Look at the beautiful trees!

I just finished racing the National Junior College Cross Country Championships and it was amazing!!!! I have been waiting all season for this race. My goal was to win (I like to set the bar high). I did not reach my goal today but thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I predicted the winning time would be about 1745 it was 1748. I ran 18:54 and finished 7th in a field of 300+. In case I have not mentioned it before (ha ha) I am more than 2 decades older than everyone. I hope I can inspire women out there to go after your dreams regardless of age, don’t be afraid to dream big. It is often about the journey not the result.

Bekah, Taylor and myself making a mad scramble at the start.

We lined up in box 34 out of 49. We would be running straight into the wind for the 1/3 mile then right turn into a chute about 8 people wide. Since my goal was to win I knew I needed to go all out to get up front and not risk getting boxed in. I cant wait to see pictures of this start because it was crazy!!! The wind was really kicking at the start but I felt calm and determined. My teammate Taylor was at my side for the first part of the cattle herd then we lost each other in the shuffle to make it into the chute. Upon entering the chute I saw a Central girl up ahead and decided to catch up to her. I recall hearing someone shout 520 pace as we neared the 1st mile. I wore my Garmin but only planned on looking at it after the race. First mile was 553, not bad considering the wind.

Start line. This picture does not quite capture the madness that happened.

We winded through the beautiful autumn trees and it was really pretty (i noticed this prerace since during the race I was only focused on the runners in front of me). I was going all out after mile 1 to try to catch the leaders. Nearing mile 2 I could see a couple of girls stretched out way ahead, I knew I would not be winning today most likely. I am proud that I did not back down at all and stayed positive and focused despite the burning in my lungs. You never know what will happen! I could sense the other girls slowing down and tiring a bit. I think I was in around 15th place based on the shouts from the crowd. I focused on breathing and running as fast as I could. In my mind I thought about passing as many girls as I could. My previous marathon experience has provided me plenty of opportunities to have to dig deep.

I had maybe 3/4 miles to go and really let loose, it was great to hear my coaches Eamon, David, and Derek cheering me on. We had a little downhill dip followed by an uphill and then all out sprint about 100 meters to the finish. I surged with all my power and strength physically and mentally and passed 3 more girls on the straight away to the finish line. I was a mom on a mission. Knowing I was missing Katherine’s state meet I was going to make the most of my experience.  I am happy with my 7th place finish and it helped our team place 6th overall.

I am so proud of all our girls! Once we finished we spread out on the course to cheer on the guys. The wind seemed to have picked up more or maybe it was that bad for us too. I had a great time cheering on our guys and they finished 7th as a team.

Post race I was approached by a couple of college recruiters wanting to know if I had plans to run somewhere next year and if not would i be interested in their school. With a big smile I explained my situation as I guided them over to our team telling them about our 3 sophmores.

I am sure over the next few weeks as school winds down I will reflect back on this experience and especially this day, I can honestly say I have no regrets!!!!!

I wrote this the night after Nationals and got caught up in a whirl wind of family obligations and homework when I returned. School is winding down but I have the heaviest load this last few weeks.

On the podium accepting my award. Our guys were all yelling :Yeah MOM”.

Coaches Derek, David and Eamon at Nationals Rend Lake, IL

Prerace Pasta Dinner with our Nationals Team

I landed home Sunday afternoon and Katherine and I headed out to the other side of town. She had competed in state on Saturday (4th in bars overall) and the team award was going to be announced this day. Despite my exhaustion I am glad I took her out there for a priceless moment as her team took 1st place overall in state.

29 girls from Gold Medal Gym help the team win 1st. The trophy is almost as big as her friend Renee.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Edonna
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 03:38:19

    Go Kerry! Nice job!! You certainly set the bar high for any woman who wants to compete in college…1st or 2nd time around.


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