Last night I returned from my last meet at the Mt. SAC Invitational with my high school team. I'll be honest, I was a little sad before my race, knowing this would be my last. The beginning of the season of lasts is beginning, and is leaving a little nostalgic. I'm excited and ready to grow up, but the change is a hard process. But just because its hard doesn't mean it's not good.
I have to say that this was BY FAR my favorite time at Mt. SAC. Our varsity boys got 9th place out of 35 teams, and five out the the seven of the them broke 19:00. There are no words to describe my pride and happiness! I was jumping down and high-fiving all around, but that wasn't enough to express my joy! :)
Our girls did amazing too! For many of the girls, this was their first time running the course. For those of you who don't know, Mt. SAC is a nationally acclaimed course, known for its difficulty. One of the hills is named "Poop Out." Not to encouraging of a thing to approach when you're halfway done with the race... :)
But, that said, our girls sure proved their determination and perseverance, with PR's across the board. Julia, a freshman who seriously has so much potential, finished in 4th place in her race, even with being sick and having a hurt knee. Again, I am so proud! I can't wait to come back and visit the team next year and see much more of a beast she is!
This year's Mt. SAC was so much of a blessing, and then on top of it, I PR'd by 30 seconds from last year. I was so pleased, surprised, and relieved. I finished in 3rd place. I'm not quite sure what my time is. My coach clocked it at 19:58, I clocked it at 20:01 (after hitting my watch in after-race delirium), but the official results say 20:03. I'm going to say I unofficially broke 20:00, but I'm just so happy I improved so much!
I really focused on my "dead zone," the point of the race where I loose focus for a bit and get too much inside of my head. At Mt. SAC, this usually happens just after the 2 mile, when the course goes behind the last hill, where it levels out and the course veers from the crowds. I know that I lose time in my "dead zones" so I really focused on continuing my pace and picking off people from the previous race. Then I charged up Reservoir hill, encouraged by my teammates to kick to the finish. I gave everything, crossing the finish line filled with satisfaction knowing that this last race was the perfect closure to four years of memories and growth as a runner.
The day before the race while we ran the course for practice, I was remembering my first time there as a freshman, looking at Switchbacks (the first hills) with such awe and terror, thinking I would never survive. Then to my sophomore year, where Mt. SAC was my first race back from injury, fueled by frustration and a readiness to finally run. Then last year, where I surpiringly came in fourth place and finished ten seconds behind my rival. So many great memories. I'm so glad that this year was the last Mt. SAC, because it was by far the best in so many ways.
Across the board, my team did so well, and as I said previously, I cannot express my pride and joy. I had so much fun, and left knowing that I gave my all in the race. I reached all my goals, with the most important one to keep my focus on Christ.
And then we finished the day with our cross country team tradition- going to Disneyland for mickey's Halloween Party. What is better than shorter lines, free candy, and hanging out with the team?! I had so much fun, laughing until my stomach ached, smiling until my cheeks hurt, and just plain being ridiculous and enjoying it.
Mt. SAC forever will have a special place in my heart, not because of the times I've placed, the PR's made, or victories achieved, but simply because it represents the fond memories of every cross country team I've been blessed to be a part of. Mt. SAC will forever be a nostalgic memory, a constant reminder of accomplishments, frustrations, and pure joy. I will forever be thankful for the time that I have had with all my teams, and I am so excited to finish out this season strong.