Yesterday, we ran in the Rosemount Alumni race with all the High School runners including our daughter who is entering her second season of cross country. It is Rosemount's kickoff to their cross country season, Coach Harder and his staff put on a nice event for their runners and they welcome back alumni and anyone from the community to run with them.
I pretty much was last, I think one person was behind me. My excuses would be, I don't run 2 miles very often and I had no clue how to pace myself which is true and so I went out hard, probably too hard as it turns out as I struggled in the second mile, going over a minute slower than the first. My other excuses are I am 30+ years older than most of the runners and I was probably the largest runner, I joked before hand if they handicapped for weight and age, I would be given about a mile head start and then I would look competitive. Excuses aside, I have to admit I did enjoy it and it gave me a taste of what my daughter is experiencing as I have never run a cross country race and until last year I had never even attended a meet to know what cross country is even like.
Actually her decision to run cross country provided another insight to the running community. As she entered high school last fall, she was considering playing soccer which she has played since age 5 but her parents through her a curve and insisted on the western family vacation which would have caused her to miss the first week. If I remember it right, she also mentioned she was thinking about cross country. My wife emailed the RHS soccer coach who responded that at best she would be placed on the 9th grade b team and she might just be cut as the number might warrant it, the email seemed to have a "be here or don't bother coming attitude". After receiving that email, my wife emailed Coach Harder who came back and said no problem, he would love to have her come out and she would be welcome whenever she could get there. Oddly enough, she choose cross country for which she provided me a wonderful opportunity to witness her growth as a runner and to observe cross country as a competitive sport. Last year it was a delight to witness the positive coaching and the positive conduct of parents at the meets, a welcome change over soccer and probably most other youth sports. A quick side note on the race, as we were driving over we discussed did we have to pay to run in this event, none of us knew so since we didn't bring any cash and we knew they had a t-shirt after we dropped our daughter off, we drove back home and grabbed some money. Turns out it was free, who says there are no bargains out there.
Back to the alumni meet, the men and women were in separate events with the women going first but before they started they took a group picture with all of the ladies (high school runners, alumni and community members) who were running and they were off. Rosemount grad, Heather Dorniden (a nine time all american runner with the U of M) ran in the woman's event. Heather easily outpaced the high school girls and cruised to victory. I was amazed at how effortlessly she ran. Then the men were up, we took a picture as well and then off we went. The course had you run across a practice field (150+ yards) through the baseball stadium, around the pond and then back to the field and around again, it was essentially a two loop course. The course had grass, dirt and a bit of asphalt. I am not sure who ended up winning the men's event, I think Karyn said it was an alumni as well.
After everyone was done, Coach Harder passed out the t-shirts to all who participated, I have to say that this was a lot of fun to participate in and how many races can you enter that cost nothing and yet you get a t-shirt. It makes me appreciate running in yet another light. Our thanks to Coach Harder and his staff and good luck with your upcoming season.