The Voice

A Day in the Life: Cross Country

This article is the first installment of “A Day in the Life,"a series of articles where a staff member of The Voice gets a feel for what it is like to be a student athlete. For this month, reporter Elizabeth Reinhardt joined the Cross Country Team during one of their morning practices.

Elizabeth Reinhardt, Reporter

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It’s 4:30 a.m. as I drag myself out of my warm and comfortable bed and force myself to get dressed, all the while thinking to myself, “Why did I sign up for this?” Instead of sporting my usual plaid, I’m wearing my snazzy running shoes, which, not going to lie, don’t come out of the closet very often. I hop in the car, and drive down the empty freeway to Pres, where all is quiet except for the sound of laughter and giggles flowing out from the gym.

Every Tuesday and  Friday at 6 A.M., 43 girls do something that no one in their right mind would do. They run. No one can deny that Presentation’s Cross Country team is one hardened group of girls.To be honest, I was very nervous to join them in their grueling practice. These girls were all very close, and here I was a stranger who had no previous experience in running.

But, even in the early hours of the day, I was greeted with smiles and hellos, and instantly I felt welcomed.  This is something freshmen Jacqueline Rin has come to know very well. “I met these people three weeks ago, yet I’m already so close to them. It’s great,” said Rin.

So there I was, ready to run, something I had not done in a while.  And since I am no expert runner, I decided to take the shortest route of three miles, which is called Cottle. For the longest 45 minutes of my life, I ran all the way by Hicks Avenue and Dry Creek Road, past Willow Glen High School on Cottle Avenue  (hence the name), down some other streets, and then back down Curtner Avenue to Presentation.

Since I am no Usain Bolt, let’s just say that I was not leading the pack during this run. Instead, I was taking in the scenery of surrounding neighborhoods with the group towards the back. And while taking in all the lovely scenery, I had some time to think; a lot of time.

And these were just some of the thoughts  that crossed my mind that early morning. “Am I going to pass out?”, “Are we done yet?,” “I think I might die,” “How do these girls do this every day?,” “I better have abs after this,” “There’s how many miles left?!?” “Why am I doing this?,” and last but not least “Wow, those are some nice rose bushes.”

But thank goodness I was not left alone with those thoughts for the entire run, because I am pretty positive I would have gone mad. Instead of being by myself for those three miles, I was joined by my classmate, junior Lauren Thomason, who was documenting my experience for this article. And although she was supporting me every step of the way, she was also making me want to throw in the towel, as she had not accumulated one drop of sweat.  Instead of running with me, Lauren had decided to film the run from her nice warm car, dressed in her nice and comfortable sweats; which caused me to ask myself the question, “Why am I doing this?”

And although there were times that I wanted to give up during my run, (and trust me there were many), these girls were always by my side; encouraging me and pushing me to keep going. “My favorite thing is the bond and the sisterhood. Even though we are all on different levels, we have a really fun time together,” said junior Mary Claire Simone.

With a season that only lasts a couple of months, the team uses every opportunity to practice, even if it means practicing at 6 a.m. With practices six times a week, including an 8 a.m. Saturday run, the Cross Country team is one determined group of girls, although most people don’t realize this. “One thing people don’t know about Cross Country is that the races are three miles and that we still put in up to 50 miles a week with training,” said Simone.

But with hard work also comes fun. “My favorite thing is dress up Tuesdays,” says senior Grace Parziale. Every Tuesday, at dawn, all girls arrive wearing the theme of the day, which can be anything from tie dye to tutus, and at times this can make the morning runs slightly less dreadful.

Overall, my experience with the team was great. Although I did collapse and lie on the ground for a full 15 minutes after my run and almost vomited at least two times (luckily I did not), I was touched by the amount of support that I received from my classmates.

Coach Catherine Aquino said it best, “This team is one of the nicest I have ever met. They truly care about each other and support one another no matter what.” And although I have no desire to attend another practice, there is one thing that I will always take from that early morning: the power of sisterhood.



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The School Newspaper of Presentation High School.
A Day in the Life: Cross Country