Return to Cross-Country: The Good, the Great, and the Ugly

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As the school year comes perilously closer, the cross-country season is upon us. The return to cross-country season has brought me out of the running funk I’ve been in for the past two weeks. It has been a struggle to tie my shoes and go out and run. Part of that could be the “horrible” work-outs I’ve had recently, but part of it has been the monotony and loneliness of the solo-run. There is nothing like a group of teenagers and your BRFs (Best Running Friends) to get you out of a rut!

The Good

At the end of the last school year I half-joked that I was going to run to the first day of practice. I knew I would be in the midst of marathon training and that a good, long (12 miles) midweek run would allow me to not have to run long on the weekend. As the summer progressed, I got more serious about it. There would be some logistical issues, namely, how I would get home, but I thought that I would figure them out. When my fellow coach said that he would drive me home after practice, I was sold. When I told my mother of this plan (I talk to my mom abnormally frequently), she was appalled and was certain that I would end up dead in a ditch somewhere. Other people thought I was pretty crazy, but it was a goal. I am SO glad that I did it. It was the exact run that really helped shake me from my bad attitude. The weather was beautiful, I had great splits (thanks to the mostly downhill course), and just had a pleasant time running TO something as opposed to running in a loop or an out-and-back. I followed that up with my favorite trail run with the kids and my BRF and it was a great first day of practice.

The Great

Many times when dealing with high school runners, I find myself frustrated. I either feel that I don’t know enough to help or that they don’t ask questions or behave in ways that indicate that they want to get faster and win. Today was a good day. Kids asked questions and many of them showed a lot of heart. They may not have been the fastest, but they tried and pushed themselves to a point where they were uncomfortable. Kids really, really, really don’t like to be uncomfortable. But, they kept going and that made me incredibly proud.

The Ugly

Not everything about running during the daylight is gold. Namely, poor Ben. We had an amazing summer, Ben and I. Except for when Husband and I went to Italy, Ben spent all but one day with me. This was a mistake. He has been having a tough time adjusting to being back at daycare. I expected some issues, but he has adjusted quickly in the past. Tonight, as I was putting him to bed, which normally goes quite smoothly, he couldn’t settle down. I ended up sitting next to his crib holding his hand through the slats and resting my head against his until he fell asleep. Under other circumstances, it would have been sweet, but I found it incredibly heartbreaking. Not only has he missed me, but I’ve missed him. He’s pretty adorable and getting to be a good conversationalist, especially if you like to talk about stuffed monkeys and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Hopefully, this period of shorter days will help prepare him for when things get real… But, what’s going to prepare me? Hmmm…

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