There is something exquisite about the pain of a workout. The burn trembling through the runner's legs, the pat of feet against the ground. Alone, it is brutal and self-motivated. The toughest athletes forge their own paths on late-night tracks, hidden hills, and winding, rutted trails. As glorious as that sounds, it sucks. A lot. The team workout sucks almost as much, but there is the bond, the sweaty clasped hand at the top of the hill, a clap on the back at the end of a ladder. The gasped “Good work” uttered between gulps of air. A bond is tied – at least in that moment.
Cross-country is the strangest of high school sports. We simply run. Run like animals chasing a rabbit, battling our own wits and flaring pain. There is skill, yes, but a different kind. It is the skill of reading your abilities, of overcoming the incessant demand for relief of pain.
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