As I sit at a picnic table outside the Lindner Center, I’m struck by the fact that we leave for the AAC Conference Championships in 9 days. 9 FREAKING DAYS. This is insane. It feels like just yesterday that I was starting my month-long break after outdoor season and now I’m preparing for the biggest test of my running career thus far. Over the past month and a half or so, I’ve emerged as something that I never thought would ever be possible and that is the number one runner on a cross country team. We’re a pretty good team at that too. We’re not nationals bound or anything, but this is the best team that UC has seen in years and I’m proud to be a part of that.
After having a slight mental breakdown over a sickness that caused me to miss pre-nationals, a bout of low confidence, and questioning why I stayed at UC in the first place, I’m starting to feel more ready than ever and I’m excited to step off that plane in North Carolina and show the rest of the conference that I’m here to stay. A big part of my steadily growing belief in myself has been Lara. While I was struggling to feel like I belonged on a cross country course, she was constantly there to talk me through it and show me how far I’ve come. My head coach is awesome and he’s helped me make some huge steps in the right direction, but my biggest obstacle has always been my head and Lara has helped me begin to overcome that. I never thought I’d have goals in cross country bigger than scoring for the team, but she has the confidence in me that I’ve never had in myself. It’s wonderful and everything I needed. It’s so hard as a female distance runner to believe in yourself and having that person that can talk you through it and break down the barriers you subconsciously build is so crucial. So once again, thanks Lara. You’re the best.
Over the past two months, I’ve fallen even more in love with running than ever. I didn’t think it was possible for me to love my sport more than I already did, but it is. So much more so. The fact that I ever contemplating walking away from this crazy and intense sport has come to be a mind-blowing piece of information as I now can no longer picture my life without it. It’s my defining characteristic. It’s my talent, my everything. So many people talk about how arduous and isolating the professional runner lifestyle is, but as of right now, I think it sounds like utter perfection. To be able to center my life around the sport I love more than life would be the best thing that could ever happen to me. I love school and I love learning, but there is just so much unadulterated joy that comes when I’m running that I could live for one hundred years and never do anything else and still be 100% fulfilled. I’m lucky to have found my passion in life when so many people do not.
So that’s my point in today’s post. Find your passion in life. I don’t care if it takes you a day, a month, a year, or 50 years, never stop searching for your passion. I fought so hard against becoming a distance runner and that is one of my biggest regrets in life. How much better would my high school life had been if I had fought the negative chatter in my life and accepted that distance running was what I was meant to do. Don’t listen to the critics in life. They are there only to bring you down to their level and it’s up to you to rise above that. It doesn’t matter if one person tells you that you can’t cook, or in my case can’t be a good distance runner, if that’s what you love to do then go after it! You never know what you might learn about yourself in the process.
Until next time, keep on keepin’ on.