Yesterday I got the chance to run in a college cross country meet – something I haven’t done since my Mount (St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, MD) days. And believe me, it was every bit as hard as I remembered it, and just as much fun. Part of the reason it was so hard is that I’ve been sick all week. That’s something I put on the back burner and ignored the morning of the race. But the main reason it was so hard is because I went out too damn fast. Way too fast, especially for the level of training I’ve been putting in. Since my very first cross country meet in 7th grade, I’ve always been a start at the back and work your way to the front kind of runner. But racing triathlons has turned me into a go out hard and see how long you can last kind of runner. Midway through the race yesterday, I was reminded that tactic usually only works if you’re in really good shape.
Forgetting that I’m not “fit”, I bolted to the front of the race, where I lasted for all of 2.5k’s. Lucky for me, the race was only 5k, so I managed to hold off all but three girls who passed me. And my blowup was conveniently overshadowed by record-setting performances by the SUNY New Paltz girls. I’ve been training with these girls the last few weeks and knew they were ready to run fast. So it was no surprise when Teresa and Amanda, the top two girls passed me in the last half mile or so. Both the New Paltz men’s and women’s teams took home the first time at this meet. You can read more and get the complete results in this article.
How did I end up running in a college cross country meet anyway? Well, my friend and training partner Justin happens to be a track and cross country coach at Vassar and the head coach at Vassar, James, I know through cycling. Since there was an alumni division in the race, they welcomed me in. Too bad my teammates from The Mount weren’t there to fill the starting box (see photo above, far left).
As for the competition? New Paltz, Vassar, Marywood, Bard, Scranton, Stevens, Pace, Culinary Institute of America(!) and a few other local schools.