I am back. I am back earlier than you may have thought, and earlier than I may have wanted. I am back in the world of loose singlets, muddy spikes, and hills, so many horrible, horrible hills. I am back running cross-country again.
On a recent Saturday at the UMass Minuteman Invitational I returned to the world of 5k racing. It is a place I have managed to escape for three years but somehow ended back at. Funny how all the things I tried to get away from I end up going right back to. Yet there I was, in a random field, stumbling around on a course against my will. Somehow, it did not go horribly. I managed a new PR of 18:47 (if my high school PR of 19.30 even counts after all these years), I got fourth for my team (granted 3 of last years top 7 were injured and did not run), I persisted my way through the middle mile (which was almost entirely uphill thank you very much) and I lived to type this blog! In reflection of this new endeavor I was forced to take part in, here are a few thoughts I had during my first collegiate cross-country race.
Why is everyone sprinting we still have three miles left?
Yikes this hill is rough and we have the do this loop again
Why is everyone sprinting down this hill? We still have like over 2.5 miles left
Yikes this hill is even harder now than it was the first time
Please help me
Slow and steady Sydnee, slow and steady
THIS HILL NEVER ENDS
Why am I running this full 5k? I should be stopping at the 2 mile mark like our other 800 girls are
How did I ever do this in high school?
What would Coach do if I were to just stop right now?
I’m definitely running like 7 minute pace right now but it’s fine
When does this end
I hate this
Why is Coach yelling 800 meters like I’m going to start kicking? Doesn’t he know that’s the length of my actual event?
Why is the finish line running away from me
DONE. SO HAPPY. THANK YOU. NEVER AGAIN.
That was actually…kind of…maybe…a little…fun…
I don’t know what’s worse. The way my calves currently feel, or the fact that I may have slightly enjoyed myself during those 20 minutes of torture. Am I becoming insane? Probably. Nonetheless, I cannot ignore the accomplishment and dare I say, joy I felt that I did the whole race and did not completely embarrass myself. I have never seen an 18 next to my name before and that felt really good. Having said that, regardless of what my coach, JJ Clark, says I am not a cross-country runner. I’m just engaging in a mild flirtation. I am still in a deep, passionate love affair with that beautiful rubber oval and the short two laps that accompany it. Honestly, lets just forget I even mentioned anything about the weekend. It feels like I’m cheating, and I don’t like it.