Nationally ranked competition was not the only obstacle UCLA cross country had to compete against last weekend.
The Bruins overcame cold conditions and cross-country travel as the men’s and women’s teams earned fourth- and eleventh-place finishes, respectively, at the Wisconsin Pre-Nationals meet.
“It was a good meet to go out to, being a Southern California group in 40-degree weather,” said assistant coach Devin Elizondo. “When we go out there in a month (for the national championships), it’s going to be 10 degrees cooler with this stuff on the ground called snow.”
Sophomore Christina Rice said she appreciated the opportunity to race in weather like this prior to the national championship.
“As someone who’s from Southern California, I’ve never really ran in temperatures like that, so it’s a bit of a shock at the start line,” Rice said. “I think we tried not to think about the weather because that’s something we can’t control, so we went out there and raced our best race; if it’s this cold there right now, it’s just going to be even colder in a few weeks.”
Though a lesser obstacle, the long flight across two time zones can also introduce challenges for athletes with weekend tournaments. However, redshirt junior Colin Burke said that he has developed a routine over the years to lessen a long flight’s impact on his performance.
“Flying across the country can take its toll on your body, especially if you’re not used to it,” Burke said. “You just have to realize that you’re able to recover on plane rides, like getting up and stretching regularly, (and) overall it’s not too bad.”
Rice added that the time change can be tough but that the team needed to accept that it was another factor out of its control and find a way to deal with it.
“With any time you’re travelling, especially with a time change, it’s kind of tough because as soon as you adjust you’re leaving again,” Rice said. “Compared to the preview of the course at Stanford, I felt a little stiff just from travel and from waking up earlier than what Los Angeles time was; again though, that’s not something we can really control, so we’re aware of it but we don’t let it affect how we run.”
The Bruins will have one more weekend to prepare until their championship season begins Oct. 26 at the Pac-12 tournament at Stanford.
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