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December Cross Country 5k 12/5/2009

December 5, 2009
Runners on the Milton High School Trail

Runner on the Milton High School Trail

12/5/2009
The day started off very cold. I put on some warm clothes and made my way to Milton High School in Milton (Alpharetta) Georgia. Milton has hosted the Atlanta Track Club’s Cross Country for a few years and when I arrived I could tell why. This was nice school with a lot of money and I knew their facilities would bet top notch.

As I arrived at the school I noticed the snow flurries start to develop. Great. It had been raining for some time and now it starts to flurry. I put on an extra layer and went to register for the race. This was another Grand Prix series race, so it didn’t cost me any money, but I had to get my bib and D-Tag. I believe the race started at 9 AM, so being as cold as I was, I went back to my car to try to get warm.

I had never done a cross country race before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew things would be muddy and slick due to the rain, but I didn’t know much else.

The race started on time and as the runners made their way across the field I encountered the first major surprise. There was about a 15 foot hill, a 45 degree angle that we had to tackle. A lot of people were scrambling on all fours to get up. I just took a little longer route and went around. The trail was well marked and there were plenty of course monitors to lead the way and offer encouragement. Where the course was particularly slippery (going over bridges) there were extra monitors there urging people to slow down. It was quite dangerous. This type of running definitely tested my abilities. I was totally worn out and completely exhausted when I finished in 27:57. This time was enough to earn me LAST PLACE in my age group.

I was warned ahead of time that this would be a difficult race, but I didn’t know until I experienced it, what people meant. Running cross country requires a lot more skill and thinking than regular road running. I was constantly scanning ahead and underfoot for roots and other obstacles. It is almost impossible to gain time going downhill because the leaves on the ground are so slippery. There were puddles everywhere and it was too cold to go through them, so I had to make my way around.

I can’t honestly say that I like trail running. I have grown accustomed to the easy drone of running on streets and sidewalks where my only real obstacles is dog poop.

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