Sunday, November 13, 2011

NWAACC Championships

As you can probably imagine, Friday night was pretty restless. By the time my alarm finally went off at seven, I had already woken up several times and had to force myself to go back to sleep. I stumbled out of bed, looked in the mirror, and thought "today is the day"
I write this on my hand every race. 

Four hours later, on the starting line, I took a long, deep breath. Looking out at the lush green golf course stretching out in front of me, I couldn't help but smile. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.... thankfulness for this season. For how well it has gone. For the opportunity to run. When I was in France, I was so worried that I had sacrificed my dream of running in college by doing what I knew I was supposed to do and doing missions. But God turned around and gave running right back to me. 

The gun went off. And the start was fast. I always knew it was going to be... my competition, the girl favored to win, would do her best to create a gap right away. And my goal was to stay with her. A few other girls and I pushed the pace, doing our best to go with her. Some fell back, others pulled forward out of nowhere. It was a battle, and no one wanted to back down. 

And it was cold. Within minutes, I could not feel my hands. But at least it wasn't raining! :) 

The course was not very well marked, and I had no idea what mile I was in at any time. People who have run cross country competitively before can understand how frustrating this is strategically. I did my best just to focus on racing though... matching moves and returning them with moves of my own. 

The race is somewhat of a blur to me now. Somehow, my competition slowly pulled away. With 600 meters to go and a downhill finish, I knew she was a little too far out of my reach. I now clung to fourth, hanging on right behind the number three girl. Behind me, I could hear someone doing their best to catch me. With one last surge of energy I kicked toward the finish line. 

People cheered, and I couldn't hear them. I could only feel my legs burning. I crossed the line... the last finish line of this cross country season. Fourth. 

And I felt... a little disappointed, honestly. As an athlete and a competitive person, I will always wish I did more and think I can do better. And I didn't get my goal, necessarily. BUT- I can't be too hard on myself. I have come so far since I was in high school. And when I started the season, I had no idea of was capable of accomplishing all that I have. The fact is, I am so blessed that I was even able to get a medal, and that is an accomplishment in itself. 

And on top of that, my girl's team placed second and trophied!!!! We are apparently the first women's team from our school to trophy at NWAACCs. We were beyond excited :) 
NWACCs second place :) 
We had these shirts made with our favorite quotes:
"If you want to succeed, your desire for success must be greater
than your fear of failure."

So now the season is over, and it ended on a high note.
I'm still hungry for that feeling that I gave absolutely everything I had in a race. 
I still want to experiencing collapsing across a finish line
But I am really proud of what I have done. 
And its not the end. Just the beginning :)

I'm looking forward to having this week off of practice. I'm sure I'll probably feel sluggish and nasty, but it will be a much needed mental break. And then, track. 

5k (and 10K?) for me! Having never run more that a mile on the track, I'm a little nervous for these races, but my coach is pretty confident that's where he wants me, so we'll see! 

I'll miss cross country though. I already do. 

Here is one last picture from this weekend. Us with our favorite runner, Nick Symmonds.
Well, he is definitely mine, anyway. For more reasons than one :)  

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