, Ermin Mujezinovic and I discussed how distance running prepares one for military ruck marching: The legs are made stronger, yes, but more importantly is the mental conditioning aspect – there is a distance to be covered, and it will either be covered or it will not.  True runners cover their distance.

Since I have returned home, I have tried to slip back into my routine of running and middle of the night fun at “Wally World”. I feel like my training is going well – my distance runs are faster than ever with less effort – but I have two nagging concerns: It is hard to get proper sleep while working third shift in the midst of a mileage slog and I am running by myself.  Sleep requires disciplined effort on my part.  Lonesome runs require a speedy end of this hot season and a return to my teammates at the Institute.    

Entry Four - Jenna Moye - July 5, 2012

While the temperature is steadily increasing throughout the summer, so is my mileage. The first month of my cross country training has been successfully completed and I am getting excited as the competitive season gets closer each week (watching the Olympic trials may have something to do with this anticipation as well).  For the month of July, I will be closing in on my max mileage and maintaining it until returning to post in mid-August.

I always get nervous when the base building phase comes along because of my history of injuries. Between two stress fractures and a lengthy span of tendonitis, I cringe at the thought of more miles and more pounding. My body hurt after reading Will’s blog entry, that’s for sure. Yet, I am relieved to say that this summer has been a breath of fresh air thus far. Coach Faz has worked with me in safely increasing my mileage while making recovery a priority.  After coming off of a struggle with my tibia in the fall, this past indoor and outdoor track season I only ran five days a week and incorporated pool running/elliptical workouts the sixth day (Sunday has always been a day of rest). While I had finally become consistent in my training by the outdoor championships, my mileage was still on the lower end of the scale. Now I am running six days a week as well as regularly involving strides, strength training, and core work into my routine. Staying on soft surfaces, getting proper nutrition… while occasionally giving in to a sugar craving…. and stretching have been critical to staying healthy and fresh.

Apart from running, this has been a relaxing summer and one that I am so thankful for. The past three years I have been involved with the VMI Summer Transition Program, both as an incoming freshman and as a counselor. I am definitely sad that I won’t be there this year to lead Group 2 for PT in the mornings, but it sure is nice to be spending time with family and friends while working here in Richmond.

Well, I think that’s it until next time!

Oh, and that whole “getting up super early to run” didn’t really work well with one of my favorite activities called “getting enough sleep.” I run in the morning, but I let my neighbor’s rooster get up first.

Entry Three - Leah Schubel - June 28, 2012

It is hard to believe that this is the last summer that I will be spending training for VMI cross country. 

My three previous summers of training have consisted of an exhausting effort to fit in my weekly mileage on top of working full-time in Washington, D.C. The life of a commuter is difficult enough, but throwing on 40-60 miles plus per week, in addition to drills and lifting made my summer life even more structured than it already is at VMI. \

This summer is different though, and for the better! I am living in a small duplex on the river in Lexington and participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Initiative. I meet daily with my faculty advisor and my project consists of a statistical analysis of the difference between NCAA athletes and non-athletes in choosing college major. My work schedule is very flexible around running and lifting, so that is a definite plus.

My roommate and I made it our summer goal to completely immerse ourselves in the Lexington culture. This has not only opened our eyes to many different activities that Lexington has to offer, but it has also greatly enhanced my summer training. I am running about 50 miles a week at this point in the summer and I have yet to run the exact same course twice- I have found so many new places to explore and the scenery here in the mountains is astounding! The new scenery keeps things fresh and new - I have not felt the usual staleness that increased mileage tends to bring. The past couple Wednesdays, I attended local track meets with former teammate Michael McDonald that were sponsored by the House Mountain Running Club; that was a refreshing change of pace and I even got to meet some of the local runners and get my name in the local newspaper.

We frequent the organic food market and my roommate and I believe that we are possibly the healthiest cadets who are living in Lexington this summer. We have not for a second taken for granted our ability to cook for ourselves this summer. A canoeing trip to a state park, swimming in our own backyard, and jumping off the rocks of Goshen have been just a few of the highlights of this summer in Lexington. I hope that this relaxing and slow-paced summer translates into faster times and a more solid base as we move forward.

Entry Two - Will Thompson - June 21, 2012

“What I mean is that someone sees a race, and they think that's what you do. They sort of know you had to train, but they weren't watching then, so they don't understand how incredibly much of it there is. But to us, it's almost the whole thing. Racing is just this little tiny ritual we go through after everything else has been done. It's a hood ornament." - Again to Carthage; John L. Parker Jr.

For my fellow Keydet harriers, the summer months are the best time of the year for that all-important training.  In the months away from VMI, we are able to lay down a solid base of fitness that will carry us through cross country season and beyond.  I have been struck by a feeling of nearly invincible strength coming off high mileage running during the dog days.  This summer, Coach Fazioli and I have set our sights on reaching and maintaining, 95 mile weeks divided into nine runs spread over the seven days.  It is an ambitious goal, made more difficult by my new work schedule:  I started work as a third (call it night, call it graveyard, just don’t call it easy) shift Receiving Associate at Walmart on June 2. 

I am pretty sure that I am one of the few, if not the only, Cadets excited to return to the “Mother I” because it will offer the chance to get more sleep! – if we average 6.5 hours a night at school; I straggle by with half that or less at times now.  Thankfully the summer months mean less taxing training; when Coach Fazioli planned out my training schedule she was sparing with arduous workouts, focusing instead on building  mileage and getting strong for the upcoming season – championships are won in June, July, and August – they are merely secured in October and November.

VMI Cross Country has the opportunity for a superb season and I am excited about our prospects with our new recruits and coach, not to mention a hardened band of returning upperclassmen.    

Entry One - Jenna Moye - June 14, 2012

Rewind two years ago, and I was trying to figure out what to write for this blog in the summer of 2010. I was also trying to figure out how to grow out my hair faster after all of the haircuts that came with the ratline. While I am thankful that I no longer have to sport an afro, I never thought that I’d be in the position to say that I was only two semesters away from graduating from a military institute.

This past spring was really my first full outdoor track season and I had a blast. Our team finished with a ton of personal bests and some outstanding performances on both sides. I extended my season a bit to run at a last chance NC State meet; this was after a long decision period since the race fell on Mother’s Day,  but Mom was there in the stands though along with the rest of the family so I couldn’t have asked for more.

The season also allowed us to get to know Coach Faz better, as she worked with us for a couple of weeks before the summer. I am really confident in what she has to offer for the distance crew in cross country and track, just based on talking with her and training with her thus far (not to mention I sat right behind her and Coach Sykes the whole way home from the Big South Championship in South Carolina…so I overheard quite a bit of their conversations on running, unintentionally of course).

This summer I am working as an intern at a chiropractic office. The business is transitioning from files and folders to a paperless system, so you can imagine that there is a lot of data entry and scanning to be done.
That’s where I come in. Yet there’s only so much of that at one time I can take, so thank goodness his office is only open three days a week. Babysitting the kids next door keeps me busy the remainder of the week, and you never know what that job will bring to the table so it keeps me on my toes. 

As for running, I began my training for cross country last week after a three-week period of rest and cross-training/light running. After the mistake of waiting around all day to run in the afternoon, I decided to train my body to get used to waking up early to run. It has made quite the difference so we’ll see how long I can keep this up. Hopefully I’ll have some good stories as my training continues so that I can write about them here. In the meantime, the conference meet is only 19 weeks away; start your countdowns!