In cross country, you always run the extra mile

At HAAL finals the CVHS junior varsity cross country team placed second to a very strong Bishop O’Dowd team. The Trojans were not too happy with that, but I preferred not to dwell on being second. Running lets me relax and escape daily life, especially when I personally improve.

My freshman year was a struggle. Before I even showed up to practice I began running a mile every day to get prepared. Boy was I in for a surprise on the first day when the coach said, “All right everyone, one mile warm-up.” There wasn’t much else going through my mind except fear of what was next while I ran my mile.

Throughout the rest of that season I “survived” races, as coach Peter Brewer liked to put it. I didn’t care. I just liked to get out of school and run dusty trails out in the countryside.  Mainly I looked toward the future because the CVHS cross country was very strong at this point, with runners like CJ Hamilton and Ben Eversole.

That year I improved my two mile time from 20:35 to 11:54. To say the least, I was proud.

In my sophomore year I improved greatly from my ten-minute mile origins. Part of it was that I was used to running five miles a day and another part of it was that I was becoming more competitive towards my teammates. Whenever the upper classmen would tease me during the workouts, I would run up to them and try to stick with them for as long as I could.

As junior year approached, I started to understand the routine a runner goes through to prepare for a race: arrive an hour before the first race starts and cheer on your teammates until an hour before your own race starts. Then go to the bathroom and make sure you are wearing your uniform. After that you warm up half an hour before your race starts for ten minutes, and toe the starting line. The worst part of competing is waiting to compete. Therefore, as a runner, one learns how to wait, whether it is by reading a book, sleeping, or doing some other activity to keep your mind off the upcoming event.

My last year here on the CVHS cross country team I have learned this one fact: running is a mental sport. At all times you have to have a very strong belief in your body and your mind. When you run, you can’t be afraid of going too fast or too slow. When I started this season, I trained with Samantha Fong, who at that time was our second fastest girl. She ran about as fast as the number one boys junior varsity runner, which was where I wanted to be. The varsity runners would tell me to run with them instead, but I decided against it because at the start of the season my body was delicate. I could tell that my knees were on the brink of becoming injured, and I devoutly iced them every night in order to heal them. A month later when my knees felt better I began running the varsity workouts. That is the difference between a veteran runner and a rookie.

Overall in my four years at CVHS I would say I have learned to be in tune with my body and how to race. Yet I have learned more than that. As I have grown, I have helped my teammates and coaches to be proud of hearing the name “CVHS cross country,” where we always run the extra mile.

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