Looking back I realize that had I not have tried track and trail racing prior to doing my first ever cross country race I would have likely dropped out. According to this newbie I'd say that cross country was a combination of the gut wrenching effort on the track but on a trail environment.
The fact that the race was a short bike ride from my house definitely helped convince me to sign up. It was fun seeing many of the familiar faces I'd seen during the track season. It helped to make me a little less nervous about trying something totally new. Unlike any of the road races I'd done, everyone lined up in a huge, wide pack at the start. The interesting part about starting in this way is that you can see just how much faster the front of the pack truly is! The route went across a park and then down into the Taylor Creek trail system. After the crowd thinned in the first two kilometers, I was honestly shocked that I had anyone behind me. The fact that I passed another runner and then kept the handful of runners behind me felt like a win! It was a hard run. I know my heart rate was soaring. The last kilometer featured a grassy hill that tried to take anything I had left. And of course at the top of the hill is when you know everyone at the finish can see you as you are wanting to keel over! While I definitely walked a good chunk of the hill, I managed to regain my pace at the top and finish with what I felt was a good time for my first cross country race!