United through altitude

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United through altitude

The varsity girls take a break after the mountain challenge in Taos, New Mexico.

The varsity girls take a break after the mountain challenge in Taos, New Mexico.

Greg Christiensen

The varsity girls take a break after the mountain challenge in Taos, New Mexico.

Greg Christiensen

Greg Christiensen

The varsity girls take a break after the mountain challenge in Taos, New Mexico.

Hallie Fischer, Editor-in-chief

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Ever since I joined the high school cross country team last year, I heard athletes talk excitedly about one week in the summer that gets them hyped for the season. Every year the cross country team takes four groups of runners to Taos, New Mexico for a week. While training in the mountains gets our lungs and legs stronger, the real reason for the trip is to create a team bond unbreakable by the pain of a workout.

Running is and isn’t an individual sport. Yes, you start on the line with your own racing bib and your own time to beat, but running is much more than just one person running. The people wearing the same uniform as you are the ones that you have trusting bonds with. Taos enhances those ties. When you are up in the mountains with your team, you learn to help each other and build a stronger team bond.

The runners start off the week in anxious uncertainty. When you put 13 athletes with 13 different personalities in a house for a week, relationships are bound to arise. We were forced, whether we liked it or not, to work together during workouts, cleaning up after meals, or sharing two bathrooms.

Through that week, relationships grew stronger.

There was one moment, on a harder run on Wednesday, I was running with a friend of mine and both of us knew that what the other was going through. The more we kept going, the more we wanted to stop and walk and catch our breath. We turned to each other and every few minutes we would spurt out, through tired breaths, to keep going. Sometimes it was only a ‘good job’ or sometimes a ‘we are almost there. You can do it’. For the rest of the run we were in sync, we could feel when we were getting tired, and we would say ‘come on girl’, and that would get us through the next few minutes. We finished that run, side by side and out of breath, but we did it together, without stopping once.

That is really what Taos is about. It is about having faith in your cross country family. You know that they have your back. Everyone knows that coming to practice is much more fun with people you enjoy. It is easier to do that extra push-up when someone is there to motivate you. It is easier to step into the start box at a meet when you have your whole team with you who is just as nervous as you are.

I learned that I don’t run just for myself. I learned that I run for the seniors and their last season. I run for the freshman and their nervous legs for the first season. I run for everyone in between who worked their butt off day in and day out. That is why running isn’t an individual sport, because  you don’t run miles for yourself: you run for the ones that run miles for you.