Or, maybe, more accurately, be generally in the same vicinity as Olympians. Because, to be clear, I think 238 people beat me at the National Cross Country Club Championships who weren’t Olympians. And I was 240th. Out of 380.
But the point still holds. Sometimes you just have to race against some people who are going to kick your ass.
This past weekend I did the national XC champs, because they were in San Francisco, so why not. I sort of knew it was going to be fast and intense, but it wasn’t until the night before that I realized how fast and intense and big and insane it was going to be.
There’s me about 300m in to the muddy race:
After that, it got ridiculous. I basically alternated for 24 minutes between “Can you run harder? Run harder!” and “Why even do this anyway? Does any of this really matter? etc.”
I “held back” in the first mile and still ran a 5:52, because it was ridiculous. Then I tried not to start walking, but my arms hurt, so that was challenging.
We ran up a trail, through a muddy field, down a trail, through some trees in some wet sand, up a hill, around the polo fields, and I dunno some other stuff for 6 kilometers. I ran a 6:20ish mile and then a 6:40ish mile, but really who even knows, because it’s cross-country and I wasn’t looking at my watch. I just listened to the people yelling splits and tried to do math, so that was fun too.
This was actually from the Oiselle blog, which I clicked on randomly because today is my chilling out day, but it just cracked me up, because who looks like they don’t belong and needs to learn to pick up their feet when they run?:
And then we were finishing. And it turns out that I’m about the same speed as the 5th runners on a lot of these teams who were taking it super seriously. (My team did not have a full team, so we were, uh, not?) So, as we came in for that last kilometer, all these coaches were screaming at the runners near me that “every place counts” and they “need to kick now.” They definitely listened, and I basically got passed by everyone.
I think I passed the one girl on the left back:
It was hard, surprisingly so, and I basically had to nap the rest of the day.