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.