PennTrackXC Journal: Tessa Barrett, Abington Heights - Entry #4 - Dec 4th - Running toward a dream


Abington Heights senior Tessa Barrett qualified for states in XC as a freshman and sophomore, and after an eye-opening 17:58 at the 2012 Tennett Invitatonal, she looked destined to challange for a state AAA title. But a mud-fest at the District 2 meet led to an injury, and the opportunity was lost. She bounced back in indoor with a solo 10:02 3k in February. Her 3000 at PTFCA champs was an epic battle with Courtney Smith and Regan Rome - one she ultimately won in a state record 9:47.73. She would go on to take 4th at the Penn Relays 3000 in 9:40, and then 2nd (to Smith) in another battle at outdoor states, going 10:25 for 3200 meters. This year she opened with a stunning 17:26 at Cliff Robbins, and then not only won the Gold Race at PIAA Foundation, but set the course record for the Poop-Out Hill layout in 17:48. And then she followed in the recent spike-prints of Neely Spence and Angel Piccirillo, winning the Foot Locker Northeast Regional.


Entry #4 12/4



Entry#6 3/19  |  Entry #7 3/30  |


     Cross Country:  

Entry #1 10/8  |  Entry #2 10/17  |
  Entry #3 11/11  |  Entry #4 12/4  |  Entry #5 12/29


Tessa Barrett
SR. Abington Heights HS, PA


Journal Entry #4 (December 4, 2013)
Pursuing a dream and heading to San Diego!


Hello PA Runners!


Picture from one of my favorite trails to run on; I spent a lot of time here before Footlocker!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I don’t know about everyone else, but my break seemed to go by too quickly! Last week turned out to be quite a whirlwind. I had a couple of final exams and papers due before the break, and I was so busy studying, I really didn’t have much time to think about my race. (Well…I still thought about it; I was still checking out Milesplit or Flotrack every time I took a break from studying to learn more about my competitors and the course at Van Cortlandt!) I am a bit of a running nerd, I have to admit; I love reading new information about running!


Anyway, after my exams were over on Tuesday night, I was finally able to take a deep breath and relax. Wednesday was pretty routine, I went for an easy 40 minutes and then swam. I really enjoy swimming on easy days; it always seems to refresh the mind and body.


Thursday morning, I went for a brief (but cold!) run. Congratulations to anyone who ran a Turkey Trot or race that morning in the Northeast, it was a chilly one! After my run, my parents and I packed up and headed to the Bronx. We wanted to avoid the Black Friday traffic, so we left on Thanksgiving and had dinner in New York.


On Friday, my parents and I made our way from the hotel in Yonkers to Van Cortlandt Park. It was my first time visiting the park, and seeing the course, so I was a little nervous. I walked the course with my mom, and we got totally lost! Thankfully, I ran into Mady Clahane, who was running the course, and she showed me the right way to the finish line. Thanks again, Mady!


After I walked the course, I ran it. By that point, my mom and I were freezing so we met up with my Dad and headed back to the hotel.


Before I knew it, it was Saturday morning already! I woke up around 6:30, and did a 10-minute shakeout run in the parking lot.  A few hours later, we headed to the course. I was getting pretty nervous at this point. I watched the start and most of the first mile of the races preceding mine, and soon it became time for me to warm up and do dynamic stretches.


My coach, Rob Ahrens, and an old teammate of mine, Sean Burke, came to cheer me on which was great. I did my warm up with them, and then headed over to the line where my Dad was holding a spot for me.


The race seemed to go by pretty quickly; I got in a good position and just tried to maintain in that position for the whole race. I ended up finishing first, after a little duel with Hannah Debalsi from Connecticut with 600 meters to go, and I felt better at the end of the race than I did at the beginning, which was kind of cool! I was really excited to have earned a spot to go to San Diego. Making it past regionals and to Footlocker Finals always seemed like a far off dream; a small hope that had manifested in my sophomore year when I competed in the regionals at Sunken Meadows.


I really couldn’t believe that I had done it, because this time last year, I was on crutches, and hobbling around my neighborhood block, pretending I was running. Yes, I really did spend 10-20 minutes each day hobbling around my neighborhood.  It wasn’t running, but it kept that hope alive that one day, I would return to the sport I loved.


After the race, my parents and I made the journey back to Pennsylvania. I knew I was home when I saw snow on the ground. I really want to thank my parents for everything they have done in the past few weeks to help me prepare for Footlocker. It was a long four weeks after States, but I’m so glad I continued to train and I am incredibly grateful to have this amazing opportunity! I’ve never been to the West Coast before :)

-Now a little bit about my training going into Footlocker….

Summer 2013:  Easy to moderate running 6 days a week,(Tuesday through Sunday) averaging around 40 MPW. Every Monday, I spent cross training, no running. I also stayed really active this summer when I wasn’t running; canoeing, biking, swimming, hiking, etc.


Fall 2013: Monday- Most Mondays I took off from running and cross-trained because of college visits and just to stay in the same routine as the summer. The key for this season was to stay healthy!

                    Tuesday- Dual Meet or Tempo Workout with the team

                    Wednesday- Easy distance run 40-45 minutes

                    Thursday- Usually another Tempo workout on the track

                     Friday-Easy Run, 40-45 minutes

                     Saturday-Race, Hill Workout or Fartleks

                     Sunday-Long Run-50-70 minutes (70 minute runs were more common in the beginning of the season, 50 were more common toward the end)

I averaged around 40-45 MPW during the season.

From States until Now: Pretty much the same routine I kept during the season: my mileage has remained about the same, and I have incorporated a little more swimming just to keep the legs fresh.



Read about Tessa's challenges with a rare condition that threatened her running career