Tag Archives: high school cross country

A Road Trip 

Haven’t been anywhere in over a year…but we went to Florida Friday and Saturday as chaperones to a high school cross country meet. 

As you may know, parts of Florida were hit by a massive hurricane this weekend. (Please keep all of the folks affected in your thoughts and prayers). We went to Tallahassee which was not effected by the hurricane. 

Tallahassee itself isn’t particularly scenic, nor was the drive down there.. mostly cotton fields for scenery 

We kept ourselves entertained by playing a highly intellectual game that our 3 girl passengers called Fudoodle: every time you see a yellow vehicle you hit the roof of the car and say fudoodle. School buses and machinery don’t count.

I was the reigning champion, mainly because I kept playing after everyone else had quit.

We drove straight to the course so that we could meet up with the rest of the team to do a preview. The meet was the Florida State invitational race. I believe that it is Florida State Univ s  home course. Most of the Florida teams use it as their state course preview. But there were other out of state teams there too.

We let the girls out of the car, then we ran the course 2 times. And I have got to say, this was the most spectacular cross country course I’ve ever seen.  If God created a cross country course, this what it would look like.  

I am certain that this course was built from the ground up specifically for cross country. Everything single aspect of this race/course was perfect. Even down to fabulous port o pots. Clean, clean, clean, and running water next to them so you could wash your hands! 

Spectators weren’t allowed near the finish chutes. So there was a mobile jumbo-tron that allowed us to watch our finishers.

The course itself was perfection. The surface was gravel/hard sand on places, low grass/dirt in other. Almost the entire course was in the shade of beautiful Spanish moss draped live oaks. The track was so wide, you could literally drive 2 Mac trucks down it. Even the one hill was very thoughtfully designed. It was tiered. So after a bit of ascent, there was a small depression/plateau which you can use as a spring up to the next ascent. Turn the corner, and a beautiful point 2 mile downhill (but not too steep) finish. 

The weather on race down was almost perfect. And it was our coolest race all season so far. Around 70 degrees and very low humidity and a nice breeze.

On a personal note, out daughter did well. She had a massive stress fracture and missed almost the entire season last year. This year she has been working her way back, while trying to improve her form to avoid another stress fracture. She still hasn’t beat her last year’s one race PR, but every race she is dropping 30 seconds. 

Hopefully she can keep improving!

A Fantastic Day in Rome (Georgia)

We spent half of yesterday in beautiful Rome, Georgia at our girl’s first cross country meet of the season. Since she only raced once last year before missing her season to a severe stress fracture, this was going to be her 2nd ever meet! All of us were excited, but nervous about the possibility of more injury.

It turned out to be a spectacular day for everyone….our daughter, us, our teams!

First Race

The first race of the day was an open race. My husband and I decided to run it. My husband had a blood sugar dip right before the start, so I lined up by myself. There were middle schoolers as well as post high school runners. I noticed our mechanic’s son near me. He is one of the fastest runners in Atlanta, and an xc coach. He had his team there for the meet, and decided to run. When the gun went off, it seemed like the whole field of runners except me was sprinting. I noticed I was one of the oldest runners, and just prayed not to finish last!

The course was beautiful and rolling. But I went slower than I’d hoped. I felt ashamed of how slowly I was going. Especially with our whole team plus parents there! After passing by the 2 mile mark, I saw our teams lined up on one  side of the course, many parents lined up on the other. Oh crap. They were cheering so loudly, and I felt so embarrassed of my slowness that I didn’t even look up as I approached them. As I neared them, it occurred to me that no one knew how slowly i was running; they were just happy to see me running. I looked up and waved and smiled! The girls had made up a cheer/chant/dance. It was so cute and It made me so happy! 

Today a few of them recreated the cheer at my house and allowed me to film it. I have already watched/shared SOO many times! 

Here you go:

Second Race

Girls varsity. 2 great things about this race: our daughter hit her goal, and so did her best running buddy!

Our daughter’s goal was to finish the race, and finish pain free! Her time wasn’t great, but she finished! And without pain!! There will be a second Race this season!

At least as exciting is the fact that our girl’s bff (the one I wrote about 2 posts ago), PR’d by 20 seconds! I couldn’t be more proud if she were my own!! She changed her strategy, and went out faster than normal. It worked! And the icing on this one is that she was able to beat her arch rival for the very first time! 

Third Race

Boy’s varsity. Our fastest boy is only a sophomore. He had an outstanding freshman year. He looked awesome yesterday, and won the entire race! 15:59. It was thrilling to watch how much he won by. 

Fourth Race

JV girls and boys combined.  This was a crowded race. It took a long time for the racers to space out. 

It also took a while for the race to finish. While we watched the last runners finish, we heard a loud cheer go up as the last runner and his bike escort appeared. As he ran by, I saw that he was a Downes Syndrome young man.
Oh my goodness…how inspiring. Sappy to say, but I shed a tear on that one.

What an amazing sport and an awesome day!

Here is a pic of the the parents/family supporters…lots of us!

A Moment of Pride for a Child Who Isn’t Even Mine!

We’ve know M since she and my daughter have been toddlers. M is a twin, and we all used to play together in our neighborhood pool.  The girls would all take turns jumping off the side of the pool into my arms when they were very young. When they were a bit older, they’d all take turns having me throw them up into the air and then splash into the pool. 

Now, the girls are in high school and M and my daughter run cross country. They are good friends, which makes me very happy since M is such a kind hearted, generous, hard working girl. 

It has been amazing to watch M grow and improve as a runner. When she first started running as a freshman, nobody noticed this shy, quiet, self conscious girl. But every race that fall, she got better and faster until by the end of the season, she was the number 2 girl. 

Last season, she became #1 in the time trial…an internal race held at the beginning of the season for positioning. 

She had an amazing season last year, and became one of the fastest girls in the county. Our county is the largest school district in the state, so this is big! Her track season was awesome too.  We drove to track meets just to watch her.  

And now cross country season has started again. At the start of each athlectic season, the county newspaper ranks the top 6 athletes in each sport. It’s called the Super 6. And our girl M made super 6!!! I’m so  proud of this young lady…almost like she was mine! Proud, and in awe. 

Can’t wait to see what she does this season!

2 Days 2 Races

What an awesome weekend!

I haven’t raced too much this Fall ( I guess maybe due to conflicting high school cross country races) , but now I’m really getting back into it with back to back races this past Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday was a 5k and  a potential PR course.  The course has a net elevation drop, plus they changed the course to take out the tough hill at the beginning of mile 3.  The start and finish were downhill, and the middle mile was rolling hills.  The weather was absolutely beautiful, sunny and in the low 60’s.  So all the stars were lined up for a spectacular race!  And it was!! Although I didn’t PR, I did get a time that I’m pleased with, and my best time all year.

The best part of the race was all of the friends that were also there.  Several of them PR’d, including my husband who shaved 8 seconds off of his previous time.  My marathon buddy, who I hadn’t seen in months was also there.  And so was my running nemesis (who really is a good friend…and who really is MUCH faster than me). I told her that I was thrilled that she had decided to run the 10k!!  I also told her that she is one of the fastest ladies in the city in our age group.  She didn’t believe me…but keep reading for more on that.

I won second in my Age Group, which made me kind of cranky b/c I thought I’d get first with running nemesis in the 10k.  I’m sorry and embarrassed to say that I think I scowled when I accepted my award from a former Olympic cross country racer.  What a poor sport I am!

On Sunday, I ran the Atlanta Track Club’s 10 miler with 4,057 other people.  Big, HILLY race, and a guaranteed PR b/c this was my first 10 mile race.  My goal was to finish between 1:20 and 1:30, and I just barely squeaked in with a 1:29:47! I also knew several people who were going to be running in this race, but didn’t see any of them the whole time.

Participation in this race benefitted our cross country team.  For every 10 mile runner who specified our cross country team as a beneficiary, the Atlanta Track Club donated a certain amount to our team.  Another way for our team to raise funds was by manning a cheer station.  The more participants, the more funds raised.  Our team had a cheer station at mile 2/8.

Running by our team was just GREAT!! I wore a team shirt, to make sure that everyone recognized me.  Our station was set up on a corner, with the boys  first, and the girls as you rounded the bend.  The boys cheered politely as I passed…many of them don’t know me.  But when I came around the corner and the girls recognized me, a giant, genuine cheer went up!  How Thrilling!  That truly made the whole race for me.

Did I mention that the course was hilly?  6 miles after passing our cheer station, I was feeling pretty awful from all of the hills.  I was coming up another hill when I could hear a lot of cheering ahead.  In my run drunk state, I was able to figure out that I was coming up on our cheer station again.  I felt really embarrassed at how slowly I was running, so as I came into their view, I perked up a bit  and faked it.

Faking it past our cheer station

Faking it past our cheer station

The last mile or so was downhill…a blessing, but as I checked my watch I knew I had to put a push on to get in under 1:30.  I managed to do it, but felt pretty fuzzy for a while after the finish.  My running nemesis said she saw me finish, but I never saw her.

And end of the story for her…she came in third for our age group in a big race where all of the fastest ladies in the city compete…so there I was right!

Today I am trying a link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.   See rules here. Thank you ladies!

WeeklyWrap

Hope your weekend was as great as mine?  Did you run any races?

A Day Well Spent

Well, another weekend, another cross country race!  This weekend, our school was the host.  That meant that all parents were encouraged to volunteer.  There is actually a lot of work and coordination that goes into the organization of a cross country race…from marking the course before the race, to manning the parking lot and collecting parking fees, to coordinating the porta-potties, to arranging for timing, to removing the timing chips at the end of the race.  And I could go on.

Since both my husband and I run, we were selected to be sweepers.

Sweepers

Sweepers

What an AWESOME job!! It was our responsibility to pick up the last runner in each race and escort (or trail) and encourage them to the finish.  There were a total of 8 races, so the sweeper crew took turns.  I wound up sweeping 4 times (jumping in after the first mile in most of the races).

This job is awesome for several reasons:

A) You get to meet some really great kids.  I got to meet 4 kids this time.  I chatted with each one, got to know their names, and a bit about them.  All were new (VERY NEW) to running.  None had ever run 3.1 miles before.  And each one was DETERMINED to finish the race even though they were going to be last by a substantial margin.  Very Admirable.

Cross Country Race Sweeper

Cross Country Race Sweeper

B) As a parent spectating at a cross country race, you normally only get to see portions of the course.  As a sweeper, you get to see and know the whole course!

C) Spectator support.  Everyone was so supportive of the last runners.  Over and over parents and kids yelled out encouragement and compliments as we passed.  Some even yelled out encouragement to me, which was pretty super!

Overall, we spent more than 6 hours at the races, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent our day!  And the funny thing was, our girl didn’t even run this race (due to some calf pain).

Trying a link up again.  Thank you ladies! Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life! Please check out their blogs and link ups!

In Praise of Cross Country

This past weekend, we took the world’s quickest road trip to Florida to watch our girl’s first high school cross country meet.  7 hours there, and 7 back to spectate at 21 minutes of racing.  Sounds ridiculous, but it was AWESOME!! (OK, we actually stayed longer than 21 minutes)

I don’t even know where to begin to start when praising this sport…We became fans when our son ran cross country.  Thank goodness for us (and her too) that our daughter is now doing it!

The race -- aren't the SO cute?

The race — aren’t they SO cute?

Here are some of the reasons I think cross country is so great:

  1. The kids learn important life traits – such as goal setting, preparation, and problem solving.
  2. Although it is obviously a super competitive activity, the kids are SOOO supportive of each other– Both with teammates as well as competitors.  I saw my girl, and the girl she had beat by inches (from another school) laughing and carrying on when they were receiving their ribbons.
  3. The sport seems to attract top notch kids…school leaders, high grade earners, no druggies…
  4. It introduces the kids to running. Hopefully they stick with it, or get back to it as they age.
  5. The effort these kids put out when racing is awe inspiring.  I had a friend say to me “how could you not be inspired to run after watching them?” And I agree…you should go watch a meet if you never have!
At the end of the race...ready to throw up

At the end of the race…ready to throw up

The most awesome thing is the race start.  I know this is sappy, but it almost always moves me to tears.  It is the embodiment of hope.  Now combine the start with a sunrise and you have guaranteed tears here!

Start of the race at sunrise

Start of the race at sunrise

One time, I told my daughter and her friend ‘Fastboy’ that if I had a time machine, I’d go back and run cross country in high school!

Here is a link to an article  that nicely explains the greatness of cross country:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paige-smith/an-open-letter-to-my-high-school-cross-country-coach_b_6250460.html