From the Archives: First XC Championships Nov. 2010

From the archives.

It’s always great to look back at old posts and see where I’ve come via running and life.  I started this blog at the very beginning of my running career, when I first decided to run cross country in college and the summer before.  When I was balancing swimming and running (both collegiately) and struggling to do so.    I thought it would be pretty cool to reintroduce readers to some of my very first races.  I didn’t have a lot of readers back then (do I now…who knows) but it’s pretty cool for me personally to see where I came from.

starting the race...
starting the race…

So this will be the first of a few meaningful races for me (First collegiate championship cross country race, first half marathon…I’m not sure any other oldies that stick out.  Oh probably when I got my stress fracture too).

Let’s take a time travel back to November 2010 shall we?

With many college cross country races (especially championships) you get there the day before and we did.  I had no idea what to expect…I had never done a race with over 300 females or a championship style running race.  I had begged my swim coach to let me take a few days off from swimming and he allowed it. So that was taper.  In this period of my running career, I was running about 40 miles a week.  That was a lot for me and I was still really new into running.  To this day I have done a hard taper for any race mainly because I have either been injured during cross country, every race I PR in isn’t a goal race…had I known Nike would turn out so well with a 2 day taper, I probably would have tapered.  (No I won’t be running 10 miles before the New York City marathon…).


We arrived at the race to realize we were in box 1 (out of 40).  This really meant we had to cut over the airfield in the first 400 meters a lot more then say…box 39.  This was also a period before garmins really had taken off as well as (I believe) timing in the bib.

Last 100 meters.  I think not.
Last 100 meters. I think not.

Since it’s been a few years I obviously don’t remember every single pain, sweat and emotion felt during the 6k but I do remember one simple thing that will always stick in my mind.  This race is meaningful for me to one sole reason.  I learned more about my pacing in this single race then most others.  I took this race out too fast and I died.  I died hard.  I positive splitted like no tomorrow.  I was riding the pain train after mile 1.  I realized taking out races fast was not my thing and it helped shape every single race I do now…why?  Because I have the biggest fear of dying like I did in that race.

So with that I ended my first college cross country season and began getting into serious swimming.  I never regretted joining cross country (obviously) and I remember being pretty sad it was over.

Questions for you: Most memorable early sport of your choice memory? 

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  1. I liked reading this, I remember reading your blog way back in the day when you were doing both swimming and running in college and wonder how you did it because being a multi-sport athlete in college is serious business (heck, being a single sport athlete in college is super hard!). It’s really amazing how much you’ve improved but also learned about your body and running style since you started. It amazes me that for a runner who’s super fast, you haven’t been running competitively for many, many years like so many other runners have.

  2. I love reading about people’s first few races ever, especially skilled runners like you. We all have to start somewhere! I still remember my first race ever, oh boy did I have no idea what I was doing.

  3. Oh, a little throwback on a Tuesday. I like it. 🙂 I started playing basketball and softball in third grade, and I vividly remember my first time on a bball court. I was in a program with all guys, and I was really nervous, but I immediately loved it. A few of those guys have even told me they remember me being there.

  4. It’s honestly hard to believe that you’ve only been running for like 2.5 years… you’re suck a skilled runner that it’s hard to imagine you not kicking ass at every race. I guess everyone has to start somewhere though. And the fear of passing out during a race is pretty much why I never signed up for one back when I was toying around with the idea of running. They seriously intimidate me.

    1. Awe thanks that means a lot. Seriously I think running is what you make of it…you could truly enjoy it so keep on keeping on…but if it isn’t for you…it’s not.

  5. Love the flashback!! My best memory is split between two – the first is my junior year of college I had been running a little (like 3 miles a few times a week) and then went nuts one weekend and ran 8 miles. I was in Geneseo NY and ran by some cows and LOST MY S**T. They scared the bejesus out of me and I was exhausted but I kept going. I had a little moment where I looked down at my legs and was like “I don’t love how big you are but I respect how far you can take me”. The 2nd was getting a Garmin and realizing that I didn’t run 10 minute miles. Prior to that I had used my phone and it was always 30 minutes for 3 miles. Tres exciting.

    Glad to see you learned from your mistakes and are now a kick ass runner!!

  6. I loved reading about college runner Lolz and that you have used that experience to make you a better (i.e. badass) runner. My only real memorable race was one in which I got injured and was then sidelined for weeks. It taught me that a DNF would have been better than a serious injury and to listen to my body when it’s screaming in pain. Good lessons all around 😉

  7. I remember when I was pulled up for Varsity track in 8th grade. My first workout with the “big kids” I was so eager to show them I had every right to be there that I killed myself practically. W were doing Parking lot loops (still snow on the track) it was about 550-600m maybe? I sprinted off the bat and got all excited to be in front…every single time I did this, every single time I died. I got a LITTLE better with pacing as the years went on but not much. Coach always told me I could be so much better if I learned to pace, and it never hit me enough to learn. Honestly, I didn’t learn to pace myself until about a year and a half ago (sad I know)…but when I did…it was like a lightbulb went on….holy cow did I become such a better runner. Definitely one of my regrets from high school and college was not trying to learn this sooner….even though I was successful, I can’t imagine how far I could have gone.

  8. Ahhh, these pictures make me miss XC races so, so, so bad. I wish we had more of them in WNY but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one besides a trail run and that doesn’t count to me. I remember running and passing a high school XC meet last fall and I just wanted to go run behind them and finish the course, too… doubt they’d appreciate that, hmm?

    I don’t think I’ve ever negative split a race of any distance. I’m notorious for going out too hard in the 5k and adding 15-20 seconds/mile on the last two miles. I think my issue is I hate getting passed and it seems so many people go out hard in road races so if I pace myself, I get passed, then I’m pissed. Terrible mentality!

  9. I love this! Its nice to look back and see how far you’ve come. I picked Field hockey out to be my sport of choice from a very early age and a memory that always sticks out for me is playing older girls when I was 7 or 8 and being beat by them and eventually picking it up and learning different moves (and beating them a couple years down the road!) and just knowledge about the sport. I always think back to that day and that’s when I was hooked…so glad it happened too because it really got me a lot of places in life 🙂

  10. I got into any kind of “sport” so late it doesn’t even count…been running for three years and before that I was totally sedentary! But I do still have “early running” memories, like running my first 30k and stopping at Target on the way home only to realize that I couldn’t get out of the car.

  11. looking back is probably the best thing you can do. Because you learn so much from everything you do in life, but if you don’t look back how much of that will you continue to remember and use in your daily life? This awesome girl and probably fun to think back on even if you did die hard

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