Cheesy end-of-season post

I forgot to post an update for regionals, so I guess I’ll do regionals and states in the same post!
So I didn’t get my sub-18:45 goal, running 18:50 at regionals the week after my conference 18:45. Oh well. My team finished second and achieved school history by qualifying for states for the first time ever. Yay us!
We left for states on Thursday (the 14th) and our coaches surprised us by getting us a luxury charter bus! It was a bit ridiculous considering the fact that the state meet was only 40 minutes away and we only had nine girls going. (7 + 2 alternates) However, the bus was the nicest charter bus we’d ever been on- cushiony seats, WiFi, enough space for everyone to basically have four seats to themselves, wide aisles, and our personal driver, Al. Also, we got to laugh at all the schools who showed up with school buses or, in the case of individual qualifiers, five-person cars.
When we arrived at the course, it was open for previewing, so we jogged it and analyzed each mile. (It was actually really helpful during the race!) We went back to our hotel, which was the designated cross country teams’ hotel.
Friday was our race, and our goal was to get on the podium. What we didn’t know, however, was that in the new classification system, only the top two teams in each classification are recognized on the podium, not the top three. That just made it harder 😉
The first mile was incredibly fast, which was to be expected. I kept my pace reasonably well through the second mile and was surprised to find that I was only about three seconds off my two mile PR at two miles. (That makes me excited for track season!) The third mile is what always breaks me, and I lost four places. Rounding the turn for the 700-meter-long straightaway to the finish (death), I knew that I was the fourth runner for my team. Unfortunately, I then saw our #3 on the side of the course with her hands on her knees. The thoughts that went through my head at that moment were:
“Oh no! This means I’m the #3. I can’t be the #3. What if we don’t make podium? I have to pass people. I’m sooo tired. I can’t pass people. Oh my god. We’re not going to make podium. I wonder what happened to her. This is a disaster! We’re not going to make podium and it’ll be my fault. I can’t be #3. The finish line is so far away. This straightaway sucks. Oh my god. I’m so tired. Everything hurts.”
Needless to say, I was internally freaking out. Also, I used to have a great kick, but now, by the end of races, I’m just dead and incapable of digging deep. Two girls passed me on the straightaway, but I managed to finish only three seconds off my PR. Another one of my teammates finished seven seconds behind me, and the girl who had stopped running incredibly managed to start again and finish only fifteen seconds behind her. That took guts and mental strength and I’m still in awe. It turns out she’d had a huge stitch for a mile and a half before having to stop.
Anyway, her finish was enough to secure our spot on the podium by 12 points. We were ecstatic! It was our first state appearance and we’d gotten second place.
Needless to say, I’m very happy with how I/we ended the season. I’m also very sad because four members of our speedy seven will not be returning next year. This has been a year to remember.
We now get two weeks off! I’ll probably only last a week before I have to run again.

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