Cross Country: Going The Extra Mile

Violet Negrette, Staff Writer

My feet ache as a torrent of pain washes down my legs, and another bead of sweat slowly crawls down to settle on my already-glistening face. The repetition of step after step starts to fade in and out of my brain, and I discover that my body is in a sort of trance. My mind is a whirlwind of regret and heat while the miles ahead stretch out of focus. Who would ever want to do something like that?

Believe it or not, I do this for fun. From August to November, the cross country team voluntarily participates in running for seemingly unending periods of time. No one can seem to understand why, seeing as our sport is every other sport’s punishment, but that is what makes it all the more enticing and enigmatic.

No matter what rumors may say, cross country can be for anyone. I like to think that it is 70% mental and 30% physical. If you let your mind weave a string of inner doubts and complaints, that will be reflected in how your run unfolds; instead, maintain a positive mindset. I try to focus on the future: it will eventually end. An ideal start to an optimistic cross country career is by running earlier or later in the day, when the weather is cooler. Train your mind to accept its unfortunate circumstances, and focus on existing in the moment.

Billy Lloyd

While people say that cross country can be uselessly difficult or pointless, running is a base type of sport that has existed for thousands of years and strengthens personal endurance and form for other sports. Because of cross country, I can last the entire 85 minutes of a soccer game in a sprinting position. My body recognizes the familiar pattern of rushing footsteps, uneven breathing, and heightened spatial awareness. No good thing comes easy, and this sport is a perfect example.

In my opinion, the most important part of cross country is the bond formed between team- mates, which can be just as strong as the bonds formed in any other sport. A dozen people suffer together in a seemingly individual sport when, in reality, cross country is as much of a team sport as any other; shared trauma bonds like nothing else. Pinewood runners represent Pinewood every time they step onto the course. Not many people respect the sport, so your teammates are there to relate.

There is almost nothing as gratifying and invigorating as capturing the runner’s high halfway through a strenuous run. In that moment, a calm serenity takes over, and all knowledge of one’s whereabouts and purpose slowly fades away.

I signed up during freshman year on a whim and a moment of daring stupidity and haven’t found a valid enough reason to leave yet, so maybe you should give it a try.