By Erika Nichols
Saturday, March 7
About 9 a.m. we arrive in Florida. I had driven the last four-hour shift and was starting to get tired of driving and being in the car for so long. Our first run in Florida is just a short “shake out” run to get our legs moving again. The distance girls do a half hour run around the area as a group to get a feel for the weather and our legs.
Sunday, March 8
We got to sleep in today until 10 a.m. The entire team will be traveling to the state park down the road from us to do our workouts. The distance women complete two or three 2-mile loops to make our mileage for the day. The sprinters have a walk-jog-sprint workout around the park as well. The throwers get a chance to throw on the beach, which is mostly empty today. The weather is a lot warmer than Michigan, so some of us start to notice how dehydrated we are.
Monday, March 9
Monday represents the hardest workout for the distance women. We run ten 400s (once around the track) with a very small rest time. The workout is an accumulation of the repeats we have been doing in Michigan so far. The workout goes well, but as the temperature rises throughout the morning, some women need to take water breaks in order to stay hydrated. We workout at Bay County High School’s track.
We head back to the hotel and arrive around 11:30 a.m. Some of the women and men decide to walk down to the spring break “headquarters” where you can get free stuff, see MTV concerts and participate in other spring break activities. Although the trip is a team training trip, we do take time to have some fun.
Tuesday, March 10
Every year we go putt-putting with our head coach Hayden Smith. Each room makes a team and we play all 18 holes. If you beat Hayden, he will buy your ice cream afterwards at the ice cream shop. This year no one beat Hayden. This is the first time that’s ever happened since Hayden has been coach here at Albion since 2002.
Wednesday, March 11
Today Kenny Chesney is coming to the Spring Break “headquarters,” so many of the women decide to spend the day down at the concert.
Thursday, March 12
Lil’ Wayne is in town today, and some of the women head out to see him.
Friday, March 13
It’s our last day in Florida. We get up early to workout before we have to pack up and head to Birmingham, Ala. We spend a couple of hours getting everything around before driving five hours north to Birmingham.
Saturday, March 14
Meet day! We arrive at Birmingham Southern College bright and early to get started. Unfortunately it has started to rain, and we are forced to retreat to the vans until we need to be outside for our races. The meet is quite large: a total of 11 teams are participating in the meet, and some events have eight or nine different heats. The meet provides us with both Division III competition as well as Division I and II talent. It’s great to run against teams who have athletes who are better than us, so we can get better ourselves. It rains all day on and off.
Unfortunately the track does not have a lot of space to stay dry, so we have to be creative. Overall we did well; there were no team scores, and a few of our women even placed in the top three in their event.
As we head off to Michigan again we look forward to next year when we get to spend another wonderful week in sunny Florida.