Friday, August 31, 2012

Coach Vamvakas Guest Post

For Labor Day weekend, our XC team has 3 days without a scheduled practice. Although we hope this weekend is fun and relaxing for our runners, it is also very important that they use these 3 days well to help their bodies both recover and prepare for next week’s schedule. Even though we will not be practicing as a team, the workouts each runner does individually this weekend are just as important as whole-team workouts. Here is a brief explanation of what these 3 days should look like: 

One day should be an active rest day. Active rest does include getting up and moving, but it does not include a workout. Great activities for an active rest days are walking, doing a light hike, skateboarding to a friend’s house, cleaning the whole house for an hour, or doing yard work. For your active rest, your heart should not be racing and you should not be out of breath, but you should be up and moving. This day is very important because it allows muscles to rest, rebuild and recover. 

One of the days should be a cross training day. Cross training is any workout other than running. Some good options are biking, swimming, playing basketball, hiking a 14er, or attending a Zumba class. It is a workout that uses your whole body, but that uses it differently than how it is used when running. You should be out of breath with a high heart rate during your workout. Cross training is part of the recovery process, but is also part of the training process because it strengthens your muscles by using them differently. 

Since there is an extra weekend day, each runner should schedule one run. The run should not be extra long or extra fast. I recommend running a little longer than the course (about 2 miles), at a moderate pace. A moderate pace is slower than race pace, but faster than conversational pace. If you think about it in gears, a moderate pace is your 3rd gear out of 5 gears. This day is essential in preparing for our short but intense week when we get back together as a team. We have 2 races, back to back, meaning we don’t have the practice time to get these miles in. Running once this weekend will help prepare for our meets. 

Of course, doing all the lunges, stretches and general strength routines throughout the weekend will benefit you greatly.

It is important that every team member do each of these workouts. It doesn’t matter which day you do the workout, but when you do them, do them well. As always, it is necessary that you properly fuel your body this weekend with good, healthy food and lots of water. Have fun with your weekend training schedule, and enjoy your 3-day weekend!

Coach Vamvakas

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sierra vs. Castle Rock Pics & Re-Cap

Before we get to the awesome pictures of the race a couple days ago, I just want to throw out a couple thoughts on how I think we raced as a team.

It was great to see the 7B & 7G teams get their first victories of the year.  I though those squads raced a lot better than they did last week, and it showed with decisive victories. The 8th graders ran great as well, as they went 2-0 on the year.

However, the coaches have cautioned the kids about thinking they are "all that and then some".  The coaches saw numerous things that could have been better (looking over the hills), that could be improved upon (form in the finishing kick), and as an entire team (getting out in the start).  We need to work on these things if we are to continue reaching our potential as racers.

But, enough with the criticism, let's look at some awesome pics from Carla Gerome and Kelaine Thompson.  (Carla and Kelaine, it looks like you could set up a website to make some cash off these, they are beautiful shots!)

Brayden staring down the competition

Cole striding out of the parking lot

Ella on the finishing straight

Josh surging to the finish

Kinsey off the ground!

Natalia fighting up the steep hill

Sierra 8th graders coming out of the parking lot

Sydeny running up with the boys at the start

7 Grade start, Sierra up front!

One more thing, early dimsisal from practice on Friday. 4:15!

Coach SEP

Water Bottle Belts

A couple of athletes yesterday were asking me about my old-school water bottle belt.  I was happy they were interested, these are a great tool for training.

It's a remnant from my old days as a nordic skier back in NH.  When we would go on 3-4 hour overdistance skis out in the woods, or 2 hour long runs in the summer, we would have to bring water with us.  No Camelbaks in those days, so we all had water bottle belts.  I still have a few of mine leftover from my HS/college days, so this year I decided to start bringin it to pracitce.  

Yesterday, my old water bottle belt saved my bacon.  I was having a tough day, but by being able to take small sips of water throughout my run, I made it through 2.5 laps of the XC course.  I was pretty tired at the end, but I was able to get in a safe, efficient productive workout, even though I was having a not-so-great day.

If you want to get one, any specialty running store (Boulder Running Co. Runner's Roost) or even outdoor stores, (REI, Wilderness Exchange) will have them.  They are great to have, just don't use them when racing!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sierra vs Castle Rock Re-Cap

It's almost ten o'clock, and to be honest, I am exhausted.  I am just going to post the results, as well as the write-up I sent in to our principal for morning announcements on Wednesday. Then I gotta get some shut-eye.  Hopefully pictures and analysis tomorrow.

In cross county, the Eagles traveled down to I-25 yesterday to take on the Knights of Castle Rock Middle School.  Running on a tough wooded course, the Eagles clawed their way to a decisive victory.  The 8th grade boys won by 21 points, scoring in 10 of the top 15 places.  The 8th grade girls also won their race, beating Castle Rock by 26 points, and scoring in 10 of the top 15 places as well.  There was no one outstanding performance in 8th grade, it was truly a team effort, as all of the kids stayed together and pushed each other to exceptionally fast times.

In the 7th grade races, the 7th grade boys had their first victory of the young season, beating the Knights by 29 points.  After seeing Castle Rock take the top two spots, the Eagles finished in the next 10 spots, which is an impressive of a performance by a seventh grade team the coaching staff has seen in a long time! The 7th grade girls were not too shabby either, winning their first race of the year race handily by 14 points.  Sydney Compoz came in first overall for the second week in a row, followed by 8 teammates in the top 15.

It was an magnificent performance for the Eagles, as they won the overall by 90 points!  The Eagles race again next week at Rocky Heights, where they hope to continue with their undefeated season.

7 Boys Results

7 Girls Results

8 Boys Results

8 Girls Results

It was great to see such a large turnout at an away meet, and it was even better to see the team win so decisively   Let's keep the momentum rolling through next week!

Coach SEP

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sierra vs Mesa Re-Cap

Let's start off the blog post with some awesome pics from yesterday, courtesy of Carla Gerome!

Start of the race, ignore the storm clouds in the back

Connor running past the road gate

Noah looking up the hill

Dani driving her knees

Addy focused on her competitors

Ashley's finishing kick

Coach Vamvakas recording results
What a great day it was yesterday.   The above pics tell you how hard all of our athletes worked yesterday.  Every day we work hard, and meet days are no exception. With over 250 athletes from Mesa and Sierra running, it made for a Tour de France like atmosphere!  I was so excited to see so many athletes and parents and coaches and members of the community out at Sierra cheering all the competitors on!  Even with a little bit of rain, and a few distant lightning bolts, the meet went as smoothly as it could have.  Many thanks go out to our parent volunteers, the Sierra coaching staff and Sierra athletic administration.

The overall results had Sierra winning the meet by 39 points.  The 8th graders from Sierra won both their races, while the 7th graders from Mesa won both their races.  In cross country, the low score wins.  You are assigned a point value based on your place, and with the 8-boys sweeping the gold silver and bronze, that propelled us to the win.  The 8-girls had an exciting conclusion was well, with two Eagles sprinting to the line, being separated by less than a second at the finish.

For the 7th graders, they learned a lot in their first race yesterday.  Even though they were nipped out by 8 total points for the overall win, I think they will bounce back next week with better racing tactics and expectations to be able to snag a win.

Below are the results for Eagles only.  We collect our athletes times and place, not our competitors. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

Sierra 7 Boys Results

Sierra 7 Girls Results

Sierra 8 Boys Results

Sierra 8 Girls Results

Good work everyone, I am very proud of all of you!  With no one over 20 minutes for the first race, that shows our hard work is paying off!

Coach SEP

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mile Time Trial Results

Over a deceptively difficult mile course I laid out at SMS (net gain of 25 feet, but the first third was downhill.  The last 2/3 were all uphill, gaining just over 55 feet in elevation), we held our mile time trial today.  The purpose of this time trail is to figure out true fitness of the athletes, so we can group them in appropriate groups for training over the next few days.  We had 101 kids running, so using an interval start, here are the final results.

A few quick thoughts on the results, as I have not really analyzed them yet.  Big props to Nick, Morgan, Ashley and Tad.  They won their respective age/gender groups.  With Tad running a 6:11 and leading the way, I expect big things from the squad this year.  I seem to recall seeing Tad at the track this summer, and I know Ashley did some summer work as well, so that goes to show that dedicated training really pays off.  And I am sure Nick and Morgan did not sit on their butts all summer either.  Excellent work by those four athletes.

Excellent work by all the athletes, I was commenting to a spectator that I saw maximal effort from everyone, and that is what I am looking for.  Times are irrelevant, especially on a mile XC course.  Effort is what counts, and getting better every day.  The coaches have noticed that we have improved so mucha s a team this week, imagine where we will be once we start racing for real!

Easy training this weekend, you all know your running homework assignments, and I can't wait to get back to some hard core running on Monday!

Great job everyone, you should be really proud of yourselves!

Coach SEP

P.S. Thanks to everyone who helped with cleaning up the course.  That is awesome, we will have the best course in the district yet again this year!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

SMS XC Update

What a great turnout at the meeting last night.  I copied 120 schedules and 120 agendas, and we ran out!  That is fantastic!  The schedule can be downloaded a couple posts below this one, the agenda can be found at the bottom of this post.

Big props to Mr. Stairs, our new Sierra AD.  I thought he did a great job with his opening presentation, what he said really is true, sportsmanship, character and integrity are held in high regard here at Sierra, we demand those qualities from all of our athletes.

Friday at practice, we are doing a mile time trial, then maintenance day!  Our course is a little bit overgrown, and we believe that if we can get all hands on deck for an hour, we can make the course pristine!  Make sure your athlete brings gloves, pulling thistle bare handed is not much fun.  If any parents want to come, with mowers, weed whackers, shovels, rakes; that would be fantastic.  The more people helping out with the course, the better it will be.  Thanks in advance.

In terms of nutrition, I have written a few times about how parents can help get kids to eat better, some guidelines for healthy eating, and how much and when to eat.  Feel free to click on those links and brush up.  Sometimes it is easy to fall into the habit of processed foods, when fresh healthy foods really are the best for your athlete.

And of course, water, water, water.  All day every day.  Simple.

Coach SEP

P.S.  Here is the agenda from last night, in case anyone missed it.

2012 XC Parent Meeting Agenda

Welcome & Coaches Introductions

Sierra Running Philosophy 

Build lifelong runners
Sierra XC alum are successful in academics and athletics at Chaparral
Run in college at CSU, Mines, Tulsa, U of Virginia, CU, Drury, U of Arizona, UNC-Greely, Air Force, Hastings, Montana St, U of Washington, etc
It’s about the journey, not the destination.
We don’t worry about wins, we worry about working hard every day
Run Happy Bracelets

Monthly Schedule (hand out copies)
Shortened Practices
Course Maintenance
Home & Away Meets 
District Championships

How A Meet Works -
Distance of Course
Home vs. Away
Scorers (1)
Chute (2)
Place Cards (2)
Timer (1)
Course Monitors (3-4)

Practice Protocol -
Attire (Adam & Nicole hold up examples)
Water & Nutrition
Water all day long, no energy drinks
Eat healthy foods with minimal ingredients
Parent Pick-Up (4:45-5:00)

5 km Race at Sierra
It’s up in the air as to whether it will happen, according to Mankin
More details to come in emails.

Post-Season Meet??
Still up in the air. More details to come as we find out.

Post-Season Banquet
The Wednesday after our last meet
More info will be forthcoming in emails

8 Dollar T-shirts

Coach/Parent Communication
After practice 
After meets
Not during practice, or during meets


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Day Recap

Great first day of practice yesterday, we had almost 80 kids out for the team, and all of them worked really hard at the drills we gave them.  Attendance went smoothly, running form drills were attacked with vigor and enthusiasm, and then the lunge routine was executed with focus even though the athletes were pretty tired.  All of the coaches were very pleased with yesterday's practice.

If any of your athletes woke up this morning complaining of soreness, that would be expected.  Even being active all summer long, working on specific running drills and exercises stress the muscles in ways they are not used too.  Don't worry, the soreness will go away in a couple days, as the muscles get used to the workouts and grow stronger.

I want to make sure every athletes is properly hydrating. Even though we had a cool overcast day yesterday, it will be sunny, and it will be hot for most of our practices.  Hydrating throughout the day, at practice, and especially at home after practice, is really important.  Dehydrating athletes end up sluggish, tired, and potentially injured.  Water, water, water!

Can't wait to meet everyone at the parent meeting on Wednesday afternoon.   5:00, Sierra cafeteria.  Bring questions!

Run Happy,
Coach SEP

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sierra Eagle Cross Country Schedule

SMS XC 2012 Schedule

Welcome everyone, to my humble part of the internet.  My name is Brian Seppala, I am the Sierra XC HC as well as the Chaparral T&F HC.  I try to use this blog to get information out to the athletes and the parents in the most efficient way possible.  This blog is not affiliated with DCSD, so while it is not the "official" word, it is the direct word from the coaching staff.

Feel free to browse through the archives, to get a feel for what this blog is all about, if you are new to the SMS/CHS running scene.  I try to have a little bit of humor, some real-world advice, and a lot of public praise for our athletes.

I am super excited for the SMS school year and XC season to start, and I hope to see lots of parents at the informational meeting on Wednesday night at Sierra.

Brian Seppala