Metro Invitational

January 21, 2011
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It was a chilly morning, about fifty degrees. I had my big fuzzy blanket wrapped around me trying to keep warm. Our whole team was huddled together under the tent for warmth. I had on my navy blue Cross Country wind breaker on with sweatpants and my racing jersey underneath. It was the Metro Invitational meet at Round Lake in Eden Prairie. The course overall is mostly flat ground, which made it one of my favorite courses. I’ve been improving my race times each race and I was ready for this one. The whole week at practice I was leader of the pack and I felt amazing. I had my headphones in my ears and my iPod playing, I was listening to my favorite songs to pumped me up and get me in the zone. I saw my parents standing by the starting line with their hot lattes in hand, trying to keep warm. I thought about how glad I am that my parents aren’t the type that are crazy about sports and push their kids as hard as they can. My mom always tells me to do the best I can and have fun with it. They don’t put pressure on me like some parents do. Of course they want me to do well, but they always support me whatever race time I get. Suddenly our coach yells out, “JV girls time to warm up.” So I put my iPod away and started jogging with the girls. After we were finished the warm up, it was time to go to the starting line. We did A, B, and C skips, high knees, butt kicks and some sprints to get us stretched out and to keep us warmed up before the race. The announcer says in his microphone, “Three mintues until starting time.” Our coach then tells us to strip down to our jerseys. I make sure all my jewelry is off and take my place on the line. I give my teammates hugs and wish them luck. We jump up and down to keep warm in this ice cold air. The announcer tells us to take our place and starts to count down. “Five…. Four….three… two….one….(and then shoots the gun) BANG!” And we take off.

I start off fast and then come to a steady pace. Thankfully I have no side aches and my legs weren’t sore or hurt. Normally I wouldn’t push myself to hard, but something was different about this race. I found myself trying to pass each girl that was in front of me. The parents were standing on the side all throughout the course “GO KENZIE,” they screamed when I ran my. That always gave me a little extra push. The 1 mile mark came and I saw the coaches there to record my time, “Kenzie, 7:04” YES! I thought. That was faster than most races where my mile time is about 7:18. So I kept speeding up and passing girls. Some teammates that are usually way far ahead of me were suddenly right in front of me, so I stuck with them. The 2 mile mark came, only ½ of a mile left. My stomach started to feel queasy and hurt but I pushed through it. The parents and fans were still cheering and hollering, I was almost finished. I came around the corner and finally the finish line was in sight. Once I was about 200 meters to go, I started sprinting as fast as my tired legs would take me. My final time was eighteen minutes and fifteen seconds. It was a whole minute faster than my last race. I can’t even describe the feeling I got. I was so happy and so proud. I definitely surprised myself. I wasn’t even dying when I was finished which means I could’ve pushed myself even harder. My dad ran up and hugged me. And my mom followed. “Wow Kenz,” they said. “We can’t believe it! That was amazing.” All my teammates and coaches congratulated me also.

Shaving off whole minute is a huge deal in cross country races; even shaving off something as little as ten seconds is a huge accomplishment. Varsity girls usually run the 2.5 mile races in about fifteen minutes, but my 18:15 made me feel on top of the world. I was nowhere near first place, but I still felt like a winner. Cross country is more like a battle against yourself. I was not only proud of myself, but of our whole JV Team. We run a countless number of miles and put in a tremendous amount of hard work together each week. There are some days we want to die and just stop running but we keep each other going and finished what we are set out to do. Our hard work and perseverance absolutely pays off. Our hard work showed in this race because our JV team got 1st place! It was an awesome feeling to be at the top with all my teammates, who are all basically my second family. No one really understands how much work this sport is, and therefore I’m so thankful I get to be a part of the success. I cannot wait for the next race and all the future ones to come.





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