Entering the world of XC by Gabriel

     A cross country meet experience is like no other.  Cross country meets are very competitive, very unlike the races I have done with local racing organizations and rundisney.  In my first experience, I saw and learned a lot!  First of all, don't let the lower mileage deceive you.  My first cross country (XC) race was "only" 1.5 miles so i was very confident that I could run it "fast".  I went out way to fast at the beginning and along the course there were hills.  The terrain was uneven, dirt roads.  The 1.5 miles were probably some of the hardest I have had to run.  Second, competition is tough.  I saw many kids fall along the route, but even more I saw runners push each other out of the way which caused some runners to fall.  One girl had blood on her face, but she kept running.  A teammate got her leg scraped up!  I didn't know how tough it would be on the course.  My parents told me competitive sports are not "nice".  They can be fun and a great experience, but it is a competition and it can get "ugly".  I saw that during the race.  It makes me a little nervous for my next meets.  

     I took away a lot from my first XC meet.  I learned that it is very important to walk/jog the course before the actual race so that you will be prepared for obstacles, tight areas, changes in terrain and so on.  I learned it is very important to warm up properly, but to also stretch a little after warming up.  I learned that I have work to do with pacing myself in races such as how fast to go out.  The biggest thing I learned was to have fun.  Even though we all want to win for ourselves and our team, it is very important to have fun and use each meet as a place to grow for the next XC meet.  I am happy and proud of my first XC meet results even if I didn't place.  I ran hard and put my all into it.  I have work to do, but I look forward to the next XC meet.