Every morning after the team is woken by Markus with one of his one-of-a-kind sayings, everyone has about 15 minutes to get dressed, brush their teeth, put in contacts, etc., before the approximately 1.5 mile trail run. For a normal person (me) who needs water and coffee as soon as I wake up and doesn't always hop out of bed when the alarm goes off, this was a daunting, but doable task.
The goal of the trail run is to get faster each morning you do it. The returners have to match and then beat their times from last season, while the freshmen look to improve their times each morning.
It was an interesting, but definitely not easy trail as the three words I used to describe it were: hilly, muddy and buggy. I thought I hit it reasonably hard and finished with a time of 9:34, which was not bad for my first try. It was also much easier when you have 35 people cheering and encouraging you to finish strong.
Following the run are abdominal work and pushups. Each player gets to lead the team in a 30 second exercise. My turn was last and Ashley Bares whispered to me to say, "bring it in." I did, but it didn't fly with Frank (Pelaez), so we did pushups instead. After we finally "brought it in" it was time for some much needed breakfast and coffee for me.
The team worked on technical skills during the second training session. I sat on the sidelines following the warm-up for most of the session and observed, which in the end sort of hindered me when Markus told me that I had to do a miller.
What is a miller? I asked the same thing. I should have known millers were sprints. I thought I was going to have to do it by myself until Markus told the team I was going to do millers and everyone joined in to do them with me.
Just as they encouraged each other the entire practice, they encouraged me to give it my all during the sprints. It was much easier to do sprints with others than to do them by myself. It proves that no matter what role you play on the team everyone is going to support you. I actually thought the sprints were not too difficult, but with "cold" legs it was tough for me to go all out right away. I think I could maybe do two or three millers (with a two-or-so minute break in between) if asked to.
All in all, I enjoyed my experience at Whitcomb. It might have been too short as when I left I wanted to stay for the rest of the day. Tonight's theme is jersey night and I can only imagine what the team will come out wearing.
I have said the following statement each season I have worked with women's soccer team, "they are a special group of young women." I want them to do well and succeed not just because I work with them on a daily basis, but also because I know how hard they work and how bad they want it.
Note: This is the second part of the a two-part entry as I experienced just short of 24 hours at Camp Whitcomb with the women's soccer team.