Sam Rich returns in 2021 as one of the top cross country runners in the United States. A year ago, Rich won his first South Carolina Class AAAA State Cross Country Championship and completed a season that saw him record seven wins and finish with a personal best 5K time of 14:52.51 at the RunningLane National Cross Country Championships. With national championship meets like Foot Locker Nationals and Team Nationals returning in 2021, Rich could contend for a title of his own. He remains one of the country's brightest talents. This is the first of four blogs in a series of training journals Rich will write for MileSplit this fall.
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Week 1 (July 26 - August 1)
This week I was on vacation in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's always a challenge to find places to run when you're out of town, but it worked out pretty well. The last two weeks I have been in Flagstaff, so this was my first week down from altitude and I felt really good.
Monday, July 26: Hollywood Reservoir -- 9 miles
Today I ran a 4-mile tempo. My dad and I found a loop around the Hollywood Reservoir that was flat and had a really cool view of the Hollywood sign on it. I did a 3-mile warmup and then went straight into the tempo. For the tempo my splits were 5:32, 5:11, 5:09 and 5:05 for an average of 5:14 per mile. This was my first run in two weeks not at altitude and it felt really awesome back at sea level. After the tempo I did a 2-mile cool down for a total of nine miles for the day. After the run we took a studio tour of Warner Bros. studios in Los Angeles, and then visited the Hollywood walk of fame and other tourist places.
Tuesday, July 27: Gabrielino Trail -- 9 miles
Today I ran a 9-mile recovery run on a trail in Pasadena. I was a little sore after the tempo, so I kept it slow and averaged around 7-minute pace. On the way to the trail we drove by the Rose Bowl Stadium, which was really cool. The trail was an out and back, and the way out was pretty uphill with the way back being downhill. It was a pretty cool trail with a lot of creek crossings.
After my run today we went to Disneyland. Disneyland was really fun and we spent the majority of the day walking around the park and riding rides.
Wednesday, July 28: Chandler Bikeway -- 7 miles and 2 miles on treadmill
After the runs on Monday and Tuesday and then walking around Disneyland all day my legs were pretty tired when I woke up this morning. So, I ran seven miles fairly easily this morning. After around miles three and four my legs started to feel better, so I picked up the pace a little bit. For my morning run I averaged 6:56 per mile.
After my run we packed up all of our stuff and got in the car and drove six hours from Los Angeles to San Francisco. When we got to San Francisco, we were able to visit the Alcatraz prison. That was really cool to get to take a tour and learn more about the prisoners' lives. That night at the hotel I did a shake out 2-mile run on the treadmill to wake up my legs after the long car ride earlier that day.
Thursday, July 29: 9 miles -- Sausalito
Today my legs felt pretty fresh. We went to a greenway in Sausalito to run. The weather in San Francisco is a lot different than at home in South Carolina. South Carolina summers are really humid and with temperatures in the mid 90s. Here in San Francisco, it was chilly with highs in the 60s. With the weather and my legs feeling pretty good I ran nine miles and averaged 6:44 per mile. The trail was really cool as it followed the Bay for the majority of the run.
Friday, July 30: 13 miles -- Golden Gate Bridge
I normally do my long runs on Saturdays, but knowing we were going to be traveling tomorrow, I decided to run my long run today. I started my run at a park in San Francisco and then made my way up and ran across the Golden Gate Bridge. Going across the bridge was really cool, but I couldn't see the bridge very well even when I was on it because of the heavy fog. With the mist, cars rushing back and forth and looking to your side and seeing the big drop to the bay, it got scary a couple of times. I like to start my long runs relatively slow and then progress the pace as I get further and further along. I ran 13 miles with an average of 6:29 per mile.
After my run we walked around downtown San Francisco and went to Chinatown. Here we saw a factory where they made fortune cookies in front of us and gave us some free samples. Tonight we went to a Giants baseball game where they were playing the Astros. The Giants lost, but it was a really cool game. A funny part about the game was when the Astros' Jose Altuve was up to bat. Everyone in the stands was booing him and someone started a chant yelling, "YOU'RE A CHEATER." Altuve obviously paid very little attention to this as he hit a Grand Slam. It was not a great game for Giants fans.
Saturday, July 31: 9 miles -- Sausalito
Today I woke up early at about 4:30 a.m. thinking we would be flying back to South Carolina this morning. When I woke up, I learned that our flight had been delayed, so I decided to go ahead and run before we left. We went back to the place in Sausalito where I ran on Thursday. It was a good run and I ran nine miles averaging 6:39 minutes per mile.
When we got to the airport we learned that our flight had been canceled. We then had to wait about nine hours in the airport until another flight took us from San Francisco to New York and then we would go from New York to Charlotte.
Sunday, August 1: Off
After a full night of traveling, we finally made it to Charlotte at about 9 a.m. this morning. I don't normally run on Sundays, so today was an off day for me. I felt pretty good this week and ran a total of 58 miles. I am excited to be back home in South Carolina after being gone for the past four weeks, but I'm not looking forward to the humidity.
Total Mileage: 58 miles
Note: This is the first of what will be several training blogs ahead of the cross country season. Stay tuned for more coverage of more boys and girls athletes heading into the 2021 season.