Every year we had to participate in “the mile.” I can only remember doing this at my elementary school from 4th to 5th grade. I moved so my first year at my new school was 4th grade. Apparently there was this one kid who had been the fastest in the mile and well..I beat him. So all of a sudden I looked really cool hah!
5th grade, my future friend Wes moved into town and destroyed everyone’s mile. I think he ran like 5 or 6 something. (I can’t remember my mile time, but it wasn’t amazing. Like high 7 or 8)
Unfortunately I didn’t go to a school that had sports teams. I didn’t know what cross country or track was, I just knew I loved to run. We had a track week in P.E class and we ran a lot of different events like the 100, 200 and mile. We also threw the shotput and discus. It was all just for fun. Everyone ALWAYS groaned during this week but I absolutely loved it! No one would race against me because I would always win. (Believe me, I wasn’t even good.) So the Physical Fitness Awards became to come about and you had to run a certain mile time, do a certain amount of crunches/pushups, and stretch far on the sit and reach in order to get the President’s award. Of course I wanted that!
My mile time had to be 7 something and I just remember wanting to retry my mile everyday we had gym class in order to get better at it. Everyone thought I was crazy. They would be inside playing some games like Jail Break or Mat Ball and I would be out on the track redoing my mile fitness test.
I never once thought that running outside of school was a possibility. It never even crossed my mind. Until my 8th grade year my gym teacher told me I should join Cross Country. I was like “huh, what is that?” and she explained that it’s in high school and everyone runs. I was so excited I went home and asked my brother about it. I signed up right away.
Summer practice started and of course there I was thinking I would be pretty good, since I was the best in my middle school out of the girls. I show up, and I’m definitely not the best. These girls have been running for a long time, one had middle school cross country and track and the other freshmen girls had done road races and ran for a few years. I thought my mile time of 7 something was good until this girl told me hers was in the 5’s! So the first few days of practice are just running around the track until you can’t go anymore. I was a walker. I was “that” girl. I thought there was no way I could do Cross Country. The most I ever ran was one mile. I told my mom I didn’t want to do it anymore because I wasn’t any good. She told me to give it another week. I now have her to thank for my addiction and love of running. I still wasn’t good and I still had to walk on training runs, but I fell in love with the team and the people around me.
I also did track this year, but I was a sprinter. I loved the 200 in middle school so I thought I’d be good. I was good, but so was everyone else. They trained me to be a 400 runner and I absolutely hated the 400. I rarely showed up to practice because being a sprinter, we rarely practiced. We mostly just practiced the start blocks and were sent home. I just didn’t want to be a part of it anymore and decided I hated track.
That is me on the right, with leg sleeves already haha! This was also our first meet.
The 2nd year came around and I was no longer worried about my fitness. I was able to run without stopping. I was still running 26’s and 27’s for a 5k but I wasn’t the worst on the team. I loved the social aspect of Cross Country. The pasta parties, the jokes, the tshirts, it was all great. I started having leg pain freshman year but I thought and everyone else thought it was just shin splints. It wasn’t unbearable.
Junior year was my best year of high school running. I finally ran a 24:04 and said goodbye to my previous times forever…so I thought.
Senior year was awful. My legs had gotten so much worse. I went through a cross season not being able to finish races or even start them. I think I finished two or three races this year and my times were in the 25-27 range. I felt like I was a freshman all over again. It got to a point where on training runs I would hit a mile and would have so much pressure in my legs I would have to stop running. Once I stopped the pressure and pain was even worse. It disappeared about a few minutes later and so I would try to run again and the cycle would continue over and over.
Winter came and I realized, this is not shin splints. Multiple doctors said it was, but I knew it definitely couldn’t be shin splints. You can’t have shin splints for 4 years and it be this painful. So we went to an orthopedic surgeon. He asked a couple questions, felt along my legs and knew right away that I had Compartment Syndrome. (You can read about that experience here)
I started running again a few months after my surgery, but I knew I would never run collegiately but I still wanted to run. So every month I sat down and planned out road races near my college or back home to train for. I LOVE road races. I would set aside a certain amount of money each month devoted to sign ups. I began to get faster and PR’ed my 5k which I never thought would be possible. I ran a 23:40! I was so thrilled. I led the whole race for females and got 2nd overall for females. I felt awesome. I decided to train for a half marathon. I love long distances and it’s a dream to run one. I eventually talked to the coach at my college about possibly creating a training plan for me to get ready for my half marathon. He set me all up with some workouts and mileage and I was good to go.
I ran my half marathon in 1:45 (8 min pace exactly) and I decided a few miles in that I wasn’t going to race it. I just wanted to enjoy it and take it all in as my first half marathon experience. I was shocked I ran so good without racing.
I then talked to the coach again and asked if I could possibly walk on the team. He said he had no problem with that, but that I wouldn’t be traveling. I didn’t care, I was thrilled to just be a part of a team again and train with others!
Summer rolls around and I’m following my training plan. We find out the coach moved and we were getting a new coach. Immediately thoughts went through my head about how I wasn’t good enough and hopefully I would still be able to be a part of the team.
It ended up that I was our number 5 girl and then number 6. I traveled to every meet and felt like a part of the team. I PR’ed my 5k again en route a 6k with a 21:13. If I didn’t actually have hardcore shin splints this time I would’ve broken 21 minutes for the season. Got a bone scan and I had a possible stress fracture, so we ended my season before Regionals. I wasn’t upset because I wouldn’t of ran well.
So now we are present day and I am now running a mile a day along with cross training. This coming week I get 2 miles a day and cross training. It’ll be a slow process but I will be back and ready to run Outdoor Track when it’s time.
Let me know if you have any other questions!