Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday–My first XC practice 

July is coming to an end and most high schools have started to have cross country practice, at least my former high school has so I think this post is appropriate. I ran track in middle school but at the time our middle school did not have cross country. I planned to run cross country when I got to high school but as the school year came to an end and the summer began to pass by I became very nervous. I had never run a 5k race and I had never been in high school. I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the team, which was irrational because cross country didn’t have cuts. 

All summer long I followed the training plan the coach had given me at the end of the school year. It wasn’t an insane amount of mileage. In fact I didn’t even know what mileage was back then. I didn’t know what pace was. I wore scrunchies and cotten shorts and sneakers that desperately needed to be replaced. I don’t recall any runs being more than a half hour before summer practices actually started but I did exactly what the schedule said and some. 

On the car ride to the first practice I remember feeling scared and nervous. At the time only 2 other girls from my grade were doing cross country and I don’t think they were there that day. My mom parked the car near the steps in front of the practice football field and that is when I met Brittany. Brittany was a senior, one of the team captains, our top runner, and someone who actually knew a lot about cross country unlike myself. I distinctly remember her assuring me and my mother that the cross country team didn’t make cuts and that I wouldn’t get cut from the team. (If you haven’t made the connection from previous posts yet, all these years later Brittany and I reconnected and train together). Other girls began showing up and we all introduced ourselves. 

Our coach told us to run the course that day if we were able to go that far, so I ran the whole course. I didn’t understand the concept of running back then and I thought each and every run needed to be as fast as I could run. Once I had figured out that the top 7 girls were varsity (it only took a few minutes of listening to my teammates talking) I put that in my mind and I said to myself, ” I want to be varsity.” 

I was the second girl to finish the course that day. I remember running up the hills during the first mile of the course and glancing over my shoulder to see if anyone was coming and then sprinting down the hills as fast as I could. By the time I got to the final mile I was surprised that I had ran so well. I can’t imagine the time was faster than 25 or 26 minutes but I had no clue what that even meant. I was young and niaeve. 

From then on I wasn’t nervous and I believed I wouldn’t get cut from the team. I made varsity and dropped my time down to 21 minutes by the end of the season. I placed well in my conference because back then high school girls weren’t as fast as they are now. 

Some people thought I had natural talent when I was younger but I always thought I continued to improve because I worked hard everyday. I’m not really sure. I’ve had my ups and downs with running over the years but I always seem to bounce back. I’ll never be a professional runner but I guess I do have a certain amount of ability that keeps me competing at a certain level. 
**I would like to point out that I was a freshman in high school in 2001, that was 14 cross country season ago.**


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7 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday–My first XC practice 

  1. I think hard work speaks volumes. Yes, I think some people have natural talent but I also believe that anyone who wants something bad enough will get it. I think I’m a good example of this. I want to run a sub-3 hour marathon SO BADLY. I’ve gotten close. 3:06. But that time is not what I’m proud of – it’s the fact that my first marathon was 4:53. I’m not naturally fast, and I have to work HARD for every single second. I think you have a lot of natural talent, but I also think we share a very similar mentality – you want something, so you will do what it takes to get it 🙂

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    1. Wow 3:06 for the marathon!! That is so impressive. I agree that if you want something badly enough you will find a way to get it and the amount of time you dropped in your marathon is proof of that!

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  2. I love this. I remember showing up to cross country practice in high school because I had to. I strongly disliked running and was only forced to do it because 1. I went to a small private school so everyone had to play a sport and 2. my swimming coach told me it would help me swim. I suffered through every practice and meet, and really had no interest in running. It’s funny how much has changed since then.

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  3. I love how you talk about the simplicity of running as a kid. Sometimes I think, as adults, we know too much. We read and research, and I’ve tried things that worked for other people and they didn’t work for me. When you’re a kid, you do what your coach asks, you run for fun and you improve. It’s not all about having the best gear or techie accessories, or logging the exact time and mileage of each run, it’s about hard work bringing success and also enjoyment. I agree that girls XC times today are crazy fast, but you are a talented runner to make varsity as a freshman. Still, you put in all that work over the summer and obviously put in the work to go from 25-26 minutes to 21 minutes, you set a goal to make varsity and worked for it. When you do that as a kid it carries over to school, then jobs, and adult life.

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    1. I really feel like I was oblivious as a young runner and I wish I could have bottled that naiveness and pulled it out in college and even sometimes now. Running is one of those things where sometimes the less you know the better. I am a chronic over thinker and when I first started running I had no clue. Sometimes I try to channel that mindset and just run but its not as easy as it was back then. Either way I still love running so that is all that matters!

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  4. I love this throwback. I actually couldn’t keep up with the girls’ XC team in high school so I didn’t make the team. I beat most of the boys’ XC team at a 5K a few weeks ago, though. 🙂

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