Some races are longer than others, while some just feel longer.
For Sequim's girls cross country duo, their season ended with a painful reminder that talent and experience can't always overcome illness and injury at the class 2A state meet in Pasco on Nov. 7.
Allison Cutting tried but couldn't defend her class 2A state championship after battling flu-like symptoms for the past couple of weeks, crossing the line at Sun Willows Golf Course in 20 minutes and 11 seconds, good for 27th overall.
Teammate Audrey Lichten, beset by injury for most of the season and racing in just her third meet of the year, placed 50th after crossing the line in 20 minutes, 51 seconds.
"It was very disappointing for the girls," Sequim coach Harold Huff said. "They just need to let it go. You can't be at your best with what they went through. (The illness and injury) really sapped them. We got a good effort from everybody. That's all I can ask for."
Sequim's boys got solid performances from Alex Jenkins and Colby Robb, who saw their state meet times improve from the 2008 meet.
Jenkins finished in 17 minutes even and placed 43rd overall - 40 seconds and 41 places better than last season - while Robb was 50th, finishing in 17 minutes, 24 seconds, improving by nine seconds and seven places.
"I think the guys were pretty happy for what they did," Huff said. "Alex ran a smart race. He probably passed a dozen runners in that last mile. I just told them, 'Get out there and don't hold back.'"
Lichten, a junior, dealt all summer with a hip flexor issue, getting physical therapy in Seattle to try to manage the problem. She was able to run with the team for just a few weeks before the league, district and state races.
"It was kind of expected," Lichten said of her finish. "I didn't have the endurance as I should have. At first I wasn't looking forward to (the state meet) at all. I knew this was a hard course. I was encouraged by Alli and my parents. I spent a lot of time preparing for it mentally."
Cutting said she had some residual flu symptoms this week after really struggling with the illness two weeks ago.
"It (the flu) stays in your lungs; I think that affected me," she said. "Mentally, I felt prepared. Physically, I wasn't sure how I'd perform (but) I was hopeful. I did the best that I could do with how I was feeling that day."
Both Lichten and Cutting said they're looking forward to the track and field season come next spring.
Sequim's girls team will lose two key runners to graduation in the summer - Cutting and Taylor Roads - and the middle school has seen a small turnout in girls cross country this fall. It puts a bit of pressure on Lichten and a number of freshmen to put in some extra miles in the offseason.
"We'll see if we can get those four freshmen to work over the summer; they have some potential," Huff said."
Sequim's boys should have little problem reloading next fall. Despite losing varsity starters Robb, Tyler Wilson-Walters and Drake Apablasa to graduation, Huff said he's looking forward to seeing a couple of strong freshmen-to-be push some of his other runners for varsity spots.
"If they can work well over the summer, I don't see the boys team dropping down a notch," Huff said