Junior Rachel Bargabos of UR Women’s Cross Country competed at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships this past Saturday, posting a six-kilometer personal-best time of 22:06.40, and finished 81st out of 280 runners. On Nov. 11, she finished 13th out of 285 runners at the Atlantic Regional Championships, which qualified her for the championship meet.
What has contributed most to your successes this season?
I think that setting a goal prior to the beginning of the season and keeping it in sight the entire time is a really important part of being successful. If you train every day with your goals in the back of your mind, and if you allow them to motivate you, you’ve given yourself a pathway to success. Having great coaching and wonderful teammates every step of the way also gives you a support system that won’t let you let yourself down.
What does your typical weekly training schedule look like?
Our first workout of each week is typically early Tuesday morning. We meet at 7 a.m. on the track and do some harder running — intervals, repeats, tempo runs. We either race or have another workout on Saturday, and we do our long runs on Sunday. The other days of the week are usually filled with easy runs to recover and hit our weekly mileage. Upperclassmen are in charge of their own mileage, so I held 55-60 miles a week during most of the season after hitting a summer peak of 80.
How important is your team to you despite cross country being an individual sport?
Very. I would argue that cross country is more of a team sport — you’re running for the team and for each other. You not only have a desire to perform well for yourself, but for your teammates. We get each other through some tough training and racing that would be extraordinarily difficult to do alone, and we are better because we do it together. There’s a certain bond that forms between people that share the pain and joy that is running, and it can pull you through just about anything.
In what ways have you changed as a runner since coming to UR?
I have definitely learned to run smarter. I am better at listening to my body, at knowing when I need to take an easy day and when I can push myself farther. I’ve learned how to train and race with a team of extremely talented women. I’ve had to learn to set easily attainable and not-so- easily-attainable goals and allow myself to enjoy the moment when I reach one.
What is your favorite thing about your sport?
It is a measure of both your mental and physical strength. You can be in physically great shape, but if you don’t train your mind to be strong, you won’t be nearly as successful. The mental and physical focus and discipline needed in this sport are needed to succeed in many other areas of life and because of that, by improving yourself as a runner, you are also improving yourself as a person.
How and when did you get into running?
I started running track around 7th grade, but I wouldn’t say I was very into it at that point. I began running cross country my freshman year of high school because I was pressured into it by one of my friends and I absolutely loved it. I haven’t stopped running since.
What is something not many people know about you?
I grew up in a castle. My parents run a wedding business there, and it was a wonderful place to grow up.
What is your favorite holiday, and why?
Halloween — mostly because my birthday is the next day and I can buy all the discount candy.