So, I’ve given y’all my running origin. I told you how my love of running began at such a young age. Now, I am here to tell you how I grew to hate the sport I had such a great passion and love for.
I finished my high school cross country and track and field careers on a high note. I ran my fastest 5k and placed 3rd at an invitational (which was the highest I ever placed in a cross country race). I won my 800m heat at Mt. Sac Relays with a PR. I won my 2nd consecutive 800m league title. My track team won league for the second time in school history. I PR’ed in high jump and signed my letter of intent to run at a NCAA DII college in West Virginia.
Heading into college, I was really excited to compete and see how much better I could get in the collegiate setting with a great coach. Instead, I was faced with a stress fracture of my right tibia almost as soon as I got there. The road to recovery was frustrating, but I pushed through and made it back just in time to compete at the conference meet. Very soon after that meet, I started indoor track, which let me tell you, was a major adjustment for a SoCal girl. Indoor track is a whole different world, but I did well. Outdoor went even better. I PR’ed in my 200m, 400m, 800m, and was a leg in the school record holding 4x400m relay team. I won the 800m conference title, as well as the 4x400m title. I was on top of the world at the end of that season thinking that I could accomplish all of my goals.
Sophomore year of cross country season only increased my drive more. For the first time since my freshman year of high school, I actually loved cross country. At the regionals meet I PR’ed by over 3 minutes…yeah, I said 3 MINUTES in a 6k…and earned Academic All-American honors! I was on a high at the end of that season. Then rolled in track. From the first indoor meet to the last outdoor meet, the entire season was awful. My confidence was gone, I was drained. My body never felt rested and it was taking way to long to recover between workouts and races. Could it have been the 21 credit hours I took that semester? Maybe it was the increase in mileage? Or maybe just the sophomore slump? Who knows, I definitely still don’t.
My junior year didn’t go much differently. Cross country was great. I moved up to top 5 on my team. I was truly finding a groove with the longer distances and loving it. Then I turned over to track and struggled again. I was beginning to get incredibly frustrated with myself in races. Practices were going fantastically, my body was bouncing back after workouts and races, but I couldn’t compete well. I begged my coach to allow me to do a new event, to keep my love and interest in the sport alive because it was fading and I was trying to hold on to every tiny fiber I could. I began racing the 3000m steeplechase, which was so much fun. I wasn’t the greatest at it, but it was new and challenging and it kept my interest and love for the sport alive. Or, at least it did for a short time.
My senior year was the complete downfall of my love for running. Cross country was my best year yet. I finished 3rd for the team in almost every race behind 2 new amazing freshman. I earned Academic All-American honors. Although I was running amazing, the drama on my team was enough to kill my passion. 3 of my 4 years of college there was so much drama on my cross country team, but it never truly involved me until senior year. I was kind of always stuck in the middle and it was exhausting. My senior year, when the drama was turned on me, I was done. I finished out my senior year of cross country, because I was needed and I didn’t want to let my coach down, not because I loved the sport.
I ended up quitting track and field my senior year, because I no longer wanted to deal with the drama and because track hadn’t gone well the last two years. It wasn’t worth the stress and disappointment that I would have had in myself. I didn’t run indoor, and I missed almost all of outdoor, until my coach asked me to return around the last 3 weeks of the season. He said he needed me to help the team, to run the 800m and 3000m steeplechase at conference. I placed in the races, but I was in a massive amount of pain, because, low and behold, I had a torn labrum in my hip since the beginning of my sophomore year.
I struggled with that pain for 3 whole years of college. I saw my athletic trainers. I saw chiropractors. Nothing worked. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. After my final race senior year, I told myself I was done running for a while. I needed a break from the sport I once loved and had a passion for. I needed time away, because you never know what you truly love until it’s gone.