A CalBears.com Blog by Hillary Hayes and Collin Jarvis Welcome to the Cal cross country blog - Bear Country. Throughout the 2012 Golden Bear season, seniors Hillary Hayes and Collin Jarvis will be providing exclusive insights into the team. Make sure you check the blog regularly for updates and information about Cal cross country.
October 25, 2012 - On the Road to Pac-12s
The Bears have been training with focus and intensity this past week as they prepare for the Pac-12 Conference Championships held in Santa Clarita, Calif. After a challenging battle last weekend at the Badger Invitational in Madison, Wisc., the Bears experienced a taste of what NCAAs will be like. The Bears had to adjust from the 80-degree sunshiny Bay Area to the 30-degree frigid and wet Madison, Wisc. Let's just say everyone knew who the Californians were, as we huddled in the sunshine with every bit of our body covered in sweats, beanies, and gloves. Besides the difficult adjustment to the temperature, Madison was beautiful. As we ran the dirt trails around the glossy lake, the air was crisp and the sunlight shined through the colorful trees. It felt good to stomp on the Madison campus wearing our Cal gear and making it clear that this was Bear territory for the weekend. Madison's course reminded me of the Terre Haute, Indiana course: thick grass, wide track, a stampede of runners, and a prolonged finish. With 49 teams and about 320 girls in the race, having an aggressive start and settling into a good position was vital. A lot of us, Bears, seemed to get caught up in the chaos at the start. Overwhelmed with the crowd, while getting spiked and hurdling over girls who fell, I say it was as if we were going into battle. By the time we settled into the race, the release of adrenaline from the start dissipated, and it was too late to begin moving up the pack. Finishing displeased and frustrated, the race did not play out in our favor. At times this can be one of the most frustrating feelings. However, such disappointments, perhaps injuries, setbacks, and the emotional toll and pure exhaustion of the sport is what keeps runners hungry for more--hungry for success and hungry for challenging the body to its greatest limits. What keeps me motivated, what makes me enjoy the sport the most, and one of the main reasons why I will never give up is because of my team. A team bond, I believe, is the most important and fundamental element of success in the sport. Having a family of teammates by my side everyday erases all of this pain, negativity, and disappointment I may feel. Cal cross country is the only sport on campus that is a co-ed boys and girls team, and it is very special to be a part of. We see each other everyday, whether it is running, lifting, strengthening, class, or just to hang out. We share the same common goal: to compete at an elite level for not only each other and ourselves but to represent the University of California. We are all affected by one another and share the constant miles, the pain, the sweat, and the fight for the feeling of pure bliss, that feeling of crossing the finish line with no doubts and knowing that "I gave it my all, for myself and for my teammates". We inspire each other everyday and we pick each other up when needed. We carry a tradition of being a family that I am so thankful to be a part of. These years at Cal have been the most rewarding, enjoyable, and precious moments of my life that I will always cherish. Standing on the starting line wearing the Cal uniform with pride, we must have confidence in our talent and trust our training, leave the starting line with no regrets and run without looking back. Make sure to check results this weekend as the Bears take on the Pac-12 teams to fight for the Conference Title!
September 28, 2012 - The Bears Get a Taste of Virginia
Now that a few days have passed and I have let the race sink in, I reflect:
I hit my alarm for 6 a.m. and lay there in bed for a second so my mind can register. I slowly get out of bed, stretch my legs, lace up my Nikes, and run out the door. Still dark outside, the team and I meet in the hotel lobby for a ten-minute activation run to wake up our legs. We wonder why are we so tired? Oh, right we are running at 3 a.m. California time! In our matching white Cal cross country shirts, we run down the streets of good ole' Charlottesville, Virginia as if we are running the streets of Berkeley. The few individuals who are out at this hour stare at us as if we are crazy. We just laugh and realize you know what we are crazy, but we live for this crazy sport. As our legs wake up and the sun begins to rise, we know it is time, time to trust our training, time to reward ourselves for all the hard work we have done, time to run as a team, and time to run fast. It's race day!
A few hours later, we arrive to the Panorama Farms course and it is a perfect 75-degree sunshiny morning. The course is located on a beautiful farm, with lush green grass. As I gaze out to the horizon it looks as if it is a painting; hills that travel for miles and a bright blue sky that is endless. An 8k for the men and a 5k for the women, the course is unique yet deceiving. After warm up, we lace up our spikes, put on our uniform, and walk to the starting line together. Looking down at my Cal top, I think to myself, I am going on my fourth year of wearing this uniform. To be a Golden Bear and to be a part of a prestigious program with so much athletic history, it truly is a blessing. Toeing the line, it feels like forever waiting for that familiar sound, the sound of the gun to start the race. The starting gun goes off and the release of adrenaline succumbs the body. The roar of the crowd and the University of Virginia band disappears. The only sound is the light steps of our fellow competitors. The mile goes out at a comfortable pace, 5:25. I attain my relaxing state, that inner peace with my body. It is a state in which I am not only conquering my competitors but conquering my inner fears and negativity. The rolling hills on the course keep my mind busy. With a challenging course like this it is easy to zone out. However, pushing the up hills and letting momentum carry us down hill is key.
There is a solid pack of us, Bears, throughout the race: Christine, Ashlyn, Mariel, and I. Running as a pack makes it comfortable and familiar in a race. It is nice having your best friend and teammate by your side. I cross the finish line with Ashlyn, placing 18th and 19th, and Mariel and Christine a few seconds after, placing 22nd and 23rd. With a close pack running together, we ended up placing 4th with 83 points. Kelsey had a stealthy performance placing third 17:37.4, the eighth fastest all time at Panorama Farms!
Although we did not score any points to boost our regional rankings, we did however learn a lot from the trip. We took Coach Sandoval's 20-minute rule to heart. The 20-minute rule is essential to a runner's mentality after a race. We have 20-minutes to be upset and to release the negativity from a race. However, after 20-minutes we have to realize the race is in the past and now we learn from our mistakes and push forward. A certain quote always relieves me and that is, "yesterday ended last night: you have no control of the past, so cherish your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses". I think the key element to team is to be patient. It is still early in the season and this race was an important opportunity to see where our fitness level is and what we need to strengthen. For almost all of the girls, except Kelsey and I, it was their first time traveling. Traveling takes a toll on the body, especially adapting to a time change. With more experience, hard work, patience, positivity, and dedication we can only improve!
Looking forward to the Bears racing this Saturday, September 29, at Stanford Invitational. Remember, as you put on that uniform, you represent Cal and you are not only running for yourself but also running for your fellow Golden Bears!
September 21, 2012 - Running Is Not Only A Sport, But Also A Lifestyle
With the start of a new cross country year I think to myself, where have these last three years of my life gone? Feeling very nostalgic, I still remember perfectly the day I received my acceptance letter and I officially became a true Golden Bear. As I look back on my years at Cal, I assess the fact that I am no longer the freshman who seemed to get lost multiple times on campus or the sophomore who had no indication of what she wanted to major in or the junior who tried to imitate everything the team captains did in order to be just like them. I am a senior now and I have come to the realization that these past three years at Cal have shaped who I am today and who I aspire to be.
With bright and eager new faces on the team, I am so excited for them to experience a four-year college journey of their own. A journey in which they realize running is not only a sport, but also a lifestyle. It is a lifestyle in which you are a student athlete 24/7. It is a lifestyle that becomes a part of you. It is a lifestyle that teaches you to live confidently in the direction of your goals. You learn to never give up because it is not just about hitting certain times or placing in a race, it is about the individual and team growth the sport provides. It is a lifestyle that flourishes from positive energy and thoughts. And lastly, it is a lifestyle that creates friendships and memories that will last forever.
We have trained hard this summer, running countless miles, being smart about our conditioning, and sacrificing three weeks for altitude training. There is something special about this team. With a team full of talent and determination, I know we have the potential for greatness. With a new team, a new assistant coach, new goals in mind, a new track, and the ability to create a new legacy, this year we have our sights set on the prize: for both the men and women to qualify for NCAAs.
September 21, 2012 - Moving Forward
It's a new year, with new faces, a new asst. coach, and new attitudes. Cal cross-country has been changing pretty dramatically in the last decade, and this year in particular the changes have been remarkable. We have the biggest cross-country roster that we've ever had, and undoubtedly the most talented. There are 10 or 11 men battling for a top-seven spot, each with a legitimate shot to make a scoring top five. This type of competitiveness within the team has never been present, and I attribute it to the type of guys that have come onto the team. I come to practice each day more excited than ever because I am surrounded by people who are dedicated and motivated to becoming more than just what is expected.
In the past, the most frustrating aspect of team sports for me has always been lack of effort or discipline within a given team. For instance, in a game of soccer one could have an amazing game yet still lose because of a lack of preparation or effort from other players on the team. I have always held myself to a high standard, and I expect nothing less from those around me. When there are people on the team less dedicated or motivated than myself, I can't help but get frustrated. What my teammates do reflect on me, and vice versa. Part of why I started running is because it allows some selfishness through individual success, and I was able to avoid worrying about what teammates did (or worse, didn't do). But I've found that the success that I achieve on my own is much less satisfying than the success achieved through a team; which brings me back to this Cal team. This new team is by far the most motivated that I've been on. There is an atmosphere of accountability and dedication that has formed itself through competitiveness, and on a personal level it has motivated me to a point that wouldn't have been obtainable on my own. I get the sense that I am not alone with this newly formed passion, and I love the culture that has been created. To add to the positives, our team consists of about three quarters underclassmen, and they are all pushing the older guys and each other to new levels.
This year, I'm looking forward to seeing this team make a statement, but even more so I'm excited to see how this team continues to develop. I only have one year left after this one, and I know that my time here will still only be the tip of the iceberg when looking at what is to come. I just hope that in that time I can instill as much drive and motivation as possible into this emerging team, so that when they are representing Cal as a top distance running program that I can say I contributed to their success.
Look for results this weekend from Virginia, where Chris Walden, Matt Carpowhich, J.P. Slater, Renaud Poizat, Augustin Alva, Jordan Locklear, and Simon Schmidt lead the Bears into a new era of distance running at Cal!
- Collin Jarvis