Cross Country: Harder than it looks


John Cline

A cross country meet earlier this year

Paul Schneidermann, Staff Reporter

Cross country is like most sports, you don’t have a true appreciation for it unless you take part in it yourself. Unless you put on a pair of running shoes, some very tiny shorts and go out for the sport, you will never understand the feeling of triumph, the pain you must fight to get there, or even the sense of community you begin to feel with your teammates.

I started running when I was in first grade with the Grant Wood Running Club. I followed that path of running all the way through elementary school, middle school and now high school. Running only becomes more difficult, but more fun the longer you do it. In elementary school its was just fun; I ran with friends in the morning, and we had contests to see who could run the most laps. As I began to run in middle school, I ran for a purpose. I ran to compete in races. I worked much harder in middle school, but never really pushed myself to my limits. Finally came high school, where I became serious about running. I would begin to learn the ins and outs of training. I learned that you must have easy workouts and hard workouts, and that diet and hydration matter. I learned to break through my boundaries and push myself harder than I ever thought possible. I began to crave success, only feeding my desire to work even harder than before.

I also have created unbreakable bonds with teammates, who also share a passion for not only running, but for competition too. Our cross country team will run upwards of 12 miles some days, and over time, learn to love each other and the time spent with them. They will push you through what you think are unachievable splits just so you can try to hit them again, all leading up to the team’s goal of getting top five at state.

Running isn’t all labor-intensive, however, as it is as much of a mental workout as it is physical. You must convince yourself that it’s worth it to push through the pain, exhaustion and the voice in your head telling you to stop. What I know now, is you can only improve and succeed in this sport by pushing your limits and giving every workout your best effort, convincing yourself if you do that every workout you will reap the benefits.