Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cross Country

August 2002: I walked into the guidance office of Williamsport High School to register for classes. I was new to the high school. In fact I was new to just about everything there. My family had just moved from Pennsylvania to a small, podunk-esque, town in Western Maryland- Williamsport. (Which later it became known as Wheemsport) I was less than pleased with the move and was in no mood to be social. But  I didn't have a choice when I crossed the threshold of the school doors. Mrs. Mayhugh, the secretary, was the first person I encountered. I received a warm and loud "Hello!!" which was quickly followed by, "You look like a runner. Do you run? Because you should. My husband is a coach on the cross country team. Here, whats your phone number." I gave her my newly memorized number, but quickly informed my mom that I was "NOT RUNNING." I wanted nothing to do with that. I was miserable in this new place and made it known I was set on being that way for the duration of my stay in this town.
Top two for both men and women! Froshmeat!

That Afternoon 2002: That wasn't exactly an option. Randy Buchman called me and didn't ask me to come to the first, he told me I was coming to the first practice. His booming voice didn't leave much of an option for me. The next day I showed up to practice in my sister's old yellow Nike Shocks, Soffee shorts and a stern look on my face that shouted, "I don't want to be here, but my mom forced me. And besides, what else am I going to do?" I remember running to the tennis courts and back in the wet grass. I talked to some of the other people on the team. It was fun..I think? I don't remember what the run was like. I do know I had blisters on my feet by the end of practice. I told my mom that I wasn't going to be able to run in the old Nike's and that we should probably look into getting better ones. Apparently I had forgotten my vendetta for all things cross country or Williamsport related. Something had clicked..was it the people? The strange sense of immediately being adopted into a running family? Was it simply just the running? Or the willingness of my mom to buy me new shoes? Whatever it was, I went with it and decided I "guess" it would be ok to run.

State Meet! La and I
Fast forward 2006: I graduated from high school. I don't remember much about my actual education. (Sorry teachers, you were great, but...)I do remember my coaches. I remember and still talk with friends I made when I ran XC, Indoor and Outdoor track. I remember volunteering at the JFK50 mile with the cross country team- and being SO impressed by the will and courage of the runners. I remember saying that I wanted to be one of those runners one day. And I remember when I became one of those runners after completing the JFK50 in 2007, the day after my 20th birthday. I remember thinking that running was THE thing that made me happy. It was my source of joy, something that would make me feel at home wherever I was.

The fab 5 in the back with our 2 senior leaders
August 2012: Its been ten years (TEN YEARS!) since I ran my first cross country race. And today was the first race for my cross country team. Ten years after I said I would never run cross country, here I am coaching it. I am now the one who calls, emails and badgers/cons students to "come out to the first practice." I dedicate a majority of my free time and mental energy to something I swore I was not going to do. Which is insane for me to think about. Today I looked back on my experiences of running in high school and can see the progression. I am so thankful for the coaches in my life. Thankful for the support of my parents. And while I am thankful, I'm also hopeful (and slightly nervous) that I can influence some of my runners the way my coaches and teammates influenced my life. Perhaps one day, some of the kids on my team will look back on the day when they were voluntold into running and be happy it happened.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Recently I've been feeling pretty sluggish. This season my race schedule has been obviously conservative- like a tea party in Boulder. Running has migrated to second on my list of hobbies and hiking has slowly moved to the number one spot. Well this week it finally came to a head. All of my runs felt horrible. I could barely shuffle through a 5 mile run without wanting to stop. My brain wanted to run, but my legs just couldn't hack it. I took a day off, which I thought would help, but it just made me want to run more the following day. So naturally I thought a run in the mountains would solve the problem. 

My motto for today's run.
>I began my run and noticed that the same problem as before kept occurring. My mind wanted to go, but my legs just couldn't. (Or wouldn't) When I couldnt stand listening to my brain and legs bicker back and fourth anymore, I found a nice high vantage point on top of the hill I just lumbered up and perched on top of a rock. I felt like I needed to reflect on my life choices. Or at least look like I was in deep thought if anyone passed by. (as opposed to just sitting down on a rock, giving up on running.) WHY on earth was I feeling so bad? It couldn't be my severe anemia...thats not real. And besides that would mean that I am responsible for my own problem. No, no, thats just not acceptable I thought.  But then it hit me. I need new friends. THEY are the real problem here. I've clearly surrounded myself with far too many talented people who make me look and feel awful (somehow even when I'm not running with them..I've not figured the logistics out on that yet...) It all made sense now! 
Perhaps I can blame my outfit for making me run slower.

Oh sure, go to the summit and come back down to go back up with me. 
See- There's Brandon S- who on his first 100 broke 20 hours and placed 7th. And also did the inclination. Which is disgusting. Eric Lee- who, if I ever kept track of my vertical gain, would surely complete what I do in one month in one week. Brendan Trimboli- who never seems to get tired, got 3rd at SJS, paced over Hope Pass in fairy wings..Aaron Marks- (Slow Aaron Marks..which lets be honest, the name is from his inability to get up early in the morning.) who the last time I ran 'with' him, I saw his back for 10 minutes on the Incline and didn't see him again until he was coming down Pikes Peak. There's Dakota, who I run with for a few steps and casually say, "I won't get lost if you leave and go ahead." Oh and I guess he did well in some races this year too. There is Chris Gerber who has more Degrees in distance than I can even comprehend. Krissy M- well 3 100s in 3 months. Get real! How am I supposed to top that? Gavin McKenzie who smoked it up Mt. Massive. And Elbert. And La Plata.-- the last time I  'ran' 'with' him. THIS is the problem. I need to surround myself with very unspecial friends to make myself look and feel better. That or I'll only run with hurt people. Either way, its not me, its them. 

Soon I'll get this friend thing sorted out and I'm sure my energy levels will skyrocket. Until that happens, you all may see a little less of me.***

LT100 Pacers and Pacee. They are ok I guess. 

I like scapegoats. 

***I hope none of you take this seriously. As I'll go nuts without all of you in my life. 

“Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.'
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.” 
-E.B. White, Charlotte's Web