Saturday, November 28, 2009


Well, it's officially been a week since the NCAA XC National meet in Cleveland and the end of my 3rd season as a Green Knight cross country runner.

I've definitely done a lot of reflecting as the week has gone by. While I was shooting for a top 5 finish, finishing where I did - 10th - less than 2 seconds out of 7th - is something I am trying my very, very best to not be disappointed about. First off, I got horrendously boxed in at the start of the race and fought my way to the front pack for the entire first mile of the race. I really don't know how it happened; last year I seemed to find my way to the front pack instantly, but for some reason this year, I felt like I still got out incredibly quick but yet when I tried to move up actually got stuck. It was pretty frightening, and I know for a fact that had I not run at Nationals twice prior, I would have panicked and probably never worked my way up, certainly not near top 15 status. Instead, I just kept telling myself to stay calm, and eventually I made it near the front pack and was finally able to settle in a little after mile 1. I still wasted more energy in that first mile than I should have, but anyways, that is one of the reasons that I tell myself I can't be disappointed with my performance. It was also a much hillier course than I think most of us envisioned, and it rained the 2 days prior to the meet, making the footing pretty terrible. So, with these things considered, I can handle 10th place. It's not like I'm totally satisfied with 10th -- I WILL move up next year -- but I know I gave my best effort last Saturday and for that I can put a smile on my face!

It was a roller coaster of a season. I was unable to defend my title and course record at our sole home meet in early September, unable to defend my Midwest Conference crown at our meet on Halloween, both times losing to my arch-rival from Carroll University, and yet, when it truly mattered, at the Regional and National meet, I beat her soundly. To me, the coaching says it all. I have a Coach who knows how to peak athletes at the right time. It felt really good to be able to run my very best when it mattered most. Giving up those 2 titles was totally worth it when in the end I was an All-American (for the 6th!!! time!) ... and she wasn't! It wasn't easy to not lose confidence when I was unable to defend my title - it made me question my training and start comparing last season to this one. But, with the help of my Coach, and the book I mentioned in my last post, Inner Gym (by Gary Mack), I was able to realize every season brings new challenges and that it's impossible to compare one season to another. I am so glad I was able to stay strong mentally, and so again this is another reason why finishing 10th is still very fulfilling.

It's crazy that it's only been a week since the race. With Thanksgiving Break, it seems more like a month ago I raced in Cleveland! I have been doing my best to take some time off of running and just try and relax. This is an incredibly hard thing for me to do, especially because I think the bottom line is that running just makes me feel SO good. However, last year I jumped right back in and took hardly any time off (against the wishes of my Coach) and ended up injuring my IT band badly within a couple of weeks. I obviously don't want this to happen again so I'm trying my best to go to the pool or elliptical or bike to get away from the pounding for a couple of weeks. I just wish sometimes it wasn't so hard for me to take it easy. Relaxing just simply does not come easily for me! I constantly feel like there's something that needs to be done! I'm going to try my best to shift my focus to school these next couple of weeks -- exams are in a little over 2 weeks from now and my GPA could always use a boost!

Well, I think I've rambled on enough for now. I just wanted to take a little time to reflect before I posted about Nationals. Overall, it was a great experience - as it always is - and I look forward to getting back there next year, perhaps with our entire TEAM! That is the ultimate goal!

Indoor track officially begins for me on January 11th. Finals, Christmas, family vacation to Florida, and then track. The next 6 weeks are going to be very busy, but after finals, it's all FUN, so again, just need to focus in on my studies these next couple of weeks and it's smooth sailing from there! :)

In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks for some special people that have continued to help make my college running experience the most fun I've had in my entire life. Thanks to all my teammates who supported me so much throughout the entire season -- even had a couple make the 9 hour drive all the way to Cleveland to watch me!! We had 6 seniors this year, and I can't even put in to words how much they'll be missed. Kim, John, Aaron, Benji, Jon, and Mack: you guys are amazing. Thanks so much for your leadership, hardwork, and dedication. You have helped build up this program so much - you are all incredibly talented runners, but most importantly, you are wonderful people. Thanks for your friendship, and for the millions of memories we've made over the years. I love you guys!!

Another thanks to my family- my parents and 2 brothers who are always my biggest fans. They always have encouraging words for me and keep me thinking positively. I know I couldn't have made it through this roller coaster of a season without them! And finally, I also want to give a big thanks to my Coach who puts up with me no matter how high maintenance I may be. He always has my best interest in mind and obviously it can be seen he helped me peak at the right time.

It's been an amazing ride from basketball player to six-time All-American. Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted myself to be where I am now. No dream could be quite this wonderful! :) I am SO blessed.

Still have 1 more full track & cross country season, though, so buckle up because the ride's not over yet! :)

I'll post with an update on training sometime near Christmas!
Don't forget to check out pictures from Nationals here :

Till next time... happy running! Let's hope the snow/ice can continue to hold off for at least a few more weeks! :)


No comments:

Post a Comment