This is the second part of a two-part series with the B.A.A. High Performance team after training in Mammoth Lakes, and racing at the US 12K Championships. To see the first part with coach Terrence Mahon – click here
After returning from their high altitude training camp in Mammoth Lakes, California, B.A.A. High Performance team members Sarah Pagano and Jen Rhines reflected on their time training out west. Both Pagano and Rhines raced at last weekend’s USA 12K Championships in Virginia, placing seventh and twelfth in 39:33 and 40:04, respectively. Jen’s time was a national master’s record for the distance.
B.A.A.: What are your thoughts on the altitude camp in Mammoth Lakes? What were the best parts, and do you think the team grew as a whole during the time in California?
Sarah Pagano: Altitude camp was awesome! Mammoth was such an amazing place to train for the past month or so. The location, weather, and resources we had made it conducive to building up our mileage and overall strength. I think the best part of the trip was that we ran somewhere new almost every day. Whether it was a trail run up the mountain, a recovery run around one of the countless lakes in the area, or quicker intervals on the roads, the views were breathtaking and really made it all worth it. One day we drove a little bit north for a run at Mono Lake and drove to Yosemite National Park for the afternoon. What a beautiful place!
B.A.A. Over the course of your career, you’ve trained at altitude quite a bit. How much do you think the training camp will help the team as a whole? Was the training camp also a good team builder in the sense that the group grew even closer together?
Jen Rhines: The training camps are a great opportunity for the young athletes. I didn’t have the opportunity to do altitude training until I was a bit older but it was a crucial part of my athletic development. Training at altitude provides the athletes with new physical challenges to adapt to, as well as the opportunity to meet other elite athletes. I think working together to tackle these challenges added to the already strong team dynamic. And although it’s not new to me, showing the younger athletes the ropes so to speak keeps training in the mountains fun and exciting. You certainly can’t complain when your easy day is doing a team “adventure” run to Devils Postpile/Rainbow Falls or exploring Yosemite!
B.A.A: Do you think the team will use the trip to Mammoth Lakes as a springboard for upcoming races?
SP: I definitely think the trip went really well for our group as a whole. We all went into this camp at slightly different points in our training, but each of us came out stronger physically and mentally. There’s something about being at altitude and in the mountains that humbles you but invigorates you at the same time. I’m looking forward to our upcoming races to see what each of us can do individually and as a group.
B.A.A: Congratulations on another master’s national record at the US 12K Championships in Alexandria. How much confidence do you gain from setting the national record right after the altitude training camp?
JR: I felt really strong coming off the four week altitude training stint. As a team we have put in a big block of base training this fall. We have a few weeks to sharpen up here at sea level before running the Pacific Pursuit 10,000 meters in Sacramento on the track, and then wrapping up the year with the US Club Cross Country Championships in San Francisco. Our fall training will set us up well as we head into the Olympic year and will be peaking in July for the Olympic Trials.
B.A.A.: Congratulations on the great race in Alexandria! During the race you set PR’s at multiple distances (including 8K, 10K, and 12K). That must give you confidence going forward that you’re in great shape!
SP: I am really happy with my race in Alexandria. I definitely think training in Mammoth helped me going into the 12K. This was my second time training at altitude and I think my knowledge from my first experience helped me train more consistently this time around. My workouts gave me the confidence to go in and take a risk and race more aggressively than I have in the past. I’m excited to keep the momentum going heading into the 10,000 meters on the track in Sacramento in a few weeks, and at the USA Club Cross Country Championships.
To see a highlight video of the team training in Mammoth Lakes, CA, see below: