Saturday was a perfect day to run. It wasn't too hot, with a bit of a breeze and, unlike at Rumble, the sun was shining. Tom Sawyer Park is a familiar course for most of us on the Assumption Team. We have our practices there every Sunday and most of us have run the course (or at least part of it) many times. One would think that, without even a single large hill or any sort of bad weather, that this race would be easy. However, I was not the only girl on the team to admit that she found this race to be difficult for one reason or another. Personally, I believe that this is simply because of the flatness of the course. In my opinion, it was a bit dull- there was little to look at. But, my opinion is a little biased, as my experience was not the best. I spent the entire first mile of the race being trailed by the golf cart that chases around all of the runners. Yes, it's exactly what you're thinking. I was dead last.
The day started off with the JV race. Because none of the freshmen had to be at the starting line for about an hour, we were able to cheer on our teammates. On the way there, we saw the Carmel High team warming up. To put it in perspective for everyone, the Carmel High cross country team is the Vocal Adrenaline of cross country teams. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) They were our main competition, according to the coaches. One of our assistant coaches also joked with us about Assumption and Carmel being the "evil empires" when it came to cross country (without the evil, of course), simply because of our sheer size and reputations. Carmel is the best team in Indiana and, similarly, we are the best in Kentucky. Towards the end of the race, I went up to one of the Carmel coaches and asked, just for the sake of asking, if they ever ran against the high school that I would have gone to, had I not moved in with my father and started going to Assumption instead. The people from Carmel seemed very nice and not at all Darth Vader-ish.
Towards the end of the race, a few of us got a front row spot to watch the finish. As I happen to stand at a "towering" 5'2", I never would have been able to see if I wasn't in the front row. I noticed a lot of people walking across the course, right in front of runners. I've seen this done at practices before, but never at meets. Everyone around agreed that it couldn't help the runners' self esteem to see people walking right in front of them with what looked like confidence in their slowness. (However, when this actually happened to us, we were too focused on the race to care). After the JV race, I was one of the people who was too paranoid about missing her own race to try and watch the varsity. Our tent was near the finish line, though, so I was able to see two of our runners place first and second, both beating the previous record time for the course. (Congratulations!) Just as the JV team did beforehand, varsity, overall, placed second.
This was the first race that we've run with boys. It was counted as two seperate races, of course, but we were still running at the same time. I remember overhearing a Trinity boy before the race saying, "Beat a girl and win." I then turned to my friends and asked if I had really heard them just say that their goal was to beat the girls. Before they could answer, the Trinity boy piped up and told me, "That's what our coach told us to do. Beat a girl and win." I laughed, as our coach had earlier told us that we were to beat a boy and win.
Then, the race began. Of course, the moment the gun went off my shoe came untied and I lost my group. Periodically, I would check backwards and see that little golf cart trailing me, get frustrated and take off, only to find it still to be there the next time I checked. Over the course of the race, a number of girls fell in potholes or things of the like. Luckily, no one was too badly hurt (as far as I know) and overall, the race went really well. Due to the fact that most of our best girls ran in multiple races that day, the freshmen team came in fifth. Again, Carmel High took first. Personally, I did worse this time than the last and finished the race after most had cleared out, thinking that I was last. (In fact, as I crossed the finish line, I called out to the assistant coaches and my friends, "Woo-hoo!! Dead last, baby!") Secretly, I was kind of put off by this and was relieved to find out that I wasn't actually the last, though my time was almost a full minute slower. In regards to the race itself, the atmosphere was great and I got to meet some new people, which was really fun. Congrats to all who placed well, improved on their times and whose team placed first overall. Also, best of luck to all those running in the Palatine meet in Illinois next weekend! I won't be there to report on it, but I'm sure that it will be a great race for all those involved.