Many Travels Finish Up Semester in Spain
I am actually all finished with my classes and everything, but am traveling for a little while longer. I just got back from Portugal last night and it was without a doubt one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to. One morning I went out for my run and I found a path that went right along the ocean. It had just gotten done raining a few minutes before I started my run, so about 20 minutes into it I saw a rainbow. It was super awesome. The rainbow looked like it was going right into the water. I really enjoyed my semester abroad, despite not liking everything about the city where my university is, the experience itself was amazing. I got to travel to so many cool places.
I am really looking forward to going home and running. I am leaving for Paris on Thursday and then will finally come back home on Monday. For the 17 weeks that I have been out of the US I will have averaged about 42 miles per week, so I was pretty happy with that. I am excited for the upcoming XC season as well. For anyone who has the opportunity to either study abroad to Europe or to travel to Europe I highly recommend going to Ireland and Portugal. Those were my two favorite countries that I visited. In Spain I would suggest Barcelona and Toledo. Chris, my boyfriend came to visit in March and we went to Toledo. It was really pretty and had some awesome trails to run.
But I hope that everyone is doing well, good luck on finals and I will see everyone when I get back!! =)
Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy
Jenn, Brad Sweigart & Martita Bowersox on their spring break trip to visit Brad in Germany
The oceanside path Jenn ran along in Portugal
Tags: jenn cronin
Across The Globe | Cross Country
Running Around New Zealand
New Zealand so far has been absolutely amazing! The people here are seriously the most friendly we have ever met. Everyone is more than willing to talk to you and help you in whatever way they can. The first couple of days were just getting to know where everything was and getting settled in. It was still summer when we arrived so a lot of people were out constantly doing things in the field behind our dorms. All the “get to know you” activities were organized sports which was very different from LVC orientation. Also, people go outside and do something with their spare time instead of just sitting on the computer. One night during the first week we were bored and so we went outside and played cricket for the first time with some of the people from our hall and it was a lot of fun! Their culture just seems to be a lot more active than our own.
However, it doesn’t seem like running is a very serious sport over here. Whenever we tell the people in our hall that we’re going running, they usually ask why or where to? We see some other people running when we go out for our runs, but not nearly as many as you would think. We’ve noticed though that barefoot running is more normal over here. It’s perfectly acceptable not to wear shoes pretty much everywhere including while running and we’ve embraced that fully. Many of our runs around campus are done barefoot which is great minus the thorns. There are so many beautiful places to run around campus, it’s basically a giant park. But beyond the school it’s a lot like Annville, with pastures and tons of cows. The layout of the town is pretty confusing though and not friendly to new foreign runners. We’ve gotten ourselves lost several times but luckily the people are extremely friendly and more than happy to point us in the right direction.
So far we’ve been to the Raglan beach, which was beautiful. We also traveled to Tauranga, New Zealand and climbed Mount Maunganui. We’ve hiked to the top of Wairere Falls, and went black water rafting in glow worm caves. So we’ve been running around campus during the week, and then going on physically challenging adventures on the weekends. New Zealand is definitely not a place for complacent people. We’re about to set off on a two week adventure to the South Island and we’re sure we’ll have a lot to share when we get back!
Tags: katie sharkey, tiffany frederick
My Traveling Experiences and More Thoughts on Berlin
"Now having been in Europe for 2 months I have had the chance to do a little bit of traveling and see what else this continent has to offer. My first trip was to Stockholm, Sweden. I spent 3 days in Stockholm and it was a great experience. The Swedes are some of the nicest people you are likely to meet. They just about all speak English (thank goodness because Swedish is insane). They are very friendly and always willing to help. We found that out when we asked for simple directions and ended up with a 5 minute detailed description about every step needed to get to our destination. I also had the chance to go on a short cruise in Stockholm, which was absolutely amazing. My only regret about the trip was that I did not take my running clothes. I assumed I wouldn’t have enough time and decided not to bring them. However, Stockholm is apparently some kind of running hot bed because in my 3 days there I must have saw at least, no joke, 50 or 60 runners. On Sunday morning I saw a group of about 30 people all running together; it was unbelievable.
This past week I just finished a week long trip through southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. This trip was also amazing and I saw so much. I started in a small city called Rothenburg. Believe it or not the people in Rothenburg are even friendlier than the people in Sweden, if that is possible. The atmosphere there was awesome because it is such a small, old, and stereotypically German city. After Rothenburg the next highlight of the trip came in Basel, Switzerland. Basel was in the midst of celebrating Fastnacht while we were there so everyone was absolutely insane. We watched a parade while we were there and the people in the parade where wearing all sorts of ridiculous masks and throwing just about anything you can imagine from the floats. They threw Garlic, Bananas, Flowers, Confetti (of course), clothing, onions and the item of choice, which were oranges. I saw a number of people get nailed right on the head with and orange or two. Finally, the last highlight of the trip was seeing the Alps. The Alps are so beautiful and awe inspiring. While I was at the Alps I visited the famous castle Neuschwanstein, which is the castle Walt Disney modeled off of to make Disney World. The whole time, while in the Alps I couldn’t stop thinking about how much a run up one of the trails would hurt, ouch!!
Right now I am back in Berlin and trying to keep up with my running as much as possible. I get tired of doing the same out and back runs some times but I really have no choice here. The one thing I have noticed while running here in Berlin is that everyone looks at me funny because I am wearing shorts. I will admit that I do wear less clothes in the cold than even most Americans, and the last time I posted my blog it was mind numbingly cold; but Europeans are absolutely ridiculous with the amount of clothes they wear. For example yesterday it was about 40 degrees and I saw two guys running in pants, windbreakers, turtlenecks, hats and just about everything else you can imagine. I don’t know how they didn’t pass out from dehydration. Another thing I have noticed while running in Berlin is that Germans diets are very runner friendly. Lots of carbs!! I have never eaten as much bread as I have in the past few months, but I really enjoy all of this carbo-loading. Anyway, now that the weather is warmed up and the ice has melted I hope to be able to put in a bigger number of miles. It feels absolutely amazing to run on concrete rather than ice."
Cobblestone streets in Rothenburg and Brad on a cruise in Basel
Tags: brad sweigart
Getting Adjusted to Spain
Jenn & LVC Soccer player Jordan Nendza in front of Alcazar Castle, most famously known for housing Isabel of Castilla and Ferdinand of Aragon
"So I have been in Spain for three weeks already and I am really enjoying it. Time has flown by so far. At times I am still amazed that I am here, but it’s been fun so far. My first week here was really rough, just dealing with jet lag, the language difference and the difference in food. But I think that I am starting to get the hang of things. My host mom is crazy, she is really nice, but a bit out there and my host dad is really quiet and nice. I have a fifteen minute walk to school everyday, which really isn’t that bad, except for the times when the weather hasn’t been great. But I shouldn’t complain because I am getting much better weather than Brad! It has only snowed here once and all of the Spanish people freaked out because they are not used to the snow. I found it to be quite comical. It has rained here a few days (yes, I actually did run in the rain, go figure) and it is really windy here, but lately it has been really nice out so I am hoping that it stays this way. We walk everywhere here, there are buses to take, but walking is pretty much how all the students get around. At a minimum I walk an hour everyday and other days I have walked up to four or five hours. By the end of the four months I am convinced that I will have walked more than ever before, but it’s a good way to burn off the calories from all the food I have been eating!
The food here for me has been the hardest thing to get used to. It has really effected my running as well. I eat a small breakfast everyday at like 7:45, much smaller than in the United States and then I don’t eat again until 2:30, which is just brutal. I am a big snacker so the huge break in between meals has been killing me. Lunch at 2:30 is huge. I tried running one day after eating lunch, which was such a terrible idea. I felt like I was walking just because I was so full. So as soon I am done with class at like 1:30 I try to go out for my run unless I am skyping with someone at home. So I normally try to get out for my run between 1:30 and 2:30 and then I eat lunch after that. Some days I don’t eat lunch until 4, which is really funny because sometimes at school I would go to dinner at like 4:45. Something else that I found extremely interesting when I got here was the fact that all businesses are closed between 2 and 5 every day for siesta, so unlike the United States. And everything except for the bars (which are everywhere) and the churches are closed on Sundays. (No joke!) I have come to realize that I am not a huge fan of the Spanish lifestyle but its part of the experience.
Overall though I am really happy with how my running is going here. There are parks right next to the river, so it is a great place to run. There are always other people running and walking their dogs. The first week I was here I ran 32 miles, the second week I ran 40 and this past week I ran 46, so it’s been really good thus far. I know once I start traveling a little bit more, I won’t be able to run as much, so I try to get out as much as I can now. I met a girl from Wisconsin-Lacrosse who went to XC nationals two years ago, but unfortunately our schedules don’t really match up so we have only run once together so far. But Jordan Nendza,who is a soccer player from LVC, has been running with me for part of my runs like two or three times a week, so it’s been really nice to have someone for a few runs. The two of us also joined a gym, close to her apartment. We have been going to body flow twice a week and some other fitness classes and I get to lift as well, so I really can’t complain!"
The river and park where Jenn does the majority of her running close to her house
Running In A Winter Wonderland
The Reichstag building in Berlin & the snowy roads surrounding Brad’s overseas home
"From the minute I arrived in Berlin it has been cold and the city has been absolutely covered in snow. In fact it has only been above freezing 2 days since I have been here. There is about a foot of snow on the ground and there is more in the forecast. Since I normally enjoy running in the cold and love running in the snow I figured this would be the perfect weather to get some solid mileage in. Little did I know that Berlin is very slow at clearing the streets and the sidewalks, making it very difficult to run. Nevertheless, I ventured out on my first run my first Saturday in Berlin. It was snowing heavily and the wind was gusting. I began to run but the amount of snow on the sidewalk made it impossible to run at any kind of respectable pace. The area I was running in was stuffed with houses right up against each other, as it is throughout most of the area. It looked awesome with the snow falling everywhere. However, I couldn’t take in the surroundings too much because before I knew it I was laying on the ground staring at ice. I had slipped on some ice but I was able to continue the run and finish in one piece.
As the week went on I began to become more adventurous. I tried to find some trails to run on so that I would not be forced to skate around on the icy sidewalks. Finally, I found a trail and followed it until I ended up in this wide-open park filled with fields. It seemed like there were hundreds of people walking their dogs. Every turn I took I came across another dog. The great thing is that dogs in Germany are so well trained that there is very little risk of being chased or bitten (I only wish that were the case in the US). I continued through the park and eventually ran down this path that was lined with beautiful snow-covered trees on both sides. This run turned out great and has been the highlight of my time running in Berlin so far.
Now entering into my third week here I am beginning to familiarize myself with the area. This afternoon I just finished a great run, in which I actually ended up just outside of Berlin, into Brandenburg. The house I am living at is only about 2 miles away from the border. It was once again really windy so I had to really work to keep my fingers from freezing off. It was also really icy again but I managed to stay on my feet this time. It was really cool to run outside of Berlin, even if it was only about for about two miles of my run. As I continue my semester in Berlin I hope to do even more exploring and will hopefully be able to run in some other countries as well."
One of Germany’s most beautiful churches & gazing down the icy Spree River
This spring, the GoDutchmen.com LVC Cross Country Blog will be running, pun intended, a series entitled, “Running Across the Globe,” which chronicles the experiences of four student-athletes studying abroad in various locations. The range of topics will be rather free-form in nature, covering some of what they come across on foot while they are running but also focusing on some of their other study abroad adventures including their academic experiences and what it is like to be immersed in a completely different culture than what they are used to. We hope you’ll enjoy these blog entries as a means of taking in some of what a student-athlete at LVC can experience while studying abroad; jumping into a new environment in an attempt to expand their horizons and what they know about the world around them
Junior captain Brad Sweigart will be studying abroad in Berlin, Germany. Brad will be staying with a host family and studying at Freie Universität. Brad ran as the team’s number one or two runner all season and posted the team’s best time over 8000 meters in 26:45 at the Paul Short Run.
Junior captain Jenn Cronin, an NCAA finalist and the USTFCCCA Mideast Regional Runner of the Year,will be studying abroad in Valladolid, Spain. Jenn will also be staying with a host family and studying at Universitas Castellae. Additionally, Jenn ran the team’s best time over 6000 meters in 21:39 at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, also a school record.
Sophomores Tiffany Frederick and Katie Sharkey will be studying abroad in Hamilton, NewZealand. They will be living at and taking classes in the University of Waikato. Tiff, a middle distance runner, performed as the team’s number 4 runner at the MAC Championships, where the team had their best finish in school history. Katie, in her first season of collegiate XC, had a great year and steadily improved throughout as well as having a huge impact on team morale.
Please be sure to check in from time to time to catch all of the great experiences that these four are sure to have!
Tags: brad sweigart, jenn cronin, tiffany frederick, katie sharkey
Cross Country | Across The Globe
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