cross-country-season

Confession of a Recovered Runner

I finally feel like I’m at a place where I can fully share my experience. I write this in the hopes of helping those who have shared/are sharing this struggle and to help others not to fall into the same trap. So here it is… 

As a senior in high school, I realized that I was capable of running for a D1 school. I did everything possible to turn that into a reality. I got enough sleep, did yoga every morning, worked hard in practice, did extra strength training, and ate healthy. I wasn’t going overboard; I was simply dedicated.

In hindsight, though, that’s when I started to get sucked into the deep, dark hole that is an ED. I ate very regimented meals and started to completely refuse desserts. I always loved reading novels. I started to love reading nutrition labels. Working at a grocery store didn’t help. While stocking shelves, I would sneak a peek at the calorie content in the products. 120 calories in a slice of whole grain bread?! Maybe I’d just cut out bread from my diet… It was a slippery slope, and I started sliding fast. 

I graduated high school feeling on top of the world. I was SCA President, Valedictorian, and had a scholarship to run at a D1 school in the SEC! (And I hadn’t eaten a piece of bread or a single dessert in 6 months… go me! … Right?) Summer training began and, with the increase of mileage came a decrease in fuel. Run more, eat less became my mantra. I was going to go to college as skinny and fast as possible. Little did I know that skinny did not equate to speed. 

Freshman year came and, boy! was it tough. I was 12 hours from home and had the pressure of a rigorous course load PLUS running. My response? Eat. Even. Less. My thinking was that the less I ate, the skinnier I’d be and the skinnier I was, the faster I’d be. If I ran fast, I’d be happier. WRONG. 

I had a great freshman cross country season, but by the time indoor training rolled around, I was weak. I got injured over Christmas break and that sent me spiraling. I cross trained excessively, lost more weight, and my injury didn’t heal (shocker). When I got back to campus, my trainer noticed how thin I was. So, she sent me to a nutritionist and, eventually, a psychologist. I fought against this, because I was in such a state of denial. I didn’t have an ED! I was just dedicated to the sport! 

One day, though, I completely broke down. I confessed it all to the psychologist, but, more importantly, I confessed it to myself. There was absolutely nothing healthy about what I was doing. And I wasn’t happy at all. In fact, I had hit the lowest point in my life. All joy had left my being. Life had simply become survival until the next run and the next sleep. My brain was consumed with thoughts of food (and how I could eat less of it, despite how much I craved it). I put on a happy face for those around me, but inside I was broken. And my body was breaking. 

I made a list of all the bad habits I had formed– everything from avoiding even the crust of a piece of bread to spitting out food into a napkin when people weren’t looking. I would go out to dinner with friends, but lie about having eaten beforehand. I would look at recipes for cookies and cakes, but could never fathom baking them. Pizza? Oh, man, I just wanted pizza. No way would I touch that, though. No. Way. 

I slipped into a deep depression and was ready to give it all up and crawl home. I was no longer Molly. I didn’t know who I was. 

Finally, with the help of my family, my two best friends, and lots and lots of prayer, I started to regain my former happiness. Despite still being injured, the sweet spring air and the promise of summer enlivened me. I stayed out later, became a bit more spontaneous, and, under the watchful eye of the nutritionist, started to put on some weight. 

That was a battle, though. I would call my Dad every morning while drinking the specially made protein shakes (with a scarily unknown amount of calories), so he could talk me through it. He wouldn’t hang up until I had promised him that I had finished the entire shake. I remember shaking in the grocery store as I forced myself to buy the whole grain waffles that I promised my nutritionist and psychologist I would buy. I had to call my parents while eating them slowly, one morsel at a time. Then, I cried because the guilt of those carbs was too much to bear. 

My Mom visited for my birthday and, by then, I had started to improve a bit more. We had a wonderful day bouncing around downtown, shopping, going to the art museum, and talking and laughing uncontrollably as we always used to do together. When she suggested grabbing a sandwich for lunch, I hesitated slightly, but obliged. I didn’t want to ruin our perfect day. And that was a turning point for me. I sat with my mom in the March sun and ate an absolutely delicious sandwich. And I didn’t wilt away. The sky didn’t fall. The world did not stop spinning. I ate a sandwich, and it was tasty, and I was happily full, and my Mom and I were having a lovely day. I was alive again. 

That summer, at home, I learned how to eat Sunday morning pancakes with my family again. I learned how to get froyo at 11 PM with my best friend again. I learned how to not plan out every second of every day. I learned how to fuel the happy life I so desperately wanted to live.

Sophomore year wasn’t a walk in the park. I still struggled to accept the body God had given me. Especially in the world of college running, there are always girls walking around that are taller, more slender, and more toned. But I reminded myself every day that I was blessed with two legs that could carry me over many, many beautiful miles and I had to respect my body by fueling it to do so. My controlling tendencies still crept up every now and then. I still checked calories and refused desserts most of the time. But, little by little, I was healing. 

This year has been even more of a shift for me. I transferred schools and met a guy who has showed me that running is not everything. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent weekend mornings cooking huge brunches with him (even on rest days!) or how many times I’ve baked cookies with him (and eaten several myself!). I eat peanut butter out of the jar, enjoy midnight snacks, and go out for pizza. I’ve never been happier, I’ve never been healthier, and guess what else… I’ve never been faster! 

This past season was my best one yet. I PR’d in the mile, the 3K, the 5K, and the 10K and qualified for Regionals! Apparently, the deal is not that skinnier equals faster. STRONGER equals faster. HEALTHIER equals faster. HAPPIER equals faster. I don’t know my weight, I don’t know how many calories I’ve eaten in a day, and I don’t care. All I know is that I fuel myself, I’m loving the miles, and way more importantly, I’m loving life. 

God has blessed each and every one of us with not only a beautiful soul, but also a beautiful body. It is our duty to ensure that our bodies stay healthy so that our souls can be joyful. An ED is a thief. It steals that health and, therefore, that happiness by telling us that we have to go against nature and hurt our physical bodies in order to achieve our dreams. An ED is a liar. Don’t listen to it. You are called to live a life of strength, of freedom, of joy. Fuel that life. Love that life. Live that life. 

Summer before my senior year of high school I decided I really wanted to be a champion. I wanted to win, I wanted to be that athlete that always got articles in the newspapers and medals at every meet. That summer I trained the hardest I ever have in my whole life. Every morning I would wake up at 6:00 am to run 8 miles, or do a workout. On the weekends I would do a long run, my longest being 15 miles. I was totaling at least 50 miles each week and each day I would train by myself. Quietly hoping to come in that fall and be great. The first race of my cross country season I ran a 5k in a PR of 20:45. After that things went downhill. I got plantar fasciitis and struggled to simply walk around school. When I would run, my body was constantly fatigued and my foot would be in so much pain. I consistently ran around a 22-23 minute in all my 5ks and was placing no where even close to the top girls. I felt like my entire world was falling down around me. I gave up so much for this, I made so many sacrifices in every aspect of my life, especial socially, and it just wasn’t paying off. As indoor track started the plantar fasciitis went away but the fatigue in my body worsened. I hoped to break my PR of 12:02 in the 3200, but that season I struggled to break 13 minutes, only doing so a couple times. As I went into indoor track, I decided to see a doctor. Something wasn’t right. Sure enough I was anemic due to an iron deficiency. I started taking iron pills and my times got faster and faster and I got stronger and stronger. The picture shown above is me after I won my first race ever. That’s all I ever wanted… all of the passion, dedication, hard work, the early mornings of my pushing myself to run 6 mile repeats on the track alone, the nights of saying no to hanging out with my friends so I could get my sleep, finally it all paid off. It’s silly, I won the 1600 at a small meet with only a few teams running a 5:48 (pretty bad I know) but the whole feeling of winning was something I had always wanted. I couldn’t help but break down into tears after finishing. I am now in my freshman year of college and ran a 5k this season in 18:45. I go to a D2 school and came in hoping I would be top 7, but I am the 3rd place runner on my team right now. I have become a stronger and faster runner. I am proud of myself for continuing to dream even when it was hard. Things seemed hopeless, but you should never ever give up. It may take some time, sometimes years, for your hard work to pay off, but it will. This, right here, is why I run. I want the feeling of winning again and I am so determined to do it. I have 4 years in college to make it happen, and I know I can.

An edit to this: I ended my cross country season as an all american, placing 35th at d2 nationals. So far this indoor track season I have ran a 9:58 3k, 5:08 mile, and 17:28 5k. It’s amazing what can happen if you just believe!

Facebook reminded me that 3 years ago, I broke a 34 year old school record in the 3200m. I have been injured ever since January 2015. Stress fractures simply love my left leg, as they have decided to invite themselves over 5 times without letting me know ahead of time. The last time I raced was at Footlocker Nationals in December 2014, I had a lot of hope in running after the track and cross country seasons in 2014.
For the next 5/2 years, the thought of never running fast again due to factors out of my control made me feel as if my life was out of control. Topping the other negative things that happened which were not my fault, I lost plenty of motivation.

During the last month, I’ve felt the most content since 2014 because I completely let go of things that I can not control. I’ve reached a threshold where I was tired of being unhappy with myself. I forced myself to stop caring about things out of my control, stopped comparing myself to who I was in the past, and stopped going on social media every day, it worked.

I still plan to run again by taking it one day at a time, living in the moment, focusing on things in my control, and finding the positives in every situation by seeing everything as a learning opportunity. Hopefully running can come together and be lit again.

I’m still setting records, but this time, I set a record in life persistence. If I knew that if this were to happen to running in 2014, I would have became a salty person, but now, I know better. However, in a way, not running has allowed me to find my passion in video game design and art, that I am designing my own game today.

The only time that you should look back is to see how far you’ve come.

I go back & forth between “Wow, this is gonna be my year. This cross country season is finally going to be my breakout season of college running.” and “LOL, Abby you’re slow. Stop; you’ll be mediocre at best.” all the freaking time and it’s kind of exhausting.

anonymous asked:

Im going into high school this year, my brother graduated 2 weeks ago, and I'm so excited! Im taking Art as my elective and I'm going to join Drama club and try out for the track and cross country team when the season opens up! Ive always secretly loved school, and even though I've been done since last monday, i just can't stop thinking about going! I start in August and I'm taking all honors and 2 softmore classes!Anyways there was no point in me msging you that lol. (& i want parenthood)

hey congrats! im a super big school lover i just love learning that sounds so exciting!! i cant wait for you youre gonna do great and have loads of fun! <3

kids are sent the message that stuff doesn’t count for anything if it doesn’t look good on a resume or a college application.

a college admissions person doesn’t care that i ran 50 miles a week this summer. i could have run 15 miles a week and still made varsity. and then “varsity cross country runner, 3 seasons” stays the same on my resume.

i run 50 miles a week because i want to break 19 minutes in the 5k this season. sub 19 is good, but it’s not good enough to rank me as a top runner in the state or the nation, or get me a division 1 scholarship. college admissions people don’t care if i break 19 minutes in the 5k. neither does anyone else who’s not my coach. but i care. so it matters.

it’s so hard, but so important, to remember that what you work hard at matters, even if it’s not sufficiently recognized or quantifiable.

Season Recap: Finding the Fun

Capped off my last race of the 2017 track season with a win at the Friday Night Lights 10k, which betrayed its name this year by adding a mile race as well. Didn’t run as fast as I would’ve liked, and there were plenty of reasons for that (rabbits, temperature, etc.), but frankly my legs were pretty toasted after a long season. Can’t complain too much about a win though, and definitely can’t complain about a WAY more successful 2017 than 2016.

Some highlights/points of reflection:

  • Winning is fun: I began the season with a win at one of the first BU meets in a rust-buster mile, and ended over 6 months later (Jan. 7th to July 14th) with a win over the same distance. In between, I did a lot of not-winning, but I did get to enter a lot of races where I was competitive with the lead when it really counted. My 1500 PR this season came in a race when I got 5th or something, but I was making moves to stay near the front as late as 200m to go. It’s fun to run fast, but I’ve always found it way more rewarding to run for the victory and let the times come along for the ride.
  • Consistency > peaks and valleys: I was incredibly fortunate to be able to come back to working with Zebulon Lang, my college coach, this year and the results spoke for themselves. Zeb is infinitely patient and supportive, and he believes in the value of periodized, progressive training. It’s hard to self-coach because you turn every week, every workout into do or die. Whether or not you ran 60.1 or 59.9 for your last 400 is the difference between smashing success and total failure, and the lack of a gatekeeper to boost you up when you’re feeling down or hold you back when you’re rearing to go means you get “spikier” training- when it’s going well, you’re firing on all cylinders with no regard for recovery, but when it’s going poorly, it seems like you’ll never be fast ever again. This year, I focused on a) listening to and working with Zeb, who knows both the sport and me as an athlete better than anyone, and b) staying consistent rather than adhering slavishly to an arbitrary target. Doing 90% of the stuff 100% of the time is way better than doing 100% 90% of the time and 0% 10% of the time, and putting the planning in someone else’s hands helps you both to see the big picture.
  • Friends are fun: I’m #blessed to have a team and friends who share my same passion for the sport and who are willing to go to Philly or Portland or Florida to race and chase the dream. Whether it’s waking up at 5:30am to work out together on a random Wednesday or meeting up on the other side of the country to chase PRs on vacation, my group of weirdos is always willing to get up and go. As someone who often needs a “push” to take any sort of risk, it feels good to have positive peer pressure. My team (and by “team” I don’t just mean the Heartbreakers- it also includes my family, my infinitely patient non-running friends, Zeb, my friends who I send workout splits to for the purpose of “analysis” i.e. bragging and/or complaining, and so many more) makes me better and it turns a very lonely sport into a true community.
  • Learning to love the ride: I think in my first year post-grad I got very wrapped up in comparing myself to my college times and being frustrated when I didn’t hit them. There’s a fine line in this support between dedication (good) and obsession (bad), and when you cross that line, you not only start working against yourself but you also start sacrificing the moment for an imagined alternate reality. The whole point of continuing to run on an “elite” level after college is to do something you enjoy that’s not a) working or b) drinking.  At the end of the day, if you’re not having fun, why bother? If you put in the work and keep out the stress, the times will come anyways. Running at this level is finite by its very nature, just like life. And if tomorrow is the end of my career (it’s not), I want to make sure I spent today with a smile on my face.

Long rambling post over. I’m happy, and I’m fortunate, and I’m excited for the next season, but right now I’m ready for a little break. It felt great to not wake up Saturday morning and plan my day around a run. Before I know it, I’ll be back on the grind, but in the meantime, it feels good to stop and appreciate this sport and my journey for the gift it is.

Sorry that’s annoyingly sincere.

How to run in the heat!

The sun is shining, your skin feels like melting, you go outside and feel the temperature, and it makes you feel like going back inside.

The summer is actually a great time to run or chase your fitness goals because you don’t have school and have more time! It’s also a great opportunity to get faster for the cross country season in the fall!

Heat training will prepare you for races in the unavoidable heat! It will also make you feel like running in more comfortable temperatures is easier, which gives you an advantage!

Instead of avoiding the heat, adapt to it. The heat improves the efficiency of blood flowing from your core to your skin, which also gives you an advantage. Your body gets better at adjusting its core temperature and increases its blood volume, and sweating can help you get rid of toxins from your body! Let the advantages motivate you to dive into the sun!

Also, what I love about summer is the long daylight! It opens up more opportunities for you to run outside during the day. Appreciate this!

But if you are not sure if it’s safe to run outside, you can check the weather forecast for the heat and air quality index.

1. Drink water

Not drinking enough water can make your muscles cramp or feel lightheaded or nauseous during your run. I don’t want this to happen to you so I want you to drink water often throughout the day (make sure your pee is a very light shade of yellow!). Other consequences of not drinking enough fluid are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

But don’t drink too much before a run if you don’t want to get a side stitch. I usually like to stop drinking water about 30-60 mins before a run! Sometimes, I also drink water during a run if I’m out for longer than one hour! If you’re running for more than an hour and sweating a lot, then you should also bring along a drink with electrolytes.

When you sweat a lot, you also lose salt and other electrolytes. Don’t avoid salt in your diet because it’s important for your body to maintain fluid and not dehydrate due to osmosis.

Try not to drink drinks with caffeine or alcohol because they are diuretics, which makes you lose more water in your urine. Also, avoid foods high protein because those are harder on your digest, which will produce more heat in your body because those take more energy to digest.

2. Timing

Try running in the morning or evening. Try to avoid running outside between 10am-4pm. Heat training will help you if you’re training for a race, but there comes to a point where it will affect your health, especially if the heat and air quality index is poor. If you don’t have other times to run, try a treadmill, or cross train or pool running!

3. Clothing

The clothes you wear can affect your experience of your run. Try to wear loose and light colored clothes. Dark colors absorb heat which can make you feel like a stove.  I like to run with a T-shirt and running shorts. You can also try dry-fit/tech clothing, which are lighter and help your sweat dry faster.

Try to avoid wearing anything on your head because that’s where your body loses the most heat. If you want to wear a hat to avoid sunburn on your beautiful face, try a visor. Instead, you can try pouring water on your head when you feel extremely warm.

4. Sunscreen

I don’t want you to get skin cancer! Maybe also try sunglasses to also protect your beautiful eyes from the sun!

Sunburnt skin also loses its ability to sweat, which will not help you feel cooler.

5. Plan your route

The asphalt and track absorbs heat, so it’s best to avoid them during the middle of the day. Try trail running and planning your route around water fountains!

Running besides a large body of water will also be cooler. It’s also nice to end your run with a swim or pool running!

6. Seek a buddy!

Also, when it’s hot outside, it’s a good idea to run with a group or someone else so you can watch for each other’s safety! You should also let your family members know your running route just in case.

7. Make adjustments

Try to avoid long and high intensity workouts when the sun is at it’s strongest. If you are not able to run when the sun is not as strong, then try going for an easier run or run another day. I don’t want you to get a heat stroke.

Also, when you run in the heat, it can slow your pace by 1.5-3% for every 10 degrees above 55 Fahrenheit. You can also try running your first mile slower and then negative splits to have your body adjust and your legs won’t be feeling like lead the whole run if you don’t run the first mile hard. Because of this, you can also try running based on effort without a GPS watch.

I hope you found this helpful!

I have more life and running tips:

How to start running

How to deal with a running injury

How to be productive and achieve your goals

How to run in the cold

Blind!Marinette AU

My own take on a blind!Marinette.

  • Marinette’s blindness was not caused by an accident rather she was born blind as she was a premature baby and developed ROP.
  • She knows how to read braille but she prefers to listen to her books.
  • She has a seeing eye dog named Fleur that she’s had for three years now and is a German Shepherd.
  • Before she had Fleur she was either accompanied everywhere or had a cane and she really didn’t care for the cane.
  • Because she cannot see she isn’t aspiring to be a fashion designer and she really doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.
    • The only thing that she knows for sure is that she doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone.
  • She is very familiar with her house so she doesn’t need help navigating around her house. 
  • Despite her blindness she is a very good cook and baker with the help of her parents. She isn’t good with decorating for obvious reasons and she leaves that to her parents.
  • Her hearing is much more sensitive than normal people’s because of her blind status
  • She deals with even more tormenting from Chloe because of her disability but she tries very hard to ignore it.
    • Chloe makes fun of Fleur a lot and calls him a mangy mutt however the rest of the class loves him and always asks permission to pet him.
  • When Marinette got her Miraculous she was very self conscious because of her blind status.
    • Tikki revealed that Marinette was not her first disabled chosen and that her suit would help her deal with the disability
  • Her suit remains the same as normal, with the only addition of a pair of ladybug wings on her back
    • Those wings allow her to keep spacial awareness by beating and the use of echolocation
    • The faster they beat the better that she understands her surroundings. They continue to beat while she is resting but it is not nearly as noticeable or loud
    • She doesn’t use her yo-yo to get around the city
  • Her eye color does not change when she is Ladybug and the media just assumes that it’s to help her hide her identity
  • No one knows that Ladybug is blind and she is intent on keeping that a secret that includes her partner.
    • Chat Noir eventually finds out after an Akuma attack that gunks up her wings and for the first time Ladybug is actually reminded that she is blind.
  • Her hearing is further increased by her Miraculous and it is almost as sensitive as Chat Noir’s 
  • She prefers flying but she still runs around the roof tops from time to time.
  • Marinette loves to run with Fleur and she wears a bright yellow vest with the words BLIND RUNNER on the vest and she runs with him
    • She does eventually try out and makes the cross country team at her high school. She runs with the team with Fleur sometimes and other times Alya, Nino or Adiren ends up watching him.
    • Nino is the one who usually gets stuck with Fleur as Adrien eventually becomes Marinette’s guide runner.
    • Chloe tries to get Marinette off the team but she never succeeds and the Cross Country team ends up just getting annoyed with the blond girl.
  • She has a harder time transforming because she not only needs to sneak away she also has to hide Fleur from sigh.
  • Adrien gets closer to Marinette much quicker and she doesn’t stutterer around him as long. She gets very comfortable around him before the cross country season starts.
  • Alya and Marinette switch spots in class because of Fleur and it was a better idea for him to sit on the outside bench.
3

It seems pretty dumb to say that my love is my sport. In fact, it seems like some sort of cliché you would see in an under quality sports movie.  But after years of running, I have come to the conclusion that running is more like my life partner than my sport. I can survive without it, but why would I want to be without? I can be complete without running, but I feel more whole when it is with me. Of course running and I haven’t always had the perfect relationship. I’ve complained, cried, been angry. We certainly did not have love at first sight. I’ve wanted to give up during workouts and races. But never have I once wanted to quit on running. Never have I once considered that running and I would not grow old together. I knew it was special. It had given me strength in the darkest of times, it had given me revelation upon revelation. It had brought me peace, and it connected me to nature, my friends, my family. And most of all, in times when my soul, my mind, my life felt weak, it made me feel strong.

People always ask how I do it. They call me crazy when I run 7 miles or run in the rain. They act shocked when I say I did an 8 mile interval workout, as if I just pulled it out of my butt, exclaiming that they could ‘never do that.’ But what they don’t see is the countless mornings I roll out of bed at 7am just to struggle on a 2 mile run. They don’t see the sweat, the tears, even the blood on my feet or from the times I have tripped, the scar on my leg from that race sophomore year when a girl spiked me. They don’t see the days I am forced to cross train indoors, longing to be outside in the wind and the sun. They miss the days where I am tired and drained, but I run anyway. They can’t fathom the thousands upon thousands of doubtful thoughts in my head that I am forced to throw aside during each run. They act as if I was born into running. My proposal is that anyone can run. Anyone can work up to 7 miles. Anyone can get up at 7am for a workout. But most people choose not to. Most people don’t like being uncomfortable, being exposed, being raw. I guess that’s what makes runners crazy.

The biggest fight I have with my life partner is over my shins. You see, even though I believe in my heart and soul that running and I were meant to be together, sometimes it feels as if the universe is against us. For years now, my shins have constantly been in defiance against running. They claim I have an unhealthy relationship, and let me tell you, their complaints are heard. Some nights I would practically crawl up the stairs, others I would be forced to wear gym shoes with dresses in fear of the pain. I’ve run my shins down to the wire, air cast after air cast, ice bath after ice bath, until finally I was forced to take almost a year off in the prime years of my collegiate running career. Family, friends, doctors insisted I should leave running, give it up, find a different partner, whisk it away as if we had not been in love all these years, as if it was simply a phase in my life that was ending. I got angry at these people, insulted even. I didn’t get how they thought I could so easily throw something away that had made me who I was. I did not understand at the time that they only wanted me to be healthy and not damage my legs permanently. All I could see was the pain of losing the thing I loved more than anything I had ever loved. I had never imagined that I could lose running, especially forever. I was told that I should become a swimmer. I was told that running and my body would keep causing shin problems. All my dreams of running marathons, being a 60 year old runner, running with my kids one day; those dreams started to feel distant and mangled. I started to lose myself at that point, and I went down a path of laziness, defiance, wanting to be alone, feeling so weak.

It wasn’t until a few months of no running went by that I realized I was a person without my sport. I was not simply defined by my running shoes, like I had always thought. I had more to offer the world. And that was when I realized, running truly is my passion. It’s not some sport I picked up in high school. It is the reason I am who I am today. I’m not very good at it. At best in high school, I was 6th on varsity. I’ve never been top 10 in a race. Heck, I’ve never been top 20. Probably not even top 50, depending on the race size. None of that mattered to me though because running was what I was meant to do. But without it, I am still whole.

Finally, when I started running again, it was frustrating. I am doomed to a cross country season of running every other day and no track season. I will not have good times this season, and I certainly won’t make top 7 like I had hoped. I believe in the underdog, but this is more like a “barely hanging on” situation than a “you might surprise everyone” kind of thing. My teammates will not understand why I run every other day and they might not even ask. I will struggle in workouts, I will be behind the team all season. When I race at my college, my friends will come to watch and I will probably be towards the back of the race. People have asked me over and over why I am continuing this sport on a team, or why I continue it at all. You see, running has never been about winning to me. Of course I am not satisfied when I am in the back, but if I gave everything I had that day, I am proud of myself. This season, I will not take a single step for granted. I will push myself every single damn workout because just 10 months ago, I was told in the doctor’s office that I might not be able to ever run again. I will never complain because it would be stupid to complain about something that is the reason I am here today. And if my shins start to hurt again, I will stop because I want to take care of my body and make sure I can run forever, even if that means running only once a week the rest of my life.

Running is my life partner. Running is the heartbeat to the melody of my soul. It is where some of my best friends and best mentors came from. I hear people complain during workouts, and I want to smack some sense into them. I hear about people who claim to be passionate about running skipping runs simply because they didn’t feel like running that day, and I get angry. I’m not saying you have to dedicate your life to running. I’m not saying off days are not necessary. I’m certainly not saying you should push your body to its breaking point. All I am saying is that if you claim to be passionate about something, be passionate about it. I learned that lesson the hard way. There aren’t many things in life that make your heart beat faster, your soul jump to the sky, your eyes twinkle, and round you into a better person. Don’t take running for granted. Don’t complain. Because complaining won’t get you anywhere. In fact, it will only slow you down. Running is my soulmate. I hope you’ve realized if it’s yours too.

2

First ever college cross country workout AND it’s global running day?!?! Coïncidence????? Probably. But! I’ve never been so excited to wake up at 6am and run around in the middle of the southern california desert. I feel like there are lots of great things to come this XC season. CROSS COUNTRY IS HERE YOU GUYS I’M A COLLEGE CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! happy :)