Coach Radnoti's 2011 Cross Country Blog

Robert Radnoti

MALIBU, Calif. -- Pepperdine cross country coach Robert Radnoti will update fans and supporters here with what's happening to his teams during the 2011 season:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our cross country season has now concluded. It's time for a break for the team. We will rest for a couple of weeks and start up a few days a week following Thanksgiving. Our cross country banquet is scheduled for Saturday, December 3, 2011 and we would like a great turnout so we are inviting the team, parents, friends and alumni. If you want to attend, please email me at

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It was our final race of the season -- NCAA West Regionals. And, it was the final collegiate cross country race for eight seniors who will be graduating in April (yes, we end school early). The race was set on Stanford's golf course, just as the early season Stanford Invitational. The women had a chance to run the same 6K course and better their times from early in the season and the men "got to" run the 10K for the first time all season. The weather was near perfect for cross country running. Yesterday's light rains cleaned the air and the course surface was soft but not muddy like the previous year's in Oregon. Everyone ran well (see race writeup on website) and the season concluded nicely.

A perfect moment was shared on the bus ride home. Hannah DeWalt purchased Martinelli's sparking apple cider. She poured everyone their drinks in our Gatorade cups and asked everyone to wait as she wanted to make a toast. We all gathered around and Hannah pulled out her smartphone where she had made notes. She proceeded to toast everyone on the team; spending several minutes on each person and talking about the blessings each has provided her and the team. Aneasha Lawrence and Lauren Lodge joined in on the toasts along with LeeAndrea Morton toasting Hannah. This was a special time that I wish I had recorded. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

We had our morning bus ride to Northern California. The guys asked for Lily's burritos with chocolate milk for breakfast and they proved to be yummy! The bus ride took less than six hours and we've found that is about the same as flying, given the bus ride to LAX, the waits, the bus ride on the other end, etc. And, our athletes have told me they prefer the bus as it is a good time to study and socialize.

We arrived at 3 p.m. at the Stanford golf course to preview the course. The golf course was only open from 3-5 p.m. so everyone was there -- the Pac-12, Big West, WCC and a few others. It was a great atmosphere.

In the evening there was a coaches' meeting so the team went to dinner near the hotel while Dale Reicheneder and I attended the meeting. There was not any controversy this year so the meeting went rather smoothly. We confirmed that next year's NCAA West Regionals will be in Seattle. And, with our conference meet in Portland next year, we better get our rain gear ready :)   

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Today was the last cross country practice for the seniors. And, fittingly, we held practice in Alumni Park. Several told me the easy run was nostalgic. The team is ready for NCAA West Regionals at Stanford University.

Also, today, we welcomed Lindsay Flacks to our track team's coaching staff. Lindsay is a former Stanford All-American runner who participated in the World Cross Country championships in France in 2005. Lindsay will bring a wealth of experience at the national and international levels to help our women's distance runners. She came by to visit yesterday and is going to be a very important and strong member of our coaching team. The team and I are excited to welcome Lindsay! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's a full moon tonight - make sure to notice and smile. This morning we went to Malibu Creek for an hour run as we prepare for NCAA West Regionals. And, right at the entrance to the park we were greeted by five deer who did not move as we ran by. I love to see the wildlife while out running.

In the evening, we held our annual alcohol and gambling awareness evening with dinner served by coaches and staff from Wood Ranch. So very good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

After our last recruit has left I send out a questionnaire for feedback on our just completed official visits. Here are a few excepts:

Hi Coach! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go out and visit Pepperdine! It was truly an experience that I will never forget from beginning to end. Everything that happened was better than I could have ever imagined and your team and yourself really made it special. Good luck with your upcoming race I will be rooting for you all. Thanks again.

Advance Communications: I have been interacting with a few colleges and in comparing the communication Pepperdine was the most consistent in trying to communicate with me in my college search with running and a lot more personal than the others. Even communication involving the official visit went smoothly with you being on top of everything from when we got to the airport to when we needed to leave.

Dorms: The dorms were nice and the hosts were very welcoming. The rooms seemed pretty spacey compared to other dorms and it was fun that all the male recruits were able to hang out and stay in one dorm. 
Sunday evening events: All the events were a blast, it was awesome getting to interact with all of the recruits and getting to know some of their personalities. The scavenger hunt was a great challenge and I absolutely loved Team World. Pictionary was fun as well and learning the song from your dream was really funny, who knew singing and trying to do some choreography would be such a great bonding experience. I do not know if I will ever be able to forget PEP PER DINE!
Practices attended:  Attending a practice was a good preview of what I will be doing next year. The view on the morning run was breathtaking! Also to see the team dynamics during practice. I noticed how all the teammates were very into practice and high-fived when they completed the workout. The pool workout was different to see. It was very relaxed and fun. 
Interactions with Coaches: All of the coaches seemed very kind and knowledgeable about running, and they all showed that their main focus was on the kids. They helped everyone feel extremely welcome and safe, and It was amazing how honest, up front, and real all of the coaches were with all of us and about what they were trying to accomplish with their program, us as students, and with the team.
Interaction with Student Hosts: The hosts were incredible! They were all very welcoming and extremely easy to talk to. All of them had different things to say about their experiences so far, and it was great to see that they all were a family. It was fun being able to ask them anything we wanted and all of them were super helpful whether we were talking about running, school, or extra things to do on campus. Birthday ball is a really fun first impression and I can't thank them enough because they were the ones who helped shape our experience at Pepperdine. All of the hosts and other team members were genuine and it was really cool to see that they were actually interested in who we were and what we were all about.
This trip has made it very clear that Pepperdine is at the top of my list. I will defiantly be sending in my application soon. Thank you for the opportunity.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

The morning began with practice at 6:37 a.m. in Legacy Park. By NCAA rules the recruits can not practice with the team; so they watched and talked and enjoyed seeing who they intend to beat next year. After practice everyone went off for showers and we met up again in the Cafeteria for a hearty breakfast. Judging by how much the recruits get (one had two large breakfast burritos) they liked the food. Next it was off to classes with our students. Each recruit is given a schedule of possible classes to attend. The most popular are child psychology, sports nutrition, great books, political science and advertising. Then we met for lunch and a few took the campus tour while others attended an additional class. In the late afternoon, the recruits met up again at our pool workout and then said their goodbyes. It was a great group and I would be proud to coach any one of them - or all of them - for their four years in college.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Today was the start of our first official visits for 11 recruits. I started picking up athletes at LAX with the first arrival at 8:30 a.m. and the last at noon. On the way back to Malibu, we stopped at In-N-Out Burger as I have learned that our recruits love this stop. Once to campus we met the rest of the recruits at the track and they were whisked away to the check into the dorms. I spent some time talking with parents who dropped off their sons and daughters for their Pepperdine experience.

We met up again at 5 p.m. in the Trophy Room for dinner from world famous D'Amore's. Everyone seemed to enjoy the baked ziti, pizza, Caesar salad, garlic bread, chocolate milk and Gatorade. Afterward, our athletes headed off to study while the recruits and I spent the evening talking about the program and doing a few teambuilding activities to get to know one another. Each year these turn our incredibly well and this year's feedback showed that the recruits did it again. The evening was highlighted by singing of the new PEP-PER-DINE song (see Friday, November 4, 2011 blog entry). Then the recruits were off to Malibu Yogurt.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This was our last long run of the Cross Country season and we went to our favorite location at Sycamore Canyon. It is an easy 20 minute drive up the coast on Pacific Coast Highway to the run. The sun was shining bright and the ocean air was clear to Catalina. That is always nice as often we end up the run at the beach. Today, the team was going only an hour and a half and I'm wasn't going that long so that I could spend a little time reflecting at the beach. It was a beautiful day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I had a dream in which a Pepperdine song was sung. I was not sure if it was real or just a dream. So, in the morning I sang it for the team. And, it was not real - it was in my dream. The song is to the tune from the Mickey Mouse Club.  M I C .... K E Y ...  M O U S E..... Mickey Mouse lalalala.

So, my dream song was  P E P ..... P E R .... D I Nnnn E ...... Pepperdine ......  Waves  ....... lalalala.

Remember to always dream bigger and bigger as Joseph did.

We held our last strength training session before NCAA Regionals, opting to start up again right after Thanksgiving for a couple of weeks before finals.

This afternoon our #3-ranked women's soccer team plays San Francisco. We are going as a team to support our soccer players and will do our water workout at halftime. Roll Waves!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This morning's run was in Cheeseboro Canyon and it was 37F at the start - if you can believe that!  But, it warmed up nicely as the sun came up.  I was humbled during the run back by a young woman who flew past me (I caught her at the end as she walked the last part to the parking lot).  While I was waiting for the team I decided to see who see was and introduced myself. It turns out it was Lindsay Flacks, a former all-American runner for Stanford. She's working and living in Calabasas as she prepares her medical school application. Of course, I ask her if she might be interested in helping with the team. And, this afternoon I get an email from her asking about helping. Yippee!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today was our last mile repeat session in Malibu Creek and for our seniors, their last mile repeat session of their college cross country careers. I hope they continue to do mile repeats in their post-college future running careers, though. It was nice as the sun was just coming up as we began our first repeat. Everyone ran faster than past sessions and now it's time to get those legs fresh for NCAA West Regionals at Stanford next weekend.

Our pool session was a good one as the team is focused on using our ancillary training for recovery.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can you believe it's November already? Time sure flies when you're having fun. We had a recovery run today and distributed WCC gifts. Each year following the WCC Championships, participants are awarded gifts from the WCC. This year there are nice jackets plus travel bags. I love to give them out as it makes me feel like Santa Claus. This year's gifts are pretty nice and our student-athletes like them. So, that is a bonus.
Also announced today was the selection of WCC All-Academic teams. Of our 13 non-freshmen participating at the WCCs, 12 made the All-Academic team. That must be a record for us. 
And, today I received a note from our first recruit that completed her application for Admissions. I flagged her application as an athlete and reminded everyone that applications this year are due by January 5, 2012, but it's good to get them done much sooner. 
Monday, October 31, 2011 (Halloween)

In the mornings (and it was quite dark this morning) we end with a stretch that includes a little game that has evolved over time. We bend over at the waist and bring it up into a W for Waves, With each successive repeat, I say, give me a "letter" for ......."  I wanted to trick everyone today as they always then guess what word or phrase I'm going for. So, I did give me an H for ..... (they all yelled Halloween), the next was give me an A for ...... (they all yelled Halloween), then I said give me a P for ..... But Jesse got it right away and said Happy Halloween. We have a bunch of smart student-athletes!  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Race day at the final WCC Championships at Crystal Springs. Bob Rush has run the meet there for 27 years in this wonderful neighborhood park that has served as the home of cross country for 50+ years. They have hosted numerous high school meet and up to national championships. The who's who reads like the famed Mt. SAC course down here in Southern California. The courses and Bob Rush will be missed.

And, today is a great way to go out -- near perfect weather! Since I have been here it has always been cold, raining, muddy, foggy, etc. But, today the sun was out, the course was dry and everything was perfect. Our team ran well with nearly everyone PRing for the course. The WCC did a nice job welcoming BYU to the conference and the championships went well.

After the races (see writeup on the website) the WCC hosted a group from the local boys and girls club. I volunteered to talk with the young folks about leadership and then got the kids organized for a short run to the finish line. It was lots of run as a little girl named Raven won -- we were not racing :)

After the races, we all showered back at the hotel and then attended a very nice banquet in the grand ballroom of the Sofitel Hotel. Our team dressed up very nice and all the seniors were honored. Pepperdine tied for the most seniors in attendance. It was very nice.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Road trip to Northern California - only delayed :(

Our bus to Crystal Springs had the wrong departure information and was two and a half hours late. But, our student-athletes are awesome. Rather than whine, Hannah DeWalt suggested that we had time for celebration chapel. And, Jonathan Rahaeuser said, "This gives us time to go to Ralph's and get food so we don't need to stop on the way."  And, off we all went with joy in our hearts. I think I saw almost the entire team shopping at the local Ralph's. And, when I entered Stauffer Chapel, our team saw me and made room for me to sit with the team in the packed service. It was fun singing with the team. I'm so proud of them.

We did have a nice ride up the 5 freeway and settled into our hotel, had a nice dinner, coaches meeting, team meeting, and off to sleep. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today was one of the most glorious of days when the sunrise was a blazing yellowish-orangish just above the Pacific Ocean looking back toward the queen's nest of Long Beach. With the WCC Championships just two days away now, we all took an easy run followed by a relaxation/visualization session that our team and I love. Sometimes it gets so relaxing that someone falls asleep and that happened to two athletes today somewhere in the middle of the Crystal Springs course :)

Then afterwards I had one of those special moments with an athlete when she came to me with a concern for a fellow student (not one of our athletes). We had a good talk and ended with an amazing prayer for this wonderful young woman who faces some very difficult obstacles in life. It's nice to be there for our athletes when most needed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WCC Championships are just three days away and we are in our taper.  I moved our normal Victory trail run to this day so that tomorrow could be a much shorter run close to campus. Right after Convo, our Director of Athletic Communications, Roger Horne, and our video coordinator, Jordan Holm, taped interviews with several of our athletes to include on our website (look for them in the future). We certainly appreciate all our staff do to help promote our team. It was fun to hear our students' perspectives on their time here at Pepperdine and on our team. I am very proud of all of them.

We had our usual pool workout which was mostly just jogging as we reduce our workload and get our legs fresh for Crystal Springs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Monday night men's group is reading a book called Pagan Christianity. It is about the many church rituals that did not come from early Christianity or the Bible, but from pagan culture. So, this morning as we warmed up in the pitch dark waiting for some light to run safely, we spoke about it as a team. I shared with my men's group last night about how our teams' spiritual development has been going this season and it seems like we are progressing like the early church. It was kind of cool.

In addition, I shared with the team a story of Tim Tebow's interview following the Denver Broncos' amazing victory on Sunday. Tim spoke about a little boy he spent time with before the game (I believe he was part of a Make-A-Wish like program). Tim said that the game was secondary to the time he spent with the boy. At the WCC Championships, we have an opportunity to spend time with local members of the boys and girls club and we are going to remember relationships created and loved shared is more important than the competition. We are looking forward to the important aspects of life - and enjoy our sport at the same time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our final hard workout before conference championships consists of 1000m repeats followed by 400/350/300/250 finishes that mimic the Crystal Springs finish.

I had an opportunity to lecture to Marv Dunphy's coaching class. This is one of my favorite things to do each year. I dust off my old notes from my Exxon days and talk about a systems approach to coaching excellence. Today I added a portion on InSideOut Coaching which advocates transformational coaching versus transactional coaching (Google InSideOut coaching for more information). It was fun!

Sunday, October 16-23, 2011

I had a family emergency in Colorado and had to fly there for the week. In my absence assistant coach Dale Reicheneder coached the team. Since we are very senior dominated, most everyone knows what to do anyway.

While in Colorado, our team trained hard to prepare for WCC Championships next week.

As part of my time in Colorado, I had the opportunity to meet with several recruits and their families and also to see four cross country races. It turned out to be a very productive week for recruiting - and more importantly, my son is doing much better.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Santa Clara Invitational was a good race for the team to let it go on a flat, fast course. The event writeup is on our website.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's time for another road trip and that has come to mean breakfast burritos from the Graziadio graduate school cafeteria. Our students tell me they make the best - better than Lilly's (I can not believe that) and better than Howdy's. So, burritos it was!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Once again, Victory trail is our pre-race run before heading out to Santa Clara.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It was a perfect morning! I love these special days when we have a full moon setting just as the sun is rising. A full moon and a full sun is what greeted us in Alumni Park this morning. And, this time of year the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean just as the Moon was setting in the Pacific Ocean. I love Malibu!

Today was also picture day. Everyone was looking good in their new uniforms which we will unveil in Santa Clara this weekend.

During our pool workout in the afternoon, I opted to be in the pool while the athletes were doing their workout as temperatures hit a reported 95-degrees here in Malibu. It sure was nice.

And, tonight is Survivor night after my care group meeting, and our runners are excited for athletes convo this evening. Our track team has a special dinner planned with Maurice Hilliard, our athletics department chaplain, followed by a team meeting and convo.

Wednesdays are busy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's a recovery day today as a quick check of mile repeats from yesterday showed great improvements  from a couple of weeks ago. Most of the team ran 10-20 seconds faster per mile. Good things are to come as we get ready for championship season.

Our new Nike uniforms finally arrived and today is also distribution day. We are all excited to unveil them in Santa Clara this weekend. They look fast! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

In order to get in our morning workout before weights we needed to leave about a half hour earlier for Malibu Creek in the pitch dark. Fortunately, the sky was starting to lighten up a little by the time we started our dynamic warm-up. And, by the time we began our first mile repeat, the sun was almost up. I think it finally made it up on the third mile. Our team ran them very well as this is a staple of our team - mile repeats. We have done them starting in Lake Tahoe during pre-season camp. We've done them in Alumni Park. And, we do them in Malibu Creek.

I like Mondays because we get a good morning run, followed by strength work (and we can really see our strength work paying off). Then, I get our Women's Track team on the track on Mondays (other days we are in Alumni Park). And we finished our training in the early evening with a pool workout.

Then, I get to be with my men's group in the evening. All part of being at this wonderful place called Pepperdine! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Today is another special day as our long run in Santa Monica is followed by brunch with Coach K. But, first it was a great day in Santa Monica as all the runners were out. Have you ever noticed how much faster you run when others are around. You think that everyone is watching and just quicken your step a little, Today was such a day. Even UCLA middle distance runners were out. Former Pepperdine assistant coach Johnny Gray was leading the UCLA runners through his old stomping grounds when he ran for the Santa Monica track club.

And of course the LA Leggers were out in force. I think there are 1500 members of the club and they spread out all over Palisades Park. Fortunately even for us old timers, we can run faster than most of them :)

Our long runs are getting pretty long now with most of the team putting in a good 2 hours, We will stay at this level for a couple more weeks before beginning our taper.

Then, assistant coach Dale Reicheneder and I met Coach K for brunch. Dale ran for coach K back in the late 80s and it was good to catch up with our previous coach. I invited him to our planned banquet which I am wanting to make bigger and include not just the cross country team, but the track team (for season kick-off), and parents, and alumni (reunion time!). Coach K agreed to come. He's 87 now and I think this will be a good outing for him. Our tentative plan is to hold on December 3rd. More details will come as we make it up.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It is an easy day, though not too easy as we also have our regular strength training and afternoon pool workout.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Victory trail is quickly becoming our favorite Thursday run and that is where we go today. We need a good recovery day after repeat and tempo this week. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's raining today! I can not remember the last time it rained here in Southern California. And, since we were doing a tempo run in Alumni Park, it was perfect preparation for WCC Championships and quite possibly NCAA Regionals. For the past several years, we've had light-to-heavy rains during our championship races. So, this was great! And, our runners ran well. The men ran 40+ minutes at tempo pace and the women did 30+ minutes. Afterwards, I was excited for our strength training, only to learn that it was cancelled since everyone was wet. Bummer! Hopefully, the pool will be open in the afternoon for our pool workout.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It was a recovery run day for everyone but Kenny Smith, who used Monday for recovery. That is one of the benefits of college running/coaching; we can be very flexible in our training and customize as needed for each athlete. So, Kenny and I went to Legacy Park to do yesterday's workout of 10x1,000m. And, Kenny crushed the workout. I see him running very well the next few weeks and leading the team.

After the recovery run, Becci Prather led the team in Pilates. This is a wonderful addition to our team. First, Becci is awesome! She is the assistant director of Campus Recreation and an amazing certified Pilates instructor -- and a runner. So, we is working on the team as our Pilates instructor on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Today was also the deadline for the Survivor application. And, I got my done with the help of former athlete Seth Allison doing my video. I know the chances are about one in a million. But, like the little boy in Angels in the Outfield says, "It could happen!"

Monday, September 3, 2011

I'm lovin' Legacy Park, which is nearby and affords us some flat interval training. Today we did 10x1,000m repeats and everyone ran them quite well. The season-long work is paying off for the team. We saw a beautiful sunrise on our warm-up as it is so nice to get going early in the morning. Our meeting spot in Alumni Park is near a big group of trees and early in the morning there are many, many birds singing in the trees before the sun rises. Then they get onto their business just like we do.

Strength training seems to be paying off nicely with our three times per week sessions with Stewart. And, everyone is liking our afternoon pool deep water running; especially after reading the Running Research News article I sent to the team advocating for deep water running.

Saturday, September 30, 2011

The team's favorite long run is always in Sycamore Canyon. It's a little ways out of town, but worth the drive. Some of the team members are up to over two hours of running. And, with a summer-like day, the beach is an afternoon plan. Personally, I'm done just after an hour of running and go into the ocean as we end right at the beach. It sure is nice and relaxing.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I wanted to get in another hard workout this week and opted for Alumni Park here on campus. We did mile repeats followed by 400m ups and downs. This turned into a fantastic Friday workout. Our guys and girls crushed the workout, pushing their bodies harder than any workout this season. I was not sure they would be standing at the end in order to make it to strength training. But, everyone made it and felt great. We even had chocolate Gatorade recovery shakes afterwards.
In the afternoon, we had a weird rainstorm come up for a few minutes before our water workout. But then the sun came out quickly, making for an awesome recovery workout (see blogs from 9/26 and 9/28/2011). 
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Last year we made Victory Trail our Thursday run and today was Thursday so ... Our athletes have been telling me for a few weeks that going right at the fork is better than left. I have always gone left because I'm stubborn and it's the way I've always gone. But, I am trying to be more open to others' ideas and so I went right today too. And, they were right. It was a very nice trail with a good gradual incline making the return fast.
In the afternoon, during track practice, I had three recruits show up for unofficial visits. It is always fun to talk with families and tell them about our dreams. 
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Legacy Park is proving to be a great place for intervals.  In the early morning, very few people are out and we have the whole park to ourselves. The pathways within the park are soft dirt packed and flat. It is hard to find flat areas to run in/near Malibu. Today's workout had us doing 4k, 3k, 2k, 1k with three-minute rest intervals. I liked what I saw today!
Once a month the Athletics Department holds a staff meeting. Today, Maurice Hilliard spoke about dreams. He told the story about Joseph when faced with the reality of his situation responded with bigger dreams. And, we have big dreams for our program -- I just made them bigger after Maurice's talk.
In the afternoon, we had a great water workout. I am very pleased with our three times per week water workouts. And, the athletes are having fun doing them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm sure most of you have seen the movie or TV series MASH. It seems like the folks at Malibu Creek State Park are doing it up! For years we have run there and know that MASH was filmed there. We always saw a couple of old broken-down vehicles from the series left there. But, now it seems to be blooming as, I'm guessing, a tourist location. They have moved in several more vehicles, erected the old hospital tents and placed placards showing scenes from the TV series with the actors in place so that you can see the background - and that it was filmed there. It's pretty cool. And, the run was beautiful.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yesterday I saw the movie Moneyball. I was a baseball fanatic when I was younger (remember Strat-O-Matic? I had every card ever produced for this game). The highlight of the movie (and I loved it) was the scene with Royce Clayton (husband of head sprints coach Samantha Clayton) walking by the soda machine commenting to David Justice that sodas costs $1 in the A's locker room. Coach Sam has been telling us all about the filming since last spring when Royce first started as a baseball consultant for the movie. It's pretty cool.

We took an easy recovery day today opting to just run in the morning before strength work and having an easy deep water running day in the pool. I forwarded to the team an article from Running Research News (from August 2005) discussing the value of deep water running as one of six "proven" recovery processes important to runners.

In the evening, I had dinner with a recruit and her father. The father brought one of his best friends who happens to be one of the producers of Survivor - my favorite show. I wanted to ask a bunch of questions - like how do I get on the show? But, like most Malibu-ites, I've learned to treat everyone like everyone and so we had a pleasant conversation about all sorts of neat things: hockey, 10-day meditations, Waldorf schooling, and just a little bit about Boston Rob and the Hance family. It was a fun evening! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stanford, here we come. Our team loves to stay in Northern California as we have a habit of staying at the Sofitel in Redwood City. This hotel is the host hotel for WCCs. So, I like to stay there for the team to get used to "our hotel." When we go to conference championships, I want everyone to feel comfortable. And, they do. We think the Sofitel has the best beds in the world. I know our student-athletes get their best sleep there. I know Pepperdine dorms have been selected by Princeton Review as "Palatial" - remember everything is relative. But, Pepperdine beds do not come close to Sofitel beds!

Stanford is a great place to go run. This year the course is a preview for the NCAA West Regionals. I try to take the team to this location each year.  But, it is also a great place to see some of our potential recruits race. The weather was perfect and everyone ran well!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today was a bus ride day to Northern California for the Stanford Invitational.  We were going for two reasons. First, the course is the site for this year's NCAA West Regional Championships. And, second, it is near Crystal Springs, site of the WCC Championships for the last 26 straight years. However, this will be the last year for quite a while. The WCC coaches voted to change to a rotation. We have been trying for years to do this. This past year it was approved by the Executive Board. The meet in 2012 will be in Portland. And, 2013 will be at Pepperdine! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It has been a while since we ran at Victory Trail just up Malibu Creek road. With Stanford looming, I like the concept of "victory trail". It is another beautiful trail and today was a nice easy run before leaving for Stanford. And, it's a needed recovery day following yesterday's hill repeats.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hill repeats in Malibu Creek Park. We have some good hills to run uphill and downhill repeats. With strength work afterwards, the pool workout in the afternoon was a must. It was nice to see everyone enjoying the pool. It has been a hard couple of weeks and though we will not taper for Stanford, I also need to make sure we are taking enough recovery to gain the benefits of the overcompensation principle.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today was an easy run in Alumni Park. Our students are starting to get hit with lots of papers and tests. So, today was a quick run and off to learn in school.

Monday, September 19, 2011

This morning brought our first somewhat chilly morning in Malibu Creek State Park, one of our favorites. For topographic reasons, this park is always much colder than Malibu despite being only 6.5 miles away through the canyon. But, it has a great mile repeat course as well as a nice long hill. Today, we ran the hill over and over again. For the downhills, we use a progressive method starting with shorter distances and moving up the hill (I'm the cone). I know this workout will pay off in a few weeks at Crystal Springs.

Afterward we had strength training. Our conditioning coaches continue to be very impressed with our little cross country runners (everything is relative as they were working with volleyball and basketball players earlier).

We capped the day with a nice and fun water workout in our Olympic pool. What a great day to start the week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our plan to run in Sycamore Canyon this morning went up in gridlock as the Malibu Triathlon was held today. Competitors ride and run along PCH north of campus on the way to our scheduled run. So, we went south instead to Santa Monica for one of the neatest runs along Ocean Blvd. and San Vicente. The LA Leggers were out in force (though our athletes said they have seen more in past weekends). There are about 1,500 members of the Leggers and they were out running. I like this route because of all the activity and runners. I think we all run a little faster when others are around (that ego thing). It was a good run for most with our top runners reaching about 17 miles this morning.

I had an opportunity to talk with Jesse Aston, a sophomore, afterwards. He told me about his student-teaching experience yesterday. Jesse is student teaching at the Pt. Dume Marine Science Elementary School. I was just amazed that he is getting this opportunity as a sophomore. Pepperdine is a great place to come for future teachers!

After our run and talk I had the great pleasure of meeting Coach K (Richard Kampmann), our previous coach. Coach K is now 87 years old and coached for over 60 years. His stories of past athletes still captivate me. I always tell people, "if you have the chance to be in the presence of greatness, go for it". We spent about two hours talking about running and life. This is always a great treat for me.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Legacy Park is proving to be a favorite of the team. This is a new park in Malibu that was created to resemble the L.A. area before development. It is filled with nature, plants, trees and even a pond -- plus for us, a nice flat dirt path that circles through the park. Early in the morning, no one is there and we got a good tempo run in this morning.

Our top women ran a 7K tempo and men ran an 11K. Our athletes are getting much faster - and stronger as they completed their strength training shortly after the tempo. And, with an afternoon water workout, Friday was another fantastic day of training. Tomorrow will be our first official long run in Sycamore Canyon. It is another wonderful location starting and finishing at the beach. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This morning found us running in Cheeseboro Canyon - one of our favorite running places. A few years ago I had this great idea to create a six-mile loop tempo run (before GPS watches). We now know it's more like 10 miles :)  Much of the team ran this today as a recovery run, or better defined as a day after a hard workout run. Thursday is one of our lighter days and it's nice to just run in nature.

In the afternoon one of our many recruits and her family came for an unofficial visit. I always like families to come and take the student-led campus tour, then attend an information session with a counselor, and then meet with me. This is a great way to get a feel for our "transformational program." 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As I like to say, "tonight's the night!"  The season premiere of Survivor. It's my favorite show and I just wish I could duplicate it safely somehow for a teambuilding event. But, I don't think it would be teambuilding :)

This morning the team "got to" run hill repeats through the Waves of Flags. What a great workout! It ended up being 4.5 miles of hill sprints, followed by a closing 300m to work out our finishing kicks when we are tired. I think we are tired today. But, the team can not be, as we still have strength training and then an afternoon pool workout.

This is my busiest day with the above plus a head coaches' meeting, track practice, and an evening Care group meeting before Survivor starts. Whew! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
This morning was a recovery run followed by drills. As our runners were out running, I decided to prepare for tomorrow's workout. I am very excited to incorporate our Waves of Flags display into tomorrow's workout. We have a hill workout planned. So, I am going to have the team run hill sprints between the flags up Alumni hill. They will weave through the entire display of flags. Since I wanted to test whether it was possible, I did the entire field of flags on the PCH side of Alumni. As best as I could count, there are 19 flags in each row (about 40 meters) and there were about 50 rows. So, the first set (which is all I did) was 25x40m uphill sprints. It was tough. And, I am looking forward to seeing our athletes run them tomorrow.
Monday, September 12, 2011
It was finally time to go to Malibu Creek for mile repeats for the first time this season. And, it was a good one. Normally, Malibu Creek can be quite cold (for us Southern Californians) in the early morning. It is often just 37F! And, it was cool but not cold yet. Our team was ready and ran off some good miles before heading back to the strength center to meet with our conditioning coach. Tubbs led the team today and while we were doing early season push-ups, Coach Gonzalez told us that our women's team was the best overall of all of Pepperdine sports in their push-ups. I was very proud of them. We talked about it during our pool workout later in the day. It was an easy pool day because the team had worked hard in the morning.
I announced to everyone that my beloved Broncos would be playing the Raiders at night. I felt like it was going to be a good season. But, it's not looking good. I think like many that it's "Tebow-time!!!"
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Our first Cross Country Invitational was at UC Irvine today. You can read about it here.
One of the things we did at the beginning of the meet, due to the lightning, was turn the day into a safety/learning day. A few years ago when we were racing in Florida, we learned about how to react to lightning. And, with the advent of smartphones, I called up websites with safety tips. We learned that lightning is the second-leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. We also learned how to best protect yourself and others and how to respond in case someone is struck by lightning. Perhaps one day these safety learnings will pay off.
After the race, we went over to the Wozniaks for our traditional taco and waffle bar. Our athletes love this and thank Gail and Paul Wozniak for their wonderful contributions over the years. Jordan is a senior and Conrad graduated last year. So, might this be the last year - say it ain't so!
Meanwhile back at Pepperdine, most students were participating in an event called Step Forward Day. Our track team was part of this Pepperdine-wide effort to travel someplace in the greater L.A. area to perform community service.  Our track girls went to a nature reserve and took down a crumbling retaining wall to make room for better things - it was a beautification project. More than that, it was a wonderful team-building experience for all of our track women. I just wished our cross country team would have been with them; as we are all one team!
Friday, September 9, 2011
In the morning we had our normal pre-meet practice. But, today I asked the men and the women to continue the visualization I set up yesterday by planning the race tomorrow at UCI. I asked them to visualize the warm-up, the race and the post-race celebration. This was a good way to involve our team in the planning and execution for our first invitational. 
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Today was a good day for a visualization exercise. I focused on the next two days leading up to the meet. As you know, there are many factors that go into peak performances. And, many of them are under the control of the athletes. This includes nutrition and hydration, sleep, stress-free days and nights, etc. So, the visualization led the team through each of these preparatory issues with the idea that tomorrow we will have another visualization focused on the race itself.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
We held our first interval session in our new Legacy Park here in Malibu. I was concerned that there might be people and dogs in the park, which might make our 2000m repeats tough on the hard sand-packed winding trails. But, fortunately, no one was out during our early workout. Just the sunrise. And, we had a good workout. Our athletes loved the flatness of the trails. We are often running hills due to the terrain surrounding Pepperdine. We had another great strength session and pool workout in the evening. It was a good day.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Today was the first day of off-season track conditioning. Coach Samantha Clayton will be leading the sprinters this year. Samantha brings a world-class level of experience having competed for Great Britain in the 2004 Olympics in Sydney. Plus she has such a great accent. The girls will all love her. Our first training session was at the strength center - just due to the Tuesday start. We are going to have a strong and fun team. 
Monday, September 5, 2011
It's Labor Day and after meeting the team for our morning run, I drive down to LAX to take mom back to Phoenix. She's had a nice visit here in Malibu. I'm hoping that she will one day want to live here. She would be great with the team - cooking Hungarian meals and making everyone feel special.
Friday, September 2, 2011
It's a post-meet run and then I'm off to Phoenix to get my mom (my dad died tragically almost exactly two years ago). I want her to spend the three-day weekend here in Malibu and out of the record number of consecutive days over 110F (I think it's over 30 days now).
Thursday, September 1, 2011
It's first meet day! Yippee! You can read about the meet here. But, it's also a hectic day for a coach hosting a meet, as we take care of everything. So, much of the day is spent out in Alumni Park, painting directional arrows and mile markers, placing about 1,000 flags into the ground to make sure no one takes a wrong turn, erecting the finish line.
But, it's all worth it as the team runs well, Cal State Bakersfield has a great experience, and we are off on our 2011 competitive season! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today was an easy run before "meet" day. But we still got in a nice run in Alumni Park and ended up at strength training. I can tell our athletes are getting stronger each day. It's fun to see as they build "guns."

Our off-season track women and three new cross country runners have their physicals today for practice to begin next week. UK Olympian and head sprints coach Samantha Clayton and Yahvoh Totimeh spent time in the office talking about the track season and recruiting. It's going to be a fun year!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This morning was a recovery run after yesterday's tough workout. At the end, we all met in Alumni Park for a visualization session. This began with a relaxation exercise that I learned at Arizona State University's psychology department. It is a great way to set up our visualizations. And feedback from our athletes is always positive. Assistant Coach Dale Reicheneder participated today after Lauren Lodge told him, "Afterwards you feel like you've just had a very relaxing and refreshing eight-hour sleep." Following the relaxation exercise we moved right into a visualization of our race course as we prepare for the Malibu Oceanside Open scheduled for Thursday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It was time for another tempo run. We added on a little distance with top women going 7K and top men going 11K. I like what we are doing to prepare for the season. Afterward it was back to our strength workout with Stew!

Today was also the first day of class, so a new stress arrives. Fortunately, it was another beautiful summer day in Malibu and we ended the day with a pool workout at the aquatic center. During our warmups I like to ask what everyone learned in school. And, I resorted to reading Snapple facts for the past year to make sure everyone learned something. But, I finally read all of them -- about 1,000. When I asked the team what they wanted, Jordan Wozniak asked for knock-knock jokes. The internet is amazing! It took about 30 seconds to get "The Best Knock-Knock Jokes in the World." They were pretty corny. But, it was fun.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

A recovery run was on tap today, followed by strength work and a pool workout in the afternoon. I like this routine and hope we can keep it going once class starts next Monday. I decided to give the athletes the weekend on their own to get ready for school. They all seem eager to start the learning process.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What a great day for mile repeats in Alumni Park! Our athletes did a great job. And, with ice baths afterwards! I like it that the interns at the Athletic Performance Center, where the ice baths are set up, are so impressed with our team. They told me that we are the only ones in all of Pepperdine that ask for more ice. Our athletes usually like it about 5 degrees colder than others. Our athletes are tough!

At noon, we all went back down to Alumni Park to meet freshmen attending New Student Orientation (NSO) Waves Expo. We have eight women's sprinters joining the team hopefully next week after physicals. They all seem to have great spirit and will make wonderful Waves.

Then in the afternoon, I began our one-on-one meetings with all of our athletes to discuss goals, and anything and everything on their minds. This is always fun for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Today wa a shorter recovery run, but we had strength training afterwards and then ice baths! Oh what fun. I'm glad these were not around when I was running :)

In the evening, the Department of Athletics hosted the Student-Athlete Reception for new students. All the coaches and athletic department staff made presentations. Our assistant coaches and athletes all introduced themselves. Our Director of Athletics talked about what it means to be a Pepperdine Wave. It was something special, and I got the feeling that our new students already understand that. Over dinner, I had a chance to meet some of our new parents. It's a fun night!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today was a longer recovery run day, but also a day for our first visualization exercise. Our team captains told me during our captains' meeting that they have really enjoyed these in the past and asked for more this season. So, today's visualization was a good one. I never know how these will turn out as things just pop into my head. But, this one was one of my better ones and the kids acknowledge it too. At least in our minds, we are ready for the season!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our first workout session coming off of a hard week in Lake Tahoe was a fartlek session in Alumni Park. The women did 20-25 minutes and the men did a little over 30 minutes on our tough XC course. It was another beautiful day as we watched the sun rise early in the morning.

Following our first fartlek session, we held our first strength and conditioning session with one of our fine strength trainers, Stewart. I knew he went easy on the athletes when no one complained of being sore. But, we all know it will get tougher quickly.

This afternoon was our first pool workout of the year at Pepperdine. We are going to be in the pool Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon (if no Saturday meet). It's great as we can save our legs by simulating running, sprinting, and even uphill running in the pool. Plus, we learn things (from Snapple facts). I started this a couple of years ago when I asked the question, 'What did you learn today? I wanted to make sure everyone did. And, now they do :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Following our hard mile repeats yesterday, we went for a long run starting in Big Meadow south of Tahoe. The trail description was relatively flat -- but it did not seem to be. Fortunately, everyone made it a long run anyway.

I found myself going with freshman Phillip Moran. We came across a group of five and started talking. One of the people I met was a young woman named Brittany who graduated from Indiana University. I quickly said that was where one of my favorite movies of all time was filmed -- Breaking Away. Then she said her parents were in the movie as extras. Pretty cool. So, at the end of our conversation, I decided to give her a gift of a book that our Athletics Department chaplain had given me. Maurice Hilliard wrote a book called The Price of a Pearl. I happened to have it with me in my backpack. And so I gave it to Brittany and asked her to pay if forward once she read it. It was kind of neat as it brought a tear to her eyes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The night before when we arrived back from the hot springs, we dropped off the athletes at the hotel for showers before dinner and the bus driver took me to find a good place for mile repeats before it gets dark. All of my ideas turned out to be bombs. But at the Lake Tahoe community college recreation center I found a runner who suggested an area used for storing snow-moving equipment. By then it was dark and we headed back to the hotel hoping that the storage place was going to work.

In the morning as the sun rose, we headed over to the mile repeat course. It was still pretty cold outside (37F in the mornings, but it warmed up quickly into the 80s). Lauren Lodge got out of the bus with me to check out a loop I spotted. It was outside of the storage area and turned out to be perfect. Almost exactly a mile. And, it was a nice trail covered with pine needles. What a spot!

The women were scheduled for four miles and the men did six. I think it might be one of our team's best workouts at 7,000-foot elevation. I am very pleased with everyone's performances!

In the afternoon we went to Echo Lakes for a run/hike. This turned into a great one as the team split in two. One group headed for the top of the mountain to get a great view of the entire area. I took another group along the lake route, passing some beautiful areas and meeting some wonderful folks along the way. After more than an hour we discovered an entirely new part of the lake and found that the water taxi takes you back to the beginning. As we waited with others at the taxi dock, we were pleased that a group of over 20 fit on the first taxi, leaving us to wait for the next one. While waiting we jumped into the cold waters -- and quickly out. Then it was on to the ride of Tahoe across Echo Lake with the water taxi taking only us. We waved to the rest of the team as we pulled up to the dock.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This morning we went to Echo Summit. The trail to Big Meadow was described as gentle traverses across 16 miles of rolling landscape, curving through dense forest and ancient lava flows. Wildflowers carpet the board meadows at the beginning of the trail. And, of course there are lakes along the way for refreshing swims. The description proves to be of little use as our athletes were treated to another hilly run. But, it was a good one. We came up to Tahoe for altitude training and hill training. And, we are getting it.

I have been cold enough in all of the mountain lakes and advertise a Hot Springs adventure in Grover Hot Springs State Park. Nothing like a soothing soak in a hot spring after a long day on the trail. The website for the park states: "For the High Sierra visitor who wants to take a hike and 'take the cure' in the same day, Grover Hot Springs State Park, located a bit south of Lake Tahoe, is the perfect destination." With great anticipation we arrived. But, it's two concrete pools fed by the hot springs. Our athletes dismissed it fairly quickly and set off to find a waterfall. And, they did. Fortunately or unfortunately, I turned around, having given up on finding this waterfall, and opted for the hot springs. Even though it was in the pools, it sure felt good! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our first run was in Emerald Bay on the west side of Lake Tahoe. I found all of our trail runs online at the web site for Tahoe Mountain Milers Running Club. They have a nice listing of best runs in Tahoe. The Emerald Bay run started at Vikingsholm parking lot high above the lake. From there we went downhill to the edge of the lake (I knew everyone would soon be swimming in the lake after an easy 10-miler). Here we caught the Rubicon trail. This single-track trail parallels the edge of Lake Tahoe's west shore. We passed Tahoe's deepest known depth (1,645 feet) at a stone's throw from the shoreline and several Osprey nests and a Bald Eagle nest. This was an out-and-back run where our athletes were treated to a refreshing swim in Lake Tahoe at the end.

In the afternoon, Eagle Lake invited us to run/hike to this basin bordered by talus slopes and great black-streaked cliffs. A small island sits slightly off-center in its midst isolated by frigid mountain water. As I stuck my feet in, Hannah DeWalt took off swimming for the island. Then Sean King was next, and before I know it nearly the entire team was perched on the island. Too cold for me!

Tuesday, August 18, 2011

Our first practice day has finally arrived! Yippee!

Alumni Park is such a great venue for cross country practices. Our first workout of the year is a tempo run in the park. We created a 1K loop so that we can keep paces for our athletes. It is works perfectly! Our women's team was led by Lauren Lodge and Aneasha Lawrence. They both looked strong running a segment of our cross country course. Our men were led by Kenny "The Jet" Smith and Jonathan Rahaeuser. Everyone worked hard knowing "it's just the start!"

Afterwards we had breakfast from Lily's, a famous Malibu tradition. Everyone provided their breakfast burrito requests and we ate them in the park with chocolate milk - a favorite of the team.

Then it was off to take showers and meet the bus for our long drive up to Lake Tahoe. We are staying in the same place as last year as the athletes loved it. It is right across the street from the lake and has many wonderful running trails. It is going to be fun!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cross Country season finally started today! We have all been waiting for this day - since Track season ended last spring.

It began early for me, printing our all sorts of NCAA paperwork. But when our team captains met at 10 a.m. with me, I was happy. Our 2011 Cross Country season team captains are Lauren Lodge, Hannah DeWalt, Aneasha Lawrence, Kenny Smith and Jordan Wozniak. All of them are seniors and very special to me. They will make great team captains and even better accountants, trainers, teachers, business people, and perhaps even President!

An even bigger treat was lunch in our Alumni Park. This has to be one of the most beautiful parks in the world (and site of our home cross country course). D'Amore's world-famous pizza was delivered as the whole team arrived to greet each other for the first time in several months. Our new folks were honored with a question-and-answer session by everyone on the team. Questions such as "if your best friend was a Disney character, who would they be and why?" It was fun.

Then, each student-athlete had the opportunity to talk about their summer. Some did amazing things, like filming a documentary in Argentina on micro-finance, or trying to run outside in Saudi Arabia. Others took summer school, worked (Sean King had an internship in Shanghai), and enjoyed life.

After an afternoon of orientations from the Athletic Department, and then physicals in the evening, we did our shoe sizing with Future Track (going with Nike this year). To top of the evening, we had tri-tip, chicken, salads, macaroni cheese, etc. from Wood Ranch barbecue. Yum!

Now, it is time for sleep as tomorrow brings our first tempo run as the sun arises. Then, it's off to Lake Tahoe for preseason camp.

Link to 2010 cross country blog



Pepperdine Waves
Official online store