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LESSONS FROM THE MAN UPSTAIRS

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Blogger Jenna Bartlett qualified for the state meet in cross country last weekend.

Blogger Jenna Bartlett qualified for the state meet in cross country last weekend.

File photo

File photo

Blogger Jenna Bartlett qualified for the state meet in cross country last weekend.

The nerves collected in my brain a few days before the D6 Cross Country Championships. Normally, on race day, I’m ready to run and the nerves subside and I can get in a good mindset for the pain that I am about to endure. And this past Saturday was no different. The nerves were piling in my brain the night before when I was about to fall asleep, creating feelings of dread and doubt. But I woke up, with a positive mindset, thinking this wouldn’t be the last time I would wear my BA uniform for high school cross country, and jumped in the car, put on Post Malone, and parked at the school. I grabbed my bag full of extra shoes, socks, blankets, towels, shirts, pants, tights, spikes, headphones, Ritz crackers, bananas, and a sticky note that said: “You can do this!!!”and hopped on the bus. I knew I wouldn’t be sorry bringing at least four pairs of extra socks, and I will explain more about  this later.

One of my favorite parts of cross country is the long bus rides. I love putting my headphones in, sitting back and enjoying the scenery outside the window. This was a particularly pretty drive because it was through lots of farms and we saw a ton of horse and buggies, which always fascinates me. At this point, I had received plenty of good luck text messages from lots of friends and family, which gave me some extra confidence that I needed.

When we arrived at Indian Valley Elementary School, the panic still didn’t set in. The mood was a mix of misery and “let’s just get this over with” on the bus as we grabbed our umbrellas and layers and made our way to the restrooms. Alright, time to talk weather.

It was cold. It wasn’t overly cold, actually, but the pouring rain and wind made it bitter. Now, I’ve run in weather worse than this, so I wasn’t worried. However, the worse part was the mud.

Alright folks, when I say mud, I mean MUD. Mud up to your knees. Okay I may be exaggerating slightly; however, the mud was thick and slimy and slippery and was set up for disaster. The ground was already semi-cut up as it was, and considering the A Girls Race was the next to last race, you bet that ground was going to be a mess. And it was.

We waited around until about 11:30 and then grabbed our spikes with the time chips tied in and headed off to warm up. With my head wrap and gloves on with my long sleeve white top, I was feeling pretty comfortable. The only thing that really bothered me was my feet, which were beginning to go numb. We watched the A Boys Race go off (where two boys actually face planted as soon as the gun went off) and got ourselves ready. As we did some starts and we said our prayer, the nerves went away and I just started think, “you’ve done this before. Just run how you know how to run.” The ground was so soggy that I was beginning to get concerned on how I was going to maintain traction, but I was just hoping for the best.

Boom! The gun went off and I got out fast like I like to do and tried to find my space in between at least 100 other girls, all equal in talent. Down the first hill I went, and my heel caught some mud and I slipped, thinking I would fling backwards, but I caught myself. I managed to remain okay until all the turns around the orange cones, where the mud was the worst. You almost had to walk through it because if you ran you would slip and fall. Despite the mud, I stayed with the girls and kept a decent pace up the hills and tried to block out all the screaming parents and coaches around me yelling, “You’re number 6, right now! You’re number 11 right now, you gotta go!”

I had already told my coaches and parents not to count where I was in the race because it would only create more tension for me. Considering I was one spot away from the PIAA Cross Country Championships last year, I was not letting that slip away this time.

Even though my mindset was good up until the race, throughout the race I just wanted to make it through without falling, and when I came across the line, I caught my breath and agreed that I had given it all I had; I put it all out on the course; I couldn’t have given it any more than I did, and whatever happens, happens.

All that, and guess what? I MADE IT!!! I MADE STATES!!! AFTER 4 YEARS OF TRYING TO GET TO STATES, I MADE IT!!!! I LITERALLY CANNOT EVEN FATHOM THE FEELING AND MAKING IT TO THE STATE MEET, INCLUDING EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA. MISS R TOLD ME AND I JUMPED SO MUCH ON THE BUS THAT IT ALMOST ROLLED DOWN THE HILL. Whoa I forgot I was still in caps (haha). All glory to God; I am so thankful to my parents, my coaches, my friends, and my family for all their constant love and support. I would not be where I am today without them. See ya at the PIAA Cross Country Championships at the Parkview Course in Hershey on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Be there or be square.

 

“Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.”

Philippians 4:20

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