By Steve Holt, Staff Writer
For freshman cross country runner Seth Patterson, coming to ACU meant he would need to up the ante in his training this past summer. So the Portland, Ore., native increased his weekly mileage from 50 during his time at Sunset High School to 70 miles per week by the end of the summer.
He had no idea that he would need every ounce of that training to keep up with many of the veteran Wildcat runners during practice when he arrived in Abilene.
“I tell people it’s like chasing cheetahs while breathing through a straw,” said Patterson, a walk-on.
During the summer, Patterson ran from 9-10 miles five days a week, increasing the pace on one of those runs and adding a 10-14 mile long run on Saturdays. He called his routine daily workouts “easy runs,” and said that he was able to make his own schedule.
“Since there was no coach,” he said, “I could run however much I wanted.”
Portland rarely got hotter than the mid-80s this summer, Patterson said, so the heat wasn’t oppressive until he arrived on “the hill.”
“[The heat] was kind of killer,” he said. “I’m not used to that.”
Running on trails in the shade of the Great Northwest foliage also made summer running more bearable, he said.
Sophomore Yuliya Stashkiv will likely be one of the top runners on the women’s team in 2003 after a summer full of intense training and competition in her native country of Ukraine. She set a new national junior record in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:13.04, and was 5th in the 3,000 at the European Junior National Championships in Finland.
She said her training was equally as exciting.
“I was practicing with my friends back home in Ukraine,” Stashkiv said. “I really had good pacemakers for my practices.”
Training in Ukraine was a lot more comfortable than training in Texas, Stashkiv said.
“I was really happy that I didn’t have to stay in Texas for summer because this heat doesn’t have very good influence for me,” she said.
Stashkiv said she hopes the summer training pays off in her first cross country season, which kicks off Sept. 12 with the ACU Classic at Sherrod Park.
“I’m very excited about [the season],” Stashkiv said. “Cross country season is a team season. We all have to work like one team to reach good results.”