Foot Locker Nationals - Dec 30 Entry
Wow! What a great experience Foot Locker was. It was an experience I will truly never forget. My coach, Matt Samuel, and mom decided they were going to make the trip out with me to San Diego, and then my sister talked my mom into letting her go also. We decided that it would be a good idea to get a hotel room near the airport the night before our plane left, since our flights were leaving at 6:00 am. The night we left for Philadelphia was the Wyoming Valley Conference XC All-Star banquet where both my sister and I were honored as all-stars. At the banquet I received congratulations and wishes of good-luck from just about everyone at the banquet: coaches, parents and fellow runners. The night was a great send off and got me really pumped up for San Diego.
We left the hotel at 4:30am. Since my mom, sister, and coach would be on a different flight, I was nervous about flying alone for the first time, but when I arrived at the gate for my flight I saw Brendan Shearn, and a few minutes before our flight boarded, Max Norris showed up. Half of our flight we slept, and then Brendan showed us the color he thought our uniforms would be (and he was right!). Our first flight landed in Dallas, Texas, which is a huge airport. I was really happy I had Max and Brendan with me to get to our connecting flight, or I do not think I ever would have made it to San Diego! When we got to our gate we met up with many other Foot Locker finalists, who were mainly from the South Region.
When we arrived in San Diego we loaded the buses to go to the hotel. The whole island of Coronado was so beautiful. It was quite different from NEPA in December! The hotel was gorgeous and was definitely very different from the hotel I stayed in the night before (ugh! But not naming names). I met up with Kennedy Weisner to get our bags from Foot Locker filled with running clothes, shoes, spikes and our uniforms. With all the stuff that we received it was basically like an early Christmas, and as Brendan predicted, our uniforms were black. At dinner I got to meet all the Northeast regional girls and after dinner we played “Minute to Win It”. The game was really fun despite our lack of skills, and it was cool to be bonding with all of the Northeast girls. That night I went back to my room and immediately fell asleep because I was so tired from the long day of traveling.
After an interesting breakfast conversation with Marisa (the West Regional champion), we boarded the buses to see the course. Everything became so real at this point, there was a huge screen up and stars painted everywhere on the field. There were also video cameras and cameras everywhere which made you feel like you were famous! The course was not too bad, but the hill was a climb. The course never got boring; there was always a twist or turn to it. In my opinion the course is really fair and a great course for a national championship. When we got back to the hotel all the Northeast girls wanted to relax before the race the next day, so we went down to the beach, and played some card games.
That night we went to dinner and were able to meet and talk to all the professional athletes. Some of the Northeast girls and I got a picture with Meb and then he tweeted the picture!! This was one of the best parts of Foot Locker, getting to meet and talk with all of the professional athletes was so cool, and something I will always remember. These runners have competed with the best in the world at the Olympics, World Championships, NCAAs, and Olympic Trials but they all talk about how important their Foot Locker experience was for them. The fact that I would be in the same race that all of these professional athletes were in at one time was really motivational and got me pumped up for the race.
Race Day! I woke up early because I was so excited, I was not nervous at all, just excited. I could not wait to put on my uniform, I felt so honored to be wearing that uniform. After breakfast we rode the buses to the park. Everyone was very quiet on the way over. Going into the race I really did not have a set goal for a specific place or time that I felt I needed to reach to be satisfied with my race. My coach and I felt I may have been past my peak, but I was still going to give it everything I had. Getting called out onto the starting line was so cool. When you heard all of the accomplishments of each person in the race you realized how competitive the entire field was going to be. I got a pretty slow start and the course narrowed up fast, but I had lots of opportunity to move up since it’s a small field. I worked my way up into the place I wanted to be a little after the mile.
Meb!! HE TWEETED THIS PICTURE!
I stayed in the place range of 16th-20th for most of the race, and ended up taking 19th which I was really happy with. For where I was at in my training, I was happy with the time I ran and the place I finished.
After the race, my XC season was FINALLY over. I skipped my cool down and ran around the course with the Northeast girls to cheer on the boys. After the race my teammates and I enjoyed a post-race meal of burgers and fries overlooking the beach. That afternoon was the first time I did any sightseeing, and I went to La Jolla Cove to check out the sea lions and beautiful San Diego coast with my family and coach.
With Ally at La Jolla
After the awards banquet it was time to celebrate! After the dance we found out that our bus was leaving at 4:00am. Since that was only a few hours away, a few of the Northeast girls and boys decided to stay up and continue the celebration all night. It was an awesome night consisting of going to the beach, going in the hot tub, visiting the “haunted” hotel room, and much more. At about 3:30 we had to get back to our rooms and quickly pack. I threw everything in my suitcase and walked out to the bus. On the bus and through airport security I could barely keep me eyes open. When we got on the plane I crashed and slept the entire way. The second flight did not go so well when we had an emergency stop in Cleveland which turned into a six hour delay. We did not get back to Dallas (PA) until 2:00am! I did make it to my second period class on Monday.
I have to give a HUGE thank-you to my local running community, the local running club, former coaches, former athletes, coaches from other teams, parents of teammates, teachers from my school, family, and even a booster club from another school in our conference donated funds to help with my coaches travel expenses so he could share this experience with me. The support and congratulations I received from competitors, friends, coaches, fellow students, parents, and everyone else was overwhelming and humbling! I am so thankful to have such an abundant amount of great people in my life. The friends I have made through running will far outnumber the amount of titles, medals and trophies I will ever win.
Every aspect of this whole experience was AMAZING! Foot Locker goes above and beyond for us cross country runners who are usually taking a backseat to the football, field hockey and soccer players in the world of high school sports. I really hope I have the opportunity to make it back to San Diego next year!
My first trip to “The Del” with my mom and uncle in 1999 (who lived in San Diego). We were just touring the island and hotel.
Had to run a lot of miles to make it back and actually stay at “The Del”
Foot Locker Northeast - Nov 30 Entry
My name is Regan Rome and I am a junior who runs for Dallas High School, and this year I qualified for Foot Locker Nationals! I will start out by telling you about my summer training going into this season. I run six days a week and average around 45 per week, and this felt very comfortable for me. I did not do any cross training this summer because I worked full-time at a day camp all summer and that left little time for anything beyond a daily run. My teammates and I do not do any workouts in the summer, just distance training. I like to run a couple of local road races, my favorites that I have been doing since I started running in junior high. My highlight of the summer (as it always is!) was going to Shippensburg XC camp with my amazing team. As you can see from the picture we have a big group that goes.
Dallas team at Ship XC camp!
I have been going since the summer before 8th grade and have so many great memories together with my teammates. We also get to meet runners from all over the state, like the Lower Dauphin team and Coach Butler, who we saw at many invitationals throughout the season. Our Coach(ie) spends the week with us and his “Bro”, Coach Butler.
Paige Stoner and I running together this summer at camp.
Going into this season one of my goals was to break 18:00 on a 5K cross country course. Our conference championship course is not flat, but the conditions that day were perfect. I went out from the start and took the lead very early in the race, around the half mile. I went through the two mile in 11:30 and that was the end of the big hills. I knew that the final mile was easier than the other two so I knew if I continued to push myself I could break 18:00. I ended up running 17:42, which I think even surprised my coach. That time was almost a minute faster than my time from last year at this meet. This gave me a great confidence boost going into the championship season.
Start of our conference championship
For my team the highlights were winning PTXC4 (which was our favorite meet because we got cool, green sunglasses!) and I got to watch my teammate Dominic Deluca really come out and run an impressive time and finish second. Another highlight was the Foundation meet which we won as a team by a large margin, and my sister really came out and had her first good race in a big field.
Teammate Dominic and I at PTXC4. Dominic finished second that day!
PTXC4 Champs! (In our sunglasses!)
Now it was the time for the big races, starting off with districts. I am from District II and well, if you were not at that meet you will never understand how much mud there actually was. The Elk Lake coaches worked really hard to make the course better, but in the end it was impossible to fix the course. The Elk Lake coaches were up at 4:00am working on the course, but the course was just not fixable. This race consisted of 5000 meters of mud. There was not one bare spot on the course and not just a little mud, there was a foot of mud. I won the race and when I finished I was not the least bit tired because you physically could not go fast enough to make yourself exhausted, but my legs on the other hand were tired from working through all the mud. There were a lot of upsets that day and one of them was my team losing and taking second. We knew we had to bounce back from the loss and get ready for our ultimate goal which was to win states.
This was taken on a spot not even on the course….
In search of grass!
The 10 days leading up to the state championship went by really fast and our team grew really close after the loss at districts. We all wanted to win states really badly and I wanted the individual state title. The morning of states I woke up not feeling well, and I could not eat; which was odd because I always have an appetite no matter how nervous I am. My teammates and I started our warm up and immediately my stomach started hurting. I did not want to tell my teammates or coach how I felt because I did not want to worry anyone before their big race.
The first fifty meters of the race felt difficult, and at the mile things got painful really fast. My entire stomach and back was in pain, I could hardly stand up straight it hurt so badly. I knew I had to finish the race for my team and even though I would not be able to win I could still score a point for my team. I took a devastating third that day and ended with a time almost a minute slower than what I was aiming for. At the end of the race I dropped to the ground and for the rest of the day I could hardly walk because I still was in so much pain. The next morning, my sides ached like they had been bruised. They felt like your calf does after you get a really bad “Charlie Horse”.
Another disappointment that day was when my team lost by only three points, but we still placed a respectable second. On a better note, my freshman sister Ally had a terrific race. She ran a 19:51 and earned an 18th place medal, I was so proud of her. My teammate Allison Grose (also known as Big Al) went under 21:00 clocking a 20:59, her best time ever on the course in her final XC race for our team. Even though losing states was really hard, my teammates and I are even more motivated than we were before and we plan on coming back just as strong next year. Congratulations to Courtney Smith and Tony Russell for setting very impressive course records at states!
Second place at states
Even as we drove home from states, after such a disappointing day, I still wanted to do Foot Locker. I knew the state race was not me and did not show my true ability. If anything, I was even more motivated to run well at Foot Locker, to show what I could really do in a competitive race. I was the only one from my team that was running Foot Locker, but my teammates still met with me every day after school to keep me company and they even helped me in my workouts. My teammates Ally Rome, Bryanna Dissinger, Allison Grose, and Maggie Fannick ran every day with me. This really showed me what amazing teammates I have and I cannot thank them enough for all of their help/encouragement and I know I could not have done what I did at FL Regionals without their support. I also became even more motivated when the all-state selection list was posted…that’s all I have to say about that.
My coach, my mom, and I decided to go to Regionals the night before. I made a few changes in my routine (maybe being superstitious): I wore a different Under Armor top, I did not wear spikes, and I did not wear my hair in braids (I race better when my hair is in a ponytail). I was assigned bib number 666 (the devil’s number) for my race which worried me a bit. Also, I even went as far as bringing my own dinner, but then we decided to go out to eat anyway. I got baked ziti which was really good! At the hotel I got to see my camp friends: Josh Santeusanio, Cole Nissely, and Devi Jagadesan which was really cool and kept my mind nice and relaxed. I also bumped into Mr. Rich in the elevator and when I forgot my room number I accidentely knocked on the wrong door and it was Mr. Rich’s room, whoops (Maybe that was a sign of my good luck to come)!
The day of the race I felt nervous, but I was more excited for the race. I could not wait to redeem myself after the state meet. My dad drove my sister and three of my teammates/best friends down to the meet so they could cheer me on. Having my teammates there relaxed me because I am used to having them with me when I race. When I got over to the starting line Paige Stoner, who I met at camp, stood with me on the starting line. I felt more relaxed having a PA girl by me in this big race. The race started, and I did not get out too well, but I was not too worried and I easily began working my way up as we went around the field and by the time we were entering the woods I was in the lead pack.
Photo by Patty Morgan
When we went across the bridge for the first time, I was actually leading for a bit, but Rocha easily took the lead in the back woods and I just hung with two other girls. Coming down the straightaway I could not believe this was happening. I was actually going to make it! I crossed the finish line in fourth place. I was so pumped! I had achieved a goal that I had always dreamed of achieving. I was so excited I was almost in tears when they had us in the tent and I was excited to see that Kennedy Weisner made it and I would not be the only PA girl going to San Diego.
I cannot thank my coach enough for investing so much time in me over the past few weeks and being so supportive, and my teammates for being the greatest teammates ever, and my mom and dad for believing in me and being so supportive. Now it is on to nationals. I took yesterday off, but plan to go right back into my training today with a longer run!
Also congrats to the 4 PA boys that made it to San Diego, the three PA teams that made it to Nike Nationals and Kennedy Weisner for also making it to San Diego! PA reppin’ at Nats this year!!!
Medals! (Photo cred’ given to Maggie Fannick)
My Workouts leading up to Regionals:
• November 8th- Eight Long hills
• November 10th- 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 600, 400 putting the workout in perspective of my race, the intervals were a little faster than my race pace.
• November 14th- 3200 time trial on track, ran an 11:00
• November 17th- 4X400’s a the same pace I would race the first mile, 3 sets of bleachers, 4X400’s going faster (I reached about 73 on these 400’s)
• November 21st- 6X800’s cruise intervals (just went at my tempo pace)