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Dear Santa - All I Want for Xmas is a New Pair of Legs.



The cross country season is over and the recommended two week rest completed, a charge into the indoor season underway after Thanksgiving, maybe even extended as far as early in December in some cases. Coach Cretzmeyer always said miles were our number one priority at this juncture, the fifty to sixty we did heading into the conference XC meet no longer enough.


So we upped the mileage to ten or twelve each day if the 3 mile/5K was our race, those few poor souls who ran the 6 mile/10K adding another notch to those training distances. The first week back we put in sixty, rationalizing it wasn't smart to push a cold engine from zero to seventy-five the first week back. It made sense. No one needed an injury.


During the second week we religiously got in our ten mile days in the afternoon, some mornings adding early runs so we had a training log with 4 + 10, the eighty-two at the bottom of the week a number we could live with. As could Coach Cretzmeyer.


Logic might have said to do it with seven in the morning and seven in the afternoon, but as my father would have claimed, "that's the hard way" - both numbers on the dice the same. Huh? The army taught him this philosophy. He learned it playing "craps" during WWII, teaching us as little kids (it didn't make our mother happy) terminology of this game (and poker too) whenever he needed to babysit.


"What did they shoot Jesse James with?" Dad smiled as he blew on the dice. "A forty-five."


So instead we split it up the "easy way" with 4 + 10, or even 14 all at once, pretzel logic dictating either of these was better than two sevens. What? At least is seemed like it was.


And yet by the end of the dreaded third week, another 80+ mile week, even new running shoes were not enough to stave off dead legs, quads feeling like they had been beaten with a sock full of quarters, all of us shuffling between classes like old men.


Cretz's training principle of "3's" (3 days - 3 weeks - 3 months) again proved itself true - the third session is the toughest...but also produces the biggest breakthroughs.


I somehow got through the third week every year and eventually the soreness went away, but it would have been a heck of a lot easier if Santa had fulfilled my wish. It wasn't like I was making an unreasonable request. After all, I was a good boy...I swear.


But if my little brother says different...he's a liar!


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