I don't know what to do with my life today because I don't have practice at 5:30. It's weird. And since I am attempting to take a "week off" (read: 3-4 days) after cross country, I'm in running withdrawal as well. I went swimming last night. It was bizarre. Swimming does not equal running, especially when the last time I worked out my arms was forever and a day ago, but its cool because I swam a mile and a quarter, and that equals out to 5 miles. Win!
So anyway, the nationals race report. It took me awhile to write this because I had to get over my initial issues of a) having a shitty race and b) cross country being over, potentially forever. I was in a glass case of emotion this weekend, that's for sure. But now that I'm a little further out, I feel ok to deal with it...maybe.
So my race sucked. I would say probably my worst race of the year, at a time when I should have been at my best. My legs felt. like. shit. I felt like I'd been sprinting 400 m intervals by the mile mark, and the lactic acid never subsided. I felt like I was dragging 2 painful lead weights around, and no matter how hard I tried I could NOT pick it up. It was by far the most frustrating race I've ever run because from the waist up, things were fine, and my legs just refused to respond. Hey legs, try to stick with Jade...nope. Hey legs, go with Karin and Taylor...nope. Hey legs, Nicole is passing you, fucking GO WITH HER! Nope. Nothing. I finally dragged myself across the line in 26:57...so not my worst time ever, but far, far, far from my best. And sadly, I think the reason I felt so bad was the fact that I had been driving for 4 and a half hours the night before...and I tense up incredibly when I drive. But hey, I guess I didn't have the worst race of our team, since Laura (who just found out she's super anemic) ended up dropping out because she felt like she was going to faint. Overall, our team was definitely not anywhere near its strongest, and we ended up tying for 9th (when most likely we would have been 3rd with our top 3 there/at full strength). But since I'm trying desperately not to dwell on my shitty mc shit shit race, lets talk about how the rest of the weekend was incredible. WTC BOYS....NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!!! They completely kicked Oregon's ass, 35-89....who's #1 now?? Also, did I mention that our girls team still managed to beat Missouri despite being in our weakest state all season? Take that, NIRCA rankers!
So the road trip aspect of the trip was ridiculous/hilarious. We drove 1400 miles to race 3.72...wow. Missed tolls, "Can you switch gears while driving? I guess so!", signs telling us to buckle up the next million miles, beer drive throughs, van races, 3 motels in 3 nights, strip clapping games, tattoos, sluts at the Olive Garden, fail-movie van, the worst mall in America (Clairon, PA), ordering water at a bar, "the highest point on I-80!", sketchy Motel 6, always waiting for Kyle, Mo's sleep-talking ("Nicole...do you have a rope or an atom? I need to go on the ceiling..." or "We took the fish out of this little tank...it was like an Easter egg hunt, but with little fish")...seriously, road trips cannot be explained haha. Watching the guys win was one of the most exciting things I've ever experienced. I think I used up all my adrenaline screaming as I watched Ben, Zach, Nick, and Joe shoot towards the finish line, one after the other. The course was gorgeous, and I think under other circumstances I could have run a really kickass race...but it wasn't meant to be. We also discovered the BF's twin...seriously, it is CREEPY. This dude runs for Illinois and I am not kidding...same hair, same facial hair, similar facial features, same height....even he was creeped out when he saw the picture.
I'm sad to see it end. The team aspect of cross country is something you can find nowhere else...and our team seems to just get closer and closer as the years go on. If anything will keep me in Wisconsin for PT school, its this team. I cannot imagine what my college career would have been like if I hadn't become a part of this incredible group. I've become a legit runner, and I've met some of the most awesome people I know. I know one bad race doesn't define my season, and I had some awesome races this year. I really want to find a way to run cross country next year, wherever I am...because you can run in all the road races you want, but nothing can quite compare to standing with your team on the line on a crisp fall day, the gun going off, and hundreds of runners roaring down that line towards the horizon...
But you know what's also pretty sweet? Track season. Coming soon to a club near you :)