Sept. 12, 2011
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Members of the women's cross country team will take their turns blogging during their annual trip to ZAP Fitness in North Carolina as they train and prep for the 2011 season.
Day 9 - Nicole Hilton
TODAY WAS RACE DAY!!!! We woke up to the chilliest day all week excited and looking forward to our first meet of the 2011 cross country season. At 9:00 a.m. we did a little shake out run on the path that encircles Zap. Afterwards we stretched, boarded the van and made our way into town to get our caffeine fix for the day. Lunch was shortly after as the afternoon slowly but surely inched closer to race time.
Around 3:15 Coach Neal arrived to take us to the Appalachian State University cross country course. When we arrived we had some time to kill before warm ups so we went to the bathroom…multiple times. We completed warm ups with a two mile run, drills, stretches and striders. All laced up in our new spikes (despite my many attempts to get Coach Neal to allow me to run in my trainers), we toed the line in box five and waited for the little old man to shoot the gun, but not before I exclaimed to some of my teammates that I felt naked in my uniform.
The race went out quickly, with the Buckeyes keeping a pack of six together and in the lead for the first mile and running hard. Jordan Jennewine and Mallory Kreider set a good pace early on with Molly Jacobson, me (Nicole Hilton), Tori Brink, and Michelle Thomas sticking close behind. The second mile was the uphill portion, but we attacked it as a team and made a smooth transition into the third mile. Jordan would end up taking first, followed by me, Michelle, Tori, and Mallory for a top five sweep and perfect score. Sarah Lowe, Molly, Melissa Meade, and Katie Borchers were not far behind. After the race, Coach Neal told us he was happy with our performance and was proud of the way we ran today; however, he still made us do 10 minutes of core.
The boy’s race was after ours and it was time to cheer them on while running our cool down. We did a very impressive O-H-I-O chant twice, led exceptionally by Melissa. After all of the excitement we went to Applebee’s for a nice dinner with thoughts of delicious ice cream (the much anticipated ice cream that’s been talked about and promised for over a week now) dancing in our heads. The ice cream was delectable and we devoured it, a perfect way to finish off our first race day.
But…the day was not complete. Adam Green’s birthday was today and brownies were baked for the occasion, candles and all. So as traditions go, we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him…while he took a shower.
Day 8 - Melissa Meade
The days are dwindling down here at Zap in good ol' Blowing Rock, N.C. (some of us are more happy than others to see the time pass). This morning was glorious because we did not meet until 10 a.m. to go run the course at Appalachian State. Coach Neal, chipper as usual, drove us to the course and conveniently parked as far away as possible. He wanted to make sure we got in our pre-run morning stroll (thanks Coach Neal...always trying to make us better). We set off to run the 5k course, which seemed to go by relatively quick....hopefully it feels the same on race day. Once we were done with our run, we went through our competition warm-up drills and laced up our fresh new spikes for some strides. Just as we were ready to pack up and head to lunch, Coach Cari could not let us forget about core. In fact, she likes us so much that she ended our core exercises with everyone's favorite, BIG TENS! (10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 9 push-ups, 9 sit ups......etc).
Now it was lunch time in Boone, N.C. We all stopped at Panera Bread. Jordan "forgot" her wallet, so as per usual I spotted her. Next stop was an afternoon movie in Boone, and the men's team met us there as well. It's always an enjoyable time when the men and women's teams collaborate for social outings here at Zap. Although we don't interact much (picture a middle school dance), the company is still nice. After the movies we headed back to Zap for some naps before dinner. Dinner was served promptly at 5:30 and it was the perfect pre-race meal of spaghetti and meatballs. The night was wrapped up with some four-sqaure, corn-hole, bracelet-making and mafia.
Day 7 - Sarah Lowe
Today, while the men's team slept in, the girls woke up early to get in our recovery run at the Cone Manor. We did our standard 7 to 8 mile recovery run, followed by stretching and a core session.
We returned back to camp and waited "patiently" for several hours for Coach Neal to return and take us to lunch. Coach Neal clearly does not understand how much our appetite influences our mood or else he would have arrived much earlier.
After a quick stop at Subway, we scarfed down our food and made our way to what would become a superb hiking adventure at Grandfather Mountain. Driving up the winding road to the top of the mountain I felt like I was in a cool car commercial except for the fact that I was in an oversized 12-passenger van.
The first thing we did was walk across the mile high swinging bridge. After being assured that no one has ever died or fallen off, I braved my intense fear of heights and made my way across. It probably would have been a much more pleasant experience had Melissa Meade and Jordan Jennewine not shaken the bridge the entire walk down. After shedding a few tears, I made it across only to find out that I would have to walk back across it again. This hiking trip was already off to a great start.
We then decided it would be enjoyable to hike up to the top of the mountain. Tori Brink really became one with nature as she adventured across the rocks in a Bear Grylls like fashion. She was not shy about sharing her wilderness abilities to the men's and women's team. I've asked her to speak on a couple points about it:
Me: Tori, you are usually terrified of small and harmless creatures that roam the woodlands here. What gave you the courage to climb up these big rocks? Tori: All the animals were in cages.
Me: How do you feel about falling to your death from atop the mountain? Is this something you have ever even thought about? Tori: Hmmm let me think about this for a second. (A few seconds later) I think it would cross my mind after the fact like "Oh crap, I just died."
After the decent we spent our time in the gift shop which had a wide assortment of candies including Moon Pies, which is Coach Neal's favorite. There was also a fudge shop located nearby, but sadly we were quickly shooed out so we could see the wildlife. The animals which included black bears, otters, bald eagles and a cougar were in their somewhat natural habitats.
We arrived back at camp to resume the standard dinner and mafia games before bedtime.
Day 6 - Jordan Jennewine
Today the girls and I headed out to Bass Lake for our second hard workout of camp. On the ride out to the lake Coach Neal got a little distracted listening to "Ice Ice Baby" and almost ran over a local dog. After this excitement, we arrived at lake and warmed up for 4x1 mile repeats; a staple workout for our team. Everyone got off to a great start and came in right at pace. We all locked in and gutted out the rest of the workout, living up to our team's scrappy reputation. As we cooled down, we did our best to support our guys who were still completing their workout. Instead of gratitude, we later received complaints about `taking up too much of the path'. Apparently the guys wanted to see a repeat of last year where Sarah Lowe tried so hard to get out of their way that she fell in the lake.
Melissa Meade, Sarah Lowe and I passed the time on the ride back to Zap quoting our favorite movie, Stepbrothers. Coach Neal tried to join in but it was just awkward for everyone involved. Back at camp, all of the girls made friendship bracelets and played games outside to pass the time until our second run. The boys took naps and were pretty much no fun at all. At 4pm, we headed for our shakeout run around camp. The highlight of the run was the enormous snake we came across in the path. Of course, we all screamed which drew a lot of attention and winded me for the rest of the run.
Finally, we all quickly got ready for dinner. Some of us showered (I won't name names). Dinner was at a restaurant named "Canyon" which had a beautiful view overlooking the mountains. After dinner, we watched as the boys left to get ice cream. We were promised we would get some `later this week'. I guess we'll see. Back at Zap, we finished the night with a campfire and s'mores. Despite all of his bragging about being an experienced camper, it took Coach Neal quite awhile to get the fire going. All 10 of us sat patiently as he made several trips into the forest to collect wood. He was pleased that we gave him the opportunity to complete the task himself. We got our fill of marshmallows and headed inside for the evening.
Day 5 - Tori Brink
The day began more laid back than usual, our run beginning closer to 9:00; with a workout tomorrow, we were able to take an easy day, getting in 5-8 miles. We ran around Cone Manor, avoiding at all costs the fire tower. Instead making loops around the lake and running a portion of the maze. After stretching and core we drove to our favorite coffee shop and then returned back to Zap for more stretching and icing. The entire day remained easy going, the making of bracelets created the leisure atmosphere, quite different from the activities of the afternoon. We left Zap prepared to get in a quick pool workout, only to be told that we would need to wait since the local swim team was practicing. Waiting patiently was not ideal for us and so an intense game of Ultimate Frisbee commenced. The teams were split evenly, with coaches taking part on either side. While the game lasted about 1/2 hour, Team 1 (Coach Neal, Katie Betts, Katie Borchers, Mallory Krieder, Tori Brink, Nicole Hilton) clearly showed their athletic abilities; especially Nicole Hilton who scored many of the points and always found a way to get a hold of the Frisbee from the other team, winning 10-5 against Team 2 (Coach Carrie, Melissa Meade, Jordan Jennewine, Molly Jacobson, Michelle Thomas, Sarah Lowe). Victory remained fresh in the minds of Team 1, as we all aqua jogged, followed by some drills in the water. Finally, in order to even the playing field, the two teams once again competed in a down and back swim relay. Team 2 seemed to have the upper hand in the race and with Melissa Meadesacrificing her eye sight by losing her contacts; they won giving both teams separate victories for the day. Straight from the pool we went to dinner at Dos Amigos, enjoying plenty of chips and salsa and finding rejuvenating meals on the menu. Later we made a quick stop at the outlets, minimal items being purchased, before heading home to Zap to bond over a few games of Mafia. The night ended early, as we all wanted to get in a good night's rest for the final workout here at Zap. Let's Go Bucks!
Day 4 - Michelle Thomas
Today was the long run! We all woke up bright and early to make the long drive to Creeper Trail to get our 10-12 mile run in through the shaded wooded path alongside the South Fork Holston River! When we finally arrived we all hopped out of the van and made a quick rest stop, did our drills then started in on the long run! The view during the run was beautiful, filled with open green fields, wooden bridges and the peaceful sound of the rushing river. For the run today some of us had 10 miles, while others finished up with 12. When everyone got back to the van we stretched out and then headed towards the river for an ice bath! After a tough time of slipping and sliding into the water on the rocks we finally got into the cold water which actually felt rather good after such a long run. Then after 10 minutes of ice bathing we walked across the street to a small restaurant to get some lunch. After we had all filled our stomachs with food we headed towards the van to make the long trip back to ZAP! Once we arrived back we all took a nice warm shower then went down to the common room to watch Step Brothers and the Sandlot or take a well-deserved nap. Finally it was time for dinner and it was taco night!!!! Everyone was so excited because tacos at Zap are amazing!! Tonight we were supposed to have a bon fire and make s'mores, but the rain put a little damper on that; however we didn't let that ruin our night! Instead most of the girls worked on making friendship bracelets with the help of Melissa (who is a pro bracelet maker!) while we watched James and the Giant Peach. (Today was a big movie day at Zap!) To finish off the night we played a game that is very well known at camp as Mafia!!
Day 3 - Mallory Kreider
Today started out nice and early with a workout around the lake. We did three 2-mile repeats around a beautiful lake at the bottom of the mountains! As if the repeats weren't hard enough, Coach Neal and Coach Carrie thought that some brutal core would be great way to top off our morning session!
When we were finally done exercising we headed back to ZAP, but not before we stopped for some hot coffee and tea at a local coffee shop. When we got back to ZAP we soothed our aching muscles in the cold creek.
Later this afternoon we went to Boone to do a pool workout. When we arrived the pool manager informed us that the pool was only open 5 more minutes. So instead of doing a pool workout we went to a field across the street and played a variety of team bonding games. These games included red rover, the human knot and tag. The human knot eventually failed, but not before we nearly broke everyone's arms! We finished off our fun with another core workout. This time it included the infamous "Big Tens" routine!
After our busy day we returned to ZAP to get cleaned up and eat quick dinner before we went back to the Boone, except this time we went to the movie theatre. It was a nice relaxing evening!
Day 2 - Molly Jacobson
This morning we woke up and got ready to do our morning run. Everyone ate a light breakfast and loaded the vans to head out to Watagua Road for a nice, easy, flat recovery run. Just as we always do, we did our normal warm-up drills and headed out with Coach Neal for the run. Today's run was purely for recovery. After the hard run yesterday and the hard workout we have tomorrow, we used today to get our legs back under us. The run was between 7-8 miles, winding next to a small river. It was just what we needed. After the run, we stretched together then Coach Neal took us cliff jumping. Almost of the girls jumped off the cliff, some doing it multiple times! After the jump, we stood in the cold water for about 10 minutes icing our legs and trying to get Sarah Loweto conquer her fear of heights and jump in. After we finished, we changed into dry clothes, stopped at Panera for lunch then came back to ZAP. Back at ZAP we played multiple games of knock out, painted our nails and got ready to go out to App State for our evening shake out run. For our shake out we did our warm-up drills then headed out to do an easy 30-40 minute run. We all ran easy together, doing the first mile on the course that we will race next Friday, then after the run we did six strides to work on our form. After strides we did a hard core workout, specially designed by Coach Neal, then headed back to ZAP. When we got back we all took a quick shower and waited patiently for dinner. Dinner was delicious. For the rest of the night we just hung around camp and played various games. Knock out, four square (that got pretty intense) and some others. The night came to an end and we all went to bed to get ready for the workout in the morning.
Day 1 - Molly Jacobson
Summer mileage. Complete. Team. Back on campus. Beautiful fall weather. Finally here. Yes it's that time of the year again: cross-country season. After everyone completed their summer training program, everyone was more than excited to arrive back on campus and come back to ZAP for our second year. Every one of us has been anticipating this trip for the entire summer. And it was finally here!! Leaving early on Thursday morning, we were on our way to Blowing Rock, North Carolina. After a couple naps, a few rest stops and lunch we made it to ZAP and got ready to go on our run for the evening. Today's run is the famous climb to the top of the fire tower. We did our warm-up drills, took a quick bathroom break and started our 5-mile climb up to the top. The first half of the climb to the mansion, we all stayed packed up. Up to the mansion isn't too bad, just gradually climbing up. After the mansion the long awaited, zig-zag climb (that we all remembered from last year and have told stories about) all the way to the top of the fire tower starts. The switchbacks are very deceiving, multiple times thinking that we were done, seeing the opening of blue skies, only to turn and see more switchbacks in the view. But after the long climb, everyone made it to the top!!!! It is the best feeling ever (1. Making it up the hardest run of the trip 2. Seeing the beautiful view. And 3. Knowing the rest of the way is downhill). After climbing up the stairs of the fire tower, seeing the mountains in the distance, we started the decent back down. Most of the girls stopped at the mansion, finishing about 7.5 miles for the day. But the girls who have a little bit longer mileage went all the way back down to where we started to finish about 10 miles. After the run and waiting ravenously hungry in the car for the boys to finish their run, we went to the delectable pizza palace known as Mellow Mushroom for dinner. After eating multiple appetizers and different pizzas we were all satisfied and made a quick stop at the food store to get snacks then made our way back to ZAP. We finished the evening with 10 minutes of core in the main room and some well-deserved showers. It was a long day of traveling and running, but we all made it through it together. It was a great start to the beginning of camp and our cross-country season!!