Friday, May 31, 2013


I have two weeks left of school. Not even two. A week and a half. 

But I already feel like it's summer. 

The weather is perfect, the majority of my friends are done with school, and track is over. I feel completely unmotivated to do anything but lay out in the sun, have bonfires, and eat ice cream. 
And go camping. I definitely want to go camping. 

My head is swimming with glorious thoughts of summer, 
and I am so excited to play. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lazy - on Purpose!

After each season, athletes (or at least runners) 
usually take some kind of break. 

This break ranges in length - Some runners prefer to take three weeks off from running to recover both mentally and physically. Others feel like they only need a week before they get back to training. 

Either way, it is a necessary time for the body to repair all of its damaged muscles and joints and fill up its glycogen stores. We are more vulnerable to injury if we do not ever take breaks. Likewise, it is a time for the mind to reset and rest from the intensity of constant competition.

Basically, runners are forced to get out of shape after each season. 

This brings about mixed feelings, and I know I can speak for pretty much all competitive runners when I say this. 

While we love the idea of not having to run for a week or two, it is so difficult in practice. We end the season being the fittest of our lives, and during our week or two off we see our muscles diminishing, our flab increasing, and our speed leaving. We remember how hard it is to start up again after a break, and, though we are excited to finally be active again, we dread those first few miles of heavy breathing.

It's also a time where one feels incredibly lazy. 
I have done pretty much nothing active all week - except for eat my weight in ice cream- and it's simultaneously wonderful and terrifying. 
I have so much pinned up energy. 
And it messes with you. My sleep patterns are completely off... 
I woke up at four in the morning after going to bed at midnight
 and couldn't go back to sleep. 
I also miss the endorphins that running/working out give me. 
I know that many runners get depressed during 
breaks as a result of missing these.

Ultimately, however, the break is necessary and nice. I know that, soon enough, I will have to get up early in the morning to go do a 75 minute tempo run, and I'll wish I were on a break. So for right now, I'm trying to enjoy this. I can see myself loosing tone, and that's okay. I'm an athlete, and we bounce back into competition shape in no time!

So here's to being lazy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Disclaimer: The following is probably the longest and most in depth blog post I have ever written.  There is a lot of running jargon in there and it's very real and honest. Ultimately, I know how blessed I am. I have had a wonderful overall experience at TVCC. I have amazing teammates and the best coach. I am going to cry when I say goodbye to them, I know. But I'm also disappointed, and I had to be transparent. Sometimes that's the only way to write. 

I couldn't possibly recount all of the events of the last few days or express the tumult of emotions that have been rolling through my head. 

NWAACCS was physically and emotionally taxing - bittersweet in every way. There were some great things about it - like having family there to watch and support me - but I did not perform as hoped. I cracked under pressure. 

My 10k on Monday morning was a disaster - the slowest of my life, in fact. I was ranked 1st going in and I walked away with 3rd. I could blame it on the girl who sat behind me the whole first half of the race, clipping my heels and drafting off of me while I paced for her... or I could blame her coach who put her up to it. He planned the whole thing with her ahead of time and coaxed her through the whole race, making comments each time around the track that majorly got into my head. 

But ultimately I am the one who wasn't mentally strong enough to finish the race. I am the one who slowed way down and let one two girls pass me. I am the one who failed

I can't even explain how frustrated I am about the whole thing. I feel like I let my coach down. An All-American standing doesn't mean anything when you perform terribly. 

Monday night we went to a banquet with all of the participating schools. We all dressed up. We ate gross pasta (I'm probably the only runner who doesn't like the stuff, I know). We got our minds off the competition (yeah right). It was fun.  

But after I felt sick. I was shaky and cold and exhausted. I fell down on my hotel bed and let the weight of the day flow out in tears. Two of my closest friends and teammates listened as I opened up about my disappointment and insecurity. And I told them I hated racing. And at that moment, I really did.

We all fell asleep around 9 pm. I haven't felt so sick in a long time. Blame the dehydration, not enough food, the heat, whatever. But I really needed sleep!

Tuesday morning was a new day, though. I felt much better when I woke up, and I had two races left to focus on. I can genuinely say that they went much better than the first one. 

I led the first two laps of my 1500m, even though I wasn't even close to ranked first. People just paced/drafted off of me and then out kicked me in the end. I knew it wasn't smart racing. But I'm so good at pacing, and that was the pace I was used to running. All this tactical championship stuff is annoying to me. Maybe I should just be a professional "rabbit". (For those of you who don't know, those are the pacers in races that drop out halfway through... they are only there so other people can pace off of them in order to run faster). 

My coach just laughed at me afterword and said 
"well, you certainly keep things interesting!"

Two hours later, I ran the 5k. And I decided to try a different approach. NOT LEADING. So that's exactly what I did. I went out slow, like everyone else. I tucked behind a pack of girls and drafted off of them for a change. It was miserable, though. We were all crowded and they were throwing elbows and it lasted for about a mile and a half. Finally, they broke away. 
And for some reason, I didn't go with them. 

BUT I didn't stop racing. Instead, I slowly chased them down. I ran a killer last mile - must faster than my first two - and picked them off, one by one. Let me tell you something, it's much more fun to chase and pass then to be the target. 

In hindsight, I know I had SO much more energy at the end. I should have kicked harder 
and passed those two girls that were just five seconds ahead of me. 
I could have  should have gotten All American in that race, too. 

I'm not trying to complain. I know I need to count my blessings. I made the podium in all my races. I was the only girl to run all three of those events - quite the triple! 

And I know I should be grateful. I am grateful. 

But at the same time, I'm so frustrated. I just feel like... WASTED POTENTIAL. 

Physically, I should have gotten 1st in the 10k and 2nd in the 5k (the 1st place 5k runner is crazy fast... one day I'll get there). But mentally, I SUCK at racing. I'm a disaster. I'm not competitive. Or something. And the problem is, in the world of college track, all that matters is the races. 

No, it doesn't matter that I can and have run 20-24 x 400 meter repeats at an average of 83 second pace. It doesn't matter that I got tons of sleep and drank my weight in water and ate perfectly and lifted and swam. All of that hard work is for nothing if I don't show up to race. 

Obviously, I have a lot to think about. My coach told me that I just need to take the summer to reset mentally. But I feel terrible... because I won't be reseting for him. I'm transferring. I'm ready to graduate in a few weeks, and I'll be going to a whole new school with a whole new coach and running program. And I can't help but feel like I'm just a total disappointment to my current coach. I KNOW this is NOT true. But it's how I feel right now. 

I know this post may seem far more depressing than my usual ones, but I really felt that I needed to be honest. Right now I'm really confused about why I even do this. I think I love it, but it doesn't feel that way right now. 

I am planning on taking the next two or three weeks off of running, and this will be a good chance for me to reset. But for this rest period, I need to do my best to NOT think about running. I need to eat junk food and stay up late and focus on school and my social life. I need to let myself be bored and take naps during the day. And I need to be in the moment, 
because the moment is passing quickly. 

Hopefully, at the end of this break, I'll have a fresh passion and perspective. One thing is for certain. If I am going to keep doing this college track thing (which is already established) I am not going to have another year (mentally) like this one. If I'm going to keep doing this, working this hard, investing myself this much - I am GOING to see results. I am going to nationals next year. 
Mark my words. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Perfecting Your Form

This was my last week of track practice before NWAACCS,
and that means one thing - tapering.

I don't know how other runners feel about tapering, 
but I feel like a caged animal.
And a little lazy. 

Low volume, high intensity. 
This is the "peaking" process in a nutshell. 

We run lower mileage and stay clear of the weight room, allowing our muscles to be fully recovered and full of glycogen so that we can have the best race of our season during championships. 

So track practice as of late hasn't been crazy difficult like normal. Instead, we have turned our attention to sharpening our speed, gaining a winning mentality, and focusing on little details - like form. 

Since I first began running competitively, 
my coaches have been telling me that I am a "hopper". 

Meaning that, if you watch me run,
 I tend to exert just as much energy vertically as I do horizontally. 

Like I literally have "a hop in my step". 

The problem is, you want to go forward - not up - when you are running fast. It is inefficient. And so my form can sometimes hold me back. 

To combat this, my current coach has been working with me on my form A LOT. On leg turn-over. On moving my legs forward instead up upward. 

Luckily, I have started to see improvement. 
And, though my form is far from perfect, it is getting better. 

Sometimes even the smallest details make a HUGE difference. 

Spiritually, it is easy to just try to "run the race" without focusing on little things like our spiritual form.

 But the Bible clearly says that we need to "strip off every weight that slows us down" (Hebrews 12:1) 
- And that means that paying attention to our spiritual form may be a good idea. 
And we don't have to work on our form all alone!

Jesus is our "coach", and he empowers us will the ability to "be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect".  Matthew 5:48

Tomorrow morning I leave for my track championships. All of the hard work, practice, and attention to form that I have put in this season will come down to just three races.It is time to perform. 
And that's a lot of pressure. 

I only have one chance. 
And we only have one life. 

1 Corinthians 9:24 says "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."

I want to run to win. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I don't know if I'm just overdosing on Vitamin D or what (all this sunshine!!!), but I could not have been happier lately. Summer is slowly showing its face, and a mixture of nostalgia and excitement is coming with it. 

This school year is winding down. As I am getting ready to transfer and move on from this college, I cannot help but reflect on the last two years that I have spent here and all of the things that I have learned. I'm so grateful. It hasn't always been easy, but I wouldn't trade these last two years. 

Lately I have realized how much I'm going to miss my track friends. 
They have all become so dear to me - 
there is nothing like grueling workouts to bring people together! 

Lately I have realized how much God's hand 
has been on my relationships here.
Yesterday I had a Bible study over coffee with a dear friend. I left feeling so blessed - so blessed that God has set up that relationship for both of our benefit. I didn't always have friends I could relate to in that way here (though I have had wonderful friends with different beliefs and ideas),
 and I'm so grateful that I do now. 

Lately I have had spring fever.... 
I've been feeling rather lazy. I don't want to do homework - or anything productive really. I just want to go to track practice. And enjoy the weather. Case in point: I went through a box of cereal in two days. Purely because I didn't want to cook anything. 

Lately I have been questioning my plans for next year... 
but you always question big decisions. 

Lately I have been anxious/nervous/excited for track championships!!!!
NWAACCS is less than a week away.
I have a busy schedule - I'll be racing the 10k, the 1500m, 
and the 5k in a period of two days. 
I'm really hoping for a gold medal, but I'm going to enjoy the races. 
Love to race. Love to win. Love to run :) 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Unripe Fruit

Have you ever bitten into a strawberry (or any kind of fruit for that matter) 
that wasn't quite ripe yet? 

I LOVE strawberries, 
and I am ecstatic about them almost being in season again.

But there is nothing worse than buying strawberries 
and having to wait to eat them! 

There have been quite a few times that I lacked patience, and, instead of waiting until my strawberries were perfectly ripe, I ate them as they were - 
a little green and everything. 

And you know what? They tasted terrible. Not nearly as good as normal strawberries. In fact, I didn't like them very much at all. 


Lately, I have sort of felt like a failure. 
I'm not looking for sympathy - or even being down on myself - 
I'm just making a point. 

I have worked really hard this year at a lot of things, and I have always been of the mentality that "you reap what you sew".  So, naturally, I have expected that my hard work would lead to success. 

This has not always been the case, however. I have been sewing and sewing and sewing in various areas of my life, and I have yet to reap the benefits I desired. 

I have been working hard, 
and that hard work has not quite come to fruition yet.... 

As a result, I found myself asking God the other day "What is the point of all my hard work if it's not bearing any fruit? 
Why am I investing myself into all these things to no avail?" 

I feel like God wants me to pour into all the relationships he has placed in my life and work hard at all of the tasks I have been given (track, school, government), but it is sometimes discouraging when I don't see any fruit. 

But I came across this verse this morning when I was reading the Bible. 

Isaiah 49:4 

I replied "But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the Lord's hand; I will trust God for my reward."

Here, Isaiah was struggling with the exact thing I have been struggling with.

 But he clearly recognized that, despite the evidence,
 he was to trust God and God alone for his reward.


I have to do the same thing. 

Instead of biting into fruit that is unripe
I need to be patient and trust God to bear fruit in my life. 

After all, it is not in my own strength that I accomplish anything - 
it is through his strength (Philippians 4:13). 

I'm sure those strawberries will taste a whole lot better 
if I wait for them to ripen!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's Simple

Like most college students, I tend to constantly be preoccupied with my future. 

Actually, like most people, I tend to be preoccupied with my future. 
This is a common problem. 

But college, especially, is such a transitional season. It seems that everything I do - choosing a major, getting internships, deciding which city to live in - is in preparation for the next step in my life. 

As a Christian college student, the concept of "calling" 
is of particular concern to me. 

I find myself constantly wondering about God's call on my life, and, in turn, doing everything I can  to navigate my path in the direction that I feel is consistent with this magical call. 

Lately, however, I have been thinking about my calling A LOT. Because I am in the process of transferring to a new school, and because I will be a junior, I am now officially declaring a major. 

I know this is an important decision. I would like to propose, however, that decisions like these are not as important as many Christians (including myself) usually make them out to be. 

I was recently in a conversation with a dear friend who is going to be leaving for Mozambique, Africa in a month to do missionary work over the summer. She made an interesting point.... 

American Christians are so fixated on the concept of "calling" - "I am called to be a doctor" or 
"I am called to be an artist" or 
"I am called to be a stay-at-home parent". 

But do we ever see this mindset portrayed by Christians in third world countries? No - the concept of a specific calling into a specific field is a foreign concept to them! 

They realize that we are called to love God and love people. 

Somehow, American Christians have managed to 
complicate and incredibly simple command. 

I am not saying that God doesn't sometimes nudge people in particular directions - of course He does!!!! I am simply saying that God is not limited by our choices. Worrying so much about whether my career choice lines up with the calling I think God has on my life is not giving God enough credit

He is the God of the universe. If I abide in him, and I desire to follow his lead, it is pretty hard for me to get outside of his will.  

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter if I major in political science or nursing. It's about who I am (a child of God) and not what I do! Whatever I do or don't major in, he will work with it. 

 So what now? 

It's simple. 

Love God. Love people.