Let the racing begin!

Oh hey. Like our uniforms?

The sound of the gun going off, Munga cookies, crazy bus rides, new mottos, goofing around with our warm-ups, and funny pictures all mean only one thing … that cross country season has officially begun! Not that the past three weeks of practice don’t count as cross country, but I’m talking about racing. This week we had our first two meets. One on Thursday and invitational yesterday.

Thursday’s meet was nerve-racking. Wednesday night I went through all of my pre-race rituals (more on them later!) and made sure to get plenty of sleep. I still woke up the next morning groggy, stuffed up, and definitely not race ready. Somehow I survived the school day, of course was assigned a ton of homework, and we were on our way to the meet. Thursday was a hot hot day! Like muggy, no clouds, not fun to run in hot. Didn’t help that the course was two loops and barely had any shade either. Regardless, my two other girls and I warmed up after a long wait, as we raced after both the junior high and high school boys. Running first is so much nicer. When your stomach is tight with nerves, it’s not a fun thing to have to wait even longer!

Lined up with a total of 17 girls as it was a small meet, the gun was raised and we were off. The first meet of the 2012 cross country season. First mee of my junior year and a healthy one at that! From the moment the race started, I was thirsty. No bueno. Not to mention that my excitement to race and having this be our first meet made my book the first mile and die the rest of the way finish the race at a decent, but way slower pace. I was able to hold on and finish both loops in 19:27. There was some controversy

over whether the course was 3 miles or a 5K (which is only a difference of .1), but the race director posted the times as the race being 5K. Regardless, it was HOT and hey! only the beginning of the season. Heck, only the first meet at that! Times and placing don’t matter until the end of October for Districts. Or that’s my mindset. Overall, it was a long day. My girls ended up finishing well even in the heat and the high school boys’ race held some surprises. Not that our huge junior high team of 15 ( as the highschool is only 8 this year!) absolutely dominated!With the first meet behind us, it was now time to get rid of the lactic acid in our legs, relax, and focus on Saturday’s race.

My pre-race gift from a teammate.

Saturday’s meet was the Ocosta Invite. Our team has gone the past two years and while it’s only 2.95 miles, is a great two loop course.

Did I really just say I liked two loop courses? Weird. The race order was high school girls, high school boys, and junior high last. Luckily for us, the weather was a lot cooler and even though it was muggy, way better to run in compared to the scorcher on Thursday. Oh, and we got to go first! Out of our “Triple Threat” girl’s team, only the “Dynamic Duo” ran. (The “Dynamic Duo” nickname came about during track as Andrea and I were the only distance girls!) As with Thursday’s meet, a gal from one of the other teams, who is one of our biggest competitors, was there to race. And race she did. A little more relaxed, I ran better splits and felt a lot better about my race. Looking back, I feel as though I could’ve run harder, which is always a good sign. Just learning the ins and outs of racing again. Definitely has been awhile. I finished the 2.95 course in 18:27. For an estimated 5K time, you add about a minute. Doing so, I ran about a 19:27 ish. Again? Weird. Since I was injured last year when I ran the same meet, I PR’d by a minute and a half. Woohoo!It feels so good to be training and racing healthy again. There’s so much I’ve missed about the cross country season that I felt like I missed out on while I had my stress fracture. This year I have some big goals, but with hard work and a good attitude I’m excited to see what can happen. Not too bad of times to start the season with either!

Once we were done running, Andrea (the tall, skinny, super-fast girl always in my pictures?) and I cooled down and I “experimented” with our warm-ups. Just normal teenage runner shenanigans. I also was able to snap a few photos of our team in the stands after all of their races. Already making memories and it’s only the beginning of the season! As a team, our boys placed second by 3 points! So close. We had 3 boys place in the top 10 and Andrea and I placed in the top 5 overall for girls. Awesome, right?

As for the rest of my weekend, I’ve just been relaxing. It feels so good to sit on the couch in sweats and catch up on Wilfred and The Voice. Life is good! Today is actually Andrea’s birthday so even though I’ve seen her everyday at school, practice, and even yesterday at our meet … I still went over to her house this morning to drop off her present and we made pancakes. Lovely morning for a lovely lady. :-) Runing-wise – our next meet is coming up next Saturday in Seaside, Oregon and is the biggest meet we’ll go to all year. Runners from Oregon, Washington, California, and even a team from Hawaii will be there! It’s crazy and my favorite meet of the whole season. Don’t want to spoil if for you, though. More to come next weekend on that! Hope my race re-cap didn’t bore you too much and enjoy the rest of your weekend! :-)

If you’re a runner, have you raced lately? What’s your favorite part?

Until next time,

Gabby.

The boys’ team made this their new motto at the meet and it’s become and inside joke with one of our runners after their race. This is for them. Put the team on your back, do.

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