Cross Country

The rush of XC!


I had some other things to ramble on about for today, but that will just have to wait because I have the most exciting story to share with you!  It’s all about the last Cross Country meet of the season for my daughter.  I may have mentioned a million times that my daughter is running her first year in XC, and she has been doing well.  At the beginning of the season she got to run “varsity” for the Jr High, which are the top 7 runners for her school.

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There are only two meets that use a varsity group.  For the other meet, which was their final meet of the season, she did not get selected to run varsity.  I have to admit, that broke my heart more than hers!!  She seemed OK with it, but I was a bit sad.  She was selected as the “alternate” varsity runner, just in case they needed her.  When I finally got over it, I assured her that it might be even better because she’d have more of a chance in the Open division because she’d be one of the faster girls out there!

This past weekend we checked out the course.  It was being held at an old fort in our area.  The fort is along the river, up high, and it has a flat area down below which would be the meat of the course.  Down a winding hill, two loops in the flat, up a long steep hill, and then about a half mile to the finish.


The fort up high, with flat lands below

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“short” uphill #1

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“long” uphill #2!

When the girls took off, Sydney was in the mix of them all.  They headed off to go down the hill, and we went up to the top of the fort where we had a clear view of the open flat area.  Soon the runners came into sight.  We were shocked and amazed when we saw Sydney in front of all of the girls!!  She was actually in the lead by quite a bit!  There was another girl from her school behind her, and then the rest of the pack was behind them.  WOW!!!  There were 9 schools participating, so there were at least 100 girls in the Open division.


Even after rounding a few corners, there she is all by herself!!

She kept up her lead for the entire flat area that we could see.  Then, she headed up the hill.  Sure enough, at the top of the hill, which was closed in to a narrow strip by the cheering spectators, was Sydney still in first place!!  We cheered her on and made our way to the finish line.

We could see her in the distance approaching the finish chute.  Her team mate was still the same distance from her, but as she got closer we saw it… another girl was coming speeding up behind her!  That girl was cruising, and came out of nowhere.  I had not even seen her on the last half mile to the finish, up until now.  What the heck??

We yelled as loud as we could to give my daughter some sort of indication that she had another runner right on her tail, but it went by so fast, she never got to even see us.  The girl caught up to her in the last seconds of the race – and from our vantage point – it looked like she stepped on the finish line at the same time as Sydney did!!  I’m not sure what it really looked like at the finish, but first place was given to the other girl.

It’s hard to describe the excitement of it all, so here is a very poorly recorded clip of the finish line.  Crazy, right?


Despite the shock she had when she crossed the line, it was a great race.  I’m so proud of her!  She finally got her goal of sub 14:00 for her race (13:58!) and basically crushed this course.  And that second place finish could have easily been a first place if she knew that girl was there.  As a reward for her great efforts this season, she finally got the brownie bites she has been eyeing up every time we go to the grocery store 🙂  It was the perfect end to her first XC season.

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Q: Is there a favorite treat that you like to reward yourself with after a job well done?

Q: What has been the best part of your week so far?



Two great things and a sucky ending

Monday was my first official day back to training since Erie Marathon.  Yippie!!  On tap was intervals, 5 x 800’s (1/2 mile) with a mile of warm up.  I went out right after the kids got on the school bus.  The morning was actually crisp and chilly.  You can feel Fall in the air!!  Not to mention all of the leaves starting to fall on the running trail.  Ahhhhhh…..

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I picked out a straight boring mile section of the trail and ran back and forth.  The intervals were supposed to start at 10K pace, but I’m not always so good at keeping my pace outside so I just ran fast.  Intervals ended up being faster than 10K, each around 7:33.  VERY happy with those results.

Must have been my snazzy new compression socks!  It was a good morning for them – they kept my legs warm.

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Next great thing on my agenda was later in the afternoon.  I got to run with the cross country team.  It was a “hill run”.  We ran over to a hill 1.5 miles away from the school, then ran up and down the hill.  Zachary got to bike along for support too.   We were kinda like sheep dogs keeping the team in line 🙂

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The hill is killer.  It’s a sledding hill.  I ran up and down it three times.  That was about half of what the team was doing.  I thought my heart was going to jump right out of my chest!!

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Look out kids, old lady coming through!!

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We even found a baby snake.  Awwwwww, so cute!

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After that hard work we all ran over to the ice cream stand for some treats.  Ice cream has never tasted so good!!

And for the sucky part of my day – I was excited for approximately 5 mins when I got to register for the 2016 Boston Marathon.  My excitement was short lived as we read about how registration was up 15% from last year.  For sure, the BAA will be breaking some hearts again this year by turning away some runners, and it’s most likely I will be one of them.  Which totally SUCKS.  That’s all for  now, because I don’t even like to think about it, it’s getting me sad.  I’m purposely avoiding all the personal opinions on what the cutoff time will be.  That really doesn’t help.  Everyone should know by Sept 30th if they made the cut or not.   I’ll try my best to stay positive, but it’s really not looking so good at this point.

To end on  a happy note, my kitty was hanging out with me this morning 🙂

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Q:  Have you ever wanted something so bad and you don’t get it?

HAHA, just kidding, I wasn’t going to mention it again, right?  It is what it is.  It’s just too bad everyone can’t run.  I just wish they would change the qualification times again so people aren’t disappointed after they register.

Q: Do you ever wear compression socks in the summer?  Just wondering because they are pretty warm.

Q: Favorite topping for ice cream?

I chose hot fudge for my ice cream treat.  Yum, oh yum!




I’ve got it all

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If I’ve learned anything from running Boston this year, it’s that you can never be too prepared!!  Or overpacked!  So, this time I’ll be ready for it all.  2 pairs of shorts (not sure which to wear yet), 2 tank tops (ditto), capris, 2 t-shirts (in case it’s chilly), bunch of GUs, pins, gloves, undies, hat, throw away shirts…. you get the picture. (yep, there it is!!)

The forecast for Erie looks pretty good right now.  Let’s hope it doesn’t change!  This week the forecast has gone from pretty warm (78) to really rainy.


Tomorrow it’s off to see my daughter run at a huge XC meet (and she’s running varsity for her team!!!).  Then off to Erie.  Enjoy romantic pre-race pasta dinner with Alan (it’s our 23rd wedding anniversary on Saturday!).  Hopefully we’ll see a few friends.  Get a good night’s sleep and then IT’S ON!!

See you on the other side!!  🙂


Q:  Do you get the pre-race jitters?

I sure have in the past day!!

Q: If it’s sunny, do you wear a hat/visor or sunglasses?

I’m not even taking sunglasses.  The course is mostly shaded, and quite beautiful because it’s a state park.  I’ll take a few pictures for you!

Cross Country adventures

So proud!!

Today I’ll spotlight another up and coming runner in my family – my daughter!  My kids have both participated in running for many years now.  One of their first races was when she was 6 years old.


Even then we knew how to celebrate a great run!


She has also participated in Girls On The Run for several years.  She enjoys racing, but was never one to request to go out for a run with me.  So I was excited when she signed up for Cross Country.  It involves practice 5 days a week, and a meets usually once a week.  Luckily the coach makes practices fun and she has been enjoying it!  They had their first meet (an invitational, with many schools) this past week.  Mind you, Cross Country is a new area for both Alan and I.  Neither one of us knew much about it, but now we do!  Facts learned: cross country happens in the Fall.  The kids run in the grass.  They run almost 2 miles.  All of the kids start at the same time.  Everyone gets to run.

At the first meet we were blown away with the number of kids.  This meet wasn’t even one of the bigger meets in terms of the number of schools involved!  And when they started, all of the kids took off running in a big group.  Crazy! (for runners who are used to organized starting chutes!)

She finished 26th out of 137 girls in her division, which was also good enough to get her a ribbon for her performance.  I could tell she was quite proud of her efforts, and so were we.  14:44 for 3200m.  A faster pace than mine!!

As for my running, I took both of the kids out with me for my 5 mile run on Sunday.  It was super humid, but the kids did a great job and they finished it with only minor complaints 🙂  Unfortunately during the run my right shin started hurting and it was annoying by the time we were done.  I iced it right away, in hopes it will be better by tomorrow.

Blue toenails!  That can only mean one thing – psych up time for Boston Qualifying!!  I need all of the positive energy I can get.


Q:  Do you ever coordinate your nail polish to your race outfit?

I don’t really because nail polish on my hands never stays on long enough.  But my toes will also be blue to support Boston!

Q: Did you ever run cross country in school?

I can’t even remember our school having a cross country team!  That’s how far removed I was from sports in school.