Cherry on top.

Instead of leaving you hanging and wondering how state went, I’ll jump right in! So many things happened this weekend and I’m still so excited about how it went, I can’t wait to share. :-)

We left Thursday afternoon and made our way over the mountains to eastern Washington where the state meet is held. Our team likes to go over on Thursday, even though the race is on Saturday, because it gives us runners more time to relax and get settled before running. Not to mention having to race after 6 hours on the bus the day before does not sound fun. Once we checked into our hotel, we were off to Olive Garden for a good ‘ole carb-loading pasta night. Let’s just say … I have never eaten that many bread sticks in my life.

Teenage shenanigans before loading the bus to go to Olive Garden.

Two of my favorite sophomores. Taking a picture together on the way to dinner has become a tradition. The one on the top is from last year, and the one on the bottom is from Saturday. We haven’t changed too much, huh? ;-)

    

    Dinner at Olive Garden was sooo good. I stuck with lasagna, thinking simple pasta would be best and not hurt my stomach for Saturday’s race. Everything I did Thursday and Friday I asked myself, “Will this help or hurt my race on Saturday?” definitely played it safe. The rest of the night was spent back at the hotel where my two girls and I were roomies. Bookworms that they are, Linnea and Andrea read before bed, not bothering to wake me after I fell asleep at 9:15. Man! Who knew sitting on a bus could be so tiring!?

Friday morning we packed back on the bus and drove another hour or so to Pasco, where we previewed the course. Located on a golf course, the state course is an all grass, one-loop course. It is a hard course though, don’t get me wrong. Full of hills, the balance of downhill makes it a good course, if a tough one. As this was my third year at state, I felt a little more at home and was able to run the course and plan out race strategy. After our usual pre-race strideouts, which we call Kenyan Triangles, we were off to our next hotel before free time at the mall. At the mall that afternoon, a few of us went to go see Paranormal Activity 4, while others saw Wreck It Ralph. Paranormal Activity was a must-see for me since it has become somewhat of a tradition. As the movies have all come out in October, they have been in theaters for the past four years when cross country has gone to state. My freshman year I saw Paranormal Activity 2 with my older teammates who had seen the first one the year before. Since then, as each movie comes out, it has become a tradition of the team to go see the newest Paranormal Activity at state. Andrea and I were scared to death  screamed a few times when our teammates kept jumping out at us, but still had fun. Scary movie the night before state means nightmares, right? Not for this kid. ;-)

Saturday morning we were up early, got dressed, and made our way to breakfast. With my pre-race routine of peanut butter toast and a banana, I was ready. Our race was at 10:30, the second race of the day. Andrea and I got in a good warm-up in the cold morning, wearing our gloves, extra sweatshirts, and head-wraps to keep warm. Stretches done, strideouts, and team prayer over with … and we were ready to race. Bring it on.

The gun went off and race began. The last race of our 2012 cross country season, but lucky enough to have made it to the state championships. Right from the start, I made my way on the outside and was near the leaders. No pressure, right? I just had to hold on for 3.1 miles. At mile 1 though … my shoe came untied. I knew that if I wanted to run a good race that I would have to keep running and try not to focus on the fact that my shoe might come off at any minute. Focused more on catching a straggler from the lead pack, I drew even with the girl a little bit past the 2 mile mark. From then on, we race side by side, neither wanting to give a lead to the other. Coming up the last hill, I beat her to the top before having her catch-up with me at the 3 mile mark. The last 0.1 was a fight. I flew down the rest of the hill and gave it all I had, watching the clock hit tick into 19 minutes, all worry about my untied shoe behind.

I finished in 19:08, another PR. With that time, I placed 5th. After a long season, a long summer of training, and coming back from a stress fracture that ended my season last fall … I am completely and utterly happy with my race. Sure, my shoe might’ve come untied and sure, the girl who got 4th was only ahead of by less than a second, but either way … I couldn’t be happier. All the pressure I felt there was on me going into the race? I don’t feel like I let anyone down. I gave 110% that race and even though I didn’t break 19 minutes, it doesn’t matter. I’ve never felt totally happy with a race performance until Saturday. What a great way to end my season and what a confidence boost!

While I made the podium Saturday morning, I wasn’t the only one. “Kevin,” one of our seniors, placed 15th. He didn’t have the best race of his season and had been battling a cold, but still ran a great race and left Pasco with a medal. He’s probably sick of hearing it from me, but I am so proud of him and all that he’s accomplished the past two years that he’s run cross country. I can’t wait to see what happens this winter in his training and know that he will dominate once again in the spring during track! To “Kevin” I want to say – Thank you for being such a great teammate and friend. You’re awesome!

Of course, I couldn’t have made it this season without my team. This year, our boys’ team ended up 13th. It’s not the best that we’ve placed at the state met, but they all ran hard and I’m so proud of how far they’ve come this season. My girls and I weren’t a full team, but I’m just as proud of them. We made our on goal of becoming closer and more supportive this season, and we did just that. Even though they’re sometimes weird, annoying, loud, and crazy … they’re my weird, annoying, loud, and crazy team. Not only that, but they’re some of my best friends. These are people who I couldn’t imagine my life without and ones who are always there to support me and be the best of friends even when I don’t deserve it. To them I say – Thank you and you guys are the best!

These are my parents. If I’ve never mentioned how much of a support they are to me in every aspect of my life, then I’ve done wrong as a daughter. I owe everything that I’ve become to them and there’s no way I’d be as far as I am without their constant love and support. To them I say – I love you guys so much! ♥

In all my thanks, I can’t forget my coach. To me, he’s more than that. He’s a part of my family and I don’t where I would be now if I didn’t have him in my life. Even through the ups and downs of this season, he’s been there to push me and make me the runner I am today. Besides training, he’s shaped the person that I am and words can’t express how thankful I am. To my coach I say – Thank you so much, I love you!

With that, I’m off to relax. I’m taking a week off (or at least trying to!) from running and even trying not to exercise at all. I want to let my body recover before moving onto the off-season. definitely since I’m a year-round runner and rarely take any time off besides Sundays. While I’m going to miss the cross country season, my teammates, and all the memories that come with it … I’m ready for the cold, long, runs of the winter months and the adventures that I’ll have when Winter Conditioning starts up again and I’m re-united with float belts when we go swimming! More on that later. :-)

This has become a longer post than expected, but I didn’t think any of this weekend deserved to be forgotten. An awesome last few days with my team and a spectacular race have been the cherry on top of my season. There were tears, frustration, and points at which I wanted to give up, but overall? I wouldn’t change a thing. :-)

Until next time,

Gabby.

Best pre-race advice I’ve ever been given.

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4 thoughts on “Cherry on top.

  1. Congratulations on a terrific year, Gabby! I remember at the beginning you were very excited about how your year would go…. and you did yourself proud! Two PRs in a row? And one at State even? Incredible!
    Enjoy your week off! It’s well deserved!

    • Thank you! :-) I am still so excited and happy with how it all ended this year. I feel like I learned a lot this season and can’t wait to apply it to the rest of my running in the future. Thank you again for your support, it means a lot. :-) Hope all is well!

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