“We fly like blackbirds through the orange groves, floating on a warm wind. When we run, we own the earth. The land is ours. We speak the birds’ language. Not immigrant no more. No stupid Mexicans. When we run, our spirits fly. We speak to the gods. When we run, we are the gods.”
What do you think has had the greatest influence on your success in running?
Hey! I think a big turning point in my running career was this past fall when I went abroad on Team USA. I had expected it to be a joke (since I’m obviously not a D1 national champion or even all-American). Even as I write this, I can see that what I lacked before that trip and racing at Worlds was confidence. A race had become some kind of neurotic induced test of am I good enough? And my goals always seemed reasonable, so I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it (why wasn’t i good enough?). I mostly hung-out with our senior team on this trip (who were all INCREDIBLE pro-runners, well out of college). I was in awe with them (although I tried not to act it), but then something crazy happened: they were in awe with me. Not just them, but my fellow junior teammates, the coaches and management officials, people from other teams and other countries. I couldn’t believe it! I was only 19 during this trip (and they were like 26-28). They told me that I had the ability to be just as good as them or better if I would just stick with it. That was their “secret” to being a pro-runner: just stick with it. I came into the trip with no confidence in myself or my training, and always feeling like I needed to “prove” myself (in practice, life, workouts, etc.). I left kind of dumbfounded: maybe I should cut myself some slack, pour myself into training, FOLLOW MY HEART, and see what happens. After XC, I built myself from the ground up. I took a leap of faith, developed a SOLID training plan, and poured myself into it. And finally to all unsupportive people in my life who told me I couldn’t (coaches, teammates, etc.), I said watch me. Now over 6 months later, looking back on this turning point I can see this has been the “breakthrough season” I always had inside me. The only secret was to believe in myself and go all-in with my training. I have only done base phase since November. I have done 2 legitimate track workouts in 6 months, and have had a HUGE PR in every event I have run. OFF OF NO SPEED WORK. Now, I am going to run for a place in grad school that I know will have my best interest in mind. And before every race, I now tell myself to “get out of your own way” and just do it.