Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life On the Run

It's been a crazy busy start to this XC season thus far! I've wanted to write so many times prior to this, but at least I'm finally getting a chance to now :)

The start of the season really honestly has gone about as well as it possibly could have! Our women's team won our home opening meet, the Tom Barry Invitational, for the first time in 7 years - and we not only won, we dominated. Our closest competitor was our alumni team sitting 60+ points back from us. We had 6 runners finish in the top 10, and all went under 21 for the 5K. Our freshmen are fantastic-- and what's impressed me most so far is how mentally tough they are!

I was able to re-claim my course record, which was broken last year, with a time of 17:40, a PR by about 30 seconds for a 5K on an XC course. It's so much fun to PR!

Then, this past weekend, we went down to Northern Illinois. It was only the second time ever where I did not give everything I possibly had in a race. It felt so strange going to the starting line knowing I wasn't going to speed off as fast as I could as soon as the gun went off. But, I've come to learn now more than ever, with this being my final collegiate season, that distance running requires A LOT of patience! If I want to be ready to run my very best in November, why risk it racing all out in every race in a season? I helped two teammates become somewhat comfortable with 6:00 pace/mile -- it's a pace they've been apprehensive about, but I led them to a 6:02 first mile and they survived just fine. I know they're capable of running 6:00 averages, it's just going to take a continuous reminder and boost of confidence for them to breakthrough and do it. I'm confident they'll be there come the end of October and in to the REAL Championship season! :)

I ended up winning the race with an 18:09 for the 5K, racing the last 1.1 miles. It was fun to beat some D1 competition as the Badgers sent down many of their runners. It was a great feeling to pass people up in the last mile or so -- definitely not something I'm used to! Ultimately, though, I was happy to help teammates gain needed confidence and to experience a different type of race- because it is good to switch it up now and again. (this is a concept that has taken me a while to accept - used to be completely opposed to change!!)

This weekend we don't have a race; just a hill workout. I guess I shouldn't say "just" -- we have a couple of killer hilly trails! Yes, in Wisconsin there are in fact hilly trails! It will be good to use this week to really get some quality training in and then be ready to prove we belong in the Midwest Regional rankings when we take on many of the region's best at the Augustana Meet on September 24th. I'm a little disappointed we're not headed back to Griak, just because that's such a HUGE meet with a lot of tradition, but we're going to get plenty of competition at Augustana, and with the amount of freshmen we have on our team, it's important that they see the course prior to regionals to again be able to prepare mentally for what's to come!

Probably THE biggest goal I had when I first began cross country/track & field here at St. Norbert was to be a part of a Conference Championship team. This is it - this is my last chance to fulfill a huge goal! The best part is that I am more confident in this team than any other I have been a part of. We have amazing talent, and barring any injuries, we will be Midwest Conference Champs on October 30th. I know that's a bold statement to make, but I've seen what we've done already, the commitment in practice, in the weight room, and I know this group, on both the men and women's sides, are ready to take the program to new heights!

Outside of running, I started 2 new internships - one with a junior league hockey team, the Green Bay Gamblers, which will be a game day type internship, and one with a local parks and recreation department. Both will provide me with good experience as I look to pursue a career in sports management!! Still haven't fully decided if I'm headed to grad school in the fall of 2011, but I am at least taking the GRE in October to keep my options open!

I am also the sports editor of our college newspaper, which has thus far been a lot of fun. I really love writing about sports and to have the opportunity to design the entire sports section in our paper is awesome! I think that writing is something that's going to have to be a constant in my life, even if I'm an athletic director someday -- I know I'm still going to want to find ways to report on sports as well as channel my thoughts! The position has truly helped me realize how much I love to write!

Speaking of grad school and all that, I am constantly challenged with the thought to take it one day a time. When I'm sitting at my desk at my internship, I find it very easy to daydream about where I'll be even say, 2 months from now. It's not that I'm not enjoying where I'm at right now, it's mostly that I'm someone who needs a plan. Not having a "plan" for after this cross country season scares me quite a bit. BUT, I just have to keep reminding myself that I need to be savoring the little time I have left here at St. Norbert and as a college athlete! And moving forward I will do my very, very best to continue to soak it all in. I've had SO many former collegiate athletes tell me that thought, and I know I owe it to myself to get everything I possibly can out of this season. There's time to think about the future after November 20th. Until then, life is a day-by-day process. Gonna need some reminders from ya'll on that thought, though!

Big workout tomorrow morning. Time to get some much-needed rest. That's one thing I HAVE had time for so far this season, and it's helped me feel considerably better. I've resolved to get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I've done it most nights, and SURPRISE! I don't fall asleep in class, and I don't feel nearly as run-down as I did most of last semester. Only taken me 4 years to figure that out. Finally starting to wise-up in my old age! :)

Found this quote tonight while meandering around on the world wide web: "The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way."

Be optimistic -- try and look at the glass as half full -- make the most out of each and every day! If there's one thing I pride in myself it's my unwavering optimism. (have you not noticed how many times in a given message I use a smiley face?!?) You've just got to look at the bright side of life! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and all those wonderful cliches. I challenge you all to be more positive. An optimistic attitude can take you SO far in life :)

Live life with a smile on your face, and when running, and life, gets you down, just look to make the most of a tough situation. And when in doubt, Twitter me (@knightrunner22) and I'll find the perfect quote to brighten your day :)

Till next time... Happy Running!

-Jenny... a.k.a. KnightRunner


  1. Does the rest of the newspaper let you run the sports section like I did? Running a bi-weekly newspaper like it is a daily and editting or possibly even writing articles on the night it is going to print.

  2. Well, not exactly. Our editor is pretty good at not putting together articles the night before. But I do get to choose what goes in and what doesn't for the entire sports section. I'm enjoying it a lot so far!

  3. Hello Jenny. Thanks again for the guest article about 5k/10k training. I have been keeping tabs on you. I'd bet you'd give the best UW runners all they could handle too.

    The internships sound exciting. Don't put too much on your plate!