Emma in the white shirt is with her team the Lake Oswego Varisty Girls at the Sandelie Course.
This is Emma Smith,
So here is the massive blog post about my XC season!
I was very excited to start this Cross Country season because I had trained more then I ever had in the past over the summer. I had ran 100 miles and went to Steens Mountain Running Camp! Our first meet was at Tualatin. The weather was perfect for that race. We started off and it was great, I knew that I was going to do well. I finished with a time of 21:27. This was in the range of times that I wanted for the first meet. Little did I know that this would be the last time I felt good after a race until Sandelie. The next series of races I felt like I could have ran much better. My times slipped to 21:36-21:40. I started to think that the season was a bust.
At the same time, my varsity girls team were doing exceptional. We were winning almost every meet and were 2nd in the league. We all felt on top of the game and super confident.
The next meet that was really fun was out last home meet of the season. It took place on a Wednesday and that Friday we would go to Sandelie Golf course. if you are a Cross Country in Oregon, you should know about Sandelie. This meet is flat and ridiculously fast. Everyone PR's, my home course however, no one PR's at. My coach told us that Tuesday to run as slow as possible on Wednesday and still win. That was exactly what we did. We talked during the race. Talking, for me, is an automatic side ache, so I was laughing when we started talking because I had never thought about talking during a race before. I laughed even harder when a girl from West Linn stopped to get water during the race. As you can probably tell, we weren't trying hard at all. I ran around a 22:23, which was pushing it a little for our strategy.
The morning of Sandelie, I remember feeling very nervous. I wanted to break 20:20 which is what I ran last year there. I was very pumped up and ready to win. The start was very fast and I was not prepared for it to be that fast. Halfway through the race, I put that wall up. I was being negative and I slowed down. When we started our last loop, I said to myself,
"Emma, you know you're sick of running slow. You want to PR. You want this. If you want it, You need to go now, it's going to hurt, but the feeling after the race will be better then the feeling of pain you felt during the race."
I slowly started to accelerate, I wasn't doing a stride but I slowly started to go faster. I caught up with a group about 25 meters in front of me, then I saw my teamates. They were very far ahead. I slowly started to move towards them. Then the last 2K, I caught up with one of them, I started to stride. I knew where the finish was, and I wasn't far from it. I passed my teammate and she tried to keep up with me. If she hadn't done that, I probably would have slowed down. now, I was sprinting. I came to the last 1K which was filled with people outside the flags. I saw the clock, it read 20:10, or somewhere near there. I was sprinting as fast as a could. I could feel myself slowly bending forward. I was flying past people. Then I got the light tunnel, where everything goes numb and you can't hear anything. You only see the finish and the clock, the clock read 20:19, and then 20:20. I wasn't finished yet, a rage came through my body. I didn't lifetime PR. I was going to PR, but not lifetime. I ripped through the finish and passed out for a split second. I was completely exhausted. I ended up running a 20:25, as devastated as I was about not breaking 20:20. I was also very proud for running as hard as I did the last mile. Sandelie was a success.
Districts was a great meet as well. Despite the fact that it was freezing, raining, and muddy, I had a blast. My team's goal was to qualify for state, we didn't which resorted in some tears. In the end though, it only made us want it more for next year. I came into districts with a positive attitude, the course at Clackamas Community College is slow. I told myself that it was fast, in order to be more positive. When I ran, I felt very determined. I didn't think about the pain, I just ran through it. I ran a 21:06. I was very happy about my time because in the past I run a 21:47 on this course.
In conclusion, I had a shaky season. It didn't really click until Sandelie, I hope next year starts off smoother. my goal for next year is to break 20 minutes and to go to state. One thing I learned is that whenever you're in pain and you start to think about it, just think "run". It worked for me as Districts and I pulled through. You forget about whatever you were thinking about and you start to focus on what you should be doing, running!
Hope Everyone had a great XC Season!