Edinburgh XC Blogs: Anna Maxwell

San Lorenzo Valley (CA) senior Anna Maxwell just embarked on a trip to Scotland this past weekend to compete at the Great Bupa Edinburgh XC race in the junior women's 4K race after being selected by the USATF to represent the United States. Maxwell was coming off a very successful cross country season with a California state title and fifth place finish at the Foot Locker Nationals. She got the opportunity to extend her final high school cross country season this past weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland, which she placed 11th with a time of 14:32 on the European style 4K XC course. Maxwell took the time blog for MileSplit on her race, trip, and experience to Scotland. Read below from the University of Washington recruit.


Edinburgh XC Blogs: Anna Maxwell

The first night I got in late and didn't run. I had a quick dinner of salmon before I went to bed. As I sat down for dinner I recognized the members of the senior team around me and for some reason was blown away to realize these people were married with kids. After a nice dinner and a chat with some of them about their professional careers I departed. My roommate was Megan who is an amazing runner from Princeton. She won the lottery with her flight and had got a direct flight and had arrive very early so she was already settled in. After introductions and a brief unpacking which consisted of throwing stuff everywhere and making a nice mess we went to bed which need up being one of many sleepless nights . For some reason my body never really got the time change memo.

The second day was great. Megan took me out for a morning running. After breakfast. I had half an hour and she had an hour so I turned around about halfway on the loop that circles King Arthur's Throne, this old ancient volcanic rock mountain that was picture perfect. From the top you could see the whole town, the sea, the castle, all the church steeple. It was as perfect an image of Scotland as I could have imaged. Litter lochs surrounded by lush green hillsides with the freezing crisp winter air blowing at your back. The old stone city below and the castle far on the other mountain top across. The run was easy enough and even though it was pretty uphill the view was worth it. I finished back on the course and tried to figure it out but ended up doing it backwards and leaving large parts out because it wasn't marked yet. Finally, I found my way back to the hotel where we had lunch and later dinner. These two meals where the same everyday in the trip: chicken and salmon with a soup.

To our great advantage we had a great coach who took the juniors that had arrived into town and along the Royal Mile. The perfect old city street lead to the castle decked with cobble stones, beautiful architecture, and breathtaking church's. The boys stopped at almost every shop even thought they all sold pretty much the same thing but did prove to provide entertainment when they tried to play the bagpipes. We walked for about an hour up to the castle and back down in classic tourist style with our ( or at least my ) camera on the ready.

The next day was similar but everyone had arrived by then, which was an advantage because Taylor had gone on the same trip last year and new the city a little better and helped as our guide on another rainy wet and memorable trip along the shops to the castle. Along the way stopping at the Elephant Cafe where JK Rowling wrote the first two Harry Potter books. That day we ran the course which was muddy enough before the rain that came later that day. Overall though ignoring the weather and the mud the course look descent. They took out the log jumps and had shortened the hill. I ran the course as my workout then finished with stride and mobility before walking back with some of the girls. That night was another in a long line of sleepless nights.

However, after an inspirational talk from the coaches, the excitement of the race and a nap after breakfast I was pumped for the race. It was my first time racing cross country in spikes and as I took my stride out I felt all the tiredness fading as excitement and confidence filled me. Pre race we warmed up and a few minutes before the start we where guided to a holding pen. We huddled up, Allie said some words, and the older girls like Taylor gave final advice not to go out to hard and to run as a pack. They lined us up in the cold Scottish air with everyone jumping and dignity trying to stay warm. We where adorned with gloves, arm-warmers, ear-warmers , hats, and anything else to stay warm. They gave the final commands and as we stood ready with anticipation I heard a Lana del ray song playing and might have started singing and dancing which if anything just freaked out the Europe girls next to me. The gun went off and we started.

I went out a bit hard and settled back to find the pack of red. We made our way along the first stretch and around through the first of the really deep mud. We crossed the road and made our way over and through the two creeks completing the first if the two loops. Throughout the rest of the race we worked off each other making out way up drafting off others and working our way up as a team. At the finish we came in as a good sized pack and congratulated each other and those around us. We were covered in mud and as happy as could be. The race had been fun, exciting, tough, and exhilarating. Being so late in the season no one could be disappointed. We cooled down which was a long painful experience because all the other girls were in college and their version of a cool down was a lot different than mine. The long uphill trek was worth it as I got to see one of the best views out there.

After we got back we were greeted with warm food and got to watch the men dominate their races. We went back out to take pictures then sprinted back to see the awards. It was all I could ask for, a great last high school cross country race with great people to share it with, a supportive coach there, a beautiful place, and a perfect day to run.

I want to thank the sponsors for making this trip possible it was an amazing experience I will treasure forever. Being able to connect with professional athletes and the senior team was amazing plus so many great runners boys and girls from the UK, USA, and Europe. Whether the memory I treasure most is being absolutely no help on the winning team of trivia the last night with my roommate and a table full of kilt wearing Scottish men or exploring the town, it was the best running trip I have been on and now I am ready to go home and sleep and take a hefty break and get ready for finals.