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Cross-country Week 1

September 9, 2012

Ian started his second season of cross-country about a week and a half or so ago. Between August 30th and tomorrow, Sept. 10, there are five meets scheduled, with four of those five within six days. Yikes. So I guess this will kind of be the Reader’s Digest version of the first four meets, as opposed to my usual long-winded, takes-55-minutes-to-read posts about each meet.

Oh, stop your cheering. I’mma get long-winded soon enough. Bite me.

Okay, so at the first meet, at Lincoln Park (his “home course”), he ran a 16:56.

The second, this past Tuesday (also at Lincoln Park), he ran a 15:55.

Thursday’s meet, again at Lincoln Park, was a 16:27. This race was kinda cool for me, simply because Ian’s coach asked me to help out with timing the race. I felt like an official. Like, an official official. I know I”m lame; again, bite me.

And then there was yesterday’s meet.

Yesterday’s meet was the Parkside Invitational, held at Parkside Junior High School in Normal. I’m guessing the meet’s name is not completely coincidental. This is one hell of a fun meet. There are 30-40 (or more) schools from all over the state represented, and well over 1000 runners. There are four races at this meet: varsity girls, varsity boys, open girls, and open boys. The “varsity” races consist, typically, of the seven best runners on each team, although- and I’m still not quite clear on all of this- apparently there is some strategery involved with exactly who is placed on the “varsity” team, so as to garner the most points for the team (the times of all a team’s runners are factored together to determine which team “wins” the race), and/or to put a couple of the faster runners in the open races to help increase points there.

Again, I’m not 100% on how all the scoring works, let alone the strategery involved in choosing who runs varsity and who doesn’t.

At any rate, Coach Lynn- who happens to be a friend of mine- didn’t run a girls’ varsity team, basically since we didn’t have enough girls to field a varsity team. So the first race that Lincoln ran was the boys’ varsity, which consisted of Karl, Kody, Noah S., Zach, Holling, Harrison, and Ian. It was Ian’s first varsity race of his XC career, and hopefully not his last. I’ll get back to Ian and this race in a minute, but let me just say that all seven boys ran personal bests.

Next was the open girls’ race. There were eight runners: Kaitlyn T., Kaitlyn R., Ally, Ellie, Lilian, Haley, Clare, and Mia. And I apologize if I spelled any of the names wrong, or just flat out named someone incorrectly. I’m still learning everyone’s names and trying like hell to put them with the correct faces. It ain’t easy. Anyway, this was a great race as well, and all eight girls ran personal bests.

FORESHADOWING ALERT: See if you can guess the outcome of the boys’ open race.

Noah L., Liam, Jervais, Alex, and Jaden were the LMS representatives in the final race. Coach Lynn told them right before the gun, “No pressure, but everyone has gotten personal bests so far today. Let’s get five more.” Sure enough, all five ran personal bests as well.

That’s 20 runners, 20 personal bests. That is insane, folks. I mean, the Parkside course does have a reputation of being a “personal record buster”, but when everyone on your team that ran breaks their personal best time, that is a serious accomplishment. And yes, you corn flakes pooper onners can say, “But John, it’s only the fourth meet of the season; of course they’re likely to break their personal bests.”

True. Even so, it’s pretty amazing to have your entire team break their personal bests.

And then in Ian’s case… his time last year at Parkside was 16:27. Yesterday’s time? 14:44. 14:44!!!! That’s 1:43 faster than his time for that course last year. And his fastest race time on ANY [2-mile] course, last year or this year, was 15:36, which means he beat his all-time personal best by 52 seconds! When I told him his time after his race, he was absolutely excited and, for the first time in his running career, demonstrated genuine pride in himself. He even gave me a hug, right there in public, in front of everyone. How’s THAT for happiness?! Dude has never run under 15 minutes before, so this is huge. I told him that, now that he’s broken the 15:00 mark, it’s going to get harder and harder to get personal bests, but that as long as he keeps working at it, he may even dip underneath the 14:00 mark before the end of the season.

My daddy pride had my chest swelled up for the entire drive home. As cheesy as it sounds, I was literally giddy with pride.

Next meet is tomorrow at Lincoln Park, a meet I HOPE to at least make in time for the boys’ race, and then the Franklin Invitational is next Saturday. It’s the flighted meet, so I’ll be curious to see where Ian runs in that meet.

Anyway, go Ian, and GO LEOPARDS!!! LMS cross-country rocks!!!

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