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Run, Pres Girls, Run: Presentation Cross Country team

Courtesy of Amy Linehan

Megan Galdes, Sports Editor

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Can you imagine running 10 miles in one week? 20 miles? How about 45 miles? For the cross country team, this seemingly impossible task is a reality.

Cross country is a non-cut sport, meaning that everyone who wants to participate is able to. For the more serious varsity athletes, running is their main sport and they have been training year-round for several years.

“I run because I like the combination of individual and team effort,” said senior Amy Linehan. “I like that you can work hard by yourself but you can also do things that you wouldn’t be able to do individually with your team, like go to State and participate in big meets.”

But for the new members who just want to give the sport a try, cross country provides them with the opportunity to get good exercise and develop a healthy habit while spending time with their friends.

Freshman Mary Claire Simone said she decided to join the cross country team for fitness and social reasons. “I wanted to participate in a fall sport to meet people and exercise. Since I already like to run, I decided to join cross country for some more intense training.”

Girls go out for the cross country team for a variety of different reasons. Freshman Paola Gonzalez said, “I run cross country because it helps me relax and get my mind off of things after a hard day at school.” Senior Raylene Chew runs to get in shape, while Senior Lindsey Gil said, “I wanted to join a team that has the same love for running as I do.”

The team trains six days a week in various locations, including: Quicksilver Park and even the neighborhood around Pres.

Practices range from long distance runs (which are usually eight miles long) speed training (usually a 1-mile circuit run at a faster pace), recovery runs (a slow run that allows the girls to work on their technique) and strength training.

Unlike other sports that may have two to three games per week, cross country only has three league meets, which take place at Golden Gate Park, Crystal Springs, and Sunnyvale Baylands Park. A meet race is typically three miles long. Teams from all schools in the league participate. Pres also competes in a few in Invitationals throughout the season.

Junior Varsity coach Catherine Aquino says the reason for the lower number of meets is because the races are so tough on the runners’ bodies. “It‘s pretty taxing on your bodies to compete for three miles, so we don’t race every week,” Aquino said.

Because races are so taxing, the girls also don’t usually participate in races outside of Pres, like 10Ks or marathons.

“I never do races outside of cross country and track races. I use the off season to train with heavy mileage and be completely healthy,” said Junior Hannah Wood. “Racing is really hard and tiring mentally so in the off season I try to not think about racing and just try to get mentally prepared for the next season.”

The girls on the team suggest that if you play a winter or spring sport you should train with cross country to get in shape. “Cross country athletes are so unbelievably in shape. If anyone wants to get in the best shape of their lives, I would definitely suggest they run with us,” Wood said.

Senior Kendall Wilkerson added, “If you are training for soccer or track, cross country is a great sport to keep you in shape. It keeps you working and we run as a team so it’s fun too.”

The team agrees that running can be painful sometimes, but these athletes have developed strategies to keep themselves going even when it hurts.

“It always hurts the most when you have a cramp, especially during a race when you’re trying to run your best,” Wilkerson said. “If I get one I always try to control my breathing and run through it.”

Wood added, “On the days we do hill repeats or hill intervals my calves and thighs burn, but then I just tell myself by doing this I am becoming stronger.”

The varsity team’s goal for the season is to do well in CCS and beat their personal records. “A goal for the J.V. team is to develop into life long runners and find something that can be a healthy habit,” Aquino said. ”Besides winning, it’s important to me that the girls have a good sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment.”

Aquino believes that running is an important habit to get into because running is something you can do for your whole life. “They can take it with them to college and wherever they go because you can always run wherever you are. You don’t need expensive equipment or a gym membership,” she said.

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Run, Pres Girls, Run: Presentation Cross Country team