I honestly can’t believe I’ve finished four seasons of Cross Country. As I take the time to reflect, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I was a cheerleader since about age seven up until middle school, however, I ran track too and found passion in competing and playing an important role for the team. Around eighth grade is when I started to branch off more and join the Cross Country team. From there on, I decided to keep going and I am so glad I did.
Being on this team has really helped with self-discipline and perseverance. I have faced a lot of adversity from transitioning from a historically African-American team, to being one of few team-mates on a historically white team. I often felt out of place, because of this and questioned if XC was the sport for me. Nevertheless, I made it a priority to go to team dinners and have made valuable friendships with the girls. the team, family and coaches gave me courage and empowerment in realizing my own strengths and capabilities, beyond my personal fear and doubt.
I also vividly remember times where I struggled with knee (patella tendon) pain. I went to Trainer Bob and a physical therapist for the majority of sophomore year, because I refused to let this stop me from racing that year. I refused to use my injuries as an excuse to quit, nor did I allow myself to get comfortable with my time. I tried my hardest to get a better time every week and became infamous for my kick at 400 meters to the finish. Running has allowed me to realize that I have no boundaries; when I run I am free from everything.
There’s no way to enjoy the good moments without appreciating the bad ones too. I’ve realized that, so I thankful for both. I am thankful for the hard runs, when my legs felt tight and sometimes numb from running mile after mile after mile, but still strong enough to keep going. I am thankful for every ruthless hill I conquered and each attempt it took me to do so. All of this took self discipline and patience. After all…3.1 miles took the greatest amount of discipline, patience, and sacrifice.
In retrospect, the past four years have actually gone by fast, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to call my team, better coaches, or a better bagel selection at each XC meet!!!