An athlete in training

Wow, it’s been too long since I last posted! I feel like I’ve been neglecting my duties here. September seems to have gone by in a breeze, and October is well on its way!A lot has happened since I last posted, but there is one recent development in particular that I would like to talk about today: I joined cross country! Yes, it is the middle of the season, but I ran a half-marathon 3 weeks ago–a life-changing experience that I just wasn’t ready to let go of yet. I decided I needed something else to keep me motivated to continue running every day. When I found out the women’s team was just one short of having a full team, I thought, well, why not?? So I talked to the coach, Gary Histand, and he kindly consented to having a new member join mid-season. Within a few days, I was practicing with the team.I should make one thing clear, though: before running the half-marathon, I had never run long-distance before. Up until then, running was a chore–something I did because it was good for me and not because I enjoyed it–and I always had trouble getting into a routine and sticking with it. The last time I was in an organized sport was middle school track, and even then I just did the sprints–no long distance.That being said…cross country is a new challenge in itself. While I am in good shape from running the half-marathon, I wasn’t aiming for speed when I did it–I just wanted to finish. But now that I’m running with the team, I’m having to learn to pick up the pace. We usually run at least 5 miles each day, which doesn’t sound like that much after running 13.1 miles, but it’s a lot harder now that I’m trying to make good time.One thing I have found, though, in the short time I have been on the cross country team is that it is almost worth joining just to get a chance to hang out with such a fun group of people. Though they have already had half a season to bond with each other, they have been so welcoming to me as a new member, and I am very grateful for this. Today I competed in my first meet EVER, and as much as I’d like to say I pulled a Forrest Gump and beat everyone, that wasn’t the case. I got last. Yup, dead last. By a fairly substantial margin. But you know what? I never once felt bad about it. My team was cheering me on the whole way, telling me how good I was doing without once making me feel guilty about not doing better. So, as difficult as it was, I kept going and finished that race, dead last, with a smile on my face.Despite getting last place, I still felt like I had won the race.What other sport can you say that about?