Since the first week of August, I’ve lived my life as a cross-country zombie, eschewing social life and sleep to meet the crazy demands of this intense and lovely sport.
4:50 a.m: My alarm starts blaring. I immediately hit snooze.
4:55 a.m: The alarm goes off again. If I don’t get up now, I’ll be late. I roll out of bed, already dressed in my perfectly embroidered practice uniform.
5:10 a.m: I barely had enough time to fill up my water bottle.
5:30 a.m: Kanye West (the only effective motivation a girl can have this early in the morning) blasts from the stereo as we pull into Cleveland Park. In the dark, you can just barely make out the gaggle of girls huddled together against the cold.
5:40 a.m: After a few leg swings and a lecture about how hard the workout is going to be (surprise — we have six extra hills at the end!), we’re off and running our mile warmup.
6:00 a.m: After a leisurely warmup, Coach Fabre gives us our paces for the workout: basically, we’re breaking up race intervals of half a mile, two miles and a mile. Oh, and we have a generous minute of rest between each one.
6:19 a.m: I’m somewhere in the middle of the two mile interval and plotting dozens of ways to fall and twist my ankle.
6:30 a.m: The usual motivational techniques aren’t working – not even the dual prospects of chocolate cake and Logan Lerman cheering for me at the finish line. Side stitch aside, I find it within myself somewhere to sprint the last 400 meters of the final interval — because the faster you run, the sooner you’re done…right?
6:40 a.m: Oh yeah. Those bonus hills. I’d completely forgotten about them. Feet dragging, we jog over to an incline that goes from the bottom of the butterfly loop to the top of the street. Six painful hills later, we’re done.
6:50 a.m: Kidding again. Time for the cool down jog.
7:00 a.m: Completely exhausted, but now stretched out, we pile into cars driven by upperclassmen and coaches to get back to school. We (don’t) break the speed limit as we race down Kirby.
7:35 a.m: I talk to my friends for a minute in Trammel before heading to advisory, where I’ll eat some of Ms. Sloan’s animal crackers and finish up stretching.
7:52-11:10 a.m: School. Between trips to the water fountain to refill my water bottle (gotta hydrate) and the two-minute intervals it takes me to climb the stairs (sore calves), I learn some things.
11:10 a.m: LUNCH. The most exciting part of the day.
2:40 p.m: The rest of my classes have passed in a blur. Now I head back over to the athletic building for my strength and conditioning workout.
2:50 p.m: As per usual, the weight room is full of football players benching amounts that are greater than my body weight. Picking up my fifteen-pound dumbbells, I retreat to the hall. Arm exercises are incredibly difficult. And why are runners supposed to do them anyways?
4:00 p.m: I finally head home. I eat two cliff bars.