10 Things You’ll Relate to If You Ran Track & Cross Country in High School

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High school running, oh how I don’t miss you. My pre-race NPS (nervous pee syndrome), my olfactory senses failing to pick up my own odor (don’t worry, mom always made it clear that I smelled awful), and my never-ending hunger are just a few of the most vivid high school memories that I have. If you ran track and/or cross country in high school, the following statements will resonate with you louder than that stupid bell telling you that you were late to class.

1. You wore old cotton t-shirts instead of run-specific apparel.

I don’t know about you, but I wore those cotton tees into the ground. My high-school’s sophomore class shirt actually made it a year and a half through college with me before my mom threw it away when I came home to visit. There’s only so much detergent you can use before the scent just doesn’t come out. Want to know what’s better than your typical laundry soap? Active-wear specific detergent!

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2. You can change quicker than anyone you know.

Class got out at 3:10 and practice started at 3:30 at the track on the far-side of campus… oh yeah, you know the drill. I don’t know about you, but I started taking trips to the bathroom at the end of my final period so that I could already have my ponytail in place and my bladder emptied. Another fix? Fashionable running apparel that can double as everyday wear.

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3. You had to take pee breaks. All. The. Time.

It still beats the opposite state of under-hydration, but it doesn’t come without its own negative side effects. By my final class period I would be so hydrated that I would hit the bathroom right before class, halfway through class, and at the end of class… I don’t want to know what my classmates must’ve thought of me. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered the miracle that is hydration drinks. #themoreyouknow

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4. You got out of P.E. because you “have a big race coming up”.

This was my all-time favorite excuse for skipping out on an hour of golf on the football field. Who needs P.E. when you’re running over a mile as a warmup for practice and they’re making you jog one once every other week? Just saying.

5. You were “accountable” for weekend long runs, but you rarely did them.

My coach actually instituted a parent sign-off sheet to ensure that we were getting in our weekend long runs. I maybe did a grand total of three of those because weekends were for sleeping and hanging out with the friends, duh. Needless to say, that sign-off sheet didn’t even last the season.

6. You have recurring nightmares about the 17 different bags that you had to drag to and from school every day.

I lived a half mile away from school, so I was expected to walk to school everyday. And track bags are heavy. Between textbooks, all my different running shoes, a water bottle, and a post-run roller, my arms were about to fall off by the time I got to campus. A super-packable and cushioned backpack would have been a simple solution, had they existed in my life back then.

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7. You have hundreds of team photos from meets, and you don’t look good in any of them.

What I don’t understand is why we waited to take these team photos until after we raced. I would much rather pose pre-race holding up whichever fingers my team would likely place than stand their post-race in my sweaty delirium trying to look somewhat presentable. #memories

8. You believed in the “power of the pasta”.

Ahhhh, inhaling pasta the night before a race because we believed in “the power of pasta” more than our own abilities. Many schools have mandatory pre-race pasta feeds! I have intense memories of those awful post-pasta stomach aches. No words, no words.

9. You had an arch nemesis.

When you did beat them, it was your pride and joy, and you automatically became invincible… until the next meet came around. (As life is so ironic, I now work with one of my teammate’s biggest high school rivals – shoutout to you, Reesey. I promise I’m not holding this against you. Too much.)

10. You had the world’s best tan lines.

I remember summer vacation, laying on the beach watching passersbys snicker at me for how awful my tan lines were. I don’t know about you, but I rocked the sports bra shoulder tan with an accompanying cut t-shirt tan… I thought it was fashionable or something?!

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Hopefully I have not caused you any distress, or flooded your mind with nightmarish memories… instead, let’s try to process this article with nostalgia. Long live high school track and xc!

Sierra balances an overflowing schedule of work, college, and running, and can relate to any 20-something who’s trying to figure out life. Her running is her kind of self-care – and also the small amount of time that she gets to spend with herself every day, coming before all else (except her dog, Butters).

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