The Truth about Cross Country BY: TIMMY AND JAMES

Cross country is a fun communal sport that anyone can enjoy. Some people say, “I could never do cross country” or, “Cross country is so difficult.” Other people see it as a sport for people who just want a sports credit. We are going to tell you what Cross Country really is.

First of all, many people don’t understand how cross country can be fun. For them, running doesn’t seem fun. This can be for multiple reasons. They could be out of shape and running is very difficult. In this case, running is one of the best options. It gets you fit, and you can make life-long friends. Another option can be because they don’t have time or they are too stressed. This is why choosing cross country as your sport can be a great option. You have to do two seasons of sports for each year in middle school. Many people on our team agreed that running was relaxing, and it helped them take their mind off of the stress that school can give you. Cross country is also a great way to build mental toughness. 

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Many people don’t really know about cross country and say that, “Our meets are boring” and that we “just sit there and do nothing.” Actually, meets were some of our favorite team bonding experiences. On the bus rides we would talk and listen to music, to get ready for running. Once we got to the meet, we would start to warm up together and go around the course once to see what it was like. We had to be sure not to run fast during this, or we would not have any energy for the actual race. Then we would go to the starting line to secure a good spot. Usually the middle is the best. We would do some stretches and line up to start. After, hopefully, a successful race. We would all come together to congratulate each other on a race well done. Then we would watch the upper schoolers race and cheer them on. The bus rides back were usually a time for reflection on our race. The next day we would talk more about the race and start preparing for the next event. 

To start our practice we would go on a short warm-up jog, do some stretching, and then we would get together and share something about our day or even what we had for dinner last night. This was good, because we could tell how someone’s day was, and we would know if we need to give them space. On Mondays and Wednesdays we would just run as a middle school team. We would sometimes run in the neighborhoods surrounding school, in the woods, or just run around school. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the upper schoolers would join us for a speed workout. We would usually jog to a field and do some stretches along the way. For the first part of the season we did ladder workout. We start by running for one minute, then take a one minute walking break. we would work our way up to five minutes (but the breaks would stay as one minute) and then go back down to one minute. Later, we did a different speed workout where we would run on a quiet road for two minutes, going slightly faster than our race pace. After two minutes Coach Beardsley would blow the whistle, and we would try to make it back to the start in the same 2 minutes. This was to build speed but also pace ourselves. These workouts may seem difficult, and they were, but we always found someone that ran at the same pace as us and they would encourage us if we ever slowed down. Everyone on the team really enjoyed our practices with the upper schoolers. 

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Over the season, our team has bonded and we have become closer friends. Whether through normal practices or long races. We’ve all come together playing this sport we love. And we are all much better at running than when the season started. Our first race was after only one day of practice. This was a challenge for us since we had never really run yet. But it was great so that we could keep our times from the beginning of the season and see how we improved. 

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Although the STAB cross country season is over, the track season is just around the corner. If you have done cross country before, then track is probably a good sport for you. Even if you’ve never done running as a sport, you can still try track. Track is a little different, being for speed instead of stamina, but it is still running. Running can help reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. Whatever kind of running you do, even if it’s just running out to the ice cream truck, cardio is always good for your heart, mind, body, and soul.