On the Run

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On the Run

Cross country demands everything from its runners, which they are happy to give.

Cross country demands everything from its runners, which they are happy to give.

The Year

Cross country demands everything from its runners, which they are happy to give.

The Year

The Year

Cross country demands everything from its runners, which they are happy to give.

Abby Scott, Writer

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When most people hear Loyola Athletics, they usually think of football, lacrosse, and hockey, the big three sports that have earned Loyola multiple state titles. Sometimes one may think of volleyball, tennis, or baseball. Rarely, if ever, do they think of cross country and track.

Both of Loyola’s girls and boys running teams have won multiple titles in their respective leagues. These teams also qualify as one of Loyola’s most successful teams and are underappreciated for the achievements they have. The dedication that goes into a conditioned habitual runner is immense and one not many understand. Running is the basis of multiple sports; however, usually, some type of stick or ball is added into the mix. But we are insane enough to strip it back down to its roots. Give us the right shoes, a watch, and an open road and we can go for miles.

When you tell someone for the first time you are a runner, usually, their response is, “Why, why would you do that to yourself ?” The answer is I honestly have no idea. I don’t know what drives me to run four to seven miles a day. I don’t know why I choose to have the feeling of my lungs exploding at the end of a race. I don’t know why I put up with the burning and the shin splints. You could say I’m crazy and I’d probably agree.

Loyola’s girls running team is composed of three separate teams and four different seasons. Our first team is cross country, which starts about two weeks before school begins and ends mid to end October, our fall season.

Our other two teams make up the track team. The sprinters and distance team start in January and end mid-May, our winter and spring season.

For those of us who don’t get enough of this insanity over the school year, we run in the summer. Summer season, in my opinion, is the best season.

We start our day around 7-7:30 before the heat kicks in. We run about three to eight miles depending on the day. You wake up, get a run in with your friends, and have the rest of the day to do whatever.

Summer season feeds right into the cross country season. Cross country is when we take the miles and stamina we’ve built over the summer and translate it into fast pacing for meets. We run two to three miles at a meet, which is nothing compared to the damage we do at practice. We have a couple weeks off and then jump into track season.

Personally, I run distance, so my knowledge about the sprinters isn’t all that much. Distance girls either do a road run, which can vary from three to five miles a day, or a track work out, which can really consist of anything.

When it comes to meets, the distances we run are either a quarter of a mile, a half mile, a mile, or two miles. During track, we work on cutting times and building up higher endurance for indoor meets, where the air quality isn’t that great. Our distance team this year is looking really good. We have a lot of veteran runners back and some new girls, who, really are quite impressive. I think once a training schedule takes hold, these girls will really be able to run great distances and smash their times.

Like other athletics, we work hard for the achievements we receive. We don’t do conditioning on the side; our sport is conditioning. On a typical day, we go for a run, do abs, legs or hips, then stretch and roll out. Our paces on an easy day range from an eight-minute to nine-thirty minute mile. On a moderate day, we aim for somewhere between a seven to an eight-minute mile. Work out paces are even faster and at the height of our season, some girls run a mile somewhere in between the five to six-minute pace.

We focus on strengthening our core, legs, and hips because those are the muscles we activate most in order to run the distances we do at the paces we do it at. The continuous running, conditioning, and strengthening is the reason why our running team is one up there with the most successful at Loyola. Our strong mentalities, worth ethic, and conditioning is what makes the team great.

A runner will always be the first to tell you the miles and the times in the end really mean nothing. We don’t run because we like the feeling of not being able to breathe or the feeling of our legs giving out from underneath us. We run because we love the feeling we get after we break a time, after we’ve run longer than we have before, and the numbness we feel that lets us push that extra mile. We run for the girls that push us to go faster because they know we can. We run because at the end of the day there is nothing else we can imagine doing. The feeling really is like no other.

Runners aren’t insane, we just thrive off a different type of energy and need. It drives who we are. The type of energy no one will understand until they are one of us. So, come see if you can keep up.