It’s almost one of my favorite seasons. I love the fall for many reasons, my birthday, crunchy leaves, eating chili, running in cooler temperatures, and one of my most favorite times of the year is because of the sport that comes with it. Cross Country!
In high school it was always my favorite sport and now that I have the opportunity to coach it, it is still my favorite sport. Things have changed since I started running but the races are all still the same. It’s a simple test of how hard you can push your body for 3 miles. There’s something so invigorating about waking up on the morning of a meet and feeling the jittery excitement. I still get so nervous and I don’t even have to race!
I love the fact that Cross Country is an individual sport, yet a team sport. You can push yourself against the other runners and if you’re lucky, you have a great team that runs as a pack and scores well against other schools. I was on a team with only about 7 other girls, so we never did all that well in the larger meets, but I enjoyed it because if I finished well, I could still get a medal.
I love the training, the different workouts, seeing our athletes succeed and the changing of the colors as we run through local parks and paths. There is something that just takes me right back to my days in high school and I love remembering those times. It was really hard at the time, but looking back I could have run harder, pushed myself to go faster. Even though I could have done better, I’m so glad I learned the sport of running and now I can continue to enjoy it on my own and am able to coach as well.
Coaching Cross Country is something that brought me back to running too. It’s what made me realize I missed running when I felt like I couldn’t run anymore after my mom died. It’s not an easy sport in any measurement, nor glamorous or even really recognized at some schools, but it’s something that I’m so passionate about and I love so much. I’m so grateful for another year to coach and give back at Lakewood, to hopefully teach the kids that running can be a lifelong sport and that you can love to run. Just like I can hear my high school coach in the back of my mind sometimes when I run, I hope they can hear me encouraging them and that they will have the same memories I have every time fall comes around.