25 Things You Learn From High School Cross Country
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Health and Wellness

25 Things You Learn From High School Cross Country

It was never just fun and games.

25 Things You Learn From High School Cross Country
Sarah Michelle Williford

Running cross country in high school is a truly exceptional experience. There is blood, sweat, and tears involved. There are also friends, weekend trips, and pasta dinners. Cross country teaches a teenager more about themselves than any other high school experience ever could. It also teaches a person about determination, hard work, perseverance, punctuality, and endlessly more life lessons. You may have loved it, you may have hated it, but there's a high probability that you loved and hated it simultaneously, but ultimately you learned a lot of things.

1. 3.1 miles isn't that far. After running 6, 7, 8, even 9 miles at a time during practice, a 5k race starts to feel like a short, little sprint.

2. The word teammates means more than just the people on your team. They soon become your family, best friends, and entire support system, (and who knows you might even find a S.O.)

3. Running in the rain is more exhilarating than it is annoying. Getting that five mile hill run knocked out in the rain is guaranteed to make you feel like a badass superhuman. Plus rainy practices are bound to turn into a game of "who can I splash by jumping in this puddle?"

4. You will be covered with mud by the end of a rainy run. No matter how hard you tried to avoid being splashed by teammates jumping in those puddles.

5. Your coach is the worst. You were definitely cursing his name by the time you were halfway through whatever "hilly tempo fartlek" junk he had the audacity to come up with.

6. Your coach is the best. Yeah those practices were hell, but winning all those races and going to the state championship was heaven.

7. Fartlek is a real word that adults can use without smirking. It's a run with intervals varying between hard and easy, or for some people, hard and harder.

8. You may have learned how to discretely change into running clothes in your car. Or in front of your peers in a locker room. Either way, those are some life lessons, kid.

9. Port-a-potties are not that bad. On race days, when you gotta go, you have got to go.

10. Outdoor water fountains aren't that dirty or gross either. They might actually be your saving grace when you were dying of thirst on a hot run. Or if you really needed a break during any run.

11. Watching cross country meets is not boring at all. They probably became some of the most exciting sports events you've ever seen (maybe because we never understood the other sports, but whatever).

12. Friday nights in the fall were for pasta and sleeping. Not for football games and parties, because you had a race the next day and inevitably had to be up before the sun. (Could have contributed to the fact you never really got football).

13. You asked for new running shoes for christmas instead of Uggs. However, they were just as exciting, expensive, and possibly even more comfortable.

14. You also begged for a watch that costed hundreds of dollars that wasn't designer. But it tracked your miles, pace, splits, and was way cooler anyways.

15. Skipping a run caused anxiety. What if not running this Sunday put you behind your competitors and next race you fail completely?

16. Getting to skip a practice was the coolest. On the flip side, you were incredibly sore and your teammates were so jealous you had an orthodontist appointment so you missed the impossible six mile tempo.

17. Getting injured was the ultimate fear. As anxiety-inducing as skipping a run on your own was, being told by a doctor you were not allowed to run for weeks, maybe months, was terrifying. Your life would be so empty.

18. Being jealous of other team's race uniforms. They just looked so sleek and cool compared to your frumpy, boxy tank tops.

19. Teachers got mad at you for snacking in class. But you were just so ridiculously hungry all the time and the need to stabilize blood sugar throughout the day before your practice is real, folks.

20. Cross Country is a real sport, dammit! You other "athletes" can say all you want but I don't see you dragging your ass over miles of terrain everyday.

21. You probably peed yourself, puked, or passed out during or after a race. And someone might have told you soon after "that's how you know you worked hard."Thanks mom, I might be actually dying but I'm glad you finally feel that way.

22. Boys wearing extremely short shorts became acceptable. Kind of sexy even. No? Just me?

23. Nike was and always will be your brand of choice. This doesn't really warrant explanation, it's just a fact.

24. Finally beating your best friend in a race was so satisfying. But you couldn't rub it in their face because you are a good friend. And also you were afraid she might cry again and that would just be awkward.

25. Cross Country is not just a real sport, but a way of life. Practice became the best part of your day and the team became the best people you knew and you just can't imagine high school without all of it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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