I am on the plane heading towards my first race of the season. I am running Club Cross Country Nationals for the first time, and Team USA Minnesota is sending a women’s to compete for the first time in its history. The team is made up of Meghan Peyton, Heather Kampf, Ladia Albertson-Junkas, McKenzie Melander, and I. The fact that five out of six of our women on Team USA Minnesota are healthy, fit, and willing to compete at the same distance is pretty amazing. We are racing a 6k, which is pretty long for some of us. However, there is prize money for the top five teams in the race, which is a good incentive for everyone. Also, this race will be used for the selection for the U.S. team for the Bupa International Challenge in Edinburgh, Scotland, next month.
The trip is especially exciting because Run n Fun, the running store I work for is sending a women’s team, two men’s teams, and a masters men’s team. We all have the same flight schedule, and are currently driving the rest of the passengers on the plane nuts by our talking (cough, cough, Elizabeth Yetzer), and our collective need to use the bathroom often.
I’m trying not to get too worked up about the race. It is a long year of running, and I know I won’t be a significant break until next fall. We haven’t done much race-specific training, because we dedicate our fall to base training. However, I really want to be part of the cross country team in Scotland again. I had so much fun, and it was a great experience last year. Either way, I hope a few Team USA Minnesota runners are able to go.