Sunday 2 November 2008

Free At Last

Four years and three months ago I started running Cross Country. At this point, I hated running, and did not believe at all that I was cut out for this. My parents didn't believe I could do it either, and that was pretty much the only reason I went through with it - to prove to them, and myself, that I could survive xc.
I really think it took about two years to totally get used to it and get comfortable running. For the first two weeks, I was positive that I would quit before school started. After school started, I did not think I would make it until our first race, but I did. Then, I didn't think I would finish the season. I didn't have it in me to quit, I felt like I didn't really have a good reason to. Besides, Ciera would have killed me.
As seen in my previous blogs, I am clearly passionate in my love for cross country and running in general. The beginning of November, however, is always awaited with the greatest anticipation - Sectionals, the last day of the season. We run our final race, go out to eat, have a sleepover, and wake up the next morning, completely liberated of the sport we love so much, and slightly unsure of what to do now. While there are things we are finally free to do, there's also a bunch of stuff that we now HAVE to do.
Indoor track will be starting in a week and a half for some of us, but this week and a half is the greatest and strangest week of the year. Much like summer, I begin to plan all the things I can fill my free time with - things that will probably not be accomplished. English work has piled up in the last marking period, which is due in two weeks. If I get going soon, I should be fine - I only have 15 notebook responses and two creative essays to write, two and a half plays and three novels to read. My PIG research project is going well, mainly because I often opt to spend all my free time reading about the Provisional Irish Republican Army, rather than doing real work. Scaramouche, my alto sax solo, has been long neglected due to marching band and cross country, so I should get practicing that during my 3-4 study halls a day. I finally have time for Loretta, and now that I have time and a license, it'll be much easier to drive to Meholick's house for lessons with Mrs. M.

During cross country, there's a unwritten code that I, as well as the other runners, live by. It isn't things that L suggests we do or do not do, or anything in the athletic policy - it is formed by experience, by the days we do stupid things before we run and suffer for our actions later. For example, in 9th grade I learned that to eat an apple before running is practically the equivialent of placing a rock in your stomach. To drink coffee before a race is to drain your body of every ounce of hydration. To drink juice the day of a meet is to bathe your muscles in acid. I am free now, until indoor starts, to drink whatever the hell I want and to eat apples any day of the week. However, I am no longer permitted to eat as many carbs as I please throughout the day with the mentality of, "I'll run it off at practice."

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