by: Alyssa Ruffolo
I am a member of the track and field team here at Delval. I love running, as you may have picked up on if you have read any of my previous blogs. I have run distance/cross country since high school, and as a transfer this is my first semester running for Delval’s team. So far I have really enjoyed my experience. I have made many friends on the team and everyone has been so welcoming and kind to me. Coach Moreno is a fantastic coach; he is encouraging, helpful, and extremely knowledgeable .
This Saturday, April 22, we had a meet at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania. This was a smaller meet with only a handful of teams present. I woke up to my alarm going off at 5:45am Saturday morning. I was pretty tired because I had worked the previous night at my serving job. I rolled out of bed, ate breakfast, packed up my bag and headed over to Delval (I’m a commuter). The bus was scheduled to leave at 7am, and I made it just in time. I sat next to my friend Rachel and read a book while she slept for the two-hour bus ride. Once we arrived, the weather was pretty miserable. It was cold and rainy as we trudged our equipment and tent up to the bleachers to set up. Once the tent was up, we huddled under it to stay out of the rain and cheered on our first runner as he defeated the 10k race. About an hour or two passed before Rachel and I had to start warming up for our first event, the 1500. A mile is 1600, so the 1500 is basically just a little less than a mile race. I thoroughly enjoy this race because this is considered a shorter distance for someone like me who usually runs the 5k (3.1 miles). The 1500 is a challenge because it is just under four laps, which doesn’t give you much time to catch up if you fall behind. I started to get nervous as we did our warm-ups, laced up our spikes, and did a few practice striders by the start line. Before I knew it, Rachel and I were at the start and the gun was going off. Breaking out of the crowd and finding lane 1 is always a challenge; you do not want to get spiked by another runner’s shoes. Once I found lane 1 I began to settle into a pace. One thing I personally dislike about track is that everyone is watching you… the whole time. In cross country, much of the races are run int he woods and so the runner has a chance to relax and really focus inside her/his head. On a track, however, the entire time all I hear is people yelling and cheering and this tends to make me stressed/nervous. I finished the race at a slower time than I would have liked. I have to admit I was pretty disappointed in my performance. I was having some trouble breathing, so I used my inhaler a few times and cooled down/stretched as to prepare for my next race, the 5k. The 5k is much more of a challenge for me because it is longer, 12 laps around the track to be more precise. I always get the most nervous for this race because much more strategy is involved than the 1500. Rachel was not running this race, so it was all me. Long story short, I also did not perform my best for this race. I suspect I may have been a bit dehydrated, because I was extremely light-headed coming off the track once I was finished. This was a disappointing meet for me personally, but as a team we did well. While many Delval students were enjoying the festivities of A-Day, we were dedicated and came out for this meet and that makes me proud of our team. We left around 5-5:30pm, and after unloading the bus back at Delval and driving home, I arrived back at my house around 8pm. It was a long day, but I have to say looking at my GPS watch and seeing that I completed a total of 12 miles yesterday felt pretty amazing/accompished.
If you have ever considered joining a team or club here at Delval but are hesitant, I highly recommend you give it a shot. I was very nervous joining the team late in the season and without knowing a single person. I am pretty outgoing myself, but it is hard to join a team when everyone already knows each other and has been practicing together months, possibly years. I am so happy that I sucked it up and starting going to practices because I have made some pretty great friends already. Naturally we as humans like to feel part of a group. It is so refreshing to spend even an hour or two a day with a group of people who enjoy exactly the same hobbies as you (i.e sports, clubs, activities, etc.). I am so thankful that Coach Moreno was so welcoming and easy to communicate with in the process of getting signed up for the team. If you ever want to check out a track meet, (we don’t always compete as far as Misericordia) our schedule is available online at delval.edu – as well as the other sports teams – feel free to come out and support!!