UC Riverside’s Brett Valencia Blogs on Early-Season Workouts at Mammoth Mountain

Courtesy: Lauren Kane, UC Riverside

September 13, 2010   

UC Riverside cross country sophomore Brett Valencia kept a blog from this year’s high altitude training at Mammoth Mountain, and has shared it with gohighlanders.com. Now you can see for yourself what high altitude training at Mammoth Mountain entails by reading below. Don’t forget to check out the 2010 Mammoth Mountain Photo Gallery and watch the 2010 Cross Country Video Preview as well (also posted below).

It’s that time of the year once again! After ten long grueling weeks of intense heat and bitter humidity in Riverside, the UCR men’s and women’s cross country teams finally get a well deserved break in the serene environment known as Mammoth Lakes California. 

After what seemed to be a very joyful and speedy six hour trip up the hill, the distance men experienced their very first run at altitude. It was windy, the sun was shinning, and each step my body shivered due to a lack of oxygen. Overall, it was a good run. 

After days of similar struggles and oxygen deprived nights, the miracle of adaption reared its beautiful face and the UCR cross country teams were ready for their first week of running. 

Coincidently, with the start of any elite training program also begins the immense physical taxations of the human body, typically known as threshold runs. These usually occur every Tuesday for the Highlanders. Due to it being perhaps the most beneficial aspect of training, each threshold experience brings its own unique lesson to be both mastered and overcome. 

This Tuesday however, August 24th 2010 the UCR cross country teams were visited by photographer John Maxwell the head coordinator of Media Relations for UCR athletics. Being all very stunning and handsome ladies and gentlemen, the somewhat photo shoot gave each of us the extra inspiration to have a solid workout. This was our very first intense workout at altitude.

The intense workout session was then followed by a strength and conditioning circuit at the famous Mammoth Creek Park, a typical Tuesday and Thursday routine for the Highlanders. This includes kettle bell swings, med-ball abs, and sometimes some very funny inside jokes that utilize our core and upper body. 

This aspect is very crucial for long distance running. Luckily for every hard day’s work there is an equally beneficial recovery day that usually occurs Wednesdays and Fridays. This includes easy runs, ice baths in the Old Mammoth Creek and team meetings at 7pm. 

Excluding the running, I believe these weekly team meetings are the main focus of the UCR Mammoth running experience. As we assemble every other day we not only bond more into a more cohesive unit, but also learn life skills that benefit both our running and our lives. 

Perhaps the true meaning of these meetings can best be stated as it is often displayed on our training diaries: “Plan to succeed, Train to succeed, live to be successful.”

With the first week of training done and the second week well under way, the Highlanders decided to then take their first steps into the cross country season by journeying to Reno for the Twilight invitational. This is very exciting not only due to it being the first race of the season but also due to it being in Reno, “The Biggest Little City in the World.” 

The men’s race went off at 7:20 pm which was then followed by the women’s race at 8:30. Both teams got their first rehearsal for the conference Championship, which is to be held October 30th. It was overall a very successful afternoon as each team placed second with the men’s race highlighted by a first place finish for Chad Hall. 

After a very enjoyable dinner, and some time at the poker table, both teams were more than ready to head back to Mammoth Lakes to finish off their final training week at altitude.

It’s the final week of Mammoth. It’s easy to breathe, camaraderie is high, and everyone is fit and balanced with regards to their bodies. Perhaps this is why it seems to go by the fastest. 

For the previous two weeks our entire lives have evolved into a constant perpetual state of run, eat, and sleep. You could also put in the occasional nap or friendly game of poker, but you would be missing the point. The point of the matter is that everyday has been run, eat, and sleep, nothing more. 

There hasn’t been any school work, parents, jobs, parties, boyfriends, girlfriends, or any other peer induced tension that can upset the delicate balance that our bodies are currently in. That is why the final week is important. It is due to that fact that we are so close to going home, so close to all the anxiety and stress that we could potentially put ourselves through. 

As a third year student athlete, I have witnessed the negative effects those kinds of stimuli can have on an individual. It can be catastrophic in terms of eliminating all that a person has strived for in terms of mentality and personal fitness. 

That is why I urge both myself and my fellow teammates, that we must remain dedicated. We must continue our healthy habits. We must not just go with the flow, but be independent and sturdy with our personal goals and academics. We must pay the price everyday so that we can reap the rewards of our labor on October 30th 2010. 

If we maintain this dedication that we have worked so hard for these past three weeks, then we will be truly be inspired and amazed. We must truly RUN WITH THE BEST!!