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Racing Cross Country

Middle distance runners, like myself, often need road racing or cross country to maintain the competitive mindset during the off season and to enhance the base training phase.  So my coach signed me up to race the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. I was excited about this race because when I was in 5th grade I raced in Lexington at the USATF junior cross country championships and WON! The junior race was held at this beautiful horse park. However, this was not the horse park. Imagine my disappointment when I pulled up to the course to find out it was not the horse park I once raced on and that it had been rained on for the past 2 days. There was not a dry, smooth, or flat area in sight.

Nonetheless, I approached this race like any other race… I was there to race and give it my all to win. I went out in 5:09 for the first mile. I found myself in 1st at this point. I was surprised by how comfortable I felt as such a quick clip, especially because cross country was not one of my strengths.

**A few facts about my cross country days**

  1. I won the Missouri cross country state championships when I was in high school (but I had no boobs and weighed 98 lbs).
  2. I ran 2 cross country races in college
  3. It has been 3 years since my last cross country race
  4. I like to race half miles not 6ks

But there I was in the lead. How does this story end… I’d like to say I WON! Which is how I like to approach every race I start. Luckily,  I held my composure and finished in 100th place. I did run two personal bests that day: (1) fastest first mile in a cross country race, and (2) fastest overall 6k time. Racing in the mud at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships was FUN and to me that means I WON!

On our way home from the race I wrote my proposal for my dissertation, submitted it to my advisor, and got approval to start researching this semester. Overall, a very successful weekend.

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Thanks for reading, Shannon