As some of you who read my bio know, I run Cross Country. Cross Country is a running sport. Even if you have never run before, Cross Country is a sport that will make you think, help you trough pain, and get you in shape in no time. When I first started in sixth grade, I immediately wanted to quit because of how hard the practices were, and because of not getting free time when I got home each evening, but did I quit? NOPE! I still kept at it, and I’m glad I did.
I transferred from my old school to Montezuma Cortez High-School. There, I was in my freshman year, and was the only new kid. It was a struggle for me because the practices were harder than when I was in middle-school. Now, I’m in my sophomore year, and I’m still going. The sport has helped me through the pain that I felt in my legs, and calfs, and has also helped me boost my mental confidence just a bit. I’m still struggling with the mental part, as well as the physical part, but I hope to get stronger in my junior and senior years.
Today, at 6:00 a.m, I got up and went to school to catch the bus to a cross country meet in Mancos to run at Chicken Creek. The varsity girls ran at 11:15, so we had a lot of time to kill. Although we were having fun, our coach wanted us to keep our goals in the back of our minds so that we didn’t forget them, or if we hadn’t made any goals yet, to be thinking about what goals we had.
Soon, the time came for the varsity girls to run. It had rained very heavily when we were leaving for the meet, so the course was very muddy, and puddles littered around the course.
When the course gets muddy, our coaches don’t care about our times, just being safe, and our placements. Today, the coaches didn’t care about the times, just the placing, and being safe.
We were all waiting at the starting line. I tried to keep my breathing steady, and calm. The gun went off and that’s when all hell broke loose. The starting line wasn’t very big for about forty girls, but we all managed to squeeze in. By the time we got to the first half of the race, I had ended up at the end of the pack. This usually always happens to me, but I continued to push forward. I glanced at the girl behind me, and wished her good luck, and she did the same. I responded with a simple, ‘Thank you’, then continued up the hill. I tried to keep my shoulders down, and my arms to my side, but my mind seemed to be wandering a lot more than it usually does, and my mind went to the pain.
“Hey, take a break. This is your only chance to walk before coach, mom, dad, and Evan all see you.” My brain said to me. I shook my head to clear my thoughts, but that one thought kept coming back. I soon broke, and I had to walk. I walked up the hill, then when it got to a flat section, I started running again. I was angry at myself that I had walked when I knew that I had to keep running. The girl who was behind me, was now a long way a head of me, so I picked up my pace, ran through some mud and puddles, and kept going.
I had only had a half mile to go, so I kept at it. I imagined that my dog was running next to me, then I imagined my coach running next to me, then I started talking out loud to myself, imagining that he was talking.
“Don’t allow those demons to get into you head, Maya. Show them that you CAN run this, and you WILL run this. You’re almost there,” I could hear the shouts, cheering, and whistling of the finish line, telling other runners to sprint. “You hear that? They’re all cheering for you. Now lets go and show those demons that we CAN!” I whispered over my breath to myself, and I was soon sprinting at the every end, giving it all I had.
When everyone on my team finished, I was very disappointed in myself. Everyone on the team who had finished were gathering up to take pictures, so I joined them. Taking a picture or two made me forget about my disappointment. Instead of thinking about how I failed my team, family, and coaches, I thought about how much fun I have after every race, every practice, and I thought about how I am so happy to know that I haven’t quit yet. Every time someone says that cross country is track, I get mad, because I just don’t like track at all, and that reminds me that I like the sport, and have respect for it.