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.


  1. Life is circular, things come around again.

    I think you'll make a great XC coach!

  2. Reese! I fully intend on recruiting athletes from your team because I want to bring in kids to our collegiate d2 program that have PASSION for the sport, not just some talent... and I firmly believe that YOU will give them just that. I wouldn't have said that for no reason--I said it because I truly truly believe that you can pass along your passion and love of the sport to anyone you're around--it is contagious and awesomely awesome to be around you because of it--never ever ever loose that--I think you make a fantastic coach and I hope those athletes realize how truly lucky they are! xxx, Angelina

  3. It's almost mind-bendingly pathetic but I actually cried at this post as it reflects my progress since we both started secondary school (I'm sorry it's secondary, no questions, hush your protests...I'm from England) at the same time. Went through the same running process and now I'm becoming a primary school teacher with a specific on coaching my old secondary school running squad. Incredible to see someone my own age being hilarious and insightful about this weird, lovely sport. One line stuck with me:

    'sometimes we travel just to miss home'

    Fantastic blog and can you get off your arse and write some more please, it's annoyingly bloody fantastic.

    James, Manchester, UK

    1. James,

      Thanks for the comment! I'll post soon!! Stay classy in the UK!