Sun City Home Meet This Saturday

Sun City Harriers practice starts this afternoon at Kissle Park today getting ready for their home meet Saturday, September 26th which will be at Franklin Park.

Sun City Harriers practice starts this afternoon at Kissle Park today getting ready for their home meet Saturday, September 26th which will be at Franklin Park.

Now is when the season gets really fun! This Saturday is our home meet. We will be gathering at Franklin Park at 8:15am for warm-up. Team pictures will be at 8:45am and the girl’s race will go off at 9am and the boy’s race will go off at 9:30am. Aleah and I as well as several other parents will crunch numbers as quickly as possible and we will hopefully have awards at 10am. The course will be the exact same as the time trial as well as the mile for Sunfair. There will be medals for the top three in each age division and ribbons for the rest of the athletes. The age divisions will be: 2nd grade and under; 3rd-5th grade; and middle school. For anyone that is not a member of Sun City or Wenas Valley, he/she is allowed to run, they just need to register and the fee is $5/athlete.

On race day, make sure you have your young harriers uniforms set out (new green shirts) as well as shorts, sweats, running shoes and a sweatshirt so you are ready to roll come wake-up time.

Second, plan your breakfast ahead of time. Mom, dad or harrier what are you going to eat? Please do not eat donuts, or any fatty food for breakfast. Fats take several hours to digest and will be rolling around the harrier’s stomach come race time. Aleah and my favorite pre-race food is toasted peanut butter toast (two pieces) about two hours pre-race or workout. Perhaps also have a banana since these have a great nutrition source as well. We would strongly recommend eating nothing at least an hour before the race. If your harrier does need something this soon to the race make it super-simple, fast digestible carbohydrates (Gatorade or equivalent, banana, Gu packets (without caffeine), white bread with jelly, etc.

As always, have fun on race morning. Your child may “freak-out.” No worries, this is a really safe environment to learn and grow. Some harriers want to win or place Saturday. For others we want them to just run the entire way. Others hitting the start AND finish line will be the victory.

If you have any questions feel free to call or text Aleah (833-5952) or myself (941-5191).

Coach Erik

Welcome to fall Harriers

The leaves are beginning to change, which in our family means cross country is just around the corner. This is the first week the registrations have begun coming in the mail.  I have had a lot of phone calls and text messages about costs and registration so I will go over that again.

We have both a regular season and a post-season in cross-country.  Anyone can do one or both.  If you register BEFORE September 8th, there is $5 discount on the five-week regular season.  So if you think ahead and get this to us, it will be $30.  If you wait until September 9th, the price rises to $35 for the regular season.  We order our jerseys in bulk and save quite a bit of money which is why we can offer this discount.  This years jerseys will be fitted tank tops just like track season.

If you choose the full season, it will extend to the post-season and you get a $10 discount if you register by September 8th so it is $50 instead of $60. This also includes the jerseys as well as the registration fees for USATF meets.  When we run in the post-season, our team has to pay to register each athlete. Likewise, we also have a post-season only route which we have had several people enquire about because we have several people running with their local middle school team and once that season is over they will be joining us to run in the Junior Olympics.

Here are the forms we will need to have before your child can practice: Waiver-and-release-form-2015 & Registration Form 2015 Cross Country Sun City Harriers .  The brochure for the season is: 2015 Cross Country Brochure .

We still need one more volunteer coaches to help with groups two.  We have head coaches in these groups but if you have the time, we would love to have someone commit to this.  If you can’t commit to two days a week, perhaps you do one day a week and team-commit with another parent.

Last week one of the highlights was when a parent who knows very little about running volunteered to help.  This is perfect!  Remember, youth don’t expect coaches to be perfect, they want us to be available for encouragement and guidance. 

We will be mailing out to everyone on last year’s list some brochures. If you already registered, please give these out to a “future” Harrier you think might be a good fit with our team.

T-minus 1.5 weeks until our first practice at Franklin park September 15th at 5pm.

Keep on running!

Coach Erik

PS I’ve had a lot of phone calls.  If you have questions, feel free to call or text at 941-5191 and I’ll try and get back to you.  You can also drop by the brochures off at our house in our mailbox if you are by Franklin Park and want to save a stamp.  Last, if you are chronic procrastinator and haven’t mailed in your registration yet, please send me a message on Facebook so I can add your child to the t-shirt order we are placing on Wednesday.

Cross country season starts in less than two weeks Tuesday September 15th at 5pm at Franklin Park.

Cross country season starts in less than two weeks Tuesday September 15th at 5pm at Franklin Park.

Sunfair–Two days until the big race!

Greetings, Harriers!

The Sunfair Invitational is almost here! Here’s our team schedule for Saturday:

8:00 am – Arrive at Franklin Park
8:15 am – Team Warm-up
8:45 am – K-6th Grade Race (Boys and Girls Combined) – 1.0 miles
9:00 am – 7th-8th Grade Race (Boys and Girls Combined) – 1.5 miles
10:00 am – Jr. Class Boys Race (JACOB LAMAY) – 3.0 miles

When you arrive on Saturday morning, please come find me for your race number bib. I will have a race number for everyone registered through the Sun City Harriers team.

PLEASE NOTE: Franklin Park will be fenced off for the meet. Admission gates will be established at various locations around the park. All participants will be admitted for free, but all adults (yes, even parents) will be charged $5.00 to enter the park. Seniors, children and students with ASB cost $4.00.

The Sunfair Invitational is a large, prestigious meet with more than 2,000 runners from schools across the Northwest. (For more information on the meet, check out You can expect the elementary and junior high races to start promptly on time, so make sure you know where the start line is and get there with plenty of time to spare before the posted race start time!

I expect our team to run well on Saturday — the course is drying out, the weather looks perfect, and our team is getting fitter and faster by the week.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to respond to this email or give Erik (509-833-5951) or me (509-833-5952) a call.

Go Harriers!
Aleah Mickelson

We love living on Franklin Park.  It has been a blast watching the course come together this week.

We love living on Franklin Park. It has been a blast watching the course come together this week.

What to expect for cross-country practice

For those newcomers who have never been to a Sun City Harriers cross-country practice I have some good news: there will not be a hilly ten-mile run the first day of practice.  In fact, for you newcomers you will run probably one to two miles. I think my eight-year-old last year only made it a half-mile on her first day of practice last year.

Our practice always starts promptly at 4pm with a quarter-mile warmup. If you happen to come one-minute late feel free to cut a corner and catch up with the rest of the team as we are warming up on the field closest to the Yakima Valley Museum.

After our warm-up we then move into stretching and drills. Before doing any hard and fast movements it is always best to have your body ready for them.  The drill portion of our workouts usually lasts about ten minutes.  These are fun ways of team bonding.  Running drills are imperative to cross-country runners.  For runners that don’t have great form, it is equivalent to driving a car with bad gas that is also out of alignment. It will get from Yakima to Seattle but you will get 12 miles/gallon instead of 20. For the harrier (cross-country lingo for a runner), this means you can add 2-10 seconds a mile by just being more efficient.

After our team drills we then go into our workout groups.  It is our goal this season to move up from three different groups to six or eight.  For example, our young kids (usually six and under) will do something in the realm of 200 meter repeats with lots of rest. We say our age range is 6 to 18 years old.  If you have a younger child (5 and under) feel free to bring them out to run with us but plan on doing the workout with them (walking and jogging) to make sure they don’t get lost in the commotion.

For our seven to ten year olds, our workout of repeats will range in the 2-3 mile range. Our eleven and older groups will be in the 3-4 mile range.  We spend about 30-35 minutes running.

Some of the different kinds of workouts we will do throughout the season are:

1. Repeats (usually intervals of 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters or 1 mile repeats) with 1-5 minute rest in-between.  These workouts are great at increasing the anaerobic threshold of a runner in a race.

2. Fartlek. No, I didn’t just swear. Fartlek is an European term for “speed play” in running.  You could also call it surging.  What we do with a fartlek workout is run fast for 60 seconds and then slow for 30 seconds. We will use different kinds of intervals and do this for time periods of 5-10 minutes.

3. Hill Repeats. If you are short, props to you. For the most part it is significantly harder for taller runners than short runners to run hills. I am 6’2″ and have always struggled running hills but have gone from being horrible to decent over my 30+ years of running. By doing hill repeats it helps the harrier develop good form, even cadence in a race, anaerobic, and aerobic ability.  With all there is to gain from hill repeats, several team incorporate this activity into practices at least once a week.  Consider hill repeats the broccoli of running!

4. Racing. Running a race is great for runners because it lets them know how much they have in the motor and tank.  We usually do not race in practices and leave this for the Saturdays but is a very important part of training. Taking one’s body to the end of its ability.

The last ten minutes of each practice we play a game that most of the younger kids really enjoy: steal the bacon, sharks and minnows, etc.

Last but not least, we finish with popsicles.  It helps to get the harriers to the finish line and helps replenish a few of the calories we will burn during the hour!

New practice location announced for Sun City Harriers

We are excited to announce we are moving the Sun City Harriers home cross-country course from Kissel Park to Franklin Park! The first day of practice is Tuesday, September 9th, and like last year, we will practice Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 5 pm.

Kissel was a great park, but its flat course limited our ability to train on hills. One of the great things about hills is they aid in perfecting form for the developing runner. Running hills in practice will also help us compete better on hilly race courses like the Sunfair Invite (One of the largest XC races in the NW, held at Franklin Park).

Some of the things that Franklin Park (located between Tieton Drive and Chestnut Ave. on the south and north; South 17th and 23rd Ave. on the east and west) also offers is a more diverse course.  For our older runners, it will allow us to run 1000 meter and mile repeats.  For our young kids, we have a great 200 meter and 400 meter loop.

Starting this fall, the Sun City Harriers will also host our very first cross-country meet to go along with the other two local meets we are scheduled to run: the Sunfair Invitational and Apple Ridge Invitational.  There will also be a few other races for team members and families willing to travel to Western Washington and other areas in the Northwest.

Looking forward to the fall!

Coach Erik and AleahAleahFranklinSCHBlogSummerRaceSeries2014