The Little Things . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Late October 2020 || issue #96
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Racing in the New Normal

A month ago Emily Ernst reported that “this is definitely different from past years and at first was weird but it became the new normal.” Emily was referring to the summer’s GTD conditioning program.

The “new normal” now includes college and high school sports competition.

Most colleges have cancelled their fall sports programs, and Victoria Lombardi describes how she’s responding. High Schools and Middle Schools have modified, postponed, or cancelled their fall sports seasons, but there are some xc meets and soccer games (with new rules). Adam Abdulghani and Shannon Bresnahan report on xc so far.

The GTD newsletter – Little Things – welcomes more reports from athletes.

Are you playing soccer? How does it work with the new rules?

Are you playing field hockey?

How have your xc meets changed?

If you’re not competing this fall, how are you maintaining your conditioning?

We welcome reports from athletes and parents on their experience with the GTD summer program and their sports this fall. To contribute, please contact Dave at dave@liveandrun.com.

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Victoria Lombardi -- College XC

[We asked Victoria how her college's academic and xc programs were responding to the coronavirus.]

School is going well! I am living at home this semester and commuting to Stonehill twice a week, which has definitely been my biggest adjustment.

Training has certainly been interesting—I am lucky that I get to actually see my coach, which I know a lot of programs don’t get to do.

As far as working out, I am able to work out with my coach and teammates once a week. We wear masks until we are 14 feet apart in order to minimize contact. We meet in groups of 5 and have limited access to facilities, so Coach Boen has had to get creative!

Since we are technically in off-season, we have to abide by the rules of the NCAA, which limits our practice time. My training is much less structured now; I am given a weekly mileage, a loose lifting plan, and two workouts every week. The rest is up to me!

While I wish that I could practice more often and with all of my teammates, I am very grateful that the Stonehill community has been following guidelines and that we are still able to have in-person classes and athletics.

[For more from Vic, see her comments about the summer program.]

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Adam Abdulghani -- High School XC

[Adam is a Peabody HS xc captain in only his Junior year. He is a focused, talented, and mature student-athlete.]

GTD: Adam how was this past summer different from the past?
Adam: For me, this year’s program differed for me because I went into this summer with a much different mindset than the year prior. I wanted to begin laying down the foundation for myself to go further than ever before in my running. I really just wanted to focus and do whatever I needed to do to improve.

GTD: What did you do to make the program work for you?
Adam: The great thing about this program is that if you dedicate yourself to it, it will work for you. Embracing the process and putting your trust in it is ultimately what will yield you results. Of course, you have to work for it, but all the tools to success are at your disposal, the question is whether or not you are willing to go the extra mile to achieve success.

GTD: What are your favorite moments in the GTD XC program and why?
Adam: Specifically, this year, the relays that we did to cap off the program were among my favorite moments during the camp. It was something new, and it was a fun way to be able to “compete” as well as be able to see where you were at the end of the program.

GTD: What’s happening in XC so far this fall?
Adam: Although this XC season is just beginning, I’m already excited about how it’s going. Obviously, it’s much different than years prior, but somehow, things have managed to work themselves out which I’m thankful for. This past Sunday I was able to race at the Frank Kelley invitational, and it was a good race to see where I am at so far. To still have the opportunity to go out and race is all I could really ask for.

[Adam's 16:46 (5.24 pace) was good for 19th out of 230 finishers at the Frank Kelley meet.]

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Shannon Bresnahan-- High School XC

[Shannon, a sophomore at Bishop Fenwick HS, moved easily this past summer from tearing up GTD xc drills to taking full advantage of the program's zoom coaching twice a week.]

GTD:This was your 3rd summer with GTD. What was different?
Shannon: This summer was not like any other summer before. The Covid restrictions were very different, of course, but it was also very disappointing for me to not be able to run for the first half of camp. All I wanted was to be able to run with my friends. That being said, the coaches were very supportive in helping me get better. I would not have been back as soon as I was if it was not for them.

It was great how I had alternative workouts that included what I was able to do. Even though I wanted to run, it was so great that I was able to participate in some of the exercises with everyone else. Once I was able to run again, I was so prepared, and it did not feel like a struggle to get back in shape.

The zoom calls every week were very helpful, especially since not everyone was attending the on-site sessions. It was great to get advice on hydration, diet, and our at-home workouts. For me, it was great to be able to check in about progress with my ankle.

GTD:You’ve been a dancer and a soccer player. Although you’ve run track, this is the first fall you’re running xc. Why the switch?
Shannon: Even though I have played soccer my whole life, I have always really enjoyed running and doing the cross country training over the summer. I never thought I would give up soccer, considering I played for a club team for many years and also for my high school, Bishop Fenwick, freshman year.

However, when I ran Spring track, I really loved the group of people, the coaches, and the sport as a whole. I realized that I loved racing and training much more than I enjoyed soccer. I decided to switch at the end of my winter track season. It took some convincing by my coach and teammates, but I am so glad that I did!

I have also done Irish step dancing my whole life, and I don’t think I will ever quit that. I feel as though it helps my running and vice versa. Running makes me a better dancer and dancing makes me a better runner. I love doing both so much, and I’m so glad that I was able to realize that cross country was what was right for me.

GTD:How’s xc going for you so far this fall?
Shannon: So far this year, I have enjoyed cross country so much! I have made so many new friends and realized how much I truly love the sport. I have had two meets so far this year, and my team has won both! I have come in first at both, as well, but my times were not as fast as I wanted them to be. I feel as though I just need a little bit more time to adjust to running a 5k, considering I hadn’t ever raced one seriously before this season. Also, I feel as though I will do a bit better once I fully recover from my injury. Overall, though, cross country is so great. I am so glad that I was able to find what I truly love to do.


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