Off The Beaten Path With Cross Country Runner Shannon Murakami
Sept. 27, 2010
What a crazy couple of weeks we have had! Between returning home from Mammoth training camp, school starting and the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto (not to mention all the miles our team has been running), I'm exhausted but happy. Mammoth was a blast with all of the team bonding we had. Not only did everyone get to show off their cooking skills but it was nice to get away from the busy streets of Los Angeles for a little bit and hit the scenic trails that surround the Mammoth area. Not only did we get to run on gorgeous trails and bond, but the women's team had great workouts and runs together (minus getting lost along the way). However, as much as I loved Mammoth, I did miss Westwood and being at UCLA. Within our first ten minutes of our first run back in LA, the streets were filled with sounds of people honking and yelling, and oddly enough it felt like home.
The great thing is that the bonding didn't stop in Mammoth. Once we got back to LA, a group of us grabbed food together in the dining halls and a few of us went to the football game against Houston, which was a blast. Then this past week has been all about preparing for school and for the Stanford Invitational, but thankfully our team wasn't too overwhelmed with all the preparation. We had mile repeats early in the week, and our team rocked it on the muddy course. After the workout, I felt super confident that we were going to have a great showing at the meet. We had good runs the rest of the week, and it was nice easing into school on the first day (with my one class on Thursday and no class on Friday). Plus, we celebrated three of our girls' birthdays this week (Allie Lopez, Taryn Pastoor, and Sierra Vega), which was great and eased the stress the day before the meet. So it was nice for the team to all be together again and not being stressed out before a meet.
Stanford Invitational was everything I expected and more when it comes to invitational races - hot weather and a lot of people. The race at Fullerton was minute compared to Stanford. There were over 200 girls on the line with our team this past weekend. The course is located on Stanford's golf course which includes grassy terrain and rolling hills. We warmed up, laced up our spikes, screamed the UCLA eight clap, and lined up on the crowded starting line. Then the eerie silence hits the field as the gun is raised to begin the race. Adam Goucher (professional runner) once said, "I love controlling a race, chewing up an opponent. Let's get down and dirty. Let's fight it out. It's raw, animalistic, with no one to rely on but yourself. There's no better feeling than that." This describes the race perfectly. Girls are pushing and shoving, people trip and you never see them in the race after they are trampled by 200+ girls, and its game on. Our girls got off the line pretty well considering the size of the field and the race was off. For me personally, I was happy with the race I ran. I went for the win and ended up finishing 3rd, but considering who was in the field, it was a great race for me. The race had some great teams and individuals in it. Everyone had pretty good races, and we know the mistakes we need to fix in the future. We finished 5th overall, and we know we can beat some of the teams that were in front of us, so when it comes to the end of the season, I have no doubt we will be ready to roll.
We headed home on Saturday afternoon, so it was a pretty quick trip. The plane ride home included our team, and the team from the other side of town. We received a shout out on the plane from the flight crew, and we all sat anxiously in our seats for updates on the UCLA v. Texas football game, and we cheered when we found out our team won. I think it goes without saying; it was a great day to be a Bruin. Next meet is Notre Dame on Friday, October 1st.
Gotta run, Shannon Murakami
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